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Bonus: From Charity to Solidarity

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There are countless barriers facing immigrant communities when it comes to finding success and economic security in the US. Today we hear from two women who are working tirelessly to level the playing field by reimagining capitalism. Lemonada’s Hoja Lopez chats with Ruby Bolaria Shifrin, head of community at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Claudia Arroyo, executive director of the non-profit Prospera. They discuss the value of supporting latinx entrepreneurs and putting female-owned businesses at the forefront of their local economies.

This episode is supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our local communities. CZI’s mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. To learn more, visit https://chanzuckerberg.com.

Thank you to Prospera for joining this conversation. Prospera advances Latina economic empowerment through leadership development, entrepreneurship and cooperative business ownership. Prospera believes that when women are at the forefront of our local economies, entire communities thrive. To learn more and get involved, visit https://prosperacoops.org.



Claudia Arroyo, Ruby Bolaria Shifrin, Hoja Lopez

Hoja Lopez  01:38

Hi, Friends, this is Hoja Lopez from Lemonada Media. You know, as a kid of Venezuelan immigrants, I am acutely aware of the many obstacles faced when moving to another country, I remember my parents having to figure out so many bewildering things on their own, like how to rent a home with no rental history, or establishing your credit score to start their business. There was also that one time that I went to jail at 18, for shoplifting, and they had to figure out the entire American bail system in English. God, my parents are saints and, you know, so much of the struggle in immigrating is dealing with that lack of inclusive support structures. And this is a reality for many people looking for stability in the US, generally speaking, you know, language barriers, isolation, and intergenerational poverty are just some of the roadblocks that stand in the way of immigrant communities and success. But, you know, as we learned today, there are people out there now who are helping level the playing field by reimagining capitalism. So we are joined by Ruby Bolaria Shifrin, Head of Community at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The organization is dedicated to building a better future for everyone by investing in science, education, and vulnerable communities. And one way that they do this is by partnering with other organizations who are closest to the issues such as Prospera. And Prospera, which is a great partner for CZI is really focused on supporting Latin X entrepreneurs in immigrant communities and putting female owned businesses at the forefront of their local economies. We will be joined by Claudia Arroyo, executive director of the nonprofit Prospera. We’d like to thank the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for making this episode possible. And I’ll be talking to Ruby and Claudia about breaking cycles of privilege, creating collective power and building generational wealth, while uplifting entire communities along the way. Here’s our conversation. It’s so great to have you guys here. It’s so amazing to meet you, Ruby, I’d love to kind of start with you first, tell me a little bit about you. And then a little bit about how you would maybe describe the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to you know, people who might be unfamiliar, just to give everybody a little bit of background before we chat.

Ruby Bolaria Shifrin  04:02

Yeah, absolutely. So the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is really committed to helping eliminate the structural racial and socio economic barriers that make it so hard for aspiring entrepreneurs to own their business. That’s one of the things that we do so at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, it’s split into three main initiatives, science, education and community. And on the community team, we believe that a person’s zip code should not be destiny, right? That your race, your religion, your country of origin, your economic status, shouldn’t limit your possibilities or predict your outcomes. We’re really losing so much untapped potential that could boost our economy and support more inclusive communities that foster a sense of belonging. And so we look at housing affordability issues, economic mobility and inclusion, and some local place based work to support thriving communities in California.

Hoja Lopez  04:57

That’s awesome. I hear a lot of the sort of like three pillars of things, and Prospera seems to have sort of pillars to that their community is based on so I can see how that connection is sort of forming already. So Ruby, tell me a little bit about how you came to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and what was kind of your journey getting there?

