More than 50 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, his words continue to resonate with communities of color. As a leader in the civil rights movement, we often discuss the integral role he played in advancing the causes of African Americans. But what we don’t often discuss is how he also inspired and mobilized Latinos across the United States.
As Raul Yzaguirre, the former president of the National Council of La Raza, told the Associated Press, MLK’s speech pushed him to advocate for more than just Latinos. “Although the focus was on the African-American community at the time, I think his thoughts, his sense of justice resonated with those of us who had perhaps a broader sense of inclusion, who wanted Latinos and Native Americans and other minorities to be an integral part of a civil rights movement,” he said.
And two years after the March on Washington – which showed many the effects of organizing on a large scale – the 1965 voting rights marches in Selma further showed them the power of grass-roots organizing. And reflecting on King’s legacy 10 years after his death, Chavez wrote in Maryknoll Magazine that the civil rights leader led the way through his nonviolence, which inspired the United Farm Workers’ philosophy.
“It has been our experience that few men or women ever have the opportunity to know the true satisfaction that comes with giving one’s life totally in the nonviolent struggle for justice,” he wrote. “Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of these unique servants and from him we learned many of the lessons that have guided us. For these lessons and for his sacrifice for the poor and oppressed, Dr. King’s memory will be cherished in the hearts of the farm workers forever.”
Continue onto Remezcla to read about how Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for the Latino community.
The Latino community has been standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. LULAC Chief Executive Officer Sindy M. Benavides and UnidosUS Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Eric Rodriguez shared their thoughts with HISPANIC Network Magazine (HNM) on the Black Lives Matter movement, Latinos’ participation, and the changes they hope to see.
HNM: What were your thoughts when you first heard what happened to George Floyd?
Benavides: Horrified, deeply saddened, but unfortunately not surprised to learn that yet another criminal cop had taken the life of a person of color. America is built upon systemic oppression and discrimination, systems that activists have tried to bring to light and fight against for decades. When we heard of what happened to George Floyd, and when we watched the video of police officers watching their colleague murder a man and refuse to stop him, we were distraught over the state of the police force and the loss of life. We share our thoughts and prayers with George Floyd’s family, as well as the family and communities of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Andres Guardado, Carlos Ingram-Lopez, Erik Salgado, and the hundreds of others who have lost their lives to a discriminatory policing system.
Rodriguez: I was horrified and shocked by George Floyd’s murder. Police killings of unarmed minorities is not a new story, and anyone who is Black or Brown is likely familiar with the type of racial profiling and hyper aggression by law enforcement that played out in that episode. But this incident transpired in daylight, surrounded by people filming it on their smart phones, and with other police officers standing by watching while a handcuffed Black man on the ground is slowly incapacitated and ultimately killed by an officer before their eyes. That’s something most Americans do not see every day.
HNM: What are your thoughts on the policy changes happening? Do you feel they are affecting genuine and lasting change?
Benavides: We need to urgently implement policy changes at the local and national level to dismantle police brutality. LULAC fully believes that these changes, combined with the work of thousands of activists, can help enact lasting change in this deeply flawed society. Policy initiatives like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act are a good start in the long battle of eradicating policy brutality and addressing the variety of issues that take the lives of our Black community in this country. This is a good start, but much more needs to happen both at the federal and local levels for true change to be achieved. We have also joined efforts by progressive allies such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and support the following federal reforms:
Prohibit racial profiling with robust data collection on police-community encounters and law enforcement activities. Data should capture all demographic categories and be disaggregated.
Prohibit all maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, including neck holds, chokeholds, and similar excessive force, deeming the use of such force a federal civil rights violation.
Require a federal standard that use of force be reserved for only when necessary as a last resort after exhausting reasonable options, and incentivize states to implement this standard; require the use of de-escalation techniques, and the duty to intervene; ban the use of force as a punitive measure or means of retaliation against individuals who only verbally confront officers, or against individuals who pose a danger only to themselves; and require all officers to accurately report all uses of force.
Prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches.
