Latinas Uprising was born from the frustration of visiting mainstream internet communities that discussed being a lawyer or a women professional or even a female lawyer, but never seemed to take into account the experiences we have as Latinas. We often hear that women make around 70 cents to the man’s dollar, but that’s actually the statistic for white women. Latinas make 55 cents to the man’s dollar. That type of disparity will create an entirely different experience that is just not being discussed in mainstream communities.
Why aren’t we included? We consist of the largest growing minority group in the U.S. and are a huge consumer group. We are more likely to start our own businesses. We are earning degrees in higher education in leaps and bounds. Yet, we are ignored. The Latina lawyer experience is not addressed. Schools continue to ignore our needs and wants. Our profession is slow to accept us as equals. It’s kind of infuriating. Or at least very, very disheartening. But the only way to create change is to start the discussion.
So, Latinas Uprising is your space. It’s my hope that we can share our success stories and guide each other through difficulties we encounter in the profession. This is a place for us to talk sin pelos en la lengua, meaning freely and honestly. We need this dialogue because Latinas face the most obstacles to even make it to law school–let alone complete it. And once we’re practicing it’s not always so easy. So let’s talk about it!
But first, why Latina? Why not hispanic or something else?
Great question! For years, I eschewed the word Latina. Too loaded for my liking. I hated the sexual connotation, and the fiery temperament attached to it. It just wasn’t me. I wanted to be seen as polished and professional. And for years, I used Hispanic as my label as if that solved everything. Spoiler: it didn’t.
As it came time to find the name that would capture the purpose of this community, I kept finding myself at Google image.
If you search for the word “Latina,” you’ll mostly find a lot of attractive, sometimes naked, women. Latinas are hyper-sexualized to our emotional, physical, and financial detriment. While I have no problem with people owning their sexuality, the stereotype of being solely sex objects impacts us negatively. So I thought what better time than now to reclaim this word. I’m thrilled to think that someday when the word “Latinas” is searched, Latinas Uprising will appear, and in addition to the sexy models, there will be passionate, socially-conscious, educated, professional, and caring Latinas along side them to break up the idea that all we have to offer is our bodies.
An even better question! I am a bit of a revolutionary at heart. Truly all Latina lawyers fit this description because at some point in our lives, we made the decision to go to college; 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; or 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 small business or becoming partner; something that would not have happened only a few decades ago. I mean, from 1900 to 2011 only 15 known Latinas have argued before the Supreme Court! There is still so much progress & change for us to create.
By joining the legal profession, we are fighting against the status quo, and changing the way mainstream communities, businesses, government, and our own communities view Latinas. How is this anything but a revolution?