Culture

Latinos Just Don’t Do Anything Basic And These Over The Top Quince Centerpieces Prove It

We Latinos aren’t the most subtle or tame when it comes to major life milestones. A standard quinceañera is the perfect place to understand that we just don’t do anything basic. Here are 25 quince centerpieces that show just how far we go to celebrate a milestone.

1. You’ve definitely seen a centerpiece like this.

CREDIT: Andrea Ojeda / Facebook

They definitely want you to know that their daughter is going to be a star. In case you weren’t sure who she was, they made sure to include a photo of their daughter on every centerpiece.

2. There is always that one quince where “15” is plastered everywhere.

CREDIT: Bodas Y Eventos CSR / Facebook

Sometimes people get confused when it comes to a quince. How old are they? Is this a birthday party? Some people have so many questions. Good thing we brought the giant “15” sign to let them know that this is a young lady’s 15th birthday party.

3. Dolls galore.

CREDIT: Carolins Princess Dresses / Facebook

Just using numbers on the centerpiece can come off as tacky. Luckily, there are dolls in carriage tops to really elevate your quince centerpiece. Plus, it looks really good if you have a doll on every table because they aren’t the cheapest.

4. Flowers on heels is always eye catching.

CREDIT: Dianna Garcia / Facebook

Nothing says “I made it” like shoe centerpieces. They are some of the easiest centerpiece to make because you can just get a bunch of shoes from the thrift store, cover them in glitter and add some flowers. BOOM! Classy af centerpiece.

5. Candelabras are still alive and well at quince celebrations.

CREDIT: Dreamy Parties / Facebook

Chances are there won’t be any candles in the candelabra because you don’t want to ruin the centerpiece with wax. Instead, you have to come up with a way to hang things off of the candelabra that will really make a statement, like crystals.

6. One word: Balloons!

CREDIT: Everyday Is A Fiesta / Facebook

Balloons are always a good material to use to make a centerpiece that makes a mark. Balloons are fun and colorful ways to get someone’s attention without spending a lot of money. Good thing is you can use any color you can find.

7. Lights and water make for a great centerpiece.

CREDIT: Felicia Muniz Madrid / facebook

If you want to make a really dramatic reveal of the birthday girl, this will allow for you to keep the lights off while everyone finds their seat. Then, when she makes the entrance, the lights go up and there she is.

8. Let them know that her future is very bright.

CREDIT: Fiesta Party Shop And Rental / Facebook

Imagine lighting all of these candles on every table. Yeah. That’s never going to happen. You don’t want to ruin all of the little bows and how is your abuela going to be able to keep it if you burn it?

9. A favorite animal is always a good place to start.

CREDIT: Irma Cortez / Facebook

Anything the quinceañera wants, the quinceañera gets. Nothing is too much for the young woman on her special day. She’ll probably even get brought to her quince on horse back.

10. Miniature dresses for the flowers is a nice touch.

CREDIT: Josy’s Creations / Facebook

While everyone else is wearing some basic dresses and suits, the quinceañera is always going to shine. Having all of her centerpieces match her is definitely going to make her shine more. Basically, she will be seen as a trend setter.

11. The more elements you can include the better.

CREDIT: Kelly Gutierrez / Facebook

As you can see, here we have a doll framed with a giant feather and some well place tulle. Of course, there has to be something that is unexpected so some zebra print ribbon is definitely the way to go.

12. Did we already mention the love of stars?

CREDIT: Leah’s Party Decor / Facebook

Once again we are seeing the use of a star to show just how amazing the quinceañera is. She is a star. She is the best. She is the reason everyone is here tonight so you need to show her love.

13. “Wicked” reimagined as a centerpiece.

CREDIT: Magnolia Event Center / Facebook

We aren’t sure if “wicked” was the inspiration for this centerpiece but it is really easy to see how the two could be from the same thought. The black and the green definitely give you the vibe of the incredible Broadway show.  It isn’t just the centerpieces that are outrages. Here’s a look at some over-the-top quinceañera photoshoots.

