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Episodio 1: Breaking Boundaries (Rompiendo barreras)

Por Duolingo el miércoles 29 de julio del 2020

En este episodio conocemos a dos pioneros, o trailblazers, de Estados Unidos que rompieron barreras de raza y género en su puesto de trabajo.

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Transcripción

Diana: En 1961, Ed Dwight fue invitado a inscribirse en un programa de entrenamiento para la NASA, la agencia espacial estadounidense. Él supo de inmediato lo que aquello significaba: nunca antes hubo un astronauta negro en los Estados Unidos.

Ed: If I got into that program, I could become the world’s first Black astronaut!

Diana: Pero los jefes de Ed le dijeron que no se postulara. Ya era un piloto de las Fuerzas Armadas... podría llegar a ser oficial, y de los de alto rango. Sus superiores le advirtieron que unirse a la NASA sería malo para su carrera. Pero Ed decidió inscribirse de todos modos.

Ed: I sent my application, although I didn't think I would get into the program. But a few days later, I got a letter that said I was accepted. Soon, there was a story about me in the newspaper. And in Kansas City, the place where I'm from, they had a huge celebration for me. I was going to be the first Black man in space!

Diana: Welcome, bienvenidos y bienvenidas a “Relatos en inglés”, un podcast de Duolingo. Soy Diana Gameros. En cada episodio podrás practicar inglés a tu propio ritmo, escuchando historias reales y fascinantes.

Todos nuestros protagonistas hablan en un inglés sencillo y fácil de entender para quienes están aprendiendo el idioma. En cada capítulo, yo te acompañaré para asegurarme de que entiendas todo.

Hoy vamos a escuchar a dos personas que dieron pasos muy importantes en sus vidas, rompiendo barreras, o breaking boundaries.

Diana: En los Estados Unidos hay una larga tradición de lucha por los derechos civiles, o civil rights. Y hay algo muy importante en esa lucha por la igualdad: el derecho al empleo. En 1961 la idea de un astronauta afroamericano era impensable. Pasarían cuatro años más para que el Congreso de los Estados Unidos aprobara una ley de derechos civiles que prohibió la discriminación en el trabajo por raza o género.

Cuando Ed Dwight recibió la carta con la invitación para ser astronauta, no sabía que un afroamericano podía serlo... porque ninguno antes lo había sido.

Ed: I was born in Kansas City, in the state of Kansas, in 1933. I didn't think about becoming an astronaut while I was growing up. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an artist. I told my dad about the idea, and he said, "No, you should become an engineer. That’s how you will make money." He didn't think I would make a lot of money as an artist. This was during the Great Depression, after all.

Diana: La Gran Depresión fue la mayor crisis económica de la historia del mundo y afectó de forma muy grave a los Estados Unidos. Hubo mucho desempleo y hambre. La familia de Ed no tenía mucho dinero.

Ed: My family lived on a farm next to an airport. My mom took me on walks to see the planes when I was little. I was fascinated! Eventually, I knew all of the workers at the airport, and they paid me to clean the planes. When I was 10, I told the pilots that I wanted to fly. And they agreed to take me in the air with them. The first time I flew in a plane, I felt like a bird. You can see everything up in the air!

Diana: Ed pasaba mucho tiempo en el aeropuerto, y esto no le gustó a su mamá. Como su papá, ella quería que él ganara dinero.

Ed: My mom found a job for me. I started delivering newspapers. I had two different routes because there were two types of newspapers: one for the White people and one for the Black people. Kansas City was a segregated city.

Diana: En aquella época muchas ciudades de los Estados Unidos estaban segregadas, o segregated. Por ley, los restaurantes, cines, baños y colegios estaban separados para los afroamericanos. Ellos no podían compartir espacios con las personas de raza blanca.

Ed: One day, while I was delivering newspapers, I saw something interesting on the front page of the Black newspaper. It was a Black pilot standing on the wing of an airplane. He was from Kansas City, like me! I thought, "Wow, I can't believe that a Black person is allowed to fly a plane!" The next week, I applied to join the Air Force. And I was accepted! My first destination in the Air Force was a base in the state of Texas. But soon, I realized that the other students didn't have a good opinion of me. They didn't think that I looked like a person who could do great things –– because I was short and Black. So I decided to become an overachiever.

