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!

05.09.10 Domingo Newsbytes

05.09.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Last night was The Great Collaboration: creative justice roundtable and celebration benefit.  What an amazing vibe, we met  an army of enlightened creatives, there was a scrumptious spread of food, and it was a great honor to be included in the talent line-up.  We brought the chisme box with us and got a head-start on chisme’s for May’s Proyecto Latina.

SPEAK UP & SPEAK OUT! is our theme for this month’s Proyecto Latina, which is only a week away on Monday, May 17th. Speaking up and the importance of sharing our opinions was a discussion that came up between members of the Proyecto Latina family recently, when we thought about how to respond to the Arizona law.  We have invited some special guests to join us that evening and will be featuring our community’s collective voice–you are invited to chime in.

This week we spotlighted two women that are doing an exceptional job of speaking up through virtual platforms: Cindy Mosqueda is the author of her blog Loteria Chicana and Monique Frausto is the creator of the online directory Blogs by Latinas.   Check out our interviews with them and let us know what you think.

Its also mother’s day this weekend. Did you know that our generation of mujeres is mixing it up a little? So, the next time familia inquires about when you plan to have that baby, calm their fears and let them know that according to a study by the Pew Research Center there are distinct shifts in the U.S. mommy demographic.  While there is a significant jump in the number of Latina mommy’s–13% increase since 1990– more women from all race/ethnic categories are waiting until their late thirties and early forties for a stork delivery.  Something else to consider if you are of child-bearing age, a different study finds that Latinas are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes.

Cultural attitudes about sex also place Latinas at high risk for something else, over 15 years ago Claudia Moreno was asked to create an HIV prevention intervention program for Latinas.  And something else we kinda already know about, but feel its worth repeating: poor Latina and Black women obtain abortions at a disproportionate level.

Kinda leaves you wondering: What is the real status of Latinas’ health today? A May 10th event in Pilsen, that is also open to the public, and sponsored by the Chicago Foundation for Women and Mujeres Latinas en Accion will tackle that question.

Have a great week!

Cindy Mosqueda: blogs the Chicana perspective

Cindy Mosqueda: blogs the Chicana perspective

Cindy Mosqueda pens Loteria Chicana, a blog shy of its tenth anniversary I thought it was  a great opportunity to spotlight this veteran blogger and hopefully capture some wisdom that others new to blogging can put to good use.   Cindy documents her thoughts on identity, school, politics and family, often including posts with thoughtful entries and colorful photos of friends and family.

Another reason we wanted to feature her on our site is because Cindy also recently interviewed her father and grandfather for Story Corps and has given us permission to re-post her interviews–check them out after our Q&A–we hope they inspire you to schedule a date to do an interview with a friend or relative while the StoryCorps mobile booth is in Chicago.

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Full name: Cindy Mosqueda

Blogging as: Cindylu @ Loteria Chicana

Age: 29

Occupation: graduate student, researcher, program coordinator

Home town: Hacienda Heights, suburbs of LA

Your blog is a year shy of its 10th anniversary, any special plans to commemorate?

I hadn’t thought of it, but I’ll definitely have to do something. I’ll be 31 by November 2011 too, so that’ll give me even more reason to celebrate.

You are a very public blogger, you share extensively through writing and in photos about family, love and work– any rules or guidelines you follow or have learned to keep?

I started out with a very small audience – if any at all – and didn’t think too much about what to share or not to share aside from the simple understanding that it could be read by anyone. Since then, my audience has grown and I relented to my initial rule of never including my first and last name anywhere on the blog. My general guideline is not to publish something I would not like my boss or parents to read. I don’t mind censoring myself as I still find an outlet to share some of the more personal writings. I’d rather censor myself than upset people with things I’ve written or find myself embarrassed by what a future employer could find. Blogs are a very public forum and some topics might be better discussed one-on-one.

As for relationships, I’ve asked past boyfriends if I can write about them and even let them choose their pseudonyms.

