Gloria Molina, the political pioneer who was the first Latina elected to the State Assembly, the Los Angeles City Council, and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, has died at age 74.
Molina had announced on March 14 that she had terminal cancer and was entering a “transition in life.” She died Sunday in her Mount Washington home, according to a statement released on her official Facebook page.
It is with heavy hearts that our family announces Gloria’s passing this evening. She passed away at her home in Mt. Washington, surrounded by our family.
Gloria had been battling terminal cancer for the past three years. She faced this fight with the same courage and resilience she lived her life. Over the last few weeks, Gloria was uplifted by the love and support of our family, community, friends, and colleagues. Gloria expressed deep gratitude for the life she lived and the opportunity to serve our community.
Gloria Flores, a close friend of Molina’s, confirmed her death, saying she last saw her on Wednesday. “At least she is not suffering anymore,” Flores said.
Longtime colleagues and friends say Molina will be remembered for a variety of accomplishments, particularly her many battles on behalf of L.A.’s Eastside.
In a 2017 Cal State Fullerton oral history, Molina talked about being the eldest of 10 children of a working-class Mexican mother and Mexican American father.
“I was brought up in a little barrio called Simons, in Montebello, where everyone spoke Spanish,” Molina said. “My father was a construction worker; my mom stayed at home, raised all of the kids. I was always reminded that I was the oldest and so I had to set the example for the family.”
Those close to Molina say these roots grounded her, particularly in her service to the communities she represented.
‘No hesitation’ to fight unauthorized sterilizations in court
Antonia Hernández met Molina in 1974, about eight years before Molina would be elected to the Assembly. Hernández, at the time a novice attorney, was seeking a Latina organization to join her in a class action lawsuit against L.A. County-USC Medical Center for carrying out unauthorized sterilizations on Latinas who were delivering their babies at the county hospital.
In the mid-1970s, Molina was president of a Latina women’s rights group, Comisión Femenil; Hernández asked the group to join the suit.
Social movements have shaped society into what we see today, from labor to civil rights and women’s movements. Thanks to social media, we can collaborate from the comfort of our homes to drive social change, to expose injustice and to advocate for policies that protect vulnerable communities. As generational values, preferences and ideals shift, and GenZ, the most diverse generation in history, prepares to take the lead, all eyes are on how today’s businesses respond through innovation.
Introducing Chelsea C. Williams, the Founder and CEO of Reimagine Talent, who shared her expertise leading workplace & talent development and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) as a speaker at the annual SHRM Inclusion Conference. Williams shed light on the rise of social enterprises that appeal to a generation who desire to blend profit with purpose. “This makes me really excited because I believe a movement is taking place,” said Williams. “The social entrepreneur is not just focused on bringing a product or service to market…they’re not just moved by revenue, a social entrepreneur wants to make an impact…they want to drive social progress, deliver socially conscious goods, and bridge sectors towards progress.”
William’s journey to entrepreneurship was not easy, considering her quest to entrepreneurship consisted of many obstacles without a roadmap. From navigating childhood as the daughter of immigrant parents, to funding her way through Historically Black College & University, Spelman College, to launching her early career on Wall Street as an “only,” Williams has overcome significant odds. During her time on Wall Street, she represented 1% of Black employees. With that reality came its own set of challenges personally and professionally.
“I believe [in] diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging [and] I can intentionally lead that work now because I lived exclusion,” said Williams. “During my early career, I clearly saw the beauty of belonging and toxicity of exclusion — both of which playing significant impacts on the global workforce & workplace.”
Leadership with Impact
Despite representation barriers experienced in her career, Williams still found the confidence to reimagine the future and write up a business plan that would address real issues she encountered in her roles managing & leading human resources. In 2018, she stepped made the decision to leave corporate America, first completing a social impact fellowship at Teach for America and then launching her firm.
“I early learned that leadership doesn’t have an age, it doesn’t have a look, it doesn’t have a race, it has to do with impact,” stated Williams. “You can have a business that is focused on revenue, but also have a part of your mission statement or part of your strategy that is addressing a social issue. Within the case, entrepreneurs are addressing societal barriers such as the intersection between gainful employment and racism, as two examples, but also tapping into the opportunities that come with entrepreneurship such as financial prosperity and ownership.”
To awaken your inner activist as part of your business strategy takes skill that supersedes the continuous hard versus soft skill debate circulating the workplace. Instead of pinning hard and soft skills in a battle of importance, consider both skills a necessity. “Language is important. Instead of referencing hard skills, let’s say technical, let’s say job function specific skills. Instead of soft skills, let’s say interpersonal skills, leadership skills,” said Williams. “If you’re leading an organization to function or promotion, you better believe that those skills actually become more important than what got you there from the beginning.”
