Click For Hope

CLICK FOR HOPE | YOUR NOW IS NOT YOUR FOREVER

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If there’s one thing I would want you to know about me, it’s that I am able.

But I have not always believed it.

Were you to read my social media bios, you’d get the Cliff-Notes version of me:

God’s love.

Wife of my marvelous bearded preacher-man for 16 years.

Homeschooling mom of two amazing kids: a near-teenaged daughter and an 8-year old son. My firstborn came from my own womb, and my second-born came from the womb of another mother.

I battle chronic neurological and autoimmune issues.

My personality is introverted deep-waters, while my word quota binges are extroverted, and I host a podcast by the same name (Word Quota).

Bios are useful for assessing similarities and solidarity within limited space, but there is so much unpacking to do. Once you open up the magic inside, it’s like pulling treasures from Mary Poppins’ bottomless carpet bag. Still, I’ve yet to find someone who is “practically perfect in every way.” Although Mary Poppins was my favorite childhood movie character, there is a particular relief in the awareness of the fiction within her character (besides the obvious fact that people can’t fly using talking umbrellas):

We are all practically imperfect, and despite what they may seem, our imperfections are practical.

It’s in our imperfections where we often find our most beloved comraderies and connections, and our inabilities hone our qualities.

Imperfect and able.

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The physical struggle inside my body has many times developed a struggling mind. Over the years, with the connectivity that modern technology affords, I have learned that I am less alone in my ailments than I initially realized. But before we could type in a hashtag to discover a common bond and prior to google transforming from a noun to a verb, I felt very isolated and misunderstood. Lacking names or diagnoses for so much of what ailed me left me feeling inadequate and impossible as a person. Although I don’t wish to be defined by the labels of illness, having no names as reference means two very disheartening things: elusive solutions & little support from others- even outright disbelief. Eventually, the uncertainty and judgment I perceived seeped into my pores so that I disbelieved the value of my own being. I loathed and shamed myself for the quality of my existence. Lack of foreseeable solutions rendered me hopeless on many occasions. To anyone who feels this way in this moment, I feel it’s important to interrupt myself here: your now is not your forever. There may be things that don’t change. There will be things that do. But no matter the details of how it all plays out, I am living proof that there will be goodness in the presence of the hard if not beyond it, and it’s a goodness well worth hanging around to experience. Don’t miss out.

One area in which I’ve struggled internally off and on is in regard to my motherhood.
I thought so often that my children deserved much better than I have been able to offer them. In a conversation with an online friend whose blog I frequented, I was imparted with this critical message:

“You are God’s perfect gift to your children.“


Although I believed that my circumstances could indeed be used for good in some yet-to-be-foreseen complicated way, I had never prior considered them to be a gift. And I had definitely not considered myself as a gift. I had not thought that the God of the universe would think of me as just the best thing ever to give to my favorite people and light up their faces. God uses me- ALL of me- to teach my children a tenderheartedness they don’t even know that they are learning.

In a compassionate twist of irony, my kids have been God’s perfect gift to me.

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Exuberant. Intelligent. Empathetic… I call my daughter my wonder-FULL child. She delights in being a big clash of color (her words), and she truly sees the wonder in the stuff of life: in sunrises and clouds, and people and words and a million little things. She is amazed by and appreciates every last little bit of it: the perfect contrast to my not easily impressed self. Through her eyes I now observe value in many facets, which has allowed me to truly appreciate the magnificence and AWEsome-ness of God that I had previously looked past, unbothered. New dimensions have come to life through this girl of mine, and God was gracious enough to gift me with her smile.

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Passionate. Clever. Savvy. My son has an amazing mind for dates, times, and details. He has an internal timeline that rivals an anatomic clock, reminds me to remember things my foggy brain has long forgotten, and knows which direction to travel. He’s a problem solver so I don’t have to be one as often. Through his adoption I came to a new awareness- a true heart-knowledge of the depth of God’s love, and that it actually applies to me- that there is no holding out on His part. Since I was small I have trusted Jesus and known that I am ultimately, eternally safe in His arms. But I did not always believe Him to have gotten things right with me, to delight in me, or that I was worthy of being adored. The definition of Love Himself, somehow, he must have been disappointed that I messed up what he made. With that boy of mine, I was washed over with a flood of love that rushed into my soul and flat swept me away. Suddenly all of the scriptures pertaining to adoption meant something to me: I am His own. I am His heir. All that He possesses He is pleased to pass on to me as blood-kin. His delight in me is incomprehensible, and it’s heard in the gift of my son’s infectious laughter.

