Forever Remembered Selena

Selena - Latinitas
Selena Quintanilla Perez (April 16, 1971- March 31, 1995), known by many as “Selena” was a Mexican- American singer-songwriter, “Queen of Tejano music,” and was seen as an icon by many. Her musical career began at an early age and so did many obstacles but was able to overcome them and become successful.
Selena began singing at the age of three and at six started singing in both Spanish and English. Her father who was in a musical group, Los Dinos in the late 50s remained passionate about music and started musical group with Selena and her siblings.


In 1984, “Selena Y Los Dinos” was recorded and did not well but it did not discourage the group. The band would go on to release three more albums and the group’s name changed to just “Selena.”
That same year in 1986 to 1996 she won the title, Best Female vocalist at the Tejano Music Awards, was named “top Latin artist of the 90s” by Billboard, as well as other awards and titles.


Selena was known for her Tejano music, also known as Tex-Mex. This genre comprises of various forms of folk and popular music which originated in Hispanic populations along Central and South Texas. Selena still managed to find love and start a family; on April 2, 1992 she married her lead guitarist Chris Perez. She continued doing what she loved, and along with her musical career she began designing and manufacturing a clothing line for Selena Etc. Botique in 1993. She opened two shops, one in Corpus Christie and another in San Antonio. Her business was a success and revenue reached the millions.


Promoting her fan club manager, Yolanda Saldivar to manager of her boutiques was the start of many problems.  Money began missing and trust issues were growing, so much in fact she was fired. On March 31, 1995 Selena met with Saldivar at the Corpus Christi Days Inn to retrieve documents needed for taxes. The both had an argument and Saldivar shot Selena in the back, she was rushed to the hospital and was pronounced dead. She was 23 years old.


In October of 1995, Saldivar was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Selena’s death shocked many and her funeral drew 60,000 from different parts of the world. People’s magazine published a remembrance issue “Selena- Her Life in Pictures.” The issue quickly sold out and became what exposed the high numbers and influence of the Latin population and led to the making “People en Espanol.”


Selena was a strong believer in community involvement and charity work.  To this day she continues to be loved and forever remembered.

Snacking and Your Health

With a busy schedule many girls think that means there’s no time for healthy eating.  Latinitas share helpful tips to eating healthy snacks.

Many high school students like 17 year old Rosie Martinez, find little to no time to eat or snack healthy. “I am always busy, class after class and even after school so whatever they sell in the snack machines is usually what I end up getting,” said Rosie.

Finding a healthy snack that is both tasty and inexpensive proves to be difficult, but that does not mean you are completely doomed. There are great foods you can make that don’t cost a fortune, says Mixing and matching granola with yogurt or with your favorite fruit does not only taste good but is healthy. Snacking can help prevent unwanted weight gain and boost up your metabolism.

“I really try my best not to buy junk food, so I try to get a snack before I go to school,” added 18 year-old Priscilla Gomez.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the number of overweight children, aged 6-11 years old has more than doubled in the past 20 years and among adolescents aged 12-19 has more than tripled. The website suggests a few substitutions can make a big difference. A few things to consider for now and the future:

Try This, Not That

-Try to avoid food that have high amounts of sodium

-Instead of ice cream, get yogurt or frozen yogurt

-Instead of a candy bar, try a granola bar

-Instead of regular potato chips, try baked chips

-Instead of white fried rice, get steamed rice or get brown rice

-Instead of white bread, get whole-grain/wheat bread

-Add fruit in your diet like apples which is rich in fiber or cut up vegetables like carrots or celery with a filling topping like peanut butter

-Instead of cokes, drink water or juice

-Instead of making sandwiches out of bacon, try using turkey

-Instead of drinking whole milk, try skim/low fat milk

With these tips in mind you are sure to feel healthy.



5 Ways to Discover Your Heritage

Proud of your culture, well it calls for a celebration! With influences and resources all around you, you should not think twice about discovering and celebrating your roots. Exploring authentic Latino recipes, visiting historic sites, watching films, attending cultural events, and art shows are all ways you can celebrate your culture.

