Congratulations Hermana Qutáyade


IMG_6926.JPGNational Convention Academic Excellence Winner

Congratulations to Karen Sanchez, Beta Chapter Spring14, on her National Convention Academic Excellence Award. Karen graduated Cum Laude from Columbia University in May 2016. As an undergrad, Karen was inducted into the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society and was on Dean’s list. She was a recipient of the Program for Academic Leadership and Service Full-Tuition Scholarship and was awarded a graduation cord from the Office of Multicultural Affairs for her contributions to the community. Karen held several leadership positions on campus all while maintaining a GPA above 3.6.

Our Hermanas at Convention

This year, Beta Chapter Hermanas headed all the way to the windy city, Chicago, for National Convention, see pictures below!


Hermanas at The Women’s March

16142661_1197489390304857_6795283057494034689_nThis year, the day after Trump’s inauguration, millions marched all around the world. The March made history (and hopefully) sent a clear message to Trump and the White House that millions will not be silenced.

Many Hermanas joined the march all over the country, and here are their thoughts:

What was your main motivation to March?

Karina P. Marched in NYC16114029_1418794044817474_1508254965292171519_n

I’ve always been a supporter peaceful protests and political demonstrations; something
about being surrounded by a large group of people united by a common cause is absolutely inspirational to me. It forces everyone around you to stop, think, and question everything. I started to become an activist during my high school years as I attended Black Lives Matter protests and learned more about police brutality and mass incarceration. Since then, I fell in love with the kind of activism that feels tangible and demands attention. For this reason, it was no surprise that I found myself attending the Women’s March on NYC following the inauguration.

Liliana C. Marched in Washington, D.C.

I am a big proponent of community organizing, protesting, civil disobedience has ways to create change. I have been involved in different movements such as immigration reform, black lives matter, education reform, etc. for awhile and I wanted to make sure that with such a huge march that I was there to represent my voice and community.  I wanted to also see the unity and learn from the march. My community and also my identity of being a women of color has motivated me to always seek for change and progress and this election didn’t change that inner passion. I also wanted to see the Latino/a/Latinx presence in hopes that it would help us unite since we have great division due to racism, chauvinism, and class-ism in our community.

16195358_10158241678585089_2406565311328551396_nMaria L. Marched in Washington, D.C. 

I was motivated by my peers in law school and also I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. I am a student attorney for Catholic Charities and I deal with people fleeing from their home countries on a daily basis and my clients are currently very scared. I wanted to represent my clients and wanted to be their voices. I also believe in peaceful protest and I knew that with a march this would signal to the world that we are unhappy. Whether you are a women, a colored person, etc. we are simply unhappy. I am very aware of the injustices in this country and how people bypass them, and how others feel marginalized people are “over reacting” and I wanted to march to show everyone that there is a real problem in this country that needs to be address.


Did you feel that this march was inclusive to Women of Color?

Naima D. Marched in Washington, D.C. 

16266326_1197489513638178_2958714258198076066_nWhat I liked most about the march was the diversity in the group present. There were women and men of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and races. The sense of unity there was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. it’s amazing what we can accomplish when we come together.

Liane D. Marched in Washington, D.C. 15965095_1197489496971513_8600583100066373849_n

I truly appreciate the work the organizers did to keep the event as inclusive as possible, especially from the choice of speakers. Majority of the crowd was definitely white women, but it was nice to hear white people cheering for Immigration Rights and Black Lives Matter. I’ve never seen that in my lifetime and it makes me feel hopeful for the future. My favorite speech was definitely California Senator Kamala Harris, “I was always asked ‘talk to us about women’s issues’ and I’d look at them and say great, let’s talk about the economy.” I thought her perspective hit home, because I firmly believe that neglecting the rights of a “minority” actually is horrible for the prosperity of the country as a whole. I specialize in healthcare, and I absolutely hate the idea of limiting family planning options/awareness/education. It’s been proven family planning decreases both poverty and crime. Last time I checked, poverty and crime aren’t just a “women’s issue”.

Karina P. Marched in NYC

The Women’s March was inclusive to women of color to a certain extent; some argue that the march ended up being more of a demonstration of white feminism, and I experienced something similar. I was expecting to see a lot more intersectionality. That being said, I acknowledge that some women of color may not have felt safe at such a large demonstration, or find other modes of activism to work best for them.

