Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Juana Rosa Cavero

Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Juana Rosa Cavero

You are no longer working for reproductive justice organizations. Can you tell us about your work now?

After 10 years in reproductive justice and as a new mother of two, I was very intentional about what I wanted my next step to be professionally. I am now at the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization with a strong history of powerful women working to dismantle systems that oppress communities.

I’m also the vice president of the board at the mid-city neighborhood council, where I have the opportunity to address hyper-local issues that have direct and immediate impact on the lives of Los Angeles residents. When you asked earlier if the work is taxing, it is actually a relief when I can do something that will make someone’s life better tomorrow, rather than be in a long-term battle for systems to change.

While neither of these positions is explicitly reproductive justice, I still see myself as doing that work. Reproductive justice is something that I see in all social justice work; it is the lens through which I see my work.

What would you say to young people, particularly those of color, hoping to do similar work in their communities? 

Find a person you admire in your community, then pick up the phone and call them. Talking creates a personal connection that email doesn’t. Once you have them on the phone, ask them questions: how did you get into this field? What do you do on the day-to-day? What can I do to learn more about it?

One of the greatest tasks that I was ever given was part of a fellowship to do this exact thing. At the time, I was working on a health education campaign with migrant farmworkers in Northern Colorado, and I immediately thought of Dolores Huerta. A few weeks later, I was interviewing her. Now, I will say that she walks the talk and believes that mentorship is part of the movement, part of the work. But it taught me that many of our leaders don’t always receive that call of appreciation, yet they want to share their knowledge with others. So take advantage. If they say no, move on to the next person on your list.

PLUS: Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Isa Noyola

How do you see your work as helping to crush the patriarchy? 

I have two sons ages three and five. I crush the patriarchy by taking them to my neighborhood council meetings, where I am now vice president of the board. I take them to show my constituents that I am a mother who works and feeds her children just like them, and that I live and understand their issues.

Want more from this peruana? Follow Juana Rosa on Twitter to keep up on reproductive justice news and dialogue.