schmooze profile: Carla Chavarria

Name: Carla Chavarria

Carla_Chavarria 2 (1).jpg

Hometown: Mexico City  

Favorite Arizona place: Core Crossfit ??

Favorite drink: Iced Vanilla Lattes – I hate you Gennaro for introducing these to my life

Favorite local project: AZCNLThey do a great job empowering youth in their community

THIS or THAT: Cardio or weights? Weights * flexes *



 What was your first real job?Still looking for one 😉

How do you describe the work you do? I like to build brands that connect with people.

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to? Working out. I think that helps my life have balance and a schedule to stick to.

Being an entrepreneur can be very dangerous if you don’t have self-discipline and I think that working out makes me have more of that self-discipline.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.? When I’m creating / building something with people who I care about.


What advice do you have for your younger self? Keep working on that jump shot lil baller! Just kidding, I would say, … “Don’t be so shy.  People are people, you will be ok.”

What direction would you like your life to take from here? I would like to keep doing what I am doing in a larger scale. Work with national entities building national brands making them profitable and having fun along the way.




schmooze profile: Máxima Guerrero

Name: Máxima Guerrero

Hometown: Morelos, MX/ Phx, AZ


Favorite Arizona place: South Mountain. It was the first and only place ‘outside’ of the city that I ever visited with my family when I was little.

Favorite drink: Vanilla Iced Latte, with a pop of cinnamon.

Favorite local project: PUENTE, AZ being able to capture great images, art, history of our people, and action for social movement.


Cardio or weights?

Weights! Definitely. Every time I do cardio I have to break it down in my mind by increments of 10 minutes, otherwise it seems like I am running forever. A weight provides me the ability to build strength, and has taught me a lot of disciple to get some gainz.

What was your first real job?

Community organizer. My first job was working for a local civic engagement campaign to recall former US Senate President Russell Pierce. I traveled in public transportation from Phoenix, AZ to Mesa, AZ almost everyday for 3 months. The campaign meant more than just becoming politically aware; Pierce is the creator and author of Proposition 300 here in AZ. Proposition 300 prohibits undocumented students (like myself) to obtain state or federal funds as scholarships, and forcing me to pay out of state tuition (3x more than in state).  The campaign meant being able to recall a politician that for a long time broke my dreams of obtaining a college education. We were able to succeed in the campaign, and he was out of his seat the following January.

How do you describe the work you do?

Everything is an outlet to create change. I do what I can and have been blessed with opportunities and a community where I can be honest and exposed to create a systems change.  My passion is youth and leadership development.


What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?

This would definitely be to workout and be in nature. I think that is one of my goals through Ganaz Apparel, is about pursuing passion with Ganaz, that no matter where that inspiration goes we are capable and in control of bringing it back to ourselves. We deserve to give to the community, but also invest in ourselves. I do that through investing in my body in an actively lively style, but also feeding my soul in reconnecting with my indigenous roots and mother earth.



When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

When I am alone. It has come with practice, and self-growth, self-reflection but I am not afraid of silence and facing myself. It is the connection to the universe that has helped me realize the magnitude of my pursuance on this earth.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Be bold and be afraid to connect with people. It will build you to a side of you and movement you have no idea exists.

What direction would you like your life to take from here?

Not sure, I am passionate about so many things. I hope I continue to discover my roots, share and connect with people. Every year my main goal is to not be in the same place I was a year ago. One of my favorites quotes is “When was the last time you experience something for the first time?” I just hope to never lose that spirit of mine. I hope to continue to discover, learn, share, and connect, and to live though life with Ganaz.


Schmooze Profile: Dana Arbel & Ashley Burns


Dana Arbel (left) and Ashley Burns (right) of DiRTYOGA


Name: Dana Arbel and Ashley Burns of DiRTYOGA


DA: Originally from Brooklyn, NY but raised in North Phoenix

AB: Born in Los Angeles, and raised in North Phoenix

Preferred title: “DiRTYOGA Mama’s”

Favorite Arizona place:

DA: Hiking at Dreamy Draw

AB: Weekending in Tucson.

