"My mom loved her Monte Carlo. She loved low riding. She was a young mother at the age of 15. She wanted to show her children something that she loved. My mom was a single mother. So sometimes you don't have a lot of money, you can't go to Great America, you can't go here and there. So for fun, we'd go cruising."
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That's how Dueñas Car Club came to be. The dozen or so women, teens and girls that make up the club are friends or family members who all share a love for low riding.
"It meant a lot to me to join a club that was all females, because I've always had that passion. I've had my car for eight years now," said Angela Chavez, who joined the club in January. "So it was important to belong to a bunch of females and not just be kind of the outcast of men's club."
Angel, the club president, adds, "We wanted people to know that they are really our cars... men, our boyfriends or husbands didn't buy these cars."
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The name underscores the central theme of the club. In Spanish "Dueñas" means woman owner. This is something else Angel says her mom, who raised three children on her own and went back to school to get an accounting degree, taught her.
"If it wasn't for my mom, telling me to always be proud of who I was, and do what I wanted to do, no matter what, I wouldn't be where I am today. My friends have a lot to do with who I am as well. The girls in the club, all of us."
The world Maricela Rodriguez Romero -- Angel's mom -- created when her children were young helped them all escape the difficult world around them. Now Angel is taking it a step further and -- like her mother -- creating and inspiring in a difficult world, empowerment for women of all ages.
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