Latin@s to Watch Out For: Stephanie Bernal-Martinez
As we approach the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, URGE and National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health will be highlighting fierce young Latin@s that are doing amazing social justice work.
Name: Stephanie Bernal-Martinez
Organization or Movement: Radical Queer Progressive Educator
Not every Latin@ identifies as “Hispanic”, how do you identify and what is your heritage?
I identify as a Queer Xicana from the U.S./Mexico borderlands. Mi Mamá is from Baja California and was raised in the small village of Bataquez, Mexicali, B.C.
Is there a Latin@ leader you look up to, if so who? If not, why not?
At this moment, I am the Latinx/Xicana leader that I look up to. I’ve spent a large portion of my life not seeing myself in mainstream media. I’ve spent a lifetime aching for a leader that I could relate to with all my varying identities until I finally began to grow into becoming my own cheerleader, role model and leader.
As we know, Latin@s are not a monolithic group– we are diverse in a multitude of ways. What other identities/struggles do you identify with and what do you think other Latin@s should be focusing on this next year?
I am a white-passing, formally-educated, english-speaking, documented, survivor and Queer Xicana Educator. I exist in the world with all of these identities and I believe I should be doing the work that acknowledges my various intersections of power, privilege and oppression in our white supremacist, anti-Black, patriarchal society. I feel strongly that as a non-Black/white-passing person of color, I should continue working towards liberation while centering the needs, ideas, and wants of the folx who are furthest on the margins.
What is your vision for the the Latin@ community in the future– how we are seen and treated, how we show up and participate and issues we care about?
Idealistically, I envision a world without physical or intangible borders.
I want spaces that are safe for queers and undocumented folx, trans and gnc folx, non-Black poc and Black folx. I want Latinxs to act in solidarity with one another while not being complicit in our homogenization and assimilation into the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.
I want to see the Elotero, the Dreamers and mi Mama not just surviving, but thriving.