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Latinxs Talk About Consent And How Their Parents Helped Them To Understand What It Meant

In the weeks following the allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, discussions about consent and the #MeToo movement have gained more traction. Given the recent conversations about violence against women and discussions that dabble in “blurred lines” and question that the state of mind and memory of victims, our FIERCEteam talked about the meaning of consent and where we learned how to find our voice and say “no” when we want to.

Understanding respect for boundaries.

“My parents never really had a conversation with me about consent, at least none that I remember. I recall on a couple of occasions my mom just telling me that if i was dating someone, I had to make sure that I felt respected at all times (and vice versa), and that whoever I dated had to understand that “no” meant “no” and would never force me to do anything I didn’t want to do. It was always made clear that it was up to me where I wanted to draw the line, but the sooner I set my boundaries the easier it was, and to make sure I never led anyone on.” – Jess

Having the uncomfortable but necessary conversation.

“To be honest my mom didn’t really like to touch the subject from what I remember. Maybe I was too little to remember or understand? I know it is probably an awkward and hard talk to have with your kids. I do feel like it’s extremely important. One thing is for sure, my mom did let me know which parts were mine and that it was wrong if anyone touched me there. That is all. I guess she probably just wanted to throw it out there so I understood and so that she could move on from that “awkward” topic. To this day she does not like to talk about anything sexual to me. This could possibly be a common thing with Latino parents. Skipping over this talk, taking it lightly. I truly wish she could have been more open with me, even so right now.” – Jenny

Understanding it as a man.

“My mother always made sure to let my brother and I know that we have full autonomy over our own bodies. She’d say ‘Nobody has the right to pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. If you feel uncomfortable during any situation, call me and I will pick you up immediately, no questions asked.’ This was when I was in high school and wanted to go to parties. She was also very clear with us that the same way we had freedom and autonomy over our bodies, so did everyone else. We had no right to pressure others to do something they were uncomfortable with. It was something that she made clear was abhorrent and inexcusable. Just like we want to feel free to be ourselves without fear of being abused or mistreated, we need to see everyone else with the same fear and privilege to dictate what happens to their bodies.” – Jorge

The mom who used lessons on consent to empower.

“My mom raised my siblings and I very Catholic, so she always told us sex was for marriage. That aside, she also told us that our bodies were to be respected and treated like the most sacred thing. Growing up, I always thought she was overly strict when she would tell me things boys shouldn’t do, but now that I’m older I know that she was teaching me about consent and boundaries. She constantly reminded me that my body was mine and no one else’s property. She also role played with me and put me in pretend scenarios where she’d get close to me so that I would practice saying “stop” to the other person. I was very shy, so she did her best to strengthen me and teach me ways to be comfortable enough to say “no” and not clam up.” – Wendy

Learning it from home.

“My mom started having discussions with my siblings and me about our bodies and consent for as long as I can remember. Looking back it’s very clear that she was instilling in us the knowledge that we had autonomy over our bodies, a right to say “no” and understand that there are people out there in the world who take advantage. I remember her bringing up conversations around this rather frequently, whether it was on a drive to school or on our way to spend time with a family member. She always wanted us to know that  if anyone ever made us feel uncomfortable or weird or embarrassed about the way they interacted with us physically or verbally that we had to speak up for ourselves. We didn’t use words like “vagina” in our house, we used “totico” but my mom made sure we knew that this was ours and that no one was allowed to touch it. She also made sure we knew that it was wrong to touch other people. It went both ways. She harped on this a lot when it came to my twin brother especially. She’d also always tell us to say the word “no” and that if something made us feel uncomfortable we had to tell her. My mom was very big on letting us know that if an adult that wasn’t her or my father told us to keep a secret between the two of us or threatened us that they were wrong and that we had to tell her. Looking back I really appreciate that now. I think it’s definitely helped me on the few occasions that I felt as if someone was attempting to take advantage of me.” – Alex

On how not talking about it made things a little more complex.

“I never had the ‘talk’ with my parent about sexuality. My mom got pregnant with twins when she was only 19 years old, and it was very hard economically for my parents to raise them. When I got my first boyfriend, my mom’s only concern was that I should use always protection, she didn’t care if I had sex or no, as long as I use protection to avoid getting pregnant at a young age as her. I guess we never had the talk about consent because my mom never experienced it before, she just tells me that she will be there for me if I want to talk about it. I experience it for the first time in college and it was hard for me to say “no” because I never had the talk and at my catholic school they never taught us about sexuality, so I was really naive on the topic of sexuality and consent.” – Danna

The parents who used consent talks to share defense methods.

