On Saturday I participated in the Women’s March at the State House in Providence. Being 1 of 5,000 people in the crowd was both heart warming and empowering. I felt … Continue reading PVD Women’s March
Trump received 27% of the Latino vote.
Disunity. There’s power in numbers.
We lost because there is a lack of strength in our community. A lack of understanding, a lack of compassion. A lack of remembrance of our roots. Latinos make up the largest group of minorities in the U.S. We are 18% of the U.S population.
By 2050 we are expected to reach 25%. A quarter of the US population will be Hispanic/Latino. Mi gente, se estan cagando del susto. The power that we hold is not understood. We have a debt to not just our community but all marginalized communities in this country to use our voice and speak to the injustices we are seeing in this country today.
I’m speaking on behalf of my community specifically and what I’ve witnessed.
What I see is this: the same oppression and lack of opportunity either we or our parents or our grandparents left in our home countries, is the same oppression perpetuated by several Latinos here in the U.S.
This goes beyond if you voted for Trump or Hillary. This is on a human level. The racism and homophobia and even sexism in the Latino community is present. This is not to say it does not exist anywhere else, of course it does in several parts of the world including the United States (clearly). I love my people, I love my culture. I will forever and always be a proud Latina. My culture is absolutely fundamental to who I am. But I will not pretend that we are perfect.
We will never move forward if we do not include everyone in our fight for freedom, justice and unity. Our fight is not just about immigration reform or sanctuary cities, it goes beyond our own interests. It is about creating a level playing field for EVERYONE not just ourselves. Each cause is separate and has its own way of operating but there has to be a coming together of these causes if we want to move forward. Our culture is one of perseverance, hard work and family. Latinos and Latinas run shit. We form such an integral part of this economy and society at all levels. We have power and we must use it.
Yes a lot of white people fucked this up for us but we can’t focus on that. We won’t always be able to change the ignorant who are set in their views. We need to turn to our own circles at school, at work and in our neighborhoods, and promote a sense of compassion and unity that we have not yet seen. And if you’re white and you with us you are most definitely welcome! This is not all minorities against all whites. This is the just seeking justice. We cannot afford to exclude anyone who is just as hungry to see this country be what it claims to be, the land of opportunity and the land of the free.
Drop the hate. In all of its forms.
1. When you forget some shit
Realizing you forgot your makeup bag when arriving to your week long business trip is just a trash feeling.
2. When your bag gets checked
There’s ways to do this is a polite manner. If you see from the X-ray that I clearly packed my things that morning why would you openly display its contents to the rest of the people in line behind me. P.S Just cause my undergarments aren’t hidden at the very bottom of my suitcase does not mean they’re not clean. Why you looking at me like that?! Or do ya’ll go comando when you travel. No, ok then let’s chill out.
3. When your bag gets lost
Every time I think about the times this happened to me I get mad all over again and I don’t wanna fuck up my positive energies surrounding my chakra so forget I’m not even gonna go further. Y’all know the struggle.
4. When your shit gets confiscated
One of my first times flying I packed a bottle opener in my carry on like an idiot. It was parrot shaped and I bought it for my uncle as a souvenir. Customs took it out and threw it down a tall plastic container in the middle of security. Your welcome for the gift to whoever claimed it at the end of the day.
5. When your flight is delayed
Just annoying as fuck. Especially when you have a connecting flight in another city which leads to number 6…
6. When you have to spend a night at the airport because your flight was delayed
Slept on a cot next to a creeper who kept comparing me to Rosie Perez. Like out of all latinas I could resemble, ya gonna call me Rosie? It was probably the only latina he knew. Smh.
7. When the flight attendant is a bitch
I asked for a blanket once and a flight attendant laughed in my face. Like HELLO I’m friolenta. Why you looking at me like I’m crazy with your rude ass. I’m cold ! Tend to me. And if you’re unwilling than at least be nice to me.
8. When the person in front of you reclines
I’m all for equality. You have a right to recline as much as I do, but all the way back? Cmon bro. Have some consideration
9. When they run out of overhead bin space
This literally happens to me all the time. I bring it upon myself and never seem to learn my lesson. Early check-in is a must. There is a big difference between boarding group 3 and boarding group 4 when you’re boarding a small aircraft. You may be guaranteed your seat but your carry on luggage isn’t.
10. When your flight doesn’t exist
True story. When my study abroad experience came to an end, I arrived at the airport with my group and did not have a flight back home. The flight number was not on the board. It wasn’t canceled, wasn’t delayed it just wasn’t there.
