UnidosUS youth programs alumnus becomes youngest-ever Latina mayor of Arizona city

Alexis Ariana Hermosillo
Alexis Ariana Hermosillo (Photo: Alonso Parra/Lamp Left Media)

During the recent midterm election, in which women ran for office and were elected at historic levels, UnidosUS is proud to know a young Latina who campaigned for a government position in the conservative state of Arizona and won.

Alexis Ariana Hermosillo, who was part of several UnidosUS youth programs—including the Entre Mujeres program, the Líderes Summit, and the UnidosUS Youth Advisory Board—won her campaign to become Mayor of the city of El Mirage in Arizona at only 28 years old. Alexis is the youngest Latina elected as mayor of the city, where nearly 50% of the population is Mexican American like Alexis’s family.

Alexis first became involved with UnidosUS in 2012 when she helped organize the UnidosUS Líderes Summit in Las Vegas, NV. The Líderes Summit brought together hundreds of youth from high school and college groups to UnidosUS’s Annual conference.

Alexis Ariana Hermosillo
Alexis pictured with staff of the 2012 UnidosUS Líderes Summit, made up of youth from several states.

Through 2013-2015, Alexis continued to serve at the Líderes Summits in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Kansas City.

“UnidosUS opened the doors to many possibilities and to people, but most importantly, to newfound purpose and passion. Through UnidosUS, I was able to fully understand the importance of upholding your personal civic duty and what it meant to have courage to step up for others,” Alexis says of the Líderes Summit experience.

Alexis Ariana Hermosillo
Alexis speaks at a panel at the 2015 UnidosUS Líderes Summit in Kansas City, Missouri.

Alexis went on to serve as the Far West Region Representative for UnidosUS’ Youth Advisory Board, where she served as the sounding board for Latino students in 12 states within the UnidosUS Affiliate region. During this role, Alexis had the opportunity to attend a civic engagement training in Miami, FL, in 2015.

“I believe exposure is impactful, and through all of the opportunities provided by the organization, it was normal to see policy makers, activists, people who freely sacrificed themselves for the betterment of others—that became normal to me. So, choosing a path to serve others in the capacity of elected office, was a natural step. We need more of this type of impact for the people around us, for them to see themselves in us and be inspired to be leaders in their own right,” Alexis says.

Alexis Ariana Hermosillo
Alexis Ariana Hermosillo speaks at an event during her run for mayor of El Mirage, Arizona.

One of the issues Alexis has been most passionate about and advocated for is women empowerment. Alexis was featured in “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien” in their Candidate Bootcamp Readying First Time Female Politicians segment, where she is vocal about the importance of investing in women candidates like herself, especially in the time of #MeToo and where women are clearly making an impact when it comes to all areas of government, business development, and making financial impacts that have the potential to grow as other underrepresented groups enter the workforce.

Before her candidacy, Alexis used this passion to serve as UnidosUS’ Entre Mujeres lead at the Affiliate of the Hispanic Women’s Corporation of Phoenix, AZ. During this role, Alexis taught and mentored 15 young ladies via UnidosUS’ positive femininity curricula.

Alexis Ariana Hermosillo
Participating at the 2017 UnidosUS Entre Mujeres Convening.

“It is because of UnidosUS and all of the many seeds it planted within me that led me to want to advocate for my community, to advocate for change,” Alexis says. As a community organizer, a fourth-generation El Mirage resident, a board member of Arizona’s YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix, an Emerge Arizona alum, and now mayor, she is a true example of a future changemaker.

“I ran for office because I felt my city could do better and because my community deserved better. I felt a great responsibility within myself to step up and represent the many who were not being represented. From the beginning, I knew my journey toward being elected to office was going to be an uphill battle, however, there was more at risk if I didn’t take a chance on myself and the people in my city. I ran because I knew I believed in myself. I ran because I believed in my community. We did this!” said Alexis about running for mayor.

The mission of UnidosUS’s Entre Mujeres program is to empower Latina high schoolers to recognize their personal worth, strengthen their leadership abilities and self-confidence, and help drive them to make change in their communities and beyond. Entre Mujeres is focused on supporting young Latina women who are participants in youth-serving UnidosUS Affiliate organizations. For more information about Entre Mujeres, please contact Cindy Zavala at [email protected].

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