Being Latina is my orgullo (pride). Latina is my strength. Latina is a badass woman! When I embrace my Latindad, I feel the power of my ancestors. The strength of the women who came before me. The strength of my mom, who sacrificed her happiness for her children. The strength of my eldest sister, whose cultural burden is being the caregiver for her siblings and parents. The strength of my abuelita (grandmother), who raised seven children while being abused by an alcoholic husband.
You see, being Latina is not just a woman from Latin America. Latina is my happiness. Latin is my inspiration. Latina is my strength!
As a young girl, suffering from depression and suicidal ideation, I had not yet found the strength of being Latina. I cowered over my otherness, but when I had my son Andy at 17 years old, I felt the strength of being Latina to get better for him. When my ex-husband “accidentally” gave me a black eye, I felt the strength of being Latina to leave him. When I decided to go to school to become a dental hygienist and was told to instead get married and have a man provide for me, I felt the strength of being Latina to go against cultural norms.
Embracing my Latindad has empowered me to go on dental stages and share my stories. Being Latina has given me the words to share what my ancestors could not. Being Latina has given me the strength to put me first, the true me, the Latina me. The Latina who grew up low-income with no access to dental care who now provides care to low-income communities. The Latina who smiles through the suffering because it was all for a reason. The Latina who found her purpose.
I was meant to be Latina. I was meant to be a strong woman! I was meant to lead! I was meant to embrace my strength, and you were too!
AMBER LOVATOS, BSDH, RDH, “The Latina RDH” is the director of dental services of a non-profit dental clinic. She has been compassionately blazing trails personally and professionally for more than 10 years. As a clinician, educator, and champion for public health issues, she inspires industry colleagues with unique stories that include triumph over abuse. Follow Amber as she journeys to create her non-profit Latin RDH. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Instagram at @Thelatinardh.