My children are gifts to my heart as I am to theirs: both as practical tools and just-for-the-joy-of-its. Despite my body’s inability to work at times in ways I think it should, He empowers me to be able to be exactly who I was designed to be, and in fact I wouldn’t be those things without what I never would have desired or known to ask for

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Mom. Wife. Daughter. Fighter.

If there’s one thing I want you do know about me, it’s that I’m able,

only because of Jesus: the purveyor of impossible possibilities for the practically imperfect.

Love,
Bec

How has your story shaped who you are today?:

I'm able not just to exist, but to live.

What compelled you to want to share your story with us?:

Jasmine's inspiration and the love of Jesus :-)

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:

Gifts are in the hard things.

CLICK FOR HOPE | I AM REMINDED OF MY GOD

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Please share your story:

Every day is touched by the name Haven Song. In February 2018 my husband and I sat in the midwife’s office, newly pregnant and hoping for our first ultrasound glimpse of our baby. Instead of a huge smile and reassurance, the midwife scheduled a consult with an OB Dr explaining that my fibroids were a concern and that she may not be able to oversee my pregnancy. We went home like we’d been kicked in the stomach. I tried to be positive because the midwife had not said my baby would not survive—only that preterm delivery was possible and we needed to be aware of this fact. My husband Luis was just quiet. He didn’t know what to say. I sat in front of the TV at home thinking about our baby and being alone with my grief while Luis made supper. We hadn’t even picked a name yet. We didn’t even know our baby’s gender. Then the word “Haven” entered my consciousness. I began to think of Haven as a name choice. What would it be like to have a name that meant “refuge?” Refuge from the storm. Refuge from pain. Refuge from sickness and the curse of sin. Then I remembered Psalm 91 and all the ways God promises to protect his children. I knew our baby’s name was Haven Song and that in naming her God was choosing her. When I asked Luis what he thought of the name Haven he agreed! (Up till then we were unable to agree on a name.) In faith we named our baby Haven and if our baby was a girl we would name her Haven Song to remind us of God’s faithful protection. Each day we thanked God for another day Haven lived. Each week we counted towards a full term delivery. Each month we looked back in amazement that my pregnancy was protected and uneventful. At the same time I had to prepare for worst. I looked into baby funeral services and how to ensure my baby would be given to me by the hospital no matter how premature she may have been. Luis and I had to talk together about my wishes if the Dr’s worst case scenarios played out for me. If I began hemorrhaging or if I needed an emergency C-section or hysterectomy. If there were ever a decision that needed to be made who would live, I wanted Luis to make the Dr’s choose Haven. That was a tough conversation. In the end, I carried Haven Song to 39 weeks when the Dr suggested an induction. There were none of the expected complications! I did experience a third degree tear and postpartum depression, but none of the worst case scenarios took place. Haven is healthy and growing. She exceeds our expectations.

How has your story shaped who you are today?:

Every day when I say my daughter’s name I am reminded of my God. Our Father God who protects and loves his children. Who loves and forgives. Who sings over us Heaven’s song of redemption. Who is our refuge (our haven) in every trial —in the bad times and the good.

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What compelled you to want to share your story with us?:

My life experiences have not been easy. My own birth family is dysfunctional and my father is in prison waiting trial. I have prayed for deliverance and healing for my family for a decade now and am still waiting for God’s full restorative healing to occur. When the Dr. gave us the worst case scenarios I immediately thought the worst would happen to me like so many other times to my family. I am learning to choose belief in my heavenly father’s love no matter what is happening. If my daughter had not lived, the promise that God is my Haven would still be true. I hope to encourage others to keep hoping while walking through the darkness of needing to understand funeral preparations for a beloved baby.

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:

Don’t give up. Our father God is big enough for your screaming tears. He is big enough to hold you through your upcoming deliverance or even if there are more tears ahead. He will send you every help that you need.

