latina enough campaign

CLICK FOR HOPE | STRONG, COURAGEOUS, STUBBORN

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What does being a Latina mean to you?

It means taking pride in my culture and values. It means that I will have to fight two times harder than most people to be successful in this life. It means having to deal with racism and standing up for myself. Being Latina means your decisions in life are always based around your family and how can your family be impacted or helped. Being Latina means I am strong, courageous, stubborn and I fight for what's right! Being Latina is who I am!

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

Well I consider myself Afro-Latina because of the color of my skin, and that is the struggle I face everyday. Even within my own family, they don't understand the struggles and racism I sometimes face when I am in certain areas. Many people question if I am black or Indian or assume I am "mixed" until they ask. Usually my struggles are at its highest when I am in white areas. There are places that I go to and the white women hold their purses when I walk into the room. My daughter does gymnastics in a white neighborhood, and the only mom that talks to me is a mom from Ecuador. Then you have those white people who say stupid comments like "So where are you from,” or "Wow, is that like your real hair"? Its not much of what they say, but their tone and body language. If I go into a Mexican restaurant the people will start to talk to me in English when they were talking Spanish two minutes ago.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

I love everything about being Puerto Rican. The food, the culture, our heritage! I love that being Puerto Rican comes with being raised with respect. Our people are very strong people. Look what our people have endured from our land being stolen and ripped apart, natural disasters, poverty and much more! Yet, we are still here and strong and growing. We are very strong people. I love that I get to teach my daughter that she is Afro-Latina and teach her about our culture.

What do you identify as? Boricua Baby!! Puerto Rican

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.

Yes! I just want to make something clear, even if I was born in Puerto Rico I am not an immigrant!

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?

I really don't consider myself to celebrate American nationality. America is not a place that celebrates my people, especially with our current administration. I am sure that people who know me may say that I am American, but I am Puerto Rican, period. I try to hold onto my heritage and my culture as much as possible. I educate myself and ask questions about culture. In order to understand who you are, you need to know where you come from. Its really sad that as more generations begin, our traditions and culture are slowly drifting away.

Do you speak spanish? Yes, but broken.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community?

Ugh YES!!!! This is something that I totally hate and despise with all my heart. I am too Black for my Hispanic friends and family and too Hispanic for my Black friends and family. Then I am just the crazy loud Hispanic to my white friends. Its ridiculous how some of my own family members will tell me that I am not Puerto Rican enough because I was not born on the Island like them. Its ridiculous! I remember my aunt saying she had her children purposely in Puerto Rico so no one can say her children are not Puerto Rican. How terrible that such horrible thinking can dictate someone's life.

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?

Puerto Ricans come from 3 different blood lines. We are a mix of Taíno Indians, Spaniards and Africans. That is why you can find Puerto Ricans to be different shades, sizes and some even have colored eyes. You can see how the Island of Puerto Rico represents these three different bloodlines in different areas of this beautiful Island. Even our language represents these three bloodlines. Not all Spanish is the same.

CLICK FOR HOPE | TOO LATINO FOR SOME | Mylene Raspado

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What does being a Latina mean to you?

Being Latina simply means being ME. It’s the blood that’s running through my veins, the food I eat, my love for music, the way I speak. It’s found in how I raise my children, create my home, and relate to others.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

The one struggle I’ve faced, is the fact that I am too Latina for some communities, yet not Latina enough in some. These struggles find their roots in the fact that I don’t speak spanish fluently.

I also struggle with representation in my career field. I don’t see a lot of “ME” represented in the world of Interior Design.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

Gosh, where to start....

VIBRANCY. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of being Latina. It’s the passion we all carry and the beauty that passion leads to. It’s hard to explain it but when you are around Latinas, you feel it.

What do you identify as? Puerto Rican

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.

My mother was born and raised in Puerto Rico and my father was second generation. I was born here in Chicago and raised by both parents. Their biggest regret is not speaking and teaching us spanish. The most I learned was when speaking to my Abuela who speaks very minimal English.

