Latina Leader Valeria Chavez

Valeria Chavez
A recent graduate of Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, twenty-four year old Valeria Chavez has earned a law degree from the prestigious Mexican university. Driven by the injustices that she saw by everyday life, especially towards minors, she felt an internal calling to help those that were oppressed by their situation.

During her time as a college student she “[discovered] the inconsistencies within the Mexican system, the large pockets of corruption that asphyxiate the country, the high poverty rates, the millions of injustices that Mexican women suffer [as well as the kids] that were abandoned by their fathers to pursue the ‘American Dream’ or the mothers that were kidnapped by organizes crime so they can work in drug laboratories. Who is not going to be motivated with all this suffering,” challenges Chavez.

Being aware of the world that many Mexicans live in, Chavez threw herself into her community. Back in 2007 she began volunteering at Los Brazos de Dios A.C., a kitchen soup in Chihuahua, Chihuahua for children and teenagers that were afflicted with poverty. Every December the organization planned a posada, gathering of several days that provided lodging, and Chavez would talk and play with the children. Throughout the rest of the year she would celebrate El Dia de Niño, Children’s Day, or visit them in the summer to see what they were up to.

Although she moved out of the state, Chavez continued to make an impact wherever she went. In college, she created the program called Rescatando Mentes, Rescuing Minds, which drove to “rescue the minds” of children and educate them on topics that might be taboo for them. Chavez was inspired to create this program since in 2014, in areas of Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, and State of Mexico, children were being kidnapped from rural places by criminal groups regardless of age and sex.

 

“It occurred to me to present this idea to the Instituto de Desarrollo Social del Tecnológico de Monterrey (IDESS), to start a community service project and that way form a group of my peers that will help me carry this out,” says Chavez.

According to Chavez, the program was built on four building blocks. The first was to giving children ways to prevent being victims of sexual assault, what to do if they were victims already, and how to talk about it.  The second pillar was to prevent addiction of drugs. They kids were informed of the types of addiction that exist and the consequences that happen due to the addiction. The third pillar was to motivate them and inspire the children. They were shown videos, had presentations, and given role models of legendary figures that managed to do great things by starting with nothing. The last block was built on the rights of children. Chavez and her team explained the rights they have as children and reminded them that they needed to be respected. Overall, the project was a success as the children and schools welcome this project into their classrooms.

Chavez built her experience as acting president of, La Sociedad de Alumnos de la carrera de Derecho y Ciencias Políticas, the Society of Alumnus  for Law and Political Science, for three semesters of college. She helped organize trips to historical landmarks in Mexico such as the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Senate of the Republic, Government Palace, among many more. Within the second semester, the organization had invited key figures from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador. Chavez says that these visits were crucial as a student since you learn things outside of the classroom.

 

Being the first lawyer in her family, Chavez says that her father is her greatest inspiration to continue working. Although he passed away fourteen years ago, she remembers how her father was able to accomplish great things despite not going to college. To this day, Chavez continues to be reaping from her father’s hard work. “To me that is something that is worthy to admire every day,” says Chavez.

Currently the young lawyer is working in Ochoa Figueroa de Abogados, a law firm in Mexico, where she is the leader of an investigative project. Her team is currently compiling a “Libro Blanco,” a document meant to yield information over a certain topic, for the State Government of Mexico so they can look for any administrative inconsistencies within their spheres.

Where ever she is, Chavez wants to create change. “I wish to make a difference and leave a fingerprint wherever I go. There is no [final] answer and I believe that no one has discovered it, but I want to continue working towards making smaller changes to hopefully create a large one. There are many things that move me like injustices, education, and poverty, and they all can’t be solved at the same time. But I am sure that it doesn’t matter if you’re in the lowest position or the highest one we might find ourselves in, there will always be something worthy to do for society.”

