As I walked into the Guadalupe Theater, I was greeted by Michelle, a local media and PR entrepreneur, who was excited to tell me about her latest marketing venture. I then proceeded, aprisa . . . because I was running late, into the theater area that was filled with the intense energy of women, mujeres everywhere, talking, laughing, catching up, comadres chismiando, selfies being taken . . . as I hurried to the one of the front tables where I had been given guest seating by the Westside Chamber of Commerce, I quickly exchanged greetings with Mary Alice, Zan, Lourdes and a few more women there to bask in the celebration of achievements of local women leaders, business owners, educators and other professionals. It was the kind of moment, the kind of event that my Mom loved to find herself in. On a few occasions throughout my legal career my Mom had joined me for a conference here and there, Red Mass a few years running and at times even helped sponsor efforts by law students working to help those less fortunate through one of Sister Grace’s activities or the Center for Legal and Social Justice. She dreamed of a world where women were acknowledged for their worth, skills and talents. Today, just a little over three months since she left us, her presence was very much felt at this luncheon on the Status of Women: Be part of the Conversation presented by the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and VIA. To hear Dr. Punjabi and Councilwoman Viagran, Gonzales and Sandoval talk about their work individually and collectively was what my Mom would have said should be always, not just at these special events and moments in time.
As I sat in the audience and took it all in it became so apparent to me that my Mom, all our Moms, had worked their entire lives to pass this legacy on to their daughters and granddaughters, a world without barriers or obstacles to our happiness and success, a world in which women are supported and encouraged to be all they can be and are not limited by societal norms or relegated to lives limited to only raising children, or being housekeepers, or only wives to be subservient to their husbands. Back in the 70s, I remember she used to love to sing along to the “Charlie” perfume commercial, you know the one . . .“I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan . . .”
Although it’s been just over a month since that beautiful March day on the Westside, the buzz and energy in the theater is still very much within me. My Mom’s memory and that feeling of quiet and confident celebration go hand in hand. I knew on that day that the passing of the torch had been completed. She and all women before us worked hard, despite all obstacles, not taking “NO PUEDES” for an answer, embracing us and teaching us that we are the anointed gender, we are the peacemakers, we are the born leaders of our clans, and as Emma Tenayuca so eloquently once said, “It’s the women who have led. I just have a feeling, a very strong feeling, that if ever this world is civilized, it would be more the work of women.”
This Spring let us all join as women and work toward blooming and growing from that seed our mothers planted and nurtured in all of us. Let us look toward the sun in our full and colorful glory for the world to see and acknowledge what God created.