Something about 2022 feels different. It could be that we are no longer seeing people hoard toilet paper for no damn reason or that many of us are starting to trickle outside after being stuck in a reality where in-person events were a rarity. Ah, is this what normal feels like? Things are still a mess, but we’ll take it.
Since things are picking up and we are learning to live with heightened social anxiety, many of us are eager (with plenty of caution) to see what’s happening. This is especially true now that we are well into Women’s History Month.
These few weeks have given us the opportunity to shine a light on the many women — particularly women of color — who have broken through systemic barriers and those who are now walking on similar paths to continue to inspire future generations.
This year, there have been countless Women History Month-related events. The entire nation is hosting a myriad of gatherings, and, of course, there are still plenty of virtual options available. In Miami alone, I’ve seen more events around women this month than in recent years.
From HispanicPro to the Jefa Panel, women — especially Latinas — are creating the spaces that we so much deserve.
We started with “Mujeres Brillantes 2022,” a Jack Daniels-sponsored women’s event that celebrated 50 kickass Latinas. It was organized by Liza Santana-Piñeres, founder of Creative Group PR.
The event featured a couple of great Latina speakers, including Fay Albernas, host of “Fay What” on YouTube and anchor at “Queer News Tonight.”
She walked on stage, joking about how to top Marilyn Santiago’s opening statement, immediately filling the room with laughter. If you would’ve heard her speech, you’d be worried too.
But Fay had it in the bag all along. Maybe it was her way of working in a room that, for the most part, was anxious about being out and networking for the first time in years that put many at ease. Of course, other factors such as great food and an open bar also played into this. I mean, need I say more?
Nevertheless, Albernas used her electrifying energy to remind all the Latinas in the room of their power. She also made sure she used the stage to bring attention to the fact that lesbian professional Latinas exist in the Latine community. We know, ultimately, Women’s History can’t exist without intersectionality.
The women who sat at the table I chose, at random, were phenomenal as well.
I spoke to Miami’s Scotch Girl, Bianca Espinosa, and how she’s been able to drive awareness on how much influence women have on the whiskey industry.
To my right, I had Yissel Cabrera, who is known as “Sounds by Yissel” on Instagram and is a DJ, sound stylist, and someone who understands the Miami music scene to its fullest. Ana Maria Reyes was present, too, explaining how the pandemic made her more into a homebody than she had realized. I quickly learned that she is a multi-hyphenated Latina wearing the titles of TV host, spokesperson, and brand ambassador.
And how could I forget the farmer at our table, Jessica Martinez? Martinez opened up a small family-owned farm in South Florida named Tinez Farms. The objective of the farm was to give Miami the chance to experience local and organically grown goods.
The event was filled with so many talented women that it was impossible to get to everyone.
Well, let’s talk about this real quick. Though I love speaking and interviewing people on a daily basis, I am quite shy. We are getting better, though. Poquito a poquito, mi gente.
As you all may know, we recently spoke to Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda, the author of “Jefa in Training,” an interactive book filled with tips and tricks for Latinas and women of color to start their own business.
Well, the Jefa herself, Ashley, decided to include Miami in her book tour, and it’s been incredible. Her Miami book tour has consisted of workshops, panel discussions, book signings, and more. Best of all, it’s been flooded with other like-minded women from nuestra comunidad excited to be part of the journey.
Now, remember how I spoke to you about being shy? Somehow I agreed to have a small part at the event where I had to engage in public speaking. But how can you miss the opportunity to introduce someone doing so much for our people and will continue to do so? You just can’t. However, between you and I, I almost threw up while on stage; thank goodness I was only up there for a few minutes.
The panel discussion included Ashley, author of “Jefa in Training,” Marivette Navarrete, the founder and CEO of The Mujerista; Vanessa Duran, principal of DCC accounting, and Vanessa Castillo, founder and CEO of VCV agency and The Rich Girl Mindset. And the moderator, Isabella Silverio, had some fantastic questions that made for a very entertaining and inspiring event.
During the “Jefa Panel,” the panelists spoke about how their Latinidad influenced their journey, the challenges they faced and our community as a collective continues to face, the power of community, and more. Overall, it felt like watching your primas giving you straight facts — only that they did it on stage.
It truly is great to see a community of Latinas come together for the sole purpose of supporting each other.
The healing power of collectiveness
By now, you all know that I’m predominantly a behind-the-scenes kind of woman. I like to oversee everything and make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Or so I thought. After digging in a bit more on why I randomly closed myself off, it came back to our community’s nemesis: imposter syndrome.
Without knowing it, I was ridding myself of the opportunities to get to know other Latinas with a similar purpose. Maybe I was afraid of being judged, not understood, or perhaps I just didn’t feel I was good enough. Oh man, it is getting sentimental in this paragraph. But what I’m trying to say is that there is beauty in collaboration.
Collaborating with people who understand your path is better than connecting with others who will never, in a million years, comprehend a single atom of your purpose. Besides, our culture thrives in working as a community, so now is our turn to use that same effort – but in our professional lives.
¡Hay que perder el miedo!
These events were all amazing.
There’s just something special about bringing awareness to the greatness of women and Latinas during Women’s History Month. However, the big picture remains that allows us to speak on the inequities and injustices that still exist around the world regarding women’s issues.
Alone it might take ages to keep amplifying this message, but together we can move mountains.