Being stuck in the house has given me a lot of time to think about who I want to be in this world. I love living in the United States and being an American citizen. I think that there is so much opportunity and advantage in this country BUT as a Woman of Color, there is so much about this country that truly breaks my heart. Every day, I learn how the history of this country, my country is not great in so many ways. I find more ways to be reminded that our founding fathers did not consider me a person when they drafted the laws and government of this great nation. And those in power that came after them continue to view me as a second class citizen more times than not.
Back in college, I was a double minor in Caribbean and Latin American Studies and Africana studies. I remember being so excited to learn that I had a history. I know that might sound funny to you but in my public school experience, even being in honors programs, I rarely learned about historical figures that looked like me or my community. I almost never learned about historical events that had to do with people that looked like me unless it had to do with slavery. We are so much more than that.
I don’t remember the class I was in when I first learned about how women in Puerto Rico were sterilized through a government program. Almost a third of Puerto Rican women had been sterilized by 1968 through a government-funded program! I remember being flabbergasted by this. How? How could something like this happen? How could we allow it? How could it be government-sanctioned? It was a small unit in my studies but it stuck with me because I could not believe something like it could be allowed to happen to American citizens.
Fast forward to last week when I received an email asking if I would like to screen a short film, For Rosa. For Rosa is a short film inspired by the Madrigal 10. Never heard of them? Neither had I. These women were a group of Latina that were sterilized without their consent in the 1970s while giving birth at Los Angeles County USC Medical. Please read that again. Or better yet, let me type that again. Latinas were sterilized without their consent in the 1970s!!!! In the United States of America. Not in some third world country. Not in a dictatorship. In the good ol’ US of A.
I am so grateful for this screener finding its way into my inbox because even as a student of Latino history I was unaware of this, so I am assuming many others are as well. Watching the movie, I was left wanting more. I knew as soon as I read the summary that I would be adding this moment in time to one that I need to research and learn more about. The film did great at making me care about the families quickly.
I was angry and hurt for Eva the main character in the movie. I wanted to hug her and fight for her. I wanted to tell her she had nothing to be ashamed of and protect her from the momentary blame of her husband. I’m happy that he got over that quickly because I didn’t want to have to hate him! This film doesn’t have a release date as of yet but I hope you look for it. I hope you support the writer and director, Katheryn Boyd-Batstone as she brings this story to light.
For Rosa sigue los pasos de Eva (Melinna Bobadilla), una madre que, tras ser informada de la esterilización que le fue practicada sin su conocimiento, se enfrenta a una decisión que le cambiará la vida: unirse a Jessica (Idalia Valles), una peliaguda abogada chicana de 26 años, y a otras nueve mujeres en una demanda judicial contra el hospital con el fin de defender sus cuerpos y los derechos de las mujeres.