Global Scribes: Youth Uniting Nations

Lawp7eLb_400x400Written by Jessica Aguilera 

In today’s world, the ability to share, relate, and tap into others’ lives is almost instantaneous. Connecting con su familia and your friends in Spanish speaking countries can be reached with a post on Facebook. Or a video uploaded to youtube, even a tweet can become viral, allowing millions of people worldwide the ability to see a small glimpse into your life. So why don’t we take that power and put it into education? Essays are only seen by your professors and peers, information is regurgitated from textbooks, and no personal creative thought is promoted. With standardized testing, educational institutions are pushing the same basic structure that is needed to get high scores for funding. But what happened to the creativity and imagination that we all have within? Why isn’t that being promoted?

Well an NGO called Global Scribes is taking action in uniting youth cross-culturally. Global Scribes© believes that stories have the power to connect youth worldwide, build cultural understanding and break down the barriers that divide us from others. Students, also called global scribes, do this by logging onto the Global Scribes website, uploading their creative stories related to the monthly word that sparks their imagination, and viewing and commenting on others posts. These stories or “letters to the world” can be viewed around the world regardless of geographic location! Global scribes use this interactive virtual network to connect youth through the power of shared stories which help break down barriers and promote cultural understanding.

In addition to uploading written content onto the Global Scribes website, youth, ages 8 – 22, utilize an extensive social media network that includes a radio station, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. In fact, they even have a YouTube channel on which students can see students across the world reading or storytelling their stories, videos that share the life they lead, and youth created trailers for GS:IM broadcast interviews.

So who’s the pushing force behind this global initiative? Quien es el cerebro detrás de esta organización?

Cynthia English is the founder and visionary for Global Scribes. Cynthia lived in South America, North America, Canada, the Middle East and Europe. She spent the first 22 years of her career travelling worldwide in the fashion industry, created her own interior design company, had articles and a thriller novel published, then launched Global Scribes on Thanksgiving Eve, 2014. She truly has dedicated her life to promote the acceptance of different and distinct lives, as well as the preservation of free spirit in all humanity, regardless of origin and culture.

Que puedes hacer? What can you do?

Create. Connect. Collaborate. Create your unique story. Connect via your unique video. Collaborate on GS Teams that speak to your heart and passion from Shakespeare and Theatre, to Bon Appetit, to Tech, to GS Scribes and others–you choose. Each story that is posted can be seen worldwide. Algunas historias se publican en Español!  If you know more than more language, post your story in both! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just practice!

This interactive network that promotes youth to express their creativity, imagination, and virtually connecting youth to break down barriers and brings about global unity. Being able to relate to a student in South America about what makes them happy and being able to write about it lets you learn so much about a different culture. The beauty and the power of the written word should not be wasted! This NGO is revolutionizing global education.

Communication Challenges with Family

A huge problem that happens in almost every household everywhere in the world is handling family relationships. Almost everyone has experienced this at some point in their lives. You love your family and you wouldn’t change them for anything, but that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t change a few things about them. Sometimes this can lead to having serious arguments with one another, so what happens when it escalates to a huge argument? What happens when there’s a bad communication? When you don’t get along with your mom, dad, brother(s) or sister(s)? What needs to be done to fix this?

Talk about your differences.
Communication is one of the best things you need to do at first when you see that things are not working out. If someone’s talking behind your back, doing things against you that you don’t like, offending another relative or anything similar, you need to talk it out. According to Stress.about.com, if you have some problems with someone you should “see where each of you may have misunderstood the other or behaved in a way you would change if you could, offering sincere apologies, and in other ways resolving the conflict can heal the relationship for the future.”

Communication may solve most (not all) of the problems you may face with your family. So, instead of ignoring the problem, or doing something you may regret, talk it out!

“I used to fight with my mom all the time, until one day I got tired of it and sat with her and talked for hours, problems minimized and now we have a much better relationship” says, Paola Lopez, 15.

