#TimesUp: The Little Girls Are Listening

I am not a fan of awards shows. A few years ago, I could have said I just wasn’t interested in sitting through a long ceremony as it was filled with untactful jokes and simply consisted of a bunch of white folks celebrating each other. Now, however, I have enough understanding to acknowledge what really turned me off from these over-the-top shows: the lack of representation.

The reality is, as a Latina, I don’t see my myself on TV or movies very often. I can count the times that I was inspired by someone on the big screen because she looked like me and reminded me of my own story. I can also count the times I was able to witness a Latina be celebrated for her work (thank you Gina Rodriguez for that 2016 Golden Globes acceptance speech!) in an industry that is unfortunately controlled and led by powerful white men. Hence, my disinterest for these shows altogether.

This year’s Golden Globes were different though. While the awards ceremony was still hosted by a white man, he was capable of setting the tone and gave space for the #TimesUp movement to gain momentum. But what was the real cherry on top? Oprah.

Everyone loves Oprah so it was no surprise that even celebrities were starstruck when they went up on stage and saw her front row. But the moment she got up, to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award, becoming the 1st African American woman to receive such a prominent recognition, it was as if time froze. Oprah is often talked of as the fairy godmother that can inspire us all to live a fuller life all while simultaneously helping us heal through her wisdom and spirituality. She always has the perfect words and the perfect way to capture anyone’s attention and somehow manages to make us all believe we can do and be better. Her acceptance speech was no different.

Oprah opened by sharing a childhood memory of seeing Sidney Poitier become the first black man to win an Oscar in 1964 for “Lilies of the Field.” She recalled vivid memories of that moment and the feeling of seeing a black man be recognized and what a moment like that meant to her. Her entire speech was eloquent, mesmerizing and quite frankly, filled with hope and inspiration — the kind of hope and inspiration we all so desperately needed during these challenging times.

Still, it was hearing her emphasize the importance of that moment for little girls now watching her become the first that reminded me of the power of women and the impact we can have if provided the opportunity.

“There are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this award,” Oprah said.

So while more than ever, we must come together and make ourselves be heard, and proudly exclaim that #TimesUp, it is also imperative that we make this moment ours and take risks as little girls everywhere are watching us and need us.

What do you think?

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Alma Renteria

Alma Renteria

Alma-Delia Renteria is a proud product of Lynwood schools. As a student in Lynwood, Alma was very involved which developed in her a passion for community outreach and education. After graduating UC Riverside, with a B.A. in English and a year earlier than anticipated, she decided to make her “4th year” of college a year of giving back by joining the national non-profit City Year. While at City Year Los Angeles, Alma built a strong network of education advocates which encouraged her to apply and join the prestigious Teach For America program. Upon joining TFA, Alma began her education career as a middle school teacher in Downtown Los Angeles. It was while teaching that she realized the need to do her part to help serve the community she grew up in. Alma was elected to the Lynwood School Board in 2013, where she made college accessibility/readiness a main priority. Alma completed her Master’s degree in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University and is currently serving her second term as Board President for the Lynwood Unified School District. She also serves as a Digital Learning Instructional Coach at a dual immersion school in Pico Rivera.

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