Fierce

Building Community: Latinas Take Media Representation into Their Own Hands

Tickets for the upcoming We All Grow Latina Summit — a networking and empowerment conference that draws over 500 women from across the U.S. and beyond — sold out in a record-breaking three hours and six minutes. The annual gathering, geared toward Latina bloggers, content producers, and creative entrepreneurs provides a vibrant networking space for attendees to share their professional journeys and provide inspiration and support for aspiring Latinas in the digital space. The event also features prominent beauty and lifestyle bloggers, TV, radio and social media personalities and company founders that share a common message — high-paying, professional careers are attainable, despite historic underrepresentation of successful Latinas in mainstream TV, news and magazines.

“Once you see it done, you can see yourself reflected and you have a path,” says Ana Flores, founder, and CEO of We All Grow Latina Network, the organization behind the popular summit. With a motto like “When one grows, we all grow,” the network is providing the representation Latinas need to continue to pursue goals such as one-day producing award-winning content, becoming spokespeople for major brands, or even starting a business.

Although Latinos continue to be one of the fastest-growing demographics in the United States, a gap in ethnic representation in the media persists. By producing informational webinars and workshops to help social media influencers monetize their content, connecting bloggers to brands for paid partnership opportunities and hosting events for creatives to engage with one another, the organization provides the tools necessary for Latinas to feel empowered to achieve career success in the face of lingering marginalization.

“I couldn’t see myself represented,” says Flores. As a working single mother, she felt that the online content she came across did not speak to her particular interests, nor did it come from a source that felt familiar to her. She explains that while she followed several popular parenting blogs, they often fell short in featuring content on topics like raising bilingual children in the U.S. and cooking traditional Latin dishes — that’s when she saw a need and decided to jump in.

“I’ve had to carve my own path,” she adds, “(I realized) I can create it on my own and reach to that community that doesn’t have anybody talking to them right now.” She first launched the online network in 2010 after recognizing a need for Latin American online content by Latin American bloggers, content creators, and entrepreneurs. Her mission to uplift and empower the Latina community by providing tools, community, and representation has grown into a national conference and an online network of nearly 10,000 connected Latinas that now leverage their newfound relationships for opportunities for advancement within the digital sector.

Representation at its core definition means “the description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way or as being of a certain nature.” When put into the context of career advancement and opportunity, seeing someone achieve a particular milestone may have a galvanizing impact on one’s confidence, but the absence thereof may magnify negative feelings of self-worth.

According to a study by the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, these effects can begin to form as early as the childhood years. “Media-based experiences contribute to users’ knowledge structures, including their person schemata (i.e., typical characteristics of people or groups of people) and their behavioral scripts (expectations of how people behave in particular situations),” say the researchers. This impact on how a child sees others, and in turn, how they see themselves has fueled Flores’ passion for her network.

“We have so many entrepreneurs right now, so many bloggers and influencers that have come from being teen moms, in gangs, growing up in South Central, talking about LA or Chicago et cetera, now being able to transform and share those stories and really give mentorship and inspiration to girls that think that there is no path for them because nobody is offering them that,” says Flores.

Representation, mentorship and role models have one thing in common: inspiration. “It’s so important to have someone to look up to — not one, but many people that can inspire you,” says Davina A. Ferreira, founder and CEO of Alegria Magazine. Founded in 2012, the bilingual media company praises the achievements of prominent Latinos and celebrates the beauty of Latino culture through the curation and publication of a luxury magazine distributed digitally and in print.

Before starting Alegria, Ferreira recognized a void within both English and Spanish mainstream media. “I saw that everything for Latinos and for Latinas was very low end,” says Ferreira, “I wanted to create a platform that was inspiring and high-end and shows respect to our community.”

As a Latina who’s passionate about providing representation and role models for the next generation, Ferreira noticed that most of the Latinos that made it to top network news were celebrities and entertainers. While Alegria covers pop culture topics as well, there’s an effort to feature stories of other Latinos, such as Spring 2018 cover girls Millana Snow, Edna Chavez, Julissa Arce, and Sarahi Espinoza, who have achieved success as social activists, authors and company founders, and deserve a moment in the media spotlight.

Although more Latinos are going to college than ever before, many tend to be the first in their families to pursue higher education, which can make professional career mentorship an entirely new experience. “Latinos living here (in the United States) don’t see a lot of those role models growing up or in their family,” says Ferreira, “It’s so important for them to really look forward and pursue their dreams and get the confidence to just think a little different outside of their environment.”

