By Lucia Quinonez
EL PASO — It sounded like a fiesta, but between the laughter and loud chatter the group of some 80 Latina women examined the existential questions of identity and women’s rights.
Organized here recently by Wise Latina International the women, who live on the U.S.-Mexico border, were challenged to identify, debate and find solutions to the challenges of maintaining self worth and contributing to their communities in the face of obstacles such as getting a good education and creating a productive life for themselves and their families.
Two summits at the El Paso downtown library over two weeks specifically addressed and developed an agenda for a Latina Women’s conference here scheduled for the spring of 2014.
The first summit hosted approximately 70 local women from diverse walks of life. The second summit attracted over 80 women. Both were open to the public and at each session professional women, working-class mothers and college students voiced their opinions on workplace, health, and community development issues.
Liz Chavez, a best selling author and president of Wise Latinas Int., wants the upcoming conference to help women by giving them the tools to improve their lives.
“We are trying to prioritize the issues that are important to us as women, as Latinas here in the border,” said Chavez. “Our mission is to raise awareness, educate and empower Latina women, along with women of all walks of life. Were trying to do that through entertainment and the arts.”
According to Chavez, Wise Latinas has been in development since 2010 and has a 15-member board, with one seat currently empty. At the moment they have some 85 members and are constantly seeking new members for the organization. The 2014 conference is planned to be the largest public event to date for Wise Latinas.
Although, women have made great strides…
(Featured Photo: About 80 women attended the second summit organized by Wise Latina International. Photo Credit: Lucía Quinones/Borderzine.com)