Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez on being a Latina trailblazer — and healing from abuse
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Laurie Hernandez doing gymnastics

Gymnast Laurie Hernandez’s living room is decorated with many photographs. But two are the most special—one shows her parents praying before her performance at the 2016 Olympics and the other is of them hugging her afterwards.

“I love those photos,” Hernandez told NBC News. “Going to the Olympics, competing and then looking into the crowd and seeing my parents, that was one of the sweetest things I could possibly ever have witnessed…It’s just a big reminder as to how much support my parents have given me in all of this.”

Her Puerto Rican parents, Wanda and Anthony Hernandez, were watching their then-teenage daughter make history as the first Latina gymnast to represent the United States at the Olympics since 2004 — while also bringing home some medals. Hernandez won silver on the balance beam and gold on the team event alongside fellow USA gymnasts, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, and Madison Kocian.

“There was so much representation, from Black women to white women, a Hispanic girl, so I think that was a really important thing for just the globe to see,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said her fans will learn more about how she trains during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as “how I was raised and who my parents are” in the new Peacock Original documentary series “True Colors,” starring her and other Hispanic trailblazers, such as the actor Mario Lopez, the former professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others.

“You’ll be able to get a really good feel as to why I am the way I am and why my siblings are the way we are,” Hernandez, who’s currently training for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, said. “It’s been, definitely, a crazy ride. I’m only 20 and I feel like I’ve lived three lives already.”

Hernandez remembers being very passionate about the sport since a very young age. When she was still just a little girl training in New Jersey, she looked at her parents and said: “Hey, like I want to go to the Olympics. … I have all these crazy dreams.”

“They could have very easily been like, ‘You’re a child. You came out of the womb nine years ago, maybe let’s try something else.’ But they didn’t. Instead, they hit me with the ‘well, if this is what you want, then how can we help you?'” Hernandez recalled.

At the 2016 Olympics, her parents were praying “that I don’t wipe out,” while competing, she said.

“I didn’t realize it until after Rio. We had all sat down away from cameras and talked about it. And they were like, we really questioned if we were being good parents by letting you stay in it because you’re getting hurt over and over again, which is part of the sport,” Hernandez said. “But after getting surgery in 2014, they saw how determined I was and they were like, ‘OK, we can’t pull that away from her.'”

Continue to Today.com to read the full article. 

Latina historian Monica Muñoz Martinez among MacArthur ‘genius grant’ recipients
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Latina Historian Monica Muñoz Martinez, seen here in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 16, 2021, is among this year's recipients of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's "genius grants.

By Associated Press

CHICAGO — A Latina historian devoted to keeping alive the stories of long-dead victims of racial violence along the Texas-Mexico border is among this year’s MacArthur fellows and recipients of “genius grants.”

Monica Muñoz Martinez, a historian at the University of Texas, Austin, was recognized, in part because of her book “The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas,” about a period a century ago when hundreds Mexicans and Mexican Americans were slaughtered by vigilantes as well as the Texas Rangers.

“This award is so timely for me, personally … to remain committed to make sure the public has access to the truth, true history, even when it is troubling (and) especially when that history can help us build a better future,” Martinez said, pointing to efforts in some states to limit how teachers discuss racism.

The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Tuesday announced the 25 recipients, who will each receive $625,000.

The historian was part of an eclectic group that includes scientists, economists, poets, and filmmakers. As in previous years, the work of several recipients involves topics that have been dominating the news — from voting rights to how history is taught in schools.

Race figures prominently in the work of about half of them, including that of Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to be an Antiracist” and “Stamped from the Beginning,” which was a National Book Award winner for nonfiction.

There is a generation of older and younger writers, thinkers and creators who are able to recognize the “complexity of racism” and “clarify it for everyday people to see it and grasp it and be outraged by it,” Kendi said.

“These generations have been hugely inspired by previous generations,” added Kendi, who will contribute an essay to the forthcoming book “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” that’s based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” that centers U.S. history around slavery. “I think we built this movement to a point in which it is indeed a juggernaut with no way of stopping.”

The selection process for the MacArthur grants is shrouded in secrecy. Instead of applications, anonymous groups make nominations and recommendations to the foundation’s board of directors.

