The Great Lata D’Mello
By: Olivia Samples
Lata has been working at Monsoon almost since it began in 2003. She first worked as a volunteer and then was hired as a multilingual advocate in 2009. She became the assistant director in 2010 and has been working at our Franklin Ave. office ever since.
But at the end of November she will start a new project. Leading the Iowa City office and expanding Monsoon’s reach to Eastern, North Eastern and Southern Iowa. She also wanted to live in a university town with more “creative energy” after having been in Des Moines for seventeen years.
Around the office Lata is a powerful and constant energy. She is an amazing advocate, always working late and challenging systems to make sure things get done for our clients. Her sarcastic humor and wit make her take no shit attitude all the better. Co-workers say that she is the office diplomat, making sure that things are fair and no birthday goes un-celebrated. She is generous with everything she has; always giving people rides to and from, offering her time, expertise, fantastic cooking and her huge heart. The staff say they will miss everything about her at the office.
I did a Q&A with Lata about her time with Monsoon and here is what she had to say:
Q: What is your vision for Monsoon?
A: My vision for Monsoon is multi- pronged: A center that is composed of i) a health unit that provides services to victims of gender-based violence; ii) a literary café that encourages intellectual growth in comfort and safety; iii) a theater and film space that promotes feminist creative talent; and iv) a childcare and play area for the children of staff.
Q: When will you be done doing this work?
A: When I am no longer in full possession of all my faculties.
Q: What are you most proud of since you started at Monsoon?
A: I am most proud of helping contribute to Monsoon’s recognition as a powerful organization on the national My co-workers have become feminist forces to be reckoned with not only professionally but also personally.
Q: Why is what we do at Monsoon important?
A: If we value human lives, or for that matter all lives, and if we believe in universal human rights and nonviolence, Monsoon’s work is important to help transform communities.