Culture

Readers Share Adorable Stories of How Their Parents and Abuelos Met

In the era of hookup culture and online swiping, it’s comforting to look back on the days when dating was a straight-forward affair: boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy marries girl. End of story. But, times have changed and finding your other half can feel more impossible than every Luckily, we can always look to older generations to give us hope. Their romantic stories of days past are always inspiring.

Readers of FIERCE by mitu shared their cute stories of how their parents and abuelos met. Check out some of our favorite ones below!

1. The old bait-and-switch

@ChrisRAlonso/Twitter

“My abuelos met eachother while they were living in Cuba. Abuelo pretended to be 5 years older than her to get her attention but was actually 2 years younger. He asked her out for ice-cream on their first date.”

2. The Cinderella Story

@JulianFdo/Twitter

“My Dad was rich & Mom poor, he chose her and was disowned by his family and lost his inheritance. They lived happily ever after working their asses off once they came to the United States. Love my parents”. -@mrs.jaypeeonenine

3. Love Letters Gone Wrong

@kathleenlights1/Twitter

“My dad was playing basketball at my moms high school. He saw my mom and asked her if he could write her. 1953. Mom told dad to write his address on the locker that he was using for the basketball game ( girls lockers). He did. On Monday morning the principal of moms school called to complain to the principal of my dads high school and was angry his basketball team had written all over the lockers. My dad and his team were punished and had to go back to my moms school to clean up the lockers. I still have the first letter my dad sent my mom. Mom passed away 10 years ago. I’m 64 and will never forget their love story”. – @dollycardenas50

4. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach

@cokythelad/Twitter

“My mom and dad both immigrated here from Argentina when they were kids. My dad was 9 and my mom was 2. My dad ended up going to high school with my mom’s little brother and they got super drunk one night together when they were 16. They were scared to go back to their houses (the wrath of a Latin mother!!) so they tried to sleep in a park. It got too cold, so they went back to my uncle’s place and decided to wake my mom up by throwing rocks at her window. At 3am, my mom let her hermanito and my dad crawl through her window. My dad and uncle set up camp in my uncle’s room to sleep everything off, but they were starving. My uncle sent my dad to knock on my mom’s door and ask if she could make pancakes (bc they’re legendary). She thought he was so cute, that she made them pancakes at 3am. They’ve been together ever since (they’re 52 now).” -@bryduca

5. A Tale of Two Heights

@joeytovar_ /Twitter

“My grandparents went to school together. He asked her to be his partner for a dance performance once. Grandpa says he would have asked her sooner but didn’t see her. He’s 6ft she’s 4’10.” -@danhely

6. Love at first sight

@lcarreradesign/Twitter

“My abuelos met each other on a bus in Chicago while Guelo was studying to be a priest. He was a light skinned, fiery haired Mexican man with a friendly smile. Guela’s golden brown Puerto Rican glow was accented by her elegant black ringlets and graceful summer dress. He was smitten the moment he saw her! They conversed about spirituality, faith, and love for something greater than self.Less than one year later, Guelo traded one sacrament for another so that we, our family, could be born.” -@e.m.castro

7. Flirting By Throwing Rocks?

@keithmburke/Twitter

“My abuela would fill up her cantaro with water & whenever she walked by, my abuelo would through small rocks. She hated him for making her dump the water & he loved how beautiful she looked angry”. -@mija_por_favor

8. Life-long dance partners

@babybellabb/Twitter

“My abuelos ran into each other multiple times in one day. They had gotten onto the same bus two different times. Later that night when my abuelo saw my abuela at a dance he decided seeing her a third time that day was a sign and asked her to dance. And they were dancing partners the rest of her life”. -@thetiffanyandco

9. The Bashful Beginning

@leticiasaurus /Twitter

“My dad was friends with my mom’s brothers but he never met her despite always being around. One day, my mom was cleaning the floor outside her house & saw my dad walking from a distance towards the house. She dropped the broom & ran inside. The rest, is history”. -@lifeasingrid

10. The Whirlwind Romance

@ohmy_itsyza/Twitter

“My grandma and grandpa met while being migrant workers. Grandma was 15 and he was 18. My grandma’s sisters were trying to get with my grandpa but grandma wasn’t having it. Their time at that location was almost over and they were going to be separated so after two weeks of knowing each other, they decided to marry. They were married 62 years before my grandma passed.” – @amorettenoel

11. A Military Marriage

@prietitaV/Twitter

“My grandfather was in the marines and was stationed in the Dominican Rep. training the Dominican Air Force. At a party he meet my abuelita and fell in love. He had to asked his superiors for permission to see her, then my great grandfather to court her. They both passed away one right after each other after being 50 years together” -@claudia_teresa1

