A familiar face! Maryann Aguirre, from Ovarian Psyco-Cycles, sat on the “Advocacy Through a Gender Lens” panel at the National Bike Summit, and is the subject of this beautiful music video for “Mujer Soy” by Las Cafeteras, remixed by Yukicito.
If you have five minutes… no, you need to make five minutes to watch this video.
I’ve been talking about March being All Women’s Herstory month, and about the National Forum on Women and Biking, and about International Women’s Day. Is March the only time we celebrate women? Of course not. But it is a great opportunity to highlight our stories, show our pride, and start conversations about trans* inclusion and all of the intersections of our identities that make being a woman DIFFICULT and AWESOME.
This video… is perfect.
Maryann is a human. She wakes up, and gets beatuiful for herself. She wakes her (cutie) sleeping daughter, and makes breakfast for the two of them. Maryann drives her daughter to school, and after seeing her off takes her bike down and rides to work at Multicultural Communities for Mobility, where she is an organizer for safer streets for low income people of color in East LA. At the end of the day, there’s a costume change, and she’s rolling on the streets again, hustling to meet up with a group of rad Ovarian Psyco Cycles womyn to get their bikes ready to ride together, armed with beautiful smiles. Maryann arrives at La Concha Community Space where a group of Latinxs burn sage and make protest signs against the cis-tem, organizing together. She listens as much as she leads the organizing effort, and the shot where she holds the poster marker and the smart phone at the same time hits home for me. Finally she arrives home, kicks off her shoes, and she makes dinner for her and her daughter. She looks up at the ceiling and smiles. Hope.
The video continues with statements about the value of womyn’s power and voice, but what really stood out to me is the balancing act that we all do, the multiple faces we put on in a day, the work we put into our communities, and the friends and food and family that nourish and sustain us.
Maryann might have responsibilities and pressures, but I see the freedom in how she moves around her city, the softness of a spiritual energy when smudging the space, the strength in how she takes care of her daughter, and how her power is manifested when she is organizing, and working for change. Sometimes you wear the suit pants, the pants of a mother, of an activist, a Chicana, caretaker, cook… and all of these things intersect and amplify and coexist together.
The video made by Elefante Collective features the dance remix collaboration with Yukicito, member of Los Angeles DJ Crew La Junta Sound System. The song carries consistent melodic hymns combined with the traditional folk sounds of flute and jarana. We asked the female members of the group, Leah Rose Gallegos, Annette Torres, and Denise Carlos about how the song came about. Denise said, “I introduced the words and stories to Leah and Annette during a “mujeres music” session we had at my home a few years back. They loved the idea of singing for and about womyn and the three of us created the melodies of the song, which we then presented to the other members of Las Cafeteras.” The end result of “Mujer Soy” is an homage to their fellow sisters and each other.
If you are interested in hearing more Las Cafeteras, check out this performance: