Fierce

These Latina Muses Will Reinspire You And Remind You How Incredible We Really Are

In media, Latinas have been stereotypically cast as housekeepers or spicy vixens — which is extremely frustrating because we know we are much more than that. We know from our own experience that Latinas have a history of breaking barriers on a wide range scale. If you or your little nieces need a reminder or how powerful Latinas really are, here are nine Latinas who have made history and continue to inspire us:

Ellen Ochoa

When my mom would catch me daydreaming, she used to snap at me and say “¡estás en la luna!” which makes me wonder if Ellen Ochoa’s mom used to say that to her because Ellen ended up making it into outer space. In 1993, the Los Angeles-born Mexican-American became the first Latina to go to space. But her legacy doesn’t end there. In 2013 she became the first Latina and second female director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, furthermore paving the way not only for women of color but also for women of color in STEM. 

Sonia Sotomayor

Nuyorican Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Justice in history and the definition of perseverance. She was raised in a single-parent household in which only limited English was spoken. She then went on to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton before going on to Yale Law School. She worked her way from District Court Judge to becoming the first Latina Supreme Court Justice. At the time of her swearing-in, people criticized her for wearing red nails and red lips but little did they know that she was inspiring another politically savvy Latina to showcase her Latina pride…

Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera is one of those silent sheroes that we didn’t learn about in school. The Venezuelan-Boricua trans woman made a huge impact in LGBTQ rights. In fact, she is often credited as the person responsible for making sure the T is present in LGBTQ. As if that weren’t already a lot to accomplish, it is believed she started the infamous Stonewall Riot with Marsha P. Johnson that launched LGBTQ rights movement in the 1960s. Her story is truly remarkable and you can learn all about her here.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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A year ago I was waitressing in a restaurant while organizing my community. In a time and place where we had been burned by so many politicians, and had grown deservedly cynical of the sad, familiar cycle of campaign promises and governance excuses, I was asking them, just once, to believe. . It was really hard, because how do you make that case? How to ask someone whose trust has been violated over and over to believe you? To believe in the movement for justice and economic dignity? . You show up. You give unconditionally. You show up when no one is looking and the cameras are off. You offer support when it’s risky, but necessary. You do it over and over again, without a need for recognition or expectation that you are “owed” something for doing the right thing. You just… engage in the act of loving your community. . Never in my wildest dreams did I think that those late nights on the 6 & 7 trains would lead to this. All this attention gives me a lot of anxiety (my staff fought to get me to agree to this cover, as I was arguing against it), and still doesn’t feel quite real, which maybe is why I remain comfortable taking risks, which maybe is a good thing. . I believe in an America where all things are possible. Where a basic, dignified life isn’t a dream, but a norm. . That’s why I got up then, and it’s why I get up now. Because my story shouldn’t be a rare one. Because our collective potential as a nation can be unlocked when we’re not so consumed with worry about how we’re going to secure our most basic needs, like a doctor’s visit or an affordable place to live.

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Lovingly nicknamed AOC, the youngest Congresswoman ever constantly reminds us never to take shit from anyone and to display our Latinidad with pride. The former bartender started her political career as an organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign. The then 28-year-old left the Bronx, New York to help marginalized communities like Flint, Michigan. Then, in May of 2017, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat out Rep. Joe Crowley, who hadn’t faced a challenger in 14 years, to become the U.S Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district and youngest member of congress. When she was sworn in, she honored Sonia Sotomayor by proudly rocking a bold red lip and gold hoop earrings reminding a new wave of Latinas and women that we do not need to apologize for who we are. 

