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FAMILIES GRAPPLE WITH COVID-19 CHEF JOSÉ ANDRÉS FEEDS THOSE IN NEED STREAMING SERVICES FEATURING LATINO TV LATINO VINO FLOWS IN NAPA VALLEY
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C HISPANI LIVING 2020
Chef José Andrés provides meals nationwide during the pandemic
Features JACQUELYN MARTIN
Music legend reflects on career and previews what’s to come
Business executives share stories of their corporate climbs
COPING WITH COVID-19
Coronavirus rates among Latinos magnify social inequities
C HISPANI LIVING 34
74 FASHION Jewelry can add the perfect touch to your ensemble
Enjoy these tasty, fun Latin-inspired snacks
Create fabulous fall outfits with these styles
Feel the burn of New Mexico’s chile peppers
BEAUTY These cosmetics make you feel gorgeous inside and out
Meet two influencers sharing Latino life online
PHOTO PROVIDED BY: FORMENTO & FORMENTO HAIR: EDDY MUNSTER MAKEUP: JUDY JACOMINO WARDROBE: VERONICA PORRAS
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
ON THE COVER:
Streaming services offer more Latino-themed programs
These talented actresses know how to steal a scene
Lisa Vidal encourages more TV roles for Latinos
Jennifer Lopez produces inclusivity behind the scenes
Latino students join Greekletter clubs for camaradarie
IN THE NEWS
DACA recipients react to U.S. Supreme Court ruling
Latino vintners are thriving in Napa Valley
Children‘s book celebrates late singer Selena
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Featured Contributors PREMIUM PUBLICATION EDITORIAL
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LAURA CASTAÑEDA teaches journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles. She’s also written for the websites of The Atlantic and Los Angeles Magazine and the print edition of The New York Times. While interviewing Gloria Estefan (page 36), she was surprised to learn that the singer-restaurateurcookbook author is famous for her pancakes and Thanksgiving dishes. “I was hoping she’d say picadillo, so I could ask her for her recipe.”
SYLVIA A. MARTINEZ is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared online, in print and on television. Former editor-inchief of Latina magazine, she also writes for social media, newsletters and websites. The native Texan lives in New Jersey with her husband. In this issue, she transports readers to the Napa Valley region of California where Latinos, whose ancestors once worked vineyards as laborers, are thriving as vintners who own their businesses (page 74).
MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington firstname.lastname@example.org GUEST EDITOR Cristina Silva ISSUE EDITOR Tracy Scott Forson ISSUE DESIGNER Hayleigh Corkey EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Harry Lister Deirdre van Dyk Debbie Williams DESIGNERS David Hyde Debra Moore Gina Toole Saunders Lisa M. Zilka CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Karen Asp, Laura Castañeda, Michaela Chesin, Luisa Colón, Ana Pelayo Connery, Pam George, Alan Gomez, Daniel Gonzalez, Ben Kenevey, Jennifer E. Mabry, Sylvia A. Martinez, Leah Murr, Jayne O’Donnell, Sarah Sekula
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LUISA COLÓN is a New York City-based writer whose work has appeared in print and online publications such as The New York Times, Latina and BuzzFeed. In this issue, she writes about dynamic Latina characters on TV (page 26) and the diverse programming offered by streaming services (page 22). “Writing about these amazing Latina characters currently portrayed on TV — a rocket scientist, a U.S. president, a military veteran — was gratifying and a little bittersweet. I would have loved to have experienced that kind of diversity in media when I was growing up; it would have been very meaningful to me.”
ANA PELAYO CONNERY writes for a variety of outlets, including CNN and Reader’s Digest. The Miami-born writer has led content teams at some of the country’s top magazine brands, including Parenting, Cooking Light and Latina. Despite having interviewed a slew of celebrities and dignitaries, including former first lady Michelle Obama, talking to chef José Andrés (page 54) about his success with World Central Kitchen was a career highlight. “It’s amazing how quickly and creatively he applies his natural talent to natural disasters and public health crises. The world is a better place because he’s in it.”
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Standing Together ONLY A FEW weeks had passed since California’s stay-at-home order had gone into effect, and I wasn’t handling it well. I longed to see my friends. I worried for frail parents. My mind raced from the possibility that my husband and I could both lose our jobs, and I wasn’t sure how to go about drafting a last will and testament, just in case. Determined to turn my mood around, I pulled my husband into the living room, set the radio to a Latin music station and followed his lead as we moved our hips and feet to bachata, salsa, merengue and reggaeton songs. For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic had come into our lives, I felt sexy, happy, hopeful. Life was good as long as we had each other and good tunes. This year has been difficult for many Latino families. COVID-19 is ravaging our communities. Massive unemployment has left many unable
to pay their bills. Parents are scrambling to educate their children amid school closures. But Latinos are nothing if not resilient. Our families have endured revolutions, slavery, erasure, hunger, exile, dictatorships, discrimination, colonization and more. Through it all, we have always sought to focus on moments of beauty and joy: the faces of our loved ones, the vibrant music of our culture, the strength of our people. This year’s Hispanic Living magazine celebrates Hispanics across the United States. We spotlight chef José Andrés’ efforts to feed food-insecure families; Latinas who are gaining star power on TV; successful Latina business leaders; Napa Valley’s Latino-owned wineries; and we look at the lives of Latinx students entering higher education and helping one other find camaraderie on campus. Jennifer Lopez shares her aspiration to make more movies centered on women’s stories. Gloria Estefan explains how the people and sounds of Brazil influenced her latest album. Now more than ever, Hispanics must stand together to support one another. I hope these stories of triumph mean as much to you as they do to me.
