Latino Democrats push for Hispanic recognition in military base Renamings
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U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego answering questions at a hearing

Latino members of Congress are pushing for a U.S. Army base to be named after a Latino military hero and for a greater recognition of the role of Hispanics in the nation’s defense.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and several members of the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter April 12 to the commission tasked with removing Confederate names from military bases and other Department of Defense properties.

In the letter, provided to NBC News, they urged the commission to “develop new criteria” that increases chances of honoring enlisted service members as well as officers, and recognizes the diversity and demographics of a base’s community.

Many military installations are named for high-ranking officers, including those who served in the Confederate army.

Historic discrimination and exclusion have kept Latinos from rising in the military ranks and kept the numbers of Latino officers low, meaning there’s little chance of a base being named for a Hispanic, according to the letter signed by Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, along with others.

“Latinos have fought and died in every single American war since our nation’s independence, yet too often our community’s service and sacrifice has been overlooked,” Castro said.

Castro’s office said that the current criteria essentially emphasizes honoring senior officers, as has been the practice. That tends to mean more white service members would be honored. But Castro, who is from San Antonio which has several military bases, and Gallego, a military veteran, say enlisted service members tend to be more diverse and deserve to be honored too if they have performed heroic or honorable acts. They called for the military’s diversity to be reflected, and said for names of facilities also to reflect the communities where they are located.

“U.S. Army bases should not be named after traitors who rose in rebellion against the United States and attempted to destroy that same U.S. Army in the field,” Gallego said. “We should instead honor the people who upheld their oaths to the Constitution through brave and honorable service to the United States.”

The members also supported the renaming of Fort Hood after Master Sgt. Roy Benavidez who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1981 by then-President Ronald Reagan for heroic actions to save several wounded comrades in Vietnam.

“MSG Benavidez was a Texas Native and Mexican-American Vietnam War veteran who grew up experiencing the discrimination of Jim Crow,” the letter said, “MSG Benavidez is an extraordinary example of the determination, skill, and courage that Latino Americans in uniform have exemplified for generations.”

The lawmakers pointed out that renaming Fort Hood after a Latino service member “would be a symbolic step forward” after the slaying of Spc. Vanessa Guillén at the base.

Photo Credit: Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images

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Republican Jason Miyares makes history as Virginia’s first Latino attorney general
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Republican Jason Miyares makes history as Virginia's first Latino attorney general

By , NBC News

Republican Jason Miyares, the son of a Cuban refugee, defeated the Democratic incumbent to become Virginia’s first Latino attorney general and the first Hispanic elected statewide.

Miyares was officially declared the winner on Wednesday afternoon by NBC News after a very tight race.

Miyares had rooted his campaign in his mother’s flight from Cuba in 1965, saying often on the campaign trail that it was where his story started.

He congratulated his mom in a victory statement late Tuesday night. “Mom, you did well.” She arrived from Cuba 56 years ago “with nothing but a dream, a dream for a better life for her family,” he said.

“Now I stand here today — elected to be the attorney general of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Miyares said, referring to himself as the “first-ever son of an immigrant and the first Latino elected statewide in the Commonwealth’s history.”

With the win, Miyares, a Virginia House delegate and former prosecutor, denied Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring a third term.

Miyares’ win was part of the Republican victory in the state, with GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin defeating Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Miyares had made history as the first Cuban American elected to Virginia’s General Assembly, in 2015. He represented the 82nd District in the House, which is about 83 percent white, 10.3 percent Black, 3.3 percent Asian and 5.3 percent Hispanic.

Miyares took a hard line on law enforcement issues, including attempts at police reforms. But the campaign was mired by Miyares’ attempts to tie Herring to allegations of misconduct by the state parole board, even though Herring has no power over the parole board’s decisions.

“On Day one, we’ll work toward a safe and secure Virginia and ending the criminal first, victim last mindset,” he stated. “Virginia has spoken. We want safe streets, we want our police to be well trained and supported in the community and we want the rule of law respected. I intend on delivering on my campaign promises.”

Democrats had hoped to be the first to elect a Latino to a statewide position, but Hala Ayala lost her bid for lieutenant governor to Winsome Sears, who is the first woman and first Black woman elected to the post.

Ayala, who identifies as Afro Latina, had already made history in 2017 when she was one of the first two Latinas elected to the state House of Delegates.

The other Latina elected that year, Elizabeth Guzman, won her House of Delegates race in District 31 Tuesday. Alfonso Lopez, also won his race in District 49.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Professor’s multicultural upbringing nurtures passion for language education
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Hispanic Heritage Month: Professor’s multicultural upbringing nurtures passion for language education. Photo of rainbow colored hands reaching for the air

By Paige Fowler, Jagwire

Dr. Giada Biasetti, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of English and World Languages in the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, works every day to advance the culture of Hispanic and Latino communities.

