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

Continue on to NBC News to Read the Full Article 

Abuela’s Counter: How Two Latinas Are Helping People Connect Through Cooking
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cooking co founders of Abuela's Counter

By Be Latina

For many families, the ultimate form of connection happens in the kitchen — the foods, flavors, smells, and traditions that take place around a kitchen counter, are what bring loved ones together across borders and across generations.

That is especially true for immigrants, who often leave everything behind in search of a better life, bringing only their memories, their rituals, and their recipes with them.

The co-founders of Abuela’s Counter feel this deep in their souls.

Abuela’s Counter is the brand-new, foodie-focused website and Instagram account you need in your life. The Cuban-American entrepreneurs behind the operation are building a community of food-lovers who, like them, learned important life lessons at their Abuelas’ counters.

Bringing Cuban Food and Cuban Connections to Life for a New Generation
Ani Mezerhane and Cristina Bustamante – two Miami-based Latinas who come from Cuban families – came up with the concept of Abuela’s Counter when bonding over their shared love of food and their deep obsession with all things delicious, especially the traditional Cuban dishes they grew up with. But, to them, food is about more than just what sustains you physically; it’s equally about what fills your soul. It’s what connects them to their roots, their ancestors, and to where they came from.

They realized that they can’t be the only Cuban Americans who spent the bulk of their childhood absorbing crucial nuggets of wisdom – the importance of family, never forget where you came from, and always include raisins in picadillo (we know this is an ongoing debate for many Cubans), how to craft a perfect croqueta, and more – from their Abuelas at the kitchen counter.

Abuela’s Counter is all about teaching followers how to make traditional Cuban dishes with a modern spin. The concept is that Cuban cooking can be intimidating – possibly because recipes can take a lot of time and patience and possibly because your grandmother never actually taught you how to make her specialties – and they want to help people connect to their Cuban roots through cooking.

Food as a Love Language for Latinas
“Cuban culture is a very mothering culture. It’s all about our mothers and Abuelas taking care of everything and taking care of us, not just with love, but also with food. Food is our love language,” explains Ani to BELatina News.

“So, in many cases, our generation never really learned to cook, because it was always something that our relatives did for us. That’s intimidating, trying to re-make those recipes.” And it’s not just about the actual methods and recipes, but also the emotions behind these dishes. “The myths and the legends that surround these dishes can be very intimidating to try to recreate,” Cristina added.

What if you try to make a traditional dish you grew up eating, but you mess it up? Or what if your Abuela never showed you how to make it and you have to start from scratch? It can certainly feel overwhelming, which is a common sentiment that Abuela’s Counter is hoping to tackle one flan at a time.

After all, food and all of the senses that go along with it can take us back to our childhoods and help us bond with family members of all generations. The traditions in the kitchen are what bring us all together, and that’s never been more true than for families of immigrants. “No matter what we do, it always comes back to food. It all goes back to sitting at Abuela’s counter and learning about life. Learning how food doesn’t just feed us but brings us together,” Ani and Cristina say on their website.

On their Instagram page, they offer easy-to-follow recipes, and how-to videos showcasing simple ways to whip up Cuban masterpieces. From Guava Coconut Cookies to Ropa Vieja to Arroz Con Pollo, Cuban Flan, and everything in between, they’re taking the mystery out of the equation so anyone can make these dishes.

Their recipes are broken down in detail on their website. There are no secret steps or mysterious quantities (did you ever notice how older generations always add “a pinch” of this or “a splash” of that?). Just easy to follow, simple, step-by-step recipes of classic favorites that have probably been haunting you since birth. We’re looking at you Cuban flan.

Flan is a favorite of both Ani and Cristina, which is why they were so proud when they got it just right.

For an easy weeknight (or any night) dinner, they swear by their Fricase de Pollo, a comforting chicken dish that fills you up in all the important ways.

Click here to read the full article on Be Latina.

