DIY Vision Board

For many ambitious girls, there are plenty of goals that are waiting to be met. The struggle is staying focused and completing them. Whether it’s a short-term or long-term goal it can be done! Follow these DIY tips to create your own vision board to keep you on track to reach your goals.

Decide On Your Goals:
A long term goal can be to graduate with honors from your class, become a teacher, or even be organized. A short term goal can be to study for a test that week, exercising three times a week, or knowing your lines for the school play by the end of the week. Both short-term and long-term goals should be treated with equal importance because they are meant to be met no matter what. Once you have decided what your goals are, you can start focusing on making those goals a reality.

Create a Visualization Board:
A great way to begin brainstorming on what steps need to be taken in order to reach that goal is visualization. As the common term says, “Seeing is believing” its all you really need. Imagine seeing your goals every morning as you wake up as a reminder of what you want to accomplish.

Get Creative:
Create a board of pictures, words, drawings or quotes that represent what you want to achieve. Cutting out pictures and positive words from magazines help make your board be much more vivid. If your goal is to be more fit, cut out a picture of a woman exercising and print out a picture of your face and place it on the woman’s face. It looks funny, but it helps you see yourself in that position just like in any position.

Personalize It:
Don’t be afraid to use bright colors that will capture YOUR attention every day! You are personalizing your own goal board, so use your favorite colors or craft materials. It can also range in size, from a small board to a big poster board. The decision is up to the visionary, YOU.

Find the Right Spot:
When your masterpiece is complete place it somewhere where you will see it every day. Place it on your ceiling or on your door, a place where you know you’ll see it every morning when you wake up!

Reach Your Goals:
Everything takes time, but soon you’ll see your goals be accomplished and you’ll see your board with a sense of pride. Place stickers on the goals you have already completed to keep your board “alive”. The best thing about your board is that you can have as many as you want or change one every year, like a new year’s resolution with pictures!

Cyber Code Twins

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cal State L.A.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cal State L.A.

The Latinitas team got the chance to interview América Lopez of Cyber Code Twins. Latinitas Co-Founder Laura Donnelly sat down with this computer programmer and rising technology maven at the Hispanicize Conference in Miami where America was being recognized for using her technological genius to empower her community. Read on for her inspiring conversation with Laura Donnelly.

 

America: Hello, my name is América and my twin [Penelope] and I are co-founders of Cyber Code Twins, which is a tech company that focuses on making communities safer through mobile apps and mobile technology. We are very engaged community activists and we are trying to help our communities become more involved in tech, so we are holding high-school workshops. Also, we are hosting hackathons, especially in East L.A. because that’s where we were born and raised. [Editors note: Hackathons are events in which programmers and designers collaborate on software projects.]

 

Latinitas: How old are you?
A: We’re both 24. But I’m five minutes older.

 

L: What did you have to do to get here? What kind of training? What kind of education?
A: I did not learn programming in high school, but I am trying to make a stand that you can start at any age. I’m a community college student, so a lot of community colleges want me to speak at their classes because I’m a good role model for their students. I’m also asked to speak at high schools because they’re like “Hey, you beat the system. We know how difficult that is. How did you get started?” I actually learned programming going to different hackathons. And then we started winning.

 

L: What were some of the goals that you had to achieve at these hackatons? Was it inventing an app?
A
: Yes, when we won it was for an app making vehicles safer. We made a jacket that uses proximity sensors that lets drivers know if they’re within three feet from motorcyclist wearing jacket. This ensures they obey the ‘three feet rule’ [California’s distance laws for cars passing motorcycles]. They really loved that. We won $9,000 for that one. Now in a January hackathon, we won $10,000. We made a smart body camera. So it’s a wearable camera that can be used not just by police, but by gas station attendants, because I really think it’s awful that CCTV [gas station surveillance camera] can not get a good angle of who committed the crime.

 

L: Why safety? Did someone introduce that concept to you?
A: No, it’s because in my neighborhood there have been a lot of shootings. Every couple of weeks there are shootings. It’s very active right now. And we’re very concerned, so that’s why we are trying to make community safer by making all these different types of technology, especially for vehicles sharing the road. We are motorcyclists and other vehicles really do not share the road! Our jackets will be flashing and they’re like why are your jackets flashing? And we’re like because you’re in our three feet zone! And we’ll yell at them.

