of Loud Sirenz
One of the best things about growing community around #Latinaherstory and #latinasinbusinessNY, is that I meet amazing women who continue to inspire me. They take risks, and risk taking, is something that I didn’t know I didn’t like. Since I started writing, I’ve become a little bolder, drawing on the strength of their “formation” stories that we share at our events. We all get together after eating and talking and make deliberate space to share our stories. I used the word “deliberate space” and I am going to come back to that. How do you build deliberate space? You respectfully show an individual that you are in (whatever capacity that looks like to you) pay attention. To us, it looks like sitting in a circle and giving each other eye contact and no phones. Organically sometimes Latinas build deliberate space to share like – Noche de damas – at church but most of the time we can’t economically afford the time it takes to build deliberate spaces. Because you have to pause.
That needs to change, we need to embrace change, and build deliberate space around the people and the ideas we support. And in those spaces with your colleagues or with your elders or sisters, give each other space to be flawed, to speak Spanglish, to not know, and most of all to be ambitious. Our community has a rich history in the United States and some of that history frames the ending of the marijuana prohibition differently for us. As a result , we need to build deliberate spaces to learn about what this means for our community both from an economic perspective and social justice perspective. Marijuana prohibition impacted the lives of the children whose family member were prosecuted under its law. One such child has now grown into a beautiful strong Puerto Rican woman and she has decided, properly, to use the end of marijuana prohibition in the United States to her economic benefit. If that’s not economic restorative justice I don’t know what is. She’s brave her name is Dianelix Rivera and she is the CEO and owner of Loud Sirnez Cannabis Fashion Boutique. Why is this important? She is not looking to cut even for the impacts that marijuana prohibition marked on her families economy, she’s looking to overcome economically and form a new future.
Loud Sirnez Cannabis Fashion Boutique is loud proud and sharing information about the positive and medicinal effects of Cannabis. Resistance can be an outfit and Dianelix knows that. Restorative Justice is defined by some as a response to wrongdoing that prioritizes repairing harm. It can be defined in three action terms: Encounter, Repair, and Transform. As a community we know that persecuting someone for the possession of a plant that has been used for thousands of years as medicinal is wrong (encounter), we know the policies that were shaped to enforce marijuana prohibition were unjust in that they specifically targeted communities of color- we know that in order to reverse these racist polices we need people impacted by those racist policies at the table (repair), we know we need to transform our understanding of Marijuana.
Dianelix is a pioneer. She is less than thirty years old, a student of the world, the oldest of four children, and a Latina whose Puerto Rican heritage inspired her to be unafraid of the unknown. Maria upturned her life, Covid impacted her, as a student she has had successes and gained perspective. At present she is also enrolled in a program for small business at our SBDC at SUNY Buffalo State College.
Ageism is defined prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age. We have to accept two things as a community (1) cannabis now legal and a source of economic opportunity (2) young people will lead the way. Statistically latinas will grow the marijuana, but will not be afforded a seat at the table to discuss it.
Read her interview and learn about one of young people that wants to push first.
1. Where were you born and what were the
values in your home?
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico predominantly by my single mother of 4. I was the oldest and our values consisted of family unity, humility and hard work. My momma worked a lot and was an example of perseverance and taught me, in combination of my own experiences, to never give up. Her determination in raising a family with limited support through also pursuing a professional career in pharmacy technician and studying to be a nurse while also providing was very inspiring and taught me lots of strength and gratitude.
2. What was your experience like as a student?
I consider myself more a student of life than traditional schooling systems. Theoretical learning takes special discipline, however, I have found that in my experience, I have learned more through the mastery of following my own path. My educational resources vary, I was in pursuit of my bachelor degree in Communications & Journalism in the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla, however did not get the opportunity to finish the program due to me moving to Buffalo after losing everything in hurricane Maria in 2017. When I moved to Buffalo I came with intentions of continuing my degree but through the paths of life, real life factors and financial needs, roads lead to a different pursuit. I can proudly say my approach to being a student has been of extreme value to me in my particular journey. I am currently participating in a program with the Small Business Center Development and Buffalo State College and am consistently looking to grow and expand my knowledge through workshops, mastermind alliances as well as mentors who have helped shape and guide my trajectory. I strongly believe learning from the natural laws, art, and entrepreneurship in combination of consistently reading books has made me a good student of life.
