Idalia Rios—A Community Organizer in California

Idalia Rios began her organizing career advocating for her son, who has a speech delay. In the process, she learned that even when advocacy begins with your own family, you have to fight for the class, school, and larger community to achieve lasting change.

Today we have the privilege of experiencing the story of Idalia Rios, a mother and community leader with the Residents United Network in California. Though her story starts with a situation that had her feeling hopeless as a mother, Rios realized she could act—and that one courageous act was just the beginning of turning her community around.

While you take this journey with Rios, ask yourself these questions: What about this story is familiar? What is your story?

We encourage you to continue using these stories, including your own, to underscore the fact that women of color play a huge role in the transformation of communities across this country.


Idalia Rios’ story is part of Women of Color on the Front Lines, a video series produced by Shelterforce and Community Change. If you’re enjoying this series, please consider becoming a supporter.

We can’t do this work without you.

Schlonn Hawkins is CEO/publisher of Shelterforce. She has more than 15 years of experience in publicity, media training, community relations, and strategic planning.

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