Culture

A Police Department In California Is Suiting Up Its Officers In Charro Uniforms In An Attempt to Make You Cry Tears Of Pride

With efforts to better connect with it’s largely Latino community, the Salinas Police Department is trying on a new look in the form of a charro suit. Robert Hernandez was one of several police officers that donned the traditional Mexican outfit at the California Rodeo Salinas back on July 16-19. But if Salinas police are looking for any signs that the outfits were a success, their Facebook page has since been flooded with community support and appreciation for the gesture. 

The charro outfits represent pride, tradition, and chivalry in Mexican culture. So for many in the Latino community, the suit went a long way in bridging a relationship with local law enforcement. 

Credit: @KRON4News / Twitter

This is the first year that police officers wore the charro outfit and helped patrol the rodeo, which is the largest event in the mostly agricultural city. Police Chief Adele Fresé said that by having officers put on the charro suit she hopes many in the community see themselves when they interact with authorities. 

These efforts are emboldened by recent tensions between police and communities of color across the United States and President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. 

Salinas, where more than three-quarters of residents are Latino, has had its share of tensions between residents and police. Back in 2014, major demonstrations erupted when police shot and killed four Latino men. All of the officers involved in the incident would eventually be cleared of any crime. The shootings proved to be a sour moment between community and police officers as many pointed to the case as an example of the excessive force and prejudice in the department.    

“We’re going to recognize, by wearing this charro suit, we’re validating our community’s heritage and culture,” Fresé told the Californian. And we’re going to demonstrate that we value the rich history of the people we’re sworn to protect and serve.”

One officer wasn’t too sure how to feel about putting on the outfit at first. But after seeing a positive reaction from the community, he knew it was the right choice. 

Credit: @mentalammo / Twitter

When Officer Hernandez’s parents went to see their son on duty at the rodeo, they were shocked. He didn’t have his usual black police outfit on and a giant sombrero had replaced his regular cap. Hernandez’s parents were in tears after seeing him in the charro outfit. 

“When they came here, that was for me and my siblings to have a better future and have a better success than they were in Mexico,” Hernandez told the Californian in regards to his parents. “For me to represent that, it was an honor not only for them but me as well.”

But for Hernandez, donning the traditional outfit wasn’t an easy choice. He told the LA Times he was a bit worried at first at what some people’s reaction might be to the new look. 

“I’m not going to lie, I was nervous,” Hernandez said about putting the charro outfit on at the rodeo. “We didn’t want to offend anybody.”

When he saw men, women, and children lining up to take photos with him, he knew how special the gesture meant to the community. Hernandez also realized that many community members aren’t able to return to their birthplaces and families because of their legal status. So the charro outfit in many ways reminded them of home. 

“Our main goal is to get involved and build a relationship with the community,” Hernandez said. “This is so they feel right at home more finally, and go right from there.”

The Salinas Police Department already has plans to have officers don the outfit at another event in September. 

Credit: @mmcphate / Twitter

With the positive reaction the police department has received in the community and on social media, there is plans to bring back the charro suit in September. Hernandez is expected to wear the blue outfit once more at a Mexican Independence Day event called “El Grito” on Sept 16.

While the charro suit was donated to Salinas resident Ricky Cabrera’s late father, Alfonso, who was a charro himself, the department plans to return it. The plan is to hopefully receive donations for two new outfits, one for both male and female officers for next year’s rodeo. 

The police department feels that the outfit is the first step in the right direction when it comes to rebuilding community trust. Fresé hopes people see these efforts for what they are and can start a longer conversation between police and local residents. 

“Pretty much most of my life has been in the Hispanic community, and I have a good grasp of our culture and what people appreciate,” Fresé told the LA Times. “I do believe there’s a hunger for validation. I hoped the community would understand this is not a novelty.”

READ: An Autopsy Reveals Harrowing New Details About A Guatemalan Teen Who Died In Border Patrol Custody

Here Are 15 Times That Google Paid Tribute To Latinx Culture With The Google Doodle

Culture

Here Are 15 Times That Google Paid Tribute To Latinx Culture With The Google Doodle

Google

September 22nd marks Doodle Day — yes, it’s a thing! Since 2004 Doodle Day has helped raise funds for epilepsy research. “The tagline ‘Drawing a line through epilepsy’ heads the campaign, and participants take part by submitting their doodle, along with a small donation. The Doodle Day team then judges the doodles and awards prizes accordingly,” according to Days Of The Year

There aren’t many doodles with as much reach as Google doodles, which serve as way to educate and inform people all over the world about global history. Of course, Latinxs have been contributing to arts, science, and culture for centuries. 

