Rosario Dawson is an actress of Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, Irish and Native American descent. Dawson’s first acting role came at age fifteen in the 1995 controversial teen drama, Kids. She was born in New York City where her family moved into an abandoned building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They could not afford to pay rent, so in this abandoned building, the family worked together to install electrical wiring and plumbing turning the abandoned property into habitable housing, where the children were then raised. Dawson says this renovation taught her that if you wanted something better, you had to make it happen for yourself.
This can-do spirit served the actress well on her career path. She followed her initial acting job with roles in He Got Game, Men in Black II, Rent, and Unstoppable. A celebrity with a heart, Rosario Dawson is an avid and vocal political activist. She devotes her time to the causes she champions and fights hard to make a difference in her community and in the world. She supports fundraising efforts for the Lower Eastside Girls Club in the neighborhood where she grew up. The actress also founded Voto Latino to encourage Latino youth to vote and to become active in the political process.
She spoke at the 2009 National Conference on the Primary Prevention of Men’s Violence Against Women in Washington, D.C. On her advocacy and the importance of her political voice, she says, “Changes are not easy to bring about, and it takes people bravely going into it and fighting for it.” She endorsed Barack Obama in his successful run for President of the US and was one of the protestors during Democracy Spring in Washington, DC in 2016.
Aside from her political stance, Dawson is a philanthropist. She lends her financial support to, and spearheads fundraising efforts for, many causes and organizations. These include environmental group Global Cool, the ONE Campaign, Operation USA, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and the International Rescue Committee. Dawson also serves on the Board of Directors for V-Day, a global non-profit movement that works to eradicate violence against women.
In addition to these efforts, she serves as a spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders, the National Geographic Society, and the Save The Children organization. Encouraging Latino-American youth to vote, to have a political voice, and to give back, she says, “The American future is here, and there’s great news: the future votes.”
Rosario Dawson’s story of overcoming a difficult start, finding success, and committing to advocacy is an inspiration to Latino girls and women. In fact, women of every nationality can learn from this amazing young woman that disadvantages do not need to hold you back or keep you down. Investing in her future, she used the salary from her first acting role to take acting classes, which lead directly to her role as Night Nurse in Daredevil. All women can learn to invest in themselves and invest in their future.