Culture

Capitol Hill Just Congratulated YA Writer Elizabeth Acevedo For Her Accomplishments And Contributions To Latinidad

As the literary world becomes more inclusive, we are hearing from fresh voices who are sharing experiences that marginalized people have long endured but have never seen represented before. If this year’s Carnegie Medal winner is any indication, these voices are finally being celebrated by the literary world for the power they speak.

The 2019 Carnegie Medal has been awarded to Dominican-American slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

This is the first time in the prestigious award’s 83 years that a writer of color has been the honoree.

Twitter / @nationalbook

The UK’s Carnegie Medal is an esteemed award for works of children’s and young adult’s literature. It was founded in 1936 and named after Scottish-American businessman, Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was responsible for founding over 2,800 libraries in the English-speaking world.

Acevedo was awarded the Carnegie Medal at the June 18, 2019 ceremony for her debut novel, “The Poet X.” The book utilizes Acevedo’s poetry skills as she tells the story of shy 15-year-old Xiomara. In the book, the young Dominicana joins a slam poetry club at her school. As a result, Xiomara gradually opens up to the world and shares her own powerful voice.

Chosen by a panel of a dozen of children’s librarians, Acevedo and her “Poet X” received high praise by judges.

Twitter / @midashahab

Judges of this year’s awards called “The Poet X” “a searing, unflinching exploration of culture, family, and faith within a truly innovative verse structure.” They add that the book’s protagonist “comes to life on every page and shows the reader how girls and women can learn to inhabit, and love, their own skin.”

This is a sentiment echoed by the other accolades “The Poet X” has been awarded since its publication. At the 2019 Youth Media Awards, the book won the Michael Printz Award for best young adult literature. Additionally, “The Poet X” won the Pura Belpré award. This prize honors the Latina writer who best portrayed the Latinx experience for children in their work each year.

It’s that concept in particular that encouraged Avecedo to write “The Poet X.”

Twitter / @Wardle_Academy

Before she was a writer, Avecedo was an 8th-grade school teacher in Maryland. It was while teaching that one of her students gave her the desire to write. The student kept rejecting the books Avecedo suggested she read. According to the writer, the girl said she couldn’t read any of them because “none of these books are about us.”

Consequently, this drove Avecedo to write a story that reflects the sights, sounds, and people of her neighborhood. In doing so, she succeeds in creating a book that gives a voice to “all the little sisters yearning to see themselves” — just as she hoped in the book’s dedication. Undoubtedly, it is this sort of literature — the kind that validates depreciated identities — that we need to see so much more of.

Once news of Avecedo’s win reached the Internet, Twitter came alive with congratulations for the Dominicana.

Twitter/ @lilaybean

This Twitter user pointed out that seeing Avecedo win inspires a huge sense of pride for the Dominican Republic and the Latinidad. Since we all win when one of us wins, it almost feels as if a prima or amiga is being honored.

Avecedo was even congratulated on Capital Hill for her history-making win.

Twitter / @RepEspaillat

New York Representative Adriano Espaillat applauded the writer for her win as well as for her role as a teacher. As Rep. Espaillat explained, Avecedo saw a need for diversity in her school’s English curriculum and she created the change herself. The world would be a more beautiful place if more of us also created the change we need.

Some well-wishers simply expressed how much they love Avecedo’s literary voice.

Twitter / @itsjustkate4

This Twitter user joked that Avecedo is such a good writer, that she’d even listen to her read appliance manuals. Between “The Poet X” and her second novel, “The Fire On High,” we’re total fans of Avecedo so we can relate.

This win will forever be a part of history and — as such — so will this Dominicana’s voice. Here’s to Avecedo’s victory, breaking barriers and making the world into what we need it to be.

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Latinas Are Sharing Important Book Reading Clubs And Favorite Reads

Fierce

Latinas Are Sharing Important Book Reading Clubs And Favorite Reads

There’s a reason why, in the age of television and Youtube, books continue to be read, loved, and adored by readers: when it comes to stories, books elevate the imagination in a way that can engage all of the senses. In times like these, where so many of us are in isolation and feeling alone, reading can, fortunately, do so much for the soul, and being apart of a book club (even if it is on Zoom) can help bring excitement to the monotony of our daily lives.

Fortunately, FIERCE Latinas are recommending book club suggestions as well as reads.

The list below will surely fit the bill for all of your reading desires and help you get over any type of boredom you might have.

This club reading a Hollywood drama.

Amazon

“We actually have a book club called Pasando Páginas! We are currently reading the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” – hijasunidas


@cafeconlibros_bk is reading Little 🔥Everywhere 12.27!” –boardroombombshell

“I started a book club last year and while it’s small, our reads are mighty.” –steezplz


“I just finished “Clap When You Land.” I was never impressed by Acevedo until this book. It blew me away. She focuses more on trauma and grief in adolescence and it’s pretty damn near perfect. HIGHLY recommend.”- abbeyliz7

This club only reading books by Latinas.

Amazon.com

“I started a book club with friends this year. We only read female authors from Latin America. So far, my favorites have been “Delirio” by Laura Restrepo and “Los recuerdos del porvenir” by Elena Garro.” –merimagdalen

“Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez was the first Chicano book I have ever read!!!!!” –valeriec01

This book club introducing readers to Chicano literature.

Amazon.com

“Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez was the first Chicano book I have ever read!!!!” valeriec01

“Visionaries a Private Reading Group for BIQTPOC hosted by @femmegoddessco.” –moniii_xoxo

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12 Latinas Who Absolutely Crushed It In 2020

Fierce

12 Latinas Who Absolutely Crushed It In 2020

Photos via Getty Images

2020 has been a helluva year. Not only did the entire globe suffer through the coronavirus pandemic, but Americans had to deal with an endless campaign, a nail-biting election, and its exasperating aftermath.

But throughout this grueling year, women (as usual) stepped up to the plate. In 2020, we were once again reminded how strong and resilient Latinas are. Despite its challenges, 2020 was a year of that Latinas proved they are innovators, activists, and artists.

Because of this, FIERCE by mitú has compiled a list of 12 Latinas who absolutely crushed 2020. Take a look at our picks below!

1. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Credit: Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continued to crush the political game this year. Not only was she reelected to office, but she expertly fundraised for the Democratic party and started much-needed conversations. Ocasio-Cortez may be controversial, but she’s also powerful.

2. Vanessa Bryant

Credit: Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant went through a year that is many people’s worst nightmare. But throughout her personal tragedy, Bryant exhibited an endless amount of strength and grace. She truly is an inspiration to women everywhere.

3. Nanette Cocero

via LinkedIn

Nanette Cocero may not be a household name (yet), but she is shaping up to be one of the most powerful Latinas in the world. This Puerto-Rican-born jefa is the Global President of Pfizer Vaccines. That means she’s in charge of the development and delivery of vaccines throughout the world. Cocero had her work cut out for her in 2020, and sis delivered.

4. Jennifer Lopez

Credit: Getty Images

Jennifer Lopez is 51-years-old and she continues to turn everything she touches into gold. Not only did she perform at the Super Bowl’s halftime show this year (remember that?), but she also launched a much-anticipated skincare line.

5. Elizabeth Acevedo

Credit: acevedowrites/Instagram

Award-winning Dominicana author Elizabeth Acevedo published her first Young Adult novel, Clap When You Land, that tells the story of two half-sisters who discover they have the same father after he tragically dies in a plane crash. Recently, outlets reported that Clap When You Land will be adapted into a TV series. So it’s safe to say that Acevedo is having a good year.

6. Anya Taylor Joy

Credit: Getty Images

Even in the middle of a pandemic, when most movie stars have had a tough year, Argentinian actress Anya Taylor Joy managed to have a breakthrough year. Not only did she star in the streaming phenomenon of the year, The Queens Gambit, but she headlined a movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma in February.

7. Shakira

Credit: shakira/Instagram

2020 was a fantastic year for Shakira. The Colombian singer started off the year by headlining the Super Bowl with JLo and she ended it by being the most-Googled artist of the year. Oh, and she also took the time to slam the Trump Administration for its “unimaginably cruel immigration policies” of separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

8. Cardi B

Credit: Getty Images

Love her or hate her, Cardi B undoubtedly had a good year. Not only did the Cardi released the multi-platinum hit single “W.A.P.”, but she used her platform to educate her fans about the 2020 presidential election. She was also voted Billboard’s Woman of the Year.

9. Annie Segarra

Credit: annieelainey/Instagram

For years accessibility activist Annie Segarra has used her large platform (20,000 YouTube subscribers and 25,000 Twitter followers) to advocate for rights for disabled people, and in 2020 she had her work cut out for her. This year, Segarra tirelessly spoke up on behalf of disabled people who are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

10. Victoria Volkova

Credit: vicovolkov/Instagram

Victoria Volkova made headlines this year when she became the first trans model on cover of Playboy Mexico. She is also an outspoken advocate for trans and queer rights. She wrote a lovely tribute on her Instagram page in which she expressed hope that her cover would spark a conversation about the “different ways of being a woman.”

11. Sara Mora

Credit: misssaramora/Instagram

Back in 2017, Sara Mora publicly shared that she was undocumented, and her life snowballed ever since. This year, the Costa-Rican born immigrants rights activist used her platform and her non-profit, Population Mic, to spotlight civil rights issues like voter suppression and the migrant crisis.

12. Julie Chávez Rodriguez

Photo: Public Domain

You may know Julie Chávez Rodriguez as the granddaughter of César Chávez, but she also has her own claim to fame. The Biden administration just named her director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. We can’t wait to see this powerful Latina in the White House.

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