the 15 apa women leader spotlights: jenny c. lares

15 Days. 15 APA Women. 15th Anniversary. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, we're partnering up with NAPAWF and Hyphen to spotlight 15 Women Warriors for 15 days, sponsored by 15 hosts. Meet today's spotlight:

Jenny C. Lares
Nominated by Peter DeCrescenzo.

Describe your name.
I usually go by jenny c. lares. The C is for my mother, whose family name would otherwise be invisible. Lares, its origin is the Roman god of household. It's also a town in Puerto Rico, which was the site of the first successful, though short-lived uprising against Spanish colonization, also known as El Grito de Lares.

How do you identify?
Poet. Insomniac. Writer of long emails. Broke sister. Poor karaoke singer.

Your passion issues?
The mistruths about API peoples and women. It's about turning master narratives upside down, rewriting them, creating our own narratives and meanings that are more socially just and true.

Best advice someone has ever given you?
Let people love you.

Who's your hero?
Cosmo Fujiyama

Biggest lesson you've learned as an APA Woman?
Never shrink to fit to make people comfortable. I did that for most of my life, and it's still a constant struggle to know and love oneself and to own up to not knowing at times. But never shrink into something you're not or else there won't be much left of you.

What advice would you give to other Asian Pacific American women?
Forgive yourself.

Why support NAPAWF?
Being part of NAPAWF in college was the beginning of me finding my own voice. There are very few spaces and organizations that allow you to be and discover who you are while fighting for you. We need the work of NAPAWF to continue for all of us and for future generations.

Favorite guilty pleasure?
I like office supplies.

How do you serve your community?
Through volunteering for Sulu DC, a 100% volunteer-run organization, I help to provide an empowering space for API artists to express themselves, define and share their lives and stories, and engage an audience in the issues they're passionate about. We make history and record history on our terms. Through my poetry, I hope to present a more complex and complicated view of API peoples and women of color by challenging perceptions and the ways we talk about race and womanhood. Sulu DC is also celebrating its second birthday on Saturday, November 19th.

Peter says:
Jenny C. Lares is an APA leader because she is willing to sacrifice luxuries to give community building a try. She works a part-time job at a local college while dedicating much of her time to the completely volunteer run organization, Sulu DC. Without her work ethic and passion to provide empowering spaces for AAPI artists, Sulu DC would not be celebrating its second birthday on November 19th. Her efforts inspire the rest of us and keep us invigorated in this long but worthy process.

About the nominator:
Peter is studying higher education administration at the University of Maryland, College Park.

His passion lies in providing college access and success to all. At the moment he is focused on writing a literature review on how the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate program raises self-efficacy and develops academic and occupational aspirations in underrepresented college students. Outside of academics, he enjoys going to spoken word events and concerts. Upon moving to Washington, D.C. in January 2010, he went to a Sulu DC show and immediately felt at home. The community atmosphere always has him going back for more.

Donate in honor of Jenny and Peter:
Please click here to donate for Jenny.

To see the rest of the 15 APA Women Leader Spotlights, go here.

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