THIS CHEF IS TRYING TO OPEN A VEGAN BAKERY AND LATINX SOCIAL JUSTICE CAFÉ IN SEATTLE
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Lara de la Rosa wearing a white sweater and smiling in front of the camera while she leans on her left hand in front of a mint green cake with pink icing and flowers.

By JOCELYN MARTINEZ, VegNews

Seattle-based vegan baker Lara de la Rosa recently launched a campaign on crowdfunding site GoFundMe to open Casa del Xoloitzcuintle (Case del Xolo), a vegan bakery and Latinx social justice café. Founder of Seattle’s vegan bakery Lazy Cow Bakery, de la Rosa’s mission to make veganism easy and affordable for the masses while advocating for social justice is the driving force behind Casa del Xolo.

While the café menu will feature Lazy Cow Bakery’s cakes along with new sweet treats such as macaroons and croissants, de la Rosa is most excited about the new savory items currently in development. “We are currently testing quiche recipes,” de la Rosa told VegNews. “There’s just something about cheesy, herby roasted vegetables in a fluffy egg filling. I promise our quiche will be just as satisfying but with none of the animal exploitation.”

A café for the cultura
With a $30,000 fundraising goal, de la Rosa has plans for Casa del Xolo to be more than just a vegan bakery and café. Eyes set on a space in the city’s University District, Casa del Xolo will double as a Latinx cultural center complete with a stage for events, food pantry, community fridge, and Spanish classes.

“We see veganism as just another branch in the tree of social justice reform,” de la Rosa said. “Our food pantry will be 100 percent vegan. There’s no need for us to exploit one segment of our population to help another segment when we can simply help both by offering a plant-based pantry.” Taking food pantries a step further, de la Rosa hopes to offer free, ready-to-eat meals for people experiencing homelessness, a reality de la Rosa has experienced herself. “I want people to get used to the idea that food should be free,” she said. “While food pantries are known to have pantry staples, I’m going to try and eventually [stock] ready-made food items. Pantry staples are great for those who have access to kitchens but many houseless people do not.”

Along with Latinx-focused programming, veganism will also be a common thread present throughout the center’s work. De la Rosa plans to host free lectures, debates, and documentary screenings at Casa del Xolo to help educate patrons about veganism.

Latinx in Seattle
According to the US Census Bureau, seven percent of Seattle’s population identified as Latinx in 2019. For Mexican-born de la Rosa, it is evident the city’s resources are not being allocated for Latinx cultural events and centers. “From Swedish Cultural Centers to Finnish museums, [Seattle] has these grandiose, multi-million dollar buildings in prime real estate locales for countries a million miles away that have an extremely small percentage of people living here,” de la Rosa said. “If only [the city] had the same vigor for the Brown-majority country [the US] shares a border with.”

Click here to read the full article on Veg News.

These Latina Businesses Are Changing How LA Shops — Online And IRL
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Latina Business Hija de tu Madre, a clothing, accessories and jewelry brand founded by Patty Delgado.

By Eva Recinos, LA ist

It’s easy to feel cynical about companies pushing identity for profit — witness major retailers stamping feminist mottos on everything from t-shirts and tote bags to baby onesies and barware — but some local brands are the genuine article. They’re not jumping on any bandwagon. They’re Latina-owned lifestyle businesses, creating and selling items to their communities. “We’re at a time where people are craving independently made wares, handmade wares and cultural goods,” says Noelle Reyes, co-founder of Highland Park boutique Mi Vida.

As online shopping decimates mega malls and forces old school retailers to rethink their strategies, independent brands are stepping up, using social media and community connections to make their mark. These businesses represent only a few of the city’s budding entrepreneurs but they’re making an impact — both online and in the real world.

Social Media Stars
Leah Guerrero has been making holistic skincare products — facial masks, face and body creams, hydrosols — since 2013. Two years ago, using knowledge and ingredients she gleaned from her trips to the mercados of Mexico City, she founded Brujita Skincare out of her home. She began selling her wares at Molcajete Dominguero, a now-monthly Latinx pop-up market in Boyle Heights. Her target audience? People looking for affordable vegan and cruelty-free products.

As the crowds grew, so did her social media following. Guerrero started sending products to friends and influencers. That “ricocheted into all of these people finding out about Brujita through Instagram,” she says.

To keep up with demand, she currently produces “thousands of units a month” at a rented studio in downtown Los Angeles. In April, Brujita launched a Green Collection in collaboration with Hotel Figueroa. Guests who order the Self-Care Package through mid-September get a one-night stay and a sleek toiletry bag containing four of the brand’s products.

With more than 19,000 followers, Brujita’s Instagram account features the requisite product photos, GIFs and behind-the-scenes peaks at new products. Guerrero engages with customers via DM and shares info on the account about the ingredients in each product. “With the engagement comes trust, and trust in my community means a whole lot to me,” she says.

