Things That Matter

For This Year’s July 4th Consider Volunteering Your Time With Organizations Meant To Help Migrants And Dreamers

Every 4th of July millions of Americans celebrate Independence Day. But besides enjoying a family meal and the night sky sprinkled with fireworks, and having a chela while brushing up on your US history, this holiday is also a good opportunity to remember and live by the American values of community, solidarity, and hospitality.

In these politically turbulent years there have been many recent attacks on people of color and refugees, brutal limitations to female reproductive rights, attacks against ethnic and religious minorities, and abusive treatment at detention centers that verge on the illegal, that perhaps the only way to celebrate to volunteer and help one of the many organizations that are fighting against injustice and for a fairer United States. As Barack Obama once said about community organizing and volunteerism: “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.” ¡Así que manos a la obra!

ProLiteracy (nationwide)

Credit: Instagram. @proliteracy

This is a pretty awesome organization that has a very clear and important goal: to increase literacy levels in the adult population, with the belief that every adult has the right to learn how to read and write. You can volunteer by teaching others to increase not only basic literacy but also maths and computer literacy, which can help others increase their employment prospects and play a larger role in their family and social lives. This organization has a volunteer workforce of 85%. This seems like an awesome and frankly very relevant place to start making a difference.

Learn more here.

Latinas Contra Cancer (California)

image. Latinas contra cancer

This organization provides counseling and help to Latinas who are undergoing the hard road of facing cancer. It was founded to “address the void in culturally and linguistically sensitive programs that meet the health care needs of Latinos around issues of cancer.” If you are bilingual and willing to help, and live in the Silicon Valley area, this might be the place for you. They are involved in detection and screening, patient support, research and many other activities.

Learn more here.

The Trevor Project

Credit: Instagram. @trevorproject

This organization offers help to LGBTQ youth that are in dire need of help. They rely on volunteer work, in a program that aims to “provide life-saving support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) youth, The Trevor Project recruits passionate volunteers to staff our crisis intervention services”. The organization was founded in 1998 by the directors of the short film “Trevor,” which won an Oscar (you can watch the movie here ).

Learn more here.

Angry Tias & Abuelas

Credit: Facebook. @AngryTiasAndAbuelas

This recently formed group’s mission is to “advocate for dignity and justice for individuals and families seeking asylum at our borders. As they embark on their journeys to destinations across the U.S., our aim is to assure their basic health and safety needs are met”. They provide basic needs such as water, food, toiletries and other items to those who are released by ICE in their centers near Brownsville, Texas. The best way to contact them and offer help is through Facebook.

Learn more here.

Border Angels (California)

Credit: Instagram. @borderangelsofficial

This organization operates at the epicenter of the migratory flow from Mexico into the United States. Border Angels “is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform, and social justice with a special focus on issues related to issues related to the US-Mexican border.” They organize events such as tours of the border that seek to raise awareness of the perilous journey taken by those who seek to call America home. Programs like Water Drops, for example, involve leaving water in the desert for migrants taking the journey.

Learn more here.

Raices (Texas)

Credit: Instagram. @raicestexas

This Texan organization is at the frontline of the many tribulations that migrants are facing at the Southern border. It is ” a frontline organization in the roiling debate about immigration and immigrants in the world.” They provide legal advocacy and representation to migrants and deal with as many as 50,000 cases a year. They certainly can always do with a little help, and they have Youth Volunteer, General Volunteer and a Pro Bono Program where you can offer your time and expertise.

Learn more here.

Casa Latina (Seattle)

Digital image. El Camino

This organization based in Seattle is an answer to the increasing influx of migrants into the city. Casa Latinas looks to be the following: “As a vibrant, immigrant worker rights organization, Casa Latina empowers low-wage Latino immigrants to move from economic insecurity to economic prosperity and to lift their voices to take action around public policy issues that affect them”. They have over 75 volunteers, and they are constantly opening new positions.

Learn more here.

