In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Fresno State is hosting a discussion Thursday to openly talk about the tattoo culture.
"That was just the way that I started to express myself. Whatever I started feeling or seeing, I would look for a piece of art that meant something to me," says Crystal Navarro.
Navarro has over 100 tattoos on her body that she started getting in her mid-20s. Since then, she says she's faced barriers and felt unfairly judged.
"I learned over time to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations and to prove myself and be strong-minded, happy, positive and to go against those stigmas and stereotypes that are associated with people who look like me," she says.
As a Latina, she says she's faced the most criticism from her own culture and she's not alone. Much of the older Hispanic generation associate tattoos with crime and bad behavior but younger generations have a different view.
Deyanire Del Toro, the coordinator of Latino/a Programs and Services, says she has one tattoo and it was enough for her father to stop speaking to her for some time.
"He saw it as a reflection of himself. He said, 'If you do this, then what does that say about me'? But it's not about him and that's where the conversation is challenging," says Del Toro.
She says she highly respects her parents and understands how challenging it can be to approach your parents.
The virtual event will be a safe space for people to openly discuss and highlight this topic.
Del Toro says, "I hope people will share their experience and be vulnerable, and if they do it will make for an even richer conversation."
Navarro is a Fresno State student pursing her degree in psychology with dreams of helping the youth. She hopes one day no one will be looked at differently or unfairly judged by the ink on their body, no matter their race.
"That is just a part of who some of us are. We need to love and care for one another and be kind and accepting," says Navarro.
The event will take place from 1 to 2:15 pm. You can pre-register for Fresno State's virtual event here.