Ruby Bolaria Shifrin  05:16

Yeah, so I joined Chan Zuckerberg Initiative a little over five years ago, so it’s been a minute, which is surprising. And I came to this work actually, I started at CZI owning and leading our housing affordability work. And so my background is in kind of real estate development, urban planning. And I started my career though, really in organizing and social justice. And so I kind of bring this lens of both organizing and mobilizing with the kind of more brass tacks of development, community economic development, housing, you know, how do we support and build more inclusive kind of communities and societies. I’m also a daughter of immigrants, you know, my mom’s family immigrated to the Bay Area when she was young. And, you know, my grandpa started a grocery shop in San Bruno, that still exists today. And that was basically how they found stability in life, you know, before that, he was working in bread factories, you know, in the, in the midnight shift, and all of that, and so, finding entrepreneurship, through also their own kind of roots, it was an Indian grocery store, they emigrated, you know, from India, and that was a path to success so, I think fostering that kind of entrepreneurship is both out of necessity, right? Because you kind of get excluded from other vehicles to grow and build your wealth, and is also a labor of love, kind of giving back to your community finding ways to support other new immigrants. I mean, it was a constant revolving door, I feel like in some ways, and so I just want to be able to give back and help those that kind of helped us.

Hoja Lopez  07:01

Yeah, that’s really amazing to hear, I think maybe all of us on this call have a similar experience of sort of migrating are emigrating here and being in a new place with zero support system. And I think we don’t underestimate what a support system really does. And, you know, just in looking, I really realize how much kind of support needs to be on the ground for organizations that are kind of closest to those issues that you’re talking about so I guess in terms of bringing in prosperity, and other partners, what does CZI look for? Really, when bringing partners into the fold? What is that connection you think?

Ruby Bolaria Shifrin  07:40

Yeah, totally. And before they answer that, I’m just going to take a step back and do some context setting for a little bit on like, why this and a Prospera. So, you know, historically, homeownership and entrepreneurship have been the two strongest vehicles to increase economic prosperity. And with California, and really the country’s housing shortage and rising housing costs, homeownership has been on the decline, right, especially among low income and bipoc communities. In California, we now have the third lowest homeownership rate only behind Washington, DC in New York. So when and then on top of that, when we looked at minority owned businesses, and small businesses, we were actually surprised to learn that they’re quite rare in the Bay Area, despite our diversity. So only 6% of businesses in the nine county Bay Area are Latino owned, and less than 1% are black owned, Brookings Institute put out a report that bipoc entrepreneurs are more likely to consider their own neighborhood as their HQ or hub of business, right? They’re more likely to be rooted in their communities tend to be civically engaged, hire locally support those local charities, right? They want to enrich their neighborhoods, because they have a vested interest in that kind of improvement. And so when we think about, okay, what are we going to do to support thriving, inclusive communities, supporting small business and entrepreneurship, really, we believe can have a huge impact on increasing that upward mobility, especially for those that are left behind and kind of create that more inclusive Bay Area. So that was kind of the why driving behind it. And then to your point on, what do we look for? I think that if we’re really trying to support and think about designing for the margins, right, and thinking about how do we expand the tent? It’s not just about access to capital, that’s the huge on the paper barrier, right? Like, how do we support access to low cost capital for entrepreneurs to start their business? But also, how do we create the support systems that other folks get and don’t even think about right? Whether it’s your friends and family money? Someone who’s advising you on? What are all the things that you need to do to start a business? What is a good business kind of acumen and health and practice look like? Who do you go to for support if maybe English is your second language? So there’s a lot of other things that folks need to support almost that whole on Your prayers are right, like people talk about the whole child. Like, I feel like it’s like, we almost have to take that approach and a lot of things we do have, how are we thinking more holistically? And I think groups like Prospera are a great example, that think about that cultural competency. And think about how do we be more inclusive about how we’re communicating, as well as how we’re lifting up solutions.

Ruby Bolaria Shifrin  07:41

Yeah, you know, in terms of partnership on the other side, Prospera, it brings us to really all of the work that you do, Claudia. So I would love to hear again, a little bit more about the work that Prospera is doing, and also how you came to it. Which by the way, you guys start your podcast with this really beautiful sentiment of how is your heart? How is your head? How is your body? And it is it really, I would love to hear about that. And then I would also love to hear not just about what Prospera is doing, but about the culture that you guys have within the organization. So please tell me everything.

