The “Perfect” Fit

As the years go by some might remember things of the past, such as technology or fashion, as in the case of young girls. For some, they might remember wearing chokers or wide-cut jeans with with the baby doll shirt, etc.

But now, the girls of today are noticing a trend when they go shopping for clothes and find more revealing fashion trends.

“I definitely felt pressured to dress more provocative when I shopped for clothes as a freshman,”  says Bailee Ortiz, now an incoming sophomore.

As young teenage girls get older they are pressured to look perfect by society. This occurs when young freshman girls in high school attempt to look older in order to fit in. This can be daunting for them as the transition to the ‘big kids school’ means entering young adulthood. Such mind set can be negatively damaging for girls as they can develop mental and physical health problems, such as: depression and  eating disorders.

“The outfits found in clothing stores today are so much more ‘out there’ than what I was used to. All of the current trends are everywhere that you cannot escape it without scavenging other stores,” shares Amelia Guitérrez, 16.

Fashion designs for older teen girls have indeed been steadily targeted to younger consumers. According to a survey by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, found that 95% of students with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8.  This shows the negative effects of advertising where young girls are so afraid of not looking like the images in the media, that they turn to harmful methods to please society.

“I just finished shopping for clothes,” said freshman bound Lily Estévez. “Most major clothing stores have these displays of current trends-which I don’t like- and it was really hard to find simple shirts that at least had the back fabric sewn on.”

Many girls are fighting back against this by ignoring pressures from society and the media.

“I fight back by purchasing clothes that I am comfortable in,” says 14 year old Leslie Muñoz. She added, “We shouldn’t give power to people who break down the confidence of young girls.”

There are many ways staying positive in the world today by surrounding yourself with family or friends that make a positive impact in your life. If you’re ever feeling down about your body image, you can keep a journal where you can write all of your insecurities just to let all  the negativity out. But at the end of each entry, you should list five things you love about yourself and why you’re happy.

From High School to College

Photo from

Photo from

Every year students across the nation complete their high school career and prepare to enter into their chosen colleges. College is a symbol of independence, adventure, and individual growth, a stepping stone towards becoming responsible, mature young adults. Whether the college is located in the same hometown or 300 miles away, a transition from high school to college is something that every incoming freshman must face head-on. This transition can come easily for some, while for others it might take a while to adjust. So what exactly is the transition?

For some this might mean adjusting to a new environment, making new friends, developing stronger studying skills, being home away from family, or dealing with culture shock (or a combination of several factors). Since every incoming freshmen will experience college differently due to a variety of different reasons, it is difficult to give a general summary of what college will be like for a student.

Karen Corral, who just finished her first year of college at St. Edward’s University in Texas, reflects back on how her expectations of college changed over the course of the year. “My expectations of college before entering was that it [was] extremely fun as my friends and social media made it seem…[but college] is never what you think it is and you should not go in there with a closed mindset,” explains Corral.

Diving deeper into her own college experience, Corral acknowledges that she had a culture shock even though the university was still within the same state as her hometown. When comparing the two cities, she realized that the “places are complete opposites.” Moving from Austin to El Paso, Texas was the biggest culture shock for Corral.

The culture shock was not the only thing that she experienced at her new college. She had to learn how to manage her time better, become informed about mental health, how to deal with homesickness, and she realized how hard it was to keep up with high school friends. For those that are entering college soon, she advises that “you should not go with an expectation either high or low, but instead with realistic goals, tips, and an open mind to get the best of the college experience.”

Isabella Drogo, who just completed her first year at the University of Rochester , had similar yet different experience to Corral. Drogo recalls thinking that her primary concern was just going to be the academics and nothing else. However, Drogo decided to join the Women’s Rugby team, something that had been her passion since high school. “Joining Rugby was the best thing I did all year since it helped me ease comfortably into college environment, find close friends outside my residential hall, and I got to meet a lot of interesting girls,” laughs Drogo.

With the newfound sense of independence that Drogo felt in the first week of college, she felt ready for the college experience. Although she felt free, she did not forget about her close friends from back home and how “they were always there for [her].” Since Drogo is a native of Buffalo, about an hour away from her university, she was comforted with the knowledge that she was close enough to visit her friends and family.