Rodriguez: The demonstrations and protests have opened up the possibility for real social change. The death of George Floyd, and other recent incidents of racism caught on video, has also helped to open the eyes of many Americans about the many ways that racism shows up in our society. One result is the cross-racial solidarity we have witnessed among the protesters and the advocates calling for change. Another result is the heightened consciousness we see on display across the country. For instance, the historical symbols of racism and prejudice in America are now under intense public scrutiny. Many more Americans seem ready to acknowledge that the heroes and flags of the Confederacy belong in American history books and museums rather than displayed and honored in public places, or on government buildings or civic institutions. And in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, how many more Americans today know what Juneteenth is?
Despite this, when it comes to public policy, I am less hopeful. There are few examples in our history when widespread justice for racial and ethnic minorities transpired absent a strong federal role. The power of the federal government has in most cases been necessary to break up the culture and practice of racism that fossilized in cities, states, and within our institutions.
Yet, we certainly cannot stop fighting for change in political leadership and federal laws. Our CEO and President Janet Murguía contributed to President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force, which identified recommendations for local and state authorities that included community policing and accountability measures. We also support policy changes working their way through Congress, and there is a good chance that some cities will be able to put in place some new practices that can help. Finally, UnidosUS is registering, educating and mobilizing voters this fall in what stands to be a pivotal election.
HNM: How have Latinos stood in solidarity with the Black lives matter movement?
Benavides: Police brutality is an issue that affects both Black and Brown communities. Something that is often missed is that under the ethnicity of Hispanic, we have members who identify as Black, who may be Afro-Latino, or mixed. That is why many Latino organizations and Latino leaders have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, including LULAC. We are also working with our councils to ensure they also have the tools to work with their local elected to implement local reforms. LULAC has also created a microsite on our website to make sure that we are providing resources and information to the Latino community on how it can support the Black Lives Movement.
Rodriguez: Latinos are speaking out, protesting and marching, joining advocacy efforts to push for needed policy changes and encouraging self-reflection about how anti-Black racism and colorism shows up within the Latino community. The Latino community, which is about 58 million strong, has also felt the blows of prejudice and inequality. Nearly 25 percent of Latinos identify as Afro-Latino and experience both racial and ethnic discrimination in their daily lives.
The same unchecked police power that has taken the lives of Black Americans is used to separate our families, put children in cages and racially profile us. This broken system has led too many Latinos to fear law enforcement, with deadly consequences—as in the tragic cases of Andres Guardado in Los Angeles and Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez in Tucson.
So, our solidarity with the Black community is rooted in the shared lived experience of facing racism and oppression that harms all communities. Most Latinos do not just empathize with the experience of Black Americans who are abused and targeted by police, but they also identify with that experience.
HNM: How has the Black Lives Matter impacted the Hispanic community?
Benavides: Black Lives Matter has shown the power of sustained grassroots organizing, a great model for the Latino community to follow. We have learned that change takes time and this moment has been 400+ years in the making. Most importantly, we know that their success is our success and that it will benefit all communities who are targeted and marginalized. And, in this process, BLM has spurred a national conversation among Latinos around anti-blackness. It has forced us to look into the mirror and acknowledge our own shortcomings. I think this is a valuable conversation that is sorely needed and we have and continue to learn from it.
Rodriguez: The Black Lives Matter movement has brought necessary attention to the pervasiveness of police abuse and bias that results in the death of Black Americans and the lack of accountability and injustice that follows. The movement has given many Latinos, who have also been harmed, aggrieved or offended by police practices, a voice and a means of expressing their frustration in a way that advances social change. The movement has sparked needed conversations that can push state and local governments to reinvest in their communities in a way that enhances public safety while helping residents thrive economically and socially.
HNM: How can Latinos participate in this movement?
Benavides: Latinx people can participate in the movement by being physically present in support of this movement. And using our voices to practice proper allyship in this time of need and centering Black voices in everything you do. Acknowledge your privileges and make an effort to learn about the Black Lives Matter experience. We encourage everybody in our Latinx community to use their voices for good and support Black voices in all of their actions. ‘Tu lucha es mi lucha’ should ring true to our hearts as we strive to build a more inclusive democracy where all of us are equal and treated equally in all aspects of society.
Rodriguez: Latinos have long been in the fight to end systemic racism and discrimination that manifests across our society and filters through the private sector and our government systems. Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health, housing, education, and voting through the courts or Congress have been important ways to tackle structural racism.