“As an only child having conversations about consent with my parents seemed to be a frequent discussion. Whether or not I wanted to listen to them back then, looking back now I know my parents were simply engraining confidence in me from a young age to defend myself in any given situation. When I was younger my parents enrolled me in self defense classes not as an extracurricular activity but more as an everyday practice. Although, I always found them to be strict I know they were doing their best job to project me.” – Victoria

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Here’s What You Should Know About Getting Your Covid Vaccine

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Here’s What You Should Know About Getting Your Covid Vaccine

FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

The world has almost turned the page on the Covid pandemic that has upended our lives for the last year. Vaccine strategies across the nation are helping to end the pandemic, but we are not out of the woods yet. Here are some things you and your family should know about getting your vaccination.

The vaccines are safe and effective.

In the U.S., there are three main vaccines that people are getting: Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. All three have been proven to be safe and effective. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 109 million doses of the vaccines have been administered to people in the U.S. Millions of Americans have lined up and gotten vaccinated with a very small number experiencing the rare serious side effects.

The common side effects from the Covid vaccine are pain or swelling at the injection site, headache and chills, or a fever. These side effects disappear on their own quickly. After your vaccine, according to the CDC, you can expect to be asked to wait 15-30 minutes to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Vaccination personnel are equipped with the medication and treatments needed to reverse serious and threatening allergic reactions to the vaccine.

There are currently three vaccines available in the U.S.

Americans can expect to receive either the Pfizer-BioTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson / Janssen vaccine. Currently, these three are the vaccines that have been approved for use in the U.S. to end the pandemic. Pfizer-BioTech and Moderna vaccines require two shots taken three weeks and four weeks apart, respectively. Johnson & Johnson is a one-shot vaccine. All have been proven effective in preventing hospitalization from the virus.

There are currently two more vaccines in Phase 3 of their trial that could bring even more relief to the American public. The Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novava vaccines are currently being tested and are showing promising results in the U.S. trials.

Speak with your healthcare provider about medications and the vaccine.

There is still a lot we do not know about the vaccine as we are still learning its full effect. As of now, healthcare providers and experts don’t recommend taking pain relievers (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen) or antihistamines to avoid vaccination side effects. It is unclear how these medications will impact the efficacy of the vaccine.

The vaccine is not a replacement for wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

It is important to make sure that you follow proper Covid safety guidelines when you get vaccinated. This is for the safety of you, your healthcare provider, and anyone else in the area.

Covid safety guidelines aren’t going away any time soon. Even as you and those you know get vaccinated, it is important that people continue to wear masks when in public and maintain social distancing when possible. While the vaccines are effective in protecting you from getting sick and going to the hospital, doctors are still learning whether or not vaccinated people can spread Covid. This is why fully vaccinated people need to practice social distancing and continue wearing masks to ensure that they keep their communities safe.

However, for people who are fully vaccinated, life is a little freer. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can gather with other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks and no social distancing. Fully vaccinated people can even gather with one unvaccinated person from another household who is at a low-risk of severe Covid infection. Lastly, fully vaccinated people do not have to quarantine when they are exposed if asymptomatic.

This is the first set of guidelines released for fully vaccinated people and it is showing that life can start getting back to normal as more people line up to get their shots when they are eligible.

READ: Rite Aid Refused To Give Undocumented Residents The COVID-19 Vaccine Even Though They’re Eligible

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This 26-Year-Old With Down Syndrome Has Big Dreams Of Making History For Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

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This 26-Year-Old With Down Syndrome Has Big Dreams Of Making History For Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Frazer Harrison / Getty

It’s not every day that history is made in the model industry.

Sure, the field is one that has seen quite a bit of change in terms of diversity and representation in recent years, but if the current look of runways has anything to prove it’s that doors still need to be opened. This is true for the representation of people of color other ethnicities as well as those with differing gender identities and disabilities.

Twenty-six-year-old Mikayla Holmgren knows this truth and is striving to be the change she wants to see in the fashion and model industry.

Holmgren is a woman with Down syndrome and used to making history and striving for change.

In 2017, she became the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA pageant. At the time she entered as a contestant in Minnesota’s competition. While she didn’t earn the crown for Miss Minnesota Holmgren did take home the Spirit of Miss USA award and the contest’s Director’s Award. It was the first time for a contestant with Down syndrome to take home any wins in the category.

Holmgren recently talked to Gretchen Carlson in a recent episode of PEOPLE (the TV Show!) about her latest goals and dreams of making history.

“We tell all our people who have special needs or Down syndrome, go ahead and do it,” Holmgren, who recently submitted her audition tape to Sports Illustrated, explained. “Just follow your dreams and then do things.”

On whether or not she is nervous, Holmgren explained that she has no nerves. “I just wait and see,” she explained, “and fingers crossed.”

Holmgren went on to share that more important to her than winning is her desire to encourage inclusivity.

“Just bring awareness and be more inclusive,” she explained. “Just spread the world. And does inclusive matter? No matter what, it’s from inside out. It’s follow your dream to go do it.”

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