Author: Frances Solá-Santiago

Three Steps to Resist Today’s America

A community activist answers your questions

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File No. 13: Odiosas

Community organizing is more necessary than ever before. Creating safe spaces to debate and educate folx is essential to move forward in this state of collective uncertainty. Odiosas, a Bronx female collective, has been on this mission since 2016, coordinating panels and art exhibitions that offer healing and expression from an intersectional, working-class perspective. You might recall Odiosas from a previous post: You remember that first time I went to the Bronx? I spoke at a panel hosted by Odiosas, a collective of women who aim to create safe spaces for marginalized communities. At that point, I must admit, I still didn’t get it. The women around me felt comfortable with their identities. They knew exactly what pronouns people should use when referring to them. They knew if they were white, black, afro-latinx, native American, Eastern European. But me, I was the epitome of the Puerto Rican identity crisis. I felt strange answering questions about race and wouldn’t admit that I, too, was mixed. But, there was a moment I turned to myself to admit who …

10 Quotes To Gear You Up For the Women’s March (And Resistance)

What started as a Facebook event has become a monumental, historic wave of resistance. The Women’s March in Washington will take place on Saturday with an expected turnout of over 200,000 people. Speakers will include feminist icon Gloria Steinem, actress America Ferrera, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and activist Angela Davis. More importantly, women, men, LGBTTQ and non-binary Americans will be there to resist the imminent threat Donald Trump’s administration poses to women’s rights. It’s safe to say that without a single day in office, Donald Trump has managed to anger all of us by shaming women, risking women’s healthcare and reproductive rights, attacking Planned Parenthood and basically opening his mouth. And yes, we are right to be angry because the fight for women’s equality is not over, and we cannot take the chance of losing it all now. So, be angry, be very fucking angry, scream, focus of self-care, rally others around you and aim to include everyone (please, be mindful of inclusiveness, not just of color but class, gender and sex) in our fight because it’s far …

On Moving to New York: An Updated Letter

Here we are, New York. You and I, five months later. I could say that I’ve conquered you, but I’d be lying. You are unconquerable. I’ve met masters born and raised in your crowded streets who still feel the necessity to keep trying to figure you out. And, for a newbie like me, “conquer” would be too strong a word. Yet, I can say I’ve enjoyed immersing myself in your collective misery, the insatiable ambition that your people have instilled in me and the complicated relationship I’ve only gotten to start with you. I can say you’ve brought me to tears and taught me that in every corner there is a new lesson, a new person, a new wall of truth to stomp upon. After years chasing you, I can say we have finally moved in together and it doesn’t look- or feel- as I always hoped. It’s better. You remember those first few days of me searching apartments online, riding the subway uptown and downtown to end up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a community …

Coming Out Of the Fashion Closet

The approach I’ve taken to fashion has never come from the perspective of just putting outfits together. As a child, I had the opportunity to observe two women— my mother and grandmother— get lost in sewing books, patterns, magazines and textile shops to create the perfect garment. Most often than not, those dresses ended up in photography albums that narrate the trajectory of our family’s history. So, whenever I sat next to them, admiring the hard work they put behind every stitch, it became clear that fashion was not materialistic, but rather cultural, emotional and artistic. I’m tired of being reduced by my love of fashion just because it’s not recognized as an art or important enough to attract someone’s interest as a scholarly discipline. Since the minute I started vocalizing my interest in working inside the industry the comments have been far from positive. I have found that, as a journalism student, I’m referred to as an entertainment journalist, and therefore, cooped up inside a box with the Giuliana Rancic wannabes of the world. …