This gay Latina immigrant is ready to serve as a Texas judge

Selena Alvarenga stands facing the camera with arms crossed in front of a campaign sign.
Courtesy of Selena Alvarenga campaign.

Selena Alvarenga is every good ol’ boy’s worst nightmare. She’s an educated gay Latina immigrant 🙌🏾 And she’s running for office.

Selena Alvarenga unveils her political campaign./Courtesy of Selena Alvarenga campaign.

There are 283,000 Latinxs in all U.S. prisons right now and nearly one 1 in 3 federal prisoners are Latinxs. Plus, Latinos are four times as likely to go to prison than their white male counterparts.

Selena wants to make the criminal justice system fairer for people of color by putting a stop to the school-to-prison pipeline.

This pipeline affects brown and black kids the most because it subjects them to a life of violence and poverty without an opportunity for advancement.

Selena Alvarenga is running for judge in Texas./Courtesy of Selena Alvarenga campaign.

Selena also wants less people in prison for petty crimes by focusing on rehabilitation programs that get to the root of the problem. This gives people a newfound chance at happy and healthy lives.

We have no doubt Selena will accomplish her beautiful goals. She fled El Salvador to escape the Civil War and hasn’t stopped fighting for comunidad since. It’s obvious there’s no stopping this Latina!

Once undocumented, this attorney and activist is a national hero

The 9/11 terrorist attacks shook Cesar Vargas to his core. He longed to fight for freedom alongside his friends in the military  🇺🇸 but his immigration status impeded him.

Specialist Cesar Vargas./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

It’s a reality that ate at him long before 2001. As a teenager he wanted to enlist in the Army Reserve, but his high school counselor told him he couldn’t because he was “illegal”.

Cesar was devastated. All he wanted to do was help protect the U.S.

Mother and son, Teresa Galindo and Cesar Vargas say goodbye./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

At 35 years old, that calling to serve his country turned into reality. It was a culmination of a near 20-year journey from undocumented immigrant, to an authorized and standout attorney and activist.

Army Specialist and immigration lawyer Cesar Vargas./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

He fought the legal system for three years before the bar approved his application, where he served as New York’s first openly undocumented lawyer.

Cesar became a renowned immigration reform activist, testified before Congress, launched an advocacy group and served as Latinx outreach strategist for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign.

Cesar Vargas and his mom Teresa Galindo couldn’t attend Cesar’s boot camp graduation./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

He’s proud of his service, but knows that the country he’s fought so hard to defend still leaves many in the shadows. Including his own family. His mom Teresa Galindo was heartbroken she and her younger DACA son couldn’t attend Cesar’s boot camp graduation because they lacked “proper documentation.”

Teresa Galindo and Specialist Cesar Vargas./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

She felt discriminated against, she said. Cesar viewed his graduation as a tribute to his mom’s determination. Cesar, you’re our héroe in every sense of the word 🙌 ¡Gracias por tu servicio!

This talented Latina is Rihanna’s go-to makeup artist

Priscilla Ono as sourced by HOLA.

Have you ever pictured yourself with Rihanna’s round-the-clock glow or lusciously vibrant lips? While the musician no doubt has natural beauty, her traffic-stopping looks are greatly enhanced by the work of Mexican American makeup artist Priscilla Ono.

Priscilla Ono is Rihanna’s go-to makeup artist. Photo sourced by Priscilla Ono on Instagram.

Priscilla is the global makeup artist for Fenty Beauty cosmetics line, and Rihanna’s go-to makeup guru. The granddaughter of Mexicans says this is her dream come true.

Growing up, her family was adamant she pursue medicine, but Priscilla had a different, bigger and bolder dream.

Priscilla Ono promoting Fenty beauty

Her grandmother was her greatest beauty inspiration as a kid. Priscilla  found herself sneaking into her abuela’s makeup bag when no one was looking.

Priscilla Ono on Instagram.

Fast forward, and Priscilla’s big break came when her now-husband asked her to do makeup for Dawn Robinson’s music video from En Vogue.

Priscilla Ono is Rihanna’s makeup artist. Photo sourced by Priscilla Ono on Instagram.

That video was Priscilla’s epiphany. Until then makeup seemed like fun on the side, but from that moment on, makeup was a real and viable career.

Her abuela was so upset at Priscilla’s decision to drop out of college to pursue beauty, that she stopped talking to her for two years. But when she saw how happy Priscilla looked during a television interview, her outlook changed.

