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 (AICF): 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?

AICF: 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?

AICF: 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?

AICF: 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

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.

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.

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.

Here’s What Mexican Tequila Brands Really Think About Celebrity Tequilas
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Bottles from different brands of tequila on a table

By Rosie Bell, Fodors

For many years tequila has been a man’s game. Increasingly, it’s narrowing further to a non-Mexican celebrity’s enterprise. A-listers are converting their cult followings into tequila drinkers and causing ripple effects in the industry, which is now said to be worth US$10.8-billion-a-year.

These days you can sip on stylish agave drinks from the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Elon Musk, P. Diddy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Justin Timberlake, Nick Jonas, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and Chris Noth (also known as “Mr. Big” from Sex and the City). Just a handful of women are on the celebrity tequila guest list including Canadian actress Shay Mitchell of Pretty Little Liars fame, sometimes-singer Rita Ora, and Kendall Jenner (who surely needs no introduction). More and more famous faces are cashing in on this protected centuries-old tradition, but what’s driving the boom, and what do Mexican women, who are traditionally sidelined in the industry, make of it?

What’s Behind the Gold Rush”
One brand is largely credited with triggering the celebrity tequila influx: Casamigos. Hollywood megastar George Clooney “accidentally” founded the drinks company with property tycoon Mike Meldman and Rande Gerber (his long-time friend and the husband of supermodel Cindy Crawford) in 2013. Just four years later, it was sold to drinks conglomerate Diageo for a whopping $1 billion, proving that there was serious money to be made from agave. The U.S. is now so head over heels for the legendary spirit that sales of full-proof tequila soared by almost 200 percent since 2002 according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). In 2020, Mexico produced 60 million gallons of this liquid gold, which is 800 percent more than it did two decades ago.

George Clooney’s star quality might have certainly helped attract the glitterati. However, the female master distiller of Mexico’s top ultra-premium tequila cites the heightened focus on actual product quality from distillers for the drink’s rising popularity. Clase Azul is the Chanel of tequila brands and Viridiana Tinoco is the master distiller for all its products. “The tequila industry has changed and the work that is being put in behind the scenes to make the products incredible is part of the reason it’s growing exponentially,” she remarks. Gone are the days when you would take shots of unpalatable tequila just to get drunk. “Now you want to sip the tequila neat and simply enjoy it,” she adds.

Click here to read the full article on Fodors.

Eva Longoria on loving her Latina roots and challenging Hollywood’s expectations: ‘Being Mexican is who I am’
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Eva Longoria s creating new molds in Hollywood for Latino voices. (Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

By Yahoo Entertainment

The star power of Eva Longoria should never be underestimated. A proud Mexican-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, the multihyphenate powerhouse has won the hearts of television viewers since her breakout role in ABC’s Desperate Housewives.

Now, the icon is all smiles in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment when speaking about how her Mexican heritage, specifically Tejana culture, inspires her perspective on life — from daily activities to the way she runs her businesses, which include several restaurants and a production company, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment.

“Being Mexican is who I am,” Longoria says. “For me, it exudes in everything that I do every day from how I style my hair, to putting on my lip liner, to putting on my hoops, to what I make for breakfast, how I have my café con leche, how I drive. It seeps into every aspect of my life.” (Longoria prefers to make her Cuban café con leche using a cafetera, in case you were wondering.)

A staunch activist for gender equality, she’s also used her platform to shine a light on issues impacting Latino communities, specifically Latino visibility on and off-screen, something she says is vital in preserving the wellbeing of Hispanic communities.

“The problem is when you don’t have a person of color within your community, if your neighbors aren’t Latino, the only reference you have of us is the news. And that doesn’t do a very good job of portraying who we are,” Longoria explains. “And so, representation in TV, in film, in music, in art, it matters because it educates the community about who we are.”

The concern is warranted. According to UCLA’s 2021 Hollywood Diversity Report, Latinos accounted for only 5.7 percent of all film roles in 2020 — up slightly from 2019 when it was 4.6 percent. While the uptick is promising, she says it’s not enough.

Longoria also stresses the importance of having Latinos behind the camera and in other positions of power. After all, “that’s why I became a producer and that’s why I became a director,” she says. “It was to make sure that our stories are told because it’s important. It educates people about who we are. It educates our community about who we are, and that is even more important. If I am a Latino watching, literally, the erasure of my culture, then I think, ‘Oh OK, I am not worthy. My stories don’t matter.’ And that’s way more dangerous. We need to make sure that we share our own community, our worth — and celebrate it.”

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

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.

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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. USPAACC’s CelebrASIAN Business + Procurement Conference 2022
    May 25, 2022 - May 27, 2022
  4. From Day One
    June 14, 2022
  5. 2022 Airport Minority Business Development Conference (AMAC) Annual Conference
    June 20, 2022 - June 23, 2022
  6. From Day One
    June 22, 2022
  7. UNIDOS US Annual Conference & Latinx Inclusion Summit
    July 9, 2022 - July 11, 2022
  8. Business Beyond Barriers Conference + Expo
    July 14, 2022 @ 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
  9. 2022 LULAC National convention
    July 25, 2022 - July 30, 2022
  10. CHCI’s 2022 Leadership Conference & Gala
    September 13, 2022 - September 15, 2022