Entertainment

These Lucky Graduates Are Putting Their Culture Front And Center With Their Grad Looks

Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States and are less than half as likely to get a college degree than non-Latino white adults. The gap is even wider between immigrant Latinos and U.S.-born Latinos.

We’re celebrating the Latinos that are walking across stages this graduation season and using their platform to spread a message against xenophobia, an expression of gratitude for their family or straight up Latino pride.

Every moment captured in this post was more than just four years of work.

@JenJimenez63 / Instagram

It spans generations. Growing up Latino, we all know how important education is to our parents. They would and have sacrificed everything just so we could get an education. It opens doors.

These moments open exclusive doors for a real opportunity to live a good life.

@mindofmolina / Instagram

“Esta es pa’ mi genteeee!!! Honduras ????????????4 good years at TCU, let’s go get this moneeeey now #FirstGen #TCU #2019#GradSzn”

But there’s no going forward without pride in your roots.

@mr_isai / Instagram

“Sí Se Pudo! Dedicated to my #immigrant #graduate #immigrad (s). You/We deserve to succeed, when given the opportunity, we shine. #cipotes  #SalviPride”

So we acknowledge the obstacles (queer, brown, first generation) and take pride in them.

@thecesarcamacho / Instagram

“There will never be a wall high enough to keep Latinos from slaying! The challenges we go through as minorities only make us stronger and make us appreciate the hard work our ancestors had to go through. We not only walk down the stage for ourselves but most importantly for our families and those who’ve paved the way for us to have a voice. I don’t know how I’ll ever thank my parents enough for the sacrifices they’ve had to go through as Mexican immigrants in this country, but what I do know is that I’ll make sure to bring other Latinos on this path to continue giving corporate America some flavor (porque ya sabemos muy bien que le falta sazón!!!)! Can’t wait to walk again on Saturday and receive my Masters as a proud, first generation, queer, resilient LATINO ????????‍????????????????????????????”

No matter how much half of Americans want to use who we are as roadblocks, nos vamos pa’lante.

@ashleyy_gonzalezzz / Instagram

Undocugraduates are overcoming statistics like nearly nobody else in America. Keep on dreaming, Dreamers. You make everything seem possible.

Let the migrating butterflies symbolize a forever path forward.

@ChrisFariasTV / Instagram

“FIRST GENERATION UNDOCUGRAD. When I was told by a teacher that my education would stop after graduating high school, I decided to prove him wrong. I am a PROUD Mexican from Uruapan Michoacán y esto es para toda mi gente. Nos graduamos!! #Dreamer #UndocuGrad”

Some graduates are going from high school to their freshman year of college.

@dirtyvysionari / Instagram

“I am an undocumented immigrant raised in the Bay. I am an American at heart with a Mexican lineage. I am a recently admitted UC Berkeley Student for Spring of 2017. I am a mentor to the youth and the homeless. I am a child of God. And I am a graduate from Skyline College. I am no rapist no criminal no killer. Only a dreamer. To my fellow dreamers, don’t let others disparage your value because of your origins. These ethnocentric views will never prevail because they lack humanity. Remember, the shadows will never consume you because light will always be within you.”

This college grad wants to let freshman know to hold onto a sense of humor.

@augie409 / Instagram

“‘No pos… ‘ta cabron!’ is loosely translated to ‘Well shit… that’s tough!’, and has become a popular meme in Latino culture…Nearly everything that could’ve gone wrong during my time in Graduate School went wrong ???? My parents taught me to always work hard and to trust God no matter how high the odds were stacked against us. They advised me to always find peace in the midst of chaos and still have a sense of humor whenever things do not go as planned. Pops taught me to always walk with my head high and respond accordingly to unfortunate events, and to not react negatively and sulk in misery. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my friends and family that have helped me, supported me, and inspired me along the way. I appreciate ya! In the last two weeks, I had essays/projects/presentations to finish as a graduate student and a softball team I was still caring for as an Athletic Trainer. I was running through things in an attempt of completing everything, and I was doing quite well. In a span of two days I was in two car accidents roughly two weeks before graduation; one at work & one on the way home from my Capstone presentation. The deployment of the airbag was honestly a huge slap in the face and wake up call for me, literally. ????It opened my eyes to be thankful that I walked away with only a broken finger, and it taught me to slow down a bit so I could enjoy my accomplishments surrounded by those I love. I called my Pops & all he said was, “No pos… ‘ta cabron! Gracias a Dios que estás vivo.”/“Well shit… that’s tough! Thank God you’re alive.” Yo sobresali con los consejos de mi padre y los rezos de mi madre./I excelled with my father’s advice & mother’s prayers.”

Felicidades to all the graduates!

@jorge.am / Instagram

“This past weekend I had the privilege of graduating from THE Florida State University. Never did I imagine I would be the first in my family to graduate from a public university, debt free. Although, I couldn’t have done it alone, thank you to all my family, friends and mentors throughout this crazy journey… I’ll always be grateful and indebted to CARE and FSU for this amazing opportunity.”