Favorite drink:

DA: Whiskey sour

AB: Paloma

Favorite local project:

DA: I love going to Wednesday nights at the Phoenix Arts Museum

AB: The Jazz Series at Valley Bar.



Savasana or handstand?

DA: Savasana

AB: Savasana

What was your first real job?

DA: I made sandwiches at Togo’s for a summer when I was 16

AB: I was a tutor at Kumon Math and Reading.

How do you describe the work you do?

DA: Through DiRTYOGA, we teach yoga classes in different outdoor settings, through local collaborations to make people feel GOOD and close to their communities. We believe in the power of yoga, and want to make it accessible to all.

AB: It’s heart work! DiRTYOGA was birthed from our personal experiences with the practice, and our need to share it. We believe in bringing yoga, in accessible ways, to the people with the help of like-minded organizations. A lot of time is spent on reaching out and ASKING for collaboration opportunities. Our movement has been successful thus far because of our willingness to be vulnerable (open-hearted) and simply ask. It is amazing how often the response is yes.


What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?

DA: Lately I have been exploring many forms of self expression including writing, painting, and dancing. With no expectations or goals, but for the purpose of simply expressing myself. It has made a huge difference In my life.

AB: I journal daily, and recently added acupuncture to my self-love routine.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

DA: When my house is in order, I can put music on, cook, and chill out.

AB: When I am leading a yoga class.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

DA: You are great being exactly who you are, don’t try to be anyone else. Speak up!

AB: Stop straightening your hair! Embrace the effortless power and beauty that come with rocking your curls. They are a special extension of you.


What direction would you like your life to take from here?

DA: I am at a place where I am creating the life that I want for myself, by allowing myself to explore and learn. So I say, to be determined.

AB: Sky’s the limit! Next, I want to take over the world one smile at a time.

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schmooze profile: Vianey Olivarria


Name: Vianey (as in DNA but with a V) Olivarria

Hometown: Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

Favorite Arizona place: Jerome, and Urban Beans.

Favorite drink: Chocolate Iced Chai Latte.

Favorite local project: The Baby Box project! Mountain Park Health Center, the awesome organization I work for, started this project back in December. We’re giving every single of our pregnant patients a safe space for their child, with a box that includes a mattress and products such as clothing, blankets, healthcare kits, and so much more for their babies. It’s incredibly special because in talking to our mothers, so many of them have expressed how helpful the Baby Box has been, and how needed all of the products are – things that so often many people just can’t afford. We’re also connecting them to affordable, quality healthcare services at their closest clinics. It’s awesome!  



Coffee or lunch dates? Un cafecito is always welcomed. 

What was your first real job? Writing Tutor at ASU, fork ‘em devils!

How do you describe the work you do? We work for the community, and in everything I do, I’m always looking for the impact it’ll have in our people. I get motivated when I talk to our patients, and they tell me how their life changed with access to holistic healthcare, because that’s not easily available in so many places in Arizona, let alone in the entire world. Healthcare is a human right, and the fact that people are often unable to receive it is appalling.

I also volunteer in various issue-based campaigns, translate for volunteer Pro-Bono lawyers to provide free legal advice to our patients, and actively advocate for basic human rights, such as healthcare, immigration, and women’s reproductive rights. To me, my volunteer work is essential; it feeds my heart and soul to meet and work with so many inspiring leaders, but I also consider it a responsibility. I’m privileged in so many ways, and I’ve had so many mentors guide me on my path, that it’s my responsibility to give back and fight so my family, my friends, y mi comunidad is treated with dignity and equity.

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to? I mentor a young lady who’s amazing, so I always try to make sure we have time to go out and talk. My family is so very important to me; I go out with my little sisters and I try to always call my mama and papa in Mexico to check up on them. And I read, a lot, it calms me down and gives me motivation to keep on going.

What advice do you have for your younger self? Trust your gut and continue being a “mula”. That’s what my dad calls me, it means stubborn, or at its best tenacious.  A weakness and a strength if you must, but it gets you far.

