Empowerment Series: Long Distance Runner, Olympic Qualifier, Founding Member of Angel City Elite, Mexican-American, Sabrina De La Cruz Shares Empowerment Mission
Sabrina De La Cruz was shocked at her observation during the 2020 Olympic Qualifiers Marathon Trials. The absence of diversity was unsettling but she was filled with pride to represent the BIPOC community at the event. A New York Times article in the same year supported the runner’s sighting. It isn’t a well-kept secret that running is predominantly, a White sport. The trials consisted of 92% White, 1% Black, 1% Asian, and 5% Other, definitely a rude awakening for the young runner. The reality was discouraging but she took it in stride, the realization fueled a fire within the athlete. This experience led her to explore opportunities that give BIPOC runners access to proper resources, helping them engage in the sport. She was inspired to contribute to the creation of a women’s distance running team called Angel City Elite (ACE). The growing community based out of Los Angeles, California encourages runners to join its mission while receiving the support necessary during their athletic journey.
It was such a pleasure, listening to Sabrina’s powerful message about her passion project. She jumped on our Zoom meeting and shared thoughts, experiences that further motivated me to continue my own mission. The athlete is a voice of positive energy and hope that will leave you wanting to hear more. Our time on the video call went by in a blink! Her light shines bright which will come across, as you learn more about Sabrina in this interview.
We are a double minority – Latinas and women. How did it feel to be part of such a large sporting event and not have others that looked like you on your field? Honestly, I was shocked at the lack of representation. The experience made me feel as if I didn’t belong and I wanted to do something to change it. However, voices in the audience yelling “Go Latina, go Sabrina!” empowered me. I knew then, we needed more Latinas to be part of the sport.
You are the Co-Founder of Angel City Elites (ACE), a team of women that share your vision. You are part of the creation of a community that supports and empowers the BIPOC running population. Have you experienced marginalization or been in a situation that made you feel excluded due to your gender or ethnicity? Yes, I went for an out-of-state run, while at the location I encountered a group of women talking amongst themselves. I sat down at a table next to them during lunch and they gave me their back. The chatter and looks coming from the group made me uncomfortable. I proceeded to put on my headphones to have them think I wasn’t paying attention. I heard one of the women say, “I didn’t know we had Hispanics here?” I felt singled out and out of place, the comment made me want to go home that very moment!
In an interview for Women’s Running, you said, “We need more empowerment.” It is evident that empowering others is important to you, as is promoting diversity. What is the one thing, we can do to encourage empowerment among all women? In my opinion, it’s important to stop playing the comparison game. There is no need for competition or judging each other, instead find ways to support other women. We should learn to be genuinely happy for others. Be kind, you never know what someone else is going through in their lives. Mental health should be a priority for everyone and keeping a positive mindset promotes good health.
Many people look to find a purpose or meaning in life. You are making a difference in people’s lives by building a platform that embraces initiatives to increase the visibility of the BIPOC community. Congratulations to you, the team, and Brooks for sponsoring such a beautiful project to bridge the gap of representation. What is your WHY? Why is this mission important to you and why should it matter to us? This mission should be important to all of us. I want younger generations to be inspired and confident in the pursuit of their goals. When we see others that look like us doing the things, we aspire to do more, it encourages us to dream bigger. I really enjoy and value mentoring young people, so they feel motivated to go after their passion.
Running should be inclusive, a sport for everyone, not limited to select groups. We need more resources to help young people because they’re the future.
AW likes to end interviews with a positive message. Can you give us a quote, affirmation, mantra, or advice to empower our readers to believe in the power of achieving their dreams? “If you believe it, you can achieve.” The secret is to believe it, envision what you want, and do the work. You can make things happen by taking small steps towards your dream or goal. There will be challenges but remain focused with a positive mindset. It works if you keep practicing these exercises.
Sabrina takes her craft seriously, she runs 90 miles per week. She is determined to pave a road to greatness and take her community along.
On the journey to becoming the best self, we will face challenges and pain that seem unbearable. Living or working in an environment that makes you feel like an outcast will weigh you down emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. In an effort to counteract that agony, one of the most critical actions to take is to be confident. It is your job to know who you are and love yourself with everything!
We look forward to hearing about new runners joining Angel City Elites, receiving mentorship, opportunities, and the means for training and education to advance them in the sport. The world needs a wide range of communities in order to support individuals and agendas that raise the profile of our fellow Latino population. AW is thankful to Sabrina for sharing her beautiful vision with us.
Everyone has a purpose, it is a joy to have so many women visit our community to inspire.
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