Empowering Latina Voices:The Journey and Legacy of LULAC’s Lupe Torres

Hispanic Community March 2024 PREMIUM

Lupe Torres epitomizes Latina empowerment through a journey from modest beginnings to national leadership, advocating for equality and opportunity. With resilience and integrity, she champions community service, education, and women’s voices, leaving a legacy of empowerment and inspiring a new generation to create positive change.

Lupe Torres reflects on her life journey that has taken her from humble beginnings in her home in San Antonio, Texas, to the halls of Congress in Washington, DC, and the centers of financial power in New York City. Her voice rings with passion and purpose as she reflects on what more than four decades of community service means when she speaks to audiences of Latina Empowerment. Today, Lupe is national vice president for women for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), where she embodies the spirit of resilience and determination that characterizes women in the Latino community.

“For Latinas in this country and all over the world, Latina empowerment is family empowerment,” Lupe begins, her words echoing with truth. “We are like the barometer of democracy, rising up when things go bad, taking action, and seeking meaning.”

Torres’ professional achievements are a testament to her skills in navigating the challenges of today’s world while staying true to her values. Any doubt of that is quickly gone when you watch her address the most challenging issues of our times, her eyes reflecting determination and conviction.

Lupe smiles warmly, recognizing the weight of the questions she is often asked to confront. “It’s important to remember where we come from and what we stand for,” she replies. “In the face of adversity, our values guide and strengthen us.”

She often speaks of the importance of resilience and adaptability, staying true to oneself while being open to change and growth. “We must be willing to evolve with the times, but never at the expense of our integrity,” she advises.

Yet, Torres is well aware that society’s social progress is challenged every generation, and the risk of reversals to hard-fought gains is ever-present. “How do we ensure that the progress we’ve made isn’t undone?” she is often asked, especially by a younger generation of Latinas, and her concern is palpable.

Lupe pauses thoughtfully, understanding the fear of regression that often accompanies strides forward. “We must remain vigilant and proactive,” she replies, her certainty unwavering. “We cannot afford to become complacent. We must continue fighting for our rights and place at the table.”

Torres says Latina empowerment in LULAC embodies the strength of unity and collective action, emphasizing the importance of standing together in the face of adversity. “When we lift each other, we become stronger than any obstacle,” she asserts.

When she addresses young Latinas in her travels, Lupe shares insights gleaned from her journey, offering practical advice and words of encouragement to those embarking on their paths to empowerment. She speaks of the importance of education, mentorship, and self-care, urging Latinas to prioritize their well-being as they pursue their goals.

“Remember, empowerment begins within,” she reminds them, her voice gentle yet firm. “Only when we believe in ourselves can we truly make a difference in the world.”

Growing up in a household led by her remarkable mother, Lupe understood the essence of service and empowerment from a young age. Despite limited education, her mother was a force of nature, deeply involved in the community, providing essential services like delivering babies, offering home remedies, and running a grocery store and cafe.

“My mother was the epitome of empowerment through service,” Lupe recounts, her eyes reflecting memories of an era still alive in her heart. “She believed in education and instilled in me the importance of giving back.”

Lupe’s upbringing laid the foundation for her lifelong commitment to empowering Latina women. Through her work with LULAC, she seeks to ensure that Latinas have a voice, advocating for economic independence, equality, and access to opportunities.

“LULAC Latina Empowerment is about making sure Latinas count,” Lupe emphasizes. “It’s about working so that every Latina has the opportunity to thrive, whether it’s in the workforce, education, health, or housing.”

With a distinguished career as a grant writer, she has spearheaded initiatives in economic development, housing, and social services, securing funding from various sources including foundations and the federal government. Torres’s dedication extends to developing residential programs for individuals with mental disabilities and supporting independent living for those with disabilities.

Reflecting on her own life, Lupe recounts her early days as a San Antonio Housing Authority commissioner, where she fought against discrimination and worked to improve living conditions for marginalized communities.

“We must be at the table, advocating for change,” Lupe asserts, recalling the many firsts she has accomplished as a community advocate, public housing champion, and mental health innovator. “If we don’t speak up, we’ll be left behind.”

Lupe’s words resonate deeply with her audiences as she speaks, inspiring a new generation of Latina leaders to step forward and make their voices heard. She urges them not to be afraid, to embrace their heritage, and to lead with integrity and compassion.

“Latina empowerment is about giving, about leaving a legacy of love and service,” Lupe concludes, her voice filled with emotion. “It’s about building a better world for our families and future generations.”

As often happens when conferences draw to a close, Lupe is surrounded by young women eager to follow in her footsteps, inspired by her words and unwavering commitment to empowerment. Together, they embrace the future with hope and determination, knowing they can create change and make a difference in the world.

Together, they pledge to carry forward the torch of empowerment, inspired by the words and wisdom of a trailblazer who had shown them the way. And as they part ways, each carries a renewed sense of purpose, ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead on their journey toward a brighter, more equitable future.

For Lupe’s complete biography, see:

About the author

David Cruz, President of DCM, a public affairs consultancy. Cruz is a former broadcast network journalist who now provides crisis media and strategic communications services to Latino legacy organizations.


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