— Cristina Silva, Guest editor
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UP FRONT FASHION 10 | BEAUTY 16 | CULTURE 18 | ENTERTAINMENT 22
Rita Moreno, winner of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards, paved the way for many Latinas in Hollywood. Find out more about the TV actresses following in her footsteps. CHRIS PIZZELLO
UP FRONT | FASHION
Adorn yourself with the latest and greatest jewelry
BY LEAH MURR
WHETHER YOU’RE STAYING inside or stepping out for some social distancing fun, these fancy finds will add a spark to any outfit:
UNOde50’s Fly Me to the Moon earrings are elegant and graceful even with their oversized 2.36-inch length. $110, unode50.com
Mercedes Salazar’s Abeja Reina Menta Insect Tassel earrings glimmer with metallic-woven thread. Clip-on fastener. $270, everythingbutwater. com
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
K Kane’s Chain Letter Neons feature a stunning solid 14-karat yellow gold initial or number outline of your choice threaded onto stylish brightly colored nylon cords. $88, k-kane.com
Add a little edge to any outfit with Sophiya Jewelry’s Lucy Dagger earrings. $37, sophiyajewelry.com
Lele Sadoughi’s Small Paper Lily earrings feature striped acetate, which makes these lightweight beauties gorgeous. $125, lelesadoughi.com
Eriness Jewelry’s Emerald Vertical Baguette ring showcases 4.35 carats of radiant emeralds. It’s a showstopper. $2,795, eriness.com
Sophie Monet’s The Nova earrings combine sustainability and glamour with lightweight pine spheres and a teardrop-shaped onyx bead. $150, sophiemonet jewelry.com
SOKO’s Ellipse Link Collar necklace is an elegant version of 2020’s obsession with chain-link jewelry, and it’s a women-led ethical jewelry brand made in Kenya to boot. $178, shopsoko.com
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Mónica Sordo Jewelry’s La Sureña Puerto necklace merges modern design ideas with ancient artisan techniques to create a true work of art. $785, nordstrom.com
UP FRONT | FASHION
Autumn Attire Standout staples that can easily be integrated into any wardrobe
BY LEAH MURR
LOOK YOUR BEST when you finally emerge from COVID-19 quarantine with these classic fashion must-haves:
Have fun in the sun with Lele Sadoughi’s Ocean Blue Nolita round sunglasses. $175, lelesadoughi.com
Put your best foot forward in this classic chic fall look from LAFAYETTE 148’s fall collection. Kade jacket, $798 Italian stretch cotton Rowland shirt, $498 Italian Heritage denim high-rise wide-leg full Wyckoff jean, $398 Irregular Circle buckle belt, $198, lafayette148ny.com
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
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UP FRONT | FASHION
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The strong silhouette of Sorel’s Blake Bootie is a fall fashion must-have. $210, sorel.com
Argentinian designer Diego Binetti offers this Frankie fitted blazer. $625, diegobinetti.com
Raggedy Tiff’s Colorful Arriba Tee is a celebration of mujeres around the world. $29.99, raggedytiff.com
Top it all off with Lack of Color’s Forest Rancher fedora. $129, lackofcolor.com
Loeffler Randall’s Giselle handbag in cognac is the ideal everyday saddlebag-style purse. $395, loefflerrandall.com Life is too short for boring accessories. Check out Loeffler Randall’s Salli hair clips in pink and acorn. $35, loefflerrandall.com
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
Machine-washable white tennis shoes are no longer just a dream thanks to Rothy’s The Lace Up. $165, rothys.com
Co-founded by Latina entrepreneurs, Eberjey’s fashions are for women by women. The Lara Storyteller Teddy is a super-soft end to a long day. $97, eberjey.com
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“ GROUNDBREAKING.” —Entertainment Weekly
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UP FRONT | BEAUTY
Falling Fast for Fall Beauty Change up your look with some of the season’s hottest makeup products BY LEAH MURR
REAL BEAUTY COMES from within, but a bit of help on the surface doesn’t hurt. A little attention paid to your favorite features can make all the difference. These cosmetics accentuate the positive in the best way:
Ella’s Eve Cosmetics’ Make It Your Eve palette includes 15 highly-pigmented shades with empowering names like “fearless” and “stunning.” $26, ellasevecosmetics.com
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Benefit Cosmetics’ Brow Microfilling pen mimics the look of microbladed brows. $25, benefitcosmetics.com
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
CAI Para Mi’s Lip Lacquer in fruit punch is a vibrant, stop-in-your-tracks color with a high shine. $6, amazon.com
Maintain a radiant and more youthful glow with Obagi Clinical’s Blue Brilliance triple acid peel. $145, sephora.com
Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Push Up lashes features a dual-sided load-and-comb technology to define, lengthen and lift for voluminous lashes. $29, charlottetilbury.com
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Reina Rebelde’s Rebel eye definer liquid gives you intense long-lasting color that is water-resistant and cruelty free. $15, reinarebelde.com
UP FRONT | CULTURE
Bold and Beautiful Dulce Candy doesn’t just want to influence, she wants to empower BY TRACY SCOTT FORSON