Brujita has built a community that Guerrero wants to continue nurturing, particularly Latinx and LGBTQ+ groups. The brand’s current studio, in downtown Los Angeles, serves as a safe space for the LGBT community, with many “friends coming in and out and doing their creative work,” Guerrero says. Brujita is meant to be stylish, accessible and inclusive, a counterpoint to mainstream skincare brands built on Western ideals of beauty. Guerrero says a more formal physical location for Brujita Skincare is in the works.

Brick By Brick
For other Los Angeles brands, the IRL business came before the social media one. Reyes and her cousin, Danelle Hughes, opened Mi Vida in 2008, two years before Instagram debuted. The Highland Park shop sells clothes, housewares and art. It also functions as a gallery and a community hub, hosting poetry readings, yoga classes and meditation workshops.

“If you were a business that was a brick and mortar when social media came on, it’s almost like you automatically had to take on this new career,” Reyes says.

She began using photography to promote her products and it became a creative outlet. Instagram is also a way for her to scout and connect with new artists, some of whom have been featured in the store. Although Reyes has noticed more customers visiting Mi Vida after discovering it online, the connection also works the other way. For her, social media is a tool to supplement her store’s presence in a neighborhood where the founders have been working hard for years.

Conversations about gentrification in Boyle Heights are heated, and Mi Vida’s owners are aware of the controversy. “We hear all the time how great it is to have a space like ours on this street,” Reyes says. “That is something we don’t take lightly. We work very hard every day to continue to be a positive light in our community and offer products that bring a positive vibe.”

Click here to read the full article on LA ist.

Meet Amy Quichiz, the Vegan Latina Reclaiming Veganism for People of Color
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Amy Quichiz sitting in the grass in front of a pink poster while holding her head in her hand and looking at the camera

By Katie Coss, Hip Latina

Planted within the intersection of veganism, scarce resources, and a college student budget, a self-identified queer Latina would turn an Instagram account for vegan recipes into a global community for vegans of color. Reaching a demographic of vegans unbeknownst to Amy Quichiz in 2017, this Peruvian and Colombian New York City native would create the foundation of a tribe of hundreds of women, trans, and non-binary people of color eating a plant-based diet through Veggie Mijas. Originally a shared space for vegans of color to circulate affordable recipes, Veggie Mijas is now a grassroots organization with over 11 active chapters across the country with the latest established chapter in Mumbai, India. In an effort to curate a support system for vegans of color, this collective strives to break barriers towards environmental justice and decolonizing one’s diet.

While this community continues to grow and vegan options become far more accessible, a lot more could be said about the Latinx community’s efforts towards building a far more sustainable future for our minds and bodies. Specifically, within the U.S. only 3 percent of Americans identify as vegan, on the contrary, Latin American countries like Mexico have 20 percent, self-identified vegetarians and vegans, according to Vegconomist. These statistics prove there is an evident disconnect between our Latinx plant-based roots and the current environment and eating habits of Latinx folks within the United States. While Veggie Mijas is not exclusive to Latinx folks, Amy and this community are building the bridge within that gap.

“I think honestly just getting together and having a group of vegans of color is so radical,” she said. Amy spoke to HipLatina on the ancestral significance of food within the Latinx community, shifting food to mindset, and the future of veganism by people of color.

Plant-Based Ancestral Practices
When thinking of veganism as a Latinx person, it has been complicated, like any other person of color, to find oneself within this rhetoric and lifestyle when the options for plant-based foods are geared towards American foods. Although veggie burgers can be delicious to vegan and non-vegan people alike, Amy highlights how critical it is to formulate your food options in ways that are traditional to your household. Particularly in reference to introducing veganism to her Latinx parents, Amy states “If you start eating things that are already vegan like for example rice, beans, avocado, with plantains, that is literally what we eat already so just finding ways that make sense for them has been helpful.”

Amy also notes how asking questions has allowed her family and herself to think outside of “white veganism” and back towards plant-based ancestral practices. “When I would ask my parents what did you used to eat in Colombia or in Peru before you came to this country, I was actually surprised by that answer because a lot of the food was either pescatarian or just more plant-based options than they would have eaten here,” Amy reveals. As the United States reaches the highest recorded rate of adult obesity at 42.4 percent, Latinx adults have an obesity rate of 44.8 percent, according to a report from Trust for America’s Health. Despite these staggering numbers, it is no surprise Latinx folks, as well as Black folks, have far more health issues than white Americans when a variety of socioeconomic factors are at also play. Alluding to the food deserts in Black and Latinx communities, Amy explains, “Really asking a lot of questions like what are the choices of food that are given to you? Are they really choices?….we question these things and then I feel like that gets closer to your ancestry practice.”

Click here to read the full article on Hip Latina.

