08.29.10 Domingo Newsbytes

08.29.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Since mid-summer I’ve had my mind on September because with it comes the culmination of two wonderful and exciting projects.  Consider this your official invitation to come out and join me, so, mark your calendar for the second weekend in September to enjoy two events that promise to be a ton of fun–and if we’ve never met, maybe now’s the time to come over and say hello.
  • Friday, 09.10.10: Vida Breve, opening night celebrations for the annual Day of the Dead exhibit at the NMMA, there will be an altar by El Stitch y Bitch honoring our crafty ancestors. I am honored by the opportunity to contribute my crochet skills and the segment of a poem for the project, which is led by Thelma Uranga and other SYB’ers.  Y un pajarito me cuenta that you will be hearing more about this project in other places around town.
  • Saturday, 09.11.10: Opening night for Adelita Pata de Perro by Jenny Priego, in celebration of the 2010 Mexican Bicentennial.  I’ve talked to Jenny about this project in the past, and I can’t wait to see the new images from Jenny’s travels.  I also sending  a shout out to our venue sponsor, Carlos y Dominguez Fine Arts Gallery and our Madrinas de Vino, The Chicago Foundation for Women, Latina Leadership Council.

Winner of last Sunday’s book raffle for Odalisque in Pieces is Emmanuel Garcia.  (In case you’re wondering I used this nifty tool to pick our winner.)

Is There a Dr. in the House that speaks Spanish? We had linked to a story that reported that only 6% of medical school students are Latino.  This week Yolanda Cardenas provided a response–not much has changed since she was in medical school and she thinks its about time we see those number rise.
In the news…
Someone decided to try and  figure us out–I hope they listen, I mean really listen. Training program director at Radio Arte, Adriana Gallardo is one of three Latino media entrepreneurs that is tapped to demystify the media preferences of the complex Latino audience.  Get a brief scope of Chicago news and events sites,  “Latino indie list” compiled earlier this summer by Gaper’s Block, that happens to include yours truly.
The new Miss Universe is from Mexico, Jimena Navarrete‘s goal, “I want the whole world to know about my country and my people.”  Reminds me of ten-year old Dora the Explorer that has some speculating has helped create an “enlightened” generation that is open to different people and cultures that are not their own.  Maybe Dora and Jimena should have arrived a few decades earlier because  Esther Cepeda continues to get hate mail and we are glad she is not hesitant about responding to the “anti-immigrant” sentiment. Cepeda says, “My standard response has been that while it’s easy to say that the anger and hatred currently aimed at Latinos is about “ILLEGAL” immigration, the fact of the matter is that I, my family, friends, and neighbors have all gotten called terrible names, sent hateful emails or been otherwise snubbed not based on citizenship or residency status, but because we “look foreign.”
A resource I found via Latinidad: Professor, editor, and organizer of the Festival de la Palabra, Mayra Santos Febres is seeking short stories by new Puerto Rican writers for an anthology that will be published by Siruela Publishing in Spain. (Note this is only for short stories and not for poetry). Writers of Puerto Rican heritage born after 1952 are eligible. For information and submissions, please contact Mayra at: mayra.santosfebres@gmail.com
Our friends over at the Guild Complex are hosting a free Palabra Pura Poetry Writing Workshop on Saturday, September 18, 2010 on, 2-4 p.m. Poet Carlos Cumpián will be the instructor. Held at the Rudy Lozano Library, 1805 S. Loomis St. To register: ppworkshop@guildcomplex.org.
08.22.10 Domingo Newsbytes

08.22.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Photo via MeanlittleBumbleBee

We had a fantastic Proyecto Latina this past week at Catedral Café featuring guest curator Sandra Treviño who decided to spotlight some Latina artists she was very excited about including:  Elizabeth Colin of Grupo Atroz, Mariel “La Gitana” Zavala, the women of bomba group Buya.  For a full recap we encourage you to read MeanLittleBumbleBee’s blog.

Next month, in light of a special program, we are having an opening night for our first featured visual artists–also our first featured artists via an art exhibit– we will be deviating from our normal Monday night schedule and hanging out on the weekend instead!  So mark your calendars and come out to join us.

Date:  Saturday, September 11, 2010
Why:  Jenny Priego presents Adelita Pata de Perro
Where:  Carlos and Dominguez Fine Art Gallery, 1538 W. Cullerton St.
Get the full scoop here…

I’m working on a piece about anchor babies and it’s made me reflect on moms, fertility and how women of color are often criminalized for it. Michelle Chen, a writer, for Colorlines decided to explore this when she wrote The Right’s Long, Racist History of Calling Moms Criminals .

