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People Are Not Buying This High Schoolers Excuse for Her Offensive Pep Rally Sign

@harley_powell_ / Instagram

A Robertsdale, Ala. teenager has felt the wrath of the Internet after posting a photo from a pep rally of her carrying a sign that read “Put The Panic Back In Hispanic.”

This happened yesterday at our school pep rally. They know it's Hispanic Month. That's very disrespectful in so my ways….

Posted by Lopez Jennifer on Saturday, September 16, 2017

The 16-year-old high school student was photographed with the school mascot and a friend who was holding a “Trump: Make America Great Again” flag. The post quickly went viral and people were not happy about it.

The caption for the Instagram post that went viral reads: “Put The Panic Back In Hispanic” ? #dontgetButthurt I’m honestly not gonna care if you do anyways so!! ? ? #sorryboutit”.

According to AL.com, the student originally tried to explain the sign as something solely for the game against her school’s rival team, the Spanish Fort Toros, and not a political statement. The teenager also wrote an apology letter to the Baldwin County School Board, which was obtained by News 5 WKRG. The letter reads:

“I am one of the girls in the picture at the Robertsdale High School pep rally. I had the sign that said ‘Put the ‘panic’ back in Hispanic’. Sir, I would like to inform you that that wasn’t my intention and was not meat (sic) for it to be taken that way. We played the Spanish Fort Toros on Friday night, I was meaning ‘panic the Toros’ considering when I think Spanish I think Mexican or Hispanic. When I realized how people were taking it, I wasn’t going to bring it. But my friend who had it in his truck brought it to the bleachers, when one of the boys sitting near me saw it and held it up. I do apologize for making our school look bad and I do understand any consequences I must face. But I also believe in my right of speech. I did not mean it in any kind of racial way, half of my family are Hispanic. Thank you for your time reading this, I apologize for all the publicity and misunderstandings this has brought to our school.”

Domingo Soto, a Latino civil rights attorney, has been speaking on behalf of the high school students in the photo and claims that it is all a misunderstanding.

“When I first saw it, my reaction was ‘I’m very angry. I’m Hispanic and a civil rights guy,'” Soto told AL.com. “But she’s mortified by it. It wasn’t her intention to mean anything harmful by it. It was insensitive on her part because she didn’t think about it. I’m amazed at where this has gone.”

Soto also told AL.com that he believes that the reason the photo is getting so much attention is because it fits into the narrative people have about the South and that people aren’t willing to look into the facts. According to Soto, the student never had the sign at the pep rally. Echoing what the claims in her letter to the district, Soto says the teen had left it in a friend’s truck, someone then took the sign and used it in the pep rally, then gave it to her at the end of the event.

As for how the three ended up in the picture together, Soto told AL.com that the two students and the mascot were walking out of the pep rally separately when someone asked to take their picture. This was after someone handed the sign back to the her.

According to My NBC 15, Baldwin County School Superintendent Eddie Tyler said that they were aware of the image and were looking into the matter.


READ: North Carolina High School Students Built A Wall As A Senior Prank

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This Puerto Rican Beauty Is The First Miss Alabama Beauty Pageant Contestant In 20 Years And It’s About Time

Fierce

This Puerto Rican Beauty Is The First Miss Alabama Beauty Pageant Contestant In 20 Years And It’s About Time

What comes to mind when you think of a “beauty queen”? If images of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Southern girls with money to blow come to mind, you wouldn’t be in the minority.

Kailee Grace Montes, the 22-year-old Latina of Puerto Rican descent competing in the Miss Alabama beauty pageant, is trying to change all that.

In 2019, Montes was the first Latina in 20 years to compete in the Miss Alabama competition. Not only that, but Montes was one of only five of the 47 girls competing who identified as a minority.

According to Montes, she was initially attracted to the idea of participating in pageants for the same reason many Latinas pick up a side-hustle: to pay for college. And it worked! Montes racked up enough scholarship money to pay for two years of college after winning Miss Mobile Bay 2019. But the earnings weren’t the only thing that attracted Montes: “I also thought that pageants were a way I could give back to the community,” Montes said. Specifically, Montes was excited to bring a spotlight to the Boys and Girls Club of America, an after-school program for young adults. But being a Latina competing in a majority-white state meant that Montes had her work cut out for her.