What direction would you like your life to take from here? I want to see results. I think that’s what everyone who works in nonprofits, volunteers, or works for the community through grassroots organizing wants. I demand to see results from our elected officials, who are there solely to represent us. I’d like my life to take me where I can see the results of our combined work and where I can see the positive impact we can have in our communities. I’m getting ready for Law School, so I’m taking my life towards becoming a Civil Rights lawyer and advocate.



Schmooze Profile: Galena Davis


Name:                                    Galena Davis

Hometown:                          Wheatfields, AZ 

Favorite Arizona place:    Home! The Navajo Reservations! Near the Chuska Mountains. Most of my family resides there and I can’t imagine living any place else. The air is cool and the mountains are calming.

 Favorite drink:                    Navajo tea, hot and cold.

 Favorite local project:       I’m not sure if this is even a project, but I love all the Senior Centers that serve the elders living across the reservation. I understand that most chapters have been working on improving their Senior Centers. The one in my community offers a lunch program, access to washers and dryers, and even shower rooms for the elders to bathe. It’s such a neat program. Most of our elders do not have running water or electricity, so these Senior Centers are a blessing.


Morning person or Night owl:

 I could be both. Most days start at 6am for me. Then again, I often burn the midnight oil.

What was your first real job?

Does earning money by braiding hair and babysitting by age 11 count? Haha! If not, my first REAL job was actually working in the food service industry. I was a server at a Denny’s Restaurant located here on the Reservation.  I was 19 years old and saving up so I could move to the city to further my college education.  I was there for about 4 months. It was a great experience. It gave me a chance to almost-perfect my customer service skills. I loved it, I made new friends and I even got to meet some notable Native actors/performers.

How do you describe the work you do?

I am: An aunt, a motivator, a respiratory therapist, and a business owner.

I love being an aunt. I love my kids! I take my role very serious. Haha!! Besides enjoying being an aunt, I am a board certified Respiratory Therapist. I work at a hospital here on the Navajo Reservation where I was recently named May 2016 Employee of the Month. In the clinical setting, I specialize in the heart and lungs. FUN!

I also started a business called Mountain View Home Care, LLC about 2 years ago. We’re dedicated to offering attendant care and homemaker services to the elders and individuals all across Arizona who may need assistance.


I’ve always been one to encourage people to go out and do what they love. Some times all a person really needs is some inspiration in their life to help them get to the next chapter. Knowing this, I started an Instagram page hoping to motivate my people and myself. What started out as posting little notes to myself, ended up being an account many people come to to seek motivation. Now my Instagram posts have been seen and reposted by many indigenous people around the world. Instagram: gm.davis (formerly: runawaygtrain)

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?      

I try to spend whatever free time I have with my nieces and nephews. I’m often away at work for 7+ days a time, and it’s hard. I do miss them. I’m just thankful they’re very understanding and forgiving kids. Besides that, I try to practice my photography. I’m self taught, but I love it!


Looking for uplifting content in your Instagram feed? Follow Galena at @gm.davis (formerly @runawaygtrain).


When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

When I’m silently praying in the ER code room standing next to and helping a critical patient. At that moment in time, I am focused on them, only them. Time stops and I feel nothing, the only thing I’m doing is trying to keep them alive and praying for a positive outcome.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Stop and smell the sage. There’s no rush.


What direction would you like your life to take from here?

I’ve always had this Dr. Annie Dodge Wauneka mentality. She once said, “I’ll go and do more.” So if God permits, by all means, I will go and do more. I’d like to do more for the youth, our elders, and for those wanting to further their college education. I want to give away scholarships. I want to start businesses to aid and better my community. I don’t want to just settle… because the next generation is watching.


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schmooze profile: Bré Thomas

Before you read the profile below and learn about Bré Thomas, CEO of the Arizona Family Health Partnership, let us drop some local Arizona family planning knowledge on you.

Arizona Family Health Partnership (AFHP) is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to making reproductive healthcare and education available and accessible to all women, men and teens in Arizona, even if they lack health insurance or money. Full disclosure, Jovanna sits on the board.

The majority of AFHP services are provided through Title X (title ten) funding. Title X is a federal program that ensures that high quality and cost-effective family planning and related preventive health services are available for low-income women and men. These services range from contraception to cancer screenings.

