Still standing: ASU master's student seeks to give a voice to Latina women with blog

Through stories of trials and tribulations, Latina Still Standing aims to provide a support system for encouragement

"But I'm still standing," Diana Bejarano wrote in her first blog post. Bejarano, social technologies master's students and ASU alumna uses her own stories and the stories of other Latina women to highlight the resilience within their community.

In 2012, Bejarano decided to start her first blog known as Latina Still Standing. She said she began by chronologically writing down all the hardships and tragedies she had been through during her childhood and onward. At the end of each small paragraph, she wrote, “But I’m still standing.”

Having grown up in south Phoenix in a low income neighborhood, Bejarano wanted to share her story about how she was able to overcome trials and tribulations through education and her faith.

Through her blog, she wanted to compile other Latinas’ stories as well to create a support system for her target audiences, many of which can be found in the archives of Latino Perspective Magazine column she wrote for before the magazine stopped producing material.

“As a strong Latina, I wanted to share my story about being resilient,” Bejarano said. “I wanted to interview other Latinas and ask them about ‘how do you overcome this, how do you do this’ so that we can all share this.”

Bejarano said that resiliency is a key ingredient in life because it allows for the ability to bounce back after hardships.

In addition, she said she feels that education and her faith helped her get on the right track. She credits her spirituality and relationship with God as a strong aspect of her story of resilience.

“I don’t want to turn anybody off that may not be religious,” Bejarano said. “It’s part of who I am.”

Although it is a part of her story, she feels that she also aims to respect those who may have different beliefs through her page.

“I want people to know that there’s hope, that there are ways that you can beat the odds … that you can bounce back, and there are others who have gone before you and are sharing their story,” Bejarano said. “I’m helping them to share their story so other people can be encouraged.”

Bejarano makes an effort to post daily encouragements for everyone to see the characteristics of a Latina Still Standing.

With almost 14,000 followers on Facebook and over 2,000 on Instagram Bejarano always has something to show for her audiences.

Bejarano said she aimed her blog and website toward Latinas because she has more in common with them as it is her culture, so she understands the “nuances” of being an American Hispanic woman.

However, she said her blog is also for men and women of all colors in need of empowerment and encouragement.

Health sciences policy junior Sophia Acosta said she has known Bejarano her whole life and has always been able to experience the empowerment and encouragement provided through Latina Still Standing.

Throughout her life, Acosta said Bejarano is always the type of person to bring any issues back to how they can make one stronger.

Acosta is also the president of Kappa Delta Chi, a multicultural and Latina-founded sorority at ASU. Through that, she is able to see the importance of sending a message of empowerment, education and achievement to the minority.

As a friend and follower of Bejarano’s online work, Acosta said she can see how Bejarano’s motivation is to have a positive impact on others. 

“I believe that this was Diana’s calling that she was meant to do this, to spread this good word. That she was meant to spread this positivity and to be like an outlet for others, and to be that voice,” Acosta said. “She’s the one who speaks up for those who can’t.”

Kathy Cano-Murillo, a blogger and entrepreneur for Crafty Chica LLC, a lifestyle website, said she has seen Latina Still Standing grow through passion and energy.

With a foundation for Latino and Latina issues in her own blog as well, Cano-Murillo said that it is important for Latinas to get more of their own stories out as they show new perspectives to break stereotypes.

Latina Still Standing has served as encouragement and inspiration to her when she needs to get through hard times through reading other women’s stories.

“There’s so much negativity in the world right now,” Cano-Murillo said. “I think it’s important to stay connected and bookmark sites like Diana’s to feed our soul and our daily intake of positivity.”

Cano-Murillo said that Bejarano is always looking for a way to make Latina Still Standing better.

In the future, Bejarano said she hopes to be able to write two books: an autobiography of her life experiences and overcoming as a Latina Still Standing, and a compilation of other Latinas’ stories of how they are also still standing. She also hopes to speak at more events or for student or nonprofit groups, as well as do volunteer work.

She hopes to share her story for men and women of all colors and ages to be able to connect with them and inspire them.

She said she hopes to grow her page and her blog even further, as she sees it has a potential for growth.

“I want to see women flourish. I want to see them succeed. I want to help in any way that I can, while I am alive on this earth,” Bejarano said. “I want to use everything I have or have been through to help the next person."


 Reach the reporter at tespana@asu.edu and follow @thaliamespana on Twitter.

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