Shades of Shadeism

ShadeismCreated by five students from Ryerson University’s School of Journalism in the spring of 2010, Shadeism, according to the Shadeism website, is a word that means “discrimination that exists between the lighter-skinned and darker-skinned members of the same community.” In Latina terms, that pretty much means women who are treated differently, or unfairly, because their skin color is lighter or darker than other Latinas.

 

Sometimes, a person might not even realize they’ve experienced Shadeism until they really think back to it. It can happen so unnoticeably that you’re not even sure if it’s even considered Shadeism. On the Shadeism website, there is a clip of the documentary that was done to start off the Shadeism movement, and in it are girls of color (not all Latinas) who talk about ways they’ve experienced Shadeism. One of them even says that her family called her by a nickname that was based off of her skin color when she was born. Kind of like calling someone “guerita.”

 

“My family’s been calling me guera since forever,” said Mia Salazar, 22. “I’m the most light skinned in my family. It’s never bothered me, I guess, because I am. I’m a guera. I never thought there was anything wrong with it.”

 

But if Shadeism isn’t always a bad thing, what’s the big deal? If people are treating you better because of your skin color, it must be okay, right? Wrong. Although it probably feels great to be called prettier because of your darker or light skin color, it’s not okay because of the people who aren’t being called pretty based on their skin color. This is why Shadeism began.

 

“I, myself, have never experienced Shadeism, but I’ve seen it a lot in my family,” said Luz Treviño, a freshman in high school. “But I’ve seen my tias and tios do it. They call one of my cousins pretty because her skin is whiter. They still love their son, but he’s darker, like his dad, so they just think she’s prettier.”

 

The five people who started the documentary realized Shadeism existed and wanted to get the word out on it so they could one day stop it. For now, the founders of Shadeism hope to finish filming their documentary, after visiting different countries and talking to people of various communities, just to raise awareness in hopes of getting the people of that community to get rid of any Shadeism they may have experienced in their region. Although the Shadeism website  has yet to inform readers of how exactly to stop Shadeism, there is a video on the homepage that allows you to see the discussion between five girls and how they went about becoming aware of this type of prejudice. Discriminating, or treating people badly, because of a difference of theirs, for any reason, is always wrong, no matter what. And the best way to stop Shadeism starts with anyone who has seen it or experienced it within their own community.

 

If you ever notice someone treating anyone better or worse because they have light skin or dark skin, tell them it’s wrong. Especially if it happens in your own family. Family members might not even realize that they’re doing it, and telling them it is wrong can be helpful to them, as well as your community. Everyone should be treated equally, regardless of their differences.

Quiz: Do You Know the Chicano Education Struggle?

Social Media Done RightSo you know about the Alamo, Santa Ana, and maybe about Cesar Chavez. But what else do you know about the history of Mexican Americans? There’s a lot to our past that we know very little of – but no fear, we are here to help change a little of that. The Latino and Latina’s right to education has not been an easy path, and we are here to put your knowledge to the test of the Chicano educational struggle, from prominent court cases to terminology.

This quiz is not for the faint of heart. Are you up for the challenge? Step up to the plate and try your best – it’s okay if you can’t get a perfect score. You’ll walk away from this quiz learning a lot more  about the Chicano educational struggles, which is way more rewarding.

1. There were many justifications school officials used for segregating Mexican American students from white students, aside from prejudice. What was not a reason used for segregating?

A) Mexican American preference – they wanted to be segregated

B) Low achievement – they did not do well compared to other students

C) Language problems – the language barrier between Teachers and Spanish-speaking students

D) High achievement – they did better compared to the other students

2. Which act prohibits discrimination against faculty, staff, and students in educational institutions?

A) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

B) 14th Amendment

C) Equal Education Opportunity Act

D) Right to Education Act

3. Crystal City, Texas is home to one of the most prominent school walkouts in 1969 for civil rights. Students walked out in protest over the racial limitations on the ______________ put by the school board.

A) Football team

B) Student body

C) Teaching staff

D) Cheerleading squad

4. Which president passed the Bilingual Education Act, which aimed to improve programs for students with limited English-speaking abilities – but ultimately failed?

A) Lyndon B. Johnson

B) John F. Kennedy

C) Ronald Reagan

D) Barrack Obama

5. Mendez v. Westminster is a court case that addresses racial segregation. It’s most known for critiquing the “separate but equal” standard created by Plessey v. Ferguson by adding that _________ equality should be involved in the standard.

