This week I was fortunate to be come across so many dynamic women. My first encounter came when I did a communication’s training for the Women of Power housed inside the Cook County Sheriff’s office. They provide services to women that have just been released from prison. The women ranged from 19 to 62 years old and they were all trying to improve the quality of their lives and also inspire others going through similar situations to do the same.
A few days later I ran into Irene Tostado from the IL Resource Net. She is one of the organizers for the conference I was attending for nonprofits to get federal funding. That same day I ran into Olivia Sanchez, executive director, of Project Vida. Her organization provides preventive education and direct services to people with HIV/AIDS.
Than I get a wonderful Facebook message from actor/writer Stephanie Diaz Reppen letting us know that she is on her third draft of The Quetzal she said, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for breathing life into its writer”. All of these women I’m happy to say are either in a masters program or are in the process of getting into one. What strikes me about all of these women is that they are all telling their stories or their organizations and leading the way trying to improve the quality of their lives and their communities. With this in mind we hope all of you remember to create your own opportunities.
Last night, I had the opportunity to attend Strong and Chata, an art show organized, by Paloma Martinez in the Pilsen neighborhood. What struck me about her performance piece which included a boxing ring, beer cans and little jars to blow bubbles was the competing narratives between her and the character Juan Bob. I felt really proud of her because not only did she organize a whole art show that included the work of local artists but she also stepped out of her comfort zone and performed this piece. Again the lesson here is to create your own opportunities for yourself and others.
This week the ladies of Proyecto Latina also had a busy week:
Thelma and Irasema were on Eight Forty-Eight talking about their Día de los Muertos Alter. Listen to the interview.
The lovely and talented Coya Paz was part of Paper Machete listen to the podcast.
I also had the chance to do a guest post for the 3 six and 5 project based on the walk I took on 18th street. Check it out!
Yolanda Cardenas is working on a soon to be unveiled musical collaboration with…??? We hope we can share her good news with you soon!
We hope this will inspire Latinas in the arts and other sectors to tell their stories. There’s a lot of great work being done in are communities and Latinas are definitely leading the way.
Next month we have the honor of featuring Kansas City poet Linda Rodriguez! She’s a powerhouse poet that will be reading from her book “Heart’s Migration”. Read more…
Here are your Domingo Newsbytes:
This week Mexico had its 200th B-Day Celebration. In case you missed it on TV check out this wonderful photo narrative of the celebration featuring highlights from the event.
Poet Julia de Burgos has been recognized by the U.S. Postal service with a 44- cent stamp. She was an award-winning writer, journalist and a celebrated Puerto Rican poet.
“We want it turned into a library, that’s what we want,” said Araceli Gonzalez. She is one of the parents doing a sit in at the Wittier school to protest the demolition of a building adjacent to the main building.
Early detection of cancer is key for Latinas to fight cancer. Pink Pearls of Hope is an initiative that promotes early detection. Learn more about early detection.
Even though Día de los Muertos is a few weeks away the annual Día de los Muertos show is in full swing and one piece that sticks out is the altar by Patricia Carlos honoring the women of the Mexican Independence and revolution.
US Treasurer Rosie Rios will be one of the women speaking at this year’s Smart Money Smart Women. The event includes breakout sessions on managing money. Register today for this event. It’s Free!
Don’t forget Proyecto Latina needs your help! Have story ideas or come across an article about Latinas or an issue that impacts our community? Send us your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to also comment on our posts we’d love to hear from you. You can follow us on Twitter @proyectolatina
Have a great week everyone! –Diana Pando
by Yolanda Cardenas, M.D.
A recent Domingo Newsbytes pointed out that the Association of American Medical Colleges states there aren’t enough Latino doctors for the growing Latino population in the U.S. Only 6% of medical students are Latino.
As a Latina physician, this wasn’t earth-shattering news to me. I didn’t encounter many Latino students during my medical training. I was 1 of 5 Latinos in my class at medical school. When I finished my residency training, I began to meet more Latino physicians. This was mainly because of where I chose to practice medicine.
I’ve worked in clinics, which provide medical care to the under-served, uninsured, under-insured and predominantly Spanish speaking populations. I started to wonder why things haven’t changed much in the last 10 years. A couple of weeks ago, I also saw another article, which stated that Latinos are less likely to attend 4-year universities. Latinos tend to attend community colleges. I think that this trend coupled with a fear of debt is two of the main reasons for the shortage of Latino physicians. To become a physician, you have to obtain a university degree in order to apply to medical schools. Not applying to university or choosing not to attend a university is an obstacle towards obtaining a medical degree.
Unfortunately, the problem starts before the university. Large numbers of Latinos are still dropping out of high school. No high school diploma means no university degree and no medical degree. We have to continue stressing the importance of education to our Latino youth. Excelling in high school is vital for increasing one’s opportunity for scholarships and acceptance to top-notch university programs.
Finances still play a key role in not only attending a university but also in choosing medicine as a career. I have seen several people decline universities’ offers of admission because they can’t afford the tuition and fees. Some students (and their parents) are afraid to take out educational loans and decide to attend community colleges because of their cheaper tuition. Other students take a leave of absence from school in order to work and fund their university expenses. But this stop and go approach towards a bachelor’s degree can become frustrating and result in dropping out of university. Medical school is expensive. There are few opportunities for scholarships at this level of education. If you are serious about becoming a physician, it’s a fact that you will have a monstrous debt when you graduate from medical school.
What we have to realize is that our education is an investment. For the most part, I avoided student loans at my university but I knew that wouldn’t be the case in medical college. There was no way my father could afford sending two daughters to medical college. I’m still paying off my medical school loans. Do I wish I didn’t have that debt? Yes, but my investment has paid off. I am in an honorable profession that teaches me about the human body but most importantly continues to teach me about the human spirit. One of the things I never expected was that medicine would inspire my art.
Instead of being polar opposites, these two worlds are harmonizing in me.
Nuestra gente needs and wants more Latino physicians. If you have a love of science and humanity and want to join me in this amazing profession, my advice is always give 100% at school, put aside your fears and make that investment.
© Contents of this site are Copyright 2010 by PROYECTO LATINA.
Chicana writer Ana Castillo wants to fuel the tradition of reading and writing in the Latino community, through the memoir writing workshops she teaches. Ana says she hopes that she can help establish posterity of culture and most importantly the family stories of the participants. Literature, Ana reminds us, comes from all walks of life–writing is not just for the privileged. Our Proyecto Latina contributor, Yolanda Cardenas also asks about spirituality’s place in writing, listen to their complete conversation below.
Ana Castillo: Spirituality’s place in writing? (4:17)
Ana Castillo: Can you teach someone to write? (5:48)
Ana Castillo’s memoir writing workshops are cross-cultural and generational and open to everyone over 18 years-old. Details available here.
Interview by Yolanda Cardenas