Women of Color Give on a mission to empower women of color

HOLLAND, Michigan – Cynthia Martinez had a dream when she was little. She wanted to be the first in her family to graduate from college.

“I come from a migrant and agricultural background and my parents didn’t have the resources, finances or money to help me send me to college,” Martinez said in an interview with FOX. Wednesday 17. “It was a dream I had and it was really hard to accomplish.”

However, she did, graduating first from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo with a degree in aviation administration. But years later, she discovered her passion for film and storytelling. Thus, she obtained her master’s degree from Columbia University in New York.

Then she worked at Univision in Miami. Now that she has returned home to Holland, she is working on making another dream come true: to produce a documentary.

The movie is called First generation of voices.

“These are students of color here in the Dutch community who have the dream of being the first in their family to go to college, and the challenges of being able to afford college and the resources to do it when your parents don’t have a college education, ”Martinez said. “And how this pandemic has exacerbated the educational divide here by the lake and beyond. “

Martinez started filming the students in the summer of 2020. Now she is in post-production but has not yet completed the project.

However, recently she was awarded $ 8,000 to complete the project.

Women of Color Give said she deserved it.

“Cynthia’s film is really inspired by her own story of being a first-generation college student from an immigrant family,” said Kim Koeman of Women of Color Give. “And what that means is that she uses film and amplifies today’s stories for young people and that’s right, that’s a powerful thing.”

Kim Koeman, president of nominations for Women of Color Give, said it was about women of color empowering women of color by creating, reimagining and investing in various causes.

The philanthropic group was formed in 2018 by three women of color who lived locally in Ottawa and Muskegon counties. They have since grown and this year raised $ 41,500 to distribute to local organizations that align with their mission.

“Often times, women of color and girls of color are seen as the recipients of goodwill,” Koeman said. “So what we’re trying to do is really reverse that.”

In October and November, around ten organizations applied. In December, five were selected to receive funds, with first place receiving $ 20,000 and the last receiving $ 500.

“So our five nominated organizations that received the most nominations this year were Diatribe, Hope College TRIO Upward Bound, First Voice Generation Film, Escape Ministries and Latin Americans United for Progress,” Koeman said. “So these are the things that people felt passionately about this year that were nominated for our funding. “

Koeman added that it’s not just about donating money, but partnering with organizations and individuals to help them grow their work.

Martinez said she was grateful for their work. She said it would help her cross the finish line. His next step is to promote the film locally and nationally.

“I would love to take this movie to the White House. It’s a huge dream that I have, but I know that the educational divide is a national crisis and people have to understand it and see it and this movie reveals it, ”Martinez said. “The goal is to get it into film festivals by next fall and we’ll go from there. So, we dream big.

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