In 2014 alone, AFHP had a hand in preventing an estimated 6,800 unintended pregnancies and an estimated 510 cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. To break it down in dolla dolla bills: for every dollar spent of public funding spent on contraceptive and preventative health services, Arizona saves $11.27.

Needless to say, we are super excited about the services provided as well as what those services mean for the bodily autonomy, health/well-being, career trajectory, pocketbooks, etc. of those who receive them. Stay up to date on AFHP and Title X funding by visiting the AFHP site and subscribing to email alerts!

Name: Bré Thomas
Hometown: Olympia, WA (but have been in AZ since 1984)
Preferred title: Ms.


Favorite Arizona place: I love the Aravaipa Canyon
Favorite drink: Grapefruit Shandy
Favorite local project: Our new program promotion effort to provide teens with medically accurate information on birth control. Check it out.


Salty or Sweet?
I can’t possibly choose between the two, the best thing to satisfy this Trader Joe’s Salty, Sweet & Nutty Trek Mix.

What was your first real job?
My first real job was checking petition signatures for the Washington Secretary of State.

How do you describe the work you do?
I am the CEO of the best non-profit in Arizona. (We compete for a federal grant that allows us to provide birth control to low income individuals in Arizona.)

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?
Exercise, I started doing triathlons last year and signing up for a race is the best motivator to get out of bed in the morning.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?
I feel the most in my element when I am hanging with my daughter who is 13 years old. We often times read or binge watch NCIS.

What advice do you have for your younger self?
Take better care of yourself, exercise more and eat clean!

What direction would you like your life to take from here?
I am practicing mindfulness and being present, so for now I am concentrating on the current moment and I know my life will unfold in the way it is meant to unfold.

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Celebrate the Summer Solstice with Schmooze

Monday June 20, 20166-8PMLuna Culture Lab

A founding belief of schmooze is there are great lessons to be learned when women connect. Since the start of schmooze, we have envisioned hosting in-person events where women could come together to meet both who we’ve featured but also each other. It is with this idea, that we are thrilled to announce our inaugural event coinciding with the Summer Solstice on Monday, June 20, 2016, 6-8pm. The schmooze women love the energy of summer and thought it was the best time to launch our festive event and we hope you will join us.

We have invited the women we have featured previously on schmooze’s podcast and in profiles as well as friends and people we admire in the community. The event will be hosted by the Luna Culture Lab at Torres Multicultural Communications. Schmooze is thankful to have this sponsorship support from a premiere women-owned business. Many thanks to owner, Tania Torres and her incredibly helpful team for their assistance with our event.

Our gorgeous invitation artwork was created by the talented hands of Natalia Green. We are so grateful to have her work be the “look” of our event. As proud desert dwellers, we enjoy our summers here in the valley of the sun, so Natalia’s drawing has perfectly captured the whimsy of the season and our event. Natalia will be one of the featured artists sharing their creativity and work at the event. We will also have music and door prizes, so be sure to save the date and join us as we celebrate the start of summer and the beginning of new schmooze adventures!

This event is all about connecting, so we encourage everyone to bring flyers, business cards of passions projects you want to share with others at the event. We can’t wait to meet you all and thank you so much for helping us continue the work of schmooze. See you on the Summer Solstice!


p/s – We created a new vlog to share the fun, check it out, share it and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!


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schmooze profile: Melanie Fey & Amber McCrary


Native Zinetress creators Amber McCrary (left) and Melanie Fey (right) at the Portland Zine Symposium.


Melanie Fey & Amber McCrary


MF: Flagstaff, Arizona

AM: Flagstaff, Arizona

Favorite Arizona place:

MF: My favorite place is my dad’s house, way on the outskirts of Flagstaff, during moonless summer nights. It’s so warm out and if you lay outside on the picnic table, you can see all the stars and the Milky Way perfectly. Seriously, I think I saw a UFO once. It was crazy. But it’s also beautiful, seeing the stars the way they’re meant to be seen, without all the light pollution, at 8,000ft.

AM: The Canyons at my Grandma’s sheep camp (Shonto, AZ)

Favorite drink:

MF: Coconut water is the bestest.

