Thursday, March 31, 2011

Out the office

It's Thursday night. I've been working for the past 12 hours and will continue until Friday night. See you all this weekend?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Apparently "Hispanic Studies" isn't important

Earlier today I received an e-mail stating the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University has eliminated the Latin American Studies (LAS) program as of the end of this fiscal year in June. The program will continue as it has through the current spring semester.The major/minor in LAS will now be located and administered by the History Department. Not really sure what that means but I smell restructuring and eventually the LAS program getting "whacked."

I took up Latin American Studies as a minor at Temple because I wanted to learn more about myself and the importance of the community. Although the classes were not what I wanted, it still helped me find importance in who I was and still am. I wonder if Temple took a look at Arizona's attempt to ban ethnic studies. I don't understand how as Census numbers roll out, these things are still happening. From what I gather there are a group of students working to change this action. If you would like to help out in any way, please feel free to comment and leave your e-mail in the comment.

Where are all the Latino Greeks?

So I find it interesting that with the Latino population in the U.S.A. rising every day, Latino Greeks are pretty rare. Sure there are some universities that thrive off Latino Greeks, but from what I have recently seen (and noticed), the numbers are pretty low. It's usually rare for Latino Greeks to have lines of 10+, unlike mainstream and sometimes African-American Greeks, we usually don't understand Greek life right away? "I'm sorry you want to do not what?" <-- Yep.

In Philadelphia we have Gamma Phi Sigma, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, Sigma Lambda Upsilon, Chi Upsilon Sigma, Lambda Theta Alpha and Lambda Theta Phi. It may seem like these organizations have a a strong presence, but active undergraduate members are low. *Cue Latino admission rates in high education*

As Latino(a)s we should be mentoring these high school students and increase the admission rates. We need to show them how important it is to further their education. Some might think it is difficult to get into schools, but with the right motivation and resources, anything is possible.

Or maybe schools are just screwing over Latino Greeks. You tell me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Campaign kick off!

Ever wish you had a voice in city government? Politics is always a tricky subject for me because to be honest it's all too sensitive. Voting for this person or that person automatically labels you as a democrat or a republican (aka labels). Well if you live in Philadelphia's Latino neighborhood, you know we have to be heard.

Maria Quinones-Sanchez is currently running for re-election as the 7th district's councilwoman and she needs everyone's help. Join the Friends of Maria tomorrow, Tuesday, March 29, from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. for the campaign office opening and kick off. Check out the office, meet their dedicated staff and energetic volunteers and find out how you can help re-elect Maria Quinones-Sanchez.

Hispanic PR...are you strategizing?

So I work in a whole bunch of industries. Tourism, hospitality, marketing, Hispanic (yes it's an industry) and public relations. I recently wrote a post for the Philadelphia Public Relations Association about Hispanic PR in a newly created U.S.A. and it had me thinking, a lot. A lot because I can see people rushing to their executives saying, "We need to change our strategy." First of all (lol), you don't have to change your strategy, just integrate it.

I don't understand why it's 2011 and people are still confused about engaging the Hispanic market. There are so many ways of executing a thought out strategy and seeing results. First things first, whether Hispanic or Latino, stick to one of these! Second, ask yourself if you plan on targeting Spanish-speaking (only) Latinos or the new generation who likes to speak Spanglish. Third, try new things. Print. Digital. TV. Social Networking. It's all there and available. It does help if you have an actual Latino on staff. But if you all speak Spanish and know the market, then by all means go ahead.

P.S. Attend the Hispanicize conference. You'll learn a lot.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stay away from my neighborhood

You ever see your neighborhood start to change? I'm not talking about more businesses, street cleaning and so on, I'm talking about the culture of the the entire neighborhood. That seems to happen a lot these days. As developers seek out more and more landscapes, it seems as though the "less fortunate" are forced to move out the neighborhood they lived in for years.

I was sent the video below about a new web series called "East WillyB" which is basically about hipsters moving in to a predominately Puerto Rican neighborhood in New York City. The series premiers online on Wednesday, April 13 but you can catch a preview below. I find it hilarious but at the same time informative. See for yourself.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Family reflection

For the past few weeks (maybe months) I have been thinking a lot about family. Sure no family is perfect, and we all have our issues, but there comes a time when we have to face those issues and relax. Sometimes it takes a death in the family to bring people closer, but then we drift apart again Why is that?

