Bamby Salcedo is the president and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, a national organization that focuses on addressing the issues of transgender Latinas in the U.S. She has won numerous awards for her activist work in support of transgender rights and community. Before joining the panel at “How Do We Begin Again?,” she spoke in the green room about being overlooked as a CEO, why activism takes empathy, and her go-to road trip song.
What is your favorite spot for a bite in Los Angeles?
I have a few—Green Leaves Vegan on Hillhurst, Bulan Thai, and Gracias Madre.
What is the emotion you associate most with activism?
I would say empathy; the understanding that we have to feel for the people who we are working for. Having empathy is important to understand the purpose of why we do this work and who we do it for.
Is there a quality about you that you think people overlook?
As a CEO of an organization there are other CEOs that do not see me as their peer. I think that’s in part because I’m a trans woman. The quality I bring to the work I do and to the movement demonstrates to the world that as a trans woman—who is a Latina, who is an immigrant—is able to accomplish things for our people even if other CEOs don’t see me as an equal.
What song would open your road trip playlist?
“Es Por Amor” by G.I.T., a rock en español song. One song that centers me is one by Mercedes Sosa called “Gracias a la Vida.” It’s a song I’m always grateful for.
Is there a Spanish word that you especially like to use?
I use the word hermosa often, especially for all the people I work with, particularly trans women. I always call them hermosa as a constant reminder of how beautiful they are. And when I post stuff on social media I will say “Hello, hermosas. Hello, beautiful people.” It’s just an acknowledgment of the beauty of people.