Soy Poderosa Because of My Struggles and the Struggles of Those Before Me

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Commentary Human Rights

Soy Poderosa Because of My Struggles and the Struggles of Those Before Me


Soy Poderosa because I’ve struggled. Soy Poderosa because I realized that I needed to be self motivated and independent to get by. Soy Poderosa because I developed other poderosas.


Written by Karina García and cross-posted in partnership with the National Latina Institute of Reproductive Health as part of the 2012 Latina Week of Action.

This profile of Karina García is one of several of powerful Latina women advocates throughout the United States.

Soy Poderosa because I’ve struggled.

I grew up in a single-parent household, the only girl, surrounded by loving but macho men. My mother passed away in a car accident when I was five years old and my father worked several jobs to take care of us. My mother’s family, while very supportive, lived far away. As a result, my brothers and I all but raised ourselves.

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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Soy Poderosa because I realized then that I needed to be self motivated and independent to get by.

I had the good fortune to get into Columbia University but it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for financial aid.

Soy Poderosa because those who came before me fought to expand access to higher education and opened the doors for people like me.

Soy Poderosa because I knew that the only way to repay that debt was to fight for those in my community who never had my chance.

Freshman year of college I went to my first demonstration, the March for Women’s Lives in the Spring of 2004. Sophomore year, I became an activist. I organized around just about everything: financial aid, immigrant rights, economic justice, and anything else that pissed me off, I tried to challenge and correct.

Soy Poderosa because I emulated other poderosas.

The next four years of my life I was a teacher, organizing my students and co-workers to demonstrate and take action for our communities.

Soy Poderosa because I developed other poderosas.

Today I am proud to have joined the staff at the Latina Institute where I serve as the National Field Coordinator. I know that there are poderosas around the country waiting to be heard from but who feel isolated and powerless. I’m participating in the Week of Action because I’m hoping to bring those poderosas together and send them a message that they’re not alone.

– Karina García, NLIRH National Field Organizer