While some major news sites may seem like they’re focused on covering people and companies that already have more press than they can list in their ‘about me’ section, Entrepreneur Magazine says they’re always in search for unique entrepreneurial stories. “We’re always looking for stories that will be valuable to our reader, so that’s our priority,” says Stephanie Schomer, Deputy Editor at Entrepreneur. But where does representation come into play? Though she is a white woman working for a 41-year-old American magazine founded by a white man, she explains that both she and the magazine recognize that their readership is diverse and needs to feel both represented and acknowledged.

“It’s not just about checking a box,” says Schomer, “Covering the entrepreneurial journeys of women, people of color, and women of color is how we can best serve our audience.” With successful spin-off magazines like Women Entrepreneur, it’s clear the publisher values serving specialized content to targeted audiences. “Different points of view and different opinions are the bread and butter of entrepreneurship, so to do our job well and inspire our readers, we need to make sure they’re hearing from many voices,” Schomer adds. As far as the rest of the major news sites, Schomer admits that there’s work to be done in both storytelling and newsroom staffing. It will take a combination of strong diverse voices and mainstream leadership that’s willing to listen to a new generation of innovators in order to turn the spotlight on inspiring stories that would otherwise go unnoticed by major publications. The Latino population throughout the nation is projected to undergo significant change when it comes to growth, education, representation, and career opportunity. Armed with a mission to establish a more accurate representation of what success looks like in the US, Latinas like Flores, Ferreira and many others are continuing to build online and offline communities to grow their networks, ignite empowerment and feel represented. “I know we’re there,” says Flores. “I know that there are incredible women that can be featured and doing everything from astronauts to entrepreneurs, to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) — we’re there.

Here’s What You Missed If You Didn’t Attend This Year’s #WeAllGrow Summit

Fierce

Here’s What You Missed If You Didn’t Attend This Year’s #WeAllGrow Summit

The 2019 #WeAllGrow Latina Summit brought together more than 500 influential leaders, creators and storytellers on a mission to elevate the voices and stories of Latinas through the power of community. The annual three-day event gives attendees the opportunity to build their networks and work on skills like creating an engaging social media feed and growing an online business.

This year’s tickets sold out in a record-breaking three hours and six minutes. If you weren’t able to score a ticket this time, below is what you missed. On top of major activations, there were countless workshops that provide valuable information on networking, entrepreneurship and overall just how to make bigger moves. If you missed out on the event or couldn’t attend all of the sessions — or if you want to give this experience as a gift, there’s a Digital Pass that exists! The Digital Pass gives you access to full HD videos of select keynotes, panels and workshops. You’ll also gain early access to #WeAllGrow Summit 2020. PS, if you purchase now, using the code mitu10 you’ll save $10 — that’s almost a pedicure!

Click here to purchase your Digital Pass.

1. The #WeAllGrow Summit kicked off with a special performance by Las Cafeteras during the welcome party.

#WeAllGrow attendees kicked off the annual summit with a fun night of dancing and music by Afro-Mexican band, Las Cafeteras. The East LA-native group fuses hip-hop, cumbia and rock genres with spoken word and zapateado dancing to help celebrate different cultures and bring communities together.

They’ve previously shared the stage with acclaimed Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs and other major acts like Juanes and Talib Kweli.

2. Attendees enjoyed a tasty breakfast in bed by #WeAllGrow’s Changemakers Collective.

#WeAllGrow attendees didn’t have to go very far to have a tasty breakfast in the morning. The Changemakers Collective provided everything to fuel a full day’s worth of workshops and networking.

3. Stressed? No worries. The event provided a calming and energizing morning yoga session with Jennifer Ibarra.

Yoga instructor and CEO of MindfulMamis, Jennifer Ibarra led a group morning yoga session to calm nerves and help set the tone for the rest of the day. Ibarra believes in connecting with others on a soul level.

During the morning session, she used her peaceful voice to lead poses and stretches to reach both the hearts and minds of attendees.

