During my travel to Portland Oregon I visited many cafes but this one was particularly special. I happen to run into it walking by the area, although I later found out it’s actually one of the top 10 cafes in Portland. I was so excited when I opened the door and noticed the artistic colored walls, and that it was a Latin café and not like one I have seen before. The walls were a bright orange and there were bright pink Mexican paper banners, dolls and veladora candles in a very electric blue that adorned the windows. The food was also very specific to the Mexican culture as they served Mexican coffee, tamales, empanadas and tostadas of jamon y queso (ham and cheese), as well as delicious desserts like arroz con leche, flan and tres leches. I enjoyed a tostada of ham and cheese and coffee. I couldn’t help myself and tried the arroz con leche too -everything was delicious.
I was captivated by the picture wall and decided to sit in the little nook to drink my coffee and eat my tostada while I worked. The wall show-cased images of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and as a newest member Malala among other revolutionary and civil rights leaders. As the hours went by I stopped the lady in cafe and asked her a question about the areas of the Latino community, she seemed like the owner and I noticed an image that looked like her in a flyer by the register that read Maria for County Commissioner. I wasn’t really sure although she reminded me of Frida. She was very polite and welcoming, she actually sat with me and we conversed for a little while. I told her I was traveling and where from. We spoke about the different areas of Latin communities in Portland and the surrounding neighborhoods. She was very pleasant to be around and made me feel like I was someone she already knew. We exchanged names and I told her I’ll come back when I am in town.
As I wrote in my diary of my day’s experiences, I thought to look her up and found her page MariaforMultinomah. This is where I read her story and why she’s running for County Commissioner. The issues she stands for and how she works with the community through her advocacy programs to be a voice and raise awareness for the diversity and art of the Latin community. Her involvement and passion on the issues is very true and dear to her and is why she works to help bridge the gap on health care, employment, justice and legal rights for the Latino community. She is truly an inspiration and I love how she uses art to connect the Latin community with other areas of Portland. She seemed like your every day normal small business owner, serving and taking care of her customers while on the side she is trying to make a impact in the world and runs for County Commissioner. I thought this was very heroic and I felt compelled to write about it.
I don’t get involved in politics much but people and women like Maria are so inspiring to me, just to see how regardless of what you do in your everyday life there is always a way to help others and stand for what you believe in to make difference in the world. We may not have the calling to run for county Commissioner but you can always lead by example, raise awareness for your rights and the rights of others while spreading a little love and color -being a light rather than a shadow. I particularly think that we don’t have to be front and center to do good and stand for what’s right, we can support people like Maria, raise awareness of the issues by talking about it and educating others -lending a helping hand to a person in need. One act of kindness can change a persons life forever.