Culture

Carmen Perez, National Co-Chair For The Women’s March, Encourages Everyone To Find Their Activist Voice

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Carmen Perez has dedicated 20 years of her life to activism, standing with and for those fighting for their rights. She served as a national co-chair for the Women’s March and has worked extensively with incarcerated people of color who have been denied basic rights. Now, Perez has joined Spotify’s “Soundtrack De Mi Vida” to bring attention to the importance of Latino leadership and why it is necessary.

Carmen Perez and Spotify are teaming up to talk about Latino leadership. At first she was shocked they even asked her.

CREDIT: mitú

“The initial reaction was shock and then it was excitement,” Perez says. “I felt very honored, especially because it is Spotify.”

For Perez, music has always been a big part of her life, serving to connect her to her culture, soundtracking her family life and motivating her for the rallies she has organized.

@nyjusticeleague #cut50 Day of Empathy Raise The Age Townhall performance by Impact Rep.

A post shared by Carmen Perez (@msladyjustice1) on

She looked to her upbringing and experience as a Chicana when coming up with artists to possibly include in her playlist.

“Selena, for me, was somebody I could relate to growing up in a community that was extremely diverse,” Perez says. “My mom being from Mexico and my dad being from California, I was literally the embodiment of a Chicana, not necessarily knowing Spanish when I was growing up but loving to sing it. I couldn’t really understand the words but I could sing alongside Pedro Infante and Ramón Ayala and all these different artists.”

Perez even works for singer and activist Harry Belafonte, who further instilled in her the importance of music and activism.

Perez calls Belafonte one of the most profound people she has ever met.

“I do feel like there is a role for artists in the work that we do,” she says. “They’re able to amplify the work that is happening on the ground and give it light where oftentimes people don’t really know what we’re doing when it comes to protesting or marching. I truly feel like there is a role for artists because my boss embodies that. He’s an artivist. He’s an artist and an activist.”

When it comes to the many layers of activism work,  Perez has these words of advice:

CREDIT: mitú

Eating is also an important facet of the work.

“We need people in the movement,” Perez encourages. “We need those who have not been involved for quite some time. We need everybody. We need people to bake food for us. Some of us activists go so many hours without actually eating and it’s a great reminder when people are like, ‘Yo, have you eaten today?’”

It’s also never too late nor the wrong time to get involved. According to Perez, almost 70 percent of the people at the Women’s March had never marched before. Her response to them is simple:

CREDIT: mitú

As a seasoned organizer, she has had moments where she felt like she and her cause were alone in a void. Even though it can get discouraging, Perez pushes through and continues to fight for those that need people in their corner.

“I’ve been in the field of criminal justice for 20 years and it was really hard to convince people that those that were incarcerated should also be part of the solution,” Perez says. “To see our former president Barack Obama go into a prison and talk to men and actually let us see the humanity of our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated is something that I feel really proud about. I’ve been in this space for a long time.”

“I always ask people what do they love to do and whatever you love to do, bring that to the cause,” Perez says.

CREDIT: mitú

As she puts it, you can be taught about causes and the importance of human rights, but you can’t be taught empathy.

Perez also says people need to understand the power they have within and act on their morals.

CREDIT: mitú

“Don’t think that you have to go to a protest and it has to have 500,000 people. A protest could be 5 people,” she says. “I saw this post on Instagram. I posted something about number 45 [President Trump] and this girl from my hometown of Oxnard said, ‘There’s nothing happening here. I wish there were activists and protests.’ Sometimes it’s not about looking at the outside for who can actually do it for you. It’s about looking on the inside. What can you do? What can you change?”

And by using your voice, you gain power.

CREDIT: mitú

“The first time I felt like I really began to use my voice was when I started working with youth who were incarcerated and formerly incarcerated,” Perez says. “That’s what kind of ignited a spark and I wanted to work with people, particularly young people. I started working with youth that were incarcerated and I started organizing them, supporting them and finding their voice.”

You also need to make sure that you take care of yourself as much as you take care of other people.

CREDIT: mitú

Whether it is giving yourself a facial in the morning or eating some good comfort food, you have to do you. If you don’t practice self-care, how can you expect to take care of somebody else?

You can check out Carmen Perez’ playlist below.