Also, this week the Southern Poverty Law Center today filed a federal lawsuit against Mississippi authorities who took a newborn baby from a Mexican immigrant mother Baltazar Cruz. Apparently the reason they took the child was because Cruz speaks limited Spanish and virtually no English but she does speaks Chatino, an indigenous language in Mexico.  Turns out that the child was placed with a white couple  and since then Cruz has finally been able to get her child back.

Why is there more focus on stigmatizing Latinas and pregnancy than empowering Latinas to manage their fertility? asks Silvia Henriquez, Executive Director of National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. In her write up Latinas and the High Cost of Birth Control she calls for more affordable access to birth control.

Moving on to Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) released a study on Latina bloggers. The report looks like an interesting read so download it today and check out the latest trends in Latina Bloggers!

On a personal note FELICIDADES to the beautiful bride and Proyecto Latina contributor Ericka Sanchez! Yesterday she got married,  we wish her lots of happiness with her new hubby!

Lastly, a little special something for your two cents this Sunday. Anyone leaving a comment on this Domingo Newsbytes post will be  entered in a raffle for a free book.  Its a new title by University of Arizona Press, and debut poetry collection by Carmen Giménez Smith, Odalisque in Pieces.

When leaving your comment make sure to leave a way (email/link to a blog) to contact you in case you win.  Raffle will close on Friday, August 28th, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.  Winner will be announced in next week’s Domingo Newsbytes.

08.15.10 Domingo Newsbytes

08.15.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Ever since my mom pointed it out in a norteña song long ago I’ve been smitten with the accordion.  I happened to mention this to Sandra Treviño earlier this year, when I first sat down with her to explore the way in which we could feature her on the Proyecto Latina platform .  Her eyes lit up and she expressed an affinity for the instrument as well.  For now I’m going to live vicariously through her since she’s about to embark on learning how to play it–this was one of the factoids that emerged when I hung out with her earlier this week.  She honored the request for an interview and I’m so glad I asked because this was one of the most interesting features I have ever done.  There were so many great things uncovered during the short while we were together.

Sandra is our first guest curator for our monthly reading series.  I can’t wait to see what has in store for us tomorrow.  Hope to see you there.

I’m going to get a head start on the chisme this week and let you know that:

This week Ragdale announced the recipients of its 3Arts Fellowships for 2010, and one is Proyecto Latina’s very own Coya Paz! Two fellowships were granted in each of the areas of music, theater, and visual arts to Chicago artists,  Fellowships at Ragdale include two weeks of residency, uninterrupted time and space, and a $700 stipend. No excuses now for not bringing new material to the open mic!

Cynthia Nambo hugs a graduate from the class of 2010 at Little Village/Lawndale High School.

I’m still super bummed that the Little Village/Lawndale High School in my neighborhood lost four of its administrators as a result of budget cuts.  Before leaving her post as vice principal, Cynthia Nambo–also one of many key players in the creation of the community designed  school–finally got to attend graduating ceremonies.  She describes hugging a graduate from the school, a dream come true.  As for life after her post at the high school, Cynthia says:

“Turned this budget cut into triumph! Now as Instructional Coach in Area 21, I am ready to create authentic relationships with teachers in North Lawndale, Hyde Park, and the North Side of Chicago. I will be giving teachers the focused support they need to grow exponentially and with vigor. In addition, I was accepted to the School Leadership Program at the University of Chicago. This model is innovative and sustainable. It’s focus is to improve neighborhood schools through training highly effective interdisciplinary administrative teams. Whew that was a mouthful! Most leadership programs train individuals not teams. Both of these endeavors will build my capacity to serve our teachers, our students, our families, and our communities to reach new levels of excellence! Educacion es mi pasion.”

