Culture

The City Of Phoenix Is Moving Forward With Plans To Open A Latino Cultural Center

After 17 years of hitting roadblocks and issues with location, Phoenix, Arizona looks like it will finally have its own Latino cultural center. This month, the Phoenix City Council took action on the issue and voted in favor of moving forward with the project that was originally approved for $1.4 million in bond funding by Phoenix voters in 2001. The location of the cultural center is tentatively planned to be at the North Building at Margaret T. Hance Park, near downtown Phoenix. 

While the city is moving forward with plans, there is still disagreement with some about the location of the cultural center and fulfilling the rest of the funding needs. According to the Phoenix New Times, “Organizers would need to raise sufficient funds for North Building renovations by the end of 2023. Current estimates put renovation costs at about $12 million.”

While there is a growing need for a space that represents and shows the visibility of Latinos in Phoenix, the city still has questions about whether this location will fit those needs. 

Phoenix has one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the country and is expected to surpass 50 percent of the Arizona population by 2020. With a growing demographic, the Latino Cultural Center hopes to be a space that Latino artists can showcase the diversity and impact the population has had in America’s Southwest region. When it comes to programming,  the center would also have an “annual cultural festival” and a “community kitchen,” among other projects. But to accomplish this goal, the city has to fully support and agree on a location that meets these needs. 

As part of a study that was commissioned by the city of Phoenix, it recommends that the Latino Cultural Center be a “visible” presence in downtown Phoenix as well as being “on par and in company” with other nearby art and culture centers. 

City Councilman Carlos Garcia says that the location of this project is a huge roadblock to overcome since the currently proposed location lacks significance when it comes to the Latino community. 

“The Hance location kind of doesn’t allow us to grow from there. And it also doesn’t hold cultural significance, specifically to the Latino/Chicano from Phoenix,” Garcia said at the recent meeting concerning the center. “I had an artist call me about it and say, ‘Our communities were redlined and were not allowed north of whatever-Van Buren or the tracks-and so how can we set something up like where our communities weren’t even allowed.”

Despite some disagreements, Phoenix is ready to move forward with the project that it hopes it can get started on in the next few years. 

While there are still some questions about the location of the center, Councilwoman Thelda Williams said that this month’s vote was the most progress the project has made in becoming a reality. She said that only stalling the project even longer might hurt its long term viability. 

“For 17 years, we’ve been pursuing this,” Williams told AZ Central. “I know not everyone is happy with this building, but as you stated, doing this review and analysis of the building is truly going to be suitable. I wanted us to keep moving forward.”

As of now, there is $997,902 in available bond funding towards the center which means that the city would have to start a capital funding campaign to meet the financial needs for the project. This is where the city would need more people on board with the project if it is to keep moving forward, most importantly the support of the local Latino community which has voiced it has felt left out of the planning process. 

“It’s been in the works for so long that now everyone is disenfranchised,” Latina choreographer Liliana Gomez told Phoenix New Times. “People are feeling a little bit voiceless. If the center happens, I’ll be supportive. In the meantime, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

While the Hance Park location isn’t definitive, the city council has left it’s options open if another location or large sum donation is given to build the center somewhere else. Nonetheless, Phoenix is making progress on a project that has been years long overdue and is something that Latinos rightfully deserve. Councilmember Laura Pastor voiced this message at the city meeting and echoed the sentiment many have felt about the cultural center finally moving forward. 

“The city of Phoenix’s Latino arts and culture community is rich, vibrant and ever-evolving. This center will be a home for more than just art. It will encompass storytelling, cultural foods, music, programs, and festivals. Today’s vote is a vital step in the 18-year process to provide our City with the long-overdue Latino Cultural Center it deserves.”

READ: The Sexual Assault Charges Against An Illinois Principal Highlights One Of The Biggest Problems In Our Education System

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Arizona Congresswoman Says That Hispanics Are ‘Good Workers’ But Shouldn’t Get Vaccines Before ‘American Citizens’

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Arizona Congresswoman Says That Hispanics Are ‘Good Workers’ But Shouldn’t Get Vaccines Before ‘American Citizens’

Photo via Getty Images

Coronavirus infection rates are falling drastically, but a new debate rages on: how to quickly, effectively, and ethically distribute vaccines to as many people as possible.

Last week, Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko stated that Hispanic people–despite being “good workers”–shouldn’t get vaccinated before “American citizens”.