Claudia Arroyo  11:01

Oh, great, thank you. And I’m so glad to be with Ruby, and you because I really feel that sorority have been with sisters with daughters of immigrants, myself, I’m an immigrant. So talking about this is not an option is the way that we live every day is the where we are coming from is embracing our roots, Prospera is a vital community of Latina immigrant women who help each other to shine. And what we do is we embrace our stories. So we use intrapreneurship, as a vehicle for a whole transformation. So it’s not only about launching a business and learning about how to do it. That is, it’s a big challenge when you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language, when you don’t know how to navigate. And at the same time that you are launching a business, you’re working at least one or two jobs, you are sending money back to your country. And on top of all of that you are a woman you are raising a family, your auntie, you are a mom. So we embrace all of that. And we know that when you launch a business, you are facing so many challenges, but at the same time, we are bringing a lot of power. So what we do in Prospera is that how can we promote prosperity, through personal transformation, financial growth in social change. So that’s why that taking, as you mentioned, how is your soul or your heart, how’s your mind and how’s your body is a whole is how we see.

Hoja Lopez  12:51

I love that, and again, in researching your core programs really reflect like a really whole approach to it. And I can see why CZI see something special in Prospera and wants to support because it really speaks to the whole play. It doesn’t always speak to just this one aspect, like some of your core programs like explore our Grisay. There’s also a companion Fellowship, which are not just about the business development, but really about assessing sessions. There’s so many wonderful things as I looked through the website. So I guess another question, Claudia, I would love to hear about your background as well. I know that you know, you personally lived through many of the things that probably a lot of the women that come to your organization go through so you’re sort of uniquely prepared and positioned to help them. So tell me a little bit about your experience as coming to United States as well.

Claudia Arroyo  13:51

Sure, so I as I said, we welcome and encourage everyone to embrace our stories in sometimes it could be painful, is not easy. And but embracing your story brings also power. We don’t empower people because people are really amazing. And we have a lot.

Hoja Lopez  14:13

You don’t like the word empower and I am totally down.

Claudia Arroyo  14:16

So, in the sense of empowering and recognize my power canes as I immigrant, I was undocumented 12 years, and those 12 years really, really feel the person that I am right now. I went to school in Mexico, one of the most prestigious school is Tiger Monterey. And that was amazing, it was a great opportunities privilege. I had an a scholarship, but one that I graduate, I my mom got sick and he was so hard to find a job. So I ended up in the United States working as a waitress and I love people I that people gives me a lot of power and he really he was an amazing opportunity. But I didn’t have the opportunity to work in the career that I went to, in Mexico. And in when people look at me, sometimes I felt like, Oh, you went to university? And I was like, no nobody is probably see that nobody’s poor here is how can we use the moment that we are living? How can that be a combustible it helps you to keep driving. So I started doing theater on the street, I learned about popular education theory of the press, and I become an organizer. At the same time that I was working as a waitress, I started traveling around the world. And when I had the opportunity to legalize my status, I had 12 amazing years that I brought into the field that you know, I work, I hear stories about people building their houses back in their countries. I hear dreams, all those stories, I brought it to theater, we were able to put it in different theaters around the Bay Area, but also in the street. We fought for our dreams for rights, and so here’s what I did in that’s why I believe that embracing our stories is powerful. And then when I started working in coops and with women, I was like, oh my god, this is where transformation happens. Because when you invest in women, then those women, for sure, they don’t bring prosperity only for themselves. Because women are like, we are agents of change. So I realize that working with women is the best thing if we really want to create change.

Hoja Lopez  17:00

What are some of the obstacles that come up the most to how what are gaps that you see now and issues that you see with them.

Claudia Arroyo  18:01

So in Australia, we have all kinds of nationalities. We have Latin America and all over. And we also like 96% are women but we welcome all the allies who are like willing to come. And challenges or barriers are like kind of similar like, but one of them. The main ones is like how we change the narrative that we were told that we are in so is the mindset. So yes, at the same time that we are facing real barriers that are rooted in the political and international policies. Because the reason that we migrate are different. But once the you come to the country because you flew away because of political or because economic, or there’s different reasons. I haven’t met in our programs, women who say, Oh, I migrate because I wanted to have fun. That’s not the type of migration that we were with.

