If the surreal twists of Election 2016 have you ready to disengage from our beleaguered democratic process, look no further than Juana Matias for a burst of much-needed inspiration. The daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic who moved to the United States in the late 1980s, Matias embodies the promise of the American Dream — and the work we still have to do to expand its reach to everyone. After earning her JD at Suffolk University, she's now running for Massachusetts state representative, and, if elected, she'd be the first Latina to serve the Bay State in that capacity. We're pretty sure that she'll be breaking those boundaries in November — on September 8, 2016, Matias won the Democratic primary (her first-ever election), and now enters the general without a Republican challenger.
Matias' hometown of Lawrence, MA, gave her a unique platform to launch her political career — its cultural landscape is heavily influenced by Dominican immigrants, and the median age of residents is just 31. Since state legislatures shape the policy and legislation that directly affects their local constituents, she has taken her campaign to the street, knocking on doors and speaking to voters about the issues that matter most to them. We can't get enough of Matias' dedication to improving the lives of young people — and once you watch the video, we're sure you'll be into her, too.