10.10.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Hard to focus on the news today, my friend Anita ran the Chicago Marathon and I was much too excited about tracking her progress.  Running is her passion and in addition to family and work commitments, in the last year she carved out time to train for today.  She’s definitely inspired me to indulge in my own artistic interests, set some goals and pursue some creative marathons of my own–these also happen to align with an ongoing dialogue I’ve been having recently with Diana and Coya about creative goals for 2011.  I will be sure to keep you posted.

Creative marathons are not new to me.  In 2010 I was honored to partake in hours of collaboration with the wonderful El Stitch y Bitch for the creation of a knitted and crocheted altar dedicated to our crafty ancestors.  The groups collaboration is the cover story of the November issue of Cafe–the story is not linkable yet so if you want to read it you have to pick up a hard copy of the magazine.  I usually find a free copy at Pilsen restaurants and/or cafe’s.

I was pleasantly surprised to see another Proyecto Latina favorite, Monique Frausto in that issue, she’s part of a story about Latinos reconnecting with their language and heritage.  And there is also a wonderful article on Concha Buika, that recounts a childhood memory that still haunts her, but taught her to seize the moment each and every time she takes the stage.

A random an interesting tid-bit about Google and the word Latina.  I know I’ve turned up questionable searches that include the word Latina in their name.

Seriously? Dear JLO, I’m going to tune-in but for the record I’m uncomfortable and resisting the Latina nanny concept.

Perhaps the life of Alicia Amador, could one day inspire a leading character on prime time tv.  According to Windy City Times, Amador passed away last Thursday of cancer–”her greatest legacy was the impact she had on children and families in the Pilsen community.”  Amador was a staff member at Mujeres Latinas en Accion and founding member of Amigas Latinas.

Finally, I’m counting down for the next Proyecto Latina on Monday, October 18th.  Kansas City poet, Linda Rodriguez will be sharing poetry and a piece title, We’ve Been Here All Along: 13 Ways of Looking at Latinos in the Midwest. I’ve gotten a sneak peek at the work she is sharing and I have to tell you its going to be a special treat. Plan to join us!

I leave you with a first in a series of short films, a project by Proyecto Latina friend and fellow artist extraordinaire, Ricardo Gamboa–who is always on creative marathons.  His most recent project focuses on concerns over immigration issues.

07.11.10 Domingo Newsbytes

07.11.10 Domingo Newsbytes

In the last week I’ve had a few folks tell me that “summer is over”. How can I have missed summer? This can’t possibly be true, summer isn’t over. It reminded me that we need to be in the “now” to truly enjoy summer. It also dawned on me that between presentations, emails, texts,  phone calls and Facebook I haven’t been doing anything fun. Like most hyper-busy Latinas we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our work and family life.

So, I decided to be spontaneous and I went to the “Memory of Fire” concert over at the Pritzker Pavillion. There is nothing like the sound of an outdoor orchestra accompanied by a staged reading by some of Chicago’s best Latino actors. It was great to take advantage of this free concert and relax.

I also indulged in a complimentary iced coffee and pan con mantequilla over at Cafecito and lunched with a Latina leader at Catedral Café in Little Village. It reminded me that none of these things matter if we don’t take advantage of all these summer moments.

With this in mind, remember to squeeze in some relaxation time and enjoy the moment before summer really is over.  That said I invite you to join us for the next 3rd Monday Proyecto Latina reading series where Cristina Correa takes the spotlight, get the full scoop here.

Are you a Latina blogger? Well if you are the folks over at LATISM would love to pick your brain. There are over 71 million active blogs online and Latinas are one of the fastest growing demographics and are traditionally undercounted (surprise, surprise). According to LATISM’s Chair and Founder, Ana Roca-Castro, the aim in conducting the survey is to provide visibility to the Latinas in this arena while providing valuable comprehensive information to the corporations who are interested in reaching this highly coveted market. “One of the highest priorities at LATISM. Take the survey today!

This week Comedy Central’s Steven Colbert volunteers to be the fourth American to become a farm worker through the United Farm Workers of America’s “Take Our Jobs” campaign. We can’t wait to see Colbert’s report back of his experience in the fields picking vegetables and fruits.

An organization doing wonderful work is The Immigrant Archive Project. I came across their site and was fascinated at all of the stories they have by immigrants. The organization is dedicated to preserving the life stories of Latino immigrants to shed light on their hopes, dreams and struggles.

With no immigration reform on the horizon many families are bearing the brunt of broken system primarily immigrant women. Last month, the Immigration Policy Center published a report, Reforming America’s Immigration Laws: A Woman’s Struggle”

The focus of the report is on the abuse, assault and exploitation these women can face from traffickers, employers, law enforcement since they are less likely to call police because of their immigration status and these crimes go unreported. The report also gives recommendations of what policy makers in D.C. can be doing to solve this problem.