Right now, the Congress is debating police reforms. Latinos can call their senators and demand that Leader McConnell bring the Justice in Policing Act to a vote. They can call members of Congress and demand annual congressional oversight hearings to review the status of the implementation of the Death in Custody Reporting Act to compel the collection, reporting, and analysis of all deaths, by race and gender, that occur in law enforcement custody.
Those who are moved to organize and express their concerns about the status quo can do many other things, such as join peaceful marches and protests, demand accountability from political leaders, fight for policy changes at the local level and support and donate to organizations at the forefront of the fight, like Black Lives Matter, NAACP, Color of Change, UndocuBlack, RaceForward and many others.
Latinos can contact their police departments, city council and/or Attorneys General and demand meaningful investigations and prosecutions of incidents involving abuse of force against racial and ethnic minorities. They can vote with these concerns in mind.
And most of all, for those Latinos who, upon self-reflection, recognize that they have been too silent and accepting of anti-Blackness within their circle of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, it is time to take responsibility and act. If we are to dismantle systemic factors that enable the scourge of anti-Blackness, colorism and race-based violence to grow, we must start by healing ourselves and preparing for the hard work and courageous conversations ahead.
The Navajo Nation patrol car pulled up to the jail near the center of town and Officer Carolyn Tallsalt stepped out. She adjusted her surgical mask, pressing the edges so they sealed against her cheeks, then flung open the door to the back seat where there was a woman in handcuffs.
A jail guard proceeded to pepper the woman, arrested for disturbing the peace, with questions.
Have you been in contact with anyone known to have coronavirus? Have you contracted the virus yourself? Do you have a fever or body aches?
“No, no, no,” the mask-less woman mumbled, before coughing twice into the open air. Tallsalt stepped back.
The guard placed a temperature gun to the woman’s forehead — 95.8, a few degrees lower than the average body temperature. Cleared to go inside, the woman walked to the side entrance, escorted by Tallsalt. That routine process, which Tallsalt has performed countless times in a nearly 20-year career, carries a stressful new weight during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the start of each shift, she thinks the same thing: I hope I am not exposed today.
More than a dozen fellow Navajo Nation officers have contracted the virus along with thousands of residents of the sprawling reservation.
“My anxiety is out of control,” Tallsalt, 53, said on a recent afternoon. “You don’t know who has it.”
Since mid-March, when the novel coronavirus began to spread like a brush fire on the dry, remote 27,000-square-mile reservation, daily patrols for the nearly 200 Navajo Nation officers have transformed into an exhausting mix of stress and overwhelming sadness.
Here on the Navajo Nation — spanning portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah — nearly everyone knows at least one victim of the deadly virus.
For many people in the LGBTQ+ community, the gender question, asked in every type of official form, can be an unpleasant experience. Those who identify as non-binary, genderfluid, or a gender that isn’t simply “male” or “female” can find this question daunting, as it forces them to identify themselves in a category in which they feel neither apply.
For the 2020 Census, the only options to choose from are “Male” and “Female,” with no write-in third option or even a box that says, “Other.” This has led many people in the LGBTQ+ community to not feel properly represented and discourages them from filling out the census altogether. For the next census, set to go out in 2030, the goal is to include the LGBTQ+ community in a much more effective way.
However, even though the gender question has been deemed as undesirable, it is still imperative that LGBTQ+ people fill out this year’s census, as it does more than just count the population.
The results of the Census determine how much money will go into federal funding for state programs. For every person who is not included in the Census, an estimated $2000 is lost to programs that exist to serve some of the biggest needs in the LGBTQ+ community. In 2015, $175 million in funding from the Census was distributed to the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, while another $383 billion went to food stamps and Medicaid.
According to the Center for American Progress, people in the LGBTQ+ community were found to be more likely to depend on these programs, specifically food stamps, than those who did not identify as LGBTQ+.
Though many believe that the questions on the Census should be more inclusive to the lives of LGBTQ+ people and the advocacy for these issues is still going strong, filling out the Census information will contribute a little more money to the government programs that will be helping the community for the next decade.
“Raise your right hand.” Judge Marilyn Milian bangs the gavel on the bench of the multiple Emmy award-winning The People’s Court. When asked how long she will continue to preside over The People’s Court, Milian responds, laughing, “when they pry my cold white knuckles off the gavel.” Milian continues to resolve complex cases with compassion while offering sound legal knowledge to all of the litigants that appear before her. Milian’s advice to litigants: “Social media is a valuable courtroom tool. Posts, tweets and photos can be used as evidence to prove your case, so don’t get rid of them! And remember, say it, forget it, write it, regret it!”
