Being Latina/o/x Series

Four Poems on Latinidad by Anthony Orozco

“Encantado” — An ode to Boricuas, who showed up en masse to the first Puerto Rican festival in Reading, Pa, in over a decade. The city’s first Latino mayor was freshly elected, the aftermath of Maria is behind them, and they continue to grapple with the perception of being not “real Americans. // ”mano a mano” — A call for unity, advocacy, and pride among Latinos. It honors the massive contributions and hidden hardships of our people. The poem momentarily erases our cultural, national, and class barriers to connect us as one. // “Conquest” — Written and performed with the oral tradition in mind, it is a vulnerable and visceral defense of mixed-race, mixed-culture people. When people try to control what Latinidad means or looks like, though they do not know the multi-cultural and sordid past of Latin America, this poem is used to refute claims of “not being Latino” enough. // “Land of the Cinder Block” — Also written and performed with the oral tradition in mind, this piece is an ode to my father’s homeland of Chihuahua, Mexico. It examines the state’s dual nature of being equally beautiful and perilous, of being sacred and frightening. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 24: Tono Latino

Today’s guest is the founder of Tono Latino, Sylvia Salazar—a Colombian immigrant and a computer engineer turned political activist. She is determined to change Latino representation in politics and in media. Tono Latino is a progressive platform that informs and educates Latinos about politics in the United States and encourages them to become more involved and vote. Why should the Latinx community get more politically involved? What are the potential consequences if we do not? Listen to find out. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 23: Traces of Home

Filmmaker Colette Ghunim on her first feature-length documentary: “Traces of Home tells the story of what happens when we as first-generation Americans go back to our roots to find out how where we come from shapes our identity. Through Traces of Home, I am telling my own personal story. I’m half Mexican and half Palestinian and both my parents were forced to leave their homes as children, and they both never returned since then. So through my film, we’re going back to Mexico and Palestine to try to find the original houses and to talk about why people are leaving and immigrating and why refugees are leaving as well, during a time when we need to hear it the most.” […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Cruzando Fronteras / Crossing Borders

Why would anyone want to take on the treacherous task of crossing (multiple) borders? Poets Alondra Adame, Eva Gonzalez, Gustavo Martir, David Cruz, and Diana Castellanos share their personal stories on crossing borders and immigration during “Cruzando Fronteras,” an event that provided a safe space to talk about the seeking of refuge. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 22: Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?

When Irma Herrera gives her name its correct Spanish pronunciation, some assume she’s not a real American. Her play, Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?, is one woman’s journey from a small segregated South Texas town to California’s multicultural mecca. In this wide-ranging interview, we explore her Chicana identity, colorism, linguistic isolation, cultural hybridity, class migration, her social justice work, how her play is relevant to current events, and her transition into becoming a playwright. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Snapshot: A Hyphenated Coexistence

My grandmother from Peru remarried at 81 to Don from Dayton, Ohio. She didn’t speak English and Don doesn’t speak Spanish, but they managed to find their own language. Together, they created a unique American love story, far from the life she left behind in Lima. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 18: Parenting a Mixed-Race Child

In addition to being multiracial, many mixed-race Americans are also multicultural. Naomi Raquel Enright is one such person, and she writes about her own experience with race and racism in her book, Strength of Soul. Interwoven with her own story of being born to a Jewish American father and an Ecuadorian mother in La Paz, Bolivia, Naomi also proposes her own strategies for how to fight racism and introduces readers to what it is that exacerbates systemic racism in the US. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 15: Memoir as a Political Act

How can memoir be a political act? When living under oppressive systems, the simple act of standing up and sharing personal stories that go against the mainstream is a political act. Mireya S. Vela and Julián Esteban Torres López meditate on this issue. Vela speaks from the perspective of an author, while Torres López forwards his experience as a publisher. They both explore inequities and injustice and use memoir to challenge, expose, and defiantly try to break down systems of oppression. […]