Priscilla Ono on Instagram.

Now, Priscilla is moonlighting as a fashion designer with the launch of her plus-size line Priscilla Ono x Eloquii. Ladies, she even added pockets to her clothing for 💄maquillaje!

Keep an eye out 🙌🏾 we’ll be seeing much more of Priscilla in the fashion world!

Get to know these Latinx NBA stars

You may have noticed something missing as you enjoy the NBA playoffs: Latinos on the court. Just 2% of NBA players are Latino, so while we pressure the NBA to have more of our own playing the game, here are some Latinx players you can cheer on…

Al Horford was born and grew up in the Dominican Republic. He plays center for the Boston Celtics. His father, Tito Horford, was also an NBA player drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2007, and is a 5-time NBA All-Star. Al is married to Amelia Vega, a model and actress and the first Dominican woman to be crowned Miss Universe.

 

Jose Juan “JJ” Barea is from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and plays point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. He is only the sixth Puerto Rican to play for the NBA.

Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban, let JJ use the team plane to deliver supplies to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

 

Ángel Delgado is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and plays center for the Los Angeles Clippers. He was ‘Rookie of the Year’ 2014-2015 and won the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award for the 2017-2018 season.

 

Robin and Brook Lopez are identical twins born to a Cuban father and American mother, and grew up in California. Both played for the Stanford University basketball team, Brook as power forward and Robin as center. Now Robin, plays center for the Chicago Bulls and Brook is also center for the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

As the NBA finals come to an end, let’s root for all the Latinx players representing out there, and hope more of them are on the court next season.

These Latinx books ‘get’ you

There is something essential about reading a book 📚 that resonates with your own life experiences. Some, like these, are written by autores who understand the nuances often ignored by mainstream literature.

 

Let’s start with “The Rhythm of Success” 📖 where Emilio Estefan shares details about how he left Cuba and used his immigrant experience to help him create a mega-successful music career in the U.S.

He and his wife Gloria Estefan built a music empire and are a source of inspiration for all immigrants.

 

In “Signs Preceding the End of the World”  Yuri Herrera dives into the back-and-forth transition between homeland and new country, and how a person transforms as a result. This is a familiar experience for many immigrant and first-generation Latinxs in the U.S.

If Cuba is your interest, we recommend you read “Take Me With You” 📖 a memoir by Carlos Frías about a Cuban-American who gets in touch with his roots after going on assignment to cover Fidel Castro’s illness.

 

Reading enriches your life, but getting a hold of a book that ‘gets’ your experience is like having someone enter your mind and read your thoughts.

Visit your nearest bookstore or library for one of these inspirational reads.

 

Latino fatalities at the hands of brown cops

Black Lives Matters has brought to the forefront the real dangers black males face when interacting with police. But did you know that Latino males are twice as likely to die at the hands of Latino police?

You read that right.

 

 

The fact that our hombres run increased danger at the hands of police of color in diverse communities is tragic and infuriating to say the least.

 

So what’s going on?

It’s not a simple black or white answer. It includes many factors such as crime rate, unemployment rate, high school dropout statistics, education levels, and population of a community.

 

 

Researchers say there isn’t sufficient data to prove whether Latino policemen purposely target Latino males, but we need to find an answer and solution to this problem.

 

The study shows that income inequality and racial segregation increase chances of police homicide for Latino males and more Latino officers mean a higher chance of Latino male fatalities.

Open dialogue and police sensitivity training would go a long way in ensuring healthier interactions among our brown and black males and law enforcement. We need to work together to nip this atrocious trend.

 

Fear of deportation is leading some to their death


PHOTO BY JILL REPLOGLE

We live in a climate of fear, that’s not a question.

And for many Latinxs who are not in this country legally, the fear of deportation is constant and potent.

Like José Jimenez,  whose father was too afraid to go to the doctor even after the signs of melanoma appeared on his face. The elder Jimenez had to be convinced by his family to see Dr. J. Luis Bautista, who guards patients against la migra.

Many Latinx immigrants ignore health signs, or rely on home remedies that don’t work.

So much so, that many even put off medical emergencies.


Feministing

Take Julia Rojas, who ignored piercing pain in her lower abdomen and spent the day drinking hot water with mint leaves, as if it was a tummy ache that would be soothed.

The pain forced her to seek help, and doctors immediately removed her gallbladder.

