identity

14 Latino Brands Latinos Cannot Live Without

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Whether it’s abuelita’s favorite or a new found love, there are a handful of Latino brands some of us can’t live without. From makeup to household supplies, these are 14 of our favorite Latino must-have brands.

1. San Marcos

Credit: Which San Marcos Blanket is For You? (Mitú)

Our list wouldn’t be complete without our beloved San Marcos cobijas. Original San Marcos blankets were produced from 1976 to 2004 by owners Jesus and Francisco Rivera in their hometown of San Marcos, Aguascalientes, Mexico. Although the company is not technically still up and running, the brand still lives on in just about every Mexican household.

2. Cuaba Soap

Credit: Loyal Nana

If you’re Dominican, then you know that Cuaba soap is definitely a household staple. Jabon de cuaba is made out of pine resin. It’s not only used for showering but it can also be used to wash dirty laundry.

3. Suavitel

Credit: Target 

Although Suavitel is technically an American brand, just about every Latino can identify this scent. This fabric softener is definitely abuela-approved. Plus, it’s perfect for those San Marcos cobijas!

4. Beautyblender

Credit: Instagram @reaannsilva

The Latina-owned brand Beautyblenders is a staple for most Latino and Latina makeup gurus. Owner Rea Ann Silver created the infamous beauty sponge back in 2003 and the rest is history!

6. Clandestina

Credit: Clandestina

Established in 2015, Clandestina became the first Cuban urban fashion brand. They are located in Havana and sell their clothing and accessories globally. In addition to being super trendy, this must-have clothing line prides itself on being pro-zero-waste.

7. Gruma

Credit: BakingBusiness.com

Gruma, aka the mother of all things corn and flour, obviously made our list of favorite brands. Most tamales, quesadillas and tacos, indirectly come from the 79 productions plants Gruma has worldwide.

8. Bimbo

 Credit: Food Business News

As Latinos, Bimbo is part of our childhood, begging our parents to buy us Panques, Mantecadas, Doraditas. The Bimbo brand started over 70 years ago in Mexico City and was made famous for their white bread, toast, and Panques. Now Bimbo is in over 24 countries across the globes.

9. Barcel

Credit: Barcel

Takis, Hot Nuts, Dulces Vero, Ricolino… the list goes on and on. We all know that Barcel is the real MVP of Latino brands as far as snacks are concerned.

10. Ibarra 

Credit: Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe (Pinterest)

With the holiday season in full swing, you know we can’t forget about our favorite hot chocolate brand. There’s a never-ending battle between Abuelita and Ibarra hot chocolate, but we all know who the real winner is here.

11. Gamesa

Credit: MexGrocer

Latinos everywhere grew up on Gamesa galletas. Gamesa is Mexico’s largest cookie manufacturer, giving us all of our childhood favorites like Marias, Barras de CoCo, and Arcoiris just to name a few.

12. La Universal

Credit: La Universal 

Speaking of sweet, childhood treats, let’s not forget about La Universal – maker of the Manicho chocolate bars. ¡Delicioso! La Universal is an Ecuadorian company that was founded all the back in 1889 and is recognized throughout Ecuador and Latin America for its 129 years of delicious treats.

13. Jarritos

Credit: Cultureatz

Are you thirsty after all this talk about our favorite Latino food brands? Don’t worry because we didn’t forget our favorite meal companion, Jarritos. Jarritos was founded in 1950 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. These popular Mexican sodas have gained worldwide popularity and do not disappoint.

14. Inca Kola

Credit: Wikipedia

On the topic of delicious sodas, we can’t forget of course this Peruvian favorite, Inca Kola. Inca Kola aka the Golden Kola was created back in 1935 in Peru but are now bottled in the United States. Like their slogan states, it truly is ¡refrescante para todo el mundo!

Whether your favorite Latino brand makes paleta or jewelry, one thing is for certain: Latinos have the best brands hands down. For those who beg to differ, don’t forget we love chanclas too.


READ: These 20 Delicious Latino Snacks You Need To Be In Your Life Permanently

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A Transborder Grad Student Is Using Facebook To Help Others With Their Daily Border Crossings

Identity

A Transborder Grad Student Is Using Facebook To Help Others With Their Daily Border Crossings

School has always been a challenge for Vanessa Falcon. Getting to class means navigating her way through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the largest land border crossing in the world. Many other students live this “transborder lifestyle,” having to cross the US-Mexico border daily to go to school and work. With recent hostility at the border, it has drastically impacted their daily lives. That’s why Falcon, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at San Diego State University, started the Facebook group Estudiantes Transfronterizos (Transborder Students). The group helps students navigate border-related challenges including long waits and border closures. Yet for Falcon, this lifestyle began way before college.

Falcon has been living a transborder lifestyle since she was 12 years old.

