Monday, April 9, 2012

Janeth Silva on the WLP Retreat

Janeth Silva is a senior and member of the Women’s Leadership Project at Gardena High School. She is co-founder of AB-540 Crew, a club advocating for the educational equality of undocumented students at Gardena High School. Janeth has recently been admitted to Cal State Los Angeles, where she plans on pursuing a degree in education. Janeth recently participated in the WLP retreat sponsored by the L.A. County Human Relations Commission's zerohour program.

This year I started my spring break by going off to the WLP retreat held at the Thousand Pines campgrounds. I was so excited because this was going to be my first time going on a camping trip. My friends Liz, Ronmely, and I had a whole cabin to ourselves! The workshops we had were fun and educational. During the opening ice breaker activity, we were asked to find someone with a positive male role model in their life, I was very surprised to see that I was one of very few women of color attending the retreat who have a such a person in their life. I feel very privileged to be able to count my father as a positive and supportive presence.

Another thing that really stood out to me was our discussion on abortion. At the beginning of this workshop I was totally against abortion and so were the majority of the other girls, some were so against abortion they decided not to participate in the conversation at all. By the end of this workshop I came to understand that abortion is a human right and that all women should have this option. I also became very aware that the politicians who fight against abortion the most are predominately white males. I think males who fight so hard against abortion are afraid that if women see abortion as a human right, then many women will no longer be shamed into not becoming as educated and powerful as men. I think men who don’t believe in a woman’s right to choose want to keep the women in the house taking care of the kids. Although I am still not completely for abortion I understand there are circumstances where an abortion is truly women's last option.

A third conversation that was eye opening for me was the discussions about how the LGBTQ community is treated in our society. I had never really stopped to consider how many rights straight people have that gay people don’t. I think it’s it wrong and unfair how gay people are treated. This workshop made me very aware of how in all my years of attending school I have never come across a positive or historic depiction gay/lesbian/bi people.

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