Things That Matter

A Majority-Latino School District Is Choosing Between Two White Women For School Board In Los Angeles

Voters in LA have a little-known election on May 14 that is proving to be another case of underrepresentation of communities of color.

Board District 5 of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is having a special election to replace a former board member who resigned due to corruption charges. Voters in this runoff election will have to decide between two white candidates in a district where 8 in 10 residents are people of color and nearly 90 percent of enrolled students are Latino.

The LAUSD Board will be largely white even though most students are Latino.

The election is occurring in Board District 5 which makes up LA’s lower-income Latino-majority cities. These cities include Maywood, Huntington Park, Cudahy, and South Gate along with the rapidly gentrifying communities of Los Feliz, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, and Silver Lake.

Many voters in the district know want they want in a board member. They want someone who will make the superintendent work harder and who will visit local schools more frequently. Yet, for the heavily Latino district, many also want to see someone who looks like us sitting on the board. They want someone who better understands the needs of the community because they are from the same community.

Unfortunately, that won’t be an option in Tuesday’s election.

Board District 5 is quintessential Los Angeles.

Credit: beyondthechron / Flickr

L.A.’s Board District 5 closely mirrors the demographics of L.A. as a whole. More than a quarter of students are classified as English learners, more than 85 percent live in low-income households, and an estimated 2,000 are homeless.

However, Board District 5 topped LAUSD as a whole last year with its graduation rate of 83 percent, compared with 76.6 percent for all other schools. One reason for the higher graduation rates could be that there are a number of community organizations and Latino advocacy groups who partner with local high schools to help students go on to college.

Latinos not being represented is nothing new in politics, even on the local L.A. level.

People are fed up and letting themselves be heard on social media. With Tuesday’s turnout expected to be low (roughly just 10-20 percent of eligible voters), it’s so important that Latinos and all people of color make their voices heard so that we can finally see ourselves represented in all levels of government.

READ: LAUSD Just Made It Harder For ICE To Walk Onto Their School Campuses

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Will Be Digital And Free This Year

Entertainment

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Will Be Digital And Free This Year

laliff_ / Instagram

If you are a film buff saddened by the fact that you can’t go to your favorite film festivals, fear not. The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) is going to be completely digital and free to anyone who wants to enjoy this year’s film roster.

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) is going to be free and online for everyone.

In-person participation at LALIFF has been canceled because of obvious reasons (COVID-19). However, the organizers wanted to make sure that everyone who wanted to enjoy the films could. Plus, the festival is a way for these small, independent filmmakers to get their names and projects out there. Being online opens it up to a lot more people to enjoy these films.

The festival, founded by Edward James Olmos, is a very important event for Latino films.

While COVID-19 is keeping people in their homes, LALIFF doesn’t want it to keep them away from enjoying these films. It is the 21st century and that offers filmmakers and organizers a new way to connect with their fans and cinephiles.

“We are living in unprecedented times and we must find unprecedented solutions to continue to support our Latino filmmakers and provide them with a platform to showcase their work,” Edward James Olmos, founder of LALIFF, said in a statement. “Working together with our filmmakers, musicians, partners and sponsors we will be able to celebrate our festival virtually to continue to showcase some of the most inspiring and thought-provoking Latino films of 2020 and share with cinephiles everywhere, from the safety of their homes.”

LALIFF is an integral part of highlighting and promoting Latino talent and their quick pivot to go online will give these artists more opportunity to shine.

The film festival organizers made news when they announced their virtual experience. LALIFF Connect is going to let everyone enjoy the 2020 films as well as the 2019 retrospective highlighting last year’s work. You can currently watch all of the 2019 films and shorts featured last year at LALIFF. The new films will be available from May 5 – 31.

“We are proud to advocate for Latinx artists and musicians, especially at a time where they have been hit the most and share their beautiful sounds. Be sure to dance in your living rooms and don’t worry about the door fee—LALIFF has you covered,” Managing Director of LALIFF, Alexis de la Rocha, said in a statement.

Now is a great time to watch some of the previous LALIFF features, like “Suicidrag.”

The short film is about a group of Mexican drag queens who are taking to the streets and clubs of Mexico to highlight the issues of gender stereotypes. The queens are showing the dangers those stereotypes cause when they are imposed on the consumer culture that controls so much in our societies.

They are also showing “I’ll See You Around.”

Director Daniel Pfeffer explores the complexities of a family when drugs and betrayal derail a relationship. In the film, one brother has to figure out how to salvage a relationship with his brother after he finds out his brother stole his laptop to buy drugs. This film is a tough reminder of the difficulties families must face.

READ: How To Keep Yourself Sane And Balanced While Self-Isolating And Working From Home

Guelaguetza, One Of LA’s Most Iconic Mexican Restaurants, Is Sharing Some Of Their Recipes On Instagram

Culture

Guelaguetza, One Of LA’s Most Iconic Mexican Restaurants, Is Sharing Some Of Their Recipes On Instagram

bricialopez / laguelaguetza / Instagram

So many companies are sharing their longheld secret recipes. Disney wants you to make their churros from home while Waffle House is showing us how to make their waffles. In Los Angeles, the iconic and important Guelaguetza is giving people a chance to recreate some Oaxacan classics in their own kitchens.

