Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ten Impact Micro Awards for Women's Leadership Project


WLP Scholarship Winners

The Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable announced the award of ten Impact Micro Awards to students in the Women’s Leadership Project on Wednesday, June 27. The ten student recipients have been accepted at colleges locally and nationally. The awards will help defray college expenses. The awards will be presented at the organization’s annual recognition luncheon Friday, June 29. The Impact Micro Awards are part of our Building Self-Sustaining Communities Initiative. The initiative aims to support organizations that have a proven track record of commitment to building community sustainability projects, activities, and service. The awards are given monthly. Wells Fargo Foundation is a major partner with the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable’s Impact Micro Award Program. WLP's mission, work and accomplishments are spotlighted on the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable website: http://www.laupr.org/

Friday, June 15, 2012

Twice Towards Justice

By: Karen Carrillo- 11th grade, Washington Prep.

"Another time i had to go to the optometrist downtown. My dad and I got to the office early- I was the very first patient. There was only one chair in the waiting room. The doctor told us to leave and come back at the end of the day. I didn't understand why until I overheard my dad telling my mom when we got home. The optometrist wasn't gonna let me sit in that chair until all the whites had sit in it first. He knew no white patient would ever sit in a chair that he's seen a black sit in." (pg17)
I chose this passage because it's ridiculous how they arrived at the doctor early and had to come back until all of the other patients had sat on the chair. Wouldn't the white people have to sit in that same chair the day after she sat on it? The advice that I would give to a young girl of color growing up in this community 100 years from now is to never give up and always keep fighting for what they believe is right. They should never give up because at the end of the struggle they might accomplish their goal. What I didn't know that I know now before I took this class is that women face a lot of challenges in their daily life, some choose to put up with it meanwhile others fight to hear their voices heard or to keep up with the rest of the world. Many choose to keep silent due to intimidation or because they simply don't want to be judged by the rest of the people. I also learned about HIV within  the young people of color like that Latina women are discouraged to tell their partner to use protection because of machismo and their culture. Some of the many things i also learned in this class is about today's feminism with young women of color, Denim Day, sexual harassment among youth, women remaining docile and subservient like in the movie Real Women have Curves, and stereotypes that people have about other races. I would still like to learn about the women who have been through struggles and have spoken out about it. Are they helping other women face their every day life or are they just happy that they helped themselves. I would also like to learn about people who have fought to make a change in the world and have either failed or succeeded... How did they feel when they were going to take the challenge? Was it emotional for them at a certain point? At the end of the day someone somewhere is fighting to overcome an obstacle and hopefully they get to where they want to.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Shaped My Life: Claudette Colvin, Twice Towards Justice

By Vanessa Lopez
Claudette narrates her life looking back as an adult. Many life changing and important events occurred in her life that shaped who she is now in life.  Now its my turn to look back at my life and decide what things shaped my life.  Growing up it was hard for me because I did not grow up with my family.  I  grew up with my uncles.  They took care of me.  You might ask yourself why wasn't I sent to my parents?My dad worked out of state and he could not take care of me.  My mom was illegal and for that case she could not be with me.  Even though I was small I understood my parents' situation and I knew that what they where doing was to give me a better life.  Now I am 19 and I look back at the things that happened to me as a child and I know these things that happened made me stronger and independent. I learned that every thing that happens to us helps shape who we are in the future. I believe that if people go back to their childhood/teenage years they will find what shaped them.

Inspires ME

By Olivia Christon, 12th Grade, Washington Prep H.S 

In the book “My Sister’s Voices” Lisbeth Pelayo, 16, writes in the article "Racism":

"You also get stereotyped, such as when I went to my cousin’s house. Her friends were there, and they were white. When they saw me, they immediately started to ask me questions like what gang I was in. I said, 'What? I’m not even in a gang.' They said, 'oh, sorry.' But they were still afraid of me because I told them I go to school in East L.A. I felt put down a little, but it didn’t matter to me because I don’t really care what a bunch of white girls think of me, as long as my family and I know it’s not true. That’s all that matters."

I chose this passage because I understand where she's coming from. I go to Washington Prep H.S and when I talk to someone new they ask me what school I go to and when I say Washington Prep they assume the worst. They say you go to that trash and violent school where they always get into fights during school functions like games.

