For Women’s History Month, PCC Community Engagement Manager Sonianne Lozada shared her thoughts on the importance of uplifting the voices of women of color in advocacy.

1. How has being a woman of color shaped your professional experiences in and out of advocacy?

It has made me aware of how to carry myself. While that may be unfortunate, I have learned that the world is full of stereotypes and we’re all typecast in some way. Sometimes we have to play a part to be heard but as long as the voice we’re using allows our words to carry power and affect change we should move in that direction. Sometimes I have felt boxed in as if I had to be contained. But I have learned that my Latinidad and on top of that being a woman will always make someone feel uncomfortable, nonetheless, it’s no reason to be silent. I have allowed that to empower me and my style of approach in all my settings including the professional ones. 

2. What can advocacy organizations do to uplift and help women in leadership?

Listen to them and learn how to handle them. Many times women are categorized as bossy and emotional when they’re actually just passionate leaders. Sometimes folks can’t handle that but that’s exactly what advocacy needs, to be effective. You can’t be an advocate if you have no passion. It has to matter to you in order for you to be able to fight for it. Empower them to be comfortable in their skin and voice no matter the sound, tone or even emotion behind it. Fan their power flame versus trying to diminish it.

3. What advice do you have for women working in advocacy?

Discover your style of approach. It’s so important. Your delivery when advocating in all settings whether political, personal or professional will be what sets you apart and causes people to want to hear your voice, remember what you say and share it with others.