Impoverished and Oppressed (CR 4)

What? Both Young and Diaz define oppression as the the unjust ruling by dominant group. “When I refer to the oppressed and the impoverished, I am referring to those who are conscious of their oppression and who struggle for their liberation”. (Isasi-Diaz 47) Diaz states that the oppressed and impoverished know that they are not in their situations due to own resolves, but they are there due to greater issues impacting the communities in which they live. They are also victims of structural systems that are designed in a way that prevents equity among individuals who are part of the dominant culture and individuals that represent subdominant cultures.

So What? The significance of observing and articulating of lo cotidiano is an awareness. It is an awakening of one’s consciousness of the circumstances in which the oppressed and impoverished must deal with on a daily basis. Lo cotidiano is seeing the daily fight that people must deal with. In my personal experience, lo cotidiano represents the members of the undocumented communities of this county. With our current administration and the executive orders presented, I see people operating in fear of being deported for accessing benefits that they have rights to receive. I see clients cancelling or declining to receive public assistance in fear of being target by immigration services. For me lo cotidiano is having friends and co-workers fearful that their family members may face deportation; even documented individuals are worried that if they are stopped and they do not have proper documentation they may be taken into custody. Lo cotidiano is observing the daily and recognizing that not only are undocumented members of Spanish speaking community are affect, but that this executive order affects Jamaicans, Haitians, Nigerians, Koreans, people from the middle east; I can go on and on with the list of people that are affected. In my community experience, I met with staff from Canal Alliance. I could sense the state of urgency that the community was facing during this time. While subbing as an aid for one of the ESL classes, I couldn’t help but wonder how many people in the class would be affected by everything that is going on currently. That makes one realize how important it is to be present and in service to our community. We are all each other’s neighbors.

Now What? I think the ways to observe lo cotidiano experiences goes hand and hand with accompaniment. You have to be present to really observe. It is easy to say that one is witnessing lo cotidiano while watching from a distance, but to be present gives a more realistic perspective of what is happening. One must be in service to the community. We have to open our eyes, mind and hearts to really witness lo cotidiano. We have to embrace cultural humility and possess the ability to tap into our own emotional intelligence to deal with the things that we witness. We all possess the ability to make a positive change; we just have to be willing to make the commitment. In the Five Faces of Oppression, Iris Young writes “oppressed people become so powerless that they do not even talk about their oppression.” (3) Lo cotidiano is ability hear what is being said through the silence.