Self Defense

Learning to use the mind as a weapon is empowering. It is also, paradoxically, humbling. And power that is cooled by a sense of humility is a good thing,” said Myrna Y Boyer, the founder of the Women’s Personal Defense Center in El Paso.
Boyer was able to share with us her amazing story about how she survived and overcame an attack that almost took her life. When she was 36, Boyer encountered a male passerby in a hallway and immediately sensed danger. To refrain from being impolite, she decided to smile at the man, showing no hard feelings. After they passed he turned and hit her in the back, throwing her far down the hallway rendering her unconscious. Her spidey senses weren’t far off, but she ignored them. She woke up in a room with the man’s legs on her arms pinning her down, with his hands tight around her throat. Miraculously she was able to lung him off of her and escape, but so did he.
Almost twenty years later, Boyer has been able to focus her energy on helping women learn self defense mechanisms. Boyer believes self defense skills are important for girls and women with statistics stating how one out of every five women in America has been the victim of rape, or attempted rape according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Also, less than half domestic violence reports are reported to police, so something must be done. Females ages 12 to 24 are at the greatest risk for experiencing a rape or sexual assault finds the Department of Justice. With these grave facts sweeping the nation, Boyer gives free self defense lessons and workshops to women, and lectures around town. She has written on the power of the mind in the face of an assault and informed Latinitas on ways to stay safe.

Boyer also wrote the article, “The Mind as a Weapon: Gaining the Edge in personal Defense” as a guide to women on how to brace themselves in the face of an attack. First she describes personal safety. “Effective personal defense practices are 90 percent attitude and 10 percent technique,” she shared.

Boyer also urges an awareness of your surroundings to help form the correct attitude if any danger should occur. Once again, Boyer stresses how important your attitude is, even the attitude your body language can communicate. “Defense begins with prevention,” and the more you can communicate an awareness of your environment and those around you, the better you can become at taking preventative measures. “Often people unknowingly allow a potentially dangerous situation to escalate simply because they fail to spot the threat.” Boyer is describing the fact that an attacker can come in the form of anyone, that cute guy down the way, the weird one in the corner or some random person walking by, “safety demands that you understand the dynamics of an assault and an assailant.” Boyer also stresses how your intuition will more than likely come in handy in the face of an attack, “listening to your inner voice when a man is giving you the creeps is a good start.” In other words, when your spidey sense is acting up, listen to it, try to understand what it’s telling you. Get away, go somewhere overtly public. If you have a bad feeling inside, then you are more than likely sensing a surrounding danger.

There are a few helpful tips Boyer has left with us to keep in mind just in case you’re met with any kind of fear for your life.

1. Make yourself less accessible. If you can take cover take it, if you can run, run.
2. Never bargain with your attacker.
3. Use all weapons at your disposal.
4. Fight furiously and maintain forward pressure against your attacker.
5. Don’t stop fighting until you are safe.
6. Fight to get away, practice getting away.
7. If your assailant has a weapon, (if you are in grabbing distance) Defend, Disable, and Disarm, focus on what holds the weapon and attack it. (if you are further away) escape.

Boyer states, “techniques ride on mindset. As important as they are to learn and perfect, they are useless if you are paralyzed with fear.” She stresses the use of the mind as a weapon in any type of situation. The more control you can have over you mind in a tense or stressful situation, the better able you are to think, you’ll have a better ability to react quickly and make smarter moves. Regardless, there are preventative actions to be taken in a sticky situation, staying calm and understanding your surroundings with the right attitude are what Boyer lives by. So remember girls, the more alert you are, and the better attitude you can muster in any given situation, the greater the outcome. Latinitas greatly appreciated the time Myrna Boyer spent with us and we hope you can all learn a little something from her advice.

What’s Your Study Style?

How do you learn? To be able to answer that question, you must first figure out your way of thinking. There are plenty of ways to gather information, but there are ways that can help you better understand and remember knowledge for school tests.

Eudemic.org provides 7 different styles of learning to help one understand their style of gathering information. Solitary learning is best described as someone who prefers to study independently. If this sounds like you, be sure to study in a quiet, distraction free place. It’s always okay to talk amongst yourself and think out loud to help yourself memorize what you need to know.

The verbal learner is someone who learns faster by hearing. If this sounds like you express your  style with your parents and teacher. They may give the okay to bring a small tape recorder during verbal lessons. This way you can use that recorded info while you study.

Aural learners also learn better while listening, however it’s even better for them when they are hearing it in music form. If you feel that you can pick up on learning lyrics to a song quickly this may be your style! Try thinking of your favorite melody and make it school based. For example,you can use rhyming words to expand your vocabulary or even with counting. If you have a keyboard or something that plays different samples of sounds you can study each lesson listening to each sound at a time. The next day before you study again, play that sound and see if you can remember what you were studying the time before.

