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During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Antonieta Cadiz watched in horror as floodwater began to rise in her Texas home.

“My kids were upstairs, and I started seeing the water coming in, and it was like … how will I get my kids out of here?” she says.

The family quickly moved a few cherished items to the second floor and packed overnight bags.

“I just came out in the middle of that dirty toxic water and I just started screaming and asking for help,” she says. “And that’s when I heard the rescue boat coming.”

Her family evacuated safely and eventually rebuilt their home.

“But something happened inside me after this extreme weather event that changed me forever,” Cadiz says.

She says it motivated her to take action on climate change and help protect Latino communities, who are among the most vulnerable to extreme weather.

Today, Cadiz works as managing director for Latino engagement at Climate Power, a campaign to increase people’s awareness about climate change and push for policy solutions.

“I feel really, really proud of what I do,” she says. “I feel a deep sense of purpose.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media