By Lisett Costa and Otto Cruz Jr.
The entirety of my life, even before I was born, I have been labeled “stubborn”. When my mother was just seven months pregnant, I had bigger and better things to do than hang out in the comfort of her womb. So, at 4:20 AM on a Monday, I made my official debut. What a way to start the week!
Oh, and did I forget to mention that I was supposed to be a boy? Yep! Throughout her pregnancy, my mother was told she was having a baby boy. Imagine her surprise when, while recovering from a complicated c-section (no, I didn’t make that part easy for her either), the nurse comes into her hospital room saying, “Congratulations on your baby GIRL!”. She was so shocked by the news that she asked the hospital staff to make sure I hadn’t been switched at birth!
After a brief stay in the NICU, dressed in all things baby blue, I went home and this pattern of going against the grain and doing the unexpected continued as a way of life. I wish I could tell you that being this way has been easy, but that would most certainly be a lie. The truth is, being a woman can be hard, but being a Hispanic woman complicates things even more.
Being smart and having strong opinions (and an equally strong voice to make those opinions be known) when you are a woman doesn’t win you any popularity contests. But for a Hispanic woman, it is just culturally unacceptable. After all, you’re expected to sit in a corner, look pretty, and just nod and smile. Truth be told, I have never fit the mold of those expectations.
The Northern Fashion brand has allowed me, and countless others like me, to #elevatetheconversation. When I refuse to conform to societal and cultural norms, I am not being stubborn, I am DETERMINED to prove that women are equal. When I speak loudly and wave my hands around, I am not being emotional, it means I am PASSIONATE about what I am saying. When I go on and on about something, I am not being chatty, I am trying to ARTICULATE my message. When I expect that things be done a certain way, I am not being high maintenance, I simply have HIGH STANDARDS and anything less is unacceptable.
At Northern Fashion, we not only support the empowerment of women, but also that of other minorities. The contributions of these groups add so much value to our lives and enrich the communities they belong to. We all get lost in our daily tasks, often not even thinking about whom we meet and where people come from. We are all caught up in our own struggles, that sometimes we forget about the struggles of others. When you meet different people, take the time to listen to where they came from, how they live their lives, and how their culture impacts their decisions.
This month is Hispanic, or Latinx Heritage Month. Join us at Northern in celebrating and commemorating the Hispanic women that have been recognized for their hard work and dedication—women who have impacted the lives of so many. These are women who have shown the world that they are #strong, #passionate, #determined #heroes.
We start off by talking about a well known music artist, whose career is still strong today. The world has enjoyed her joyous music, stylish looks, and mesmerized by her dancing as her “Hips don’t lie” That’s right, Shakira! But did you know that she has also dedicated herself to raising millions to improve education throughout Latin America? . She is also a UNICEF ambassador where she is making an impact on a global scale for the less fortunate.
Next we have the longest running female news anchor on U.S. Television, and the first Latina to have received the Lifetime Achievement Emmy. Maria Elena Salinas has increased voter registration in the Hispanic Community and continues to work on helping Hispanic youths to become journalists. Talk about #determined.
Voting has always been and will always be, one of the most important rights and responsibilities that you can have as a U.S citizen. And not only in the U.S., anywhere and for anything that you have an ability to vote for or the privilege to do so, is extremely important for getting your voice heard and opinion recognized. Along with Salinas, Maria Teresa Kumar, has been very #passionate on increasing the Latino vote in the U.S. She is the president and CEO of Voto Latino and together with Rosario Dawson, developed the first voter registration via text message in 2006.
Throughout history, there have been many dark times, that have led to pain and sadness. Acts by people to people, that are incomprehensible and even unimaginable by many. But throughout those times, we have had those that are #heroes. People that have put others before themselves, even at the cost of their very own lives. Imagine yourself going about your normal day, teaching a class to children. Focusing on brightening their futures and having the joy of impacting youthful lives. Then suddenly having to shelter and protect those children from an unforeseen enemy full of hatred with no remorse. Victoria Soto, was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary during the Newtown, CT shooting on December 14th, 2012. During the incident, Soto hid her students in a closet and told the shooter they were in the gym. Soto even shielded them with her own body as the killer did not believe her and shot her room. That day she showed how #strong she was to stand up to the threat.
These have been a small group of Hispanic women that have impacted history and the daily lives of us all. There are many, many more, who also deserve to be named and thanked for their contribution. We need to remember that cultures are fundamentally important to us all, no matter where we come from, or where we are going. It is our link to the past, our connections to our families, and a principle guide to our future. It is what makes our species so beautiful, the diversity that we all share.