The mathematical learner is one who learns best by using charts or formulas to study. If youre a note taker this may be your style!  Understood.org gives ideas on different ways of taking notes. Some examples would include the web; which almost looks like a spider. Grab a piece of paper put your topic in the middle then circle it. Then you create legs, on each leg you write an important fact about that topic. There is also the split page method. Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper; use the left for your topic or date, use the right side for definitions, facts, and/or details of when certain events took place. Ideas like these will help keep you organized while you take notes to study.

Reading notes to help you learn can also be compared to the visual learner. A visual learner is someone who learns better with pictures, words, and even colors.  Even if you like to watch someone demonstrate a lesson this may be you! Using flash cards can be helpful with learning. You would write a topic, number, or drawn image on one side of a card and the details on the other side. Color coding while taking notes could also be helpful. Use colorful play dough to recreate part of a map for that geography assignment. You may find that the colors will help you pin point each states location easily.  Think of something you want to memorize, then create a picture. You may find that the next time you see that image you will remember what you had learned before. Visual media is like a “how to” video. You may find that you grasp information better by watching someone show you how it’s done vs writing or speaking about it.

A social learner is someone who wants to interact with others while learning. If you have a tutor or have been part of a study group this may be you! Communication is key for your style and you learn better role playing or even using many techniques in a group setting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get involved with what you want to learn. No matter your style, you can always ask your family to help with studying too.

Last but not least is our “hands on” learner. If you like to actually touch or act out what you are trying to learn this may be you! Practice your fractions with slices of pizza for fun. If you’re in class and a teacher asks for a helper, get involved! You may end up surprising yourself and the class at how quickly you can keep up with the task.

We all have different ways of learning. Some may learn in more ways then just one. So before you get ready to study figure out your style. It may save you a lot of extra time and energy. Most importantly it can help improve your confidence and your grades too.

 

Diary of an International Student

A story of an international student 

I look to my old self now and think: “Oh I’ve changed a lot.” A few years ago, I decided something that would change the rest of my life. I decided to come to study in the US and to leave my home in Mexico. My main motivation to come here was to follow my dreams. I’ve always wanted to do something different and positive that would benefit a lot of people. I wanted to become a journalist. So why not study in an American university and start working on my dreams now!

Not everything was easy.  I was really afraid. First of all, it was college and it’s a different environment from high school. Secondly, it isn’t my home. Most of the people around me used to say that I wouldn’t make it. A lot of them told me that I would come back before my first semester ended and some didn’t even want me to move away from my home! I also had to work on improving my knowledge of the English language. I fought against all the bad vibes and made it through.

Even if it’s a few minutes away between the my hometown of Juarez, Mexico and the neighboring border city of El Paso, Texas, everything’s different. I moved across the border to attend college and become an international student. The culture changes, the language, the ways people interact is different. At first, I wasn’t really excited about the differences. At the beginning, my surroundings were very different from what I was used to. People acted differently. It felt like not a lot was similar to what I was used to seeing every day. After a few days of “analyzing” the place and observing, I realized that it’s not that different. It’s just a different stage of my life. It would have been the same back in Mexico. It is just that I was growing up and that I was about to enter a new chapter of my life.

It’s hard at first to adjust to a new place. It is important to not to try to “fit in” and be like the rest. What I did was act like myself and adapt to something new. More than a year later, here I am telling you my story and my journey through it.

What do I miss? I miss my old friends. I rarely see them. When I do, there isn’t enough time. I miss spending every minute of my day with them and doing the crazy things we used to do. A good thing is that I made new friends, and I appreciate every single one of them.

I love being here. I love the reason why I’m here. I’m here to follow my dreams and to become a better person. If you’re in the same situation as I am, that is amazing. This is a great purpose and you can achieve everything you want. If you live in another country and your dream is to come here to the US, do it. You can work hard for it. Some people may be against you and your ideals, but at the end it will all be worth it. While I’m still far from achieving what I want, today I can be happy because I’m on my way.

Dealing with Siblings

Have you ever been so mad with one of your siblings that without even thinking you wish for that brief moment to be an only child? Sharing a space with someone else isn’t always easy and problems are bound to arise for a variety of reasons! You may be upset because you have to share clothes, the TV, the car or even your room. You might dislike the fact they might get “special treatment” because they are older or younger than you. Whatever the issue may be, fighting with siblings is actually a very common thing and learning how to deal with the problems that you face can help you have a better relationship with them.

