Fierce

Why I Put Aside My Greatest Fear For A Good Cause

I’m not a wallflower by any means. I’m pretty social and thrive on being a leader as well as being a team player, but hand me a mic and I freeze up.

CREDIT: Giphy

There’s no doubt that public speaking is my greatest fear. I’ve never been good at speaking in front of a crowd, no matter the topic, it’s just not my forte. Like I said, I can lead a group, speak in meetings, even give a presentation, but I have stage fright is too real – and I have no idea why. Needless to say, my fear of public speaking has been a huge drawback for me. I’m sure it has cost me in more ways that I can even imagine.

So when I was asked to give a speech to a group of college graduates last month, I was flattered, but also completely scared.

I also knew I couldn’t say no, and here’s why…

I was devastated after the presidential election, and I realized that I had to do something positive for my community or else I’d go on feeling worthless. I made a conscious choice to be proactive and help the Latino community in whatever way I could. My new year’s resolutions definitely did not include “get over fear of public speaking,” but it was to give back and to be of use.

I was informed that I’d be speaking to a group of Latino college students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The group consisted of two Latino organizations: the Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

I was also told that this special graduation ceremony was held because Latinos on campus wanted to recognize the hard work and dedication that our community puts into the University. The ceremony would also be in both English and Spanish to engage the families of graduates who, many of them have not felt connected to the University partly because there may have been a language barrier. But most importantly, they wanted an additional gathering in order to encourage current students to continue working towards graduation and not get discouraged.

Here I was presented with an opportunity that fell in line with contributing a positive change. I couldn’t decline the invitation.

I accepted the challenge and now I had to get to work.

CREDIT: Giphy

Writing the speech wasn’t completely difficult. I knew that I wanted to discuss the challenges Latinos face once they become working professionals. The hard part was practicing and reading my speech out loud.

Several people advised me that if I wanted to pull off this speech I would have to practice and practice and practice until I knew each word by heart. I practiced as best as I could, or I should say, as best as my ADD would allow me to. Either way, there was no backing out now.

When I arrived to give my speech, I was told there’d be around 30 people in the room. I thought “that’s not so bad, I can handle that.” Then I saw this…

CREDIT: Araceli Cruz

I was calm until I saw the program, with my picture on it! It really threw me for a loop. The whole thing really felt like a bigger deal at that point. The title of the program was “Si Se Puede!” And that was perfect. It was the encouragement I needed.

Then something extraordinary happened…

I met the students and talked to them briefly before the ceremony. Their cool and composed demeanor really put my nerves at ease.

CREDIT: Frederick Serrano-Jimenez

Each and every one of them were so nice to me. Their stories gave me the strength I needed to get up there and speak.

Then the time finally came. I had to get up there and give my speech. I won’t include my entire speech but here’s some of it, including the part that always made me choke up.

“When I was back in that dark place, living at home, taking for granted that I had a roof over my head, I’d look at pictures of my parents when they worked in the fields. The pain that I was going through was nothing compared to the hardships that my parents experienced as first generation Mexican immigrants in this country. They worked picking strawberries or taking care of other people’s kids. They scrimped and saved, and always had to fight to pay the bills. I was afforded the privilege of working in New York because of them, and I was not about to let them down — or myself.”

You can read the entire thing here.

So how did I do? Not bad, but not great either.

CREDIT: Giphy

I tried to make eye contact with the audience while also saying the right words and it was really difficult for me. But the most important thing is that I did it! I didn’t hide or run out of the room.

Looking back now, I didn’t necessarily put my fear aside to accomplish this task. My fear stayed with me the entire time I was at the podium, but I conquered my goal regardless.

My desire to inspire and help others became bigger than my fear of public speaking and I am so grateful that I could see beyond myself.

CREDIT: That’s me and the graduates!

Aside from the stress, I do look forward to doing it again!


