In Chicago, Afro-Latinos carve a space to express their identity

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In Chicago, Blacks and Latinos each make up almost 30 percent of the population (29.7 percent and 29.4 percent, respectively) according to a report from the Institute for Research on Race and Policy and Great Cities Institute. But those who identify as Afro-Latino see themselves in both communities and are trying to express that duality.

Pew Research Center survey from 2016 showed that one-quarter of all U.S. Latinos self-identify as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean or of African descent with roots in Latin America. This was the first time a nationally representative survey in the U.S. asked the Latino population directly whether they considered themselves Afro-Latino.

In Chicago, Mexican-Americans make up almost 75 percent of the city’s Latinos; many live in the neighborhoods of Pilsen in the city’s Lower West Side and La Villita in the area of South Lawndale. Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Dominicans make up most of the rest of the city’s Hispanic population.

Two sisters have found a different way to express their Afro-Latino identity.

Raquel Dailey and Rebecca Wooley identify as Afro-Boricua; “boricua” refers to the name Taíno Indians had given to Puerto Rico. The sisters say that when they attend cultural events in Chicago, people are shocked to discover their Puerto Rican heritage.

“It comes as a surprise to people, as if there are no black Puerto Ricans,” Wooley said. “We’ve also received comments online from Latinx who don’t want us to post about ‘Blackness’ on social media.”

It may surprise some people to learn that Arturo Alfonso Schomburg who pioneered the idea of a Black Diaspora, referred to himself as an Afroboriqueño.

Similar to Jubal, Dailey said she felt like a lot of Afro-Latino representation was missing from the television shows, films and magazines they watched and read, which is why they created their lifestyle blog BoriquaChicks.com in 2012. It includes interviews with various Afro-Latina women from the country as well as articles with topics such as “Things Afro-Latinas Are Tired Of Hearing.” She said she and her sister initially created the space as a way for the public to relate to their story.

For the complete article, continue on to NBC News.

What Is the Future of the Term Chicano?

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Recently, the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán – better known as MEChA – made waves after local chapters of the group decided to drop the words “Chicanx” and “Aztlán” from their name. Given all the contentious debates going on online, Remezcla wanted to give people familiar with the organization, its mission, and its history a platform to weigh in on MEChA’s evolving goals and objectives. Below, check out three different perspectives about the name change.

Why MEChA Burned Out After 50 Years

by Jacqueline M. Hidalgo

When leaders of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (MEChA) voted to change the organization’s name, some MEChA alumni claimed that by dropping “Chicano” and “Aztlán,” their history would be erased. But students are not fleeing their history or disavowing the struggles of past generations. The terms “Chicano” and “Aztlán” have always been disputed, meaning that today’s students are participating in the student organization’s practices of conscientization and self-determination.

In March 1969, with his preamble to El Plan de Aztlán, the poet Alurista effectively renamed the southwestern United States as “Aztlán,” the Aztecs’ homeland. This inspiring utopian vision stated that ethnic Mexicans couldn’t be foreigners within the US’ borders and drew attention to how they had been displaced and erased from US land and history.

50 years ago, several student groups came together at a Santa Barbara conference to become El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán: a collective mecha (matchstick or fuse). They were not “Mexican American,” but Chicano. They were not in California, but Aztlán. In the organization’s founding, Mechistas sought out names that better spoke to who they were and wanted to be. MEChA’s contemporary leadership is engaging in this same process.

Chicano/a/xs are a diverse group that has been divided over their name and platform since the 1960s. Santa Barbara steering committee member Anna Nieto-Gómez has observed that the Plan de Santa Barbara made little room for a large number of voices and visions. We too easily forget how internal contestation has been central to the histories of Latina/o/x activism.

Even though some Indigenous ethnic Mexicans embraced it, Aztlán has long faced criticism, particularly from certain Indigenous populations in Mexico and the United States. Earlier generations have asked: Does Aztlán help or hinder solidarity with Indigenous non-Mexicans’ rights to land, sovereignty, and self-determination?