Guelaguetza has been serving Oaxacan food to Los Angeles since the 1990s.

Guelaguetza was one of the restaurants that famed LA food critic Jonathan Gold reviewed and put on the LA food map. Bricia Lopez, one of the children of the original restaurant owners, has kept the business running with her siblings. Now, they aren’t just running the restaurant. The family has diversified the company to bring the best tastes of Oaxaca right to your kitchen.

Recently, Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral released “Oaxaca,” a cookbook celebrating the regionally specific dishes.

The cookbook was released in 2019 and gives homecooks a chance to create everything from Oaxacan Adobo to Frijol Blanco con Bacalao Capeado to Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo. Lopez’s family moved to Los Angeles from Oaxaca and her father was the one who decided to open a restaurant that offered Oaxacan food, not general Mexican food. Decades later, the restaurant is a James Beard-award winning institution of Los Angeles.

With so many people at home because of COVID-19, Lopez is sharing recipes from Guelaguetza and the cookbook.

Food is one of the most important things when it comes to cultural representation and identity. There is something transcendent about digging into your favorite dish that you abuela made you all the time growing up. Some foods do far more than nourish your body. They feed the soul and highlight your cultural awareness and pride.

You can learn how to make some Rojo Chicken Nachos.

View this post on Instagram

@bricialopez uploaded this video on her feed a couple of weeks ago and it has become our most replicated mole recipe yet! ⠀ ⠀ If you haven’t ordered your Mole yet, remember we ship ALL OVER THE COUNTRY! 📦 Simple visit : STORE.ILOVEMOLE.COM. ⠀ ⠀ We offer free shipping in orders over $50 ✈️ ⠀ ⠀ FULL RECIPE 👇🏽 :⠀ ⠀ INGREDIENTS:⁣⠀ 1 tsp vegetable oil ⁣⠀ ¼ cup diced onion⁣⠀ 1 tsp cumin⁣⠀ One 14 1/2-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained ⁣⠀ 2 tablespoons mole paste⁣⠀ ¼ cup chicken broth⁣⠀ ½ teaspoon garlic flakes⁣⠀ Pinch salt⁣⠀ 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded⁣⠀ 1 large bag salted tortilla chips, about 14 oz⁣⠀ 24 ounces shredded cheese ⁣⠀ ¾ cup pico de gallo (homemade or store bought)⁣⠀ 1/4 cup Mexican crema⁣⠀ 1 or 2 ripe avocados, cubed⁣ ⠀ ⁣⠀ INSTRUCTIONS:⁣⠀ 1️⃣Preheat oven to 325° F.⁣⠀ Heat a pan over medium heat and heat oil. Saute onions and cumin for 5 minutes until fragrant and translucent. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ 2️⃣Add beans. Stir for 5 more minutes and add vegetable broth, garlic flakes and mole paste. Stir mole paste until it’s fully dissolved. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ 3️⃣Add shredded chicken and stir to combine. Remove from flames. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ 4️⃣On a medium baking pan with a high lip (or another oven-proof casserole dish), spread out a serious layer of tortilla chips. Next, evenly spread half of the chicken and beans mixture over the chips, and then half of the cheese. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ 5️⃣Repeat with another layer of chips, the rest of the chicken and beans, and then the remaining cheese.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ 6️⃣Bake nachos in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until both layers of cheese are melted.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ 7️⃣Remove nachos from oven and sprinkle with pico de gallo and cubed avocado.⁣⠀ You can also serve it with a side of guacamole.⁣⠀

A post shared by Guelaguetza (@laguelaguetza) on

The recipe uses some of Guelaguetza’s mole, which you can purchase online from the restaurant’s store. This is also a nice chance for people to really give their kitchen some love and attention. Who hasn’t wanted to find a new recipe to learn during this time? Nachos are always a crowd-pleaser and surely these will be a hit with you and anyone you are currently isolating with.

Lopez also shows us how to make some delicious Mole Enchiladas.

There is so much you can do with mole and Lopez wants to show everyone what a little mole can do. Everyone is trying to find ways to save their money and make their food last. One tip Lopez offered in a recipe is that you can save the leftovers of any mole meat you make to create chilaquiles the next morning for breakfast.

Guelaguetza has done more than offer recipes. They have stood with their employees.

The family has made sure that the people who make Guelaguetza the food destination that is are being taken care of at this time. This means that La Guelguetza’s family has delivered grocery kits and has stayed open for curbside pick up fo family meals to give their employees a source of income while mortgages and rents are still due.

If you live in the LA area and want to order some food from Guelaguetza, they are offering curbside family meal pick up Thursday to Sunday.

Supporting your local businesses is one way you can help to keep your local economy going during this unprecedented shutdown. We are all in this together and we will make it through this time.

READ: This Is How This Mexican Mom From Oaxaca Is Running Successful Mole And Michelada Businesses