During their panel discussion in the Tavern last week, CNN commentators Ana Navarro and Patti Solis Doyle discussed working in a political field dominated by men and how there is room for more women in politics. 

-- This post is in response to Ana Navarro.

On Thursday, October 6th, the Kennedy Political Union, AU College Democrats, AU College Republicans, NeW, LASO, and LULAC joined forces to bring political commentators, Ana Navarro and Patti Solis Doyle. Both Ana and Patti are renowned women in the political field, setting a bar of excellence in political strategy, operations and organizing.

As a Latina woman growing up in a Hispanic household, I have vivid memories of watching an outspoken Ana Navarro and Patti Solis Doyle on my TV. Although I never quite agreed with some of the comments made by Ana, my mom always said something along the lines of, “That will be you someday.” Ana and Patti coming to campus last week was a reminder of why I want to pursue a career in a political field dominated by men. Both women vary in political ideology, but still convey one strong message to women around the country: Women can be outspoken, bold, and accomplished in any field.

Even as a strong Democrat, I do not find it difficult to see eye to eye with Navarro’s Republican leanings. Ana was born in Nicaragua, and immigrated to the U.S. as a result of the Sandinista revolution. Like most immigrant families, her family faced hardships. However, Ana stormed through a world of hatred and discrimination by running faster than everyone and never stopping to look back. As she mentioned during Thursday’s event, you just have to “be like a tennis shoe and just do it.” Through her lens, nothing or anyone is too powerful to hold back a person full of drive, knowledge and ambition. This is a common feeling that I grew up with. In my household, there were never any excuses for presenting mediocre work. Other people getting in the way of my accomplishments was simply not an option; I have control over my actions and it is up to me to decide how I behave when someone else gets in the way. I admire Ana’s vocal opinions and support for the Republican party, especially given her background. She is an example of someone who challenges stereotypes and stands firm to values that align with her principles.

With that being said, I still find some of Ana’s claims to be dismissive at times. To many, ignoring discriminatory behavior is simply not an option. Ana worked hard and is lucky to be where she is today, but this isn’t the case for everyone. Many Hispanic families face challenges beyond racism. They struggle with an institutionally oppressive system that works against every single second of hard work they input. Like Ana, Patti also agrees that you can’t let others get in the way of your success. However, to her, there is a personal obligation to lift voices up. Patti regularly speaks about minority voices in politics, the importance of having more representation, and issues affecting the Hispanic community.

I believe that college-aged Latinx students today have a duty to succeed while also lifting up other minorities students as well. I can’t ignore the inherently unfair policies that affect people of color, and part of what I can do to change a system I don’t believe in is increase representation of people that are affected by decisions.

I am lucky to see successful women that represent many of the values that I and many other AU Latinx students grew up around, while seeing the diversity in thought within our community.

-- Valentina Fernandez, Class of 2018