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

Poem: I Am A Puerto Rican Woman

Flag_of_Puerto_Rico.svgby Sandra Diaz

I Am A Puerto Rican Woman
And You Will Not Experiment On Me.

Gone are the days of eradicating our babies
Sterilization of our population
No consent castration
Making us an empty shell of our former self

Maria’s and Jose’s…
Vanished from Our wombs
Brown Castano skin
Pupils of wonder,
Innocence ripped from within
Our rights strip away with wire hanger abortions
Performed with Pulled the life from us operations

A Boriquen Women
Concentration Elimination
Tidal wave to exterminate the unfortunate subjects
Transplanting Cancer cells on Our Men is no exception
Abuse and torture poison radiation
Social worker house to house
Face to face Discrimination

Thousands of Sisters and Mothers
Told and convinced
That they should no longer conceive
Threatening,
Scaring and Scarring the life out of me

Silent about the Experimental Birth control test trial
Birth place Induced abuse
Couldn’t stop me from coming
My spirit just wouldn’t be stopped
I’m here to speak
Yeah
Now what.
Back to Back Fertility control
Racist attitude Policy must go
In a Civilized Society this should never take place
Contraception Mis-information
Nevermore will be accepted
By the Beautiful Taino Race

Misleading propaganda was taught in schools
White Picket Fence Promises
Builds mistrust, Are we alliances?

“La Operacion”

Had naive daughters fooled
100 percent; Child bearing age
Two doctors to check if tubes were tied
They’re natural born experts on deceit and lies

Irreversible mistakes
Fifty a Day.
Does not a good decision make
National Intended Genocide
Cannot bring the unborn back

Curvy, intelligent, Feministas
Will not permit; anyone instill
That educated decisions are too complicated
That we don’t have…. Free will does not exist
To just take the Magic Pill

Were here to stay
Our Cultura is Strong
We’ve come a long way
Women of Color, Coming together
We carry on
Where there’s courage, we cant go wrong
We’ve progress with Pride intact
We’ve been quiet for far too long

Too many side effects to be acceptable
So with a shout and a heart felt scream
Were taking Authority on our God Given Dream.
Compliance is not our Grandmothers Option
The unwilling Pioneer found A Solution
Our Resolute is our Revolution

A Puerto Rican Female
Who Believes In
YES WE CAN!
And like I said
You Will Never Experiment On Us
Again!

Poetry: Drifting Thoughts

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Drifting Thoughts  by Andrea Barreto

I keep my heart where blue kisses gold,
near sand that sparkles like the facets of a diamond.
Sunlight beats down, reflecting off the constant waves.
These waves gleam golden for the day, then fade to an incandescent glow in the silver light of night.
With every splash against the shore, another doubt slips away.

The night brings darkness, a comforting shadow over droning worries made harsh by the day.
Bright moon and faint light soothe lingering thoughts of uncertainty and self-doubt.
In the dark my senses are heightened,
each grain of sand delightfully coarse against my skin,
and each wave lapping gently against my feet as they wash away the troubles of my soul and mend the wounds in my heart.
The sun will return as night gives way to day, but in this moment I am alone in the dark,
and, with the moon, my uneasiness wanes away.

Early College Program: Worth It?

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Written by Joella Methola

 My experience with the early college life is remarkable. I attend the El Paso Community College (EPCC) as an early college student. As an early college student, this means that I go to both high school and college. It is a unique campus environment where I earn college credits, a high school diploma and an associate’s degree upon graduation. It is a great educational program, plus it is free.

Enrolling in an Early College Program
Applying for an early college program takes a lot of work and effort. Applicants need to have one available in their city, complete an application (submit by the priority deadline), write an essay (why you want to go an early college), meet the compliance with state attendance policy, have an GPA of 90 in core subjects during the student’s 8th grade year, submit 7th grade STARR scores, and, finally, submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher.

Benefits of Being an Early College Student
The transition from middle school to an early college is not that easy and it took me a while to get used to it. After all, going to an early college after middle school is a great jump but a grand opportunity. Being enrolled in an early college program has helped me grow academically and personally. For example, I have learned how to manage my time, how to use and improve my strengths, open my mind to new ideas, and how to be aware of my surroundings.