READ: National Co-Chair Of The Women’s March, Carmen Perez, Responds To Trump’s Comments On Charlottesville

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Meet Luisa Capetillo: The Puerto Rican Jefa, Feminist, and Labor Rights Activist Arrested For Wearing Pants

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Meet Luisa Capetillo: The Puerto Rican Jefa, Feminist, and Labor Rights Activist Arrested For Wearing Pants

Born on October 28, 1879, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Luisa Capetillo is best known for her contributions to the labor and anarchist movements in Puerto Rico at the time. She’s also famously remembered as the first Puerto Rican woman to ever have worn pants in public. 

However, her commitment to break the glass ceiling and break traditional societal norms imposed on women extended beyond her fashion choices. Capetillo was a diligent organizer and passionate activist who advocated for women’s rights. She was an all-around badass. 

In a children’s e-book on Rejected Princesses, you can learn more about Luisa Capetillo’s life, one learns about her beginnings and when she first started to become an activist. 

In 1951, Luisa Capetillo became the first Puerto Rican woman to ever wear pants in public in 1951. 

Due to this, it’s been said that she was stopped and arrested for “causing a scandal.” News outlets back then reported that Capetillo defended herself ardently against the claims that she was causing a scandal for wearing pants. 

She has been quoted as saying, “Your Honor, I always wear pants,” and then slightly lifted her dress to show a pair of loose white pants. “And on the night in question, instead of wearing them underneath, I wore them just like men do, based on my perfect civil right to do so, on the outside.” Tell em, Capetillo.  

Luisa Capetillo was homeschooled by her parents.

Her mother, Luisa Margarita Perone, was a French immigrant who worked in domestic work and her father, Luis Capetillo Echevarría, who was from Spain, worked in labor. Her parents never married but they formed a partnership strong enough to raise a young fiery and passionate woman. 

Capetillo’s parents were also drawn together by their similar “beliefs in democratic ideals expressed in the attempted European revolutions of 1848.” They devoted their time to homeschooling her through a liberal education that was infused with ideological influences of both the French Revolution and the workers’ rights movement in Northern Spain. 

Her homeschool education heavily influenced the work she would be later known for. 

After a romance that didn’t end well, and that resulted in two children, she began working as a reader at a tobacco company after the Spanish-American war in Puerto Rico. Readers were needed at companies because, at the time, most of the workforce was illiterature and poorly-educated. As a result, unions hired readers to read newspapers and books out loud during work hours. 

The tobacco factory was also where Capetillo first came into contact with labor unions. What she learned through unions, she used to educate many women across Puerto Rico. 

Her work at the tobacco company also inspired her to write opinion essays and in her writing, she criticized the labor conditions tobacco workers were exposed to.

In an essay titled, “Mi opinión,” Capetillo writes: “Oh you woman! who is capable and willing to spread the seed of justice; do not hesitate, do not fret, do not run away, go forward! And for the benefit of the future generations place the first stone for the building of social equality in a serene but firm way, with all the right that belongs to you, without looking down, since you are no longer the ancient material or intellectual slave.” 

Further, working at the tobacco company led her to organize strikes. It also led her to become an anarchist and inspired material for the four books that she would write. 

Luisa Capetillo was a feminist way ahead of her time and advocated heavily for women’s rights.

Especially when it had to do with female agency. For 1910, she definitely way ahead of the curve. 

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💪 Mes de la mujer: Luisa Capetillo Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in 1879, Luisa was homeschooled by her parents and later became one of the island’s most important women’s rights activists of her time. She worked as a reader in a cigar making factory and that provided her with her first experiences with labor unions. In 1904, she wrote Mi Opinión (My Opinion), which encouraged women to fight for equal rights. Capetillo’s writing often discusses identity and seeks to motivate women. In her essay ¿Anarquista y espiritista? (Anarchist and Spiritis?) she discusses how she considered herself to be both. • Luis is best known for her involvement in the 1905 farm workers’ strike. She became the leader of the American Federation of Labor and began urging women to fight for their rights. In 1908, she asked the union to approve a women’s suffrage policy. Four years later, she traveled to NYC and Florida to organize Cuban and Puerto Rican tobacco workers; she joined various labor strikes in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Capetillo was also the first woman in Puerto Rico to wear pants in public. In 1910, it was illegal for women to wear pants in public and she was jailed (the charges were eventually dropped). Later that year, she helped pass a minimum wage law in Puerto Rico. Luisa Capetillo passed away in October 1922. • Capetillo’s legacy includes Casa Protegida Luisa Capetillo: a non-profit organization whose purpose is to defend mistreated women, the Luisa Capetillo Center of Documentation at UPR Cayey: a part of the university’s Women’s Studies project, and a plaque in La Plaza en Honor a la Mujer Puertorriqueña. ⚡️ Luisa Capetillo was submitted as a mujer pode🌹 by one of program organizers/coordinators in Puerto Rico! ⚡️ Stay posted for tomorrow’s mujer pode🌹 from another one of our team members! 📸: Libcom.org • • • • • • • • • • • #puertorico #womenshistorymonth #womenshistory #luisacapetillo #arecibo #history #mujer #mujerpoderosa #studyabroad #westernillinois #westernillinoisuniversity #wiu #wiu18 #wiu19 #wiu20 #wiu21 #wiu22 #wiu23 #puertoricanhistory

