Rev. Tina Itson, Deacon at First United Methodist Church, Waukesha shared her excitement of being together to celebrate the work of SOPHIA, the people who are SOPHIA, and to join together to continue our work.
Bernie Gonzalez, SOPHIA organizer was introduced to all. He shared the story of his journey as an immigrant, and his passion for working with people needing a voice.
JoCasta Zamarripa captivated all with her story. She was introduced to SOPHIA when approached to suggest potential candidates for organizer. SOPHIA leaders immediately realized that her vision for Wisconsin closely aligns with SOPHIA’s vision – giving all people a voice.
Waukesha has a growing Latina population; Representative Zamarripa serves the assembly district in Wisconsin with the largest Latina population (and the lowest voter turnout rate).
Rep. Zamarripa credits her grandmother, a migrant farmer, with moving the family from Texas to Milwaukee for greater opportunities, and instilling a strong work ethic in JoCasta. Her aunt ‘forced’ her to be engaged in community affairs. She began volunteering in 2004, began to be paid in 2006, and felt a responsibility and calling to run for the open Assembly seat when Rep. Pedro Colon chose not to run.
Initially, she assumed Rep. Colon’s issues, including immigration issues, Driver Cards, etc. She didn’t start with immigration as a top issue as she was a third generation resident, but quickly realized ‘immigration’ issues were human rights issues, affecting all.
She specifically spoke to the need and benefit of Driver Cards – allowing anyone in Wisconsin who can pass the driving test to carry documentation of that, purchase insurance. Rep. Zamarripa called Driver Cards a matter of public safety while noting the economic development proof of driving competence would bring to Wisconsin.
School Sisters of Notre Dame was welcomed as SOPHIA’s newest member congregation.