Denise Riojas joined Latinitas in the 7th grade at Martin Middle School and participated until she graduated 8th grade. Quiet and thoughtful, Denise took a little time coming out of her shell, but when she did, her take on Latinas and media representation opened up. “Latinitas made me feel proud of my culture, something I had been waiting for since I was a girl. I know Latinitas has made me a more confident person.” Denise really enjoyed the opportunity to express herself through media making websites, producing ‘zines and short “webisodes” about life in middle school. Now a junior at the University of Texas Austin studying nursing, Denise returns to help Latinitas in a leadership capacity making presentations on health and fitness during our summer camp series and by managing workshops at Latinitas’ annual Chica conferences focused on tech in 2012 and college attainment in 2013. Denise helped girls produce their public services announcements on using technology for good and topics related to going to college. Denise is certainly paying it forward in the cycle of mentorship.
AUSTIN, TX – Ten years ago when Latinitas began as the first and still only digital magazine made for and by young Latinas, trends pointed to a publishing world that was going entirely digital. A decade later, a majority of Hispanic girls are still struggling for internet and technology access, still wedged in a digital divide because of cost and lack of bilingual content.
Understanding bicultural and bilingual print media is as relevant as ever for Latina youth, Latinitas launched its first Kickstarter campaign ending Oct 26th to cover costs of publishing its magazine in its first “slick” edition. Backers will receive an actual copy and other Austin or El Paso, TX centric prizes, where Latinitas Magazine and outreach is based. The current issue is focused on Latina health and wellness and will be 16 pages long.
Established in 2002, Latinitas, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to empower young Latinas through media and technology, has been a vital part of young Latinas’ lives through after school programs, teen internships, Saturday and Summer camps, special events, and the very first digital magazine for young Latinas—www.latinitasmagazine.org. The bilingual magazine, written for and by young Latinas, provides a vehicle whereby these girls and young women not only see themselves positively reflected, but are also a part of the production. Latinitas programs have served more than 20,000 girls and teens with empowering lessons about culture, identity and media expression. Latinitasmagazine.org has published over 1500 articles for and by girls and hosts its own social media network: MyLatinitas.com with 1,000 registered users.
The magazine will be distributed overall to public and high school libraries in Latino-dominant cities in Texas such as Austin, El Paso, Dallas and San Antonio and New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami.
Donate to the campaign here: http://kck.st/1eJH4yn
The day of media and technology workshops aims to help Young Latinas realize that college is attainable
DALLAS, Tex. (April 12, 2013) – Latinitas, the first and only magazine made for and by young Latinas, is partnering with Dallas-based Latinas Inspiring Vision and Excellence (L.I.V.E.) for a fun day of digital media education centered around college attainment, financing and culture.
Girls ages 9-18 are invited to attend Latinitas’ inaugural Dallas College Chica conference, which will include workshops, a college student panel at lunch and a local keynote speaker presenting on the value of academic pursuit.
Sessions on video production, photography and blogging will feature investigative activities on why college is important, what it is like and how to afford it.
Latinitas, a national 501(c)3 non-profit, is hosting the Dallas College Chica Conference on May 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30pm at the Eastfield College Pleasant Grove Campus at 802 South Buckner. The event is free and no previous digital media experience is required. Visit https://latinitas.ticketbud.com/latinitas-college-chica-dallas or call 469.834.3766 to register.
College Chica is Latinitas’ signature conference and will be traveling to Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and El Paso, Tex. throughout the year. Young Latinas are suffering the highest rates of school drop out of all their peers and College Chica is a direct effort to curb those statistics by demystifying the college experience for Hispanics and other youth.
Established in 2002 by Laura Donnelly-Gonzalez and Alicia Rascon, Latinitas aims to empower young Latinas through media and technology. The 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization has been a vital part of young Latinas’ lives through after-school programs, teen internships, Saturday and Summer camps, special events, and the very first on-line e-zine for young Latinas—www.latinitasmagazine.org. The bilingual magazine – written for and by young Latinas – provides a vehicle whereby these girls and young women not only see themselves positively reflected, but are also a part of the production.
