PR for People Monthly January 2020 | Page 6

Julieta’s parents’ influence went beyond making the choice for her to have to travel far to attend a more promising school. Her parents told her to never forget where she came from. Her parents stressed honesty, treating people with respect, and having security in one’s own self. “You have to be humble,” they told her.

During the first days when she taxied all the way to Chilpancingo, she did not fully understand why. After she settled into the grueling travel schedule, she began carrying her basketball along with her books. By that time, she was on the team in middle school and later in high school and college; she ultimately played for the Guerrero state basketball team, the equivalent of a Division One Team in the U.S.

Soon she came to learn that she was never really leaving behind her small town of El Ocotito. Instead, she was taking her family’s values on the road with her.

As a young woman living and working in Mexico, Julieta met her husband, Patrick Crosby. They married in Mexico’s Pacific coast resort city Zihuatanejo and lived there for three years. Patrick was born in Lynnwood, Washington, and is a Native American, of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. After traveling back and forth for three years, they finally decided in 2009 to move to the Northwest. The transition into American culture was like being on the road again from El Ocotito to Chilpancingo. It wasn’t easy living in a climate and culture so different from the gentle warmth of Mexico. By this time, Julieta had a young daughter, Daniela, and was a mom raising her child while navigating the complexities of the public school system. She saw the gaps between what worked and what didn’t work in how Hispanics were assimilated into the culture. “I made the decision to learn English,” she says. “When I came to live in this country (I never thought about it), I was worried to learn English.”

Mastering the English language seemed to be a minor feat within the context of her impressive academic credentials. Julieta received her Master’s in Communication Science at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain and her Ph.D. in Social Communication from the University of Havana in Cuba. She earned her Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership from Seattle Pacific University in 2018.

She became very involved with her daughter’s school, and by working with a lot of committees on multiple levels, she learned to successfully navigate the school system. She worked with all of the community and began to see that she could make a difference on a higher level. She saw that the teachers did not know or understand the Hispanic culture, and therefore could not know how to meet the needs of their students. She established herself as an activist and advocate for human rights to voice the needs of the culture. Her ideology was grounded in her desire to build relationships. “If you don’t have the ability to build relationships, then you cannot accomplish anything,” she says. “I am the VOICE, but I want to bring the people’s VOICES to the table.” It was only a question of time before she started doing more bold things.