SEPA Mujer celebrates 30 years of empowering Long Island Latinas
The women behind SEPA Mujer in Patchogue are continuing the decades-long mission of working for Latinas in the community.
News 12 is shining a light on people and organizations working to improve the Latino community on Long Island.
SEPA Mujer Executive Director Martha Maffei faced many obstacles when she first came to the U.S. in 2004 from Peru.
"I have a lot in common like many other immigrant women like, ‘Okay, I don't have family in this country,’” she said. “‘How can I get this network of support that I need?’"
She started with a part-time job at SEPA Mujer. Fifteen years later, she and her team are empowering other immigrant women in the community.Alizabeth Newman founded the organization in 1993. Since then, it continues to grow to help serve women through a handful of services.
"Immigrant women, we are big leaders,” said Maffei. "They can learn about their rights, and SEPA Mujer provides this space. But in addition, also how we keep elevating the leadership role in this community."
Next month, SEPA Mujer celebrates 30 years of providing essential, but hard to find programs, including immigration services and emotional support.
Daniela Robles interned for the nonprofit and now works as a coordinator for the Thriving Latinas Program, a program for Latina survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
For her, it's all about being there for her community.
"Being a Latina, being able to have that personal connection with them, being able to understand their culture, being able to speak the language, it's something that's really important for them,” she said.
The services don’t just stop there, and Maffei encourages women to learn as much as they can.
"But come to learn about your rights. Come to learn about how you can get involved in the community. Come to learn about workforce development. Come to learn about how to write your resume and how to do an interview.,” she said.
As she looks toward the future, Maffei remains passionate about continuing their mission.
"We know if we are educating a mother and women, we are educating the whole family because they are the leader of that family,” she said.
SEPA Mujer’s annual fundraising gala is on Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Giorgio’s Baiting Hollow.
Learn more about the gala here.
Para los hispanohablantes, aprenda más sobre la organización en la entrevista con la jefa ejecutiva abajo: