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You May Have Seen Latinos Using This Hashtag Online. Here’s Why It Matters.

Twitter / @kingdaytona

If you’re on Twitter, you might have noticed the hashtag #LaGenteUnida appearing in discussions on activism in general, and Latinos’ role in Black Lives Matter specifically. Created by Latinos, the movement seeks to draw attention to issues U.S. Latinos face, like police brutality, while also declaring solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement:


Although the hashtag has been around in one from or another since 2011, it’s found renewed purpose as a rallying point around solidarity. The tag has also encouraged debate around the term “raza,” a word that tends to undermine indigenous peoples and black Latinos:


Additionally, the term* that can be interpreted as coming from the 1925 essay, “La Raza Cósmica,” which argues for a future, fifth race led by “superior” people who can claim Iberian (Spanish and Portuguese) descent:


*(As an aside, it should be noted that the term “raza” can also be used as a source of empowerment among U.S. Mexicans in particular, where its definition is more closely translated to “the people” –as in “power to the people”, and used in unifying organizations such as the National Council of La Raza. The term was also recently a source of confusion and fear-mongering for Donald Trump, who in June incorrectly declared that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s  membership in La Raza Lawyers of San Diego meant the judge was anti-white.)

In its original form, the #LaRazaUnida tag was used to help draw attention to the recent deaths of young Latinos, like Anthony Nuñez and Pedro Villanueva, at the hands of police, and provided an organized means of discussing their cases and other, related issues online in a way that didn’t undermine or attempt to compare it directly against Black Lives Matter:


And, indeed, some early uses of the tag align more closely with the “All Lives Matter” movement, of which people have been critical because it undermines the focus and need for BLM:


The sentiment has even inspired an Instagram account of the same name, which highlighted its mission statement in a recent post:


And now you know!


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This Immigrant Kid In Search Of American Dream Only Sleeps 3 Hours So He Can Work And Go To School

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This Immigrant Kid In Search Of American Dream Only Sleeps 3 Hours So He Can Work And Go To School

The life of an unaccompanied minor in L.A.Full day of high school. Full night of work. Sleep at 3 a.m. Repeat.
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This is Gaspar Marcos’ story.

http://lat.ms/29AbnfO

Posted by Los Angeles Times on Friday, July 15, 2016


This is Gaspar Marcos. He’s 18 years old, grew up in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, and was orphaned at age 5. At age 12, he came to the United States after the neighbor who took him in could no longer afford to take care of him. His already dangerous journey to the United States took a nearly fatal turn when he was left to die in the Sonoran Desert, only to then be kidnapped. Eventually, after facing just about every hardship guaranteed to kill someone’s spirit, Marcos made it to Los Angeles.

Gaspar Marcos currently spends his time going to class at Belmont High School, located in the Latino-heavy L.A. neighborhood of Westlake. Going to school is very important for Marcos. “If you don’t have education, nobody will respect you,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “If you don’t educate yourself, you don’t have employment. I want to be a good person and have an education … have a good, stable job. I want to have a home, the sort of home I never had.”

But going to school while learning English and having absolutely no family support isn’t the only thing on Marcos’s plate. He also works long hours as a dishwasher for a restaurant in Westwood, an affluent neighborhood that is also home to UCLA. He needs the job because he lives alone, renting a room in a family’s house for $600 a month.

The 18-year-old knows it’s tough, but he doesn’t let the awful hand he’s been dealt stop him. “At first you must suffer, but maybe further along I’ll have a better future if God allows me to keep doing what I’m doing,” he says in the video.

You can read more about Gaspar and others like him here.


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