Creating solutions in organizations to fight social issues takes more than diversity; it takes understanding, building and nurturing relationships. “Being open to learning and supporting people, especially those who are different than us, is our ability to lead effectively in 2022 and beyond,” said Williams. “Our mission at Reimagine Talent is to educate the next-gen workforce and empower conscious organizations to build workplaces of belonging.”
Turning a Vision into Action
Despite many years of progression and historical wins, writing the business vision and making it compelling and relevant takes courage. In this case, Williams challenges aspiring social entrepreneurs to turn their vision into a business plan and to consider the economic impact of today’s most pressing challenges. Considering 45.2% of social enterprises only last between one to three years, and 45% earn less than a $250,000 profit, it’s crucial to focus on impact without forgetting the importance of running a scalable business.
“Even with vision for impact, do not lose sight of the fact that you’re still an entrepreneur, and if you’re for profit, you still have to make a profit to grow your team, products and processes; if you’re not moved by profit, you should start a non-profit,” said Williams. “Broadening out to what your vision is for your business, who do you want to serve, answering those questions upfront and really thinking about [the] short and long term is important. In the early days, you want to test out your product or service and make sure you’ve got customers/clients.”
Williams shows the beauty that comes with fully owning our stories and leveraging the roadblocks as a springboard to purpose. Her access and experiences now grant opportunity to future generations. As we reflect on her mission, let’s consider our own and ignite the confidence to become something we may have never seen before.
I’ve always enjoyed working with content creators. At 31, I’ve helped launch creator programs at some of the biggest tech companies, including Instagram and Pinterest.
But it was frustrating to see the pay inequality that content creators constantly faced. So earlier this year, I decided to quit my $150,000-per-year job at TikTok to start a “Glassdoor-like” app called Clara for Creators.
Since launching, it has helped more than 7,000 influencers and content creators share and compare pay rates and review their experiences working with brands.
The pay gap in influencer marketing
Nowadays, there are very few barriers to becoming a content creator. With the popularity of TikTok, for example, you don’t need to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in equipment; anyone can try to build an audience and monetize their platform with videos they shoot on a smartphone.
As a result, more and more creators have entered the business. The problem? They have little knowledge about how much money they could — or should — be making.
Content creator deals are tricky. How much you’re paid depends on the type of content you’re offering a brand and on what platform — an Instagram post versus a YouTube video, for example. Other factors include the size of your following, engagement metrics and success rates with previous partnerships.
To make matters even more complicated, brands often ask an influencer for their rate instead of offering everyone a base pay with room to negotiate.
Many creators end up selling themselves short, especially women and people of color. I once saw a man get paid 10 times what a woman creator was paid for the same campaign — just because he asked for more. I’ve also seen Latinx creators with triple the following of white creators be paid half as much.
How I started my mission-based business
I knew a major problem that creators faced was that they couldn’t Google how much money they could charge for marketing a product or service on their platform. That lightbulb moment — and how much I cared about the creators I worked with — inspired me to build Clara.
I wanted creators to be able to share reviews of brands they had worked with, along with how much they were paid for different types of content based on their number of followers.
In March 2021, I sent a bunch of cold messages to potential investors on LinkedIn. In July, after weeks of non-stop outreach that turned into more than 10 pitch meetings, I received a small investment from an individual investor. I used that money to contract a team of developers, who I worked alongside to build and test the app.
Clara finally launched for iOS in January this year. Within a month, without spending any money on advertisements, more than 7,000 creators signed up to share their rates on Clara, including top TikTok creators like Devon Rodriguez and Nancy Bullard, who each have 24.4 million and 2.9 million social media followers, respectively.
On January 14, I quit my job at TikTok as a creator program manager to work on Clara full-time. While I am taking a massive pay cut by leaving my 9-to-5, I’m living off money I make as a content creator and my savings.
Right now, I’m focused on raising capital to grow the platform. I’m also spreading the word about equal pay and how important resources like Clara are. l post career advice and other resources on my TikTok account, where I currently have 348,000 followers.
Get paid fairly: Know your rights and do your research
There are many things you can do to work towards greater pay equity for yourself and others in your industry.
When discussing pay with your coworkers, it’s important to know your rights. Some corporations may try to scare you from it by saying that salary talk is against company policy. But under the National Labor Relations Act, many employees have the right to talk about their wages with their coworkers.
I’ve had six full-time jobs, and fear used to keep me from talking about money. But the first time I openly discussed my salary with a colleague, I found out I was being underpaid. I then used that knowledge to look for new roles where I’d be paid more fairly.
