“Say My Name Podcast” description:
Somethings going down! Join your host, Maritza as I navigate life being twenty-something, from current events, relationships, making money moves, and experiences, cause there is always something going down, at least that’s the way it seems!
About Maritza Estrada:
As a self-proclaimed micro-influencer born and raised in Oxnard, California, Maritza has created a lane for herself and others who identify as Latinx first gens who don’t necessarily check the one size fits all box. A mother born in the United States and a father born in Mexico had a heavy influence on Maritza’s life and upbringing. Along with a life-changing diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 25, life has been nothing less than interesting. In remission now, with a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Master of Social Work, Maritza has worked in the nonprofit after-school sector helping youth in her own community and backyard in Oxnard achieve their dreams, no matter how big or small. Say My Name Podcast was birthed in 2020 from the backyard conversations that include Spanglish, a mix of educational research, and a whole lot of hood. Creating a table for everyone to have a seat at was important to Maritza, and what better way than a podcast. A place to learn each other’s names, but also learn about what’s really going down.
Interview edited for brevity and clarity.
How long have you been in the podcast industry and when did you realize that it was an industry you wanted to be in?
I’ve been producing my podcast since July 2020, that’s when Say My Name launched. I always knew that I wanted to get my voice out in an impactful way. I blogged for a few years and thought about using Youtube as my platform, but it was really overwhelming and I didn’t want to be seen as an “entertainer.” I wanted to be in a space where people could share their identities with me and have tough conversations. Say My Name has a long history that evolved from my blogging to where it is now.
Can you tell us about your podcast and the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration for Say My Name came from my friends, who I feel are super diverse and who generally come from tough backgrounds and lifestyles that are underrepresented in podcast spaces. A lot of the people I know are first-generation college students or have become first-generation bachelors, masters, or even doctorate degree holders.
Our conversations while sitting around a bonfire in my backyard went from chisme and talking about hood life, to talking about why voting is important and why BLM is important. I became really inspired by the diversity in our topics and their [my friends’] life experiences. Being from Oxnard (CA) has especially inspired me because people here have really unique struggles.
So sitting around and speaking to friends is where the idea for the podcast began to form and come to life. I knew I wanted Say My Name to be a place where everyone could have a seat at the table and have their opinions and values be heard. My initial co-host felt the same.
How did the podcast name come up?
We went through various cycles with the name. Originally we were going to name it, Deal with It but ended up feeling that could be interpreted as too passive-aggressive or confrontational. So I started to think about an ongoing joke with a friend where we say that his name doesn’t fully represent who he really is and his intersectional identity. His name is really simple and straightforward and we feel that his name on paper doesn’t do him justice. Equally, I’ve always struggled with my name – Maritza- which people have mispronounced my whole life. I’ve been teaching others how to say my name my whole life and that’s how Say My Name was born. Initially, we were really apprehensive about it because there is a say her name and say his name movement in BLM. It took a few months to establish the name and logo. A lot of research went into it – a lot of reaching out to friends of mine who are heavily involved in the BLM movement and who are Black identifying and asking them are you offended/what do you think? Should I be worried about this? In the end, the feedback was that the name worked out and no one I asked felt offended by it.
Now the name of the podcast has taken on a life of its own. Mainly because when we teach others how to say my name we don’t just mean learn it and how to pronounce it, we also mean learn who I am and what I’m about. There is always something going on behind our names.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
I’m hoping to make Say My Name into a brand. I want to create merchandise and it’s been an ongoing conversation. I want to make sure that something good comes from any profits that are made. I don’t want to just create sixty-dollar hoodies to sell and not have it mean anything. I’m looking to partner with local non-profits and have proceeds go to them, so people feel good about buying the products and sponsoring the podcast.
I would also love to turn this into a Youtube podcast in the future. I know that I’m going to be dedicated to Say My Name for years to come.
Your episodes tackle diverse topics. Which has been a personal favorite of yours and would you consider revisiting that topic in the future?
The first episode that comes to mind is the voting episode. The Latinx vote is one of the largest votes in America and will only continue to grow. Latinx spending power is also continuing to grow. For me, this is information that was important for the Latinx community to know and understand. It was recorded after the Breonna Taylor indictment came out and that was weighing really heavy on my heart. A lot of people don’t realize that individuals like the attorney general are elected officials. We don’t have to keep someone we don’t like in that position. These are things we should know, look into and care about.
We also received a lot of good feedback for our BLM episode. I do feel like we really did our best as non-black identifying Latinxs in Oxnard, which is not a very diverse city and where it can be difficult to have conversations surrounding anti-blackness in the Latinx community. One of the things we wanted out of that episode was to tell our peers that we know that many in the Latinx community love Black culture, but we also need to love the people. It was an important discussion to have. We often listen to music by Black artists and we love it when we’re in the clubs so why don’t we show up to march for Black lives? Do they not matter?
It was a great episode to record and had a lot of good discussions, it’s something that I know I will revisit.
Given that your podcast tackles a variety of subjects, was that always the vision, or has it changed along the way?
From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to have diversity in topics. I wanted to give different perspectives on a variety of subjects. I come from a mental health professional background and my perspective is different from a lot of others. A lot of the topics that I touched on changed along the way because of things that were going on and changing in the community and world around us. I still have a lot of topics that I want to touch on and have a running list of them.
Can you tell us why producing and sharing your podcast with others is meaningful to you?
I never consciously thought it was important to get my voice out. When I was little I always got really good feedback and was complimented on my speaking skills. I’ve always been interested in many things. I don’t fit in one box, I feel like a jack of all
trades. This podcast is meaningful to me more so because of where I’m from. I’m from the southside of Oxnard, which doesn’t really have a good reputation. So having people from my community reach out to me to either agree or disagree with what was being said in the podcast is meaningful because it starts conversations on lots of different subjects.
How has your heritage impacted your work?
It impacts everything I do and how I do it. I have to acknowledge my heritage to explain my perspective. I have official intros and they’re in Spanglish and there’s a lot of conversation in the podcast that flows that way. For me, I feel it would be disrespectful not to acknowledge my heritage, in my work both in and out of the podcast and just personally.
My heritage is also important because if you look at the top 20 podcasts there’s only 3 that are Latinx based. The known POC in the podcast world are slim to none and not because we’re not doing them, but because we are not getting the same credibility or contracts as other non-POC podcasters.
In a nutshell, what message do you want to get out through this podcast?
There’s a seat at the table for you! Wherever that table is.
What does being a Powerful Latina mean to you?
It goes back to our ancestors and all of the people that carried me here. Being a powerful Latina means being who I am and being okay with taking up space and taking a seat at the table. In my 9-5 job I’m in a lot of boardrooms and a lot of people struggle to say my name correctly, so I become unmemorable and people don’t remember my name or who I am. I remind myself that I am a powerful Latina and that I deserve to be in those spaces. It’s about remembering our ancestors and where we come from and wearing that like a badge of honor.