The Accidental Activist

ac·ci·den·tal [ak-si-den-tl]: (a) 1. happening by chance or accident; not planned; unexpected. ac·tiv·ist [ak-tuh-vist]: (n) 1. an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, especially a political cause. (a) 2. of or pertaining to activism or activists. 3. advocating or opposing a cause or issue vigorously, especially a political cause.

I never thought the word activist described me. Passionate? Hell yes. Determined? I think so. But an activist?

Those people march and protest. They burn bras (and I can't afford to do that, though my bras are probably totally burn worthy at this point in time). They know facts and figures, can name all the senators and tell you where they sit on the senate floor. That's just not me.

Then I became a Mami. And though I had always taken up issues, things changed. Because I was looking at things through different eyes. All kids were my kids (except for the rowdy ones at restaurants).

The frog princess and I last week at the SHRM conference checking out the lactation room that EveryMother.org put up for HR managers to visualize so they can go back to their organizations and implement. Awesomeness!

I've told you about my issues with breastfeeding. About how I was made to feel when I nursed past the time that society thought I should (she self-weaned at 16 months, by the way). I saw how my friends suffered in silence if they were unable to nurse because no one had given them all of the facts. So I made it my point to talk to anyone that would listen. That's when I first heard someone call me a lactavist.

If you have been pregnant around me, there's a chance that part of your shower gift included compresses, nipple gel pads and the like. I'm not trying to force anything on anyone but I want to ensure that people are informed and feel cared for and like it's okay to ask questions.

Fast forward to now. Not sure if  you know but, I am fellow at MomsRising. After working with them on what went from a short-term project to this fellowship, my eyes were open to so much.

The biggest thing? Confirmation that I really am an activist. Even if I stumbled upon the work accidentally. I have so much to learn. This is such a new and cool experience and I feel extra blessed to be able to take it all in. But it doesn't negate my passion and willingness to take up any cause that I feel is well served with the addition of my voice.

I didn't start talking about my innermost thoughts on politics, women's issues and all that I used to keep to myself until the last presidential election. Then, I blew the lid wide open because I found my voice by hearing other voices around me. It gave me the courage to stand up, to get informed, to learn. I have a desire to leave my child with a better landscape than what we currently have.

It's my responsibility to ensure that we work towards a place where she will be seen as equal. Truly equal. As a black woman, as a Latina, as a person with ovaries. When we look at our children, I think we understand equality a little better. She is no less than you, no less than anyone else's child. And so, I strive to ensure that her social and cultural landscape will reflect that. Equality. For all.

Being an activist to me, means standing up for what's right, lending your voice to a cause. It could be the smallest thing in your community but that ripple can empower the wave. In this day and age, I think we have forgotten about the power of our voice. And the strength of our collective voices.

Yes, I might've started this journey as an accidental activist but with every passing moment, I'm becoming an intentional one. 

in·ten·tion·al [in-ten-shuh-nl] (a): 1. done with intention or on purpose; intended. 2. of or pertaining to intention or purpose.

Check out MomsRising.org, our Facebook page and Twitter handle. Also, be sure to peek in to Mamas Con Poder and that Twitter handle. Because around these parts, we rock our awesome in TWO languages.

What issues do you have a passion for? 

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PS: concerned about the decision SCOTUS just made affecting women? Be sure to lend your voice and sign this petition letting congress know we make our birth control decisions.