Ep. 11: Redefining Activism with Dra. Lucha Arevalo & Jovita Murillo Leon

Season #1 Episode #11

In this episode we continue our conversation with Lucha and Jovita. We start right where we left off, discussing the struggles and challenges of academia, the specific pressures we feel to produce, to hustle, to overwork ourselves. We talk about the toll it takes on our mental health having to balance our different responsibilities with basic self-care. We discuss approaches we have had to incorporate in order to navigate these pressures. Jovita reminds us to focus on the small victories.

The crux of our conversation lands us in discussing activism, what it means to be an activist, what those terms mean both historically and now. We discuss the historical tensions among activists and how activists spaces can highlight the egoism, toxicity, romanticism and patriarchy of community organizing that can uphold oppressive systems while we claim to be fighting them. Both Lucha and Jovita share their experiences in activist spaces culminating in a conversation about MEChA and the recent call for a name change. We are contending with some very deep critiques of MECha and the resistance to this name change. This can be a very scary critique to contend with given that there is a lot of emotional debate surrounding this topic.

We land on saying that ultimately activism needs to be more nuanced, more inclusive and that as educators we have a deep faith in the youth, in our students to guide activists efforts in the direction of liberation.

We love how Lucha articulates this work saying “it’s messy.” As Las Doctoras, this makes so much sense to us as we learn to be okay with the messiness of life, of our work, of our parenting, and our activism. We need to be okay with the mess as we grow, evolve, learn from our mistakes, from each other, and maintain our passion for liberation and freedom.