When I was 3 I went to Bolivia, I was told. I don’t remember a damn thing except my cousin being yelled at for making a mess. I wish I remembered more.
I’ve been to DR, only once but I’ve gone. While I was there I felt in sync with something. I felt reconnected with a part of me I hadn’t known I’d lost. I felt home, agusto. I cried on the plane ride back! I knew I wasn’t going to have that feeling again for a while. It was a sad, empty feeling but one de tremendo orgullo también.
This year I’m planning a trip to Bolivia with my grandmother. It’s a gift to her but also to myself, more of a necessity for me. Similar to DR I felt something while I was in Chile and in Argentina my sophomore year. When I went to cultural events the music resonated with me. The Cueca. It reminded me of a country that I didn’t feel was right to say it was mine. It reminded me of mi Bolivia.
Our parents gain a lot in coming to the uma. They have us here or bring us here to give us a better life. But us, we don’t know what we’re potentially “saved from” or vaguely remember it and along with that comes a certain disassociation with our own culture, our roots.
I look at myself in the mirror and I see full lips and a wide nose. I know these are African influences rested in the Caribbean and reflected in me. My smile reveals indigenous heritage along with my long dark brown wavy hair, perhaps Incan to be exact, but I can’t be sure because I don’t know from where in Bolivia I originate. There’s a loss.
I wonder why so many minority youth are lost or if anything, stuck in a low standard of living. I know the system isn’t made for us but how much do we challenge it? How much can we challenge it knowing so little of where we come from?
While studying abroad I went to a Rolling Stones concert free of charge along w the rest of La Habana. Just a few years ago, the Rolling Stones weren’t allowed in Cuba, Mick Jagger acknowledged it mid-concert. And in March they performed in la Ciudad Deportiva. It was dope.
I didn’t know any of the lyrics and I could barely see the boys up on stage but something about the environment made me feel good, like I was free.There were hundreds of people on the field, on the streets, everywhere. People in the surrounding apartments posted up on their porches with their sofas and improvised minibars. It seemed like the whole city was out. Everyone was having such a good time, without a care in the world, enjoying a free concert from a legendary rock band. Shit like that doesn’t go down in the States. I say it mostly because of the free part.
It got me thinking, a night like this in the States would have cost me $200 minimum and I wouldn’t have had the freedom to walk around with a Presidente in my hand or to choose where I wanted to sit, stand or lay down like I did there! Is it crazy that in a socialist country I had 100s of moments like that? I thought about it all the time. I was constantly aware of what I was doing in Cuba and the fact that I couldn’t do it in the States. It made me a little bitter.
Cuba has its economic and societal issues that present immense challenges to its citizens. I’m aware. The average monthly wage is $20/ mo. With an entrepreneurial spirit you might bump that figure to $50. And although education and medical expenses are paid for by the government it’s not exactly top quality. Since the majority of items are imported, consumer product prices are completely out of range. No one lives off those wages, impossible.
Cubans are in a situation where they’re taken care of sufficiently to survive but are limited by the means by which they earn a living. It’s failed socialism. They have a highly educated population with low economic opportunity. There’s a high frustration rate, definitely. They live with their hands tied behind their back, their wings cut off before they had a chance to fly however you want to put it. But they party like its their career. You wouldn’t guess they’re stressing financially.
They enjoy life. They accept there’s not much to do but either cry about it or thug it out and live as best they can. What I loved about being in Cuba was witnessing how people enjoyed themselves despite their circumstances. It made me really think about how stupid it is to stress my computer restarting while I’m using it, or the fat lady in front of me in the plane reclining her seat or the kids running around upstairs like crazy. Why would I let such trivial things make me upset? Mess with my chakra? The computer will restart, I can recline my seat too and healthy kids are active. Fuck it!
Cuba became a safe haven from those stresses because in those moments that I became frustrated I became aware of what else was going on during that time. I met someone new, something funny happened, I noticed something I never saw before. I was hyperaware. And it made me feel dumb and fulfilled at the same time. I stressed and then I noticed and then I felt. I relaxed and I forgot. I learned to fall in love with moments.
Which decision is more inhumane?
A 22 yr old woman rushes to the bathroom after getting off a conference call with her team. She throws up the lunch she ate just half an hour ago. This is the third time she’s puked today.
She can no longer deny the truth and goes to the pharmacy after the work day is done. She stares at the pregnancy test in her purse periodically as she rides the train. When she gets home she takes it and the suspected is confirmed. She’s pregnant.