For years I have seen people drift apart and it is a shame. I know I can do more to make things better, but you can only do but so much. I am fairly young and sometimes the older generation does not want to hear it. We all have to live our own lives and it hurts when you see others not as happy. In the end, all you have is family.

Is this a Latino thing? Are we that selfish that we can't apologize to each other? How does a culture that is all about family not appreciate each other? Some day we'll all laugh about the times we yelled, punched, cried and so on. But until then, stay strong and love your family.
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My identity

A week ago I spoke at a Temple University class about being Latino in Philadelphia. I spoke about my experiences going to Temple University, working at Taller Puertorriqueño, the Philly tourism office and being in the position I am in now.

The past 8 years have been crazy. My friend said it best, "I saw Eric go from a super Greek working at Lids to a professional Latino." It wasn't easy, but I'm glad to have met everyone I have crossed paths with.

What will the next 10 years be like? One can only lead by example. I will try my best to help my community, my culture and myself. Because like my boss always says, "The only person concerened with your happiness is you." And besides, I have to thank Philly for helping me discover who I am. And who am I? A 27 year-old Jersey born Colombiano doing his thing in Philly.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Latinos made it to our mail

As if anyone sends letters anymore (other than our bill collectors), but talk about an advancement to our community. Back in December 2010, the U.S. Postal Service announcement its plans of paying tribute to music icons Carlos Gardel, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Carmen Miranda and Selena. What's so good about this? How about that it's not Hispanic Heritage Month? That's a pretty good way to pay tribute to our leaders in la musica.

According to an article in the Courier Press, the Latin Music Legends Forever collector stamps are on sale nationwide, and 60 million have been printed to supply anticipated demand. Commemorative-stamp print runs normally are about 40 million. And there you have it my friends. We're one step closer to sort of not becoming a minority. Does it really matter that we're on stamps? It sure does. This will most likely teach non-Latinos (and some Latinos) about our musica; our cultura. Our history is now making an impact.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The 141 mile journey begins

Just a few hours ago Eric Stephenson started his journey to Philadelphia, PA from Norfolk, CT. In the past two weeks, Eric has raised a little over $4k from his fundraising goal of $27K. Although it's a goal of his, any help towards the American Cancer Society is good help. What's more is that our other fraternity brother "Yunque" will be joining him along for the incredible journey. Their 141 mile journey will end on Friday, March 25 at Temple University's Relay for Life. There they will be joining by hundreds of students, supporters, survivors and other community members as they help raise awareness to this cause. See you there everyone.

Video: Philly Te Ama's Michelle Ortiz

If you ever wanted to know why Philly is such a creative town, then watch the video below. Michelle Ortiz is a international mural artist who creates art not just to create it, but to tell the stories you don't normally here. Why talk below at what inspires her and how she does it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The journey to PIFA

In just a few weeks the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) begins with over 100 events, collaborations and more. PIFA is about collaboration. Throughout the 25+ days you're bound to see new events, never before seen collaborations and maybe an Eiffel Tower and a giant ferris wheel. So where do people find inspiration for a first time festival? How do you get these collaborations to work? That's what the JOURNEY is there for. To show you how it all comes together.

The Journey follows the stories of several PIFA artists on their daily search for inspiration and creative expression. Each episode is a personal, sometimes surprising, behind the scenes look at the lives lived in pursuit of art and performance. So what's so special about Puentes/Bridges? Well if you combine Taller Puertorriqueno, AMLA and Intercultural Journeys, you're bound to get an explosive performance that combines different talents and a performance of a lifetime. To watch their "journey," click here.

Puentes/Bridges will take place on Friday, April 29 at Taller Puertorriqueno in North Philadelphia. The festivities begin at 6 p.m.