These conversations don’t have to be awkward, especially if you’ve established a safe and comfortable relationship. Rather than flat-out asking “How much are you making?,” approach the discussion in a “let’s help each other” way. You might be surprised by the number of people who are willing to talk about it.
Keep in mind that while you have the right to communicate about your wages, your employer may have lawful policies against using their equipment — like work laptops — to have the discussion. Protect yourself by understanding your company’s policy before sending a rallying Slack message.
And always do your research before accepting a contract. Sites like Glassdoor, Levels and Clara offer this data for free.
You can also search sites like TikTok and YouTube to get deep insights about pay. There are many creators who, like me, are open about what they’ve been paid at previous companies — down to stock offerings and sign-on bonuses, and who share information about company cultures overall.
I also created a spreadsheet for people to share their titles and salaries alongside important demographic information I’ve seen left out on other databases, like gender, age and diverse identity fields. So far, it has over 62,000 entries.
“I think what is important to me is never giving up,” the 90-year-old Puerto Rican actress, dancer, singer and activist said in a recent phone interview, “Things do change and times do change, and the people who weren’t listening to me and what I stand for let’s say, 20 years ago, are listening more.”
Moreno’s determination plays a large role in her successful and expansive career. During Hispanic Network Magazine’s 30 years, Moreno has graced our cover more than once. She is a legend, with accolades that include EGOT status, with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards to her name.
While she is proud of her recognition, she stills sees room for improvement in terms of substantial Latinx representation within the entertainment industry. It is a challenge that has been present throughout her entire career.
“I see strides, and I don’t see enough,” Moreno said. “I think we are definitely underrepresented.”
As a young actress at MGM Studios in the 1950s, she was stuck playing ethnically ambiguous female roles she refers to as “dusky maidens.”
West Side Story in 1961 was a turning point for Moreno, who became the first Latina to win an Academy Award for acting for her role as Anita.
Moreno has been vocal through the years of how badly she wanted the role and the chance to play a Hispanic character with substance. She has also spoken candidly about the little difference the Oscar made in the roles she was offered after the win.
“It’s like, ‘How does it feel to have all those awards that no other Latino has?’” Moreno said, “Well, it feels wonderful, but it doesn’t get me the work. It has never gotten me the work.”
After her Oscar win, Moreno did Broadway and television but didn’t make another motion picture for seven years.
For most of the 1970s, Moreno was a main cast member on the PBS educational children’s program, The Electric Company, and won a Grammy for the show’s children’s album.
She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for The Ritz in 1975. Moreno won her first Emmy Award in 1977 for her appearance on The Muppet Show, and received a second Emmy the following year for The Rockford Files.
In her 2021 documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It, Moreno shares that as a young actress starting out, she looked up to Elizabeth Taylor simply because there were no role models for a young Puerto Rican girl. There was no one on screen who looked like her.
Ironically, Moreno’s time on the stage and screens both big and small, mean many of today’s Latinx stars grew up looking up to her.
In Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It, Eva Longoria reflects on watching Moreno in The Electric Company and recognizing her as someone that looked like her. In Jennifer Lopez’s own documentary, Half-Time, she specifically names Moreno as her inspiration for aspiring to dance, act and sing.
Another Latinx entertainer who grew up watching Moreno is Ariana DeBose.
DeBose took on Moreno’s most famous role in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 adaptation of West Side Story, which Moreno also starred in and served as an executive producer for. In 2022, DeBose received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Anita. She is the first Afro-Latina, the first openly queer actor of color and the first openly queer woman to win the award. It’s a recognition that may not have been possible without Moreno’s own groundbreaking win.
“First of all, I am so happy for her, and I am happy for the Hispanic community,” Moreno said of DeBose, “She is Afro-Latina and that opens another door, which is fantastic. She is obviously very aware of the exclusion that we suffer from.”
Moreno places a lot of hope on the younger generation to lend their voice to changing things for the Latinx community.
“I am very hopeful that she will bring the attention of the younger people whose ear and interest we definitely don’t have,” said Moreno.
Moreno knows how to speak up too.
She has talked openly about her experiences with sexual assault, abortion and suicide and has long been an advocated for women’s rights. Her early social activism began at the March on Washington, where she was present during Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famous “I Have a Dream” speech and stretches today, when she again recounted her own abortion story in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. In 2004, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2009, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts.
“It is a question of never, ever giving up on what you have to say that is important to helping our community,” said Moreno.
Speaking up takes courage, but Moreno admits she has never had trouble being loud.
“I am a raucous person, and that is the Latina part of me. I am noisy, I laugh too loud,” Moreno said, “But that is who I am. I love that part of me.”