What message were you happy to hear at the March?

Lydia Alfonso, Marched in Washington, D.C. 

I was really surprised to hear from a woman that was an ex-convict for 27 years. It was really interesting to hear what women’s rights looks like while convicted and in prison, it’s something you don’t hear about.

Maria L. Marched in Washington, D.C. 

I liked that everyone was so nice and it in fact was peaceful and there were no riots. I also liked that multiple issues were addressed from Black Lives Matter, immigration, equal wages and the opposition of Trump.

Any disappointments?

Liliana C. Marched in Washington, D.C.

shepard-defenddignity-copy-768x1024I think it got lost sometimes on people the point of being there. That is wasn’t just a photo shoot. I have to admit that sometimes I was getting tired since I couldn’t hear but I had to check myself and remind myself why I was there. I think logistically the march would have been better if more sound speakers were installed throughout the rally. It was hard to hear the speakers and music sometimes and I really wanted to hear what everyone was saying. I also did think it was a little disappointing that some people were more worried about marching then actually listening to the rally and learning from what was happening. I think it got lost sometimes on people the point of being there. That is wasn’t just a photo shoot. I have to admit that sometimes I was getting tired since I couldn’t hear but I had to check myself and remind myself why I was there.

Karina P. Marched in NYC

For the first few minutes when we were at the protest, I thought the Women’s March was a silent protest because no one was chanting. After a while, I started to lead chants myself, but they often died down quickly. I was disappointed that chants like “Love trumps hate” or “Pussy grabs back” were louder than “Muslim lives matter” or “Trans lives matter.” I was disappointed that so many white women were present, a demographic that made up a significant percentage of the vote for our current President.

What did your signs say?

Liliana C. Marched in Washington, D.C.



Lydia A. Marched in Washington, D.C. 


Karen S. Marched in Washington, D.C. 



Naima D. Marched in Washington, D.C.


Liane D. Marched in Washington, D.C


Support the Women’s March by going to

Hermana Kenami

Crystal Johnson

Crystal is a City College ‘15 Graduate who majored in English Literature and minored in Theatre. By 2016, she graduated from New York University with her Masters Degree in Teaching English Education 7th – 12th and Teaching Students with Disabilities 7th – 12th. She has dedicated her life to empowering students with the tools they need to become ambassadors of knowledge and valuable members of society.


img_7795I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City with my mother and older sister. My father lived in Queens and I got to spend every weekend with him, which are memories that I will always treasure. My mother is Puerto-Rican and my father is African-American, so it was always fun to live a little in both worlds. As I grew up, my parents struggled to make ends meet so that I could attend private school. Since neither of my parents had attended college they felt as though providing me with a good education would help me have a promising future. During my time in school I made an effort to keep my grades high, join sports teams, and do community service. Looking back, I realize the instrumental role that those choices have played towards my success.

As I mentioned earlier, I was able to live a little in both worlds because of the respective cultures that both of my parents brought into my life.

Although I’m thankful for the experiences these cultures have provided me a chance to have, this brought on it’s own set of challenges. I found it difficult to find a place among my family and peers where I felt as though I was enough. Being around Latino men and women who looked at me as though I was just African-American and then being around African-American men and women who believed that I was just a Latina. It wasn’t until I got to college that I learned to love myself for who I am; A Beautiful Afro-Latina.


Once I had accepted that I could love both beautiful sides of myself I decided that I wanted to be a part of an organization that was spreading that message of love and acceptance to others.


When I was a student I had the opportunity to be surrounded by amazing teachers who cared about my growth and future. I love working with my students and I know that I will spend the rest of my life giving students the guidance and attention that I was able to have when I was a student. I’ve seen the difference that a teacher can make in a student’s life when they take the time to invest and realize that students potential. The moments that I have spent teaching have been the most rewarding moments of my life.img_2293-1

After graduating college I decided to pursue my masters degree in English Education and Special Education to work on gaining certification to teach in New York State. I worked for three years at a charter school on the Upper West Side in my old neighborhood of Inwood, NY, which was an amazing experience because the students were all experiencing life the way that I had experienced it when I was younger.

Now that I have graduated with masters degree from New York University I plan on using my education and experience to teach middle school and high school students in my neighborhood.