14. Neon is never to be overlooked.

CREDIT: Manitas Creativas / Facebook

You don’t even have to light these things to see them shine. If you ever lose power in your home for whatever reason, you’ll be happy to have these stashed away in one of your drawers.

15. Vases with flowers inside will wow any crowd.

CREDIT: Posh Parties / Facebook

They don’t have to be real flowers. That’s a little pro tip for all of you out there. Some nice satin flowers inside the vase will draw the guest’s eye to the centerpiece.

16. It’s never wrong to block someone’s view with the centerpiece.

CREDIT: Quinceanera.com / Facebook

Now, you might think that making a centerpiece that obstructs someone’s view is annoying, but it is not a faux pas move. This will get people up on their feet to watch the dance and really get into it.

17. Give them something they can wear later.

CREDIT: Raquel’s Party Decorations / Facebook

First, let’s go ahead a celebrate this young man’s quince. Second, how great is it to get a hat when you enter a room? There is never a wrong time to give people hats. As long as the sun is shining, people will need to cover their eyes.

18. Halloween costumes for the frugal partygoer.

CREDIT: Saieda The Party Store / Facebook

If your quince is close to Halloween, give the guests a party favor to wear on the special night. Plus, it’ll be pretty cool to see an army of your quince guests take over social media to remind you of your wonderful night.

19. If dolls are too simple, why not stuffed animals.

CREDIT: St. Wen / Facebook

A nice teddy bear will go a long way. Everyone needs a teddy bear whether to put on their own bed or to give to someone else as a gift. But, if we are bing honest, we know that the bear will stay in the balloon until the air leaks out and it is preserved forever.

20. Sometimes you just have to use giant pillars of light.

CREDIT: Subsonic Event DJs / Facebook

Lighting is the most important part of getting a quince going. You don’t want any photos of the honoree in a bad light. The best way to make things work out for the quinceañera is to make sure that there is always ample lighting at the table.

21. The faux shoe is a money saver and super stylish.

CREDIT: TB Gitrigueros / Facebook

The benefit of this is that you make the party look super stylish and you save money. Just add glitter, plastic pearls and a mirror and it is suddenly the fanciest centerpiece ever.

22. Once again, all the tulle that didn’t make the dress goes to the centerpiece.

CREDIT: Vestidos De 15 / Facebook

This really serves two purposes. One, you get to save money on reusing a material you have extra of. Two, it makes for a great theme since you know the colors will perfectly match the dress.

23. Disney inspo for the centerpiece is appreciated.

CREDIT: Vestidos De 15 / Facebook

She might be turning into a young woman but she is still only 15. Why not give her a little bit of nostalgia on her big day. Maybe her favorite movie is “Beauty and the Beast” and, if so, this centerpiece is perfect.

24. A literal carriage.

CREDIT: Vivian’s Formal Wear / Facebook

Show your princess that she is an actual princess. There are probably places you can go to get dolls made to look like your quince for the special day. Bonus points if the quince actually arrives in the same carriage irl.

25. Shining bright like a diamond.

CREDIT: VL Designs / Facebook

Because Rihanna is not the only woman that shines like a diamond.

A PhD Student Made History By Writing Her Entire Thesis In An Indigenous Peruvian Language

Culture

A PhD Student Made History By Writing Her Entire Thesis In An Indigenous Peruvian Language

Lino Obarallumbo / DailySol

Scholars at Lima’s San Marcos university say it’s the first time a student has written and defended a thesis entirely in a native language. Roxana Quispe Collantes made history when she verbally defended and wrote her thesis in Quechua, a language of the Incas. While Quechua is spoken by 8 million people in the Andes with half of them in Peru, it speaks volumes that this hasn’t happened before at the 468-year-old university, the oldest in the Americas. 