Kim Kardashian’s Skims casts singer Rosalía in new summer campaign – shop here
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Singer-songwriter Rosalía has been cast in Skims' first bilingual campaign. COURTESY PHOTO

By Melisha Kaur, Mirror

Spanish singer Rosalía has just been unveiled as the face of the latest campaign for SKIMS.

The billion-dollar brand, founded by Kim Kardashian, recently revealed its first ever bilingual campaign where content will be distributed in both Spanish and English.

The new campaign sees Rosalía donning pieces from the best-selling SKIMS cotton range, including the £36 Plunge Bralette, in a 15-second clip.

In a press release, brand owner Kim Kardashian said: “Rosalía’s willingness to push the boundaries and experiment with her music and personal style has been a huge inspiration for me. This campaign is all about the energy and confidence that she brings to the world.

“I’m especially excited that she’s wearing pieces from our best-selling Cotton Collection – they’re classic, cool and breathable everyday essentials that everyone feels good in.”

Rosalía added: “I love SKIMS. They are so comfy and make me feel very sexy at the same time. I’m so excited that I finally got the chance to collaborate, especially in their Cotton Collection which is my fave.”

This is the first ever fashion campaign for Rosalía, who released her third studio album Motomami back in March.

The new launch was shared by Kim Kardashian on social media, sending fans into a frenzy.

The series of stunning photos sees Rosalía wearing a black plunge bralette (£36) and matching cotton rib boxers (£32).

She’s also seen wearing a white cotton jersey T-shirt, £48, and a matching rib thong that costs £20.

The Grammy-winning singer also shared the launch to her 20.3 million Instagram followers.

“Damnnnnnn,” Kardashian commented, adding a trio of fire emojis.

The campaign comes after SKIMS dropped its new ‘Boyfriend’ collection, which saw the comeback of the brand’s signature unisex styles.

Click here to read the full article on Mirror.

Camila Cabello stars in Victoria’s Secret’s first bilingual campaign: ‘I am honored’
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Camila Cabello wearing a white dress on the red carpet

By Kerry Justich, Yahoo! Life

Camila Cabello is the latest to team up with Victoria’s Secret.

The 25-year-old Cuban-American singer took to Instagram on Tuesday to share footage from her latest partnership with the brand for the Bombshell fragrance. Not only is she starring in an English version of the commercial, but also one in Spanish.

“I am honored to be the newest addition to the @victoriassecret Bombshell family 💖 and to be part of the brand’s first ever bilingual campaign!” she wrote. “Bombshell is about embracing who and what you are, and celebrating that every day.”

In the commercial, Cabello goes on to describe what the word bombshell means to her, explaining that it’s all about “owning your desires, your pleasures and enjoying everything life has to offer. Those things that make you feel great and make you feel joyful. Being who you are in every way.”

She later posted other photos from the campaign, sharing how empowered she felt to be a part of it. She even showed appreciation for not having her freckles airbrushed out of the final pictures.

“i loved this shoot !” she captioned one of three posts. “It’s rare that my lil sun freckles get to have their moment.”

Friends and fans of the singer took to the comment section to praise Cabello’s beauty.

“Linda,” singer Anitta wrote, while others called Cabello “gorgeous” and wrote “You ARE a bombshell.”

Supporters also shared that they were “proud” of Cabello for representing Latin women and Spanish speaking people in the brand’s first bilingual campaign. Some even expressed that they’d be willing to support Victoria’s Secret with Cabello’s stamp of approval.

“Influence,” one wrote. Another said, “I’m gonna try this brand cuz I trust you.”

While Victoria’s Secret has had a notable history of exclusionary practices and representation with its models, the brand has recently pivoted to become more inclusive. And although Cabello isn’t partnered on a lingerie campaign, it seems that the body positive singer is the latest to help with that mission.

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

This Small, Woman-Owned Business Shares The Magic Of Mexican Coffee
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Lupita Sanchez, owner of Café Metzli, talks about all the love, labor and heritage that goes into the harvesting and processing of these special Mexican coffee beans.

