New Program for Latina Health

Posted on July 11, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

“Community leaders gathered Tuesday to raise awareness about what they are calling a health crisis affecting Latinas.City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo joined a panel of experts to introduce a campaign to educate the Latina community and increase its access to Pap tests and the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine. “


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Jennifer Lopez has a surpise gift for you

Posted on March 31, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Hola chicas!

I found a contest that J. Lo applicants might find interesting. The 411 is below, as well as the link to it.

Buena suerte!

Jennifer Lopez still has a surprise gift for you!
Actually, it’s more like 9 gifts…and you guys want them so badly we decided to extend the contest.

In celebration of Jennifer’s first Spanish album, Como Ama Una Mujer (now on sale!), we teamed up with Sony to give away an autographed copy of the album, plus her entire musical catalog, including On the 6, J.Lo, J to tha L-O: The Remixes!, This Is Me…Then and Rebirth, plus J.Lo DVDs Let’s Get Loud and The Reel Me. And last but DEFINITELY not least? We’re giving away a Sony portable DVD player, so you can watch wherever you go! Our winner will be chosen at random on Monday, April 2, 2007, and will be notified by me. Good luck!

LINK: http://www.latina.com/latina/entertainment/entertainment.jsp?genre=music&article=jlosuprisegift 

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Dominican Independence Day Concert

Posted on February 23, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

WHAT: Dominican Independence Day Concert
The Museum’s sixth annual Dominican Independence Day Concert featuring Dominican poetry and performances. Presented in collaboration with the Association for Puerto Rican – Hispanic Culture as part of the Museum of the City of New York’s Uptown Sounds music series.
Free with museum admission.
Free museum admission between 10am and 12 noon Sundays.

WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2pm

WHERE: Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
New York, NY

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Big Apple Recognition of Hispanic Writers

Posted on February 20, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Críticas Magazine has recently written that a new literary group, Café New York, has been started to recognize Hispanic writers who have lived in New York City. Its members include Mexican writer Naief Yehya, Spanish novelist Eduardo Lago, Argentine writer and literary critic Sylvia Molloy, Bolivian poet Eduardo Mitre, Cuban novelist José Manuel Prieto, and its mastermind Mexican writer Carmen Boullosa. Lago would like to see members from both Latin American and Spain, or as he says, from “both sides of the Atlantic Ocean” to take part of this literary recognition.

Café New York plans to:

  • conduct readings and discussions at Librería Lectorum,
  • host an exhibition of New York Hispanic culture, and
  • place plaques in the New York homes of prominent Hispanic writers.

Café Nueva York will soon launch their website www.cafenuevayork.com, which will include blogs and information about their events.

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Email me

Posted on February 20, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Contact Form

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Racism Documentary

Posted on February 2, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The young student Kiri Davis has released a documentary that covers an issue that is still prevalent today.

The theme of this short documentary may relate to perceived racial issues in the Dominican Republic.

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A Latino Christmas

Posted on January 4, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Many Latinos in the United States combine both U.S. norms and Latin American conventions in the Christmas season. Many children in Latin America view Christmas as centered on the myths of the gift-giving baby Jesus and the generous Three Kings, whereas a jolly old man dressed in red offers rewards to the good and merciful in the United States. How can these disparate festivities be combined? This fusion is achieved in part with the desire of their Latin American parents or grandparents to keep la cultura alive after moving to the United States.

In Latin America, many children plant corn seeds and later place the ripe corn under their bed on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) for the baby Jesus, who, like Santa Claus, gives gifts to well-behaved children. The holiday season continues through Christmas to the annual arrival of the Magi before dawn on January 6, the Feast of Epiphany or Three Kings Day. According to the bible, three wise men followed the Star of Bethlehem from Persia (present-day Iran) to Jerusalem to bear gifts to the baby Jesus on this day.

Throughout Latin America, Three Kings Day is the climax of the holiday season—children receive the most gifts and the journey of the Three Kings is often imitated. According to the Latin American myth, these kings transform every year to three stars. Their residence in the sky allows them to receive wish lists from any child despite location. Children place a box full of grass and some water under their bed for the kings’ camels on the night before Three Kings Day. The next day, after the Magis’ nocturnal stops at each child’s bedside, the family enjoys the king’s generosity and gathers for the traditional Epiphany dinner, where everyone is served a slice of la Rosca de los Tres Reyes (the Three Kings Cake). In one of these pieces of cake, one of the guests will find a baby Jesus clay doll.

Many Latin Americans immigrate to the United States and intend to continue their traditions, including these holiday conventions. Nevertheless, there is a concern in many Hispanic communities that the jolly old man dressed in red is replacing both baby Jesus and the Three Kings. Surprisingly, this concern is found in both the United States and Latin America. Many Latin American nations follow the winter traditions of the United States. For example, a Puerto Rican firm recently transported Canadian snow to the island so that the children can enjoy “the whole American winter”—holiday carols, Santa Claus, and snow. Also, many families import pine trees from the United States and Canada to their homes in Latin America for Christmas.