See the consequences of your actions.
Don’t do anything you may regret, don’t say anything that you may regret in the future. Think about the situation and what may happen before acting. You don’t know if the other person is going to react the wrong way or take your words or actions. Don’t say anything while you’re angry. Because most problems can be fixed and they will pass, and if you say something hurtful, it may not be possible to take it back.

“I regret some things I said to my cousin, and after 10 years, we are finally talking again,” shares Arely Zapien, 20.

If you can’t see the end of the differences, distance yourself from bad influences.

If you’ve tried to work things out several times and there’s no good answer from the other person, the best you could do is distance yourself from them. You’ve tried and tried, and you’ve done everything in your hands to fix the problem but if things are still the same, it’s time for you to walk away. Even if it’s for a while, distance yourself from the problems and let things cool down a little bit. Don’t hurt yourself no more, be free from that complication and live your life knowing that you did the best you could to work things out. Maybe after a few months, the other person will realize that this thing is not worth risking your relationship for.

“I had to get away from my problems for a while, my aunts didn’t come to their senses, the problems have lowered and now after a long time, they’re realizing they were wrong to judge me,” says Gloria Lopez, 18.

Yummy Snack Recipes

Summer is around the corner, which means the paletas, raspados, and other summer treats are going to be plentiful. Here are three easy homemade treats that will satisfy those summer cravings.

Strawberry and Kiwifruit Popsicles

Ingredients

  • Popsicle molds (if you cannot find these, plastic cups and popsicle sticks can work as well.)
  • 4 Strawberries
  • 2 Kiwifruits
  • 100% white grape juice

Directions

1. Make sure you wash both the kiwi fruits and strawberries before you start.  Remove the stems from the strawberries and carefully peel the kiwi fruits.

2.Next, after you ask an adult for help, cut both the strawberries and kiwi fruits into round slices.

3. Once you have all the slices, arrange and fill in the molds and/or cups with the fruit slices.

4. Then, add 100% white grape juice to the molds/cups. Be sure to only add enough to cover the slices. If you are using a mold, be sure to close it. If you are using a cup, be sure to add a popsicle.

5. Leave in the freezer for about 6 hours or until the juice is completely frozen.

Remember, you can always get creative and mix and match different fruits and juice flavors!

Vasitos de Pepino

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • Chamoy
  • Chili powder
  • Crunchy peanuts (cacahuates japoneses)
  • Mango or tamarind candy
  • Salt

Directions

1. Wash the cucumber, cut off both ends, and peel it completely.

2. Next, cut the cucumber in 3 sections.

3. Once you have the 3 pieces of cucumber, remove the center of each one using a spoon. Be sure to not go completely through it because the cucumber should resemble a cup. Then, put it aside.

4.In a small bowl add just enough Chamoy, lemon and chili powder to make a paste.

5.Now that you have the cucumber cups, add the paste to the edges of the cucumber cup as well as more chili powder. You can do these last two steps by flipping the cucumber cups upside down and then rub them on the plates with the paste and chili. This will coat the edges of the cucumber cups.

6.Once the edges are filled with the paste and the chili, fill the cups with more Chamoy, mango or tamarind candy and peanuts.

7.Add lemon, salt and enjoy instantly!

These two fruit filled snacks go perfect with this hot summer weather, but if you have more of a sweet tooth this next recipe may be just the right treat for you.

Oreo Frappe

Ingredients

  • 5 Oreo cookies (or as many as you would like)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Chocolate syrup or liquid chocolate
  • 2 cups of vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped Cream
  • Ice
  • Cinnamon or chocolate sticks (optional)

Directions

1. Crumble the five Oreo cookies into tiny pieces and set them aside.

2. In a blender add one cup of milk, two teaspoons of chocolate syrup, two cups of vanilla ice cream, and ice.

3. Add chocolate syrup to the sides of a cup. Then, pour the mixture of chocolate, milk, ice cream and ice you just blended into the cup.

4. Add whipped cream to the top and sprinkle the Oreo crumbles.

5. Add a cinnamon stick, chocolate sticks, a cherry or even a whole Oreo as a yummy decoration. Don’t like these options? Any other ingredient that comes to mind can be added.

Musician Spotlight: Jessica Hernandez & Ana Tijoux

Lately, the Latinitas office started to explore different musical genres. These two Latinas are not only talented, but we can’t stop dancing to their songs!

jessicahernandez_photo_gal__photo_432388068Jessica Hernandez
Lead singer of The Deltas, an American soul/pop band from Detroit, Michigan, has been described as a “rock’n’soul powerhouse”! As a first-generation American daughter of a Mexican mother and Cuban father, she grew up working in her family’s bakery. Her most recent breakthrough has been the release of Secret Evil in 2014. Her catchy rock-n-roll tunes is definitely worth a listen, chicas!

800px-Anita_tijouxAna Tijoux (Ana María Merino Tijoux)

Ana Tijoux, a French-Chilean musician, has an impressive background in hip-hop and rap. Consuelo Vargas and Makul influenced her musical interests in the late 80’s and early 90’s, which led her to create the hip-hop group, Makiza, withLos Gemelos withZatourno. In the late 90’s she was the female MC of Makiza, a hip-hop group, and in 2006 she crossed over to Latin Pop with her collaborative hit with Julieta Venegas, Eres para mí.

Discrimination: Heard and Stopped

There is nothing that hurts more than being verbally abused or being called on for being different than other people. According to a Pew research poll, Latinos are the 2nd most discriminated against ethnic group.

“When I was in high school, I used to play football. I grew up in a house with all boys, I was the only girl on the team. I was also one of the few Hispanics on the team. I remember trying out and after practice, my coach told me to go back to the ballet classes because he didn’t think a girl could be capable of being on the football team with the other guys,” said Amanda, 19.

Amanda was being discriminated on her gender, thinking that only because she was a girl, she wasn’t capable of doing what boys could do. Even though many people were going against her, she kept her head up and proved him wrong.

“I kept practicing really hard, trained twice as hard, and the day of tryouts I proved him wrong and I made the team. I wasn’t going to let him put me down,” she added.

“When I came to the United States from Mexico, I was the only one from my family to go to college. I was the only one who spoke English, and I was the only one that graduated from high school. I remember one of my first professors in college didn’t pay much attention to me. I had a thick accent and my classmates would always stare at me because I spoke and dressed differently, ” said Stephanie, 23.

“I couldn’t fight my accent, but I studied hard, participated as much as I could, got an A in his class and at the end of the semester, he apologized to me,” she added.

Being the first generation to attend college was not an easy thing for Stephanie to do. Even though she was treated unfairly because of her roots and the language she spoke, but, regardless of her treatment in the class, she proved him wrong — just like Amanda did.

“In middle school I was the girl that dressed funny. I didn’t like the way I dressed either, but I couldn’t help it. My parents couldn’t afford to buy me new clothes every year, or even any clothes. I would usually get the hand me downs from my older siblings and cousins. People would always make fun of me or didn’t want to be seen with me because I didn’t look good. But I didn’t let that stop me. I wore everything I had with pride!  I ignored the people that didn’t like it, and I’ve never been happier, ” said Camila, 16.

An Associated Press-Univision Poll found that 61 percent of people overall said Hispanics face significant discrimination and according to a 2011 study on Child Development, discrimination can cause a great impact mentally and physically on a teenager and even adults. Studies show that adolescents who have recently been discriminated against lose confidence in themselves and lack of motivation.

Whether it’s gender, racial, language, or financial discrimination; it matters and it needs to be heard and stopped.

Say something, speak up, let your voice be heard, and don’t let other people tell you how to be happy. As long as your happy with yourself, nothing else should matter.

Outstanding Latinas in Politics

As part of Women’s History Month, we are spotlighting influential Latinas who have made a difference in the community and/or their field.

Ambassador_Vilma_MartínezVilma Martínez
From 2009 – 2013, Vilma Martínez, a democrat, became the first woman to be the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina. Born October 1943, Martinez has an impressive history as a civil rights activist and lawyer with MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. As the president of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), she fought for the Voting Rights Act to include Mexican-Americans.

