Saturday, April 15, 2017

Forget The "What Ifs"

What If this... What If that...

For my sons. In 1999 I had a moment that could and would have changed everything. I was asked if I would marry a man who was affluent in a Fortune 500 company. The one thing I was to give up on was raising the three of you. He had no interest, the selfish prig, to being a step-father to three young black boys from Brooklyn.
He proposed one year after we began seeing each other. On that night I said no. I walked away from a life of "who knows". Less indulgence than many many have thought since this man was not a generous man to begin with but that never mattered to me. It's not what drew me and it's not what kept me away. I said no and so I placed myself into a decade long "booty-call" status that I was unaware of but I got to have all of you. Good, bad, indifferent I was able to have my sons and raise them however I could.
The man of means did little to help me raise you and who cares.
All I cared about was being there, as much as possible, to be a mother that made sure her sons had a chance at lives that meant they made differences in society. Along the way mom had a bunch of issues put upon her. She had a few minutes in the limelight but that meant nothing in the end. But I loved being at your school every day for the first ten years of each of your lives. I did get to do that.
When the day came, when I really needed help and I reached out to the man I'd been faithful to for over a decade he did what you'd expect. he threw me to the wolves and pretended he did n't know me and regardless if I knew all of his skeletons, they would only be good for a 15 minute webisode, nothing of substance.
I spent the next 30 years raising three gorgeous amazing young men and their dad (a whole other saga) and I've never been prouder.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Dear Sons What A Difference A Year Makes

(written in the SUmmer of 2015)

A little more than a year ago I worked for assholes galore. I woke up at 3:45am every morning, not because my body was accustomed but because I suffered from anxiety and stress and for years had not been able to achieve a full night's sleep beyond three hours. I binged at night on food or alcohol to self medicate myself to get through the days and weeks and months. My goals were to live long enough to see each of you get into college and then graduate without obstacle or financial debt around your necks. I was paid over six figures where I worked but nothing of value was produced there, I was told to fake it so that everyone who WAS faking it could also get paid. It was a multi-million dollar boondoggle of epic proportions and I was forced to be complicit - because I believed I couldn't walk away from the money that we would use to get you beyond living my crap eating job.

For years you watched me change from the energetic, larger than life woman on a mission to make this world (in my own circle and reach) a better place, at least where the three of you could roam without fear and with reality it became obvious that there will never be such a thing. Companies don't give a shit about their employees and they don't even care if they waste millions protecting a reputation that is actually bought and paid for and not earned. The funny thing - this is a side note about countries - is that the English country that own the name and brand and the executives I've met from England actually are more in tune to what I'm talking about but they left the managing of the US side to Americans who don't have a clue nor want one. So while the Brits get all the flack on a universal scale it's the scumbag Americans who are tarnishing the name and ruining the company. Go figure. But I digress. Back to us.

My day was like that of a prison inmate, up at the same hour, forced to go through the dumbest shit by rote, rarely meetings of substance or value with supervisors and managers who couldn't manage shit out of a diaper bag. Blah, blah, blah, payday, collect your check and go. We all know way too many people who think I hit pay dirt! Six figures to do nothing but bullshit! Really?!?! Yet the price was to listen to assholes degrade women and LGBT and Muslims and you name it. The more ignorant you were the more you fit in. It was heinous and torture and well, momma put up with it for you.

It's a year later and Hallelujah! Momma is FREE! Momma is so free and happy that she can't contain herself. Oh we went through some changes but not for what outsiders may think. Because we had always struggled this kind of financial struggle was actually something we spoke of. We switched gears and while not fast enough in some cases it was enough to keep you all exactly where you had to be. The best thing about going from six figures to zero is that all of a sudden you can be eligible for just about everything and boys were WE eligible. We received aid just long enough until momma put her game plan into action.

Yeah, I took a few months. After all it had been over two decades since I'd been without a job but to now have endless days before me where I can sleep in if I wanted was more than this working girl could comprehend! It took months before all my old habits finally began to wash away!

