Interview with Cindy

Interview with Cindy

Cindy Y. Rodriguez (she/her/ella) is a writer, editor and storyteller who has worked in journalism for over 15 years for companies like NBC, HuffPost, CNN, and, presently, as a senior digital producer WNET/Thirteen, the local PBS station in New York. She specializes in creating impactful and diverse content for English-dominant Latinos, specializing on topics like identity, culture and race. Recently, she shared her wealth journey as host/producer on “Hay Dinero”, a five-part docuseries that provides practical financial planning tips while shedding light on the connection between culture and generational trauma. 

She co-founded Morado Lens, an award-nominated feminist podcast discussing sex, culture, and embracing our inner bruja where they interviewed powerful Latinas such as Alexandria Ocasio, Dolores Huerta, and Rosario Dawson. In 2018, she founded Reclama, spiritual hiking and journaling for women of color which has organized over 65 outdoor events and created a safe space in nature for more than 850 women of color in the tri-state area. 

Cindy was born and raised in New Jersey by her Peruvian parents and identifies as indigenous.


Kantua Handmade Knit Peruvian Jewelry interviews Cindy Rodriguez, PBS producer of Hay Dinero; building financial wealth for Latinos

Exploring Generational Wealth & Healing through Hiking and Journaling: A Candid Conversation with Cindy Rodriguez

In our recent IG Live session, we delved into the world of generational wealth with the insightful Cindy Y. Rodriguez. Cindy, a seasoned writer and storyteller with over 15 years of experience in journalism, shared profound insights from her groundbreaking series, "Hay Dinero." This five-part docuseries not only provides practical financial planning tips but also shines a light on the intricate connection between culture and generational trauma within the Latino community.

Q: What motivated you  to create "Hay Dinero," and what were the key objectives?

A: The inspiration behind "Hay Dinero" stemmed from my earnest desire to infuse a positive mindset into financial conversations within the Latino community. Departing from the prevailing narrative of scarcity, I aimed to establish a space that boldly declares, "¡Vamos a entrar a este espacio que sí hay dinero!" Sharing stories, especially those of individuals grappling with generational traumas, became a powerful method for fostering learning within the community.

Q: How did you approach the topic of generational trauma within the series, and why do you think it's crucial for individuals to understand their money traumas?

A: Addressing generational trauma was a primary focus, recognizing it as a pivotal first step in the journey towards financial well-being. Understanding that changing one's financial situation is 70% mindset and 30% logistics, I highlighted the necessity of comprehending and overcoming money traumas before delving into the practical aspects of wealth-building. The series delved into themes like budgeting without sacrificing joy, perceiving debt as leverage, and acknowledging the power of ownership, particularly for people of color in the corporate realm.

Q: Can you share some key takeaways or transformations you experienced personally during the series?

A: I can certainly open up about my transformative journey throughout the series. The series profoundly impacted my perspective, emphasizing the critical role of self-talk in reshaping my mindset. From initial discomfort to gradually embracing budgeting, investing, and redefining retirement, the series changed not only my financial approach but also my aspirations. It challenged preconceived notions about retirement and financial independence.

"Hay Dinero" is not just a series about financial planning; it's a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Through storytelling and real-time learning, I've created a space that encourages individuals to break free from limiting beliefs and embark on a path of financial abundance. The series continues to be a beacon of guidance for those navigating the complexities of generational wealth within the Latino community.

Q: In your research and discussions about generational wealth, have you encountered distinctive challenges or success stories within Latino families? How can cultural heritage and traditions play a role in shaping financial legacies?

A: Throughout my research and discussions on generational wealth, I've discovered unique challenges and inspiring success stories within Latino families. Cultural heritage and traditions are integral in shaping financial legacies, serving as a guiding force for many. By embracing cultural values, families can establish financial practices that align with their heritage, fostering a sense of identity and continuity across generations.

Q: Financial education is crucial. How do you envision making financial literacy more accessible and engaging, particularly for younger generations, to empower them in building generational wealth?

A: The emerging generation has a profound ability to balance financial growth, environmental stewardship, and societal well-being. Their approach, often misunderstood as laziness, is, in fact, a positive shift toward demanding more from life. This generation's demands set a new baseline for progress. I envision making financial literacy accessible and engaging by leveraging their modes of communication, such as social media and interactive platforms. By weaving financial education into narratives that resonate with their values, we can empower younger generations to build generational wealth while caring for the Earth. In the series, I introduced my cousin and niece, recognizing that information becomes impactful the moment it sticks, and sharing these insights can inspire others on their financial journey.

Kantua Handmade Knit Peruvian Jewelry interviews Cindy Rodriguez, CEO Reclama Hiking and Journaling trips for BIPOC

Q: Your brand 'Reclama' combines hiking and journaling. How do these activities complement each other, and what benefits do you believe they offer, especially in terms of mental well-being and self-reflection?

