Meet the team: Cynthia Zapata (CJ)

Meet Cynthia J. Zapata, Project Manager (they/them/she)

Where are you from? 

I was raised in Minnesota in the south metro and have lived in the Twin Cities for the last 6 years.

Where do you feel most at home? 

I feel most at home by a river or a lake. I love being around water.

What inspires you, professionally and personally?

I am inspired by learning and acquisition of knowledge. I love learning. It is my favorite thing to do. I like the way your brain feels after diving deep into something complicated. I am also really moved by the magic and power community holds. I especially believe in the power of friendships and chosen family, even though I am close to my immediate family.

What are your areas of expertise or what areas are particularly interesting to you?  

I want to learn more about transformative justice. Youth work, gender and racial justice, Restorative Justice, 

  • Trauma informed work

  • Critical race theory

  • Creative writing and the creative writing workshop

Share one thing you have learned, big or small, doing your work over the past year? 

I didn’t learn this, but it was greatly reinforced that working with and for community yields stronger families and support networks. Which makes it difficult for inequity to persist.

Who inspires you? 

I am inspired by children and especially my own inner child.

What do you do to relax, de-stress or recharge your batteries?

I am trying to move away from tiktok, however, I truly enjoy both tiktok and instagram. Otherwise, I love to go on walks or bike rides. I also like to read books.

Why have you chosen to do this kind of work?  

It is hard to imagine doing work that is not focused on community. I love opportunities to make connections. 

What is your favorite food? 

Tacos with any kind of pork meat and red salsa. Or seafood like ceviche or calamari

What is your favorite book?

I don’t have a favorite but the first three books I read in 2022 are The Last Cuentista, Juliet take a Breath, and The Stars and the Blackness Between Them. All of these books have made me laugh, cry, and feel something.