 

L: That’s fantastic. So how do you guys split the workload? Is someone better at one thing? Is someone more visual…?
A: My twin is more spacial. I’m more linear. So I’m very super technical and she pulls me out of that when she needs to.

 

L: What about your parents? What do they think of all this?
A: It’s very funny because our parents thought we were going to nightclubs all the time, but we were just going to hackathons. So we would send them pictures of us programming with all the guys. And they were like “Oh there aren’t any other Latinas, but there a lot of guys. You sure you programming?”

But recently, after the big win at January’s hackathon, we got accepted to a Women in Tech start-up program in Silicone Valley and we realized there weren’t a lot of women in tech. It was a 2-week program and they helped me network, grow my skills, and think much, much bigger. And it made such a profound impact. We just finished the program a few weeks ago. And now our current company, Cyber Code Twins, we want to keep focusing on finishing our prototype and take it to the next level. Because usually at hackathons your prototype dies and nothing comes out of it. But at the workshop they told us: Finish it, get it out there!

 

L: So what do you guys do to relax?
A: Motorcycle riding, and we build drones and take them out with us when we ride and they follow us. Also 3D printing. And we are trying to get more into fashion tech because really for wearable tech in LA it has to be stylish.

 

L: So what does that look like when you envision it? What is wearable tech for you?
A: For me, it could be like a hat that has a UV sensor. If you’re going over your time it will send you a text or ring you your favorite song to remind you to put on your sunscreen.

Mexican Girl Genius

MexicanGirlGeniusPaloma Noyola Bueno has been called a genius and the “next Steve Jobs.” In 2013 Wired magazine, a popular American publication that covers technology and business, compared this Mexican girl to the technology innovator Steve Jobs. The magazine compared the ten-year-old Paloma Noyola Bueno to the creator of Apple, proclaiming her technological and mathematical genius. She had just achieved the highest math score in the country on an exam similar to the United States’ SATs. She also achieved the third highest Spanish score.

Paloma’s genius comes from a surprising place. When she aced her exams she was jus a little girl living in poverty in Matamoros, Mexico. Her father had died of cancer a few months beforehand and her mother supported the family by selling metal scraps and food. What’s more, the school Paloma attended was next to a waste dump and lacked basic facilities like running water. It was also located in an incredibly dangerous area where drug cartels often battled. Two of Paloma’s classmates had mysteriously disappeared earlier that year. But in an environment dominated by poverty and violence, and without the opportunities or education that someone like Steve Jobs enjoyed, this little girl is proving that anything is possible. In her own words, she told media she believes “if you want it, you can do it.”

Not only does Paloma believe in her own ability to succeed despite the odds, she wants to help others in the process. Speaking to Mexican news outlet Azteca Noticias in October 2013 she said: “No seré la próxima Steve Jobs. Seré más grande porque voy a perfeccionar y hacer más fácil la técnica de la educación en el país.” (“I won’t be the next Steve Jobs. I will be greater because I will perfect and simplify Mexico’s educational techniques.”) She went on to add that she would like to be a mathematics teacher and work to ensure better education for children throughout Mexico. She does not want to just give children work. She believes what is most important is teaching children how to study and how to be motivated.

Since Paloma’s appearance in magazines and news outlets following her amazing test scores she has been low-key, staying out of the limelight to concentrate on her studies. Nonetheless her remarkable mind has catapulted her into somewhat of a celebrity in Mexico. Just a few months ago local government and philanthropists combined forces to buy the young girl and her impoverished family their own home on donated land. Thanks to Paloma’s dedication to her passion her family has escaped the unsafe living conditions of their former residence. What’s more, the entire nation is still praising her talent. Matamoros’s own mayor, Lety Salazar, marveled at Paloma’s determination to fight for her dreams no matter her circumstances.

To learn more about Paloma watch her Spanish-language interview with Univisión Noticias linked here. She is truly an inspiration, and an emblem of great things to come in Mexico. Keep an eye on her!

Book Review: Rogelia’s House of Magic

Rogelia's House of MagicRogelia’s House of Magic follows the journey of three girls into the world of curanderismo magic and the world of friendship, love, and family it opens up along the way. What begins as three girls trying to learn magic becomes a story of friends finding the family and love they didn’t know they were looking for.