Judge Milian is honored to be the first Latina Judge to host a nationally syndicated television court show. In the courtroom, Milian often uses wisdom inspired by her Cuban mother and grandmother when addressing litigants. Milian proudly admits she gets her feistiness from her mother and her drive from her father.
Originally from Queens, NY, Milian moved to Miami with her family when she was eight years old. Milian received her undergraduate degree at the University of Miami, where she graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade average. She then attended Georgetown Law School, where she earned her law degree and graduated cum laude at age 23.
Milian spent a year working at Harvard Law School, where she served as director of training for the Guatemala Project. She was responsible for training the Guatemalan trial judiciary, defense and prosecution bar in investigatory and trial techniques.
Judge Milian is well known for her dedication to the Hispanic community and a strong voice against domestic violence.
HISPANIC Network Magazine (HNM) caught up with Judge Milian about her career.
HNM: What has your experience been like on The People’s Court?
Judge Milian: Incredible! What can be better than presiding over wild cases hand selected throughout the country by expert hand-selectors (our producers)? Twenty years later, I still get excited when I read the first sentence in the first complaint in a stack of complaints when I am preparing! And the people I work with are fabulous—they have become friends.
What has been your most memorable experience on the show?
Three months after I started back in 2001, I found out I was pregnant with my third daughter. Television has a rhythm—you tape during the year, and you are “dark” or on hiatus during the
summer. My family planning had no such rhythm! So almost right out of the box, everyone had to work together and change their summer plans, and work through the summer so I could have those two months off with the baby when she came. As it turns out, it was only a month and a half, because my baby also didn’t respect television’s rhythm—and she accompanied me during the following four months to work in New York City, since I was her food source! My producer surprised me by turning my bailiff’s dressing room into a temporary nursery. Not only did Douglas not mind; he never moved back. That’s what I mean when I say it’s a fabulous environment.
What do you love most about your job?
I love being able to bring justice to people who desperately seek it. These problems may be small claims, but to our litigants, it’s probably the one time in their lives they will seek the intervention of the courts. I feel the weight of that every day, that their entire sense of justice will depend on how I treat and teach them—win or lose.
What inspired you to pursue law?
The same thing that is inspiring my daughters. I have three girls—the first is attending Georgetown Law School, the second was admitted for next year, and the third? Well that one is still in formation; she is a senior in high school, and the world is her oyster. What inspires us? The Cuban women in this family NEVER met an argument they didn’t love, or an injustice that didn’t need their personal attention!
What advice would you give others who want to pursue a career in law?
A career in the Law is one of the most fulfilling professions anyone can pursue. All around us in our daily lives, we see injustices committed against others. My legal degree affords me an opportunity to right the wrongs I see, not only in the courtroom but also in business, and even in our community. A legal degree teaches you to think analytically, strive toward compromise and accurately assess the legal ramifications of decisions to choose the best path.
In Early May, the Village of Gambier, in Knox County, Ohio, made history when they passed their county’s first ever LGBTQ anti-discrimination legislation. The village’s council met the night of May 4 via a Zoom Call and passed the law unanimously.
The legislation was passed specifically with the LGBTQ+ community in mind, including people of differing sexual orientations and gender identities to be included in protections from workplace, housing, and public commodity discrimination. The law will be put into effect immediately, with the hopes of not only better protecting people in the LGBTQ+ community in the Village of Gambier but to also encourage the passing of the Ohio Fairness Act.
The Ohio Fairness Act is essentially a much wider spread version of what Gambier passed earlier this month. The Act is set to include the LGBTQ+ community in discrimination protection in the same areas. Though the Ohio Fairness Act has been widely supported by many local fronts, it has yet to pass through the House and the Senate.
In an effort to further push the bill into becoming a law, Gambier’s mayor, Leeman Kessler stated that he wished to join arms with other local communities working to protect LGBTQ+ communities. He believes that as more and more businesses stand together in protecting the LGBTQ+ community, the more it will encourage others to do the same, including those passing the Ohio Fairness Act.
“It puts these protections in place explicitly,” Kessler stated of the new local law, “so folks aren’t left in a legal gray area.”
