Saturday, December 15, 2012

MTV's newest addition "Washington Heights"

As some networks continue to fail in media diversity, other cable channels are doing their best to portray what America is really like. Launching on January 9, MTV's newest docu-series Washington Heights will follow the lives of nine friends trying to make it in New York City. These friends include men and women looking to find their way into various industries including fashion, baseball, music and so on.

Could this be a smart move on MTV's part? With the Jersey Shore coming to an end, Washington Heights is a bold move. Some may find this a misinterpretation of the actual neighborhood. Then again isn't all reality television a misinterpretation of a group of individuals? My perception of Washington Heights is that it's mostly Latino...specifically Dominican. My only other concern is that not everyone who lives in city neighborhoods wants to be a fashionista, musician, etc. Some people want to do other things in like like social services, journalism, teaching, etc. There's no reason why MTV didn't choose more of these characters (only one wants to become an English professor).

Watch the world premiere Wednesday, January 9 at 10 p.m.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Telemundo's new brand launches with a splash

Last Saturday, December 8, Telemundo stations across the entire United States switched over to the new logo/brand. The new "T" conveys the duality of Latinos living in the U.S. This past May Telemundo announced new programming, specials and content. The press release stated, "With that concept in mind, it announced a 40% increase in original programming, adding six new original primetime novelas and the addition of unscripted reality series to its lineup." I must say after seeing the new logo in print (above), it looks amazing. The new concept allows the media company to use it to its capacity. Talk about making a bold move :).

In the video below, Emilio Romano, Telemundo Media president, discusses the unveiling of the company's new logo.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dressing up as a stereotype...again

As you can see from the photo above, it looks like a Penn State University sorority has taken upon itself to have its members dress up in traditional Mexican clothes and act like them. Right. Ridiculous is what this is. Jezebel.com reported that Onward State, Director of Greek Life, Dr. Roy Baker, Director of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, Carlos Wiley, and the leadership of Chi Omega met to discuss potential punishments for the sorority last night. Suspension is rumored by not confirmed. The question to ask is why this is still happening. Penn State has several minority Greek-lettered organizations (Black, Latino, Asian, etc.) and for this to happen is disgraceful.

Some people are asking what's the big deal? Really? I'm guessing they weren't aware of Ohio University's STARS' campaign huh?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dreamers begin to fulfill a dream

Since the U.S. government began to receive requests for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrived) last August, thousands of undocumented youth have begun the application process. DACA permitted to obtain a work permit, a conditional social security and protection to avoid deportation for two years. However, the application fee plus legal fees, if need be, have been a barrier to our community that normally struggle to meet the basic needs of their families.

Together, an organization based in Philadelphia led by Latino immigrant community in Pennsylvania who fight for human rights of immigrants, recently partners with JUNTOS to award scholarships to help begin the DACA process. Pictured above, Olivia Vasquez, 18, ​​Jaqueline Gomez, 19, Montserrat Gallegos, 16, Kenny Mejia, 18, ​​and Sajid Safkat, 18, ​​received their checks in order to begin the process of TAT.

This is a tremendous opportunity not only for these students but for the country as well. In addition to the scholarships, JUNTOS also had one of their students, Karla Rojas, 18, on MSNBC's Jansing & Co. discussing immigration and the Dream Act along with Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Event: El Gran Combo at the Tropicana (AC)

Sure I just moved to Atlantic City and I'm posting all this stuff about AC, but hey you post what you see. Anyways, this Saturday, December 1 El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico will perform at the Tropicana. Tickets are reasonably priced between $50 and $80 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.  Maybe an after party at Cuba Libre in the same hotel?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Navaja's blog is back in action

Well folks I'm back in action. I know I didn't even give a hint of being on hiatus but things were hectic. First I purchased a car, then I moved to Atlantic City and finally I began my new job. Read about my role in my about.me page. Again if there's anything you'd like me to review or write about let me know. I'm pretty flexible with topics; just as long as they deal with my ever lasting love to the Latino culture. I like videos and photos :).

In the meantime, here are some interesting recent articles by some great Latino outlets:

And don't forget you can always Tweet me at @navaja1cortes. Hasta pronto.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Awilda Rodriguez Lora aka La Performera

During the National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures conference in Philadelphia, there was one performer that really stuck out from the rest. Awilda Rodriguez aka La Performera performed at the Prince Music Theatre during one of the night time activities. Amazingly hilarious and insightful is how I would describe her performance. Awilda brought to life her experiences growing up, finding her true identity and more. An astounding mixture of visual and sound, her performances really ask the questions, "Who are we?" and, "How do people view us?" Some may think she's a bit "too much," but I say we have the freedom to do whatever we want creatively. And that's exactly what she does.

In her bio, she says, "...the development of performance art is a constant exercise in self-reflection where she challenges her identity, sexuality and gender"


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Latinos choose Pres. Barack Obama at 71%

As the election has come to a close, people are scrambling to find reasons why to hate our re-elected president, Barack Obama, and other reasons to stop voting. Well remember when Time Magazine wrote the article on how Latinos will decide the next president? Yep...it happened. A new Pew Hispanic Research Poll stated, "Latinos voted for President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by 71% to 27%, according to an analysis of exit polls by the Pew Hispanic Center, a Project of the Pew Research Center."

You may think that the top issue was immigration, but it wasn't. Our nation's economy was the most important. The study also stated, "the economy was followed by health care, the federal budget deficit and foreign policy." Republicans may not have to change their strategy when reaching out to the ever growing Latino population. As you can see from the image above, Barack Obama has our nation's second largest Latino vote since President Bill Clinton in 1996.