Hoja Lopez  19:09

We don’t see that a lot. No, we don’t see that a lot. Yeah.

Claudia Arroyo  19:13

It’s forced migration, and so the sense of opportunity is like, okay, how do I embrace what I know, from back to my country, because we don’t come empty. We come with a lot of skills. And it’s so important that we have that mindset. And in order to have that mindset is so important to have a community where there’s love, and where people embrace my story and I embrace myself that story. So that’s the first thing that I realized is how we change that narrative together. In this one we say, how we create collective power, and also when women they come together they listen each other their stories. They create power because I like, I’m not the only one. And if this person is able to do it, because we have intrapreneurs, who are really ahead, they are relaunching business, they are doing their formal business sales. And when they talk about it, they inspire to other women. So mentoring to each other. That is something that all of us, all of us we can do that we can create, and transform lives, just when we share, how are you doing it? And that other person is gonna be like, huh, then I get inspired, I can do it. That’s why we have our podcast, but I thought.

Hoja Lopez  20:38

That’s so great. Yeah, I really enjoyed listening to it and I think a wonderful thing just again, about Prospera is I can feel the inclusivity from the moment that the podcast start until the moment that ends you guys, name, the women, you name their family members, their children, because you understand that it’s integrative, that it’s the entire community that actually allows them to be there recording in that moment, that gives them the time to do the things that they need to do so. It’s really, really lovely, and I guess in my mind, I think of us a little bit as like patient zero, like we’re the first person to come to this country and build wealth and create a life that’s going to then reverberate in the generations to come. And being that first person is immense work, it’s enormously large to come from a different situation and decide that this is where you’re going to build your roots, and that this is the place and it seems like Prospera is so about building that wealth, that combination of wealth building, and then also the sort of psychological and social aspect of it. And Ruby, I’d love to ask you a little bit about, like, on your end, like the impact of Prospera when it comes to building wealth and kind of breaking some of the cycles that we’ve been talking about. You know, we’re overcoming so many of these hurdles. But what do you see in terms of grace better?

Ruby Bolaria Shifrin  22:00

Yeah, I think and it was, by the way, so lovely hearing you guys. There was so many moments. I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah. The question you’re asking, though, in terms of impact, and, how we think about Prospera. I think what’s so great about this is that as a lot of philanthropies do, we struggle with how we define impact, who’s at the table when we think about impact, and you know, who benefits who should be defining what we mean, and you know, all of that. And I, one thing that I’m very proud of on our team, is that we are trying as much as we can to have our partners like Claudia, Prospera, tell us what impact is, right? And say, what, what does success look like to you? And let’s share that version of success, right? Your success is my success, and my success is yours and so, instead of me being, you know, in this kind of tower being like, here, these are the metrics. And here’s how we define impact and success. It’s a lot more powerful, I think, to hear from communities. What do you need? And how do we help you get there? And then what will that help you do, right? And so getting that one on one with someone from Claudia on her team might be just giving you the peace of mind and feeling less alone. And that, to me is a form of success, right? And impact is like when you can feel connection with folks in your community and see a path forward. That’s hard to track, but I think that the best way we can do it is by more engagement and interaction with our partners, so that they can tell us what’s working, and what’s not. And guess what, they’re not going to be honest about what’s not working, if we’re not building those relationships, and having kind of transparent discussions about what success looks like, so I think that’s one thing that’s so great is I think, and I think Claudia kind of works really honestly, with folks on our team to cultivate kind of these amazing relationships.

Hoja Lopez  24:02

That’s awesome, thank you, and I guess, Gloria to you is like what do you consider impacts? And what do you consider your successes?