Meet the Latino and Latina Power Houses that are gaining the world’s attention.
Patty Rodriguez is best known for her role as on-air talent for KIIS.FM’s morning show with Ryan Seacrest.
“I never saw myself on-the-air,” she tells HipLatina. After 13 years On Air With Ryan Seacrest, she finally became comfortable with telling stories of local heroes. “People on social media would always tell me, ‘oh you don’t have the voice for it’ and I guess I just believed it,” she adds. She didn’t pursue it for a long time because imposter syndrome was holding her back.
Mexican driver Sergio Pérez, also known as Checo Perez, has amassed more points than any other Mexican in the history of the F1. But Perez is yet to match his hero Pedro Rodriguez and take the chequered flag in first.
Perez recently committed to a long-term deal with Racing Point beyond 2021. Perez has been with the team since 2013, when he signed with the group, then called Force India. The group reformed as Racing Point in 2018.
“I feel very confident and very motivated with the team going forwards,” Perez said, “with how things are developing, with the future of this team, the potential I see.”
It was also recently announced that the Mexican Grand Prix, an FIA-sanctioned auto race held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, in Mexico City, will stay on the F1 calendar for the next three seasons.
“It was great news,” Perez said of the renewal. “It’s a massive boost on my side to know that for the next three years I’ll be racing home. Three more years to have an opportunity to make the Mexicans very proud.”
The 2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year gala honored 23-time Latin GRAMMY and two-time GRAMMY-winning singer, composer, musician, and philanthropist Juanes for his creative artistry, unprecedented humanitarian efforts, support of rising artists, and philanthropic contributions to the world.
Juanes (born Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez) is a Colombian musician whose solo debut album Fíjate Bien won three Latin Grammy Awards. According to his record label, Juanes has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.
Silvio Horta, best known as an executive producer of the hit ABC television series Ugly Betty, died in January. He was 45. Horta was an American screenwriter and television producer widely noted for adapting the hit Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea into the hit series, which ran 2006–2010. Horta served as head writer and executive producer of the series.
As we shift into warm, drinking-on-a-patio weather, you might be looking forward to celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo has become popularized as the drinking-on-a-patio holiday. But the origins of Cinco de Mayo have less to do with Tequila and more to do with unexpected victory.
“It really is an underdog story,” says Ruben Espinoza, Assistant Professor & Director of
Latinx and Latin American Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California.
Cinco de Mayo is often incorrectly billed as Mexican Independence Day, but that’s September 16. Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the Battle of Puebla.
In the early 1860s after the Mexican Reform War, Mexico had fallen into debt to France, Britain and Spain. As a result, Mexican President Benito Juárez placed a moratorium on repayments of interest on foreign loans. This prompted Spain, Britain and France to send joint forces into Mexico. Spain and Britain withdrew, however, when they learned French Emperor, Napoleon III, was planning to overthrow the Juárez government and conquer Mexico. French troops, led by General Charles Ferdinand Latrille de Lorencez, headed toward Mexico City. But first they had to go through Puebla.
“The French forces were very equipped,” Espinoza says.
In contrast, the Mexican troops, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, were more of a militia than an army made up mostly of farmers. And yet, in a victorious battle that took place on May 5, 1862, Mexican forces beat the French.
Juárez wasted no time declaring the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla a national holiday known as “Battle of Puebla Day” or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo.” Some sources claim the declaration of the holiday was made as early as May 9, 1862.
“That battle wasn’t the end of the war,” Espinoza says, “France occupied Mexico for five years.”
The French retreated for a year but ultimately overtook Mexico when they returned in 1863, where they remained until 1867.
“And there is certainly French influence in Mexican culture today as result. For example, with the pastries,” says Espinoza.
Mexicans and Mexican Americans may have grown up dipping orejas in coffee or hot chocolate, but these crunchy, buttery pastries are known as palmiers, or “palm trees” in France where they originated.
Today, in the city of Puebla, more than 20,000 people celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a civic parade routed along Boulevard Cinco de Mayo. There is also a historic reenactment of the battle. But beyond Puebla, it isn’t a big holiday in modern Mexican culture.
“It is not celebrated on large scale in Mexico anywhere outside of Puebla,” Espinoza says.
Cinco de Mayo is a very popular holiday in the United Sates, however. There are several opinions about how it fell into favor here.