So who did you vote for and why?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rockford IceHogs rock the sombrero for a Hispanic celebration

What happens when a Hispanic Heritage celebration goes wrong? Our friends at LatinoRebels.com shared this controversial story about the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs Hispanic Heritage weekend. The idea about having a Hispanic celebration outside of September/October is awesome but not with, "fans wearing the jerseys above, showing Hammy Hog, the team's mascot, adorned with a sombrero and thick mustache. ¡Que racista!" (via Deadspin)

I'll let you be the judge of it all but look at their flyer on the Icehog website. Celebrating Hispanic culture is not about bright colors, sombreros and coronas. Sure the Chicago market is predominately Mexican, but I doubt Mexicans will even want to come to this game. Oh wait? You said Dora the Explorer is coming to this event!? I wonder if Nickelodean knows about her appearance. So what could they have done different? Maybe honor a Latino leader in the community, maybe have a special performance by one of the local groups, maybe something other than what they are doing now. Oh well. See you at Cinco de Mayo.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Community service: Thanksgiving for the Homeless


Every year Taller Puertorriqueño hosts their annual Thanksgiving for the Homeless event. During the event you get a sense of happiness and sadness. Yes you're serving the community by donating to a good cause, but at the same time there are so many people that enter their building who are homeless. However on a positive note (again), I'm glad to see so many people donate clothing and their time. This year's event will take place on Wednesday, November 21st from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. If you can't donate any food or clothes, Taller PR is also looking for volunteers the day of the event to help serve the food. *See flyer above for more information and contact info* 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My 2012 voting experience

I must say for the past two months I have seen and heard so many political ads that it drove me insane. I think this year it was far worse than others. Last night while watching the news there were five ads in a row...all attack ads. My feeling is will these last minute ads change your mind? Probably not. Regardless, this morning I woke up like any other day and went to vote. Last night during my random Twitter search, @anniemal tweeted a link to find my polling place. While I already knew where it was from my 2011 experience, I clicked on it to humor myself. Low and behold I had a new polling place with no notice.




So today I did go to the new location and it was the easiest 10 minutes of my life. The volunteer did ask for my ID but all I said was, "My name is Eric Cortes," and she found my name. It was interesting because not once did I actually hand over my ID to prove it was me. Maybe she took my word for it. Polling volunteers are hilarious because they are always yelling at each other. Right after I pushed my buttons someone handed me a I VOTED sticker which felt great. And while most people tweeted and Facebooked photos of long lines, I only had six people in front of me...all older citizens. Regardless of who you vote for, just vote...not because someone told you to, but because you want to make a difference.



Monday, November 5, 2012

ALPFA's leadership summit talks social media

Earlier today I had the pleasure of speaking at ALPFA's 2012 Leadership Summit. Their theme was social media and as you all know I love me some social media. And not just for personal branding, but putting it to use in your professional life. Other panelists included Myrna Soto, SVP & CISO Comcast National Engineering & Technical Operations; Duncan Avis, KPMC Managing Director, Business Intelligence and Lee Raine, Director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

So is your company using social media? How about you? There's a huge difference when it comes to personal branding and organizations using it to leverage their marketing efforts. Most of the panelists agreed that social media is turning (and integrating) into traditional media. The terms can be used interchangeably. Other takeaways included security issues. When you have giant insurance companies or even something like Best Buy, you have to be 100% careful about what your colleagues are distributing via social media. Remember, once it's out there in the world, it can and will be used against (or for) you.

Richard Negrin, Deputy Mayor and Managing Director from the City of Philadelphia also gave a great introduction about the city's use of social media and where Philadelphia is in terms of use and strategy. Unfortunately, 55% of Philadelphians don't have access to broadband internet. That number is insane and needs to be dropped. Thanks to Negrin's efforts, the city of Philadelphia created the 311 mobile app which allows citizens to get involved with city government. I just downloaded the app myself.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My car buying experience

This post will be a little personal but I thought it would be interesting. For reasons I cannot announce right now I had to purchase a vehicle. Eric...with a car? Imagine that! Luckily I have friends who are car fiends and know everything there is to purchase a car. Also in my favor, I have driven ZipCars for the past two years and have improved my driving. Right? The next step would be to look up cars and narrow it down to three make/models as well as get quotes for insurance.

On a not-very-sunny Wednesday morning (considering I didn't have to work) my friend Randy and I went into South Jersey to look at Mazda, VolksWagen and Ford dealers all within a few blocks of each other. To be honest I didn't expect to be there for about five hours looking at cars and speaking with sales people. If you know me, I do not like salesmen...at all. They throw all these numbers at you, pretend to be your friend, feed you (I didn't get fed) and then make you sign all this paperwork. But luckily I turned down all three offers and made my own decision; thanks to Randy as well.

While the Mazda dealer was a little aggressive, VolksWagen brought out three different people and even ran out to offer us more random crap when we were driving away. The manager also spoke Spanish to us expecting us to feel more at ease. Sorry, that doesn't work with me. The Ford dealer was the nicest and less pushier of the three. His motto was if you're going to buy the car, you're going to buy it. And it's true. If we want something we're going to get it. Point blank. After a lunch break and some candy shopping I went with my top two: 2012 Mazda 3 and 2013 Ford Focus.So who did I go with? Well the top photo just says it all.

Now came the bad news. Since Hurricane Sandy closed down the entire world, the DMV wasn't able to process temporary tags. I had to wait one more day to actually drive off with the car. Luckily, the sales reps at Mazda were nice enough to pick me up from work the following day to go back to the dealer (it's 30 minutes away). Luckily I handled all the insurance information the previous night; thanks Geico! I signed a lot of paperwork, and then boom! Overall, the experience was tiring. But I am happy to have my own vehicle, awesome credit and now the ability to do a lot more.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Taller Puertorriqueño needs your support

There comes a time when you see an organization grow from small to large. I used to work at Taller Puertorriqueño where there mission is to preserve, promote and develop Latino arts & culture. Not just an organization for Puerto Ricans, Taller has changed and connected so many lives in the local and national community. But now they need our help. With arts organizations losing funding, Taller has been struggling with their capital campaign for the last four years.

Just in time, the Innovation grant program rewards artists for using their talents to turn their cities around. And now their asking art lovers to help pick the viewer's choice to help a worthy project win $15,000. choice. Taller has been chosen as one of the top 64 organizations fighting for the grant that will help support their own programs. This grant would actually help Taller make their dream a reality- they have already over halfway there, having secured the site and $6.5 of the $10 million needed to build a new building.

Here's how to help Taller: 
  1. Log in to Facebook (or register if you don’t have one) 
  2. Click this link: https://www.facebook.com/OvationTV/app_255394737897823 
  3. Click the “Like” button that the big red arrow on the page points to. 
  4. Scroll down to find our project, “Building Community Through Art: Taller Puertorriqueño’s Capital Campaign” 
  5. Click the “Vote” button under our project.

Friday, October 19, 2012

NALAC's inspiring preformances

Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra
Last night (Thursday, October 18) I had the pleasure of attending NALAC's evening performances at the Prince Music Theatre. I didn't know what to expect when I attended, but I left amazed. Performances included Awilda Rodriguez Lora, Quique Aviles, Circa '95 and Spoken Had Percussion Orchestra. All different types of performances, but they had something in common. They each brought a sense of identity and the self to the audience.