AM: Arnold Palmer

Favorite local project:

MF: Portland, OR (which is where I currently live) has so much to offer, where do I even begin? One Flaming Arrow: Inter-tribal Indigenous Art, Music and Film Festival is relatively new but absolutely revolutionary. It’s an annual festival during the summer that showcases Indigenous resistance and survivance type art and media made by Native artists. Demian DinéYazhi, Kaila Ferrell-Smith and Carlee Smith organize this amazing event. They will probably be opening up the application process soon so that’s something for Indigenous artists to keep an eye out for. Unchaste Readers is a reading series that highlights raw and unfiltered prose and poetry read by local female authors. It’s organized by Jenny Forrester and takes place every few months. There are just so many local projects that I love here in Portland but I could write about that for hours so I’ll just stop here.

AM: Wasted Ink Zine Distro. They are a zine distro/shop based out of Tempe Arizona. It is a cute little shop filled with zines from all over the country. It’s a great place to stop by and look at DIY items like buttons, zines, bags and comics. It’s a lot of fun to see that creativity should not be limited to just those few, I like the idea that anyone can publish anything they feel or want due to DIY Zine culture.




Amber McCrary


Spinning or yoga?

MF: Definitely yoga! Although I wish I could do it more often because it helps me to de-stress! And what’s this spinning thing? I keep hearing about it. Does it have to do with bikes?

AM: Yoga!

What was your first real job?

MF: My first real job was at a movie theater. I had to show up in a white button down shirt (usually covered in popcorn butter stains), suspenders and a shiny blue tie and cummerbund.  When I wasn’t sweeping the floors of theaters and throwing away half-finished sodas, I was at the concession stand begrudgingly asking customers if they’d like to upsize their orders. I only lasted 3 months.

AM: My first real job was working at a thrift store in Flagstaff called Savers. It’s still one of the best jobs I’ve had, I loved the idea of finding all these great fashion finds for less than $10. It was a fun outlet to be creative and I had a lot of great weird co-workers. Actually, that is how I officially discovered Feminism because one of my supervisors was a radical feminist.

Chemawa Reading 2015

Melanie Fey at a poetry reading she did for Chemawa Indian School and Williamette University students.

How do you describe the work you do?

MF: I’m a library minion at Multnomah County Library; your tax dollars hard at work. Seriously though, I love books.

AM: I work with Indigenous Youth in the Valley.

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?

MF: I try to spend as much quality time with my cats as possible. Their names are Spike and Hades and I think they often get mad at me for spending so much time working and writing. Always got to check in with my fur-babies though, make sure they’re doing alright.

AM: I try to run. I actually really don’t like running but it balances me out in terms of stress, appetite and mood. Basically, running keeps me out of my crazy tree. Even 30 minutes of running a day is hard for me but at the end of the day I feel lighter and sleep better.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

MF: When I get into my writing zone, that’s when I’m in my element and it can be really hard to snap me out of it. Seriously, I get this crazy look on my face when I’m really getting into either my poetry, short stories or zine work. I even wear a writing bonnet sometimes, this crazy looking wolf scarf thing. When I have that on, that’s when I mean business.

AM: I feel I’m most in my element or zone when I’m listening to music, writing, reading or working with people.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

MF: Remember to breathe kid! And don’t compromise your true self in order to fit in. It’s not worth it.

AM: It gets better.

What direction would you like your life to take from here?

MF: More travel? Yes, please! Write a novel? Yes, please! Travel writer? Yes, please!

AM: I would like to continue working with the Native American community, go to Graduate school and continue doing this writing project with my zine husband, Melanie.


To purchase a copy of Native Zinestress, visit their Etsy store in the coming days as they will be selling the third installment of their zine, “Shik’is ShiHeart”. More information HERE.


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leap into self-love

As Leap Day approaches, we thought it was the perfect reason to challenge ourselves to take a leap. In our new vlog we share why we are on top of a mountain and how we’ll be taking more time for self-care this Leap Year.

Share your LEAP into self-care via Instagram (you can tag us @schmoozelc) or Facebook using the #schmoozeselfcare. We look forward to seeing your adventures.

