Review: East Los High

EastLosHighKey

Hulu released its first and only original series in 2013, East Los High. This short series is one of a kind, an English-language show with an all Latino cast. With only two seasons under its belt, it is making an impression. East Los High is produced and directed by Carlos Portugal, who’s worked on other Latino projects such as East Side Story and Pop Star. Portugal called for help from Advocates of Youth, Voto Latino, and the California Healthy Family Council to create a series that is informative, educational, and realistic to its audience.

East Los High is a teen drama based in East Los Angeles, an area with a reputation of being tough and dangerous – a stereotype the show wants to discourage. The show follows a group of students at the local high school and focuses on many common situations that occur in a high school setting: friendships, love, sexual encounters, and peer pressure. However, even though many of these matters can be found in other teen drama series, the difference with East Los High is their focus on Latinos and their way of addressing the issue in an honest and upfront manner.

In Season 1, a student finds that she is pregnant and viewers get to see her discuss her options with a counselor. The information provided to the character is not limited to her and can be information useful to any adolescent outside the TV screen. This situation repeats in season 2 when a student is discussing her encounter with an abusive relationship to a counselor. These scenarios, which are rather serious in nature, are seen in today’s society and are able to be addressed to a young audience watching the series.

“The wholesome kid show, the polished teen drama isn’t real life,” said Danielle Vega, East Los High’s Ceci, in an interview with LA Times. “‘East Los High is gritty, it’s in your face because the world out there is in your face. But it’s also teaching something, which is incredibly important because you look at kids these days and they don’t look up from their screens. So at least this show gives them something to think about when their eyes are glued to their devices.”

Telanovelas are known for its popularity in Latin American cultures and East Los High reflects this in their Latino-focused show. With a telanovela-esque plot and character dynamics, the series does not have a shortage of entertainment and drama. There are love triangles, revenge, mean girls, and the classic, good girl losing her way in the face of popularity. Each of these situations touches on a realistic aspect found in a teenager’s journey through high school – and there is no sugar coating.

The team of writers reflects the demographics in cast: predominately Latina. Only two men grace the writers’ desk and one African American woman. Portugal, Director and Producer, has stated that he wanted to write what he knew and encourages his writing staff to do the same. The storyline is to reflect daily lives and connect to its audience through authenticity. Admittedly, some characters and the vernacular do seem to embody a stereotype found in Latinos. However, it is fleeting and is cancelled out by the wide range of perspectives, personalities, and conduct presented by the characters.

“Since we are the culture, it never feels like, ‘Oh, we’re creating stereotypes,’” Portugal said in an interview with LA Times. “Stereotypes exist. I think one of the reasons why we are doing this is we present them, and then we start exploring them. My hope is that the people from East L.A. see themselves being portrayed as diverse individuals.”

East Los High succeeds in its uniqueness in teen dramas that are dominated by Caucasian actors and actresses. Hulu’s original series brings in a handful of new faces to the screen – freshness amongst the overdone big names. And it excels in bringing real life situations and addressing them in an educational way that takes the viewer outside the classroom. This show can be seen as a teaching method, which is a goal achieved through the help of the numerous organizations that have played a role in its creation. However, some incidents and character portrayals do seem exaggerated and it can distract from the purpose of the show. Even though the series’ main characters are the youthful faces, it has been overlooked that the counselors, doctors, teachers, and other professional in the series are Latino.

This teen drama does illustrate genuineness to American-Latino culture, a nice change to shows like George Lopez and Cristella that relies on comedic scripts. It is serious, honest, and mysterious.

East Los High has been renewed for a third season; bringing in a new set of characters as each season focuses on a new group of students. The series airs weekdays on Hulu and entire seasons are available for Hulu Plus members.

Being Involved

picture for volunteer pageWritten by Priscilla Moctezuma

High school is a time for college applications and making the best of your teen years. The best college applications are those that are filled with extracurricular and volunteer experiences, but what should you do if being shy has stopped you you from being involved and, now, you don’t know where to start?