Here we are, a full year later. I get up somewhere between 5am and 7am on any given day (depends on what momma was up to the night before!) and I wake up smiling and listening to the birds outside my windows. It also depends on which city I wake up in but that's more on the journey I took to get me here. I either make myself some coffee or order some. I did the tea for months which I know is much healthier but there's something about having an amazing cup of latte first thing in the morning. I shower and sit down to catch up on distracting but trending news from my several go-to websites for things relevant.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dear Sons, Let Me School You About The Power Of Abandonment

During this man-made and created tradition and holiday I have tried to teach you about the true history of where you come from. There is nothing wrong with taking a major time out to recognize your family, to gather, to enjoy one another and to give personal thanks for your blessings. I simply stopped doing it wrapped in this ridiculous ritual of turkey and pernil and football and the third week of November.

See, we gave thanks every day because every day we never knew what resources we had to get us through it or that week. As I worked and spent more time making others money and as I allowed strangers to take care of you, my legacy, I learned early on (maybe not early enough) that to keep you all rooted in reality was our only way of survival. So keeping you close became the priority, not following the money or the love interest. We all know and have come to learn those were too fickle to see us through when it counted and so we not only existed without a huge need of either but an appreciation for a life where we were never dependent on huge amounts of either.

Our saving grace after your dad and I divorced was my breakdown and telling three little boys that I had no clue how we were going to survive but that I'd share the journey and yes the burden with you so that we would all hopefully come out of it alive together. Look at us now, 20 years later.

2016 was the year earmarked to signify I had done it. I had not only kept my promise to myself that each of you would be men fully equipped to go out into the world and take care of yourselves and your own destiny, it was to be the year I made my own way for myself. Little did I know that it would be the year that defined me by my vulnerabilities. Your mom had lost that edge, that sharp ability to keep bullshit at the door and not bring it inside. But inside it came and all over the house I allowed it to roam. I'd given my heart and soul to a liar, a cheat, an abuser of trust and kindness. Well. We can't help who we fall for, can we. Especially after almost a decade of lies how are we to suspect.

The breakdown was complete. But what saved me, of all things was that I was not unfamiliar with being abandoned by those I expected to trust. In fact you'd grown up watching me and my good heart being taken advantage of by selfish slugs in love and in business. You'd watched me divorce your dad who sadly married too young and learned too late that he should always remain a bachelor. You watched the company I was loyal to for decades day in and out at work throw me under the bus rather than admit they were cutting corners to save a few bucks.

Over the years there was always a story of how your mom was taken advantage of and after each story you all kept telling me to not help people ever again. There was no one out there to trust. What you may not have realized is that after each event there were dozens of friends who were supportive who championed us and softened the blow. That after every betrayal there was an opportunity that lead me to some of my best and greatest accomplishments. So for every scummy bottom-feeder there were many who revived my belief that most people are good and caring. It was those people who I surrounded you with, to show you the better side of humanity.

I know taking the brunt of the betrayal wore me down but always keeping it real with you kept me alive. Knowing that your mom was abandoned by family, work colleagues, clients, a lover, some who called themselves friend might have been hard to witness but you also saw me rise from it to find others who truly were honorable. It took a self-centered woman who couldn't simply pay her invoice that led me to meeting royalty and gaining the respects of those in positions of influence. It took heartbreak to lead me to legends. It took an industry wannabee who spent years taking for her own gain to lead me to meeting those in the industry that actually set the trends and the tones for it.

There will always be people who will take advantage of my good nature, of my desire to make a difference but what I want you to know is that if I stopped being me I'd be closing myself off from doing the things that bring me the greatest pleasure. In doing right by people and leaving behind those who did me wrong I gained the respect and admiration from so many who do make a world of difference in the lives of others. For every betrayal I have been given blessings and adventures so many have never had.

You learn the true character of people when they you see how they treat you and your kindness. There are the takers, the givers and the sharers. I may have heart wrenching stories of the takers but for each one I have lifetime memories of amazing giving and sharing from some of the world's best known human beings. A life of service to your community is a life of blessings. Of that I am most certain. Good thing I raised you all right and with each one of your daily posts I see that and I am totally happy and fulfilled.

