Hispanic women uplift and inspire each other at ‘Galentine’s Lunch’

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ROSELLE, NJ — An afternoon was dedicated to women supporting women.
The 100 Hispanic Women National Inc. NJ Program hosted a “Galentine’s Lunch” on Saturday, Feb. 24, at Johnny Tequila’s Bar and Cocina in Roselle. There were drinks, appetizers, lunch, raffles and a panel discussion: “Woman to Woman.”

Luisa Rodriguez-Aponte, president of the NJ Program, is a first-generation Latina, born and raised in New York City, with nearly 10 years of project management experience in youth development and the field of education.

She kicked off the program with a message of empowerment. “There’s something about the energy in these rooms when women come together,” she began. “It’s a love fest in here. It’s a sisterhood. This is your time today. We celebrate that.”

Rodriguez-Aponte said the Galentine’s theme was chosen because they celebrate it all year long and she further explained the mission of 100 Hispanic Women.

“We support. We commit. We want to make sure we’re adding value,” she said. “Every dime gathered from the event goes to scholarships for young women. Challenges around finances are a real thing. How can we take that (burden) off women? We’re here to create community but also to help scholarships.”

Monica Castano, board member and social media chairperson of the 100 Hispanic Women National Inc. NJ Program, expressed her enthusiasm about the program, saying, “It’s celebrating sisterhood. It’s celebrating the power of being a woman. It’s celebrating a united front.”

Member Rose Moia, of Brooklyn, N.Y., said, “It’s amazing you get to network with women from different backgrounds. We all come together.”

Ingrid Renderos, of Bergen County, has worked in higher education for more than 20 years. Her passion is helping young ladies realize their dreams. She said, “I’m very fortunate and always give back, especially to young women who don’t have education.”

Manny Ransom, who is a manager at Johnny Tequila’s, said, “It’s an amazing event. Women need that empowerment.”

Christian Castro, head manager of Johnny Tequila’s, added, “I’m a married man and I support my wife a lot. Women giving each other encouragement and support create something magical.”

100 Hispanic Women National Inc. began in 1995 when 14 Latina professionals, community and business leaders founded the non-profit organization. It has programs in New Jersey, Long Island, Rockland County, Westchester County and the Bronx.

It is an organization with members from a wide range of industries and interests with accomplished leaders. It strives to eliminate obstacles and encourage Latinas to be innovative, maximize their potential, create strategic partnerships, promote inclusion in government and corporate America and improve Hispanic status.
To learn more about 100 Hispanic Women National Inc., visit: https://100hispanicwomen.org/.

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta