Leading Teens: Title IX

20140412_114233At the age of 16, Priya Ramamoorthy, Kavya Ramamoorthy, Maanasa Nathan, and Smrithi Mahadevanare  completed and presented research on Title IX (law which advocates for gender equality in educational programs) at the National History Day  (NHD) competition. Latinitas interviewed these passionate chicas about their research concerning the NHD competition.

 

What are all your backgrounds – Indian-American? Sri Lankan – would love to share that.
We are first generation Americans with parents from south India. Our parents’ first language is Tamil.

Please, each of you, share your age, favorite volunteer service/community action you like to take, favorite Latino food you like to eat and most important value your parents instilled in you.

Maanasa- I am 16 years old. I don’t really have a preference on community service; I take all the opportunities I get to volunteer and give back to the community. My favorite Latino food is Enchiladas. The most important value my parents instilled in me would be to never forget who you are because the world is always going to be changing, and your personality, morals and values are what are going to define you forever. Basically follow your dreams, but don’t lose who you are in the process.

Smrithi - I am 16 years old. I am head of a non-profit organization called Racquet Readers, where we collect slightly used books from stores and distribute them around the South Austin community. Our goal is to promote literacy by organizing events and setting up libraries in community centers as well as hospitals. My favorite Latino food would have to be bean and cheese Nachos, with sour cream and pico de gallo on top. The most important value my mother has instilled in me is that success does not come easily. You have to work hard for everything, and put 100% of your effort into everything you do; only then can you be successful in life.

Priya - I am 16 years old. I love working with kids of all ages, and through Girl Scouts I volunteer every summer for our Service Unit’s Day Camp -my favorite part is helping out with arts and crafts. My parents have instilled in me the importance of reaching out to others and also the art of communication. I am naturally a shy person, but, through my parents pushing me towards volunteer opportunities that force me out of my bubble, I’ve noticed that I have started to overcome this challenge and be more outgoing. My favorite Latino food is authentic arroz con frijoles.

Kavya - I am 16 years old. Working with others is something that I enjoy. Some of my favorite volunteering experiences have come from working with students and teaching them about programming robots and attending a leadership camp last summer where I was able to work with and meet a variety of groups. My parents taught me to believe and have confidence in myself. When I open myself up to others and carry myself in a confident manner, I find that a world of opportunities open up. My favorite Latino food is churros with hot chocolate.

 

Explain how the four of you got from presenting on Title IX to Voter Registration?

Our research on Title IX for the National History Day (NHD) competition, led us to recognize the importance of grass root organizations like the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for their great efforts in the 1970s and on-going active role in women’s rights today. When we were attending the NHD competition in Washington D.C., we were invited to visit the AAUW headquarters. During our meeting we learned the current initiative of AAUW was to increase women and minorities access to the ballot box. We also got the opportunity to participate in a Voting awareness promotion at the AAUW office. This got us thinking about the importance of voting, a fundamental right and the most powerful political instrument available to every citizen. The 2013 NHD competition enabled us to research voting rights in depth, and we were surprised that this basic tool was denied to many minorities until recently. And 2012 being an election year, got us thinking that we four would be eligible to vote in the next presidential election. Being women and minority voters, we realized that new barriers to voting could impact us as well. We have wanted, ever since, to get involved in helping minorities and the younger generation become registered voters and active participants in our democratic process,” said Manasa Nathan.

 

What’s happening today that discourages people of color from voting?

The recent court case, Shelby County v. Holder, struck down important provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Justices ruled that the trigger formula (Section 4), which decides the states that fall under the pre-clearance measure (Section 5), was unconstitutional because it was outdated, in effect nullifying the clause that guarded against new voting barriers. Many states have taken advantage of this verdict and have passed new discriminatory laws that deter minorities ability to vote, like photo Voter ID laws and gerrymandering plans. Texas has just passed a stricter photo Voter ID law and is in the process of passing a new redistricting plan – a plan to redraw the boundaries for voting districts. The Voter ID law, according to Ari Breman from Nation Magazine, could disenfranchise up to 800,000 people due to the requirement of a government issued ID -an added cost for voters. Cutting early voting days has become a recent trend in some states. The long lines caused by this can deter people from voting. The ever evolving barriers to voting that pop up each day highlight how the fight for voting equality is not yet complete, and it is the task of the younger generations to step up now and take an effort in ensuring that everyone can fully exercise their right to vote,” said Smrithi Mahadevan.