READ: This Latina Blamed Her Parents For Her Lack Of Education When She Was A Teen, Now She Is Graduating From UC Berkeley And Thanking Them

What is your biggest fear? Let us know by sharing this story and commenting in the section below! 

More Than 100 New Emojis Are Dropping This Year, And Our Latinx Cultura Is Represented: Meet The Tamale And Piñata Emojis

Things That Matter

More Than 100 New Emojis Are Dropping This Year, And Our Latinx Cultura Is Represented: Meet The Tamale And Piñata Emojis

kgun9.com / Twitter

This weekend was special for more than just the Super Bowl, it was Día de la Candelaria (aka. Candlemas). And I don’t know about you, but I stuffed my face with tamales—as is mandatory. Why is that important? Because this weekend, we also found out that more than 100 emojis will be available on Apple this year —and one of them is an actual tamale. Is it a rajas tamale? Or is it filled with mole? We’re not too sure, but what we are sure of, it that a tamale emoji is coming and we can’t wait!

Emoji is the fastest growing language in history. 

Five billion emojis are sent every day, just on Facebook Messenger. And they’re appearing in some places you wouldn’t expect. One court judge in England used a smiley face emoji   in a document to make it easy to explain the court’s decision to children —an actual fact. So it should come as no surprise, that emoji consortiums have formed to keep updating the language and including more and more elements to it.

Starting in the second half of 2020, users can insert a tamale Emoji into any conversation.

Whether you’re including it in a text conversation about making tamales during the holidays, or simply emphasizing your craving for one of the best Latinx dishes around, the option will be there before you know it.

Emojipedia confirmed the introduction of over 100 new emojis this year.

According to Emojipedia, the emoji reference website —yes, it’s a thing—this year we’re getting 117 recently approved new emojis. From a gender inclusive alternative to Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, named Mx. Claus, to a fondue, a bell pepper and a piñata emoji. 

That’s right, Latinos are getting another emoji that illustrates our culture.

youtube.com

The Piñata emoji is coming in the shape of a Donkey—granted, it’s an old, clichéd reference, but hey, it’s iconic nonetheless. Get ready to dale dale dale because the paper maché burro will be available to add to your convos, this year. 

The Christmas icon is not the only gender-neutral addition, btw.

youtube.com

The new emojis will also include a woman in a tuxedo, a man in a bride veil and a gender-neutral person feeding a baby. All of these emojis are also available in all skin tones.

As reported by Emojipedia, the officially approved Emoji Version 13.0 list was published last week by the Unicode Consortium

And it features 117 new emoji that will be arriving on devices like iPhone, iPad, and Mac later this year. Apple typically adds the new emoji with the next major operating system updates in the fall.

We’ll be getting a wide array of animals, household items and more foods in emoji form!

The list of new emojis also includes other foods like bubble tea and a flat bread, animals like a seal and a cockroach, and household items like a toothbrush.

The new emojis build on last year’s round of more inclusive icons. 

A hearing aid emoji, wheelchair emoji and seeing eye dog emoji were in 2019’s new batch. A gender-neutral couple and various combinations of people with different skin colors holding hands were also made available last year.

Back in February 2019, the Unicode Consortium unveiled 230 new emojis with a majority representing people with disabilities and their needs. 

They included hearing aids, prosthetic limbs and service dogs. It also included the option for interracial couples to mix and match skin tones.

New emojis are now added to the Unicode standard on an annual basis. 

These emojis are proposed by different companies like Google, Apple and Twitter, and finalized by the start of the year. This allows ample time for these platforms to include these in future updates.

The first emojis debuted in October 2010 

10 years ago, Unicode Consortium released 722 different designs, and the genre has come a long way since. In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year was an emoji–the Face With Tears of Joy one. There’s also a World Emoji Day celebrated annually on July 17.

Here’s Why Everyone Is Celebrating This Chicago Teen And His Acceptance To Harvard

Culture

Here’s Why Everyone Is Celebrating This Chicago Teen And His Acceptance To Harvard

YeahThatsAmado / YouTube

As Latinos, making it through higher education is never easy. For some, there is the stress of being the first in our families to attend college or just being able to afford school in general. That’s why it’s special every time we hear about a fellow Latino’s success in the classroom. 

