Entries for August 2013


August 31, 2013 11:31 AM by Aurora Flores

Aurora Flores

As clichéd as it sounds a picture really does paint a thousand words. Recently, I posted this photo to Facebook that generated over a thousand impressions and comments. The subject: Latinos and Jews.

In my research for an upcoming book on the life and times of salsa music legend Larry Harlow, known as El Judio Maravilloso, (“the Jewish marvel”), I came across an interesting coffee table tome by Myrna Katz Frommer & Harvey Frommer “It Happened in the Catskills.” As I skimmed its chapters my eyes scanning the various black and ...

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Because the Dream Knows More than You: Chronicles from a Bilingual Citizen of the Hemispheric Americas

August 30, 2013 11:48 AM by Jose Torres-Tama

Jose Torres-Tama
Dedicatoria al inmigrante/
Ode to the immigrant

El emigrante cruza por varias razones, por necesidad económica,
The immigrant crosses for various reasons, for economical necessity, 
por el sueño de otra vida mejor, por evitar percusión política,
for the dream of a better life, to avoid political persecution,
por libertad social y religiosa, porque el acto de cruzar es un poema físico
for social and religious freedoms, because the act of crossing is a physical poem,
y un grito rebelde y un ejercicio mítico porque a veces hay que cruzar simplemente ...

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The History Written on our Faces

August 29, 2013 4:06 PM by Judith Escalona

Judith Escalona1949: Four years after the end of World War II. My parents had only recently met. Through dances and other socials like the Annual Armistice Ball, war veterans were finding their future wives and husbands and reintegrating into civilian life. People were celebrating all across the American Empire, from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Puerto Ricans among them. Having served in the American armed forces, they were returning to their families in Puerto Rico or New York, where they became part of the Great Migration.

My mother had established a ...

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Este es Sherman Jackson Reporting for NBC News

August 28, 2013 4:17 PM by Sherman Jackson

Sherman JakcsonFollowing the urban riots throughout the country in the 1960’s, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a Commission to review the incidents and assess the causes for the disturbances. The Kerner Commission, as it was known, worked extensively and made dozens of recommendations to address the disparities in employment, housing and policing of mainly African-American communities.

Significantly, the Commission also made recommendations about the media coverage of the riots, and outlined steps that the news industry and government could take to present a more balanced view of communities of color ...

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El Barrio in the 21st Century

August 27, 2013 12:02 PM by Ed Morales

For my family, East Harlem, or Spanish Harlem/El Barrio was the core community that defined being Puerto Rican in New York. My parents met in the neighborhood after migrating from different towns in Puerto Rico, and much of our extended family lived there at one time or another. They shopped in a food market called La Marqueta on Park Avenue, and on Saturday nights they danced at the Park Palace on 5th. Tito Puente was born and raised on 110th Street, and Spanish was spoken everywhere on ...

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The Spirit of La Carlota Lives On

August 26, 2013 10:22 AM by Sara Monteagudo

Sara MonteagudpFor the past 200 years, solidarity among women of African, Spanish, and Indigenous backgrounds, collectively known today in the Americas as Latinas have sought to obliterate oppression whether it be with pen in hand or with a sword. One woman in particular, a Cuban freedom fighter known as La Carlota passed forward her spirit of abolition to generations that now expand two centuries.

Today, this spirit of freedom is expressed as leaders join forces to implement steadfast plans in aiding our youths in achieving the greatest form of empowerment: Critical ...

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A Return to Cuba Thaws Cold War Fears

August 25, 2013 4:05 PM by Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Raul Ramos y SanchezAt the heart of almost every Cuban-American family is a tragedy. Most of us were torn apart from loved ones by the passions of ideology. In some cases, this included fear of reprisals and imprisonment. Many also lost personal property. Wounds like these do not heal easily. So my first visit to Cuba after 52 years in exile began with heavy apprehensions.

From the airliner’s window, my first glimpse of the Cuban coastline was a smudge of white in a bluish haze. Emerging from the clouds, a familiar sight ...

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Great Latin American Cities

August 24, 2013 11:57 AM by Mario Alfonso Murillo

Mario Alfonso MurilloWhenever I travel abroad, and people ask me if I’m from the United States, I usually respond with an ironic “No, I’m from New York City,” to which I am greeted with awkward stares and quizzical looks.

While I say this mostly to get a laugh and ignite conversation, there is a serious side to my feelings about this. It’s the place both my parents came to as young people, from different spots in the hemisphere, forging a tri-national constellation that serves as the cultural and social ...

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Stamped by our Heritage

August 23, 2013 10:18 AM by Soldanela Rivera

Soldanela Rivera

When I was growing up in Puerto Rico during the 70s, and 80s the Spanish pop ballad, salsa, and protest song were everywhere.

I remember Saturday mornings when my mother would hose down the patio and balcony and clean the house blasting Lucecita Benítez, Chico Buarque, Valeria Lynch, Amanda Miguel, Pablo Milanes, Isabel Pantoja, Silvio Rodríguez, Violeta Parra, Sandro, Joan Manuel Serrat, or Mercedes Sosa.

Going to a bank, mall, restaurant, or just being in the car meant Roberto Carlos, Juan Gabriel, Julio Iglesias, José José, FANIA, Jose Luis Perales ...

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Latino Americans: Arriving, or greeting, the ships?

August 22, 2013 10:11 AM by Roberto Rodriguez

There is something unsettling when peoples from this continent mark their identity or origins as a result of invasion or war – that is, colonialism or imperialistic wars of annexation.

Questions of identity are complex and multi-layered, but it is indisputable that of those that are identified as “Latino Americans” in the United States, the vast majority trace a large part of their heritage to this very continent, long before the arrival of Columbus.

Many of us are Indigenous to these lands and if there was an alternative way to identify ...

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Puerto Rican Discovery Day

August 21, 2013 10:10 PM by Sherman Jackson

Sherman JacksonI discovered I was Puerto Rican was on March 17th, 1954 -- St.Patrick's day.
Waiting for the principal to ring her bell, I was already ahead of most of the kids. Her first bell called for everyone to freeze, and with the second ring, students would walk to their designated spots outside the school and line up in preparation for their school day.
St. Pius was located on 144th Street between Willis and Brook Avenues in the South Bronx -- at the time a predominantly Irish neighborhood with a smattering ...

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The Rainbow Fish

August 20, 2013 11:48 AM by Amber Seira

Amber SeiraIn elementary school I loved reading The Rainbow Fish, a picture book about a fish with many shiny scales who learns the joy in giving to others after he eventually overcomes vainness and shares his rainbow scales with his other fish friends. Fast-forward almost two decades and little did I know that this simple children’s tale epitomized my Latina university experience as a First Generation College graduate.

My experience in earning my family’s first bachelor degree is not too uncommon for Latinos across the country. 22 percent of ...

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From Homeless to Harvard

August 19, 2013 8:55 PM by Cemelli De Aztlan

Cemelli De AztlanNot many people would have thought that a homeless, high school dropout from El Paso, Texas would make history at Harvard University. My story is only surreal because the opportunities are scarce, the teachings are censored, and discrimination still persists.
When I came back to El Paso, I wanted to make a difference in a place that I knew in my blood and bones. As a Racial Justice advocate and activist, I have the opportunity to engage people in discussions about real human struggles. Often, people ask: “What is Racial ...

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