I don't think being Latina will hurt you. I've gotten many rides from immigrants and from people of all colors.
people that have picked me up all have one thing in common: a good heart.
a dog is a girl's best friend, though. you will likely meet creeps.
either that, or find a sidekick here (female, if possible), because another set of eyes and ears for a woman on the road will be a big + to discourage a would-be road suitor. female, because unfortunately, someone you meet here could be as potentially a creep as anyone you meet on an onramp.
I discourage weapons. they've been debated back and forth here to death, but let that be your choice.
All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.