Check out these 15 Google Doodles that honor Latinx culture and history. 

Mercedes Sosa

Born in 1936, Argentinian singer Mercedes Sosa was known for being the “voice of the voiceless ones.” Nicknamed “La Negra” her social justice lyrics and traditional folk music allowed her to perform at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Sistine Chapel, and the Colosseum in Rome.

Chile’s National Day

The country’s official flag since 1817 commemorates a multiday celebration known as Las Fiestas Patrias to honor Chile’s eight-year struggle for self-determination from Spanish colonial rule. 

Lupicínio Rodrigues

Lupicínio Rodrigues was born in 1914 in Brazil, today his name is “synonymous with the musical genre samba-canção, also known as samba triste or ‘sad samba.’”

Ynés Mexía

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Mexican American botanist and explorer Ynes Mexia received this tribute. In 1925, Mexía traveled to Sinaloa, Mexico to find rare botanical species. On the trip, she fell off a cliff, fractured her hand and ribs, and still managed to return home with 500 species, 50 of which were undiscovered. 

Tin Tan

The actor, singer, and comedian Tin Tan was born in Mexico City in 1915. Tin Tan helped to popularize pachuco culture with films like The Jungle Book and The Aristocats.

Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar

Born in Pamplona, Colombia in 1922, Villamizar was an innovative painter and sculptor. After traveling to Paris and New York in the 1950s to much acclaim, he became a pioneer of abstract Colombian art. 

Ignacio Anaya García

Ignacio Anaya García’ was born in 1895. In 1943, García invented nachos. What more needs to be said about the magnitude of his culinary contributions? Nachos! 

Arantza Peña Popo  

Afro-Columbian artist Arantza Peña Popo made history when she won Google’s “Doodle For Google” contest in 2019. The art entitled “Once you get it, give it back” features two generations of Afro-Latinx mothers and daughters.

Dr. Matilde Montoya

The first female physician in Mexico, born in 1859, Dr. Matilde Montoya petitioned President Porfirio Díaz to be allowed into medical school. Dr. Montoya had already earned her degree as a midwife at 16, but she wanted more. Dr. Montoya paid her success forward. After her application was accepted, she demanded the House of Representatives to change the rules and permanently allow female students into the School of Medicine.

Lucha Reyes

Born into poverty in 1936, Peruvian singer Lucha Reyes beat the odds by becoming one of the country’s most adored singers. Reyes helped to popularize the Afro-Peruvian genre of music música criolla which blended Creole, Afro-Peruvian, and Andean musical traditions.

Evangelina Elizondo

Mexican actress Evangelina Elizondo was born in 1929. She would become a star of Mexican Cinema’s Golden Age. Fun fact: this Google doodle was created by the Mexican guest artist Valeria Alvarez. 

Abraham Valdelomar

Writer and caricaturist Abraham Valdelomar was born in 1888 in Peru. A humorous prodigy, Valdelomar is remembered for his cuentos criollos. In 1916, he founded the literary magazine Colónida, which helped Peruvians discovered fresh literary talent like José María Eguren.

Raúl Soldi  

Argentinian artist Raúl Soldi was born in Buenos Aires in 1905. Soldi was a painter, costume designer, and even did department store windows.

“Recognized in his country and globally, a 1992 retrospective at Argentina’s Palais de Glace attracted some 500,000 visitors and his work was honored with an award at the 1958 Biennale of São Paulo, Brazil.”

Simón Rodríguez  

Venezuela’s Simón Rodríguez devoted his life to educating others. A scholar, philosopher, and teacher born in Caracas in 1771, he would prove to be a precocious student. As a teacher, among his students Simón Bolivar, he proposed creating well-funded, well-trained schools that included students of all ethnicities and social backgrounds. 

