Things That Matter

Here Are Five Books Written By People Of Color That Make Perfect Reads During This Quarantine

As if marginalized authors didn’t already have their burdens within the publishing industry, the Coronavirus spread is threatening their debuts.

Those familiar with the world of publishing know that houses and agencies continue to struggle to improve diversity within its ranks. Unfortunately, the effects of the new coronavirus pandemic have already begun to take its toll on writers. For veteran authors who’ve been published before, the coronavirus pandemic has delivered real blows. But for emerging ones of color, the spread of the disease has been particularly devastating. Authors can spend years, even decades, pouring their all into writing a book. When it comes to convincing publishers that their stories are important enough to be in print and e-published it can just as long if not more.

With the spread of the virus keeping authors from going out to promote their books in stores and on tours, we wanted to wrangle up a list of POC authors to read while self-isolating. They’re particularly good stories we think you’ll love and they need your support!

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Namina Forna is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter who paints a vivid story inspired by ancient West African-inspired fantasy. It currently has a 4.47 rating on Goodreads.

“Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.” Goodreads

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Maggie Tokuda-Hall weaves a stunning swashbuckling adventure full of Asian folklore in this fantasy tale with a 4.05 rating. It debuts May 5, 2020.

“Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself. ” – Goodreads

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

From queer, trans, and Latinx debut author Aiden Thomas comes a beautiful story about gender acceptance and family culture. It currently has a 4.58-star rating on Goodreads and is expected to be published on June 9, 2020

“When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.” – Goodreads

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Bethany C. Morrow’s YA debut isn’t her first book but for fans of POC YA, this one is a first to read. Her book Song of Water has a 4.04 rating on Goodreads and is set for release on June , 2020.

“Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. (less)” Goodreads.

This Is My Americaby Kim Johnson

Kim Johnson’s upcoming YA debut examines racial injustice against innocent black men who are criminally sentenced and its effects on their families. Its xpected publication is July 1st 2020.

Dear Martin meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting YA novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system. Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?” – Goodreads.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

‘La Chona’ Never Fails To Get People Dancing, Even If It’s While Waiting At A Stoplight

Culture

‘La Chona’ Never Fails To Get People Dancing, Even If It’s While Waiting At A Stoplight

Ashauri / Instagram

I’m a sucker for ‘La Chona’ and apparently an entire street in Mexico City also stan ‘La Chona.’ A recent viral video shows dozens of people turning a traffic light into a temporary dance floor with a car’s stereo as the DJ.

The video is exactly what the city needs right now as many worry that the city’s heart – it’s historical center – will never bounce back after the Coronavirus pandemic. But enter ‘La Chona’ – even though she hit the airwaves in 1994, 26 years later she’s still teaching us all life lessons.

A traffic light in Mexico City become a makeshift dance floor as dozens danced to ‘La Chona’.

Leave it to ‘La Chona’ to bring out the dancing queen in each of us and show how even a simple stoplight can become a packed dance floor.

In Mexico City’s historic center, just in front of the famed Palacio de Bellas Artes, a red traffic light became one of the city’s happiest little pockets thanks to the rhythm of ‘La Chona’ by Los Tucanes de Tijuana. In the now viral video, several pedestrians were seen calmly crossing the street when they heard ‘La Chona’ playing from a vehicle that was waiting for the light to change. Instantly, the party was raging among the Chilangos who jumped to dance in front of the cars.

There’s really nothing quite like watching a group of people set to go about their day get distracted by a great song. Distracted enough to just start showing off their dance moves in the middle of the street. The video gets even better when the drivers cheerfully encourage the dancers with their car horns and some even get out to join in on the dancing. Many street performers and windshield cleaners joined in and enjoyed the momentary festival.

The video was all the more meaningful because for so long the city’s historical center and been devoid of it’s usual energy. The Coronavirus pandemic has shutdown large swathes of the district and left many without work. So to see people return to the streets for such a fun video was worth it.

So to many, the viral video of “La Chona” reminds us that joy, little by little, will return to the streets of Mexico City.

But first, a brief history of the now viral hit ‘La Chona’.

