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This Teen Just Became The First Indigenous Queen Of Mexico’s Nayarit Beauty Pageant

This year’s Nayarit State Fair will be historic. For the first time, the festivity, which takes place from March 7 to March 31 in the western Mexican state, will have an Indigenous woman as its queen.

Yukaima González, an 18-year-old college student from the Wixárika community in the mountainous municipality of Guadalupe Ocotán, won the beauty pageant of the Feria Nayarit.

González, who said she was inspired to compete after following the recent success of Yalitza Aparicio, an Oscar-nominated Indigenous woman who came to fame after starring in Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma,” hopes her win will similarly empower her own community.

“In my community, we are losing our [indigenous] language, and residents are ashamed of wearing their traditional clothing. I’m here so that they’ll feel proud of our roots and who we are,” González, who studies physical education and sports at the Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, told El Universal.

According to Mexico News Daily, she impressed the judges during the “traditional dress” round, where she donned a beaded ensemble that exhibited the Wixárika god’s eyes. Her proposed social project, which would provide support to Nayarit’s isolated mountain communities to open artisanal bakeries to support self-employment and community well-being, was also impactful.

In a post on Twitter, the barrier-breaking queen thanked those who were celebrating her win. “Gracias,” she wrote, sharing a photo of her crowned as the “Reina Feria Nayarit.”

@YukaimaG / Twitter

González was one of 15 contestants from each of Nayarit’s districts to compete, and she was one of two Indigenous contestants — a first for the fair. The second hopeful was Adriana Díaz López, a Cora indigenous woman from the municipality of Nayer.

(h/t Remezcla)

Read: Real-Life Domestic Workers Hope The Success Of ‘Roma’ Will Lead To Political And Cultural Change

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Women In Mexico Have Started Their Own #MeToo Movement

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Women In Mexico Have Started Their Own #MeToo Movement

The #MeToo Movement has arrived in Mexico.

Last week, a young activist tweeted that an esteemed writer had beaten or raped more than 10 women, with her post inspiring hundreds of others to speak out about violence and harassment in their industries.

Ana G. González, a 29-year-old political communications consultant, tweeted on March 21 that Herson Barona had “beaten, manipulated, gaslighted, impregnated, and abandoned (on more than one occasion) more than 10 women.” While she didn’t experience the violence firsthand, she said that women had asked her to speak out on their behalf.

“I knew several women that were just too afraid and not ready to come forth, but allowed me to speak for them and name this person,” González told the New York Times.

Barona denied the accusations, saying “I understand that there is collective pain surrounding the real cases of so many beaten, raped and murdered women” and “unfortunately, in public scorn there is little space for discussion, clarity or conciliation.”

His response didn’t slow down the derision he, and others who have been recently been accused of gender violence and harassment, received on the social network, however.

Since González’s tweet, more allegations have followed under the hashtag #MeTooEscritores, where women are sharing their stories of abuse in film, academia, the nonprofit sector, business, law, theater, medicine, politics and more.

Some women, fearing a backlash from their jobs or their perpetrator, are speaking anonymously or not sharing their attacker’s name. But others, who shared details in their accounts, have caught the attention of the attorney general’s office in the state of Michoacán, which is investigating information published on social media by a network of journalists that “includes acts that Mexican laws consider as crimes.”

Last year, during the height of the #MeToo movement in the US, Mexican actress Karla Souza, famous for her role as Laurel Castillo on the US legal drama television series How to Get Away With Murder, disclosed that she was raped by a director while working in Mexico. She chose to not share the name of her aggressor, which incited skepticism and criticism from many, sending a message to those who might have wanted to open up about their experience with workplace violence or harassment that they, too, could risk similar reprisal.

“When you see how these women have been treated publicly, it makes perfect sense many victims want to protect themselves by staying anonymous,” González said. “Let’s just hope this time it will be different.”

Read: Twitter Is On Fire With The ‘Me Too’ Hashtag And Latinas Refuse To Be Forgotten

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Mixe Author Yásnaya Aguilar Says Mexican Government Killed Off Indigenous Languages In Powerful Speech

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Mixe Author Yásnaya Aguilar Says Mexican Government Killed Off Indigenous Languages In Powerful Speech

Indigenous languages are often characterized as archaic, a connection to a past life, certainly not thriving cultures and communities that exist in a modern society. But this mentality isn’t just wrong; it’s also dangerous.

In a powerful speech delivered by Mixe author Yásnaya Aguilar to Mexico’s Congress last month, the writer explains that in the country, where indigenous languages are largely viewed as backwards, the state has killed off certain tongues.

“Our languages don’t die out, they’re killed off,” she said. “The Mexican state has erased them with its singular thinking, its [promotion of] a single culture, a single state. It was Mexico that took our Indigenous languages, [Mexico] erases and silences us. Even though the laws have changed, it continues to discriminate against us within its educational, health, and judicial systems.”

According to Aguilar, known for works like “Nosotros sin México: Naciones Indígenas y Autonomía” and “#Ayuujk: ¿Lenguas Útiles y Lenguas Inútiles,” by making Spanish, a language forced on the people of the region five centuries ago by Spain, the most important tongue of the nation, the state has created a culture where language discrimination can flourish.

“Languages are important, but their speakers are even more important,” she added. “Languages die because their speakers are subjected to discrimination and violence.”

For Aguilar, the country would thrive if it recognized the beauty and strengths, rather than challenges, that come with a multicultural society.

“Being Mexican is a legal status, it’s not a cultural status,” she added.

Watch Aguilar’s thoughtful speech in its entirety in the video above.

(h/t Remezcla)

Read: This Latina Is Saving The Indigenous Peruvian Language One Computer Game At A Time

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