Escrito por: Alexa Figueroa
Photo by: Yessica Mayo
As a future documentary filmmaker Brianne Rodriguez has been on a mission to give back when she can through storytelling and philanthropy.
Rodriguez is studying communications with a minor in criminal justice. She is Hondureña and a first-generation college student.
Desde que Rodríguez hizo su primer viaje a Honduras cuando tenía siete años, ha estado llevando ropa y supplies to the neighborhoods where her parents grew up of San Pedro Sula and Sombra Verde.
“Desde mi primer verano allí, en cada maleta que llevé a Honduras, había algo para los niños. Así que iría a la cima bajo del río y comenzaría a repartir mi ropa, o lo haría en el pueblo de mi padre.”
Although Rodriguez works hard to embrace her culture, she frequently felt she was grappling with two separate identities: not being Hispanic enough and not being American enough.
My blood is Hondurian. I want to help people as much as I can. And I just feel like sometimes I'm rejected…I was discriminated against by Americans and I have Hispanic people that were raised in Honduras telling me ‘you aren’t Hispanic enough.'
A pesar de esto, usó esto para crear un ambiente inclusivo en un evento de caridad durante su tiempo como vicegobernadora. While she was planning the event, she was told by her white peers that they did not want to work the event with a Mexican person.
“That didn't stop me from embracing who I am and my culture. When it came to arranging what's going on in the district event, I worked harder, and I pushed myself to stand out.”
Todos tenían que lanzar un tema para el evento y ella propuso que el tema fuera una noche internacional.
“I know I wasn't the only one that was struggling, embracing their culture…I wanted everyone to just embrace and have a night where we're just all here together. So my idea ended up going through and I ended up winning the theme for the place.”
Through the tough times, her grandfather has kept her grounded.
He was a professor in Honduras and was one of 17 siblings. Ella dice que él siempre le enseñó a esforzarse más y nunca darse por vencida.
“He made something for himself. I always have been pushed to be something for me too... I have always looked at myself that I'm special, and I can do anything. And my grandfather taught me that and I am.”
Rodriguez plans to apply to non-profits and she is considering joining the Peace Corps where she will teach English to communities in Colombia.
And as she always says “Siempre hay que mantenerse positivo no importa cualquier obstáculo.”
Congratulations to Brianne for graduating debt free from the University of Maryland, Class of 2023.
“Estás cumpliendo nuestros sueños. Estás cumpliendo nuestras metas. Lo que hubiéramos gustado haber hecho tú lo estás haciendo. Sos la voz de nosotros.”
-BRIANNE RODRIGUEZ'S MOM