Diana: Un overachiever es alguien que hace un gran esfuerzo para destacar, tratando de superar algún obstáculo.

Ed: I made sure that I learned more about flying planes than any other student. And I worked harder than everybody else. Soon, people started noticing my hard work. By 1961, I was a captain at my base. That's when I got the letter from the Pentagon. I was asked to join an experimental test pilot program for NASA. At that point, the space agency was only three years old.

Diana: La NASA había enviado al primer astronauta de los Estados Unidos al espacio en 1961… un mes después de la Unión Soviética. Eran los tiempos de la carrera espacial, o the Space Race.

Ed: This was an important time in American history. It was the beginning of the civil rights movement, when many Americans were trying to get equality for the Black community.

President John F. Kennedy wanted to help the Black community, so he talked to the civil rights leaders. They thought that a Black astronaut could inspire many Black people who wanted to study math, science, and engineering. So President Kennedy told the Air Force to find a Black pilot for NASA’s new program. At the time, there were only 125 Black pilots in the whole world. And they wanted this pilot to be under 30 years old, have 1,500 hours flying in jets, and have an engineering degree. That was basically me!

Diana: Ed finalmente respondió a la carta diciendo que estaba interesado. Pronto, desde Washington le comunicaron su nuevo destino.

Ed: The Air Force sent me to the experimental test pilot school for aerospace pilots in California. I was the only Black pilot in the program. President Kennedy wanted me to be famous, so I talked to big groups of people all over the country. My face was also on the front page of newspapers and magazines all over the world. They thought I could be a symbol for both the civil rights movement and the space race. I felt really proud.

Diana: Ed trabajó duro, y durante dos años se preparó para ser astronauta, hasta que llegó el viernes 22 de noviembre de 1963.

Ed: President Kennedy was assassinated on that Friday. After that, everything changed. When Vice President Johnson became the new president, I was pushed to leave the space training program. I didn't want to leave, and it was really hard for me. But I did leave. I realized that NASA never really wanted a Black astronaut.

Diana: Hasta entonces, los astronautas en los Estados Unidos eran todos hombres y todos de raza blanca.

Ed: It seemed clear to me that NASA wanted the world to believe that the first seven astronauts in space were heroes, like Superman. And of course, Superman is a White guy.

Diana: La NASA tardaría veinte años más en mandar al espacio a la primera persona afroamericana (por cierto, junto con la primera mujer). Pero Ed no dejó de luchar por la igualdad de derechos.

Ed: After my career as an astronaut ended, I moved to Colorado, I worked for the IBM computer company and then had a lot of different jobs. But I missed the excitement of being an astronaut. I wanted to find another dream. So I decided to return to the first dream I ever had: being an artist.

Diana: El debut de Ed en el mundo del arte comenzó gracias a un encuentro con George Brown, el primer vicegobernador afroamericano del estado de Colorado.

Ed: One evening in the 1970s, George Brown came to a party at my house. He really liked the art that I made. He told me that the state wanted an artist to make a sculpture of him to put in Denver, the capital of the state of Colorado. And he said to me, “You’re going to do it.”

Diana: El problema era que Ed sabía cómo pintar pero no cómo esculpir. En seguida rechazó la oferta. Pero George Brown se negaba a aceptar un ‘no’ por respuesta.

Ed: George said to me, “Ed, Black people have been in North America for 350 years. We built this country when we were slaves. But nobody talks about all of the amazing things Black people have done. If you go to a museum, a gallery, or a city square, you won't see statues of Black men or Black women. So, you should spend the rest of your life showing what Black people have done in history."

Diana: Ed hizo su estatua del vicegobernador Brown y se apuntó a clases de escultura en la universidad de Denver. De ahí dedicó su carrera a hacer esculturas de líderes afroamericanos.