There is no way to predict what will happen in the following four years to come after high school. Majors might be switched, a class might be too difficult, the pass-fail option might suddenly become reasonable, or an unknown sport to you might perk your interest. Having strict expectations of what a college experience should be like, might prevent one from actually enjoying what the college has to offer. Apart from the academics, college is also about learning how to adapt to new situations, knowing how to navigate with more added responsibilities, effectively manage stress, and learning how to cope with possibly being away from friends and family. College is not just an opportunity to further your education, but it also gears students for the “real world” after graduation. Although the college experience will vary from individual to individual, and there will sometimes be uncertainty of what the future holds, the unexplored possibilities that any college offers should be taken advantage of. What the individual chooses to their experiences to be, that is what will be given.

Creating S.M.A.R.T Goals

Latina Girl Writing - LatinitasFrom school to family and friends, you have goals in every aspect of your life. If you want to reach your goals, it isn’t enough to just say you want to get better grades. You have to come up with S.M.A.R.T. goals to create a plan to reach your goals.

First,  what is a S.M.A.R.T. goal?

S.M.A.R.T Goals

First, you need to make sure that you have specific goals. Then, you will start creating a S.M.A.R.T.  goal setting. S.M.A.R.T.  goal setting brings structure and track ability into your goals and objectives. Every goal or objective, from intermediary step to overarching objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. and as such, brought closer to reality.

Measurable goals means that you identify exactly what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal. It means breaking your goal down into measurable elements by having concrete evidence. Being happier is not evidence because it cannot be measured; however,  not eating junk food anymore because you adhere to a healthy lifestyle,where you eat vegetables twice a day and exercise more frequently, is. 

Next, you’ll need to create deadlines. Everybody knows that deadlines are what makes most people switch to action. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible, that way you can keep morale high. Raising against time to complete a goal will not only make the process more stressful, but it can also weaken the learning path of achieving your goals.


Be realistic with yourself, but don’t beat yourself up if it takes you longer to accomplish a goal. Remember that what you focus on, like viewing something in a negative or positive light, will affect your goals.

Don’t be scared to re-organize or change your goals. Sometimes the ideal opportunity to accomplish a goal will come at a later date/time — it’s not a bad thing! Keeping track of your goals as you accomplish them is a great self-esteem booster. Girl, you better be writing those goals in a place where is easy to remember. Make a check mark to every goal in your list that you have already accomplished. It will make you feel better to know that you are almost done. Don’t forget to smile! It is rewarding to know that you finish something from your list.

Latinas in Comedy

MusicEverybody, regardless of their age or background, wants to laugh and be entertained. After having faced a stressful day, plenty of us would revel in the thought of having our mood lightened by turning to our favorite comedy shows for a laugh. It is safe to say that with mediums like television, YouTube, and Netflix, comedy has never been more accessible in this country. However, by whom the comedy is being performed is what we as viewers and audience members should be taking into consideration at present.

It can also be safe to say that diverse identities are definitely represented in the world of comedy, particularly in stand-up comedy, for example, but to what extent? In many ways, comedy in the United States is still an industry that is dominated by men. So what does that mean for female comedians, more specifically, Latinas? Well, there are certainly Latina comedians who have risen to fame, overcoming the obstacles that the industry has placed before them, such as Anjelah Johnson and Cristela Alonzo, both of whom have had successful stand-up careers. In their performances, Johnson and Alonzo have been known to discuss their experiences growing up in Mexican American households. In fact, Alonzo even had her own show, Cristela.

Although there are those in the industry who are striving to connect to audiences of diverse backgrounds, there are still well-known comedians who would argue against this practice.

“Without diversity in comedy…we limit ourselves to listening to the same kinds of experiences and points of view, which limits our ability to progress,” states 21-year-old Emily Crispell. Emily suggests that comedy intersecting with identities that relate to gender, ethnicity, culture, class, and so on, help create performances that are more accessible to modern Americans.

One particular Latina comedian whose work reflects Emily’s perspective is Sandra Valls, who has been doing stand-up since the mid-2000s. In her stand-up routines, Valls is known for discussing how her identities as a lesbian and as a Mexican American intersect. “One of my goals is to represent the LGBT community and Latinos and women, and to make a difference, not just be funny,” states Valls in a 2007 interview.

