INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Angela Brito de Rodriguez, assistant principal at URBAN ACT Academy, is passionate about many things.
She not only loves her job, but she’s also paving new paths for Latinos in Indianapolis. “We’re really excited to see Latinos be empowered on a citywide level to be able to have city departments that are intentionally thinking about how to best engage Latino citizens,” Rodriguez said.
She’s been a member of the Mayor’s Latino Advisory Board since 2017. The group examines community outreach and leadership development. But, her journey hasn’t always been easy. She moved from the Dominican Republic to Ohio with her parents and her brother when she was 5 years old. She says her parents wanted their kids to have a better education.
“When I would speak to other Latinos they wouldn’t really know what to do with a dark-skinned Latina,” Rodriguez said. “I would speak with my American classmates, but they didn’t know what to do because I was Hispanic, but I didn’t speak English with an accent and so it was a lot of just navigating different circles all of the time.”
She says her teachers and guidance counselor not only helped her navigate the challenge but also gave her resources for scholarships.
“While my mom was a nurse and my dad was a part of the national athletic association in the Dominican Republic, they came to the United States and had very different jobs so the notion of being able to pay for college was going to be a struggle,” Rodriguez said. “So, those scholarships were game-changing to me.”
Now she’s hoping to make a positive impact on her students at URBAN ACT Academy serving kids in kindergarten through Grade 8.
“Being able to have access to those opportunities and people who believed in me, I wanted to be able to provide something similar for my students,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez encourages young girls to chase their dreams. “So for those who are working hard to chase their dreams, just because things are hard or discouraging doesn’t mean the dream is dead and that your journey is over; it might mean to step back, relax, reset and go back at it again,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez says she’s excited to see Latinos be empowered on a citywide level. She adds she’s also excited to see a new generation of Latino leaders rise up and become advocates in their community.