Santa Claus seems to be another mode of assimilation as his legend crowds out the Three Kings and the baby Jesus from the holiday festivities. Nevertheless, many Latinos in the United States continue to blend U.S. culture and their Latin American heritage as they celebrate these holiday customs. For example, many Latino-populated communities, such as Spanish Harlem, hold parades on Three Kings Day with camels, donkeys, and different biblical characters.

My own holiday celebration combines the Three Kings myth my parents grew up with and the Santa Claus legend that the United States has taught me. When I was a child, my immediate family and I awaited the arrival of both Santa Claus and the Kings. On December 24th, I left cookies and milk, Santa’s favorite dessert, near our small plastic Christmas tree. Then on the night of January 5th, I lured the three kings’ camels with snippets of grass made of green construction paper—paper because New York City is barren of grass during the cold months—under my bed.

Three Kings Day is one of the biggest gift-giving occasions in Latin America, and many Latin Americans who strive to maintain their culture continue to give importance to the Magi and baby Jesus after moving to the United States. Their U.S.-born children are taught the myth of Santa Claus while their Latin American family extends the holiday season through the first week of January. For that reason, as Bill and their other American friends are discarding the Christmas tree, many Latino children are putting out the small Three Kings statue on the kitchen table.

Resources: Las Culturas, Puerto Rico Herald,

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Thanksgiving, Latino Style

Posted on November 24, 2006. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Many of us in the United States are straddled between the culture of our parents and the U.S. culture. In this position as cultural middle-man (or middle-woman), we pick and choose holidays that simultaneously celebrate both sides of the cultural coin and do not insult either cultures. This is especially true of Latinos in the United States who exemplify the bi-cultural lives of many U.S.-born children of immigrants. With the increased presence of Latinos in mainstream culture — last year, Dora the Explorer was the first Latina to ever fly in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — many people have asked me: How do Latinos celebrate Thanksgiving?

While many Anglo-American families view Thanksgiving as one of the few days in the year when the family comes together and gives thanks, many Latino families deem this holiday as another reason to gather the family and enjoy good music and dancing. Latin American culture is marked by its high value on family. For example, in many South American countries, it is the norm to see one’s family at least once a week—usually on Sundays. They pass this family value onto the Latino generations living in the United States. Therefore, many of these families celebrate Thanksgiving as merely another family gathering, which will be repeated on Sunday. Some Latin Americans give thanks for the aid they have received in establishing their homes in the United States, despite the increased antagonism against newcomers in this country. In contrast, their U.S.-born children see this holiday as an extra day of the week when the cousins, aunts, and uncles visit, eat, gossip, and dance.

Most Latinos celebrate Thanksgiving with a union of U.S. and Latin American style. For example, in my family, we often cook garlic-marinated turkey with a stuffing of adobo, chorizo, and green peppers. Other times, perníl, which is a roasted pig, or even a seafood dish, such as paella, have been served as the main dish. Just as there is variety in the Thanksgiving meat, there is a manifold of starch foods offered, which included mangú, yuca, mashed potatoes with gravy, yams, rice, moro, dinner rolls, pan cubano, and biscuits. While we enjoy this bi-cultural banquet, salsa and merengue music often play in the background.

Even though some Latinos do not view Thanksgiving as the one and only day of giving thanks, most Latinos celebrate its festivities with a fusion of U.S. and Latin American elements. This union of two cultures mirrors the camaraderie between the pilgrims and the Native Americans more than three centuries ago. This brief communion between the indigenous and the European populations has produced bi-cultural feasts throughout the United States.

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Adios a Colon

Posted on October 27, 2006. Filed under: Uncategorized |

On October 9th, 2006, the streets of New York were crowded with the city’s children. Even though it was a Monday, many youngsters were found playing hopscotch and basketball, and attending the Columbus Day festivities. Columbus Day is a school-free, work-free (for some adults) day of parades and festivals, in which we celebrate the invasion of the Americas. Christopher Columbus has become a U.S. cultural icon, whose arrival to the U.S. signifies for many as the great discovery of the Americas, and many students in the United States are taught this cruel hoax.

While their Latin American parents and grandparents know of the true robbery and violence that occurred in their native lands, many Latino students are instead taught that Christopher Columbus is a U.S. cultural icon. The commendatory Columbus myths and celebrations in the U.S. mask the enslavement, exploitation, and genocide of the Native Americans brought about by Columbus and his successors, who the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described as “worse than Hitler.”[i] The Spanish historian Consuelo Varela has described Columbus’ Caribbean government as “a frontier society, with terrible misery and injustice.”[ii] Columbus implemented extreme forms of punishments to the indigenous peoples, such as the dismembering their ears and noses. I myself was not conscious of Columbus’ ancient crimes until a few years ago, when I conversed with a Dominican schoolteacher. She explained to me that in Latin America children learn as early as grade school of Columbus’ rape of the Americas. My U.S. education has failed me and many other Latino students; the heroic grandfather, who proved that the Earth was round and whom schoolchildren celebrate with portraits of crayon and cotton-ball-wigs, songs, plays, and parades, is a poseur.