Both Sandra Valls as a professional comedian and Emily Crispell as a viewer can agree that relatability is essential when it comes to finding the humor in another’s jokes and stories, especially since the reason why one may become a fan of a particular comedian usually goes beyond a single joke. For example, Emily comments that she is a big fan of Aubrey Plaza’s role as April Ludgate in NBC’s Parks and Recreation. “A lot of people don’t seem to know that she is Latina because she is fair skinned but she is half Puerto Rican. Recently, she “came out” as Latina in an interview…she talked about not feeling Latina enough… I really connected to Aubrey Plaza’s struggle…” Emily is half Dominican and understands what it is like to be ethnically misidentified.

It may be that in terms of diversity, the American comedy industry is nowhere near perfect, especially when it comes to the influence of Latinos and Latinas. However, it is clear that through the work of comedians like Anjelah Johnson, Cristela Alonzo, Sandra Valls, and Aubrey Plaza, progress is being made. As representatives of the Latino community, they are able to draw attention to the big issues like immigration and discrimination, and even daily concerns relating to food and language differences.

The Immigrant Struggle in ‘Boyhood’

11189929_ori‘Boyhood,’ the 2014 film that spans twelve years of a boy’s life, from age 6 to 18, won Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes.  The acclaimed movie takes the audience through the growing-up process of Mason, a boy living in Texas with divorced parents. Throughout the film there are a couple scenes that prominently feature Hispanics. The first features a teenaged Latina girl who appears with Mason’s sister as they flip through fashion magazines after school. The second Latino portrayed is a Mexican immigrant who does some work for Mason’s mother on her new home. Mason’s mother recommends that he go to school. A few years later he comes up to her at a restaurant to tell her that he took her advice, got a degree, and is about to be promoted to a managerial position at his job.

Latinitas provided me with the opportunity to attend a Google Fiber Q&A session with the film’s main actor, Ellar Coltrane, who plays the role of the boy Mason. While there I asked Ellar why he believes the Hispanic immigrant’s role was included in the film.

He had two answers for me. Firstly, because the film takes place in Texas it just wouldn’t make sense if no Hispanics were featured, particularly those who recently immigrated. Secondly, the Hispanic immigrant provides a direction comparison to Mason’s mother, a single mother struggling to support two children. Both immigrants and single mothers, Ellar said, battle difficulties in achieving their dreams for themselves.

Most would agree with Ellar that a Texan film should present Hispanics to be credible. After all, recent statistics from the United States Census Bureau show that Texas is about 40% Hispanic. Pew Research Center demographics show that 88% of those Hispanics are Mexican, while almost half of all Texan Hispanics were born in their native countries.

Most would also agree that both single mothers and immigrants face financial and social difficulties that others do not. While the factors vary greatly, depending on the unique situation of the individual, both single mothers and immigrants occupy spaces outside of traditional society that create or complicate difficulties. Single mothers struggle to take on both their maternal role and an additional financial one. Immigrants, thrust into a starkly different country, must adapt to a new job, a new language, a new culture entirely.

However, after Mason’s mother suggests Enrique go to school he does not reappear until years later, when he is all smiles and boasting of his achievement. His brief explanation leaves the viewer with unanswered questions, wondering about the difficulties not portrayed in the film. How did Enrique pay for school? How did he balance work and study? Did he have a family at home needing immediate financial support? Did he struggle to understand and read English? Was he undocumented, and if so how did it complicate his schooling and career search? These are but a few examples of real-life scenarios that could have affected Enrique as he pursued his dreams. So while it’s glad that Enrique took the advice of Mason’s mother I’m aware that ‘Boyhood’ did not portray the many struggles he must have faced along the way.  ‘Boyhood’ is not a film about an immigrant’s triumph over struggle. I get that. Still, the simplistic picture painted of Enrique’s success reminds me that for those Americans unfamiliar with the struggles faced by immigrants, the movie did little to educate them further. Nonetheless it’s never a bad thing to portray the American success story of a Hispanic immigrant.

The Mexic-Arte Museum

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 8.40.59 PMGoing to a museums is all about learning different histories and cultures. And the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas is the epitome of just that.