“I worked with people that are Hispanic,” Rep. Lesko said “I mean they’re very good workers…We’re compassionate people, but for goodness sakes, we have to take care of American citizens, or people that are here legally, first.”

She continued: “I’m just not going to be able to explain to my senior citizens that we’re giving away the vaccines to people that (are) here illegally. I just think that’s totally wrong.”

“My Democratic colleagues are putting illegal immigrants over them,” Lesko said during the hearing. “If I read it right, all this amendment says is put Americans first. Put Americans first, and once they’re all vaccinated, then you can go to the illegal immigrants.”

The statement was made during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing where representatives were debating an amendment to a COVID-19 relief bill.

The Republican amendment suggested prioritizing American citizens over non-citizens when it comes to getting vaccinated first. Democrats argued that purposefully excluding non-citizens from getting vaccinated would keep the virus from being properly contained.

“The vaccine has no clue about where you come from, whether you have papers, whether you’re considered a citizen or legal or not,” said Democratic Congresswoman from Illinois, Jan Schakowsky. “It makes no sense. This is dangerous.”

Arizona State Senator Martin Quezada told NBC News that Lesko’s statement “reeks of racism.”

“There are a lot of people of color in her district and for her to be disconnected and really that offensive about how she sees us, as nothing more than good workers and not entitled to equitable vaccine distribution,” he said.

When asked about her remarks, Rep. Lesko defend them to political outlet The Hill: “Taken in context, my remarks clearly were aimed at ensuring that seniors receive taxpayer-funded vaccines before illegal immigrants,” she said. “During debate on the amendment, after being interrupted several times, I said something that could be misinterpreted, but it certainly was not my intent.”

But it seems that it this point, Lesko is trying to do damage control. Just today, she tweeted out a picture of the local “Hispanic Advisory Board”, accompanied by a caption written completely in Spanish.

“Estoy orgullosa por el lanzamiento de nuestra Junta Asesora Hispana, la primera reunión fue anoche,” the tweet read. “Esta se enfocará en las maneras en que podemos servir mejor a los miembros de nuestra comunidad Hispana en Arizona!” (“I am proud of the launch of our Hispanic Advisory Board, the first meeting was last night. It will focus on ways we can better serve members of our Hispanic community in Arizona!“)

Serving a state that is 30% Hispanic, it seems like Lesko may now be regretting her previous comments…

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Black Women Are Talking About The Stereotypes That Plague Them

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Black Women Are Talking About The Stereotypes That Plague Them

Doubly marginalized by their race and gender, Black women face so much of their lives combatting the stereotypes that anguish them. Worse, on a daily basis Black women are forced to find ways to thrive and succeed in their lives and careers by white-washing and invalidating their own identities.

Recently, women on Reddit shared the stereotypes that afflict them and it was pretty eye-opening.

Check this out below!

“The stereotype that our entire being is sassy and ghetto. Recently, I was at a friends for game night, we were playing Uno. I simply but jokingly was like “girl don’t look at my cards” and her entire family mimicked me but made it way more than it was like i had said “GURRRLLL DONT YOU BE LOOKIN AT MY CARDS” when that’s not how i said it… at all.” –y0aujani

“I hate the stereotype that we must want to be White if we don’t fit within the clearly defined list of actions and beliefs that society says black women are supposed to be (this stereotype is usually coming from other black people, which makes it sadder).

Oh look! That black woman dyed her hair a color that isn’t typically associated with black people. She clearly wishes she was White!

Oh my GOD. That black woman is dating a White guy. Doesn’t she know that she’s supposed to save herself for a black man?? She clearly wishes she was White.

Good Lord. That black woman likes country line dancing! This is humanity’s worst affront to nature! She clearly wishes she was White!

And so on. I mean, I get that “black” isn’t merely a skin color, it’s a culture. Doing things outside the customs of the culture can make it seem that we are ashamed of said culture. If I don’t like soul food, you can kind of see how that may come across as me looking down my nose at my own culture. But there has to be some kind of limit, where we can like different things and simultaneously have respect for our roots.

Do other cultures go through this? If a Scottish person doesn’t like haggis, are they given shit for not being ‘Scottish enough’?” –VintagePoet82

“My last name is Italian. I know this doesn’t come close to the crap you have to deal with on a daily basis, but admitting I don’t like tomatoes is usually met with “how do you call yourself an Italian?!” …Because that’s where my great grandfather is from?

