Meet Latinas Network, a non-profit trying to make a difference in Roanoke

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It was during the pandemic that Kat Pascal found her calling, after seeing how COVID-19 disproportionately impacted the Latino community.

According to the CDC, Hispanics and Latinos are 4.1 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 and 2.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19.

“That spoke volumes to me. It lit a fire in my stomach that made me want to do more,” said Pascal.

Pascal organized every Latina she knew and anyone who had a connection to the community. In November 2020, they had their first official meeting, and Latinas Network was created.

“To provide a space for hard-working Latinas to meet. To know each other. To learn about what we do. To support each other,” said co-founder Iliana Sepulveda. “To share information and to be able to spread the word of all the incredible work that we do here.”

Sepulveda met Pascal at the first meeting and offered to help start the non-profit. Latinas Network has more than 500 members.

“We constantly meet month to month, and we learn about the services, but also the issues and the opportunities that are in the community,” explained Sepulveda.

They focus on building representation on boards and government, mentoring youth and helping Latino-owned businesses.

“Just allow others to have that power of education and knowledge to propel whatever, if it’s their business or their friend’s business,” explained Pascal. “And Latinos are opening businesses at a very high rate.”

Stanford Business reports Latino-owned companies in the US are the fastest growing small businesses. If they grow as fast as the U.S average, they could add $1.4 Trillion to the U.S economy.

Pascal is one of those business owners and says every member brings their strength.

“When we all bring these powerhouses to the table,” said Pascal. “We’re getting there faster and we’re doing it together.”

You can help by volunteering or donating. Click here to learn more.