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NASA Is Sending Their First Cuban-American To The International Space Station

NASA Johnson / Flickr

Meet Serena Auñón-Chancellor. She will be the first Cuban-American to make it to space.

Serena Auñón-Chancellor has been tapped to join fellow astronauts at the International Space Station in November of next year. While Auñón-Chancellor won’t be the first Latina to make it to space (Ellen Ochoa has that honor), Auñón-Chancellor will have the designation of being the first Cuban-American to go to space.

According to Martí Noticias, Auñón-Chancellor has been training for this moment for a long time. Academically, she prepared by getting a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, a master’s in public health science, and a doctorate in medicine. Auñón-Chancellor is also the second Latina to be selected as an astronaut for NASA.

Even though she has been an astronaut since 2009, Auñón-Chancellor is still training to make sure she is ready.

And she looks super excited to finally be taking this major step in her career.

Auñón-Chancellor is one of five astronauts that were chosen to take part in different missions scheduled through 2018.

“It’s great to get to announce so many assignments at once,” Chris Cassidy, the chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a statement. “There’s plenty of work to be done at the space station, and the research opportunities are almost limitless. These folks are all going to do great work and bring a lot of value to their crewmates.”

And people are celebrating Auñón-Chancellor’s exciting announcement.

Auñón-Chancellor currently lives in Houston, Texas and is a licensed physician who started her career at NASA as a flight surgeon in 2006. When she was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009, she assisted with medical operation in Russia for nine months.

Looks like more and more Latinxs are going to be representing up in space.

Congrats, Auñón-Chancellor.

READ: The First Latina In Space Wants To Use Her Experience To Produce More STEM Graduates

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She Grew Up With Sexual Abuse And Now She's Breaking Her Silence To Help Those In A Similar Situation

Things That Matter

She Grew Up With Sexual Abuse And Now She’s Breaking Her Silence To Help Those In A Similar Situation

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“When it comes to child sexual abuse, stigma and silence exist across cultures.”

In a recent interview with Latina, filmmaker Jasmin Mara López explained what motivated her to create “Silent Beauty,” a documentary about the sexual abuse that persisted for generations in her family. “I wanted to encourage a dialogue around it and learn how it translated within other families,” Lopez, who found similar stories in other Latino families, told Latina.

For years, Lopez silently lived with the trauma of sexual abuse at the hands of her grandfather — “a highly regarded minister” — but when her niece was born, Lopez realized she couldn’t stay silent any longer. So she came forward. And then other members of her family came forward as well.

“Silent Beauty” explores the culture of sexual abuse and the silence that enables and empowers it.

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In her interview with Latina, Lopez described the problems families like hers face when dealing with sexual abuse. “If anyone tried to speak up, they were manipulated and silenced, made to feel ashamed. No one denounced the crimes. Misogyny, the need to preserve our family’s image and stigma were at the root of this silence.” Her documentary, “Silent Beauty,” was her attempt to remove sexual abuse from the environment that empowers it.

“Silent Beauty” is made up of a collection her family’s archival Super 8 footage.

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On the IndieGoGo page for “Silent Beauty,” Lopez explains that the film will consist of her family’s collection of “silent home movies.” Going through these old videos helped Lopez heal, as she saw her family in a new light, and developed a compassion for those who dealt with similar abuse. Much of the film’s budget is dedicated to converting the Super 8 footage.

Adding another layer to the the importance of ‘silence,’ Lopez explains that around the time she came forward, she began to lose her hearing.

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Lopez says that losing her hearing only inspired her to go deeper for meaning and how silence affects those around her.

On the IndieGoGo page, Lopez explains:

“The hearing loss followed a series of traumatic events, and as a result, I entered a new form of isolation. I went inwards. I often found myself deep in thought while everything moved around me, examining my emotions or considering a deeper meaning to all aspects of my life. This loss was poetry as it created a space that brought depth, meaning, beauty.”

Watch the trailer for “Silent Beauty” here.


As Latina reports, “Silent Beauty” is expected to have a 2017 release date. If you or anyone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, hotlines, like RAINN, are available 24/7.

[H/T] LATINA: This Documentary Tackles The Culture Of Silence Around Child Sexual Abuse In Latinx Homes 

READ: Latinas Are One Of The Fastest Growing Demographics According To This Study And We’re Also Becoming Businesswomen

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