Challenges – Same Roots, Different Personalities
One of the reasons that most siblings fight is the fact that even thought they are related, with the same parents and same upbringing, they are in fact completely different people. People with different ideas, different tastes and different personalities, and these will end up crashing at times.

Problems between siblings can be a million. You may get mad because they take your things, because they don’t help with chores, or because they don’t treat you fairly. Yet siblings don’t have to be enemies, in fact, they can be great life long friends. Remember that they know what it’s like to grow up the same way you did, and that they have shared many experiences with you, and they can be of great support because of this, even when having completely different personalities.

Many times problems arise because of the difference between the ages of each sibling. Some siblings may take sides with each other for particular reasons or simply because they are closer in age.

One of the things that Isabel Medina, 24, dislikes about her siblings, both male and females, is the way they treat her because she is the youngest of four. ” They feel that because I am the youngest, I can’t give my opinion or I am not wise enough or have enough experience to give an opinion,” said Isabel. Being the youngest child is tough and Isabel shares that sometimes conversations get heated and they speak to each other in a loud voice. This is where their father interferes.

Joys of Having Siblings

They Will Always Be There
We get happy with each other by apologizing when it is necessary or simply acting like if nothing happened,” said Isabel. “I love knowing that, whatever happens, whatever things we tell each or how many times we argue with each other, they will always be there.”

The Good Outweighs the Bad
Elii Lozano, 22, explains that one of the reasons why her sister, now 25, and her used to fight was the fact that she tended to be a bit disorganized, and sharing a bedroom, this often caused problems with her sister who would get stressed because it. Yet even thought this would create fights between them, they never stayed mad at each other for more than two hours and would soon be like if nothing ever happened. ” Most of the time she would take the initiative,” said Elii. “Even though sometimes we fight for dumb reason, the good things weight more than the bad, we help each other and support each other.”

Take Care of Each Other
Like Isabel mentioned earlier, the love they all have for their father is perhaps their strongest bond, and when their mother passed away when she was only 4, she says her older siblings took the job of taking care of her and their home on top of going to school, and for this she admires them.

Best Friends
Not only can brothers and sisters be great role models but also best friends.  Mabel, 22, says she can’t imagine her life without her sister. “Our relationship is ideal, she is like my best friend, we are very close,” she shared. Mabel and her sister even have a day called “Sister Time” where they go out to concerts, to the movies or simply just enjoy movies at home. One rule…no one else is allowed.

Someone To Talk To
Marely Vega, 9, also enjoys having a 12 year old brother. She believes that having a brother is like having a friend at home that keeps you company and someone you can talk to. She advises siblings who do fight with each other to try to understand them. Right now they might fight but once they grow up they will understand them better, just like she read in a book about siblings. “If they were to ask me what a brother is I would tell them, it is a friend…they are like your friends, you can trust them aside from your mom and family. It feels nice to have a brother, to have company and if you have siblings, appreciate them, “said Marely.

Unique Bond
In the end, it doesn’t really matter how different you are from your siblings or how far apart in age. Understanding that these differences don’t have to keep you apart can even give you a best friend or  role model that you will always have no matter what. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have any problems with them. When this is the case, spending a few hours apart or apologizing can solve those small problems that may occur. Yet that bond and understanding that exists between you, is irreplaceable. Remember, not everyone gets to have siblings and it is truly a gift from life. It is an unconditional love.

Crafty Gift Ideas

We all tend to do our gift shopping last minute, and sometimes we can’t find what we want because it is last minute. But why not, instead of stressing out at store check-out lines or whether they would like it or not, why not give them something they’ll love and keep forever.

Crochet Candleholder

DIYCandleHolder
You’ll need: old crochet doilies, a balloon, wallpaper glue, and a battery-operated light
Steps: First soak five doilies into the glue, inflate the balloon, the bigger the balloon the bigger the candleholder is. Glue the doilies on the balloon right next to each other, let them overlap a little. Hang the balloon upside down to let it dry. When it’s dry pop the balloon, and there you go, a beautiful candleholder.

Mason Jar Prism Light

DIYPrismLight
You’ll need: Mason jar, round glass decorative elements, ribbon or twine, e3600 glue, tea light, lighter, and brushes
Steps: First apply the glue to the brushes, then apply it on to the Mason jar. Next apply the round glass decorations in the Mason jar all around right next to each other from top to bottom or the jar. Wait about 15-20 minutes while the glue dries. Then apply the ribbon or twine around the top of the jar to add a little more decorative touches, then insert the tea light inside of the jar and watch how it makes your room shine beautifully.

