A few months ago, we featured the story of the extraordinary Maryann Aguirre as part of our #streetsR4families series. The series looks at the experiences of parents trying to move their families safely through the streets of Los Angeles via transit, bicycle, or on foot. Speaking as a single mother from the working-class Latino community of Boyle Heights, Aguirre made it clear that she believed that streets around her would only truly be safe when her community, as a whole, was healthy and thriving.
Motivated by the obstacles she had to overcome in her own life, the injustices and inequities that plague her community, and the desire to create safe spaces for her young daughter, she became deeply engaged in making her community a better place at a young age. While she is perhaps best known around Los Angeles as an outspoken member of the Ovarian Psyco-Cycles bicycle brigade, she is also very active in raising awareness around the concerns of the underprivileged, protesting gentrification, promoting justice for people (particularly women and women-identified folks) of color, and working to bring cycling and pedestrian infrastructure that fits the needs of existing residents to Boyle Heights as a promotora with Multicultural Communities for Mobility.
It’s a lot of activism and engagement to house in one person’s body, but she somehow manages to make it look pretty effortless.
“This is just something that I do because of the conditions I/we/she live(s) in, because of my existence,” she had shrugged during our interview. “To me, there is no other choice.”
Now you can take a peek at how she juggles all of her advocacy work and responsibilities, set to music. “Mujer Soy,” shot by Elefante Collective against the backdrop of music by the socially-conscious East L.A.-based (and fantastically fun live) Las Cafeteras and featuring a dance remix collaboration with Yukicito, tracks Maryann for a day. She wakes up with her daughter, gets her to school, heads for work at Inner City Struggle, leads a women-centric bike ride, collaborates with other advocates for the rights of women and female-identified people, and finishes the day snuggling with her little girl.
It’s a beautiful piece and a lovely way to (belatedly) celebrate International Women’s Day.
To read our story and learn more about Maryann, click here.