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

The way I celebrate being Latina is by continuing all that was rooted within me throughout my childhood and young adolescence, from my parents and grandparents .

The way I love to put on Salsa while I clean, that special way I make Avena that taste like my mom’s, also, her rice. The details of my home decor that celebrate my Puerto Rican ancestors. It’s those moments big and small that remind me of my family...

Do you speak spanish?

Sort of...I understand more than speak.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community? Like you're too dark, or too white, etc.

Most definitely. As I said earlier, some communities I am “too Latina” for, and others I am not Latina enough because I don’t speak spanish fluently.

In design school I can recall being one of four other Latinos and in the beginning of my schooling felt out of place due to that. I remember even in my presentations my mannerisms and the way I spoke, it was evidently different yet beautiful.

But when I’m amoungst Latino communities, I often feel that same out of place feeling because I don’t speak spanish fluently. And, partnered with, if I can be transparent, having a Masters degree, waiting to be married to have sex with my partner, and having kids, I get the feeling from some people in the community that I am “too good” for them. Which is never the case, and sad that some Latinos see that as being “too good”.

CLICK FOR HOPE | PROUD TO BE A CHICANA

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What does being a Latina mean to you?

To me, being Latina means being proud to be specific about where I'm from, so it really means I'm proud to be a Chicana.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

Honestly, I never struggled with being Latina. I grew up all of my life with other Latinos. I went to a Latino schools. I grew up in Latino communities. I went to Latino churches... but I lived in the ghetto parts of Chicago which now they say "the hood." I lived in Little Village almost all my life but I never became what the streets are today. I grew up seeing what I never wanted to become, and I thank God for this. Then I lived in Mexico for 10 years.. what i can tell you is living in there was a struggle. The culture is so different than American Latinas.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

I love being a Latina, I have learned so much over the years. I’m a proud Mexican.

What do you identify as?

I’m half mexican and half Puerto Rican... but I’m more Mexican than anything.

Where you born in the states?: Yes, I was born and raised in Chicago..

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your American nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?

Hahahahahahahaha now this has been a struggle because as a Latina you can celebrate both. I was able to live in two countries and try to celebrate both but it was hard. When I was living in Mexico, I was trying to live as an American and that was hard. I had to learn how to “be a Mexican”, and now that I came back to the U.S, it’s like I have to learn how to be an American Latina... but I am glad that I am able to do both!!!

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.

Latino communities always think I’m white until they see or hear my last name, or until they hear me speak Spanish. Since you know, white skin with curly hair can’t be Mexican?!? When I’m in a Mexican community they always say, “Oh yeah you’re Puerto Rican, you got that kinky hair!” I can never win!

CLICK FOR HOPE | MORE THAN BEING EXOTIC

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What does being a Latina mean to you?

It means experiencing family in a deep and profound way. It means feeling connected to the ground where your grandmother walked. It means meals are more about bonding than anything. It is more than being exotic. It’s about not feeling like who the world says you are and having no hair on your tongue when it’s time to explain that.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

This is petty but, white women constantly asking to touch my hair. But on a deeper note: as a Christian young woman and leader, at a church that says they believe in my right to lead, IT IS DIFFICULT to be given chances. Not because I’m a woman but because the culture of Latino men, is what it is. Being a Latina teacher and preacher isn’t hard for me. It’s hard for my male counterparts.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

My body. All of it. The shape, my Afro-Latina curls. I love it. Not because it fits some mold, Not because it’s trendy right now, but because I look like my mother and my grandmother and my aunt. (My Titi Niome, who you photographed before she passed!). That’s what being a Latina means to me, to feel connected and see myself in the generations before me.

What do you identify as? Puerto Rican and Cuban

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. Yes.

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your American nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?

