Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores is running to become the first Latina Lieutenant Governor of her state. She’s no billionaire’s wife, no Ivy League prodigy, no daughter of some ruling-class family from Latin America. Lucy Flores grew up poor in a family of 13 children. A daughter of immigrants, she dropped out of high school, got involved in gangs and spent time incarcerated. She saw all her sisters become teen mothers and didn’t want that for herself. When she became pregnant at 16, she had an abortion that she doesn’t regret.
She eventually turned her life around. She went to college and later law school. Yet she doesn’t twist her success into a bootstraps narrative of a self-made woman. Instead, she acknowledges all the support she got along the way. She bears witness to the fact that it was the chance generosity of individuals, and not a reliable safety net in our society that made the difference. Her own lived experience becomes the basis of her progressive agenda for social change.
Lucy Flores defies the politics of respectability. She’s single, childless, honest about her sexual past, and fierce in her advocacy for poor and marginalized people. She takes bold stands on immigration, education, and domestic violence. Her experience makes her an effective advocate, but it also makes her a new kind of role model for Latina women. Like Justice Sonia Sotomayor before her, we are watching a smart, single, childless Latina rise from poverty to political authority. But Flores’ background not only includes the “humble beginnings” of poverty, but the stigmatizing experiences that can accompany poverty, like jail, dropping out, and unplanned pregnancy.
Read more of Aya de Leon’s article about Lucy Flores on Bitch Media