My earliest memories involve the kitchen table at night. It was there that my mother, father, sister, and I would gather late after a family party, each with a bowl of cereal in hand. We would gossip: about the party and its participants, family news, the taquero of choice. The sweet and complex nature of it fascinates me still; we existed in the party and could talk about it from a distance, together: the Calderóns. Family is the first kind of community most individuals come to know. Early on, I knew my family— at the kitchen table— fostered a love affair with a sense of community that would never leave me.
I’m the daughter of Ernesto and Martha Calderón. My parents are from Mexico. Mi Amá is from Leon, Guanajuato and Mi Apá is from La Escondida, Michoacán. I was born in Lincoln Hospital in East LA and grew up in Claremont California. Now I live in Los Angeles, working in social media and community marketing. I am passionate about the cultural significance of social media marketing and it’s power to captivate and educate.
Children of immigrant families learn hard lessons about the place of their family and community in a world demanding they assimilate. They feel pulled to push aside what is most close and connected if it strays outside the ‘norms’ of the majority culture. They feel pushed to reject aspects of themselves if they hope to fit within a culture that won’t accept things that might be the most precious, the most intimate parts of one’s identity.
I grew up wanting things the white girls had, but despite the pressure, I knew there were aspects of my culture that I would never willingly give up. Ironically, in terms of my audience, the people who I use to hope to model myself after, have come to look to me as having qualities they aspire to. My followers are primarily middle-to-upper-middle class white women. Building a meaningful relationship with those that aren’t able to understand the nuances of your background is a challenge. Yet, I’ve come to welcome this challenge and I’m inspired by the ways in which different people can find points of connection.
This country often seeks to silence Latinx women. It already underpays them. An important facet of a platform is using it to give voice to important issues of our time. So, for just one pressing example, if you don’t wear a mask in public, I want you to know how it harms my life, because I am a Latinx woman, and I am more likely to be an essential worker bussing your table. I am driven to make an impact, to use my platform to speak up and to shine light on oppressions so those similar to me can feel heard and those different can hear, maybe for the first time.
If you have a platform, and do not speak your conscience, I hope you understand that the choice is rooted in a very specific privilege. I do not have the privilege to stay silent on issues that impact my community. Sharing and promoting the efforts of BIPOC women is important to me. I hardly even consider attempting to right historical wrongs as “activism” — amplifying voices and bridging gaps with new understandings through social media isn’t radical to me. If it ruffles capitalistic-patriarchal feathers, I can’t bring myself to apologize, simply because those ideas have never served my community well. In calling attention to issues of import I also seek to bring forward the joys of my community, my history and my identity. I share with a large and varied social media community my love of vibrant colors, of delicious meals that can bring people together, and of connection to family, community and culture.
Virginia recommends the below social accounts and podcasts for continued learning:
- @peoplescitycouncil (Angelinos)
Podcast to listen to about racism in America:
- The Daily
- There Goes the Neighborhood (on gentrification)
- Nice White Parents (public schools)
- The Diversity Gap
- Still processing
- Code Switch
- Pod Save The People
Podcast created by Black women that I enjoy listening to while going on walks and wearing my Hopara shoes: