Honoring AAPI Heritage Month with Leticia Barr's Jean Journey
This May, honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mother’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate long-time Democracy Clothing fan Leticia Barr, mom to two teens, middle school science teacher, activist and trusted resource for educators and parents through her award-winning blog Tech Savvy Mama. We’re proud to give Leticia an opportunity to share the story behind her blog and philanthropic work, and to amplify the ways she’s stepping into new leadership in the state of Maryland to fight against Asian hate.
Where do you call home?
Just over the Washington, DC border in Maryland
Tell us some things about you!
Being asked to tell you about myself is hard because there are so many different things I do that define who I am! I’m a mother of two high schoolers and teach middle school computer science. When I’m not spending time with my own teens or the ones I teach, I blog at TechSavvyMama.com, a site where I’ve been writing about technology, education, and parenting since 2008.
My unique perspective as a teacher and parent during a year of learning during a pandemic has kept me quite busy. It’s an honor to be considered a trusted thought leader in this space, especially in 2021 when we’ve had to rethink the way we learn and work virtually. This year I’ve provided lots of advice to parents about learning through screens and helpful tips to teachers about tech for their virtual classrooms through blog posts, podcasts, interviews, and brand collaborations.
Despite being tech savvy, I’m good at unplugging and putting my phone down to be in the moment with my teens, my Golden Retriever Labrador rescue, and our growing flock of backyard chickens. I always tell parents the best way to get their kids to unplug is to do the things they love together. In our house that means anything outside- hiking, biking, skiing, or spending time on the water kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddle boarding!
At Democracy Clothing, we’re all about looking good and feeling good while doing good. What’s the “good” you’re doing in the world?
As I mentioned, I’m a middle school teacher by day but in my spare time, I use my platform as an influencer to champion causes I care about such as fighting against Asian hate, ending childhood cancer and advocating for the importance of fair trade.
Even though I wish such a group like this didn't have to exist, it's an honor to serve on Maryland’s new Asian American Hate Crimes Workgroup. Selected for my background in education and knowledge of social media as we address the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans in Maryland. I look forward to working with this impressive group of individuals to provide recommendations, strategies, and actions to Governor Larry Hogan
I’ve been deeply committed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which leads the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. After a life-changing visit to St Jude, I decided to sign up to run my first half marathon as a St. Jude Hero, committing to raise $2500. I knew I could raise the money but I wasn’t sure about running 13.1 miles when I hadn’t ever run anything longer than a 5K before! Despite my uncertainty, I laced up my running shoes and haven’t stopped running since!
I’m also passionate about raising awareness about the importance of purchasing fair trade products after traveling to Haiti in 2012. The 2010 earthquake raised the world’s awareness of Haiti through the coverage that focused on death and destruction suffered by this already poor country. As recovery efforts began and foreign aid poured in to provide immediate assistance, there was also a need to rebuild people’s lives through sustainable jobs as their livelihoods were disrupted. Through numerous trips to Haiti over the years, I’ve been able to raise awareness about the positive impact fair trade products have on artisans, but I’ve also changed how Haiti is perceived by others. I never set out to win an award for my philanthropic efforts in Haiti but to have been awarded the 2018 Iris Award for Philanthropic Work of the Year meant my work touched people who understood that I was making a difference.
What pearls of wisdom do you have for other change-making women?
Ignore the hustle. Live your life authentically to model the values you believe in. Always make time to say yes to yourself and your kids but don't forget to stop and smell the flowers along the way.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to finding clothes that look good and feel good?
My biggest challenge in finding clothes that look and feel good is finding items that fit my petite frame and muscular calves and thighs! I was a 3-sport athlete in high school, continued to play tennis in college, and these days I am addicted to my Orange Theory workouts that I do as part of my half marathon training.
I love how strong I am and all the things that my body has accomplished but brands have not always had inclusive sizing. This has made it challenging to find clothes that look good to help me feel great. These days I’m appreciative of the wider range of sizes and development of better fabrics that stretch, smooth, and give women the confidence they deserve to have in their clothes.
What’s your favorite Democracy jean and what do you love about it?
I have a collection of Democracy skinny jeans that I just can’t give up and recently got the Itty Bitty Boot, Curved Fray Step Hem, and Straight Leg – all in petite sizes! I can’t say that I have a current favorite because I love them all! I know when I order a pair of jeans from Democracy that the sizes are consistent and they’ll fit me well, look great, and can easily transition from teaching to date nights, regardless of the style!
Democracy's core values are to embrace who you are, enhance what you got, elevate your confidence, and evolve your personal style. What advice do you have for becoming more comfortable and confident with who you are? How have you embraced who you are at this stage of your life?
I like to say I’m a work in progress. The person I am today is different from the one I was when dating my husband, as a newlywed, and a first-time mom. I’ve grown and changed and love who I am today but know the experiences that are part of my past have contributed to my growth. I know it’s ok to not have all the answers and to grow along with your significant other and kids. The experiences we have throughout different stages of life are meaningful and powerful!
What are you most proud of?
I know it’s probably cliché and cheesy but I’m going to say that I’m most proud of my kids! It’s been an unbelievably hard 15+ months because of the pandemic but I’m proud of the way our family has come together and made the best of being home. I’ve gotten to know my kids better than I would have if it was a normal year and we were running in all different directions. All the time together has been a treasure, especially as I look towards my oldest starting her senior year of high school this fall.
Where do you hope your jean journey will take you next?
As much as I’ve loved spending this year close to home, I’m also very ready to travel. While I’ve loved the time I’ve had with my teens at home during the pandemic, our family is looking forward to being able to travel the world again. We’ve had some incredible family adventures to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam, and Thailand that have contributed to their education beyond the classroom. I’m a big believer in global citizenship so I hope my jean journey involves a passport when it’s safe to travel again!
TechSavvy Mom, Leticia Barr is living proof that petite women can pack a powerful punch! We’re inspired by her words of wisdom and the many ways that she’s making a difference. Parenting her teens, teaching middle school science, raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, blogging about media and her trips to Haiti, and adding her voice at the table to address the issue of Asian hate - all reasons why we’re proud to lift up Leticia’s perspective and work!
We’re happy that Leticia appreciates Democracy Clothing's reliable fit and inclusive sizing that enhance her petite and muscular frame. And, we can’t wait to see where her Democracy jeans take her when she’s able to travel the world again with her family, adding some new stamps to her passport! To read more about Leticia’s wisdom and work in posts like 6 Things You Can Do to Stop Asian Hate, you can visit the Tech Savvy Mama Website and follow Leticia on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.