What it Means to Be Involved
To be involved means to join the athletics team, choir ensemble, marching band, and/or even being a volunteer at your school. The first step in getting involved is to know where to sign-up. The easiest way is to speak to your grade counselor and ask him/her what the school offers.  Whether you are trying to see if the school has something you love or are trying to figure out what the school offers, find it in yourself to BELIEVE that everything will work out for the best. Some extracurricular activities mean signing-up and showing up (super easy!), but others ask participants to try out in order to join the team. Most schools offer debate, dance, art, choir, band, and sports as their main after school clubs, but you might find a hidden gem, like a book, robotics, or even math club, that will spark something within you and make you come of your shell.

If joining a club does not fit your schedule or you want to participate in an event with fewer people, try volunteering. Volunteering at school or within your community can be just as rewarding as joining an after school club. Helping your community will lead to learning more about yourself and how you can impact another person’s life.

Volunteering is also a great way to boost your college application because it shows that you have learned and applied several skills that will prepare you for college. The college application says more than just your first and last name. It will show that you are team player, caring, self determined.  These skills are developed over time, and being involved gives you the experience you need to boost your social skills and college applications. Volunteering in a place that you know best, like a church, is a good place to start!

Being Involved Boosts Your Social Skills
Whether you are in an after school club or you are volunteering at the local homeless shelter, being involved will help you figure out your weaknesses and strengths. Most importantly, it can boost your social skills – like how to be a leader, working well with others, public speaking, networking, etc. Social skills can be tough if you’re shy, but working with likeminded people helps create a positive, safe environment where you can practice your social skills.  Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but breaking out of your shell can happen with baby steps. First, be active and join a club or find a volunteer opportunity! Then, listen and get to know your peers. Opening up can be difficult, but you can start small by asking questions about school and their interests. Once you surround yourself with a group of people who share the same interest(s), you tend to develop strong bonds/friendships– being shy turns into a thing of the past.

To be involved in school is a good thing! Plus, it will help develop your social skills, looks great on college applications, and it’s rewarding. Once you figure out what you are good at, go with it and stay involved. I was once a shy little girl, but everything changed once I took a choir class in middle school. Whatever you are passionate about, stay involved, get to know your peers, and build on that long term friendship. Don’t be shy and say hi.

Women in Social Media

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While there are girls who abuse use social media by posting inappropriate pictures and/or content of themselves just to receive “likes,” there are women who use this powerful tool to build their professional online presence.  With modern college courses like “social media journalism,” social networks like Twitter and Instagram are being used in positive ways to help women create a professional network. While these  fun platforms can  have a bad side, the following  women have used social media in a way that has positively influenced  those around them.

Angela Littlefield
Littlefield is a junior journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin. While just a student, Littlefield does many things for her strengthens her journalism career now like by managing a fashion blog and being one of the first reporters for an online magazine called The Horn, where she contributes video content. She has attended red carpet events in Houston and has also covered various news-related events around Austin, as well. However, Littlefield uses social media to get the word out about her projects. Littlefield has her own Facebook page (Angela “S.” Littlefield) that keeps her followers updated on her current projects.

“Social media is powerful for men and women, you just have to be very careful how you use it,” Littlefield said. “I see some women who will post statuses or pictures just for male attention and get hundreds of likes but, deep down, how is that impacting the world or themselves?”

LaLa Castro

Castro is a mother, entrepreneur, technology enthusiast and an avid user of social media in a professional manner. She is the founder of #LatinaGeeks and her website, eLaLa.com. #LatinaGeeks is a “first-of-its-kind community to empower and inspire Latin women by spreading the knowledge of entrepreneurship, social media and technology.”

Her main goal is to break the stereotype that women are intimidated by technology. Her website and foundation’s main goal is to empower Latina women by informing them about entrepreneurship and the use of social media in a positive and professional way. Before founding these projects,  she owned and operated her custom-jewelry boutique that gained so much popularity,it received the attention of celebrities, which led to a partnership with Warner Bros. in the the film, Red Riding Hood.

