Lisbet Henriquez- la nombre de una mujer that inspired me to
learn that less is more, and more is less and no one cares about your excuses.
She lives simply, streamlined, efficient, yet feminine, drenched in muted
colors and too chic for you fashion forward lens. Very euro- very Bronx like a
chameleon with the heart of a lion.
I met her in the West Side of Course, on grant st (where real
gangsters have been meeting real gangsters) since my grandfather’s butcher
store was open. She was teaching English to refugees and new Americans, fitting
for someone- who I would learn taught herself English at age 7. She told me she
was a political science major and that did it. I knew we were going to become
instant friends. She reminded me of myself frankly.
Because political science is defined as the branch of knowledge that
deals with systems of government, the analysis of political activity and
any Latina who consciously chooses to study political science in my mind is a
and I both were done an injustice in our studies though, not taught about the
history of women and or common folk. I always say I was taught the victors
curriculum- the one where -it was told to us, all our Taino ancestors were
killed and that colonization brought “progress” to our islands.
not the true history. Lis being Dominican and me Puerto Rican – taught through
the lens of separation, of our islands and our peoples. We weren’t told the
Taino lived in both lands and creation stories said we emerged from caves in a
sacred mountain on Hispaniola. Or that genetic studies show in Puerto Rico, that
a high proportion of people have Amerindian mtDNA. Thus the taino
survived. And their ideas and lives were expressed in art- left out of our text
teaches us to separate ourselves, but unity is our strength as evidenced by the
labor and women’s rights movements and activists likeLuisa Capetillo. Who changed the course of politics all
across the Caribbean just by wearing pants in public! She went on to publish
one of the first feminist thesis in Puerto Rico. Liz and I are political
scientists who have a serious responsibility-to learn and re write our own
histories of power. The new curriculum is based on the revolutionary idea: we
survived thus we are the victors.
And what do they
say- “To the Victor Go the Spoils”.
I’m just glad I don’t have to go at this alone. Lucky Liz matches
her glamor with her grit.
Her quote “Be fearless about it.” Read
her interview and you’ll see why she is.