Things That Matter

These Graduation Photos Of Latinas Will Motivate You To Continue Reaching

Babes! Graduation season is upon us, and what does that mean? It’s time for one hell of a fiesta! But in all seriousness, it’s also a good time for us to think about what it means for Latinas – for some, this is the first time someone in their family is graduating from university. For others, it’s a chance to change the trajectory of their life. So, without further ado, read on to see these world-changers getting the most out of their graduation … and maybe get some outfit ideas for your own si se puede graduation.

1. Sometimes graduation means setting an example.

Instagram / @_daisssyyy_

It doesn’t get much more inspiring than this: “My culture, my brown skin. Our food. The language. Todo tan hermoso. The struggles of being brown. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m proud to identify as Mexicana, Chicana, but most importantly, CHINGONA … being Latina for me is being a strong woman. If you have a dream … don’t ever let anyone take it away. Always believe that the impossible is possible … my ancestors went through hell so I wouldn’t have to, best believe I’m going to make a difference.”

2. For others, graduation is about being the first in the family to finish school.

Instagram / @gp_portraits

Although considering all the stress and tears that go into getting the degree, it can sometimes feel like the entire family should get an award for putting up with it!

3. Pets are an important part of graduation, too.

Instagram / @_ericaaaa5

Maybe your fur baby is your motivation for going to school. Or, maybe they just knew when you needed cuddles to get you through the next assignment. Whatever it is, the fact of the matter is that you’re probably going to want photos with your pets, since they’re part of the family, too!

4. Graduation is a good time to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Instagram / @cafe.c.leche

These days it feels like once we’ve hit a milestone, we just start looking for the next goal to aim for. But, graduation is the best time to take a deep breath and enjoy the view. You’ve made it!

5. It’s time to celebrate in your own way!

Instagram / @bettyy_aceituno

If this means breaking out the bottles of expensive champagne and jumping into a fountain with your grad gear on, then so be it! Let your hair down since you’ve earned it just as much as this babe, a “first generation, daughter of immigrants, Latina graduate.”

An educated Latina knows she has no limits. 💫

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Get the pin here!

6. Sure looks aren’t everything, but grad gives you a hella good excuse to dress up!

Instagram / @photoxkim

Babes, this is the time to wear the heels, splurge on the makeup, get your hair done and enjoy the ride. You’ve earned it, and you should look and feel good on the big day. It is your day, after all!

7. Graduation isn’t just about you finishing study – your friends are, too!

Instagram / @alix_carolina

Here’s some food for thought from this graduate: “Today has been such an overwhelming day of emotions. I’m grateful for the experience, even the sleepless nights, headaches, sweat and tears because I was able to achieve something I almost thought impossible. Thank you to everyone who made classes a little more bearable and I’m grateful for all the lifelong friendships I made along the way.” 

8. Sometimes grad is not only a celebration of what you’ve become but also who you’ve been all along.

Instagram / @carolina_grads

It’s worth knowing that you can defy the stereotype – and that just because you’ve immigrated doesn’t mean that you’re not able to learn and adapt, and grow as a person.

9. Graduation is definitely a time to be silly.

Instagram / @natdeegee

Sure, graduation is one hell of a milestone. But does that mean you have to be completely serious about it? Nope. Now is the time to raise your arms, dance, sing, laugh, and soak in the joy of seeing the payoff after working so hard.

10. Remember: you’re a graduate, an opportunity awaits you.

Instagram / @tvg1407

How does the saying go? “Good things come to those who work hard”? This is one graduate who knows what that really means: “My academic journey began nearly 7 years ago, but my life journey began 22 years ago. My mother, brother, and I came to the United States when I was five years old. I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me, for us … as the years flashed before my eyes, I’ve come to a realization that my mother sacrificed everything she had, our family back home, and worked tirelessly and endless hours to open a pathway to my “American Dream”. I had no choice but to give it my all with the resources that I had because my parents provided me with more than I could have asked for. “Sorry I can’t” does not belong in my vocabulary … and this is WHY I am standing before you in a picture, on your news feed holding my college degree; I graduated with HONORS. I am a proud immigrant who is accomplishing her “American Dream”. Si se puedo!”

11. Who can forget that graduation means designing your cap?

Instagram / @melissaborrego

“From migrant workers to a college graduate in two generations. What can I say, hard work is in my blood.” Your cap can have as much, or as little, as you want on it: it’s yours. In this case, it’s easy to see that this graduate has owned it: the painstaking details have paid off, and she has one jaw-dropping cap that’s both beautiful, and personal.

