Born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of immigrant parents, Lilian Bravo is in charge of the Directorate of Public Health Associations for the Yakima Health District, where she has worked for almost 4 years. Since the pandemic began, he has been a fundamental piece and link with the Latino population to inform about COVID-19 and the vaccination program
Who is Lilian Bravo?
I am the daughter of Antonia and Víctor Bravo, I am the youngest of three brothers, I am currently 30 years old.
My parents are Mexican, from Iguala, Guerrero, and they came to Chicago in the 1980s, where my brothers and I were born. Later, they decided to move to Washington, looking for better job opportunities.
In 1995, when I was 5 years old, we came to Yakima, where we knew there was a lot of work and we settled here.
Where did you do your studies?
All my basic studies I did in Yakima. I was at Adams, Ridgeview, and Whitney elementary schools; I attended high school at Franklin and went to Davis High School. Subsequently, I moved to Seattle to pursue my degree in public health at the University of Washington.
When I finished, I went to Atlanta to receive my master’s degree in public health from Emory University.
After completing your studies, what followed for Lilian?
When I finished my master’s degree I returned to Washington and got my first job at Olympia with the Community Health Center Associations, my duties were focused on policy paperwork, mental health programs and oral health. It was the link between the community clinics and the peasants.
I was there for two years and then I saw that there was a vacancy in the Yakima Health District and I have been working here since May 2017.
What are the functions that you have in charge of the Directorate of Public Health Associations?
I work closely with organizations committed to community health, health and prevention programs.
On the subject of COVID, I was the spokesperson and director of all the communications that were made for the population and the liaison with the press to ensure greater information coverage and verify that the message reached everyone in Yakima County.
What are you most passionate about about your job?
To have the great opportunity to work for my people, to be at the forefront of programs that benefit the community. That fills me and allows me to fulfill my dream of returning something of the much that I received.
That brought me back to Yakima, I wanted an opportunity to help and give back to my community all that it has given me.
Personally, they helped me a lot, I received many scholarships and support to study. For me it is a very nice thing to return and come in a different way, you value everything you left when you went to another place.
As a Latina, what do you think have been the main obstacles you have faced as a student and now as a professional?
As a student it was complicated, we were the first generation of my family in the United States and we did not know the processes to continue advancing in our goals because we did not have the necessary information, that is why I am so grateful to my community.
As a professional it is the same, there are things that you do not know and you learn much after those who have grown up or were born here and that can be a disadvantage.
Is it easy for a Latino to hold management positions in important companies?
The real problem is the lack of spaces, the reality is that in Yakima there is not much job offer for professionals, the jobs that exist are assigned and the workers already have time in those positions, so there is no space for young people to work. incorporate and make their knowledge available to the community.
It is very difficult to defend the rights of the community in a meeting in which you are the only one who speaks the language of Latinos, the one who knows their needs and who has to fight, in a certain way, to defend programs that are very necessary so that our people get ahead.
What are your goals for the future?
In a few years I would like to be part of a group that could bring more funds and that the community itself decides how to apply them.
Another of my goals is to support new professionals to return to Yakima and find that space to develop their goals and contribute to the community.
What inspires you to be a woman so human and committed to her people?
It is without a doubt my personal experience, I lived it with my family, it is something that is in me, I am born to be able to help others when I see the difficulties that my parents went through when they did not understand the language, when they could not make themselves understood in the meetings at school, in workplaces, in supermarkets.
Now that the health problem of COVID began, I put myself in the shoes of all my people who do not speak English and thought about how to better get the information so that they would be prepared to face this disease.
Any recommendations or messages for young people who are in the process of formation and want to one day become like you?
The main recommendation is that you set goals, that you think that everything can be achieved, no matter the time or how long it takes to arrive, dreams are always fulfilled if you work for them.
We all have our doubts, we fall apart in moments, but if we fix our vision on something, sooner or later we will achieve it.