Lora performed a very personal story about her upbringing through spoken word, music and acting. She spoke about the role of women in today's society and the machista mentality our fathers usually have. While adding some humor, she ended on a note about discovering herself and looking after herself but still caring for others. Aviles had a great story to tell through poetry and spoken word. He spoke greatly about immigration and how our mothers and fathers leave their country to come live the dream in the United States of America.

So what is it about the arts? I believe it can change lives for the better. Whether visually, voice or through sound, we should be creating better worlds for our sons and daughters. Keep art programs in our schools, encourage a little creativity, because without these activities, we will not only lose culture, but our self-identity as well.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Disney announces their Latina princess

Now I'm not one to add people to "boxes" but sometimes I have to ask myself and others, "What exactly does a Latino(a) look like?" In fact, what defines us as people living in the United States. Remember, a Colombian in Colombia will never call them-self a Latino. An Argentine living in Argentina will never call them-self a Latino and so on. Some people may say our language, food, music is what makes us Latino. Just because some don't speak Spanish does not define who we are. But now, Disney has decided to announce their first Latina princess and some people aren't liking it.

“She is Latina,” Entertainment Weekly reported executive producer Jamie Mitchell as saying. “It’s sort of a matter-of-fact situation rather than an overt thing.” In a mashable.com story, "Disney had announced the movie and subsequent of 2013 TV series back in December 2011, and made no mention of the characters’ ethnic backgrounds." I hear both arguments.There's the, "The complexion of a person does not make you Latino(a)." However, Disney could have probably given her a little more spunk to give the viewers the illusion that she is indeed Latina. If children are watching this, they will have LOTS of questions about identity. And we don't need that.

I wonder if a little change in complexion would make things different. Or how about an accent? Maybe some lines in Spanish? What would you change? Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess airs Sunday, November 18 at 7 p.m. on the Disney Channel. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NALAC conference begins with a welcoming reception


Just this evening, Wednesday, October 17th, 2012, the National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures (NALAC) held their welcome reception at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel (33rd Floor). NALAC and the Philadelphia host committee welcomed all attendees and community leaders to a warm reception. With an amazing view, NALAC explained their reasons why they chose our beloved city. Philadelphia was recently chosen as the #1 city for arts & culture by Travel & Leisure Magazine. The Philadelphia Cultural Alliance mentioned that people of color (mostly Hispanics) have the highest level of engagement when it comes to arts & culture in the city.

Reception attendees included the Mexican Consul Carlos Giralt-Cabrales, Maria del Pilar representing State Representative Angel Cruz and Mayor Michael Nutter. From today through Sunday, October 21st, NALAC conference attendees will enjoy a variety of workshops, exhibitions, tours and more. Who knows, maybe there will even be a few surprises. For information regarding the conference visit http://conference.nalac.org and follow them on Twitter @Nalac_Arts (use #NALACphilly).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Video: Rosie Perez speaks the truth against Romney

Celebrities have no issue discussing politics, especially if they're against the Republican side. Actress/comedian Rosie Perez spills the truth against Governor Mitt Romney. In the video Perez states:
“What if you were just a little bit gay, Mitt,” Perez cracks. “Think of all the advantages that would provide. No, wait for it ... what if you had a vagina. If you were a gay Latina, this election would be in the bag for you. Unfortunately for you Mitt, you were cursed with the hard-knock life of growing up as the son of a wealthy governor and auto executive."
So is she right? What if Romney was indeed Latino...or a little bit gay?

P.S. Don't forget to watch today's (second) presidential debate at 9 p.m. Click here for more details including where to watch.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Opinion: Looking back at my Latino leadership training

Leadership. We define leaders in our own way. Some people think it's a CEO from a local organization while others will say it's the intern that has taken an active role in the business. Or maybe it's your aunt who hasn't worked in 10 years but has volunteered her time to various community efforts. Regardless, we all have the potential to become great leaders.

I was recently interviewed for a documentary capturing the Philadelphia Prevention Partnership's Latino Leadership Institute. Gilberto Gonzalez, local Philadelphia artist and author, was commissioned to help produce this very important documentary. During the interview, I had to go back to 2008 and remember my class...Unidos Sin Fronteras. Although every class has their similarities, the students in the class is what makes it worth while. The relationships I have made and the advice I was given throughout the leadership program were important to me. It's what gets me motivated to help in any shape or form.

There are so many things going on in our community that we are unaware of. And unfortunately, it takes a video and an incident for "us" to get involved. It's unfortunate the incident after the Philadelphia Puerto Rican Day Parade occurred but if it wasn't for the video that was posted, no one would have known. We must choose our topics wisely...getting involved with everything will only hurt us.

Educate yourself and find out what motivates you, educate yourself to have a better perspective on life. Latinos in the United States have the tendency to take things personally. We have to educate ourselves and learn never, ever to mix business with pleasure...it holds us back way too much. Remember to never hold grudges either, it's important to keep a professional relationship with anyone we ever meet. Unless you go out for drinks every now and then :).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

UofArts wins Philadelphia's PR Pardae

Photo courtesy Al Dia News
Congratulations to the Latino Student Union (University of the Arts) for taking first place overall during the 50th Annual Puerto Rican Parade held on Sunday, September 30th, in Philadelphia. Community groups, schools and non-profits all worked effortlessly to represent the Puerto Rican culture. For parade photos visit pontealdia.com.

Some of the other parade winners include:


Elementary Schools Division

  1. Antonia Pantoja Charter Elementary School 7.7
  2. Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter Elementary School 6.5
  3. Congreso’s Pan American Charter School 4.8
Non-Profit Division
  1. Instant Addiction Dancers 7.0
  2. Aspira, Inc. of Pennsylvania 6.5
  3. Caliente Dance Company 6.1
High Schools Division
  1. Thomas A. Edison High School 6.5
  2. Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls 6.4
  3. Kensington CAPA High School 5.8

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

EVENT: NALAC hits Philly in one week!