12. A Meeting of Cultures

@TheHernandezLab/Twitter

“Mi abuela, Soledad, or Chole, was a very attractive and creative woman. Soon after high school she was dancing in a women’s Mexican folklorico troup at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. Mi abuelo Modesto, was selling Cuban cigars as a traveling salesman. They met at the Fair, fell in love and eventually had my mom, Rosalia.” -@fridadina

13. An arranged marriage with a happy ending…

@brina_la_nica/Twitter

“In my dad’s side of the family my grandma had to marry my grandpa because a chismosa saw her talking to him outside the grocery story, so my great-grandparents arranged the marriage to restore their honor. In my moms side of the family my grandma had to marry my grandpa to pay off a debt of his family take care of hers after my grandmas parents passed away when she was young. They loved each other and lived happily ever after.#arrangedmarriages” -@iris_herndz

14. An Irresistible Passion

@daiciamestas

“My parents met at a dance in Durango, Colorado. Durango is a college town perfectly located in the middle of my parent’s hometowns. My mother was promised to someone else through engagement, but my father won her heart before leaving for the Navy.” -@daiciamestas

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

Things That Matter

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

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A 16-month investigation conducted by Columbia Journalism Investigations found that the Match Group which owns 45 popular dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and OK Cupid does not screen for sexual offenders. Match Group does audit users for sex crimes on their namesake property Match.com, but admits that on its free platforms it expects users to police themselves. 

The CJI report found that the policy leaves users vulnerable to sexual assault, and multiple victims have reported rapes because of it. Tinder, the company’s most successful app, has 5.2 million subscribers. Altogether Match Group is worth $1.7 billion in revenue. Many feel the publicly-traded company owes its subscribers more protection. 

Susan Deveau says her Plenty of Fish date raped her. 

When 54-year-old Deveau met Mark Papamechail on Plenty of Fish in 2016, she had no way of knowing he was a three-time convicted rapist. In Massachusetts, he was listed as a dangerous registered sex offender. After going on several dates, Deveau reported to the police that Papamechail raped her. She was the second woman to report Papamechail for rape after meeting him on a dating app. 

According to the app’s terms of use subscribers must “promise” they haven’t committed a felony, sex crime, or violent crime by agreeing to it. Thus the only method of screening is an honor system that assumes any user would actually read through the lengthy agreement. The company does not try to verify or screen for whether users are being honest or not. 

There’s a reason why Match.com screens for registered sex offenders.

Before Match Group bought up its competitors and became publicly traded, it agreed to screen for sex crimes on its flagship property Match.com. When the company expanded it didn’t extend this policy to its catalog of 45 apps. Match.com only agreed to check its users against the government’s sex offender registries after a public complaint from Carole Markin in 2011.

Markin says she was raped by a man she met on the platform on their second date. Afterward, she discovered he was convicted of rape six times. Markin was able to make her lawsuit public having been an entertainment executive herself. Under pressure, Match.com’s lawyers revealed they had begun implementing the screening process that utilized the government registries. Eventually, Markin settled.

A Match Group spokesperson told CJI that the free platforms don’t collect enough data to create a uniform screening policy. 

“There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products,” the spokesperson said

CJI found at least 157 incidents of sexual assault across dating apps. 

Most of the assaults happened within the last 5 years. Almost all of the victims were women who met their attackers on a Match Group dating app. 

“In 10% of the incidents, dating platforms matched their users with someone who had been accused or convicted of sexual assault at least once, the analysis found. Only a fraction of these cases involved a registered sex offender,” according to the investigation. 

However, what was most notable was that Match.com, which does have a screening policy, had no assault cases. Match Group’s spokesperson said that tens of millions of people use their platform, therefore 157 cases aren’t enough to warrant an overhaul. 

 “[Match Group] takes the safety, security, and well-being of our users very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “A relatively small amount of the tens of millions of people using one of our dating services have fallen victim to criminal activity by predators. We believe any incident of misconduct or criminal behavior is one too many.”

Some employees told CJI they don’t think the company goes far enough to protect users.

According to the investigation, many who worked at Match Group feel the company doesn’t equip or train them to deal with sexual assault complaints. Some said the process also fails to prevent more harm even after an incident has been reported because banned users can easily make new accounts.

“The problem has grown as the popularity of online dating has soared — in 2015, 12% of American adults were on a dating site, compared with 3% in 2008,” according to the report. “In 2016, the UK National Crime Agency reviewed police reports over a five-year period and found online-dating sexual assault had increased as much as 450% — from 33 to 184 cases.” 