Make a Cultural Dish
Making a cultural dish can be a great way to learn new dishes, spices, and its influences. Asking your parents for their favorite authentic dish or even looking online can get you some tasty recipes. “I enjoy making tamales with my grandmother. It is something I look forward to when me and my family visit her in Denver,” said 18 year-old Jennifer Nevarez.

Visit Historical Sites
If work in the kitchen is not for you, no need to worry there are other activities you can try. Making a trip to historic sites in your community can be a learning and fun experience. Hispanics have a long history in the United States and there are numerous historical sites you can visit. “I like going to historic sites wherever I have the opportunity. I have learned a lot about art and its history, it is very interesting,” said 19 year-old Michelle Ramirez

Watch a Latino-Inspired TV Show or Movie
As decades pass we see modernization all around. Something we see constantly changing is in film and TV. With movies being made 3D and directors trying to outdo their last film, we also see growing roles of Latinos and influenced storylines. Watching a Latino influenced movie or television show, “telenovela” can get you in touch with your culture and possibly improve your Spanish skills. “I enjoy watching films of women who are a good influence, especially for younger girls,” said 20 year old Daniela Rodriguez.

Attend Cultural Events

Keeping an eye out for cultural events and traditional ceremonies is a great way to get in touch with your heritage. Cultural fairs, festivals, parades and ceremonies are great way to learn about your culture and being open minded to others. “I’m half Tigua, so it’s pretty cool attending events at the pueblo. I have learned a lot about my culture going to ceremonies,” said 18 year-old Audrey Garcia.

Tour a Gallery
Another interesting place you can visit is photo exhibits and art galleries. Throughout the year, they have different themes and featured artists who come from all across the world.  For upcoming events be sure to check out your city’s event page.

Meet Author Melinda Palacio

Working in the journalism world with a steady career, Melinda Palacio felt there was more for her to do in life. When moving to Arizona, her aspiration to become a novelist became a reality.

“Writing found me. I have worked as a reporter, a writing instructor, an editor, and various other jobs before I decided to dedicate myself to writing,” said author Melinda Palacio.

Before beginning her writing career, Palacio earned two degrees, a Bachelor’s from Berkeley in Comparative Literature and a Masters from UC Santa Cruz.

Palacio admits that despite her skills and experience she faced difficulties in the novel-writing process. When writing “Ocotillo Dreams,” there were moments when she would feel lost.

Palacio got involved with the program PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow. This prestigious literary fellowship helped her gain necessary skills and the confidence she needed. It helped her finish her first draft for her novel.

She encourages others to strive to do better and to do what they love. “Read a variety of books and subjects. Write in your journal if only for a few minutes every day. Do what you love and experience life to the fullest,” said Palacio.

When Palacio is not writing or reading, she can be seen doing other things she loves like “listening to music, dancing, reading, spending time with friends and family.”

To catch a copy of her novel, “Ocotillo Dreams” check out your local library or her website:

Career Spotlight: Financial Planner

Cynthia Escalante uses her financial savvy as a financial planner to help people with their finances from saving money to opening their own businesses. She is the first in her family to go to college and get a degree. She is a go-getter who is dedicated to accomplishing every goal she sets for herself.  Today, she has five wonderful kids, a husband and she runs her very own business.

Name: Cynthia Escalante

Position & Title: Regional VIP/Business Owner

Employer: Escalante & Associates Primerica Financial Services

City/State: El Paso, TX

What are some of your job responsibilities?
I help people with their finances. I help them save money, get out of debt, make financial plans and start their own business.

How did you find your current job?
I wanted to take my career to the next level.

What did you do to prepare for this career?
Learned to talk effectively with people through public speaking and networking.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Helping people manage finances.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
I have no boss, so that requires staying self-motivated.

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
Learn to take advantage of opportunities, learn to fail-forward and learn from your mistakes.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
I’m a mom of five and enjoy running marathons.

What advice to share with Latinitas?
“No is just another word, be a go getter and get it yourself.”

Books: Amigas Fifteen Candles

A hip, coming of age book, Amigas: Fifteen Candles by Veronica Chambers, tells the tale of four friends who spend the summer sharing quite a few interesting adventures, struggles, as well as finding success in their party planning business. This is a lively book, culturally influenced with Latin roots. It is a fun read that connects to most young teens today.