By Tessa Flores, HuffPost

For Lupita Sanchez, creator and owner of Café Metzli, a single cup of coffee has the ability to sustain cultures, generational traditions and entire communities.

Her company’s coffee beans are a direct result of the small-scale coffee ecosystems that happened to be thriving in her very own backyard.

“It’s not really known that there’s Mexican specialty coffee,” Sanchez told HuffPost. “Everyone knows about coffee from Colombia or Ethiopia, and even growing up in Mexico we always just had Starbucks or instant coffee.”

After moving to Los Angeles in 2019 to be with her husband, Sanchez found a similar lack about awareness for Mexican coffee among the local artisan coffee shops and grocery stores she frequented.

Her subsequent quest to carve out a space in the market for quality Mexican coffee, while also connecting with her heritage, started in 2021 and led her into the mountainous highlands of the Chiapas region of Mexico. The small town of Bella Vista, which is close to the Guatemalan border and home to several ancient sites of the Mayas, is self-run by small-scale coffee producers, many of which are made up of entire families and individuals native to the land.

“I started doing my research and began connecting with different coffee producers from different parts of Mexico,” Sanchez said. “I traveled back to where they grow the coffee so I can start from the beginning and really get to know what the whole process of making coffee beans was like. That’s when I just fell in love with it.”

She chose Bella Vista partly because of delicious flavors that the climate, mineral-rich soil and altitude brought out in the beans. Café Metzli’s signature Bella Vista Women’s Group blend comes in three different roasts and highlight a variety of flavors, including baked apple, vanilla, dark chocolate and black cherry.

But she was also drawn to the collective of 168 women coffee producers who lived there.

“My country can have a very ‘machismo’ mentality, and just seeing these women working on their own, building their own companies, collaborating as a group and keeping their families together is amazing,” Sanchez said. “I feel so proud that I can help women achieve their goals, just how I’m achieving my own goals.”

“[Many of these groups] have amazing coffee programs that teach the youth how to plant the coffee they produce, how to do latte art and coffee cupping so that they can find love in their culture and their land and what they have there,” she said. “They don’t have to immigrate somewhere else and leave their families behind.”

Click here to read the full article on HuffPost.

Preserving Culture & Heritage Through STEM Programming
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four young american indian women in a college witht he AICF logo in the middle

by Tawanah Reeves-Ligon

Unfortunately, despite representing about two percent of the population, Native Americans and Alaska Natives only make up about half of a percent of U.S. STEM careers according to one study. In order to combat this disparity, organizations like the American Indian College Fund seek to build programming and support ventures that offer greater access to education, support and resources necessary for students to grow and expand their career and networking opportunities.

One such program, the Indigenous Visionaries Native Women Leadership Fellowship Program, has been working to support Native women students for years. Diversity in STEAM Magazine was excited to interview the American Indian College Fund about this program and how it became the remarkable resource it is today for Native students and communities.

Diversity in STEAM Magazine (DISM): How did the Indigenous Visionaries Program come into existence?

American Indian College Fund: The College Fund has provided women’s leadership programming since 2010. The Indigenous Visionaries program emerged out of foundational programming in women’s leadership in 2017. From 2017 to 2021, four TCUs (Tribal Colleges and Universities) and 15 fellows participated in the Indigenous Visionaries program. The first iteration focused on arts, early childhood education and environmental science. In 2021, the American Indian College Fund (College Fund) launched the second iteration of Indigenous Visionaries. Key changes to the new iteration include expansion of eligibility to all 35 TCUs and the opportunity to focus their community-based project on a topic and field of study of their choosing.

DISM: What is its goal and mission?