READ: 22 #Immigrad Graduation Caps That No Dummy Can Ignore

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9 LGBTQ+ Latinas Making The World A Better Place Through Representation

Culture

9 LGBTQ+ Latinas Making The World A Better Place Through Representation

Women are a driving force for change. It has been proven time and time again in history. LGBTQ+ Latinas are part of this tradition whether it is in activism, media, or representation in comic books. Here are 9 LGBTQ+ Latinas who are doing their part to make the world a better place.

Stephanie Beatriz

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A post shared by Stephanie Beatriz (@stephaniebeatriz)

Stephanie Beatriz is known for her character Rosa on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” The actress wanted to create a character that someone like her could relate to and she made it happen. Rosa came out in the show as a bisexual Latina and it gave Beatriz a chance to play a character that reflects her real identity. For the first time, bisexual Latinas have someone on television that speaks to a very real and important identity.

Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson publicly came out of the closet as bisexual in 2018. The actress revealed her relationship with musician Janelle Monáe and fans were there to support her. Thompson made a real splash in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when she portrayed Valkyrie in “Thor: Ragnarok.” She will be slaying again as Valkrie in “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

Bamby Salcedo

Bamby Salcedo is unapologetically trans and fighting for trans lives and rights. Salcedo founded the TransLatin@ Coalition to create a network for trans Latinas to connect and help each other thrive. Salcedo is often in protests for trans lives including against Pete Buttigieg during a CNN/HRC Town Hall.

Victoria Cruz

Victoria Cruz is a gatekeeper of LGBTQ+ history. The indigenous trans woman was there for the start of the Gay Liberation movement in 1969. Cruz has been a leader in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Cruz has continued to her fight for trans rights even in the face of transphobia in the LGBTQ+ community. As the LGBTQ+ community tends for forget its history, Cruz is here to remind them of how important the trans community is in gaing LGBTQ+ rights.

Carmen Carrera

Carmen Carrera first came into everyone’s home as a contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” This was before she started her transition. Since embarking on her transition journey, Carrera has had a very successful career as a supermodel, became a stepmother, and has been championing trans rights in the U.S. and Peru. The activist has spent years breaking down stereotypes about trans people wherever she goes.

Salice Rose

Salice Rose is a major name in social media. With more than 16 million followers on TikTok, Rose has created a place for people to feel safe and included. Using comedy and her spirituality, Rose has been able to tackle important issues, like coming out.

Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera was tapped to write for the America Chavez comic book in a move by Marvel that was widely celebrated. Rivera was able to give American Chavez, a queer Latin superhero, an authentic voice. Rivera is also the author of “Juliet Takes A Breaths.’ The young adult novel follows a Puerto Rican girl who comes out to her family right before going to an internship on the other side of the country.

Martine Gutierrez

Martine Gutierrez is a famed photographer and artist that has displayed work around the world. The art critic Barbara Calderon wrote about Gutierrez’s identity that has been an elusive yet broad identity. Calderon spoke of terms used to identify oneself yet none seemed to accurately describe who Gutierrez is.

Lido Pimienta

Lido Pimienta is an Afro-indigenous Colombian Canadian musician who is transforming Latin music, especially the scene with her sexuality. The queer musician is unapologetic about her identity for the sake of visibility. Pimienta feels a need to stay ver visible to change the long-running history of no queer visibility in media.

READ: Here Are Some Queer Films And Shows To Watch To Start Pride Off Right

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A Black Teen Earned Over $1 Million In Scholarships From 18 Colleges That Accepted Her

Fierce

A Black Teen Earned Over $1 Million In Scholarships From 18 Colleges That Accepted Her

Shanya Robinson-Owens applied to over 20 colleges and has been accepted into 18 of them.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the high school senior has also been offered more than $1 million in scholarship money. The 17-year-old Philadelphia teen currently attends George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science but is headed towards a pretty bright and educated future.

According to a recent interview with “Good Morning America” the star student earned $1,074,260 in scholarships.

“We are overjoyed,” Robinson-Owens aunt told the show in a recent interview. “I knew she wouldn’t have a problem getting into colleges, but we didn’t know they would award her this much money in scholarship funds.”

Shanya, who was accepted to Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; La Salle University in Philadelphia; Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri; Temple University in Philadelphia and Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania, told GMA that she “wasn’t really expecting it” so many offers let alone so much money.

The senior currently holds a 3.2-grade point average and is a member of the school’s yearbook committee. She also works as an intern alongside her Chinese language teacher.

When it comes to the advice she’d give other students, Shayna says it’s important to “take your time” with your work and the application process.

“You really have to be patient,” Shanya explained. “Stay focused. If you need to have some time away, it’s OK. You can tell your teachers that because they know you’re stressed.”

“We’ve always been extremely proud of her,” Shanya’s aunt, Christine Owens, explained to GMA. “My mother has helped raise Shanya since she was a baby. We’ve just been working as a team making sure Shanya keeps God first in anything she does and she is succeeding.”

Speaking about Shanya, her school principal Ted Domers told GMA that Shanya is a “well-respected student at her school.”

“In addition to being a part of a movement to bring more social action to our school, she’s involved in a number of extracurricular activities that show the breadth of her skills, from robotics to journalism,” Domers explained. “It is a privilege for us to count Shanya as one of our own and we are excited to see her create opportunities for her future.”

Shanya has yet to make a college pick.

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