Rogelia’s House of Magic is the story of Xochitl, Marina, and Fern—three fifteen-year-old girls with three different problems in their lives. Xochitl was excited to move to the United States from Mexico, but her twin sister died in an accident along the way and she can’t stop mourning her death. Now she is afraid to open up and enjoy the friendship of others. Fern lives in the barrio and her mom is never around. She has a big heart for nature though and is trying to save sacred wetlands from being developed by a housing company. Marina was Fern’s old neighbor in the barrio until her mom make a ton of money and moved them into a big house and shunned their old life. Marina can’t seem to make her mother proud and she hates that she has no connection to her Mexican heritage.

Things seem tough for the girls, until they meet Rogelia. Rogelia is Marina’s new maid and Xochitl’s grandma. Rogelia is a curandera, or a wise healer, who was well-known in her village for using nature and magic to heal people and save lives. Marina and Fern ask Rogelia to teach them magic and this leads to their friendship with Xochitl. The girls gain powers through their training, but don’t realize they are gaining a lot more than that. Rogelia comes to fill a void in each of their lives. For Marina, Rogelia is a connection to her heritage and a stand-in for the grandmother she never had. Rogelia teaches Fern that she is capable of forming relationships with people and she doesn’t have to take care of herself. In Xochitl’s case, Rogelia is a connection to her past and her sister, and she inspires Xochitl to take a step forward in life and move past her loss.

The most important bond though, is between the three girls. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a story about friendship at its core. Anyone with a bestfriend will understand how powerful their connection is. Fern and Marina have been friends for years and have supported each other through ups and downs. Xochitl is wary of the girls’ friendship and worries they are only using her for her grandmother’s lessons. Together they help each other open up about their problems and a dreams and push each other to go out and change their own lives. In the end, they learn that magic is nothing without their friendship. Magic is fueled by their love for each other and leads them to do some of their greatest magic yet.

Of course, the magic is rooted in reality. Curanderismo is a practice of folk healing in Latin American culture. Don’t expect any magic wands like in Harry Potter. The girls learn power like clairvoyance, invisibility, and psychic mediumship. Rogelia teaches them that the magic really lies in nature and their connection to the world and to each other. The only way to perform the most difficult of spells is to do it with the purest hearts and best intentions. Magic is driven by love and their combined love is all the more powerful.

While we may not all be curanderas, the book is a great read with something everyone can relate to—friendship, crushes, or family drama. This book inspires the reader to appreciate the family and heritage that we sometimes forget about in our busy lives. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a reminder that the true magic in the world is that of the love we show to others.

Review: Child of Light

Child of Light is a video game following the journey of Aurora, a princesses trapped between fairy tale worlds because of a magic spell. Against the backdrop of a beautiful watercolor world and storybook rhyming dialogue, players guide the young but fierce warrior through the dark world she awakens in one day. This isn’t the story of a helpless damsel in distress.  Aurora fights the evil in Lemuria on her way back to her own home. Any fears she keeps at first disappear as she realizes that she is capable of more than she ever knew. Child of Light is a beautiful coming-of-age story that provides hours of fun and magic.

Basically, Child of Light is the story of Sleeping Beauty if the princess was actually fighting evil in her sleep. Aurora is the daughter of a king who marries an evil woman. One night Aurora falls ill and everyone believes that she has died. What no one knows is that she was actually transported to another world, Lemuria, by magic spell. Now she must bring peace to the new world in order to save the one she left behind. With nothing but her own bravery and the help of friends she makes along the way, she must become the hero that everyone needs. That includes super cool sword fights and learning how to fly. Surely that didn’t happen in Sleeping Beauty.

What makes this game even better, is that it is available for multiple devices including PC, Xbox, Playstation, and WiiU. It isn’t limited to owners of one gaming system, and each system is a slightly different experience. The main difference lies in the controls. The Wii U uses the gamepad. The computer version requires the use of the keyboard and the mouse or trackpad. There are two players to control—Aurora and her firefly friend. It takes a little getting used to the arrow keys and the mouse at the same time, but it becomes useful when you need to use the firefly to reach high places. Both characters jump and fly around Lemuria and battle foes they come across. The characters gain magic skills along the way that can be used to battle the bigger and badder monsters that come along.

