International Women’s Day: Lessons Learned from the Mujeres in My Life

In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to highlight and share four of the most important lessons some of the fierce mujeres in my life have taught me over the years, with hopes that they too inspire you today to continue to be the chingona our communities deserve.

  1. Mi Abuelita: One of the most generous, loving mujeres I know. In raising twelve kids to become wonderful, supportive adults, she taught me the importance of family. While she was always the first to admit that none of us were perfect and sometimes my tíos could be a little out of hand, at the end of the day, family unity was everything and we had to love one another no matter our differences. In essence, growing up in such a big family with abuelita as the matriarch, I have grown up to believe in the power of women to keep families strong and united and the beauty that stems from having la mera mera de la casa be a woman.
  2. Mi Mamá: My mom is one of a kind. She’s classy and sassy all at once, but in all that she’s taught me, the lesson that is nearest and dearest to my heart is that of selflessness. My mom went to college in Mexico and became a Registered Nurse (RN) before immigrating to the U.S. She is a huge education advocate and had her own dreams and aspirations as an RN. However, once she arrived here, she started a family with my dad and focused her world around me. After having my siblings and seeing us all be old enough to care for ourselves, she decided to go back to school and also got a job. Still, in following her dreams, she always made us a priority, by taking the graveyard shift, and finding ways to do homework at a time when it didn’t interfere with being with us. To this day, mom still makes us a priority and as much as I complain that I wish she thought more about herself and less about us, I will never be able to fully thank her for teaching me that loving someone deeply makes being selfless less of a sacrifice and more of an act of love.
  3. My sister, Mariela: She is a complete reflection of me while still being the total opposite. Mariela came into my life to teach me to share from day one. She taught me patience and often pushed me to my limits, only to teach me once again to love unconditionally. But in all that Mariela has become over the years, the most beautiful lesson she’s taught me is to embrace who I am. She is not afraid to speak her mind and is relentless in the pursuit of her goals, both qualities I aspire to one day possess. She dances to the rhythm of her own music and does not allow anyone to mandate who she ought to be or become. Who knew a little sister could push me to want to be a better person just so I can serve as a stronger role model?
  4. Mis comadres (yes, all of you!): You’ve taught me that empowered women empower other women and that in lifting one another, we can all rise higher. You’ve taught me that there is beauty in sisterhood and that one’s accomplishments and one’s failures should never be lived alone and rather in the company of other women who will cheer you on and understand that our experiences are part of our legacy.

Today and always, thank you to the mujeres who are fearless and choose to love and be kind to the world, despite all the challenges that come our way. I celebrate you everyday. My hope is that someday International Women’s Day becomes a thing of the past because we will finally have equal seats at the table and gender parity.

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Alma Renteria

Alma Renteria

Alma-Delia Renteria is a proud product of Lynwood schools. After graduating UC Riverside, with a B.A. in English and a year earlier than anticipated, she decided to commit her “gap year” to City Year. After City Year Los Angeles, Alma went on to purse a teaching career with Teach For America Los Angeles. Upon joining TFA, Alma began her education career as a middle school teacher. It was while teaching that she realized the need to do her part to help serve the community she grew up in and decided to run for office, getting elected to the Lynwood School Board at only 23 years old. Alma completed her Master’s degree in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University and is currently pursuing a 2nd Masters in Education Leadership and her Admin Credential. She was recently appointed by the Speaker to the Instructional Quality Commission and also serves as a Digital Learning Instructional Coach at a dual immersion school in Pico Rivera.

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