Sign reads: “Soy poderosa and my voice matters because i am a mother. a teacher. a figther. an activist and a strong latina”
Latinas are making sure that their voices and their stories are being heard. We are not silent. A perfect example of the determination Latinas have towards personal growth, justice to all communities around all issues not just Reproductive Health, is Cynthia Brito. She is an organizer at the Latin@ Youth Action League. Her dedication to lifting Latina voices in Illinois has made her the activist of the month.
Read her story here:
I am powerful. Through my lived knowledge, experience, and activism, I am an agent of change. We all have a transformative power to change society, but as Latinas, our unique lived experience amplifies our ability to understand society through a powerful lens.
As a young girl, I experienced molestation and assault. My life was filled with years of violence and abuse. My first experience with racism occurred when I moved from the city to the suburbs at the age of 9. The combination of violence, racism, and lack of support for young Latinas set the stage for a destructive path in my life. As time went on, I was involved in several abusive relationships, with the most severe of these relationships nearly ending my life.
I became a mom at the age of 17 and again at 19. As a teen mom in the suburbs I experienced negative interactions at an individual and institutional level. I became aware that I was not only looked down up for being a young mother, but also for being a Latina mother. It was through this lived experience that my perspective of the world began to unfold.
I’m a co-founder of the Latin@ Youth Action League (L@YAL), a fairly new organization in DuPage County. Our work focuses primarily on issues the Latino community faces in the suburbs of DuPage County. Much of our recent work has focused on undocumented youth. We have held rallies, workshops, and provided access to resources to many youth in the area. More recently, we decided to organize an event around Latina reproductive health issues.
I first learned about the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) while I was a teaching assistant for a Latino Studies class at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The following year, I taught my own course: Latinas in the United States. The NLIRH helped students become aware of the complex dynamics in the issues Latinas face around reproductive health. I also successfully completed the E-LOLA Webinar and organized a Cafecito in collaboration with HABLAMOS, a Latina organization in Elmhurst College. Many factors interconnect to create the current political backlash against Latinas reproductive rights, and NLIRH is a powerful agent that brings them to light.
Thank you Cynthia for all the work you do, and will continue to do, for our community. We are honored and excited to work with you on many things to come. Congratulations on being this months activist of the month!
Check out the work NLIRH is doing in other states by liking our facebook and maybe YOU can be our next poderosa profile.