Last month I was honored to be named a Top Bloguera, aka a Top Latina Blogger, by the Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) group. With this honor came an invitation to a 2-day retreat in Washington, DC and a briefing at the White House Eisenhower Executive Building. It was a jam-packed agenda that left me spinning. This came of course just weeks after I finished the hardest semester of my life both work and school-wise.
But there I went, jetting off to Washington, DC yet again. And I am so happy I did! I spent two amazing days with Latina bloggers of all sorts. Food bloggers (including my dear friend and fella Chicagoan, Maura Hernandez), fashion bloggers, mom bloggers and other political bloggers! We spent our non-White House time discussing blogging and how to be better bloggers. But of course the main event was our briefing at the White House.
And yes, the White House labeled the briefing as a Latina mom blogger event (see first photo), but there were plenty of non-moms in attendance. Mom(my) bloggers have a reputation of writing about the doldrums of parenting, not about hard hitting topics like politics. When we do make headlines, we’re breastfeeding our three-year-olds. Basically the term mommy blogger is not usually used in a strong manner, rather they are framed as fluffy. However, this group of Latinas, moms and not, were anything but fluffy. And it wasn’t even just the political Latina bloggers speaking truth to power.
The first question was about immigration, pointedly why the Obama administration is doing nothing to keep families together, keep women in detention safe from rape and DREAMers in their homeland, the USA. Other topics included getting better services for children with disabilities, increased bilingual programs that support families who want children to be bilingual not just teaching them English, support for subsidized loans for graduate students (that was my topic!) and Laurita Tellado Calderón of Holdin Out for a Hero, who spoke up for increased attention to those living with Spina Bifida. None of the questions were fluff and none of us accepted the talking points responses without pushing back.
I’m not sure if everyone who asked a question realized how fiery they would sound once up at the podium. I sure didn’t. I had my question all practiced in my head. But once up there I was overcome with a passion that I couldn’t control.
And that’s what I loved the most.
While mommy blog or mom blogger can be tossed around the media as if moms who blog are doing nothing but talking about the chaos of school pick-up (which does need a master’s in urban planning to solve), we know better. I doubt the White House underestimated us, since we had to go through a background check where I’m sure some intern checked out our blogs, but I do wonder if they expected the level of passion we displayed for our issues.
There are days when we can be all about the play dates, but once an issue gets under our skin, watch the F out! Don’t let them fool you either. Mom bloggers might tell you they aren’t political, but once they are touched by a medical issue or witness their community become polluted, they will talk your ear off about how our government isn’t putting enough money to solve the problem. And that’s political. And that’s why I love bloggers, especially mom bloggers. We look warm and fuzzy, but behind the screen, we are warriors.
About the Author: Veronica I. Arreola is a professional feminist, a mom and a writer. She blogs about the intersection of feminism and motherhood at VivalaFeminista.com. Veronica lives on the north side of Chicago with her husband, their spunky daughter and doxie named Piper. You can connect with Veronica at Facebook or Twitter.