Six dancers dressed in traditional blouses, colorful flowing skirts, and bright flowers peeking out of their hair picked up pace, generating cheers and applause at their quick steps. They effortlessly spun around the room, creating a lively atmosphere that accurately represented the purpose of the event.
On Saturday, Mar. 7, USF’s Latinas Unidas hosted Dia De La Mujer, in honor of Women’s History Month. The event was held in McLaren Conference Center 252, and was open to all USF students who wished to learn about and better understand the struggles of Latinas and women of all cultures around the world. The theme of the event was “Sin Mujeres, No Hay Revolucion” – Without Women, There Is No Revolution.
The evening commenced with a folk dance performed by Baile Folklórico de San Pancho. After the dance, a dinner of beans, Spanish rice, and chicken was served with Horchata and Watermelon Agua Fresca. Once everybody was settled, the first speaker, USF’s Dr. Christina Garcia Lopez, was introduced. She told of her struggles growing up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, and her difficulty socializing with her peers as a child. After being placed into a gifted student’s program with the help of her fourth grade teacher, Lopez “began to value education because [she] believed it was something [she] could do.”
Lopez went on to earn her B.A. in English Literature at the University of North Texas and received an M.A. in American Literature & Culture at the University of Leeds. Lopez said that studying abroad allowed her to see the United States the way that she needed to see it – from a foreign and less subjective perspective.
The difficulties that she faced through graduate school and in the job market helped Lopez to value who she was and what she was capable of. “I learned never to assume anything about anybody; let them surprise you,” she said. The next piece was a spoken word poem performed by senior Alejandra Mojica. She began by speaking about women’s roles in all revolutions around the world, and how women “have the ability to perform revolutionary acts every day.” Her poem spoke of the power of women, and the repression that Latina women have struggled with throughout the years and continue to face in the United States today.
Mojica was followed by Latinas Unidas members Angelica Miramontes, Miriam Uribe, and Liz Fernandez, who all spoke about their personal journeys as Latina women in the United States, and how Latina women played a role in revolutionizing their position and power in society. “All that we do for our revolution is not just for us, but for the next four generations,” said Miramontes. She also spoke about community being local, national, and global, and how women can make a difference on all three of these levels.
A performance by the sisters of Lambda Theta Nu followed, showing off the sisterhood’s strong history of representing and supporting Latina women in higher education. The event ended with an impromptu dance party as the DJ turned on disco lights, blasted music, and got the entire room up on their feet to celebrate Dia De La Mujer, and women of revolution.
Dia De La Mujer is one of Latinas Unidas’ biggest events of the year. It represents the power of community that the organization represents, and the passion that they find in their culture. Sophomore Gloria Ruiz and member of Latinas Unidas, said that the purpose of Dia De La Mujer is “celebrating the women who have come before us and reminding us of our job in the revolution.” The women of the organization began fundraising and planning in the beginning of the academic year, raising money in ways such as tabling around campus. The hard work that all of the members of the Latinas Unidas organization led to an extremely successful and powerful event that brought tears to the eyes of numerous audience members. The evening showcased the values of the entire Latinas Unidas organization, and the role of women around the globe to help create their revolutions.
Photo credit: Talia Jade Sourkes