She has been with Augusta University for eight years and is the director of the Salamanca Study Abroad Program. In 2018, she won the Professor of the Year Award for the Georgia chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, and in 2020, she received Pamplin’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

On her family
“My parents are Italian, but I was born in Lima, Peru, so my initial contact with culture and language was Italian and Spanish at the same time,” she said. “And then eventually I was put in an American school, so I started learning English as well.”

Biasetti lived in Peru for nine years, then Caracas, Venezuela, for six years, so her formative years were spent in Latin America. She’s always had a passion for Spanish language, culture and literature, and is grateful to share that passion with American students.

“In the U.S., the Spanish language is very important; it’s growing. Spanish is the most-spoken language in the country, other than English,” she said.

“I always have to fight for people to really appreciate that, but I love to transmit that passion and try to convince some students that they should continue studying Spanish, and not just do a semester or two to get the credit.”

Biasetti is grateful that her diverse upbringing in Peru, Venezuela, Italy and the U.S. made her a cultural “hybrid,” as she calls it. “It’s made me what I am today,” she said.

She currently resides in Florida, where she’s surrounded by Hispanic and Latino culture.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m in Venezuela when I’m in Florida, especially Miami, because of the Spanish-speaking, the food and the environment,” she said.

On her students
Biasetti was named director of the Salamanca Study Abroad Program in 2019, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has yet to bring students to Spain.

The program was canceled in 2020 and 2021, but is planning to resume in late June 2022.

In addition to the study abroad program, one of Biasetti’s greatest academic interests is translation and interpretation education. In her translation courses, she regularly assigns projects that encourage students to immerse themselves in multiple languages.

“In my translation class, we recently did a translation of something that was originally written in Italian, then was translated into English, and then my students translated it into Spanish. I try to use as many languages as possible because I feel the more you’re exposed to them, and different cultures, the better,” she said.

Her translation and composition classes regularly support the Latino community in Augusta with their projects. Many publications released by Biasetti’s students are made available to the community via Augusta University’s libraries or other public libraries in Evans and Augusta. Biasetti also drops off free copies of these projects to local public schools.

Click here to read the full article on Jagwire.

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.

Transgender women elected to Mexican Congress call for progress
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By Christine Murray Thomson Reuters Foundation

In a first for Mexico, two transgender women are preparing to sit in the lower house of Congress, with both vowing to push for affirmative action in Latin America’s second-largest economy. More than 100 LGBTQ candidates took part in the June 6 elections, which saw the highest mid-term turnout in more than two decades, according to the electoral authority INE.

Mexico’s first trans Congresswomen, Maria Clemente Garcia and Salma Luevano, are both from President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s governing Morena party, which took power in 2018, promising to give priority to the poor. “There’s really a lot of poverty … extreme poverty within our trans population,” Ms. Luevano, an activist who also owns a beauty salon in the central state of Aguascalientes, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “I’ll take this fight proudly … for our people who are vulnerable.”

Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies has 500 members, 300 of whom are directly elected, while the remaining 200 are assigned through proportional representation, which means they are allocated to parties based on their share of the national vote.

Ms. Garcia and Ms. Luevano, who will take two of the proportionally assigned seats when the new Congress opens in September, said they intended to work for LGBTQ rights. More than half of Mexico’s 32 states recognize gay marriage, and the nation’s top court has ruled that trans people have a legal right to change their gender identity on official documents.

But access to those rights is uneven and dozens are killed in hate crimes each year as gay and trans people still face prejudice in the predominantly Catholic country where religious groups often criticize LGBTQ rights. Ms. Luevano, director of a collective called Together for the Way of Diversity, said she went into activism after she was detained by police more than three decades ago for dressing in feminine clothes.

“Thirty years have passed and we still have the same discrimination, we still have the same fight,” she said. Ms. Luevano’s nonprofit helped push for new electoral rules this year that introduce minimum numbers of candidates from under-represented groups, including LGBTQ people.

Ms. Garcia said her appointment to Congress gave voice to Mexico’s LGBTQ minority and she intends to push for tax breaks for companies that hire LGBTQ staff to improve diversity in the private sector as well. “It’s an achievement, it’s a step forward, it’s a symbol,” said Ms. Garcia, who has also been a long-time activist in Mexico City.

Ms. Garcia also aims to amend the first article of Mexico’s constitution, which outlaws discrimination based on “sexual preference.” “It’s a concept that no international organization has used for 30 years,” she said, adding that she would like to see the terms “sexual orientation and gender identity and expression” used instead.

Ms. Garcia said she would also fight to defend the budget of CONAPRED, Mexico’s public anti-discrimination body, which has been slashed by Mr. Lopez Obrador, even though she agreed with him that it needed reform.

