DAISY C. ABREU
At what point in your life did you consider yourself a feminist? Was it an event or a process?
This has definitely been a process. For a long time I resisted the word feminist in favor of the term humanist. But in my reading --I was and am still a total book nerd -- I found myself drawn to the kinds of women and girls I wanted to be. Jo March, Anne Shirley, Scout Finch, Janie Crawford, Lutie Johnson...all fierce feminists in their own way.
In 2004, my friend Michelle Maitland, invited me to the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC. I had just read Cindi Leive's editorial in Glamour magazine and could not stop thinking about what it meant to stand up and march and exercise my right to fight for myself and other women. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life and woke me up in a way I carry to this day.
Who most influenced your awareness of your feminism?
My mother and sister are feminists, although I don't think they realize it. They immigrated to this country in 1968 (with my dad and brother). They are working mothers who take no shit and have made my life better by lifting me up with love, humor, support, and the occasional strong talking to. They are engaged, active participants in improving their communities. It has never occurred to either of them that they might be held back because of their gender or their race. They just move forward. "Hecha pa'lante," my mother always says. That's the example that I aspire to every day.
In what ways has your feminism informed your life choices?
My feminism informs my friendships. I actively seek out and surround myself with strong, smart, funny, brave women (and men) who challenge me to be the best version of myself. It's satisfying to not feel like I'm competing with other women in that way that used to frustrate me and feed the beast of self-doubt. I still have my moments of weakness, but they are fewer and further between now. I believe in the "Good for her. Not for me," model.
In what ways do you share your feminism with others?
Writing has always been the best way for me to express my outrage, fear, and hope. And that includes writing essays and poems, sending handwritten notes of support to friends who are kicking ass, and engaging in conversation on social media. I'm also fortunate to maintain relationships with and continue to mentor many incredible young women who were my students and interns over the years.
Describe your vision of a feminist world.
Women being encouraged and supported to participate and succeed in fields that historically dominated by men. Safety and choice for all women when it comes to our bodies.
How I Define Feminism:
The belief that women be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men. Using my privilege to draw attention to and support those with less privilege.
Daisy C. Abreu is an administrator, educator, editor, essayist, and poet living in New Haven, Connecticut. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Hartford, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University where she served as co-editor of creative non-fiction for the online literary journal, Mason’s Road. Daisy has taught Creative Writing at the Shubert Theater & Arts Summer Camp and at Co-Op Arts & Humanities High School, and holds positions on the boards of directors of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven and the Young Men’s Institute Library. Her work has been published in Label Me Latina, The Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s Arts Paper, Spry Literary Journal, It’s Just Brunch, and New Haven Magazine.