Why is this needed?
Latinas are part of the fastest-growing and largest minority group in the United States, but compose only 1.3% of the legal profession. Our lack of representation is due to myriad of obstacles that we encounter that deter us from even getting to law school. Before law school, many of us had to overcome many barriers, including– poverty; the limitations imposed by acculturation; an unsupportive educational system; as well as rigid social customs and gender roles that rarely empower us to join this profession.
Once we’re in school, we often face subtle (at times blatant) racism, sexism, micro-aggressions, and behavior that make us question our own worth. Many of us go through law school facing challenges that our non-Latino peers do not encounter. We join a profession that often views us as translators before attorneys. A profession that often deems our appearance and demeanor as unprofessional. We are told to downplay our ethnicity or made to feel like a token minority, all the while our qualifications are questioned. Our families are often unaware of the challenges we face as outliers in the legal profession. Or they add to the responsibilities by expecting us, the women, to take care of the home, the children, our spouses, and our viejitos.
Latinas Uprising is where we talk about the good and the bad. A place to vent our quejas and to talk about our goals. Here, you’ll find people who get it. People who went through it, and can help you through it too.
Is this space only for Latinas?
Latinas Uprising is open to all genders, races, and professions, but focuses on issues that primarily impact Latinx–women or women-identifying–attorneys (and college/law students). Regardless of your identity, Latinas Uprising provides advice and tips that you can apply to your personal and professional life.
Read our first post, our Mission Statement.
For years, I avoided the label of Latina. Too loaded for my liking. I hated the sexual connotation, the “fiery” temperament attached to it. It just wasn’t me. I wanted to be seen as polished and professional. For years, I used Hispanic as my label, as if that solved everything.
When it was time to find the name that would capture the purpose of this community, I kept finding myself at Google image. It contained nothing but models, many of them nude. This is a problem because Latinas aren’t one-dimensional women! We have so much more to offer than just one aspect of humanity that is then often used against us. I realized that if I really was going to walk the walk of empowerment then it was time to take on a label that had always made me uncomfortable and work to expand it.
I am a bit of a revolutionary at heart. Truly all Latina lawyers fit this description because at some point in our life, we made the decision to go to college, and then to law school in face of statistics, and social mores that said we couldn’t do it. In spite of those barriers, we became attorneys and are creating change. We look at a society that says we aren’t good enough to be educated, to be professionals, or advocates and we defy those expectations. The progress we make is sometimes seemingly momentous–the first one in your family to earn a college or professional degree; the first Latina to make it onto your school’s law review. More often, the change we create is small, but with a lasting ripple effect. Picture the corporate Latina attorney, representing a major corporation or making partner; something that would not have happened only a few decades ago. By being part of this profession, we are fighting against the status quo, and affecting the way mainstream communities, businesses, government, and our own people view Latinas. How is this anything but a revolution?
Aren’t you isolating yourself by forming this type of group instead of joining the mainstream?
No. The goal of Latinas Uprising is not to isolate ourselves so that we’re just a group complaining about how things are. The reality is that we can’t isolate ourselves from the mainstream, especially if we are part of one of the most revered and powerful professions. This is a space for similarly situated individuals to discuss experiences and gain insight from one another. Many want to pretend like we live in a “post-racial” world, but the reality is that for most of us our race/ethnicity is front and center in how people interact with us. Moreover, our gender is a close second, if not the characteristic that affects us the most. Because of our unique experience within both our personal and professional lives, it only makes sense that there’s a space for us to learn from each other and grow.
I’m considering going to law school, is it worth it?
Maybe. You shouldn’t ask what a law degree can do for you, but what can you do with a law degree. Do you want to change your community, work in policy, grow a business, be your own boss, have a stable career, join academia, defend civil rights, and/or protect the most marginalized? Then maybe law school is for you because a law degree can help you do those things, but you can also get there through other professions. The key is to really think about how you’ll use your degree, and determine if you really need it. Many discourage people from attending law school because of the incredible amount of debt and lackluster job market. However, attorneys are trained and equipped with tools to change their circumstance and empower those around them. If only the richest attend law school, then change and progress can’t ever really happen.
You talk about politics, is this a political group?
Yes and No. This is nonpartisan because Latinas throughout the U.S. have different experiences, opinions, and goals. But, regardless of those factors, we all have a voice. Latinas Uprising encourages everyone to use their voice in whatever political capacity they can. While we likely won’t full-on endorse candidates, we do support progressive policies that further the health and quality of life of our communities.
Can I recommend someone for Spotlight On?
Yes! Feel free to send me the name and contact information of the Latina lawyer you think we should highlight.