‘Investing Latina’ Founder Jully-Alma Taveras Reveals the Best Investing Moves She’s Made
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Investing Latina Founder Jully-Alma Taveras pictures in front of a brown backgrop while wearing a black blazer

By Gabrielle Olya, Yahoo! Finance

Jully-Alma Taveras is the founder of Investing Latina, an educational online community with over 40,000 members. She is an award-winning bilingual money expert, writer, YouTuber, speaker and educator who covers topics around personal finance, investing and entrepreneurship.

Recognized by GOBankingRates as one of Money’s Most Influential, here she shares the best investing moves she’s made, why consistency is key when it comes to investing for the long-term and how to get started if you’re new to investing.

Recognized by GOBankingRates as one of Money’s Most Influential, here she shares the best investing moves she’s made, why consistency is key when it comes to investing for the long-term and how to get started if you’re new to investing.

What advice would you give your younger self about investing?
I would tell myself, “Hey, start researching all the companies you already buy from — Amazon, Apple, Nike — and consider investing into them!”

What is the best thing you did to boost your own portfolio?
I moved away from managed funds to index funds. This is helping me save so much money in fees.

When it comes to investing for the long-term, what should people focus on?
I would tell people to focus on how much they are investing and their plan to increase the amount. You can always make adjustments to your assets in your portfolio, but building it up takes time and it takes a plan of action. You have to be consistent.

What is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to investing?
Not getting started sooner. People hold off because they are intimidated or don’t understand it. But the reality is that a two-hour workshop like the one I host is all the time you need to dedicate to education to get started. I make it simple and clear so that people can start learning and earning through compounding interest.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Finance

How three Latina women let go from 9NEWS are helping change the journalism industry
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Former 9NEWS journalists (from left) Lori Lizarraga, Sonia Gutierrez and Kristen Aguirre.

By , Denver Post

When model student Sonia Gutierrez was informed by her high school counselor in 2009 that college was out of the question because the young Colorado Latina lacked documentation, Gutierrez allowed herself an afternoon to sob, mourning the future she and her parents had worked toward their whole lives.

Then she got to work.

Gutierrez testified before the Colorado legislature in support of the ASSET bill, which passed in 2013 and allows qualifying students without legal status to pay in-state tuition rates. She shared her story with local journalists and was consistently disappointed in the coverage.

“I just remember thinking, ‘Well, of course. They don’t know what it’s like,’” said Gutierrez, now 30 and with permanent U.S. residency. “I have these white guys interviewing me about what it’s like to be here undocumented… I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see. I wanted to see stories told by my community — stories more fairly and truthfully representing what is happening. That was never going to happen unless people like us are doing that job.”

Gutierrez’s persistence paid off, landing her a 2012 internship at Denver’s 9NEWS, where she worked her way up to a full-time job, eventually meeting fellow Latina coworkers Lori Lizarraga and Kristen Aguirre.

However, the driving force behind Gutierrez’s journalistic pursuits — her family’s decision to come to America from Mexico when she was a baby and her struggle to obtain legal documentation — was thrown back in her face by 9NEWS, she alleged, when management told her she could only cover immigration-related stories if she disclosed her residency status in her reporting.

An article Lizarraga wrote for Westword last month laid out a story the three Latina reporters who were all let go by 9NEWS in the past year never imagined telling: allegations of discrimination in an industry that prides itself on holding others accountable and their dogged pursuit to tell their increasingly diverse community’s stories in spite of the obstacles in their way.

At a time when re-invigorated national conversations around racial justice are infiltrating industries across the country, Lizarraga’s disclosure rallied local Latina politicians, who called for meetings with the news organization; brought to light a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing from a major shareholder of 9NEWS parent company TEGNA alleging racial bias among top brass; and spurred TEGNA-wide change to the language the company’s journalists use when reporting on immigration.

“I look at these three women as my heroes,” said Rebecca Aguilar, president-elect of the Society of Professional Journalists and chair of SPJ’s diversity and inclusion committee. “We should be very proud of Lori for coming forward because she has told us the reality of what’s going on in that station and the realities of the news business. I believe in our SPJ Code of Ethics. We are not supposed to do people harm. What these managers have done to these three women is harm.”

9NEWS management declined a phone interview with The Denver Post and would not comment on the exits of Lizarraga, Aguirre and Gutierrez — the station didn’t renew their contracts — nor their allegations of discrimination, calling them personnel matters.

In a two-page statement, 9NEWS Director of Content Tim Ryan said the newsroom is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Recent efforts include a DEI committee, listening sessions with journalists of color, training on inclusive journalism practices and an upcoming diversity audit by a third-party researcher, Ryan said.

“While we are making progress, we know we have much more work to do,” Ryan wrote. “As with many things, some changes and improvements will happen quickly, and others will occur over time. Ultimately, we are committed to working with our employees and the greater Denver community on a holistic strategy and tangible actions that effectively enhance our culture and serve and represent our community.”