CLICK FOR HOPE | I'VE HAD TO FIGHT FOR THOSE RIGHTS

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What does being a Latina mean to you?:

For me Latinidad is many things as we are intersectional beings. Personally, it means being the daughter of Mexican immigrants who struggled in migrating to this country for a better life and opportunities for their children. It means having a set of values that center familia, community and self, and that these do not exist without each other. And all the things that enrich these values, that are an intricate part, like language, food, religion, spirituality, work, education, play, relationships, music, and art. But each of these is constantly being redefined with every new generation and experience.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:

I am a Latina who might be seen as one who has defied the obstacles against her, because in one generation as the daughter of Mexican immigrants, has obtained the highest degree possible in Academia. I hold a Doctorate in Hispanic Literature and am an Associate professor of Spanish at a small college outside of Chicago. However, even with this evidence of success, I have been devalued, dismissed and treated as incompetent at times and not perceived as an equal leader to my middle-class White colleagues. I have also arrived at this level through great systemic challenges that caused me to internalize this perception and second-guess myself on my way here and be stigmatized by an imposter syndrome.

Share something you love about being a Latina?:

I love some of the central values that define us: familia, love & community. I love our syncretic and hybrid identities that make us richly complex and even contradictory.

What do you identify as?: Latinx (Mexican-American)

Where you born in the states?: U.S. born, but from a mixed status family

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

Yes, but I have had to shoulder through and negotiate those throughout the way. In some times and spaces, I've had to fight for those rights and to be seen as both American and Mexican, or simply American.

Do you speak spanish?:

Yes, fluently.

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

Yes, I am a light-skinned Latina and am fully aware of my privilege in the U.S. I jokingly and poignantly say that I am a "safe" Latina. I am also married to a white man and we have two children. My girls are very different. One has brown hair and big brown eyes like me, and shares the characteristics of light-skinned Latinas. My other daughter has platinum blonde hair and blue eyes like my husband. I am often asked if she is mine, if I am her nanny and most times, those questions have come from “mi propia gente", other Latinos. So yes, colorism runs deep in Mexican and Latino culture. In fact, because of this, I was motivated to offer a course titled Afro-Latinidad to continue diversifying the Spanish curriculum at my institution and also providing courses in which a variety of my students can see themselves reflected in and to begin to have them think and complicate these values and cultural expectations.

CLICK FOR HOPE | I DIDN'T REALIZE I WAS UNDOCUMENTED

Photos provided by storyteller: Neiva

Photos provided by storyteller: Neiva

What does being a Latina mean to you?

Being a Latina women means that I am someone who is proud of their roots/where they came from. Someone that’s empowering, someone that perseveres, and someone that can add a bit of spice to someone’s life.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

I have worked in a professional /corporate setting for a few years now and I have experienced racism/ ignorance from individuals in a higher role than mine. Stereotypes are very common here in Chicago. I have had countless statements stating that they are surprised I don’t have an “accent “ when I speak English. I have had plenty of reactions by how “educated” I am after giving a presentation or providing ideas during meetings. I have had the constant mispronunciation of my name after repeating it several times. Overtime, you become immune to it as it happens so often . This cycle needs to be broken.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

I am very prideful of my roots. I get to share a beautiful culture among those that surround me. This includes food, music, and traditions. I love my brown, glowing skin, my curves and my big, chunky curls. Yes, this sounds vain, but it took a long time for me to love who I am and I repeat this to myself everyday. I love that family time is emphasized in our culture. I love the fact that we have huge celebrations for any big/little accomplishment that we complete. I love being able to be bilingual. Thinking and speaking in 2 different languages is by far one of the coolest things someone can do if you actually think about it.

What do you identify as? I identify myself 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.

My family immigrated here from Mexico when I was 2 years old. We came here on a visa that later soon expired. I didn’t realize I was “undocumented” until I started filling out applications for financial aid to assist in paying for college. That was a rude awakening. My mental health was at an all time low. I was discouraged seeing all my friends off to college while I was left behind. I realized I had to work 15x harder than anyone to achieve even a minor goal. I started working as a nanny, saved all my money and paid for school out of pocket. My parents have given me such a beautiful life and I have never needed anything. They always provided everything I could ever need plus more. They taught me that hard work pays off and for that I am always grateful. When President Obama passed the executive order of Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals aka DACA, all the hard work I did paid off. I was approved and was able to obtain a position in a professional environment that I so longed for. In 2014, I got married to my best friend. He has been there through every stepping stone, milestone, achievement, etc. In March of 2017, we decided to proceed with filing paperwork for my permanent residency. This was probably one of the scariest things I had to do under the political climate that we were in. I was super fearful of rejection. In August of 2017, I received an email of my approval!!!! As soon as I obtained my residency, I went to Mexico to meet family I hadn’t seen in over 25 years. It was the most overwhelming, beautiful, humbling experience of my life. I was able to understand the sacrifice my parents made. They wanted us to have a better life than they did in our home country. I don’t think we have any idea what immigrant parents give up for us. Give up their country, their family, and their entire lives to move across the globe to a country that treats them poorly because they are not able to properly pronounce a word, just so their children can have a better life, a better education. I thank my parents for giving me a better life full of opportunities. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for their sacrifice. Per law, I have to wait 3 years before applying to become a Naturalized Citizen. Once this happens, I will have dual citizenship .

