Posts Tagged ‘women’
I went to an art show recently and got a chance to meet a newly engaged couple. She’s a writer and he was … I forgot, something amazing, I’m sure. Well, anyways, we got to talking and I congratulated them on their engagement and off course, they asked if I was there with someone special. I said no, but I cheerfully added, “But, I’m single, bilingual, ready to mingle! Heeeey!” They laughed and the guy said, “Ok, good to know! I’ll keep a lookout for you!” and I said, “Thanks!” and he asked, “What’s your type? I imagine smart, off course, men or women?” and his fiancé looked at me like it was the most normal question in the world, because you know what? It IS the most normal question in the world. BOOM.
To debate the issues and compare both the RNC and the DNC, I was joined on my show “Knowledge is Power” on Power 106 for a roundtable discussion with:
Derrick Ashong – social media correspondent for BET, @ashong
Unai Montes Irueste – contributing writer for Politic365 @unaimi
Listen to the show:
From my post on The Huffington Post
Maria Ester Villanueva Lopez is a stunning figure of grace and style as she poses for a picture as she drops her voting ballot in the automated box.At the tender age of 100, Maria Ester gently dabs the “I Voted” sticker onto her bamboo flower green and black silk blouse.
A black hanker-shift nestled around her neck lends a glimpse to the shimmering gold medallions underneath. Her lightly pink coated fingernails accentuate the olive complexion of her thin hands and fingers which are adorned by a wedding band she wears despite becoming a widow twenty years ago. Square diamond trimmed sunglasses decorate her face and eliminate some of the glaring sunlight streaming through Harrison Elementary in East Los Angeles.
“Oh well, let’s see,” she recalls, “I don’t even remember how long I have been voting! But it’s been a lot!”
She laughs and exclaims in fluid Mexican-American bilingualism, “Estoy viejita!” (I’m an old lady!)
Maria Ester was born in Upland California in 1910 when the small community was just an agricultural rural town that grew fruits and grapes.
At the age of two, the family moved to Guadalajara, Mexico where her mother widowed and later remarried.
The time frame of her young life escapes Maria Ester as she tells me her story. She was just a child when her mother fell ill and her step-father moved all of her three half brothers and two sisters to East Los Angeles. As a little girl, she buried her mother and fell to the care of a local priest who placed her at the care of nuns at La Preciosa Sangre orphanage in Guadalajara.
“Those were such trying times for me,” she says as her voice quivers.
“I felt so alone and didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Her step-father eventually returned for her and she was able to see her three brothers return from WWII in 1946, a year she clearly remembers.
“Oh they looked so handsome in their uniforms!” she exclaims, “I was so lucky, so many friends from the neighborhood were fighting, and not everyone was coming back.”
All of her siblings have past on and Maria Ester buried her last brother three years ago. Like so many years ago, she is again, all alone.
“So much of my life I have lived alone,” she shares, “I like the solitude, I am happy in this old house that my husband left for me, may he rest in peace.”
I asked her if she remembers the first time she voted and as she takes a trip down memory lane, Vaguely, she remembers the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy.
“What happened to them was a tragedy, a real tragedy,” she says.
With the easy transition of someone who has lived a long life, Maria Ester changes the mood of our conversation and gets excited again.
“Today, I was sitting there in my home, all alone, and I said to myself, ‘yo soy American Citizen, voy a votar. (I’m going to vote.)’”
Determined, she explains she got dressed, got her voter ballot and began reading and circling who she wanted to vote for. Her neighbor, Chuey, saw her through her door and offered to give her a ride to her polling place.
“He is such a nice man!” she says.
“So I got all nice and ready, me puse bonita, (I got dolled up), and I went to go vote.”
“To me,” she explains, “Voting is such a privilege. In my heart, I am Mexican because of everything I lived. But now I live here, y pues bueno, I vote here.”
“But,” she continues with a laugh, “I can’t even tell you half the things I have voted on, they are stored in my memory somewhere, with the years, pues tu sabes, it’s hard to remember.”
She pauses for a moment and teases, “but you know who I did vote for?”
“Who Doña Maria?” I ask with the intrigue of a child waiting for the best part of the story.
“That young man a few years ago… Obama.”
“And who did you vote for Governor today?!” I ask exhilarated.
“Oh pues niña, eso no se dice!”(Come on child, some things you don’t say!)
Thank you Doña Maria for reminding us that no matter how young or old, each vote matters. Thank you for being such an inspiring American.