Kendi, 39, said he had no knowledge he had been nominated.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Five Latinas dominating sports
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Amanda Nunes is currently the best female fighter in the world for the sports. Photo: UFC

By Erika Ardila, Aldia News

Sports in all its expressions is an activity with deep ties to passion that gathers people around the same team and is also the dream of thousands of women around the world.

Going to a national championship, the Olympic Games or any professional competition becomes the goal of Latinas who come to the United States to compete.

Here are five great Latina athletes who are making history in the country doing just that:

Amanda Nunes
UFC
Nunes is a Brazilian mixed martial arts fighter who competes in the bantamweight and featherweight categories of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where she is the current champion of both divisions.

She is the first woman in UFC history to be champion of two different categories simultaneously. She is currently ranked number one in the UFC’s official rankings of the top pound-for-pound female fighters. Nunes has an overall record of 19-4.

Monica Puig
Tennis
Puig is a Puerto Rican tennis player, champion at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games in the women’s singles competition.

She is Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold medalist and was also a gold medalist at the Central American Games in Mayagüez 2010, Veracruz 2014 and Barranquilla 2018, and a silver medalist at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara 2011.

Puig is currently ranked No. 44 in the World Association of Women’s Tennis (WAT).

Diana Taurasi
Basketball
This American basketball player is of Argentinean descent and plays for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA and UMMC Ekaterinburg of the Russian League.

Given her great track record, she is usually recognized as one of the best basketball players in history. In June 2017, she became the top scorer in WNBA history surpassing Tina Thompson.

In addition to being a professional athlete, in 2021, she participated in the movie Space Jam 2, voicing the character of ‘White Mamba.’

Laurie Hernandez
Gymnastics
Laurie is of Puerto Rican descent and was a 2016 Olympic champion and runner-up in the team all-around and balance beam gymnastics competitions.

On Aug. 30, 2016, Hernandez was revealed as one of the celebrities who would participate in the 23rd season of Dancing with the Stars. She was paired with professional dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy, with whom she won the competition. At 16 years old, Hernandez is the show’s youngest winner.

Click here to read the full article on Al Dia Social.

The new Latino landscape
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The swift growth of U.S. Latinos is reshaping big states and small towns. Meet the faces of a new era.

By Suzanne Gamboa and Nicole Acevedo, NBC News

In New Hampshire, a Roman Catholic church where Irish and French Canadian immigrants used to worship now has the state’s largest Latino congregation. In the Deep South, a county in Georgia is one of the nation’s top 10 in diversity.

Hispanics accounted for over half of the nation’s population growth in the last decade. This is not just reflected in larger cities, but in mountain towns, Southern neighborhoods and Midwestern prairies.

“The Latino population has been dispersing across the United States for years — a reflection of where the nation’s population is moving and where opportunities are located,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of race and ethnicity research at the Pew Research Center.

Lopez, whose Mexican American family has been in California for over a century, has seen dispersion in his own family, with relatives moving to Washington state, Nevada, North Carolina and New Jersey as they followed job, educational and military opportunities, mirroring some of the data he and his team have recorded over the years.

Though a majority of Latinos — almost 70 percent — are U.S. born, Lopez noted that as “you see Hispanics pursuing opportunity around the country, oftentimes immigrants are leading the way” in terms of moving to places with new economic opportunities.

Amid Western mountains, new possibilities

For Lissy Samantha Suazo, 18, the open space of Big Sky, Montana — a small town near Yellowstone National Park — has been a beginning to wider, bigger possibilities.

“When I arrived here in Big Sky, I was the second person of color and Spanish-speaking person in the school and the first one who didn’t know how to speak English,” said Suazo, who was 12 when her family came from Honduras.

Waded Cruzado’s journey through Montana started a few years earlier than Suazo’s. She was hired in 2010 as president of Montana State University in Bozeman.

“I remember saying, ‘You know, I have never been to Montana. … Do you know what I look like? I don’t look like and sound like anyone in Montana,’” said Cruzado, 61, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. “But I was wrong.”

Hispanics have been in Montana since the early 1800s as fur traders, ranchers, rail workers and laborers in beet fields, according to Bridget Kevane, professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at Montana State University.

