Updated: May 4
Vanessa Jimenez, our UW Chicano Studies Intern, wrote this blog post.
To say she has been a resource is an understatement.
She has brought so much gentle planning and has been a force for our organization!
This semester, she has been helping Midwest Mujeres get our first cohort lined up with our new collaboration project with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Life. We have teamed up to record six stories of transformation. Some of these stories you will see perform on stage at our June event.
WPR x MWM
In her words: The Wisconsin Public Radio and Midwest Mujeres collab has been one of the most influential opportunities I’ve had so far as a UW student. I read about empowered individuals and how they got to where they are today and learned about
where they plan to go next. The range of experience among these individuals
gave me perspectives from every section possible, ranging from businesswomen to activists, medical professionals, mothers, and storytellers.
After various emails and phone calls in preparation, I finally met everyone virtually on February 20th, when we held our first meeting and talked about the process of this project. This meeting also served as a workshop where everyone could further verbalize their stories and work on what they wanted to share on air. In these moments, I could connect deeper with everyone’s experience and learn about the personalities that fostered them.
I resonated with one of our members who was grieving the loss of a friend but continued to power through life in honor of their friend. It is inspiring to see the complexity of life and how much one can do no matter what cards they are dealt with. I was also inspired by this person’s ability to be vulnerable and share memories of her friend.
The inspiration definitely did not stop there. I could sit in with the Mujeres and listen to their recordings live. There was not a moment in time when I was bored with what was being shared. I got to sit in and listen to Yazmin (in the picture center), who owns a cleaning business and advocates for immigration and children's rights. Yazmine shows so much passion for everything she cares about and can recognize the limits of wanting to succeed. One thing that stuck with me from her story was, “One cannot do everything,” which to me means that asking for help and letting go of control can help you in the long run.
Another member, Tamara (the Black woman standing in the middle), she spoke with such elegance and authenticity about her journey to become a Dula. She spoke about how it was never something she actively pursued but more something that suddenly called her name after surrounding herself with individuals who had worked in the field. She spoke a lot about advocacy for oneself and mothers in our community.
The vulnerability that could be brought to the table while remaining a strong, influential woman inspired me in more ways than one. So many of the women I heard were able to cope with traumatizing experiences and power through with the same, if not more, passion for their jobs as when they first began.
It’s important to note that you are in charge of how you use each experience and opportunity brought into your life. I admire the women who participated with us and can only describe them all as powerful and beautiful.
This opportunity is something that I am so grateful for, and I hope to continue to get the knowledge and become inspired by the Midwest Mujeres community. (Written by Vanessa Jimenez)