Meet the Team: Adriana Is Ushering In The Third Wave

By Adriana Cortes

It’s time to Meet The Team! In this series, the FMF Campus Organizers will talk a little bit about ourselves and also give you valuable organizing advice that we’ve picked up along our ways. Oh, and we’ll show you lots of photos of ourselves. Because that’s important.

Standing still, cool air passing through, a bright open blue sky, my body is covered in black and the loudest noise out of our mouths is silence. This was one of the first events I participated in as a young woman with the Third Wave Feminist Organization at California State University – Fullerton (CSUF), where we stood in silence in front of our humanities building to bring awareness to women and children that were victims of brutality and violence because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I was raised by a fiercely independent, courageous, and compassionate mother, who was my first entry into the world of feminism. Growing up, I watched as my mother stood up to bullies in our working class neighborhood in Anaheim and as neighbors would come to my mother for advice on dealing with tenant abuse. My mother prioritized education for her daughters because she wanted us to attend a university and have our own careers so that we could be independent, flourish in what we were passionate in, and never have to be financially dependent on a man. Her dream has come true and the work that I do is a tribute to her journey, sacrifices, strength, and her strong conviction in compassion.

Because of the strong influences of my mother and sisters, as a freshman at California State University – Fullerton, I immediately got involved with the group Third Wave and became the Community Service Chair. With Third Wave I co-developed an educational feminist workshop and trained more than 300 junior high and high school students about the history of women’s rights, women being objectified in the media and dispelling stereotypes regarding feminism. Organizing with Third Wave grounded me in feminist values and provided me with the theoretical and practical skills to bring feminism into all other spaces I work in. It taught me to recognize patriarchy and fight against it, to make sure that women’s voices were heard in all spaces, that women’s ideas get taken seriously, to make sure women are not just placed backstage but also at the forefront and that women get full recognition for their work and labor.

After organizing with Third Wave I continued my involvement in anti-war activism, workers’ rights, and educational access. I believe strongly that all progressive work needs to be done through a feminist lens, where power relationships are analyzed, diversity is celebrated and where everyone is treated with equality and fairness.

I’m so excited that I have the opportunity to work to organize student groups in the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campus Choices Program.  This fall I’ll be talking to and mobilizing students all over the West coast to launch our Get Out Her Vote campaign and to fight for ballot measures that put women’s rights and women’s issues front and center. Here is a little more information about the ballot measures I’ll be working on this fall:

In California, we are gearing up to promote Proposition 35 which would increase protection for victims of human and sex trafficking, create stronger penalties for traffickers, and add stronger security features online to prevent human and sex trafficking. We are also organizing in California to defeat Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” Initiative, which would ban union contributions and deductions from workers’ paychecks – an attack on unions and workers.

In Montana, we’re working to to defeat the dangerous parental notification referendum, LR120, which would require women under the age of 16 to tell their parents if they plan to obtain an abortion or to get permission from a judge.

I’m headed to Florida to work to defeat Amendment 6, a state constitutional amendment prohibiting the use of public funds for abortion, except as required by federal law and to save the mother’s life. Moreover, the measure includes a provision that the Florida constitution cannot be interpreted as providing broader rights for abortion than the US Constitution. Amendment 6 would let politicians come between women and their doctors, effectively taking coverage away from people who have it today.

I am so thrilled to be a campus organizer for the West Coast, to work with student activists across the country, to support feminist leaders, to advance equity for women, and to create a world that is just for ALL.

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