Her and her boyfriend have been together for two months. They were introduced to each other in church by their parents. How is she going to break the news to them? How will they respond?
She had applied to law school and got in. She was planning on quitting her job and starting at Fordham next fall. She was planning a month long trip to Morocco in the summer to work on the documentary she always wanted to make. None of that could happen now. She was going to be a mother.
The worry becomes too great and the woman says to herself she can’t go on with the pregnancy. She will not tell her boyfriend nor will she tell her parents. She will go to the clinic first thing tomorrow morning and have it taken care of.
She goes to bed that night heart broken and lost. She feels like the worst person in the world for taking her decision to abort. She can’t sleep so she takes sleeping pills, 4 of them. The next morning was a Saturday, and her mother comes to her apartment every Saturday. She has the key.
Her mother enters the house and calls for her daughter but no answer. She goes to the bathroom and finds the pregnancy test in the trash. There’s two lines on it. She can’t believe it. She starts crying and bursts into her daughters room with the pregnancy test in hand. The woman wakes up. She’s mute
The mother tells her daughter they will get through this. She will not be alone and the baby will be loved and cared for. The woman cries, for hours. She never reveals her plans to her mother or anyone of having an abortion. It’s too late now.
The months pass and the changes begin. Her belly grows, her clothes become tight, her boyfriend leaves, her father becomes distant, her friends dissapear. Her life changes. By the time she gives birth she feels alone. Only with her mother by her side.
The woman feels she is not ready to be a mother. She doesn’t have the patience, mind or motivation, frankly. All she can think of is Fordham and what she left behind. She wonders if her and her boyfriend would have gotten married instead of him marrying the new girl at church. Her baby is 3 months now and she feels lost and empty.
She continues working her dead end job, she moves in with her mother and the child grows. Her temper has become irradic. She is under too much stress to be nice to anyone, even her son. She looks at him with such disdain sometimes, and her son feels it. He looks just like his father. He looks like Fordham that couldn’t happen.
One day her son goes up to his mother and asks, “Mommy, why do you look at me like that?” And she answers, “I’m sorry baby, I was never suppose to.”
Which decision is more inhumane?
A 18 year old woman gets off the phone. She smiles, screams and can’t stop jumping up and down. She has just landed a 2 yr. contract in L.A with a prestigous modeling company. Her dreams are within her grasps and a better life is ahead.
She goes home to tell her mother and finds her where she usually does. On the couch, with a empty vodka bottle tossed to the side. The mother is unconscious. She wakes her up and tries to explain to her the modeling contract. That she will be leaving soon and loves her mother very much.
Her mother is confused and then angry. She tells her daughter, “After all this time, you’re leaving me by myself?” The daughter doesn’t know how to respond so she doesn’t. She just looks at the floor and hopes her mother doesn’t get violent.
The woman lets her mother run her mouth about how she’s a hoe and selfish and how she has no consideration for her family. The woman knows not to talk back to her mother. She knows how she gets. She has burns from cigarettte buds and as cuts from broken bottles to prove it, all over her body.
She resents her mother, she hates her at times. She had been denied from several modeling jobs for her scars. She had to learn to cover them with tattoo makeup. Through all the yelling the woman begins to feel dizzy. Her heart starts raising and her legs feel heavy. She faints.
She wakes up in the hospital. Her mother no where in sight. The doctor comes in and tells her she’s pregnant. She wants to die. She tried to understand. She thinks back and realizes that party wasn’t worth it.
She leaves the hospital and goes to Planned Parenthood. She needs to take care of it. They sit her down and ask her to think about her decision. They can’t go on without her being sure of what she is doing.
She explains to the nurse that her mother had her at 16 and her father left them shortly after. Her mother had no family support, they had abandoned her when they found out about her pregnancy. She explains she has no support. She is alone with a chance to be somebody.
The nurse gives her an appointment for the next week where she will pick up her abortion pill. The fetus is only a few weeks along, she doesn’t need a procedure. The woman is relieved.
She takes the pill and cries herself to sleep, hoping that God doesn’t punish her for what she’s done, praying that it was the right decision to take. She reflects upon her life with her mother. The city she lived in, her decaying apartment with walls full of screams, her cousins’ deaths at the hands of rivals. The violence she was constantly surrounded by. The physical abuse from her mother, the sexual abuse from her come-and-go boyfriends, the emotional torment. The pain.
She stops crying. She feels numb. She saved.