Vanessa Ramirez

Executive Director for Young Entrepreneurs Program, Kansas City. Co-Founder of Fresher Than U.

Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, MO.

What is your family heritage?
Mexican.

What is your occupation?
Executive Director for Young Entrepreneurs Program, Kansas City. Co-Founder of Fresher Than U.

How have you supported or contributed to the local Hispanic/Latinx community?
I grew surrounded by Latinx business owners, most of them being my family members. This pushed me to Co-found my own business, Fresher Than U. Fresher Than U is a lifestyle brand that strives to put cultural art ignored by mainstream media, on everyday items. We use designs created by young graphic artists of color. Our latest collection was named “Pa La Cultura”, celebrating Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Michelle Obama- all game changers for the culture. In addition, I am a huge advocate for quality education for all children, despite zip codes.

How do you connect with your Hispanic/Latinx culture?
I connect with my Latinx culture through music. In my downtime, I love to DJ at Teocali or my family parties and play all of the cultural throwbacks that get everyone dancing.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is showing up to big family parties and dancing to cumbias. I grew up on good music and good food!

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Latinx Heritage Month to me means celebrating all of the great things in the Latinx diaspora that make us the Latinx’s we are today. Afro-Latinx, LGBTQ Latinx, First Generation Latinx, etc. It means that we do not all fit one specific box or category. And that to me, is definitely worth celebrating.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing the Hispanic/Latinx community?
The most important issue the Latinx community faces, I would say is the education gap. As part of the founding team for Kansas City Girls Prep Academy, I have been able to see the inequities in education when it comes to certain zip codes, which is why the school was created. I quickly learned that unfortunately, our zipcodes determine the majority of vital foundations in our lives, such as education. Furthermore, segregation interconnects education with health, finances, and many other things that can determine the future opportunities for an individual. Despite the circumstances though, there is no doubt that there are students who break the status quo and reach levels of success without the resources necessary sometimes. But that most definitely should not be the case. This is why I urge individuals in our community to do their part and become knowledgeable on where they fall in this complex system.

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