In one week (10/17-10/21) more than 500 artists, community leaders and officials will convene in Philadelphia for the National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures (NALAC) conference. The 8th National NALAC Conference, Seizing the Moment NOW, is the only national convening of Latino arts. The five-day conference will serve as a platform for the development and promotion of Latino arts via educational sessions, panel discussions, exhibitions, and performances. Notably, the NALAC Conference provides opportunities for conference participants, established and aspiring artists, and speakers to interact, network, share their knowledge and resources, and create new ideas in intimate settings.

Special honorees have been selected to receive 2012 NALAC Lifetime Achievement Awards during the Conference. The honorees are Jesse Bermudez, Founder and Executive/Artistic director of Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA); René Buch, Artistic Director of Repertorio Español; Al and Carmen Castellano, Castellano Family Foundation and Tina Ramirez, Founder of Ballet Hispánico.

In addition to conference workshops and learning experiences, attendees will be able to explore Latino Philadelphia with mural tours, exhibitions, etc. If you are interested in volunteering at the event, please e-mail nalacphilly@gmail.com with your name and contact information. Be sure to follow NALAC on Twitter, Facebook and other notable Latino Philly Twitter accounts like @PhillyTeAma and @TelemundoWWSI.

Special thanks to the Philadelphia host committee:
  • Veronica Castillo-Perez, Raices Culturales Latinoamericanas, Inc. 
  • Carmen Febo San Miguel, Taller Puertorriqueño 
  • Magda Martinez, Fleisher Art Memorial
  • Emilio Buitrago, Casa de Venezuela 
  • James Claiborne, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance 
  • Andrea Townrow, Mexican Cultural Center 
  • Alice Santana, Artistas y Musicos Latinoamericanas (AMLA) 
  • Matilde Duenas, Mexican Cultural Center 
  • Jasmin Dottin, Raices Culturales Latinoamericanos, Inc. 
  • Michelle A. Ortiz, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation 
  • Tony Rocco, Photography Without Borders 
  • Edgardo Gonzalez, Taller Puertorriqueno 
  • Cecilia Bonilla, Mexican Cultural Center
  • Eric Cortes, WWSI Telemundo Philadelphia 
  • Graziella DiNuzzo-D'Amelio, 2012 Philadelphia NALAC Conference Coordinator

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Video: President Obama approves this message in Spanish

Watch out Mitt Romney, our current president Barack Obama has released an official ad in Spanish earlier today. What do you think about the president's Spanish? Is it too general or is it a valiant attempt?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Live and breath Latino art all this weekend

First Friday. That can mean many things. But in this blog post it means there are a good number of art exhibitions opening up to the public. This weekend there are a good number of Philadelphia Latino openings as well.Below are three events happening today through Saturday; all hosted by some great people.
  • 15 Ideas to Rebuild our World - This art exhibit displays Gina Echeverry’s 15 ideas of her optimistic vision of our existence, considering we are an intimate part of the universe. This is her vision of rebuilding hope allowing her audience the opportunity to possibly reinvent a new consciousness and spirit that will help to rebuild self-esteem of our people to become better citizens of the world… affecting all other systems that shape us. 2708 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19133

  • Aqui y Alla exhibition - The "Aqui y Alla" transnational public art project was created and directed by local artist Michelle Angela Ortiz. The project explores the impact of immigration in the lives of Mexican immigrant youth in South Philadelphia in connection with youth in Chihuahua, Mexico.1729 Mount Vernon Street, Philadelphia, PA

  • Latin Bridges Meet and Greet- Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St. , Philadelphia, PA 19106
There are also a few places to buy Latino art in Philadelphia. Check them out here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Latinos strongly agree with same-sex couples

When it comes to being gay in the Latino community, it seems as though opinions are changing. A recent NBC Latino/IBOPE Zogby survey says 6 out of 10 Latinos in the sample agree that same-sex couples have the right to marry. Thirty eight percent said they disagree and 31 percent said they did so strongly. Sometimes I wonder about these polls because asking in the moment or conversation is different than asking in a survey. A lot of factors also come into play like if the respondents actually have children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

President Obama may have favored gay marriage, but there are always the skeptics. We all have difference of opinion. Latinos are naturally religious. We go by what the book says. Throughout the years these things have changed though; the landscape of what exactly a Latino in America is different. However, the party I found hilarious (but not) was what would be the biggest disappointment for you when it comes to your child(ren)? Survey says: Being a drug addict. Being sent to prison. Being gay is at the bottom of the barrel. 

Read more about the survey at NBCLatino.com.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

César E. Chávez National Monument

There comes a moment in time when we wonder will we be remembered in 100 years (post-death). We are all humans who work hard to sustain a living; more so than others. But there are those trailblazers, lideres, inspirational and noteworthy people who changed the course of time. On October 8th, 2012, President Obama will travel to Keene, California to announce the establishment of the César E. Chávez National Monument. Years in the making, the monument – which will be designated under the Antiquities Act – will be established on the property known as Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), or La Paz.

Chávez played a central role in achieving basic worker protections for hundreds of thousands of farmworkers across the country, from provisions ensuring drinking water was provided to workers in the fields, to steps that helped limit workers’ exposure to dangerous pesticides, to helping to establish basic minimum wages and health care access for farm workers. The César E. Chávez National Monument will encompass property that includes a Visitors’ Center containing César Chávez’s office as well as the UFW legal aid offices, the home of César and Helen Chávez, the Chávez Memorial Garden containing Chavez’s grave site, and additional buildings and structures at the La Paz campus.

So why do we immortalize these people? It was just recently that the National Park Service helped bring the Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial to Washington, DC. It takes years and years for something that happened even longer years ago to come to life. These memorials must embody and showcase the struggle of all America. Whether a life-size statue or a grave site, Americans of different ethnic backgrounds are shaping the way we look back at history. One day the color of a person's skin won't matter. Until then, let's make history.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Video: Puerto Rican celebration goes wrong

Last Sunday, September 30 Philadelphia was home to the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. While most people wave their flag in ignorance there are those who know the contributions of Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia. As Dr. Victor Vasquez-Hernandez put it, "So, beyond the Puerto Rican Day Parade, folks should also remember the many generations of Puerto Ricans who have lived, worked, entertained, governed and taught in Philadelphia." It's great to celebrate your culture, but it's better to know your culture.

There are however those incidents which cause shame. In my opinion when there are police officers gathered together, it causes more harm than good. I get nervous when I see them gathered but that's just me. You never know when "you" will be judged as to why you're walking in the area just because of how you are dressed. I just became aware of a video (on myfoxphilly.com) which shows a police officer striking a woman in the face. From the video you can see the woman did nothing but remember, there's three sides to the story his, hers and the right one.

