What is the most challenging part of working in social justice?
Not getting too emotional over “the news.” Setbacks happen but that is why you have to keep doing the work you do.
Who has been the most influential role model/hero in your life thus far?
My mom. She came to this country on foot as a teenager from Mexico City and worked extra hard her whole life whether it was picking fruit as a teenager to help provide for her family or finishing graduate school while raising two kids. She always perseveres and is definitely my hero.
Give us a peek of Reyna outside of the office. What are your favorite things to do when you aren’t at work?
I live Uptown so in the summer I like running along Riverside Park because it is a nice oasis of pretty buildings, cliffs, trees, and grass in the city that is not Central Park. I also like traveling all over New York City to try different cuisines. In the summer, I like to combine a beach trip with going to my favorite Georgian restaurant that is located in Brighton Beach. You must try Adjaruli Khachapuri aka Georgian cheeseboat bread.
Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why?
Difficult question because I have enjoyed pretty much everywhere I have traveled to but if I must pick I would have to say Istanbul, Turkey because it is so old, beautiful, and full of infinite things to see. It has a lot winding small streets to wander around that are also full of friendly feral cats and dogs. You can read a book while relaxing on the grass next to an Ottoman palace or you can play backgammon on the water while taking in views of the city. All of the food is amazing too of course! Last but not least, I love that you can get Turkish tea in real glassware on the short ferry ride between the Asian and European sides of the city. If you do not mind a long flight, it is definitely worth seeing Istanbul at least once.
What do you find most rewarding about working at NEO?
That I get to help these groups that are out there fighting for things I believe in. It is cool to see them mentioned in the media.