Things That Matter

Four Guatemalan Children Have Died On Their Way To The U.S. Since December. What’s Happening?

An unidentified 2-year-old Guatemalan toddler has died one month after being detained by U.S. officials. According to a spokesperson from the Guatemalan consulate in Del Rio, Texas, the child died from complication from pneumonia.

Juan de León Gutiérrez, 16, made the dangerous trip to the U.S. hoping to be able to earn some money and provide a better life for his family back in Guatemala. They had been surviving on just one meal a day and with severe drought conditions, there was little hope of things getting better.

In December, two Guatemalan children died in U.S. custody making them the first children to die in custody in a decade. Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal died in a children’s hospital in El Paso, Texas. Eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo dies on Christmas Eve in a New Mexico hospital after being ill with vomiting, cough, and a fever.

Families are heartbroken and grieving for the loss of their children who simply wanted to help make their lives better.

Credit: @RAICESTEXAS / Twitter

Juan had left his drought-stricken village in Guatemala and began a journey to the U.S. He had hopes of earning money to send back to his family so they could buy corn and salt. According to his mother, Juan was a good boy who loved his family.

The family, who survives on farming, has been struggling for years as drought takes hold of the region.

Credit: @rafaelshimunov / Twitter

Juan spent most days working the farm with this father, where the family grew maize, beans, and coffee plants on their modest plot of land.

Each year when school started, Juan would beg his mother to scrounge up the $130 needed to continue studying, a privilege his own parents never had. But this year, Juan said he wanted to migrate to the U.S. to help earn money that would help the family. His mother tried to convince him to stay but eventually gave in, aware she couldn’t offer him a better life in Guatemala.

Fifteen days later, the teenager was apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol near El Paso after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a statement from Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry. He was transferred to a local hospital after a doctor at a government-run detention center noticed he was sick.

On April 30, after an operation at a Texas-area children’s hospital, de León Gutiérrez died. In an interview with CNN, his father said, “He went seeking life, but found death.”

The outpouring of grief on social media tells a story of how much the immigration laws of the U.S. need to change.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Many expressed sadness and anger over Juan’s death.

The detention center where the boy was being held has an alleged history of abuse.

Credit: @rebekahentralgo / Twitter

Experts agree that temporary detention facilities at the border – often called “hieleras” because of their cold temperatures – are not equipped to safely care for children. Aside from having to deal with cold temperatures, migrants often face verbal abuse from guards and are forced to sleep on cold baren floors. Migrants are also threatened with violence from other detainees.

Several Twitter users have pointed out that the U.S. is supposed to be a welcoming place for immigrants.

Credit: @anotheresquire / Twitter

The Trump administration is doing everything in its power to not only deter immigrants and asylum seekers from coming to the U.S., but they’re also making their lives a living hell once they arrive.

While some have called out the cruel policies of the Trump administration and pointed out the inaction of Congress.

Credit: @CrisAlexJimenez / Twitter

Short of a miracle, the Trump administration isn’t going to adjust its approach. In fact, the administration has recently announced new measures designed to be even crueler towards immigrants.

Congress must stand up to cruelty and find ways forward to ensure deaths like these no longer happen.

Juan was the fourth Guatemalan child to die in U.S. custody since December.

Credit: @vicenews / Twitter

The uptick in death of minors has triggered outrage and grief in the U.S. The Trump administration started separating families at the border and it seems the policies at the border have gotten more extreme and the care of children is dipping.

Their deaths have sparked outrage among many who question how the same people who say every life is valuable and are passing illegal and restrictive abortion bans can allow the deaths of these innocent children.

Meanwhile, in the face of pointed questions, Homeland Security officials have been unable to adequately account for how many people have been harmed in detention due to this administration’s policies.

READ: Separated Immigrant Children Young As 3 Years Old Ordered To Appear In Court Alone

Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

gentefied / Instagram

Any and all news is welcomed right now and Netflix came through this week. “Gentefied” is coming back for a second season and this is absolutely not a drill. Soon we will be back in Boyle Heights with Ana, Chris, Erik, and the rest of the cast we have come to love so much.

Netflix has confirmed “Gentefied” for a second season.

The show is a fan favorite for Netflix with praise and love pouring in for the groundbreaking show. “Gentefied” is set in Boyle Heights and it is all about the fight against gentrification. The show premiered this year to big fanfare and excitement from Latino Netflix users. The show, created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, was picked up for an eight-episode run of the 30-minute show.

The show is one of the most relevant portrayals of the Latino experience in the 21st century.