12. Graduation is also about being able to make your parents proud.

Instagram / @kcsilv

And in this case, thanking them for everything and sharing the moment with them, too.

13. Remember to bask in the spotlight.

Instagram / @alopaloful

Sure, your face is going to be aching by the end of the day from all the smiling, but if you wanted to get a good headshot or some Insta-worthy pics, this is the time for it! Every man and his dog will be getting photos of you, so this is the perfect opportunity to go all out and pose like you’re Selena Gomez on the red carpet.

14. Now is the time to stand out from the crowd.

Instagram / @rosanegra43_

No-one’s journey at university has been the same. This is your time to own it. Fresh out of school, you can set yourself apart from the rest with your smarts, solid work ethic, and boss time management skills. The world is your oyster!

15. If there’s anything you have learned, it’s to embrace who you are.

Instagram / @mariarojanohair

Daughter of an immigrant? Doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter, but not in the way you’d think. What matters is whether you show up, do what you need to do, and snap up the reward while everyone else is left reeling from your brilliance.

On a scale of one to ten, just how excited are you to be graduating? Let us know about it on Twitter – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

6. Sure looks aren’t everything, but grad gives you a hella good excuse to dress up!

Instagram / @photoxkim

Babes, this is the time to wear the heels, splurge on the makeup, get your hair done and enjoy the ride. You’ve earned it, and you should look and feel good on the big day. It is your day, after all!

7. Graduation isn’t just about you finishing study – your friends are, too!

Instagram / @alix_carolina

Here’s some food for thought from this graduate: “Today has been such an overwhelming day of emotions. I’m grateful for the experience, even the sleepless nights, headaches, sweat and tears because I was able to achieve something I almost thought impossible. Thank you to everyone who made classes a little more bearable and I’m grateful for all the lifelong friendships I made along the way.” 

8. Sometimes grad is not only a celebration of what you’ve become but also who you’ve been all along.

Instagram / @carolina_grads

It’s worth knowing that you can defy the stereotype – and that just because you’ve immigrated doesn’t mean that you’re not able to learn and adapt, and grow as a person.

9. Graduation is definitely a time to be silly.

Instagram / @natdeegee

Sure, graduation is one hell of a milestone. But does that mean you have to be completely serious about it? Nope. Now is the time to raise your arms, dance, sing, laugh, and soak in the joy of seeing the payoff after working so hard.

10. Remember: you’re a graduate, an opportunity awaits you.

Instagram / @tvg1407

How does the saying go? “Good things come to those who work hard”? This is one graduate who knows what that really means: “My academic journey began nearly 7 years ago, but my life journey began 22 years ago. My mother, brother, and I came to the United States when I was five years old. I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me, for us … as the years flashed before my eyes, I’ve come to a realization that my mother sacrificed everything she had, our family back home, and worked tirelessly and endless hours to open a pathway to my “American Dream”. I had no choice but to give it my all with the resources that I had because my parents provided me with more than I could have asked for. “Sorry I can’t” does not belong in my vocabulary … and this is WHY I am standing before you in a picture, on your news feed holding my college degree; I graduated with HONORS. I am a proud immigrant who is accomplishing her “American Dream”. Si se puedo!”

11. Who can forget that graduation means designing your cap?

Instagram / @melissaborrego

“From migrant workers to a college graduate in two generations. What can I say, hard work is in my blood.” Your cap can have as much, or as little, as you want on it: it’s yours. In this case, it’s easy to see that this graduate has owned it: the painstaking details have paid off, and she has one jaw-dropping cap that’s both beautiful, and personal.

12. Graduation is also about being able to make your parents proud.

Instagram / @kcsilv

And in this case, thanking them for everything and sharing the moment with them, too.

13. Remember to bask in the spotlight.

Instagram / @alopaloful

Sure, your face is going to be aching by the end of the day from all the smiling, but if you wanted to get a good headshot or some Insta-worthy pics, this is the time for it! Every man and his dog will be getting photos of you, so this is the perfect opportunity to go all out and pose like you’re Selena Gomez on the red carpet.

14. Now is the time to stand out from the crowd.

Instagram / @rosanegra43_

No-one’s journey at university has been the same. This is your time to own it. Fresh out of school, you can set yourself apart from the rest with your smarts, solid work ethic, and boss time management skills. The world is your oyster!