Click here to read the full article on CS Monitor.

Rhode Island’s Nellie Gorbea becomes first Latina in New England to run for governor
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Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea before giving the oath of office to state representatives at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence, R.I.,

By Nicole Acevedo, NBC News

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is running to become the state’s next governor in 2022. Gorbea, a Democrat, is the first Latina to run for governor in New England. If she wins, Gorbea would also be the first Puerto Rican governor in the mainland. Gorbea, 53, is no stranger to making history in public office. In 2015, she became the first Hispanic elected to statewide office in New England when she became secretary of state. She was re-elected to the position in 2018, and her term ends next year.

“Yes, they elected the first Latina statewide official, but almost more important than that is that I performed, that I delivered on what they hoped I would do,” Gorbea told NBC News. “Many of them came up to me and encourage me to run for governor.”

Gorbea said that as secretary of state, she modernized Rhode Island’s elections infrastructure, increased cybersecurity measures and brought both online and automated voter registration to the state. She has developed online resources and reduced red tape to make it easier for small businesses to start and grow.

“It’s being able to deliver an election during a pandemic where everybody who was eligible to vote could vote in a safe and secure manner, or having record numbers of businesses incorporate during the year of the pandemic, because we had already prepared ourselves with online systems and training to make sure that we could do that,” Gorbea said.

“Rhode Island, like a lot of the country, is at a crossroads. We need to elect people into office that are willing to rethink how we’re doing government and make it, deliver it to the people,” she said.

Gorbea is entering a crowded Democratic primary race that’s expected to include the incumbent, Gov. Daniel McKee; General Treasurer Seth Magaziner; and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz, an independent, has already announced that he will run as a Democrat, The Boston Globe reported.

McKee, a former lieutenant governor, replaced Gina Raimondo as governor in March when she became secretary of commerce in the Biden administration.

When asked how she plans to stand out in what’s anticipated to be a packed race, Gorbea confidently responded, “I am the only candidate who’s actually transformed an agency of government in Rhode Island, and that’s something that nobody else has done.”

Gorbea said some of her constituents approach her, even when she’s out grocery shopping with her mask on, to thank her for how well the 2020 election went amid the pandemic and for providing more online resources to make it easier to start or maintain a small business.

Additionally, Gorbea overhauled lobbying laws to hold special interests accountable when they don’t follow the law, ensure better compliance so the public can see who is influencing their government and enhance transparency.

“What comes next is a turning point in the history of the state and in the history of our country because we need to build things in a fundamentally different way,” Gorbea said. “The government structures that were created in the ’80s and ’90s are not going to help us handle our cyber challenges” — an issue that rose to prominence this month when Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S., was forced to shut down operations after one of the most disruptive cyberattacks in U.S. history.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Wilmer Valderrama Is Proud of His Roots — And He Wants Young Latinos to Be as Well
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Wilmer Valderrama head shot in front of a red and yellow background from that's 70s show

BY , Good Housekeeping

Originally born in Miami, Wilmer Valderrama moved to his father’s native country of Venezuela when he was just three years old. During this time, he also visited his mother’s home country of Colombia. At the age of 14, he returned to the U.S. to fulfill his father’s wish of getting a “proper” education. Though he knew his parents wanted him to go to college and become a doctor, lawyer or teacher, fate had another path in mind. Best known for starring on Fox’s comedy That ‘70s Show, Wilmer has gone from a supporting character to a leading man over his years in Hollywood. Most notably, Wilmer has played Special Agent Nick Torres on the hit crime drama NCIS since 2016. As the 41-year-old star wrapped up season 18 of the CBS show, he took some time to reflect with Good Housekeeping about his early days as an actor, what it’s like being a Latino in Hollywood and what he hopes to pass onto his newborn daughter, Nakano.

How did you approach your parents about pursuing acting?
After moving from Venezuela to the U.S., I started doing theater in school and somebody said, “Hey, you’re pretty good. You’re kind of funny. You should give it a shot. Let’s see if you can get some commercials.” Imagine bringing that conversation to my parents, just two years in America and learning how to speak English. I said to my dad, “So I heard that if I audition and get some commercials, I might be able to get a little money.” At the time we were struggling, we were just breaking even. My dad ultimately said to me, “You can do this little fun, side, part-time hobby of acting …. if you get good grades. If you don’t have [good] grades, you don’t get to audition for anything.” I was like, “Okay, fine!” So that was the bargain — I would get my education and aim to be something more “reasonable” than an actor.

But acting was kind of like this weird, tiny hobby that I guess I loved doing so much and it was improving my speaking skills. I decided that if I was going to do [acting] that I was going to be as focused and as thorough and as daring as I was when I said to myself, “I’m going to learn a different language.” The commitment of saying that you were going to learn to speak a different language and actually speaking English kind of told me that I could do anything.

