Group gathered. standing. smiling.
Hostos Community College celebrated both International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month with a very special guest on March 8, as Iris Morales, a longtime New York City activist, educator and producer of the documentary, ¡Pa’lante, Siempre Pa’lante: The Young Lords!” visited the campus for a spirited lecture.

A former member of the Young Lords, the Puerto Rican nationalist group that grew out of New York City’s Spanish Harlem to other large U.S. cities, Morales gave an inspiring history lesson about Latina activism, including pioneers, such as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Mexican activist from the 17th century, and Luisa Capetillo, one of Puerto Rico's best labor organizers when women could not vote. Part of Capetillo’s claim to fame was being arrested for wearing pants in Cuba, something that was not socially acceptable in some parts of the world in the early 1900s.

Morales stressed the importance of remembering the contributions these, and other, Latinas made for worker’s rights, voting rights and other important civil liberties, not only on International Women’s Day, but every day.

An edited version of the Young Lords documentary highlighted her involvement as one of the first female members of the group that organized and fought for social change. A Q & A followed the film, and Morales urged students to get involved and start “where they were,” when looking to make  a positive change.

When several students asked about how they could positively impact their school, community, and the world around them, Morales told them to be vigilant.

“Your time is now,” Morales said. “If you are looking to get involved with a cause, don’t look so far away, look at where you are and see what you can do. Find others who share your beliefs and passions.”

The event was part of Hostos’ Women’s History Month Celebration and was organized by Hostos Professor Lizette Colón.
For more Women’s History Month events, click here.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique Student Success Coaching Unit provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.

Named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.