“I saw the possibilities of things that I could have never imagined without reading,” Sotomayor, the first Latina Justice to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, said.
She has one of the most influential positions in the country, but as a girl who did not grow up privileged, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor credits her incredible journey to one thing.
“The key to success in my life, it’s the secret that I want to share with kids and how I became successful. I’m here as a Supreme Court Justice only because of books,” said Sotomayor.
The first Latina Supreme Court Justice spoke to a packed main hall of over 2,000 people at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday at the 18th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival.
Organizers said Sotomayor is the first children’s book author invited to speak on the main stage at the festival. After the main hall filled up, several hundred more watched on monitors in the hallways.
“I wish every kid here could see that if I can do it so can you!” said Sotomayor.
An avid reader growing up, Sotomayor’s new book for young readers, “Turning Pages: My Life Story,” is a richly illustrated book that chronicles her life growing up in New York City.
“Reading books opened the world to me. Especially for children growing up in modest means as I did, books give you the chance to explore the wider world. Television and especially now the Internet don’t let you imagine,” said Sotomayor.
As a young girl growing up with limited economic means, it was a chance to explore and imagine a world beyond where she was living, with endless possibilities at her fingertips as she turned the pages.
“The power of words is in creating pictures in your mind and that is very special. As a child, I explored the world through books. I saw the possibilities of things that I could have never imagined without reading,” said Sotomayor. “I could have never imagined traveling to faraway places and now I do it, but that wish to meet other people and go other places came from reading. Books were the key to deciding to become what I am today.”
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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.
From the arts to activism, here are five Latina Woman that are making strides, breaking boundaries and that you should be paying attention to.
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is an American labor organizer and author. On August 12, 2019, Ramirez announced her intention to challenge incumbent United States Senator John Cornyn in the 2020 United States Senate election in Texas. Tzintzún began organizing with Latino immigrant workers in 2000 in Columbus, Ohio, and then moved to Texas. At graduating from University of Texas, Austin, she helped establish the Workers Defense Project (WDP), serving as its executive director from 2006 to 2016. Following the 2016 election, Ramirez launched Jolt, an organization that works to increase Latino voter turnout. Her bid for the Senate has been endorsed by New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Texas representative Joaquin Castro, and actor Alec Baldwin.
A rising star in the male-dominated world of urbano (Ozuna, J Balvin, Bad Bunny), Mariah Angeliq, who goes simply by her first name, is here to prove that the girls can be bosses, too. On debut single “Blah,” the Miami-born and raised singer of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent lets the men know that their money (and their bragging) don’t impress her much, while her latest track “Perreito” is dripping with swag as she boasts about stealing the show with her flow as the one that shoots and never fails.
Lineisy Montero Feliz
Lineisy Montero Feliz is Dominican model known for her work with Prada. She is also known for her natural Afro hair. She currently ranks as one of the “Top 50” models in the fashion industry by models.com, including Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Versace and Céline.
Rico Nasty is one of the leading voices in the current style of hip-hop that adopts elements from hardcore and punk rock. Rico released a new song in January titled “IDGAF;” it’s built around softly echoing electric piano sounds and finds the DMV rapper in melodious sing-song mode.
The singer announced the summer launch of her cosmetics company, Rare Beauty, via Instagram on Feb. 4. The cosmetics company shares a title with her most recent album of the same name.
“Guys, I’ve been working on this special project for two years and can officially say Rare Beauty is launching in @sephora stores in North America this summer,” she captioned in the Instagram video.
“I think Rare Beauty can be more than a beauty brand,” the singer says in the video. “I want us all to stop comparing ourselves to each other and start embracing our own uniqueness. You’re not defined by a photo, a like, or a comment. Rare Beauty isn’t about how other people see you. It’s about how you see yourself.”
Creator of the Latinx series, The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia, which debuted on Netflix in February?
Saved by the Bell icon?
Lopez is many things to many people—a modern-day Renaissance Man.
Currently, he’s rebooting Saved by the Bell—which stole the hearts of a generation during its run from 1989 to 1993—and overseeing the already-popular Ashley Garcia, about a teenage robotics engineer and rocket scientist who works for NASA.
Lopez said Saved by the Bell, which features many of the original cast members, is off to a rousing start.
“We’ve gotten great reviews,” he said. It’s a fun, charming, sweet show that shows us in a great light.”
Ashley Garcia is a different animal. There have been other programs about young geniuses (Doogie Howser, MD comes to mind), but this series features a Latina lead and layered storylines. For one thing, Ashley, who earned a PhD at 15, has a complicated relationship with her mother, so she moves from the East Coast to Pasadena to live with her uncle Vito, a high school football coach (Lopez made an appearance in the show’s pilot episode, as uncle Vito’s friend Nico).
“The actors have great charm and the whole show has gentle tween appeal with strong pro-girl messages,” a review in Common Sense Media stated.
Lopez is indeed a Renaissance story, and it traces back to Dick Clark, the original host of the iconic Bandstand and a staple in the lives of TV viewers.
“He persuaded me to look at myself as a brand, as a host,” Lopez, the 46-year-old husband and father of three, said. “He influenced me in a big way.”
