Atenas Rodriguez is a mother, wife and proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. She is an Arizona native and is also a proud product of public education. Growing up in a low-income family, Atenas lived through various social injustices that impacted her family and the communities around her. As a mother today, she understands the burden of standing at the intersection of motherhood and social injustice.
For this reason, she has dedicated her career to working in spaces that allow her to deepen her commitment toward diversifying power in our state and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities.
Atenas’s passion for activism began at an early age. At 16 years young, she began movement building for an organization called Invisible Children, a humanitarian relief effort to put an end to child abuse and abduction in Africa. Feeling the weight of how broken the world was, Atenas began to find opportunities to make an impact on a local level. She then joined the American non-partisan youth organization known as Junior State of America where she had the opportunity to testify in front of Sheriff Joe Arpaio regarding SB1070, a bill that changed Arizona’s political climate forever.
Since this experience, Atenas has been determined to help immigrant families and first-generation students every opportunity she’s had. Further, she is the first to become a college graduate in her family and went on to achieve a bachelor’s from Grand Canyon University and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Atenas was able to learn more about social inequities when she went on to work for a community health center called Adelante Healthcare. This federally qualified health clinic served various underserved populations such as undocumented, low-income, farmers and uninsured. Being grant funded, Atenas experienced the threat of her livelihood hanging by a thread when lawmakers considered cutting funds in 2018. She quickly put her advocacy skills to work and was coined Health Champion empowering all of her colleagues to take a stand and make their voices heard at the state legislature.
Realizing the impact of advocacy, she went on to become a full-time Organizer with a non-profit education advocacy organization at Stand for Children and gained experience organizing at the State level in support of the Red for Ed movement or Prop 208 which came to pass in the 2020 election.
As first-generation Mexican American Atenas emphasizes on the importance of electing diverse leadership that will champion the unique needs of the communities they grew up in and understand.
As Community Action Manger, she works to activate members, amplify their voices, raise their inherent power and give the community access to knowledge and education to understand the policies that impact their everyday lives.