I have been around politics long enough to know that the valor and vigor of volunteers can sometimes speak much louder than a candidates commercial.
Despite supporting a different candidate during the primary, I will be voting for Kamala Harris this Tuesday, Nov. 2nd, not because Ms. Harris has decisively swayed me, but because of the below email I received from a friend, a young Latina attorney named Alida Garcia.
In reading her crusade, I pictured her in the court room, and I understood each and every moment of her insecurities and her journey of self-discovery. If Kamala Harris has that kind of an impact on my friend, then it’s the kind of impact I want for California.
Family & Friends -
I am sure you all are exhausted and over-saturated by campaign e-mails/ads, however, I ask you from the bottom of my heart to take the time to read just one more. I won’t bother you with facts, resumes, and issues. I am asking you to support my friend, mentor and personal hero Kamala D. Harris for CA Attorney General–and for now, I simply and selfishly ask for you to read why this election matters to me.
The first day I staffed Kamala was December 1st, 2008 – yes, 23 long months ago, and just 3 short weeks after our country miraculously elected President Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. Many of you know that the Obama campaign was an incredibly transformative experience in my life. I view my 2 years with Kamala as an extension of that work. She was, afterall, the first elected official in California to endorse his candidacy before anyone knew who he was.
My journey with Kamala began far before first meeting her. Her niece, Meena, and I attended Stanford together & subsequently worked on the Obama campaign together. I view Meena as a younger sister of mine & one of my best friends. Whether it be editing her law school entrance essays or picking her up from the airport, Meena is my family, & as such, so have I treated Kamala.
Over the last 2 years I have watched an amazing woman prove herself over and over again on the campaign trail, capturing audiences of all ages, races, geography and political affiliation. This was a small campaign ran by just a handful of people statewide, and so I dedicated my volunteerism to as close as a staff level as one could be without being a full time employee. I’ve been to so many events volunteering that I am most positive that I can repeat her stump speech verbatim to you by memory, “I am one of two daughters of parents who met as graduate students while at the University of California – Berkeley in the 1960s….” (it begins.)
Interestingly enough, my journey with Kamala also began at the same time as my journey as a young attorney. Lucky for me, in a profession where women–particularly woman of color–are few and far between – I had the opportunity to regularly watch such a strong confident compassionate, and when necessary, intimidating woman attorney of color execute her job with grace, dignity and the integrity that is required of a law enforcement officer who regularly deals with the most heinous of human acts imaginable in her profession as District Attorney of San Francisco.
She was so good and natural at what she does, that I regularly forgot that we were trying to accomplish something that has never been done before in CA – elect a woman to be the top law enforcement officer of the State of California and the first African-American of any gender to hold any constitutional office in our state.
Watching Kamala own her candidacy so confidently, despite trying to do something that was unheard of has helped me shatter my own glass ceilings, time and time again. As an example, and one of many, I remember the first time I ever had to argue a substantive motion in front of a judge. I was so scared, like literally shaking and thought I’d have a heart attack. I was in a room of over 50 middle-aged white men who had all practiced for decades and all I could think about was not fainting, breathing slowly, and hopefully speaking English. And then I remembered a speech I saw Kamala give young girls, where she mentioned that she oftentimes had to tell her own young woman attorneys at her D.A.’s office to just walk in the room and pretend they were her to kill their nerves. So I took a deep breath, channeled my inner Kamala, and somehow my heart wasn’t beating outside of my chest anymore, and I was able to argue that motion (and give that older man a run for his money ) – lesson learned, I belonged in that room and I owned it.
Beyond my own life being affected, I have spent two years organizing her young supporters and through that experience I have watched tons of young people grow and develop into community leaders and organizers who will forever be trying to change our state for the better because of the transformative experience they have received volunteering for her. Good candidates with good hearts end up being supported by other good people with good hearts, and through this experience I have made the best friends imaginable.
I write this all to say – that campaigns are more than the negative ads you see every 2 seconds on TV. This campaign involved the most amazing people I know working through their blood sweat and tears, all-nighters, donating their last dollars and pushing just a little harder to elect a leader who will, in fact, change and protect our state.
And we’re almost there.
We are essentially tied. Just last week Karl Rove (yes the Karl Rove) invested $1.3 million dollars in attack ads against us funded by: Oil, Tobacco, and Health Insurance. That alone should tell you why electing Kamala matters so much: she’ll protect us and is beholden to no special interest like her opponent Steve Cooley, who refuses to take a stance on Prop 23 – which is funded by Texas oil companies wanting easier laws to pollute our air. You can get a glimpse of this issue HERE.