But in the last two decades, Montana has been among the states with the fastest growing Latino populations in the country. Though the 45,199 Latinos who live in Montana are minuscule compared to the 15.6 million Hispanics who live in California, the state’s 58.2 percent jump in Latino residents since 2010 leads all U.S. western states over the last decade.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Kassandra Garcia, the Latina fighting for representation in the NFL
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Kassandra Garcia, football management analyst for the Los Angeles Rams. Photo: LinkedIN

By Natalia Puertas Cavero, Aldia News

Kassandra Garcia is a first-generation Mexican-American who is making history in a male-dominated world. At just 27 years old, Garcia is the highest-ranking Latina in the NFL as a football management analyst for the Los Angeles Rams. She joins Natalia Dorantes, who was named the NFL’s first female chief of staff earlier this year.

The world of sports, even at the administrative level, is predominantly male. However, some Latinas, like Kassandra Garcia have arrived to diversify the industry.

Garcia’s rise began at the University of Arizona, where she pursued her degree in business administration and was a recruiting intern for the Wildcats. Her skills helped her become an analyst, and as she explained, the influence her family and culture played an important role in her career.

García atributes her accomplishments to her grandmother and mother, as they are the ones who gave her the strength to pursue her dreams. Garcia’s grandparents were second-generation Mexican-Americans, leaving Mexico with three children and no English.

Despite everything going against them, and with a lot of hard work, they managed to build thriving Mexican restaurants in Tuscon, Arizona. It was this example that inspired Garcia to build her own career.

She admits that becoming the highest-ranking Latina in the NFL didn’t happen by accident. Garcia has always been very rebellious and it has helped her pursue goals she thought impossible.

“I’m very stubborn. When someone tells me I can’t do something, it’s game over. The fire inside me burns to prove them wrong. I don’t know if that’s being stubborn, narcissism, ego — and I think about this all the time – but it’s gotten me this far,” García told USA Today Sports.

According to the NFL’s 2021 Diversity and Inclusion report, as of February 2021, there have only been four Latino (male) coaches. In addition, it noted that only 2.7% of all team vice presidents were women of color.

On the other hand, women in administrative positions in sports declined from 35.9% in 2019 to 32.3% in 2020, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) of the DeVos Sports Management Program at UCF. Of those, only 7% of women in all professional management positions were non-white women.

It is inspiring and hopeful to see that women like Garcia are blazing a trail for other Latinas who dream of having a career on the business side of professional sports.

Click here to read the full article Aldia News.

MSNBC’s Alicia Menendez On How Latinas Can Break Free From The Likeability Trap
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Alicia Menendez attends Build Series to discuss her book "The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed as You Are" at Build Studio on November 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Manny Carabel/Getty Images)

By Raquel Reichard, Yahoo! Finance

Once a year, America acknowledges the egregious pay gap in which Latinas earn just 67 cents for every dollar a non-Latinx white man makes. It’s time we interrogate this fact year-round. The L-Suite examines the diverse ways in which Latinx professionals have built their careers, how they’ve navigated notoriously disruptive roadblocks, and how they’re attempting to dismantle these obstacles for the rest of their communities.

This month, we’re talking with MSNBC news anchor and creator of the Latina to Latina podcast Alicia Menendez about how succumbing to the pressure to be “likable” at work can sometimes work against Latinas.

Journalism has an inclusion problem. In local and national newsrooms across the U.S., Latinas are underrepresented as reporters, editors, and producers. According to a study by the Women’s Media Center, the demographic makes up just 2.4 percent of the news media workforce — and despite efforts at improving diversity and inclusivity across the American workforce, the problem might actually be worsening in this sector. The American Society of News Editors Newsroom Employment Diversity surveys show that the tally of women journalists of color has barely budged since 2016. When it moves, it’s often in a downward direction, as the industry is losing Latina, Black, Asian, and Native women’s voices. The root of the problem is twofold: Newsrooms are less likely to hire Latinas, especially for leadership positions, while many in the workforce quit the industry due to salary disparities and minimal opportunities for career advancement.

Alicia Menendez has witnessed these losses up close. Prior to anchoring MSNBC’s weekend news program American Voices, the Cuban-American journalist worked across a gamut of mediums, including television, digital media, and podcasts, where she witnessed women of color who were talented but lacking in support leaving their roles in media, often for jobs in more stable industries. Her experience mentoring emerging Latina journalists as well as interviewing women about their professional struggles and triumphs on her podcast Latina to Latina has led to her intimate understanding of the barriers, inequities, and microaggressions that push talented women out of newsrooms. In many ways, it is precisely these stories that propel her to stay in the industry.

