Erica Ramirez a young leader in her community

Very often we hear on the news of young Latinos making a difference in their communities. Columbus Junction in Iowa is not a big city, but it is here where Erica Ramirez lives, studies and works. Ramirez is one of those budding Latino leaders who are making difference in a community she lives in.

Erica Ramirez is a 17 year old senior from Columbus Junction Community High School who created Cultural Connections: The Bridge. The Bridge is a small newspaper published in three languages. Ramirez explained that she wanted to establish better communication between diverse members of her community. In addition to large Hispanic minority group, Columbus Junction also has a large number of immigrants from Chin state of Burma. They speak Hakha Chin.

“Besides being published in English and Spanish, it is an immense challenge to find volunteers to translate articles into Hakha Chin,” Ramirez explains. Even though it is a big obstacle to overcome, Ramirez had not given up. She keeps looking for translators while reporting about events and people of her community and writing about special assistance provides by different groups and organizations available to immigrants in their native language.

The Bridge, named after a well-known attraction in Columbus Junction, the Swinging Bridge, can be found alongside The Columbus Gazzette. Also, the current issues of the Bridge can be found online at

For more information call Cultural Connections: The Bridge at (319) 728-7283 or email

Being a High School student is hard enough on its own, but being High School students and running a newspaper is even harder, and it takes a real leader to make this happen. Erica Ramirez is an up-and-coming leader who is connecting diverse members of her community through one of the oldest forms of communication – the newspaper.

You can find one of her articles in this link:

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