It is rewarding process because you learn to be a more mature, responsible and successful college student. I personally believe the hard work is worth it because you have the opportunity to learn in a college setting with other EPCC students. This type of environment helps you decide which route to take when you  continue your education to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Myth VS Reality: Is It Worth It?

The early college is not all work though. There are a lot of rumors saying that when you attend an early college you miss out on a high school experience; however, you do not. There are clubs and activities you can participate in. For example: Mock Trial, Science Bowl, High Q, Piano, Moot Court, Fashion Club, Community Service, Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Spanish Club, and more! Plus, we have scrimmages against each other on sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. One other cool thing is that all students (freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) can go to prom and homecoming! We also have a lot of school spirit.

Being in an early college has been the best choice I have made so far. I believe that others should follow the same path. It is very fun but also challenging, which is a good thing. It challenges you to be a better student.

Beat the Heat: Summer Recipes

Photo Credit: luxuryhousingtrends.com

Photo Credit: luxuryhousingtrends.com

Summer vacation is the perfect time to try out new cool recipes in order to beat the heat. Since we don’t want to turn on our ovens for that, here are some cool recipes to try that can help you beat the heat, not turn it up.

Mango Lassi

This is a type of smoothie recommended by Buzzfeed.com! This delicious smoothie can be made at any time of day. The ingredients consist of 1 mango, 3/4 cups of cold milk, 3 tablespoons of cold plain yogurt, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 pinch of salt, 1 handful of crushed ice and 1 sprig of fresh mint.

Step 1: Take the mango and peel it. Try to get all the skin off of the mango. If you can’t, then it’s fine.

Step 2: Put all the other ingredients (including the mango) into the blender and turn on the blender for 20-30 seconds.

Step 3: Enjoy. If it is still too thick, feel free to add more milk. You can also add honey or yogurt if you feel it’s necessary, you can use your own judgment here.

 Ceviche

Here is an interesting take on ceviche, from Fod52.com, in more ways than one. Not only does it not require an oven, but it also includes watermelon as one of the ingredients. That’s right, watermelon. While it may seem strange, watermelon actually goes quite well with this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds fresh mild fish, such as striped bass, swordfish, or halibut
  • limes (just under 1 cup of juice)
  • 1/4 cup purple onion (or vidalia), chopped
  • jalapeño pepper, chopped finely (more or less to taste)
  • 1.5 cups of fresh tomato, chopped into cubes about 1/4″ or a bit bigger
  • 1.5 cups cucumber, chopped into cubes about 1/4″ or a bit bigger
  • cup watermelon, chopped into cubes about 1/4″ or a bit bigger
  • tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Step 1: Cut the fish into cubes that are about 3/4 of an inch on each side. Then, mix them into a bowl with the lime juice, onion, pepper and salt. Then, put the mixture into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to cure, stirring every five minutes.

Step 2: During cure time, take another bowl and mix the cucumber, watermelon, cilantro, oil, salt and pepper. Mix gently but mix well.

Step 3: Once the fish is cured (the fish should look “cooked”), pour the lime/fish mixture into a final serving bowl. You may “hold back” some of the lime juice if the amount is excessive. You can cure the fish for longer than the 15 minutes if you feel it is necessary.

Step 4: Lastly, pour the tomato mixture over the fish and mix well. Serve immediately.

Honeydew and Peppedew Gazpacho

Put some of that produce to good use and make Gazpacho for friends and family. Serves 4-6 and this recipe is done with a food processor.

Ingredients: 

  • large English cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • peppadew peppers, drained
  • large tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 of a large honeydew melon, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 46-oz bottle of low-sodium vegetable juice
  • Several tea spoons of olive oil
  • Several glugs of sherry vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Step 1: Take each type of produce and put them in your food processor separately — this step is important, as they won’t come out the same if they’re in together– until the pieces are very fine.

Step 2: Once you have processed each one, put everything into the largest bowl you can find. If you have not added the garlic, you should do so at this point.

Step 3: Stir the mixture together thoroughly, cover with plastic and let sit in the fridge. Stirring occasionally. The gazpacho is best after it has sat in the fridge for a very long amount of time  – so the longer the time in the fridge, the better. Which makes it great if you won’t have time in the evening to prepare dinner.

Popsicles

 Last but not least, is everyone’s favorite summer treat, popsicles! This is a pretty traditional recipe that never gets old and has lots of room for creativity.