 

Decorated Coasters

DIYCoasters
You’ll need: Mod Podge (glue), a glue gun, roll of thin cork, Spray Acrylic Sealer, Foam Brushes, Small Tiles, and Photographs or Scrapbook paper
Steps: First with the hot glue gun, glue a squared piece of cork to the back of the tile, make sure it is firmly glued to the tile. Cut out any pretty scrapbook paper or any photographs that you’d like to decorate the coasters with the size of the tile. Put mod podge on the tile where you are placing the paper, place the picture and put mod podge on the picture and the tile until it is firmly on the tile. Let it dry for 10 minutes, then add a second layer of mod podge on the tile and the picture. Then you have to add 3 layers of Acrylic sealer, after every layer, wait 2 minutes. After you see that it’s dry, your decorated coasters are done and ready!

 

Now, you can give many different kinds of presents to your family that will make their heart smile.

Driven By Emotions

It can seem like life is a rollercoaster of emotions with feelings like anger, sadness, fear and nervousness. You may feel like one day you’re up with happiness, the next you find yourself feeling down. Millions of things and situations can make us feel all sorts of emotions and these include bad emotions too. Have you ever done something you regret doing because perhaps you were too busy thinking about what you were feeling and not about the consequences? It is important to make sure that emotions are you not driving you to bad decisions.
Making Bad Decisions
Mariana Govea, age 17,  got an injury on her knee. She recalls how she felt upset, angry and scared and all these emotions led to bad decision making. “The moment I got hurt I was very upset and angry at myself for the fact that I knew I had hurt myself really bad. At the moment, I was very angry and I was kind of scared of telling my mom that I had hurt my knee. So I kept it for a while and I did not tell my parents and unfortunately that led to me injuring myself even more.  I think that if I would of actually express my feelings to my mom, told her what had happened and not let myself get driven by the anger and fear, that wouldn’t have happened to me.”Sisters Mariana and Fernanda Gutierrez, ages 14 and 11, tell similar stories where they both lied when they got taken over by emotions.

“There was this time where my friends were like trying to joke around,” said Mariana. “They were saying that they wanted to have a sleepover and they didn’t technically invite me so that kind of got me angry so I told them I was also going to go to a sleepover party even though I lied to them.”

“I lied to one of my friends that I was going to go somewhere with them and I ended up not going and they got really mad at me,” added Fernanda. “I lied to them because I had a lot of things to do. I had homework and a project coming up that had to involve a book report I had to read over the summer. I couldn’t do anything else, I felt stressed and pressured on.”

Hiding certain things from others or lying to people are very common things to do when you are driven by fear anger or stress. You may do it in order to not upset others or as a way to defend yourself. Yet remember that these decisions can end up being worse and at the end you may end up doing just that, hurting someone else of even yourself.

Once the emotions wear off you probably find yourself  wishing you hadn’t done what you just did. When you’re stuck in this situation there are two things to do. First, think of any way that you can fix the situation. A great example is apologizing. When you know you hurt someone’s feelings without intending too, taking responsibility for your own actions and mistakes shows that you are responsible and that you care for that other person. Hey, everybody makes mistakes, what counts is how you react to them.

Avoid Bad Decisions

Once you’ve apologized there’s one more thing to do. Reflect on what just happened. What a mess right? It is now time to think of how you can avoid all of this from happening again. Think about what steps you can take next time to avoid making the wrong decisions when you’re rushing with emotions.

Jeanette Ortiz, Mariana Govea and Bianca Castrejan give some advice on what to do before acting on impulse and making wrong decisions.

“Stop. Breath and take a minute to think before you act,” shared Jeanette Ortiz, age 24.

“Think about what you’re actually doing because if you don’t stop and listen to what your doing you can commit something that you might regret later and might actually turn worse than how it would of been if you actually took the time to pay attention to what’s going on,” shared Mariana Govea, age 17. “Feelings are just feelings and they can go away if you know how to handle them.”

“The best thing is to try to calm yourself down.When you’re full of emotions it’s hard to think at that certain moment but I think it’s better to just leave the situation and take the time to calm down and once you’ve calm down then you can address the problem that you had,” added Bianca Castrejon, age 24.

Emotions can be controlling and sometimes they can lead to making the wrong decisions. So the next time you are being driven by one of  these emotions just…stop, take a breather and take a minute to think before you act!