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The social labor organizer became well known for her advocacy for equal rights for women, free love, and human emancipation. She developed a lot of her ideals of anarchism and romanticism from being an avid reader as a child. She read a lot of French literature from writers including Victor Hugo and Emile Zola. She also read a lot of Russian Romantics like Leo Tolstoy. 

She died of tuberculosis in 1922 but her legacy and impact as one of Puerto Rico’s first women suffragists live on. 

In 1912, she traveled to New York City where she organized workers in the tobacco factories there. From 1916-1918, she was involved in an intense period of strikes and she would constantly travel from New York City and Puerto Rico. 

She even traveled to Cuba to work with the Federation of Anarchists of Cuba. A couple of years after she contracted tuberculosis and died at 42. 

This Wildlife Sanctuary Is Saving Turtles In The Most Ingenious Way Ever and You Can Help

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This Wildlife Sanctuary Is Saving Turtles In The Most Ingenious Way Ever and You Can Help

The surf, the sand, and the sun all make the beach to be the perfect habitat for summer fun. Yet, it isn’t just people who hit the beach at this time of year. When the weather gets warmer, turtles make their way onto beaches around the world to lay their eggs. It’s a dangerous yet necessary journey for these endangered animals. In coming to land, turtles are often manhandled and injured by cars, other wild animals and unnecessary human interference. 

This can leave them with potentially life-threatening damage to their protective shells.  

However, one animal shelter has discovered a brilliant way to rehabilitate these turtles and you can help them with this cause.

Facebook / Wildthunder Wildlife & Animal Rehabilitation & Sanctuary

Located in Iowa, the Wildthunder Wildlife & Animal Rehabilitation & Sanctuary is one of many shelters that use wire and eye and hook clasps to repair these busted up little guys. At the end of June 2019, a post about this innovation was shared by the sanctuary’s Facebook page. The post was then boosted by the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue and soon went viral; gaining tens of thousands of likes and shares. 

What the Wildthunder Sanctuary uses are the kind of clasps you find on bras, some swimwear, and certain lingerie. It may seem like a strange tool but it’s extremely effective. The rescuers gently glue the shells back together and then use the clasp method to make sure the shell stays put. 

“We just kind of weave wire through the eyelets, and as time goes on you can make them tighter,” Keenan Freitas, one of the staff rehabilitators at the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, explained to TODAY. “It’s pretty simple, it’s effective, and it works the best out of anything we’ve used.” 

The response was immediate and the Wildthunder Sanctuary has been inundated with donations of bras. 

Facebook / Wildthunder Wildlife & Animal Rehabilitation & Sanctuary

As appreciated as the donations are, receiving whole bras kind of provides extra work for the rescuers. If you would like to donate your discarded clasps, please remove them from the bra BEFORE sending them to Wildthunder Sanctuary. If your bras are still wearable, sanctuaries ask that you donate them to a local women’s shelter instead. Donations of new clasps are also greatly appreciated and can be bought in bulk. 

As the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue pointed out, they have more needs than just bra clasps.

They have set up an Amazon Wish List full of items that will assist in their further rescue of turtles, birds, and other local wildlife in need. You can also make a direct donation to the cause here. If you live in the area, consider volunteering as help is always needed.

The wildlife rescuers caution that if you find an injured animal ⁠— turtle or not ⁠— your first move should always be to contact a shelter or your local wildlife rescue. If you need to remove a turtle from the place you find it, be sure to write down the exact location. Turtles spend their whole lives in one territory and this protected species needs to be returned back to its habitat to continue its happy Tortuga life. 

In response to the shared pics of rehabilitated turtles, Twitter and Facebook let out a collective “Awww.”

Twitter / @TallNose

While most comments ranged around praising the good work of these organizations, this Twitter user had a much cuter take of the whole situation. Sally Scott drew this adorable interpretation of a happy turtle in their brand new donated bra. It probably isn’t what the sanctuaries have in mind when they’re thinking about turtle support, but this is a look we can totally get behind.    

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