The museum opened in 1984 and was founded by Sylvia Orozco, Sam Coronado, and Pio Pulido. This museum started off with artwork based around Mexican culture throughout Texas. It opened with a festival for the Day of the Dead in the fall, and from that day on it offered different programs that allowed attendees to learn about the culture.

Four years after its opening, the museum was moved to its current location, right in the center of downtown Austin. The history section on the museum’s website says, “A total of 75, 000 visitors ranging from enthusiastic children to art connoisseurs, tour the museum each year.”

And it’s partly because the entire feel of the museum has a sort of Hispanic/Latin vibe to it. Although the museum focuses around Mexican culture, the art held in it is not all made by Mexican artists. There is currently art from a range of Latina women whether it be Mexican or Venezuelan or Spanish.

The Contemporary Art Collection this past march showcased recent work from artists such as Adriana Corral and Teresa Cervantes.

Along with this collection is the Changarrito Collection: 2012 – 2014. This annex gallery, named Selections from the Changarrito Permanent Collection from 2012 – 2014,showcases work from residencies of the Changarrito. The Mexic-Arte Museum says,

“The Changarrito Project is an international traveling mobile gallery that provides an alternative method of showcasing artwork for contemporary artists. Mexic-Arte Museum received one of the Changarrito carts, and has invited over 15 artists to participate. Works acquired from these residencies will be on display, ranging from tapes, zines, toys,miniature sculpture, paintings, sketches, and other portable works on paper.”

Below are various works of art from the Contemporary Art Collection as well as the Changarrito Collection. Both of these collections were at the museum until May 31, 2015.

To find out more about the museum, its hours, location, and programs, visit the website here.


Coming to America


Christina Lorenza Aybar (Peralta – her mother’s maiden name which was removed when she became a U.S. citizen) was four years old when she moved from the Dominican Republic (DR) to the United States. She grew up in Washington Heights in Manhattan, New York, and now lives in South Texas. She is a wife and a mother of three children. She works with children at a school as the Science-Technology manager.

Q: Okay, so to start off, do you remember anything from the day you came to America?
A: I remember when, on the day, we were coming to the United States, I remember saying bye to everybody.

Q: Did you know what was going on? Were you sad?
A: I think I knew we were leaving to move somewhere else. Yeah, I was sad saying goodbye to everybody.

Q: Do you remember anything from the trip?
A: I remember being on the plane and looking out the window, and then I remember fussing with the curtains, and it feel down. I guess it broke, and I fell asleep until it was time to get off.

Q: When you were sixteen and visiting the Dominican Republic, did you wish you had never moved? Or were you just happy to be visiting?
A: I was happy to be visiting, happy to be meeting my cousins for the first time that I had never met before, but I was happy I lived in New York.

Q: Who was in the U.S. when you came over?
A: My mom, dad, one sister, and one brother.*
*Christina is the youngest of ten, she has six sisters and three brothers.

Q: How old were you when your parents moved away?
A: I think I was about two and a half when my parents first moved from the Dominican Republic.

Q: Do you think you know enough about Dominican history and culture?
A: No. I wish I knew more.

Q: Did you ever want to live there or move back?
A: No, I never wanted to live there because I was used to living in the United States, and over there it’s very different. The electricity goes away for periods of time and the water comes and goes, as does the hot water, and I couldn’t get used to that.

Q: Where were you born?
A: In Santiago, well, in the country…but I don’t remember the name. En el campo.

Q: In New York, what were your parents’ jobs?
A: My mom worked as a seamstress in a factory, and my dad had several jobs, but when I got there he was a dishwasher in the Sheraton Hotel.

Q: So were they gone a lot because they were always working?
A: The way it worked, my mom worked during the day and my dad worked at night. He would make me breakfast and lunch, then around 3 o’clock, we would walk halfway to the train station (subway station), and my mom would pick me up. Then he’d take the train to work, and my mom and I would walk back home.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about the Dominican Republic?
A: When I visited when I was 16, and then again when I was 20, it was so peaceful and everything was nice and clean, just the country itself. Skies were blue and the trees were really green. People could leave the doors open and not have any problems.

