This week's #WCW is Latina feminist mental health activist Dior Vargas. Not sure what that means? The Ecuadorian feminista is here to break it down.
Last year, Vargas, 28, created a project to combat the media's erasure of people of color who live with mental illnesses. The project received praise from Aljazeera America and Mic to Colorlines and the Latin Post.
Here’s how Vargas is crushing the patriarchy (along with racism and ableism):
Why identify as a Latina feminist mental health activist instead of simply a "Latina feminist" or a "mental health activist?"
I wanted to identify myself to others in a way that fully expresses who I am. I could label myself as a mental health activist, but that doesn't give the full scope of my experience of being a woman of color who believes in the equal treatment of all, in general, and in their mental health care.
Being a Latina feminist is extremely important to who I am. I view everything through a feminist lens, and I see the intersectionality of people's experiences. One does not experience mental health challenges separate from the problems they face because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic status, etc.; these identities intersect and impact us in real ways that, unfortunately, most mental health activists neglect.
My community's experiences navigating the mental health care system is far worse than the experiences of others who have race privileges, and many people don’t want to admit that, despite the harrowing statistics.
Why is mental health a crucial part of your Latina feminism?
Mental health is extremely important to me as a person. I live with depression and anxiety, so it is a part of my identity. But it's even more important to my Latina feminism because I don't think self-care is as prioritized in communities of color as it is in mainstream culture. We live with a sense of responsibility to take care of others, which doesn't allow us to take care of ourselves.
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