Appeals to Aztlán drew upon a Mexican nationalist revolutionary mythos that valued racial mixture – mestizaje – appropriating Indigenous imagery while opposing Indigenous rights, and excluding Mexicans of African and Asian descent. Alurista responded to already present critiques in 1972 with his Nationchild Plumaroja by being more gender inclusive and emphasizing Indigenous traditions rather than mestizaje.

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete article.

With Peabody Award, Rita Moreno is first Latina to attain unique ‘PEGOT’ class

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Actress Rita Moreno poses for camera at a Hollywood event

By Nicole Acevedo

Rita Moreno’s alphabet of awards is gaining another letter. The Peabody Awards organization recently announced it will honor the Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer with the career achievement award.

That means Moreno, 87, will become the third person to achieve PEGOT status by winning a Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. Film director Mike Nichols and entertainer Barbra Streisand are the other two PEGOT winners.

“So proud to be the first Latino recipient,” Moreno said on Twitter. She is also the second person to ever receive the Peabody Career Achievement Award. The first recipient was legendary comedian Carol Burnett in 2018.

Moreno, who gained widespread fame in the film “West Side Story,” will be honored at the Peabody Awards annual gala in New York City on May 18.

“Rita Moreno is a unique talent who has not only broken barriers, but whose career continues to thrive six-plus decades after her acting debut,” Jeffrey P. Jones, executive director of Peabody Awards. “We are delighted to celebrate her many contributions to entertainment and media, as well as her passion for children’s programming and important social issues.”

Most recently, Moreno starred in three seasons of the popular Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, “One Day at a Time” on Netflix, which was nominated for a 2017 Peabody Award, She also signed on to be an executive producer in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story — a film in which she is also co-starring.

Moreno has also received other prestigious awards, such as The Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American culture and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

SAWPA Celebrates World Water Day, Reminds Hispanic Customers Water is Safe

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Hispanic man fills a glass of water at his kitchen sink

Riverside, Calif. – This World Water Day, March 22, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) wants to remind its customers in the Santa Ana River Watershed (SARW) that the tap water that comes to their home is safe to drink.

“Billions of people around the world are still living without safe, clean drinking water,” said Mark Norton, SAWPA Water Resources & Planning Manager. “While a sustainable global solution is in development, we want to remind our customers that their water is safe and tested daily to ensure it meets the highest state and federal standards before it reaches them.”

The Santa Ana River Watershed, which stretches 75 miles from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Pacific Ocean in Orange County, is home to a large immigrant population. These immigrants come from countries where tap water is not safe to drink. Therefore, they still rely on boiling water, bottled water, water stores, and water vending machines.

Bottled water is tested less frequently than water from tap-water providers and is stored in plastic containers that can leach toxic chemicals. There are no testing standards for plastic bottles leaching toxins into the water or testing for possible bacteria that might form in water bottles.

Additionally, corner water stores are supposed to be monitored and regulated, but often inspections are not consistent, and the water quality can be unreliable. Customers’ water jugs and bottles used to collect water from stores and machines are often used multiple times, and may contain bacteria as well.

“Customers can also save money when they choose tap water; a gallon of tap water is less than .03 cents versus up to $2.50 for a gallon of bottled water,” continued Mark. “Spending more on bottled water doesn’t guarantee better quality. We recommend investing in a reusable water bottle to fill up with tap water or even use a home filter if you prefer the taste of filtered water.”

Avoiding tap water also has health risks as often water is substituted for sugary, high-calorie drinks, such as soda, juice, and sports drinks, which can lead to diabetes and obesity.

All tap water in Southern California and across the United States undergoes mandatory daily testing at certified laboratories to ensure it meets or exceeds standards. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires that public tap water providers conduct comprehensive water quality testing by certified laboratories as well as provide annual water quality reports to its customers.

Established in 1993 by the United Nations, International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.

Culture Circuit: Latinos & Film – A Sundance Film Festival Perspective

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The Sundance Film Festival is known for championing eclectic, independent work from artists around the world. Given their specific diversity-driven initiatives of years past, the 2019 edition of the festival was no exception, particularly with respect to cinema of interest to the Latino community. To the contrary, if you spent any time in the last few days in the snowy, mountainous air of Park City, you saw that this year showcases an embarrassment of riches when it comes to quality cinema from Latin America.

