In October of 2020, the University of Arizona’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences hosted a lecture series called Womanpower. The final lecture was an interview between Michelle Téllez and Yalitza Aparicio—an Indigenous woman, actress, and activist. This interview transcript (originally conducted in Spanish) discusses Aparicio’s childhood, her experiences with discrimination, her role in the groundbreaking film Roma, and her activism on behalf of domestic workers and Indigenous peoples. In this interview, Téllez highlights issues of Indigenous rights, recognizing how Aparicio’s platform can bring visibility to the O’odham land defenders fighting for their sacred lands today, but also to Indigenous peoples fighting for their territories in Mexico, as alluded to in Roma. Téllez wanted to recognize the power that is ever-present in the bodies and minds of women workers who create possibilities despite their circumstances, and who maneuver between space and place, languages and cultures as they center homes, both their own and others. She points us to Aparicio’s role as a domestic worker to remind us of the silent but ever-present power of women. Téllez connects the interview with her own research and personal experiences growing up along the U.S./Mexico border in the cities of San Diego/Tijuana – where she was witness to the racial, gendered, and classed dynamics of power and exclusion.
Sometimes It’s Necessary to Break a Few Rules: A Virtual Interview with Yalitza Aparicio
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Michelle Téllez, Maribel Alvarez, Brianna P. Herrera; Sometimes It’s Necessary to Break a Few Rules: A Virtual Interview with Yalitza Aparicio. Ethnic Studies Review 1 April 2021; 44 (1): 5–12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/esr.2021.44.1.5
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