“The truest thing I can say is I just refuse to go away,” Menendez, 38, tells Refinery29. “At some point, there is always the question of ‘Is this the moment where I opt out?’ But as someone who feels that this is a call to service, it is hard for me to imagine an alternate path that has comparable impact.”

For Menendez, inclusive and nuanced news coverage requires diverse newsrooms. To sustain herself in the industry, she has developed creative methods that she imparts with other women of color in journalism. From breaking free of the likeability trap to creating her own media, Menendez shares her story and offers advice for Latinas passionate but disillusioned by the work.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Finance.

Becky G on beauty, business and looking up to J.Lo
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Becky G recently launched her own makeup line, Treslúce Beauty.

By Elana Fishman, Page Six

In 2013, Becky G made history by becoming the youngest-ever CoverGirl spokesperson at the age of 15. Now, less than a decade later, she’s at the helm of her very own beauty brand, Treslúce.

“As a young Latina businesswoman, I realized I don’t just want to be the pretty Latina face of something. I want something that’s ours, something that we own, something that’s made by us and for us,” the 24-year-old “Fulanito” singer told Page Six Style.

Treslúce gets its name from a mashup of two Spanish words. There’s “tres,” the number three — a symbolic numeral representing the mind, body and soul — followed by a conjugation of “lucir,” which means “to shine.”

“It’s just such a spiritual representation of how I identify with makeup; not just being an expression of what’s on the outside, but also from within,” Becky explained of her inspiration. “Makeup, for me, has always been kind of this intimate process of transformation to a brighter version of myself.”

The Mexican-American star, who said she’d “for sure” be a makeup artist if she wasn’t a musical artist, fell in love with cosmetics as a young age, and recalls frequently borrowing from her mom’s stash of beauty products.

“I had a young, cool mom who wasn’t like, ‘No, you’re too young for makeup,’” Becky explained. “She was all about [us] learning to express ourselves.”

And there are countless ways to do just that with Treslúce Beauty’s hero product, the “I Am” eyeshadow palette ($30), which is packed with 18 vivid matte and shimmery shades formulated with Mexican blue agave.

“I wanted to infuse little things that meant so much to me. And the blue agave is actually from Jalisco, Mexico, where my grandparents are from,” Becky shared of the unconventional ingredient. “I love tequila, so that’s probably where it came from too!”

In further nods to her roots, the palette’s packaging features a third eye design by Mexican artist Monica Loya, while the shade names — a mix of adjectives in both English and Spanish, including “divina,” “fuerte” and “unstoppable” — are meant to serve as affirmations.

And considering that her debut single was titled “Becky From the Block,” it shouldn’t be too surprising that the Latin Grammy nominee looks up to Jennifer Lopez as her personal beauty (and business) hero as she continues to build her own brand.

Click here to read the full article on Page Six.

‘Spoiled Latina Day’ stresses the importance of empowerment, self care
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Raquel Cordova speaks during the sixth annual "Spoiled Latina Day" on Saturday, July 31, 2021, at Madera Estates in Conroe. Spoiled Latina, a digital platform that describes itself as "celebrating what it means

By , Houston Chronicle

Yvonne Guidry remembers the first time someone called her a “spoiled Latina.” She was working as the creative director on a music video that wasn’t living up to her standards, and after voicing her dissatisfaction, another crew member derisively said, “You’re a spoiled Latina, aren’t you?”

“Someone called me that because I was demanding perfection,” Guidry said. Rather than let a man use the label as an insult, Guidry, who has lived in Houston for over 20 years, embraced the moniker and turned it into a business empire, launching the “Spoiled Latina” blog in 2008 and expanding it into a lifestyle brand in just a matter of years.

Guidry hosted her 6th annual “Spoiled Latina Day,” on Saturday with panel discussions featuring speakers across a range of industries. Reggaeton superstar Becky G, who headlined the Houston Rodeo in 2020, flew in from Los Angeles to give the keynote address.

“What’s so amazing about what Yvonne does is it’s focused on community, and I think that creating safe places for women, for us to share experiences and knowledge and get inspired is just beautiful, and that’s really just what called out to me,” Becky G said.