Step 1: fill ice trays or popsicle trays with juice (for something really experimental, add gummy bears to the juice) and stick trays in the freezer

Step 2: Let sit until frozen solid.

Step 3: Enjoy your summer popsicles!

Whether you’re looking for a snack or an idea for dinner, these summer recipes are bound to make your tastebuds dance with delight.

Poetry: The Beautiful Truth

Polet Espinoza

Polet Espinoza, author

Turn the page, perfect symmetrical body

Wearing the clothes you wish you have

With their glowing colored eyes and skin.

Turn the page, expensive make-up ads,

Make your eye lashes look longer than your hair,

Make your flawed skin look flawless

And your lips look bigger than your face.

Turn the page, tips on boys,

They tell you how to act around them

And try to convince you to be something you’re not.

Turn the page, you start feeling neglected

You feel the urge to look like them,

You feel the need to buy their products to look better

And you feel imperfect because they’re in magazines and you’re not.

But no one said there was only one type of girl,

With only one type of perfect

And only one type of beautiful.

And then you notice;

Those girls aren’t real,

They were altered and created with technology;

They’re an image from someone else’s imagination.

But you are real,

Don’t let anyone alter or create your true self;

You’re not an image from someone else’s imagination.

Turn the page, you’re perfect.

DIY Graduation Gifts

Graduation season is here! While you are searching for that “unforgettable gift,” you will find the typical stuffed animal with a cap and a diploma, candy, flowers, and gift cards card. If you are looking for something really special to get the graduate instead of the boring gift cards, why don’t you get creative and make a gift from your heart? Do it yourself, it can have more meaning, and it really can be an unforgettable gift. Here are some ideas on what you can make that gives a gift card a new twist.

Lei Money Tree:

Every graduate needs money for their next step in life. Get family members to contribute  a dollar each, make a hole through each dollar, pinch them like a bow, and put a long string through them to make a lei, or a “Hawaiian necklace,” full of money! Your graduate will love your gift.

Going Away Box:

If the graduate is going far away to school and you want them to have the essentials, buy a medium box to decorate with college sayings or pictures that you know will brighten his/her day and anything essential you want him/her to have. For example: Flip flops for the shower, a notebook, some pens/pencils, air freshener, toothpaste, socks, etc. Then, write write a little side note for them to read on each item.  For example, for the flip flops “I knew you were going to need them…” something humorous for him/her to smile to and not feel so lonely by themselves.

Survival Guide:

Your graduate might be going away without his/her parents for the first time, and he/she might not know exactly how to cook, clean, or do laundry. Write him/her a neat survival guide, it is better if you write them on a thick poster board with a fine point sharpie so that it will last longer. Write instructions on how to clean, how to do laundry, recipes for fast meals, etc. On every tip you give the graduate, tape a dollar to it and write a little side note that will brighten his/her day or make him/her smile.

The next one is a little time consuming, but it is worth it!

Day of the Week:

Choose any day of the week, like Monday because no one really likes those. Make a small envelope of any color, put a little goodie like a chocolate or candy or a granola bar and write a note, or a letter. Do every Monday until you will see him/her again with the date on them. For example, if the person leaves in August and you won’t see him/her until December, give them the amount of Mondays there are when you won’t see him/her. Up for a DIY challenge? Do every day of the week! It’s more time consuming, but it will be totally worth it.

Emergency Glass:

There might be some stressful situations the graduate might need money for something and they don’t want to call home or take out a loan, so why not give them an emergency cash box? Buy a long picture frame with more than one spot for pictures, and, instead of putting pictures in the frames, put large dollar bills, a $20 or $50 if you want more, and in the top write “In case of an emergency, Break glass” like the fire extinguishers say.

Gift cards are plain and boring, so if you are looking to give your graduate some extra cash then these DIY gifts are perfect for you.

 

DIY Easter Decorations

Easter season and the Easter bunny is hopping right around the corner! Add a little extra oomf to your Easter weekend by making your own decorations. You can make these decorations at home for yourself, friends or family. Some are simple, so even the not-so-crafty can join in on the fun. Here are some fun and easy ideas to try:

The Powderpuff Bunnies

These are bunnies made out of white powdered donuts! This DIY is inspired by Jeanscraftycorner.blogspot.com. Simply take a clear, 4-pack of powdered doughnuts, tape a bunny head/face to the top, a cotton ball to the back, little white ovals for feet, and you have… the powderpuff bunnies!

