Striker Santa Brito (who declined to be photographed) opened her home to us and told us, through an interpreter, her story of being "tortured" and in constant physical pain while working as a hotel housekeeper for $10 an hour. She is now unemployed and struggling to keep a roof over head. She lives with her husband (himself a political activist) and her two year old son in a (not surprisingly) impeccably clean apartment in a largely Dominican part of town. Despite her tiny frame, she exudes strength and determination. She looks back on the hunger strike with pride. She feels her actions made a difference for others.
Later in the day we met up with State Representative Shelby Maldonado. Over coffee at Seven Stars Bakery on Federal Hill, we listened as Shelby described the challenges she faces as a young, female Latina negotiating political realities at the statehouse. Since becoming a representative in November 2014, Shelby has been the driving force behind some important legislation, most notably a bill requiring suitable accommodations be made for pregnant women in the workplace. The legislation was co-sponsored by Hanna M. Gallo.