Click here to read the full article on Denver Post.

J-Lo, H.E.R. and Selena Gomez will headline a streamed concert to support Covid-19 vaccine distribution
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Selena gomez photographed smiling at the camera wearing a pink turtle neck

By Alaa Elassar, CNN

Pop and rock stars are planning a global broadcast and streaming special to support equal vaccine distribution.

Hosted by Selena Gomez and featuring Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin, and H.E.R., the “VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World” will take place on May 8.

It will be a part of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World campaign to end the pandemic and help people recover. “The Concert to Reunite the World is celebrating the hope that COVID-19 vaccines are offering families and communities around the world,” Global Citizen said in a news release. “We are calling on world leaders to step up to make sure vaccines are accessible for all so we can end the pandemic for everyone, everywhere.”

The goal will be to “ensure equitable vaccine distribution around the world, tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and celebrate a hopeful future as families and communities reunite after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,” according to the international advocacy group.
Multiple organizations and political leaders have supported the concert, including the World Health Organization (WHO), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the State of California, the release said.
“I’m honored to be hosting VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World,” Gomez said in a statement. “This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably, and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

A Rapper, Hitting His 30s, Reinvents Himself as a Scion of Spanish Pop
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C. Tangana in front of blue curtains on blue carpet while wearing a blazer, colorful top, and a gold chain necklace

, New York Times

C. Tangana, one of Spain’s biggest rap stars, two years ago hit “a little bit of a crisis.” He was riding a wave of fame, known for provocative songs and equally provocative interviews. But he was fast approaching his 30s, he said in a recent Zoom interview and risked becoming one of those “cringe-y, embarrassing” rappers who act a decade younger than they are.

So C. Tangana — real name Antón Álvarez Alfaro — did a U-turn and decided to try his hand at other styles of music that he had loved since childhood, like flamenco and rumba, even Spanish folk.

“I was opening a window I’d kept closed,” he said, adding, “I assumed it would go wrong.”

Álvarez’s experiment appears to have paid off. In February, he released “El Madrileño,” an album that mixes traditional Spanish and Latin American styles, including rock, with electronic sounds and beats more familiar to his trap and reggaeton fans. It’s turned him from Spain’s biggest rapper into one of its biggest pop stars.

One of the album’s early tracks, “Tú Me Dejaste De Querer” (“You Stopped Loving Me”), has over 100 million views on YouTube.

“You can listen to his music anytime, in any shop” Pablo Gil, a music journalist at El Mundo, a Spanish daily newspaper, said in a telephone interview.

Some of the musical styles it features were last popular in Spain in the 1970s, when the country was under Franco’s dictatorship, Gil added. Álvarez, he said, was taking old-fashioned sounds, “subverting their meaning and making them modern.”

In a review for the newspaper El País, the music critic Carlos Marcos wrote, “It remains to be seen whether this is the birth of a new Spanish pop, or something that we will forget in a few years.”

“But who cares?” he added. “Let’s enjoy it today, and we’ll see tomorrow.”

On YouTube, C. Tangana’s videos now attract comments from older music fans who would presumably never have gone near his records before. “I thought the music my son listened to was for landfill,” wrote Felix Guinnot, who said he was in his 50s, “but this boy is changing my musical perception.”

Álvarez’s road to fame has been winding, with multiple changes of name to reflect new musical personas. Born in Madrid, he started rapping in his teens, he said, but twice gave up on music entirely. When the 2008 global financial crisis hit Spain particularly hard — its lingering effects are still felt by the country’s youth — he stopped rapping to work in a fast-food restaurant. Later, he got a job in a call center selling cellphones.

He started rapping again after falling in love with a colleague. It was a toxic relationship, Álvarez said, but it inspired him to get back into the studio. “I said, ‘It must be possible for me to make money doing this rather than selling phones or cleaning,’” he recalled. “It changed my whole mentality. I started to think I had to sell myself. I started to do things to get attention.”

In 2017, Álvarez had his first major hit with “Mala Mujer,” a track about his longing for a “bad woman” whose “gel nails have left scars all over my body.” But he was soon known more for his relationship with Rosalía, a Spanish pop star (he co-wrote much of “El Mal Querer,” or “Bad Love,” her breakthrough album, although they have since broken up) and for getting into political controversies.

Click here to read the full article on the New York Times.

Hispanics In Wine Organization Aims To Empower Latinx Wine Communities
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Hispanics in Wine cofounders Lydia Richards and Maria Calvert holding two glasses of wine up to the camera with a sunset over a city behind them.

By Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, Forbes

Social organization Hispanics in Wine was founded with the aim of promoting equality and diversity and helping Latinx professionals advance in the wine industry. Founded in September 2020, it consists of a social media space and website which serve as a digital platform for insight into opportunities and resources for members of the community.