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Name: Viridiana (Viri) Hernandez

Hometown: Jojutla, Morelos, MX

Preferred title: Public Policy Director, Center for Neighborhood Leadership

Favorite Arizona place: Road trip to Flagstaff, Sedona, Jerome, Prescott. Take the 89A for best views of Arizona!

Favorite drink: Blue Moon

Favorite local project: One Phx ID! One Phx ID is a community-driven initiative to obtain a municipal identification for everyone in Phoenix.  Many people in Phoenix—immONEIDigrants, children, students, people with disabilities, elderly, indigent community, runaway youth and adult survivors of domestic violence, and others—currently suffer from the lack of identification, which restricts their access to law enforcement, financial institutions, housing, and home and workplace protections. As a result, we have people in our community living in fear and being denied access to everyday necessities. One Phx ID is an idea that came from the community for the community. I am honored to help lead this fight with the strongest and most caring coalition partners.

THIS or THAT: Morning person or Night owl? Hoot Hoot (My bad impression of a night owl)

What was your first real job? Does selling my grandma’s doughnuts, cleaning offices with my mom or working at the swapmeet count? If not, the first job that had hours and hourly payment was at a taxi company; night shift (10pm-6am) as the dispatcher. This was brutal when I had class at 9am! ZZZzzzZZZ

How do you describe the work you do? Powerful.  At CNL, we aim to rebuild broken systems (school, city, state)  that hurt our families by valuing our community’s input, stories, culture and identity.  As the Policy Director for Center for Neighborhood Leadership (CNL), I help oversee our 3 projects: Valor Women Organizing for Justice Program, Safe Schools Now and Academic and Leadership Accelerator for Service (ALAS). Our role is to build local neighborhood leaders. We are blessed with some of the most inspiring and hardworking staff. They work in neighborhoods and schools everyday to build leaders, those leaders build community power through teams and guide those teams to create transformational change through community-driven policy. One of those community-driven initiatives is the One Phx ID, an idea that originated from migrant women in Maryvale, through the Valor Program. We value and reinforce our community’s ability to identify their own problems and solutions.CNL

We understand there are leaders everywhere, many who have not realized their potential and power. I provide training, support, development,  and structure for our staff, projects, policy and leaders. I also have the opportunity to build new partnerships, work with value-aligned organizations and lead coalitions.  It is a humbling experience to take individuals and projects through that growth process. At the end, whether those leaders stay in CNL, form their own organizations, go into another field or to other organizations; we are confident we have built leaders that will lead with their values and love for community. They will understand their responsibility to create change and be equipped with the necessary tools to be successful anywhere in their life.

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?

I make sure to make time to visit my family in Buckeye. Especially to get play time with my niece and little brother and sister. They were once the perfect excuse to watch Pixar and Disney movies and gave me the courage to do it on my own 🙂 I also make time to do my nails, it makes me feel prepared for the weeks ahead and it is a visible reminder when I need to “take care” of myself.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

When I am  developing/ training an upcoming leader, especially women and youth. I play a role as people gain confidence to  create the community they want to live in. It is the most beautiful and humbling feeling to know people trust me to get them through their insecurities and unrealized power.


What advice do you have for your younger self?

I would let my younger self know an important lesson I have recently learned, “You do not control other people’s actions, but you are fully responsible for your own.” Be the best version of yourself. Learn about yourself; every inch of yourself, face the demons in your life, forgive yourself, and don’t base your actions on other people’s expectations or actions. Do something every day to learn about yourself; let’s be the most authentic version of Viri!

What direction would you like your life to take from here?

I am open to all the different ways that my life can take me. The last few years have been a personal struggle; identity crisis,  heartbreak, pain, loss… I have found that even in those moments, especially in these moments, I have been connected to the most amazing people, the most beautiful love, the most unconditional support. I am excited for everything that is to come in my life. In terms of my role in my life, I will make sure to enjoy every minute and increase my impact in the world. Increase the smiles I give, the love I show, and the support I provide.




Viri accepting her award for Activist of the Year at the 2015 Stylos Awards.