A) Social

B) Racial

C) Gender

D) Economic

6. Cisneros v. Corpus Christi ISD was the first court case to argue that Mexican Americans were an ethically identifiable minority group and abandoned the ___________ strategy that many other cases had used previously.

A) Hispanic-Caucasian

B) Other white

C) We’re all the same

D) No race

7. What does LULAC stand for?

A) Latinos United in Latin American Countries

B) League of United Latin American Citizens

C) Leave Underrepresented Latino Americans in Class

D) Love and Unite Latin Americans in the Country

8. What is the name for the type of segregation that occurs when Caucasian students leave a school because of the rise in attendance of Mexican American students?

A) De jure

B) Jumping ship

C) De facto

D) White flight

9. LULAC vs. Clements was a court case that fought for access to equal educational resources (such as higher education) for Texas residents in _______________ region.

A) Panhandle

B) South

C) Central

D) Border

10. Which of the following is not an outcome from segregated schools settings?

A) High drop out rates

B) School stress

C) Increase in college-bound students

D) Poor performance in academics

Answer Key:

1. D – Students were not segregated because they preformed higher than others.
2. C – Equal Education Opportunity Act was an important act for educational rights.
3. D – There was a restriction of only 2 Mexican American students on the cheerleading squad, despite the largely Hispanic population. This walkout prompted a change in the school board to reflect the population of the town.
4. A – Lyndon B Johnson emphasized education as a necessity for the American Dream, especially for minorities.
5. A – this case said stated the social inequality should be implemented with the “separate but equal” decision, and sparked a ripple in Civil Rights cases. It had an indirect influence on the Brown v. Board of Education case.
6. B – other white refereed to Mexican- Americans as the “other white,” but this was changed with a school attempted to mix African-American and Mexican American students as a form of “desegregation”.
7. B – LULAC is an organization that advocates for the rights of Latinos in the US.
8. D – de facto is segregation by law and de jure is segregation by residential neighborhoods.
9. D – this case was about residents in Border regions. Although they lost, it influenced the creation of South Border Texas Initiative, which is a funding package for 9 four-year universities in the area.
10. C – segregated settings negatively affect the amount of students going to college.

This quiz was inspired by a class available at the University of Texas at Austin.

Holidays in Latin America

As Latinos, we don’t just have one way to celebrate it. Latin America covers a big part of the globe and Latinas come from various countries, from Chile to Venezuela, Colombia to Guatemala and Mexico to Puerto Rico. Below you’’ll find some popular festivities from around the world.

Christmas Eve in Argentina
The day before Christmas, people participate in the lighting of paper balloons. These balloons are lit on the inside and released into the air. Firework displays are also a common activity. As in the USA, families place their gifts under the Christmas tree. They attend a midnight service at church and then they go sing Christmas carols from one house to another.

Christmas on Mexico
In Mexico, the Christmas season starts on December 16th. People adorn their houses with “Noche Buena” flowers (poinsettas), evergreen pine trees and colored lights. Sometimes families put on a nativity set (Pesebre) which can be as big as the family wants from just Mary, Joseph and Jesus to the entire city of Bethlehem. During December “Posadas” are celebrated where groups of families and friends gather together and eat, sing a break the “Piñata.” A posada commemorates Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem in search of shelter.

Consoada in Portugal
Consoada is a holiday dinner a day before Christmas where families honor their dead relatives and friends. Once the dinner is set up they add an extra seat and place setting that is left empty for the souls of the dead. Once the dinner is over they leave leftovers on the table to feed the hungry ghosts.

La Quema del Diablo, Guatemala
It translates as the Burning of the Devil and it is a prelude for Christmas. The purpose of this event is to ensure a devil-free holiday season. People sweep all the dirty corners of their houses, collect and gather the dirt and garbage in a huge pile outside, put a sculpture of the devil over the pile and light it on fire.

Christmas in Colombia
Holiday celebrations in Colombia begin in early December. Because most of the population is Catholic, the ceremonies start with the honoring of Virgin Mary. On December 7, families light candles and outline the streets with them until the whole city is illuminated. Later on December 16, Christmas trees are decorated with the start of the Novena which is a nine-day prayer ritual with a rosary in anticipation of Christmas day.

Although we are one big community, we have different customs and traditions in celebrating the holidays, but enjoying time with loved ones is a common focus.

Dealing with Traditional Parents

latina girls - latinitas

Written by Claudia Mendoza

Different Latinas share their own experiences about dealing with traditional parents, as well as their their own advice on how they coped with culture and tradition affecting their lives.