Note: The incident happened on 5th and Lehigh and had nothing to do with the annual Puerto Rican Parade. Most residents take to the neighborhood for post-celebrations. 

For more info visit the myfoxphilly.com article.

Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Event: Philly's 50th Puerto Rican Day Parade

As Philadelphia's Puerto Rican Parade approaches this Sunday, September 30th, I have to ask the Philly residents, "Who exactly puts on the show?" Also ask yourself, where is the parade? If you say American Street and Lehigh Avenue then you're completely wrong. Founded in 1962, The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, Inc. (Concilio) is the oldest Latino organization in Philadelphia and has a well-established reputation as a leader for Latino family services.

The parade, produced by Concilio, has been around for 50 years now. Originally the parade went through Olde City but now starts at the Benjamin Franklin Parkways and wraps around Center City on its way back.  With a variety of floats and performances, this year's theme was based on the Puerto Rican woman. Unfortunately what happens next (after 5 p.m.) is somewhat not as exciting. Don't catch yourself around 2nd or 5th Street after Girard Avenue because for some reason the streets are blocked. There's no pride in running around acting like a mad man waving a flag you probably don't know anything about.

If you can't catch the parade on the parkways, you can watch it live on 6abc from 1 p.m. -3 p.m. Enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Video: HBO's The Latino List Dos

Hispanic Heritage Month is in full blast and we're all scrambling to integrate our programs, material, etc. to further engage the largest minority in the United States of America. However, HBO has already been doing this for years. HBO's The Latino List 2 explores the biggest Latino names in the entertainment industry and asks the question what does it mean to be Latino in the U.S. From actors, actresses, a football stars and comedians, the documentary premiered one year ago and continues to explore our culture in 2012. The Latino List premieres (today) September 24th at 9 p.m. only on HBO. Hopefully it's available on HBOgo after it airs.
 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Foto: Officer "Ramirez" stands guard

A picture is worth a thousand words and the one above speaks for itself. The still image comes from a video taken earlier this year from Phoenix as hundreds rallied and marched on April 25, eventually blocking ICE and the streets the same day the Supreme court heard 1070. So what happens when a Ramirez, Rodriguez, Castillo, Cortes, Rodriguez, de Leon, etc. confront "their own people?" They knew where they were going. This is an incredible shot that captures so many emotions. Would you go stand guard as an officer fully knowing your family could be in the protesting crowd? Do you quit your job? Something we can't answer until we are actually put in the position.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BeingLatino looks at our "Latino Trailblazers"

Remember how our friends at NBCLatino launched their "Latino Innovators" series? Well thanks to supporters like Besty Buy and Sirius XM, BeingLatino has launched their own series: Latino Trailblazers. According to their launch post, the series will highlight, "Twenty 'Trailblazers' who are in the trenches everyday working to lift up our Latino Community, not only in entertainment, and the arts, but production, social media, marketing, writing, politics, sciences, technologies, and so much more." Glad to see this engaging platform take a look at our culture and promote it through video. So do you know anyone that should be highlighted? Send them a message on Twitter @BeingLatino.

Take a look at one of the videos highlighting our favorite chef, Daisy Martinez.

Monday, September 17, 2012

NBCLatino celebrates our heritage with "NBCLATINO INNOVATORS"


Hispanic Heritage Month is here and what better way to celebrate than festivals, food and people! Right? NBCLatino.com, whom I've seen all over the web world, announced the launch of "NBCLatino Innovators." In partnership with NBC News, MSNBC, and NBCNews.com, NBCLatino will spotlight 20 Hispanic innovators from across the country who are making outstanding contributions across a variety of fields-- from engineering and technology, to the arts, philanthropy and more.

The "NBCLatino Innovators" series will appear on "TODAY," "NBC Nightly News" and MSNBC and features NBC News journalists such as Diana Alvear. The first few Innovators that will appear on NBCLatino.com as part of the series include: Rosa Obregon, Paul Pauca and Judith Baca.

And because highlighting our leaders isn't enough, NBCLatino is asking their readers for their input as well. There are hundreds and thousands of Latino leaders but we each individually know more. NBCLatino will be asking its social media community to vote on their favorite Innovator. The nominee with the most "Likes" and comments on Facebook will be featured at the end of the "NBCLatino Innovator" campaign. The NBCLatino team will also run a "Who Did We Miss?" feature once all of the Innovators are revealed. Users can submit their ideas throughout Hispanic Heritage Month on NBCLATINO'S FACEBOOK PAGE and by use the #latinoinnovators hashtag on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Event: El Festival del Grito

This coming weekend Hispanic Heritage Month begins in the United States of America. It's on September 15 when we also celebrate the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. So will you be celebrating?

This weekend my job is participating in El Festival del Grito de la Independencia de Mexico. Like other festivals there will be giveaways, food, music, performances and contests. We're hosting a quebradita contest with some awesome prizes. Visit holaciudad.com for more information. See you there!(?)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reflection on the year

The year is 2012 and the highlighted theme of the year seems to be the Mayan calendar and the end of the world. While most people scramble to say goodbye and assume the worst, let's begin to assume the best. There was a quote in the movie Jurassic Park that said it best, "Life will find a way." And it's true. When we are at our worst, we assume all is lost and there's no way of getting back up. However, with enough good energy coming from friends, family, colleagues and even yourself, life will find a way.

It was May 2012 (roughly) when I finally got word my legal issues were finally cleared. Don't worry, nothing major. But in the last year since April 2011, it was interesting to see what transpired, who was there for me, who wasn't there and how people are reaching out today. Now I don't hold grudges nor do I think it's necessary for you to be mi amigo, but it always works vice versa. As we grow older it's a little more difficult to maintain those so called friendships we made throughout the years. As we get to know each other more and more, we gravitate to those we can relate to more.

So what does happen as we get older? It's obviously even more difficult to make new friendships. People are in relationships, they get married, they have kids and want friends in similar situations. Right? I try to stay at piece with everyone no matter what they have done (or not done). Life is too short to have quarrels with people and although it's easy to hate, it's not healthy at all. I wish it was possible to maintain all these friendships, but it' natural to grow apart. When you push too much to "hang out" and there's nothing on the other end, why keep trying? I say let time run its course and just maintain focus on you and your goals.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

This Sunday: Feria del Barrio

This Sunday, September 9 from noon to 5:30 p.m. one of the most attended outdoor events returns to El Centro de Oro. La Feria del Barrio has been around for over 30 years now and never fails. There have been some years when it was postponed but this year is not it.