• served over 20,000 elementary, middle and high school Latinas through its after-school enrichment programs and spring and summer camps
• published over 1,500 empowering articles for and by Hispanic girls and teens
• incorporated mentors, interns and community partners to enrich the program and provide positive role models for the girls
• expanded to ten cities and opened a new office in El Paso
• developed a Teen Reporter in Training program for high school students
• approximately 35,000 readers per month accessing www.latinitasmagazine.org.
L.I.V.E. (Latinas Inspiring Vision and Excellence) Inc. has blossomed into a place for girls to bond with other girls and to increase their social skills. Girls can practice speaking in front of an audience and learn how to present their own creations.
Event Honors Media Icon Elizabeth Avellan
Ten years ago, news outlets reported for the first time Latinos were America’s largest minority. At the same time, statistics coming down the pike about Latino youth were devastating. Fifty two percent of Latina teens were getting pregnant at a rate that was twice the national average, reports showed one out of every seven Latina teens attempts suicide, and 41 percent of Hispanic females nationwide were not graduating with their class in four years.
Tackling the issues and needs of Latina youth, Latinitas magazine, the first digital magazine made for and by young Latinas was born in a class with the efforts of then-students Laura Donnelly Gonzalez and Alicia Rascon. To get at the core of Latina youth’s challenges, the two also developed programs based in self-esteem, awareness and cultural pride using media and technology, reaching over 20,000 chicas ages 9-18 since.
To celebrate a decade of incisive, girl-produced articles and a place for young Latinas to express themselves –Donnelly- Gonzalez and Rascon are dedicating their annual fundraiser Fotos de Mi Alma Photography Auction to Latinitas’ 10th Anniversary of publishing with their next print issue and honored guest, Austin favorite daughter Elizabeth Avellan, Hollywood producer and creator of the Spy Kids franchise.
Fotos de Mi Alma auction, May 16, 6-8pm at the Emma Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center features donated photography from some of the hottest contemporary photographers in Latin America, Iran and the U.S.. The night will also honor true “Latinitas” media maker and Food and drink will be served. Admission is $20 in advance, $25 and the door. Proceeds benefit Latinitas 30 after school programs, dozens of free Saturday and week-long camps. Purchase your tickets here: https://latinitas.ticketbud.com/fotos-de-mi-alma
Established in 2002, Latinitas, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to empower young Latinas through media and technology, has been a vital part of young Latinas’ lives through after school programs, teen internships, Saturday and summer camps, special events, and the very first online e-zine for young Latinas—www.latinitasmagazine.org. The bilingual magazine, written for and by young Latinas, provides a vehicle whereby these girls and young women not only see themselves positively reflected, but are also a part of the production.
To date Latinitas has:
- 30,000 readers per month accessing www.latinitasmagazine.org
- Served 20,000 elementary, middle and high school Latinas with after school enrichment programs
- Provided over 19,000 hours of free digital media production and literacy lessons
- Published over 1500 empowering articles for and by Hispanic girls and teens
- Developed Spring & Summer camps
- Incorporated mentors, interns and community partners to enrich the program and provide positive role models for the girls.
- Expanded the program to ten cities; new office opened in El Paso
- Developed a Teen Reporter in Training program for high school students
I had no idea that this organization would make such a huge impact on my life. Latinitas has transformed my college experience into something I never imagined it could become. I feel a sense of community and purpose as an intern and club leader. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to be a part of an organization that stands for something so dear to my own heart: the advancement and empowerment of young Latinas. A lot of people talk about change, or wanting to make a difference, Latinitas is that chance to do both. When you are a club leader, you are introducing these girls to concepts they’ve never heard of before, teaching them how to use their voice, you change the way they see themselves and the world around them. I see many girls who are truly a reflection of myself, they dream like I once dreamed. I hope that seeing my success as a Latina pursuing her dreams, keeps theirs alive.
Latinitas met with New Jersey/Dominican Republic native writer Junot Díaz on his most recent book tour through Austin, TX. Díaz’s first novella Drown was received with national critical acclaim. He followed it with a Pulitzer-prize winning novel: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a story that flips back and forth between the awkward life of a comic-book reading Latino geek to the intricate history of the Dominican Republic from the 20s on, a rugged depiction of the despised and tragic Trujillo dictatorship. Diaz’s newest: This is How You Lose Her, restores Drown’s main character…Yunior as he traverses in and outside the psyche of women, young and old, tethered and lonely, haggard and vibrant.
Latinitas: Who influenced you to write?
Junot: It started at my school library. My future in writing was made in my love of books. The idea of books and the community of books. More than one person will read a book out of the library. Fifty people may have touched the book you are reading, or more. Books, in some ways, travel through time. What you are reading, someone may have read 20 years ago. It was in the school library where my love of books exploded in my brain.
The book that comes to mind that changed my life is Sandra Cisneros’ Woman Hollering Creek. It told me the quotidian challenges of our community could be art. It was the first vocabulary I read of a Latino writer. The immensity of my debt to Sandra Cisneros is too large to be described, what I owe to her.
Latinitas: How much of being a 1st generation American made you write?
Junot: I don’t know if I didn’t wrestle with immigration if I would have written at all. I am also attempting a bridge back to my former life. At the heart of my writing lays my Dominican-ness, my links to African Diaspora.
Latinitas: Book reviewers seem to want to peg you as your main character Yunior in your other books. What are your thoughts about that?
Junot: It’s a way to avoid talking about the artistry and avoids and denigrates the interesting things I write, trying to reduce my writing to memoir.
Latinitas: What do you think of the DREAMers, the undocumented students in the U.S. trying to achieve citizenship?
Junot: They are the bravest part of our civic experiment today. The prejudice against these kids reveals the craven cruelties of our leadership, and their treatment will prove a hideous vindication of society. There courage and leadership of youth is phenomenal. Obama and Romney come awfully short on acknowledging this group.
Latinitas: What do you read?
Latinitas: Everything, huh? You are saying you read science fiction to women’s romance novels?
Junot: Hah! My partner authors women’s romance novels and I’ve learned this is the most voracious reading crowd of all. I am reading histories lately and an anthropology book called Cruel Optimism, that talks about why poor people side with corporations and corrupt leaders. I just read Salmon Rushdie’s newest and check with my friends…The New York Review of Books is probably the best source of good stuff coming out.
Latinitas: What is it like to write a book?
Junot: It’s like running a high altitude marathon. Each book, though takes a different set of muscles. This is How You Lose Her, a reporter pointed out, is a series of apocalypses – relationships, cultures, destruction, rebuilding.
Latinitas: Critics get on you about writing women too, maybe even going as far as calling you a macho. I like how you write women. It might be uncomfortable to see our self-esteem challenges illustrated, but I think you tell our story pretty accurately.
Junot: I am writing of a masculinity I observed. Women have it just hard. I don’t have to be hot, if I’m confident as a man. I don’t have to be confident if I’m prosperous. It doesn’t matter what a woman does, achieves - she is being judged for her looks. And, 1 out of 6 women will report sexual abuse or rape in their life. This is problem with masculinity. And she’s shamed for it or gets no justice.
Latinitas: Speaking of injustice…how does the publishing industry treat Latinos?
Junot: As does the whole country. Not well! We are weened on a steady diet of anti-Latino venom right now breeding a monster afflicting our Latino identity. Our country looks at Latino identity and does everything to afflict her, yet we couldn’t live without her. She is “Atlas” holding up this country.
Latinitas: Your readers assume your characters reflect some components of you, the comic book lover, the voracious reader or even a Dungeons & Dragons player. If you were a teen boy today with all the emerging technology/social media, how do you think you would geek out?
Junot: I guess I’d geek in ways that weren’t popular. I’d probably still be playing Dungeons and Dragons.
THANK YOU! My name is Arlette Duarte-Moran. I’m a 15 year old chilean living in Australia. I read your articles on name calling and it gave me more of an understanding of why people do those things. En mi escueal, I get called a lot of names for being Latina, like Wog, which is an offensive Australian term for parasite from Italy or Greece. I hate that name because I’m proud of being a Hispanic teen and their ignorance simply annoys me because I don’t want to be known as a “wog”. I just wnat to be known as me, Arlette. I recently attended the co-operation out of conflict international conference where I was a guest speaker on behalf of racism in schools, as a victim myself, I felt I brought some insight to the press which is where I took my expereiences as well as other ethnic friends who’d expereieced the same kind of abuse. We have rights no matter where we’re from. I’ve never been ashemed of being Latinia and coming to websites like this one makes me even prouder of being a Hispanic teen. Thank you for this amazing website. Keep up the good work.
-Arlette Gabrila Duarte Moran
I wanted to message you and tell you thank you for allowing me to participate in your program as a club leader. Hopefully next year I will be enrolling in graduate school to earn my masters in public service. This whole time after graduating I have been thinking about what to do and I realized that I have been practicing for it my whole life. I have been dealing with youth and their education but most importantly fighting for them to have equal opportunities as their counterparts. Even now, I’m an English teacher in Korea stationed at a rural area. Thank you for being a teacher to me and for the many opportunities. Latinitas turned out to have done so much for me.
TECHchica: Latinitas Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with the 1st Latina Girls Conference in Austin
AUSTIN, TX – Ask Hispanic women achieving what they lacked on their path to success and you might be surprised that the challenge of academics and economics takes a back seat to the absence of needed Latina role models – the examples of those who “made it.” Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15) by bringing mentors and young Latinas together, Latinitas is hosting Austin’s 1st ever Latina Girls Conference, TECHchica, Sat., Oct 6, from 9am-4pm in a partnership with Time Warner Cable and Austin Community College’s Eastview campus. Cost: $15 per girl. Register: 512.447.4440 x13 or at Latinitas Magazine.
Girls will engage in a “hackathon” like atmosphere developing a social media campaign to “change the world” and then implement it using blogs, video and podcasts.
“When we asked Hispanic girls in Latinitas’ programs what motivates them, they unanimously agree they want to help others.” said Laura Donnelly Gonzalez, Latinitas,
Founder, COO. “We are pairing their love of technology and media production with the desire to create a social media campaign that will do just that.”
Female bloggers, IT professionals and video producers from all over the city will walk girls ages 9-18 through these activities.. During lunch, girls will be visited by a panel of women leading and succeeding in technology including local journalists, bloggers and technology executives from area businesses which will be filmed for a national web stream/simulcast to Latinitas’ El Paso chapter.
Latinos are still significantly less likely than whites to have a home internet connection (55% vs. 75) due to several socio-economic factors including low levels of education and limited English ability. That lack of access reflects heavily in Latinitas where 95% of club attendees do not have a computer at home.
“Ten years teaching digital media education and publishing the only magazine made for and by young Latinas, Latinitas has seen a lot of technology innovation come from girls as young as 8 and we wanted to create a fun, supported, competitive environment where they could work collaboratively with a concentrated group of educators, technophiles and mentors.” Said founder Laura Donnelly Gonzalez.
Established in 2002, Latinitas, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to empower young Latinas through media and technology, has been a vital part of young Latinas’ lives through after school programs, teen internships, Saturday and summer camps, special events, and the
very first online e-zine for young Latinas—www.latinitasmagazine.org. The bilingual magazine, written for and by young Latinas, provides a vehicle whereby these girls and young women not only see themselves positively reflected, but are also a part of the production.
Time Warner Cable (TWC) Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) campaign is a five-year, $100 million cash and in-kind philanthropic initiative to address America’s declining proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which puts our children at risk of not competing successfully in a global economy.
“As a father of two LATINITAS, I know fully the challenges that our young ladies deal with daily. I love the fact that LATINITAS has made it their mission to support and generate positive self awareness for our young ladies. Its important work; its loving work and it truly makes an impact!”
Benito Martinez appeared in season 8 of the hit show “24″ starring Kiefer Sutherland. Martinez current appears as “Luis Torres”, a member of a Mexican drug cartel, in season 4 of FX Network’s hit show “Sons of Anarchy” as well as one of the main host bodies of the entity Leviathan on the popular CW series Supernatural. In 2011 he had a small role in “The Blood Line” the finale of Torchwood’s fourth series, known as Torchwood: Miracle Day. He has also appeared in Million Dollar Baby and had a long-running role as police chief on the acclaimed show, “The Shield.”