Credit: LosTucanesdeTijuana / Instagram

“La Chona” is a song from 1995 by Los Tucanes de Tijuana — a norteño band from Tijuana. The fast beat and up-tempo song tells the story of a woman named La Chona. As the song goes, La Chona is a “city girl” who spends her nights out at the clubs dancing and basically living her best life. Think of “Hotline Bling” without Drake.

We stan a strong, confident woman. La Chona is the kind of girl who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it — no matter what other people think about her choices. She isn’t afraid to leave her toxic husband behind and enjoy herself. We have to appreciate that level of self-confidence.

The band has sold more than 15 million albums to date, and even have several gold, platinum, and multiplatinum records. They’ve sold out venues like the Dodger Stadium, the Astrodome, and Estadio Azteca. They’ve definitely always had a place blasting from your mami’s car radio.

A few years ago, the #LaChonaChallenge was going viral.

Credit: @AndyG93_ / Twitter

It wasn’t long ago that ‘La Chona’ was going viral for a whole other reason.

People had started competing in the viral Internet challenge, #LaChonaChallenge. All you had to do was hop out of a cruise controlled, moving car and try to keep up while you bust a move. The trickiest part was hopping in and out of the car and people were eating sh*t. Don’t try this at home.

Even Snoop Dogg caught the “La Chona” craze.

We have to give props to La Chona. She lived her life on her own terms, was immortalized in a song and is still being talked about 25 years later. She’s a true feminist icon and we can all benefit from living a little more like La Chona.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Mexican Teacher Drives Two Whole Hours Out Of Her Way To Teach Kids With Special Needs In The Pandemic

Fierce

This Mexican Teacher Drives Two Whole Hours Out Of Her Way To Teach Kids With Special Needs In The Pandemic

Fiona Goodall / Getty

It is a truth nationally acknowledged that teachers in the United States are massively undervalued.

As educators, the teachers in our country often act as keepers of our children, the leaders of their knowledge as well as the ones who help instill them with moral values. What’s more, their presence provides parents with much-needed support, particularly in cases where children might have special needs. During the time of the COVID crisis, its no wonder that the effort of a Mexican teacher to step up and be present for her students in a way that goes beyond the description of her job, is gaining exceptional praise.

A teacher based out of Mexico is being praised as an ‘angel’ for turning her pickup truck into a classroom on wheels.

An elementary school teacher in Apaseo el Alto, Guanajuato, is literally going the extra mile to help her autistic students during the pandemic.

The teacher, identified only as Nay, is ensuring that her students don’t fall behind despite the fact that their school has been closed. To reach her students she drives two hours every day to meet those who do not have access to books or the internet to make sure they receive proper help with schoolwork.

During their in-person class session, Nay meets with her students in the back of her pickup truck. The entire time Nay and her students both wear masks and use hand sanitizer.

The teacher’s efforts recently went viral after one of her student’s mothers shared a photo of her work on Twitter.

In the photo posted to the mother’s Twitter page, Nay can be sitting in the back of a red pickup trick working with a student while wearing a mask.

“In Mexico, school was cancelled because of the pandemic. This teacher turned her pickup truck into a portable classroom,” Akki wrote on her Twitter page. “She drives two hours a day to teach children with autism who don’t have books or access to the internet.”

The tweet about the teacher has earned thousands of likes and retweets.

According to an interview with Quien, Nay says all teachers put in this much of an effort to provide their students with support.

Nay told Quien that she usually works at a school with students who have disabilities and is always working to improve as a teacher. On the day that the photo was taken Nay said she was evaluating her students “to really know how this pandemic was affecting [the students’] learning since they are the most vulnerable.” She was also curious to “know how they feel … because this has not been easy for anyone.”

In response to the image, Twitter users are calling Nay a “hero.”

“Due to restricted/repetitive behaviors of kids in the spectrum isn’t easy to modify teaching conditions to them so what this teacher is doing is extremely valuable, pure Love,” one user wrote in the comments of the tweet. “Autism is a complex developmental condition that involves many challenges, learning is only one of them”

“God bless this woman,” another commenter wrote. “Shout out to all those who go the extra mile to help those in need. This is exactly what humanity is all about, something we should all learn from one another.'”

“Teachers DESERVE TO BE PAID WAY MORE THAN THEY ARE PAID,” another user pointed out. “They spend more time with other people’s children than the children spend with their own families.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com