It was established by Lydia Richards and Maria Calvert alongside wine professional Ivonne Nill. The organization’s mission is to give back to Spanish-speaking communities by promoting equality and helping the new generation of Latinx professionals advance in the wine and hospitality industries. Hispanics in Wine also intends to help wine companies better communicate with their Spanish-speaking consumers.

Cofounders Maria Calvert and Lydia Richards met while working in wine public relations at Colangelo & Partners, a well-known agency with offices in New York and California. Calvert, a native of Quito, Ecuador, is currently working as an independent Public Relations Consultant with a focus on startup and established brands in wine and food, while Richards, who hails from Panama, recently started a job as PR Manager at Taub Family Companies: Palm Bay International and Taub Family Selections.

At this time Hispanics in Wine has more than 30 members and is prepared to grow as word spreads within the wine and hospitality industries. Hispanics in Wine aims to encourage and connect people from diverse backgrounds to pursue their career path in the industry through the organization. It also intends to help wine brands and companies cater to the Latinx population in the U.S., whose buying power is forecasted to top $1.9 trillion by 2023.

As Women’s Month draws to a close, we are concluding our focus on women in the wine industry with this interview of co-founder Maria Calvert.

World Wine Guys: What was the impetus behind starting Hispanics in Wine?

Maria Calvert: In 2018, I transitioned to the wine industry and met Lydia Richards at a public relations agency. As part of our PR jobs, we work closely with all types of professionals in the alcohol beverage and hospitality industries, including sommeliers, retail stores, restaurants, trade, press, wine brands, winemakers, marketing professionals, and many others. Coming new into the wine industry, you see people of color cutting the grapes and working behind the scenes, but we noticed the lack of representation and diversity when attending trade events, press trips, and executive meetings. In addition to the lack of BIPOC, Hispanic, and Latinx professionals in decision-making roles, we noticed the lack of Spanish language resources for our community, brands neglecting Hispanic and Latinx consumers, and the need to amplify the work done by vineyard stewards.

As a result of our professional experience as two Latina immigrants in the wine industry and Covid disproportionately impacting the hospitality industry and minority communities, we decided to launch Hispanics in Wine in September 2020. We chose this month in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Culturally, Hispanics and Latinx work together as a community; it’s part of our pride, family, our roots. Community is so important to us, and this is something that we are trying to replicate with Hispanics in Wine. We created this centralized digital space for individuals to feel welcomed by the industry, to find important English and Spanish resources, to provide a sense of community with other Hispanics & Latinx alcohol and hospitality professionals, and more importantly, to educate the public about our communities and amplify the diverse talent and knowledge we offer and promote more representation in the industry.

WWG: Which areas of the wine community have you drawn members from thus far?

MC: The Hispanics in Wine team are four women with different professional careers, hailing from different countries, and different journeys in the wine industry: Lydia Richards, Ivonne Nill, Emilia Alvarez, and myself. It is important to highlight our team diversity because it allows us to understand the industry’s needs, bridging the gap for opportunities and language, and build a broad Hispanic and Latinx beverage and hospitality community.

As a result of our team’s efforts and continued outreach, we have connected with wine professionals across the United States and worldwide. We have a community that covers the spectrum of wine and hospitality. For example, we have Nial Harris García, Wine Director at the Conrad Hotel in Washington D.C., Hugo Arias, Head Sommelier at The Grill in Washington D.C., Gabriela Fernández, Marketing and Event Coordinator for a California wine producer, Jesica Vargas, Founder and Wine Blogger of AndesUncorked, DeAnna Ornelas, President of non-profit organization AHIVOY, Sam Parra, Owner of PARRA Wines Co., and many others. Our Hispanics in Wine community is growing every day, and we have received tremendous support from many wine professionals in the industry who want to help in any way possible.

WWG: How are you reaching Latinx members of the wine community in order to let them know about Hispanics in Wine?

MC: We are working with our Hispanics in Wine community to help spread the word, share the “Hispanics in Wine Spotlight Series” within their network, and notify other Hispanics and Latinx professionals about this initiative. We started Hispanics in Wine on social media, and we now have a website. We have received inquiries from individuals trying to pursue a career in wine who reached out to us via Instagram, and individuals who found our website via Google GOOG +2.8% search. We have also received inquiries from other Hispanic and Latinx professionals asking how they can help with the initiative and perhaps serve as mentors.

Click here to read the full article on Forbes.

Supporting an inclusive economy: small businesses, Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, and their intersection
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woman's hand pictured holding pen and calculator

For many of us, connections to small businesses are deeply personal—your local barber shop or family dentist, the spot for the best pizza in town, the small contractor you call to fix your leak.