Castro is very proud of her Latina heritage and embraces it. She says that it was because of her cultural background that she became a successful entrepreneur and social media expert. As a child, Castro had to go out and sell fruit door-to-door with her grandfather to make end’s meet. At a young age, she was already being exposed to entrepreneurship.

Sara Inés Calderón
Since 2009, Sara Inés Calderón has worked on several projects within the start up world and digital space. Founder of NewsTaco.com, Sara is an active blogger and creates a variety of content for “a variety of outlets, including TechCrunchPolitic365Pocho.comYouTube, and Latinopia, among others,” she shares on her website Sarainescalderon.com.

“What’s truly surprised me with regard to News Taco is that my favorite part of the entire enterprise has been to promote other Latino writers and artists across the country. I thought I would enjoy writing and generating my own content, but what I’ve truly appreciated was being able to meet and work with Latina and Latino writers from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Arizona, Texas and everywhere in between.

There’s so much talent out there, and as I’ve begun working with all of these talented Latinos, I’ve realized that this is truly one of News Taco’s core values: to be a platform to promote Latinos across the country. Thus, the most rewarding part of generating my own media has been giving a voice to other Latinos who needed a platform and watching them grow as writers and in popularity,” shared Calderón in a 2011 interview with Latinitas.

Angela, LaLa, and Sara are only two of hundres, even thousands, of women using social media to not only inform their audience about their project, but to also inspire other women to use technology to further advance their careers. Users can check out different hashtags, like #LATISM, to enter a conversation about Hispanic issues.The #LATISM hashtag on Twitter links thousands of Latino/as together to trending topics in the Hispanic community. If you’re a blogger, then check out the blogs by Latinitas! Blogs by Latinas shares an online directory of Latina bloggers.

 

TV Review: The Fosters

the-fosters-290x400I remember sitting in the small theater in my neighborhood, large drink in one hand, while shoving handfuls of popcorn in my mouth with the other, the ad for “The Fosters.” ABC Family was presenting a new series, “The Fosters,” and among the many teenage faces on screen, I saw the familiar faces of Cierra Ramirez (“Girl In Progress”) and Jake T. Austin (“Wizards of Waverly Place”). I was a former Wizards fan, so, yes, my interest was sparked.

That was the exact memory from the summer of 2013 that played in my head when I was scrolling for something to watch on Netflix. “The Fosters” appeared before me. I clicked. And boy, I do not regret it.

“The Fosters” is a show that entangles drama, addresses social issues, and gives life lessons through background stories and character development – just like the classic ABC Family TV-show should. However, the story follows a multi-ethnic family composed of biological, adoptive and foster children. A lesbian couple heads the home full of teenagers. The show, whose executive producer is Jennifer Lopez, is rich with love, trust, and family. Think of ‘The Fosters’ as a more modern ‘7thHeaven’.

The show follows 16-year-old Callie, as she enters the new foster home. Her and her 12-year-old brother, Jude, have had multiple fosters homes during their six years in the system – all terrible and full of problems. But this foster home is different. Vice Principal Lena Adams (Sherri Saum) and police officer Stef Foster (Teri Polo) are in a domestic partnership and built a home through honesty and compassion. Brandon Foster (David Lambert) is the 16-year-old son of Stef, from her previous marriage, and is the “golden boy” with his good looks and musical talent. The adoptive 15-year-old twins are Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), who embodies the classic teenage girl just wanting to fit in, and Jesus Foster (Jake T. Austin), the more rebellious out of the teens with ADHD.

The ethnic diversity in the cast makes the show much more unique than most. From the multi-racial Lena to the Latin descendent twins, the diversity is acknowledged and embraced. Most shows with minorities in the cast always resort to having an incident with racism and bigotry to produce a discussion. However, this has not been seen. Instead, the show introduces situations that subtly express their diversity, such as a quinceañera episode, the twins carrying conversations in Spanish, and Lena sharing how she was called an ‘Oreo’ in high school. The variety of races in the family is not something that is blatantly said – which by now, it really doesn’t need to be – but is displayed on screen beautifully to the audience.

