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Showing posts from July, 2014

Summer of Feminista: Birthing a new world

Today Summer of Feminista welcomes one of my dearest friends, Amy, to the conversation...But anyone who knows Amy & me knows she is not Latina. So why am I letting her in? Just read her piece and I think you can agree that it is in the spirit of SoF. I am not a Latina. This was something I wrote to the goddess that writes this blog and she wrote back a short email that said, “Yeah, I figured that out 13 years ago!” The fact is, I didn’t even think about that when I volunteered to write here on this blog. I think that is part of who I am. I met one of my BFF’s online through mama blogging. I knew what her name was, I figured she had another ethnicity than my own....but I didn’t even think about it...in fact, I was just pissed I couldn’t spell her last name. (At times I still can’t!) She ended up being an integral part of my life. So when she posted on her blog that she was running this summertime blog series, I volunteered....forgetting that one of the main components was that I

Apply today for the FOCUS black women in tech Fellows program

Did you know that there is a program to help support black women kick start their innovations? The digitalundivided FOCUS Fellows program is an intensive weeklong program that has a impressive track record of success: Over 30 percent of the black female startup founders who participated in the program have raised at least $50,000 in venture or angel funding and 10% have raised more than a half of million dollars. In contrast, studies have found that less than one percent of startups backed by tech investors were founded by African-Americans. The FOCUS Fellows program takes place in New York City from September 30-October 5 and coincides with FOCUS 2014, the world’s most diverse tech conference. I got a chance to ask Darlene Gillard, Partnership Director, Community & Events for FOCUS, a few questions that a few of you might be thinking... Q: What should I tell my girlfriend who I send this to, but responds with "I'm just not ready for this!" A: You won’t kn

Summer of Feminista: One Good Friend

Today Summer of Feminista welcomes Lisa Quinones-Fontanez. She is an award winner blogger. Her blog, Atypical Familia, is a personal blog and family lifestyle site with a focus on autism parenting and work/life balance. Her writing has been featured on several websites including Huffington Post Parents, Yahoo Shine and KatieCouric.com. Lisa is also a contributing writer at Parents.com and Babble.com. “All you need is one good friend,” my mother used to say. But as a teenager, I liked being surrounded by friends. Going out in groups to the movies, the mall or just hanging out in the park looking at boys - the more friends I had around me, the safer and less lonely I felt. It was all about quantity, quality was an afterthought. My mother also encouraged independence. If I had to go the mall or library for something, my first instinct was to phone a friend to come with me. “Go by yourself and do what you have to do. You don’t always have to go with a friend.” But I liked having the

I'm turning 40 this year and here's my birthday wish...

To finally make it to Space Camp! And when I let friends know they asked how they can help, so I'm posting this in case anyone reading this also wants to help me make my dream come true. I set up a GoFundMe page for my trip . As of my writing, I'm already over 20% towards my goal! That's a selfie of my Mother's Day gift Ella made me. I had told her to not buy me anything, but to just put the money she would spend in a jar. So she made the jar. And yes, added some money. So why Space Camp? Well, I've always been a big nerd for one. But what is curious about my nerd story is that my love of space and the space program did not get started until the Challenger disaster in 1986 (warning, auto-play video of event) . I remember that my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. K, talked that mission up to us. I guess that was the point of the mission, right? Anywho, I knew it was coming up and that Christa McAuliffe was to be the teacher in space. But the day of the launch we were o

Summer of Feminista: When amigas become familia

Today Summer of Feminista welcomes Lilian Coral, a novice at blogging , who wants to more actively dialogue with colleagues on specific issues around technology and improving the American social safety net. She comes to this work as a Colombian immigrant, raised and educated in the United States and deeply committed to social justice issues. It’s only fitting that I write about girlfriends a day after the death of the mother of one of my oldest girlfriends. In my home, my parents always encouraged my sister and I to prioritize family over friends. It was always about keeping everything in the family. Don’t tell your friends anything about what goes on in our home; don’t over share your dreams and desires... porque la envidia mata. It never seemed like a judgment on my girlfriends, as much as it was the Latin in us, llenos de agueros, that said that family is always more important than friends, and no one can have your best interests in mind. But growing up in the U.S., where B

Janelle Monae at the Taste of Chicago

I will admit that I was not a huge fan of Janelle Monae before I found myself at her free-ish (lawn free, pavilion seats cost money) concert as part of the Illinois Lottery Anything's Possible Music Series at the Taste of Chicago on Thursday. I had heard of her (who really hasn't, right?) and all that jazz, but I never went out of my way to truly discover her. Well I discovered her on Thursday as if I had discovered chocolate by falling into a vat of fudge. It was that delicious. I now see why she has such passionate fans. From where we were sitting, we could see them. My favorite was a boy about 12 who was there with his mom. Clearly this was an event that might be the best night of his year. He was dancing and singing along with her all night. He was also doing that fanboy thing where he has to occasionally shake out his excitement. ADORABLE! There was also a pair of young men in the front center row who were doing the same thing. But the winner was a little girl about 3 o

