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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Nominate your Leader of Hope!

AARP has teamed up with 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, 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: 
  • 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:

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!