What are some lessons that you know now that you wish you knew when you started blogging, that you think new bloggers out there should keep in mind?

This is tough since blogging itself has changed so much from when I first started. Overall, I’ve had a positive experience blogging, probably why I’ve kept at it so long. Still, for new bloggers I’d encourage you to engage with other bloggers in conversation (email, comments). I would also make sure to always give credit to others for ideas or even if you quote them. I’ve received negative feedback and mean-spirited comments. It was tough not to take those personally and let it go, but you have to realize that the trolls and mean folks come out in droves on the internet.

For a blogging Latina, how has the blogging landscape changed for you since you first started your blog?

When I first started blogging, I found very few Latino bloggers. I gravitated toward the ones I did find as I related most to them and their experiences. Since 2004, I’ve seen many Latino blogs pop up in LA and around the country. Some of these bloggers became close friends, some stopped blogging and some only blog infrequently. I think that just mirrors blogging in general. Lots of people start something only to lose interest or be distracted by life later.

Blogging has also become a lot more user friendly. It’s easy and free to run a blog, host pictures and other media like podcasts and video.

Have you observed any change with the online Latin@ community of bloggers evolved?

Definitely. There’s a growth in numbers, there are organized groups trying to get Latino bloggers together in other forms of social media. Latinos are blogging about various topics from politics to gossip. When I first started feeling a sense of community with other bloggers, it was much smaller and tight knit. Another blogger called it Blogotitlán, a term I really liked. We all read each others’ blogs and even talked about getting together for a meeting (I let the ball drop on that one). Even though we aren’t all Latinos, we still had a lot in common.

It’d be impossible to follow all Latino blogs now. In fact, some of my favorite bloggers stopped blogging (the Daily Texican, El Más Chingón) or slowed down significantly to the rare post every month or so. I think the growth of other social networks probably impacted this, but I think folks just get tired and distracted with life in general. That’s okay with me, since some of these bloggers still keep in touch.

I know there’s a lot of bloggers out there scoring book deals, do you know of any Latin@ bloggers getting in on the action.  In your opinion, why or why not?

I know of one or two. Daniel Hernandez, a reporter with the LA Times, is the first who comes to mind. I’m not sure if he had the book deal before he left Los Angeles for Mexico City or if his blog reports and dispatches from el DF led to his book deal. It seems like the gimmicky blogs (e.g., Stuff White People Like or This is Why You’re Fat) are the ones that get book deals while more personal ones are just seen as navel gazing. The gimmicky ones attract lots of attention, have high reader/views and are mentioned in mainstream newsmedia stories. I don’t know of Latin@ bloggers getting that kind of attention for a publisher to be interested in selling our stories.

With that said, is there a book deal in your future?

Um, if there is, no one has told me about it.

What are the top three blogs you follow?

They change as some bloggers go through periods of little posting. Lately I’ve really enjoyed PostBourgie, PearMama, and my boyfriend’s blog. I won’t link to his.

I recall a reader from Australia introducing herself in your comments, please, this is the place to brag about your readership.  Indulge me…

I love my regular readers and even those who email occasionally just to say they like my blog or appreciate my stories. I just got an email from someone who simply said, “Just stumbled across your blog… it’s my new favorite.” I’ve been recognized on the street, quoted in a book and magazine, asked to contribute to a NY Times blog, asked to contribute to various other group blogs and even been called the Madrina of blogs by blogueros in LA.

Overall, my readers, especially those who make time for me when I drop in to their cities, are awesome. I’m lucky school/work means I get to travel and meet some great people.

Any final thoughts?

Can Proyecto Latina readers offer up topics or questions to address in future posts? Even I run out of things to talk about…

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Cindy interviews her grandfather for Story Corps last March.

Cindy also interviews her father for Story Corps.

The interviews posted here first appeared on Cindy’s Loteria Chicana blog.  You can find the interview with her father here, and the  interview with her grandfather here.