Selena Quintanilla-Perez

For many of us, hearing Selena speak English during interviews and sing en Español was the first time we really connected with  a celebrity who was Mexican-American — like us. Millions of music fans were lured in by her incredible vocals and seamless dance moves. In 1993 she went on to win a Grammy Award which just validated her talents to the rest of the music industry. However, we Latinos connected with her on a closer, more emotional level. She represented the same family values and her inviting smile and loud laugh she made us feel like we knew her on a personal and familial level. The life of the Tex-Mex queen was taken in 1995, prompting the world to mourn her death for decades to come. Her memory lives on in her music, museum, clothing line and products that have been released in her memory. Perhaps the most significant project to carry her memory was the “Selena” movie which also helped propel another star…

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez became a household name after starring in the role of a lifetime playing the life of Selena in the biopic of the same name. “Selena” was J.Lo’s first lead role (????) and this not only gave her worldwide recognition, but also made her the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million for a film. The Nuyorican used this new fame to set off a handful of other businesses and projects like a fashion line and dozens of albums making her the ultimate triple-threat pop star. And if you’ve ever used Google Images, you have J.Lo and that infamous Versace dress to thank. People couldn’t get enough of that plunging neckline at the 2000 Grammy Awards that everyone took to Google to try to snag another look at the dress. Google’s Executive Chairman went on to explain that this surge in interest would later lead to the invention of the Google image search. In 2012, Forbes magazine regarded her as the world’s most powerful celebrity in the world. Most powerful celebrity in the world, not even the most powerful Latina. Let that sink in. In 2020 she paved the way yet again as she and Shakira headlined the Super Bowl halftime performance. 

Celia Cruz

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#happymonday LA REINA

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We all know Celia Cruz as the Queen of Salsa, but to work her way up to the thrown, the Afro-Cubana had to leave everyone and everything behind in Cuba after Fidel Castro came into power. Some of us, or some of our parents know, that leaving your homeland is not easy by any means but Celia Cruz gave Cuban exiles and their experience a voice and a rallying cry. Her career started when even against her father’s wishes, she would sing at cabarets. Her father’s strong opposition to her career as a singer took over for a minute and she started attending school to become a literature teacher. Eventually her passion for music would drive her to become one of the most important singers in the world. Celia Cruz was exhaled from her beloved Cuba by Fidel Castro and was not allowed to enter her home country. She brought her talents to the United States where she established herself as an icon winning countless Grammy Awards and accolades. During a trip to Guantanamo Bay, a U.S. territory in Cuba, she gathered Cuban soil and brought it back with her to the U.S. That same soil was buried with her in 2003 after dying from brain cancer at the age of 77. 

Cardi B

Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar is the true rags to riches story. Now known to us as Cardi, the Afro-Latina and her family grew up in the South Bronx and spent a lot of time with her paternal grandfather in Washington Heights. And when we say her story is a rags to riches story, we mean it. She didn’t grow up wealthy by any means and she joined the Bloods when she was 16 years old. She got her first job in a supermarket in Lower Manhattan. Her manager then fired her several years later and told her she should become a stripper. Her next thought must’ve been “damn right” because when she was 19, she started stripping and says doing so saved her life. She was in an abusive relationship and this new occupation gave her financial independence. Cardi used some of her stripping money to go back to community college and officially retired early and jumped into her next career venture, “Love & Hip Hop”. Here, she became known as the hot-tempered loud mouth of the group but she did use her voice and platform to educate people on what it means to be Afro-Latina. On the show she also launched her rapping career and officially took herself to riches. 

Frida Kahlo 

The now-famous Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, was not appreciated during her time and simply known as Diego Rivera’s wife. She was a visionary artist born on July 6th, 1907 and passed on July 13, 1954. She lived a short, but eventful, 47 years of life. While Kahlo lived in Paris, New York and San Francisco, Kahlo is known for being fiercely proud of her Mexican heritage. Frida was in a terrible accident when she was 18 years old that caused her tremendous pain and often became the focal point of her artwork. She was boarding a bus with her boyfriend when the bus collided with a train and burst into a thousand pieces and sent a handrail through her torso. While bedridden, Frida Kahlo began painting documenting her painful recovery process. After a trip to Paris where she fell in love with an openly bisexual female singer, Frida also became a queer and feminist icon who loved to wear suits. Today, her art which explored ahead-of-her-time questions of gender, identity has resonated with the masses around the world. 

To celebrate International Women’s Month, the mitú Shop has designed this limited edition tee that honors all of these incredible Latinas. Click here to shop this top-selling tee.

