SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Samantha Ramirez has made it her life's mission to always show up with heart and stand for justice. Named San Rafael's "Citizen of the Year," Ramirez leads with courage, kindness, and inclusivity to inspire the youth community throughout this month and always.
"The theme of this Year's Hispanic Heritage Month is inclusivity for a stronger nation and what that means to me is that we really need to reorganize all the ways Latinos, Hispanics have contributed to our society," said Ramirez. "We help the economy, we are hard workers, and we really contribute a lot to many areas. We need to celebrate and cherish that."
As coordinator of the Marin County Youth Commission, she advocates for a more equitable environment for students both inside and outside of the school system. Her passion for social justice stems from her bicultural upbringing.
"My dad was born in Honduras and my mom was born in El Salvador," she explained. "My parents instilled in me to be caring about others, to help others, and to also be very hard working and to be proud of our roots."
Ramirez radiates these values as she assists youth within a leadership development program through which students spearhead campaigns and projects to address pressing issues within the community.
"In 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, a lot of us took to the streets and it was really important for me as an educator to be able to support my young people," said Ramirez. "Sometimes I would call their parents and ask for permission to be able to take them to protests. Sometimes me and my team would support some of the young people that were planning rallies or protests, and I think it was really important as an adult ally to be there with young people and to fight for justice."
In that same year, Ramirez ran to become a member of the San Rafael School Board. In doing so, she hoped to spark the idea in young people of color that they too could run for office.
"Before I ran, I had never seen anybody like me run for school board," she described. "I didn't win that election, but I grew and learned so much and so many doors have opened up since then."
Ramirez continues to be a role model for youth community members by teaching them to show up with heart.
"I love and I care for my community, for my students, and when you are genuine you can just tell," she stated. "I'm really passionate about the work that I do, and I think that's how I impact my students."
For more information about Ramirez's work and the Marin County Youth Commission, visit here.
To see more ABC7 Allies in Action, visit here.