Sometimes bold, sometimes tender. Rebellious, creative spirit. Lover of love, dance, and adventure.

Sara Alvarado, Keynote Speaker in Madison, Wisconsin

I was raised in Madison, Wis., by hippie parents. My mother was raised Jewish in Evanston, Ill., and my father was raised Catholic in rural Wisconsin. The mix of religions, wealth, education, and geography impacted my childhood. The whiteness united it all. I identify as a white woman, cisgender, able-bodied, Jewish by heritage, and spiritual af. I am married to a native Mexican man whom I adore. We are raising two bilingual/bicultural children. When Carlos and I first met we lived in Mexico for three years, which is where we had our first son.

We’ve lived in Madison since 2002, but we consider Puerto Vallarta our home as well. As a family we have radical views on how we want the world to change. The understanding of unearned privileges and the opportunities I’ve been offered because of them, along with my experiences of internal and external oppression, compels me to do better and be better.

When you work with me, you work with ALL of me.

BIO

Sara Alvarado is a speaker, writer, and facilitator specializing in race relations, racial justice, and real estate. Sara works to help folks who identify as white build the skills necessary to have messy conversations about race, privilege and identity in order to do and be better. 

Sara is a co-founder of Step Up: Equity Matters, a Madison-based community organization committed to creating change around inequities in the workplace and community. She built her personal real estate business into a successful brokerage with her husband, Carlos, who now leads the company.

They also lead a thriving bilingual and bicultural family and are deeply engaged in the Madison community.

Sara is listed as a founder of both Nuestro Mundo Community School and Badger Rock Middle School, where she also served as a board member. She served on the boards of Sustain Dane as well as the local Realtor Association. Sara has been recognized in InBusiness Magazine’s 40 under 40 list (2013) and Madison Magazine’s M List (2015).

Where does the money go?

This is an important question because as a white woman who has and continues to benefit from generational wealth, I am constantly questioning the flow of money and resources. I have learned to practice critical thinking and discernment and still have a ways to go.

I acknowledge and am aware that I participate in a capitalistic culture. Currently, this is a brief summary of how I navigate the complications of being a white woman, earning money, participating in capitalism, investing in anti-racism work, redistributing wealth, and supporting Women of Color.

I haven’t figured it out. I am a work in progress and this is not perfect. In fact, it is flawed. But it is also better and I will continue to aim for better. 

  • A percentage of my earnings currently go to Freedom Inc. We are working on the creation of a Redistribution of Wealth fund that we plan on systematically contributing to based on a percentage of net income.
  • I vote, financially support, and contribute time, energy, and passion to the political campaigns of Women of Color in local, state, and national politics.
  •  I invest in and support organizations led by People of Color in the Madison, WI area. Mentoring Positives, Urban Triage, Centro Hispano, to name a few (there are many, many more). 
  • I seek out, hire, and learn from People of Color in their professional areas.
  • I follow Black and Brown Women. I don’t follow ALL Women of Color because they are not a monolith. I also hire and follow white women and men and before I do, I inquire about their racial justice values and work in the world because it matters to me.
  • I support Dane Buy Local, local businesses, social entrepreneurs, Latino Chamber of Commerce, Black Chamber of Commerce, Progress Center for Black Women.

“Education does not make us educable. It is our awareness of being unfinished that makes us educable.” Paulo Freíre

As someone who is constantly transforming my life, I want to thank and honor the teachers, coaches, and healers who have helped me become more of who I am.

Ananda Mirilli

April Dawn Harter

Tanya Geisler

Allison Crow

Desiree Adaway

Trudi Lebron

Sarah Hinkley

Beth Binhammer

I also want to honor the teachers I have not yet met as I know I will continue to grow and learn and become more of who I am because of them.