A Letter From an Editor
The first Thursday of Freshman year, I attended a Women's Issues Group (now FemCo) meeting. Since then I have not spent a Thursday morning without this ebbing and flowing, Dunkin’ Donuts loving, extraordinarily passionate group of people. FemCo has served as an anchor for me. Freshman year, I looked in awe at the club’s leaders who welcomed me in with knowledge and warmth. I learned from classmates whom I had never known before. I was part of a new community.
During my time in FemCo, we’ve learned, we’ve discussed, and we’ve striven to make an impact. We addressed the school’s dress code, wrote letters to politicians, rallied at Women’s Marches, and raised money for important causes like the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. We witnessed important events beyond BB&N, too. We celebrated Beyoncé’s influential Lemonade album, watched Hillary become a role model for millions of girls, and recently, followed the cascading “Me Too" movement, reminding us that every woman deserves to feel safe in the workplace.
But last week, during a discussion about the perpetual, colloquial use of slurs at BB&N, some members of the group, including me, began to feel discouraged. When you are passionate about a cause, it is difficult to not feel heard. I became overwhelmed by the idea that I would never make a change. Then, Max Ambris ’19 said something to the group that resonated with me: “When I work on a social justice initiative, my goal is to reach just one person,” he said. “Then, after a while, I think that those ‘one persons’ will add up.” What we do in FemCo is on a small scale; perhaps we are not changing the world every Thursday morning. But what Max said epitomized what I believe FemCo to be capable of. As I prepare to graduate from BB&N, I know that I’m leaving behind a group who will go out into the world to connect with others and create change. After a while, I know that these changes will add up.
This is how women love each other
Damn little girl.
You’ve got some pretty little baby teeth.
Why don’t you smile for me?
Don’t be scared, now.
What stop are you getting off at?
I was 11 years old,
cowering before a man reaching his hand out toward me
when a woman sleeping
on the other side of the train opened her eyes.
She said, “If you touch my sister,
I will tie you to these train tracks.”
My stop came on over the speakers,
but I was so grateful for that woman
that I didn’t know how how to move.
So the next time I hear “Damn little girl”
I squeeze my body in front of that man
and hold that little girl’s hand.
So when a black van full of growling men
follows me for 6 minutes and 37 seconds,
and I can’t close my eyes tightly enough to
shake the images of what they could do to me,
a woman wraps her arm around mine.
For two and a half miles,
she walks me right to my front door.
So the next time I hear “I’ll kill you”
shouted at a victim who flipped her catcaller off,
I walk with her.
So when a man towers over me to say,
“Your hands sure are beautiful.
Yeah, I bet they would feel me up real good,”
his hand barely has a chance to reach for his fly
before a woman’s palm knocks him sideways,
because this is how women love each other:
in secret code of white knuckles,
and pleading eyes.
Women are done ignoring
done bowing our heads and walking faster
done arming ourselves
with mace or rape whistle, switchblade or scythe
done taking the high road men paved with our silence.
Women are not your sugar and spice.
We are knuckles torn by the teeth of men
who force themselves on little girls,
arms sore from digging graves for catcaller’s dignity,
fists raised for our sisters raped at bus stops
dragged into cars
beaten at the backs of alleys.
Women are not waiting around for men to save them.
We are already bound by arms, hands, bodies
in blind hope that we are stronger together
that we can save each other.
Women are a silent web
strung together by the birthright promise
that we will not stay down.
Not Latino Enough
Many people have a certain idea of what a specific race should look like, sound like and act like. For a Latino, the common stereotype is a brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking, accent-bearing individual. Although some of these stereotypes aren't necessarily considered "bad" by society, they do paint a single image for all Latinos.
My mother is from Costa Rica and my father is from Colombia. I identify as a Latino, however many people don't see me that way. I have white skin, and although I am able to speak Spanish, there are moments where I get tripped up, as it is not my first language. When I go to Costa Rica and Colombia, my family members joke around and call me a gringo or a white boy. I often feel like I'm not Latino enough—a crazy thought because even though it's not noticeable, biologically, I am Latino.
Instances like these don't bother me as much compared to when it’s my non-Latino friends who are saying it. Having a non-Latino reject my identity is even more hurtful, as they are not entitled to comment on my heritage whereas my family does have a right to do so. One friend of mine constantly points out how "white" I look. I have told her several times that yes, I am white passing, but that doesn't make me any less Latino.
Still, I questioned what makes a Latino a Latino. I began to doubt myself and my identity more than ever. I speak Spanish, I eat Hispanic food and I listen and dance to Spanish music. Nonetheless, I wondered as to how I could make myself a more "authentic" Latino. I was so insecure that I let other people have control in defining how I should look. It wasn't until I beat myself down so low after all these thoughts that I realized I didn't have to fit into a box that ignorant people had created for Latinos. I am Latino and proud. I know that not all Latinos look or act the same way but that is what makes us, and everyone else special.
Are you better now?
Arms crossed over my whittling waist
Head ducked down,
and hair veiling the pale cry of
Pain seeps through
the aching bones that crumble
Falling into the empty well
that grows inside the sorrow I
I stand alone in this dark
that feasts and steals
what is left of my
from the slipping grasp of my hollow fingers
Mind your own business
Let me wallow in the hunger
that brings me happiness
and gives me
Love bounces off the
thin layer of skin
that holds me in the comfort
of this loneliness and
Anger burns below
igniting the ugly I feel
That builds in the bottom of
my barren gut and thrives in the
Pangs of hunger splinter
through this body
my mother taught me to
I am shrinking into nothing
as this disease eats away at
the girl I once loved
I am better now