 

1. Leaving for College and Moving Out

“My mom was hesitant and really sad when I moved away for college,” shares Victoria Navarro, 19, when discussing her experience leaving her hometown for college. “She tells me that it is hard and she would prefer me to be back home. She would love to have me at home if she could. With me leaving so soon, she was fearful of me being by myself and being on my own, but she never told me I couldn’t do it,” she adds. Victoria was able to make the transition smoother by telling her mom why she wanted to attend a prestigious school out of town and how it would offer her new opportunities. “My mom recognized it was a good opportunity. She is really supportive and she knows I worked hard for it.”

Ariana Ortega explained how difficult it is to even bring up the topic of “moving out” with her mom.  Both her and her mother live alone, for the majority of the time, in a four-bedroom home.  This not only makes it hard on her mother but it makes it hard on her to even think about leaving her mother alone; the guilt and the privileges of living at home hold her back.  ”I always think about moving out, even though my mom gives me plenty of freedom.  She always tells me that moving out comes with a lot of responsibilities, and that living on my own I won’t come home to home-cooked meals,” Ariana stressed as she stared off into the distance.

2. Social Life

Alexsis Centeno, 18, explained how difficult it is to even go out with her friends and boyfriend.  Lexy (nickname), explained that her parents are divorced and living in two separate homes, with two sets of rules, highly  opinionated parents, and a “Cruella” for a step-mother are the main reasons to her undeveloped social life.  Lexy stressed, “I choose to ignore it.”

Lexy Centeno shared her story, “When I was 15 they started to let me date.  I really wouldn’t let them know anything about what goes on with the person I was dating, they just knew who the person was.”  Lexy explained that she is currently dating a soldier, Kenny, 19, and she stressed that her parents allow him to join the family and come inside the house, however they are not to be left alone at any moment.  Her parents do not want her to have distractions that will prevent her from finishing school, and having a career.

High school senior Lexy Centeno feels relieved to know that if she were to move out her parents would help her, as long as she continued to go to school.  In fact, she plans on moving out with her best friend as soon as she graduates from high school.

3. Double-Standards and Having the “Talk”

“I think there is a lot of shame in having the sex talk in the Latino community,” shares Victoria.  “It is something that you don’t even talk about. For me, it was that my family would not accept it at all. As a girl, you are told that a lot of your respect has to do with your purity. I would say that it should not be a one-sided discussion. It is important to have a discussion with your parents. If you think it is an option, you should be open with them and you may be surprised that it might become a real discussion. It is important to show that you have thought about it and what it means. If your parents aren’t open, you can find out the options on your own to inform yourself at a health center.”

“My brother gets a lot more freedom than I do and he’s younger.  If I was to do the same, act as he does, I would get grounded for 3 months!  He would only get grounded for a week, literally,” stressed Lexy in a rather bothered tone.

Advice from Lexy:

 

“I know that having strict, traditional parents is not easy and it may or may not get easier as you get older but all I can say is that the more you’re able to prove to your parents that you’re trying to be obedient and the more you gain their trust, the easier it will be to enjoy your teen years. I know that we want to go out and have fun but our parents are usually right and they are only hard on us because they want the best for us.  We may not understand certain things right now, but when we get older or become mothers, we too will want to protect our babies just as much as they are trying to protect us.  Sometimes parents mess up but it is up to us to decide what we let affect us on a daily basis, so don’t let little things distract your pretty little minds.  Instead, focus on finishing school and getting a part-time job.  The sooner you graduate, the faster you’ll be out of your parent’s house living your own,” shares Lexy.

Service Learning Experience in Peru

During the spring break of my 2014 spring semester, I got the exciting chance to be part of the international service team at my school! Six other students and I made a trip to Peru with the goal of installing a solar electric system in Corpani Peñas, a village located high in the mountains of Peru with no access to electricity. After weeks of installation training and preparation, we were heading to South America, ready for the many adventures ahead!

1 Cross Hike

For most of the trip, we stayed in Urubamba, Peru. The city is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with magnificent, green mountains surrounding it. Here, we tried foods like lomo saltado, a tasty Peruvian dish with potato, beef, rice, and onions, and ceviche rich with seafood from the coast. We had the chance to hike up one of the nearby mountains on what is locally known as the “cross hike,” which consisted of trailing up a path overgrown with plants and shaky rocks until, at last, reaching the top, where a giant cross overlooks the entire town and surrounding valley. It was a view like nothing I had ever seen before!