Career Spotlight: Claudia Lujan

Entrepreneur/Writer 

Young Latinos across the nation are making advances in professional fields that we were often underrepresented in. An aspiring writer and half-marathoner on her off time, Claudia Luján is now immersing herself in the entrepreneurship culture after graduating college. This is her story.   

Claudia Lujan always displayed at intellectual curiosity for the world around her in her hometown of El Paso, Texas. Immersing herself from literature to understanding the complexity of a cell, her desire to learn helped her get into Swarthmore College. Being in one of the best liberal arts in the nation, Lujan was able to explore her passions and continue asking questions.

Although she enjoyed her college time and was ready to move on to the next chapter in her life, Lujan didn’t graduate this year without having made an impact on her campus and her community. Having double majored in Biology and English Literature, she explored opportunities that would give her further insight into these seemingly opposite worlds.

She was a research intern at the National Institutes of Health in Phoenix, Arizona, in the summer of 2013 where she studied the role of cortisol in gestational diabetes in Native American women. Lujan wanted to study “if physical manifestation of disease was due to the Native American [traumatic historical] experience.” She realized through this internship that doctors tend to ignore the “social environment that people exists and live in” and it prompted her to become involved in Public Health for her remaining college years.

“I wanted to create social good and Public Health was the answer,” reflects Lujan. “Public Health is an avenue in which to close disparities among people.”

Lujan was an active member of Global Health Forum at Swarthmore, acting as the executive board member and coordinator for about three years. There she helped raise several thousand dollars for the organization, coordinated panel discussions and promoted health education on topics such as AIDS, vaccines, and medical tourism.

She was co-creator of non-profit organization in 2014 with a Swarthmore alumni that focused on “social-economic healthcare and racial dimension of cancer care” in Santa Clare County, California. The non-profit, ERACE Cancer, operated under supervision of the Department of Oncology in Stanford University. The team was able to reach out to the community to identify their needs and come up with solutions about the cancer care.

Searching for a way to combine her writing and science skills, she founded, and was editor-in-chief, of the Swarthmore Journal of Science. This magazine represented the first journalism publication of the college and an excerpt in the first publication explains why the magazine was created. The editors explained how in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, there seemed to be an “underepresentation of women and people of color.” This magazine drove to provide a platform where “students from a variety of scientific backgrounds…can share their experience [in an attempt to ask] questions, share their work, and engage in conversations…”

Struggling on how to continue doing social good, Lujan soon realized that she can still achieve the same thing but though entrepreneurship. She applied to Venture for America, a two year entrepreneurship fellowship designed to recruit top graduates across the nation to create startups in cities that need revitalization. Accepted into the competitive program, she embarked on her new journey after graduation.

She recently finished a six-week training in marketing, business development, and startup culture at Brown University and will soon start working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She will be working for Message Agency, a corporation that creates websites for non-profits across the nation.

Undoubtedly Lujan has been successful in her field, but what drives her?

“A great deal of it comes from my family and El Paso. Although it’s home, the city had a lot of problems that had racial and socioeconomic dimensions. I was very frustrated to live within that system. It led me to push the boundaries of what I could do.” she adds.

Breaking Stereotypes

As Latinas, many of us have experienced hearing and possibly experiencing Latina stereotype. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a stereotype is to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same. Stereotypes can come from what people see based on TV or simply because what others have seen a few Latino people doing. With stereotypes, Latinos can be unfairly judged based on their accent or how they look. Listen to some Latinas speak out against common stereotypes.

Not All of Us Love (or know how) To Dance
Latino music and dancing has been recognized all over the world, and it’s an honor that many value and appreciate that. But that doesn’t mean that we all are experts and love to dance!

“To be honest, I’ve only been to one dance my whole life, and I hated it,” shared Paola Lopez, age 16. Many feel like this. Just because we are Latinas it doesn’t mean that as soon as the music starts, you can find us on the dance floor making everyone else look like fools.

We are not spicy hot girls
Just because you see some really beautiful and curvy Latinas in videos or TV shows, doesn’t mean that all of us are like that. A common image is of Latinas having a curvy body and tanned skin. The reality is that most of us are not that way. This stereotype needs to stop because many of us feel forced to meet those expectations and go through serious issues because of them. We all are beautiful, it doesn’t matter what type of body or skin we have. We are equally beautiful and amazing.