Yes, monsters mean the game can be a little dark and scary at times. Some jump out of nowhere. Others fly at you when you least expect it. If you don’t want to engage in a battle with the monster, that’s were firefly comes in. Make him shine his light and blind the monster while you sneak past. Light defeats darkness. That is the central theme of the game. Light defeats monsters, restoring the stars saves the world, and Aurora’s pure heart guides her to destroy the hatred in the world she landed in. It is an age old story told once again in a beautiful and empowering new way.

Of course, the best part of this game is Aurora’s own personal journey as she discovers this power that good can hold. She begins her time in Lemuria alone and scared. She doesn’t know where she is going. Her main goal is figuring out how to get home. Except, when she is faced with a challenge she doesn’t run. She looks brave. She carries her sword with determination and faces the enemy head on. As the game progresses, she discover new skills with in herself that help her on her journey along the way. By the game’s end, she is saving not one world, but two. She has become a hero worthy of her royal title. The story of this young girl finding the strength and bravery to save her world makes this game unforgettable.

Latinas in Government & Law

March is Women’s History Month. sonia-sotomayorTo celebrate, Latinitas has decided to feature the wonderful and revolutionary women in history who have increased the representation of Latinas in government, politics and law.

Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Justice appointed to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. She was born on June 25, 1954 in Bronx, New York. She is a descendent of Puerto Rican parents. She graduated summa com laude from Princeton University in 1976. She  went to Yale Law School where she attained her J.D. in 1979. Aside from working as an Assistant to the Attorney General, she was an avid participant for fundraising for funds that benefited the Puerto Rican society in New York. From 1992-1998, she served as a Federal Judge for the Southern District of New York. In 1998, she got promoted to as Court of Appeals Judge for the Second Circuit. That was until 2009, when President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice for the United States. From there, Congress confirmed the president’s request at a  vote of 68–31.

Hilda Solis
Hilda Solis is a politician who has membership in the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. She was born on October 20, 1957, in Los Angeles, California to a Nicaraguan mother and a Mexican father. She obtained her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. Solis later received her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Southern California. She kept on climbing up the political later until in 2000 Hilda Solis defeated the Democratic incumbent and she won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first Latina to have ever serve for the U.S. Senate. From 2009-2013 she was the United States Secretary of Labor, meaning that she took care of any laws involving worker unions.

Linda Chavez-Thompson
Linda Chavez-Thompson is an Mexican-American radio personality and commentator. She was born on June 17, 1947 to American parents. She is a descendant of Mexican immigrants who had moved to New Mexico in the 17th century. In 1975, she was employed as an editor for the publications of one of the largest Education Unions in the United States, “American Federation of Teachers”. Chavez is a Republican and during President Ronald Reagan’s administration she became the highest-ranking woman serving as Staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. During George W. H. Bush’s administration, she became the first Latina to ever be nominated to the United States Cabinet as the Secretary of Labor. After her time as a politician, she has become a FOX News analyst.

Latinas in Music

Latinas are making their voice heard in the music industry. Selena - LatinitasFrom Tejano music to salsa and pop to folk music, Latina musicians are gaining acclaim and taking the reigns as Latina musical superstars.  Meet some mujeres who broke ground in the music charts.

Selena Quintanilla- (1971-1995) – Tejano Music

The “Queen of Tejano Music” born in Lake Jackson, Texas, Selena Quintanilla began her career with the family band Selena y Los Dinos. She started singing at the age of 10 along with her brother Abraham and Suzette who played bass and drums. Spanish wasn’t her first language, but was taught by her father and she soon spoke Spanish fluently. Her  success began in the ‘80s with albums Selena Live and Amor Prohhibido. Known for Tejano Music she won Tejano Music Awards for “Best Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Performer of the Year.” Soon falling in love with the band’s lead guitarist Chris Perez they ran off and got married in secret. Sadly her story ends in 1995 being shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar who worked with her as the founder of Selena’s fan club. After her death, her story and music were kept alive by the film Selena starring Jennifer Lopez.

Celia Cruz – (1925-2003) – Salsa

The Cuban-American vibrant salsa singer was born in Havana, Cuba on October 21, 1925. She was one of 14 children. She already had success in her teen years winning various talent shows and competitions in Cuba.  Although her father encouraged her to go to school and become a teacher, her true passion was to sing. Her career began in the ‘50s when she joined the orchestra Sonara Matancera which toured around Latin America. Once Fidel Castro assumed control of Cuba in 1959, Cruz and her husband Pedro Knight immigrated to the United States and became United States citizens. Associating with Tito Puente, she went on to create eight albums with Tico Records. Recording 23 gold albums, she won Grammys and Latin Grammys making her the first female salsa superstar.  She was renowned internationally as the “Queen of Salsa.” Not limiting herself to music, she appeared in several movies and even earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. She was also awarded the American National Medal of the Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts. She died in 2003 of brain cancer in her New Jersey home.