American Indian College Fund: The Indigenous Visionaries Native Women Leadership Fellowship Program at the College Fund supports the empowerment and success of Native women students at TCUs through a year-long fellowship opportunity. Participants receive place-based and experiential, professional and personal development through guided training and cultural learning from their mentors, College Fund staff and a broad network of Native women leaders. This program seeks to address and dismantle systemic barriers facing Native women by providing the tools, opportunities and a network to support and strengthen the growth of our fellows; in turn strengthening families, TCUs and Tribal Communities. This space will elevate and increase the visibility of Native women by offering strategic opportunities that illuminate a path towards personal, educational, professional advancement and degree attainment.

DISM: How do candidates apply or get nominated? What are the requirements?

American Indian College Fund: As the Indigenous Visionaries fellows are paired with a woman mentor at their TCU, in many instances, mentors choose a student they would like to work with in this program. We’ve also seen students recruit mentors, and TCU Presidents recommend mentors and fellows to apply.

To apply for this fellowship opportunity, the TCU Applicant must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a current and full member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.
  • Have an identified Mentor and Fellow that will actively engage in their community-based project implementation and fellowship opportunities.
  • Fellows and Mentors must live within the community served by their TCU.
  • Mentors are an established woman faculty or staff member (such as a program director, grant manager, archivist, etc.) at a TCU.
  • Fellows are undergraduate students enrolled full-time at an eligible TCU and have completed at least one semester.
  • Applicants are at TCUs that support the advancement and leadership of Native women:
    • Maintain a commitment to active participation in fellowship activities.
    • Prepared to report and share impact for evaluation purposes.

DISM: What do you look for in a project, and is there a specific scope it has to cover?

American Indian College Fund: Mentors and fellows will work together throughout the fellowship term to strengthen personal, professional and academic skills that will enhance their leadership within their communities. This includes working together on a project that serves the community.

Applicants provide a summary of their community-based project and include a description of the following:

  • Strategies for project planning,
  • identify roles and responsibilities,
  • implementation and what you hope to learn from this project.

They also describe how they will incorporate Native language and culture bearers into their community-based project.

PICTURED ABOVE:

Top Left:
Caption/Credit: Sasha Sillitti/American Indian College Fund

Sasha Sillitti (Three Affiliated Tribes- the Mandan (Nueta), Hidatsa and Arikara (Sahnish)) is a business administration student at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. Sillitti also works as a student accounts counselor and accounts receivable manager at the college. Her project is to develop a recycling program. She will create a more efficient method of collecting and transporting recyclables, building community relationships, and increasing community awareness about recycling as a form of land stewardship. The Fort Berthold reservation does not have a recycling program, and the nearest drop-off for materials is 150 miles away. Pansy Goodall (Arikara of the Fort Berthold Reservation), the Business Faculty Department Chair, will serve as a mentor.

Top Right:
Caption/Credit: Harley-Daniel Interpreter/American Indian College Fund
Harley-Daniel Interpreter (Navajo)
is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Diné College on the Navajo Reservation while working as the social media engagement agent in the Office of the President. Interpreter will conduct a voter outreach and education project to expand voter education, advocate for timely communication about voting, and ensure support of access to voting across the Navajo Nation during the midterm election. Crystal Cree (Navajo), director of the Office of Legislative Affairs and Policy at Diné College, will serve as a mentor.

Bottom Left:
Caption/Credit: Louise K. Waakaa’igan/American Indian College Fund

Louise K. Waakaa’igan (Anishinaabe) is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human services at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College in Hayward, Wis., while working at the college as the advancement coordinator. In collaboration with her mentor, she will create a “Kwe Book,” a history of women leaders and founders at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College. Waakaa’igan will catalog their interviews and stories throughout the project for future generations. Faith Smith (Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe), a curator for the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe, will serve as a mentor.

Bottom Right:
Caption/Credit: ArriAnna Henry/American Indian College Fund

ArriAnna Henry (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Bitterroot Salish) is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work and a certification of completion in intensive Salish language at Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Pablo, Mo. She holds an associate degree in chemical dependency counseling and is an All Nations Health Center intern working in the Behavioral Health Department. Henry’s project is the Paddle for Life wellness project. Young adult community members will participate in immersive Salish language lessons while crafting their own cedar canoe paddle to create both cultural and physical wellness. Rosemary Matt (Salish), the Native Language Teacher Education Department Head, will serve as a mentor.

