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 inEntertainment

Rafael Agustín, CEO of the Latino Film Institute, on writer’s strike and his comedic memoir, Illegally Yours

It wasn’t until he was in high school, applying for his driver’s license and to colleges, that Rafael Agustín found out he was an undocumented immigrant. Moving from Guayaquil, Ecuador, to Walnut, California, at the age of seven, the now 42-year-old award-winning television writer (Jane the Virgin) and CEO of the Latino Film Institute (LFI) knew he and his parents were immigrants but was unaware of the illegality of his own status.

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.

Posted inHealth

Mami & Me: Toddler nutrition begins with introducing solids

During your baby’s development, he or she will eventually be ready to transition from breast milk or formula to solid foods.

Introducing your baby to new tastes and textures is an exciting experience that can be both rewarding and challenging for newbie moms like me. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about how to introduce solid foods to your baby, you’re not alone.

Posted inEducation

Attorney General files suit against Chino Valley Unified to stop ‘forced outing policy’

California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit today against Chino Valley Unified asking the San Bernardino County Superior Court to end a district policy that requires school staff to tell parents if their child asks to be identified by a different gender or name, or accesses a bathroom or program that don’t align with the gender on their official records. Bonta calls the policy discriminatory and dangerous.

Posted inEducation

A lawsuit against Temecula Valley Unified School District’s ban on the teaching of certain concepts such as Critical Race Theory

On August 2, parents, students, teachers and the Temecula Valley Educators Association (TVEA) filed a lawsuit against the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s (TVUSD) Board of Trustees for a resolution they passed in December 2022. In this resolution, the Board decided to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and similar concepts for grades K-12 in TVUSD. 

Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: En memoria de (in memory of) Dr. Roberto ‘Cintli’ Rodriguez

On March 23, 1979, Roberto Rodriguez was a young photojournalist on assignment when he was severely beaten by law enforcement officers in his East Los Angeles neighborhood along Whittier Boulevard, this while photographing an incident of police violence. He was criminally charged with assaulting four deputies with a deadly weapon with a total of eight charges. He would go on to win his criminal trial and then, seven years later, won a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and raised in East Los Angeles, Roberto apparently died July 31 while living in Mexico’s sacred Teotihuacan. The symptom of his untimely death is a reported heart attack. Yet, the root cause of his sudden death occurred 44 years on East Los Angeles’ Whittier Boulevard—the capital of lowrider cruising—when the cops brutally assaulted him.

Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: The importance of lived experiences in environmental justice tools

The Biden-Harris Administration has allocated significant funds into environmental justice efforts, providing an opportunity to change the outcomes of ZIP codes like mine. Through Executive Order 14008, the Council on Environmental Quality Chair introduced the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) to publish maps highlighting disadvantaged communities. Thus, although CEJST recognizes significant burdens in my tract, such as historical underinvestment, traffic pollution ranking in the 99th percentile, and a lack of green space ranking in the 92nd percentile, my census tract in my city Lawndale is not labeled as disadvantaged because it falls slightly below the low-income threshold at 62%. This census tract is also home to majority Latinos.

Posted inHealth

Doctors advocate fresh efforts to combat Chagas Disease, a silent killer

When Maira Gutiérrez was diagnosed with Chagas disease in 1997, neither she nor her primary care physician had even heard of the malady. She discovered her illness only by chance, after participating in a Red Cross blood drive organized by her employer, Universal Studios. Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas, is transmitted through an insect called the triatomine bug, known as the kissing bug, because it usually bites close to the lips. Chagas disease affects people primarily in rural Latin America, where the insect thrives in thatched roofs and mud walls.