 

 

Cristinakirchnermensaje2010Cristina Fernández De Kirchner
Born on February 19, 1953 in La Plata,Buenos Aires Province, Cristina Fernández De Kirchner   is the first directly elected female president of Argentina, and is the first re-elected female president of the country. While she has made a strong impact with her policies, she is often critiqued for her bold moves and relationship with the media.

 

 

220px-Hilda_Solis_CropHilda Solis
From 2001- 2009, Hilda Solis served in the United States House of Representatives. In 2009, Hilda Solis, C became the first Latina serve in a State Senate. She is a highly accomplished politician and environmental activist. Shes was member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, authored 17 bills against domestic violence, and is passionate about labor laws, immigration reform, and education. As the first person in her family to attend college, she is an incredible role model for Latinas wanting to make a difference in their community. Hilda Solis continues to have a long-lasting impact with her community in California.

All for One and One for All

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Just like Oprah Winfrey says: “It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you came from. The ability to triumph begins with you, always.” That’s the case for 3 women who came from different backgrounds and made huge changes in history. Manuela Solis Sager, Emma Tenayuca, and Luisa Moreno Manuela are activists who joined thousands of workers to speak up and fight for their rights.

Manuela Solis Sager, Emma Tenayuca and Luisa Moreno led Mexican workers’ movements in Texas during the 1930’s. Each of these women had a key role in one of the most famous conflicts of Texas labor history: “The 1930 strike at the Southern Pecan Shelling Company.”  In the course of the strike, thousands of workers in more than 130 plants opposed to a wage reduction, which was one cent per pound of shelled pecans. Sager, Tenayuca, and Moreno led the way for many who were hopeless and who had been mistreated by tyrants in farming, agriculture and in big factories. The women went out of their way, without caring about the risks involved, to pursue freedom and fair rights for men and women.

Manuela Solis  Sager 

Manuela Solis  Sager was a Texas activist who married a man who helped to organize garment and agricultural workers in Laredo, TX.  She became one of the first official organizers of the South Texas Agricultural Workers’ Union (STAWU) and worked in the Rio Grande Valley, which is considered to be one of the most challenging places to run. Manuela and her husband, James, played very important roles in a labor dispute involving the Mexican pecan shellers — the majority happened to be women. Manuela Solis Sager routed her conviction for human rights into activism. During her life, she was involved with the Chicano Movement, a women’s movement, immigrant rights, and opposition to U.S. interventionist foreign policy.

Emma Tenayuca

Emma Tenayuca, a Mexican-American, was known for being a labor leader, an union organizer and an educator. Tenayuca was brought up in a large family of eleven and lived with her grandparents at an early age to ease the economic hardship of her family. Emma was born into a Tejana family who were victims of the independence and the U.S.-Mexico War. Unfortunately, Emma and her family were affected by the Depression, but this became an eye opener for Emma Tenayuca to see the struggle of the low-class workers.

Luisa Moreno

Luisa Moreno belonged to a wealthy family in Guatemala City, Guatemala. As a teen she assembled “La Sociedad Gabriela Mistral,” where she successfully performed as a leader. Moreno turned down her elite lifestyle and decided to pursue a career in journalism in Mexico City. She brought workers together in unions, directed strikes, wrote pamphlets in English and Spanish, and gathered the 1939 Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española, which become the first national Latino civil rights assembly.

Like these women, don’t be afraid of dreaming big. Instead use fear to empower you to defeat challenges in your life and to reach your desires and goals.

Girl Talk: Becoming a Chica Poderosa

I don’t often think of myself as a powerful woman. It usually takes some reminder, like Latinitas asking me to guest blog, for me to take a step back (away from doubts, insecurities, and tasks that occupy my mind) and say, “Hey, you know what? I am a chica poderosa.” So that would be my first piece of advice to all of us: realize that each and every one of us is powerful, and don’t let yourself forget it. Remind yourself constantly. Take time to really appreciate it and think about what that means. So, how do you know that you’re a chica poderosa? Make a list and find out. Just like the one I’ve made below.

“I am a chica poderosa because _______.”

