Category Archives: Issues
On May 21st I attended the LATISM Top Bloguera Retreat in Washington, D.C. and part of that event included a White House briefing on issues affecting the Latino community. Today I want to share my experience and some of the things I learned which I think are worth passing on.
The main issues discussed were Health and Education, however, that didn’t stop Meagan Ortiz of Vivir Latino from kicking things off with a very good question regarding immigration. Of course the answer to the question was less than satisfying to anyone who has long supported comprehensive immigration reform, but perhaps that was to be expected.
(Check out Meagan’s thoughts on her experience here.)
Meagan’s question seemed to ignite others. Passionate blogueras lined up and asked very brave and difficult questions. I was proud to be in a room full of women who weren’t afraid to stand up and speak their minds.
Roxana Soto of SpanglishBaby asked about bilingual education and the possibility of more dual immersion schools – again, the answer she/we were given, didn’t satisfy me, but I still feel that our voices were heard, and that’s a start.
(Check out Roxana’s thoughts on her experience here.)
While the blogueras were given plenty of time to ask questions, the White House also had plenty of talking points and messages they wanted to get out to us and to the Latino community as well. Here is video I took, highlighting some of the parts I found most informative.
Here are some links to learn more about the programs mentioned in the video:
What information did you find most useful or surprising? What question would you have asked?
As you all know, I attended the LATISM “Top Bloguera” Retreat in Washington, D.C. Since coming back home I’ve had a lot to catch up on with work, my family, the household, and on top of that, we’ve been having some suegra drama so I haven’t had the luxury of sorting out my thoughts on the event, (let alone my videos and all my photos!)
I did write a recap for Latina Bloggers Connect though, and here is what I said, in part:
“Me personally, I’m still processing it all. I’m the type that needs a few days to think before I can say for certain what conclusion I’ve come to, but I can say with certainty that the event did the following for me:
The Top Bloguera Retreat encouraged me to re-think what I put my energy into and to consider whether I need to re-focus or re-distribute that energy in a different way for more satisfying payoffs, (emotional as well as financial.) – Now you know why I have a lot of thinking to do!”
(Read the rest at: Latina Bloggers Connect.)
The White House briefing was really informative. The Obama Administration has done a lot of things that benefit not just the Latino community, but all communities, and I’m hoping to bring you the highlights of what I learned in an upcoming post.
For now, check out the White House blog: #LatismAtTheWH – Latinos Active in Social Media Visit the White House.
The bilingual Latinos For Obama website has launched and I have to say, it’s pretty chévere.
From the slogan/logo:
To some of the merchandise:
To the way President Obama pronounces the word “Latino”:
Es obvio que the Obama campaign knows what gente like.
I went to ElSalvador.com to check out photos of El Salvador’s momentous win last night against the U.S., but as is my habit, I became distracted by something else.
A still image in the sidebar of a tattooed marero (gang member), taking communion, made me pause. The story title: Pandilleros piden una oportunidad. I clicked through to the video and found it too moving not to share.
I don’t consider myself religious, but something about this video touched me. Looking at those faces, behind the tattoos, I see young men who were once little boys, and for whatever reason, they made mistakes that led them to where they are. Many of them come from poverty or abusive homes. Neglected by parents or orphaned by war, they sought to “belong” and that is a big attraction to gang life – it’s the family one never had.
“Siempre han dicho que nosotros somos la escoria y lo peor del mundo. Nosotros crecimos en un época de conflicto y en ese época tapamos nuestros valores con cosas negativas, pero estamos dispuestos a cambiar, si nos ayudan.” – source
["They've always said that we're the scum and the worst of the world. We grew up in an era of conflict and in that time we covered our values with negative things, but we are willing to change, if you help us."]
