2012 Prize Winner
Lupita Mendez was born in Washington, D.C., and spent her early life on a farm outside of Culpeper, Va. She came to Oregon following her parents divorce and graduated from Dalles-Wahtonka High School in 2002.
A self-described bleeding heart, Mendez, 28, is the personification of a minority. She is a woman, a Latina, a lesbian and the daughter of an undocumented worker.
It was August 2009 when Bradley Angle, a Portland domestic violence shelter, interviewed Mendez for a smaller position. However, her combined experiences in working with the LGBTQ community as well as her work with domestic violence survivors made her an ideal candidate to restart the shelters LGBTQ subdivision.
To put it bluntly, my résumé was very gay, she laughs.
With constant outreach into the communities they serve, Mendez and Bradley Angle feel there are always ways to innovate.
A lot of people in the field talk about change that needs to happen, says Rebecca Norman, development and communications manager at Bradley Angle. Lupita is one of the few who is actually putting real, thoughtful, innovative action behind the change she wants to see.