For Yesika Salgado, Mujeres Market is a necessity.
“I don’t think we realize how much of a need for things like Mujeres Market there is, until we go to it,” said the well-known Salvadorian poet.
Mujeres Market is a community based pop-up market featuring women of color, queer and transgender creators and artists, co-founded by Gloria Lucas from Nalgona Positivity Pride, a body positivity organization based in Los Angeles in 2017.
“These community events and vendor pop-ups were a thing Gloria would kind of curate and I would participate whenever I was invited,” said Salgado, who has published three books of poetry that tackle subject matter that speak to the core values of Mujeres Market.
“I write poetry about my life, my culture, my fat body, but mostly of love.”
On Dec. 19 the Mujeres Market comes to Orange County at the Heritage Museum in Santa Ana, where Salgado will be signing books and performing poetry.
Mónica Virgen Zamora, chief executive director of Mujeres Market, said the Heritage Museum is the perfect venue for the market because it aligns with the market’s mission.
“We try to be very community-oriented and very conscious of the spaces that we enter, and we do not pick them lightly,” said Zamora. “I could not have created a better venue in my mind.”
Zamora said they have also worked hard to give local artists priority at Sunday’s market.
“In this case we prioritized anybody specifically from Santa Ana,” said Zamora. “Gentrification is a really serious issue and an ongoing problem in Santa Ana and we want to do our best to support people there … we really want to honor the true people of Santa Ana first and foremost.”
Salgado said knowing you are supporting local artists in your community is part of the draw.
“It feels good to know that you went shopping but also that it is directly contributing to somebody’s house, family, going back straight into your community,” said Salgado.
Since its inception five years ago, the markets inclusivity has evolved.
“Originally, Mujeres Market was a place for women of color entrepreneurs to gather. Since then we have grown and the world has changed in many ways,” said Zamora. “We have expanded to be more of a BIPOC marketplace.”
The market on Sunday will feature more than 80 vendors, all of which will not only be owned by Black, Indigenous or other people of color but also owned by people who identify as womxn, genderqueer, femme, transgender or two-spirit.
“We love mujeres, Gloria and I are mujeres, but it is a privilege to live in a CIS-gendered body and to be a fairly light-skinned person at that,” Zamora said. “We need to make more room for our trans, queer, nonbinary friends, and there needs to be room for all of us who often are marginalized … our moto is literally creating our own opportunities together and we can’t do that if we are not including our trans, queer and nonbinary allies.”
The market’s leadership is also evolving as Zamora will be taking the reins on the Mujeres Market from Lucas.
“I have been slowly taking over the marketplace since 2018 or so,” Zamora said. “And as we enter the new year, I will be the official owner of Mujeres Market, an entity separate from Nalgona but still mutually part of the family.”
Zamora also said Salgado is one of the earliest supporters of the market and she is happy they all can support each other.
“Gloria and Yesika had actually been really good friends for a long time,” said Zamora. “Yesika likes to say that Nalgona put her on the map, but I feel like we keep each other on our own map.”
Salgado said she is happy to lend her voice to the cause.
“I really am a strong believer in supporting woman and femmes, marginalized folks when they are doing amazing things,” said Salgado. “One of the ways that I can show support to things I really, really believe in is by lending my own following and showing up and sharing it with my own audience. Because not only is it beneficial for the people putting it on, it is also really dope for my audience to be able to see events made for them, by people that look like them.”
Salgado will have her three poetry books, “Corazón,” “Tesoro” and “Hermosa,” for sale and will do a book signing and meet and greet from 1 to 3 p.m.
“At the end of the event, I will be closing it with a performance,” Salgado said.
Besides Salgado and so many unique vendors, the market will also have food trucks, a cash bar and DJ Gfunk Trece, DJ Zuri Adia and the Santa Ana chapter of Chulitas Vinyl spinning.
Mujeres Market takes place Sunday, Dec. 19, from noon to 6 p.m. at Heritage Museum of Orange County, 3101 W. Harvard St. in Santa Ana. General admission is free for this outdoor event.
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Sarah Mosqueda covers culture, food and features for TimesOC. She also has several years of experience in the restaurant industry, including as a proprietor. Mosqueda earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Cal State Fullerton.
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