Latin Women in Action

@latinwomeninact / Twitter

If you live in the Big Apple this might be the organization for you. The group seeks to be “a comprehensive community based social service agency. Its mission and goals are to provide essential services to not only Latinas but any family or individual seeking our help in New York City.” You can volunteer to offer legal, immigration or family services. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, for example, they offered help to Boricuas arriving in the city feeling the devastation.

Learn more here.

Acción Latina

Credit: Instagram. @accionlatinasf

Your abuela would say that la ropa sucia se lava en casaand that you should never be farol de la calle, oscuridad de la casa. In short: offer your help to those closest to you. This organization’s mission is to “promote cultural arts, community media, and civic engagement as a way of building healthy and empowered Latino communities.” There is an open call for volunteers, which is of particular interest to those who wish to gain experience in media.

Learn more here.

Brown Girls Do Ballet

Credit: Instagram. @browngirlsdoballet

What an amazing initiative. One of the spaces where young girls of color feel most excluded is in the arts, particularly the ones that tend to be costly. Ballet is one of these, and this organization’s mission is to “help increase participation of underrepresented minority populations in ballet programs through organizing and arranging ballet performances, photo exhibitions, and providing resources and scholarships to assist young girls in their ballet development and training.” You can help out with community outreach or, if you are a ballet dancer yourself, by mentoring young students. This organization can really help the self-confidence of young Brown girls and make society at large a more equal field for nuestras muchachas.

Learn more here.

 

RAICES

raicestexas / Instagram

Raices is a community of allies working to fight today’s broken immigration system that tears families apart and left millions without pathways to legal status.

Learn more here.

In Miami, The Mayor Is Upholding A Pretty Cute Tradition Based On Cuban Celebrations And It Will Remind You Of Groundhog’s Day

Culture

In Miami, The Mayor Is Upholding A Pretty Cute Tradition Based On Cuban Celebrations And It Will Remind You Of Groundhog’s Day

soccy / Instagram

We Latinx people tend to do things a little bit differently than the rest of the world. When we mourn the dead, we do it with colorful and lively celebrations focused on our loved ones’ lives. When we have a child’s birthday party, you better believe there’s going to be a good amount of cerveza and other alcoholic libations flowing for the tios and tias to enjoy. Even when it comes to other traditions not typically assigned to us, the Latinx community finds a way to make it all our own and do it up in style. 

That’s what Miami Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez did this morning when he participated in the 2nd Annual Pig Pardoning Ceremony.

Emily Blanck / Deep Sleep Studio PR

In the event held Monday morning at the Latin Café 2000 Brickell (an essential Cuban restaurant and involved part of the Latin community in Miami), the mayor spared the two pigs that would have otherwise faced slaughtering. Named Peppa and Petra, the pigs posed for pictures Mayor Gimenez and proved to be real hams for all the attention that we offered by the attending press. 

The celebration of Noche Buena is what encourages the yearly pardoning of these little piglets during this time of year. 

Emily Blanck / Deep Sleep Studio PR

Throughout Latin America, the night of Christmas Eve is celebrated with a large feast. During celebrations throuout the countries that make up the Latinidad, roasted pigs, or lechón, are at the center of these enormous parties. This is thought to be dated back to the 15th century when Caribbean colonists and natives joined together to celebrate by hunting down pigs and roasting them on open spits. While many places still embrace this rustic cooking technique, Peppa and Petra won’t be going anywhere near an open flame this year. 

This piggy pardoning mimics a very American turkey tradition. 

Emily Blanck / Deep Sleep Studio PR

The tradition of pardoning the presidential turkey is one that the White House has upheld every year since the days of President George H. W. Bush. The presentation of the Presidential Turkey dates all the way back to the 1940’s, however; presidential pardons weren’t as common for those birds back then. They were more likely to become dinner than to end up in a petting zoo or as someone’s pet.

“We’re a little different here in Miami-Dade. We don’t pardon turkeys, we pardon piglets,” Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, of Miami-Dade County, Florida, said during the pardoning. “They will live a long and happy life in the sanctuary.” 

It’s Mayor Gimenez’s partnership with the community that has made this pardoning possible. 