From 2017 to 2020, Moreno took on the role of Lydia, in One Day at a Time, the sitcom inspired by Norman Lear’s 1975 series of the same name. The reboot focused on Penelope, a newly single Army veteran, and her Cuban-American family. As Lydia, Moreno embraced the best parts of Latin culture, without slipping into stereotypes, and demonstrated what is possible when we are able to lovingly tell our own stories.
“I have a deep love for my people,” Moreno said, “I love who we are, and I love what we represent, because we represent deep values. I love our food; I love our music; I am never unaware of the Latin-ness of all of that.”
There is plenty of new Moreno content coming out later this year too.
This summer she will be filming a Christmas movie for Lifetime in Nashville, and she is also joining Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Tom Brady for football-themed road-trip movie, 80 for Brady.
Moreno also has a role in Vin Diesel’s upcoming Fast and Furious movie, Fast X, as Grandma Toretto, Dom Toretto’s abuela.
“I had an absolutely fabulous time,” Moreno said of the filming, which took place in London. “We were freezing; we’re talking 50 degrees. But I loved it, I had a great time.”
Moreno said she had such a good time she might even make an appearance in the next film.
“I may do one more, so that would be insane,” Moreno said, “I mean, I am 90 years old and look at me!”
Two Mexican Americans who have dedicated their lives to fighting for equality and the advancement of Latinos were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, at the White House on Thursday.
Raúl Yzaguirre is the founder and former leader of the National Council of La Raza, considered the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group, renamed UnidosUS, and Julieta García is a former president of the University of Texas at Brownsville — the first Latina to serve as a U.S. university president.
Born a decade apart in the Rio Grande Valley, Yzaguirre and García took lessons from their upbringings in the South Texas region to achieve positions of power, which they then used to dismantle discrimination and fight for the advancement of Latinos and other people of color.
Yzaguirre, 82, born in San Juan, Texas, took a small organization with about $500,000 and 23 affiliates and grew it into a formidable one with a $40 million budget and 250 affiliates.
The group helped shape policy on immigration, education, voting rights and more. Yzaguirre stepped down in 2004, after 30 years at its helm.
He also served as the ambassador to the Dominican Republic under President Barack Obama.
García, 73, born in Brownsville, Texas, was president of UT-Brownsville and helped oversee its merger with University of Texas Pan American to become UT-Rio Grande Valley, which serves mostly Latinos. She fought for money from the state’s Permanent University Fund, which holds 2.1 million acres and revenue from oil and gas leases on the land, to create the university.
UT-Rio Grande Valley is ranked in the top three schools awarding bachelor’s degrees to Latinos.
Yzaguirre and García are among 17 people awarded the medal Thursday by President Joe Biden. Among the honorees are former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz.; Olympic gymnast Simone Biles; U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe; the actor Denzel Washington; and posthumously, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple.
Yzaguirre’s work with UnidosUS rested heavily on bringing together the nation’s increasingly diverse Latino population to forge a stronger political force that could command the attention of Washington power brokers. The 2020 census counted 62 million Latinos in the U.S.
“What Raúl doesn’t get enough recognition for is how much of a visionary he was,” said Lisa Navarette, who worked with Yzaguirre and now is an adviser to UnidosUS President Janet Murguía.
“In the early ’70s he was already envisioning what would become the Latino community,” Navarrete said.
Yzaguirre was raised by his grandparents and was heavily influenced by his grandfather’s own story of nearly being lynched by Texas Rangers when he was out past a curfew imposed by the state on Mexican Americans and Mexicans at the time, according to a 2016 biography, “Raul H. Yzaguirre: Seated at the Table of Power,” by Stella Pope Duarte.
Yzaguirre was a protégé of the civil rights leader Dr. Hector P. García, a Mexican American physician who formed the civil rights group American GI Forum after witnessing mistreatment of Mexican American World War II veterans. Navarette said García helped Yzaguirre channel his anger over discrimination into activism.
Yzaguirre’s work in Washington continues to have an impact. Charles Kamasaki, a senior adviser at UnidosUS, recalled Yzaguirre deciding to agree to compromise on what became the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. He didn’t like the enforcement levels in the bill and had worked to improve it until finally agreeing to a compromise in 1986, giving about 3 million immigrants without legal status in the U.S. a chance to become lawful permanent residents.
Yzaguirre helped produce a scathing report on the Smithsonian Institution’s failure to serve and hire Latinos, a report that was instrumental in last year’s approval of a National Museum of the American Latino.
His tenure was also marked by clashes with administrations. He quit a commission on education and Hispanics in the 1990s in frustration over its partisanship and delays and picketed President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration over its lack of Hispanics.
