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Six Hispanic women are honored for helping the community in Stamford

(From left) Yazmin Iglesias, Mildred Reyes, Yohanna Escamilla, Muguette Maignan, Carla Esquivel, and Esly Garcia.
Eva Padilla
Crisol, Arte y Cultura
(From left) Yazmin Iglesias, Mildred Reyes, Yohanna Escamilla, Muguette Maignan, Carla Esquivel and Esly García pose for a picture after being recognized for their community work in the Stamford area.

A group of Hispanic women recently received recognition for their volunteer community work in the Stamford area.

Esly García and Carla Esquivel were among the Latin American women recognized.

García, originally from Guatemala, was honored for providing meals to the sick and helping repatriate the remains of immigrants living in Connecticut to their countries.

García cooked for people in her community before COVID-19. But when the pandemic started, she began cooking for people infected with the coronavirus who could not cook for themselves. Back then, García said, people were scared to get close to someone with COVID-19, but her compassion encouraged her.

“My right hand in the kitchen is my husband,” García said. “The community response, its trust and the unity we’ve seen is very important.”

Esquivel is also originally from Guatemala. She received recognition for her 14 years of work as a community activist and service to the immigrant community in Stamford. Esquivel has helped different human rights organizations in the state. Her advocacy work includes education, immigration, women’s health and essential workers’ rights.

“I am very proud of myself because, with the help I’m giving, people can also help others afterwards,” Esquivel said.

Four other women received awards: Yazmin Iglesias, who works at All Kin; real estate broker Mildred Reyes; choreographer and dance instructor Yohanna Escamilla; and nurse Muguette Maignan.

Each honoree received official recognition from the Connecticut General Assembly and the city of Stamford.

The event was organized by two social service committees in Stamford, Grupo Quetzal and Crisol Acuarela, Arte y Cultura.

According to the 2020 census, Hispanic communities and their influence are growing in Connecticut. About 18% of households in Stamford and Greenwich report speaking Spanish at home. Crisol member Eva Padilla said it’s essential to give value to the Latin American talent in the state.

“We believe that we should highlight the growth of Hispanic women. We focus on Stamford and the entire state of Connecticut,” Padilla said. “We have already awarded other women in the state and highlighted those empowered women who are an example for those working on their growth.”

Grupo Qetzal’s president, Maria Sandoval, agreed that Hispanic communities are growing in Connecticut, and that success is due to the shared characteristic of never giving up.

“We do not stagnate. We move forward in the face of obstacles,” Sandoval said. “If we fall, we get up again.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Eva Padilla as a coordinator at Crisol Acuarela, Arte y Cultura. Padilla is a member of Crisol not a coordinator. Additionally, Grupo Queztal is not a part of Building One Community.

Updated: March 31, 2023 at 1:59 PM EDT
Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

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