Political strategist and commentator Ana Navarro didn't bite her tongue during the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's Women's History Month program.
Political strategist and commentator Ana Navarro didn’t bite her tongue during the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Women’s History Month program. The Nicaragua native who resides in Miami, FL. spoke to students, faculty and staff Thursday at the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Building’s John McLinn Ross Auditorium.
“… The reason groups like ours have their own history month is because for far too long our history, our truths, our stories, our contributions, our richness, what we have done, what we have accomplished has been misrepresented, has been ignored or has been erased from history,” Navarro said. “That’s why we have our own months--- to highlight that which far too long have not been part of the history books.”
Navarro who appears on various national platforms including CNN, ABC and Telemundo discussed her definition of diversity in the 21st century.
“I think too often, people think diversity is checking off a box or having somebody around the table,” she said. “Black person--- check, Hispanic person--- check, one-eyed person---check, woman----check, LGBTQ--- check. But, we are not check marks and we are not at a place in history not as women, not as African-Americans, not as Hispanics, not as LGBTQ, not as disabled--- we are not in a place in America where we can just go sit around the table and be. So, if we get to be in that room, if we get to be around that table--- we are there to represent. We are not there to just sit pretty.”
In her discussion, she expressed the importance of being able to give back and help others as marginalized communities continue to work towards progress.
“… And I think it is so important for when people like us get into a room to leave the door open and make sure others are able to come in behind us,” Navarro said. “We cannot afford to suffer from the crab syndrome. We just can’t.”
She also encouraged the crowd to be a voice for those who don’t have one and to represent others boldly and unapologetically, as it’s their duty.
“… I hope there is a day where somebody that looks like me or looks like you can just go sit in a room and sit and be and crack bad jokes… play solitaire on their phones, but we’re not there yet,” she said. “We’re there to speak for those who have no voice, we are there to speak and act for those who are not in the room and so that to me is diversity. And if diversity means shaking up the vote, if diversity means making people uncomfortable, if diversity means bringing up issues that others don’t want brought up because it’s awkward or because they want to avoid it or pretend that it’s not there, well that’s why we are there to be that voice and to speak about those issues.”
A junior studying industrial technology, Sadagicous Owens found Navarro’s speech to be thought-provoking and one she related to as a feminist.
“I enjoyed every single thing,” Owens said. “I really admire her, because she’s kind of similar to myself. She’s very blunt and straightforward, open-minded, honest and she’s very funny by the way. I also admired her way to be able to think and how she expressed herself with the knowledge she’s been taught all her life and what she does in life today.”
A native of Nicaguara, Yesenia Zapata found her political prowess to be insightful even if others didn’t agree with it.
“I think that she’s able to kind of talk across the line and just be blunt about it and not go around just politicking,” said, Zapata, a junior studying general studies and sociology. “Like she said, she was not representing everyone. She’s representing herself and if somebody feels like she’s representing them then that’s swell. But, she’s not representing everybody. So, I think on that end, we are kind of aware that everybody has opinions and everybody should be able to talk about them in a respectful way, too.”