Love Mom

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Reputation and Revenue

There was a time integrity was everything. Companies were ruined if their scandals came to light and reputations meant the difference between being on top or ending on the bottom. Nowadays perception becomes the reality so the ones who can manipulate social opinion become king makers and dream breakers.

The beauty of being true to yourself is that you can't really change. People wish they could be more of many things in their professional life, more outspoken, more intuitive when it comes to who to trust but you can't change who you are fundamentally and you can't waste time worrying about things that have come and past. You can of course continue to be you and that can be your greatest asset.

Everyone loves a rags to riches story or a sinner finding faith and therefore peace at the end of the day. In politics and in companies there are so many who strive for their dreams and find themselves being obstacles in the paths of many, some who are not ethical or simply seeking attention and glory by cutting corners and treating others like garbage. Having had just a couple of those in a 30+ year span makes me quite lucky but that pathetic piece of garbage cost that company millions and continues to do so. I could have made taking them down my mission but being me I knew they mattered very little in the scheme of things. After all you get what you paid for and the company backed the lame horse so C'est la vie. Life had way bigger issues to gt involved in and to truly make a difference. So while they lied and tried to besmirch my good name to cover up their crimes I went to mentors whose reputations withstood the test of time, decades of civil rights advocacy, men and women who lived what they offered in advice and I learned the three things that made me realize I'd win no matter what.

1. You Are Never What People Say You Are

We've all taken those tests to help us pinpoint the type of people we are, categorize ourselves for a better understanding on how to present ourselves, for interviews or writing our biographies. Society and big business takes seriously just how we sell ourselves or come across others in group settings. We are not what we say we are, we are not what others say we are. It is hoped that people are clear and truthful when they write their resumes and biographies for profiles like Linkedin but we know there are liars out there and some good ones who get away with portraying themselves as something they are not. Then there are those who are more than they let on because they've not the words or chutzpah to be their own champions. When my boys would come to me disheartened because someone they thought was a friend had turned out to be nothing of the kind I had to explain that people are what they tend to do over a long period of time and not what they say they are.

I also explained that people are going to believe whatever they want about a person and so you shouldn't care. I am grateful for that time "in politics" because it freed me from a lifetime of feeling obligated to be more for others. Once you get targeted by those who wish to paint a different picture you begin to understand that it's a very sick and sad game to many and that real life is how you choose to live your life day to day and who you spend time with and what you devote your time to, not the garbage of gossip mongers. You will always be that picture they paint so simply embrace that picture as a character in a book written by idiots. Embrace all your characters and make them work FOR YOU.

So I taught my sons that "haters are going to hate". Those who don't like you, who wish to cause you or your reputation harm add a spotlight. They'll never change their minds so they are not relevant. Who cares. Those that care will know the truth and those who don't know you will want to get to know you to find out for themselves. As time progresses people end up in one of two categories. Those who believe the hype and so what, they don't pay your bills and those who don't and add positivity to your life. The wonderful thing about "haters" is that they add to your story, they make you legend among those who care to learn the truth and in time you can laugh at all the attempts people make to tell a story that isn't real. As long as you do not live in that reality you are above all that toxic fray. Live among the others, the people who have seen, heard and lived the reality of who you are and see beyond the gossip and lies, that is where you realize you belong.

I tell my sons to write everything down, on paper and on a personal blog because there may come a day when what people write looks nothing like what happened. Having both can help one regroup and center themselves (and it's great for evidence if needed!) What is also wonderful is taking full ownership of who you are. Normal is being in the middle of the spectrum. Being Bi-Polar and seeing how society is told of this condition, how one is treated I've come to see that it's more hype than anything. Just another way of setting people apart. That is fine with me since my condition has been one of the best reasons I've come so far in my professional life. What others see as a detriment I've come to see as my greatest asset, my symptoms. (that's a blog entry for another day) So call me crazy (pun intended) but since I've been open about it for almost a decade, whatever names or excuses people come up with to chastise me or crucify me actually mean nothing to me. Haters are going to make me legendary.

