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Our Founding Mother

Circe Zamora (Bermudez) - '95 Trinity

When she came to Duke as a freshman in 1991, there was not an active Latino community. She saw that it was lacking and wanted to fill that void. In the Spring of 1992, she and 3 other founding members, including Jessica George (Portilla), Betsy Laxton (Guzman) and Pilar Sixto, organized a group of Latino students. During our second meeting, in a room in the Bryan Center, everyone present (about 25 people), voted on the name “Mi Gente”. The group had previously been called “SALSA” We wanted the name to signify community and belonging. It was inspired by Jessica’s Mom, from the song “Mi Gente” by Hector Lavoe.

Over the next 4 years, the group flourished. There were social activities, such as dances, as well as community service activities such as meeting with and providing services for local farm workers. Circe was a fierce social activist on campus. She never shied away from speaking her mind. Circe graduated from Duke in 1995 with a BA in Comparative Area Studies. (She then wnet on to Law School at the University of Florida where she graduated with her Juris Doctor in 1998. She worked for several firms, eventually going on to have her own practice, Circe Zamora, Attorney at Law & Associates, P.A. in 2002. She got married in 2001 to Guadalupe Zamora. She had a daughter Jasmine Loren Zamora in 2005.)

She battled with Colorectal Cancer for several years before she died on April 9, 2013. Her legacy lives on in her daughter Jasmine and all the members, past and present of Mi Gente.