Lourdes Peredo ’18 is working on the finance team as call-time manager for U.S. Congressional candidate for Arkansas’ District 3 Joshua Mahony (D). The freshly minted Centre graduate landed the position through hard work, a great academic and experiential education, and a little help from her family.
“My parents own a Mexican restaurant in Mahony’s district, and before I graduated, my dad was already networking and meeting a lot of people at the restaurant, especially people in the Latinx community who are also involved in politics here,” Peredo says. “My main goal is to bring more of the Latinx community into politics in Arkansas, make their voices be heard and encourage them to get more involved.”
Lourdes Peredo ’18 Peredo was born in Acapulco, Mexico, and lived in Spain for three years. She moved with her parents to the United States at age 9 and started fifth grade at Cassidy Elementary in Lexington, Ky. She quickly learned to speak English and later taught English as a second language to young students.
Once again with family support, Peredo opened Taqueria Los Amigos, a Mexican restaurant in Danville, shortly before beginning her first year at Centre, and later another restaurant, The Bistro. Balancing restaurant management and a full academic schedule helped prepare her for the hectic pace involved with working on the staff of a Congressional candidate.
“A good mix of my experiences and my education is perfect in order to be able to bring more of my community into politics and, most importantly, to truly being able to understand our sentiments,” Peredo says. “Being a young business owner helped me develop skills that are useful now, such as dedication, consistency, responsibility and also being very particular and strict when it comes to things that have my name on it.
“Being fortunate enough to go to school in different countries and being trilingual has helped me in many ways and opened a lot of doors for me,” Peredo continues. “My Centre internship at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago helped me develop my networking skills in the political field, and learn to organize and develop events and an agenda. But to me, the most important factor has been actually being an immigrant woman involved in politics in the Latinx community.”
The broad spectrum of Peredo’s life and educational experiences have gone a long way toward preparing her for a job that demands a variety of skills.
“This job is not a normal ‘9-to-5,'” Peredo explains. “I don’t really have a set schedule, but I do start everyday before 8 a.m. Some days are spent in the office making phone calls with Josh, raising money and organizing the campaign with my team. Some days are spent traveling and canvassing in Little Rock, Rogers, Springdale and other areas that cover Arkansas’s 3rd District. Other days are spent going to fundraising events and meetings with other politicians in the area. Recently, I was able to attend an event that Stacey Abrams (gubernatorial candidate from Georgia) hosted in Little Rock.”
Peredo thinks this job is the perfect next step after graduating college, giving her the opportunity to gain more skills in the political field and to prepare her for graduate school.
“As a politics major, my main goal has been to one day be able to put to work the skills and experiences I have gained throughout the years in order to help make Mexico, my beautiful country of origin, be a place where its citizens immigrate because they want to, not because they have to in order to go to school or earn enough money to put food on the table.
“My senior year at Centre, I was working for Armando Rios Piter’s presidential campaign as an independent,” Peredo continues. “I did not plan on working for a political campaign in the United States this soon, but the opportunity came up and I took it, especially after noticing the need for more women, more people of color and more hard working immigrants in the field.”
Peredo joins a league of Centre alumni striving toward living lives of learning, leadership and service.
“My time at Centre helped me develop many skills that are useful in the workplace. But to me the most important was building solid and long-lasting friendships. And I would also like to thank The Bonner Program for opening many, many doors for me at Centre and life after Centre.”
by Cindy Long
September 11, 2018