The last–and only–Latina that has won the Miss America Pageant was Paraguay-born Sharlene Wells Hawkes in 1985.

The prevalence of Latina participation in beauty pageants in other parts of the world makes it that more shocking that Latinas are so few and far between in US-based pageants. Although Montes was the first Latina contestant in the Alabama pageant in 20 years, beauty pageants are a common part of many young women’s lives in much of Latinidad. Countries like Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil have a rich history of beauty pageants, with over one-third of total Miss Universe winners coming from the region.

As for Montes, she’s admitted that being one of the only minorities in the Miss Alabama pageant was a challenging experience: “I feel like I’m one of the few who understands the plights minorities have to go through,” Montes said during an interview with NBC News during semifinals

Although Montes placed in the Top 12 in the Miss Alabama competition, she’s not giving up yet.

She plans on continuing to enter pageants and has hopes of one-day attending law school. But, in the end, she hopes that her presence in the Miss Alabama pageant has been an example of what Latinas can accomplish, even with the odds stacked against them.

“As Latinas, we can make any change,” Montes said. “We can change the tone and the cultural temperature by stepping up, speaking out and working together”.

[VIDEO] Watch The Moment High School Students A NYC School Nerd Out And Lose Their Cool When Lin-Manuel Showed Up For Their Play

Entertainment

[VIDEO] Watch The Moment High School Students A NYC School Nerd Out And Lose Their Cool When Lin-Manuel Showed Up For Their Play

@jonmchu / Twitter

As you may have heard, there’s an “In The Heights” movie in the works. The production, produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda and directed by Jon M. Chu, will start shooting later this summer. While they have their main cast in place, they just had a casting call for extras. They specifically said they were looking for Latinos and would be in Washington Heights for the open call. Since they were in the area for the casting call, which is where the movie will be shot as well, the movie’s VIP crew had some time to check in on another important group.

Lin-Manuel Miranda stopped by during a school production of “In The Heights” at George Washington High School in New York and surprised the cast.

Twitter/@dancerrubi1414

“We saw In The Heights in the Heights for the first time, with kids from all over the neighborhood,” Miranda tweeted. “It’s cool I only cried 10 times. These kids were so good. Our future is so bright.”

Jon M. Chu, director of “Crazy Rich Asians,” tweeted the moment when Miranda stepped onstage.

Some of the students were clearly surprised to see Miranda there, although not everyone, and we think we know why. If you watch the clip, Chu shoots the entire audience as well as the cast on stage. There were a lot of special guests in the audience, one of them being Luis A. Miranda, Jr., Lin’s dad. So, we’re not sure how much of this surprise was kept under wraps.

Other special guests included Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the screenplay for the new “In The Heights” movie.

We’re wondering if some of the students will be cast in the new movie. Why not? They need extras and clearly, these kids know a thing or two about the story. Might as well give a chance.

We also loved seeing all the selfies of Miranda with all of the students.

“Love working with you guys. #intheheights #intheheightsmusical,” Rubi Camila Perez Guzman shared on Instagram.

This kind of happiness is the best.

“Words cannot describe how thankful I am to be part of the show In The Heights,” Rebecca said on her social media page. “I got the opportunity to be part of a group of greats actors that are my family now. We worked for almost 4 months on this project and it was all worth it at the end to give this surprise to Lin Manuel Miranda. May 31 will be a night that I’ll never forget.”

What a spectacular night for Miranda, the cast of “In the Heights,” and the students.

“Had such an amazing time working with these amazing talented people,” Alexia Stewart posted on Instagram. “Thank you guys soooo much for accepting me into your family at such short notice. I love you all and I can’t wait till next year when I see you guys again.”

READ: We Finally Got A Peek At Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Casting Picks For ‘In The Heights’ The Play That Made Him Famous

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