Indiana Daily Student

Law alumna speaks about empowerment

Event kicks off National Women's History Month

Magistrate Maria Luz Corona spoke about what empowered her in life in her talk Wednesday night in the Moot Court Room at the IU School of Law. \nThe talk was one campus event in honor of National Women's History Month, a monthlong dedication to "make history more accurate through the active recognition and inclusion of a true accounting of women's contributions to society," said Terry Dworkin, dean of the IU Office of Women's Affairs.\nThis year's theme is "Women Change America," which Dworkin said recognizes the role of women in changing culture, history and politics in society.\n"I encourage everyone tonight to take a moment and think about the women who have made our world a better place, at the local, national and international level," she said.\nSophomore Anna Garcilazo, an employee at La Casa, was highly involved in organizing Corona's talk Wednesday. She said it was difficult to find someone to speak.\n"We wanted the speaker to feel they were really empowered," she said. "The fact that she's Latino and a magistrate, that's a real accomplishment. So we wanted her to come speak."\nCorona, the night's main speaker, received her Doctorate of \nJurisprudence from IU in 1981. She has worked as a secretary, teacher and social worker and is currently the magistrate for the Domestic Relations Court in Lake County in northern Indiana. \n"Did I ever feel empowered as a minority woman?" she said. "Looking back on my life, I did have chances to make changes."\nShe explained that while working as a secretary in a steel mill, she noticed job openings for electrical and mechanical positions, but minority men were unable to obtain those jobs. She said she encouraged Hispanic and black men to ask for applications for those positions, which would in turn allow them to provide better for their families.\nHer membership in the Hispanic Women's Forum, an organization of "all women from different walks of life" allows her to give scholarships to college students, something she said also empowers her. \nShe said she had to learn that her high status in the community obliged her to help whether she liked it or not. That realization led her to help out migrant workers in South Bend and to a position in the welfare department. Now her obligations aren't so widespread.\n"Sometimes you think you have to do everything for your community," she said. "Now I have to step back and see what organizations I want to be a part of. You can't spread yourself too thin. If you don't give to yourself, you'll never be any good to anybody else."\nShe said her movement from a secretary in a steel mill to a magistrate was the result of encouragement from people around her.\n"I was very fortunate in having Anglos who saw something in me," she said. "I had blacks who took me in and helped me. I always say God takes care of fools, babies and Luzi Corona. It was just people encouraging me, just the right people." \nCorona said life's challenges can only make one stronger.\n"Everybody has different challenges but every challenge is different," she said. "That challenge molds you into who you are."\n-- Contact Staff Writer Laura Kruty at

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