Some advice I would give to a young girl of color growing up in her community 100 years from now is do not be influenced by peer pressure.  I don’t care what people say about you as long as you know what the truth is.  And if a guy says the words, “but if you loved me you would," run in the other direction. Don’t walk, run.

What I did not know before taking Women of Color in the U.S class is that the main stereotypes for African Americans used by whites are Sambo, mammies as women who are overweight, very dark-skinned, middle age, loyal servants, very happy, and loud. Pickaninny is a derogatory term for black children, and coon plays to the dated stereotype of a black fool for an audience, particularly including whites. What I'd like to learn more about is why Native American women have a higher percentage of sexual assault. 

The Day Has Arrived

The day has finally arrived
It’s our graduation time
As my life comes and goes,
College come I am glad,
Soon I will be free as the wind

From now till then, we’ll look back on the
dploma knowing that we reached this far,
knowing that we can do anything if we just
put our mind to it

So let’s enjoy this very moment
Classroom bells and noisy halls,
Watching the clock as last period crawls
Rooting for your team at a big game
Pep rallies, homecoming and prom

So put on your cap and your gown
And stand tall

Through your graduation’s done;
Your whole life of education that has
only just began

By: Olivia Christon,12th Grade, Washington Prep H.S 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Reproductive Justice Could Save Lives In My Community

By Brenda Briones

“My parents would kick me out the house if they found out I’ve had sex.” 

“I think I need to see a doctor about my period but in my family we don’t talk about sex or sex related things.”

Recently, I asked a few ninth graders if their parents talk to them about sex? Most of them responded that they weren’t allowed to have a boyfriend and they were expected to marry as virgins, in accordance with the Catholic or Christian beliefs of their families. We should all be outraged that this is the extent of the "sex talk" in many Latino households. Sadly, these experiences are very common amongst my peers in the working class Latino community I am from. Roughly 50% of Latinas become pregnant before reaching the age of nineteen, according to a study by California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. We also have the highest teen live birth rates in the nation. The prevalence of unprotected sex in our community is a serious matter that we must address or expect devastating health consequences. Just as alarming as our pregnancy rates are our communities' live birth rates. These unplanned pregnancies more often than not lead teenage girls to dropout of school and have babies they are not prepared for financially or emotionally. A few girls I know who are my age or younger and have become pregnant never considered abortion. Young women in my community are trained to believe that sex is a sin and if an unplanned pregnancy happens, then we have no option but to have a child. This kind of thinking sacrifices young women. Young women who are raised to believe they have no choice are also raised to believe that their reproductive abilities are more important than their dreams, their education, and their ability to determine their own destinies. Statistically, more than half of households headed by single mothers live in poverty.
I wonder if pregnant Latinas teens came from a community where reproductive justice was valued and recognized, would they have become pregnant in the first place? Reproductive justice recognizes that women of color are impacted by a lack of access to reproductive health services and outdated machista views of sex and sexuality in our communities.  It is a human right for a woman to choose when and or if to have children. I have no doubt that if my peers who dropped out of school  because of unplanned pregnancies were taught to value their lives and what they can potentially contribute to this world, they would have been able to choose a better future for themselves.
In addition to changing the ways our youth are educated we must also change the views of sex and sexuality among many adults in our community.

“Ese es mijo!” Mi hijo tiene muchas novias”

“That’s my boy!” “He’s got a ton of girlfriends”

I have heard many Latino fathers brag about their promiscuous sons.  I have never heard a Latino parent brag about a promiscuous daughter. “Good daughters” are expected to stay virgins until marriage. In many Latino households, teenage daughters are forbidden to even have a boyfriend. This double standard makes boys think that young women are sexual objects that can be used to prove to the world that they are “true players.” When we as a community, uphold these views, we tell young women that their value is rooted in their sexuality and not their talents or intellect. If a young woman decides to have sex, there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is a general view that sex is dirty. When parents approach sex and sexuality this way, they tend not to talk about sex at all with their children. What parents don’t understand is that by not talking to their children about sex, they are putting their children at greater risk for teen pregnancy and STI transmissions. The prevalence of unprotected sex in our communities have increased our HIV/AIDS contraction rates. If we are to reverse this trend, we must begin having conversations about sex that don’t shame young women or set up young men to believe they are more of “a real man” as they rack up more partners. Conversations about STD and HIV/AIDS prevention are not dirty they are life saving.