Deliza is one of the ladies we've met through Step Up Women's Network. We got to know her a little while back when we profiled her for Student of the Month (check out the article here), which is an honor given by Step Up to a particularly inspiring, diligent, and committed young woman who is part of the Teen Empowerment program. Deliza (left, in her pantry-turned-studio at home) is 16, was raised in Puerto Rico and Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood, goes to North Grand high school, and plans to be a famous singer/dancer/choreographer (she already writes her own songs).
Deliza freely told us her steadfast opinions on everything from teen pregnancy to women's roles in the Latino community, but "feminism" was a new word and concept for Deliza. Emma and I tried as best we could to explain the many facets of what feminism could mean. We gave her a little history, told her that it's all wrapped up in choices, happiness, sex, family, love. We quoted one of her fellow Step Up girls, Maryann, who said that "being a feminist is not feeling like you just have to be in the kitchen and pop out babies." This is what Deliza had to say:
"If someone called me a feminist, I think I would agree. It's like what Maryann said, there are so many opportunities out there. You don't have to be what people want you to be. I am going to take a stand for it...You know when your parents tell you, 'You can do anything you want'? I really took that into consideration. I believe I can do whatever I want, and no one's going to stop me. Not a man, not a female, not the government, not Bush. I am my own person. So with the definition that you guys have given me, I would see myself as a feminist."