Another hit for this tv-screen family is Lena and Stef’s relationship. The two mothers face some obstacles in a world still adjusting to the LGBT community. But despite a father failing to accept a daughter’s lifestyle, the couple is seen immersed with the love from friends and family members. The success of the couple parallels the success of ‘Modern Family’s’ Mitchell and Cameron – just minus the constant comedic quips. The couple demonstrates kindness and selflessness as the raise their children.

This television series thrives with its breaking of boundaries with the “non-traditional” family.  The show relies on realistic problems that can occur rather focusing heavily on the apparent uniqueness of the family. The classic ‘let me show you rather than tell you’ applies greatly to the storyline.

It’s a show for all ages – adults and children alike can watch and learn from the Foster family. It powerfully confronts serious issues such as child abuse, drug abuse/dealing, and teenage sexuality. While most can criticize these instances, in this day-and-age, the realities of the events have proven to occur. ‘The Fosters’ deal with these issue that is suitable for any age – no need to cover a child’s eyes. Even though you may not be able to relate to every occurrence in the show, the character’s actions and emotions allow an understanding of the dilemmas they face and the morals they abide by.

“The Fosters” is an excellent TV show that leaves you hooked. Its ingenuity and one-of-a-kind storyline brings a freshness to the television realm, full of bad reality TV shows and the over-played teenage love triangles.

Seasons 1 and 2 are currently on Netflix.

Career Spotlight: Chief Communications Officer

Photo Credit:  http://www.congreso.net/

Photo Credit:
http://www.congreso.net/

Name:
Yvette A. Nuñez
Position & Title:
Chief Communications Officer
Employer:
Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Inc.
City & State:
Philadelphia, PA
What are some of your job responsibilities?
I lead our $24M multi service non-profit organization’s fundraising, communications, special events, corporate relations, community relations, civic engagement and volunteer management efforts; serve as member of executive leadership team overseeing a staff of 4. I manage the agency’s Corporate Advisory Council, featuring Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies as well as manage external vendors including PR agency, photographers, design firms, and promotional products companies. I develop strategic leadership communications, including speeches, press releases, Op-Eds, and content for brochures, annual reports, and electronic media. I also serve as the agency’s social media manager and design agency collateral as needed. Congreso is one of the nation’s Top Hispanic Non-profits in the Nation, and I serve as liaison to national and corporate partnerships.
What is your educational background? Describe your college experience and how it helped you prepare for your career.
I have an undergraduate degree in journalism. In college, I was the first Latina to serve as Editor in Chief of the school newspaper, where I managed a team of 50+ freelance writers, photographers, designers, etc. This experience gave me a good understanding for the deadline-driven pace of a newsroom, and later as I became a non-profit communications professional, I benefited from the skills in management, deadlines, and multitasking that it helped enhance. I also worked as a clerical supervisor and a legal assistant…AT THE SAME TIME!
How did you find your current job?
I built a strong network and great reputation for the work I was doing in the non-profit and government sectors. I had previously worked with the agency as a partner, and when it came under new leadership, a position became available requiring my exact combination of skills.
What did you do to prepare for this career?
You can do PR anywhere. You should merge it with something you’re passionate about. I love being Latina and working in the Latino community. I am blessed to have the opportunity to use my skills for the benefit of a great organization that helps 16,000 people a year. I am not a social worker, but I love promoting what our staff and clients are doing together for the betterment of Latino Philadelphia.To prepare for this career, I had a natural talent for writing, and an upbringing that predisposed me to prioritizing the voices of poor people of color.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love any day that I get to spend with our clients, especially the older adults who come by to visit. It’s an immediate fill my bucket with love kind of day. I also just LOVE bringing an event/fundraiser to fruition. It takes a lot of planning, hustling, visioning, and negotiating. But when it all comes together (and it always does) is the best part.
What is the most challenging part of your job
I think the most challenging is not being able to be all things to all people. When you wear a lot of different hats, sometimes they tip over and you just can’t manage it. Learning to manage my time, expectations, and diverse interests are tricky, but doable.
What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
I would say that you have to love to write, understand the story and/or event from the end user’s perspective before the story is written and before the event is planned, and find something your passionate about.
What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
Go on dates with my kids, travel and read.

