This year marks 25 years in journalism for me. It’s a milestone that, had I followed in the traditional family footsteps of the Diaz women, would never have happened.
Family expectations weighed heavily on me, as it did for most Latinas of my generation. Outside three family-accepted occupations: teaching, nursing and secretarial, the only other occupation that was acceptable and expected was motherhood.
Ironically, it was motherhood that introduced me to journalism.
I’m not talking about journalism in the classic sense — Lois Lane, Woodward & Bernstein, Spotlight — but another form of journalism — opinion writing.
But at the time, opinion writing wasn’t journalism to me. For a stay-at-home mom, who hadn’t finished college yet, and felt the need to defend my children and myself, opinion writing was my protest sign.
I had read an opinion on the drawbacks of keeping your child behind a grade. As someone who herself had been held back as a child and chose to keep her own first-born a grade behind, it was a subject I knew well.
And what I read was less on the merits or drawbacks of grade retention and sounded more like dishing judgment on parents. It infuriated me and I felt compelled to not just speak up but push back.
I was reminded of that first ‘protest’ recently when I received an email from a national mothers’ group inviting me to join in their “resistance” campaign against this new administration. It has been the first invitation of many.
So far, I’ve received invitations to resist changes to the EPA, the change in focus from public schools to charter schools, the deportation of DREAMers, the tearing apart of immigrant families and the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, etc.
Ironically, the majority of the invitations I’ve received to join the growing #Resistance movement calling for marches, protests, boycotts, phoning Congress and writing letters are being led by women, some by mothers.
Email and social media have made it easier and more convenient to voice our differences and stand up for what we believe in. Back when I penned my first op-ed, I had no idea if the column would pass the critical eye of the editor — a man — or if he would even consider it too trivial a subject to give it coveted print space. Today, with so many different publishing platforms available, there’s no worry that someone’s voice won’t be heard or read.
What hasn’t changed is that resistance has always been around and the leaders of those past movements, like today, are women — who have someone or something to defend.
Marisa Treviño is a 25-year career journalist, co-founder of Treviño TodaMedia and publisher of the news blog Latina Lista.