5 Incredible Changemakers I Learned From at the Women in the World Event

5 Incredible Changemakers I Learned From at the Women in the World Event

“I had never heard of the concept freedom. I asked someone what freedom meant, and they said ‘You’re allowed to wear blue jeans and watch movies, and you won’t get in trouble for it.’ I couldn’t imagine a world like that.”

These words spoken by North Korean human rights activist Yeonmi Park continue to echo through my mind.

Last week, I got the opportunity to attend the Women in the World event in San Antonio, Texas. Park was one of the many amazing women at the event who left the audience inspired. These sheroes graced the stage shining light on important issues and sharing amazing stories of courage.

 

Maria L. Dellapina

One amazing experience was seeing Maria L. Dellapina win the Toyota Mothers of Invention award. Dellapina started Specs4us as a single mother of four. Dellapina’s youngest daughter, Erin, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth, inspiring her to create a glasses frame line that would accommodate the features of adults and children with Down Syndrome. The glasses are now available in 28 different countries around the world. Seeing Dellapina honored for her hard work and dedication was an extremely uplifting experience.

 

America Ferrera

Award-winning actress America Ferrera also attended the event. Ferrera represented Voto Latino, a nonpartisan national youth empowerment organization that engages young people across the country in online conversations about important issues. Ferrera serves as an ambassador for this organization and truly uses her voice to make a change. At the event, she spoke out for refugees. It was an honor meeting her and hearing her unique perspective.

 

Heidy Perez Parada

Heidy Perez Parada served as the president of the youth outreach group Red Juvenil Intermunicipal in La Lima, Honduras. She recently had to leave her work, however, after receiving death threats from local gangs. She left her organization, her home, and everything she knew behind simply to stay alive. She traveled across Mexico and currently lives in Texas. Hearing her courageous story was an emotional experience for the whole audience.

 

Tina Brown

Last but definitely not least on this list is Tina Brown, the founder of Women in the World. She started this movement in 2009. Since then, she has inspired many individuals. Brown brings together the world’s most inspiring activists, artists, CEOs, peacemakers, and entrepreneurs and invites them to share their stories and provide insight.

 

The knowledge I gained in the three hours of the event was more than I could ever learn in a classroom. From first hand stories told by activists to the amazing networking opportunities, the event was truly one to remember. For more information on Women in the World, dates of future events, and additional resources visit their website.

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.