A Latina Liberation Workshop

Fifty Latinas came together in January 2016 for the East Coast USA Latina Liberation Workshop. It was the first time in eight years that this constituency had come together. Maria Franco and Diane Balser* led the workshop. Most of the participants were from the East Coast of the United States. Others came from Minnesota, California, Arizona, and New Mexico (USA), and from Puerto Rico.

We began by working on “place,” as females and Latinas—the places we had come from, the places we are in now, and the ways these places are still with us and are all ours. We were asked to notice that all of our languages are still with us and are all ours. And we were encouraged to notice that being female is okay and to do a hundred hours of counseling on only that.

The convergence of imperialist domination, attempted genocide, male domination, and sexism lead Latinas to feel invisible. Parts of us have been denied, and we have internalized the denial. As Latinas we operate under two sets of invisibility—as females and as Latinas. We were challenged to be visible, to take leadership, and to fight the distress recordings of greed and competition that we sometimes direct at each other. There is room enough for all women to take up space.

We confronted our hurts about skin color. After a mini-session all fifty of us lined up according to where we saw our own skin color, from darkest to lightest. It was a powerful way to access discharge. Oppression based on skin color operates all the time and is often unnamed.

We moved closer to each other, deepened existing relationships, and built new ones. It was beautiful and inspiring to see the close, loving collaboration between Maria and Diane. We ended on a note of tremendous enthusiasm for bringing this constituency together again, soon.

Maritza Arrastia

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of women

(Present Time 184, July 2016)

* Maria Franco is a Latina RC leader in Oakland, California, USA. Diane Balser is the International Liberation Reference Person for Women.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00