San Bernadrino, Calif. -- Latina students from the San Bernardino community share their everyday challenges, aspirations and victories over deep-rooted stereotypes.
Media experts have long argued that mainstream media has done a poor job representing Latinas as inspiring individuals.
Instead, as studies show, Latinas are often objectified in the propagation of stereotypes such as “All Latinas have big families,” “All Latinas are maids” or “Latinas are criminals.”
All three Latina students we spoke with challenge those stereotypes in different ways on daily basis, while aiming for ideals often unimaginable for those around them.
Maria De Lourdes, a CSUSB communication student, commutes to campus every day from Hemet. Simultaneously, she also maintains a management position at Brookdale Senior Living in Hemet.
“It can be daunting. At times, it can break you because you don’t have the luxury of time, but what pushes me forward is the degree,” said De Lourdes.
At 5:30 a.m., De Lourdes rises to get to arrive at work by 6 a.m. De Lourdes works to pay for gas, food, utilities, and other life essentials.
She then makes her daily hour long commute to CSUSB for class by 12 p.m.
“I’m constantly on the go and I feel like my mind is always going at a thousand. I have to micromanage time and make things work for me,” stated De Lourdes.
Following her last class, she commutes for another hour back home; this is De Lourdes's weekly routine.
De Lourdes is motivated to obtain her degree in communication studies to broaden her career opportunities.
“I also do this for my grandma, she once told me ‘don’t let me die before I get to see you graduate’,” De Lourdes added.
Maliyah De La Rosa, a local Latina who also identifies as transgendered, often faces discrimination based on her gender identity.
De La Rosa recalls a time she was discriminated at a club mixer at San Bernardino Valley College in the Fall of 2016.
“I tried to link up with the LGBT club at San Bernardino Valley College. I was there all day long interacting with members and when it came time for me to speak I got into three minutes of speaking and I was shut out,” said De La Rosa.
“One lady was like ‘you need to leave they didn’t get permission for you to speak here,’” De La Rosa continued.
After being asked to leave, De La Rosa finished her speech outside of the event. In solidarity, members of the SBVC LGBT club decided to accompany her and listen to the rest of her speech.
In addition to dealing with discrimination, De La Rosa also has type one diabetes.
Despite daily hardships, she pursues her dreams of becoming a successful full-time independent make-up artist.
She also dedicates her time to her activist work with the I.E. Trans Project, a local organization that advocates for the rights of transgender, intersex, queer, gender non-conforming, and socially and politically under-represented members of the community.
“I want to pave the way for future generations so they won't have to go through what I went through," stated De La Rosa.
Paths to prosperity can be difficult for various Latinas in the San Bernardino community because they keep running into problems associated with Latina stereotypes, assumptions and expectations.
Noemi Botello, a sociology major at CSUSB is also a full-time mom and a provider.
“I always make sure my family is taken care of first, then whatever time I have left I dedicate towards school and work,” said Botello.
Every night, Botello must wait for her 5-year-old son to go to bed before completes her homework. Often, she stays up until 3 a.m. just to finish.
“Sometimes it’s hard to seek help with school work when I need it because it takes time away from home,” explained Botello.
On workdays, she is up roughly around 5:30 a.m. in order to arrive punctually for her job in Corona. Before 9 a.m. she takes her son to school and at 12 p.m. goes to classes.
Botello believes that in order to do something for the family, she has to succeed herself and be a role model for them.
After finishing her education, Botello plans to work for an adoption agency to find permanent homes for foster children.
“Don’t give up, it’s not going to be easy, but you have to push forward. Although every obstacle is going to tell you that you can’t do it, everything starts with you. Only you can start setting for yourself,” said Botello.