15. If there’s anything you have learned, it’s to embrace who you are.

Instagram / @mariarojanohair

Daughter of an immigrant? Doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter, but not in the way you’d think. What matters is whether you show up, do what you need to do, and snap up the reward while everyone else is left reeling from your brilliance.

On a scale of one to ten, just how excited are you to be graduating? Let us know about it on Twitter – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

International Students Face Increased Obstacles Under The Trump Administration

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International Students Face Increased Obstacles Under The Trump Administration

Cengiz Yar / Getty Images

The Trump administration’s immigration policies are criminalizing survivors, tearing families apart and emboldening racists and xenophobes throughout the country. But President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda is also negatively impacting higher education in the US. According to multiple recent reports, it has become increasingly difficult for international students to receive their visas, also adding a greater workload on universities and their employees who try to help students work through the red tape and advocate on their behalf.

Those in higher education and immigration law say that the process for international students to attain their visas have become harder under Trump.

 According to government data, approval of student visas is down and many remain in limbo for longer periods. The latest available department data show that student visas declined by more than 100 thousand from 2016 to 2018. This has led to an overall decrease in the number of new international students enrolled at US colleges. For instance, survey data collected by the Institute of International Education during the 2016–17 school year found that enrollment of international students fell by 3 percent from the previous year. In the most recent data, which looks at the 2017–18 school year, it fell by close to 7 percent.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators reports that these visa obstacles started after Trump issued a memorandum in 2017 that called for the “heightened screening and vetting of applications for visas and other immigration benefits” as well as new or updated requirements for visa holders studying or working at US colleges. Additionally, the Atlantic reports that changes initiated by the Trump administration in 2018 made it even harder for recent graduates with student visas to continue living in the country legally. 

“I’ve been in the field for almost 20 years, and the amount of immigration changes during the last three years has been exponential,” Kristy Magner, who oversees Tulane University’s Office of International Students and Scholars, told the publication. 

One of the most high-profile cases was that of Ismail B. Ajjawi

In August of 2019, the incoming Harvard Palestinian freshman from Lebanon was detained by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a Boston airport. The 17-year-old was denied entry after CBO officers found social media posts from his friends that criticize the US. As a result, Ajjawi’s visa was canceled. However, because the teen was detained at an airport, sparing him from being officially deported, he was able to re-apply for a visa back home. Ten days later, Ajjawi returned to Boston and was able to start school.

Also in August, nine Chinese students who were returning to the US as undergraduate students at Arizona State University were detained at Los Angeles International Airport.

 According to the university, the students were in CBP custody for a week and were “denied admission to the U.S. to continue their studies.” They were ultimately forced to return to China, despite being “academically eligible to return to ASU and to the United States under their visas.”

“[I]t is beyond my comprehension how the U.S. government could establish and implement policies that bring about the outcomes we are now witnessing,” ASU president Michael Crow wrote in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. 

While these cases are among the most extreme, they follow a growing pattern of increased difficulty for international students. 

Many institutions, including New York University, expressed seeing more students denied travel in advance of their trips.

NYU was one of the first schools to establish support for immigrant students upon the start of Trump’s presidency. In January 2017, just days after Trump’s inauguration, it created the Immigrant Defense Initiative, which offers “free, confidential advice and representation” to students and staff who could be at risk for deportation. Other universities, including Columbia University, the California State University system and George Washington University, now also offer free immigration-related legal services for students. 

But students, and now university employees who are tasked with new responsibilities in helping the international academics, need more help. Back in July, Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow sent a letter to Pompeo and McAleenan sharing his grievances. “Students report difficulties getting initial visas — from delays to denials,” he wrote. “Scholars have experienced postponements and disruptions for what have previously been routine immigra­tion processes such as family visas, renewals of status, or clearance for international travel.”

Dr. Hironao Okahana, associate vice president of policy and research analysis at the Council of Graduate Schools, told Teen Vogue the rise in incidents like Ajjawi’s are concerning and worth further investigation. 

“[W]e’ll be carefully observing to see if any additional incidents occur as quarter-system schools begin their term in a few weeks,” he said.

In addition to the denial of visas and slowed-down processes, universities face another problem: Trump’s anti-immigration agenda is stopping international students from applying to US institutions. 

“I think that both [the Trump administration’s] immigration policy and the messaging of the day are literally turning [international] students away … and making them less inclined to want to study in the United States,” Brian Rosenberg, the president of Macalester College, a liberal-arts institution in St. Paul, Minnesota, told the Atlantic.

