Virtuous Woman

By Mirna Y. Jiménez Lucena

Tough, strong, independent, sensible, humane, fighter, dedicated, hardworking, humble, collaborative, fun and adventurous are just some of the adjectives that describe Luisa Seijo (Tatita).

If you study or work at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez at some point you must have heard about Professor Luisa Seijo Maldonado. But if you study social sciences, surely you know professor Seijo.

Since Luisa was young, she lived a life full of intense moments. Great opportunities were presented and to help people, who needed it most to her, made her learn, grow and gradually overcome her fears. Today her efforts and dedication make Seijo a successful woman. She is a true example of what it is to fight without rest and contribute to positive actions.

All the success in their professional lives that Luisa has i wasn’t an obstacle to get married and have a happy family. Seijo has been happily married for 41 years with her husband José Manuel Rosado Martínez and had five children. Also, she has a kitten called Tuta and she considers Tuta part of her family.

Luisa is passionate about live.  With energy she helps other people and organizations to ensure a just society.

Her first experience with community work was when she was member of a group of Catholic Action. She was 15 when she visited with her parents, José Alejandro Saenz and Haydee Seijo, the communities at Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, and decided to help the poor people of the area. Since then she decided she wanted to contribute more to improve society.

In 1970 Luisa was admitted to the Catholic University-Puerto Rico, Ponce and she decided to volunteer at the Center for Guidance and Service at Ponce Playa. In 1972 she entered the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras to pursue a masters in social work.

As the years went by, as a feminist activist, her passion for social work was an helping people and organizations grew. At present, this has not changed. Luisas’ goal as a feminist activist is to be able to continue an educational activity that demands the rights of women in college and community-based organizations.  What inspired Seijo to defend the rights of women was a bad experience that happened with her best friend years ago.

In her long career she has received several awards in different areas such as Lady Hostos CAAM in March 6, 2008; the Movement for the Development of thern West Mayagüez, Inc. awarded Feminize Leaders Coalition in support of the Central American and Caribbean Games on August 14, 2009. “Siempre Vivas Project” at UPRM was recognized on December 9, 2012 for her commitment to the Project, devotion and dedication.

In 1997 Seijo, with a group of coworkers, decided to found the “Siempre Vivas Project” at UPRM. This project is dedicated to protecting women, children and abused men.

She participated every week in support group meetings, presenting her pains and sufferings, in workshops looking and trying to understand other ways to deal with her life and looking out from the program for other services and experiences to help partners of the support group.

Other projects involved are Seijo to nongovernmental organizations such as the Center for Puerto Rico, the Sila M. Calderón Foundation to promote educational experiences. Supporting Community and IDEBAJO organizations, a coalition of community based organizations at Caguas, Salinas, Guayama and Arroyo. Issues related to the women who participated in the Puerto Rican Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, two non-governmental organizations providing services to women victims of domestic abuse and their children.

“I just believe in people. As you begin to give people tools, they begin to generate a different and better society. If you are still segregating, isolating and marking differences, the opposite is true,” said Seijo.

Yamitza Gastambide, Luisa’s administrative assistant, said that despite being a very busy woman, Luisa finds time for all engagements and to help everyone.

“I can deal with the different activities by planning and focus in each experience,” said Luisa.

“Some people tell me that what I want is a dream. I don’t think so. If you want a different society, one has to build that society and that community,” said Seijo safely.

“We all know that Puerto Rico is going through bad times. Every day the newspapers publish news of killings and abuse. I think it’s true that we are far from making things better, but I’m not going to stop fighting, and contribute good things to P.R.”

“That’s why I decided to study social sciences, in particular social work, to be part of the solution in an unequal world promoting actions toward transformation including the transgression process” said Seijo.

Luisa Seijo Maldonado participating in the press  conference on domestic violence. (Photo taken by Keisalys Fermin)

Luisa Seijo Maldonado participating in the press
conference on domestic violence. (Photo taken by Keisalys Fermin)

Luisa Seijo Maldonado participating in the press  conference on domestic violence. (Photo taken by Keisalys Fermin)

Luisa Seijo Maldonado participating in the press
conference on domestic violence. (Photo taken by Keisalys Fermin)

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