Mirna Acevedo

Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy | Denver, CO | 11th Grade

Inspirational Family Member
My Mother

The woman that I have decided to interview for this project is Carmen Roxana Acevedo, who is my mother. After asking her a couple questions I found out that she left El Salvador when she was only 17 years old some month around 1991. The reason she left El Salvador was to follow my father since he left before and my mother decided to come with him. Another reason that she left El Salvador was because it was hard living there. Due to the 1979 civil war, she had decided to come to the United States and get a better life for her and for her future kids, which was for my siblings and I. And yes, since my mother isn't born in the United States, she is not a US citizen.

In 1995 she had my sister and in 2002 she had me and still wasn't legal but then around 2007 she had my brother and had finally become a Permanent Resident of the United States. In 2009 she had my other brother and wasn't that worried about going to the hospital because she has been a Permanent Resident for almost 2 years. In many years of living in the United States she has not been able to vote due to her legal status.  

When I asked her,  “How important is voting?”  I was shocked by her answer,  ̈I really don't care about voting because it really doesn't benefit me; it only benefits US citizens. ̈ 

A different question that I asked her was:  ̈Do you think that all US citizens should vote?”̈  And she said to me, ¨Yes because you should all speak out, make the world better and especially since there is a large population of Hispanics and Latinos; with the help of everyone that is able to vote, you can help make this world better.̈ 

To end this interview I asked her, ¨Do you feel like you will ever be able to vote?̈  ̈  Ms. Acevedo responded, ¨I hope so because after being in the United States for many years and having no criminal record I feel like I deserve to vote even if I was not born here. ̈ 

Historical Figure I Admire
Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Who would have said that just 100 years ago Women were finally given the opportunity to vote? One of the many women that was very influential in the Suffragist Movement was Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett had a very hard life growing up since she was born into slavery but later on, she became free from slavery. Even though Ida B. Wells-Barnett was no longer a slave, she still had to constantly fight against racism. Ida B. Wells-Barnett did not only fight racism but also sexism and violence. She was also a journalist, activist, and a researcher. She was one of the most important women during the Suffrage Movement because she fought for equality for everyone especially for women.

The impact that society had on suffragists such as Ida B. Wells-Barnett was negative because Ida had to constantly move out to different states because her society did not appreciate her for what she was doing. Ida B. Wells-Barnett historical, cultural, economic and political backgrounds informed her development and actions as an activist. Something else that developed Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s actions was having to battle racism, sexism, and violence. Everything that went on in Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s life shaped her to become herself, to fight for her rights and every woman’s, too.

What motivated Ida B. Wells-Barnett to take risks the most was the constant struggle to stand up against racism, sexism, and violence in her community. One sacrifice that she had to repeat over and over again was  to leave the state where she lived to move to another. Moving from one state to another was the biggest sacrifice she had to do because she had to constantly start over due to the fact that she was threatened if she kept going...kept reaching for her rights…for equality. For example, when she decided to turn her attention to white mob violence in 1892 after a lynching enraged locals. Due to denouncing the lynching, Ida B. Wells-Barnett had to move to Chicago, Illinois. Another example of Ida B. Wells-Barnett dealing with racism was before she had to move to Chicago, Illinois when she filed a lawsuit against the train company for unfair treatment. Ida B. Wells-Barnett did win the case at the local level but the Tennessee Supreme Court unjustly overturned the verdict. Ida B. Wells-Barnett was the first brown person off the first class train.  Her contributions helped change the course of the lives of people today in the way that we, women, are able to vote and speak our mind without being scared of others. And now, men support women when making decisions for the reason that they know they have messed up so much and that women do the best for them and for other people.  

What the Project Means to Me

I always knew that voting was important but after I have researched the Suffragist Movement voting has become much more important in my life. I’ve always had neutral feelings towards voting for the reason that my mother, who has been in the United States for many years and has no criminal record, still does not have the opportunity to vote. And, my older sister thinks she has no obligation to vote in every election, the only elections she will always vote for is the presidential election.

Until now, I thought I should just vote for things that benefit me and my family. But after researching one out of so many women who were in the Suffrage Movement, I've realized that I should always vote not only for things that benefits my family and me but for my community too. My community is mostly Hispanics/Latinos and for us Hispanics/Latinos life is not easy. I feel like we should help others by voting to make a good change. We should keep fighting for our rights just like Ida B. Wells-Barnett. She never gave up; she was a strong woman even when she had to constantly keep moving from one state to another due to so many threats and to make a better life for her siblings and herself.

To conclude with my reflection after researching a suffragist and doing an interview with a woman in my family that isn't able to vote I come to the conclusion that voting is a very important thing in life now. If I want to change the world and make it a better place I just vote and speak my mind for my family, my community, and me.

Deadline Extended

There's still time to join Women Leading the Way.
Become a part of our storytelling archive. Enroll your class today.

Join the Project