We are not all maids
This stereotype has been here for a really long time. Many immigrants come here to the US and spend their days working as maids to support their families and a place to live. Now it has become something “characteristic” of Latinas. It’s just a job and it shouldn’t be used to mock people, no matter their race. Just because we’re Latinas and many work as maids, doesn’t mean that we are destined to be one. Thanks to many opportunities, many Latinas everywhere are getting more chances to study to get a career and better jobs. Hopefully in a few years, this job won’t be stereotypical of us and people will realize that Latinas can excel in many fields.

“I don’t want to be a maid. I want to continue studying so someday I’ll get my degree on English,” said Alejandra Perez, age 18.

We are not all parties
We see music videos everyday and when it comes to Latinos, we’re supposed to party hard. People assume that we are like that most of our time, but the reality is that we’re not. We like parties and to have fun just like everyone else, but our lives are not always parties. We also care about other things and have many responsibilities.

We are not all Cholas
Another stereotype you see in the movies is of a chola, gangster or trouble maker. Latians are seen as rude and as queens of the barrio wearing big earrings and drawn eyebrows. Of course, not all of us are like this. Every culture has groups people who are mean, violent girls, but this is not true for most Latinas. We are not all cholas, most of us are not part of a gang or show pride in belonging in one. This is just part of something that exists in some areas around the US.

“I used to live in California and when I moved out, everyone thought I used to live in East LA and be a chola or some thing like that. To be honest, I never went there,” said Ana Diaz, age 16 shared.

No matter the stereotype, it is important to remember that not everyone from our community is the same. We are regular amazing people just like everyone else.

5 Latina Musicians to Check Out

These Latina musicians are worth listening to and their sound is getting them noticed. They are great artists and are a part of the Latina community. Check out these amazing Latinas below!Carla Morrison

Carla Morrison:
This girl has a tremendously special voice. It is unique and peaceful. Her melancholic and acoustic sound will make your time pass without even noticing. Between sad and love songs, you have a variety to listen to. If you like to listen to music in Spanish, this girl is a great addition to your music library. Born in Mexico, Carla has reached audiences in many Latin American and European countries in the past years by participating in big music festivals and solo shows. She has released 6 albums, so be sure to check her discography!
Listen to: “Dejenme Llorar”, “Compartir” and “Hasta La Piel”.

Melanie Martinez:
With her fresh, new and different sound, Melanie Martinez is here to steal our hearts. She was part of The Voice’s season 3 and since then she has been working to be famous. Melanie was born in New York and has Puerto Rican and Dominican roots. Similar to Lorde and Halsey, only 20 years old and she already has a huge fan base with her electronic/pop/alternative sound to listen to everyday.  Listen to: “Pity Party”, “Soap” and “Carousel”.

Kat Dahlia KatDahlia
With a slightly faster sound, Kat Dahlia is here to stay, she has combined rap, hip hop and her melodic voice with an influence of Latina. You can hear that on “Crazy.” She was born in the US with Cuban and Lebanese roots. She has a more aggressive sound and she knows how to mix it with different musical vibes. Her lyrics are strong. She talks about being a woman and getting through tough moments alone, and how girls can be strong without the need of a man to her side.
Listen to: “Gangsta”, “I Think I’m In Love” and “My Garden”.

Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas
The combination of rock, soul and pop in this band is incredible. The melodies, the voices and everything is amazing. This band’s sound is similar to Amy Winehouse and Alabama Shakes, they have Latin influences un their sound and you can hear that on “Sorry I Stole Your Man.” Jessica Hernandez has been performing since an early age. After trying for a long time, she signed with a record label and started to release music. Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas made an apparition on The Letterman Show and that set a starting point for the band to be heard for many more people.
Listen to: “Sorry I Stole Your Man”, “Don’t Take My Man to Idaho”, “Caught Up”

Hello Seahorse!
The surrealist Mexican band Hello Seahorse! has music in both English and Spanish. They got together around 10 years ago. Their sound is incredibly unique because they have combined many different vibes, from synth pop to rock to experimental music. Denise Gutierrez, the lead singer, has an exceptional voice. Not a lot of singers can reach her tone. Hello Seahorse has won multiple awards and has shared the stage with many American artists such as The Killers. They’ve participated in different music festivals around the American continent.
Listen to:“Won’t Say Anything”, “Velo De Novia” and “Un Año Quebrado”.

If you know any other amazing artists, let me know!