Ladies of Latino Memphis – Adriana Perez-Zarco

You may know just how hard the Latino Memphis works to support our city’s Latin/x/e community, but did you know that there are so many talented women behind the organization’s programs and endeavors? This Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the women who are dedicated to driving Latino Memphis’ mission!

To learn more about Latino Memphis, visit the website at latinomemphis.org or follow them at @latinomemphis!

Please share your full name, pronouns, and title!

Adriana Perez-Zarco; She/Her; Project Manager – Special Projects 

What inspired you to work at Latino Memphis?

After my service in the Peace Corps, I was very interested in continuing to do humanitarian work & decided to stay in the nonprofit sector. I wanted to be very intentional in the work that I did moving forward and actively searched for organizations that served my community. I had the opportunity to work for Telamon Corporation in Michigan as a Family Services Specialist at a migrant head start office. After moving to Tennessee to be with two of my sisters, I continued my work in nonprofits and, in September of 2021, I was hired at Latino Memphis. The work being done in this organization is impacting my community in so many positive ways & I’m able to see firsthand how that happens. 

How do you relate to Latino Memphis’ mission? 

Growing up in the states, I’ve seen how minority communities are treated & have experienced discrimination myself. When I was younger, I didn’t think that I could impact my community for the better but life has taught me that I can. It’s through small steps, by showing up every day & doing the work. That’s what I am continuing to do at Latino Memphis & every day we are taking steps in the right direction to impact change. 

What do you love about what you do? 

What I love most is the people that I work with. This scope of work can’t be done by just one person, it takes a community full of people that care and want to see each other win. Something that I love about Memphis is that sense of community; it goes beyond one organization & beyond one minority group. 

Tell us a story about a time you saw your work make an impact on the Memphis community

When I worked at the Mid-South food bank, they held their very first annual city-wide food drive with the aim to feed 5,000+ households in Memphis. The planning and preparation that it took to pull this event off were massive! It involved and relied on every single member of the food bank team. As an inventory & quality control specialist, the role that I played in that process involved a lot of coordinating within the warehouse, ensuring the quality of the product, & finally making sure that we had enough! The day of the event was a 12+ hour workday for every member of the food bank team. Though it was a long hot day, what kept us going was the fact that we were all out there together as a team & we managed to give an average of 100 lbs of food out to every single household that showed up to the event. 

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