My family still practices some cultural traditions that celebrate our heritage, but I HATE the idea of baskets delineated by racial stereotypes. People don’t fit in boxes. I’m not trying to be Jewish when I attend Hanukkah parties, I’m not trying to be Cuban when I dance salsa, I’m not trying to be Black when I braid my hair, I’m not trying to be white when I go skiing. I’m just trying to enjoy time with the people I love, and also manage these damn curls, wherever they came from.” C0USC0US

“This doesn’t happen since I moved, but happened a lot when I was a teen/young adult growing up in rural Pennsylvania. (By the way, on balance it’s a wonderful place. Like any rural area, you sometimes wish the people there were more worldly and educated than they are, but I still love Pennsyltucky.)

Anyhow, often times when it came up that I was (and still am) a huge hip-hop fan, someone would inevitably bring up that I was, ‘trying to be black.’ Or they would use an extremely derogatory slang word for a white person who is ‘acting black’ that I’m not going to repeat here.”- Langosta_9er

“I think that everyone in the world feels pressure to let go of their culture and fall into line with the Post-ww2 American consumerist canon. So the people remaining that wish to remain tied to their culture demonize those who embrace change (I’m not saying that the change is positive though).

In my case as an Indian you get pressure from both sides, if you’re too Indian you’re considered a luddite and might be given shit for not assimilating enough, but you might also get shit for not knowing some random shit about your culture depending on who you talk to. That’s just with 2nd gen immigrants though, it seems like 3rd gen are completely assimilated with just physical differences while 1st gen tend to go too much to the other side.

With black people there seems to be a movement for black pride and preserving the culture you’ve developed in spite of the constant pressure from the media and other white people to mix and assimilate into the new “neutral culture” and any form of “giving into that is seen as betrayal.

I used to be more towards assimilating and even wanting to be with white girls to “dilute my Indian genes” but now I’m starting to see how much I dislike the blandness of the “American” culture and part of me doesn’t want to assimilate as much anymore.

Do other cultures go through this? If a Scottish person doesn’t like haggis, are they given shit for not being “Scottish enough”?

I guess that’s where the “No true Scotsman” fallacy comes from.”- RagingSatyr

Had one dude claim I was rolling my eyes any time I looked at him. I’m very quiet by nature, and extra careful with my words and tone. We can literally not do a damn thing, have no reaction, but will still get accused of having a bad attitude. We are often just fucked, no matter what.” –Kemokiro

When you’re a black woman, you have to be strong, Super fucking Woman all the time but if you stand up for yourself, you’re an ‘angry black woman.’ But if you don’t uphold to strong stereotype and you any emotion other than strength like sadness, you’re weak and a black bitch with an attitude.” –beatlegirl95

“Idk where it was but awhile ago there was some post and in the picture there was a naked black girl and you could see her pubic mound (thehehe the phrase) . Comments starting pouring in like “omg wtf is that” “wow it’s just like a black hole isn’t it” “someone needs to get skin toner” so on and so forth. The only thing that gave me some hope is the highly upvoted comment along the lines of ‘ITT men and women who have never fucked or seen a black women naked’ Then it dawned on me; are black women so undesirable that a community, like Reddit ,that is seemingly obsessed with porn hasn’t even seen a black women naked, or is it just another way to put down women.” – mongoosedog12

“the angry black woman stereotype is by far the worst. you can never win with it i see people trashing black women and if i try to stand up for myself and other blacks people they claim i’m proving them right by having an attitude? i’ve literally seen where girls and latina girls act in the exact same manner, say the exact same thing and they are deemed as sexy while the black woman is ghetto and trashy.

people will legit interpret your actions to fit this stereotype like i’m an introverted person and people have said i was a bitch because i didn’t talk to them when another girl can do that and she’s just shy.

on multiple occasions i’ve looked in the general direction of an interracial couple (black man and other woman) and people said i was giving them dirty looks when i really do not care!

i also just hate the cognitive dissonance when it comes to the same thing with black men. most people would agree that it’s racist to generalize all black men saying they are all dead beat fathers, criminals, violent, etc but people seem to think it’s just a perfectly valid opinion to negatively generalize all black women. and it’s the worst when it comes from black men.” –woahwoahwoahwoa

“The fact that we are supposed to speak and act a certain way. The amount of times I’ve been called oreo just for the way I speak is disheartening. No, I’m not white on the inside thanks.” –moonscry

