Duke University, Class of 2018
1996. I was born - just a ten-minute drive from the coast of Santa Monica. At that moment in time, my mother, ravishing in her mid-30’s, had spent the majority of her life in the town of Mazatlán, right off the coast of Sinaloa in Mexico. There was something about the beauty, the tenacity, of the ocean that mesmerized my mother to the point where she remains and has always been, no more than a few miles from it. 2012. Two hours in the library - my head deep within the books written to analyze Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”, specifically on its denouement that left its readers picturing an ocean, one that “speaks to the soul”. Once I closed the novel and placed it down, at a second glance, it did not appear to be the same as when I first picked it up - and such a moment instituted my own, initial awakening to the concept of female empowerment. To this day, the ocean appears to me as a stirring magnificence that resists domestication relentlessly - and so, like my mother, I have also been unable to distance myself from it. Its representation manifests in many ways for me - but one of them lies in my identity. Latina. A term, from its very roots and origins, cannot be separated from its politicizing and eventual policing. A term that “will do” for now - one that might give you an idea of a vivencia that instills a similar magnificence and tenacity I have always found alluring. Yet, I find myself lost - both my voice and my looks cannot seem to be found in many places - but this, this space right here, will not be one of those places. “The Bridge”, as it stands, is a place where you shall find such voices and looks. Rest assured, this is not a place for, or by, those who might not have ever felt lost in such a way.
Fun fact: Un cafecito con leche is the way to my heart.
Duke University, Class of 2018
Growing up, I was blessed to be surrounded by brilliant, funny, talented and beautiful Black women. To this day, they are my greatest source of inspiration (if you’re reading this, I hope you know this)! However, while in school, the magnificence of Black women was not something I often heard about. Black was code for ratchet, loud, ignorant, unintelligent, and if you are a woman add in unattractive (or “attractive... for a Black girl”). While I wish I could say this was just a middle school phase, the trend continued in high school and now college. My story is similar to many other Black women around the world. Some of us are told we are not Black enough (#whitenormativity). Some of us look at the media, only seeing fellow Black women when they are: (a) twerking for a crowd (b) the loud/sassy best friend who always makes you laugh, (c) the motherly figure, or (d) Beyonce or Olivia Pope (I love them too, but there are more than two incredible Black women that exist). Twerking, being loud, being motherly, or being Beyonce is not a bad thing. However, when people truly believe that is all you can be as a Black woman, that is a problem. A person cannot be defined by one characteristic. I am not one thing. There is no one story for my people, yet the media keeps telling me differently. The Bridge, to me, is finally telling the full story of Black and Latina women, not just a stereotype the general population has adopted. It’s time to celebrate who we are. #blackgirlmagic
Fun Fact: I am 20 years old and I still have a baby tooth. Must mean I’m a child at heart!
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Class of 2018.
Every day, the media either ignores or inaccurately portrays millions of Black and Latina women. Statistically, Black and Latina women face inordinate systemized oppression. I believe The Bridge is imperative because it seeks to shift these false and unjust narratives. While I personally do not identify with the groups the Bridge seeks to celebrate, I feel a strong sense of compassion for my Black and Latina sisters and I sympathize with their stories. I am very excited to dedicate my time towards helping build a community around celebration, redemption, and love. I can’t wait to see where this journey will lead us.
Fun Fact: I can touch my toes when my knees are bent.