2 Corpani4 Assembling Part of the Solar electric system

Installing the solar panels gave us the opportunity to stay a couple days in the village of Corpani Peñas. The people living in the village spoke in Quechua, with only a few individuals

knowing any Spanish. Quechua is an indigenous language, once the official language of the Incas, and now stands as the official language of Peru, in addition to Spanish. This was a language I had never heard of before, and was fascinated by hearing it spoken so much around me! On one of the nights spent here, we were treated by the head of the village to a special dinner where we were served cuy, a popular dish in Peru. Cuy, as odd as it may sound to us in the United States, is essentially cooked guinea pig! With hesitancy and curiosity, we gratefully ate the dish, which the village only prepares on special occasions. After a few cautious bites, the whole team was pleasantly surprised by the delicious meal.

The solar electric installation process was successful, despite there being several slight bumps in the road. It took the whole team and community members to brainstorm when materials failed to work, but teamwork and determination allowed us to pull through!

Following our stay there, we traveled to Ollantaytambo, a historic site of Incan ruins in another part of the Sacred Valley. Our guide told us the history behind some of the ruins, like how the giant terraces built along the side of the mountain were used for agriculture, and how some of the buildings were used as storehouses for food and seeds. Some of the structures, our guide shared with us, have archeologists and scientists still puzzled as to how the Incas were able to construct them, for example, walls built with massive, finely carved rocks all perfectly placed to fit like a puzzle, and packed together so closely, not even a pin can squeeze through! Viewing this historic site and hearing some of its history was incredible!

3 Ollantaytambo

5 Ollantaytambo

Our final stop of the trip, only a few hours before heading to the airport, was to the famous city of Cusco, once the capital city of the Incan Empire! Cusco is home to some amazing churches and buildings that were constructed after the Spanish conquest. We visited the Plaza de San Francisco, and made our way around the nearby market, where all sorts of clothing, jewelry, and foods were being sold. Knowing Spanish definitely came in handy here when bargaining for prices! What really caught my eye were the beautiful scarves being sold at one of the stands, stitched with vibrant colors and made from alpaca wool, a material commonly used in Peru.

At the conclusion of the trip, I boarded the plane back to the United States carrying so many great memories with me. From the food, to the breathtaking sights, to the welcoming people we met, this trip to Peru was full of new and exciting experiences that helped me learn about a culture and history I had never been exposed to before. Traveling is a perfect opportunity to open up your mind about the world, and if it’s something you’d like to do, too, a great way to do that is through programs at your school or in your community!

Quince Project

All in fairytale gowns and glamorous hair and makeup, Hope, Diana, Yareth, and Yeneira made their grand entrance into the Sand Dunes ballroom on August 21, 2014 to celebrate their Quinceañera as part of the Quince Project! The Quince Project is a charity program that works to put together a free Quinceañera celebration for girls selected in the El Paso, TX area who show strong leadership, academic, or volunteer experience, and who have overcome obstacles or financial hardships. Throughout the summer, the four girls were both involved in the organization of their quince, while also getting to learn more about their heritage and this traditional celebration.  The event relied heavily on donations, sponsors, and the help of a committee of Madrinas who volunteered to pull everything together. Madrinas and the girls received a great amount of support from the community!

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The morning began with hair and makeup for the girls at Tri-State Cosmetology Institute. Each girl got the star treatment and came out looking glamorous with their makeovers.

“I really loved getting our hair done, that felt really special,” Yeneira shared.

The girls then changed into their gowns, were dawned with princess-like tiaras, and had a photo shoot at the park before heading over to Sand Dunes hall.

“I felt nervous at the beginning of the day, but once we started practicing the dance and arrived at the hall, I got much less nervous. I started to get so excited and happy to see everyone here,” Diana recalls.

After a reception and dinner, the girls made their way for the grand entrance, accompanied in by family members. Next was the doll and shoe ceremony, followed by a fun dance set to the upbeat “Follow the Leader” by Jennifer Lopez, and slower waltz with loved ones. Hope, Yareth, and Yeneira all recalled the fun dance as their favorite part of the night, remembering that despite feeling that they messed up the choreography a bit, they improvised, and had great fun doing so!

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At the evening’s toast, in accordance with the butterfly as the symbol of the Latinitas organization, each girl was presented with a “set of wings,” recognizing each girl for her unique qualities and strengths.

“The best part of the night was when we did the cake ceremony and gave a toast, and got to thank everyone. Sarah gave us our wings, and I was very happy to hear her words. They were really meaningful. It almost made me cry, but I had to remember my makeup!” Diana laughs.