We’re looking forward to learning more about these exceptional scholars and the projects they’ve developed to serve their communities. For more information about the American Indian College Fund and the Indigenous Visionaries Native Women Leadership Fellowship Program, visit collegefund.org.

Source: American Indian College Fund

How to Properly Celebrate Cinco De Mayo
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HOW TO PROPERLY CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO

By V Magazine

Cinco de Mayo – Spanish for “Fifth of May” – is an annual holiday that celebrates Mexican culture and heritage, especially in the United States, where it’s actually more widely commemorated than in Mexico. However, the date isn’t just an excuse to party and drink excessively, neither it marks Mexico’s Independence Day, as many believe.

According to a 2018 survey by NationalToday.com, only 10% of Americans knew the true history behind the festivities, which is perhaps a key factor in the widespread misconceptions and missteps surrounding Cinco de Mayo. For years, the holiday has been capitalized by marketing agencies and companies who have also helped disseminate wrong ideas about the event – but that doesn’t mean you should, too.

Read on for tips on how to respectfully celebrate Cinco de Mayo:

Educate yourself and others

Cinco de Mayo marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, when outnumbered and out-armed Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French troops in the city of Puebla, southeast of Mexico City, in 1862. The French force had invaded the country the year before, along with English and Spanish forces, after Mexico declared a temporary pause on the repayment of foreign debts. 

The unlikely victory became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign dominance, and the date is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla, with parades and theatrical reenactments of the 1862 battle. 

Even though the holiday commemorates a victory, many lives were lost in that battle. That doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily drink, enjoy traditional Mexican music or appreciate the delicious Mexican cuisine but be mindful about the history behind Cinco de Mayo: before joining the celebrations, make an effort to learn more about the date and educate others about it. 

Appreciation, not appropriation

You can celebrate Cinco de Mayo without promoting negative stereotypes, appropriating Mexican culture, or just overall being racist and disrespectful to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. Meaning: don’t wear serapes, sombreros, fake mustaches, or any other “Mexican-inspired costume” – no culture is a costume. And unless you actually speak Spanish regularly, it’s probably best not to use the date as an excuse to go around screaming “Arriba!”

(And, of course, please don’t call it “Cinco de Drinko.”)

Support Mexican-owned businesses

Many large restaurant chains offer special Cinco de Mayo deals, but why not take the opportunity to actually support local businesses owned by Mexican and Mexican-American families? Latino business owners were particularly hard hit by the pandemic in the U.S. and were 50% less likely to have access to federal loans in comparison to white-owned businesses. 

Take the moment to order from your favorite Mexican-owned restaurant or do a quick web search to discover authentic Mexican businesses around your area.

Donate

Give back to the community and the people whose culture you want to celebrate. Learn more about and donate or volunteer to organizations working for immigrant rights – you can also promote their work through social media. Look up local groups in your area or donate to national organizations, such as the National Immigration Law Center, the American Immigration Council, and United We Dream

Click here to read the full article on V Magazine.

Newest California Supreme Court judge is the first Latina in the role
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Justice Patricia Guerrero was sworn in as the newest judge of California's Supreme Court Monday, becoming the first Latina woman in the role.

By , NPR

California has sworn in a new judge to its Supreme Court, and she’s making history by becoming the first Latina in the role.

Justice Patricia Guerrero has been an associate justice in California’s 4th District Court of Appeal, a Superior Court judge, a law partner and a federal prosecutor.

“I’m incredibly honored to take the bench on our state’s Supreme Court, and I thank everyone who has made this day possible,” Guerrero said in a statement. “I am here because of the courage, sacrifices and dedication of my parents and my grandparents who, like so many others, came to this country with the hope of a brighter future for their children.”

