To be a First and Only in America is a delicate balancing act of surviving where you come from while acting like you belong where you're going.
Alejandra Campoverdi has been a child on welfare, a White House aide to President Obama, a gang member's girlfriend, and a candidate for U.S. Congress. She's ridden on Air Force One and in G-rides. She's modeled on the pages of Maxim and had a double mastectomy. Living a life of contradictory extremes often comes with the territory when you're a "First and Only." It also comes at a price.
With candor and heart, Alejandra retraces her trajectory as a Mexican American woman raised by an immigrant single mother in Los Angeles, foregoing the tidy bullet points of her resume and shining a light on the spaces between them instead. What emerges is a moving testimony of personal struggle and triumph that shatters the one-dimensional glossy narrative we are often sold of what it takes to achieve the American Dream. Alejandra uses her own experiences to illustrate the emotional tolls First and Onlys often face that are widespread yet rarely acknowledged, providing a road to truth and healing in the process. It is a timely and revealing reflection, as social class continues to be a key determinant of career success.
Part memoir, part manifesto, First Gen is a story of generational inheritance, aspiration, and belonging - a poignant journey to "reclaim the parts of ourselves we sacrificed in order to survive."
Alejandra Campoverdi is a nationally-recognized women's health advocate, founder, producer, writer, and a former Obama White House official. She produced the PBS health documentary Inheritance, founded Latinos & BRCA in partnership with Penn Medicine's Basser Center, and served as White House Deputy Director of Hispanic Media. Alejandra holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and graduated cum laude from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. She currently serves on the boards of Harvard's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, and the California Community Foundation, and previously received a gubernatorial appointment to the Medical Board of California and was a Commissioner for First 5 California.
Campoverdi will be in conversation with Silvia Foster-Frau, who writes for The Washington Post about the nation’s emergence as a predominantly multicultural society, exploring its changing racial, ethnic and cultural demographics, and telling the stories of everyday Americans affected by and a part of such change. Foster-Frau joined The Post in February 2021 after more than four years working at the San Antonio Express-News in Texas, where she covered immigration and border affairs, reporting in depth on separated families, border security and immigration courts. She was also the paper’s lead reporter on the 2017 Sutherland Springs mass shooting, closely documenting the small, rural community’s grief and recovery for over a year. Foster-Frau was the recipient of a two-year Hearst Fellowship, which placed her in Fairfield County, Conn., for her first year before moving to San Antonio.
This event is free with first come, first served seating.