At Justice League NYC, much like the name implies, we are superheroes, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are a group of experts, concerned citizens and pissed off people who want to feel like we are a part of something that is bigger than ourselves.
Not everyone understands how or why I am the one leading this effort. Some question my intelligence or my struggle because I’m conventionally beautiful, and because I’m unapologetic about my glamour. I don’t think I have to wear my scars on my sleeve to be seen as righteous or down. I can be attractive and be a leader, and I want people to find power, liberation and, yes, beauty in themselves. Others question my leadership because of my gender, race and ethnicity, viewing issues of criminal injustice as solely a black man’s struggle. But I know how erroneous that way of thought is; I know that one of the fastest-growing prison populations is, in fact, Latinas.
Latinos are often put into one box: immigration. But while immigrant issues are extremely important, it’s not our only one. For me, a Chicana, and I think this is one of the many commonalities we share with Puerto Ricans and African Americans in this country, it’s mass incarceration, not immigration, that rips our families apart. It’s drug addiction, poverty, gang life and school-to-prison pipelines that put so many of our brown and black children in cages. It’s majority Latinos who are in the system along with black people.
This is our issue; this is my issue.