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.

Education leaders serving Latino students rethink college equity post-pandemic
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education institute sign at the entrance to California State University, Northridge on Jan. 23

By 

As higher education leaders mark 25 years since the creation of Hispanic-serving institutions, they’re assessing how these colleges and universities can enroll and graduate more Latino students amid the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last fall, colleges saw a 5 percent drop in Latino undergraduate enrollments. The dramatic decrease came one year after Latino college enrollment had increased by nearly 2 percent, according to Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit that analyzes how higher education institutions are enrolling, retaining and graduating Latino students.

“There was a lot of progress and accelerating enrollment. We were seeing increases in completion as well,” Santiago said during a virtual briefing on Hispanic-serving institutions held on Wednesday. “In one year, we saw a precipitous drop, scaling back some of the enrollment progress.”

While HSIs make up only about 18 percent of all colleges and universities, they enroll and graduate over 60 percent of the nation’s Latino college students. HSIs are defined as institutions where at least a quarter of the student body is Hispanic.

In the briefing, education officials and Latino members of Congress reflected on the growth of these institutions while discussing how they can step up to recent challenges.

“Equity is a big focus for us moving forward,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said during the briefing. “Institutions like HSIs play a major role in that. So when we’re talking about recovery as a country, we need to acknowledge HSIs and the important work that they do to promote equity and access for all students.”

In their 25 years of existence, HSIs have grown exponentially, from about 189 colleges and universities to 539 as of last year. This is due to an increase in Latino college students who are mainly concentrated in several predominantly Hispanic areas, cities and states.

In the last 25 years, over 835 unique federal grants, totaling $1.9 billion, have provided educational opportunities for over 1.1 million Latino students enrolled in HSIs.

Santiago said while federal funding is not parallel to the growth HSIs have seen over the last decades, there’s an opportunity to assess what kinds of investments should be done to meet the growing demand and ensure successful results.

Roadblocks, then Covid

While college enrollment among Latino students has been increasing over the past decade and reached a record high in 2017, Hispanics still lag behind in college completion, according to Excelencia’s research. At least 22 percent of Latino adults have earned an associate degree or higher, compared to 39 percent of the general population. High costs, a limited knowledge of college and trying to balance work, family and academics are the most common barriers preventing Hispanic students from finishing college on time.

But the panorama gets more complicated as the Covid-19 pandemic heaps great economic stress on Latino families.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega Is Using Art to Uplift Brown and Black Women
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Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega

By Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Pop Sugar

In 2017, Afro-Latinx visual artist Reyna Noriega began her career as a full-time creator. Little did she know that in just a few short years, she would have over 100,000 followers on Instagram, would be working with huge brands like Apple and Old Navy, and would design a cover for The New Yorker. Born and raised in Miami to a first-generation Cuban father and a Bahamian mother, Noriega, who is best-known for her bold, vibrant, graphic work, was destined to be an artist.

“My father is also an artist, and I became interested early on in just the magic of it all, being able to bring ideas to life on paper and communicate in a universal language,” Noriega told POPSUGAR in a recent interview. “I was always the ‘sensitive kid’ feeling a lot and thinking a lot, so art and writing were great outlets for me to get all of that under control and to be able to process my emotions.”

Now, Noriega’s art is being seen on a much wider scale and impacting thousands of people who follow her on social media or see her art on city walls and T-shirts. To get there, she had to put in a lot of work, including studying and learning on her own, despite the fact that she took art classes throughout high school and minored in art in college. Using the help of books and YouTube, Noriega honed her skills and eventually left her job as a teacher, with the full support of her parents.

“I was very fortunate that my family believed in me and my ability to make my passion a career and even help me make it happen! To this day, my mom is the person that helps me run my online shop, and they encourage me to strive higher,” Noriega told us.

By 2019, Noriega started doing brand work, after getting comfortable with her style and what she wanted to represent as an artist. It gradually became easier for her to align herself with brands that had the same mission. She is currently working on Amex’s “Always Welcome” design collective launch, which will provide businesses with signage for their storefronts and indicate their stance on inclusivity.

“Honestly, every time I get an email, I am honored and humbled that my name enters rooms I never thought would. From companies whose products I used to save up for at one point, like Apple, to legendary publications like The New Yorker, or having thousands and thousands of people wear a shirt I designed with Old Navy. It really is a dream come true,” she said.

Ultimately, it was Noriega embracing her culture and her commitment to advocating for Black and brown people through her art that got her there. She says her Afro-Caribbean culture is what brings “vibrancy and flavor” to her art. But we think it’s so much more than that. With just a single glance, it’s obvious that Noriega’s background informs her work. Her use of color, the way she showcases the female form, the various complexions and skin tones she celebrates in her work, and the stunning, tropics-inspired botanical scenes she often creates speak to exactly who she is and where she comes from.

“Art has always been a place I look to boost my mood, museums, galleries, [and] learning about art history. But unfortunately in those spaces, rarely did I ever feel I belong, because my story wasn’t told on those walls, and in the rare occasion it was, it only highlighted the struggles and traumas,” she said. “I wanted to create work that would lift moods and raise the self-efficacy of Black and brown women with positive representation and vibrant depictions of joy.”

Noriega describes the art she creates with a tremendous amount of care and respect. Her mission is to create art that represents and uplifts communities that are often left out of the conversation. “I focus on women because as a woman, I know all of the challenges and barriers we face,” she said. “Inequalities in pay, harmful messaging on body image, the ongoing fight for body autonomy . . . it can be really exhausting. Add on to that the challenges being a BIPOC, and it just magnifies. My art is meant to celebrate women, inspire joy, and a reclamation of peace and rest.”