“Nosotros estamos de buena fe, queremos seguir adelantes. Estamos consciente de que les hemos fallado a Dios, y a la sociedad, y aquí en nombre de toda mi pandilla, la MS13, quiero pedirle perdón, a la sociedad, y que nos dé una oportunidad de poder cambiar… nosotros también somos salvadoreños, nosotros también somos seres humanos.” – source: MS13 gang member in the video
["We are of good faith, we want to move on. We are aware that we have failed God, and society, and here, on behalf of my gang, MS13, I apologize, I want to ask for forgiveness, from society, and ask that you give us an opportunity to change ... we too are Salvadorans, we too are human beings."]
What would happen if we always believed the best about others, rather than the worst?…Maybe people live up to expectations.
Image source: Both images are screen captures from the video by ElSalvador.com
More images worth seeing: Informador.com
Agua Con sent me a box of their newly launched line of flavored waters to try. The box arrived at our door just as we sat down to lunch so I wanted to try them right away but I discovered it’s really important to drink these very cold or the flavor isn’t as good.
Here are some super chévere things about Agua Con:
• The flavors right now include: Piña y Coco, Guayava, Lima y Limón and Horchata.
• Agua Con has zero calories.
• Agua Con has no sugar or artificial sweeteners.
• Ingredients include: Filtered Water, Natural Flavors, Ascorbic Acid and Stevia.
• Agua Con is a product of the USA and they’re based out of Los Angeles.
• Agua Con contains no preservatives and no sodium.
Hours later, I gave them another try and after sampling each, the entire family agreed that Guayava and Lima y Limón are the standouts. I would have bet a million dollars that Horchata would be my favorite, but I guess I love real horchata so much that horchata-flavored water can’t quite do it for me – Each time I try it, it does grow on me though. (I desperately want to love it because drinking horchata-flavored water instead of real horchata all the time would be better for my health.)
Over all, I think it’s a genius idea and I wish Agua Con a lot of luck.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored review. I received Agua Con products to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.
In high school we would have one week of gym class that we spent in the weight lifting room. It was in a dark, windowless room down a forgotten hallway. Students were allowed access to it after school but it was often forgotten, except by the jocks. The girls stood in a corner talking, watching the boys, examining their nails and refusing to do anything other than a minute on the rowing machine – preferring to take a zero for the day. I, however, loved our week in the weight lifting room.
Already known for challenging boys to arm wrestling contests at lunch time, (and sometimes winning), my reputation was further sealed by my behavior in the weight lifting room. The boys gathered around to see how much I could bench press, taking bets that I wouldn’t be able to do it each time the peg was moved lower and the weight got heavier. I fed on their pessimism. I loved being underestimated. I took a deep breath, felt the muscles ripping but pushed, pushed, pushed, my lips closed tight, my nostrils flaring. I heard them say knowingly to each other, “She can’t lift it” – as I struggled. My arms shook and I pushed harder still until I would feel the weight give way and my arms straightened above me in victory.
I didn’t care that I wasn’t the kind of girl you ask to the prom, but instead the kind of girl you ask to help push the car when it breaks down. I come from a family of strong women. My mother is well-known for re-decorating while my father is at work – sometimes moving heavy furniture up and down two flights of stairs by herself.
I associated femininity with weakness and wanted no part of it, but I realized how simplistic this point of view was when I gave birth to my first child. Giving birth is an act that is simultaneously the height of femininity and strength. Now, as the mother of two boys, the lone female in a household full of males, I value my feminine side more than I did growing up. Being married to Carlos though, has made me examine my femininity from a cultural perspective. It hasn’t been easy to sort out.
I will try to open a jar of pickles. Carlos will offer to help, reach his hand out for the jar, and I’ll turn away with the jar, stubbornly determined to do it myself. This is when Carlos will tell me I’m like my mother or say, “Why do you have to be so American?!” … to which I’d reply, “Why is it an insult to your manhood for me to open the pickles myself?!”
Over the years, I’ve learned to (usually), hand over the jar of pickles. It makes Carlos feel good to do it for me. I never pretend I can’t do anything, but if it’s difficult, why not give him the satisfaction of feeling that he takes care of me?