A couple hundred people, mostly millennial Latinas, came out to the Madera Estates in Conroe for the event, mingling in the courtyard outside the main hall to trade business cards, sip cocktails and sample food from a variety of eateries. Local vendors were also on hand selling clothes and artisanal Latin goods.

In the parking lot, attendees lined up to take rides in a hot pink Polaris Slingshot with a decal reading “The Glow Up Es Real,” the theme of Saturday’s event. Others took pictures in front of the main stage, which was decked out in pink flowers and balloons with a sign that read “Spoiled Latina Day.”

Yubia Martinez, 37, is an administrative assistant at Roar Over Texas, a pyrotechnic company, and came at the invitation of her boss’s wife.

“We have a lot of people knocking us down, you see all this bad stuff in the news and this is just something uplifting, we’re supporting each other and our brains and our heritage. Whatever it is, we can overcome it to do anything,” Martinez said.

Guidry started Spoiled Latina to empower women and encourage them to put themselves and their needs first, she said.

“Growing up, I saw my mom hardly taking care of herself or taking me-time so that she could go out and serve others. She always put herself last, so I wanted women to remind themselves that it’s OK to spoil yourself, it’s OK to take care of yourselves before you go out and take care of others,” Guidry said.

After an initial networking hour, the audience listened to three panels touching on brand-building, content creation and goal-setting. Alekza Latte, senior brand manager for Foot Locker Women, was excited to appear on the “Content Queens” panel with Patty Artiga, a lifestyle blogger, and Estefania Saavedra, a TikTok personality who has garnered over 1.7 million followers on the video platform.

“There’s lots to be learned here, and this is a great place to, one, meet new mentors, and two, find new people to collaborate with. Whether you’re looking for a partner in business or its someone who you look up to, they might be here and you can learn from them,” Latte said.

Saturday’s theme, “The Glow Up Es Real,” is meant to celebrate the way that women push through challenges to thrive in an unforgiving environment, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Guidry.

“Looking back at all we’ve accomplished during and after, and even before [the pandemic], sometimes we get kind of caught up in ‘Oh, I’m not moving fast enough’, or ‘Oh, I’m not there yet,’ but when you really look back on it, it’s like ‘Girl, you’ve done a lot, and you should pat yourself on the back for that,’” Guidry said.

Click here to read the full article on Houston Chronicle.

Announcing our newest show, Locker Room Talk, an all-Latina look at women in sports
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We're excited to announce the launch of our new weekly show highlighting the achievements of women and Latinas in sports, Locker Room Talk.

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new weekly show highlighting the achievements of women and Latinas in sports, Locker Room Talk.

Hosted by Julie Alexandria and Jennifer Mercedes, two Latinas with more than 20 years of sports industry reporting experience, Locker Room Talk celebrates women in all aspects of the sports world by recognizing their contributions and the barriers they have overcome in their journeys. The show debuts this Wednesday, August 4, with new episodes rolling out weekly on YouTube and Facebook along with additional content across all La Vida Baseball social channels.

“Women have always been at the forefront of challenging cultural norms,” says Jesse Menendez, managing director of La Vida Baseball. “This show was created as a platform for the incredible community of trailblazers who continue to redefine our industry. Julie Alexandria and Jennifer Mercedes are leading important conversations with industry leaders. With Locker Room Talk, Julie and Jennifer have created a space where women can share their stories, experiences and of course their triumphs. Everyone needs to watch this show.”

Guests currently lined up for Locker Room Talk include NY Yankees hitting coach Rachel Balkovec, NFL Network’s MJ Acosta-Ruiz, Chief Business Officer at A-Rod Corp. Kelly Laferriere , MLB agent Lonnie Murray, diplomat and non-profit We Are All Human CEO Claudia Romo Edelman, MLB writer Shakeia Taylor, Turner Sports’ Lisa Byington (first woman to call NCAA men’s March Madness game), MLB Network’s Melanie Newman, ESPN’s Sarah Spain, Drone Racing League president Rachel Jacobson and Arizona Diamondbacks’ Mariana Patraca.