In the news

  • For some time now, I’ve been wondering about the lack of Latinas on these day-time talk shows, Esther breaks it down very eloquently as she calls Obama on it and makes a call for Latinas on tv.  And by a look at the women mentioned in this post so far, there is no lack of a qualified person to fill the spot. Maybe someone in tv-land needs to note how Today’s Chicago Woman did it when they recognized a very diverse group of Six Women Changing the World, including Mayra Garcia Guzman, general manager at Chicago Transit Authority for Diversity and Small Business Compliance Programs Department.
  • Veronica Arreola launched Summer of Feminista back in June, an experiment on her blog that invited Latinas to address their relationship with feminism through a written submission.  Although, she is still accepting submissions, she posted a summary quoting the best-of what the submissions have turned up so far at Ms. Magazine.  Arreola writes, “A central theme emerged in these six tales: All these women had other strong women in their lives guiding them. Even if those women role models said one thing and did another, the message to be self-reliant shone through.”
  • Last Spring, we shared this interview with blogger, Cindy Mosqueda who decided to interview her grandfather and father when the Story Corps bus arrived to her city.  This week an excerpt from the interview with her father was aired on NPR.  Listen to the story of her grandfather un sobador dedicated to easing others’ pain.
  • Finally, last but not least the benefits of going to school and pursuing a higher education are sometimes a little less obvious and unexpected.  Students are spared amid an increase in deportations. My personal wish is that the use of that pesky and loaded word illegal be diminished in these news stories.

Have a wonderful week! See you at Proyecto Latina on Monday!

08.08.10: Domingo Newsbytes…

08.08.10: Domingo Newsbytes…

Photo credit: Lea Nuñez

On Friday I strolled over to the Tejer y Poder showcase put together by students of the six-week program led by our very own Irasema Gonzalez and Thelma Uranga at at Dvorak Park in the Pilsen neighborhood. The program consisted of 30 students, both teenage girls and boys, coming together to learn to knit, crochet, and work collectively on fiber arts and learn that both can be used a form of art and protest. I was blown away by the effort the students put into their projects.

It made me reflect on the wonderful things that happen when you give kids an opportunity to put their creative skills to use.  In a time when jobs for youth are scarce this creative After School Matters program gave these students an opportunity to gain new creative skills, empowerment and let them tell their stories through an array of colorful yarn.

We are super excited to hear that Café Magazine is planning to do a story on Thelma Uranga ( photographer, knitting expert, Stitchy Bitch Organizer and Proyecto Latina Team Member).  We first did an interview with Thelma in November of 2009 and we are happy to see other local media getting hip to the awesome work she and the Stich y Bitch are doing.  They are knitting a whole Día de los Muertos Alter for the National Museum of Mexican Art exhibit in September. Imagine knitting a whole altar!

Also, we welcome Sandra Treviño, our first guest curator, for Proyecto Latina this month. Join us on  Monday, August 16th @ 7pm, we are back at Cafe Catedral in Little Village.  Sandra has some musical surprises that are going to take the stage–we will be posting more information on them later this week so check back soon.

And now to Latinas in the news this week…In 2012 my niece is turning 15 and she is considering having a Quinceñera. I’ve already started saving my pennie–just in case or maybe I should consider the Quinceñera contest sponsored by Verizon. I confess I have no idea why folks need to spend $45,000.00 on a Quinceñera.  In my opinion, while Quinceñera’s are a wonderful part of our culture the focus needs to be on education not a $45,000 Quinceñera. Latina high school students can barely make it out of high school!

Maybe, Verizon can create a $45,000.00 fund for education or a program that deters teenage Latinas from committing suicide. Our friend Reyna Amaya over at Gozamos wrote a piece Too Young To Die on the recent spike of Latina teen suicides in our communities. A few months ago we posted some resources for Latinas in case you know of a young Latina who is struggling please share them with others.

And a truly sad story to come across is that of women in Guanajuato Mexico that are in desperate need of resources, advocates and a healthy dose of justice–there are several serving sentences of 25 to 30 years. Their crime: they are convicted of homicide for having abortions.

And finally, an opportunity: The Fire this Time Fund is now accepting applications for funding! Open to Chicago artists, educators and organizers seeking modest support for their creative social change projects APPLY TODAY!

The Fire This Time Fund is Proyecto Latina’s first funder and we thank them for taking the leap of faith. Their funding has impacted our growth and our ability to pay our features and maintain our website.

Have a comment or thought on this week’s Domingo Newsbytes? Let us know we’d love to hear from you. Just drop us a line in the comment section!

08.01.10 Domingo Newsbytes

08.01.10 Domingo Newsbytes

“They’ve towed my car with Chisme Box in the trunk!”  That was the alarmed text I sent Diana and Coya on Wednesday afternoon when I walked out of work and discovered that street parking had been restricted due to a neighborhood festival and I had missed the (minute) signage in the morning.  Both stepped in like champions, you see I was due at the  Guild Complex’s, B.Y.O.P event.  Proyecto Latina had an invitation to present with Dancing Girl Press.

