The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, “It’s a girl.” ― Shirley Chisholm When I was about 11 or 12 I saw my cousin get her face punched in by her husband in front of an abandoned gas station. It was a warm summer night and the normally loud Brooklyn neighborhood was uncharacteristically quiet save for two crack … Continue reading Unlearning Patriarchy: The Deconstruction of Traditional Gender Roles
What I appreciated most about this documentary and the way it was presented is its willingness to showcase how one vote does indeed matter. By allowing us to look at the challenges others in our community face, albeit coming from celebrities, it revealed that when it comes to things like immigration, healthcare, and employment we are all equally impacted by the decisions and policies put in place by our government officials and lawmakers. There are 27 million registered Hispanic voters in this country. Could you imagine if you put 27 million people in one room how loud we would be? That’s what your vote does. It allows you to be heard. So the more of us who vote, the louder we are, and the more they cannot ignore us. Continue reading Habla Y Vota: The HBO Documentary On the Power Of Voting in the Latino Community
We all have secrets, things we may not be proud of, things we keep to ourselves because we don’t want to risk hurting someone we love. In Latino culture we are taught from a very early age not to air our dirty laundry. Los trapos sucios se lavan en casa. We are never to discuss in public that which happens behind closed doors even … Continue reading The Stories That Bind Us: How do we tell our stories without telling the stories of others?
History, traditions, & culture are passed on and it is up to us to make sure that we honor that history and that we preserve it, while simultaneously adding to it so that we leave to our children a legacy they can be proud of. So when I think about what makes me Latina I can’t narrow it down to one thing or to a few things. I am a Latina by how I love and the way I live my life, by the examples set by my family, by fulfilling the expectations of my ancestors and those who came before me. I attribute my latinidad and my desire to help others with the love of family that was instilled in me as a child. You always look out for your family. That’s what I was taught and that is what I exhibit. I want each and every one of us to succeed. If I can help another person succeed, even if it’s in a small way, I will.
My family showed me by their example how wonderful and magnificent life is. They taught me to be orgullosa of my Puerto Rican heritage while simultaneously teaching me to love everything that this great country of ours has to offer. They taught me to love America and value its lesson that great things can be achieved if one works hard for it; with the understanding that success for Latinos or Latinas, or any minority for that matter, doesn’t come easy. We have to work twice as hard and although that struggle did not and does not create a Latina identity, it does inspire how I live my life. I’ve learned that, pride is instilled. It is what you carry with you every day of your life. This is what I hope to pass down to my daughter and future generations. Continue reading Hispanic Heritage Month: On being Latina & how family shapes who we are
I carry history in my hair Generations of thick tangled tresses Colored with shame at the roots stripped, dyed, burned, fried trying unsuccessfully to alter its DNA. Since birth, my hair has danced violently to a beat of its own Tautly twined coils stretched like the goatskin that cover djembe drums each lock relentlessly rebelling, defiant like sugar cane trying to make its way through concrete … Continue reading Roots
This want of knowing is greater than the need of oxygen in my lungs For, to be alive and not know who you are or where you’re from is not the same as living. De donde vengo yo is not a question. It is a statement. An affirmation of where I’m from. Because where I’m from, history wears the face of family. It’s my grandmother’s … Continue reading De Donde Vengo Yo (Where I’m From)
Growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn I have always felt connected to my heritage. In my house there was always El Gran Combo playing on the stereo, spanish novelas on the TV, late nights spent preparing pasteles for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and time spent with an abuelita who only spoke spanish despite living here for over 40 years. I am Afro-Latina! The product of a Black … Continue reading Afro-Latino American Crossroads: A Cultural Art Exhibit to feed your soul