This applies to Amado Candelario, a Harvard freshman, who is proof of overcoming barriers and following your college dreams. The world was first introduced to him last December when he shared a “reaction video” on his YouTube channel showing the exact moment he found out he was accepted into Harvard. The emotional video quickly went viral with over 33K views to this date. For Candelario, who was raised by his immigrant mother from Mexico and two sisters in West Lawn, Chicago, Harvard was always his dream. 

“There were a lot of tears shed because it’s a big thing for somebody like me, for the community that I come from, to get accepted to a prestigious university like Harvard. For that, I’m grateful,” Candelario told 7NewsBoston after his video went viral.

First, let’s rewatch Amado Candelario finding out he got accepted to Harvard.

Some people sacrifice so much to make sure they get into their dream school. There is nothing more exciting than watching that hard work pay off for someone who deserves it. The world collectively celebrated for Candelario when he found out he was going to be in the new class at Harvard.

Getting into Harvard was one thing but fast forward almost a year later and Candelario is getting well-deserved recognition once again. 

Credit: lovedcandle / Instagram

For this young man, getting to college was reason enough to celebrate. Candelario came from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago where going to college isn’t always the first choice for many. He sought higher education as a way to escape his circumstances and build a better future for himself and his family. Beyond just getting accepted to Harvard he also needed a way to pay for it. According to the school’s website, the total 2018-2019 cost of attending Harvard University without financial aid is $67,580 for tuition, room, board, and fees combined.

“I needed to figure out how to provide for myself and how I could give back to my mom and to my family that has done so much for me, and college seemed like the way to do that,” he told NBC News. “The only thing people ever talked about when you mentioned was how good it was and how it was the best post-secondary education you could get. I grew up in a lot of poverty and violence and I wanted something better for myself.”

His background and everything he overcame to be where he is has left a lasting impact.

Credit: @lovedcandle / Twitter

Being one of the few low-income and first-generation students from Chicago in his graduating class has made Candelario a viral star once again. Few in his class to understand the magnitude of his achievement and now the world is taking notice. 

“I’m the only kid at Harvard right now, class of 2023, that’s from Chicago and didn’t go to a selective enrollment school, a private school, a predominately affluent suburban school,” Candelario wrote in a tweet that has received more than 87,000 likes as of today. “I’m the only Chicago neighborhood school kid. It’s sad but I DID THAT and I’m proud of myself!!”

Candelario is defying statistics when it comes to Latinos getting into Harvard. He is one of only less than 16 percent of a total of 4.5 percent of accepted applicants that got into Harvard in 2019.

Credit: lovedcandle / Instagram

Getting to this point was never easy for him. Candelario attended Eric Solorio Academy High School, which was located on the Southwest Side of Chicago, a notoriously low-income area. It was there that he joined various programs that helped guide him through the college application process and was assisted with financial aid assistance. 

The transition to college hasn’t been easy as well for Candelario. At times he feels like an outsider in a school where he’s one of very few that fully understand what it means to come to be a first-generation college student. These emotions have only fueled him to finish what is expected to be the first of many steps. While Candelario hasn’t declared an official concentration just yet, he told NBC News that he’s interested in pursuing political science and economics. He hopes with his education he can one day become a lawyer and help those that come from marginalized backgrounds.

“I feel like for kids who come from marginalized backgrounds, being realistic can limit them,” Candelario told NBC News. “I feel like you have to dream big and tell your intentions to the world. All of high school, even as a freshman, I told people I wanted to go to Harvard. I put it in my Instagram bio, even though I wasn’t accepted. There’s something powerful about manifesting and verbalizing what you want and telling yourself you are capable of that.”

READ: JLo Totally Dragged Some Super Stars In A 1998 Interview That’s Now Going Viral And OMG The Shade