As a result, some schools are doing additional work to ensure international students that they are welcome at their universities.

Philip A. Glotzbach, the president of Skidmore College, told the Atlantic that his staff has had to “work a lot harder” to recruit and retain international students. Additionally, Barbara K. Altmann, the president of Franklin & Marshall College, said that her school has been taking “extraordinary measures … so international students know [they’re welcome here].” For instance, because one in five students at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, liberal-arts school is from outside of the US, mostly China, it has created a network of Chinese nationals that send reassuring messages to incoming students from the Asian country. 

“These incidents,” said Okahana, “as isolated as they may be, are troubling and have created chilling effects.”

Read: Migrants Are Dying In US Immigration Custody And Here’s What You Need To Know About The Victims

Latino Students In The US Will Soon Be Able To Get A Scholarship For College Thanks To Maná

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Latino Students In The US Will Soon Be Able To Get A Scholarship For College Thanks To Maná

You could say “Oye Mi Amor” is a Latino theme song just as much as Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and Juan Gabriel’s “Amor Eterno.” The song is a musical staple in Latino households because we’ve grown up listening to Maná. For anyone not familiar with Maná, they’re basically the Bon Jovi of Mexico. This rock band from Guadalajara could be considered an extended part of the family because they’re always being played a quinceñearas, parties, weddings, you name it. So, it’s only natural that Maná helps to pay for important milestone moments in our lives since they are a part of the family.

Maná announced that they are giving away a $10,000 scholarship to 15 Latino students between the ages of 18 to 35. 

Credit: @soytapatia / Twitter

The band, along with Selva Negra Environmental Foundation, and the Univision Foundation, has started the Maná Scholarship Program. As we said, the scholarship will benefit up to 15 Latino students between the ages of 18 to 35 by helping them achieve their dream of furthering their education. 

So who can apply for this scholarship? Anyone who has contributed in a positive way to their community. 

Credit: @UniNoticias / Twitter

According to the site, “These scholarships are intended to help applicants who have a demonstrated commitment to positive change in their communities; specifically, those who have chosen to help clean up or otherwise improve the environment around them.” They also state that the “scholarship is open to high school seniors or graduates and to current college undergraduates who are either U.S. citizens, legal residents of the U.S., or undocumented residents of the U.S., including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and applications will be received and reviewed from September 9th through October 23rd, 2019.”

Yes, undocumented immigrants will be considered for this scholarship!

Credit: @Bazaldua / Twitter

The only documents students should submit to be eligible is “current, complete transcript of grades. Grade reports are not accepted. Unofficial or online transcripts must display student name, school name, grades and credit hours for each course, and term in which each course was taken.” 

While there’s certainly a lot of scholarships available for Latinos, it’s so rare to have those options available for undocumented people. They’re in this country too, and contributing in so many ways. 

There is one issue that people on social media have with this scholarship. It is only available to Latinos in the United States and not in Mexico.

Credit: manaoficial / Instagram

As we noted before, in order to be eligible for this scholarship, they must be “U.S. citizens, legal residents of the U.S., or undocumented residents of the U.S., including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.” One person on Instagram said, “But why only the USA? In Latin America, we also have young people wanting opportunities.” Another said, “Why does Mana make more noise in the Latino population of the U.S than in Mexico?” One added, “They should have done this in first in Mexico.”

We do think it’s highly odd that a Mexican band would not have a separate scholarship for Mexican students. However, who knows, the more people inquire about it, there could be a chance that the band will see that it would only be fair to offer a scholarship to Mexican fans too. We’re certain they, Selva Negra, and Univision has more money to spare especially if that means giving the opportunity of higher education. 

Some people are already applying and showing Maná what they’re all about. 

Credit: @Ximenas79772490 / Twitter

We think this is a great opportunity for Latinos in the U.S. who have been working hard to make a positive difference in their community and give their all every day. There are so many young people who have done an incredible amount of work especially within the activism realm who should show off their accomplishments. 

If you really want to get the attention of Maná we would highly suggest going to their next concert with a sign that says “I deserve your scholarship!”

Credit: manaoficial / Instagram

It doesn’t hurt to try. 

The band is currently on tour in the United States, so here’s your chance! They have several dates coming up in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Jose, San Diego, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, El Paso, Houston, Fresno. They are seriously touring nonstop. Click here to check out their next tour dates, and for more information on the scholarship, click here

READ: Here Are Maná 13 Best Songs To Celebrate Their Upcoming Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award