“Don’t forget about people with disabilities when you’re talking about diversity and inclusion,” actress and activist Stephanie Nogueras says in an interview with POPSUGAR. As a deaf woman of Puerto Rican descent making it in the entertainment industry, she knows something about what it takes to build real representation. Nogueras explains that while she has been made to feel invisible at times and has been judged and discriminated against because she’s deaf, she also has hope and believes people are becoming “more open-minded and open-hearted,” especially in recognizing and valuing deaf talent. Just look at this year’s Academy Awards. It may have been overshadowed by “the slap,” but the best picture Oscar went to “CODA,” a film that tells the story of a child of deaf adults who must balance her own dreams against threats to her family.
There’s also evidence of change in Nogueras’s career. Acting since 2013, it’s been a “fast journey,” but also one full of challenges. She’s appeared on the critically acclaimed “The Good Fight” and as a deaf mermaid in “Grimm” (an experience she describes as “cool, random . . . and artistic.”). Now she’s featured in Peacock’s latest half-hour comedy, “Killing It.”
The show stars Craig Robinson as Craig, a down-on-his-luck dad who’s trying to figure out how to make it in business and life despite his lack of resources. Nogueras plays his ex-wife, Camille, who gives Craig both tough love and encouragement as they coparent their teenage daughter, Vanessa (played by Jet Miller). And both Camille’s Latinidad and her deafness are completely normalized. They are unremarked upon and integrated as part of the texture of the characters’ lives.
The show opens with Craig giving a monologue about how he got rich despite the obstacles. The show then jumps back, promising to tell the story of Craig’s rise. As the show goes on, his eventual success just seems farther away as he embarks on a snake-killing contest and loses his car and apartment in short order. For her part, Nogueras relates to the show’s themes, remembering growing up in a family that stressed over money to the point where it affected their relationships with each other.
But she’s proud the show doesn’t pretend that financial success is the most important thing. “Some people feel like to be successful and happy, you need to have money, but that’s not always the answer.” For her, the American dream “really boils down to family [and] having a stable mental health situation, and that’s not always dependent on money.”
While the plot of “Killing It” is certainly driven by Craig’s money-making adventures, the show is not a celebration of winner-take-all capitalism: it’s more a look at how unfair our system really is. Craig has a safety net thanks to Camille’s support, but his snake-hunting partner Claudia O’Doherty’s Jillian does not. An orphan, she’s alone and homeless (she sleeps in her car), looking for love and security wherever she can find it. In “Killing It,” Craig and Jillian are the heroes while the rich folks — whether Tim Heidecker as a Trump-esque businessman or “The Good Place”‘s D’Arcy Carden as a bored, clueless rich woman — are played for laughs.
At first, I was worried that Nogueras’s Camille was also more of a caricature than a character, specifically the nagging wife who stands in the way of the more dynamic man protagonist. Even when they’re right (think Skylar in “Breaking Bad”), these women get the short end of the stick. But while Camille does remind Craig that as a father, he has certain responsibilities, she is not a roadblock.
Story by Sarah Mosqueda
Interview by Tawanah Reeves-Ligon
With her distinct accent and trademark personality, Rosie Perez has made a career of taking up space. But the Puerto Rican-American actor, choreographer and activist said she wants to see the media industry make more room for Latinx in entertainment.
“It has gotten better, but I think it has only gotten a little bit better,” Perez said in a recent phone interview with Hispanic Network Magazine, “There are still very few Latino or Latina names. There are still very few just regular stories about us. There are still very few writers and directors. It has gotten better, but we still need so much more, and we still need to go much, much further.”
Brooklyn-born Perez began her career at the age of 19, when she appeared as a dancer on Soul Train. As a student at Los Angeles City College, she went to dance clubs to relieve stress, and her moves got the attention of a Soul Train talent scout. She went on to choreograph music videos for Janet Jackson, Bobby Brown, Diana Ross and LL Cool J. Perez also served as choreographer for the Fly Girls, a dance group featured on the Fox sketch comedy show, In Living Color. Although she wasn’t a professional dancer, she also caught the attention of director Spike Lee at a dance club called Funky Reggae. Lee hired Perez for her first major movie role, starring opposite of him, in Do the Right Thing.
Perez notes that finding and supporting black and brown talent is one of the simplest ways individuals in those communities can make space for each other.
“Find them and support them, it is as simple as that,” said Perez, “And look for the ones that have the talent and the ability [who maybe] don’t understand they do. Look at what Spike Lee did for me. And we are still friends to this day. He is a great support.”
Perez’s role in the ever relevant Do the Right Thing launched a movie career that has included a major role in the comedy White Men Can’t Jump with Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson and an Oscar-nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1993’s Fearless. In 2020, she took on the role of Gotham City Police detective, Renee Montoya, in DC Films’ Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.) In 2021, she appeared in the family comedy, Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Perez has also used her platform for activism. Perez’s mother passed away from AIDS in 1999, and she has dedicated efforts to eradicating the disease since. In 2010, then President Barack Obama appointed her to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA).
