Culture

USPS Unveils New Stamp Featuring A Latino

USPS will now stamp and deliver mail in honor of renowned East LA teacher, Jaime Escalante. (Sorry, we couldn’t help it!)

Wednesday, the USPS followed suit, honoring him with the unveiling of his very own commemorative stamp. The First-Class Forever stamp debuted at the 87th conference of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Washington, D.C.

Jaime Escalante began teaching in Bolivia before coming to the U.S. in 1963. Instead of declaring inner city and at-risk students lost causes like some teachers, he made it his life mission to teach them math and ensure they excelled. Edward James Olmos brought has character and story to life in the 1988 classic film, “Stand And Deliver.” As you may know from watching the film, students responded incredibly well, many even went on to study calculus and college – something that didn’t seem obtainable before Escalante.

The U.S. Postal Service dedicated a Limited Edition Forever Stamp to Jaime Escalante, the East Los Angeles high school math teacher immortalized in the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver," in a ceremony. Actor Edward James Olmos was among those who spoke at the ceremony at a Washington hotel. http://4.nbcla.com/MSUSgnR

Posted by NBC LA on Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A ceremony took place at Garfield High School to unveil the special edition stamp.  Edward James Olmos delivered an inspirational speech, “I don’t know one president, one pope, one engineer, one sports giant, one astronaut, that could have done it without a teacher. If it wasn’t for teachers, none of us would be where we are today.”

Jaime Escalante Jr. also gave a poignant speech and hugged fans of his father.

Even U.S. Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. attended the event, “I am here today and I am alive today because teachers like Jaime Escalante believed in me. His students had a different sense of what was possible for them because they had a teacher who believed in them. This is a wonderful remembrance of him.”

Jamie Escalante died in 2010, but will continue to be remembered as one of the most inspirational Americans in history.

Escalante is the second Latino to be honored in the ‘Distinguished American’ series of stamps honoring great Americans. José Ferrer was the first.

We leave you with one of el profesor’s iconic quotes:

“There will be no free rides, no excuses. You already have two strikes against you: your name and your complexion. Because of those two strikes, there are some people in this world who will assume that you know less than you do. Math is the great equalizer… When you go for a job, the person giving you that job will not want to hear your problems; ergo, neither do I. You’re going to work harder here than you’ve ever worked anywhere else. And the only thing I ask from you is ganas. Desire.”

15 Reasons Everyone Should Watch Stand and Deliver Again

Did you have a teacher that changed the course of your life? Tell us in the comments below then share on Facebook and Twitter!

The Remarkable Life And Career Of Edward James Olmos, Who Continues To Represent Us Proudly

Entertainment

The Remarkable Life And Career Of Edward James Olmos, Who Continues To Represent Us Proudly

Crosa / Flickr

It’s no secret that the Hollywood industry has a diversity problem. The exclusion of Latinos in the arts was the basis of a study conducted by Professor Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The results, which were released last month, were dismal. As of 2018 “only 4.5 percent of all 47,268 speaking or named characters across the last 12 years were Latino and a mere 3 percent of lead or co-lead actors.” For Latinos, this news is not a surprise. That is why we hold Latino actors, the few that have gotten the chance to work and especially those that have been in the Hollywood industry for decades, with such high regard. For us, there is one such person that not only has been our representation in Hollwyood but has also told the story of historic Latinos.

Edward James Olmos has led a remarkable career in film and television that spans more than 45 years. 

Credit: kenmjohnson / Instagram

This Mexican-American thespian has 121 acting credits to his name, and that does not include his work on Broadway, as a director, or composer. Within his storied career in Hollywood, Olmos has an estimated 29 awards in his field and 27 nominations. It would surprise some people to know that Olmos had aspirations that didn’t include acting at all.

Olmos was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Boyle Heights and in Montebello, California.

Credit: Pinterest

In a 2013 interview, Olmos said he had a strong work ethic thanks to his parents who were always working. He was raised by his great grandparents and strived to try it all from sports to music and even politics. As a young teen, Olmos wanted to be a baseball player. He also the lead singer of a band. “I really had a strong passion for baseball,” Olmos said, who was first caught up by the sport at age five. But admits he didn’t have the talent for it at such a young age. He said it was the divorce of his parents, around the age of seven, that made him want to dedicate himself to the sport. He said baseball taught him a lot about discipline which helped him understand his capabilities as a person. In 1960, around the age of 15 and 16, Olmos began to have another passion. He wanted to be a rock n’ roll star. Even though he said he couldn’t sing very well, he called himself a performer. For two years that he performed in a rock band, Olmos said his father stopped talking to him because he didn’t approve of his new path. 

After years as a stage actor, his breakthrough role came in 1981 in the film “Zoot Suit.”

Credit: crooked_is_the_path / Instagram

In 1964, while in college, Olmos took his first acting class. He said his discipline of baseball and his passion for singing lead him naturally to consider acting. He said he tried auditioning but always got turned down. He kept at it and studied acting under the greats. He started doing theater in Los Angeles, and in 1978 he got a role in the theater production of “Zoot Suit” about the true story of the 1943 riots in Los Angeles that resulted in the arrests of many Latinos. In 1979, Olmos received a Tony Award nomination for his role of  El Pachuco. In 1981, a film version of the play hit theaters and Olmos comprised as El Pachuco once again. 

In 1988, Olmos portrayed the true story of math teacher Jaime Escalante in the beloved film “Stand and Deliver.”