Q: So you visited again when you were 20?
A: My parents had retired, so they went back and I went with them. I visited and I was going to live there, but I had a job back in New York before I left, at Albert’s Hosiery, and the owner kept sending messages asking me to come back, and I hadn’t gotten a job in the Dominican Republic, so I decided to go back to New York and work.

Q: You said you loved that the Dominican Republic was peaceful when you were younger. When you visited when you were older, it wasn’t as peaceful anymore?
A: Things had changed, there was more violence. We stayed in Santo Domingo with my mother-in-law. No, it wasn’t as peaceful.

Q: What’s your favorite Dominican food?
A: Sancocho. It’s kind of like a beef stew, rather than soup, I guess. It has the meat and a mixture of vegetables.

Q: And your favorite Dominican dessert?
A: Dominican cake with a guayava filling in the middle.

Q: Did you get to go to all of the “cool” places in DR?
A: No, not all of them. When I was sixteen, I went to Puerto Plata with my uncle. We stayed at this resort kind of thing, called El Sombrero because all of the huts were in the shape of a sombrero. And then we took telefericos, cable cars, to go up into mountains where the huge Jesus statue is. It’s beautiful up there and there are these beautiful gardens with plants and flowers. It’s really beautiful.

Oh! And on the way to Puerto Plata, when we were almost there, we were on the cable cars and we could see a house built on the side of the mountain shaped like a ship facing the ocean. I thought it was really cool!

We went to a beach, Puerto Escondido, or Playa Escondida, and it’s called that because it’s hidden. You park and then you have to walk through trees and stuff, and you get there and you see the beach and the water’s clear and everything.

I went to Santo Domingo, to El Malecon, which is a big wall by the ocean where people go to hang out and there are restaurants there. I visited the Basilica en Higuey when I was older, it was my first time there. It’s beautiful, and we saw La Virgen de Altagracia – she’s treated the way La Virgen de Guadalupe is treated by most Mexicans. I went to la playa de Sosúa, which is near Puerto Plata too.

When I was sixteen, we’d walk from my uncle’s house to el monumento de Santiago, and people would hang out there. It was a long walk, but my cousin, Milagros, and I would do it anyway.

Q: Anything else?
A: No, I’m sorry I can’t remember a lot about coming to America. I was little…I’ve forgotten a lot.

Although Christina may not want to move back to DR any time soon (or ever), she is happy to be from there and happy to be able to visit whenever she gets the chance.


479924-250A lot of girls and women have body image issues. As much as they wish they didn’t, they do. And most of the time, these issues revolve around one main thing: la panza – the belly. There are all kinds of different panzas, the size doesn’t make a difference, and for some reason a lot of people just aren’t okay with the way their panzas look. This is something that needs to be fixed.

The Panza Monologues, a performance based on a collection of stories written by Virginia Grise and Irma Mayorga, looks into the lives of Chicanas who have some sort of experience involving their own panza or the panza of someone they love. Despite the continuous humor throughout the performance, all of the stories connected into one central theme: The panza is life. If you are suffering, your panza is suffering.

All throughout the performance, the three actresses – Florinda Bryant, Deanna Deolloz, and Eva McQuade – played out the stories of different women whom Grise and Mayorga wrote about. The performance opened up with a prologue that explained how a performance like this was created, and ended by the three women chanting, “VIVA LA PANZA!” This automatically got the audience excited and amped up. The energy within the audience remained this way up until the very end.

The Panza Monologues is an eye opening work of art for both men and women. After the performance, Florinda and Eva allowed the audience to ask any questions about anything they wanted, mostly in regards to the show itself.

A few members of the audience asked about a couple of the stories, mostly concerning why some of the women did not save themselves from their abusive relationship or take care of themselves, and how their story really had anything to do with the panza. The takeaway was that the panza is hardly ever the reason for someone’s pain. Even after losing your panza, you might not be healthy. Being thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Mental health is more important in most cases.

Some people lose their panzas because they aren’t eating and aren’t healthy – this is an effect of bad mental health. It’s always important to take care of yourself first. According to Eva, “we are all contradictions within ourselves,” and “you need to be positive, you need to love yourself.”

Victoria Humphrey, a junior at Texas State University, attended the last showing of the performance and thought it was phenomenal. In one word, she said it was, “realistic.” And she says there were two things that she really learned from this performance, “Love your body, it’s the only one you have,” and, of course, “VIVA LA PANZA.”