The misuse of education is partly predicated on the Euro-centric assumption that brown savages, who did not accomplish nor contribute anything and who desperately needed the virtues of the European intellect and religion, inhabited the Americas. One such scholar who elaborates on such a racist assumption is Dr. Michael S. Berliner, who argues: “Whatever the problems it brought, the vilified Western culture also brought enormous, undreamed-of benefits, without which most of today’s Indians would be infinitely poorer or not even alive.”[i]

However, research has shown that Native Americans have made countless contributions. For example, in the realm of the humanities, they have produced oral literary traditions, art, music, and literature. Furthermore, the American indigenous populations have cultivated the majority of foods eaten today, such as rootbeer, beef jerky, chocolate, and potatoes.

A Euro-centric notion does not do justice to multicultural landscape of the Americas. African Americans, Europeans, indigenous tribes, and other populations comprise its lands. Therefore, it is crucial that more people understand the guileless social evolution in the Americas. Come, and lend a helping hand in a candid depiction of the Americas preceding Columbus’ arrival and of European exploration and colonization. Extend beyond these simple words a greater respect for those who marginalized. E-mail your family and friends a line or two saying your goodbye to Christopher.

[1] Columbus ‘sparked a genocide’. BBC News (October 12, 2003). Retrieved on 2006-10-21.
[11] Abend, Lisa, Geoff Pingree. “Who really sailed the ocean blue in 1492?”, The Christian Science Monitor, 2006-10-17. Retrieved on 2006-10-20.
[1] Berliner, Michael S. “On Columbus Day, Celebrate Western Civilization, Not Multiculturalism” The Ayn Rand Institute (October 9, 2002 ) Retrieved on 2006-10-20.

This post has been expanded into an internet-published article titled “Can You Say Goodbye to Colon.” Check it out here http://literatenubian.org/editor.aspx?Id=9&ArticleId=55

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Little burning crosses buried in pockets and phones.

Posted on August 15, 2006. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The other day I called an agency to possibly model for them. I said the usual hellos and how are you’s. You know, the cordial phone stuff. Then the receptionist went straight to business: “How tall are you?”


“And whats your race?” he asked.

“Latina,” I proudly told him.

“Oh, so you’re Puerto Rican.” he informed me.

“Noooooo. Actually I’m Dominican American.” I didn’t know that Puerto Rican was synomous with Latina. Hmm what about my Chicana sisters and my Brazilian brothers? I guess we’re just aliens lacking green cards and seeking aid from the extra-terresterial in the construction of our temples. Of course, I didn’t say any of that to the white hooded man in the other end of the phone. By the time, he finished telling me that I was too short for what they were looking for in a model, all I could do (amidst my blinding and muting rage) was say “Fine!” and hang up in the middle of his sentence. A few hours later, as I lathered up my hair in the shower, I finally came up with the best reply, “I didn’t know that little burning crosses were still in style.”

Fortunately, I haven’t suffered through a lot of racism because of my ethnicity. It’s usually because of my darker skin tone: many racists often group people with a bit of brown in them as black. It’s strange because I identify myself to my mom’s island cooking, Marquez and Cervantes language, and my family’s Caribbean history, yet I’m hardly ever thought of as Dominican American. I’m often confused for Brazilian, Hawaiian, Indian, Native American, Central American, etc. It’s actually a lot of fun to hear people’s guesses on my ethnicity. But my biggest concern lies in the stereotypes they enforce with my skin tone and their later discovery of my ethnicity.

“You must eat mangu everyday.”
“You must have a kid already.”
“You must be married to your cousin.”
“You must be so stupid, but FANTASTIC in bed. Come up, and show me how that Latina swing works. *wink, wink* No books required.”
“You must talk Spanish, you know, the language with an o at the end of every word, like computero, camero, sexo.”
“You must…”
“You must…”
“You must…”

And to add insult to injury: I don’t get it only from non-Latinos. I get a lot of it as well from other Latinos. You wouldn’t expect that from your own ethnicity, but the race complex in Latin America is so mind-boggling it can make anyone go cuu-cuu for cocoa puffs.

I’m not ungrateful at all with the progress that has been made after the civil rights movement. A lot has been done. Now a black man can actually play golf in the Westchester Country Club, without caddying for someone. A Latina can own a magazine that has as large an audience as Cosmo. However, when two talented African American golfers are accused of a crime without envidence, and when a group of Latino and Pakistani boys are patted down by the cops in Queens simply because of their brown tint, it makes me wonder: maybe we haven’t reached the finish line just yet.

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