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.

DIY Last Minute Holiday Gifts

christmas-gift1The happiest time of the year is right around the corner, and you’re eager to see your family and friends. For those looking for last minute DIY gifts, these gifts are quick and easy to make.

4 in 1 Mix and Match

For this project you will need:

  • A Wooden box (without a top and big enough to fit 4 jars)
  • 4 Jars (they can be different sizes, according to the size of your box)
  • Spray paint (preferably in a metallic color; look for one that is appropriate for wood or metal)
  • 1 Brush
  • Newspaper (to put on the floor, so you don’t stain anything)
  • Color ribbons different sizes

Instructions:

  1. Wash the jars with soap and water.
  2. Then, leave the jars in hot water so it’s easier for you to take the labels off.
  3. Air-dry the jars;  while you’re waiting put the newspaper on the floor.
  4. Go to where you placed the newspaper. Then, paint the lids of the jars and let them dry.
  5. Take the labels off the jars.
  6. Fill the jars with candies, a scarf, small candles, nail polish, or the ingredients of a cookie recipe.
  7. Place everything in the jars and put small ribbons around each one.
  8. Gift wrap the jars or give as is!

Chalk Mug

For this project you will need:

  • An entirely white mug
  • Masking tape
  • Blackboard paint
  • Chalk
  • 1 Brush

Instructions:

  1. Start by sticking tape on the top and bottom borders of the mug. This will allow the paint to only stay in the middle of the cup.
  2. With the brush, paint the cup using the blackboard paint.
  3. Let the cup dry; once it is dried, take off the tape.
    * If there are any mistakes, correct them with nail polish remover and cotton.
  4. Add drawings to the cup with chalk.
  5. Fill the cup with candy!

Wooden Heart
For this project you will need:

  • Yarn of your favorite color.
  • Wooden board (Width 1.5 – 2 inches)
  • Slim little Nails
  • Hammer
  • 1 paper sheet

Instructions:

  1. On a paper sheet, draw a mold of what you want to form with the yarn.
    For example: Draw a heart and cut it so you can use it as a mold.
  2. Draw points to use as a guide  on the borders of the heart with a separation of .7 inches.
  3. Once the mold it’s all marked, place it on the wooden board and draw aligned points to the ones in the heart.
  4. Nail down the mark points with the hammer.
  5. Knot the worsted yarn around one nail and start to zig-zag it around all the nails, do it again from the other side and keep passing it through all the nails.
  6. Push down the yarn to fill all the heart (This way the nails won’t show as much).
  7. Once you’re finished, make another knot in a nail and cut off the rest.

Eternal Flowers

For this project you will need:

  • Big Styrofoam ball.
  • Synthetic flowers
  • Strong White glue or Silicone Adhesive.
  • 1 Ribbon
  • A flower vase with a small top

Instructions:

  1. Cut the stem of the flowers, leaving a little part of the stem.
  2. Plug the leftover of the stem in the Styrofoam ball with glue.
  3. Repeat the steps for the rest of the flowers until you cover the ball.
  4. Make sure you don’t leave any white space, except for the spot where you’re going to paste the ball to the vase.
  5. Paste the ball to the vase with abundant glue.
  6. Make a bow with the ribbon around the vase.

Pistachio Necklace

For this project you will need:

  • A bunch of pistachio shells
  • Paint (preferably matching colors like red, pink and purple)
  • 1 paperboard sheet
  • Silicone adhesive
  • A chain (it can be from an old necklace that you don’t use anymore)
  • Necklace connector rings
  • Small Pliers

Instructions:

  1. Start by cutting the sheet in a half- moon shape.
  2. Make two little holes in the corners of the sheet.
  3. Embed 2 connectors into the holes, 1 in each one.
  4. Insert the chain into those holes with help of the pliers.
  5. Place the pistachio shells onto the sheet, to see how many you will need.
  6. Set them apart and start painting as much as you need for each section of the necklace.
    *For ex: Paint 25 red, 20 pink and 15 purple.
  1. Once the shells are painted, let them dry.
  2. Glue the dry painted shells onto the paperboard sheet.
  3. Put one layer over the another, until you fill the sheet
  4. If you have leftover space, just cut it.