For me, I am a chica poderosa because ……

  1. I haven’t let failures stop me from pursuing my dreams. Sometimes that means I’m persistent. Sometimes that means I change directions. But either way, I keep going.
  2. As my mom has told me since I was little, I am una mujer de recursos. Being resourceful does not mean you always have every answer at your fingertips; it means you’re curious and driven to find it.
  3. Taking small steps equal big goals. Nothing happens overnight. I believe in working hard for the things I want—day after day after day—in small, doable ways. You know how we’re always surprised how fast a month, a year, or even a decade can pass? You’ll be surprised how fast small steps add up to big achievements.
  4. I am not fearless. (But I don’t let my fears stop me.)
  5. When someone tries to make me feel bad about myself, I remember that only I can give them the power to make me feel less-than. Don’t give them the power.

Your turn. What does your list look like?

Natalia Sylvester is the author of the novel Chasing the Sun. Born in Lima, Peru, she came to the US at age 4 and grew up in South Florida, where she studied Creative Writing at the University of Miami. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram: @NataliaSylv or visit her at nataliasylvester.com.

Dealing with Feeling Ignored

Youth writer, Elizabeth Enriquez, answers questions dealing with feeling ignored.

I’m having problems with my friends. How do we talk about our issues to find the best solution?  Will they ignore me?

Having friends doesn’t always mean agreeing on everything.  It is healthy to have your differences, as long as those differences do not make you compromise your values.  I think you answered your own question, talking about the problems is the key.  Keep the lines of communication open.  A strong friendship is based on mutual respect and the right to express yourself for how you feel.

My problem is that my dad and mom are separated, and I don’t get to see my dad. I feel like he doesn’t make time for me anymore.
The separation of your parents in no doubt changed the way life was for you.  One thing you must remember is that your parents both love you. They are probably trying to adjust to the new boundaries and limitations that a separation sometimes requires.   Talk to your parents about how you feel.  Let them know where you stand and that you would like to spend equal amount of time with them.

I feel like I don’t fit in. People dislike me because of the things I like. Basically I am different and people hate it. I don’t want to change the things that make me happy, but I would like to not be judged.
If you have to compromise who you are to make friends, you will never be able to be yourself.  It comes down to who you want to be, what role you want in life.  Would you like to be someone that isn’t genuine to be friends with others or rather be yourself and have those around you who respect and like the true you? If you love who you are, why would you ever change that?

 Have a question you want answered by one of your teen writers? Send advice questions to editor@latinitasmagazine.org.

Celebrating Culture in Music

Mexican culture itself is unique, colorful, vibrant and expressive. Singers often share their cultural background through music. Through their music, these artists tell new generations about the history, daily life, and/or  his/her dreams  and/or culture.

Ana Lila Downs Sánchez, best known as Lila Downs, blends Mexican and American cultures together in her music.  She is a talented American–Mexican singer-songwriter and actress, and her talent is to mix Mexican traditional and popular music. Her unique touch is to incorporate indigenous Mexican influences, such as Mixtec, Zapotec, Mayan, Nahuatland Purépecha.

Her use of language showcases the landscape of Mexico.According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Mexico is the 14th largest country in the world, with an approximate  population of 122.3. Spanish is the predominant language among Mexicans and is spoken by 92.7 percent of the Mexican population. An estimated 6 percent of the population speaks Spanish and indigenous languages, such as Mayan, Nahuatl and other regional languages.

Lila was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico where she studied at the Institute of Arts by Oaxaca. Later, she briefly attended the University of Minnesota. However, her passion for music was bigger, therefore, she decided to focus on her musical career. Wherever Lila goes deja bocas abiertas with her innovating style that captures traditional Mexican music and new musical trends. She has performed at well known venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, both located in New York City. Lila was invited to sing at the White House to perform on the 75th Annual Academy Awards and Latin Grammy Awards in 2012.

Lila Downs is a real life example of how to success in the music industry can happen without sacrificing your cultural background. Always remember and be proud of where you come from, always aim high, and do not let stereotypes or negative comments about your culture bring you down.