Today: Apr 14, 2024

Lambda Pi Upsilon sorority hosts women of empowerment

Clenching a fist and pounding it into the palm of her left hand, Gloria Alicea spoke about how passionate she is about her teaching career and the obstacles she’s overcome as an immigrant woman.

“I was a minority in two ways: I was Hispanic and a woman but I knew teaching was something I was meant to do,” said Alicea.

Southern’s Lambda Pi Upsilon Sorority, Latinas Ponderosas Unidas Inc, held a program entitled Women of Empowerment, which discussed the importance of following your career goals and being independent. The program was led by Gabriela Alicea, a member of the sorority. It also featured guest speakers Monica Rams and Gloria Alicea.

The program began with a Powerpoint presentation that showcased statistics. Despite the fact that women have progressed in the workplace, men still have higher positions and salaries, even though more women have received bachelor and masters degrees for more years than men.

“Something we pride ourselves on in this sorority is the strength and independence of women.” It is important young women know their goals are achievable,” said Gabriela.

As a 7-year-old native of Cuba, Gloria said her first obstacle after moving to America in 1971 with her family was learning English.

“We moved to Bridgeport,” said Gloria, “and I was forced to learn to speak English in my third grade class. I didn’t know any English, so it was hard. Today, now that I am comfortable with the language, I find when speaking to other Hispanic people I often have to remember how the word is said in Spanish, and then translate.”

While discussing her journey through grade school and college and then transitioning and starting a family, the story became personal for Gloria.

“Finally set in my career as a kindergarten teacher I had just given birth to my second daughter,” said Gloria. “I remember feeling guilty leaving her as a newborn to return to work, but as a woman I knew staying home wasn’t an option, because my husband’s insurance would not cover us all.”

Rams related to what Gloria spoke about in relation to returning to work as she too was left feeling guilty.

“I was six months pregnant after applying for the job as a case worker supervisor,” said Rams. “I nailed the interview, passed the test and got the job. I completed about a little over a month as a supervisor then went on maternity leave. After a few months I was torn on whether or not to go back.”

Unlike Gloria, Rams had a choice whether or not to return to work.

“I spent many nights crying over the decision,” said Rams. “My husband made enough to support us, so I didn’t have to. Then I thought to myself, ‘I’ve overcome so much and worked too damn hard to get the grades I did, to get through college, to past the supervisor test, land my dream job, that would be a waste if I just depended on a man to support me.’”

“In the event that a man decided to up and leave you, being able to support yourself will allow you to have a secure future. Don’t depend on anybody but you,” said Gabriela.

Raising her voice, raising her eyebrows, raising her hands, Gloria offered advice to the aspiring college women.

“Whatever it is you choose to pursue, be well-rounded. If you can major in more than one thing do it. That way you have more career opportunities,” said Gloria.

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