A short history of Latina business women in Los Angeles

A short history of Latina business women in Los Angeles

Matthew Ramirez

Latinos have had a long history in this region and Latina women have overcome major barriers to become the successes that many are today.

In 1781, Los Pobladores, or the Townspeople of Los Angeles, came to found the city of Los Angeles. These settlers were originally from New Spain, which is currently known as the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora.

Mexican roots have always made up the City of Los Angeles from then all the way to today. The Hispanic population makes up a majority of the City of Los Angeles in its widely diverse portfolio.

These people came in search of a better life and to prosper in America early in its past.

From the early 1900s to just before the beginning of World War I, the US federal government worked with the Mexican government to establish job contracts as a way to motivate Mexican immigrants to settle into Los Angeles.

Later, in the times of the conclusion of the First World War, communism arose and the nation that once welcomed new immigrants suddenly changed its views.

America would then introduce Americanization programs to show immigrants the way to live in America and mainly consisted of teaching them to speak English.

Mexican men were the main population targeted since they could be easily reached through their workplace but eventually the program was branched out to women.

Although the Americanization efforts were granted towards women, these programs were used to train Mexican women into domestic work

Mexican women would soon resist these services and label them as idealized versions of American values.

The Mexican way of life is that of hard work and dedication and for America to try and have people of different backgrounds conform to the ideals of America is quite wrong.

As it is, Mexican women were already used to being at home much like American women in the past while their husbands were the ones going to their jobs.

Society had always put a certain expectation on not only Mexican women but women as a whole.

We hear a lot about how Mexican men have succeeded coming out of Los Angeles, however, certain Mexican women had broken the mold of being at home and planned to change their lives for the better.

Recently, my partner Silas Bravo, fellow staff writer for Talon Marks, had gotten the chance to speak with a successful Latina here in the city of Los Angeles.

Monica Bracho is the current Vice President or Human Resources for one of the largest cemeteries in Los Angeles county while also overseeing and consulting in two other smaller cemeteries in both Commerce and Gardena.

Bracho is a fellow immigrant who settled with her parents at the age of 6 years old.

Since immigrating to America, she has never taken any opportunity for granted and made the most out of the situation in which her parents sacrificed so much for.

Bracho had been working at her company since 2009 and in the two years to follow, she was promoted to Vice President of Human Resources.

She said she has been the first vice president in the cemeteries 100 years of its existence and the first Hispanic vice president as well.

Bracho attests her success to her connection with her workforce as most of them are of Hispanic descent.

“Having that connection to the staff to earn their trust maybe automatically by being Hispanic but being able to be their voice…” Bracho said, “…to be able to communicate with the workforce and then also relate back their feelings to upper management and kind of build that bond and be their liaison if you will that helps me a lot.”

When asked about the climate of Mexican women in the city of Los Angeles in business, Bracho feels that progress has been made but there will always be more room for opportunity.

Bracho goes on to say that having more diversity inclusion training where people are more open to understanding other people’s cultures and I think once other companies start to be more open to that is when they can at least begin to apply the training and not just simply open a book or watch a video and put it in the back of their minds.

Bracho shares an experience she had as she reflects upon how she feels the Latina women are underappreciated

“I will be in a meeting with 7 other executives and it is the understanding that I am going to order the food…”, Bracho explains, “… is it because I am naturally a hostess or because I am latina and I should be ordering the food and cleaning up after.”

Bracho is just one of the many underappreciated women who are making a difference in her community and is certainly not letting her story go unnoticed.