But, like all things involving Latino culture, Latino-related films at Sundance defy reductive simplifications. The picture that emerges is of a vibrant, diverse, and complex community of films and filmmakers. As told through the eyes of these artists, Latinos experience much of the same angsts as all other members of society. At the same time, we have a unique set of anxieties—and a beautiful, distinctive perspective—that makes Latin American cinema rewarding.

For the complete article, continue on to Awards Circuit.

5 tips to help families talk about online safety at home

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Home will always be the foundation of any child’s learning, and healthy online habits are no different. Google’s Be Internet Awesome created a bilingual Family Guide and online safety tips in English and Spanish to help families practice good digital habits in their everyday lives.

Families will learn to Be Internet Awesome by learning how to share, be alert, be strong, be kind and be brave online. The guide offers tips, conversation starters, vocabulary words, goals and scenarios that will assist in raising strong and smart digital citizens.

The new resources were released on Safer Internet Day to help foster conversations between family members.

You can download the resources on the Be Internet Awesome website or check out the blog to learn more about additional new program updates.  Below are five tips families can share with their children on how to stay safe and smart online.

Be internet smart

 

The Hispanic consumer has a major impact on the 2019 U.S. markets

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If one thing is clear as we start 2019, it’s that America is changing. According to a Claritas report (registration required), in the United States today, there are 131 million multicultural Americans, making up 37.5% of the U.S. population, with Hispanics accounting for the largest portion at 19.6%.

Minority groups now represent the majority of the population in more than 400 U.S. counties. There can be no doubt that America is becoming multicultural and that Hispanics are a significant part of this change.

Although some brands are starting to face the facts, there is a still a long way to go before advertisers understand the U.S. Hispanic market and unlock its potential.

What’s Changed

From the enormous success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians to the rising popularity of Hispanic celebrities like Cardi B, America has changed a lot in the past year. We’ve seen advancement in film representation, a resurgence in cultural and political movements, and the continued popularity and application of technology like smart homes and streaming media. And 2019 will be no different, with these changes impacting not only the people living in the U.S. but also brands across industries that will have to evolve with the changing American landscape.

According to 2017 estimates from the Census Bureau, there are over 58.9 million Hispanics living in the United States, and by 2030, U.S. Hispanics are expected to reach more than 72 million. More than that, this growth doesn’t just mean more Hispanics, it also means a transformation of the Hispanic market.

Hispanic consumers today are not the same as Hispanic consumers from years back. They are now the youngest ethnic group in America with the median age being 28. Realizing their youth is crucial for advertisers as it influences their media consumption habits, the technology they use, their abundance in prime spending years, and much more. Hispanics — especially in the younger age groups of the U.S. population — are also increasingly more diverse than older Americans. As a matter of fact, almost half of the U.S. millennial population will be multicultural by 2024 (registration required).

To read the complete article, continue on to Forbes.

Spanish-speaking SoCal residents can now enjoy the FREE comedic and educational “SoCal Yard Transformation” guide

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picture of a yard resource book in Spanish

Riverside, CA – Western Municipal Water District’s (Western) new handbook, the SoCal Yard Transformation guide, is now available in Spanish. The landscaping guide is free and available to Western customers, as well residents throughout the Santa Ana Watershed. 

The Spanish version was developed in response to the more than 1.5 million Hispanic/Latino residents in the watershed region.

This landscaping guide offers full-color illustrations, and covers topics such as water, planning, soil, planting, utilizing native plants, irrigation, and sustainability. It was written by experts in an easy-to-understand manner and includes a dose of humor. Assisting local homeowners to strive for sustainable water use, the SoCal Yard Transformation English and Spanish versions provide important recommendations on how to create permanent water-saving landscape changes. With California’s cyclical drought conditions, homeowners now have a helpful guide to adapt their yard to be water wise.