Businesses like these make up the fabric of our communities—but many don’t realize what a big role they play, collectively, in the U.S. economy.

However, they face unique challenges even in the strongest of times and now, amidst the covid-19 pandemic, many small businesses are struggling to survive.

The situation at hand

JPMorgan Chase Institute research found that prior to the covid-19 pandemic, typical small businesses had only enough cash on hand to keep the lights on for two to three weeks. This was even more pronounced for small businesses in majority-Black and Latinx communities, where the typical business had only one to two weeks of reserves.

Interestingly, researchers found that in the Fall of 2020, many small businesses actually had cash reserves at higher levels than normal. This seems like great news—but when you look under the hood, the situation is more precarious. [3]

There are two factors to explain the elevated reserves: 1) an injection of cash from federal and local policy shored up many of the businesses likely to face a shortfall, and 2) a decision many businesses made to delay or dial back payments on things like upkeep of key assets, limiting wages or employee benefits, or other choices that may not be financially healthy in the months or years ahead.[4]

So, while cash balances are larger than usual, they may not be enough for small businesses to continue to survive in these tumultuous times. Expenses have already begun to outpace revenue. This trend could have a disproportionate impact on Black- and Latinx-owned companies, that tend to experience lower revenues and profit margins compared to white-owned counterparts.[5]

Help in many forms

Many small businesses face similar challenges: lack of access to capital and resources to grow. However, businesses owned by people of color and other underserved groups face these challenges more acutely. For example, according to the JPMorgan Chase Institute, Black, Latinx and women-owned small businesses are underrepresented among firms with substantial external financing. While there are no simple solutions, business, government and nonprofit leaders should work together to support, sustain and grow these critical enterprises.

For example, December’s $900 billion stimulus package included a second infusion of PPP funds, with $12 billion set aside for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).

While the terms might be unfamiliar, you likely already know your local CDFI or MDI. Some local banks or credit unions might fall into this category.

An MDI is a bank whose ownership or leadership is made up of a majority of people of color. CDFIs are community lenders, which primarily finance in low- and moderate-income communities and focus on small businesses, as well as affordable housing and nonprofits. Both MDIs and CDFIs earn these designations from the federal government, due to the vital financial services they provide in communities that are often underserved. CDFIs in particular are designed to meet these needs by offering capital and guidance to help ensure the success of vulnerable businesses. We think that’s a winning combination.

But MDIs and CDFIs need banks to provide additional capital to fund this critical work in communities. Here’s where JPMorgan Chase comes in.

Part of the solution

We believe that business has a role to play in addressing societal issues, along with business and community leaders. JPMorgan Chase is committed to building a more inclusive economy and our support for small business, especially in Black and Latinx communities, is a critical element of this work.

That’s why, in February, the firm announced new initiatives focused on providing MDIs and diverse-led CDFIs with additional access to capital, connections to institutional investors, specialty support for Black-led commercial projects, and mentorship and training opportunities. Initial investments and commitments to minority-owned and Black-led MDIs included Liberty Bank and Trust, M&F Bank, Carver Federal Savings Bank and Broadway Federal Bank. The firm also committed $42.5 million to expand the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund to reach new U.S. cities in 2021, providing loans and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses in collaboration with LISC and a network of CDFIs. Since its inception in Detroit in 2015, the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund has deployed more than $32 million to Black, Latinx and other underserved entrepreneurs, including Jimmie Williams from Chicago, who received a small business loan to scale his landscaping company. In addition, we continue our direct support for small business, including through PPP.

This work is part of the $30 billion commitment over five years we announced in October 2020 to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities to help close the racial wealth divide. The firm is continuing to put this commitment into practice by combining our business, policy, data and philanthropic expertise.

We are committing $350 million over five years to help grow Black, Latinx, woman-owned and other underserved small businesses. This includes:

Philanthropy, low-cost loans and direct equity investments: Supporting the signature Ascend Program, helping build the capacity of diverse-led nonprofits across the globe to more effectively support entrepreneurs, and investing in early-stage businesses to help companies drive economic opportunity, including in Black and Latinx communities. Last month we made our initial direct equity investment in Bitwise Industries.
Policy: Releasing new data-driven policy solutions such as increasing resources for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloan program, which provides loans of up to $50,000 to help small businesses. The firm will support advancing these policy reforms to help address the immediate and long-term challenges small business owners face.
Supplier diversity: Spending an additional $750 million with Black and Latinx suppliers, and co-investing up to $200 million in middle market businesses that are or will be minority owned via a new initiative with Ariel Alternatives.
Wrap-around support: Launching a nationwide Minority Entrepreneurs program to help entrepreneurs in historically underserved areas access 1:1 coaching, technical assistance and capital.

Together, these commitments will help reduce barriers to capital access and support the growth of thousands of additional underserved businesses.

Read the full article on the Washington Post.