Guerrero’s swearing in is a significant move in California. As the country’s most populous state and where nearly 2 in 5 residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, California is situated in the country’s debate on immigration.

She was joined by her father, sister, husband and two sons during her swearing in ceremony Monday. Guerrero moved to California when her parents immigrated to the Imperial Valley region from Mexico.

Guerrero went on to get her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and her law degree from Stanford Law School in 1997.

After graduating, she was an associate at Latham and Watkins LLP before joining the Southern District of California’s U.S. Attorney’s Office as an assistant U.S. attorney from 2002 to 2003.

She returned to Latham and Watkins as an associate and was promoted to partner in 2007.

In 2013, Guerrero was appointed a judgeship in the San Diego Superior Court, where she oversaw the family law division. In 2017, she was appointed to California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division One, where she wrote several opinions defending consumer and constitutional rights.

“This is a proud day for all Californians,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “A first-generation Californian and daughter of the Imperial Valley, Justice Guerrero’s extraordinary ascent to serve as the first Latina justice on our state’s highest court is not only an incredible personal achievement, it is an inspiring example of California’s enduring promise that any dream is possible, no matter who you are or where you come from.”

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

Robert Santos is the First Latino Director of the Census Bureau
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Robert Santos

By Natalie Rogers

In a bipartisan vote (58-35), Robert “Rob” Santos has become the United States’ Director of the Census Bureau after being nominated by President Joe Biden. This title makes Santos the first Latinx person and the second person of color to ever hold the position. Though his confirmation occurred in November of last year, Santos was officially sworn into office on January 1 of this year to begin his term.

One of the leading statisticians in the country, Santos has over forty years of experience and has held several high-ranking positions including the president of the American Statistical Association, the vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute and a board counselor for the National Center for Health Statistics. Though knowledgeable across the board in the world of statistics, Santos holds the most expertise in survey design with specialty areas in disadvantaged populations and undocumented immigrants, two of the most heavily affected groups in the U.S. Census.

Santos’ confirmation not only brings an abundance of expertise to the Census Bureau but is believed to bring a nonpartisan, equality-focused lens to the U.S. Census, considered especially important after the complications of the 2020 Census and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although this is a political appointment, I am no politician,” Santos said during his initial confirmation hearing, “I’m a scientist, executive-level manager, a researcher and a longtime supporter of the Census Bureau.”

Several organizations and individuals alike have expressed their approval for Santos’ appointment including the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights and Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer. The National Leadership Conference even penned a letter of their approval to the Senate which was signed by additional civil rights advocacy groups such as the National Urban League, the National Disability Rights Network, Fair Count and the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

“By confirming Robert Santos as director of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Senate will ensure the agency has the leader it needs at a pivotal time to rebuild trust in the census — a cornerstone of our democracy,” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights stated in a press release, “Santos is committed to ensuring the accuracy and usefulness of census, demographic and economic data and the integrity and scientific independence of the bureau.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer additionally gave his outspoken support prior to Santos’ confirmation stating, “He is exactly the kind of person our country needs overseeing the census — impartial, highly experienced, someone from outside politics.”

Why women and girls are celebrating ‘Encanto’ sibling Luisa: ‘She’s more than just size and strength’
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two women dressed as Luisa from Encanto and the photo of the animated character luisa in the middle

By Terri Peters, Yahoo! Life

In her catchy solo tune from Disney’s hit animated film Encanto, Madrigal sibling Luisa sings that she glows ’cause she knows what her worth is. Now, in addition to not being able to get the song and it’s “drip, drip, drip” out of their heads, women and girls around the internet are celebrating their own worth thanks to Luisa’s strength and muscular appearance.

Christin-Shelley Scott is a member of the Pueblo of Picuris and Mescalero Apache tribes of New Mexico and says the first time she saw Luisa on screen, she was “shocked that Disney would stray from their traditional depiction of women.”

