September 14, 2020
By Caelin Foley

Faith Florez, the founder of the Latina Legacy Foundation and creator of the Calor app, is an inspirational young activist striving to make a change for the Latinx community.

Faith Florez is a third-generation Mexican-American activist from Shafter, California. She’s currently studying English at the University of Southern California (USC), and is hoping to attend law school after graduation. Although young, Florez has inspired other Latinx activists through her accomplishments of founding the Latina Legacy Foundation, and creating her app ‘Calor’. For these impressive achievements, she has been presented with a multitude of awards, such as the 2018 Young Changemaker Award and the 2019 Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leaders Award.

As a descendant of farmworkers, Florez is no stranger to the dangerous struggles they face, such as long hours, dehydration, and heat stroke (to name a few) - so, she created Calor (meaning ‘hot’ in Spanish) to help farmworkers advocate for themselves and their health. The app notifies them when they should take breaks, how to dress, and other helpful suggestions according to their unique health needs and local weather. It also utilizes GPS Tracking and pairs with the Apple Watch, allowing workers to quickly call 911 in case of a heat emergency. Her app came to life when her idea was selected by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in 2016. Throughout the year, Florez worked alongside other students on the project until a web-based product was finished, later converting it to an app. The result was run as the first demo at Fabbri Farms, where she was able to get feedback from workers on how to make the app more useful. However, she didn’t stop there.

Florez also founded the Latina Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to fund technological solutions for long-standing issues within the Latinx community. The organization advocates for some of the most vulnerable members in the community, like the farmworkers Calor intends to help. Florez says she’d like to see the influence of the Latina Legacy Foundation expand and support other Latinx youth with their projects to help the community.

When asked about the problems facing the Latinx community, Faith stated that she believed the biggest problem is the widespread belief that immigrants are only valuable members of the community if they are hard-working. Immigrants, especially those from Central America, are stereotyped as cheap labor and often see their humanity erased in discussions over their ‘value’; Florez hopes to debunk this harmful dialogue through her activism. When speaking more broadly on the topic of activism, she also saw accessibility as another barrier. You must have an Apple Watch to sync with Calor, for example, which can be difficult for low-income farmworkers to afford. However, Florez is working to find ways to provide workers with these expensive resources; Calor’s team is testing other wearable technology brands (such as Fitbit) in order to make the app more accessible.

You can find Faith on Twitter @FaithEFlorez, and be sure to keep her on your radar - she’s going to make a big difference!

Edited by Bella Perreira