A: The synergy between hiking and journaling within 'Reclama' is powerful. The act of movement in nature is a twofold experience. Firstly, physical activity induces endorphins, promoting a positive mood even before reaching the park. Nature, visually stunning and emitting relaxing chemicals, further enhances this effect. "So, you're guaranteed to emerge feeling good, whether you consciously aim for it or not."

The immersive experience disconnects participants from their phones, encouraging presence. Putting phones on "do not disturb" for a few hours fosters an authentic connection with nature. An hour in nature feels like four, and four hours feel like eight due to that profound connection, untouched by the urge to share on social media. It's a personal gift, an intimate moment held by the individual for themselves.

Combining this outdoor experience with journaling elevates it to a powerful therapeutic practice. Initially intended for documenting journeys, journaling in nature becomes a profound form of healing. Historically, nature wasn't always welcoming to BIPOC communities, given past segregations in national parks. 'Reclama' creates a space where individuals collectively reclaim that space. Post-hike journaling becomes the key, a stamp of affirmation. Themes vary, from writing to the new moon, full moon, or letters to ancestors. It's about letting go or manifesting, making intentions clear. For those versed in writing and manifesting, the likelihood of bringing those words to life is higher. Journal entries act as a reflection on emotions before and after, fostering a deep and meaningful relationship with nature.

Kantua Handmade Knit Peruvian Jewelry interviews Cindy Rodriguez, CEO Reclama Hiking and Journaling trips for BIPOC


Q: Journaling can be a transformative practice. How does 'Reclama' encourage individuals to use journaling as a tool for personal growth and self-discovery during their hiking experiences?

A: 'Reclama' views journaling not just as a practice but as a transformative tool for personal growth and self-discovery. During our hiking experiences, we emphasize the integration of journaling into the journey. Participants are encouraged to document their thoughts, feelings, and reflections during the hike, making it a holistic experience. By intertwining the physicality of hiking with the introspection enabled by journaling, individuals can deepen their connection with nature and gain profound insights into their own personal growth.

Q: In what ways does 'Reclama' contribute to fostering a sense of community and connection among hikers and journaling enthusiasts? Are there plans for community events or collaborations to further strengthen this sense of belonging?

A: In 2024, 'Reclama' is set to introduce seasonal retreats, strategically positioned between changing seasons. These retreats aim to assist individuals in transitioning gracefully between seasons, acknowledging the impact of seasons on well-being. An upcoming e-guide will serve as a comprehensive resource, addressing common queries like where to go, what to pack, and other essentials. This guide seeks to empower individuals, boosting their confidence in exploring nature independently or with their families. Furthermore, 'Reclama' envisions collaborations with other POC outdoor groups, fostering a broader sense of community and connection. By uniting with like-minded organizations, we aim to amplify the collective impact and create more inclusive spaces for nature enthusiasts.

Q: This movement is gaining momentum! Have you considered organizing hikes abroad, perhaps in Cusco?

A: I've visited Cusco a few times, and it holds a special place in my heart. While I haven't finalized plans, I'm currently in the research phase. By the end of next year, we'll have a clearer picture. It's been a dream of mine to bring more people to Peru, especially those who may not have had the chance to connect with their roots. For those who identify as "ni de aquí ni de allá" (neither from here nor there), it's a unique opportunity. Personally, I've been making these trips solo for the past three years, much to my family's initial shock. Now, I've adopted a routine of letting them know I've arrived, saying, "ya llegué, what's up?" to ease their concerns.

Q: You're collaborating on journaling sessions with Cynthia Paniagua through her “Dance Your Ancestors” program. Can you share more about these sessions?

A: Absolutely! I'm thrilled about our collaboration with Cynthia. We're infusing journaling into her "Dance Your Ancestors" program, offering unique journaling sessions throughout our time in Peru. I’ll be guiding the participants through introspective journaling and grounding meditations to help lock in the downloads they receive while dancing. I’ll be participating as well! 

Q: Anything else you'd like to share as we wrap up the interview?

A: Definitely! For "Hay Dinero," I'm currently in the process of envisioning what a Season 2 could look like. If anyone has thoughts or suggestions, feel free to DM me or shoot me an email. As for 'Reclama,' our upcoming hike in Woodstock, NY, is themed around reclaiming your healing. Sometimes, we get stuck because we're striving for results that resonate with others but may not align with our true selves. We'll delve into how to incorporate what genuinely resonates into our lives, all while surrounded by the beauty of the mountains. Additionally, we have something exciting planned for next spring, so stay tuned!

Thank you again for the necklace and earrings! It's been getting quite a few shoutouts. It's a piece of Peruvian art, and even my mom, with her keen eye, noticed that it’s a tejido (woven). It's a beautiful connection to my heritage that I'm proud to showcase. Thank you for making it!

Kantua Handmade Knit Peruvian Jewelry interviews Cindy Rodriguez, CEO Reclama Hiking and Journaling trips for BIPOC


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