“Approximately 36 million are living with AIDS and the numbers in the black and brown community are still high, and there is still not a cure,” Perez noted.
Perez has also been an advocate for Puerto Rico, delivering hurricane aid and using her voice to speak out about the island’s needs.
Most recently she has graced the small screen with a supporting role on HBOMax’s dramatic comedy, The Flight Attendant, with Kaley Cuoco.
“We are filming season two, and I love Kaley Cuoco,” Perez said, “I love everyone on the show.”
Perez also stars in the upcoming bilingual thriller Now and Then, from AppleTV. Perez was cast along side Marina de Tavira, José María Yazpik, Maribel Verdú, Manolo Cardona and Željko Ivanek for the show, which explores the lives of a group of best friends from college and the trouble they face when a celebratory weekend ends with one of them dead. The series comes from Bambú Producciones and creators Ramón Campos, Teresa Fernández-Valdés and Gema R. Neira. Shot in Madrid, Spain and in Miami, Perez said the project is a prime example for what can be created when Latinx are in the room.
“I walked on set, and the entire crew was Spanish,” said Perez, “I was blown away. And then when we shot in Miami for the Miami scenes, the majority of the crew were Latino. And it gave me such a great feeling. How many projects exist like that?”
Being in the room is the way Perez said she sees more multicultural and inclusive projects like Now and Then making their way to the screen.
“I think that it’s all about being in the room where initial decisions are made. If we are not in those rooms, progress is still going to continue at a snail’s pace,” said Perez, “And the room I am talking about is filled with studio executives. I am talking about production companies. I am talking about the writer’s guild…Any room that will constitute a green light for a project to be made, we are not in those room enough. And I think that is the first step.”
But Perez said the responsibility for putting diverse voices in the room lies with the entertainment industry.
“The change has to start with them, not with us…It is an embarrassment upon them that they are still at a loss, and they need guidance from us,” said Perez, “It is about access, and it is about opportunity. Any time they offer a drop in the bucket, they think, ‘Oh that’s great; we are making strides.’ And that drop in the bucket just dries up.”
Which is why Perez said she is thrilled to be a part of the bilingual series.
“This is a splash in the bucket. This is when change begins,” said Perez of Now and Then.
Perez is also a mental health advocate and has pushed the industry to make room for those with mental health issues.
“If I had a broken arm, and I was going to go and do a movie, you would tell production, ‘She has a broken arm,’” said Perez, “And it is the same thing. With a broken arm you have limitations. It is the same thing with mental illness.”
In 2014, Perez wrote a memoir titled, Handbook for an Unpredictable Life, in which she opened up about the post-traumatic stress disorder she has as the result of childhood trauma, when she became a ward of the state and lived in foster care until she was 12.
“I have PTSD, and I suffer from clinical depression and panic attacks,” Perez said.
While she was diagnosed in her 20s, Perez said it wasn’t until her 40s that she began to be more open about her struggles.
“I got exhausted explaining my feelings. I was hurt by the judgement from it. I was tired of it, and it was effecting my work.”
Perez said she began to take a proactive approach, by asking her management team to support her by communicating her needs to prospective jobs.
“And I have to tell you, my career and my work has improved substantially because of it.”
Perez said being up front about the limitations her mental health issues cause has helped create a more accommodating work environment.
“I will tell you, ‘I am having a panic attack. I need a minute.’ I know how to modify that panic attack, so we can move forward,” Perez said, “I am not asking you to be my doctor, but if we make it a team effort, things will go smoothly.”
Perez also said therapy has helped her take responsibility for her mental health.
“I, as the person who has the issues, also need to be accountable,” said Perez, “When I am having that panic attack or getting depressed, I have been in therapy enough to know I need to do A, B and C. And I need to be an adult about this and do it.”
Perez said this doesn’t mean getting special treatment in the work place, but rather compassionate treatment.
“I don’t want you to feel sorry for me,” said Perez, “I want you to work with me.”
Perez hopes that by being honest about mental health issues, the stigma often associated with them will deplete.
“I hope there will be a time when everyone can come out of their mental health closet and when you walk to in to your job, there is not the whispers — or the tone [of a conversation] wouldn’t change,” said Perez, “I hope that happens one day.”
Perez said one activity she finds particularly therapeutic is boxing.
“Punching something really makes me feel good,” laughs Perez, “I don’t punch people, and I don’t like to get hit, let’s be clear. But punching something really is a great feeling.”