Scott, who lives in Bamberg, Germany and shares her cosplay outfits on Instagram, calls Luisa’s appearance a “welcome surprise.”

“I saw a bit of myself in her,” Scott tells Yahoo Life. “Luisa is very muscular and a lot of women in the real world are as well. My body type is — how my parents and husband call it — that of a warrior. Growing up, in Disney movies, not very many muscular women were shown and I felt out of place sometimes.”

Scott has posted several photos of herself to her Instagram account, dressed in Luisa’s classic blue skirt and white top and posing in ways that show off her own muscles. But Scott says she relates to Luisa’s internal strength, as well.

“Luisa is different from others because on the outside she is this strong independent beautiful woman and on the inside she is dealing with societal pressure and other emotional things we all deal with,” she says. “That’s why Luisa’s character resonates so much with women of all ages and backgrounds: because it addresses exactly the issues that in the past have been deemed objectionable.”

Maribel Martinez, a mom from Arizona, went viral on TikTok recently for sharing videos of her own Luisa cosplay. Martinez says she too felt that, when she watched Encanto, she related to a Disney character for the first time in her life.

“People are used to Disney princesses being small and skinny but Luisa was big and strong so it definitely was something different, but great at the same time,” Martinez tells Yahoo Life. “Now little girls and women are seeing themselves in a Disney movie for the first time. People are loving her because she’s more than just size and strength, she’s also very beautiful.”

Leslie Pester, a California mom who recently retired from the Navy after 21 years, says it was her 5-year-old daughter’s sweet reaction to first seeing Luisa, who is voiced by Cuban-American actress Jessica Darrow, that made her day.

“As soon as Luisa was introduced in the movie, Sienna yelled, ‘Look mommy she’s strong like you! I’m going to eat all my food so I can get muscles too!'” says Pester. “My daughter is as independent and sassy as they come She loves everything princess — but since watching this movie she now makes it a point to ask if she can work out with me. Nothing makes this momma prouder than her daughter looking up to her.”

Georgia-based performance artist Toshi Jones has also taken to sharing Luisa cosplay photos online.

“When I first saw Encanto I loved the story and how a lot of people, especially people of color, could relate to the characters and feel represented,” Jones explains to Yahoo Life. “And as a woman who has always valued physical and mental strength, it was nice to see a strong physique represented on a woman.”

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

This Afro-Latina Never Saw Herself Represented Growing Up — Here’s How She’s Working To Change That
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Afro Latina - Bianca Kea sitting behind a table of jack and green apples wearing all green

By Refinery 29

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Bianca Kea was acutely aware that outside of her family, there were no other Afro-Latinxs that looked like her. No one she could relate to or look up to. But that all changed when she moved to New York City.

“Moving to New York City was such an eye-opening experience,” she recalls. “And it was the first time somebody actually identified me as Afro-Latina — I had never heard the term before, and I was able to learn about my heritage, my history as an Afro-Mexicana.” Her experience — the realization and recognition of being Afro-Latina, of being both Black and Mexican, and not feeling like she had to choose one or the other — led to her launching Yo Soy AfroLatina, an online platform and lifestyle brand that celebrates “Afro-Latinidad in the Americas and validates our hermanas’ experience.” It was born out of not seeing herself represented and wanting to create something that would not only make an impact on the culture, but also cultivate a community. “We all have different experiences — we’re not a monolith — and it’s important for people to understand what it means to be at the intersection of two beautiful cultures,” Kea says. “I hope we’re able to break down stereotypes, empower people, and allow them to be Afro-Latina. Just be yourself.”

That’s why Refinery29 is partnering with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple to produce Valiente Y Fuerte — a video campaign designed to amplify the voices of Latinx creatives like Kea who inspire us every day. Watch the video above for more information about Yo Soy AfroLatina — and how Kea is turning her passion into a legacy.

Click here to read the full article on Refinery 29.

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