 

In your opinion, is the attack on immigration related to fear of a new diverse voting population?

The attack on immigration stems from various causes, economic concerns of a new immigration group in the workforce, party politics, etc. A fear of a diverse new voting population, in our opinion, is a significant factor in causing this attack. Voting is power. Many see a new immigrant group -based on ethnicity- as a single entity that will vote on certain party lines. For this reason, Texas, being a state with a heavy influx of minorities, is drawing the attention of both the Republicans and the Democrats,” said Priya Ramamoorthy.

 

What were things about voting rights you learned that shocked you? Good and bad.

One vote is one voice. Access to the ballot box grants you the opportunity to raise your voice and be heard on local, state and national issues that affect your life. Citizen coalition groups continue to provide a national voice on minority issues influencing the outcomes of legislation. We must remain vigilant in protecting this basic right because one vote is one voice and that voice must be heard. However, new challenges to the voting arise every election cycle. We, in turn, should honor the legacy of those who fought to enfranchise minorities, by valuing and exercising the right to vote,” said Kavya Ramamoorthy.

 

You can read more about these topics, and view their NHD project, at:

http://76705925.nhd.weebly.com/ - Title IX: Empowerment Through education

http://18602803.nhd.weebly.com - The Voting Rights Act of 1965: One Vote, One Voice

 

The “F” Word

Photo Credit: AAUW

Photo Credit: AAUW

Here’s what Latinitas writers had to say about their experience with feminism:

During my teen years, I remember reading articles and following groups who would protest against the injustice in the work force, or the repression on women having to stay at home rather than work, and I considered that I myself was a victim of it. I really disliked the differences between my brothers and I- like the curfews, the permission to date, the restrictions on what to wear, amongst other things. It humiliated me that someone would consider me weak, when I knew in my heart that I wasn’t. I spoke up, and never gave up a battle when talking about the differences between men and women at home.

Truth be told, what worked the most for me, was to separate my own thoughts and beliefs from that of my family. I began to understand that my concern over the misconceptions on women didn’t have to do much with me, as it had to about others. As I traveled to different places around the world, I came across with women who had gruesome and very difficult hardships. They were in desperate need for change. My heart began to soften, and I became grateful for the fortunes I had in life. I treated the issue of feminism with more desire to unify than to protest.” – Giselle Rosas

I’ve never really considered myself a feminist. But after really thinking about this question and examining my personal experiences growing up, I realized I kind of have had feminist ideals for a really long time.

Something that always angered me as a kid and still continues to do so now is the way my mother does EVERYTHING for my father. Sure, I should mention that my dad because handicapped last year restricting him to a wheelchair, but, even then, my mother does TOO MUCH for my father.  And to my father that is ok because my mother is the “woman” and should be “serving” her husband. 

I constantly get angry that my father asks my mother for EVERYTHING and she does it without thinking twice. I will never forget an occasion soon after where I told my mother how I felt.  We ended up having a heated argument and in the end she told me that by doing all she does, she is doing what she is SUPPOSED TO DO. And years later, I still don’t understand what she meant. Who is the person who sets up these guidelines? Why are women led to believe that they have to SERVE their husbands, boyfriends, brothers, cousins, ect. These stereotypes are NOT ok and they are sadly my experience with feminism. – Ingrid Vasquez

“Feminism has influenced my every day life and has changed the way I view everything. I’m more critical of the shows and movies I watch, the music I listen to, and the literature I read. Identifying as a feminist has given me a new outlook on life and I have to admit that it’s really a much happier one. 

Knowing that I’m a feminist and that I believe in equality for women has made me feel empowered. I really feel that I can do anything I set my mind to it and isn’t that just what everyone should feel? The media often portrays women as weak, defenseless victims who need someone to save them, but feminism has shown me that we can defend ourselves at all times. Feminism has also taught me to reject the other view of women that media portrays: the catty woman. Women don’t hate each other and they really shouldn’t. We’re up against men who think we’re not capable of everything men can do, and we should be supporting one another rather than turning our backs to each other.” – Cynthia Amaya

Through my adolescent experience, I paid no attention to feminism or identifying myself as a feminist. I had moments here and there where I’d talk with friends about double standards about sexuality, not nothing too in depth… It wasn’t until I was around 17/18 that I began to realize how wrong this was and that I shouldn’t let these misogynistic ideas control what I think. I started getting into riotgrrl bands and would think about girl empowerment. You would think that at an all girls school, I would gain a sense of sisterhood but most of the time I felt the opposite. I would think I was better than other girls because of the bands I liked or movies I watched. I realized that this was all wrong. The more articles and blogs I read, I began to finally identify as a feminist because I believed in their ideology. I began to notice all the casual misogyny in every day conversation and try my best to keep my cool.