Quispe Collantes studied Peruvian and Latin American literature with a focus on poetry written in Quechua. The United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages program has Peru a part of a global campaign to revive 2,680 indigenous languages at risk of going extinct. Peru is home to 21 of those languages. 

Roxana Quispe Collantes brings Inca culture to her doctoral candidacy.

Quispe Collantes began her presentation with a traditional Inca thanksgiving ceremony. She presented her thesis “Yawar Para” (or blood rain) by using coca leaves and chicha, a corn-based alcoholic beverage in the ritual.

For seven years, the student studied Andrés Alencastre Gutiérrez, a poet who wrote in Quechua, and used the pen name Kilku Warak’aq. For her thesis, she analyzed his mixture of Andrean traditions and Catholicism. 

“I’ve always wanted to study in Quechua, in my original language,” she told the Observer

Quispe Collantes traveled to highland communities in the Canas to confirm the definitions of words in the Collao dialect of Quechua used in the Cusco region. 

“I needed to travel to the high provinces of Canas to achieve this translation and the meaning of toponyms that I couldn’t find anywhere,” she said. “I asked my parents, my grandparents and teachers, and [it didn’t prove fruitful].”

Quechua entering the academic discourse can help preserve it. 

“Quechua doesn’t lack the vocabulary for an academic language. Today many people mix the language with Spanish,” she said. “I hope my example will help to revalue the language again and encourage young people, especially women, to follow my path. It’s very important that we keep on rescuing our original language.”

Her doctoral adviser Gonzo Espino told The Guardian he believes Quispe Collantes’ thesis was a symbolic gesture. 

“[The language] represented the most humble people in this part of the world: the Andeans, who were once called ‘Indians’. Their language and culture has been vindicated,” he said. 

It should go without saying but the doctoral candidate received top marks on her project.

Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous language in South America. 

The oldest written records of Quechua were in 1560 in Grammatica o arte de la lengua general de los indios de los reynos del Perú by Domingo de Santo, a missionary who learned and wrote the language. Before the expansion of the Inca Empire, Quechua spread across the central Andes. The language took a different shape in the Cusco region where it was influenced by neighboring languages like Aymara. Thus, today there is a wide range of dialects of Quechua as it evolved in different areas. 

In the 16th century, the Inca Empire designated Quechua as their official language following the Spanish conquest of Peru. Many missionaries and members of the Catholic Church learned Quechua so that they could evangelize Indigenous folks. 

Quispe Collantes grew up speaking the language with her parents and grandparents in the Acomayo district of Cusco. Quechua today is often mixed with Spanish and she hopes that “Yawar Para” will inspire others to revisit the original form. 

Peru takes Quechua to the mainstream. 

Under the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages campaign, this year, Peru began the official registration of names in its 48 indigenous languages.

The U.N. launched its initiative to preserve indigenous languages in 2019 after the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues determined that, “40 percent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing. The fact that most of these are indigenous languages puts the cultures and knowledge systems to which they belong at risk.”

According to the Guardian, for years, Peruvian registrars refused to recognize indigenous names on public records. They would then force indigenous people to register Hispanic or English-sounding names on government forms while keeping their real names at home. 

“Many registrars tended not to register indigenous names, so parents felt the name they had chosen wasn’t valued,” said Danny Santa María, assistant manager of academic research at Reniec. “We want to promote the use of indigenous names and recognize the proper way to write them on birth certificates and ID documents.”

In 2016, Peru began airings its first news broadcast in Quechua and other native languages, ushering into the mainstream. 

“My greatest wish is for Quechua to become a necessity once again. Only by speaking it can we revive it,” Quispe Collantes said.