Making friends. Community has been everything. Tasting arroz con gandules my mom’s way then my buddies aunt’s way, then my madrina’s way. That includes my mexican friends, my peruvian friend, my mixed friend and my girl from El Salvador. That diversity exists because we live here, that culture, around the table exists because of who we are.

Do you speak Spanish?

Sort of...I understand more than speak.

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 used to work in luxury retail in a basically all-white suburb. On more than one occasion, women made very clear that they’d rather work with my white associates. Even though I was the manager. They’d explain, “She’d probably understand what I want.”

CLICK FOR HOPE | I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BECOME A CITIZEN

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What does being a Latina mean to you?:

It means embracing and being proud of my culture and traditions, having strong family values

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:

Growing up in California I was mostly surrounded by Latinos and never really noticed what being a minority was - because I wasn’t. Then as soon as I moved to the suburbs of Illinois in a majority white community, I finally felt like I stood out. For people like me who struggled with the idea of standing out by things I couldn’t choose, it was uncomfortable. I felt as if I had to catch up and assimilate just to feel “normal”.

Share something you love about being a Latina?:

I love my culture, our traditions and food

What do you identify as? (Puerto Rican, Mexican, Salvadorian, etc.): 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 Mexico and was taken across the border by my parents when I was only 1. I never felt like an immigrant or understood what being an immigrant was until I was faced with becoming a resident. I was so young when I came to the states. Years later, I was fortunate enough to become a citizen of this country. It was one of the proudest moments, which was also met with a bit of sadness because I realized how precious and delicate this imaginary title was. The title of "Citizenship" seems imaginary, but the consequences of being an “illegal” immigrant are very real. I’m grateful and the climate today, has only made me more cognizant of it.

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

I celebrate both Latino and American holidays. I celebrate Halloween but I also celebrate Dia de Los Muertos.

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!:

Personally, I haven’t experienced it. But it still cuts me deep because my little sister is a completely different darker shade than me and growing up people would always point that out. Seeing your little sister trying to wash the color off her skin as a little girl because she thought it was “dirt” or wondering why she is always identified by our own culture as “dark” broke my heart. She wanted my skin color because I was lighter. As her older sister, I would teach her that she was beautiful no matter what people had to say. As she got older she learned to embrace and love herself completely. It hurts to know that we have that standard, and I know it happens outside of the U.S. and Mexico. It’s a fundamentally wrong categorization process we have and it can be changed.

CLICK FOR HOPE | BEING A LATINA IS AN HONOR

Photo: Authentic Adventure Co. | You can purchase this shirt at our  shop!

Photo: Authentic Adventure Co. | You can purchase this shirt at our shop!

What does being a Latina mean to you?:

Being Latina is an honor. It’s about accepting diversity, being able to speak a second language, embracing your ethnic roots and culture. Being able to learn about the authentic food, music, traditions and passing that down from generation to generation. It’s about accepting that Latinos come in all shades. Latinos are passionate, loyal, hard-working, family-oriented, with a side of attitude and loudness.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:

A lot of people think I’m Caucasian until they hear me speak. But the hardest thing for me is people that are not Hispanic feeling offended because you speak Spanish and tell you to stop speaking like that and go back to your country. Last time I checked Puerto Rico is part of the United States. People should not feel threatened by our culture. Being bilingual is something that would give you favor when it comes to job interviews. It comes with dignity and honor to be able to speak Spanish to those that never learned the English language. Another thing I struggled with while growing up, was with the pronunciation of my name. Having a spanish name and everyone not knowing how to say it. So all throughout my years in school people would say it in English and completely butcher my name (Ya Near Ra). Same as in the workplace. I would always have to correct them and I felt embarrassed instead of proud. But now that I’m an adult, I fully embrace the uniqueness of my name, pronounced as (Ja Knee Ra)

Share something you love about being a Latina?:

I love everything, the food, the music, the traditions, the culture, the unity, the diversity, the appeal, our curves, our hustle, dedication, our history and victories.