Poem: Room

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Written by Stephanie Hernandez
It’s just an empty room
A naked window and wooden floors
Beige walls and red doors
The shadows of falling leafs reflect on the window
While the sun rays leak through
With golden light that sways with winter scents
Their smells are lingering content
The wind whispers stories in the walls
Of romantic downfalls
When seasons can’t help but change
Your desires become strange.
For you rather be the scar
Than admit who you are
Now my heart is breaking
For what has been forsaking
Let us breathe through the seas
Of shuttered memories
And watch us fall like the yellow leaf
That covers the concrete of gray disbelief
With the wrong steps, we’ve lost our chances
Missed words and lost romances
That sunk through the wood of our floor
The mistakes that paint our red door
Was I a fool to assume?
That after all we’ve been through;
We’d be more than an empty room

Career Spotlight: Chief School Officer

Danna Diaz
Position & Title:
Chief School Officer, Area One Superintendent
Employer:
El Paso ISD
City & State
El Paso
What are some of your job responsibilities?
I serve elementary and middle schools that feed into four high schools. They are Bowie, Coronado, El Paso and Jefferson/Silva. I work with principals and central office to ensure students are learning in the classroom and that teachers have the tools they need to facilitate instruction.My experience working with students from diverse economic backgrounds and my bilingual skills have provided me with the tools and skills to engage all stakeholders in the educational process. Specifically, as a leader, I respond to the needs of stakeholders by establishing positive relations with the school and community and working with the members of the school district. In addition, I promote effective school communication and build coalitions to support the entire learning community.
What is your educational background? Describe your college experience and how it helped you prepare for your career.
I am the first in my family to attend college. I received my Associates in General Studies from Central Texas College, Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Masters of Science, Mid-Management and Superintendent Certifications from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration from The University of Texas at Austin.My personal and educational experiences have helped me understand the resilience and persistence that is needed to succeed in today’s public schools. I know how important it is to receive an education and break the cycle of poverty, addiction and domestic violence. My passion is to make a difference in the lives of students and families.
How did you find your current job?
The position was posted by Proact, a national search firm. I applied for the position. I was screened by Proact personnel and interviewed three times by the Superintendent, Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and a member of the EPISD Board of Managers.
What did you do to prepare for this career?
I started my career as a bilingual teacher, assistant principal, principal and central office administrator. In addition to my professional experiences and education, I am a graduate of Proact Supes Academy, Center for Courage and Renewal, Academy for Leaders, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendent’s (ALAS) Superintendent Leadership Academy and the California Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (CALSA) Mentoring Program. My professional experiences, my education and the four learning programs prepared me for the position I have now.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love working with the principals, teachers, parents and students of Area One. They are smart, intelligent and a group of caring individuals. My days are filed with conversations with them that impact the schools academically and/or operationally.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is when you find out a student is hurt in an accident or in the hospital. I know deep down inside they want to be in school. All I can do is pray!
What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
My advice would be to love what you are learning. If you want to be a teacher, start there. Keep going to school to prepare you for the next level. Don’t stop learning. Keep going!
What do you do for fun when you are not working?
I love spending time with my family, going to the movies, working out in the gym and participating in yoga practice.

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Media Representations of Latinas

Latinos make up approximately 17% of the U.S. population, according to the 2012 U.S. Census report, contributing to 50% of the U.S. population growth between the years 2000 and 2010.  On the big screen, however, Latino roles are rare and far between, and when they do appear, characters are often limited to narrow stereotypes. According to a recent report released entitled “The Latino Media Gap: A Report on the State of Latinos in U.S. Media,” representation of Latinos has even decreased over the decades, with Latinos being more represented in media in the 1950s, when they were only 2.8% of the population, than they are today.