Cuban Man Who Held Undocumented Immigrants for Ransom, Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

Things That Matter

Cuban Man Who Held Undocumented Immigrants for Ransom, Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

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The man who led a group of criminals to prey on and kidnap undocumented women and children in an extortion scheme has been sentenced to 14 years in prison by a federal judge. Francisco Betancourt, a Cuban immigrant, led a group of other Latino, Spanish-speaking men to target Central American immigrants, who had just arrived, disoriented, at bus stops in New York City, seeking to be reunited with their families. Betancourt would use his Latinidad to gain the immigrants’ trust, then, steal their bus tickets, and coerce them to get into a cab that would ultimately cost their families well over $1,000 in “cab fees.”

District Attorney Judge John H. Durham announced Thursday that Betancourt was sentenced in New York, New York by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill to 168 months of imprisonment in the Bridgeport facility, followed by three years of supervised release. Betancourt will be 84 years old by the time he is released from prison.

Francisco Betancourt conspired with three other Latino men to carry out the kidnappings of primarily young mothers with children.

Credit: @TheWomensWatch / Twitter

“The victims included women, men, and children from Central American countries who did not speak English and were seeking asylum in the U.S,” according to a statement by the US District of Connecticut Attorney’s office. “Some of the victims planned to travel from New York to Connecticut. Telling the victims that a connecting bus was not available and that they would provide transportation, Betancourt and others coerced the victims into vehicles. The co-conspirators would then drive the victims around, sometimes for hours, and refused to release them until they or their families agreed to pay the co-conspirators an exorbitant amount of money, on average more than a $1000.”

Betancourt used his Latinidad to victimize fellow immigrants.

Credit: @migrantfreedom / Twitter

Betancourt allegedly fled Cuba on the Mariel boatlift that famously aided a mass emigration of Cubans in the 1980s. Prosecutors allege that Betancourt was one of the prisoners, convicted of theft, that Castro ejected from the island and put on a ship with other freed inmates and mentally ill people to Mariel, Florida. Betancourt has served two prison sentences in the United States since his arrival. 

His victims were often young women traveling with children. They were nearly at the end of a long, treacherous journey, often having traveled from their dangerous homes in Central America, through Mexico, and past the U.S. border. Once granted asylum, or strapped with tracking ankle devices, border authorities put them on a bus from the border to New York City. Days of traveling later, they have one more bus to catch before being reunited with family.

At times, Betancourt’s co-conspirators would pose as immigration officers to further intimidate the victims.

Credit: @icegov / Twitter

Betancourt and his crime gang could spot the families from a mile away, having been immigrants themselves. They would steal their bus tickets and immigration forms and tell them that they worked for ICE and had arranged a taxi cab service instead. With their contact information in hand, from their immigration forms, they would call their relatives and request a taxi fare (ransom) for $2,000. Often, the families didn’t have enough money on hand, and they would settle for hundreds of dollars less. Because the relatives were often undocumented, they would never report the crime. 

Half of the four-person gang of criminals have been sentenced, with another two co-conspirators awaiting their sentences.

Pascual Rodriguez, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, had already been sentenced in July to nearly 12 years in prison. Upon his release, his custody will be transferred to ICE, which will promptly deport him. Carlos Antonio Hernandez and Lucilo Cabrera have both been convicted in the extortion scheme, but are awaiting their sentences. Meanwhile, Betancourt is likely to live out his remaining days in prison.

Meanwhile, folks are pointing out the similarities between Betancourt’s crimes and Trump’s policies. 

Credit: Twitter

“Strangely enough, Trump is doing the exact same thing……” tweeted Raul A. Maestri, Jr (@itsgoodtoberaul). “Can he charge Trump with the same?” asks Justin Clay (@jclaywow32). “I hope that man was named Donald J Trump,” tweeted @LindaMadison10. Trump’s administration has seen an increase in privatization of immigrant detention facilities. The stricter the punishments placed on immigrants, the more money private detention centers receive from the federal government. 

Trump’s policies have drastically increased the number of migrants in detention and privatized detention facility political action committees like the GEO Group Inc contribute 89 percent of their political donations to Republicans.

READ: Senior Border Patrol Officer Gets To Retire After Allegedly Kidnapping And Sexually Assaulting Another Agent