“With such a significant demographic of Spanish-speaking residents within the Santa Ana Watershed, we wanted to provide a version of the book for those who prefer to read in Spanish. We want our Spanish-speaking residents to know that upgrading their landscape doesn’t have to be expensive or troubling, but rather it can be fun and rewarding in surprising ways,” said Pam Pavela, Western’s water resources specialist, handbook editor and co-author. “Adjusting your home’s landscape can increase your property value and save money on your water bill.”
SoCal Yard Transformation’s seven simple chapters break down everything that homeowners need to know to create a lasting transformation:

  • Water: Where it comes from, how it gets to the tap, and the true cost to the customer
  • Planning: A simple guide on how to design a water-efficient landscape
  • Soil: The foundation of all landscapes, and the life it contains
  • Planting: The who, what, where, when and why of planting and care of plants
  • Natives: Why these plants are important
  • Irrigation: How to irrigate efficiently, covering topics such as scheduling, troubleshooting, and how to make improvements
  • Sustainability: Creating a holistic, long-term landscape

The book was made possible by the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality, and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006 (Proposition 84). The handbook can be picked up at Western’s office at 14205 Meridian Parkway in Riverside. For more information, or to request your own copy, please call 951.571.7100 or visit wmwd.com and search “SoCal Yard Guide”.

Latino Baseball Players Build Their Brand Through La Vida Baseball

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In Latino countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, baseball is king.  Kids grow up playing it, and the chosen ones who live out a dream to play in the Major Leagues, become icons.

In America, those players play in a foreign country.  They face challenges such as language barriers and the hardship of playing far away from home.

Throughout history, Latino players have become iconic stars.  In the 1960’s it was Roberto Clemente. Recently, David “Big Papi” Ortiz has been an icon both in the U.S. and in their home countries.

La Vida Baseball is here to raise the profile of these Latin players, and grow their brand in the social media age.

“Baseball throughout the Caribbean region, throughout Venezuela, northern parts of Colombia, is something that connects Latinos across nations, even as we take great pride in the work of those players from our own homelands and countries,” said Adrian Burgos, editor in chief of La Vida Baseball. “There are these moments of transcendence. For example, seeing a Francisco Lindor, who leaves Puerto Rico as a teenager for Florida and when he returns and hits that Home Run, the roar of the crowd is a roar that was so much about connection across a generation. It is similar to those Cubans who see the success of the Gurriel brothers and of Puig and Cespedes. Whether they’re on the island or they’re in the U.S., they take pride, ‘That’s one of us.’”

La Vida Baseball is a website that runs features on Latin stars. The site also profiles future stars. They also do not shy away from issues of prejudice and any other stories that would pertain to a Latin player or be of interest to fans of said players.

“The goal of La Vida baseball is to serve what we believe is an underserved market and create a sense of community for the Latino baseball fan by celebrating baseball,” said Jay Sharman, creator, and CEO of La Vida Baseball. “Creating that nexus of baseball culture and identity. We just saw that there was just an unmet need there and it seemed logical to all of us that it wasn’t being served and that we could engage a critical mass of fans around subject matter that they cared deeply about. If you can do that, there’s usually business that follows.”

The website does run ads and is a business.  The question though, is how does La Vida Baseball properly measure success? If people love Jose Altuve of the Astros, does that mean the mission statement is working?

For us, we look at engagement,” said Sharman. “If you step back and look at the digital media publishing landscape right now, there’s still a lot of lip service given to the size of audience or size of followers and things like that. We are really about people engaging with the content consistently on a daily basis. Whether it’s Javier Baez or Jose Altuve, what we want to do is find an angle on what’s going on in the baseball world that isn’t being covered by the major sports media companies. That tends to be the human interest stories, at that intersection of culture and Latino baseball.”

La Vida Baseball is in partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Storytelling is what the Hall does best, and they can help with the production of content.

“There are multiple ways that we measure our success,” said Burgos. “We do look at our social media follows on Facebook and on Twitter and on Instagram and how our audience is growing that way. But another measure of success is, we look to see how the players themselves are engaging our content. Are teams sharing our content? We will always produce quality work, but do the players find it compelling?”