Step 1: Buy however many 4-packs of doughnuts (1 pack per bunny) and make sure the packaging around the doughnuts is clear.

Step 2: Find an image of the bunny face you would like to use for your powderpuff bunnies (feel free to get creative and use a different face for each one). Then tape or hot glue the face to the front of the package. Then take a cotton ball and glue it to the back for the tail!

Step 3: Cut little ovals from white construction paper, and draw on them to create the paws! You just draw lines for the toes, or maybe draw on some sandals for your bunnies. Then glue or tape them to the front.

White powdered donut packages dressed up like bunnies

Photo Credit: jeanscraftycorner

 

 

Easter Egg Tumble(r)

Plastic Tumbler "Easter Basket" ~ Plastic Tumbler, Embellishments (Ribbon, Vinyl, Rhinestones, Stickers, etc.)... Decorate the tumbler as you wish then fill it with goodies! This idea is very simple, for those not so into crafting, but can also be very elaborate for those who are. A great idea for anyone wanting to give out something cool for Easter that may not have the time, or for the person looking for a fun, creative project! The “wiggle room” involved makes it fun for everyone. Benfranklincrafts.blogpost.com inspired these cute Easter Egg Tumblers. Here’s how you can create your very own:

Step 1: Purchase a tumbler or mason jar of your choice at a local craft store. These can also be found pretty much anywhere (CVS,Wal-Mart, grocery stores, etc.). Gather all the materials you’re going to use to decorate your jar (gel marker, ribbons, rhinestones, etc.) and begin decorating the outside of your jar.

Step 2: Take whatever goodies you want to give and put them inside the tumbler. You can get creative and layer the candies by color, use fake grass, or just fill the tumbler with things you like.

Step 3: Give out to friends, family or just keep it for yourself!

Easter Egg Garland

Photo Credit: Honeyandfitz.com

It’s that time of year again where we take out our massively accumulating collection of WAY to many plastic easter eggs and have a massive egg hunt. If only there were some other way to use the eggs so they will not go to waste with only one use! Well, Honeyandfitz.com  found a way to make cute decorations for your home.

Step 1: Gather your materials: plastic eggs with holes in the top and bottom, 3/4 inch ribbon, sturdy thread, and a needle. Next, take your ribbon and thread it through the holes in your egg. This can be tricky, so use something small and pointy like a toothpick. Repeat this step 2 more times for different color ribbon.

Step 2: Use your needle to thread the string through the first egg. Once you have done this successfully, you can begin sliding more of your eggs onto the string.

Step 3: Cut the string after you’ve done your last egg and hang the garland in your lovely home!  This person (see right) used it as a drapery over their door, but you can also lay your garland around a table, or even hang it straight from the ceiling to create a “garland curtain.”

 

Have your own DIY ideas to share? Send an e-mail to editor@latinitasmagazine.og. 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Nail Art

There are many reasons to enjoy the lovely month of March; warmer weather, brighter spirits, flowers, and the liveliness of St. Patrick’s Day! For those who don’t own many green articles of clothing, try out this easy tutorial for cheerful St. Patrick’s Day nails!

First, look through your nail polish collection to make sure you have a green nail polish. Have a bright green-yellow color? No problem! Any shade of green will do. Next, pick four different polishes that will make up a rainbow. You can choose any different colors that you think would look good together. For this tutorial a radiant purple, a bright blue, a sunny orange, and a deep red are the perfect combo. You will also need black and gold nail polishes of your choosing. For this nail look, you can use a glitter top coat (optional).

 

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The only other tools you’ll need for this nail tutorial are things you can find around the house: toothpicks and any kind of plate that can be used to hold little samples of nail polish. The plate will be ruined, so make sure you get one that you don’t have to use in the future!

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Step 1: This step is prepping your nails for the super easy nail art that we will be doing. To make your nail polish last longer, start off with a base coat. If you don’t have a base coat polish, that’s totally fine! Start off by painting your nails with a couple of coats of your green nail polish. In this step, I also added the glitter top coat that I chose to use. Because I would be drawing a rainbow on the ring finger, I didn’t coat that one nail with glitter nail polish just yet.

