Lauren Rangel: A voice for the future of BIPOC women
Updated: Sep 8, 2021
Lauren Rangel is currently a Reflect Us Fellow and Digital Organizing Manager at the Children’s Defense Fund, working as part of the “Sick of It TX” campaign to expand Medicaid in Texas. Not only does she advocate in both of these positions, but she is working towards starting a nonprofit called, We Got this Texas, to increase the representation of BIPOC women in Texas policy. Her goal for the nonprofit is to provide paid fellowships for BIPOC women as a way to ` include women from the backgrounds and identities that have often been excluded from the political space.
Lauren is a native Texan who was born and raised in San Antonio. While growing up in San Antonio, Lauren became aware of the inequality, specifically in education, around her. While attending a magnet high school outside of her zoned district and witnessed that students that looked like her ,but were not a part of the magnet program, were treated differently and not given the same opportunities. She also experienced discrimination at the hands of her college counselor, who discouraged her from attending a four year university, even after Lauren has been accepted into Columbia University, because a school like Columbia was “not for her”. While in high school, she honed in on these issues she saw as part of the Subiendo program at the University of Texas at Austin, where she had the opportunity to form policy to fund a program that would inform every student of all the post-secondary opportunities available to them.
During her time at Columbia University, Lauren became a young mom, something she said was one of her most significant accomplishments, as they drive her to create a better world with opportunities for them to thrive. Though she also highlighted how difficult it became for her to begin her career in policy. She had to turn down many of the opportunities and starting jobs in policy because they were unpaid, something that just was not possible for a mom of two children. This experience inspired her to become an advocate, for paid not only entry-level positions in the legislature but also for social services, which she and her family relied on as she began her career. In 2018 her family was selected to represent Texas in the Strolling Thunder an Advocacy Day hosted by the non-profit ZERO TO THREE. Her family had the opportunity to talk to their federal representatives and senator’s staff about how important programs like SNAP are to the many families who rely on similar programs.
Not only has Lauren been an advocate for her own family, but she also participated in a project where she helped families and individuals share their stories with the legislative leaders to impact the policies being enacted in Texas. She stated that it is essential to have the people whom the policies impact be in the room and have their voices heard when it comes to the policies that can affect them. She believes that in policy, people’s experiences should be forefront and continues to advocate for policies around children with disabilities and social welfare programs with this perspective in mind.
Lauren encourages the next generation of young women not to give up or listen to those who say you cannot accomplish something or that you do not belong. The louder they say those things, the greater the reason for you to be occupying that space. It is always more important to be there, even if it makes other people uncomfortable, because discomfort is where we see actual change.