3. What was your first or favorite job?
My favorite job prior to entrepreneurship was in the wireless and marketing industry, being part of the T-Mobile events and social media team. Hospitality was definitely my least favorite. I started working at a very young age, I remember as early as 2008 selling toys, candy and dinosaur figurines in elementary school, to bracelets and hair accessories as I expanded. Later on, that translated to embroidery hats and tutoring programs in high school. All these different roles, fields and experiences have helped shape my work ethic, ambition and passion for solving problems through creative means such as beauty and loud self-expression in fashion.
4. What advice do you have for other latinas people who want their voices to be heard in their community?
If you want to be heard you need to speak loud, mija.
What is your message? Once you to find that, tell everyone. Tell the mail lady, the barista, your dog; make yourself heard safely, intentionally and respectfully. Go find the community you're trying to serve and start giving what you once needed to see. We spend so much time thinking of the when and how, when we just need to combine purpose with desire.
5. What is your theory on human potential?
Every great human invention started with a thought. I believe we have the power of self evolution, we can create, shape and evolve into anything, as we possess endless potential. I think in order to reach that higher potential, you must open your mind to the idea of greatness. My theory is you can become anything as long as you're clear with your message, intentions and who you are trying to serve, it also serves to say my theory includes doing it with mindfulness, prayer and establishing the right systems and habits that will boost accessing that higher potential.
6. What experience do you have as a business person?
In addition to the prior experience described, I consider my experience characterized predominantly in entrepreneurship. A business person refers to those who offer products and services with existing ideas and an entrepreneur is one who starts an enterprise with a new idea or concept undertaking commercial activities.
7. How would you define a businessperson?
To relay it with simplicity, my definition would be "one who successfully makes a living in the chosen path and is able to sustain, one who identifies a problem or need and finds a way to creatively solve it or deliver what is needed".
By definition, a businessperson refers to someone involved in a particular undertaking of commercial and industrial activities with the purpose of generating revenue.
8. Is there a local business person you look up to?
I admire and look up to both the business person and the entrepreneur who embraces a sustainable journey of success. Those who provide value to their community and serve with authenticity, kindness and good intentions, those who are proactively solving problems. I'd say I have a special admiration to those that are parents and are still out there dreaming while taking care of their families. To me that's truly worth looking up to and it's important to recognize. Even as I was making less, half the times doing more, while also possessing a unique skillset, including bilingual and translation services, I felt I was fortunate enough to even be there. Growing up with a lack of history representation and knowledge, I perpetuated with ignorance the belief of inferiority, I wasn't even aware of it through my youth and early adulthood.
9. How do you feel about the fact that Latinas are the most underpaid demographic in the US ?
It truly infuriates me how it takes us almost 22 months to catch up to what white non-hispanic men are paid in just one year. My jaw dropped with anger and I could not believe reading the National Women's Law Center's report on the fact that it would take us more than 400 years to earn what a while male earned in a normal 4-year career. That is beyond insane and irrational to me. I was very unaware of this phenomenon even while I was experiencing it. Even as I was making less, half the times doing more, while also possessing a unique skillset, including bilingual and translation services, I felt I was fortunate enough to even be there. Growing up with a lack of history representation and knowledge, I perpetuated with ignorance the belief of inferiority, I wasn't even aware of it through my youth and early adulthood. We not only owe it to those who have advocated for us in the past and have paved the way till today, we must also give it to those who are coming after us, our daughters, neighbors and communities. We are not done fighting for equal rights.
We must continue to pave the way because clearly we are not done fighting to close this racial pay gap.
After reviewing the last report on this matter, I'll loudly say they can keep their two cents, literally, we are coming for the full dollar.