Politics/Community Involvement

In addition to a traditional focus on the public realm of governance and power structures, this theme should also reflect a feminist understanding of “the personal as political.” We are interested in women’s opinions, values, and activities as they relate to a broad sphere of social relations.

Dolly Vazquez

Spanish Interview - Cultural Events Organizer, Centro Las Américas; Lugar de origen: Puerto Rico

Es cultural mi trabajo. So, se relaciona todo con cultura. Pero no solamente puertorriqueña sino de otros países también.

Dolly Vásquez nació en Puerto Rico y creció ahí con sus padres y dos hermanas. Cuando su ex-esposo recibió un trabajo en San Francisco, Dolly y su hija se mudaron a los Estados Unidos. Aunque la vida de Dolly es muy diferente en Estados Unidos, ella mantiene vivas su herencia y su cultura puertorriqueñas. Ella organiza eventos culturales para el Centro Las Américas en Worcester, una organización sin fines de lucro.  Tres de los eventos más importantes del año que organiza Dolly son: el Festival Latinoamericano, el Festival de Cine Latino, y la exhibición Viva el Arte.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/18/2011
Interview Language: 
Spanish
Name Sort: 
Vazquez

Dolly Vazquez

English Translation - Cultural Events Organizer, Centro Las Américas; Born in Puerto Rico

Culture is my job. One can relate everything to culture. But not only Puerto Rican, but from other countries as well.

Dolly Vazquez was born in Puerto Rico and lived there for most of her life with her parents and two sisters. When her ex-husband received a job in San Francisco, Dolly and her daughter moved to the United States. Even though Dolly’s life is very different in the United States, she remains attached to her Puerto Rican heritage and culture. She organizes cultural events for Centro Las Américas, a non-profit organization in Worcester.  Three major events she organizes each year are: The Latin American Festival, the Latino Film Festival, and the exhibition Viva el Arte.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/18/2011
Interview Language: 
Spanish
Name Sort: 
Vazquez

Gladys Rodríguez-Parker

Spanish Interview - Senior District Representative, Congressman James P. McGovern

Culturalmente, culturalmente, … lo que tenemos en común con otras mujeres... con la mujer anglosajona  es que todavía el sistema es todavía controlado por hombres y en nuestra sociedad es lo mismo.  So, nosotros… nosotras como mujeres todavía estamos trabajando, esforzando, no peleando para llegar a esa mesa donde se, donde se hacen decisiones.  Mucha de... parte de la razón por qué yo todavía estoy en esta oficina es porque yo siempre he reconocido que si una no está en la mesa donde se hacen los decisiones cuando los recursos llegan a la comunidad no van a ser recursos que le van a beneficiar a la persona que se deben de beneficiar.  Porque no han tenido….  Las personas que tienen los recursos no han hecho o no han tenido alguien con entendimiento de los problemas que hay.  Por ejemplo, en este oficina yo soy la única persona que tuve hijos sin ser casada… eh… yo soy la primera persona que me he criado como, como yo me crié.  La única persona ha estado… que ha recibido “welfare,” que estuvo en “food stamps.”  Y yo… cuando se hablan de esos asuntos yo puedo decir, “No, no, no así es que son las cosas.”

Gladys Rodríguez-Parker es de Massachusetts, pero vivió parte de su vida en San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico.  Ella pasó su infancia en una finca, trabajando con su familia y ayudando a su madre con todo lo que ella necesitaba.  En 1969, Gladys y su familia se mudaron a los Estados Unidos donde primero vivieron en South Boston y eventualmente, en Worcester.  Los primeros años de su vida no fueron fáciles pero ella no permitió que nada la desalentara.  Gladys se graduó de Worcester State College y hoy trabaja para el Congresista James P.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/18/2011
Interview Language: 
Spanish
Name Sort: 
Rodríguez-Parker

Gladys Rodríguez-Parker

English translation - Senior District Representative,Congressman James P. McGovern

Culturally, culturally, what we Latinas have in common with other women—with Anglo-Saxon women—is that even now the system still is being controlled by men, and the social context in which we live is just the same.  So, we… we as women still need to work, to make the effort, and not to compete against each other in order to arrive at the table where decisions are taken.  Much of… much of the reason why I am still in this office is because I’ve always realized that if one is not seated at the decision-making table when the resources arrive, these resources are not really going to be made available to the people who most need them.  This is because they have not had—the people with the resources have not had—have not met someone who understands the real problems that are out there.  For example, in this office, I am the only person who had children out of wedlock. I am the first person that has been raised as I was raised.  The only person who has, who has been on welfare, who depended on food stamps.  And I… when these issues are discussed I can say, “No, no, no that is not how things really are.”

Gladys Rodriguez-Parker is from Massachusetts but spent most of her childhood in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/18/2011
Interview Language: 
Spanish
Name Sort: 
Rodríguez-Parker

Hilda Ramírez

Spanish Interview -- Directora Ejecutiva del Worcester Youth Center; Lugar de origen: la República Dominicana

Yo creo que yo sé vivir en las dos culturas.  So, no vivo en una ni en la otra sino en las dos.  Tengo una nueva identidad como latina americana. So, eso no…. Tú no dejas tu cultura ni tú aceptas la otra.  So, tú aprendes a vivir en las dos culturas.