Save the date: Paraguayan Bicentennial, 5/14/11

In 2010 Mexico, Colombia and a few other Latin American countries celebrated their bicentennial. 2011 continues the celebration with the Paraguayan bicentennial celebration and it's all going down in Philadelphia. The celebration goes down on Saturday, May 14th, 2011 at the Kimmel Center with a Song Festival featuring traditional music, dance, visual arts and culinary delicacies.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The awesome side of Greek life - Dating a Greek

Some of you may have your own opinion on this but I think it's a benefit when you date someone who is also in a sorority/fraternity. Why? For the simple reason that you both understand your passion towards your organization. And also when the time comes to either be a PM/Dean, he or she will understand why you're not spending quality time with them. It also helps because you guys will most likely go to the same events and everyone will "aawww" at how "cute" it is. Did you know some people only date Greeks for the simple fact that he/she is also Greek? Eghh. To each their own.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Photo of the day: PIFA is here

I went to the KimmelCenter today and this is what I found. Got to give it up, this is pretty cool. They brought Paris to Philly
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Disney makes imagination come to life

Okay so maybe dreams don't really come true. But talk about creativity. In an effort to create more travel/tourism to Disney Parks, spectacular new images have been created by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz. Penelope Cruz and Jeff Bridges appear as Belle and the transformed prince, recalling the final scene from "Beauty and the Beast". So how will this get you there? Well imagine yourself in these movies. I doubt these ads were meant for children since they probably have no clue what the "Little Mermaid" or "Sleeping Beauty" is. These are the movies we grew up with!

The campaign premieres as a special insert in the April issues of O, The Oprah Magazine, People, People En Espanol, Real Simple, Essence, and InStyle. To see more of the ads, click here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When telenovelas beat U.S. television

So what is it about La Reina del Sur that is attracting the new Latino in the U.S.? Well it's not your average telenovela on Telemundo. We have a strong woman who sure is a drug dealer, but she gets things done. It's not your typical love story where two women are chasing after a man and there's all this drama for no reason.

Did you know it beat out all English primetime ratings? Yep, sure did. So what does this mean for Spanish-language television? One can only see the change in programming, marketing, consumer projects and more. The Today Show talked to the program's leading lady and other people about why this program has been so successful.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What is it about being Latino in Philly?

Look at the Latino population in Philadelphia in the year 2000. Centralized, somewhat small and stable I guess. Now that the numbers have obviously increasesd last year, what is going to happen? Today I spoke at a Temple University class about being Latino in Philadelphia and my role in the community. It was enlightening not just to the students, but to me as well.

I talked about my experiences growing up in New Jersey but finding my true identity in Philadelphia. It wasn't until I came to Philly where I finally realized who I was and will always be. What is that? A 26 year-old New Jersey born Colombiano doing his thing in Philly (Yes the age will change). My experiences in Philly have been great and I appreciate everything that has happened. Thank you to J. Irizarry for inviting me and supporting this young professional Latino.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Volunteering to prevent cancer

This past weekend i volunteered at the annual Latinas Unidas Para La Cura. Although I wish I could have played a bigger role, I was happy I offered ny services. It was great to see hundreds of women interested in how to prevent breast cancer. It was more impressive seeing men and younger women. Hopefully we see an increase in participation next year.
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An undocumented story

Talk about an inspirational story. Over at FoxNewsLatino, Carlo Alban tells the story about how for 5 years he worked at Sesame Street as a cast member, all while being undocumented. He re-accounts the fear of being caught yet still trying out for different roles, appearing in parades and the real process of becoming a legal resident. Was it hard? Sure was. But that didn't stop him from applying and even having a physical altercation with his father.

I'm pretty sure Carlo's story is similar to a lot of people in the United States. Why is it so difficult to be a citizen or legal resident? Because most people look at the negative stories. Yes the threat of terrorist attacks in the U.S. are somewhat high but these struggling stories (like Carlo's) are a prime example of our immigrants can make a change in the community. My mother even had a troubling time getting her citizenship. However, after years and years of attempting to get this citizenship, she never did.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The awesome side of Greek life - The life of a PM/Dean

So I know this may sound crazy but Latino and Black Greeks know that being a PledgeMaster/Dean is a lot of responsibility. It takes up more time than the people actually pledging. We plan/delegate/execute everything the line is supposed to do throughout the semester. Sure we end up ruining our lives for 8-12 weeks but it's worth it. Why? Because in the end we know we brought in a good group of girls/guys into our organization. We were able to use what happened in our process and use it for the good of our organization. Also, you know you're doing something right when you have four lines under your belt. Here's to SP05, SP07, FA09 and...(we'll see).

