Conference encourages education, self-esteem

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CSUN’s female students were encouraged to embrace femininity at the second annual Chicana/Latina Conference 2005: Warrior, Goddess, and Diva Program, held Tuesday in the Oviatt Library’s Presentation Room.

The program, which consisted of four workshops, was sponsored by CSUN’s College of Humanities, Associated Students, Student Productions and Campus Entertainment, the Chicano/a Studies Department and the Center for Community Service Learning.

Chicano/a Studies Professor Diana Contreras, and students from her Chicano/a studies 246 class organized the event.

“This program presented issues that Chicano/a studies students have learned and are (continuing to learn) in class,” said Rocio Leal, senior psychology major. “Professor Contreras brought professionals from several fields on campus to talk to students and show them that there is hope for the future.”

During the first workshop, “Face your Life and Career with the Courage of a Warrior,” Lupe Ontiveros, an actress and activist, said education for Latina women is important.

“The best advice I can give young Latinas is to get an education,” Onitveros said. “Also, Latina women should say ‘no’ to abuse and sexual harassment.”

Ontiveros, who is most known for her roles as Nacha in the Oscar nominated film “El Norte,” and Yolanda Saldivar in “Selena,” said strong self-esteem is like an armor or a shield.

Sandra Guzman, author of “The Latina’s Bible,” spoke to students during the second workshop, “Disclosing the Gift of the Goddess,” about how and why one should discover her inner goddess.

Guzman, former editor in chief of “Latina Magazine,” said she feels it is necessary that a person know his or her own cultural history and the history of other cultures.

“If you take one thing away (from here) today, let it be known that you are divine, and that brown is beautiful,” Guzman said. “I’m not necessarily speaking in (regard) to skin tone, I mean brown in the metaphorical sense of who one is.”

Throughout the rest of the day’s events, D’LO, who is an activist, dancer and poet, presented a set of monologues and scenes in her workshop, “A Plethora of Poetry, Dance and Music to Expose the Divine Diva.”

D’LO spoke about domestic violence, and performed a skit in which she imitated her mother talking about her daughter’s sexuality.

“This event was so inspirational,” said Maria Martinez, senior journalism major. “Everyone was so enthralled with what Ms. Ontiveros was saying. It was astounding.”