2. All Press Is Good Press

Some of the biggest names in politics have told me point blank that "all press is good press". I've seen that first hand. Having volunteered for NYC politicians since I was 13 I've seen men and women who I thought were good - and evil - come and go, rise and fall and be vindicated or persecuted in the community or press. A couple that I've come to know have gone to jail. Some have disappeared, maybe out of shame or simply they grew tired of it all, never to be heard about and others came back from jail only to soar even higher (to my amazement but apparently not to others). Revenue goes to the ones who know how to use it to their advantage, good or bad. Companies who lie, cheat and steal from their customers can either get hit hard or spin it so they bypass prosecution. We read about these things every day. This is not new.

Having taught my sons that money is merely a resource, one of many they've come to see it for what it truly is. It does not define them because there are so many other things of more value in life and with an abundance of those you don't miss having great amounts of money. I laugh because I know people whose entire lives revolves around their bank accounts, it is what defines them and they all band together and laugh and point at people who think as I do - telling the world my opinion would change if I were to be overflowing with cash. This is the funny thing, I've made a million dollars in my lifetime ( and I'e have traveled outside of the United States. I might not have done a fraction of what the wealthy have but I've seen and done amazing things in my 49 years. I've also worked in so many different types of jobs that I appreciate some things in all of them. I love working with my hands as well as working on team projects. I enjoyed field work when it was honest and I enjoy conferences and expos.

Revenue will follow anything that is being sought after. Supply and demand. If the demand is for gossip then it can be supplied and some create their entire lives around commentating on lies and make millions doing so. Others fight the good fight, lose battles but write books, go on interviews and win the war when everything is laid out before the public. As long as one is alive the ability to make money is there and in some cases even after death. Funny how people who have died have found their "stock" goes up afterward and it is because of their story and because of the stories generated. There is always opportunities to make money and once you decide what is your priority, to have the truth come to light, to make money, to ruin a good name, to hide your crimes from the public and that is where public interests will follow - as well as shareholder interests so it seems.

3. It's Not Where You Fell From But Where You Land

The internet is filled with stories of scandal and people being called everything negative (or positive) under the sun and the world being the drama-voyeur that it is watches as if everyone's life is a reality show they can enjoy without consequence. The difference is some of us welcome the world to come and watch and listen and make comments and opinions on every detail because when the truth must come out it must come out in its entirety. Groups of people being treated differently from others, victims paid off to keep quiet, closing ranks around perpetrators and loyal people treated like they're the enemy. Who doesn't want to know where the saga ends?

I'd been here once before when I'd tried my own hand at being a representative of the people. Having been a school board president while under the Bloomberg Administration I'd seen greed up close and how people who were trying to make ends meet found themselves having a price when it came to selling out on the good of the children and parents they represented. It is not for the faint of heart. My saving grace for never having to make those choices were that I didn't serve two masters and didn't have to. I had a job and I wasn't going to sell my constituents down the river for some admin job at the Board of Ed. Many did though. I saw someone who was an advocate for years and only making $30,000 a year turn their back on everything they fought for in exchange for a $125,000 job made up just for the purpose of creating havoc among the parents of public school kids. I thought then it was my job that saved me, that gave me the distance from having to make such life changing decisions. Decisions that of course would have impacted my family personally but worse would have negatively impacted all those children and parents for having sold one's soul. I was lucky and I used to praise my company and give them the credit for all of my successes because the people I'd worked for since then were the best in their fields and great mentors and allies. They've since left the company and had I been given the chance every time I insisted I'd leave for lesser pay I would have been better off somewhere else but I've come to accept and appreciate where I am today because a life is never over until its over and it's never where they made you stumble but where you landed. I landed on the side of angels and as it happens, the Pope. (stay tuned as my journey is one of amazing meetings and opportunities to really make a difference)

The wonderful thing about real life is just that. Come back to my "story" and maybe you can have a front row seat to the unveiling of the truth. Real life is public. Anyone can tune in as long as you know where and when it's going to take place.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dear Sons It's Winter Time And I Can't Sleep

Dear Sons;
November came in with a vengeance. I woke up and immediately knew why - my feet were so cold! I stuck my head outside the backyard door, my way of testing the temperature for the day and figuring out what to wear. While many love the feel of the cool brisk air, when I felt it my heart went into a panic. I used to love Winter as a child and now as a mother I loathe it.

