Lisaury Diaz – “Poder” (Power)
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College Student (The World)
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Rhode Island College
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Providence, Rhode Island
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@lisaurydiaz on Instagram
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I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic until the age of 17 to then move to the US. I feel deeply connected with my Dominican culture and the place I grew up in. Poder is a poem I originally wrote in my native language, Spanish. I wrote it back in the middle of quarantine in international Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is November 25th, in the Dominican Republic; this is a day that is highly highlighted by schools and the government due to events in our political history, specifically the feminicide of The Mirabal Sisters in 1960 and our constantly rising numbers of femicides every year. The Mirabal Sisters were three sisters, known commonly as Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa, who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo (El Jefe) in the Dominican Republic and were involved in clandestine activities against his regime. Besides all the crimes committed by Trujillo, the one that had a more significant effect on Dominicans was the Mirabal sister’s assassination. It shook up the machismo presence in the country, paving the way towards Trujillo’s assassination a few months later. Since then, the Mirabal sisters have represented feminist resistance in the country. Later, in the 1990s, the United Nations designated the Day of the sister’s assassination (November 25th) International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor. With this poem, I portrayed Dominican Latinx women’s constant struggle with machismo thinking. I wrote this piece of poetry to express all the things that dragged other women and me down in the society and culture I grew up in. Using poetry to express my deepest feelings, breaking the silence through writing and through this November 25th and every other day, all those little things that are never talked about that reflect the machismo in Dominican and other Hispanic societies are brought to the light. Disrupting the silences of machismo is a way of challenging traditional cultural norms and other practices that take place in everyday life. Overall, the poem Poder expresses the anger towards those patriarchal ideas that women and men internalize not only in Hispanic countries or specifically in the Dominican Republic but everywhere. These patriarchal ideas create a hierarchal society that paves the way towards women losing opportunities, confidence, safety, respect, and power. The anger towards the ideas that made me personally lose power, lose safety and confidence in myself, those ideas that made me think I was crazy, or I was wrong and the one to blame. I understood the personal was political and that many other women go through body shaming, objectification, and abuse from a really young age; from small little kids’ activities to femicide, we grow into these patriarchal issues and are taught to keep that anger to ourselves. I made this poem to achieve a deeper understanding of these issues, especially those that nobody talks about. I wanted to take up space, make my voice and other women’s voices and experience be heard because I know I am not the only one, and the silence has been going on for long enough. Power had to be taken back.