Wordless Wednesday 2012

"patterned life" 2010 by Jackie Orozco / jackieorozco.tumblr.com

Latinas Are A Driving Force In Pilsen’s Hip-Hop Festival

Left-to-right: Elizabeth Del Valle,Lizette Garza,Laura Najera

First, the disclosure: Proyecto Latina’s Irasema Gonzalez and Thelma Uranga are employed at Pros Arts Studio—the community arts organization that sponsors the annual We Are Hip-Hop Festival.

Now, I want to tell you about their colleague Delilah Salgado, the teaching artist that led the first youth organized hip-hop festival in Pilsen. She has returned to this project each summer because it has given her the opportunity to inspire students to create art and mentor youth so that they can get the guidance they need to make better choices.

This summer teens working on the 6th Annual We Are Hip-Hop Festival continue to gain invaluable skills in event planning, marketing, promotions and music management.  The festival showcases local musicians, artists, break-dancers, and poets in the Pilsen and Little Village community to promote the positive aspects of the Hip-Hop culture. The festival is a program of Pros Arts Studio in residence at Dvorak Park.

This year a second instructor, Lizette Garza, a third year Columbia College students majoring in music management, was brought on board to teach the Promo Pros interns. In this After School Matters summer program a dedicated team of teens learn and apply lessons in marketing, branding and promotions for the We Are Hip-Hop Festival.

“The youth are able to come together to put on this festival and see the difference they make by collaborating with each other,” says Lizette Garza. The festival aims to empower youth to put together this event and spotlight their talents by keeping them busy and off the streets.

This year the festival will create a safe space that includes music, break-dancing, and graffiti battles. The festival put on by the youth will bring different types of hip-hop together to promote peace in a neighborhood where violence is an issue.

Laura Najera, 17, a returning high school student is taking advantage of this summer program.  She says, “It’s a fun experience and gets kids off the street.  Being part of this program has shown me how to talk, to ask for donations from sponsors, and be professional. I will be able to add these skills to my resume when I start looking for a job”.

Elizabeth Del Valle, 16, will be performing at the festival with her group Hood Huntaz. She says, “I always liked everything about hip-hop and being a part of this allows me to give back to my community.  It makes me feel like I’m more a part of the hip-hop scene.”

Elizabeth is the only female singer in her hip-hop group and it can be challenging. “The music isn’t what it used to be; now it’s about girls and how they look and a lot of guys talk bad about girls,” says Elizabeth. She likes to respond to these issues and “stick up for women and set them straight” through her music.

The festival aims to spotlight Chicago hip-hop artists and Elizabeth hopes to show off her talents, “I want to put my music out there hopefully someone who hears my music says I like that and give me more opportunities to make it bigger in the music industry.

What struck me about this innovative arts programming is the impact it has on the youth by empowering youth to take the lead and produce a hip-hop festival.  Pros Arts Studio, the arts organization behind the festival, is leading the way in providing innovative arts programming and summer jobs for youth in a time when youth employment is sparse and youth violence is on the rise. According to a recent Newstips post by Curtis Black, ““Funding for youth employment has steadily dried up – and violence has fairly steadily increased – since the 1990s.  Today youth unemployment is at record levels…”

At this year’s festival Delilah, also a graffiti artist envisions working with other organizations and increasing youth participation and connecting them with a more diverse hip-hop scene in Chicago showcasing emerging and established hip-hop artists at the festival.

The Hip Hop Festival is FREE and will be held on Saturday, August 13th, from 1pm-6pm at the Back fields of Dvorak Park 1119 W. Cullerton. Chicago, IL 60608


ProsArts Programs

Find the Hip Hop Festival on Facebook

Twitter: @WeRHipHopFest

Chicago Hip-Hop Artist – Ruby Yo

Can’t Stop The Women of Hip-Hop

Real Women Of Hip-Hop Tackle Negative Images


Make Your Life a Writing Residency…

Amores, I just got back from a two-week writing residency at Ragdale. If you’ve never been to an artist colony before, here’s a basic rundown of how it works: you apply to the residency, usually by submitting work samples and an artist statement. While you’re there, the residency provides space to sleep and space to work (mine was the same space – a cute room with loads of books and a desk between two windows) as well as food, all for a nominal fee.  Sometimes they’ll want you to present work in progress, sometimes they won’t. Usually, there are a handful of other artists around, which affords ample opportunity to share ideas, tips, and experiences – personally, I found this to be one of the most rewarding parts of my stay. Can you believe I actually made friends with a journalist/novelist who writes about war and violence against women and who grew up traveling all over the word because her parents were anthropologists? My soulmate!