Hilda Ramírez nació en la República Dominicana en 1964 y más tarde se mudó a Nueva York.  Hilda ha recibido tres títulos académicos de las siguientes universidades: Bay State College, Lesley University y Harvard University.  En esta entrevista, Hilda habla de los desafíos en su vida y del desarrollo su doble identidad, como latina y americana.  Hilda señala cómo el apoyo de su familia ha influido mucho a lo largo de su vida.  En el momento de la entrevista, Hilda trabajaba como directora ejecutiva del Worcester Youth Center.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 03/31/2011
Interview Language: 
Spanish
Name Sort: 
Ramírez

Hilda Ramírez

English Translation - Executive Director of the Worcester Youth Center; Born in Dominican Republic

I think I know how to live in two cultures. So, I do not live in one or the other but in both. I have a new identity as a Latina American.  So, that doesn’t—you do not hold back on your culture nor [do] you accept the other.  So, you learn to live in the two cultures.

Hilda Ramirez was born in the Dominican Republic in 1964 and later moved to New York City.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 03/31/2011
Interview Language: 
Spanish
Name Sort: 
Ramírez

Isabel González-Webster

Spanish Interview -- jefa de personal del alcalde Joseph O’Brien

Creo que como una mujer latina, una persona de color, yo veo que hay diferencia en la manera que uno me trata a mí. Los servicios que me prueba, me provea (sic) a mí y a mi comunidad y mi familia que le provea (sic) a la gente blanca, la gente con más dinero. So, desde el principio yo vi la diferencia y en vez de decir “ay, así son la cosas,” yo siempre tenía la energía para querer cambiarlo (sic).  Yo siempre quería justicia. Y me voy a morir con queriendo (sic) justicia social.

Isabel González-Webster nació el 2 de febrero de  1979 en Brooklyn, NY. Ella creció en Brooklyn y asistió a la escuela Clara Barton High School. Ella vivió y trabajó en Brooklyn como traductora hasta que se mudó a Worcester en 2008, donde ha trabajado por cinco años. Isabel no tiene hijos, pero tiene siete sobrinos. Ella está casada con Angelique Webster.  Isabel se identifica como borícua y como una mujer de color.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 04/01/2011
Interview Language: 
Spanish
Name Sort: 
González-Webster

Isabel González-Webster

English Translation -- Chief of Staff for Worcester Mayor, Joseph O'Brien

I think that as a Latin woman, a person of color, I see that there is a difference in the way that I am treated. The services provided to me, and my community, and my family [should be the same] provided to white people, to people with more money.  So, since the beginning I saw the difference.  But instead of saying, “Well, that’s the way things are,” I’ve always had the energy to want to change things. I’ve always wanted justice.  And I will die wanting social justice.

Isabel González-Webster was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 2nd, 1979. She grew up in Brooklyn and went to Clara Barton High School. She lived and worked in Brooklyn as a translator until she moved to Worcester in 2008, where she has now worked for five years. Isabel does not have any children, but has seven nieces and nephews. She is married to Angelique Webster. She identifies herself as a Boricua (native from Puerto Rico) or a woman of color.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 04/01/2011
Interview Language: 
Spanish
Name Sort: 
González-Webster

Ann Witkes

Hairdresser, Born in 1914

In those days, the woman didn’t have a charge account in their name. But I got it, I got it. They say, “Well, it’s a woman --give me your husband’s name,” and I said, “No I’m not going to give you my husband’s name. The business is mine; the business hairdressing is not my husband’s, it’s mine. I’m the boss so why I can’t have it?” Well, they think about it and I got it. And when I tell my friends, “I got a charge account,” they asked, “How did you do it?” And I said “I just tell them-- it’s not my husband’s, it’s mine. I work, I built it, and why can’t I have a charge account?” My husband said, “You have a charge account?!!” [exclaims] And I said, “Big deal, I said, I’ll pay for it from my own money.”

Ann R. Witkes was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1914 and attended Ash St. Elementary School and Commerce High School in Worcester. Ann spent all her life in Worcester, except for the last 20 years in Florida. She returned to Worcester as a widow, to the Eisenberg Assisted Living Residence a few years ago, to be close to her family. Ann worked as a hairdresser until she retired. She began at her father’s barber shop in Worcester.

Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Mon, 07/11/2011
Name Sort: 
Witkes

Micki Davis

AmeriCorps Volunteer; College Community Service Administrator

I’ve never been a person who has sort of had a plan for my life. I just take advantage of opportunities and see where they lead me. And one year in AmeriCorps led me to the next year, you know, and the following year. And this job opportunity at Clark [University], which has been amazing for me, it’s been a perfect fit.

Micki Aaron Davis was born in 1980 in Whitley, Kentucky. She obtained her bachelor's degree in History from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, and her master’s from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She has never married and currently lives and works in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduating from Hollins University, Micki devoted three years of her life to AmeriCorps, which brought her to both Assumption College and Brandeis University. These past experiences ultimately lead Micki to her current position in higher education department at Clark University.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/18/2011
Name Sort: 
Davis

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