4. An audience fist pump session with #WeAllGrow storyteller Veronica Castagno.

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The past couple of days have been a total extreme rollercoaster, just like the story of my life. I like to say that my life is a tango, all drama, all passion. For some reason, since the moment I found out I was going to be a storyteller on @weallgrowlatina Summit, I took it as if it was one of the most defining moments of my life. That’s how it felt since day one and like every project I do, I had to do it obsessively good, as good as I can possibly make it. And I wanted to be 1000% myself, even if that means being a lion, throw fire, a warrior that will stand up every time she gets punched to the floor. But to be 1000% myself, I had to let go of all my fears: what are they going to think of me if they see ME, with all my fire and all my lights? What will happen when they find out that I’m so much more than the fun girl who makes cakes? Will I be embraced or rejected? That scared me extremely. But 1 hour before getting into that stage, all the fears disappeared and I was ready… to roar, to throw fire, to do kickboxing, to be the fighter I am and to show all my true colors. With my immense strength and my most honest vulnerability. There was a moment when I broke down, talking about something that was heartbreaking, the moment I left my mom and my dad to chase my dream… everyone in the audience started chanting my name… like in a soccer stadium! Vero! Vero! Vero! 🏆🔥 I never in my life felt more accepted and embraced! That’s what the community of @weallgrowlatina that @laflowers created 5 years ago is. The most loving, empowering women who will lift you up if you fail and let you be their guide if you can somehow inspire them. I’m counting the minutes until I get this video so I can share with everyone. Right now, I’m still digesting felling overwhelmingly grateful to @weallgrowlatina and @wordpressdotcom for this unique and magical opportunity. I climbed another 🏔and built another 🚁! I want to see all of you FLY too! 💫☄️🥊 . ESPAÑOL en primer comentario #storyteller #weallgrow #wordpressdotcom #poweredbywordpress #inspiring #uplifting #motivational #latinablogger #youtubecreator #youtubelatino #latinabloggers #bold #fierce

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YouTuber and 2019 #WeAllGrow Storyteller, Veronica Castagno energized the audience with fist pumps before sharing her inspiring personal story. Castagno is a self-taught pastry chef and owner of Vero Sweet Hobby.

With nearly 130,000 followers on Facebook and over 70,000 subscribers on YouTube, Castagno has established herself as a leader in online bilingual desert and pastry tutorials.

#5. WeAllGrow Latina Network founder Ana Flores led an incredibly inspirational fireside chat.

During a talk with #WeAllGrow founder Ana Flores, Oscar-nominated actress Yalitza Aparicio opened up about how the lack of Latina representation in film fueled her desire to succeed. Aparicio is best known for her role as Cleo in Alfonso Cuaron’s critically-acclaimed film Roma.

As the first Indigenous American woman to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, Aparicio is a trailblazer and symbol of strength for all Latinas.

6. Yalitza Aparicio accepts the inaugural #WeAllGrow Changemaker award.  

After the fireside chat, Yalitza Aparicio was awarded #WeAllGrow’s inaugural Changemaker Award for her efforts in promoting indigenous representation in the media and the fair treatment of domestic workers. This year’s award was a hand-painted portrait of the actress by Latinx artist Denise Cortes.

A tear-filled audience cheered as Aparicio graciously accepted the award and thanked the #WeAllGrow team and its attendees.

7. The event also ensured there was a place for attendees to get pampered and Dove was there to style and freshen up people’s hairstyles.

Dove’s on-site hair lounge ensured picture-perfect curls in between workshops and sessions. Creative director and fashion stylist Sherly Tavarez made sure to stop by the hair lounge for a few touch-ups and encouraged attendees to join in.

The hair lounge featured hair artist Leonardo Rocco and Dove favorites like their Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo.

8. Snacks were provided by California Strawberries.

Who says salsa can’t be sweet? California Strawberries served a mouthwatering strawberry salsa using simple, fresh ingredients. With California’s special climate, it’s no surprise to hear that the state produces 90% of America’s favorite fruits, strawberries.

This energizing snack had attendees lining up for seconds, que rico!

9. A mobile Latinx bookstore by Alegria Magazine was parked to promote Latinx authors.

Alegria Magazine parked its mobile bookstore at the summit and displayed the work of influential Latinx authors. The bookstore was started by Alegria founder Davina A. Ferreira and aims to help teach kids and youth about Latinx storytellers.

Authors also dropped by for book signings and photos throughout the event.

10. Kim Guerra got people to stand on their feet after sharing inspiring words during #WeAllGrow’s poetry slam hour.

Author and poet Kim Guerra took the stage to share an inspiring message about the importance of self-love in the first-ever #WeAllGrow Poetry Slam Hour presented by Curated by FB and UnidosUS. She was joined by Yesika Salgado, Melania-Luisa Marte, Kim Mercado, Melizza Lozado-Olivia and moderator Nicoletta de la Brown.

