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“How can we create more belonging for people?”

Biography

Ana Tinajero, born 19xx, is a world-renowned Salsa dancer, instructor, artist, and activist from Lynn. She is the founder of an Afro-Latin dance company called Dance to Power and has also been involved in many other projects in the dance world.

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Ana Tinajero was interviewed by Professor Andrew Darien on October 9, 2023. She speaks about growing up, activism, community, starting Queer Lynn Scene, the evolution of Lynn Pride activities and the birth of United Lynn Pride.

Ana Tinajero

Duration

43:17

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Education was our ticket forward.

My family did immigrate from Guadalajara, Mexico, both of my parents and I have two siblings. And we grew up with this understanding that education was our ticket forward and that we needed to focus ourselves in our work. And that sort of led me towards MIT in Boston.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Family

Always give back, pay forward.

And so our mindset when we were, as we were growing up, was to always give back, to pay forward. And so we, as people took care of us, we took care of others. And in that way, philanthropy is a big part of Latino culture. It's just, it's enmeshed in it without calling it philanthropy.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Activism and Politics

I started to work on Queer Lynn Scene.

I started to work on Queer Lynn Scene, which is just sort of a forum to get to know my community better. I started to meet more of the community members that were actively doing work, particularly around art in the community. And so that made me even more connected to what Lynn was about

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Community and Change

Coming out stories from diverse backgrounds.

So I wanted to make sure that as I was developing the pool of people that I was talking to for the coming out story is that it was diverse in background. So age diverse, ethnicity diverse, gender diversity.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Coming Out and Identity

How they felt supported, not just included.

I would say belonging was very, very important. Some people who were interviewed were lifelong Lynners and some people who were interviewed worked in Lynn or had moved there more recently and or both. And so I think that ultimately the conversations lended themselves to the way people felt connected to Lynn had a large part to do with how, not just how, I think we think of it as how inclusive a community is, but more so than that, how much they felt they belonged in the community. So, how they felt supported as opposed to just included.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Community and Change

"Queer" in the past was seen as a derogatory term.

Coco suggested that we make United Lynn Pride the organization and let go of Queer Lend Scene. And for all purposes sake, I think it's important to mention that In some ways we were more willing to do that because we also knew that the name Queer Lynn Scene also had some hesitation pulled from the community because queer in the past was seen as a derogatory term.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Generational Perspectives

A beautiful week of shared energy all around.

But I really hope that everybody had a great experience. But I know that when we ended that year, organizations that normally wouldn't come to the table really did come to the table and worked out together and supported one another. And it was a beautiful week of shared energy all around.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Pride

Sometimes the BIPOC community couldn't be there.

And sometimes, a lot of times, the people who you want to involve in this work and delve into that, and you need to, are sometimes so caught up just trying to put food on the table that they can't do this. So we definitely noticed in our group where we wanted to have more BIPOC voices in the community groups really working together, a lot of times a lot of the BIPOC community couldn't be there because they couldn't make time every week. They had to be at work. You know, you have to make ends meet. And

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Race and Ethnicity

We need a place for our stories.

We need a place for our stories, But sometimes those stories are really just between us and they don't need to all be online. Not everybody that's interviewed is going to get placed online and sometimes it's also done because that's actually hurtful towards the person teaching. Not everybody, or talking, not everybody can be as open about being out. And that story is just so important to be able to be told.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Coming Out and Identity

Activism is a lived experience.

For us, activism is a lived experience. We don't think of ourselves as, oh, I'm an activist because I'm going to pursue this law or this bill. We don't think that way. It's just more of how everyday life and bills and advocacy affect you in that process.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Activism and Politics

I connected to the root of my Latino culture.

And so the more that I connected to the root of my Latino culture in the greater Boston area that made me want to stay longer.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Race and Ethnicity

Putting up art on walls around the city.

Boston Pride was working on a 50th year anniversary and they were working on putting up art of their work through the history project, I believe it was. And they were putting up art on walls around the city of Boston. And so I pitched, can we try to do something similar in Lynn? Because Lynn is also a part of the Boston story. There's always a communication between

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Pride

Coming out stories from diverse backgrounds.

So I wanted to make sure that as I was developing the pool of people that I was talking to for the coming out story is that it was diverse in background. So age diverse, ethnicity diverse, gender diversity.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Race and Ethnicity

Why don't we try next year to have a week of events?

And so Coco kind of offered, why don't we try next year to have like this week long of events

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Pride

We're all serving the same mission.

There were a lot of politics and bureaucracy behind the scenes and definitely some organizations that didn't get along. And I think it's important to note that because I also think that it speaks to the power that it didn't matter what our differences were. We were able to find a way and a common ground for us to come together and say, this is the bigger vision. This is the important part that at the end of the day, we're all serving the same mission.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Community and Change

It's hard for us to feel heard.

If we're not connected to the community and working in the community that we live in, then it's hard for us to feel that we belong in there. It's hard for us to feel heard.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Community and Change

The advent of dating apps.

At one point, Lynn had a lot more queer bars that people from Boston would actually travel to and go to. But with the advent, and a lot of this came up from interviews with people, with the advent of online apps like Tinder, Grindr, and such, the Her App, the places where people needed to go to to meet people in bars and that community that you created within them, sometimes wasn't as needed when you had apps to go to to meet people. And so that is something that's been happening from what I've seen around the country where a lot of the queer bars are starting to sort of like dissipate a little bit more with some of the advent of that technology.

Ana Tinajero

Ana Tinajero

Community and Change

Photos and News Events

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