During this special moment during the celebration, Hope was awarded the wings of Confidence, Yareth received the wings of Cheerfulness, Yeneira was presented with the wings of Optimism, and Diana earned the wings of Courage.

“I felt just like a princess! It was just like I had pictured it,” Hope shared at the end of the night. A

fter a night full of dancing, great food, and memories, the girls reflected on their special day, and what it meant to them.

“This Quinceañera meant becoming a young woman, and getting to share that special moment with my family and friends,” Diana said.

As the night came to a close, each girl left with a few words of gratitude for all of those involved in the making of this memorable event.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone for making our dream possible. I enjoyed today so much,” Yareth shared.

“Thank you so much to everyone for your hard work,” said Hope.

“Thank you for making our day special, and for making it all possible. I hope it’s possible again for other girls like us next year!” Yeneira added.

Diana shared, “Thank you for making my dream come true, for helping me and the girls out through it all, and allowing us to share this important moment with our friends and family!”

As a young Latina, a Quinceañera marks a meaningful time in a girl’s life, and these four girls expressed such joy into being able to take part in this celebration.  This magical Quinceañera night proved to be a great success, thanks to the girls’ hard work, and to all the volunteer and community support aiding in the Quince Project!

Living on the Border

Laredo_Border_Crossing_25Living in a border city has perks unique to its citizens. Growing up in a city where Hispanic culture is the majority and the norm, makes for a very comfortable and connected life in the community. Ideas and traditions are generally accepted across the board because people have very similar backgrounds. Whereas speaking Spanish in another part of the country is an exceptionally valuable and marketable tool, it is just another part of living in a border city. The Spanish language is not an exception, but, almost like a form of currency, the more you know, the more you have access to the culture and the people that surround you. The border city examined in this article is Laredo, Texas. Located on the southwest border of Texas and Mexico, it houses one of the largest import sites in the nation. Visiting Mexico from Laredo is easy, just a fifteen minute drive down the highway and you have access to another country. Along with foreign goods, the Mexican culture transcends the border and infiltrates the city, and for this reason living in Laredo is truly a unique upbringing.

Leaving a Border City

Leaving the comfort of a city where most of your friends and peers have easily relatable backgrounds can be quite the experience. Trinity University student and Neuroscience major, Alyssa Izquierdo, shares what it is like to leave  Laredo and attend school in San Antonio, Texas. “Being right next to Mexico, you [notice] how easy it is for Mexicans to assimilate to Laredoan culture. It is a catholic majority… the culture is mexican, my family is all mexican,” she says. Establishing a circle of friends at Trinity University who vary in ethnicity and culture, she realized that speaking Spanish became an exceptional ability, one that she was grateful for. Surrounded by people taking Spanish language classes, she realized that the culture of her hometown was something not to be taken for granted.

Sharing Your Culture

On her thoughts about being an American of Mexican descent outside of Laredo: “I think living in a border city has helped me communicate better with the hispanic community- as in carrying a conversation with someone in Spanish. It has also helped me realize the opportunities that people have when they cross. I am grateful for having been born in the United States. [It] helps me see how lucky I am.”

Essentially, the culture that makes you unique is something to be cherished and never to be taken for granted. If you have the privilege of growing up surrounded by those with a familiar culture, take advantage of it, because it may not apply in other parts of the United States. On the flipside, embrace your culture in a diverse environment- you can start with showing off your mother’s wonderful enchilada recipe by sharing your home cooked meals with others.

Culture Shock

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.com

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.com

Have you ever moved to a different place? Have you ever gone somewhere new and felt like you do not belong? Have you ever had a feeling that everyone around you is different than you and that it  is something you cannot control? This is culture shock. Culture shock hits people in the most unexpected of ways.

You might be used to living in a place where everyone goes to football games every Friday night, and be shocked to move to a place where people go to more soccer games instead. Maybe you come from a place where there are Mexican restaurants around every corner, and be shocked to go somewhere where there are Asian food restaurants instead. And there is nothing wrong with all of this. However, it is ok if you find difficulty handling all of this. But facing these changes should not scare you.

Embrace the Change
Change is good. Moving to a new place is true learning experience where you do not only learn about a new culture but learn about yourself as well. Do not be afraid to throw all of yourself into this new place and everything it has to offer. Maira Zapata, a fourth year Latin American Studies student went through this experience. Coming from the Rio Grande Valley, she says everything she knew was “tacos in every corner.” When she got to college however, she met “all sorts of people.” According to Maira, meeting people from places all around the world was what encouraged her to study abroad in China during the 2013 Spring semester.

