I grew up in San Jose, CA.—what is now known as Silicon Valley. And as someone whose parents didn’t graduate from high school and instead journeyed through prison, teen pregnancy, trauma, poverty, addiction and domestic violence—and eventually upward mobility—I have to say meeting President Barack Obama in San Jose in May was a huge full-circle moment for me and my entire family.
It was a brief moment, but I shared with him about the Respect Rally we’d held at his daughter’s school, and he asked me “How did she do?” Just like a sweet father! I said she said, “Disrespect is irritating.” He said: “That sounds like her…and disrespect is irritating!” It was wonderful to relate to him as a parent. Knowing that all parents want their children to have self-respect: Knowing you’re a unique contributor to the greater whole. And behaving like: I matter. You matter.
I also shared with the President that we are looking forward to his My Brother’s Keeper initiative gaining momentum—the initiative will address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. On the White House website, President Obama says, “We need to give every child – no matter what they look like, where they live – the chance to reach their full potential.” The Respect Institute couldn’t agree more.—Courtney Macavinta, Co-Founder & CEO
2014 Cosmopolitan for Latinas Fun, Fearless Local Sheroes Award
I was honored to be among powerful Latinas from Demi Lovato, Thalia and Rosario Dawson to Grisel Ruiz, immigrant rights innovator, to Natlia Oberti Noguera, founder and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship and Melina Garcia, founder of Union City Music Project, and a total of 14 women who are empowering Latinos through their missions, art and leadership. It was an amazing night in New York learning about how we can make an even bigger impact collectively. Read the profile about our work here.
2014 American Express NGen Leadership Award Finalist
The American Express NGen Leadership Award honors one accomplished nonprofit or philanthropic leader age 40 or under who has already demonstrated significant impact in addressing society’s critical needs. I was honored to be one of the top 5 national finalists along with other amazing leaders. I’m so excited about the winner, Dr. Sarah Kastelic, deputy director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), who is working to further policy research that empowers American Indian and Alaska Native communities to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.