Do you speak spanish? Yes, fluently.

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

I currently am a volunteer for a program called Rape Victim Advocates. it’s an organization that provides crisis counseling to survivors of sexual assault. This group is part of an amazing team of advocates who are on-call to provide in-person crisis support to survivors of sexual assault & abuse at 14 Chicago hospitals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so a survivor is never alone . I have had the privilege to service various Spanish speaking families in this role . This has probably been the most intense yet rewarding experience I have ever done .

CLICK FOR HOPE | I HAVE DUAL CITIZENSHIP

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What does being a Latina mean to you?

It means I am a woman filled with strength, courage and power. Yet gentle, loving and nurturing. Someone who believes in fighting for what is right and standing up for yourself, especially in today’s time. 

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

I would definitely have to say the immigration process my family had to endure including my own during my early childhood and fear of the word, DEPORTATION.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

I love that I am able to embrace my heritage with such pride and admiration for it. I love our food, our history, our people, our music and art! I love that I am a woman who was raised by amazing Mexican women, specifically my mother and her mother, my Abuelita. I was taught to have old fashioned manners (something that seems to disappear more and more) and serve with hospitality and heart.... Especially with food, I love to cook and see my friends and family eat what I made with passion and love from my hands and soul. They get to taste a little of who I am and what I carry from generations and generations ago. 

What do you identify as? (Puerto Rican, Mexican, Salvadorian, etc.):

Mexicana but if we want to talk about specifics I am a VERY proud Jalisciense! Hecha de puro Jalisco!

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.

NO... I was born in Jalisco, Mexico.

I remember waking up at around 5 am in the mornings to arrive early at the long line of the immigration office, even with the rough winter weather we deal with here in Chicago. My mother and I received our legal US residency before my dad did and my biggest fear was not knowing if my dad would get his papers and get deported. The conversations my parents had in case he would get his applications denied and get deported were gut- wrenching to me. We would all have to leave... Never would my parents allow us to be separated but I didn't want to leave the place I called and known as my home for literally almost my entire life and lose my close friends. I didn't know what the schools were like in Mexico. I was only a little girl and knowing my parents came and stayed in the US to have a better education and chance of a greater life for me and my younger sisters, I didn't want any of that to go to waste. Thankfully, what at times seemed impossible with a lot of prayer and a LOT of fasting in my very early stages of being a born again Christian, God turned it around for my family and my Papi received his "papeles", his legal US residency. It is one of my most powerful personal testimonies.

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

Being a 1st generation immigrant, I do not really recognize myself of "American nationality". I have a dual citizenship and very proud to hold that. I never ever forget where I come from but I never ever forget the recognition I have for this country. I am a college graduate, with a Puerto Rican husband I met here in America, with about to be a total of 4 beautiful American born sons. I am very grateful for that. I get to teach my children to admire not just my culture, but their father's PR culture and the history of the land they were born in.

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.

Oh yes, for being tall and fair skinned with big curly hair, I get the, “You're Mexican???" type of reaction when a person finds out where I am from. I also received a lot of bullying for my hair as a child. Comments like, “Look at my hair, my hair is real!” from other kids or being called “Curly Monster” or making rumors that my hair was a wig, were kind of perplexing to me because I grew up Pilsen, a Chicago neighborhood that is predominantly Hispanic. Where people all have different heights, skin color, hair textures and features, I thought we should have been more accepting of one another. So I remember there was a short period where I felt like I “fit in” more when my hair was straightened with a flat iron or wish I was 5’4 and under. Thankfully I have a mother who taught me to love myself for who I am and taught me to embrace being “ÚNICA” in my own ways. As far an experience in Mexico, I was told one time I was "Mexicana pero Norteada", which basically meant "American tainted" and I took such offense to that. I am so grateful for being a part of both nations and think it is a wonderful privilege! 