With music, food, dancing, vendors, a children's corner and more, this event is bound to bring thousands of people. You also have the opportunity to win a Ford Escape! Visit www.holaciudad.com/Philadelphia for more details. See you there!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Latinos at the political conventions

Some of you may be aware that I am not a political person. Never have. Never will be. It takes a lot for me even to mention government relations in this blog. Just yesterday the first Latino made the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, told an amazing story where he of course added his family's Mexican upbringing. But it wasn't just about that...it was about America and moving forward.



About a week prior, Senator Marco Rubio also gave his American dream speech. Do you think they both did our gente justice?


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Event: Congreso's ribbon cutting ceremony

Pretty much self-explanatory, this new building is a tremendous opportunity for our community. Congreso de Latinos Unidos' third building will house the Pan American Academy Charter School as well as the Harcum College. The college offers associate degree programs in Law and Justice, Human Services, Leadership and Early Childhood Education.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This week's articles to share




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

West Side story in the eyes of an orchestra

West Side Story is clearly one of those classic films that not just Latinos have to watch...but everyone. It's a masterpiece based on two youngsters from rival gangs who fall in love. Sounds like Romeo and Juliet right? It does but the story is more than just two star-crossed lovers; it's about culture. The year is 1960 and Puerto Ricans were beginning to move into New York City. Not everyone was pleased. Mix in a little bit of song and dance and you get a 10 time Oscar award winner.

Coming in October, the Philadelphia Orchestra will play Leonard Bernstein's electrifying score and memorable songs with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim live, while the newly re-mastered filmis shown in glorious high definition on the big screen with the original vocals and dialog intact. For more information visit kimmelcenter.org.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Nominate your Leader of Hope!

AARP has teamed up with holaciudad.com/Philadelphia to find that "leader of hope." The contest asks visitors to nominate someone who is leading the fight against hunger in our community. Nominate them here and they could be the winner of a $ 2,500 donation to a charity that is making the difference in ending hunger. A donation will be made in the name of the winning Leader of Hope in the amount of $2,500 to a qualifying 501(c) 3 charity that will continue the work for the fight against hunger. The Winner and his/her Guest will also attend a Recognition and Award Ceremony, currently scheduled to take place on November 15, 2012. This is a perfect opportunity to recognize those who are not necessarily in the "spotlight" but continue to work for the good of the community.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Xfinity TV partners up with MultiLatino


Comcast, one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services, today announced that it has teamed up with Music Choice, the multi-platform video and music network, to bring Xfinity TV MultiLatino customers access to the most extensive collection of Hispanic music videos and original artist content ever On Demand. The collection, available immediately on Xfinity On Demand, with select videos also available on Xfinity.com/LatinoTV, will soon include a total of 500 music videos and feature a wide variety of Spanish music genres and artists, including pop and rock Latino, romance, tropical, regional Mexican and a children's category.

This is one of the many instances of the ever growing Latino population. Adding music on demand is one of a few steps taken to increase sales within Xfinity TV. The addition of these video categories increased Spanish-language videos from four to 12. Comcast is also home to Internet Essentials which provides internet at an extremely low cost to low-income families.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Giving hope to young Latinas

Give a young Latina a camera...give her hope. Las Fotos Project, a project of Community Partners, is a non-profit, community-based photography program whose mission is to bring about positive change for young Latinas facing adversity. Through one-on-one mentoring, photography trainings, and assigned field projects, Las Fotos Project provides a creative outlet for students, encouraging them to express their artistic talents and explore their imagination, while building self-confidence.

Even if these young Latinas don't end up being photographers or videographers, it's so important to expose them to not only their culture, but to technology. Storytelling can be produced in so many ways and by adding technology, it paints a bigger picture. Below you'll find one of many stories. I'll be posting them frequently. Enjoy.

My Niece, The Carefree Four-Year-Old from Las Fotos Project on Vimeo.

Monday, August 20, 2012

That's right...we attend college!

If someone ever asks, "Do Hispanics even attend college," your answer should be a giant, "WEPA! Of course we do." According to a Pew study, for the first time, Hispanic students are the largest minority group on college campuses across the country -- making up 16.5 percent of American college students. Education is so important right now especially during the Arizona controversy. And although the graduation rate is not at the same level as our "other" counterparts, the enrollment is getting there. In 2010, 112,000 Hispanics received an associate degree and 140,000 Hispanics were awarded a bachelor’s degree—both new highs.

So what's keeping us from getting those numbers up even higher? There are numerous factors including retention from the school itself and financial aid. It's so important we tell high school students that (although it's expensive) it is possible. There are numerous loans, grants and scholarships that can get us through 4-years of college. The next step? Graduate school. I'm sure the number of Hispanics enrolled in graduate school are super low, but as we gain in numbers, that will also go up.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Our society's racial divide

What's the first thing you notice when you meet someone? Sex? Race? Clothes? The answer is pretty obvious. The racial divide in our communities obviously still exists. For some reason, human nature has taught us to be prejudice based on what we look like. And it can be everything from hair, eyes, smile, etc. Last night I visited Las Parcelas garden (part of the Norris Square Neighborhood Project) and they presented a good number of short films; some which were about race. The short films were presented by Scribe Video Center's and PNC Arts Alive.