At one point during the performance, the women explained about the panza plyers – plyers used to help pull up the zipper of jeans that might be a little too tight. During the Q&A, a male in the audience asked if the plyers were “for real.” Eva’s only answer was “Dude, c’mon!” Needless to say, the entire audience burst into laughter, most knowing all too well of the panza plyers.

The final comment was from a woman in the audience, which left everyone, including the actresses, with the sense of happiness. “Panza llena, corazón contenta”(roughly translated, that means “full stomach, happy heart”).

Impact of the Supreme Court Ruling for the Latino Community


On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage across the nation, making this a historic victory in the gay rights movement. Before this decision was made, 37 out of 50 states (and the District of Colombia) had already extended this right to same sex couples throughout the course of eleven years. With Massachusetts becoming the first state in the United States to allow same sex marriage in 2004, many states began to follow suit as this issue picked up wind. With the ruling, the remaining states that had yet to recognize the rights of gay couples will now be legally required to issue marriage license to them and give the legal benefits that come with it.

Upon hearing the news, individuals across the country rejoiced with their loved ones. Celebration of the decision took on various forms throughout social media as people rallied together to show their support from likes to tweets. Hashtags like “LoveisLove” and “#LoveWins” spread throughout the internet as people embraced the news. Websites like Google and Yahoo modified their logo appearance, while Facebook created a rainbow filter to go over a user’s profile picture to show support and acceptance. Historic landmarks and tourists sites alike were illuminated with rainbow colored lights on Friday night.

Simultaneously, there was explosion from those that opposed the ruling. From justices to conservative Christian pastors, their stance on the issue began to appear in headlines and their reasons varied anywhere from states’ right to religious freedom. Homophobic remarks and attitudes were seen throughout social media when the news broke, often resulting in online arguments.

Whether you are in favor with the ruling or not, it cannot be denied that the decision will go down as an important moment in the history of the United States. The Supreme Court’s verdict was based on the idea that denying gay couples the right to marry meant they were being denied equality and therefore fundamental rights as Americans.  As members of the LGBT+ community continue to fight for their rights, they have slowly been chipping away at barriers that oppress them. Celeste Ledesma, a junior at Bryn Mawr College, knew that the legalization of marriage was not the end of the fight.

Latino culture is centralized around the family unit and there are often strict social rules to uphold its values; coming out as queer can often challenge those ideals. Since that is the case, queer young Latinos/as often face the reality of being thrown out of their home or of being mistreated, of living in a homophobic household where religion or ​machismo​ often contribute to this attitude, and of facing discrimination. Often times, Latinos/as might be forced to choose between their ethnic and sexual/gender identity for their own well-being.

Ledesma argues that acceptance of being queer might depend on the generation. “When you go back to our parents’ generation or our grandparents’ generation, they might not be ready [for the change]…[the challenge then becomes of] explaining the changing world to a generation that already has their world view that set.”

Not only are queer Latinos/as fighting for the ability to be accepted by their own families, but they fight to be respected within their communities. According to a 2011 study by ​Mujeres Latinas en Accion​, a Latina advocacy organization, and ​Amigas Latinas,​ an organization to support lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning Latinas, found that 25 percent of the 300 survey Latinas felt that they were discriminated against in the Latino community. In the same survey, they found that many queer Latinas had had racist remarks directed towards them in predominately white LGBT+ support services. This discrimination and racism can have detrimental impacts on the individual’s life. When you are rejected by your loved ones, it causes extreme emotional stress.

Apart from their attempt to be accepted, queer Latinos and Latinas also have to fight against stereotypes placed on them by their own community and those outside of it. The media continues to perpetuate the stereotypes that all Latinos are lazy, uneducated, and undocumented. Some stereotypes have been created with the help of ​machismo ​and religion, while others have been created through the systematic oppression that all Latinos and other people of color face. Standards have been placed on Latinos/as on how they should act, the roles to perform, and how they should look. When individuals deviate from these standards, it causes problems.