Now that I’ve researched all the sub-types of feminism, I’ve realized there’s a lot of bad sides to feminism that I do not agree with. More than anything, I identify as an intersectional feminist. I believe we shouldn’t look at women as all one big sisterhood, but we need to realize the struggles of every women in every ethnicity.On a daily basis, I find it hard not to fight for feminism.” – Claudia Delfina

Advice to My 13 Year-Old Self

Photo Credit: AAUW

Photo Credit: AAUW

Latinitas celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting a blog-a-thon. Members of the MyLatinitas.com community shared heartfelt advice they wish they were told when they were 13 years old.

Popularity is a big one. When I was thirteen I tried hard to be an extrovert, and I thought being ‘shy’ was a weakness. Whenever someone ignored me or was rude, I figured it was my fault. I thought I wasn’t interesting or cool enough. Then I realized that ignoring people and being rude was a bad trait, and that it wasn’t me who had to change anything about myself, but rather the other person. Trying to be popular through fake behavior, modifying our physique and being hard on ourselves can be stressful.

I’m not sure if hearing someone say this to me at 13 would’ve worked or made much sense as it does now. But the truth is that beautiful and genuinely kind girls eventually blossom into respectable women, especially if they remain honest with who they are. So it’s important to endure through those hard and confusing times, not letting anyone change who we really are.” – Giselle

“When I was 13 years old, I didn’t know how to put on makeup yet and my biggest concern in life was that there must be something wrong with me because all my friends had a boyfriend but I didn’t. I had to start thinking about where I’d go to high school and even college. I was really insecure at the time and constantly put myself down. I always felt like was never good enough for some reason.

I wish that someone had told me not to give into too many of your emotions. So often I make decisions on what I feel rather then what is logically correct and I wish someone told me to follow my head instead of my heart. I needed to hear that I need to put myself before anyone else and become the best person I could possibly be. And most importantly, I wish someone said to spend time with family. It’s so important because you sometimes often get so busy with growing up that you forget your parents also grow old too. I wish someone told me all of this but even if I heard it at 13 years old, I may have been too stubborn to actually follow this advice, but it still would have been nice anyway. ” – Claudia

All I can say is that I grew up ‘too soon’ in a sense that I [didn't have] a childhood, and my teenage years were controlled and spent at home playing video games (sometimes up to 12 hours a day)… You are still young, 13, you still have a lot of time to spend with the family! It is your decision to stay with the family or not, whether you are 13, 18, already in your mid-20′s with your own kids, it doesn’t matter; age is a number and [spending time with your family is a must]. [It's] not a choice.” – Irena

Latina Spotlight: Leading Latinas

Photo Credit: AAUW

Photo Credit: AAUW

Latinitas celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting a blog-a-thon. Members of the MyLatinitas.com community shared who they admired and why:

I will be honest. I am not a big sports fan. But if there is one revolutionary Latina that just has to be mentioned in sports, that has to be Rebecca Lobo. If you are a basketball fan, you might now that Rebecca was part of the 1996 Olympic women’s “Dream Team,” but let me tell you a little more about her.

Born in Hartford, CT, Rebecca was around basketball at a young age. Her career highlights include awards such as the NCAA Women’s Basketball Player of the Year (1995) and the ESPY Award for Outstanding Female Athlete in 1995. She won these awards and many more at a time where women in sports was something taboo, and extremely unheard of.

While she is currently playing for the Houston Comets, her career as a professional basketball player began after her graduation from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1995.

Rebecca’s star status grew when she started playing college basketball and was one of the women who showed America and the world that WOMEN PLAY SPORTS!” – Ingrid

Selena Quintanilla is my inspiration because she was an amazing Latina singer. She set a good reputation for herself also, she inspired so many young Latina girl.” – Alizae

Today I met Josefina Vazquez Mota, one of Mexico’s first female presidential candidates. She ran for the 2012 presidential elections. I remember I was in Thailand at the time and wasn’t able to vote for her but was hugely concerned over whether she would win. In the end, she wasn’t elected, but was still hugely recognized. Today, in New York City, she presented her book on the success stories of Mexicans in the US, titled “El sueño que unió la frontera.

