From The Roots To Flower: Here’s What It Was Like Growin Up With Isabela Moner

To the world, Isabela Moner is known as Dora the live action exploradora, singer and Unicef ambassador but to a small few she is just Bela who likes to eat pollo a la brasa. Isabela’s story does not begin at the height of success but it begins in Ancash, Peru. Her grandmother Yolanda was born in Ancash, Peru and in her youth moved to Lima- the capital city. Her grandmother was business savvy, kind and shares a striking resemblance to Isabela. In Peruvian culture, it is said that our ancestors fly through the sky like el Condor. For Isabela, her mother has been her greatest inspiration. “I come from an immigrant mother and I’ve been lucky enough to have someone that made me appreciate my culture,” she says. Ironically the Dora film also parallels her life; her character is also learning about Incan culture. The film even showcases Quechua which is the most spoken Native American language in the world. Isabela says this film will teach kids about Incan culture and that in itself is amazing. She says that one day when she has kids she wants to expose them to culture. Culture is a collective group of people’s art. Isabela says she is inspired by culture and her art is not only her livelihood but her life. “I am currently working on music and it will be the most profound thing I’ve done as an artist.” “What I love about music is you can hear a song and it will explain exactly how you are feeling and sometimes you don’t always have the words to describe that feeling.” Isabela hopes to be a voice that people can relate to and are inspired by. She says that’s the goal. However, many would argue that at 18, Isabela has already become a voice for young people.

When discussing the first Latina leads we saw in a major film or TV show we could only think of a handful. Some of the women we remember were Christina Vidal from Nickelodeons Taina, Jennifer Lopez in Selena, and Adrienne Bailon in Disney Channels The Cheetah Girls. These women are all iconic and their resumes go beyond this role. However, they represent a small group in Hollywood. In February of 2018 UCLA released a Hollywood diversity report that showed Latinos only appeared in 2.7% of the speaking roles and writers and directors were practically non-existent. There is also the issue of harmful stereotypes that prevail through most movies and shows with a latinx character. The Dora film is being recognized for its outstanding latinx representation and strong female lead. “It’s amazing and I hope people feel represented,” Isabela says. She also recognizes that the Dora film is breaking barriers with its majority latinx cast. She also hopes that there is more racial diversity in Latinx films. “I recognize that as a bi-racial Latina I have privilege and I hope that Hollywood casts more Indigenous, Asian and Afro-latinx.” “There isn’t one way for a Latina to look and I hope we see that in films and TV shows.”

Isabela spends her free time hanging out with family, friends and her cuddly three-legged dog Pluto. When she isn’t traveling for work she likes to spend her Sundays with our family eating Peruvian food, dancing and laughing. She also likes to travel to Lima, Peru. She says while she loves Lima it isn’t her favorite city and she enjoys going to the Jungle (la selva)and Cuzco (la sierra). “There are certain family members of mine in Peru that speak Quechua and when they speak Spanish it sounds like they’re singing.” One of those family members being her grandfather who she jokes around with and listens to huayno (folklore music). Her trips abroad have been instrumental in her upbringing. She’s even attended school in Lima which she describes as a very interesting experience. “South American math is so different and it was really cool learning it,” she says. Isabela says that the spirit of home is also in Peru. While she will always define home in Cleveland, Ohio- her hometown; Peru has this warm feeling that transcends into nostalgia without you even having an abundance of memories of it.

Recalling memories of growing up together, one particular one stood out. When Isabela was 12 and I was 18. I, going through the tribulations of an 18-year-old entering College Isabela attentively listened as I complained about a particular boy and school. Suddenly this conversation ended in us filling my bedroom floor in laughter. Isabela always cared even with the most minuscule things. That same foundation is dispersed in all of her professional work. She simply cares. Whether she’s doing charity work, a film or sitting with family and discussing life compassion and understanding are lingering in the air alongside the smell of Lomo Saltado.When the women in our family get together and sit around the kitchen table we discuss our dreams, struggles and hopes. Some of the most intimate and emotional conversations were unearthed there. Both our mothers were immigrants who came to this country with the hopes of attaining the American dream. While they did not come at the same time, nor did they end up in the same city their goal was the same. One day their children would not have to survive instead they would focus on thriving. Isabela is the product of a dream that was conceived as her mother sat on a plane and watched border and oceans being crossed as she went from Peruana to immigrant.

