2012 Roundtable on Latina Feminism
Lifting Latina Voices Initiative/La Iniciativa Levantando las Voces Latinas
Maria Azuri, LMSW, Program Manager, Lifting Latina Voices Initiative, Feminist Women's Health Center
Maria Soledad Azuri is originally from Mendoza, Argentina. Her family immigrated to the U.S. in 1984 and settled in Florida, where she grew up being undocumented until her mid-teens. The lived, and often very unique childhood experiences that are part of being an undocumented family, while serving as a cultural broker, and living the daily complexities faced by immigrant families, were her earliest teachers in the field of social work, resilience and empowerment. She has her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Georgia State University, and graduated magna cum laude with her master’s in social work degree from Columbia University in the City of New York. She has extensive background in working as a social work generalist, counselor and grassroots organizer with wide-ranging Latino clients and their families in the home, community, courts (in holistic indigent defense) and the school system.
As the Program Creator & Manager of the Lifting Latina Voices Initiative, she passionately focused on Latinas and sexual and reproductive health programming, practice and advocacy, emphasizing the intersection of culture, communication, education and grassroots organizing. She also focuses on Latina empowerment, bicultural identity and Latina youth in the public school system. Her specialties include using a strengths-based perspective and utilizing immigration and school-related challenges while examining experiences through a gender-based & cultural lens. Her work with women of color across the lifespan and Latinas, while prioritizing the multifaceted immigration experiences, education and communication as challenges and tools of resilience, empowerment and goal setting, have positioned her to be specialist in gender-based power dynamics, how race, gender, language knowledge and ethnicity all play vital roles in women’s sense of self efficacy, help-seeking, health literacy and the acquisition of capacities and skills to plan for the future.
She is also very involved in organizing rallies and events in her own community regarding community togetherness, and culturally competent, inclusive educational services. She is also the proud mami of three little boys. Maria is very proud to be part of the GSU School of Social Work, as she graduated from this very program 10 years ago.