Intersectional Feminism in the Classroom

On both January 21st and 22nd of this year, three women organized the country’s largest political demonstration, drawing in nearly half a million Americans to The Women’s March on Washington and over 3 million nationally. These women – Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez – sought to amplify the voices of all those who find themselves at the mercy of patriarchy’s clenched fists. In addition to the typically advertised causes of feminism including reproductive rights and the gender wage gap, protesters rose signs calling attention to police brutality against black bodies, waved rainbow flags in support of LGBT identifying folks, and called out against the Dakota Access Pipeline. This was a demonstration of third wave feminism. This was intersectional. And despite the valid intra-community criticisms against the actual execution of the Women’s March, I ask what we as educators can take away from this major event and how can we bring what we learned into the classroom?

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Roslyn Cecilia Sotero is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development and Family Studies. During her undergraduate career, she served as Vice President and President of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), which provided an array of cultural events and services to students of the Waterbury regional campus.

LASO opened up professional opportunities for Ms. Sotero when she connected with the Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury, Inc. who at the time was looking to create a new youth program. Excited to be working within the local Latinx community, Roslyn drafted a program curriculum that was used as part of a $60,000 state grant application. For the past three years as Program Director of the LACE Youth Leadership Program, Roslyn has catered to the academic, professional, personal and cultural development of youth of color throughout Waterbury’s public school system. And as is the vision of the Hispanic Coalition for local youth, Roslyn led the creation of three local art exhibits in CT’s first Latinx Art Center, El Centro Cultural, where LACE students took the lead in educating the public about Latinx histories.

In addition to her director position, Roslyn continues to educate Brown and Black communities on social justice issues by serving on several panel discussions across CT, MA and NY specifically in regards to issues close to WOC, education equity, youth-led activism and anti-blackness within Latinx communities.