Perez’s love for boxing began years ago, she said, as a result of her Puerto Rican culture.
“Growing up, it seemed like every Puerto Rican person was watching boxing or baseball. For a short time, I was into both.”
She learned to box as a means of defending herself, and she said her confidence grew with each jab.
“Once I learned how to box, I was able to assert myself and certain walls started to come down,” said Perez, “I am not fearful anymore. I can defend myself.”
Perez said she finds watching boxing matches inspiring.
“I know the fighters, and I see their rise through the ranks. Then in four or five years, they finally have a championship fight; it inspires me,” Perez said, “It tells me if you do the work, you will have results.”
Perez admits that even when the boxer she is rooting for loses, she finds inspiration.
“Even when they lose, it helps my mental health in a weird way, because I know how they are feeling,” said Perez, “They just lost on a world stage. That is hard to deal with. And then you see them months later in another fight, and it blows my mind. You just got humiliated in the ring, and I am watching you in another fight, trying to get your belt back? Go on with your bad self!”
The strength that exists in that vulnerability is something Perez relates to her mental health journey.
“I just want to be honest with people, so they don’t feel when they look at me like ‘she is so strong, what is wrong with me?’” said Perez, “I am not strong. I just got help. I am doing the work, and the work gives me the strength.”
The founders of Malcriadas Collective don’t want to be good girls, yet their mission in Dallas is to do only good.
On Sunday night, the Chicanx culture-inspired apparel brand hosted its first pop-up of the year — a collab with Jessi Pereira’s monthly Paradise — at Top Ten Records in Oak Cliff. The night was filled with vendors, merchandise, food, a tattoo flash by tattoo artist Sushiii Milk and make-up inspired by the HBO series Euphoria by Maria Bonita, with people spilling out of the record store vibing to guest DJs. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Malcridas event without dropping an exclusive tee. Inspired by Mexican film actress Maria Felix, the collab dropped its “Mas Cabrxna Que Bonita” tee, which perfectly describes the collectives’ theme.
Malcriadas Collective was founded by Dallas creatives Rosa Rodriguez and BB Velez in 2019. Since then, the collective has hosted annual art shows and pop-ups around the city for artists and other creatives to connect and showcase their work. To them, creating such spaces was so necessary in Dallas, which has an ever-growing population of starving artists whom, like many, struggle to find places to grow. As Rodriguez, a local photographer, says, “Everybody knows everybody,” and the two wanted to create an environment for the art community to network, but also just hang out, have fun and be themselves.
Their love for art is one of the main reasons they formed in the first place – in addition to wanting to be one of the few female Latinx-operated collectives in the area — but their cultural background played a big role as well.
“Our mission is to bring Dallas together,” Velez, a painter, says. “When we throw events like pop-ups and art shows we make sure to include the young artist that is just starting as well as the OGs that have inspired us. We also want to be the best Chicano streetwear in Dallas. You don’t see many female streetwear owners. We want to show that women can do it exactly like men if not better.”
Still, there’s no place for exclusivity at Malcriadas Collective events.
Starting Malcriadas was like them finally putting their foot down. Rodriguez and Velez, two first-generation Mexican-Americans, wanted to break away from the shackles of cultural norms and the burden of being daughters of strict Mexican parents. After meeting at South By Southwest in 2015, they bonded over shared rebellious experiences from their childhood, and the two have been close since.
The phrase “Malcriadas,” which means “spoiled brats” in Spanish, was something the two heard all the time growing up in their Mexican households. Feeling like they’re stuck in between two worlds, their so-called “wild” behavior was seen as inappropriate for their culture, according to their family. In Hispanic culture, it’s expected for women to act “lady-like,” train to be homemakers before anything and take on the responsibility to care for their families at a very young age.
The two reflect on their childhoods and remember just wanting to be themselves and, most importantly, the artists they wanted to be. The pressure from their parents telling them they needed to have “real careers” to be successful gave them a few bumps in the road, and yet they persisted.
“I feel like that’s just part of our culture,” Rodriguez says. “I love our culture but there are certain aspects where you don’t get the same American experience that everybody else does. It’s a fucking struggle. You have responsibilities at such a young age and, in a sense, creating something like this is really doing what we wanted all along.”
Instead of seeing it as a bad thing, they fucking ran with. They embraced their badass, rebellious youth and used it as the core of Malcriadas. In other words, they don’t give a fuck and don’t need anyone’s permission to follow their goals — and they’re doing while still embracing their beloved Chicanx culture.
While Malcriadas is heavily influenced by its culture and brings vendors, such as Putas Paletas and Tromp RRey, and artists of color to their events, it’s not exclusive to only Latinx members. Malcriadas Collective is for everyone.