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

Never be ashamed or embarrassed of who you are or where you come from. There were times I felt a little to some embarrassment for being a girl that was too tall, had curly hair (funny fact: my hair took a good amount of space in my second grade school picture) and even for having a name that still to this day, does not get pronounced right! But I have learned to love myself for me, for God made me who I am as He pleased and saw fit. He made no mistakes with me and that is my biggest hope for all girls of all ethnicities to feel about themselves.  

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 | I'M PROUD TO REPRESENT

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What does being a Latina mean to you?

It means having a deep appreciation of my background and understanding the great importance of family. I love that our culture is family oriented, hard working, and so passionate!

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

The assumption that I don’t speak English and that I’m not well educated with a great career is definitely the top struggles. However, in the realm of social media and the current platform I have, has been not getting equal opportunity to certain campaigns due to the fact that I’m a woman of color with strong features and dark hair AND super short.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

I love everything about our culture. The music, the food, the extra flavor we add to anything ;), and the importance of family.

What do you identify as? Puerto Rican

Where you born in the states? Yes, born and raised in the city of Chicago.

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

Yes. My parents always made us well aware of all typical Puerto Rican traditions and made sure to incorporate them while living here in Chicago. We truly had a good balance within our home and I’m so grateful for that!

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!:

Not one that I can remember. But I’ve had my share of experiences where people stereotype me and automatically assume I only speak or understand Spanish. Love their response when I respond back to them in fluent English and make them well aware that I speak and understand both languages very well.

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

I’m proud to be a Latina woman and proud to represent them in any way I can! We are who we are and should never be ashamed of the things that make us unique and so special. We are passionate, wise, empowered, strong, loving, and beautiful both inside and out. What a blessing it is to be Latina!

CLICK FOR HOPE | LLENO DE CREATIVDAD

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What does being a Latina mean to you?

Para mi ser Latina tiene el significado de ser un ser humano lleno de creatividad, honestidad, sacrificio, inteligencia, sabor, tradición, cultura, costumbres, sazón, amor por los demás y entrega total.
No sabía de este orgulloso apellido hasta que llegué a este país.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

Todos los posibles, vivía en una burbuja en mi querido México. Allá no tenía color de piel, tenía amigos, familia, amor, hombros sobre los que llorar sin citas, visitas de amigos sin horario con espontaneidad, así como somos los latinos, siempre teniendo una mano amiga, un familiar que te echa la mano cuando lo necesitas.
Ignoraba ser una “POC”, creía que la discriminación racial eran cuentos de televisión.
Aquí vine a conocer el lado profundo de la soledad, de las lágrimas que nadie escucha ni son secadas por nadie. Esas palabras que solo puedas expresar en una relación virtual, en fotos que se comparten y que nunca demuestran la tristeza y los sufrimientos que se padecen detrás de esas sonrisas de tu familia, las que quieres guardar para siempre, a las que te aferras para no caer y tomar fuerzas.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

Ser creativa, dar sin esperar nada a cambio, mi corazón, la honestidad de mi mente y alma, aprender día a día de todos y de todo. Salir adelante no importando la circunstancia u obstáculo que se me presente.

What do you identify as? Mexicana

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.

Mi proceso ha sido, Gracias a Dios, fluido y coherente. Siempre cumpliendo con los requerimientos legales.

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

Creo que el rechazo de todos los trabajos a los que he aplicado (solo llevo 4 años aquí, mis estudios son en México) me han hecho sacar la casta. No me canso de hacer lo que sea. He donado mi talento en las artes gráficas a algunas asociaciones sin fines de lucro, sé tejer crochet vendiendo en ferias, hago joyería en piel y con piedras preciosas. Nada me detiene. Ahora pertenezco a un grupo de Mamis Latinas donde comparto mi conocimiento y mi talento, pero la mejor parte es que aprendo mucho de ellas.

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.

Si, mis hijas fueron rechazadas por los vecinos de nuestro condominio, tengo una beba de 2 años y les molesta que sus pasitos correlones hagan ruido. Nos insultaron y llamaron a la policía también.
Tantas historias que escribiría todo un libro.

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

Leí sobre ustedes y no cabe duda que la mano de Dios nuestro Señor está con ustedes. Me encanta encontrar personas así “Latinísimas”.

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!