In a time where we encourage young people to be who they are and to love themselves, we should not be hypocritical and reject those that are different from us.  Rejection of queer Latinos only fragments families and communities, driving a wedge further between them. There is nothing wrong with being queer. We love who we love, and we are who we are. If we wish to overcome things such as racism and discrimination, if we wish to overcome systematic oppression, we have to start by looking into our own community and fix the problems within. We cannot ask to be free of oppression, when we act as oppressors to others. Latinos come in all shapes, sizes, colors, sexualities, genders, and background. If we wish to create a better world for the future generations of Latinos, we have to learn to accept one another and through this, a positive social change will occur.

Guide to a Better Mental Health (8)Everyone in their lifetime has struggled with some kind of problem and has sought out help for advice, comfort, and reassurance. There is no shame in asking for guidance when you need it nor does it mean that you are weak. Humans are complex, social creatures and we cannot live life in emotional isolation from one another. Yet, strangely enough, something has changed. When we seek help for our troubles, it now means that you are not strong enough to deal with it alone, that there must be something wrong with you. In other words, seeking help for our emotional troubles has become stigmatized. The good news is, that there is absolutely nothing wrong for asking help nor is it indicative of the strength of your character.

Summing up enough courage to seek help to treat a mental illness or a personal struggle is a huge step towards the right direction. Seeking help is indicative that the individual acknowledges that they are not “okay” and that they cannot go through the process alone. Luckily, there is a large amount of resources available for those that want to receive help that range from therapists to hotlines. Each type of resource varies in its treatment, but ultimately they serve to improve the well-being of the individual.

Professional Help
Seeing a mental health professional has the benefit of having a face-to-face, private session. Having a safe space where you are able to freely express yourself in any way without judgment can be liberating. According to Celeste Nevarez, a licensed psychiatrist who works at the Family Service of El Paso, she believes that confiding in someone, whether it’s a professional or a friend, helps remove the feeling of isolation for the individual. Just talking can be therapeutic in of itself.  Often times where might be situations where the cost of therapy comes up and whether it can be affordable in the long run. Fortunately, there are systems in place that can make therapy a viable option.

Nevarez urges to call your doctor, regardless if you think you can afford therapy or not, to see the options that are available for you. The doctor will direct you to the right places. The “sliding scale” is a paying system that some private practices have adopted to help their patients. In this system, the patient pays only a portion of their earned income or what they can afford at the time. This varies with the private practice you’ve gone to, so you’ll have to call. Another way is to search for the local community mental health center since they are generally less expensive than private practices. These health centers are open to the public and are there to serve you.  Other times, there could be organizations in your city that offer their services completely free or therapists that do pro bono.

Support Groups
Support groups are another viable option for teens or adults. Sitting in a safe-environment where you are able to hear people having their own struggles helps alleviate the feeling of isolation. According to Wichita State University, support groups are often effective since it provides an environment where members “provide emotional support to one another, learn new ways to cope, discover strategies for improving their condition, and help others while helping themselves.” Knowing that you are not alone helps cope with feelings of isolation.

Mental Health Websites and Hotlines
Going to mental health websites are often helpful since you are able to obtain important information such as knowing what resources are available around you, give you tips, and to make you know that you are not alone. However, Nevarez warns that the internet is not the way to diagnose or to treat yourself. This is dangerous since the individual needs to be able to talk to someone and receive guidance.

If there is an urgency to talk to someone, hotlines are there to help you. According the Nevarez, “these will help you to bring your energy level down” and to make sure that you are okay. There are hotlines that operate 24/7 to be available to anyone that needs their help. There are also some hotlines where you will be helped through text. These serve as important functions since they are always there to

There is help out there, chicas. You do not have to go through this alone. The best option will vary between individuals, but they have one thing in common: they acknowledged that they need help.

Not sure where to start? Below is a list of resources from Celeste Nevarez that you might want to use:


Crisis Call Center
800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

National Suicide Hotline
800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
800-422-HOPE (4673)
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-TALK (8255)
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline
800-USA-KIDS (800-872-5437)
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

National Institute of Mental Health Information Center
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday

National Mental Health Association Hotline
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

Bullying Support and Suicide Prevention
(855) 581-811 (24/7) or text TALK to 85511 (4-8P.M. everyday)
Chat is available Monday-Thursday from 7:30 P.M.-12:00 A.M.

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