Posted inCulture

Día De Los Muertos, celebrated by many Latinos in LA, again takes center stage at La Placita Olvera

Olvera Street, also known as Placita Olvera, held a celebration for Día de los Muertos, spanning nine days from October 25th to November 2nd. The merchants of Olvera Street have held this celebration for over 30 years. It is believed that during the celebration of Día de los Muertos, the veil between the living and dead thins, allowing family members who have passed on to visit their loved ones.

Posted inRepresentation

California Latino Legislative Caucus celebrated 50th anniversary

The California Latino Legislative Caucus’s (CLLC) 50th anniversary Hispanic Heritage event that took place at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on October 6. Hollywood celebrities, current and past CLLC members and civic luminaries gathered together to celebrate the five decades of the CLLC, which is an organization made up of State Senate and Assembly members who identify key issues affecting Latinos and empower the Latino community throughout California. After years of seeking political representation, in the 1960s, the Latino community finally received recognition for their political organizing by entering the California State Legislature in 1962 through Phil Soto (1962-1966), a Democrat from La Puente, and John Moreno (1962-1964), a Democrat from Los Angeles. 

Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: Navigating family and the professional world as a first-generation Latina 

Women are having babies at an older age. I conjecture that the rising cost of living, excruciating job market, and lack of resources are contributing factors. Because of post-pandemic circumstances, I too will be a part of that pool. I will break the cultural and generational expectation to have a child before the age of 30. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that birth rates have declined across the country in recent years. According to Excelencia in Education’s 2020 data, only 8% of Latinas earned a master’s degree, and 1% earned a doctorate degree from Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: Día de los Muertos and healing from grief

Susto is a combination of sadness, depression, or traumatic events that cause pain that lives in our bodies, souls, and spirits. Susto affects every aspect of our being and can paralyze us mentally, physically, and spiritually, preventing us from finding our true selves. I grew up with the Wixarika Mexican Indigenous perspective to do cleansings of susto. My grandmother would use an egg or eggs, brooms, herbs, and teas. Remedios are dependent upon what the susto is and where it came from. Also, remedios are very distinct to each Native or Indigenous community. The one remedio or healing that most Latin Americans use widely today to celebrate our losses and the ones we loved who have passed is during Día de los Muertos, a remedio against angst or fear when it comes to death. Our indigenous ancestors have given us this gift of being able to not only accept death but to celebrate those who have moved into the spirit world.

Posted inCulture

Northgate Gonzalez Markets are a staple for local Latino communities

How one family legacy and business set the standard for community service and health access in Southern California. When you visit the newly renovated 32,970-square-foot Northgate-Gonzalez supermarket in Hawthorne, CA, you do not only walk into a grocery store; you enter a place full of culture. Many Southern Californian Latinos are familiar with the sights, sounds and flavors of the Northgate Gonzalez Supermarkets.
Northgate supermarket comes from a proud Latino family. Today, there are 43 stores in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County and San Diego County. additionally, to improve access to health resources, Northgate offers scheduled events and clinics to their customers through their storefronts every month.

Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: Carlos Santana, the legend

Identity is at the core of a new documentary, “Carlos,” directed by Rudy Valdez and distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. Shot mostly in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Carlos Santana is performing his residency at the House of Blues. Valdez takes us along with Santana as he speaks about his experience in mainstream popular culture over the course of 50 years.
The film alternates between Santana today reflecting on his life and career and the archival footage of him performing at Woodstock and other similar concerts. To summarize this issue of identity, Carlos Santana, said, “I am a multidimensional Mexican surfing the cosmos of the imagination.”

Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: National Latino museum could be derailed by politics

Congress approved the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino three years ago as part of the group of Smithsonian museums but the Smithsonian cannot build a new museum without federal legislation. In the U.S. House of Representatives, California Democrat Tony Cárdenas is a co-sponsor of the bill.
There is bipartisan support but time is running out. Congress approved the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino three years ago as part of the group of Smithsonian museums but the Smithsonian cannot build a new museum without federal legislation. In the U.S. House of Representatives, California Democrat Tony Cárdenas is a co-sponsor of the bill. There is bipartisan support but time is running out,

Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: Raíces, memories of El Salvador

My mother migrated to the United States from El Salvador in 1992 in search of a better life after having lived through the civil war. Naturally, as the first-born of three, I am the most connected to my Salvadoran heritage. I’ve traveled three times to the motherland to visit my family, and I know I’m at home when I get a whiff of fresh brewed coffee, a staple in just about every Salvadoran household. With the Los Angeles weather beginning to cool down and the holidays approaching, I am looking forward to dipping my mom’s fresh-baked quesadillas into my warm cup of coffee. They are not to be confused with Mexican quesadillas, which are primarily made with tortilla and queso. Salvadoran quesadillas are essentially cheesecakes with a combination of different flavors such as cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, cream, and (you guessed it) cheese. Sometimes they are topped off with sesame seeds to add a little extra texture.

Posted inCulture

Léa LA 2023: A literary extravaganza celebrated Spanish language and Latino culture

The local Latino literary world once again burst into life as Léa LA, the Los Angeles Spanish-Language Book Fair and Literary Festival, hosted its annual event at the La Plaza de Cultura y Artes. From September 14 to 17, LA became a dynamic epicenter celebrating the wealth of Spanish literature and culture. The event was founded by Marisol Schulz Manaut, an editor, cultural journalist and expert in the literary and editorial worlds. She has been recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the most influential women in Mexico and a visionary in the world of literature. Léa LA offered attendees a unique opportunity to embark on a literary journey that spans genres, styles and perspectives.

Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: Raíces, learning my immigrant history saved my life

It was during a mandatory program I attended during the summer of my junior year that I met Cal State Fullerton Professor of Chicano Studies, Alexandro Jose Gradilla.

Part of his curriculum was to share the history of Latinx/o movements across the century and how it has shaped both the forms of identity-making for our community but also how it has also furthered the liberation and lives of all people of color. It wasn’t until we got to the part about immigrant rights movements, from Prop 187 to the blowouts of 2006 that my ears truly sprang up and where I saw a mirror in my academic journey for the first time.
Growing up, I knew I was an immigrant from Mexico. From hiding when the cops would drive by, to avoiding San Diego or never being able to travel back home to family in Mexico the way my friends were, I knew as I kept getting older that I was different.

Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: Raíces, Growing up Afro-Latina in LA

I grew up practicing Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian spiritual tradition that is Afro-indigenous at its core, practicing Capoeira at my parent’s Brazilian arts and culture center, and eating foods that were distinct to a Latinx blackness that I didn’t see represented in the world immediately around me. I don’t think you can ever truly strip yourself of who you are, but when I reflect back on that period of my life, I’m aware of how much of myself I did not express because I did not feel that it would be legible to others. I didn’t fit neatly into any category, and it was confusing for a long time to understand. Growing up Afro-Latina in LA asked me to shed parts of myself in order to be comprehensible to others. In a city that is predominantly Black American and Chicano, there were only a handful of Afro-Latinx folks that I knew, and the majority of them were my own family. Recently, I had the opportunity to spend time at LACMA in the incredibly powerful exhibition, Afro-Atlantic Histories. Walking in, you are immediately thrown into a timeless space that connects you across waters. To my left, a map of the transatlantic slave trade, and a brief account of the histories. As the daughter of an Afro-Brazilian immigrant, I knew that Brazil was the last country to abolish slavery (In 1888, just 135 years ago), but to see that represented here in the city that raised me, felt important.