P.S. Shout out to those who were unable to make it :).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Racism in 2011? Yep.

And this is the reason why Latinos sometimes (by sometimes I mean all the time) want to punch people in the face. SMH. SMH indeed. Thanks to @julito77 from Team BeingLatino for posting this video.

Univision65 celebrates 3 years

I love anniversaries, whether it's the first, second or 10th, somehow we manage to celebrate fighting the good fight and surviving in this tough economy. Heck, my 27th anniversary of living is coming up. But enough about me, congratulations to local Univision65 on their third anniversary. Now a seven person team, Univiosn65 has grown and become more and more passionate about the Philadelphia region.

Anchor Ilia Garcia says, " Sin embargo creo que son las historias que tienen que ver con los niños las que más me impactan. Considero ser madre la bendición más grande que me ha regalado Dios y por lo tanto las historias que involucran niños o jóvenes ya sean historias positivas o negativas siempre me marcan." Ilia, Jose, Julio and the rest of the gang really have made an impact on this community. And although I catch most of the programs online, I know the 30 minute news program is a challenge here in Philly, but they sure are doing it. Here's to many more years to come!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Philly Te Ama: Dra. Ana Maria Polo

There comes a time when we meet people that inspire us to be better than what we are now. That's the case with Dra. Ana Maria Polo. I met her last October 2010 and she was a genuine person. Not going to lie; I didn't know who she was until my mom said something. Breast cancer survivor, activist, leader, lawyer. She does it all.

Gamma Phi Sigma - Stroll for the Cure

One year ago the brothers at Gamma Phi Sigma ted their 6th annual stroll show at Temple University. In an effort to raise money and awareness to the American Cancer Society, we (Gamma Phi Sigma) moved all our efforts to this cause. This year the brothers at Zeta Chapter (University of Maryland - College Park) are hosting their own show to increase awareness. From my understanding this has not happened before.

The stroll show is in collaboration with Kappa Phi Gamma and will be held on Friday, April 8th, 2011. Unlike most stroll shows where the fraternities and sororities compete separately, this show does not judge based on gender so there will be one winner! And as a member of Greek life, bragging rights to a huge show is always a plus. See you then. Wait, am I judging? lol

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Carnaval de Puebla

More festivals? I mean why not. Latinos love celebrating their culture so let's continue celebrating. Not much more information is provided other than the flier above. Enjoy!

Respect our mujeres

Is it just bad timing or did the 20 year-old Mexican police chief just get fired during Women's History Month? Yep. Apparently she was fired after not coming to work one day. First of all, why did you hire a 20 year-old? Secondly, apparently she fled the country to find sanity in the U.S. Isn't there a screening process? Anyways, unlike Valles, there are plenty of women out there who have helped pave the way for women (and minorities).

So who are these women who have helped other women in the world? Yes we have Sotomayor, Frida, Soledad O'Brien and even pop culture celebrities like Sofia Vergara and Shakira. However, we have our own perspective on women's history and what contributions each woman has had on our lives. Our mother is one who should always be respected because they gave birth to us after all. Yes there are some special cases but in the end, they raised us. Although March (like every other month) is special to some minority in the U.S., we need to start looking at the bigger picture and realize January - December is everyone's history.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Xfinity goes for the Latinos

Philadelphia's greatest accomplishment, Comcast Corp., recently launched Xfinity TV in Spanish in an effort to increase programming available to Latinos on television, on demand and online. Go figure. The Latino TV portal,, offers Comcast digital subscribers free access to over 500 Spanish-language movies and shows. Score.

So what exactly does this mean? More Latinos jumping over to the Comcast side? This probably is good news for NBC and Telemundo since they all fall under that umbrella. If that's case, why did Comcast hire Sofia Vergara as their spokesperson? Doesn't she have an awesome show on ABC? Either way, kudos to Comcast for "finally" reaching out to the new-age Latino consumer. Maybe we'll convince our families to switch over from *cough* DirecTV.