“What’s really annoying is when it comes from other black people. I had a cousin once say that I was so “white” that if I married a black man, my kids would come out biracial. These days, I try to treat it as a running joke because I see absolutely no reason to change myself to fit what “black” is supposed to be. I love Star Wars and video games and reading books by 19th century British women and dislike most rap music and I speak like any other educated person from the suburbs. This is who I am and people who believe that these things make me less black are the ones who have the problem.” –kaitco

“we can’t be beautiful.” –ajarndaniel

“When I was really new to dating and desperate for love/attention/a bf, I ended up ‘dating’ this white guy… He would mention how he watches a lot of interracial porn and how his ultimate fantasy was to rent a plantation in Georgia and for me to be his sex slave…. I wish I was kidding.” –Stitch_Rose

“The worst thing I’ve had is being told I’m “too white” cos of how I talk. I grew up in a mainly white area and had more contact with my white side of the family (although my black family aren’t stereotypically black anyway), so why would I? Why must anyone with black in them be stereotypically black, am I not just as much white as I am black?”- RJturtle

“Dehumanization. If they don’t look at you with the empathy to acknowledge your humanity, they can justify anything that is done to you.

I suppose that’s a black problem to have in general, but it hits women hard too.” –AliceHouse

“I’m angry. I’m sassy. I’m ghetto. I could be a thief. I’m loud. I’m unintelligent. I’m close minded. I’m spiritual. I’m “manly”.

The only one that’s true for me is that I’m loud lol. And my GOD I hate the, “Wow! You speak very nice. You’re eloquent”. That’s a backhanded compliment; they expected me to sound a certain way JUST because I’m black. =A=; The fuck dude.”- FantasticHamburguesa

“I’m not sure I can pinpoint this to a specific stereotype, but when interacting with my customers, I’m questioned a lot more than my white or male coworkers. I often have to take male coworkers with me to deal with belligerent restaurant owners who just will not listen to me. It’s the racism+sexism combo, and it sucks. I’m not dumb because I’m black. I’m not dumb because I’m a woman.

When customers talk back or are rude, I have to try extra hard to be nice to them because they’re more likely to report be for being rude and hostile. It’s just their perception and it sucks so much. Edit: Remembered another one! My baby sister was born when I was 12 going on 13. I developed early and this lady in Kohl’s cooed at my sister, which scared her, causing her to reach for me. The lady said ‘Aw look, she just wants her mommy’ and I was like… what? Who? Me? I’m 13. There’s a comic strip that shows the difference in how white and black women are treated, I wish I could find it.

It also had a panel about how it’s assumed black people go to college because we’re simply minorities and filling up seats. Nope, I earned my $22k/year scholarship, thanks.” –TheYellowRose

Parallax92

“You speak so well…”

“You have such a normal name”

“You’re not like one of THOSE black people”

“YOU play guitar?”

“Oh wow, I didn’t know black people like that kind of music”

“Oh your parents are still married?”

“You’re pretty for a black girl” –3 years ago

“I hate the stereotypical backhanded comments. The “You speak so well, where did you grow up?/ You talk white”, the “You’re so pretty for a black girl,” or the worst one “It’s okay, you’re not really black though.”

First of all, I don’t remember there being official perimeters for being black and if there are, I sure didn’t get the memo. Just because I’m not generally outspoken, I like nerdy/geeky shit, and I have a white fiancé does not mean in any way I’m less black.

I also really hate it because not only does that comment imply to be black is something to be ashamed of or something lesser, it also negates all the bullshit I’ve have to deal with on a daily basis. Like oh, well you don’t see me as “black” but the store attendant that followed me through the entire Sprint store because he assumed I was there to steal something sure thought I was black enough.

I hate that I can’t fight back against any of these comments because I’ll be labeled an “angry black woman”. Nothing is more frustrating than to have legitimate reasons to be upset but if your octave goes up even a little, everything you say is invalidated because you’re just “an angry black woman complaining about everything.” –Slightlydazed49

That I’m poor because I live on the south side of Chicago. I’m not smart & I look like I have a bad attitude/mean.

What’s so funny is, I was at a Walmart in Iowa, I was talking about all the places I’ve been to over the last 10 years and I was talking on the phone with my mom. Some white lady just kept looking at me in shock like….WOW. Then when I mentioned to having family in Toronto, Canada, her eyes got big as hell. Again, at Walmart, white woman clutching her purse….I go to pull out my wallet, just to fuck with her, , (oh and in my wallet, I have many credit cards, one of them is a beautiful platinum discover card), anyway she was looking shocked, like how did she get that.” –imtherealistonhere

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