CREDIT: Credit: Vanessa Falcon

Born in Los Angeles, Falcon was always transitioning from one side of the border to the other. Her mother and father, who are Mexican and Peruvian respectively, frequently moved from San Diego to Tijuana due to economic hardships. They would eventually buy a trailer home, which transported them between their lives in San Diego and Tijuana. Falcon began crossing the border daily in the 6th grade, which she says was a personal decision due to many factors including quality in education and cultural identity.

Falcon recalls dealing with homelessness and early 4 a.m. starts to her day just to make it to school. She recollects long days waiting in her family’s car during school for time to pass and nights when food wasn’t always on the table. Falcon credits those hardships for making her who she is today more than ever and says they represented not only her lifestyle but her cultural identity.

“During 6th grade, I started crossing the border for school on a regular basis and it made living arrangements hard,” Falcon said. “It was challenging but now I draw a lot from that. It was definitely more of a choice than necessity but it became part of who I am today.”

Fast forward to today, Falcon is using those experiences to help others navigate through cross-border challenges.

CREDIT: Credit: Vanessa Falcon

As Falcon pursues her doctoral degrees in the joint Ph.D. in Education Program at SDSU and Claremont Graduate University, she is helping the transborder community in the San Diego-Tijuana border region. Upon starting her studies at SDSU, Falcon felt compelled to help others that were going through similar daily journeys across the border.

In 2015, she began the Facebook group Estudiantes Transfronterizos, which grew into a student group at SDSU called the Transfronterizx Alliance Student Organization (TASO). Officially recognized by SDSU in 2017, the organization focuses on creating an inclusive campus environment for transborder students on campus by connecting them with others who live a similar lifestyle.

“You can meet virtually, and now in person, which has created a small community here at SDSU,” Falcon says. “I wanted to accomplish three things here: Having a place where we can engage, having a safe space where we can discuss our lives and creating a culture where we can discuss these relevant daily challenges.”

Students say their experiences crossing the border every day means enduring intense scrutiny and discriminatory practices from Border Patrol agents. A 2015-2016 study found that young people who’ve lived and studied in two countries from San Diego and Tijuana were at a higher risk for depression than other students.

TASO gives SDSU students who live a transborder life an opportunity to share their experiences, identity, and culture.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Vanessa Falcon

TASO has helped create an inclusive community on the SDSU campus that has gone beyond just a Facebook group but an organization putting together services for transborder students. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the organization hosted a transborder studies lecture series where speakers describe their own experiences as transborder students. The group has also utilized Facebook Live to stream content for transborder students who couldn’t attend in person.

“We’ve had live streams of lectures if a student can’t arrive at campus due to border-related challenges,” Falcon says. “We’re creating a community that was once invisible to many and are getting to share our stories along the way.”

The Facebook group has also given students the opportunity to network among each other when it comes to logistics. Some offer to carpool with other transborder students and post regular updates if there are major stalls crossing the border.

Due to recent closures at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, wait times can extend to several hours long.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Vanessa Falcon

Falcon says recent border closings caused by the Trump administration and the migrant caravan residing in nearby Tijuana have added to already long wait times crossing the San Ysidro Port of Entry. She describes the scene at the border as more militarized with a larger presence of police than in the past.

“There is militarization going on everywhere at the border. Just 3 weeks ago it seemed like we were at a war zone,” Falcon says. “The border has become intense and we see the suffering of refugees at the border and that has resulted in four-hour waits just to enter.”

A letter recently sent out by SDSU’s Dean of Students Randy Timm acknowledged some of the problems students are facing due to the border closures. The letter showed support for transborder students and offered assistance on the campus. Falcon notes this is a step in the right direction in terms of institutions recognizing transborder students.

Falcon is hoping to create a larger community of transborder students that she hopes will help others navigate their daily lives easier.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Vanessa Falcon

Just last year, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) opened up its own TASO chapter on its campus where the group has begun mentorship and educational programs for transborder students. Both chapters hope to work with each other and expand to other universities in border states. Falcon says she could have never imagined the Facebook group growing the way it did. She says there are plans to pilot a transborder students ally training program at SDSU, where she will use research to train students and staff about this lifestyle.

“I want people to understand our experiences and be educated on the daily journeys that we go through,” Falcon said. “I want to teach online through Facebook and make the program accessible to all.”

Falcon says living a transborder lifestyle has given her not just an education but an appreciation of her Latina background and identity. She hopes TASO can encourage legislative changes that improve the lives for transborder students like creating a specific student lane at the U.S border.

“We still live in the margins and our experiences are often not acknowledged,” Falcon says. “We are trying to make a difference on both sides of the border and we are just seeing the potential we have as transborder students to help both sides of our communities.”


READ: Congress Members Camp Out With Asylum Seekers Including Honduran Mother And Children In Viral Tear Gas Photo

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