Our español is dying

Yes we're in the U.S.A. where English is the primary language to get anywhere in life. However, being bilingual is as equally important since our culture is changing. However, do you ever think Spaniglish is probably never appropriate? More and more I hear people correct each other and say some of the most crazy garbage Spanish. What's worse is when the younger (younger) generation don't even know how to speak Spanish.

Not knowing Spanish does not make you any less Latino than anyone else, however, it is destroying our language. In order to retain our culture, we should know how to speak it. Then there are those who make up words. FoxNewsLatino recently published a story about battling Spanglish. The story says:
  • We talk a lot about the value of being bilingual, but then the first thing we do is cut the Spanish programs," says Selmira Carvajal, who has been teaching Spanish in Dade schools since 1986 and attended the workshop.
So do you think Spanglish is acceptable? I think there's a difference when making up words like "parquiar" and when adding English and Spanglish together to make a sentence. My definition of Spanglish comes from combining English y español; not making up words. However, when teaching our youth, somehow we manage to develop these words in the U.S. What can we do stop this every growing end to our language?

Friday, March 4, 2011

20 years later: Rodney King

Did you know March 3rd marked the 20th anniversary when Rodney King was brutally assaulted by the LAPD? Tonight, CNN anchor Don Lemon sits down with Rodney King 20 years later to revisit the scene and talk about King being a symbol of police brutality.

Does police brutality still exist? Sure does. Unfortunately minorities are faced with constant generalizations and we're always the first to be pulled over. Race and Rage – The Beating of Rodney King, debuts Friday, March 4 at 8:00p.m. ET and PT on CNN/U.S. It replays on Saturday, March 5 at 8:00p.m. ET and PT.

Rodney King: A Symbol Of Police Brutality
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

141 miles for cancer awareness

The other day I read about an amazing venture my fraternity brother Eric Stephenson is planning on achieving this month. Stephenson plans on walking an estimated 40 hours From Connecticut to Philadelphia, PA. Leaving from his job in the early morning of Thursday, March 24, and arriving in Philadelphia late Friday evening to join the Temple University crew at Relay for Life. Talk about devotion and raising awareness for cancer.

Here's an excerpt from Eric's story about our hermano Ramon:

  • Ramon was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in the summer of 2009, right before my last year at Temple. Each month following, his body seemed to be deteriorating to the point that he was almost unrecognizable. I try to think that I did my best to always be there for him and his family with anything they needed, but I find myself always doubting and telling myself I should have done more.

    It only took 1 year for the cancer to consume him. In August of 2010, Ramon passed away at the age of 23 in Springfield, MA from a rare form of cancer known as esthesioneuroblastoma. For the last few days of his life, I was by his bedside.

Video: Philly Te Ama's Lucas Rivera

So for the past week I've been posting the PHILLY TE AMA videos I worked on at work. Today's post is on AMLA's executive director, Lucas Rivera. And after viewing the final video, I not only realized how much work this project was, but also how these people keep me motivated. Rivera wears many hats. He's a DJ, artist and of course a leader.

Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review: Marvel Vs Capcom 3

So it's been a few weeks since I've bought Marvel Vs Capcom 3. This game is probably the only reason why I bought an XBOX in the first place. Sure I know about the "ring of death" but I'm guessing my game play will be worth it. There are a good number of things I love about this game and some that I don't. Sure the MVSCAP3 Facebook fan page has a lot of weird and crazy comments from even crazier fans, but this is essentially a game 10 years in the making. The creators can't please everyone.

With a whole new cast with some original characters, this game has a great comic-feel with new voices and quotes you just love to hear right before kicking a**. Galactus? Um yes please. What better villain to defeat at the end then the destroyer of worlds. However, MVSCAP3 has decided to make this game a little easier for people to get used to. One button pops you up in the air where you can most likely destroy a character in one combo move. Then you have those "cheap" online basta**s who don't know how to play *looks at Sentinel users*. Egh. My team? Team Breast lol. If you're online, my GamerTag is navaja0410.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Photo of the day: Latinos and Facebook

This is pretty much self explanatory. Read the full story at
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