Todas Somos Putas?

The first time I heard about SlutWalk Chicago, I raised an eyebrow.

In general, I’m not a fan of reclaiming oppressive language. I’ll never, for example, call one of my friends a bitch, and I’ll never call anyone a ho. I don’t call myself a spic, and you won’t catch me greeting someone with a hearty “what’s up N*****!” I do use the word queer, mostly because I think it is more inclusive than lesbian or that alphabet soup LGBTQQA. So… SlutWalk? My initial response was to roll my eyes. No matter how many people I roll around with, I am not about to go around calling myself a slut or puta. As far as I’m concerned, sleeping with one person or 100 people is a private matter, not up for public judgement.

Except… the public judges all of the time,particularly when it comes to sexuality and violence. For years, I worked as an educator at a rape crisis center, where I obsessively stressed the message that no one asks to be raped or sexually assaulted: No Matter What. Clothing is not an invitation, being drunk is not an invitation, being alone is not an invitation. And yet, people constantly asked me what a woman expected was going to happen if she dressed a certain way, drank so much at a party, or went home with someone she hardly knew. I can think of no other crime where the general public so solidly blames the target instead of the perpetrator. The reality is that the only person responsible for a sexual assault is the person who makes the choice to assault someone. And people all around the world are sexually assaulted every day, regardless of what they are wearing, where they are, or who they’re with. I’ve worked with clients who were grandmas, clients who were men, clients who were children, clients who were wearing sweats and doing laundry when someone attacked them, and way way WAY too many clients who were attacked by family members and people they trusted to keep them safe. Conversely, I can think of dozens of guys I know who would never even consider forcing sex on another person, no matter how they were dressed or how drunk they were.

Which is what SlutWalk is all about. The project started in Toronto, as a response to a police  representative of the Toronto Police Service who was quoted saying, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.” The marches are designed to bring people together to challenge victim-blaming and to “encourage a revised cultural attitude towards assault and rape.”

I may not personally identify as a slut, but that hasn’t stopped other people from calling me one. SlutWalk isn’t necessarily about reclaiming a term; it’s about challenging one – about working towards a culture that places the blame for sexual violence solidly where it belongs: on the people who commit the crime.

That’s something I can get behind.

Slutwalk Chicago is this Saturday, June 4th from 12-3 pm. For more information, including the march route, visit their website or check them out on Facebook.


How much Pozole can you eat?

In case you have not noticed we all have daytime jobs, to–you know–pay the bills.  Although, I confess we have sometimes wondered: What if Proyecto Latina  was our full-time project?  Let us dream, we know how to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground, but who can blame us for such an active imagination, we are after all writers and/or artists and creating is like air for us.

I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by more artists in my 9 to 5 gig.   Working for Pros Arts Studio has given me the opportunity to get acquainted with other creatives and develop an even deeper appreciation  for the disciplines they work in–beginning with Giselle Mercier, who continually nudges me toward new levels of potential.  I’ve learned about the humbling nature of clay from Nicole Marroquin, had the opportunity to co-instruct the Tejer y Poder class with Thelma Uranga– an experience that expanded my horizons to the possibilities of fiber arts and I have witnessed the exceptional commitment to our youth from Delilah Salgado who uses street art to guide teens in the youth produced summer festival, We R Hip Hop.

I’m also immersed in a non-profit world in a community based setting where we have to depend heavily on community and foundation support to survive.  We offer free art classes, the kind I only dreamed about as a young person, these take place in a modest basement studio of Dvorak Park. They are out-of-school time programs that include a community clay studio and a circus arts workshop and can always benefit from one more ally.

Enter the 3rd Annual Pozolada on Saturday, March 19th, 2011, a fundraiser to support the community programs mentioned above.  The premise is simple: Each ticket purchase includes food, drinks and dessert, at the end of the night you get a one-of-a-kind bowl to take home.  Pozole is donated by community members and local restaurants, this year we are having traditional pozoles–including rojo, verde and blanco–as well as more contemporary versions that include a vegetarian pozole.   I’m particularly excited that we will be pairing this delectable offering with Latin Vintage Sounds courtesy of  (((Sonorama))).

Consider this my personal invitation to you–yes, you—to join me and the Pros Arts Studio community. My mom will be making a pot of her pozole, I know I’m biased but hers is my personal favorite.  Save room for seconds and thirds, there will also be signature pozoles from El Faro and De Colores.

3rd Annual Pozolada
Saturday, March 19, 2011
From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Held at Casa Juan Diego,
2020 S. Blue Island
Chicago, Il 60608

Advance tickets for Pozolada are $25, tickets at the door are $30, tickets for youth under 12 are $10.  You can buy your tickets online at