For example, if you are from an area where everyone goes to the island every weekend, do not be afraid to go to a country restaurant everyone goes to on the weekends and try line dancing, or singing country music. Trying new things will help reduce and possibly eliminate your culture shock. You should not be ashamed to have never been exposed to these news things. There will be different cultures within every city, state, and country you go to. That is what makes the world so interesting. Imagine if everyone liked the same things and did everything the same way. We would never accomplish anything! Life would be boring! Culture shock allows you to embrace new cultures.

While everything will be different at first, take it as an opportunity to learn something new. Reach out to new people or places throughout a city that you never pictures yourself visiting. If you find that your are vacationing or at traveling somewhere, ask questions! Your doubts will only leave you with more questions and more of a “shock.”

For myself, moving to a big city after living in a border town for years resulted in me having issues adjusting and facing tremendous culture shock. I was not used to seeing and interacting with people who did not know Spanish or did not look at me. Before I started college I had never traveled past Corpus Christi, Texas. I After starting college, I felt as if I was finally let out of the bubble I was living. Going off to college is already a shock in itself. But with patience, openness, and willingness to accept and do new things, the change in your surroundings will be a breeze.

Raised As One Of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Nina Santillan

Photo Credit: Nina Santillan

My mom began studying the Bible with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses when I was two years old. My dad was not very inclined to it, but my mom was interested in the amount of knowledge they had in the Bible. She would teach me what she would learn—the basics, of course. As I grew older and into my toddler years, she would not expect me to apply everything she would teach me, but I knew she would be disappointed if I did not. I remember at first it seemed difficult, since my dad was not studying and was a Catholic, to please both of my parents. I loved what I was learning from my mom, though, because it made perfect sense to me even as young as I was.

As I grew into my elementary school years, the peer pressure to do what everyone else was doing, as far as holidays and misbehaving, were things that I was afraid to face. However, as I began to make friends and let them know about my religious beliefs and where I stand, they really came to respect it. They supported me even to the point of standing up for me when teachers or others would question why I would choose not to participate in holidays and saluting the flag. They would do all the work for me without even asking them to.

As high school came around, my dad finally started to gain interested in attending our theocratic meetings with my mom, my little sister, and me. He began to study with another brother on his own time and his interest began to grow. He began to apply what he learned to his own life and made it something that he really wanted to have a share in and make part of his life. He strongly holds the knowledge he has gained from the Bible and even enjoys sharing it with others no matter how difficult it may be sometimes — since many can be religious-sensitive.

Even to this day, my friends from elementary and also from middle school and high school still remember that I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They tell me that they have always admired my conduct and the strong stance I have kept throughout all these years. Maybe one day, someone will knock at their door and begin studying the Bible with them because of the witness I gave throughout the time I was in their lives.

Mi Barrio: Del Rio, TX

map_of_del_rio_txI moved to Del Rio when I was six years old. It is located on the border of Acuna, Coahuila, Mexico. I have so much family in this city, and, since I grew up here, I have so many memories here. It has a special place in my heart no matter how small of a city it is.

Since Del Rio is a border town, the majority of the population is Hispanic. It is not too small to where it is considered a town, but it is also not too appropriate to be considered a city as if it were a larger city like San Antonio. It is a city that is not very close to larger cities. The largest cities close to Del Rio are San Angelo and San Antonio which are about two and a half hours away. Upon arriving to Del Rio, there is basically only one main road which is Veterans Boulevard. From this road, one can access all the other important streets. It has most of the restaurants and other businesses that can be easily accessed. Pretty much everyone in Del Rio knows or is related to someone you know. It can be convenient sometimes, but other times it can get pretty annoying, especially when all you want to do is go to Wal-Mart in peace. There are also a lot of Mexican restaurants, as one would imagine. Oddly enough, there are a lot of banks here, too.

There are not too many places to shop here, though. Teenagers have more fun at Wal-Mart than at the Mall. But then this gives everyone an excuse to make a special trip to San Antonio to do some shopping. There is also only one high school and one middles school but several elementary schools. There is also an air force base on the outskirts of Del Rio, so there are quite a few of military people in town.

Del Rio is growing slowly, but surely. Just recently, the speed limit on Veterans was raised from 30 to 35 and 35 to 40 in their respected areas. Although some people still drive at the previous speed limits, many are beginning to adapt. They are also bringing a Starbucks in the Fall of 2014 and possibly other chain restaurants and stores in the near future. The growth is exciting and there is always something to look forward to in this city.

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