For many people of color and first-generation students, finishing college isn’t just about them; the milestone is also about their families. So when Kay Lopez, founder of Latinas Poderosas, was thinking of a way to make graduation more special for Latina grads in her home state Texas, she knew she’d have to incorporate family. That’s exactly what she’s doing on May 4 with Photos y Recuerdos, a part photo shoot, part celebration for members of the Class of 2019.

Latinas Poderosas, a platform uplifting Latinas, is hosting Photos y Recuerdos in Houston. There, soon-to-be grads can take grad photos as well as professional headshots for their LinkedIn accounts or portfolios. They can also enjoy a selection of snacks, drinks, and other treats. Named after Selena’s song “Fotos y Recuerdos,” the event switches Fotos for Photos to signal that this is meant for people who live between two cultures.

“It was really an idea that came from what moment in our lives are really important,” Lopez tells Remezcla. “And one of those moments for me and for a lot of Latinas that I speak to, and content that I see, is that moment of graduation and completing school… This is really just going to be fun day for them to come to the studio, take photographs. I’m encouraging Latinas to bring their flags of whatever country they’re representing. I’m encouraging Latinas to bring images of their family if they want to take a photograph with a photo of their family. I’m also encouraging them if they want to bring their parents, to bring their parents to also celebrate with them.” 

The event is a natural extension of Lopez’s skills. Having worked as a content strategist and social media manager for brands like L’Oréal and Publicis, Kay knows how to put together photoshoots. She currently lives in Los Angeles and has done some of the work – with the help of two others – from a long distance. But despite juggling many moving parts, including finding companies to sponsor the event, for Kay, this is a very necessary event.

“I want them to leave so proud of what they’ve done and proud of their heritage,” Kay adds. “It’s really a day of celebrating all aspects of what it means to be Latina.” 

While the graduation photos will likely be a major draw of the event, Lopez also wanted to find a way to help grads start their careers on the right foot. As someone who has been through the process before (and seen her friends go through it as well), she knows that some end up struggling to find a right photo for their portfolios.

“When I graduated that’s something that I needed and as I talked to my friends who were just jumping into pursuing their career and applying for jobs, it’s something that came up all the time,” she says. “‘Hey, do you have a headshot? Where can I get a headshot? How much is a headshot?’ And a lot of the times what ended up happening is you end up just taking a selfie and the quality is not the best. It doesn’t make you stand out in terms of the photography, and I wanted to be able to provide a photograph that is quality level when they’re pursuing and applying to jobs, so they look their best.”

The event is not open to the public, but people can RSVP now to land one of the limited spots. Learn more and apply here.