Taking advice from a legend was a pivotal moment in Lopez’ career. It’s easier to list what he hasn’t done than what he has done.
Across many platforms, Lopez has served as a role model for Latino and Latina entertainers and entrepreneurs.
He prefers to lead by example. Becoming a powerhouse brand is what allowed him to create the groundbreaking Ashley Garcia.
“We need more people to tell our stories,” he said of the Latinx community. “And that comes from writers and producers.”
Asked about Latino values, he chuckled.
“I just celebrate good values,” he said. “Good values are good values. We raise our kids in a faith-based environment.”
Lopez, who in 2018 was baptized in the Jordan River, said his own faith plays an important role in his prosperity as well as his peace.
“It helps me be still,” he said. “It helps me be humble and focused. It balances me.”
Mario Lopez Jr. was born on October 10, 1973, in San Diego, California, to Elvira, a telephone company clerk, and Mario Sr., who worked for the municipality of National City. Lopez was raised in a large Catholic family of Mexican descent. He started to learn to dance at the age of 3, training in tap and jazz. He also did tumbling, karate, and wrestling at his local Boys and Girls Club when he was 7 years old.
A fitness fanatic to this day, he competed in wrestling in high school, placing second in the San Diego Section and seventh in the state of California in his senior year while attending Chula Vista High School, where he graduated in 1991.
Lopez was discovered by a talent agent at a recital when he was 10 years old and landed jobs in local ads and commercials.
In 1984, he appeared as younger brother Tomás in the short-lived ABC comedy series a.k.a. Pablo. That same year, he was cast as a drummer and dancer on Kids Incorporated for three seasons. In March 1987, he was cast as a guest star on the sitcom The Golden Girls as a Latino boy named Mario who faces deportation. He was cast in a small part in the movie Colors.
Then came his big break. In 1989, Lopez was cast as A.C. Slater in the hugely successful sitcom Saved by the Bell.
His career was off and running.
In 1997, Lopez starred as Olympic diver Greg Louganis in the television movie Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story. The following year, he was cast as Bobby Cruz in the USA Network series Pacific Blue. In In 2006, Lopez joined the cast of the daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, playing the role of Dr. Christian Ramirez.
In the fall of 2006, Lopez appeared on the third season of Dancing with the Stars, where he placed second in the competition and once again stole the hearts of women across the country.
Lopez began hosting Access Hollywood in 2019.
Asked about his most memorable interviews as a radio and TV host, he mentioned President Barack Obama.
“He knew who I was and that was pretty flattering,” Lopez said. “He’s very down to Earth and a cool guy. We talked about our kids.”
Lopez branched out to radio in the 1990s. Today, he hosts a nationally syndicated radio show, ON with Mario Lopez. In addition, he’s starred on Broadway and published three books: Mario Lopez Knockout Fitness, Extra Lean, and Mario and Baby Gia, about Lopez and his daughter.
At the end of the day, Lopez is a family man, a businessman, his own brand and an advocate for the advancement in all walks of life for Latinos.
Admirers often cite his heartthrob looks, but Lopez is all about hard work and… no excuses.
He recently cited the fact that Latinos are opening more small businesses than anyone in the United States. Not everyone can build a brand like Mario Lopez, but they can strive to be their best every day.
“No opportunity?” Lopez said, “We’ll make our own opportunities, and flourish!”
A fully taped production of the Broadway hit, Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is being released to Disney+ in its entirety on July 3, 2020, just in time for Independence Day.
Originally due to premiere as a theatrical release on October 21, 2021, the movie has been moved up to provide a sense of hope and comfort due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of the cultural and historical impact that Hamilton has had since its Broadway debut in 2015, Disney plans to make the experience more captivating and to include as Disney quoted, “the best elements of live theater, film, and streaming.”
Creating this kind of atmosphere will not be a difficult task, due to how the filmmakers have already produced it. The production was filmed from various camera angles from the show’s original Richard Rodgers Theatre home and filmed across three different performances in in 2016.
The production will include all of the original Broadway cast members, including Leslie Odom Jr., Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Jonathan Groff, Daveed Diggs, upcoming In the Heights star Anthony Ramos, and of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton.
Since the beginning of time, humans have thrived through social interaction. While bonding with friends still consists of getting together to talk, laugh and share with one another, the physical aspect of social interaction is no longer necessary. TikTok’s content and ability to connect people mimics what we love about interacting with each other.
The most popular videos on the app usually fall into two categories: comedy and dance. To this day, some of our most important social gatherings, such as birthday parties and weddings, still revolve around laughing and dancing with one another. While done in a more virtual setting, TikTok’s algorithm has allowed for the same enjoyment to take place within the app. Comedy skits or joke setups are mimicked, built upon and applauded by other members of the community. Dancing on the app is easy to do and can be filmed with multiple people from around the world, with a “duet” feature that allows creators to film their own content to coincide with an original video they have found.
So, while TikTok may not be the traditional form of bonding that we are used to, it is still the type of bonding that we seek. Plus, given the climate of today’s world, perhaps social bonding on TikTok is even the best form of socializing, as we are doing our part to self-isolate and prevent the spread of COVID-19.