At the Instant family premiere also starring Isabela Moner my mother and Isabela’s mother held their hands together and my mother looked over and said, “we came as two immigrants and look at where we’re at, look at where were standing,” and then they embraced each other. Reminding one another that despite every obstacle, they prevailed and resilience is inherited. Perhaps el condor que pasa, spreading its wings really is the ancestors protecting us and guiding us so we can also fly through mountains.


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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide


Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

Last week, Mexican feminist activists took over the National Human Rights Commissions federal building in a move to bring greater awareness to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide that has racked Mexico for decades.

According to the federal Interior Secretariat, the statistics in Mexico have recently taken a turn for the worse.

Domestic violence against women has became an even more acute problem since the pandemic has forced women to stay insider with their abusers. Emergency distress calls reporting domestic violence have risen by 50%.

The occupation of the Human Rights building is just another chapter in the saga of the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One More Woman) movement, an anti-femicide collective born in Argentina that has steadily been gaining steam in Mexico since 2019.

In recent years, anti-femicide demonstrations have been sparked by various heinous crimes against women or girls that have been largely overlooked by law enforcement officials. 

Photo by Marcos Brindicci/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the government of Mexico has appeared to be apathetic to the wave of femicide that is overwhelming the women of their country.

Recently, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was asked to address Mexico’s gender violence epidemic, he demurred, stating that he didn’t “want femicide to detract” from the raffle his administration was holding for the sale of the presidential airplane.

As for the feminist activists at the heart of Ni Una Menos and the federal building occupation, the government’s failure to respond to anti-woman violence is the primary fuel for their anger. 

“We’re here so that the whole world will know that in Mexico they kill women and nobody does anything about it,” said Yesenia Zamudio to the LA Times. According to Zamudio, she is still seeking justice for the murder of her 19-year-old daughter four years ago.

The women of Mexico appear to be fed up, grasping at any and all tactics that have the potential to incite change on a grander scale.

Their tactics may seem dramatic to some, but it’s undeniable that they are no longer being ignored. As of now, the radical activists are pulling attention-grabbing stunts like decorating a portrait of Mexican Revolution leader Francisco Madero with lipstick and purple hair.

They’re also making headlines for vandalizing the federal building’s walls and splashing paint on the doors of the presidential palace.

One thing is for sure: something has to change. Otherwise, thousands of innocent women and girls will continue to be raped, abused, and murdered while their perpetrators escape with immunity. 

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story


Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

Chip Somodevilla / Gettycc

After weeks of speculation and anticipation, presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he has officially picked his running mate.

In a history-making announcement, Biden revealed that he had tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his VP Pick.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden announced in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Biden held his first campaign event alongside running mate Kamala Harris in Delaware.

During their speeches, the two candidates wore masks and kept their distance in keeping with COVID-19 standards.

Speaking about his VP pick, Biden described Harris as coming from an “America’s story.” Biden described Harris as “a child of immigrants” who “knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America,” he explained. “And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents.”

In a speech of her own, Harris emphasized the importance of family and urged citizens to vote.  “We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be,” she said. “Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it’s true,” she explained. “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Harris’s nomination makes her the first Black and first Indian-American woman on either major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris is a former prosecutor from California who challenged Biden in her own presidential bid last year. Her nomination makes her the fourth woman to appear on a major presidential ballot. Before her, Geraldine Ferraro ran as a Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984. In 2008, Republican Sarah Palin ran as a vice presidential nominee, later in 2016, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Biden’s choice was one that has long been in the works. In March of this year, he revealed that he would make a point to have a woman as his running mate and in July he announced that he had narrowed his picks down to four Black women.

Kamala Harris was elected to Congress in 2016.

This has been Harris’ first term as a senator. Before, she served as the California attorney general. During her time as AG, Harris formed a lasting friendship with Biden’s late son Beau who was attorney general at the time in Delaware. Writing about Beau’s death, in her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris recalled that “there were periods when I was taking the heat when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” she wrote in her memoir. “We had each other’s backs.”

Biden’s son Beau died in 2015 from brain cancer. Harris attended his funeral.

During his announcement, Biden mentioned Harris’ friendship with his son.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” Biden tweeted. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

So far, it seems there are quite a bit of Harris x Biden supporters.

Fans were quick to give their support and applaud her candidacy.

In a tweet acknowledging her nomination, Harris wrote “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Here’s to 2020 y’all. Get ready to make history.

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