“When we say this is for the community, it really is,” Rodriguez says. “We never make any money from [vendors]. Whatever they make is what they make.”
Malcriadas Collective’s next event will be a collab with Debbie Does Disco, a night of disco music, Feb. 12. with DJ Storm, DJ Alaska DJ NoSocial and DJ Brandon Epocha.
Click here to read the full article on Central Track.
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.
The Golden State Warriors have named Jennifer Vasquez (she/her) as the team’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, it was recently announced. Vasquez brings over 15 years of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work experience to the franchise. She will play a central role in the continuation of the team’s internal and external DEI strategy, including oversight of the design, management and measurement of the team’s DEI strategy.
Vasquez will be responsible for the company’s DEI trainings and collaborate on strategic recruiting and hiring practices through a DEI lens. Additionally, she will lead the franchise’s established Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, which launched several years ago, and the ecosystem of employee resource groups (ERGs). Vasquez will report to Warriors Senior Vice President of People Operations and Culture, Erin Dangerfield.
“Jennifer has a proven track record driving strategies around corporate diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Warriors President & Chief Operating Officer Brandon Schneider. “In the creation of this role at the Warriors, we envision a dynamic leader to drive the success of our DEI initiatives, including organization-wide accountability and facilitation of our ERG network. We are thrilled that Jennifer is joining the team and look forward to more meaningful inclusionary practices that will continue to enhance the experiences we create for all of Dub Nation.”
Most recently, Vasquez led Amgen’s Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging efforts, integrating a DEI lens to the employee experience and organizational design. She was instrumental in launching the first unconscious bias training and learning journey focused on key behaviors in creating an inclusive culture. She served as the global lead for developing strategy for ERG engagement and established a strong ecosystem with over 11 ERGs globally, representing 40% of employees in over 100 countries. Through the ERG global network, she was able to lay a foundation for cross-pollination and collaboration, launching a cross-ERG Inclusiveness Series focused on intersectionality in social justice.
With over 15 years of experience in both the private and public sectors, her successful initiatives have focused on bringing fundamental and transformative changes to organizations to embed equity and inclusionary practices in corporate and political structures. She led the development of a think-tank framework to deepen engagement with government, industry and academia to diversify the STEM workforce. She has driven a variety of human capital management initiatives, including performance management process; wrap-around support and benefits; employee relations; recruiting efforts and talent development. Her experience, ranging from grassroots level to large global matrix organizations, brings a unique educational and data-driven lens to building communities of practice for equitable solutions to this space.
Vasquez earned a dual Bachelors of Arts in International Relations and Government from George Mason University. She holds her Masters of Science in Intercultural Studies with a concentration in Education & Development and Masters of Business Administration from Florida International University. Vasquez also holds a Diversity and Inclusion Certification from Cornell University.
Vasquez was recently recognized as a Diversity Global Top 15 Diversity Champion, a DEI Advocate of the Year for California in 2021 from National Diversity Council and was featured as a DiversityComm 2021 Wonder Woman. She has published articles for Guerrero Media, DiversityComm, and Hispanic Network Magazine and has been a speaker at over 20 conferences nationally and globally.
For more information on the Golden State Warriors’ 2021-22 season, presented by Kaiser Permanente, please visit warriors.com
Mexico’s ranchera music legend, known for classics like “El Rey” and “Volver, Volver,” died the same day Mexicans celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe.
By Suzanne Gamboa and Sandra Lilley, NBC News
Mexico’s musical legend Vicente Fernández has died. The king of ranchera music died in a hospital in Guadalajara in his native state of Jalisco. He was 81.
“Rest in Peace Mr. Vicente Fernández. We regret to inform you of his death on Sunday, December 12 at 6:15 a.m.,” a message on his Instagram account read.
“It was an honor and a great pride to share with everyone a great musical career and to give everything for his audience. Thank you for continuing to applaud, thank you for continuing to sing.”
Known as “Chente” to his fans, Fernández was famous for iconic songs about love, longing and the countryside that were familiar to U.S. Hispanics and people across the Spanish-speaking world, including “Volver, Volver,” “El Rey” and “Por Tu Maldito Amor.” He was seen by many as one of the last artists of the ranchera, a song style rooted in rural Mexico.
In 1998, Fernández received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He won three Grammys and eight Latin Grammys, among other honors. He appeared in more than 30 movies and sold more than 50 million records.
Fernández died the same day Mexico celebrates the feast of the Virgen de Guadalupe, or the Virgin of Guadalupe. For Mexicans and Mexican Americans, Dec. 12 holds special significance. It marks the date in 1531 when the Virgin Mary is purported to have appeared to Juan Diego, an Indigenous Mexican, in the last of several apparitions.