In addition to Locker Room Talk, LaVida Baseball has a wide range of social media streaming series, highlighted by Being Guillén, a hilarious weekly show and podcast, hosted by former World Series Champion manager, Ozzie Guillén and two of his sons, Ozzie Guillén Jr. and Oney Guillén; and Polvora, Voz & Diamante, a high energy Spanish language show hosted by a Mexican League MVP, the Cardinals’ Spanish language broadcaster and a Mexican rock star.

Click here to read the full article on La Vida Baseball.

‘Latinas On The Go’ inspires and motivates women in the community
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Latinas On The Go are recognizing women in the community who have overcome adversity to inspire others by highlighting them in a fashion show fundraiser July 29.

By  Robert Boyd, ABC Action News

There’s a group of Tampa women who have been looking for an organization that looks like them and speaks to them. So when they couldn’t find one, they decided to start their own. They call it Latinas On The Go.

From raising money for charities to fixing up houses for people in need to motivating one another through networking events, these are some of the missions for the women of Latinas On The Go.

“I just couldn’t find a place where I felt like I belonged to and so I just took the initiative,” said founder Sarahi Terreforte.

Terreforte soon realized there were plenty of other young, career-oriented, Latina women, like herself, looking for a group to call home.

“All these women who are looking for a welcoming inviting space together where they can find empowering words and get encouraged and not only that but grow together and learn from each other,” said Terreforte.

This month, Latinas On The Go are recognizing women in the community who have overcome tremendous challenges, like Mariela Ayala.

“I was disabled for 20 years, something I thought I was never going to get rid of,” said Ayala.

Due to an undiagnosed genetic disorder, Ayala was never able to get her weight under control, pushing nearly 500 pounds.

Now, thanks to medical breakthroughs and the support from Latina’s On The Go, she is doing things she never thought possible. So far she has lost 180 pounds and counting.

“I can truly find out what I am capable of and being able to be around women who are already on the top of their game, I’m like, ‘what is out there because I didn’t know,’” said Ayala.

On July 29, Latinas On The Go will host a fundraiser, “Step into the Light Runway,” in which inspirational women like Mariela will be given hair, beauty and fashion makeovers by fellow Latina On The Go Yarrellys Ruiz.

“These women, they have the same dreams and goals as me,” said Ruiz.

Ruiz has been inspired to give back ever since her own life-changing event in March when Tampa Police Officer Jesse Madsen was killed in the line of duty when he stopped a wrong-way driver from hitting her head-on.

“I went to the funeral and I heard all the great things that he used to do for the community and I wanted to do the things that he was doing when he was alive,” said Ruiz.

Click here to read the full article on ABC Action News.

Gina Rodriguez Sets Film Directorial Debut With Sports Drama Inspired by Boxer Ryan Garcia
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Gina Rodriguez is teaming up with professional boxer Ryan Garcia to develop a sports drama about the athlete’s experiences as a Mexican American lightweight champion.

By Rebecca Rubin, Variety

Gina Rodriguez is teaming up with professional boxer Ryan Garcia to develop a sports drama about the athlete’s experiences as a Mexican American lightweight champion. Rodriguez, best known for The CW’s take on a telenovela “Jane the Virgin,” is directing, co-starring and producing the film. She’s previously helmed episodes of “Jane the Virgin,” but the upcoming, still-untitled movie marks her feature filmmaking debut.

Rodriguez will also co-write the screenplay with actor and playwright Bernardo Cubria (“The Giant Void in My Soul”). Alongside Rodriguez, the 22-year-old Garcia is starring in the film as a fictional version of himself. Due to Garcia’s fighting schedule, the movie won’t begin shooting until summer of 2022.

Inspired by movies like “Rocky” and “Creed,” the sports drama mirrors Garcia’s own journey and follows a Mexican American boxer named Alex Guerrero (Garcia) whose struggles with mental health rival his toughest bouts in the ring. After a chance encounter with a world champion propels him into the spotlight, he must prove to himself and the world that he has what it takes to come out on top.

“I grew up in a boxing family and loved watching sports dramas with my dad,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “The philosophies of fighting — working hard, staying focused, being honest, fighting fair but to win — have stayed with me.”

Rodriguez called Garcia “not only an outstanding athlete and champion, but a true advocate of normalizing and furthering conversations on mental health.” She adds, “His bravery has inspired me, and I am honored to have his trust to direct this film and guide his first foray into the arts.”

Click here to read the full article on Variety.

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