A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin by Glorie Michelle Romero Elvir Enamorado and Marisa Diaz Bonacquisti

Glorie Michelle Romero Elvir Enamorado

This morning, I woke up with back pain and made the executive decision to take a sick day. When Nova returned from class, we went on a trip to explore the city. We boarded the transit and were on our way! As we were walking around, I started to notice all the children running around. I thought back to “Women In East Germany Today” by louise k. davidson and the dilemma many women have in regard to balancing the demands of career and family. While many women have experienced inaccessibility regarding birth control, East German women freely enjoyed available birth control, a year of paid maternity leave, and free babysitting when many other women throughout the world didn’t. When Nova and I were enjoying our croissant and coffee and observing parents walking by, she said, “Have you noticed all the fancy baby strollers people have here?” Given that the Berlin government has given approximately $500 stipends for baby clothes and baby carriages, it made sense. People had baby strollers that were attached to their bikes, held multiple children, and overall suited their specific needs. While the experiences of women here is not perfect, it has been interesting reflecting on the transnational feminist pieces we read in class and engaging with those theories in reference to Berlin. As davidson writes, while most westerners viewed East Germany as repressive (before the fall of the Berlin Wall), the reality is they enjoyed freedom about birth rights without worrying about its affordability or availability. While taking this course, I have found myself constantly reflecting on the reading material as I navigate around Berlin. Whether it’s conversations with classmates or interactions with Berliners, I have been truly immersed in my learning. I could not imagine a better way to experience Berlin!

Glorie Michelle Romero Elvir Enamorado was named after her matriarchal grandmother Gloria, and many family members call her Gloria or Flaca. She was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and raised in Long Beach, California. She grew up with a Mexican stepfather, though, so she would consider herself culturally mixed. She’s the oldest immigrant daughter and a first-generation high school graduate. She got her passport just this year, and is now studying in Berlinso needless to say, she is (and about to be!) a well-travelled girl!

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Marisa Diaz Bonacquisti

Dr. Zachary Wood, a Public Services professor at Seattle University, led our class on Friday. Professor Wood is also teaching a class in Berlin, so he and Dr. Lewis decided to switch classes for the day and then bring us all together. Professor Wood focuses on manifestations of power and critical community development, focusing on Berlin as a contested space due to the Berlin Wall and most recently due to gentrification. We discussed a multitude of topics in class that critically examined Berlin as an urban space. We discussed the power in the acknowledgment and reclamation of harm done through memorials, urban navigation, being an other by being a visitor, how we intersect with organic and non-organic spaces, and the urban experience as creation. These points of discussion are not specific to Berlin and can be applied to essentially all urban spaces, but we were able to contextualize them through Germany’s Turkish Workers Program, the political systems of East and West Germany, protesting culture, and the integration process after the Berlin Wall fell. Professor Wood emphasized the importance of the various forms of intersecting in urban space and how we step into somebody else’s way of existing when we visit a new space. He prioritizes navigating space as an other with humility and creating accessible spaces for the other. Through this class session, I developed a more informed understanding of Berlin’s cityscape during integration, especially in regard to the marginalization of Turkish workers and how Germany’s migrant partnership has had lasting effects on current-day policies. The reading material also helped me conceptualize Germany’s protesting culture and how it varies from the U.S. When paired with the three frameworks guiding our course (Black Feminism, Transnational Feminism, and Critical Race Theory), I was able to understand how cities are traversed by different demographics and the ways their experiences complicate an urban space.

Marisa Diaz Bonacquisti is a Chicana and Italian from Denver’s Northside with a passion for art as resistance. Her culture, community, and language have deeply informed her academic pursuits and aspirations, as well as her professional path. As such, Marisa is a rising junior double-majoring in Southwest Studies and Spanish (Hispanic Studies). She has a focus in public art and is especially excited about Berlin’s street art!

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