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Step 2: Grab your plate and pour a tiny little bit of the first polish you will be using. We’re going to start the rainbow, so pick whichever color you’d like to start with. You only need a tiny little bit, so don’t pour too much. When I first did my nail art, I got a little overexcited and I poured all the colors one after the other. By the time I got to using them, they each had dried up. Don’t make that mistake! Pour one color at a time.

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Step 3: Draw your rainbow. Using the toothpicks, draw the four lines that will become your rainbow. To do this, paint one color, wait for it to dry, then paint the next one. Repeat this until you’ve used up all four colors. You can make the lines arched, like a rainbow, or you can opt to paint them in straight lines. I found that I made less mistakes and had more nail room to work with when I made them in a straight line so I decided to paint my rainbow that way. If you choose to make them arched, make sure you’re careful to keep the lines thin. That makes it easier to fit the whole rainbow on your nail! After I painted my rainbow and waited for it to dry, I added a glitter top coat.

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Step 4: Time to paint our pot of gold! The little pot is easy to draw. Because we’re painting the pot on our thumbnail and we have more nail room to work with, we can use the nail polish brush to draw. Using the brush, paint a circle that takes up about a third of your nail. Then, draw a straight line to top off your little pot. That’s it!

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Step 5: Once your pot has completely dried up, pick up your gold nail polish and start painting on some gold! I painted on thick dots of polish to give it a look with more texture. If you have gold glitter nail polish, this would be a perfect opportunity to use it!

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Ta-da! Your St. Patrick’s Day manicure is complete. Not only is this easy look festive, but it keeps pinching fingers away from you!

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Have a happy and lucky St. Patrick’s Day!

Retaining Your Cultural Heritage Through College

international_studentsSometimes with the start of a new chapter in one’s life, it’s difficult to hold one’s heritage close. And for some, the fear of losing one’s cultural roots may prevent someone from attending college far away or stepping off to a new adventure. This is why it’s so important to see the value of being a Latina or Latina-American in a different setting from how you grew up.

One of the greatest things about living in the United States is that you’re surrounded by so many cultures and cultural perspectives. And many grow up in a household that celebrates more than one culture and speaks more than one language. Today, there are roughly 53 million Hispanics in the United States, making it the largest ethnic minority in our nation. And for states such as California, Hispanics are the majority.

California native and Yale graduate, Stephanie Cuevas said, “My high school was approximately 90% Latino. Transitioning to college at Yale, where Latinos only made up 10% of the student population, was a bit of a culture shock.”

Many can relate to this situation, and one of the best things to avoid feeling out of place is joining an organization that celebrates Latino culture and taking Latino studies courses. This will not only help with avoiding feeling out of place, but one can find many in the same boat to relate with.

“As a light skinned Mexican-American, my peers often questioned my relationship to my cultural identity and would sometimes label me as “white.” Rather than assimilating, I took courses in Latino studies and maintained involvement in our cultural house, La Casa Cultural. Through these steps, I grew closer to my family’s roots, and further explored what it means to be a Latino in America. We are a rich and diverse group with similar, but different, cultural perspectives,” said Cuevas.

“Don’t let fear stop you from putting yourself out there to meet new people in clubs or organizations. Joining a club organization with a cultural focus will be your home away from home. Most universities have international clubs for culture, comida, or even Hispanic interests! Yes, even in dominantly non-Latino schools! If your school doesn’t have one, you might consider starting your own to unite other Latinos,” said Jasmine Villa, Latinitas Communications and Fundraising Assistant.

Other than joining clubs or organizations, keep speaking and practicing Spanish – whether it’s calling a family member or just reading a book in Spanish. It’s a quality so imperative to have for today’s growing demographic. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, the number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has grown rapidly over the past few decades. Today, there are 37.6 million Spanish speakers, making it the most spoken language after English. It’s a quality many don’t see the importance of at a young age, but see the role it plays when getting into professional careers. And it’s also a quality many are envious for not having – so feel empowered!

“Practice your Spanish as often as you can. Speak Spanish, write in Spanish, and read in Spanish,” said Alexandra Landeros, Freelance Writer and Publicist.

And lastly, don’t ever feel out of place. Being with people who make you proud of who you are and ones you can count on lead to a satisfying and fulfilling college experience.

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