Burgos added, “ A few weeks back, we posted a graphic of Yadier Molina with the Puerto Rican flag as a backdrop. And Yadier re-posted that on his Instagram. All these other players were commenting on how beautiful it was. It’s like, one person is like, “Who did that?” And it’s like, it’s La Vida (Baseball). Part of how we measure our success is both by the audience and also knowing, that the players make time to share our work, to sit with us, to talk with us and help them tell their stories.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Rizos Curls’ Julissa Prado Shares How Her Latino Upbringing Taught Her Essential Entrepreneurial Skills

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With her enviable mane of bouncy, pink-hued curls, Julissa Prado serves as a walking advertisement for the effectiveness of her products. Roughly one year ago, she officially launched Rizos Curls, an all-natural product line for curly-textured hair. In that short span of time, Prado has amassed 52k+ followers on Instagram, received up to a thousand orders per month, and quit her job to pursue her business full time. But though it might look like overnight success from the outside, her growing business is the result of many years of hard work and hard-earned lessons.

As Prado tells it, she couldn’t have reached this point without the help and support of her family and her larger Latino community, who served as the inspiration for her brand. “I always thought when I made Rizos Curls that I’d make something that would work perfectly for textures as diverse as those of my family’s. In the Latino community we have so many kinds of hair textures – wavy, curly ringlets, coily textures. I have tías that fall under all of those categories. I wanted to make something that allowed us to fall in love with our natural hair,” she explains.

For Prado, Rizos Curls has been a family affair – from consulting with her brother on her business plan, to running her fledgling company out of her parents’ and uncle’s houses, to learning key lessons about how to budget & save from watching her own father run his restaurant business.

Below, she explains how her upbringing helped her develop her entrepreneurial spirit and the skills to build a DIY business.

Your company is directly inspired by the Latino community – can you talk about how the idea came about?

I grew up in very predominantly Latino communities and neighborhoods [in Los Angeles]. I have a huge family, and when we were very young we all lived in one apartment building. Almost every unit was a different family member, so that can give you an idea of the culture and the environment that I grew up in. Growing up, I always saw how so much of my community had textured hair – they had wavy, curly, coily hair, a variety of textures. But they went to great lengths to straighten it, and not embrace it. There was a lot of self-hate around their hair. There was always this notion of ‘your hair is not done until it’s not curly.’

I remember the exact moment where I realized “Oh no, I can’t do this my whole life.” I was going to a quinceañera and my older cousins straightened my hair. Back then, in the hood, we didn’t have flat irons yet, so what they did was put my head over an ironing board and use a clothes iron. My hair was burning! I remember being over that ironing board and thinking “We’ve got to do better than this, we’ve got to figure out a way to feel good about our natural hair.”

So that’s where the idea first started. Even at a young age, I was aware that so many of my insecurities were connected to my inability to embrace my natural hair and myself in my natural state. Once I learned to love my hair it allowed me to love myself, and I wanted to create that feeling in my community. Rizos Curls is not just about the products. We’re a trifecta of the Three Cs: curls, community & culture.

What pushed you to make the leap and turn this interest into a career?

I’m very close to my [older] brother, and he’s the one who helps me a lot with Rizos. We’re very opposite. I’ve always led with my heart and emotion, and he’s ruled by logic. So when I decided I really wanted to go forward with this Rizos idea, I went to my brother with my business plan. I was still pretty young, around 15, and I presented the whole plan to him. He did all this market research – which years later, in business school, I learned is very important when you’re starting something new. Understanding your market, understanding the size of the demographic you’re targeting. He did that research on his own and was blown away. He couldn’t believe a product like Rizos Curls didn’t exist already.

Time passed, I went to college and grad school, and everything I learned, all the business acumen I acquired, all reaffirmed that I had to take this leap. Everything pointed me to, “You’re lucky no one’s jumped on this opportunity yet.” But it took me four years to figure out my product formulas, and I beat myself up a lot for taking so long. I was juggling it with getting a masters, working a full-time job, and maybe I just needed to trust the process. There were many times in that four year process of testing formulas that I didn’t get the results I wanted, and felt like giving up.

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete article.