Joan Baez –(1941- )   – Folk Music

The famous activist known for her unique voice was born in 1941 in Staten Island, New York. Joan Baez born from a Scottish mother involved in social causes and Mexican physicist father committed to pacifism she became a performer. Singing and playing the ukulele at age 14, she found her niche as a folk singer. The pacifist singer is also a songwriter and activists for women’s rights, children, civil rights and anti-war activist. She sang “We Shall Overcome” at the march organized by Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.in Washington in 1963. From supporting civil rights, she was also involved in the antiwar movement to end the conflict in Vietnam. Being the last act on Friday, she wished everyone a good morning at Woodstock and perform at 1:00am. Her latest album was released in 2003 called Dark Chords on a Big Guitar.  Married to David Harris, she had a son and now lives in California where she continues to be the voice for causes important to her.

Gloria Estefan- (1957- ) – Latin Pop

Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García de Estefan, best known as Gloria Estefan was born on 1957 in Havana, Cuba. Fleeing Cuba as a toddler, she took care of her sister and father who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while her mother worked to support the family. She met her husband Emilio Estefan at a wedding and became part of the band he was in which was later renamed the Miami Sound Machine. The band’s first English album Eyes of Innocence had a single which rose in the European dance charts called “Dr.Beat.” The song “Conga” became the first single to hit Billboard’s pop, dance black, and Latin American charts at the same time. Out of 15 nominations, she has won seven Grammy Awards in her career. While on tour the band’s bus was involved in an accident where Gloria suffered a broken vertebra in her back which she bounced back from after a long recovery. She has also written children’s books, collaborated with musician Carlos Santana, and appeared in films.

Shades of Shadeism

ShadeismCreated by five students from Ryerson University’s School of Journalism in the spring of 2010, Shadeism, according to the Shadeism website, is a word that means “discrimination that exists between the lighter-skinned and darker-skinned members of the same community.” In Latina terms, that pretty much means women who are treated differently, or unfairly, because their skin color is lighter or darker than other Latinas.

 

Sometimes, a person might not even realize they’ve experienced Shadeism until they really think back to it. It can happen so unnoticeably that you’re not even sure if it’s even considered Shadeism. On the Shadeism website, there is a clip of the documentary that was done to start off the Shadeism movement, and in it are girls of color (not all Latinas) who talk about ways they’ve experienced Shadeism. One of them even says that her family called her by a nickname that was based off of her skin color when she was born. Kind of like calling someone “guerita.”

 

“My family’s been calling me guera since forever,” said Mia Salazar, 22. “I’m the most light skinned in my family. It’s never bothered me, I guess, because I am. I’m a guera. I never thought there was anything wrong with it.”

 

But if Shadeism isn’t always a bad thing, what’s the big deal? If people are treating you better because of your skin color, it must be okay, right? Wrong. Although it probably feels great to be called prettier because of your darker or light skin color, it’s not okay because of the people who aren’t being called pretty based on their skin color. This is why Shadeism began.

 

“I, myself, have never experienced Shadeism, but I’ve seen it a lot in my family,” said Luz Treviño, a freshman in high school. “But I’ve seen my tias and tios do it. They call one of my cousins pretty because her skin is whiter. They still love their son, but he’s darker, like his dad, so they just think she’s prettier.”

 

The five people who started the documentary realized Shadeism existed and wanted to get the word out on it so they could one day stop it. For now, the founders of Shadeism hope to finish filming their documentary, after visiting different countries and talking to people of various communities, just to raise awareness in hopes of getting the people of that community to get rid of any Shadeism they may have experienced in their region. Although the Shadeism website  has yet to inform readers of how exactly to stop Shadeism, there is a video on the homepage that allows you to see the discussion between five girls and how they went about becoming aware of this type of prejudice. Discriminating, or treating people badly, because of a difference of theirs, for any reason, is always wrong, no matter what. And the best way to stop Shadeism starts with anyone who has seen it or experienced it within their own community.