Mexican Independence Day

Mexican guest artist Dia Pacheco created this Google doodle to commemorate Mexico’s Independence Day. Inspired by indigenous Mexican crafts and textiles like Oaxacan embroidery and children’s toys, the animated rehiletes are a beautiful homage.

An Abuelito Makes Dolls With Vitiligo To Build Self-Esteem In Kids With The Skin Condition And If This Isn’t The Sweetest Thing I Don’t Know What is

Culture

An Abuelito Makes Dolls With Vitiligo To Build Self-Esteem In Kids With The Skin Condition And If This Isn’t The Sweetest Thing I Don’t Know What is

JoaoStanganelli / Instagram

Brazilian grandfather João Stanganelli learned to crochet with one goal in mind: to uplift the self-esteem of children with vitiligo. Stanganelli began to show signs of the skin condition when he was 38. Vitiligo causes the loss of skin color in blotches and can affect any part of the body. 

“Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning. Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious. It can be stressful or make you feel bad about yourself,” according to the Mayo Clinic. 

While some of the possible symptoms listed are sunburn, susceptibility to skin cancer, eye problems, and hearing loss, professionals also note that one of the most difficult issues is a social stigma which can lead to low self-esteem or other psychological issues. 

Fortunately, abuelo João Stanganelli is out here putting smiles on children’s faces and reminding them that they look absolutely perfect. 

A new beginning

Stanganelli began to show signs of vitiligo when he was 38. However, it wasn’t until last year, at 64, that he began this amazing project. After losing his job in the gastronomy industry due to a heart condition, Stanganelli wanted to keep busy while he was at home. He and his wife Marilena took up crocheting together. At first, it proved to be difficult, causing him to develop calluses on his fingers. But after five days of practice, Stanganelli crocheted his first doll. 

A tiny idea becomes a big one

While he only intended to create something to pass onto his granddaughter, things quickly snowballed.

“I decided to make the doll for my granddaughter, and wanted something that she would remember about her grandfather,” he told Romper.

Stanganelli decided to crochet her a doll that looked like him, one with two skin tones. However, photos of his adorable doll began to circulate – people wanted in. 

A new way to honor children’s differences

Parents of children with vitiligo wanted a doll for their little ones, but they weren’t the only group that wanted to be seen. Others began to request dolls with a wheelchair, hearing aids, blindness, alopecia, and other differences. They wanted their children to see themselves, and it’s not like there were many options on the market. 

It may not seem like a big deal to you, but just take a look at one of the comments on this doll with a wheelchair, “This is so beautiful it just made me cry. My Jenna has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. You truly are so awesome for all you do sir. May God bless you over and over.” 

“These are beautiful. I’ve had vitiligo since my mid-40s. My face, chest, back, neck and some on my arms. It is a, “how did this happen” disease. These are a beautiful way for ppl to converse abt this so others understand. God bless you Joao,” another person wrote.

Difference is beauty

“The spots I have are beautiful. What hurts me are the flaws in peoples’ characters,” Stanganelli told CTV News. Kids and parents have told him that the dolls are “helping with their self-esteem.” Just more proof that representation matters, especially to those most vulnerable. 

It’s no secret that kids can be particularly cruel about differences, Stanganelli is providing children with an honorable service — a little taste of what it feels like to be represented just like anybody else. Sometimes the ordinary can you make feel extraordinary. 

“Vitiligo can be life-altering… Some people develop low self-esteem. They may no longer want to hang out with friends. They can develop serious depression. Most people have vitiligo for life, so it’s important to develop coping strategies,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology. 

Redefining beauty

Stanganelli’s dolls come at a time where people with vitiligo are embracing their unique aesthetic rather than covering it up. The Brazilian children’s book Menina Feita de Nuvens, or “the girl made of clouds,” tells the story of a little girl with a superpower: vitiligo. 

Models like Winnie Harlow, Breanne Rice, and Ash Soto have brought vitiligo to the mainstream of fashion. 

“Female models with vitiligo now appear regularly on designer runways and in advertising campaigns, empowering those who once hid behind the makeup to use these tools to enhance their individuality. Women with vitiligo who span the spectrum, including White models with vitiligo and Black models with vitiligo, are expanding the public’s definition of what it means to be attractive,” writes Anna Papachristos for APlus

If you would like to purchase a custom crocheted doll, please reach out to Stanganelli and his wife on Facebook