Claudia Arroyo  24:08

Sure, and I want to also say thank you to CZI because it’s so important that we define impact together. And that is not is not something that is something that is happening now in philanthropy. We really need to work together and when I say water, there is not only the nonprofit and the foundation, there is also how can we together with women or with a community that we are serving, everyone should be sitting on the table to define impact. Because otherwise we are just repeating cycles of privilege. And in order to break power and privilege relationships, people they need to sit on the table. So what we do in Prospera we have our board, we all the time welcome women who are part of our programs. When we hire somebody, the program participants help us to do it. When we change or programs, when we make innovation, women are part of it. So impact in changing generation wealth, as you mentioned, I get even excited in my skin. Because I, myself, I’m adopted. And if somebody might, my brothers didn’t consider that I will be a good fit to go to school because they say like, Oh, she’s gonna get pregnant, she doesn’t need to go to school. And when you overcome the specter thieves, what other people say about you, when you overcome and you realize you’re like, what is behind you, and in front of you, is when the power happens. And that’s breaking patterns. And that’s creating generational wealth. So wealth is not only about money, but it’s about the conception that we have about life. And is how prosperity comes is not only about just money is important, because we want to go on vacation we want our kids got to go to university, we want everyone to achieve their dreams, but it’s also how can we see ourselves that that is possible. And in order to create generational wealth, is I said before is mindset, there’s no fails, there are just ways of reaching success in different timings.

Hoja Lopez  26:47

That’s so special, I guess in my mind, though, that what I really want to know too, is tell me a little bit about kind of your programs because I know you help during the launch. I know you help in the middle of it when it fails, when it needs to come back up again. Tell me a little bit about some of the programs that you offer up Prospera.

Claudia Arroyo  27:07

Sure, and you already isolate you already did your homework, and you check the progress, and you mentioned.

Hoja Lopez  27:14

I signed up for one, I signed up for the the home budgeting one and I signed up for the AI content one. So I’m listen, as soon as I got a hold on Prospera, I was like, Oh my God, this could be for me. And I just, I mean, it just speaks to the fact that you guys are offering some really incredible, like opportunities for people. And I immediately was attracted to the offerings even as somebody who isn’t necessarily even starting a business, maybe I’ll want to in the future, maybe I’ll want to start a business now Prospera is making it maybe in some ways feel like, well, what would I want to do? Or what would I want to make so clearly, even from the inception of it, you guys are being successful, because it worked on me. But yes, please tell me more.

Claudia Arroyo  28:02

Thank you, oh, hi good, excited. In, yes right now Prospera Community is a we have a beautiful momentum. We are, we are exploding.

Hoja Lopez  28:13

I love to hear that.

Claudia Arroyo  28:14

And it’s not about yeah, and this is mainly because there’s a lot of opportunities out there. Right now Latinos contribute $3.2 trillion to the US economy. And the face of new businesses are a lot of Latina businesses. Latino, Latina, buisnesses Latin x. So right now the opportunity across the nation, right now we are in the Bay Area. We are looking forward to serve all California. And eventually we have a waiting list across California across the United States. In we have launched 100 small businesses, including a green house cleaning cooperatives, we will leave in cooperation, we don’t dictate the model of coop in coop is a worker own coop. So we have businesses that are traditional, but they use cooperation. That means that they help each other and they identify other women, other businesses, so they can support and say like, oh, I’m using this website, what about you? So what we do is break in isolation, through our different programs. We do a needs assessments so every single business we can assess where that person is, so we can provide the support. So as you as you see, when you go to our website, prosperacoops.org, you can find opportunity to sign for a workshop, and that workshop could be a dimension, up right now we have intelligent artificial intelligence help to understanding artificial intelligence to use it in your business, but at the same time, you can find a workshop that is about leadership, that is about healing your traumas. So we see that, that intrapreneurs have called being. So we offer all kinds of workshops, and there’s a point of an appoint of entrance, but then we’ll have also trainings and the trainings, it depends where the businesses, so maybe your business is ready to start a business and you want to create a business plan. And the thing with a business plan is not it’s so important that every single tool that we provide is also articulated by under the culture in the language.