While I navigated a huge dusty yard of impounded cars, in my brand new sandals, trying to recover my vehicle, Diana was at the California Clipper posing a very important question, “How many of you have attended a literary event in Little Village, Back of the Yards or Pilsen?”  She tells me no one raised their hand.  I so wish I had been there to be part of the discussion.

But Diana did bring back a very important resource to share with all you poetas out there:  Dancing Girl Press is not only an amazing initiative they also  publish 10-20 chapbooks per year.  Submission guidelines are here, the deadline is August 30th.

There seems to be a business and work theme in the news this week:

image via brownsvilleherald.com

Finally, some shameless self-promotion: I’ve shared in the previous weeks that Thelma Uranga and me are instructing a six week ASM program, Tejer y Poder at Pros Arts Studio.  Its been an amazing and unique experience, and a privilege to work with 30 talented youth in teaching them knitting and crochet skills as well as encouraging them to take creative risks.  Our final showcase is scheduled for Friday, August 6th, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Dvorak Park–its free and open to the community.  You can find event details here, in the days leading up to the final showcase students will be posting interviews with family and community members that knit/crochet.

7.25.10 Domingo Newsbytes

7.25.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Cast of Thirst: Left-To-Right: Claudia Martinez, Josie Dykas front Diane Herrar and Diana Pando in the back

I woke up this morning  reflecting on this week  and I can’t help but be blown away by the amazing amount of Latina talent and creativity that is emerging. Here are some quick highlights:

This week our reading series was packed over at Café Catedral. Folks got to see our feature writer Cristina Correa read her work and hear some new emerging Latina talent during the open mic portion like Awilda Gonzalez and Laura Nuñez.

Later during the week, I had the opportunity to see Aguijón Theater perform Soldaderas at the Goodman Theatre. The play is based on texts by Elena Poniatowska and performed in Spanish. Yesterday, my ten-minute play THIRST was performed by Josie Dykas, Claudie Martinez and Diane Herrera and directed by Nilsa Reyna at Teatro Luna’s first 10×10 play festival.  These ladies spent hours in the sweltering heat with no a/c rehearsing and one of them even came as far away as Elgin. Mil gracias! With all of these things in mind I encourage all of you to continue to keep creating and making sure you find an outlet to tell your story.

In August we will be hosting Sandra Treviño, guest curator for Proyecto Latina, she is lining up some musical features that will be performing at Café Catedral. Also, coming up the pipeline in September is Adelita Pata de Perro by Jenny Priego at the lovely Carlos & Dominguez Fine Arts Gallery in the Pilsen neighborhood. Check back for more details this week!

Finally, we are starting to draft up the schedule for our 2011 reading series, if you know someone that deserves to be nominated let us know and tell us why? Send your recommendations to info@proyectolatina.org


Felicidades to Carmen Giménez Smith her memoir Bring Down The Little Birds is coming out on August 5. The book asks, “How does a contemporary woman with a career as a poet, professor, and editor experience motherhood with one small child, another soon to be born, and her own mother suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and Alzheimer’s? Sounds like a good end of summer read!  Preview an excerpt.

While the Latina population continues to rise our visibility in mainstream media is pretty slim. A perfect example of this is the new CBS daily talk show that’s being lined up. The six hosts include: Julie Chen (CBS Morning Anchor), Holly Robinson-Peate (actress), Sara Gilbert (actress), Marissa Jaret Winokur (actress), Leah Remini (Actress) and Sharon Osbourne (Reality Star, Wife of Rocker). Why are there no Latinas on this daily talk show? I’m sure there is a Latina that is more than qualified to do this job. Drop the folks at CBS a line and ask them why there are no Latinas on the show?

51 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019

ph: 212-975-4321

Online feedback page.

This week I was wandering around the Macy’s store on State Street when I passed by the MAC counter and cringed at their distasteful makeup line based on Júarez. While both MAC/RodArte have issued apologies and will change the name of the new makeup line it’s a great story of a bad marketing idea gone wrong and viral.  Latinas used their voice to give it a big thumbs down! We hope MAC keeps it’s promise and donates $100,000 to a cause in Juarez. Our friends over at Wise Latinas Linked also had an opinion on the MAC/RodArte makeup line fiasco. Here’s what they had to say…