I thought that over the years, Carlos and I had mostly ironed out this one cultural wrinkle. We both have made compromises. I let him open jars of pickles that are difficult for me to open, (damn you, carpal tunnel) – and he doesn’t expect me to act completely helpless – fair enough… but at the grocery store while I was unloading the cart at the cash register, I retrieved the case of bottled water from the bottom of the cart and hefted it up and onto the conveyor belt. I thought nothing of it but Carlos whispered through clenched teeth, “Hey, you should have asked me to do it. You’re embarrassing me.”
Embarrassing Carlos was not my intention or even something I had considered – I just wanted to get the groceries checked out so we could go home, (and for the record, the cashier seemed completely unaware of the battle going on right in front of her.) I guess the lesson here is that Carlos and I will always have cultural issues to work on – nothing is ever resolved so completely that it won’t pop up again, so ingrained are the traits we bring from our two different backgrounds.
What is your take and your experiences on the topic of feminine strength vs. machismo?
“La merienda” is a traditional Latin American snack break which can be taken between breakfast and lunch, or between lunch and dinner. It’s different from most American snack or coffee breaks because la merienda isn’t something you would scarf down behind the wheel of your car, buy from a vending machine, or mindlessly munch while checking E-mail. It’s a moment each day, often shared with others, where you sit down at the table and savor what is more like a miniature meal. This tradition is about taking a moment to relax and truly appreciate comida, familia and amigos, which creates a thankful spirit.
Nestlé Abuelita sent me some of their products to enjoy during our daily merienda and although I wish you could have been sitting at the table with me, I took some photos so you can share in the experience.
History & Culture
Coincidentally this past weekend, while watching a Pedro Infante film, (Los tres García) with Carlos, I said, “That old lady looks familiar,” – referring to one of the actresses on screen. Carlos laughed, “That’s abuelita!”
“I know that’s the abuelita,” I said, for she was the grandmother of the three main characters in the movie, “I mean I’ve seen her somewhere else.”
“Yes, she’s the abuelita on the hot chocolate!” Carlos said.
I thought he was joking, but it’s true. After a little research I discovered that the woman on packages of Abuelita is Mexican actress Sara García – She so often played the part of the “abuela” in films during the 1940′s-1950′s that she became known as “Mexican Cinema’s Grandmother.”
Are you ready for your merienda?
Below, find out how to win a Nestlé Abuelita Prize Pack. Also know that sometime on or around March 7th, you can visit Facebook.com/Abuelita and RSVP to join a special event where you’ll have another chance to win a merienda prize pack from Nestlé Abuelita.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED AND IS NOT ACCEPTING NEW ENTRIES. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER: LISA!
Prize: The Nestlé Abuelita Prize Pack for ONE lucky winner which values at $50 will include:
• Nestlé Abuelita Instant and Nestlé Abuelita Granulado product
• Two coffee/hot chocolate mugs and saucers
• One hot chocolate spoon
• A set of recipe cards to provide some ideas for enjoying your Nestlé Abuelita products
• Nestle note cards
• Disposable digital camera
How to Enter:
In the comments section, tell us if you currently partake in a daily afternoon snack break or “merienda.”
No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the company in charge of prize fulfillment. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid E-mail address in the E-mail address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 48 hours to respond. After 48 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between February 20th, 2012 through February 25th, 2012. Entries received after February 25th, 2012 at 11:59 PM, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.
Disclosure: I received products from Nestlé to facilitate the review and writing of this post. All opinions are my own.
El año pasado compartí una foto de una camisa chistosa que encontré en una tienda que se llama “Five Below.” Five Below es una tienda que lleva un montón de cosas para jovenes y todo cuesta cinco dólares o menos, (de ahí, el nombre “Five Below.”)
Bueno, la semana pasada tuve que visitar esa tienda porque mi hijo mayor necesitaba un regalito para una amiga que estaba cumpliendo años y lo invitó a su fiesta.
Mientras estabamos buscando un regalito para la amiga, econtré otra camisa.
