We Stand Together

‘We Stand Together’: Monica Medina, Indiana Latino Expo

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There is a national outcry as millions call for an end to systemic racism and injustice. And although a common rallying cry centers around the idea that Black Lives Matter, some supporter say that fight for justice is for everyone. News 8’s Katiera Winfrey sat down with Monica Medina from the Indiana Latino Expo for another segment of “We Stand Together.”

WINFREY: Talk about why it’s so important to amplify voices of all minority communities.

MEDINA: The Latino community is very culturally diverse. In fact, we come in all shapes, sizes and colors. So just say that it is a race, it is not. It is the prime example of a variety of races coming together to blend and become part of a culture that has the same values, a lot of the same norms, behavior. So we look at what a Latino might be. It isn’t always just language because some folks don’t speak Spanish. But I would say that many of them have the same values related to family, related to spirituality. And so it’s important that non-Latinos understand that. So that when we talk about issues of social justice it’s automatic, that we think of all of our brothers. All of us coming together. While we may have different histories the histories of oppression are very similar.

WINFREY: I know for so many people, the George Floyd incident was an exclamation point in time where people can look at and say wow this really shows a little bit of the systemic racism or the injustices that Black and brown people have faced. Is that something you also noticed? Or you saw that was an exclamation in time?

MEDINA: Oh absolutely. And so the Board of Directors came together to provide a statement that basically stated we are supportive of all of the different activities that our communities have in line for us to recognize the injustices. And also to understand how we need to make changes. So you can’t change the climate of the country or city if you don’t address the inequities within the policies. And the positions of people who make those policies. And so we recognize that we all have to come together. Not just about the Black community because right now is the Black community that needs our help. And if we don’t help the Black community then how can we all be coming together as a community. There’s no community.

WINFREY: I always like to find the similarity when we talk about racial injustice within the Black community and not feeling like they are treated equally. It’s kind of the same narrative that you can tell for immigrants. People coming to America, and feeling that “I’m not welcome here.” Does that create some kind of bond or some type of understanding when you look at Latinos and Black people?

MEDINA: Oh absolutely that feeling of oppression has been here for many years. We are considered second class citizens. I mean just the fact that people can continue to look at bilingual children, or children who are learning to speak English, adults who are learning to speak English from a deficit perspective. You are not smart enough because you can’t speak English. Never mind that you are now speaking two or possibly three different languages. And the same is true with our African-American students who come from their communities with a dialect or way to communicate that is very efficient and effective in their communities and they come to school where we see them as less than because they can’t speak standard English. When we look at people who live in poverty, we assume, we blame them because they live in poverty. Never mind then the barriers that plays on these people who didn’t get the education, who didn’t get the opportunities, who are attempting to do better in their life. But because of institutional racism the systemic inequities that exist they are not going to have the opportunities, and those opportunities are very limited.

WINFREY: Anything else you think is important to add or maybe something that you learned or you’re mind has been open to in recent months?

MEDINA: It’s not enough for us to be able to just say we’re going to do something. You have to act and you have to do. And it can be something as simple as reading a book, listening to a TED Talk and having that very hard conversation with yourself about bias and how every day our lives becoming even more intentional that through different avenues we become even more biased president is discriminatory and so we don’t have to think. But the thinking has to begin with ourselves and then we have to be able to do. To go to a “Black Lives Matter” organization type of demonstration is not enough. That’s not enough. We have to do more than that. While the demonstrations are important we have to educate ourselves. And we have to within our own areas begin to address those inequities.


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