Summer of Feminista: For Valeria

Today Summer of Feminista welcomes April Lee. April is an anti-rape culture, sex positive activist located in Seattle. She is the founder of Modern Sex Culture blog . While April is not a Latina, SoF is welcoming her thoughts on this topic.   Most people didn’t think living with my step children’s mother was going to be a good idea. It’s a little crazy, sure. Two moms under one roof will conceivably get ugly. We have different parenting styles and lead pretty different lives. We have completely different backgrounds. She’s Brazilian. I’m American. I’ve just turned 30 and she’s 15 years my senior. There is potential for combustion. But life happens and here she is living with her ex-husband, his new wife and three out of four of her children. It isn’t an idea situation and I was a bit nervous. I’m sure she was, too. The children have tried to play the card of “Well mom said,” or “April said.” They’ve tried to take advantage of a parent not knowing something the other parent agree

VLF is 7 today! And I'm launching a new project...

Yes, ma'am, seven years ago I launched this lil ole blog and today I have decided to launch a new project. One that has been brewing for a few years now , but was put on the back burner due to other obligations that no longer exist. AHEM...I present to you: The Feminist Princess Project: How I vaccinated my daughter against the princess phase Don't get me wrong, this is not an anti-princess project. In our home, we have a healthy princess culture. How we got there is what I want to share with all of you over a short series of videos. I hope to launch the first one in the next week. This project stems from the countless conversations I have had with other parents, both moms and dads, who ask me how I was able to get through the princess phase (many assume it is about ages 3-5) without an actual princess phase. And I'm not one to hoard good information, so I want to share my thoughts and strategies with you! Before I launch, I thought perhaps you have a question to

Hermione heads to the UN

Really, J.K. Rowling couldn't have picked a better actor to play Hermione than Emma Watson. Not only did Emma bring to life the plucky and wise hero of the Harry Potter series, but it seems that Emma and Hermione share a passion for justice. Emma has just been appointed as a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador: "Being asked to serve as UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador is truly humbling. The chance to make a real difference is not an opportunity that everyone is given and is one I have no intention of taking lightly. Women’s rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can’t imagine an opportunity more exciting. I still have so much to learn, but as I progress I hope to bring more of my individual knowledge, experience and awareness to this role,” said Ms. Watson. Emma will serve as an advocate for UN Women’s HeForShe campaign in promoting gender equality. This campaign is urging men to take a vocal role in advocati

Indra Nooyi & the Myth of "Having it All"

Recent comments made by Indra Nooyi, the current CEO of PepsiCo, has been making the rounds on my Twitter and Facebook feed. I poke my head up to read such things when stories like this seem to cross the borders of my feminist friends and my friends who are feminists, but don't share every feminist story. The gist is that Nooyi at Aspen Ideas Week said the not-so-radical statement: I don't think women can have it all. I just don't think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all...every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother... yet the media acts as if she is shattering a commandment. Mashable goes on to report that, "Nooyi says there's no way to square a high-pressure career with raising kids." So let's take this one step at a time. If anyone under 40 still believes in the "women can have it all" fairytale, STOP NOW. I truly believe the only women who really, really belie

Summer of Feminista: There is no treasure like an honest friend

Elisa Batista co-publishes the MotherTalkers.com blog with her best friend Erika Bleszinski. “Tiene el señor presidente
 Un jardín con una fuente,
 Y un tesoro en oro y trigo:
 Tengo más, tengo un amigo.”
 -Jose Marti, “Versos Sencillos” My favorite poem in Spanish is “Versos Sencillos”, written by Cuban “apostle” and poet Jose Martí. I remember my father playing a narration of all 46 verses of Versos Sencillos, which is about friendship, on a record. I will forever associate that record – and that poem -- with my childhood home in Miami: my father in his stained blue jumper suit fixing his mustang while us four kids hooted and hollered with our friends. Hence, two of the most valuable lessons I gained from my parents were that anyone could enjoy poetry… and an honest friend. I am 37 years old, and I am still best friends with women I have known since I was 5. They were at my First Communion, and around to celebrate birthdays, graduations, weddings and baby s

#365FeministSeflie Day 182 = HALF WAY POINT!

Today marks the half way point for this wacky idea called "#365FeministSelfie." I still think it was wacky for me to think I could get more than a handful of self-identified feminists to participate in a year-long selfie project. But OMG it happened! Not only are we tackling our insecurities and worked on our self love, but as Abby says we have become: a member of a group of women from so many different walks of life (varying in age, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, etc.) also posting selfies. In doing so, the project has gone way beyond self-acceptance and crossed over into community. Cara (my accidental partner-in-crime) puts it this way: I have been amazed and proud to see members look past all of our differences, to simply and truly SEE the women in the photos, and offer acceptance and support to every member. We tell each other all about our lives, our struggles, our successes, our secrets, our shame, our wildly happy mome