Behind a great man is a great woman!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

by Laura Melgarejo
Mujeres PODERosas making community change.

Detras de un gran hombre, hay una gran mujer y una gran comunidad. Behind a great man, there is a great woman and community

My name is Laura Melgarejo, and I am a young immigrant-Latina trying to survive and thrive in the Mission District. I was raised by two strong, wise and hard-working mujeres- my mother and my abuelita. Two mujeres taught me how to be a "lady" and how to be a "warrior" when circumstances would require of me to do so. Two mujeres that will wake up every day before everyone else to make the delicious homemade almuerzo and will go to bed last. Two mujeres that kept mi familia strong, healthy and united. Thanks to these two mujeres I do what I do today.

All women in my life have been instrumental in my choices and paths that I have taken until now. Today, I am a community organizer with People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Justice (PODER) and I have to be thankful to mi abuelita and mom for teaching me the value of community work and the importance of working towards achieving social justice. As a community organizer, I have the privilege and honor to work with my community in a proactive and constant manner. I organize community education workshops for Latino- immigrant families that reside in San Francisco particularly reaching out to families in the Mission and Excelsior Districts of San Francisco.

In my daily interactions with immigrant mothers, I get to see, hear, and experience the hardships, obstacles and challenges that they encounter everyday as housekeepers, care givers, nannies, cooks, janitors, and many more roles that they play in our society to keep the world moving and functioning. At the same time, I am constantly reminded and blown away by the commitment that these mothers make to their communities and families. Las mujeres come after long hours of work to participate in community meetings and activities to be informed about issues that matter to them and their communities. Despite the fatigue and their family's commitments, they come because every day they thrive to be better mothers, wives, workers, friends, and community members. Las mujeres in community play a crucial role in making us move forward as a society. I want to give thanks to las mujeres from my community and las mujeres in my life that taught me how to be strong and delicate at the same time. Their unconditional love keeps me moving and it will keep you moving too! We need all families to be united because fragmented families are fragments in our society. Dia de las madres- Mama’s Day is not just one day. It’s all year around because women need to be treated with respect and dignity everyday not just the day that has been commercialized by business and media. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow will be Mama’s day!!! You can start by signing this petition in support of AB 2015. Que viva la mujer!!!

Laura was born and raised in Mexico, in the state of Michoacan. She migrated at the age of fourteen to the United States.  She is currently an organizer at PODER working on environmental health issues and immigrant rights and empowerment. She graduated from San Francisco State University, with a BS in Health Education and also holds a CHWC from City College of San Francisco.

This blog is part of Strong Families Mama’s Day Our Way blog series. Make and send a custom Mama’s Day e-card at Strong Families is a national initiative led by Forward Together. Our goal is to change the way people think, act and talk about families.