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UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Things That Matter

UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Photo courtesy Forward Latino

An unnamed UPS delivery driver has been fired after being caught using racist language when delivering a package to a Latino household. The incident occurred on December 17th.

The video, which was caught on a doorbell camera’s security footage, shows a white UPS driver appearing to be angry when delivering a package.

“Now you don’t get f—–g nothing…You can’t read and write and speak the f—–g English language,” he says while writing a “failed to deliver” notice and pasting it on the house’s front door.

The Aviles family says that the footage shows that the UPS worker never even attempted to deliver the package in the first place. He never rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. Based on that, the family has come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally withheld the package from the family out of prejudice and spite

They believe that the only way the driver could’ve known that the family was Latino was by making assumptions based off the name on the package.

“The only information this driver had that could serve as a trigger for this deep-seated hate was the name on the package,” said Forward Latino President Darryl Morin at a press conference addressing the incident.

“So what we have here is a very intentional act to ruin Christmas for somebody, for someone to spew this hateful rhetoric, and quite honestly to deceive their employer,” Morin continued.

Per UPS, the employee has now been fired. “There is no place in any community for racism, bigotry or hate. This is very serious and we promptly took action, terminating the driver’s employment. UPS is wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” UPS said in a statement. They also said they contacted the family to apologize.

But the Aviles family is still rattled that such bigoted people are out and about, letting their petty prejudices effect other people’s lives.

“The package was a Christmas gift that we eventually received after Christmas Day, but what if it happened to have time-sensitive content like an epipen or a book I needed to take a final,” said Shirley Aviles, the mother of the man who lives at the address, told NBC News. “I don’t get it. It’s just sad.”

Aviles seemed disturbed about what this incident says about human nature. “This is about the things people do when they think no one is watching them. That’s important because that’s when you see people’s true colors and that’s what’s scary,”

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Here Are Some Christmas Traditions From Around Latin America

Culture

Here Are Some Christmas Traditions From Around Latin America

Henry Sadura / Getty Images

Christmas is a special time of year. Families have their traditions to mark the festive year and some of those traditions are rooted in culture. Here are some of the ways various countries in Latin America celebrate Christmas.

El Pase Del Niño Viajero – Ecuador

El Pase del Niño Viajero is a pageant that happens in Ecuador that lasts weeks. The parade is meant to represent the journey of Mary and Joseph. The parade highlights the religious importance of Christmas in Ecuador and is most common in the Andean region of the country.

The biggest and most important parade is in Cuenca, a deeply religious city. Citizens near the city have all day to see the parade as it starts in the early morning and runs through the late afternoon. This gives people a lot of time to make it to the city to witness the parade.

La Gritería – Nicaragua

La Gritería comes after La Purisma. La Purisma is celebrated at the end of November and is meant to celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. La Gritería is celebrated in early December and involves literal yelling. Someone would shout “Que causa tanta alegria?” (“What causes so much happiness?”) People respond “La Concepción de María.” (“Mary’s Conception.”)

Las Posadas – Mexico

Mexican posadas are the most recognizable. Posadas take place in Mexico from Dec. 16-24, though this year they are most likely to be virtual. The posada begins with a procession in the neighborhood filled with people singing and sometimes led by two people dressed as Mary and Joseph.

Another part is the posada party. Before guests can enter, there is a song exchange with the people outside playing Joseph looking for shelter. The hosts sing the side of the innkeeper saying there is no room. Eventually, the guests are welcomed into the home to celebrate Christmas.

Aguinaldos – Colombia

Aguinaldos are a series of games played by people in Colombia leading up to Christmas. There are certain games that are common among people in Colombia. One is pajita en boca, which requires holding a straw in your mouth the entire time of a social event. Another is dar y no recibir, which is about getting people to take something you are giving to score a point.

El Quema Del Diablo – Guatemala

El quema del diablo is celebrated in early December and is a way of letting go of the previous year. People burn piñatas and effigies of the devil to let go of all negative feelings and moments from the previous year. If there was every to try a new tradition, this would be the year. Burn an effigy and banish 2020 to the past, where it belongs.

READ: These Seriously Sad Christmas Presents Were Worse Than Actual Coal

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