Culturally, culturally, what we Latinas have in common with other women—with Anglo-Saxon women—is that even now the system still is being controlled by men, and the social context in which we live is just the same. So, we… we as women still need to work, to make the effort, and not to compete against each other in order to arrive at the table where decisions are taken. Much of… much of the reason why I am still in this office is because I’ve always realized that if one is not seated at the decision-making table when the resources arrive, these resources are not really going to be made available to the people who most need them. This is because they have not had—the people with the resources have not had—have not met someone who understands the real problems that are out there. For example, in this office, I am the only person who had children out of wedlock. I am the first person that has been raised as I was raised. The only person who has, who has been on welfare, who depended on food stamps. And I… when these issues are discussed I can say, “No, no, no that is not how things really are.”
Gladys Rodriguez-Parker is from Massachusetts but spent most of her childhood in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico. She grew up on a farm, working along with her family and helping her mother with everything she needed to do around the farm. In 1969, Gladys and her family left Puerto Rico for the United States where she first lived in South Boston. After a tragic incident, the family moved to Worcester. Adjusting to life in the United States was not easy for Gladys, but she did not let any of her setbacks stop her from pursuing an education. She graduated from Worcester State College and today she works for Representative James P. McGovern. She describes how much she enjoys doing her work because it is about helping people. Her life story, which includes many experiences of courage and determination, will inspire everyone, especially women facing migration and single motherhood.