Josefina is a Latina like you and I. She was born in Mexico but believes in the power of Latinos, not only in the US, but in Latin America as well. Here or there we’re all bound to fight for a cause, she expressed.

 I grew up believing I needed to belong somewhere. One place, only one. I was born in Brownsville, Texas (as I have probably mentioned a million times) and would drive to Mexico every other weekend. With time, I realized that I loved both places, but I also knew they weren’t very similar, and this caused a feeling of contradiction within me” – Giselle

 

Street Harassment

Written by Rebecca Jackson

Latinas and women around the world are thinking creatively about ending street harassment. From sharing their experiences online, to writing poetry and taking photographs of their harassers, women and girls are doing their part to put an end to the fear and intimidation.

What is street harassment?

StopStreetHarassment-2Street harassment is just a new name for an age-old experience: women and girls receiving unwanted comments or gestures from strangers (mostly men) in public. In a 2010 study, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control identified street harassment as “harassing the victim in a public place in a way that made the victim feel unsafe.” Unfortunately, street harassment happens to ladies of all ages living all over the world. Gabi Deal-Marquez, 23,  recalls that, “catcalls have been a part of my life, a part of growing up as long as I can remember.” In the United States 33.7% of women will experience street harassment in their lifetime. The percentage is even higher for Latinas, 36.1% of whom will experience street harassment. Internationally, studies have shown that anywhere from 70% to 95.5% of women living outside of the U.S will experience street harassment in their lifetime.

Women Fighting Back

While the statistics are bleak, Latina responses to street harassment provide practical guidance on living with street harassment and inspiration for ending it entirely. “Early on I was taught by my mother to keep my eyes open, know where you’re going, look street smart,” says Deal-Marquez. Jocelyn Cardona, 21, shared her techniques for dealing with street harassment, “I want to feel safe when I am walking. Sometimes I would make a funny face or ask them to mind their own business. . . Now I walk down the street and the expression on my face is hard, cold, and unwelcoming.”

While many women can share their methods for avoiding street harassment, it is important to know that street harassment, and sexual violence of all kinds, is never the fault of the victim and always the fault of the person doing the harassing.

Lauri Valerio, 23, shares that “To me [street harassment] represents a power struggle. It seems that when I am cat called or shouted at on the street, or when someone makes those gross kissing noises, it has nothing to do with how hot or not I am and everything to do with the fact that I look vaguely female from where the harasser is standing.” Street harassment is about men displaying power over women and it is unacceptable. Valerio went on to say that “talking about it, for now, may be my main way to find comfort and solidarity and put up a little fight against it.”

The power of talking about street harassment is the founding principle behind Hollaback! “a non-profit and movement to end street harassment powered by local activists in 64 cities and 22 countries.” Research by Hollaback! shows that responding to street harassment, instead of ignoring it, can help women ward-off feelings of isolation and powerlessness. Writing about your experiences, taking a picture of your harasser on your cell phone, and even giving you harasser a pointed glare can help minimize trauma. The organization provides a forum online for women to share their experiences with street harassment, enjoy international solidarity around the issue, and brainstorm ways to end street harassment for good.

Artist Hannah Price uses her camera to respond to street harassers. Price takes photographs of them after they call to her on the street. Price shared with NPR that, “just turning the photograph on them kind of gives them a feel of what it’s like to be in a vulnerable position — it’s just a different dynamic,” Price says. “But it’s just another way of dealing with the experience, of trying to understand it.”

Overcoming Street Harassment

Whatever their age or location, women are taking inspiring and innovative approaches to making  the street a more welcoming place for all of us. You can be a part of that change! Remember that street harassment is never your fault! If you encounter street harassment don’t be afraid to share your experience with Hollaback! or a trusted adult. Older women especially will likely understand your experience and offer you support.  Walking in public in a group may help you feel less threatened if someone yells at you on the street. If your harasser is someone you know report the incident to a trusted family member or teacher. If someone you know is harassing someone else, challenge their behavior if you feel safe doing so. Ask them if they understand how their actions impact others. Tell them it isn’t funny and make your disapproval clear.