Ed: I've made more than 130 memorial statues during my career. I've created sculptures of people like Harriet Tubman, who helped Black people escape from slavery; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an important civil rights activist; Duke Ellington, a famous jazz musician… I wasn't allowed to be the first Black man in space, but I've used my artistic talents to show all of the amazing things Black Americans have done. So, in a way, I did achieve my dream.

Diana: Y Ed tiene claro cuál es su escultura favorita.

Ed: Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States.

Diana: Mientras que Ed Dwight de niño estaba obsesionado con aquellos aviones que volaban muy rápido, unos estados más al oeste, unas décadas después, una niña llamada Bequi Livingston estaba fascinada por... los incendios. Ella pasaba los veranos con su familia en Nuevo México y amaba la naturaleza. Después de la universidad, se apuntó a clases de bombero forestal o wildland firefighter.

Bequi: On my first day of training to become a wildland firefighter, the office manager was very surprised. I don't think she expected me to be a woman, because she offered me a job in the office! And I said, "No, no, I want to be a firefighter."

Diana: En 1979 había pocas mujeres bomberas en los Estados Unidos, y menos en el campo, apagando incendios forestales.

Bequi: I’m pretty small. Most people think firefighters are big and tall. So, when the office manager saw me, she said, “Oh, honey, you're too small for this job.” But she didn’t know me. Yes, I am shorter than most people. But my nickname is "Bulldog" — because I'm small but strong.

Diana: Los bomberos forestales deben caminar con bultos muy pesados por las montañas y utilizan herramientas, como sierras y picos, para mantener los cortafuegos.

Bequi: You have to be strong to be a wildland firefighter. You spend a lot of time doing hard physical activities. You also have to walk up and down mountains with a lot of weight on your back. So, you have to be very strong — physically and mentally. It’s a difficult job.

Diana: Bequi ingresó al programa y pasó el invierno de 1979 preparándose para ser bombero forestal. La mayoría de sus compañeros la trataron bien… pero algunos no... simplemente por ser mujer.

Bequi: I worked with some men who didn't think a woman should be a firefighter. But after they saw that I was good at the job, and that I didn't need help, they accepted me. That summer, I got my first job, fighting fires in the state of New Mexico. I loved it, and I was good at it!

Diana: En los años 80, las mujeres sólo eran un 37% de los empleados de tiempo completo en los Estados Unidos. Aún quedaba mucho para lograr la igualdad de derechos. A algunos bomberos no les gustaba tener a Bequi al lado.

Bequi: One time, when I was getting ready to fight a fire, another firefighter pulled me off the truck! He said, “I’m not going to let a woman do my job.”

Diana: Bequi sabía que sí podía hacer el trabajo. Y no se dejó vencer por el machismo. Ella trató de ignorar todas las críticas.

Bequi: I was really strong and fit, stronger and in better shape than some of the men. During a job in 1986, I was leading a team of firefighters on a hike up a mountain. I was walking very quickly. When we took a break, the men on my team put some rocks in my bag. They wanted me to go slower, because they couldn't walk as fast as me! I didn’t even notice! Because, like I said, I was a bulldog.

Diana: Bequi soñó con convertirse en bombero de élite, de un tipo específico que en inglés se llama “hotshot”. Son los que van al foco del incendio cuando este está activo. Se ponen en peligro, o in harm’s way.

Bequi: There are only 11 teams of "Hotshots" in the United States. They’re the firefighters who work in the hottest part of the fire. And they fight the biggest fires. Hotshots aren't afraid of the job. They aren't afraid to be in harm’s way. They aren't afraid of getting hurt, and they have to be very healthy and strong.

Diana: Si en esa época, ser mujer y trabajar como bombera forestal ya era difícil… ingresar en un equipo de élite era casi imposible.

Bequi: Women weren’t allowed to be on Hotshot teams until 1976. After that, some women did become Hotshots, but not many. I wanted to join a team called the Smokey Bear Hotshots, but there were no women on this team.