Okay, the residency was great (if a little too quiet for my city-loving self) but realistically, I know that going away for 2-6 weeks isn’t an option for many of us here at Proyecto Latina. I mean – I have one of the MOST flexible jobs on the planet, and I still found it stressful to clear my calendar. So… I’ve spent the past few days thinking about residency “take-aways” – how to incorporate what was most useful about the residency into my everyday life. Here goes: (more…)

Domingo Newsbytes: weekly Latina news

Domingo Newsbytes: weekly Latina news

Welcome to the new Proyecto Latina website. We are still ironing out a few crinkles but we feel that this new platform is going to better serve our needs. So, go ahead and explore and if you got a thought on something, drop us a line. Also, we want to re-connect with all our friends–new and old–so before you leave join us on Google Friend Connect.

And now to our weekly round-up of Latinas in the news:

Araceli Hurtado. Image via Chicago News Cooperative.

For Many Latina Teens, Gang Life adds to Stress A profile of  Araceli Hurtado, outreach worker at a violence prevention agency in Little Village, and 13 year-old “April”–a young Latina and part of the largest segment of minority girls in the U.S.–who is working on overcoming some heartbreaking obstacles.

Latinas in Oscar Designer Challenge include Elda De La Rosa, well know in Chicago for her elegant designs.  Growing up her grandmother, mother and aunts all sewed and inspired her to learn at a very young age. Via Extra–a link to vote for De La Rosa’s design to be featured at the Oscar’s by on-stage award escorts.

Also via Extra this week, a quick look at Celena Roldán, new executive director for Erie Neighborhood House, a social service organization that serves primarily low-income, Latino families.

Cast of Afro-Caribbean Latinas populate Sofia Maldonado’s upcoming 42nd St. mural Visual artist, Sofia Maldonado, hopes to stop traffic and describes the women featured in her mural as, “Mujeres que luchan pa’echar pa’lante.”  Women fighting to get ahead.

A fine balance Author of The Dirty Girls Social Club, Alisa Valdes-Rodrigues wonders, Has the mainstream U.S. Latina arrived in fiction? Alisa also explains that, “While many Latina characters in mainstream fiction by non-Latina authors painted us as stereotypical in the past, I am pleased to see that the new wave of novels by non-Latinas but featuring Latina protagonists present us a whole, well-rounded, interesting and unique individual human beings who are American everywomen. This is a major step forward, and one we should all support!”   We say, yes but proceed with caution–and we’re going to refer  you to our archives–because Latina playwright, Migdalia Cruz also states, “write your own story—or someone else will write it and get it all wrong.”

On that note we do want to share the opportunity submit your written work. Achy Obejas and Megan Bayles, via a fellowship, have founded Partner Dance Press and placed a call for submissions to, “self-identified women writers, composers, performers and text-based artists under 40 currently living in Chicago to submit work for consideration in a new online text-based anthology.” Deadline is June 15, 2010. View submission guidelines here.

Domingo Newsbytes

Happy Sunday Everyone! Hope you are done doing laundry, grocery shopping and now relaxing. Here is a little recap of Latinas in the news for your reading pleasure. As always, if you see a story in the news about or impacting Latinas please share the link with us at info@proyectolatina.org. Last call for news link is every Saturday by noon.

Here is our round up:


The largets study ever of breast cancer in Latin American women is being launched in a unique multi-country, public/private partnership with $1 million in additional funding from the world’s largest breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

More than one in four Latinas is a mother by the age of 19, was included in a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Every year there is a growing epidemic of teenage Latinas attempting to commit suicide. Find out about a teen suicide prevention program for Latina teenagers and their family. The program is run by Dr. Rosa Gil.

Many undocumented women fail to report domestic violence because they fear deportation. Help is available through the Violence Intervention Program, a nationally recognized Latina organization that provides services to women of domestic violence.

February Feature: Ruth on the Rocks

February Feature: Ruth on the Rocks

Ruth Guerra is Ruth on the Rocks at the February 2010 Proyecto Latina.

This month Proyecto Latina is thrilled to present writer/performer Ruth Guerra. She will be doing a reading/performance called Ruth On The Rocks that explores the act of dating and casual encounters from the point of view of several women’s ideal image of what it should be.

Arrive early to grab a chair, settle-in, and sign up to share some of your work and drop a friendly chisme in the Chisme box.

Ruth Guerra hails from the south side of Chicago, the Back of the Yards neighborhood where eating tacos de la Internacional, cruisin’ to house music, and the ability to hinder the stockyards’ stench are just some of the wonderful attributes that contribute to her personality. As a kid, she watched shows like El Palomo, Chiquilladas and Kids Incorporated, encouraging her to create and perform her own sketches and routines for friends and family in her parents’ garage. Her love for the windy city, took her to Second City where she learned the art of improvisational theater and performed with several ensembles. Shortly after, she discovered a new found love in storytelling and moved on to do theater. Her theatrical debut was in 2005 with Teatro Americano and since has been performing with different groups in the city. Ruth recently embarked on a memoir writing journey where she sticks to her roots as she documents her life experiences in Chicago.

Monday, February 15 @ 7PM – FREE
Cedalhia Cafe
1010 S. Western
Chicago, IL


Street parking available

Photo by Thelma Uranga. Thanks to our venue sponsor: Cedahlia Cafe.