 

If you ever notice someone treating anyone better or worse because they have light skin or dark skin, tell them it’s wrong. Especially if it happens in your own family. Family members might not even realize that they’re doing it, and telling them it is wrong can be helpful to them, as well as your community. Everyone should be treated equally, regardless of their differences.

Advice By Latinitas

As part of our Women’s History Month Blog-a-thon, we asked Latinitas to write their top words of wisdom. LatinitasHandsStarWhat advice would you like to share with younger girls?

“The best advice I can give young girls is to be your absolute self. Being who you are will help you find your true friends, give you opportunities, and the confidence you need to face anything and everything. AND you’ll be truly happy! Focus on yourself and your future. Prioritize because it will really benefit you in the long run. Above all just enjoy your life, don’t rush to grow up take it a step at a time and go with the flow!” – Ariana Ortega

“The advice I can give to younger girls is to always be yourself, because God made each and every one of us unique. Don’t pretend to be  someone else or try to be someone else. We have a lot to offer, and help others. We must always be kind and appreciate the people who love us and are there for us. I thank God simply for one more day to live and his great love for us. Be the best you can be, enjoy your youth years as much as possible. Don’t stress with school, take your time and be organized. We have to always believe in ourselves no matter the circumstances. God will always help us find a way through no matter what. Live life and enjoy it and cherish those who are always there when you need them, family and friends. I am so thankful to God for giving me the family that I have and my friends. I know we can all make a difference to help other teenagers like us to be confident and believe in themselves. I am also thankful to God because I have one more year of life today and because he is always there with us protecting us. Enjoy each day and be thankful to God in everything, and be glad because being a female is the best thing. We all have a lot of talents and a purpose in this life.” – Vanessa Ramirez

“You are always so hard on yourself! Stop comparing your outfits, body, and personality to other people. You need to learn to love yourself. Don’t try to make others take on the role of loving you before you learn to love you. Be confident! Aim to be the best version of you. If someone else finds your quirks annoying, they can sod off because you are unique and delightful. Secondly, be wary of sketchy friends. It’s great to be a friendly girl, but if said friends have proven to be untrustworthy, please get away from them. This is for your own good! Find kinder friends! They’re not that hard to find! They are there! They want your friendship! Thirdly, please put a greater effort in to your school work. Yeah, math might be hard but, it’s even harder to bring up your GPA and/or learn how to discipline yourself academically if you don’t put the time in. You can do it! Please don’t get lazy! I know it’s easier to watch TV and avoid your obligations, but you’re screwing future-you in the long term.” – Vianey Reyes

“Please, think about your future!! I want to tell you that it won’t be easy. Getting low grades at school is not going to help you. Having too much fun is not going to help you at school.Start getting involved in things that are going to benefit your formation at school. Find new friends that can be helpful for you. Pay attention and respect your teachers because you never know if you will need them. Take care of yourself, respect every one and most important respect your body. Remember that you are becoming a strong women with different types of interests and that you are amazing.” – Ariadne Venegas

“Remember that it’s okay to feel things. It’s the one thing I wish I knew when I was growing up. Even to this day, I forget that feeling emotions is okay. So try not to ever forget that. If you’re sad because of a loss in the family or sad because a member of your favorite boy band quit, it’s okay. You have every right to feel any and all emotions that you feel. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you otherwise. It’s best to ignore when anyone says girls are too “sensitive.” Be proud of your sensitive side. Being able to understand someone else’s feelings and accept that they feel that way is a great thing and something more people in the world need to start doing.  Anger, happiness, fear, nervousness, and anything else. They’re all okay. Just make sure that you feel them 100% because holding them back isn’t going to help you out in the long run. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to laugh, laugh. You feel a certain way for a reason, so let it out. Learning feeling emotions is okay and it’s something that I’ve found so hard to accept after so many years of thinking a different way. It’s the only thing I wish I could tell my younger self.” – Gissel Gonzalez

“I would tell younger girls to study and take advantages of every opportunity they have in life. Do not waste time doing things that will not make you feel proud of yourself all the time. Also, do not let other people tell you, you cannot do something you want. Be brave all the time and fight for your dreams. Always follow your heart and do whatever makes you happy. Love your family, friends and life all the time. No matter how you feel, you are worth a lot more than you think. Remember to enjoy every second of life and spread love.” -Eunice Sanchez

What Feminism Means to Me

During the Latinitas Women’s History Month Blog-a-thon, we asked Latinitas what they think about the topic of feminism. Feminism is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as the  the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. These Latinitas shared their thoughts on what feminism means to them.