Como puedes ver, representado en esta camisa tenemos un cono de sorbete, (parece que es sabor de vainilla) – y un taco. Los dos están agarrados de las manos y el cono, (que es hembra con pestañas largas y un listón) – está diciendo, “It’s complicated.” (En español: “Es complicado.”)
Suponemos que ella está hablando sobre su relación con el taco. La camisa es super interesante. No sé si estoy analizandolo demasiado pero creo que la camisa está simbolizando una pareja intercultural – especificamente, una gringa blanca con un latino. O sea, soy un cono sabor a vainilla y Carlos es un taco.
No sé si es divertida la camisa o un poco ofensiva. ¿Qué crees tú?
Last year I shared a photo of a funny shirt found at a store called “Five Below.” Five Below is a store that has tons of things for young people and everything costs five dollars or less, (hence the name, “Five Below.”)
Well, last week I had to visit this store because my older son needed a birthday gift for a friend’s party he was attending. While looking for the gift for his friend, I found this shirt.
As you can see, depicted on this shirt we have an ice cream cone, (it looks like vanilla-flavored), and a taco. Both are holding hands and the cone, (which is a girl with long eyelashes and a bow) – is saying, “It’s complicated.”
We assume she’s talking about her relationship with the taco. The shirt is really interesting. I don’t know if I’m over-analyzing it but the shirt seems to symbolize an intercultural couple – specifically a white gringa and a Latino. In other words, I’m a vanilla-flavored ice cream cone and Carlos is a taco.
I don’t know if the shirt is funny or offensive. What do you think?
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but this year it became a time of self-examination and a clear starting point to make some changes. The changes I’ve made have been a long time coming – some once, (or many times), attempted and abandoned, others have been bouncing around in my head waiting for me to give them importance – still others have only come to me recently, as if they knew now was the moment I would welcome them.
I don’t like to call them “goals” or “resolutions” because I prefer to think I spend every day of my life stepping toward the self-actualized version of myself – Admittedly it’s a two steps adelante and one step atrás sort of thing.
Like many others, one of my “resolutions” (for want of a better word), is to take my health more seriously. I’m starting to feel my age and that – even more than wanting to look like a bikini chica in a Pitbull video, may be enough to scare me straight. My back hurts when I wake up. My knees ache when it rains. It’s too early to consider retiring to Miami so maybe, just maybe, I need to put down the Bubu Lubus.
When my dedication to working towards these “resolutions” wavers, (as it always does), I need to try to remember that my “problem” – my “struggle” – is only difficult from my perspective.
Think about this with me. Think about the ridiculousness of the challenges we face. Some common complaints:
• Food is too accessible and abundant. I can’t get away from the temptations.
• It’s too cold out so I can’t [leave the warmth of my house to] get some exercise.
• I’ve become bored with my workout. I don’t feel motivated.
• Food blogs tempt me with delicious photos of flan and burritos.
(Okay, that last complaint is mine.)
These are what you call “first world problems.” If you just shift your perspective, you may start to laugh at the once mountainous obstacles that seemed insurmountable.
This should shift your perspective. I took this photo in El Salvador – but what does it have to do with anything I’m talking about here? Let me explain.
While we were in El Salvador we went to visit family in Chalatenango. It was a long drive from San Salvador in an unairconditioned microbus. On the way back to the city, the traffic became thick. We shoved at the already open windows to let more air into the vehicle which now moved at a crawl. We fanned ourselves, watched beads of sweat roll down the sides of each others’ faces.
At some point, we came to a stop in front of a public well just off the highway. There I watched women and children washing laundry and scooping water over their heads – bathing fully-clothed with no privacy. I tried not to stare, didn’t want them to feel self-conscious, but Salvadorans are famous starers and I was probably the only one on the highway trying to watch without being obvious about it.
The laundry now heavy and wet, was put back into large plastic tubs, balanced on sturdy heads, and walked home, who knows how far, to be hung to dry.
…Something to remember next time taking a walk around my quiet suburban neighborhood seems too difficult.