Diana: Smokey Bear es un oso animado que protagoniza campañas para prevenir incendios forestales desde los años cuarenta. El equipo al que se unió Bequi toma su nombre del oso verdadero en que se inspiró ese dibujo, que había sido rescatado de un incendio en Nuevo México.

Bequi: The superintendent of the Smokey Bear Hotshot team didn’t think women should be Hotshots. He would not let a woman be part of his team. But in 1988, the team got a new superintendent. And this new guy personally contacted me. He asked me to apply to be on the team. During my career, that superintendent was one of the few people who really wanted to help women firefighters succeed.

Diana: Ese director, o superintendent, terminó siendo uno de los mayores defensores de Bequi a lo largo de su carrera.

Bequi: In 1988, a friend and I became the first women to join the Smokey Bear Hotshots. I achieved my dream! And it was an amazing job! We started out fighting fires in the state of Minnesota. During the rest of the summer, we worked on a lot of fires in the western US. The most memorable fire we fought that summer was in Yellowstone National Park in 1988.

Diana: Yellowstone, uno de los mayores parques de los Estados Unidos, sufrió varios incendios enormes en 1988. El gobierno mandó a miles de bomberos a combatirlos. Y Bequi fue uno de ellos. Un día, su equipo estaba en el bosque cuando le rodearon las llamas.

Bequi: It was really scary. The fire was so loud, like a train! My boss told us to get our equipment and walk quickly back to the safety zone. But within an hour, the fire was all around us! Planes couldn't fly near us because of the smoke. No one was hurt, but it was a very dangerous situation!

Diana: Bequi terminó pasando sólo un verano con el equipo Smokey Bear, pero siguió combatiendo incendios con otros bomberos en otras partes de los Estados Unidos.

Bequi: I met my husband while I was on that Hotshot team. He was a helicopter pilot. And he was helping our team with a fire. After working with the Hotshot team that summer, I got a job fighting fires in California. One day, when I was working, I got really sick. Soon, I realized that I was pregnant! I took a break from fighting fires for a few years. But after my kids were born, I went back to firefighting.

Diana: Las cosas han cambiado mucho desde que Bequi comenzó a apagar incendios. Hoy, hay casi 100 000 mujeres bomberas en los Estados Unidos.

Bequi: Today, I think things are a lot different. There are definitely a lot more women fighting fires now, but not as many as there should be! It’s still not very common for them to be on Hotshot teams. There are usually only two or three women on a team of twenty people. So, in 2012, I started a program called Women in Wildland Fire. I wanted to help more women become wildland firefighters.

Diana: El programa de Bequi se concentra en ayudar a las mujeres a prepararse física y mentalmente para el desafío de ser bomberas forestales.

Bequi: In the program, I tried to help women by telling them what to expect during the job. We talked about everything that happens –– good things and bad things. We talked about the hard parts of the job –– physically and emotionally. I told them: You might experience discrimination…or worse. But we're lucky now because there are ways to get help if something unfair happens. When I started fighting fires, women didn't have a lot of help in bad situations. But things are better now. And I think that's amazing!

Diana: Bequi Livingston está jubilada y vive en Albuquerque, Nuevo México, y la productora de su historia es Stephanie Joyce.

Ed Dwight Jr. es hoy un artista que vive en Denver, Colorado y su historia la produjo Rebecca Rosman.

Gracias por haber escuchado “Relatos en inglés”. Nos encantaría saber qué te pareció este episodio. Puedes enviarnos un correo electrónico a podcast@duolingo.com, o también puedes enviarnos un mensaje de audio por WhatsApp al +1-703-953-93-69.

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“Relatos en inglés” es una producción de Duolingo y Adonde Media. Puedes suscribirte en Spotify o tu plataforma preferida. También hay una versión en video disponible en YouTube. Yo soy Diana Gameros. Thank you for listening!

Créditos

Este episodio es una producción de Duolingo y Adonde Media.

Productores: Rebecca Rosman & Stephanie Joyce
Narradores y protagonistas: Ed Dwight Jr. & Bequi Livingston
Editor de transcripción: David Alandete
Diseño de sonido e ingeniero en masterización: Martín Cruz Farga