Noriega recognizes how important it is to not only amplify voices like hers but also to use her gifts and resources to speak up for people who don’t have the same advantages that she does. Even as a Black Latina, she’s cognizant of the privileges she has and the responsibility associated with them. “For me personally, I often look at my identities as a privilege, which pushes me to amplify Black voices even more. I am all too aware of the advantages I have received being a Latina in Miami, and even being ethnically Caribbean, although my race is Black,” she said. “Being able to say where your lineage comes from is a privilege many Black Americans don’t have. I have been unfairly judged and treated and had some very hurtful comments said to me, but I must also be aware of how my skin tone provides privileges, how my heritage provides privileges, and how knowing more than one language is a privilege.” And in recognizing that, she’s able to leverage her position to empower others in really visible ways.

Click here to read the full article on Pop Sugar.

How Rising Latino Artists Maria Isabel, Destiny Rogers, and Jay Wheeler Have Made Their Dreams Come True
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Rising Latino Artists Maria Isabel, Destiny Rogers, and Jay Wheeler

By Alvin Blanco, Genius

It’s all about talent, education, and the willingness to take risks. Music is meant to inspire, and a new wave of fresh, exciting, ridiculously talented Latino artists understands this fact.

Maria Isabel, Destiny Rogers, and Jay Wheeler are up-and-coming singer-songwriters with the talent and desire to achieve greatness. This next class of stars succeeded by tapping into education to make their dreams come true—and they’ve inspired their fans and followers in the process.

The three artists embody the spirit of the McDonald’s HACER National Scholarship, established in 1985. The goal of the scholarship is to help Latino students break barriers and make their parents and those around them proud. Over the years, McDonald’s has helped more than 17,000 Latino students—and given out more than $32 million—through the HACER program. The initiative is especially important in tough times like we’re facing now. Given the state of the world, it’s crucial for young people to keep moving forward and do more.

Isabel, Rogers, and Wheeler are certainly moving in the right direction. But they come from different places and represent the breadth of the Latino diaspora. Isabel grew up in Queens, New York, as the daughter of parents from the Dominican Republic, while Wheeler was born and raised in Salinas, Puerto Rico. Rogers, who is half Mexican on her mother’s side, held down the West Coast, growing up in Lodi, California. They all knew early on that creating music was in their future.

Dreams of rocking stages don’t always line up with the plans of parents who want more practical, and safer, careers for their children. Isabel, who dropped her debut EP, Stuck In The Sky, in October 2020, seamlessly blends her Dominican ancestry’s bachata and merengue with R&B and hip-hop and her lush vocals. She is particularly thankful that her parents had no issue supporting her aspirations.

“My parents took four-year-old me seriously when I said I was going to become a singer,” says Isabel, who attended NYU. “They never argued with that dream or told me I had to be anything different. Obviously, I had to go to school, get good grades, and all that stuff, but it was never a matter of like, pick something. I think with any first-generation kid watching your parents make sacrifices or work extra hours or whatever it may be to make it possible for you to do what you want to do, I think that was the biggest motivating force to be successful.”

While Isabel’s parents had faith in her talents, Wheeler’s classmates in school were less kind. The reggaeton crooner has spoken candidly about the bullying he faced, but he was still able to persevere and become a certified star. By posting his music on the Internet, Wheeler jump started his career. Fans dubbed him “La Voz Favorita,” and he earned praise and hands-on guidance from reggaeton legend DJ Nelson, who executive produced his two critically acclaimed albums: 2019’s Platónico and 2020’s Platónicos.

Those school bullies couldn’t knock Wheeler off his path. “I always loved music [but] I knew that it was going to be hard,” he says. “Living for something that you love is harder. I learned English in school and watching TV and movies. I knew at some point in my life I wanted to do something in the English world because [I have] a lot of respect for American music. A lot of kids [take education] for granted—I don’t know need to learn this, I don’t need to learn that—but when you get older, you realize that all the things that they gave you, you do need to educate yourself in everything, because life puts you in a different position everyday.”

Click here to read the full article on Genius.

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

By Associated Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

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.

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

By Raquel Reichard, Yahoo! Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Elana Fishman, Page Six

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full article on Page Six.

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

By , Houston Chronicle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full article on Houston Chronicle.

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

By  Robert Boyd, ABC Action News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Young Latina Artist From Long Beach Seeks to Empower Women Through Art
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Latina Artist driving a painted van

By Alejandra Ortiz and Lorena Bourdevaire Casillas, NBC Los Angeles

Nuria Ortiz, a Southern California artist of Mexican descent, is internationally recognized for her large and colorful spray paint murals. With her Latin heart, Ms. Yellow, as she likes to be called, manages to express powerful messages that invite equality and inclusion. “I try to help, to teach what I do with my art to the community so that they can do more with it,” says Ms. Yellow. “I go to different countries to teach. I travel, I paint murals, and I work with different communities.” Galleries, museums, and the streets of the United States, France, Spain, Haiti, Mexico, and Egypt have witnessed her works of art.”I was [in Haiti] last year teaching women art and different techniques and classes. I’m very excited to return.”

Using her artistic skills, Ortiz is dedicated to sending a positive message to women around the world. She says she uses her skills and knowledge to empower women, for whom art can often serve as emotional therapy.

“I don’t remember a moment without art at all. It’s something that has been in me since I met life,” says Ortiz. “I really had this passion since I was like 3 years old. I started graffiti when I was 12 years old and from then on I didn’t stop.”

In the Los Angeles area, Ms. Yellow is decorating a truck for Angel City F.C., a new women’s soccer team in Los Angeles.

“For me, it’s a huge honor to work with them!” she said.

Click here to read the full article on NBC Los Angeles.

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022