Mi Familia

Latina Girl Writing - LatinitasLatinitas hosted a blog-a-thon to celebrate Women’s History Month. Here’s what some of our writers had to say about the mujeres in their familia.

“[My mom is the person] I love the most in my life! She’s such an amazing woman; I’ve never seen anyone work harder than her. She’s the founder and director of a Spanish immersion preschool, and when I watch her work there I can’t help but get inspired to work hard as well. It makes me proud to be a Latina who takes part in teaching others about the colorful and amazing Hispanic culture. Working with her at the preschool is what made me realize how much I love working with others, especially children. And because of this I now want to become a child therapist. Gracias, mamá!” – Vanessa Aguirre, 14

“ Looking up into my abuela’s eyes, I saw her passion for cooking and serving her family, and keeping their house nice and tidy. She loves staying at home and performing her duties as a housewife. But, my abuela is apart of the last generation of Hispanic women who are having this role. Hispanic women today are businesswomen, lawyers, doctors, spokeswomen, and so much more. We are evolving to be the biggest and powerful women out there, Latinitas!

I used to think when I was younger, all Hispanic women knew how to do was cook, clean, and take care of the kids and the husband. But not anymore, Latinitas. We have an education now and we’re learning more and more and we will not stop! I am the first person (and female) in my family to go to college- receiving the highest education any of my family has ever gotten. I see how proud I make my family and how much I will be able to help them. But, the greatest thing of all, many young Latinas (like YOU) are receiving a wonderful education!

I am seeing us Hispanic women become stronger than ever. We want to make a difference in this world! We do not need to stick to the same stereotype that everyone believes: all that Latina women know how to do is cook and clean. Of course, we will always love to take care of our familias, but, that doesn’t mean we can’t contribute more to our world and make ourselves better women.

One thing I have learned as a Hispanic woman, Latinitas, is we are capable of doing more than we have ever imagined.  Let us prosperinto the beautiful Latina women that we are! Change is not a bad thing, Latinitas, including the change we are experiencing as Latina women. We have come such a far way, so lets continue to make our familias proud!” – Megan Garcia, 19

“I got my first job during my second year of college. Scared, I really didn’t know what I was getting into working at a call center. No one in my family had previous call center experience and that really intimidated me at first since I was really struggling. But my sister however, has always been an incredibly hard worker, working all the way through college. She worked as a hostess for 4 years and a lot of times had to study on the job. So when I would complain about speaking with someone who was rude or mean to me, I always pictured my sister in the back of my head. She was and continues to be one of my biggest family influences.” – Ingrid Vasquez, 19

 

Leading Latina: Christina Garcia

Photo Credit: http://las-americas.org/

Photo Credit: http://las-americas.org/

Written by Rebecca Jackson

Immigration reform is a pressing political issue in the United States as people from around the world cross borders to find better opportunities for themselves and their families.  A Latina making an impact to help immigrants is Christina Garica. Christina Garcia is the Program Coordinator for the Battered Immigrant Women department at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas. That’s a long title for a crucial job.

Garcia’s Contribution to Her Community

In her own words, Garcia “takes care of people who are victims of crimes and domestic abuse.” She does this by connecting clients to the visas they need to stay safe.

The first is a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Visa which protects women who are married to United States citizens and suffer from domestic violence. The Violence Against Women Act, which was first passed in 1994, created a number of laws that politicians hoped would help prevent violence against women and provide better support for women who had experienced violence. Legislators at the time realized that many non-citizen and undocumented people, mostly women, experiencing domestic violence were not reporting the abuse to the police for fear of losing their immigration status and being deported. The VAWA Visa encourages immigrant women to report domestic abuse by giving them access to legal residence that doesn’t depend on their relationship to an abusive partner.

The second type of visa is a U-Visa. A U-Visa allows undocumented people who are the victims of crimes and have cooperated with the authorities to attain legal permanent residence. The U-Visa encourages people to report crimes without fear of deportation. “These issue are right at the center of human rights,” says Garcia.

When asked what she wanted young Latinas to know about domestic violence and the immigrant community she had a lot of wisdom to share.

“I think people tend to view immigration as an isolated issue that only a few people experience, when in reality immigration is this universal issue that happens all over the world. If you sit 10 people down in a room at least half of those people know an immigrant,” she said.

For Garcia, acknowledging that immigrants make up an important portion of our communities means that “when we confront violence against women we can’t focus only on women who are citizens or who have papers.”