Boys, I loathe it. As you grew up into wonderful fine young men I knew. I knew that protecting you from the sicknesses of the world would get harder. Winter was coming and it was more than the weather that I needed to shield you from.

You are amazing young men now. You are upstanding, civic minded, compassionate, kind and loving young men. You are Black Latino men. So when I picked and chose your scarves and your hats and outer wear I always had to keep that in mind. No dark scarves and hats for you. For years you all balked at the bright and very obvious hat wear I chose for you. You made faces and said people would laugh and and smiled and told you that unique and bright was not only the way to go but the way to be seen. Why no mother wants her child almost camouflaged out there with those ridiculous New York City drivers and in the Winter Time! I was always fearful of bad driving and weather conditions making that even worse but I was also fearful that Black Men in dark clothes made for bad judgment calls from sick, stupid and ignorant people. So yes, your mom was grateful for neon and fluorescent and anything else that made you all stick out like sore thumbs because at least you'd have a greater chance of coming home safe.

The years you had to wear preppy style clothing and never be seen as "bummy" or "casual" outside our doors were no different. It was about character my loves but not yours. The shady character of people out in the world ready to be judge and jury and make you their victim. All for being who you are. My not allowing you to wear hoodies (how was I to know a decade later just how right I was) or dark scarves that covered most of your faces. You were never ever allowed to wear ski masks. Now that you all ski and snowboard I worry about that too. Scarves and hoods that are meant to protect you from the elements, keep your head warm and yet now only makes you yet another target and what's worse, now from the very people you expected to protect to.

I spun stories of how being unique in your style and learning to tune out the opinions of others made you into stronger men and I wasn't wrong about that. Yet I knew in my heart I had more motive to do so, to keep you safe from the injustices of others and allowing you a sliver of a childhood others enjoyed without any interruption.

You are all older now, on your own and you pick and choose what to wear as you please. You are wonderful men and so now I say it for you to hear it as clear as day. Do not wear dark clothes this Winter or hats and hoodies that conceal your face. Wear scrunchy wool hats and ear muffs and bright colored scarves. Don't wear worn out footwear or jeans when you go out. Please please don't wear hoodies but use thick scarves to guard your neck and shoulders from the cold. I say all this simply because you are Black and Latino. I say this because you are men. I say this because in this country you will be seen as invisible and used to make someone else's point all because all you were looking to do was try to stay warm.
Yes, I used to love Winter as a child but then I grew up and become a mother. A mother to amazing Black Latino boys and now I hate the Winter.
Please stay warm and always remember what I taught you and stay safe.

Love always,
Your Mom

Carmen M. Colon is a mother, an engineer by trade, an education and childrens advocate, an author and a workshop facilitator on the topics of leadership, womens empowerment, career advancement and parenting.
She is writing a book on a series of "Dear Sons" letters to her three sons on an array of topics and issues.
Carmen's website is
Carmen's books can be found online at both Amazon:
and Barnes and Noble at

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Latinas Who Launch Lives - An Interview With Maria Aponte, Activist, Author, Poet, Performing Artist, Educator

One of the greatest pleasures people should always acknowledge is meeting someone whose life's journey immediately impacts yours. To meet someone to look up to, who can mentor you and provide insight into the world at large is a priceless gift. In a world where we can so easily be made to feel marginalized and non-existent regardless of who we are, when we meet these people we find that we are in the presence of a pioneer in many ways.