We need your vote to push ahead and win. And, we need at least 10 of your friends to vote for Kamala. We need you to spread the word this weekend that Tuesday, November 2, 2010 is the finish line in this long race. Together, we can win this race. Together, we can elect her to be the next Attorney General for the State of California.
Please vote for my friend, mentor and personal hero, Kamala Harris, for California Attorney General. Our state deserves her.
I thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about Kamala. And even more happy to answer questions about where you can help me help her get out the vote over the next 4 days.
Yes We Can
From my post on BrandX
Here’s the thing about birthdays, as you get older, they get more and more complicated and stressful. When you turn 10, it’s all about piñatas, gifts, and cake. When you turn 15 or 16, there’s the big coming of age. As a girl, you get to wear a big poufy dress and a crown. Everyone loves you. When you turn 18, you’re finally an adult and those threats about moving out suddenly become real and you realize paying rent sucks, but hey! you’re 18 and you and your friends sneak off to Tijuana to party. You turn 20 and it’s great because you’re no longer a teen and you start planning for the next big birthday. You’re 21 and as a right off passage, you take off to Vegas, party like a rock star and don’t remember much else. Then you turn 25 and you start questioning your life, your job, your education and “where you’re headed in life.” You really begin to ask yourself that interview question, “So, where do you see yourself in five years?” You get these twitchy feelings about “getting old.” You make the 90’s classic 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up” your anthem and you realize you are going through the quarter life crisis. The next few years go by in a flash, you’re 27 and start telling people you’re 24 and strangely you come to the realization that you “can’t hang” like you use to and worse, a new sensation makes its way into your life, you are… tired. Then you’re 29 and you realize, holy shit, I’ll be 30 next year and all of a sudden you don’t feel as old as you thought 30 year olds felt. You’re still young! You still got it! And sadly, you’re still singing “What’s up.” All of a sudden, you become conscious of the fact that you are nowhere near getting married, much less having a stable boyfriend. Your job sucks, those degrees on your wall haven’t helped you much, you haven’t climbed the corporate ladder and you’re still living in your same college apartment with the same old furniture that friends gave you or that you picked up off some street curb.
All those chicken wing and margarita happy hours have caught up with you and reminiscing of when you use to go out every night becomes a norm. How sad your life has become. Remember those days when your mother use to torment you with “you better not get pregnant!” and now during the Holidays it’s all about the “oh if only I was a grandmother” guilt trip? And you feel worthless in your inability to create life. There was even that time your mother questioned your sexuality. Remember that? That was fun. “No mom! I’m not a lesbian! Gawd!” (Sure, you tried it in college, but she doesn’t need to know that.)
Your girlfriends have slowly accepted the fate of being with the guy they met when they were in high school or at some club five years earlier simply because it takes so much work to meet someone new. Some have gotten married and had kids, and yeah, we know how much fun THAT is. Others are engaged or living with their boyfriends, secretly hoping he breaks up with them so that they don’t feel guilty about shattering the life of a 30-something low level white collar cubicle exec. In general, some are happy, some pretend to be happy, others are happy drinking martinis each night.
So you take inventory of your life and you realize, damn, I’m freaking 30. Your older single girlfriends are excited for you, “Wooo! Dirty 30’s! It’s great!” they all say. And you can’t help but wonder if their excitements are only cries for help disguised in glitter and thirty, flirty and thriving imaginary make believe. After all, they are still nagging about not being able to meet someone. And as you blow out the candles of your glazed strawberry cheesecake birthday cake – because screw it, what’s the point of counting calories now? – and that last glimmer of fire slowly turns into the black cloudy smoke that is your life, you say to yourself, really, is that all there is? Is that all there is to turning 30? Because if that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing, let’s bring out the booze and have some fun. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, well, if that’s how she feels about it, why doesn’t she just end it all? Oh no, not me. I’m not ready for that final disappointment!
So excited about tonight’s event! Be sure to buy your tickets! Ford opens at 5pm and you can picnic and enjoy a beautiful Sunday outdoors! Show starts at 7pm and it’s going to be fabulous! All proceeds benefit Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, an amazing non-profit dedicated at enriching the lives of young people through art, culture, music, history and literacy! 100% awesome!
See you tonight!