Attendees were left feeling proud, inspired and motivated.

11. Did we mention there were churros? A delicious collaboration between La Lechera and LA’s Churro Catering Service gave everyone the munchies.

La Lechera and LA’s Churro Catering Service joined forces to host a churro stand with decadent La Lechera sweetened condensed milk and endless golden churros. The brand also ran a #ToqueSweet Instagram contest that had attendees snapping pics while indulging in their treats.

Congrats to the lucky winner!

12. #WeAllGrow Latina Summit always provides field trips and this year part of the group headed over to YouTube’s LA headquarters.

Attendees went on a full tour of YouTube’s LA headquarters, had a VR experience and watched a panel discussion with Doralys Britto, Dulce Candy and Jenny Lorenzo.

The day was filled with laughing and learning, and aspiring influencers were left feeling empowered and motivated to create their best content. ¡Se pusieron las pilas!

13. Self-esteem is important and this year there was a self-esteem workshop with a surprise Instax camera giveaway.

Those who participated in the Dove Self-Esteem Workshop left with great skills, practices and free Instax cameras. During the workshop, attendees became mentors for local girls from the Boys & Girls Club.

Together, they participated in an important conversation about self-esteem and beauty standards.

14. Dove also provided a custom perfume station for a personalized scent experience.

Dove brought a custom perfume station to #WeAllGrow and gave attendees a memorable scent experience. With fine fragrance and essential oils by Sarah Horowitz Parfums, creating a unique formula was fast, simple and fun.

What better way to recall the wonderful memories made at #WeAllGrow than with a mood-boosting, personalized perfume.

15. Every corner of the event was instagrammable, including these inspirational neon signs.

The mitú and FIERCE by mitú corner was the place to lounge, gather with your comadres to take photos under these inspirational neon signs and shop!

Don’t you have major fomo? On top of all of these activations, there were countless workshops that provide valuable information on networking, entrepreneurship and overall just how to make bigger moves. If you missed out on the event or couldn’t attend all of the sessions — or if you want to give this experience as a gift, there’s a Digital Pass that exists! The Digital Pass gives you access to full HD videos of select keynotes, panels and workshops. You’ll also gain early access to #WeAllGrow Summit 2020. PS, if you purchase now, you’ll purchase at a discounted price!

Click here to learn more about the incredible offers that come with the digital pass.

The Sixth Annual Selena Quintanilla Fan Gathering Happens This Weekend

Entertainment

The Sixth Annual Selena Quintanilla Fan Gathering Happens This Weekend

Latinos can celebrate Selena Quintanilla on any given day. We can honor her legacy on the day of her birth, on the day she left us, and any day of the week. That is why we’re totally down to go on a Selena cruise, or going to Corpus Christie or dressing up as her on Halloween.

But, let’s be real, we don’t need a birthday, or anniversary or Halloween to come around to celebrate the Tejano queen. And that’s exactly why we’re looking forward to an event right here at home.

The sixth annual Selena Fan Gathering is taking place on Saturday, June 1 in Los Angeles.

The day event is filled with so much love for the Queen of Tejano including live performances, vendors, giveaways, contests, raffles, DJ, impersonators, art, and a life-size photo prop.

Special guests includes Mario “Scar” from Cholos Try.

We know what you’re thinking? You want to show up and recreate the “Anything for Salinas” scene, right? Yup, us too. Organizers suggest showing up super early if you want a photo op with Scar.

Muralist Levi Ponce will also be there to talk to fans and create a new Selena mural.

Ponce has created some of the most stunning murals featuring Latino pioneers. Click here to see some more of his incredible work.

The Selinas independent vendors will be there selling the cutest Selena merch.

The Colombian vendors are coming a long way to meet L.A. fans, and we cannot wait to get our hands on these cool items.

The Como La Flor band will also be there.

Saturday’s event will be poppin’ with the best Selena tribute cover bands.

Here’s the break down:

Where: Plaza De La Raza. Park Parking lot on Mission Rd.

When: June 1, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. You are advised to show up early.

Click here for more information.

READ: A Quintanilla Family-Approved Selena Series Is Coming To Netflix And People Are Freaking Out