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.”
Resources
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.
08.15.10 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!

08.01.10 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.

07.04.10 Domingo Newsbytes

07.04.10 Domingo Newsbytes

This Domingo Newsbytes is brought to you by the letter I.  The words independence and irony are resonating for me right now.  I know most of us are in holiday mode so I’m gonna keep it short and sweet.

In Bioshock, a role playing video game my husband played last spring, your character is  left to survive in an underwater city, one of the merits you earn as you fight your way through the game is a badge of irony.  When I first saw this I got a kick out of it.  I first learned irony from my mom, as I was growing up she loved to point it out in an array of circumstances, and would affirm her point with a an appropriate dicho, “del plato a la boca se cae la sopa“–this one reinforced the idea of not judging others because you never knew what might place you in similar circumstances.

Well, its 4th of July today, the day the United States celebrates the anniversary of  its Independence.  So, I decided it was a good day as ever to revisit the definition for independent and it was reading the news stories below that hit me with that feeling of irony.

  • Brazil’s crucial archives could perish Keeping history fresh in our minds should keep us from repeating it. Right? One of South America’s largest historical archives — that chronicle widespread killing, forced disappearances and torture committed by Brazilian military rulers from 1964 to 1985 — is rotting away in an obscure government building in Brazil’s capital.

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http://www.sgvtribune.com/opinions/ci_15389267
05.02.10: Domingo Newsbytes

05.02.10: Domingo Newsbytes

Its been a busy week for news that impacts Latinas and their families, particularly since Governor Brewer signed the immigration Arizona law SB1070 into law.

Yesterday, was the immigrant rights march. In Chicago and other parts of the country Half –A- Million and Counting participated waving American flags, holding up signs that read “We Are Arizona,”  mom’s brought their children, teenagers hung around excitedly, for some of them this was their first march and I spotted an army of paleteros.

Latina Lista is doing an amazing job keeping folks informed with the latest information on Arizona law and SB1070 and other stories related to this law. She wrote about the lack of Latino editorial columnists and political pundits that made me realize that we absolutely must use our voice and have a seat at the table as much as possible or laws like SB1070 will continue to spread.

Some Latina columnists that are speaking up are getting slammed with hate mail. Just ask Chicago Sun-Times columnist Esther Cepeda. This week she wrote a column on the amount of hate mail she has been getting since the immigration issue revved up. Drop Esther a love letter and tell her how much you appreciate the work she does. She’s one of few Latinas that has a public platform to speak on issues that impact the Latino communities.

Another Latina that got to chime in on the Arizona law issue was Teresa Puente from “Chicanisima,” blog. She joined host Alex Quigley from WGN 720 in the Showcase Studio to debate over immigration law in Arizona. On a personal note, I appreciate intelligent respectful opinions when calling radio stations, however, the callers were just down right rude.

A journalist on the move is Lydia Cacho. The International Press Institute (IPI) named Lydia Cacho as an IPI “World Press Freedom Hero,” to recognize her contributions to press freedom and investigative journalism in the defense of human rights in Mexico.

Violence isn’t up on Arizona Border despite Mexican drug war. According to, FBI Uniform Crime Reports and statistics provided by police agencies, in fact, show that the crime rates in Nogales, Douglas, Yuma and other Arizona border towns have remained essentially flat for the past decade, even as drug-related violence has spiraled out of control on the other side of the international line. Statewide, rates of violent crime also are down.

First the Arizona law now a new law threatens to ban ethnic studies in Arizona. This new law being proposed by the state legislature in Arizona is trying to equate ethnic studies programs with high treason. In other words, forget Cesar Chavez or any contributions Mexicans have made to this country. Will Governor Brewer sign this ban on ethnic studies? What do you think? Wait there’s more! Are you a teacher with a Spanish accent? Well if you are get ready to lose your job in Arizona.

Imagine you’re an American citizen whose parents happen to be undocumented immigrants. Well there’s a chance you might get deported too. At Tea Party rally in San Diego County, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wants to start deporting American citizens. Hmmm…I wonder if this includes the great-grand children of Pilgrims?

Art by Artist Tina Hernandez