Latinx Heritage Month Spotlight: Maritza Davis
In the third installment of our Kings.com series for Latinx Heritage Month Spotlight, we sat down with Vice President of Social Responsibility Maritza Davis as she discussed her heritage, inspiration, and journey.
How would you describe your role with the Sacramento Kings?
"In my role I lead our organization on community outreach programs, charitable endeavors and youth basketball participation initiatives. I serve as an advisor with our Executive Team, players and coaches on efforts to uplift and support underserved and underrepresented people and communities. The ability to improve lives and bring awareness to social issues both locally and around the world is a large part of my role.”
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
"We have a huge platform as an NBA team and being able to see people’s lives impacted by interacting with our team is really special. I enjoy working on the various programs that we activate such as Team Up For Change, Season of Doing Good, Rally the Vote and Studio Sessions. Through these programs we get to design spaces with young people and youth advocates in our community to connect, learn and grow."
"In addition to these programs, community improvement projects, such as the court refurbishments that we do with Kaiser Permanente and ROOT gardens with Raley’s are some of the most rewarding because they create safe, fun and sustainable spaces for communities in our region."
In what ways do you celebrate your Latina heritage?
"I’m Mexican-American, and to me, being a female executive in the NBA and also Latina is a role that I celebrate. In order to celebrate, I believe it’s important to honor my ancestors; the men and women who have worked, sacrificed and paved the way for myself, my family and our communities. I celebrate my heritage in a variety of ways, for example, I explore and try food from various Latin-influenced restaurants both locally and nationally, I collect art from various Latinx artists and I am huge music lover so I am always listening to classic and new Latinx artists from Selena to Celia Cruz to Mana to Pitbull."
How would you characterize your journey to where you are today?
“My journey has been like going through mountainous terrain! There have been moments where it’s been really smooth and easy with a beautiful view and at times rough and rocky and it was hard to see ahead. Overall, I have been very fortunate to do what I love and I have received a tremendous amount of support from family friends and colleagues."
"In all of the endeavors along my journey I have always believed that a positive outlook and along with having specific goals are keys to success."
Who have been your biggest role models?
"I would say my grandmothers were really the ones who were holding it down at the house. We had grandfathers who were hard at work, but you wouldn’t see them as much because they’re out there working. My grandmothers always had this way of making things seem effortless. They would just make things happen."
"I also gain inspiration from my parents, aunts and uncles, mentors, professors, and people within the community."
What advice would you offer fellow Latinx who are striving to succeed in the sports and entertainment industry?
"My advice is always do great work and be true to what you stand for. Before joining the Kings, I didn’t know a ton about basketball. I played it as a kid, but realized that in professional basketball there’s a whole business side to it. Don’t feel limited by anything that you are striving towards and you can make a positive impact in anything that you do.”
What challenges do you think confront Latinx people in the United States today?
"The Latinx community confronts many issues. To name a few – economic empowerment, immigration reform, health, but above all, education is a major challenge. Access to quality education will be crucial for the Latinx population, but even more importantly for our country as whole, since the Latinx demographic continues to grow. Quality education is essentially one step, many Latinx youth are seeking higher education to improve the trajectory of their lives, a large issue that plays out in this goal is that they incur a tremendous amount of debt that in turn impacts their future."
"Facing this challenge with more focus on financial literacy and money management to build generational wealth within the Latinx community is vital. The racial wealth gap is not going away, and neglecting it is not the solution, so the sooner the issue is addressed, the sooner we will see prosperity.”