Feminism Means Equality
“Feminism to me, is a belief system where you are an advocate for gender equality. Feminism in my life has been played out through me wanting to be seen as “worthy” as men. I feel our society really devalues women and their voice. Being a feminist is wanting a better future, where your daughters and sons do not feel that they have to be forced into a role they are unhappy with just to meet society’s expectations. Feminism to me is wanting to live in a world where you are seen as who you are as a person rather than “just a woman” or a man that does not fit the stereotypical “strong man” role. I think that is important to remember that about half of the world’s people are women, and many of them go through horrendous things, simply because they are a woman. The same thing happens to men who do not meet the profile of a “strong man.” I think feminism is still important today because gender equality is important. People should be treated fairly and unfortunately that is not the case. Girls need to recognize that there is still a lot we are fighting for.” -Jackeline Gomez

Feminism is Still Needed Today
“I absolutely believe feminism is necessary and important in the 21st century and today. There seems to be this really bad stereotype that comes with the word feminism. Although all stereotypes start from something that might have been true at some point, most women are educated and respectful enough to know not to disrespect men because they have the upperhand. The idea behind feminism is to help grow awareness of the unfairness that women are treated with on a day-to-day basis. In order to succeed in doing that, women need to understand that the world has been one way for a long time. Some people are slower to give in to change, especially when they aren’t sure why it is needed in the first place. If feminism weren’t around today, who knows where we would be? We have come such a long way, but we still have so much further to go. Feminism needs to continue for many years to come — and possibly forever — to ensure that women are never treated unfairly again.” – Gissel Gonzalez

Feminism Isn’t Just a Woman’s Issue
“Today, Feminism is seen as a thing of the past, and I haven’t met many Latinas who identify as a feminist. From my point of view, it might be a culture conflict. In the old days, most of the time feminists were predominantly Anglo, but its grown to more than that. Feminism isn’t a woman’s issue, its everyone’s. We are all in the cause together to make it equal for all. Feminism is important for the upcoming generations because women need to keep standing up for their beliefs and rights as human beings. It is being aware of what your true privileges are today.” -Yajanesty Ruano

It is a Movement for Equal Rights
“In my opinion, feminism is the movement to seek equal rights and opportunities for men and women. It is not only employment rights, but in education, political, social and cultural areas. Fighting to have the same right and opportunities is very important because every human being is the same. What feminists do is fight for women’s rights, the right to vote, the right to have a good job, the right to get paid well, the right to be respected, the right to speak up their mind and all the rights women have. Feminism still important today because even though today women have equality in almost everything, there are some things that we need to keep fighting for. For example, we keep seeing that most of the companies have male CEO. It is important to keep fighting to have more opportunities like men do.” – Eunice Miyuki Sanchez Acosta

Remember the Feminists Who Battled for Future Girls
“In this day and age, females are accomplishing more and more in the public arena. However, is important to remember that the freedom women enjoy today in the USA is due to the efforts of past feminism. Without the heroes who battled for our right to vote and to enter the workplace, females living today would be unable to go after their dreams. The past is never dead. Remember feminists like Susan B. Anthony [a suffragette] battled for future girls just like us.” – Mariel

Being a Feminist is For Everyone
“Being a feminism is the most important title that I could ever give myself. I seek to improve the lives of others via the use of equality. I actively believe that everyone, who is qualified, should get the chance to do what they want without feeling constricted by societal norms. Let’s start out by defining this term. Don’t let the fem- suffix fool you, feminism is for everyone. Even though the movement did at first seek to expand on the rights of women (such as the right to vote), modern feminism has emerged to become an egalitarian movement. It seeks for the equality of all the genders. Feminism is important because there is a huge gender bias system currently in place. Women are systematically paid less. Rape victims are constantly being discredited. Men are taught not to be sensitive.  There are so many awful gender stereotypes that we are assigned at birth. It is relevant and I wish that people would stop fighting it so much. Let’s also talk about the common misconceptions about feminism. If a woman wants to be a mother and get married then she is more than allowed to do whatever her heart pleases. Feminists don’t believe in infringing the rights of other women when it comes to making their own decisions.” – Vianey Reyes

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