Meet the team: Marissa Kurtz

Title: Grants & Evaluation Project Coordinator

Main Responsibilities:

Provide support with communications work, national events, grant reporting and technology platforms.

Where are you from?

I was born in Guatemala and raised in Arlington, VA.

Where do you feel most at home?

This is not always a location. I can feel like I’m home by listening to my dad’s favorite music, going on nature walks or sharing meals with good friends.

What inspires you, professionally and personally?

The people and movements that advocate for their communities and work toward brighter futures.

In terms of your work for Esperanza United, what are your areas of expertise or what areas are particularly interesting to you?

As a transnational and transracial adoptee, I find it important to consider the diversity within the Latin@ diaspora. In college, I facilitated an adoptee identity collective and one of the popular issues we discussed was the challenge of feeling accepted within our birth cultures. I really appreciate seeing diverse representations of the Latin@ community and hope to promote that with the work I do.

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

I learned to be okay with asking for help.

Who inspires you?

My dad. He is smart without being condescending, successful while remaining humble, and fearless at karaoke.

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

I love eating but struggle with cooking, so I consider any chance I get to eat out as a moment of self care.

Why have you chosen to do this kind of work?

I often hear people labeling domestic violence and sexual assault as a “women’s issue.” I love working with this organization because of how we challenge that message and work with all members of the community to find methods of solution and prevention.

What is your favorite food?

Bean and cheese pupusas or a Ledo’s pizza!

What is your favorite book?

Bharati Mukherjee’s “Jasmine” and Tony Morrison’s “Beloved” transformed the way I think about immigration, inherited memory, and hope. I can talk about these books for hours and encourage anyone to give them a chance.