What does being a Latina mean to you?:
I believe that being Latina is the most beautiful part of me. Being Latina means to step out of your comfort zone and all the boundaries that are set for you. It means being stubborn, intelligent, and going after everything you want. Nothing can stop us.
Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:
Right now the hardest struggle I am facing being a Latina is being a Latina in corporate America. Specifically, in corporate finance. (I am one of the first people in my family to earn a college degree) I currently work for a Fortune 500 company and the team I work with is all white males. Not only am I the only female, but I am the only person of color in my team. I am the minority twice. It's incredibly hard not having anyone who looks like me. It can be discouraging but I find motivation by reminding myself that I am breaking glass ceilings every day. What I have slowly been learning is that when there is hard work and opportunity there is no glass ceiling. Being Latina doesn't discourage me, in empowers me. Now is the time for Latinas to make history and to bury the term "glass ceiling."
Share something you love about being a Latina?:
I love everything about being Latina! I'll name a few. First, our food is the best food in the world. Not only do we have the best food, but we get to eat it for free at our mama's or abuelita's house. Second, I have awesome role models which are my parents. They left everything they had in Mexico to come to a foreign country in hopes of giving my sister and I a better life. They are the perfect example that if you persevere and work hard then you can accomplish anything. They are the most selfless and caring people I know. I can only hope to be as loving, selfless, and hard working as they are. Third, our pride. My love for being Hispanic has been in me since I was a little girl. I learned to love who I am and never hold back for anybody. I learned to fight everyday for what I want and I thank my Hispanic roots for showing me how to be proud of myself and where I come from.
What do you identify as?: Mexican
Where you born in the states? If not, could you share what your experience has been being an immigrant, and the process of becoming a US citizen, resident, etc. (Share only what you are comfortable with):
I was born in California but my parents and my sister were born in Mexico. They came here illegally, they are not illegal anymore.
How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:
I have many American friends and one of my favorite things is exposing them to my culture. I love educating them about Latino culture and showing them how beautiful it is. Whenever I have a chance I will take them to Mexican neighborhoods in Chicago, like Pilsen. I was blessed to be able to go to college and while I was in school I took a lot of Latin American classes so I still continue to use everything I learned in those classes in my everyday life. This knowledge I learned comes in handy when I hear people who are not Latino say ignorant things about my culture because I always correct them when I can.
Do you speak spanish?: Yes, fluently.
Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community? Like you're too dark, or too white, etc. Please share anything you'd like to share!:
I have experienced colorism my whole life. I am a dark skin Mexican and my whole life I have been know as the "preita" or the "morena" within my family. While growing up I'd watch novelas with my family and the main actress was always light skin and the dark skin one always was the maid, not an important character, or not represented at all. I started to believe that you were only considered to be a pretty Latina if you had light skin. That was not me. I was the morenita with puffy curly black hair. I felt ugly due to my dark skin color. I even always told my family I wanted to bleach my skin, although I never did. I'd cry at times because of how much I hated the color of my skin. My whole life I looked up to my sister who was very light skin. I always used to wish that I had her skin color. Dark skin in the Latino community is not considered beautiful. Dark skin is not portrayed in the Latino media the way it should be. The older I got, the more I began to embrace and love my skin color. Now I can proudly say that I am so proud to have my skin color. My skin color is beautiful. I want other young dark skin Latinas to feel confident in the skin that they’re in. We have to feel blessed to have the skin color that God gave us. I want to inspire other young Latinas to love their skin color even if the media, family, friends, or even strangers makes it seem like it's not pretty enough. We are enough and we are beautiful. I am proud to be the brown girl that I am.