Click here to read the full article on Good Housekeeping.

These 3 Latinas Scientists Are at the Forefront of Fighting Against the Spread of COVID-19
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three latina scientists in lab coats standing in the lab together looking confident with arms folded

BY TONI GONZALES

They call themselves “Las Tres Mosqueteras (The Three Musketeers),” and they certainly live up to their nickname being on the frontline of fighting against the spread of the Coronavirus.

The three Latinas in lab coats are Connie Maza (33), Monica Mann (34) and Elizabeth Zelaya (36). The scientists and medical technologists are part of a small team in Washington, D.C.’s Department of Forensic Sciences’ Public Health Laboratory Division. The trio has been working in the lab for a number of years, when in early 2020 they were thrust together into the spotlight after testing and reporting the first, initial COVID-19 cases in the area.

Photo: Courtesy Instagram

Since the early days the heaviness has been constant. “It’s just unbelievable, the pressure we had. We were under a microscope at that point,” Maza said. “It was scary at first. I was very nervous.” Over 12 months later, the ladies have seen cases skyrocket across the world and all while they remained at the forefront of the pandemic. The women have gone from reporting cases, to identifying and analyzing different Coronavirus mutations, and now onto seeing how the variants spread.

It’s a job that still comes as a surprise to people Zelaya told NBC News.”I do get that sometimes when people ask me what I do. I tell them I’m a scientist and they’re like, ‘Really? What?’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, sure am. I can tell you about some DNA if you want to learn,” she said. The reality is that while it is still revelatory for society, the numbers actually support the accepted stereotype of STEM consisting predominantly of men.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers is not a field that is made up of women-in particular Latina women. Even though women make up almost 50% of the population, only a third of the workforce working in science and engineering fields are women. Even worse, Latinas make up only about 2% of STEM degrees earned according to a 2016 National Science Board study.

The lack of Latinas in their field is an ever present thought in their minds. “You know what used to be the medical field, the science field, laboratory field being run by white males? Now, it has turned into this beautiful rainbow of colors,” Mann said. For her colleague Zelaya, it’s even bigger than that. “Every day I reflect and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is probably going to be in a history book.’”

Their work is far from being over. The pandemic still has a significant hold over the nation and the world. But, the end is in sight for the first time in a long time for the women who are very much looking forward to vacation.”Vacation together? Yeah!” said Zelaya.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers is not a field that is made up of women-in particular Latina women. Even though women make up almost 50% of the population, only a third of the workforce working in science and engineering fields are women. Even worse, Latinas make up only about 2% of STEM degrees earned according to a 2016 National Science Board study.

Read the full article at Remezcla.

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.

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visits Houston after raising millions for Texas relief
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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has raised millions of dollars in relief money for Texas relief organizations that are working to help those still in need after suffering from the historic winter storm.

The New York lawmaker appeared Saturday at the Houston Food Bank to help distribute supplies and food.

Ocasio-Cortez’s effort is in partnership with 12 Texas organizations getting on-the-ground relief to residents.

She set up the donation website to where contributions will be split evenly between the following the organizations: South Texas Food Bank, Food Bank of West Central Texas, ECHO (Ending Community Homelessness Coalition), Feeding Texas, Corazon Ministries, Family Eldercare, Houston Food Bank, Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, North Texas Food Bank, Central Texas Food Bank, Southeast Texas Food Bank, and The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center.

“These groups are working around the clock to assist houseless, hungry and senior Texans in Travis and Dallas County, and beyond,” the website states.

Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t been the only leader stepping up to the plate. Astros’ Alex Bregman will be hosting a water distribution event Saturday to help those who have been without water for days.

Read the original article at  ABC 7.

Air Force Orders New Review Into Racial, Ethnic Disparities
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image of the military solder and a helicopter in the background

The Air Force inspector general will do a second investigation into racial and ethnic disparities across the force, service leaders said Friday, expanding the review to include gender and additional racial categories such as Asian and American Indian.

The latest review comes just two months after the IG released a report concluding that Black service members in the Air Force are far more likely to be investigated, arrested, face disciplinary actions and be discharged for misconduct. The December report found that “racial disparity exists” for Black service members but that the data did not explain why it happens.

The new study also reflects broader campaigns within the Defense Department and the Biden administration to root out extremism and racism. President Joe Biden declared domestic extremism an urgent national security threat in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The crowd that breached the building as lawmakers were preparing to certify the election was overwhelmingly white and included members of far-right groups.

Acting Air Force Secretary John Roth, who ordered the latest review, said the IG will go directly to Air Force and Space Force service members for input. A survey that will go out to the force soon will look at several different categories: Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, and gender.

Read the full article at HuffPost.

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