Hoja Lopez  30:49

I can tell, I can absolutely tell that the programs are they’re so intricate to the culture of Prospera.

Claudia Arroyo  30:56

Yeah, so yeah, so all the programs, what we are looking at is the we leave or values of cooperation, integrating or culture embracing are stories. So either we are providing a course of seven, eight days, that is about business planning the same when we are talking about exploring economies, alternative economies, is so important that everything is aligned with those values. So when women when women come, they feel at home, you know, they feel in Kasaa it’s like they don’t feel that, okay, I have to behave is like, be yourself, embrace your story. Meet other women inspire each other. We do also events, annual events to celebrate, because as a Latina, you know sometimes, and even as an immigrant I know is like not only Latinos, when we are immigrants, we are working so hard that you even feel guilty. If you do in your day off, you take some time for yourself. So it’s so important to promote the culture of wellness, because we are not used to. So right now we are wellness is an important key for us is a is an element that we promote, at the same time that you’re launching a business, how can we take care of ourselves. So that’s what programs and we have programs that are really advanced. When the business is really advanced, we invest in women we invest in the business is called Viola is a fellowship. And Viola means fly, and we provide $1,500 stipend monthly thanks to all the support like CZI, and other funders. So we provide that support so that women can start working at least one side job. And then the invoice that she provides is about how can how, what is she doing for her business? So we have seen businesses like pepitas palette, as is a popsicle with Nancy […] she was able to double your sales in only six months, because she had the time to do it. So it’s what we do we go from the business where we are planting the seed as you said, oh, maybe I’m not launching the business right now. But maybe later, so we are planting the seeds. We work workshops with trainings like explore out so where you explore what is possible, where you can change the mindset that oh, maybe I can be a worker owner. Maybe I can identify with another person in lunch together business all by myself. And then we have the workshops that are more for advanced businesses like voila in the other one is a companion, means I’m walking next to you. I’m holding him in we are working together, so we provide coaching. We provide one on one technical assistance and they do a needs assessment and they identify their goals so they can move to the next level.

Hoja Lopez  35:00

You know, you talked a little bit about how CZI gives you opportunities like for example of viola just having those funds like what do you think are some of the things that you most appreciate about working with sponsors like CZI? What about that connection, you feel so so like so special?

Claudia Arroyo  36:08

I really like when we no hesitation is that human connection a few days ago, I was talking to Ravi and we were talking about I learned about your family. Same with Rosa, and it’s about the human connection. We as we are in nonprofits, we are working so hard every single day in order to continue our mission. And it’s not easy, every single year, we are like crossing our fingers so we can meet your budget. And we can serve all the needs that we see. So we don’t need a transactional relationship. And we really appreciate all the finances since the support with our finances, and we need it in order to continue our programs. And right now our budget is two millions, we are so ready to double it. But the most important thing, and I always say we don’t do fundraising we do and I’m what I mean, I don’t know what I mean.

Hoja Lopez  37:09

Well, I feel and I’m what I mean so right now it’s better you are so charming. I am being wooed fully. I feel that I think that term is very apt. I definitely feel it is.

Claudia Arroyo  37:24

Yeah, because the thing is like when you enter [..] and what always fell in love is I don’t need I don’t want just to go to a bank and get money. I want people get in love with what we do and say, I want to invest in this because this is changing our work. When you’re investing in women, then you’re investing in the whole community. So that’s why I say like, I want you to feel in a mirando. And that is what I appreciate with funders like CZI, they I really feel that they see that we are seen and we are heard. And that’s our mission with women. We want every single woman to feel seen and heard. Because when you don’t feel like that you feel invisible, and you don’t realize about your power. So I really appreciate that, we are seeing them here in CZI.

Hoja Lopez  38:16

Yeah, definitely. That’s really lovely to hear about that connection, and it gets you Ruby. You know, what is your hope for CZI for 2024? Like, how did more of these organizations find their footing? I would love to see what you’d like to see more of really?