  • Clara como el Agua (Clara like Water) by Fernanda Rossi is one of the most powerful pieces presented. Clara como el Agua tells the tales and half-truths that surround the origins of Clara, a light-skinned black girl with kinky, blond hair and gray eyes. Tired of being incessantly teased by her dark-skinned peers, she ventures into the magical waters of the bioluminescent bay to change her skin color and possibly herself. The story sheds light on the differences between the Puerto Rican community and how "white privilege" exists everywhere. 
  •  That Which Once Was by Kimi Takesue takes place in the year 2032. Vicente, an 8-year-old Caribbean boy, has been displaced by global warming and fends for himself as an environmental refugee in a hostile Northern metropolis. This story combines race, class, environmental disaster (and more) all in one short film.The future is what we make of it and this film shed light on what can happen if we don't stop. However, it also showcased that when we are at our lowest, we don't judge based on age, sex or race. When we are in need, we will gravitate towards people similar to us in any shape or form.
So is race easy to talk about? Of course not. It's a touchy subject that a larger community (with wealth) can dictate. There's an argument that people with wealth and power are the only community that can be racist. Think about it. What's the difference between a white male CEO and a Puerto Rican grocery store clerk? They both can't be racist. The racial divide will always exists, even when disaster strikes. Thoughts?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This week's social articles of interest


  • Is Zoe Saldana Right For The Role As Nina Simone In New Biopic? A lot of people didn't like Zoe's role in Colombiana because...well because she wasn't a colombiana. And now there are others questioning her role as Nina Simone. Seriously? 
  • Eyeing Latinos, NBC News Snuggles Up To Telemundo - As if you needed another reason to engage in the Hispanic market right? NBC and Telemundo are becoming a force that will eat up the competition...or so we think. 
  • Llego la Feria del Barrio - Now in it's 28th year, Feria del Barrio is the event of the summer (next to the Hispanic Fiesta). The only outdoor festival located in the neighborhood, it always brings out la gente. 
  • Closing Ceremony: Spice Girls Reunion - I mean seriously. Who doesn't love a Spice Girls reunion?! Sure it was only 2 minutes, but in those two minutes Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham) reaffirmed that she is the best Spice of them all.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sesame Street's Latino population rises

New English-language media outlets popping up. Sports teams hosting Latino themed nights. And now Sesame Street wants to add a new Latino character. That's what I'm talking about. A Huffington Post article stated, "The producers of 'Sesame Street' told The Associated Press that they are holding an open casting call on Monday, August 20 at Manhattan's Roseland Ballroom for a recurring character to join the "`Sesame Street' family.'"

Although Sesame Street is already home to Rosita, Luis and Maria, the new addition will once again prove that power of our community in the United States. The new character (or the person playing the character) should have a sense of humor, be able to sing and can interchange between English and Spanish. What should the new character's name be? Male or female?

Monday, August 13, 2012

La leyenda comes to MundoFox

Sure it's a competitor, but I was excited to see MundoFox's programming lineup (launched today). Although I'll be working during the show, El Joe (La Leyenda) is a story about one of Colombia's most famous salsa artists. Enjoy and catch it Monday - Friday at 12 p.m. (EST).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Phila. Eagles introduce Spanish radio network

In an effort to engage more the Hispanic audience a little more, one of our favorite teams, the Philadelphia Eagles announced the introduction of the Eagles Spanish Radio Network. For the first time, fans can tune in to WTTM (1680 AM) in Philadelphia to hear every Eagles game broadcast in Spanish. Rickie Ricardo will be doing the play-by-play and is joined by color men Felix DeJesus and Will Kulik. The Eagles are the 14th NFL team to have a Spanish broadcast.

The Eagles En Español radio is the latest addition of organizations taking on the Hispanic market. Philadelphia, in particular, has seen a lot of market growth. The addition of TV Azteca Philly and El Zol 1340AM has made this market into a clear competition zone. Although the Eagles Spanish radio network is about sports, it is still Spanish language media. Where will dollars be spent?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Event: Feria del Barrio returns

The time has come for one of the most popular events of the year. On Sunday, September 9 from 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Feria del Barrio will take over El Centro de Oro. The events will feature musical performances by local bands, dancing, giveaways and more. The Grand Finale at Feria del Barrio features the unique beat of the renowned latin pop orchestra “ Edgardo Cintron and the Cintron Band.” Percussionist Edgardo Cintron is a second-generation Puerto Rican and a second generation musician, known as much for his affable personality and generous spirit as for his tasty musicianship.

I remember one year Feria del Barrio did not happen and it was devastating. However, the following year it came back with a bang. This is probably one of the biggest, free outdoor festivals in the area. The best part? It's the only festival of this caliber located in the neighborhood. Feria del Barrio is produced thanks to the hard work of  Taller Puertorriqueño, Raices Culturales Latinoamericanas, Congreso de Latinos Unidos and HACE (Hispanic Association of Contractors & Enterprises).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Giving Voice to Immigrant Youth in Philadelphia and Mexico

When you can combine art, culture, immigration and personal stories into one project you have my attention. International mural artist (and Philadelphia native) Michelle Ortiz recently launched the "Aqui y Alla" project. A atransnational public art project, "Aqui y Alla" explores the impact of immigration in the lives of Mexican immigrant youth in South Philadelphia in connection with youth in Chihuahua,Mexico. All four artists working on the project are sharing their stories which are impacted through immigration here in Philadelphia and in Mexico. It takes a lot to share these personal stories and I commend anyone who is able to do this through any art form.

Four artists and communityleaders from the Colectivo Rezizte (Juarez) and Colectivo Madroño (ChihuahuaCity) worked with indigenous youth in Mexico. The youth created transportable murals on fiber cloth panels that traveled with the four artists to Philadelphia. Guided by the artists, the transportable mural panels from Mexico will be permanently installed and combined with the images created by the Mexican immigrant youthin South Philadelphia. The end result will be a permanent mural located on 1515 South 6th Street in South Philadelphia that represents the messages of the youth in both communities.


The "Aqui y Alla" project began August 1st and will run through August 19.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Get involved with the NALAC conference

I currently serve on the host committee for the National Associations of Latino Arts & Cultures' conference (Philadelphia). While registration is now open, there are still many ways to get involved. On Thursday, August 9 the host committee along with NALAC executive director, Maria de Leon, will host two separate meetings for local artists as well as community leaders. These are perfect opportunities to voice your opinion, suggest topics, find out about sponsorship opportunities or just get more information about the conference.

