Latinas Unite for Equality

 Sandra Aparicio, Reina Castillo(mom), Concepcion Menjivar, and Ruth Monico. Photo by Hector Solorzano

Sandra Aparicio, Reina Castillo(mom), Concepcion Menjivar, and Ruth Monico. Photo by Hector Solorzano

This year's Women's March was special to me because my mother and other family members joined the movement. My mother, a 56 year old immigrant from Honduras, chanted, marched, cried, and laughed with the crowd. Women's rights were never even mentioned to my mother when she was growing up in Honduras, and once she came to the U.S. she had to focus on raising and providing for her family. It gave me joy seeing my mom participate in the march and expressing how much she adored the courageous women speaking and marching at the event. 

Three of my aunts also participated in the march and they truly enjoyed themselves. One of my aunts, an immigrant from El Salvador, lived through the Salvadoran Civil War in the 80s, and was an activist fighting against the corrupt government. This was a different experience for her since it was a peaceful march. However, she expressed the beauty of people coming together to fight for equality. 

Although this march was for equality and unity, I encountered a couple of white women who have not yet realized their privilege. As my mother and I were walking through the crowds towards a restroom, a white woman around the age of 70 stopped us and asked us where we were going. After I responded that my mother needed to use the restroom, she told us to find another way there. We went through anyway, and when we attempted to walk back to our spot, she stopped us again and told us her daughter was pregnant so we couldn't walk through them. We walked though anyway and stood beside them. She continued to do this to people trying to get on the subway to head for work. When another white woman approached her because she wanted to use the restroom, she did not hesitate to let her through. 

Once we marched to City Hall, we stood close to the stage. There was a white woman around the age of 50 who began to yell at people to create a pathway for people to walk through. It sounded like a convenient plan, but she was harassing people in order for the pathway to stay clear. At one point, two Latina women were standing in front of, not on the pathway. The white woman began to yell at them to clear the pathway. The two women ignored her before they were pulled by the white woman. "We are all her for equality. This is not equality" said one of the Latina women.  It is this kind of behavior that most people at the march were fighting against. 

I became very frustrated with these two women and I told my mom that I have never experienced this type of discrimination at an event like this one. She told me that she faces discrimination daily, but she proves to herself that she is more than what these people believe she is. She kept the message of love, equality, and unity by knowing who she really is and spreading that with the rest of the crowd.