Some immigrants rely on home remedies to treat diabetes, high blood pressure and other illnesses that need immediate care.

Doctors report seeing patients for the first time with advanced cancers, or feet that are necrotic and have to be amputated.


Migrant workers pick sweet potatoes at a farm in VA. Photo: USDA by Lance Cheung.

In June we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month because immigrants built this country, and continue to help our society function. Immigrants deserve the peace of mind to seek the health care they need. We must demand humane treatment of all Latinxs, enough is enough!

A hero doctor for our farmworkers


John M. Glionna / Kaiser Health News

Long before he owned two clinics and had people looking up to him, he was a boy picking fruit  in the fields with his parents instead of enjoying the freedom of summertime. He knew how it felt to not have anything, not even the money to seek medical help.

 


LA Times photo

That’s why, when Dr. J. Luis Bautista reached medical school, he promised himself that he’d never turn away farmworkers just because they didn’t have money.

He’s kept that promise, since most of the 30,000 annual office visits in his Fresno, California clinics happen to be farmworkers. Many are undocumented and don’t have insurance or money. For them, getting yearly exams or preventative medical care was not an option.


John M. Glionna / Kaiser Health News

Dr. Bautista’s start in life, as one of 10 siblings in a poor family of laborers, led him to create a sanctuary for immigrants. In his clinics, patients don’t have to fear federal immigration authorities. In fact, the staff has steps in place in the event the offices are raided by la migra.

 

We never say no to patients,’ he says. He’s used the old world barter system, and some patients have paid him with onions, crafts they’ve made, eggs and even live chickens!

 

This compassionate physician also created Bautista Foundation, a nonprofit to help low-income farm families with food, clothing and scholarships so their kids can attend college.


Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

The world is much brighter with Dr. Bautista in it, especially for our farmworkers!

 

Latinxs live longer, healthier lives. What’s our secret?

When we hear about the health of Latinxs, it tends to be negative. We hear about higher rates of diabetes and heart disease than our non-Latinx counterparts.


catering-by-design.com

 

But a new study shows that despite being more economically disadvantaged and having less access to resources, we are actually living longer and healthier lives 🤗 Talk about defying expectations!

The findings credit this to a number of factors including our connection to our comunidad  🤝 familia  👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 our deep laughter 😂 and perhaps even to our food that we tend to cook from scratch.


U Conn Today/Getty Images

Researchers call this the ‘Latino health paradox’ because the negative impact is not so bad for us. Even when Latinxs have poor socioeconomic and psychosocial circumstances that lead to worse health and earlier deaths for other groups, Latinxs have longer life expectancies.

The study also found that Latina mothers laugh more than other moms because they engage in deeper, daily conversations. This could be attributed to Latinas living in close proximity to family and friends, having joyful and polite personalities, and avoiding negative interactions.

Their social behavior comes naturally and extends beyond the immediate family.

 


refuelagency.com

 

We still have more to learn, but in the meantime, keep on doing what makes you happy by interacting with your seres queridos since that will help you live a long, satisfying life.

Rejoice! The Dream Act is almost a reality!

Amigos rejoice 🎉 More than 2 million undocumented immigrants may finally have a path to citizenship 🙌🏽 thanks to passage of the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019.

 


Young Latinxs show support of the Dream Act./latimes.com

 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in June, to create a pathway to citizenship 🇺🇸for Dreamers (unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children) and recipients of Temporary Protected Status (people whose countries are suffering from conflict, disasters or unsafe conditions).


Rally in support of the Dream Act./CBSNews.com

It was a historical moment for Latinxs, immigrants, and their allies alike throughout the country. Cheers erupted in the House chambers as the bill received the necessary votes to pass and soon were joined by a chorus of people chanting  📣“Yes, we can!”.

Seven Republicans voted in favor of the bill, joining 230 Democrats who supported it (a record!).


Dreamers are here to stay./uspolitics.10ztalk.com

 

Millions of dreamers, whose status has remained in limbo for years, received this news with excitement and renewed hope. So did the 340,000 T.P.S. recipients from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and other countries. Several versions of the bill have been proposed in Congress, without success.

Passage of this bill is pending final confirmation from the Senate and eventually the Supreme Court, but all signs indicate dreamers are here to stay … Just as they always said!

Let’s hope this bill becomes a reality and we can do the right thing for our Dreamers. It’s about time this country embraces its immigrant roots fully.