I have always enjoyed meeting new people and when those people are known farther and wider than the circles I am familiar with it is exciting. For here is someone who fearlessly left "the nest", to go forth and "seek new experiences" beyond what they were taught and what they knew. Yes, I wanted to be just like them and when I met them I tried to soak in as much information of new things, as well as old customs, as I could.

These interviews are of such times. Welcome to my series of Latinas Who Launch Lives. For so many Latinas it seems we all have our set road to travel when it comes to family and along that road we find that circumstances veer us off and slams us into a life we would have never imagined. Along the way we meet iconic people or horrific people and we learn valuable lessons from them all. It shapes how we think, how we feel and how we proceed.

These women in this series used everything that was thrown at them to make a difference, not only for themselves and their families but also for their communities. They survive to tell the tale. They survive because they are not going to 'go off quietly or peacefully into the dark night'.

Maria Aponte

Community Arts Activist/Educator, Poet/Performance Artist, Maria works in Latino Theatre against racial discrimination and women’s rights. She has written and performed two one woman shows, Lagrimas de mis Madres an autobiographical play based on the women in her family, and I Will Not be Silenced based on the life of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Maria has performed her work at various colleges/universities and conferences locally and nationally.
She has been featured on Bronx Net, News 12 and NBC Latino. In 2010, Maria received the V-DAY Award for special recognition from the Eve Ensler Foundation for “someone who has suffered or witnessed violence, and then does extraordinary work to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else in their community.” In May 2013 Maria’s book, Transitions of a Nuyorican Cinderella won 2nd Place for Best Poetry in English at the International Latino Book Awards. Maria is a Career Counselor and Coordinator of Diversity Initiatives in Career Services at Fordham University. In May 2014 Maria received her Masters in Latin American and Latino Studies from Fordham University.

Maria is currently embarking on a new journey and is spearheading an event entitled Latinas Plus 50.

"In honoring these women I am creating an annual event that will highlight the selected Latina Women over Fifty who will be invited to a community gathering where they will have an opportunity to speak about their journeys of challenges and accomplishment. The women will be honored in their specific field, be it community activism, education, law or the arts. The inaugural Latina Fifty-Plus luncheon will be held on Saturday, June 21st , 2014 at Fordham University, Bronx Campus conjunction with the East Harlem Café, and I will be collaborating with La Casa Azul Bookstore to arrange press coverage for the event." ~ Maria Aponte

Interview With Maria Aponte

CMC: In a society that ostracizes women for getting older, does our traditional ways of reversing and respecting our elders clash or embrace women over 50?

Maria: In terms of ostracizing women for getting older I think that culturally we are in a transformation as to how society views women and aging. There seems to be a contradiction on how you are supposes to age, verses the idea that being youthful is still the cultural norm for acceptance. The whole concept of women aging and becoming acceptable is only about a decade old. And for as much as we publicly like to say that aging is becoming, it is not. When you look at the workforce and I say from the perspective that I work in a career counseling field, many older women and men are being phased out from their jobs because of age. When you work in a very youth oriented workforce the older woman tends to be shut out because they are placed in a category where they are related to the younger person’s parents age or what their concept of the older person should be and then the dynamics of interaction change.

As for our traditional ways of revering and respecting our elders and if our traditions respect or clash or embrace women over 50 depends on the person their background and family experience. In general, I feel that Latina women over 50 are expected to age a certain way and grow into the roles that traditionally has been held for older women. I think older women are embraced up to a certain extend. Again it goes back to the role that the woman has defined for herself from the very beginning in the family. So basically we are accepted for what we project to our families and to others. The tricky part is when one decides after several decades of doing the same thing and makes a decision to change, then it can become an issue for the rest of the family, friends. You are no longer in the familiar role that they know you for and that is the litmus test, will they accept the “new you” or not. Also, because we live in a more modernized version of what our parents and grandparents knew in terms of life style, cultural differences and interest I think that if a Latina over 50 is clear about what she wants then the support will come and should be there.

CMC: In your opinion, what do women over 50 have an advantage of over their younger sisters?