Credit: brandon_bruce_lee / Instagram

The story depicts how students from  James A. Garfield High School in East Los Angeles overcame immense obstacles to pass AP Calculus tests during their senior year. The film received several Independent Spirit Awards including for Best Male Lead, which Olmos won, and Best Supporting Male for actor Lou Diamond Phillips. Olmos also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Olmos remembers that role fondly and with emotion. “Nobody wanted to give us a penny to tell the story of a Bolivian man helping kids take a math test,” he said earlier this year to Remezcla.  “Watching my performance, I realized what he gave us, it was like catching lightning in a bottle and we did it.” 

Today, Olmos continues to have a stellar body of work from “Battlestar Galactica” to “Portlandia” and “Mayans M.C.”

Some of his most recognized roles including in “Selena,” “Blade Runner,” “American Me,” and “My Family” and the work he is doing today on television has solidified Olmos as an icon in Hollywood and within the Latin community. 

“In 1964, when I started out we weren’t 22 percent of the population of the U.S, we were much less. We were also less than 2 percent of all the content in television and film. Today, with 22 percent of the population, we are still less than 4 percent of all content. We are in a worse place now,” he said. While that is an unfortunate fact, we’re still so thrilled and proud that he continues to represent us today. 

READ: 30 Years After Being Released, Here’s Where The Cast Of ‘Stand And Deliver’ Are Today

Victims Of The El Paso Massacre Received Visits From Edward James Olmos And George López And Their Reactions Are Everything

Entertainment

Victims Of The El Paso Massacre Received Visits From Edward James Olmos And George López And Their Reactions Are Everything

@edwardjolmos / Twitter

It’s been two weeks to the day since a white supremacist traveled 10 hours to target Latino shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 22 dead and injured another 25 people. One patient remains in critical condition while another four are stable, but still hospitalized at El Paso’s University Medical Center. A surprise visit from Stand and Deliver star Edward James Olmos and comedian George Lopez certainly caused a positive flurry of emotion in hospital staff and survivors.

El Paso Times reports that there was no live media coverage of their visit, as it was not publicized and took everyone by surprise. The two spent hours just talking to survivors, families of those who did not survive and hospital staff.

“It was a real emotional experience all around,” UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke told El Paso Times. “They just wanted to meet with patients and staff.”

Olmos posted a photo to his Twitter with one of the survivors and her family.

@edwardjolmos / Twitter

“Celebrating life with the survivors of El Paso,” tweeted Mexicano actor Edward J Olmos. “Find a way of helping and uniting with the families of those that lost family members and survivors and their families of Dayton and El Paso.  Find ways of helping!”

Olmos and Lopez were gifted surgical caps signed by all the hospital staff that treated victims that fateful August 3rd.

@umcelpaso / Twitter

“The surgery caps worn by Lopez and Olmos were signed by all the members of UMC’s Emergency Department who were on hand August 3rd after a mass causality shooting in El Paso,” tweeted UMC El Paso. “Their visit today brought smiles and relief to recovering victims and their families.”

Mielke said the Hollywood stars pulled up a chair next to the survivors and listened to them for hours.

@FraireLibrado / Twitter

UMC hospital nurse Priscilla Fraire smiled big to get a selfie in with Lopez and Olmos. Her mom even tweeted out her thanks to the actors, saying, “Thanks George and Edward for caring about our community. #ElPasoStrong #ThankYou”

“Thank you for all you do for our Raza,” tweets a fan named Debbie Lopez Contreras. “I truly appreciate you and all your hard work to make this world a better place. Much  to you and yours”

The El Paso Pride is certainly stronger than ever.

@leon47150662 / Twitter

“Put a firmeza en El Chuco Tejas love my town 915 por vida,” one fan responds to Olmos’ tweet. “Let’s hear it for the good guys,” tweets Liz Perez in response to a comment that wonders why “hospitalized victims of the racist GOP terrorist mass murderer welcomed their visits and adamantly refused to see trump and the missus.”

“Thank you for going to my beloved hometown, Mr. Olmos!” tweets another El Pasoan. “A beautiful, compassionate and wonderful city with people on both sides of the border with our Sister City Ciudad Juarez! You are amazing, as always <3” El Paso is strong because of its Latinos, holding up other Latinos, por siempre.

This hospital staffer expressed gratitude for Olmos’ empathy for El Paso.

@CynthiaTitimtz / Twitter

“Greatly appreciate you for taking the time to come visit my city #ElPaso,” tweeted Cynthia Martinez. “It was a real pleasure to meet you. Thank you for making time to come and support our city. A community that is grieving, that is hurting.” 

“There were lines of nurses and it was chaotic.”

@MikaHayashi9 / Twitter

“They were really friendly,” 23-year-old nursing student Oseleonoleme told El Paso Times. “There were lines of nurses and it was chaotic.”

That chaos led to some staffers missing out on the photo op, and others delighting their daughters who later tweeted the above photo with the caption, “My dad works at UMC El Paso and he sent me this picture today!”

Forever, we honor the victims from the El Paso shooting. 

Andre Anchado / Facebook
  • Jordan Anchondo
  • Andre Anchondo
  • Arturo Benavides
  • Javier Rodriguez
  • Sara Esther Regalado Moriel
  • Adolfo Cerros Hernández 
  • Gloria Irma Marquez
  • María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe
  • Ivan Manzano
  • Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez
  • David Johnson
  • Leonardo Campos Jr. 
  • Maribel Campos (Loya)
  • Angelina Silva-Englisbee
  • Maria Flores
  • Raul Flores
  • Jorge Calvillo Garcia
  • Alexander Gerhard Hoffman
  • Teresa Sanchez
  • Margie Reckard
  • Elsa Libera Marquez
  • Luis Alfonzo Juarez

Rest in Power.