What do you identify as?: Puerto Rican

Where you born in the states?

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

Yes. I still celebrate Independece Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. At the end end of the day I’m still an American.

Do you speak spanish?: Yes, but broken.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community?:

Sometimes our people mess with us if we weren’t born in Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 which makes me feel like I’m not as Hispanic as they are. The standards are high for a Latina, you have to know how to clean and cook and serve your hubby but I do enjoy those things so they don’t come as a chore lol.

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?:

We should never resent our ethnicity. We should be proud of who we are and the way God created us for we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We should also invest time in knowing our grandparent’s history and how they came to the United States to give their family a better opportunity for success. Thank you to my grandparents, Eusebio Cruz and Cecilia Cruz for leaving Puerto Rico and moving to New Jersey to then move to Chicago. You paved the way for our family and thank you for the legacy you have left us.

CLICK FOR HOPE | EMBRACING MY LATIN AMERICAN ROOTS

Photo: Authentic Adventure Co.

Photo: Authentic Adventure Co.

What does being a Latina mean to you?:

Being a Latina means embracing my Latin American roots, representing our customs, culture and diversity proudly, never denying or neglecting its impact and influence on who I am. It means having a genuine concern for the progress of our Latin American countries, fighting for freedoms and striving to pave a way for future generations that will face common struggles, but with dignity and hope that things can change with small but solid steps forward. It’s communicating in our language, dancing to our music, enjoying our food, loving our people.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:

Being born in Peru and coming to the US as a pre-teen was a culture shock and had to push myself to learn the language and fit in. I’ve always been a go-getter and up to a certain point in my life it felt like things had come fairly easy for me. But going to school here and desiring the opportunities that of tall, beautiful, talented Caucasian girls had, I discovered I had to work twice as hard to prove myself, demonstrate my talent and cause them to even notice me. I’ve also had to shatter stereotypes of ‘peruvians’ as there isn’t a large population of us here and the only exposure most had received of Peru was a show called ‘Laura en America’ which featured Peruvians from the projects and marginalized areas of Peru, those with low resources and poor manners. It’s a version of the US’s Maury show. I’ve been working hard to give exposure to our beautiful culture, our talent and shed a new light on a South American country that’s lived in the shadows for so long.

Share something you love about being a Latina?:

This is something I’ve had to learn to embrace, but today I love that I am different, yet I can identify with different Latin American cultures easily. I don’t have a defined accent. Most say I look and talk ‘Mexican’ (of course based on their limited exposure to Peruvians) but I absolutely love ALL of our rhythms, food and customs. There is so much variety, never dull and lame.

What do you identify as?: Peruvian

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.:

My family and I traveled here in 1995 on a student visa because my parents were completing a Masters’ degree at Northern Theological Seminary. Fortunately we were also able to obtain social security cards and were fully documented. Unfortunately, the visa expired after 5 years and then I was documented but illegal. The thought of pursuing a career, going to college without being able to obtain any type of financial aid was scary and discouraging. I had been a good student, in the International Baccalaureate program, and had big dreams but absolutely no means. It wasn’t until I married my husband in 2005 that we were able to fix my status and 6 months later I was a legal resident and 3 years after that I applied for citizenship. My process was relatively easy because of the fact that we had come in legally and of course I had not had any issues with the law. I’m aware that it isn’t as smooth for the majority.

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your American nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

I believe I have developed a loving and respectful relationship with Caucasian and American born citizens. I believe it all comes down to how you treat others, you will earn the same respect. It’s been mainly through music. That’s how I paved my way into people’s hearts since I came here. Singing is how I made new friends and made others smile. My husband and I frequently serve at several Caucasian churches through music and we’ve seen that Music is what really crosses all boundaries and brings people together. I learned to lead worship and minister in English as a young adult and that has opened so many doors for us.

Do you speak spanish?: Yes, fluently.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community?: Not necessarily.