Luz Avelino is an excellent leader and champion of Alamance County; she has devoted her life to the inner workings of programs and resources that involve and support the Spanish-speaking community. She does this through volunteering and searching for ways to improve the lives of Latinx families.
Luz’s involvement in the community started over 20 years ago when she moved to Burlington from Veracruz, Mexico. Growing up, Luz aspired to be a social worker. Even though her life took her in a different direction, she hasn’t let that stop her. Today she spends her time trying to improve the lives of those around her. She is involved with various organizations that serve the Latinx community, helping families find resources revolving around justice, health, and education equity; while Luz may not have a title that would pull her up in a google search, she has had a profound impact while serving our community.
Those who know Luz describe her as passionate, selfless, and a world-changer. Luz has volunteered for and worked with Elon University’s The Village Project for years, ensuring that Elon’s resources are available to all of Alamance Counties’ diverse population. She knows from personal experience how important education equity is, and her experience with Elon has even led her to organize and lead her own Community Round table in partnership with LatinxEd. Just this year, when Luz was approached with a chance to partner with LatinxEd, she jumped at the opportunity. Luz had participated in several community round tables in the past, and she recognized that even though the Latinx population had been invited, they had not always felt welcome. Luz was determined to change that, and she organized a round table for education equity in Alamance County, focusing on Parent and Community Governance. The event was a huge success, with many parents leaving feeling seen and heard for the first time.
Energized from the conversations she had been a part of, Luz took the findings from her roundtable talk to the CityGate Dream Center and is now collaborating to create a kindergarten readiness program and a bilingual liaison program to help Spanish-speaking parents and guardians navigate the school systems and find resources that support their student’s diverse needs.
In 2021, Luz knew it was crucial that the Latinx population receive accurate information regarding Covid vaccines. For many historical reasons, people from minoritized populations often lack trust in government and healthcare systems. Luz worked as a community health worker with Cone Health and participated in community outreach to distribute factual information about the vaccine and eliminate misconceptions people had. At this time, she also worked at emergency vaccination sites to ensure Spanish-speaking people could ask questions and understand what they were consenting to.
Luz’s involvement with the community doesn’t stop there. She has been volunteering with many organizations in the community for years. During the month, Luz volunteers with Blessed Sacrament Church, delivering meals to those in need who lack reliable transportation. While delivering meals, she is able to build a relationship with those that she serves. She ensures they have everything they need and refers them to resources when needed.
Luz has played a pivotal role in the work that Valores is doing as well. As a co-leader of the grassroots organization, Luz ensures Latinx voters do not experience voter intimidation when they go to the polls. Luz advocates against voter oppression, assuring community members that they will be welcomed when they arrive to vote regardless of their political values.
When Luz works with families and students, she always reminds them of what she wishes somebody would have told her when she was younger “You can be and do anything you want. Don’t listen to what others say. Go and search for your own truth, and stay consistent when you make a change in your life.” Luz chooses to be a part of all of these critical teams not because of her position but because of her passion. She is leading the way not only as a woman but as a member of the Latinx community.