The show highlights the plight of gentrification on communities across the U.S. Boyle Heights in Los Angeles has been the center of growing tension as the neighborhood slowly gentrifies. Rising rents have forced some residents and businesses to close and leave because of the changing demographic in the neighborhood.

Hearts are full as everyone celebrates the news of a whole new season.

The show originally premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a digital series. Lemus and Chávez debuted the show and it was an instant hit with festival-goers. After three years of waiting, the show was released by Netflix and became a national hit. The show has shone a light on the cost of gentrification for more Americans than knew about it before the show aired.

Low key, it has made for perfect binge-watching during this quarantine.

There isn’t a whole lot any of us can do at the moment. Most of us are at home because of self-isolation and social distancing guidelines designed to save lives during the pandemic. Might as well us some of your time to watch and support and very important moment in our community. This kind of representation is something that Latinos have been asking for.

While excited, some fans want more, like a cross-over with Starz’s “Vida.”

Now, just to be clear, we are not concerned with what it takes to make this happen. Netflix and Starz can come up with the actual plan. We are just going to be here waiting to be heard so we can all have the kind of cross-over the world deserves. Just imagine a chance for those two shows to collide in Latino excellence.

Now we wait for an air date.

We are patient. We will be here when you are ready. All you have to do is let us know when to tune in and you know we are coming through.

READ: I Watched ‘Gentefied’ On Netflix And These Are My Brutally Honest Thoughts

Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

Things That Matter

Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

epiloguebooksch / Instagram

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a relatively new bookstore in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that is facing a very uncertain future. The Latino-owned bookstore opened its doors to the Chapel Hill community six months ago and now COVID-19 is putting their future at risk.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a Latino-owned bookstore in North Carolina that is fighting to survive COVID-19.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews came from a need that the owners saw in downtown Chapel Hill. A bookshop had recently closed in the area so Jamie and Miranda Sanchez knew that it was time for them to help fill that sudden loss.

“We felt like there was a big hole in downtown,” Jaime told The Daily Tar Heel. “A bookshop creates this whole sense of community for the town so we decided to go forward and try to open our own bookstore.”

The bookstore was serving a community that needed a place to gather and discuss ideas after a former bookstore closed its doors.

“The core of our idea began years ago as the union of Jaime’s heritage and Miranda’s passion for writing and the transportive nature of reading. Wanderers and wonderers, our idea continued to grow in the plazuelas of Mexico and the chocolaterías of Spain, in the plazas of every country where such spaces form quasi-families for both the briefest of moments and the longest stretches of time,” reads the bookstore’s website. “In these spaces, people share everything from decadent chocolate to fried street food, to myth-like tales, to the memories of our own childhood selves chasing pigeons and sucking the sticky droplets from paletas off our hands.”

While the bookstore was well received by the community, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.

COVID-19 has swept through the U.S. and the number of cases continues to climb. While New York might be seeing fewer cases, the rest of the U.S. is in an uptick. The virus has forced businesses across the country to close or retool to be online only. That is what Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews did to make sure they can weather the storm.

The owners of the bookstore realized they needed to retool their business strategy when students stopped coming back from Spring Break.

“We started adjusting our plans in early March to accommodate for the new lack of traffic,” Jaime told NBC News. “Students weren’t coming back from spring break, so we had originally thought the locals would come out like they did during winter break to take advantage of the lack of downtown traffic, but that obviously didn’t happen because of coronavirus, so we started getting ready to adjust and pivot online for when we’d no longer be able to sustain brick and mortar operations.”

The Sanchezes are keeping their literary dream alive through the pandemic.

“Jaime’s always wanted to open a business and bring a piece of home to it,” Miranda, who is originally from Tijuana, told NBC News. “We felt that continuing that tradition of having a bookstore in the area would be a good mesh, not just of who we are as people but how we want to engage with our community. A community that works to sustain an independent bookshop has certain values.”

Independent bookstores are one of the hardest-hit businesses since readings and events in the spaces have been canceled.

Bookshop started to help struggling independent bookstores weather the storm. COVID-19 has left millions of people without jobs and businesses are having to close permanently because of the virus. Bookshop is giving independent bookstores a chance to survive the closures and social distancing.

Bookstores serve a vital role in communities. They give people a place to gather and share ideas. The easy access to literature can change the lives of children in underprivileged communities but allowing them to see themselves reflected in new lights. They also serve as a place to explore the world around you by flipping open a book cover.

If you have time on your hands and enjoy reading, check out Bookshop and build up that 2020 reading list.

READ: Celebrities Are Reading Children’s Books To Help Parents And Children Cope With COVID-19