Maria: What women over 50 have over our younger sisters is time. And this is a personal comment not all women over 50 may feel this way. I feel that what we have is the wisdom of time. We have lived long enough to speak from that place of having had to deal with life in all its stages and have learned from our mistakes and are willing to move forward and let stuff go when we have to. I am not saying that younger women don’t I know some amazing younger women who are handling their lives very nicely and with strength. But there is something about being a woman in her 50‘s and older and the aging process that fortifies the spirit, especially after you have gone through menopause. There is a feeling of coming full circle with certain aspects of your life. That feeling of not doing enough or wondering if what you’re doing works passes. You are more settled in who and what you are. Because we have been through so many changes in terms of culture, society, history, modernization those life experiences do not come over night. I can certainly tell you that I don’t live nor think the way I did in my 20’s 30’s or 40’s. For me those were what I call the “life ladder lessons”. It was in learning how to deal with loss, death, and being alone that taught me how to be my best friend first. So imagine going through all of that and realize that you can have a certain kind of peace of mind that you value more than material things?

(PERSONAL NOTE: I love when mentors not only share their knowledge but also leave you with questions to ponder. Always take note. Did your mentor not only help you answer a few questions of your own but also set you on a further or new path? It is great when that happens)

Final question.

CMC: If you could please speak to the motivation and inspiration that moved you to begin this journey, can you tell us where would you like to see this event lead and progress to?

Maria: The reason I started Latina 50 Plus is because I felt that the voices of the Latina women over 50 was not being given that space to acknowledge their experiences. Particularly that my generation and older grew up in a time where it was not expected of us to be no more than what society wanted us to be. Our roles in life were delegated to being uneducated, working menial jobs and never to have the opportunity to go beyond high school let alone college. But that was not the way it was many of us went to college started careers were the groundbreakers for many social and cultural programs that started and are still in existence today, or have transformed into other programs. I wanted to create a program that would honor those women who stayed behind to make something work for their children and their community. Create a space for them to tell their stories and histories, especially their histories because history is slowly disappearing. I think it would be good for our younger sisters to learn from these women in their own words what it took to get to this place where information is dispensed instantly from those who put in those years of work and sacrifice to make life a lot easier for others today.

The future goal for Latina 50 Plus is to host an annual conference where Latina Elders will be invited to facilitate workshops where they can share their expertise in various career fields. Also, to start a scholarship fund for Latinas over 50 who may be in need to perhaps go back to school, take that art class, or self improvement workshop, Of course this is the concept and as the program grows this will be open to discussion. This is my vision as a Latina Elder and as someone who works with young folks all the time because I am surrounded by college age students and I hear their stories too. I want to leave them a blueprint and a map to the future and to let them know that with time it does get easier and life is meant to be lived with peace of mind and heart.

Thank you Maria Aponte.

Considering that I will be 50 shortly myself, this interview resonated with me on so many levels. As I am embarking on a voyage of rocky and frightening proportions, to meet such an individual as Maria always feels as if fate stepped in and reminded me that we have to seek out our next steps and solutions as they do not land in our laps as some would have you believe.

I was humbled and honored to be given some of Maria's time as she is busy and this new direction takes every moment she can allow outside of the rest of her life. Gracias hermana. May others, men and women, be made aware of the strides being made in this arena through your efforts and may you continue to impact the lives of people, whatever age, as you share your wisdom and your talents.

To support Maria in her latest endeavor, Latinas Plus 50, go to and donate to her crowdfunding campaign. The official website for this event is See you at the event on June 21, 2014!

Carmen M. Colon is a mother, an engineer by trade, an education and childrens advocate, an author and a workshop facilitator on the topics of leadership, womens empowerment, career advancement and parenting.
She is writing a book on a series of "Dear Sons" letters to her three sons on an array of topics and issues and is conducting a set of interviews with Latinas whose personal journeys have impacted other lives beyond their own circles. It is called Latinas Who Launch Lives. Both books will be out early 2015.
Carmen's website is
Carmen's books can be found online at both Amazon:
and Barnes and Noble at