Three Minutes with Zaira Sanchez

Zaira Sanchez

When and why did you move to Hermiston?

I’m originally from here. I left to go to college in Portland, and stayed and worked two years after. What brought me back was the need for serving the community. I felt like I wanted to be back in Hermiston and help make Hermiston a place where young people and Latinos can thrive.

What is your favorite place to eat in Hermiston?

My grandma’s house. Whenever I’m hungry, I can show up, and something is bound to be offered to me.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Play with my dog, Mochi. She’s a pug. She really is like my child — I put her on the swings at the park. I also like to read and listen to podcasts.

What surprises you about Hermiston?

I think what surprises me most is there are so many Latinos here with so much to offer, yet we don’t step up to the plate. I really want to see Latinos step into leadership positions. I think we’re close to 50 percent, but that’s not represented in our leadership. I think choosing not to get involved is something out of fear for young people, or feelings of imposter syndrome — you know you deserve to belong, you’re educated, but people around you make you feel like you don’t belong. It also surprises me how much Hermiston has grown in the five years I was away. There are things in town I don’t know exist, and things I expect to still exist and they’re gone.

What was the last book you read?

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. I binge-read that book.

What app or website do you use most often?

Probably Snapchat or Instagram.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

There are so many places. I always want to be in LA, I love it there. But for somewhere new, I’ve really been wanting to check out Cuba.

What is the funniest thing that’s happened to you?

I always remember the most embarrassing thing — I ran track in college, and at a track meet at Mount Hood Community College, I was the first leg in the 4x1 relay. I had to hand off the baton. I came in at the corner, and it was a rainy day. The track was not in the best condition. We both slipped and fell, and the girl running the second leg couldn’t take off with enough time. I was going full-speed, and I ran into her. The baton went flying, she fell, our legs were tangled. Thankfully we still finished the race, not too far behind. Someone recorded it, and seeing it was really funny.

What is one of your goals for the next 12 months?

To get a job in work that’s meaningful to me, work that will get me to my long-term career goals. I’d also like to take a trip to New York within the next 12 months.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Graduating college despite how many barriers there were to do that, and having the opportunity to work with as many youth as I have, and knowing I’ve had a positive influence on them.

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