The St. James Plaindealer proudly supports the Hispanic community. During Hispanic Heritage Month, the Plaindealer will be writing weekly features on Hispanic community leaders.

Luisa Trapero wears many hats throughout the St. James community and Watonwan County.

Trapero is the only Hispanic member of the St. James School Board, where she serves as clerk.

Trapero is the first Latina woman to serve on the school board.

At school board meetings, Trapero can always be counted on to make sure that Hispanic kids will have equal opportunities to join clubs and sporting teams.

Trapero also makes sure her fellow board members are aware of events involving the Hispanic community, to further those bonds and strengthen relationships between cultures.

Trapero is also active in Uniting Cultures, Wellspring Faith in Action, the Watonwan County Advisory Board, and in Convivencia Hispana.

“If you want your community to succeed, no matter what culture, we all need to be involved,” says Trapero. “In being involved, you are creating a path for whoever comes along so new generations understand the importance of being involved and creating a welcoming community to helping others.”

While others may consider Trapero a leader within the Hispanic community, Trapero sees herself simply as an advocate and a link between the white and Hispanic community.

Trapero has been in the community for more than 30 years.

She has raised her children to be proud of their heritage, and hold on to those beliefs and celebrations that help create the Hispanic culture.

Trapero, like many Hispanic Americans, is proud of her culture and takes pride in being of Hispanic descent.

“What gives me the most pride is my family, and I am blessed that I can speak both English and Spanish. With that superpower, I can help and interact with more people.” When asked about her thoughts on Hispanic Heritage Month, Trapero admits she has never really thought about what the month means to her.

“I think this is just brought out as a form to celebrate some of our Hispanic-American leaders that have been in our history in the USA, like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, who are Hispanic Americans that are not in our school's history books.”

Even though Trapero may not consider herself a leader, she still provides a voice to the voiceless, many of which are in St. James and Watonwan County.

“I want people to know that we are not the villain that they try to portray in the media or other headline news,” says Trapero. “We are the same as everyone, but with a different language and beliefs. We are mostly hard workers and are willing to lend a helping hand to anyone that needs help, and we care for our community.”