Some point to the fact that during the time period the Battle of Puebla took place, the United States was embroiled in its own Civil War. Napoleon III was rumored to have considered supporting the confederacy, and a French takeover of Mexico could have possibly made Mexico a Confederate-friendly country. The news of the victory of Battle of Puebla might have been a moral boost for West Coast Latinos living in free states.
Others believe President Roosevelt’s attempt to improve relations with Latin American countries with the creation of the “Good Neighbor Policy” in 1933 may have had an influence. The holiday was also claimed by Latino civil rights activists in the 1960s as a way to celebrate their heritage.
Beginning in the 1980s and on into the aughts, liquor and beer companies began to capitalize on the holiday as way to market to Spanish speaking audiences.
Fast forward to present day, where Cinco de Mayo has become predominately associated with margaritas and sombrero-wearing.
But Espinoza stresses Cinco de Mayo isn’t a time to perpetuate inaccurate Mexican stereotypes.
“Wearing a costume isn’t celebrating someone’s culture,” he says, “It’s actually demeaning it…don’t treat is an opportunity to wear a costume that you think represents a population of an ethnic community.”
There are actually plenty of respectful ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo that don’t involve drinking or fake mustaches.
Often, museums and parks in areas with large Hispanic populations host family friendly activities on the 5th of May. For example, Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, hosts an annual Cinco de Mayo Festival that features traditional Folklorico dancing and Mariachi music performances, along with face painting and crafts.
“We will be having a Cinco de Mayo event at Chapman,” Espinoza said, “And one of the good things about having it on a university campus is there is going to be a lecture to go along with the celebration.”
The city of Los Angeles sponsored a Cinco de Mayo Parade & Festival at Oakwood Recreation Park in Venice, California, as well. The festival included Aztec Dancers, Mariachi, a classic car show, the Venice High School Band and of course, Mexican food.
“It’s a holiday that is big in US now,” Espinoza says, “and it seems like it’s here to stay. As individuals, it is important for us to learn some of that history.”
Iliana Belinc, a first-generation Mexican American, shares her inspiring journey from life in the fast lane as a model, to founding a groundbreaking nonprofit – PalsNPets – that supports homeless people and their pets with the belief that anyone with the right support and motivation can make a change – either within their own life, or within the lives of others.
By Tracy Yasinni
Iliana Belinc lived a seemingly glamourous life as a model signed with the legendary Wilhelmina Agency. However, the reality behind the makeup, clothes, and travel to exotic locations was much darker. She struggled with alcoholism, eventually putting both her personal and professional life in jeopardy.
At the most challenging time for the model, she happened to see a trivial incident that ultimately inspired PalsNPets, a nonprofit established to help homeless pet owners and their pets. She shares, “As I was crossing the street, I saw a homeless man sitting with his pet dog beside him. I asked myself the natural question: Why would a homeless person keep a dog – it must make life harder on them both?”
As she passed, a stranger stopped to pet the dog, and he and the homeless man exchanged natural, genuine smiles. This interaction opened her eyes to the positive energy a pet can bring to the life of someone who has almost nothing. It seemed to tap into an awareness just beneath the surface, an understanding of the importance of dogs to the lives of humans.
Iliana grew up in Los Angeles, alongside three sisters, as a first-generation Mexican Americans. After high school, she began studying at college, with the dream of gaining a PHD in psychology.
In addition to the eye-opening chance encounter, she also credits her own grandfather’s capacity for compassion and bond with dogs. He rescued and cared for stray dogs in their native Mexico – a culture that didn’t see his actions as the norm for that time. Iliana notes, “I know he’d be proud that family members who after years of being unconnected are now involved with PalsNPets. Together, we’ve found a deep healing energy in the work of helping others; this energy continues to attract people who join us in our efforts.”
If there’s a message to take away, it’s that anyone with the right support and motivation can make a change – either within their own life, or within the lives of others.
PalsNPets also works to break down barriers and change perceptions, just as her grandfather did. Inspired by her grandfather’s compassion for the stray dogs no one cared about, PalsNPets has become successful very quickly. At times, she feels that PalsNPets wasn’t truly her idea at all, but a continuation of the work her grandfather began over seventy years ago.
The bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo, a staunch civil rights advocate believed to be the first practicing Latina lawyer in Dallas, will soon land in a downtown park — right next to the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law and the municipal court building.
