F.I.E.R.C.E Woman of the Week: True Poetess (April 23 – April 29)

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I am fierce because I aim to empower women by embracing the natural characteristics of ivy and creating a global mentoring program for teenage girls that will allow them to travel the world before attending college.

This week’s F.I.E.R.C.E Woman of the Week hails from Queens, NY and is a mother, budget manager,  poet, author, and  founder of The Climbing Ivy Project, Inc. Known solely as True, she is the only female member of the highly acclaimed and much respected poetry ensemble El Grito de Poetas, a collective of diverse Latinos dedicated to educating though creative forms of art.

True’s passion for the spoken word and for expressing her truths through poetry exude an honesty, rawness, resilience, and determination that make her stand out from the rest. Her upcoming book slated for release June 21st, holds the same name as her non-profit organization, Climbing Ivy.

The Climbing Ivy Project, Inc. which is also launching June 21, 2014 has been created as a celebration and heralding of the women who never wanted to be flowers. Women who pride themselves on being noticed for what they have achieved instead of what they were told to aspire to. Women who preferred to stand firm on their roots, claw their way out of the shade, and climb to the top instead of being compliant and docile objects.

All too often women are bombarded with misconceived standards of womanhood and femininity, notions rooted in an infertile ground that does not provide them with a healthy foundation to grow into the strongest, happiest, most fulfilling versions of themselves. These messages include the language of “not…enough;” not beautiful enough, not intelligent enough, not talented enough, not “man” enough to achieve the lofty dreams imagined in a male dominated world. We are often instructed to be “quiet” and “pretty,” to not make spectacles of ourselves. Told to be ladies. Admonished to be soft and beautiful like roses, growing gently in the sunlight.

True believes that women have the capability to endure and overcome obstacles and thrive vibrantly even in the harshest of conditions.  The Climbing Ivy Project’s goal is to connect women around the world through an on-going discourse expressed through their respective fields and art forms, fostering self-respect and the belief that their power is truly limitless.

Through The Climbing Ivy Project, True is providing  women with tools to transcend barriers & societal constructs. She is cultivating a  support network of interconnected women that will serve  as a professional and mentoring enclave.

For more info on The Climbing Ivy Project visit their facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ClimbingIvyProject

“As women, we need to accept that we can be fierce, cunning, and predatory” – Unknown

F.I.E.R.C.E Woman of the Week: Maria Rodriguez (4/2/2014-4/8/2014)

Maria RodriguezOne of the reasons I created the F.I.E.R.C.E Woman website was to highlight and feature women who have decided to take their lives into their own hands and create the life they’ve always dreamed of. We are all just one choice away from changing the direction of our lives.

The F.I.E.R.C.E Woman of the week is following her dreams, supporting other women in achieving theirs, and inspiring us all to discover the power within ourselves and live the lives we were meant to live. This week’s F.I.E.R.C.E Woman is Maria Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican Writer and Performance Artist born and raised in East New York Brooklyn.

Mother of four, she discovered her penchant for self-expression during her adolescent years, while writing songs to a freestyle beat. Maria has been published in the New York Daily News, Sofrito for Your Soul and “Me No Habla with Acento” an Anthology of Contemporary Latino Poetry. She is an original cast member, Co-Writer and Co-Producer of “Soledad Speaks”. An intergenerational tale performed through monologue and spoken word and produced by Odd Girl in Entertainment that has enjoyed sold out shows to almost every performance. The most recent sold out show took place last Friday, March 28th when the cast performed at the  BAAD! ASS Women Festival at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance.

In additon to being a writer, Maria is a curator who has curated shows for El Museo del Barrio and the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe.  She is a workshop facilitator and has facilitated workshops for both women and youth. Most recently Maria published her first book and collection of poetry, Brooklyn’s Daughter.

Brooklyn’s Daughter is all grit and grace. In her first collection of poems, Maria captures the essence of her beloved borough, city, and people through vivid imagery and poignant delivery. Infusing raw humor, wit, and splanglish idioms, she waxes poetic about assimilation, gentrification, culture, pride, lessons and life. The ride is gripping. This book is a definite must have and I encourage you all to purchase it if you haven’t already.

Next up for Maria is is a featured reading at Word @4F on May 1st and a book signing/reading at NYC’s trendiest nail bar, Nail Lounge, on May 4th. She will also be giving a private performance for Wyckoff Hospital’s AIDS benefit on April 16th, but that event is closed to the public. To find out more about this modern day renaissance woman visit her site at http://www.mescribidora.wordpress.com. While you’re there don’t forget to buy her book.

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Check out the trailer for Brooklyn’s Daughter:

I am F.I.E.R.C.E because I use my art to raise awareness, inspire, and empower my community. I am a modern day renaissance woman. – Maria Rodriguez