Of the few Latinos that do come out in television and movies, they are portrayed with the same, stereotypical roles time and time again. A popular trend for Latina women in entertainment media is to be placed as the role of the sexy, seductive woman. The report, “Race/Ethnicity in 600 Popular Films: Examining On Screen Portrayals and Behind the Camera Diversity,” states that of over 600 popular U.S. films reviewed, 37.5% of Latina roles were shown to be partially or fully naked, the highest percentage of any other race/ethnicity. Latino men were also found to be the most likely to be wearing “tight, alluring, or revealing” clothing out of any other race/ethnicity of men portrayed in films.

1004479_308531572625386_1478746460_nConstantly being surrounded by these images can affect the way young Latina girls are viewed by those around her, and, in turn, how she views herself. Raised in a Latino neighborhood in New Jersey, Kimberly, 18, shares, “Growing up in a predominantly Latin American environment, I’ve both experienced and witnessed the detrimental effect that the over-sexualization of Latinas in the media has on young Latinas. It’s an insidious and subtle effect that reveals itself in the ways young Latinas are treated by their peers.” Being shown in media as sexual objects, and constantly described by terms like “sexy”, “sassy”, or “exotic”, creates a confining box for what young Latinas are expected to look or behave like, and holds them to inaccurate standards by those around her.

In the 2013 report, “Global Box Office Hits Record in 2012 as Hispanic Attendance Grows in U.S.,” Latinos were found to purchase 25% of all movie tickets in the U.S., showing just how highly the entertainment media intake in this nation is for Latinos. This much media intake means a high level of exposure to the stereotypical roles presented in films and television.  The result of this can be negative for young Latina girls and influence what they see the public perceives of them. Kimberly stresses, “The psychological backlash is often crippling, resulting in a lack of confidence in her intelligence or a sense that her body is more important than what she has to say. We agree that this is dangerous to all young women, but when these statistics show how targeted this over sexualization is, well then, it becomes clear that this specific problem needs to be addressed.”

When looking at the 2010 U.S. Census, only 44.3% of Latina women fill the occupation of a maid, yet 69% of Latinas in media play the role of maids, the report states. Even further, the representation of creative occupations, such as dancers, musicians, and writers, are filled by 9% of Latinos, according to the census, yet are only portrayed as so by less than 1% of Latinos in media. High school student Natalia, 17, shares, “As a strong and independent, young Hispanic woman… the stereotype of Latinas being portrayed as “sexy” or “house maids” in the media is a feeling of being demeaned because of my personal values and how I carry myself.” While there is nothing wrong with these titles, limiting Latinas to these few roles at such a grand scale ignores the truly diverse definition of what it means to be Latina, and the wide range of interests and capabilities of Latina women.  Gladys, 17, urges, “there are other aspects where Latinas should be recognized, including in the news business, or as great lawyers, doctors, etc.”

 

To even further the problem, Latinos make up a very small percent of those contributing to the behind the scenes production, including positions as writers, producers, and directors. In 2013, Latinos made up only 5.2% of writing positions, 2.1% of producers, and 2.7% of director positions, according to the Latino Media Gap report. “The vast majority of all fundamental media decisions are made by affluent, middle-aged, white men,” the Latino Media Gap report states. With such little representation behind the scenes, the stories of Latinas and their realities are not being accurately told.

 

The matter becomes even worse when extending our view to news media as well. According to this same report, as of 2013, less than 1% of the stories covered on popular new stations are Latino related, and of that 1%,  66% of those stories are focused on crime, terrorism, and illegal immigration, showing Latinos in a negative light. This limiting portrayal in entertainment and news media can have highly negative effects on Latinas, and how the public views our potential to expand beyond these stereotypes. The message should be sent out to the heads of media to look beyond the common stereotypes to the greater depth Latinas have as individuals. Latinas are intelligent, diverse, and capable women, and deserve to be represented as such!

 

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