A Dallas City Council committee on Tuesday accepted the $100,000 sculpture as a donation with plans to place it in Main Street Garden. It would be Dallas’ first sculpture of a Latina, according to city staffers.
Dallas city officials and the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board agreed to the new location after Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano quietly delayed the plan to place it in the lobby of the Dallas Love Field Airport, which is in his district. Medrano didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
The Dallas City Council is expected to approve the donation at its Feb. 12 meeting. The board wanted to tie the sculpture’s public unveiling to the six-year anniversary of Callejo’s death, which was in January 2014, after a battle with brain cancer.
The foundation’s board commissioned the roughly 1,000-pound piece by Mexican artist Germán Michel shortly after she died. It is currently being stored in a Dallas warehouse.
Callejo’s nephew J.D. Gonzales said he was thrilled the sculpture will be downtown near the university, where it’ll be visible to students and attest to her trailblazing in education and law.
“I hope that what Adelfa stood for, and what she did and what she accomplished lives on forever,” Gonzales said.
Monica Lira Bravo, chairwoman of the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board, said she met with Medrano and Council member Omar Narvaez last month to discuss where to place the sculpture.
Lira Bravo said she suggested Main Street Garden Park as an alternative after the two council members expressed concerns over the Dallas Love Field Airport option.
You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, motivational speaker John Rohn once said. If you’re not happy with your current situation at work, you may want to take a closer look at your inner circle.
“We have to be really good at [deciding] who we allow into our life,” says Ivan Misner, author of Who’s In Your Room: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life and founder of the global business network BNI. “Imagine your life is one room and the room had one door. The door could only let people enter, and once they’re in the room, they’re there forever.”
It’s a scary metaphor, but it’s true, says Misner. “Think about a person you let into your life and then had to let out because they were toxic, difficult, or angry,” he says. “If you can remember the emotions and what they did, they’re still in your head. If they’re in your head, they’re still in your room.”
For this reason, it’s important to surround yourself with the right people from the start—or they’ll be in your “room” for the rest of your life.
“When you realize that this happens, you can get better at screening out people before they get in and dealing with the ones you already let in,” says Misner.
Letting people in
Opening the door to the right people means getting clear with your values. “If you don’t know your values, you don’t know where to start,” says Misner.
Start with deal breakers—behaviors that you hate, such as dishonesty or drama. Look for people who demonstrate these behaviors, and don’t let them into your social circle.
“Pretend your mind has a doorman or bouncer,” says Misner. “Train your doorman—your subconscious and conscious mind—to identify people with these behaviors. By understanding your deal breakers, you’ll be better able to start understanding your values.”
A common mistake people make when letting others in is weighing too quickly “what’s in it for me” and disregarding the things that go against their values. When we make decisions based on short-sighted gains, we also choose values that don’t resonate with who we are.
“In physics, resonance is a powerful thing,” says Misner. “It’s a phenomenon that occurs when an extra force drives something to oscillate at a specific frequency.”
To understand how it works, imagine two pianos sitting side by side in a room. “If you hit the middle C key on one piano while someone presses the sustain pedal on the other one, the middle C of the other one will vibrate on that second piano, without [it] being touched,” says Misner. “That’s resonance. People are like that.”
When you make a decision based on what you think we can get instead of your values, you invite values that don’t align with yours to resonate in your life.
“Be mindful about creating relationships with resonance and get your values down,” says Misner. “Companies often recognize the importance of knowing your values, but people don’t always think about them. Values should be at the foundation of everything you do. Otherwise, you’ll create the wrong room.”
Dealing with people you’ve already let in
If you have people in your circle that are creating a bad environment, decide if they have to be there or if you can exit the relationship. If they must be there, it’s time to draw a line in sand.
“Evaluating your social circle means recognizing that someone may be in your life but their baggage needs to stay out,” says Misner. “Draw a line in the sand by saying that you’re not letting their behavior continue around you.”
For example, if you have a coworker who demonstrates toxic behavior such as frequent gossiping or complaining, establish boundaries. Say, “Starting now, if you start talking badly, I will walk away. I respect you and will talk to you again, but only if you can have a mature adult conversation.” Then follow through. It may take a while for the person to understand the new boundaries and rules, but once you draw the line in the sand, you can eliminate the toxicity from your circle.