jueves, 28 de abril de 2011
Luz y Libertad – Knowledge and Independence from a Base Christian Community
We’ve just concluded our week of vacation during Semana Santa, and it’s hard to believe that we have just three weeks left of our semester in Cuernavaca!
On Friday, May 15th, the Migration & Globalization students and the Social Work students visited an organization called Luz y Libertad, a 17-year-old group that strives to educate, support and serve women in theological, domestic and emotional capacities. As a Base Christian Community, one the organization’s primary functions is to provide Bible study and discussion through the lens of personal experience. Additionally, the group (comprised of four different women) provides classes that range from crafting, healthy and inexpensive vegetarian cooking, and self-esteem workshops. These classes are geared towards providing women with the knowledge of how to create their own cottage industries (and the ability to generate their own income), how to cook healthfully on a budget, and how to perceive and deal with the social inequalities between men and women in daily life. The organization asks that anyone attending the classes pay 10 pesos, but if that isn’t possible, they welcome patrons in with open arms anyway.
While the organization is full of good intent, there are struggles to be faced, mainly that the community has mixed feelings about their purpose. One of the speakers told us that as she was giving an announcement about a Luz y Libertad function after mass, a man approached her and told her angrily that the organization would be to blame for the divorce he would inevitably have in the future. Also, many of the classes will start out with plenty of members, but membership will decline as the class wears on. Why is this happening? It is quite clear that machismo prevails today in Mexico: Luz y Libertad is nowhere near being a radical feminist group (as they are providing basic skills, knowledge and emotional support to women), but they are still accused of radicalism and blamed for things they should not be blamed for. Providing women with the tools they need to be more independent is not a threat to a social structure which has been in place for so long, and yet may women are still afraid to commit to the organization or the classes.
After our discussion, the ladies of the organization served us an incredible lunch made of the various soy, wheat germ and gluten dishes they teach in their cooking classes. The visit was very enlightening, and the existence of organizations such as these helps to prove that feminism is not monolithic – it can be religious and domestic, and it can still help women to be liberated. The next step is to fight the machismo that keeps women from taking advantage of the opportunities Luz y Libertad presents.
-Ashley Lopez (Mount Holyoke College ´12)
Photos by Alex Palomino