Soledad O'Brien has made it her mission to help young women succeed. The award-winning reporter who most recently produced Heroin USA, a documentary that takes an investigative look at the heroin epidemic, told Vivala, "The mission I've long had is to support people who are supporting women," O'Brien says. "If you want to improve opportunities, especially for women in poverty, investing in women, investing in education, helping them grow their business is key. Those are the things that can actually make changes."
O'Brien and her husband, Brad Raymond, run the Starfish Foundation, an organization that funds and supports women through and after school. They give women lessons on how to be successful, like how to find a mentor, what to wear to an internship, how to get financial aid, etc. She might be helping women break down barriers, but O’Brien stresses the fact that we still have a long way to go to reach true equality. "You hear all the time about how things have changed dramatically," she says. "Racially things have changed, and I think there's a lot of opportunities for women as well, but I think it's inaccurate to act as if those inequalities don't exist. That's naive and that's not really the story of America."
Just this September she started, "I Am Latino in America," a national tour that addresses critical issues within the Latino community. The tour, which kicked off at Florida International University on September 28 and is making its way across the country, will continue throughout 2016.
"The tour is really a look at what I think are some of the biggest issues that Latinos are interested in that aren't necessarily getting coverage in mainstream press," O'Brien tells Vivala. "You might think that immigration is the thing ringing in every Latino's head, but we've seen from polling that the issues that matter to Latinos across the board are voting, education, and the economy."
It’s easier to get involved than most people tend to think, too. "It's just about reaching out to people who can use the benefit of what you've learned. Anybody can help with that."
"I'm clearly a feminist and I'm baffled by the people who feel they need to step back from the word because it's aligned with angry man-bashing. Feminism isn't any of those things. Feminism is equality and opportunity."