Details as followed:

  • ARTISTS: NALAC cordially invites you to participate in a round table discussion with NALAC's Executive Director, Maria de Leon who will be visiting Philadelphia on Thursday August 9, 2012 from 6-8pm at Raices Culturales (1417 North 2nd Street, 1st Floor Annex Philadelphia, PA 19122) to speak with local artists (all disciplines) about the NALAC National Conference, which as you know will be in Philadelphia (the 1st time in the East Coast), October 17-21st 2012. Join the discussion; learn about NALAC; learn about the Conference details; ask questions, meet other artists and cultural workers and share your thoughts with Maria de Leon. Please let us know if we can count on you presence in this important conversation by following this link: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4060170078 
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS:   NALAC cordially invites you to participate in a round table discussion with NALAC's Executive Director, Maria de Leon who will be visiting Philadelphia on Thursday August 9, 2012 from 10AM to 12noon at Raices Culturales (1417 North 2nd Street, 1st Floor Annex Philadelphia, PA 19122) to speak with leaders of community organizations that provide arts and cultural programming to their service communities in the Southeastern area of Pennsylvania. The discussion will be about the NALAC National Conference which as you may know will be in Philadelphia (the 1st time in the East Coast), October 17-21st 2012.and about NALAC's support of our community. Join the discussion; learn about NALAC; learn about the Conference details; ask questions, meet other cultural workers and community leaders serving Latino communities in the region and share your thoughts with Maria de Leon. Please let us know if we can count on you presence in this important conversation by following the Eventbrite link: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4060200168


Friday, August 3, 2012

NCLR's 2012 ALMA Awards


National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) American Latino Media Arts (ALMA)Awards, has promoted fair, accurate, and representative portrayals of Latinos in entertainment. This year will be no different. FOR GREATER GLORY dominated nominations for the 2012 ALMA. The epic action adventure about Mexico’s Cristero War for religious freedom earned five nominations – including Favorite Movie – for ALMA Awards. NBC will air the 2012 ALMA Awards at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT Sept. 21.Nuestra gente is able to join in on the action by voting for their favorite Latinos in movies, music and television.  Hurry because voting ends on Friday, September 7. Need another reason to vote? One lucky voter has the chance to win a trip for two to Pasadena, California and join the live taping.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wilmer Valderrama to star in Voto Latino's PSA

This past weekend, Wilmer Valderrama was joined by an all-star cast for a PSA he directed for Voto Latino, a non-partisan civic engagement organization renowned for engaging youth through media, technology and celebrity voices to promote positive change. Voto Latino’s 2012 PSA entitled “The Enforcers” transforms their own image into that of a covert agency whose sole mission is to register people to vote. Vota Latino has always been at the front of the line when it comes to registering people to vote. Their campaigns are elusive and have always engaged the younger Latino demographic...and it's working!

The PSA is not out yet but you can sign-up online to be the first to preview. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My articles of interest

I just finished my second graduate school class Multimedia Writing and it feels great. Although it's only been my second class, I feel as though this one was intense. We had four major projects due in four weeks plus an additional daily tumblr photo post. Below you'll find all four interviews I recorded, edited and produced. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Local scholarship winner hopes to become role model

Earlier today, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce presented Geraldo Oyola, 18, of Eastern North Philadelphia, Dr. José E Lebron Scholarship. The Lebron Scholarship Fund is housed within GPHCC’s Professional Mentoring Network (PMN) program and awards the expenditure of a two-year tuition program at the Community College of Philadelphia. This is a tremendous opportunity for any incoming college student. With the education gap at a low (among Latinos) any help to achieve higher education is a plus for me. Oyola has also been heavily involved with Congreso de Latinos Unidos as well. “My community needs a role model [and] I want to be that role model,” he wrote in his submission essay to GPHCC. “This scholarship won’t just help me, but it will open the doors for others to receive my help.” I hope other high school students will look up to Oyola and realize a high education is just another goal in all our lives.

Saint Louis Cathedral full of emotion

Last weekend I visited New Orleans, LA (NoLa) for the first time. I must say it is always a great experience learning about other parts of the country. I also always forget that since the U.S. is so large, certain parts of the country still have French, English and Spanish influences. One of the locations that had a great impact was the Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the U.S. So why was there an impact? I am not religious at all. Well maybe a tad bit.

I did grow up Catholic and went through the communion services but after a while my attendance was minimal. This church in NoLa is not just beautiful in sight, but you can feel a presence; whether good or bad it's up to you. I couldn't help but think about my family and those that have passed away. It was such a strong feeling that I was overcome with emotions and I did get tear-eyed. I left feeling a little more spiritual and yearning for more.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Congreso organizing our youth

Earlier today I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to Congreso de Latinos Unidos' work-ready program students. The program gets high school students ready for the working world in a variety of ways. This year the program has two components; the students have to do a community garden as well as a newsletter about the same garden. Students will be interviewing people from the community and professionals in the gardening field.

I usually get a little nervous when giving a speech, especially with teenagers. You know sometimes the attention span of our youth can be a little low. However, when I do give presentations I like it to be informal and a conversation. If I do all the talking, then we won't learn anything. There were about 25 students and although I did see some "why is he talking" faces I was happier to see the one or two students ask questions. And they were really interested! You know as long as those two people got something out of what I talked about, I know I did something right. My basic message: Anything is possible and don't let the 'haters' tell you NO.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lambda Pi Chi invades Philadelphia

Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. ("Lambda Pi Chi”) announced that the location of its 2012 National Convention will be in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from August 3rd through 5th. To be honest this was not only shocking but I was happy to hear of a Latino Greek Lettered Organization (LGLO) choosing Philadelphia as their host city. It's not everyday you hear about an LGLO visiting la ciudad de amor fraternal. This year, Lambda Pi Chi will continue that legacy with its annual College Book Scholarship Program, among other initiatives. The scholarship program, which is part of Lambda Pi Chi’s Proyecto H.A.C.E.R. (Hermanas Advancing Career and Educational Resources), provides financial assistance to outstanding college-bound young women. 


The ironic part about this year's convention? Lambda Pi Chi has chosen my boss, Clara Rivas, as their keynote speaker. "Ms. Rivas’s passion for, and dedication to, the Latino community as well as her professional successes as a Latina in the challenging world of media, is inspiring," says Maria Diaz, National President of Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. "We are confident that her experiences will personally resonate with our members and motivate them as they pursue their own professional and philanthropic endeavors.” Clara is the general manager at Telemundo Philadelphia and has spoken at several events in the area as well as won numerous awards. 


 To obtain more information about Lambda Pi Chi’s 2012 National Convention in Philadelphia, please visit: www.lambdapichi.org/Convention2012.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Philadelphia raises the Colombian flag

Photo courtesy Al Dia News
Last Friday, July 20 Colombia celebrated their independence. Countless cities held festivals but in Philadelphia, something new happened. Not only was their a Festival Latinoamericano: Independencia de Colombia, but City Hall raised the Colombian flag for the first time. Thanks to the social activist organization MIRA USA, this first time event took place.

For more photos from the flag raising ceremony visit Al Dia's flickr.com stream: http://www.flickr.com//photos/aldianews/sets/72157630673768084/show/