WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — This year's theme for National Hispanic Heritage Month, also known as National Latinx Heritage Month, is "Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation." The theme reinforces the need to ensure diverse voices and perspectives are welcomed in decision-making processes, thereby helping to build stronger communities and a stronger country, according to the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers. In honor of National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, ABC10 highlighted people of Hispanic and Latin American descent.
One of the people working to build a stronger community is West Sacramento Mayor Martha Guerrero.
She says her life’s work as a social worker set her up in the best way possible to lead during a time of uncertainty.
Daughter to Mexican American parents, Martha Guerrero is a mother, a grandmother, lifelong public servant, and the first Latina elected as West Sacramento Mayor.
When she took office in 2020, she had no idea what lie ahead in the effort to guide her city.
“As a social worker, I understand that the basic needs of access to resources was important, and those needs were shut down during the pandemic," she said.
As mayor, she’s put her master’s degree in social work to good use; coordinating food delivery, vaccines and testing all happening out of City Hall.
During this time, she was reminded of her parents. She remembers delivering home-cooked meals prepared by her mother to a neighbor while her father pressed clothes at a factory when she was 13.
“Between the two of them, they taught me the values of being able to provide an enriching experience, both in the home life but also in the community. That's something we translated and who we are as a Hispanic family," said Guerrero.
Guerrero serves regularly at the Meals on Wheels kitchen. It was one of few organizations that continued to provide meals during ‘shelter in place’ orders.
“We have an increased demand that has gone up by 40% since January of individuals that are asking for home-cooked meals to be delivered to their home," said Guerrero.
Close to 36,000 meals were prepared in the Meals on Wheels kitchen and delivered to seniors living in Yolo County during the pandemic.
Just two weeks ago, she was photographed with the president at the White House with the caption: Hispanic history is American history.
“It has been just an overwhelming sense of excitement that they are allowing me to be there in the White House, and to be a part of history... and to bring West Sacramento to be a part of our country's history.”
Right now, Meals on Wheels is short of volunteers. They need about 60 people to help deliver meals to our seniors living in Yolo County. Find out more information HERE.
Watch more on ABC10: Folklórico: Dancing with Color | Race and Culture