CJI surveyed 1,200 women who used a dating app with the last 15 years. A third of the women surveyed said one of their dates sexually assaulted them, half of these women said it was rape. Match Group refused to comment on the questionnaire. 

Only five states have regulations to protect online daters, but those measures largely exist to prevent scams. With little pressure for the industry to change and as more victims come forward the future of online dating remains uncertain.

Harvard’s Only Latina Professor Was Denied Tenure, Sparking Student Protests and a Larger Conversation About Institutional Racism

Fierce

Harvard’s Only Latina Professor Was Denied Tenure, Sparking Student Protests and a Larger Conversation About Institutional Racism

@DivestHarvard / Twiter

Harvard has long been regarded as one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the US, if not the world. The Ivy League University has 36,012 students and 2,400 faculty members from over 150 countries. But although Harvard often boasts of the efforts they make to diversify their students, their faculty, and their curriculum, their track record has been less than stellar. That has been no clearer than in the recent turmoil surrounding the denial of their only Latina Professor, Lorgia García Peña. 

Once students learned of the University President’s decision to deny Garcia tenure, they were dismayed. Garcia’s tenure had been watched closely by the student body throughout the year, some going so far as to conduct a letter-writing campaign on her behalf earlier in the year. Once the initial disappointment at the decision faded, some students felt the need to take action. 

On Monday, roughly 50 students took to Harvard’s University Hall to protest Professor García’s tenure denial.

Although there is a Non-Discrimination and Affirmative Action clause in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Appointment Handbook, students believe that the decision to deny García tenure “exemplifies bias in the review process against professors of Ethnic Studies, whose scholarship and mentorship often put them in tension with Harvard’s administration”. 

In light of the upsetting denial of Garcia as a tenured professor, students drafted a petition with a list of demands aimed at the administration. The petition demands that the administration provides students with an explanation as to why Garcia’s tenure was denied. Students also demand a formal investigation into the alleged reasoning behind the tenure denial, with a specific focus on possible unconscious or structrual bias. Last but not least, the students demand the formal establishment of an Ethnic Studies Division–a request that the student body has been pursuing since 1972. 

For college professors, securing tenure is widely thought of as the most important accomplishment in their academic career.

According to The American Association of University Professors, becoming a tenured professor means that you “can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances”. In other words, it is a professor’s permanent job contract, which grants them greater academic freedom and protects them from being arbitrary fired. Usually, a professor is granted tenure after a probationary period of six years after which they’ve established themselves as valuable to the institution they’re working for. Usually during this time, they’re expected to publish academic research and findings to prove their value.

According to Professor Robert Anderson of Pepperdine University, tenure means that professors “are the most secure” in the unpredictable game of university politics. “[Tenured professors] are more like debt holders. If anyone bears the risk, it’s the staff who get tossed in the trash to save faculty”.

The uproar over Garcia’s tenure denial represents the larger struggle that many Latinx academics face when trying to establish themselves in higher education. 

As Latina Harvard student Mercedes Gomez tweeted on Monday, “Harvard flaunts its diversity and its admission numbers, but refuses to do the work to cultivate an environment for its students of color to feel safe and represented”. This statement rings true

As for the broader Latino community, they have not stayed silent on social media when commenting on Harvard’s questionable decision.

The fact itself that Professor Garcia is the only Latina on the faculty on the tenure track is room enough for skepticism. 

Harvard student Mercedes Gomez is especially invested in justice for Professor Garcia. 

https://twitter.com/gomezsb_/status/1201607299741212672?s=20

Let’s hope that the students’ activism spurs Harvard to re-think their decision.

This Latina academic has some chilling stories to tell about the way POC academics are structurally oppressed by academic institutions:

https://twitter.com/yarimarbonilla/status/1201689622583160832?s=20

The evidence seems to be piling up that these professors are denied tenure because their ideas don’t align with the institution’s bottom line. 

This Latina made a valid observation about how boringly predictable these tenure outcomes for WOC have become.

https://twitter.com/allisonefagan/status/1201864198403305472?s=20

The problem with institutional racism is that it’s so insidious–it’s often hard to see when it’s in front of you. And it’s even harder to call out.

This Latina is angry simply at the denial because of Garcia’s stellar resume. 

https://twitter.com/marisollebron/status/1201597626233315329?s=20

It’s frustrating to see that Ivy League institutions recruit off their claims of radical inclusivity, but their administrations don’t follow through when it comes to changing the structures of their institutions. 

The reason for Garcia’s tenure denial should be made public and then investigated. Because if this isn’t evidence of institutional racism, we don’t know what is.