What would you say to yourself when you first entered College/University?

I’d remind myself to explore every opportunity and enjoy every moment. There were so many times when I’d be so focused on the finish line that I’d miss the beautiful journey that I was embarking upon. All of the struggles, pain, smiles, and laughter are what shaped me into this person that I have become and I embrace all of it.

Hermana Xaynallá

Lesley Loor

Lesley is a Barnard ’11 Graduate who majored in Urban Studies/Sociology and currently is enrolled at Baruch for an MA in Public Administration at the School of Public and International Affairs. She works for The New York Public Library as a STEM Coordinator.


I grew up in The Bronx and I didn’t have much but I always had what I needed. My father lived with me but didn’t take an active role in parenting–my mother did that. As I grew older, I somehow kept hearing that people like me couldn’t make it. I actually had a teacher tell me once that I shouldn’t dream to go to Harvard, that I shouldn’t set my hopes up. Luckily I was never one to let someone tell me what I couldn’t do.

Education was (still is) a big deal to me and so was giving back to the community. I made sure that my grades were the best that they could possibly be. I joined after-school programs that helped me with math and science. I was a strange child. I volunteered myself–mother never had to force me. So it made sense that when I got to middle school and high school I joined Arista, which is now called the National Honor Society. I did a lot of community service and I knew that I wanted to do positive things for people like me, people of color, people who needed help.

Then I got to college (I’d made it to the Ivy League after all) and I had a hard time navigating. It was the first time that I was very aware of my skin color, of my accent, of my choice of clothing.

unnamed-4I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there because everyone else was way more accomplished than I was. I was trying to find a sense of belonging and one of my friends convinced me to go with her to an LPC event. At first I was hesitant and wildly skeptical but then I saw that the organization’s values appealed to mine. Education, giving back to the community, women’s empowerment—I was sold.



I love working with youth. I believe that children and teens have very insightful things to say and I especially love working with youth who come from backgrounds similar to my own. I want to be the person that tells them that they can make it even when the odds are against them.
After graduating college I worked for a small non-profit in the South Bronx where I counseled teens, oversaw an after-school program, and ran parent and teen workshops on a weekly basis. Then I went of to The New York Public Library (my current employer) to create teen programming for neighborhood youth. Now I work as a STEM program coordinator, providing branch staff with the necessary tools to run STEM programming at their branches with their children and teens.

Eventually I’d like to work in more senior positions within non-profits that work with youth such as director, project manager, etc. I’m currently enrolled in a Master in Public Administration program and hope to use my degree to further my career.

Life as a Hermana

Being Intake Coordinator was very memorable. Being part of welcoming new Hermanas into the organization is rewarding because you help bring new life and new energy into an organization that strives to do the very best for people of color and their communities.


Experience as a Woman of Color

For me, the challenges have been subtle and also they’ve been so much a part of me that I don’t really notice them. For example, the fact that I have limited options in where I can live because of my income has been the story of my life. Sometimes when I’m on the train and someone asks for directions, they’ll tend not to listen to me but will listen to a fairer skinned person who repeated the same thing I just said. Also when walking on the street, it’s more common for someone of color to step to the aside and let me through than it is for someone that isn’t .

In my family, my mother and father disapprove of my natural hair. My mother is more outright about it, my father sort of just pulls on it, trying to straighten it.

And, worst of all, I believe the biggest challenge is getting all people of color to see that we are all the same. The worst racist things that I have heard and have rattled me to my core has been from the mouth of someone of color. We have been taught to hate our skin; we have been taught to hate ourselves and that is the biggest hurdle that we must overcome.

How has being an Hermana shaped your life?unnamed-5

Being an Hermana forced me to work on what I’m not good at. After I crossed I was the only member on campus. I was forced to strengthen my interpersonal skills and to network with people I’d never met. Being an Hermana also provides a sense of purpose that aligns with my career goals of helping and promoting better resources for people of color.

What would you say to yourself when you first entered College/University?

I would tell myself that I deserve to be there because I had to go through more than the average person. I would tell myself that I do not need to feel like an outsider.

What are your thoughts on the current political climate?

It makes me want to cry, but it also makes me want to make sure that I urge people not to let their fear force them into hiding. However, with tensions and race relations running so high, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a second Civil Rights Movement.