Reflecting on my Women’s Center Experience

By: Jetzel Chavira

This has been one of the most fulfilling and busiest years of my life. I am reflecting my time at the Women’s Center and my most favorite part about working here was meeting my co-workers. On the daily I work with Adriana and Sierra who are my fellow work-study students. Apart from them, I also get to work with the interns which include Laura, Ebony, Emma Sauer, Emma Stuart and Alyssa.

The most challenging part of working here has been balancing work and life. I tend to get overwhelmed a lot and when I don’t organize or prioritize than I usually end up procrastinating. I found that using a physical planner and my Outlook calendar really helped. I would also make lists of what tasks I needed to do and prioritize them. Overall, the Women’s Center has been a good experience. I learned management skills, organizational skills, and had so much fun hanging out with my coworkers.

At Coachella, Let Latin-American and Black Artists Own the Spotlight.

By: Jetzel Chavira

Karol G is a Columbian musician. She recently performed at one of the most popular music festivals, Coachella. She covered music from Latin icons such as Selena, Shakira, and Celia Cruz. She chose her outfit to have colors of the Columbian flag, as she wanted to honor Columbia. In 2022, she performed at Coachella, marking a step in the right direction for representation at this historically white festival. Although Coachella has stepped up its game this year, in the past its appropriation of different cultures has made it a toxic environment for minority attendees.

In Teen Vogue, Terri Burn writes about her experience attending Coachella as a black woman. Burns discusses how she witnessed white people scream the n-word during every rap performance, wear black hairstyles, and even encountered people who would ask to touch her hair. Even before she even went to Coachella, she stopped by an African braid shop to get her hair braided and for the first time she saw a handful of white and Asian women at this hair shop. They had just returned from the first Coachella weekend. Burns heard Kendrick Lamar perform “Alright”, and she pointed out how the song was not meant for all the white people in the crowd shouting the n-word. When Lamar starts of the song with “Alls my life I has to fight”, this is only truly meaningful to the victims of discrimination and police brutality. She witnessed appropriation to the highest degree.

In the 2022 Coachella there was much more representation. We saw Karol G, Mexican American artist Becky G and even banda act such as Grupo Firme and Banda MS. Here’s hoping that 2023 does even better.

Immigrant Healthcare Workers: The Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic

By: Jetzel Chavira

When I first heard of COVID-19, I had no idea what we were getting into. I reflect on the healthcare workers fighting frontlines against this contagious and deadly disease. About 2.9 million immigrant healthcare professionals played a vital role in fighting against COVID-19. And one of those 2.9 million healthcare workers was my mom. She immigrated to the United States at 8years old, but she went back in forth to Mexico ’till around the time she was in middle school. She had me at 16 years old but despite these challenges with a newborn and practically being a single mother, she pursued respiratory care. She earned her associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. During the pandemic, she continued to work at the hospital, working directly with COVID-19 patients. I remember how fearful she was coming home to my little sister and I. Our laundry room was next to our car garage so she would change out of her scrubs in the laundry room to new clothes in order to take extra precautions. She was on the front lines fighting against the pandemic.

Whenever I hear immigrants steal jobs or don’t contribute to our society, I feel anger come over me because I think about my mom. There have been countless times when my mom has been afraid that she may be fired from her job due to her status. My mom does not deserve to live in fear. No one deserves to live in fear. 

So, I say let’s appreciate immigrant healthcare workers, instead of telling them to go back to their country.  

 

America Ferrara: Latina Trailblazer

By: Jetzel Chavira

America Ferrara is a trail blazing Latina in Hollywood. For over twenty years, Ferrara has been breaking stereotypes on screen and has become a role model to all Latina women. Throughout her career she faces criticism from not only people from Hollywood but also her family. She recalls a time where a family member told her, “Actresses don’t look like you. You’re brown, short, and chubby” (America Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures )

Ferrera always went for roles where the characters that were relatable and it landed her first major roles including the character Ana in “Real Women Have Curves” (2002). Since then, she has been countless other movies and TV shows not only as an actress but as a director and producer. Her latest project, “Gentefied” a bilingual dramedy on Netflix is about a Mexican America family that is being pushed out of their home, Boyle Heights California, due to gentrification.

Ferrera wants to represent Latinos not only on screen but behind the scenes. In her words, “Making TV is hard, period. Making Latino TV by Latinos for Latinos is nearly impossible.” Ferrera continues to fight for basic representation and is continuously fighting for this simple ask.

Image Source: Ryan Lash/TED

Keep your hands to yourself!

 

By: Jetzel Chavira

“Don’t Touch My Hair” is a powerful anthem that Grammy-award winning artist Solange Knowles wrote in 2016. In an interview with Natelegé Whaley for the Huff Post, Solange recalls an experience where a white woman came up to her and petted her fro.

This made me think about the many times I walked through Target with my best friend who is a Black American woman, and how she could not find products for her hair. I think about how my own hair is wavy and it’s not hard for me to find hair products. My hair is not seen as a spectacle. I have never once been asked for my hair to be touched.

So, the next time you see someone whose hair is different than yours, check yourself before you do or say anything. Check out Solange’s song “Don’t Touch My Hair” ft. Sampha here.

 

Meet Our Newest Work-Study Student

By Jetzel Chavira

Hi, my name is Jetzel Chavira (she/her) and I am a sophomore at UMKC majoring in Art History and minoring in Latinx and Latino studies. I am originally from Wyandotte in Kansas City, Kansas. I live on campus and living in the heart of the city has made it easier for me to get around town and I can walk to my classes.

I hope to earn my PHD and specialize possibly in Latino/Chicano photography. My dream is to become a curator at an art museum and to curate diverse and representative art. I remember when I was little going to art museums and never seeing any art that I could relate to. I want to change that and truly curate art that underrepresented communities can connect with. I am a Mellon Curatorial Fellow working under the curator of photography at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and taking the first steps to achieve that goal.

In my free time I like to watch movies, go out with friends, and work on my photography. I am beyond excited to be working at the Women’s Center. As a first generation Mexican American woman, I am passionate about advocating women’s rights and am excited to continue this work through the Women’s Center.