Hispanics In Wine Organization Aims To Empower Latinx Wine Communities
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two women smile at the camera and hold a glass of wine as the sun sets in the background

Social organization Hispanics in Wine was founded with the aim of promoting equality and diversity and helping Latinx professionals advance in the wine industry. Founded in September 2020, it consists of a social media space and website which serve as a digital platform for insight into opportunities and resources for members of the community.

It was established by Lydia Richards and Maria Calvert alongside wine professional Ivonne Nill. The organization’s mission is to give back to Spanish-speaking communities by promoting equality and helping the new generation of Latinx professionals advance in the wine and hospitality industries. Hispanics in Wine also intends to help wine companies better communicate with their Spanish-speaking consumers.

Photo: Forbes

Cofounders Maria Calvert and Lydia Richards met while working in wine public relations at Colangelo & Partners, a well-known agency with offices in New York and California. Calvert, a native of Quito, Ecuador, is currently working as an independent Public Relations Consultant with a focus on startup and established brands in wine and food, while Richards, who hails from Panama, recently started a job as PR Manager at Taub Family Companies: Palm Bay International and Taub Family Selections.

At this time Hispanics in Wine has more than 30 members and is prepared to grow as word spreads within the wine and hospitality industries. Hispanics in Wine aims to encourage and connect people from diverse backgrounds to pursue their career path in the industry through the organization. It also intends to help wine brands and companies cater to the Latinx population in the U.S., whose buying power is forecasted to top $1.9 trillion by 2023.

As Women’s Month draws to a close, we are concluding our focus on women in the wine industry with this interview of co-founder Maria Calvert.

World Wine Guys: What was the impetus behind starting Hispanics in Wine?

Maria Calvert: In 2018, I transitioned to the wine industry and met Lydia Richards at a public relations agency. As part of our PR jobs, we work closely with all types of professionals in the alcohol beverage and hospitality industries, including sommeliers, retail stores, restaurants, trade, press, wine brands, winemakers, marketing professionals, and many others. Coming new into the wine industry, you see people of color cutting the grapes and working behind the scenes, but we noticed the lack of representation and diversity when attending trade events, press trips, and executive meetings. In addition to the lack of BIPOC, Hispanic, and Latinx professionals in decision-making roles, we noticed the lack of Spanish language resources for our community, brands neglecting Hispanic and Latinx consumers, and the need to amplify the work done by vineyard stewards.

As a result of our professional experience as two Latina immigrants in the wine industry and Covid disproportionately impacting the hospitality industry and minority communities, we decided to launch Hispanics in Wine in September 2020. We chose this month in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Culturally, Hispanics and Latinx work together as a community; it’s part of our pride, family, our roots. Community is so important to us, and this is something that we are trying to replicate with Hispanics in Wine. We created this centralized digital space for individuals to feel welcomed by the industry, to find important English and Spanish resources, to provide a sense of community with other Hispanics & Latinx alcohol and hospitality professionals, and more importantly, to educate the public about our communities and amplify the diverse talent and knowledge we offer and promote more representation in the industry.

WWG: Which areas of the wine community have you drawn members from thus far? 

MC: The Hispanics in Wine team are four women with different professional careers, hailing from different countries, and different journeys in the wine industry: Lydia Richards, Ivonne Nill, Emilia Alvarez, and myself. It is important to highlight our team diversity because it allows us to understand the industry’s needs, bridging the gap for opportunities and language, and build a broad Hispanic and Latinx beverage and hospitality community.

As a result of our team’s efforts and continued outreach, we have connected with wine professionals across the United States and worldwide. We have a community that covers the spectrum of wine and hospitality. For example, we have Nial Harris García, Wine Director at the Conrad Hotel in Washington D.C., Hugo Arias, Head Sommelier at The Grill in Washington D.C., Gabriela Fernández, Marketing and Event Coordinator for a California wine producer, Jesica Vargas, Founder and Wine Blogger of AndesUncorked, DeAnna Ornelas, President of non-profit organization AHIVOY, Sam Parra, Owner of PARRA Wines Co., and many others. Our Hispanics in Wine community is growing every day, and we have received tremendous support from many wine professionals in the industry who want to help in any way possible.

WWG: How are you reaching Latinx members of the wine community in order to let them know about Hispanics in Wine?

MC: We are working with our Hispanics in Wine community to help spread the word, share the “Hispanics in Wine Spotlight Series” within their network, and notify other Hispanics and Latinx professionals about this initiative. We started Hispanics in Wine on social media, and we now have a website. We have received inquiries from individuals trying to pursue a career in wine who reached out to us via Instagram, and individuals who found our website via Google search. We have also received inquiries from other Hispanic and Latinx professionals asking how they can help with the initiative and perhaps serve as mentors.

WWG: Can you tell us about some of the initiatives that Hispanics in Wine has implemented?

