Business owner in Roanoke empowering community, building unity amid coronavirus pandemic

Hispanic Heritage Month

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The pandemic affected everyone in different ways. For one Roanoke small business owner, Kat Pascal, she felt a sense of urgency to help her community.

“In my stomach, in my heart, I kept feeling this need that there were other women out there, other Latinas in particular, to find a community and to find a way to kind of continue to empower and encourage each other, so we can get through this,” said Pascal.

This is why Pasval created Latinas Network.

“The vision is to create a group of people female, male, young, old, with one purpose and that is supporting Latinas,” said a member of Latinas Network.

One year in, Pascal’s vision has blossomed into a platform for women to grow their businesses on a professional level while being able to connect on a cultural level.

“I’m a transplant from New Mexico where 51 percent of the population is identified as Hispanic or Latino. And when I moved to Roanoke, that number really shifted,” said Bonnie Chavez, owner of Building Beloved Communities. “So being able to not only speak my language, but be able to communicate and just have community with other women and Latinas and just other pieces of the community… it makes me feel at home.”

“So far, I’ve been learning a lot about different businesses and resources through this, and through the community,” said Marina Trejo, owner of Dream Dance.

“That’s what it’s about,” said Pascal. “It’s about helping each other out, and especially during these times.”

Throughout each month, members meet to learn and discuss topics to help expand their knowledge in life and in business, while making new friends along the way.

“I have been helped so much. I actually got someone to help me with logos,” said Trejo. “I received some financial education. There’s a lot of things that are really beneficial, not just personally, but for the small business that I do.”

The members of the Latinas Network understand there are many challenges that we all face, but they want southwest Virginians to know there’s a community here to support you.

“There could be language barriers, here could be education barriers, there’s any number of things that could be in your way,” Chavez explained. “And so our job is to help remove those barriers as well as we can so that you can get what you need.”

Pascal’s goal is to grow the Latinas Network nationwide and establish local chapters across the country. For more information, click here.

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