Andrea Echeverri, lead singer of the Colombian band Aterciopelados gave Alt.Latino her list of women that ROCK in Spanish!  Her list includes everyone from Mercedes Sosa to Juana Molina. Check out the complete list…

Also, there will be a Public Hearing on Comcast-NBC Universal merger. You might be asking what this has to do with you. This merger is going to hit Chicago hard both Comcast and NBC have a history of sidelining independent producers and media makers. Jean Prewitt, of the Independent Film and Television Alliance, testified that the Comcast merger is about “the very future of creative life, cultural expression, and the free exchange of ideas.” She wrote, “This merger places at risk the opportunities for diverse, original and independent programming to reach the public through traditional media and new platforms.” The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has come out strongly against this merger–their statement is here.

Held Tuesday, July 13, 2010, from 1:00-8:00 p.m., public comments from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at  Northwestern University Law School  – Thorne Auditorium, 375 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL.

05.23.10 Domingo Newsbytes

05.23.10 Domingo Newsbytes

We dedicated our most recent Proyecto Latina, this past Monday, to responding to Arizona’s anti-immigration legislation.  It was a night of catharsis, everyone was welcomed and encouraged to speak-up–some of us vented, some responded with poetry, and others shared more personal stories that these recent developments have unearthed from our memory.  We had youth from the Immigration Youth Justice League join us and share their stories–they are a talented group of  courageous youth that include college students making great efforts and sacrifices to obtain a higher education.   The evening turned out to be longer than usual, we had a lot to say, and we hope the conversation is just getting started.

While we were meeting at Cedahlia’s, something HUGE was happening in Arizona and it included Chicago native Tania Unzueta.  She was joined by three other students: Lizbeth Mateo, Yahaira Carrillo and Mohammad Abdollahi in staging a sit-in at John McCain’s office.  You can read more about all of them here, as well as see a feed of news stories of students mobilizing across the country for the successful passage of the Dream Act.

Its been an inspiring week of muscle-flexing from students. Hundreds of  Chicago high school students walked-out of classes on Friday in response to Arizona’s law and to push for immigration reform.  In another related story an unnamed student warned Obama: “We’re turning 18…We’re here to say, if you don’t pass immigration reform now… there will be no re-election.”

And then there’s the Maryland second grader that posed that off-topic question to Michelle Obama.  I got chills and watching the video made me terribly sad, U.S. Rep., Luis Gutierrez couldn’t have put it better,  “Little girls in second grade should be worried about how many dolls they have or what song they’re going to sing, not whether the government is going to deport their mom.”

I hope these students continue to speak-up and adults can follow their lead.  Its necessary to be the voice of our own community whether we are talking about immigration reform, or that big mess that threatens people world-wide and across all borders.

03.28.10: Domingo Newsbytes

03.28.10: Domingo Newsbytes

Proyecto Latina is getting ready for April and poetry month.  This year’s challenge for our 3rd Monday reading series: write your chisme in haiku format.  What else are we doing?  This week we posted Diana Pando’s interview with choreographer Michelle Manzanales who is unveiling Paloma Querida based on the life of Frida Kahlo.  Listen to their phone conversation here.

Undocumented and Unafraid
Last weekend thousands took buses to Washington DC advocating for immigration reform you can see an audio slideshow on Vocalo that features members of the Immigrant Youth Justice League, amongst them “Ernestina”  a UIC student that is contemplating making her status public at school.  Latino USA’s coverage on the march can be heard here.

This week Sun-Times columnist Esther Cepeda, also a former teacher makes a case on why it is so important to  Teach kids to love learning–and make them life-long learners.  A skill that may also help us adapt a different kind of lesson: eating healthier. I love catching episodes of Daisy Cooks on television, and if we are going to cook healthy Chef Daisy Martinez says, you have to cook with fresh ingredients and, “We have to get back to the food of our mothers and our grandmothers.” Martinez shared the following at a recent workshop for Moms.

Where is the Chicago love?
Latinas at Lilith Fair? Terra.com says so, from Jenni Rivera to Ximena Sariñana. Its true and I got excited, and immediately started making a mental list of the group of friends I would round up for an outing, but upon closer inspection of the Lilith website I was disappointed that no Latinas are included in the Chicago lineup.  Maybe next time.

Role models that are taking care of business
In sixth grade my teacher pulled me out of the classroom to personally introduce me to Theresa Gutierrez who was was at my elementary school doing a story.  She was my first Latina role model in journalism and some twenty years later she is still on Chicago TV and now does The Ñ Beat on Channel 7.  This week it features Alicia Gonzalez a Pilsen native who is now implementing running programs all over the city as executive director of Chicago Run, and Nancy Andrade a lawyer and founder of Mexi-Feast Tamales which are now also featured at Whole Foods Stores.  See the segment below.