MC: We launched the “Hispanics in Wine Spotlight Series,” where the team conducts virtual English and Spanish interviews with talented Hispanic and Latinx professionals in the United States and worldwide, such as sommeliers, wine producers, marketing experts, retailer owners, portfolio specialists, social influencers, and bloggers, to learn about their journey in the wine industry, speak about educational opportunities, and provide essential advice to the next generation as well as changes they want to see in the industry.

Our mission with these interviews is to inspire individuals to enter the industry, thereby increasing the talent we offer as a community. Ultimately, we want to increase pressure on companies to hire Hispanic and Latinx professionals for leadership roles, drawing from our deep well of unique backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints. According to Nielsen data, by 2023, we expect the buying power of the U.S. Latinx population to top $1.9 trillion, which is higher than the gross domestic product of countries like Australia, Spain, and Mexico. Targeting this quickly growing consumer base by aligning with Hispanic and Latinx values has never been more critical.

Through the “Hispanics in Wine Spotlight Series,” we also aim to highlight the diverse backgrounds of the Hispanic and Latinx communities in the United States and worldwide. We hail from vastly different geographies, whether Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, Spain, or the United States; we have different traditions, we look different, and in some instances, we claim unique local languages, such as Guaraní in Paraguay, Catalan in Spain, or Quechua in Ecuador.

Additionally, with our public relations expertise, we are also working with the local and national press to include Hispanics and Latinx alcohol beverage and hospitality professionals at the forefront for feature stories and share their knowledge with key external stakeholders. In the near future, we hope to execute a program aimed at providing educational training, scholarships, and professional opportunities for advancing in the industry – both via in-house opportunities and partnerships with external organizations. Lastly, we are also looking to partner with wine companies looking to tap into the Hispanic and Latinx consumer market.

Read the full article at Forbes.

Latina entrepreneurs find a space online to thrive in pandemic
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Amaury Vidales holds a shirt with a number so viewers of her "Amaury's Accessories" livestream can comment and purchase the shirt through a Facebook Live event inside of her Eden Prairie, Minn., home on March 10.

By  Kathryn Styer Martinez

Amaury Vidales goes live weekly on her Facebook page, Amaury Accesorios, to show prospective shoppers what new things she has to sell — but it’s not just another virtual boutique.

Between the spontaneous bidding wars, music and banter with customers, Vidales creates a shopping experience that is a mix of buzzing zocalos found in the centers of Mexican cities, bustling open-air tianguis where shoppers can find all manner of items and an artisan handmade crafts fair.

Photo: Evan Frost | MPR News

She tries to include a new surprise item each week. Recently, it was a mini lavadero for makeup brushes. “Everybody in Mexico has [a lavadero] in [their] house,” said Vidales. The small handmade replica comes complete with a mini soap and it’s own carrying case.

Vidales, 47, represents a new kind of entrepreneur, someone who’s built a following online for experiences that have become scarce during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the process, she’s created an online space for community members to come together in an isolated world.

“It’s kind of like an escape from home and escape from your job. It’s like a fun place to hang out,” said her daughter, Regina Olono Vidales. “Most people just show up and they stay the full four hours.”

Her mother is also part of a growing wave of Latino small business owners in Minnesota and across the country. Latino-owned businesses grew by 34 percent compared to non-Latinos at just 1 percent over the past decade, according to a recent study by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.

That report also found Latina business owners had been especially hurt by the pandemic, making Vidales’ success that much more intriguing.

Frida Kahlo an inspiration

Vidales reaches clients through her Facebook page, negotiates sales and follow-up calls through messaging applications and even sources her suppliers through Instagram accounts. All payments are made virtually.

She launched in 2019, before the pandemic, as a way to help pay her daughter’s college tuition and other family expenses. She said when she started, there were only a few other women like her selling goods through their social media accounts. The market exploded last year as COVID-19 kept people away from public gathering spaces.

Olono Vidales helps her mother with the weekly live events, along with her 12-year-old brother and Vidales’ husband, both named Javier.

On a recent broadcast, Vidales dressed in a shirt reminiscent of one worn by Salma Hayek in the movie “Frida.” She freshened her lipstick and turned on her ring light and smartphone as Latino pop music set the mood in the background.

As the four-hour event rolled on, the energy turned up. Vidales greeted people coming into the live chat by name while showing items for sale accompanied by their item number. Sometimes, bidding wars ensue, Olono Vidales said.

Vidales, who grew up in Sonora, Mexico, had long wanted to become a business owner. The virtual boutique has helped make her less shy and a polished public speaker, her daughter said.

Frida Kahlo’s importance to the boutique transcends fashion. The painter is prominent in many of the images. Women, especially Mexican women, look up to Kahlo as someone who achieved so much and never gave up despite her suffering.

Read the full article at mprnews.

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