Feminist, defensora, JASS-er, mother

Marusia López Cruz

An Interview with Marusia López Cruz, Regional Coordinator for JASS Mesoamerica (2010)

How did you become a feminist?

I come from a militant leftist family that always spoke about equality between men and women, although, like many leftist families, we faced challenges when combining theory and practice. These contradictions in my family and later in development and human rights organizations, showed me that equality is not a given –  instead, it must be built, which isn’t easy in such a deeply machista society. I become familiar with the feminist movement as a teen social justice activist through a Costa Rican/Mexican friend, who would tell me about the movement and its justice struggles – a friend who later became my colleague in the first feminist organization I joined, Elige: Red de Jóvenes por los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (Choose: Youth Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights).

Is there anything you dislike about being a feminist?

Given the violence and discrimination of the patriarchal societies we live in, women are subjected to oppression and have little experience with alternative forms of power that promote mutual solidarity, recognition or support. This has created tensions and a lack of communication within the women’s movement that, in various moments over the last several years, have really exhausted me.  But it doesn’t alter my commitment to feminism.

You work with so many different organizations, why did you choose to work with JASS?

For two reasons:

    • I’m convinced that to tackle the challenges of the current context requires alliances, discussions and action that defy borders. We have to enhance our own power in the face of de facto powers (like organized crime and right-wing extremists)  that impose their interests and create this culture of murder and violence. JASS is an international community with many years of experience, various linkages and a movement-building perspective that supports the types of alliances and dialogue that we need.
    • JASS’ organizational culture respects the wisdom, rhythms, and needs of all of us within it. JASS practice really does try to harmonize with feminist ethics, in spite of the challenges that this implies, and to construct safe spaces of trust; all of this makes me feel very comfortable working at JASS.

Given the violent context in Mexico and being a women human rights defender, how has it been raising a baby at this moment?

It’s very sad to feel that my little one is growing up in a place that has robbed him of the right to tranquility, justice and peace. My birth place, the country that I love and to which I am committed, doesn’t have the necessary conditions for my baby to grow up safely – this is hard. Living in fear of being kidnapped, or of being attacked because of the work that I do or simply because of the growing insecurity around me, this is difficult to endure in my everyday life. 

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