Ruby Bolaria Shifrin  38:33

Yeah, what a great question. I think I want to see more of this shift from charity to solidarity. Speaking to what Claudia was saying around how do we build meaningful relationships for the long term, which also requires having tough conversations and being transparent about what the limitations are to write of, for how you can show up as a partner and ways that you can see power or share power, while also acknowledging a power imbalance, right that exists between kind of funders and park grantee partners. What I want to see more of too is acknowledgement that vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness, and sharing our stories is so important to meeting your business need as well. And I think that we can truly invest in businesses and models like Prospera that reimagine capitalism in a more inclusive, equitable way. And that the only way that we’re gonna get to a better future for everyone whether you’re talking about environmental issues, gender issues, you know, housing issues, we really need to think more holistically and sustainability about this earth and this planet because it’s the only one we got. And so I’m hoping for more of that in 2024.

Hoja Lopez  40:00

That’s awesome and Claudia, just a it’s kind of a question for for both of you, Prospera really does mean prosperity in Spanish. And I want to know for both of you both personally and also in your work, like what does prosperity mean for you. And we’ve talked so many about that holistic approach, I would love to know personally what prosperity means to you.

Claudia Arroyo  40:23

Prosperity, it goes beyond money. As I said, prosperity is liberation, is being able to dream and to know that you can achieve your dreams is able to feel that you are seen and heard, is been able to feel that you deserve it. So you can try for you what you want. And all of that is going to bring you financial prosperity, hopefully, right. But he’s like, the first thing is like the you are, the you are able to see the you the service, that you are in a place where you are respected. And, and unfortunately, right now, we are still working for that. We are still like, few, like we just celebrate Martin Luther King’s work he was talking about, I have a dream. So chasing our dreams is not easy. Breaking isolation is not easy. Healing traumas is not easy. But prosperity is when you are able and you have the means and the tools to break all that is isolation, all that obstacles, and you can achieve your dream. So it’s not an easy answer, but it’s about how can you feel free to be yourself, that is prosperity is not only about money.

Ruby Bolaria Shifrin  41:53

Yeah prosperity, to me is the freedom to choose. And to not have to conform or mold yourself into the dominant in order to achieve success, right. Like I think that folks have called it, you know, to kind of different forms of code switching or just, there’s there’s a playbook and there’s a roadmap to be successful in this country, and you have to conform, and if you don’t, you have to work twice or three times as hard to maybe get there, right. And so I think about prosperity as both the freedom to choose and to be your authentic self in a way that doesn’t detract or seem other.

Hoja Lopez  42:37

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s why we talk about our identity so often because a lot of the a lot of the identity is what ties in to, to those barriers. And yeah, it was such a pleasure to speak to you both. I would love to know where we can kind of keep up with your work and let everybody know where they can find CZI and where they can find Prospera. So tell me a little bit about just where you’re located and all that.

Claudia Arroyo  43:03

Well, the best way to keep up with our work is go to our website as you did Aha, because we are all the time announcing every single workshop and training and opportunity so you can get in touch and is prosperacoops like C O P S.org. And you can find a way also to connect if you are willing to connect as a volunteer donor. Dreams are possible because people believe in your dreams. So there’s so many ways that you can connect with Prospera through our website.

Ruby Bolaria Shifrin  43:41

And if you want to find out more you can go to Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, so website as well sign up for our newsletter and you can get any updates about our grantees or funding opportunities there.

Hoja Lopez  43:50

Awesome, well, thank you both so much. I’m so grateful to have spoken to the both of you. And I will let everybody know how my AI workshop goes. I am so excited, and thank you so much.

Ruby Bolaria Shifrin  44:02

Thank you, this was really lovely.

Claudia Arroyo  44:04

Thank you.

Hoja Lopez  44:10

Thanks for tuning into this conversation with our guests Ruby Bolaria Shifrin and Claudia Arroyo. The episode is supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. And you can find more information about CZI and Prospera in the show notes, thank you.

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