She wants Latinas to be aware that, “it doesn’t matter what immigration status you have, if you are the victim of a crime or the victim of domestic violence, or if someone is pushing you to do something that you don’t want to, than it’s important to know that this isn’t right and that there is something that you can do about it. If it isn’t happening to you, it might be happening to someone you know, or it might happen to someone you’ll meet in the future.”

She took a breath before leaning forward and emphasizing that, “it is important to know that there are people who can help and you don’t need to have hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the assistance that you need.”

Garcia’s last comment points to the importance of organizations like Las Americas. Immigration law is complicated. Cases take a long time and require lots of complex paperwork to be filled out correctly, efficiently, and then sent to the right government office. Very few people could get all of that done without legal assistance from an attorney or someone professionally trained in immigration law. Unfortunately, hiring a lawyer can be extremely expensive (not to mention the money the government charges you just to turn in you paperwork!) and many of the people who qualify for VAWA or U-visas are low income. So Garcia and the other wonderful ladies of Las Americas work to provide immigrants with quality legal care at low cost. For Garcia it all comes down to giving back.

“As a Latina and a low-income person who had the opportunity to be educated, I think it’s kind of an obligation to give back to your community at some point in your career. I think I’ve been blessed to be able to do that here. It would be so cool if everybody thought like that,” she said.

Hispanic and Proud

Photo Credit: http://culturestrike.net/whos-afraid-of-the-tempest

Photo Credit: http://culturestrike.net/whos-afraid-of-the-tempest

Written by Karina Gonzalez

There is a lot of debate about the law passed in Arizona banning ethnic studies. The law states that Tucson, Arizona school district is banning all ethnic study programs that may create an uprising, discriminates against a certain race of people, and are made to specifically tailor to a certain race. There are people who protested this law when it was a bill, and now there are people who will continue to protest and fight this law. In 2011, a group of Latinos protested the law at a Tucson unified school district meeting. At this meeting they were going to vote to dismantle a Mexican-American history class. During the meeting the protestors stood up and ran to the stage, where they proceeded to chain themselves to the desks. There were a couple of security members that attempted to stop them, however they were unable to because the protestors had attached their chains to the people next to them.

 The many problems with this law 

In 2012 Peter Rothberg of The Nation wrote, “Over the past year, teachers, students and administrators have come together to challenge Horne’s ruling.” It’s obvious that even though the new law was created to lessen discrimination, there just seems to be more of it. Andrea Gonzalez, a freshman in high school, said that she found it shocking that anyone would ban a program that would obviously help students in their academic life.

Feelings of discrimination arise when there is limited Hispanic representation in the construction of a law. Alexa Gutierrez ,a junior in high school, said that she believes this plan will backfire on them in these two ways. Firstly, students will feel that their rights are being violated, so they protest, and they rebel against the government, which is exactly what they were “supposedly” trying to prevent. Or, secondly, the drop-out rate of Hispanics and other minorities will rise considerably. She also stated that both could happen because of this law.

In these programs, there was a 100% high school graduation rate and also an 82% college placement rate (The Nation)This is pretty amazing, because it can boast that all of the students participating in these programs graduated from high school and most of them went or are going to college. Granted, Latinos do not make up much of the population that graduates from high school, this school district was able to get every single one of their student to graduate high school. This in turn means that there would have been more Latinos that have good paying jobs. Gradually, over time, the first thing that people think when they hear Latino, or Mexican, or Chicano would not be ghetto.

Consequences of Banning Ethnic Studies

The consequences of this law are going to either be drastic or non-existent. Like Alexa stated earlier, there are going to be two ways that this law will backfire on them.

1.  There could be rebellions and protest against the law

2. There could be a rise in drop-outs, due to the fact that some of these programs are the only reason that some students stayed in school

3. Or possibly both

There could also be no change in drop-out rates and protests, however, this is very unlikely.

Andrea had a very good question; she wants to know why the officials who passed this law thought that students would rebel from reading books and attending classes that showed/told a different story. This is a good question to ask, because it shows that the officials who passed this law have little to no faith in students.

In early November , when the news first broke out that they passed the law, my English teacher (a white male), was outraged that they passed the law. So, he had us read a few chapters from The Tempest by William Shakespear; it is one of the books that are banned from being used in Tucson. He states that though society is verbally opposed to discrimination, it won’t necessarily stop them from doing it.