The story takes place in South Beach Miami, Florida. The main character is 15-year-old Alicia, who is popular in school as well as her three best friends. Her posse includes: Carmen, Jaime and Gaz. Carmen is a unique designer. Jamie is known as the “James Bond of fashion” because this New Yorker has a style worth mentioning. She is always hip when it comes to hair, make-up and clothes. Gaz is the only male in the group. He is in a band and is the questionable love interest of  Alicia. The characters are all different and highlighted for their own talents which I feel is an element that helps hook the reader into the characters and story.

Throughout the story, action flows smoothly and not too lengthy which is a plus for me. A great thing about the book is that it encourages girls to reach their goals, lend out a hand and be open-minded.

I believe young girls can relate to the characters, like Alicia. As you get to know more about her, you find out she is not “perfect” as she can seem. In the story, you find out she did not have a Quinceañera and despite it she did not let that stop her from lending out a hand.  Thanks to her and her friend’s help, they were able help plan  Sarita’s Quinceañera, as one to remember.

The book highlights lows and highs, lessons learned, overcoming struggle, maintaining one’s ego, building teamwork and strengthening friendship. I recommend this book to those who are looking for a fruitful read, especially for one of those relaxing days.

Get Involved in Your Community

Have you ever wanted to be a superhero? The real heroes of our community are emergencyWomen Fire Fighters responders like the police, fire department and ambulance technicians. You can be a hero too by volunteering to help emergency services that are always looking for volunteer aid with emergencies and disasters.

Help at Your Fire Department
“Volunteering with the Horizon Fire Department has been one of my best decisions I made when I was in high school. Everyone should explore programs around their neighborhood at least once. It’s a learning experience that you can really benefit from,” said 21-year-old Myra Martinez from Horizon, Texas. Starting in high school, Myra worked directly with the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), made phone calls, helped talk to families in emergencies, conducted interviews and helped interpret.  As an added benefit, she took courses to learn how to help people with emergency medical assistance.

Assist Police Officers
Ramon Sanchez, a 20-year-old student at the University of Texas at Austin, was very active in high school in student council, Crime Stoppers, policy debate, track, editorial writing and UIL competitions. He still managed to find time to participate in the community through Police Explorers. “Working with Police Explorers, I was able to work with officers on the job and learn protocol. We would go around the city in the patrol car and respond to accidents, help control traffic when lights wouldn’t work, and carry out warrant missions. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about police work. It was never boring,” said Ramon. Many police departments offer a variety of service roles where volunteers can get first-hand experience with police work and help with assisting in fingerprinting, taking photographs and research. “Hands-on experience and knowledge helps you grow as a person, and it is a good feeling when you know you are making a difference,” added Ramon.

Promote Health & Wellness
With a passion for promoting a healthy community, Danielle de la Paz serves on the National Youth Advisory Board for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies where she makes presentations and promotes teen pregnancy prevention.  The high school senior is also a part of her local hospital’s Teen Advisory Board and helps make health and wellness presentations for other teens.  By talking to other teens, she hopes to help encourage them to make healthy decisions. Most hospitals also recruit volunteers to assist with nutrition services, physical therapy and art therapy for patients among other volunteer roles.

Volunteer At Your Local Hospital
Jessie Barron, age 15, likes to volunteer whenever she can at her local hospital where her duties have ranged from  giving treats to the children in the hospital to cleaning wheelchairs and organizing.  “I help in anything they need. I like it because I get hands-on activities and I get to help somebody,” shared Jessie. “It makes me feel so good about everything. I think it is important because a lot of people nowadays don’t understand. Once you start volunteering, you never want to stop.  It gives you a new perspective, it makes you feel good and it warms your heart.  It is amazing.”

On top of the benefits of feeling good about your selfless acts of service, Myra also recommends volunteering as a way to gain experience, build skills and explore career opportunities.  Myra started off volunteering in high school, developed new skills and worked her way up. For Myra, this volunteer role opened the door for her current job as an official fire fighter getting paid for her hard work. “When I first started, I wanted something different and challenging and something that helped my city, so I volunteered at the fire department,” added Myra.

Check out your local fire department, police department and hospital to find out how you can become a volunteer.