What makes you proud of being a woman but also a Latina?
I am proud to be a woman because I am perseverant and internally, mentally and spiritually strong. I am proud to be a woman because although women get copious backlash for being a woman in the first place and we are treated as secondary and less than we are intelligent, smart, level headed, compassionate, the capacity to be great leaders. I am proud to be a woman because we are amazing, powerful, confident, loving, we still overcome the B.S. We are providers and nurturers. I am proud to be a woman because women are fighters, bold and we kick-butt. Women are powerful and that makes me proud of being a woman. I am a fighter for life, for the truth, and I know God created to solve the injustice of unequal pay in so many different levels, to pray for others, to show compassion to those that need it, to speak for the voiceless, invisible, and to those that are ignored.
I am proud to be a woman because we are multitaskers, organizers, mediators, self-less, often ignored and taken for granted, externally & internally strong, doers, creators, ambitious and so much more. As a Afro-Latina, I am proud of mi ritmo, my curls, my skin color, my curves, my bilingualism, my African roots, and my ethnicity. I love being a Afro-Latina because I have both cultures inside of me that make me who I am. Although, at times it can be challenging to explain my self to others of who I am and have questions etc. I was once told that I have 3 strikes against me but as I get older and much wiser I view it as 3 great opportunities: Woman, Black and Latina as my ethnicity. I am so honored and happy to come from a strong line of women.
Is there someone you look up to?
I look up to my mother, Luz. She has always been a strong, caring, firm woman. She is also beautiful and life and street smart too. Even if life has shown her many obstacles and hardships; she has been able to overcome and still be resilient. I always think about her and my aunts and uncles who came to a new land in order to have a better opportunity and leave behind poverty. Although the U.S.A has its own problems as well, it was hard for her to get used to the culture and language at first and it was a struggle for my family to get settled here like I’m sure other families have had those harsh times. here. However she participated in parent teacher conferences, school trips, and always instilled in my brothers and I that education was the only legacy she can leave us. “La educación es la unica herencia que yo te puedo dejar”. I learn from that and it enables me to always strive to be a better version of what I am today and keep growing and learning the rest of my lifetime.
Do you feel Latino culture has had an impact on who you are?
Yes, Latino culture has truly made an impact in me. I always grew up listening to merengue, salas, bachata and ballads. I also grew up listening to Mexican music as well. It has positively impacted me because I have learned to volunteer since I was at a young age; participating in soup kitchens, cleaning the church and being active in caring for the place I grew up in: HARLEM! Latino culture has guided me to be family oriented, to have unity and interest in others, to have manners, and show respect to my elders as well.
Do you have any current projects you are working on and accomplishments that you would like to talk about?
I have a current project that is about writing a children’s bilingual book. I am working on branding myself and bringing my professional side even more. I offer singing services for weddings, funerals, parties, and other events. I want to also establish a publishing company in the future. I also have recently auditioned “La Voz” T.V show for music talent. I hope to get in. If I don’t I’ll keep going.
Do you have any words of advice and encouragement to future generations of all women?
Yes I do have. I would say wait to mature first before dating or having a boyfriend. I would say to try to learn first about yourself spiritually, mentally, physically, the good, the not so good and the things you would like to change around you and inside of you too. I warmly say pay attention to something that you can learn from in school and will help you grow financially, emotionally and even spiritually. I encourage you to save, invest and keep developing yourself and become professionals in your craft so you can live strongly rooted and not have to be dependent on anyone else.
Pray or at-least converse with a person of faith to guide you or join a faith based group, school or even a team. I would say not to pay attention to the negative words or even the negative inner voice that comes to us at times. I encourage the future generation of women to believe in the great “I am”, “ Jehovah God” or at-least to trust and be curious about him even if it’s a small step. I pray that the woman can know their value isn’t just at the body level or what the media negatively portrays about women and what to do or look like. We are so much more than clothes, make- up yes it’s there to enhance our beauty but that all human beings actually have a spirit. Remember you are beautiful, worthy, and amazing. Please bring out your individuality and don’t hide it. I encourage them to get involved in a spiritual community that cares for them and surround themselves with people that care for them. If you ever need to talk please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.