He also read a few pages from Borderlands/La Frontera, the New Mestiza by Gloria Anzuldúa. She grew up in the 1960’s and the first page he read to us from was her getting in trouble for telling her teacher how to pronounce her name properly. Samantha Benitez, 17, said that though she realizes times were different when Gloria Anzuldúa was growing up, it was good that she was willing to stand up for Latinos. At the end of the class period, Serrina Guerra, 17, said that she thought it was good that our teacher encouraged us to talk about topics like this in school. She also said that it was good to know that though he may not be a minority, he is one at heart.

It‘s hard for Americans to know that we once discriminated so openly and freely, and it’s also hard to think about the fact that people are still discriminating other ethnicities. It still happens, and the ban on ethnic studies is an amazing example of this. What Latina/o as a minority race need to do is stand up for what we want and we need to reach for the stars, because discrimination still exists and we need to end it.

Pharr Away

Photo Credit: Flickr, mylitocupcake

Photo Credit: Flickr, mylitocupcake

By Sara Cabrera

I eat menudo and barbacoa
with a fresh warm packet
of Guerrero tortillas
on Sunday mornings after mass.
After, I drive at 3 mph down the
bumpy Raul Longoria Road
to go to La Pulga de Alamo
and to beat
the Rio Grande Valley heat.
There I buy verduras y frutas frescas
and of course some Mexican candy.

I explored my granny’s backyard,
which reached the chin of Africa
to the most northern part of Canada.
My brother and I
were evil scientists and made our secret lair
in the luscious shrubs farthest from mom and dad;
making poisonous potions from water de la mangera
and crushed exotic flowers that danced in the yard
with names too fancy to remember at seven.

I chased lizards
up and down the old mesquite tree,
that met its final battle in ’08
against hurricane Dolly.
The tree used to serve as a clubhouse,
now Dad just uses it to make BBQ.

I celebrate Christmas
on December 24th, not the 25th.
Celebrations with tamales, pozole,
buñuelos, and who can forget the
posadas. I have two birthdays,
the day I was born, y el día de mi santo.

Book Review: “Fostered Adult Children Together”

9781475988390_p0_v1_s260x420Written by Alexis Bobadilla

Fostered Adult Children Together, On The Bridge to Healing … Will we ever get over it? tells the stories of over 60 former foster children whom faced several obstacles within the American Foster Home system and came out scarred, broken, yet positive, hopeful and faithful. Aside from the devastating experiences, there were many positive notes in the stories as well. Most of the journeys throughout this book end with the writer being emotionally scarred but with a positive view that they survived.

The main author of the book is a powerful woman named Carol Lucas who was also a former foster child. Lucas is the founder of F.A.C.T., or Fostered Adult Children Together, which she created to help former foster children come together for support, to encourage them, give them strength and help them heal together. Carol Lucas also wrote this book hoping to help other former foster children know that there are other people who have gone through the system, and to let them know that they are not alone.

Many of these stories are very moving, and show the benefits that come from the book and from receiving assistance from her organizatione. One of the stories is from a Hispanic woman named Tianna (Tia) Marie Hartford. She went through so much before the age of 9 years old. From being drowned to being chained in the basement, her story does not get better until the age of 25. The strength that this Latina woman has shown is very admirable. Even after everything she endured during her childhood, she still had enough courage to have children, twins to be exact. For most people the events that have happened to her would have traumatized someone from having their own children. Even though she has her doubts about being a mother, she is still trying to make sure they have a better life than she did. Hartford has a truly inspiring tale that needs to be told.

In another story the writer Terri Rimmer, who is also a former foster child, provided 10 Tips for Former Foster Children that every former foster child should follow.

Terri Rimmer shares the following tips for former foster children: 

Tip #1: Think positively about your future, now is a fresh start.

Tip #2: Find support

Tip #3: Get counseling

Tip #4: Join a church

Tip #5: Keep in contact with siblings and think wisely regarding family contact

Tip #6: Enjoy life without children for awhile

Tip #7: Volunteer

Tip #8: Stay away from drugs

Tip #9: Speak out

Tip #10: Ask for help

These tips should be a guideline for every former foster child who has been pushed through the foster care system. This book is highly recommended to anyone who is either interested in social work, foster care and for any former foster child who wants a support group to overcome their childhood memories.

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