Emily Blanck / Deep Sleep Studio PR

This is just the second annual pardoning of piglets that the Miami-Dade County has performed but it’s far from the last. The event is a labor that is invested in by community staple, the Latin Café 2000 Brickell, as well as by the dedicated individuals at Aguacate Sanctuary of Love. 

A vegan cafe and animal shelter, Aguacate Santuary of Love is the organization that rescued the two lucky swine from a local slaughterhouse. In fact, Aguacate has promised to give the two rescued piggies a full life, complete with plenty of space to run and play and with no possibility of becoming someone’s Christmas Eve feast anytime in the future. 

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

Things That Matter

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

When discussing today’s volatile state of our country, the racism, the violence, the injustice, people often say “it’s never been this bad.”

How do we truly know for sure that something we are experiencing today, as a minority, as Latinos, is something, unlike anything previous generations have experienced before. We certainly cannot tell from history books mainly because history books often omit the Latino experience altogether. We sometimes only have oral histories to rely on. The stories elder Latinos share with us about what life was like in the past, before social media, before cell phones, and before the media ever reported about injustices against our community. 

Those special individuals are typically our grandparents, tias, la vecina, and more importantly activists that continue to fight for the cause today. Recently presidential candidate, Julian Castro said that he stands on his important platforms today primarily because of his mother Rosie. 

As a lifelong Texan, Rosie said the racism in 2019 is more evil than anything she has ever seen.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

In an interview with NBC News, Rosie who’s not only grown up in Texas but has also worked her adult life as an activist for Latinos said that she knows racism well because she has lived through it her entire life but what is happening today is extremely different from the past. 

“When I was in the movement, I knew the racism was out there and it was institutional. This kind of racism is different,” she said to the network. “That rhetoric has gone on for three years now, and I think we’ve all seen the rise of the hate groups and then even the rise of just ordinary people in a store that feel empowered to say something to a person who is speaking Spanish or is dark-skinned.”

Rosie said the racist words from President Donald Trump has single-handly inspired white supremacists to target Latinos. 

Credit: Twitter/@thehill

She said he is the catalyst to our current crisis.

Rosie said that when Trump first got elected she immediately felt like she was back in time, as if it were the ’60s all over again, but adds that this time it feels much worse. She said back then, President Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan had a campaign against Latinos too. However, it does not compare to the injustices against Latinos today. She points out that Trump claims to be a Christian yet can spew such vile words. “He’s just allowed that to become a blatant racist part of our reality,” Rosie said. 

As a former community organizer in the ’60s and ’70s, Rosie said Latinos had a mission to work at making the country a better place.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

Now, Rosie said that Latinos are fighting for their lives. She also attributes a huge difference between then now on gun violence. Children today are afraid to go to school because mass shootings happen so frequently. 

Her son has always had a strong position against guns. He has spoken about it extensively during his presidential campaigning. Julian has said he will push for renewing the assault weapons ban, as well as limiting high-capacity magazines and, naturally, requiring background checks.

One thing that is inspiring Rosie — aside from her son running for president — is that so many organizations today are rising up to fight for equality and against racism.

Credit: Instagram/@denisemhdz

Rosie said the organizations she sees today does remind her of her time as an activist back in the day. While the injustices and crimes against Latinos is a stark difference, one thing that feels familiar is the energy from young Latinos rising together. 

Rosie has long been credited for influencing her sons’ work as public servants, to fight for Latinos and all people in the U.S. 

Credit: Instagram/@truth_purpose

Both Julian and Joaquin had attributed their rise in politics to their mother. It was her work as an activist and in education that made them both want to strive to make the United States a better place to live. 

In 2012, Julian gave his now-famous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention where he introduced then-President Barack Obama. In a few words, Julian not only paid tribute to the women in his life but also the American Dream that they worked so hard for. 

“My grandmother never owned a house,” Julian said back then. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”

It is because of women like Rosie that we have a platform to stand on as well. 

READ: Julián Castro Walked Onstage To Selena, Struggles With Spanish, And Other Ways He Lives The Latino Experience On The Campaign Trail