DULCE CANDY SHARES her life’s journey with fans of her beauty blog (dulcecandy.com). The wife and mother, who recently welcomed her second child, first launched her YouTube channel in 2008. Initially, its primary focus was sharing beauty and fashion trends. Now, she hopes to be a “positive advocate for women around the world.” With about 4 million followers across multiple social media platforms, her message is being embraced by many. Candy acknowledges the responsibility of being considered an influencer, especially one who’s Mexican. “I only feature and recommend products that resonate with my audience and myself. I make sure my brand values align closely with the company I am partnering with and also ensure that they are inclusive of all people,” she says. Statistics suggest that beauty/cosmetics is a big draw for the Latina population. Why do you think that is? CANDY: Beauty tends to be an act that we learn to love from a young age. The women in our family teach us the importance of looking presentable and at our best at all times, but it runs deeper. Beauty and makeup are also a “power” tool within our Latin community because we have the freedom to create our own unique and distinct style with cosmetics. We have also been using this medium to assert our authentic selves and reject white assimilation in this country. Given the sometimes negative stereotypes of Latinos, do you think about how you’re representing your community as a whole? I believe it’s my job to focus on how I can personally grow as a human, and by doing so, I am naturally dispelling negative stereotypes. I also believe that it’s essential to focus on the storytelling of the real human
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
experience so that other races can see how we are much more alike than different. I also believe that it’s vital for people in our community, especially creators with significant platforms, to be aware of their influence and recognize that by playing into specific stereotypes, it can be detrimental to the community. We are well-rounded people, and we must showcase that to the world. How do you and your family celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by making it a point to learn about Hispanic people that have paved the way for us to flourish in this day and age throughout our history. We visit local bookstores to buy books, watch movies and documentaries, listen to music and support small businesses. I love that there is an emphasis to celebrate our culture in September and October, but these are things we do throughout the year.
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UP FRONT | CULTURE
... nothing beats the feeling of making someone else happy.”
Fare With Flair El Guzii serves up tasty plates full of personality
MEXICAN AMERICAN GUSTAVO Figueroa, better known by his millions of social media followers as El Guzii, launched the current iteration of his YouTube channel in 2012 (youtube.com/ user/ElGuzii). He’s drawn a crowd around his kitchen counter, where he prepares traditional Latin fare and other tasty dishes for his Spanishspeaking viewers. “Choosing food as my focus came naturally,” he says. “For us, food and being in the kitchen as a family is something that has brought great memories. Food in our culture means fun, laughter and nourishment of the soul; something we share in our cooking show.”
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
Statistics show that diabetes disproportionately affects the Latino community. How does that influence your diet and what recipes you present online? GUZII: Diabetes is very serious among us Latinos. I’m actually prediabetic, and I’m working on my health with my personal trainer. On camera, people see me making and trying foods that are considered very unhealthy, and that has caused us to receive a lot of hateful comments. Even though hateful comments and statistics can make people change, what inspired me to have a more active and healthy lifestyle off camera is the fact that my 2-year-old son and beautiful wife depend on me. I want to be strong and healthy for them for many years to come. What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
My favorite dish to prepare has to be chicken Madeira. It’s a dish that is easy to make, but makes you feel like a chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The dish is made up of browned chicken tenderloins, smothered in a mushroom sauce with Madeira wine and topped with melted mozzarella cheese and asparagus, with a side of buttery mashed potatoes. You’re obviously a foodie. What’s your favorite dish to eat? My favorite dish to eat? Tacos! Fish, beef, chicken, shrimp or even nopal tacos will always be my favorite dish. This is because tacos are portable, and you can use soft or crunchy corn tortillas, or even flour tortillas. You can fill them with whatever you want, and they are super delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
What is your favorite memory tied to food? When I was about 4 or 5 years old, my family and I visited our favorite childhood restaurant in Culver City, Calif.: Tito’s Tacos. After eating at the restaurant, we had two extra tacos along with chips and salsa we couldn’t finish, so we took them with us (as) we headed to our favorite spot a few minutes away: Veterans Memorial Park, (where) I saw a homeless man … digging in the park’s trash cans looking for food. … I approached (him) and asked, “Hi, do you want tacos?” He turned around and looked at me with a big smile and said, “Oh, yes. Thank you!” As I sat next to my dad, we watched (him) from a distance eat his tacos. Even though I was excited to eat my favorite leftover tacos once I got home, nothing beats the feeling of making someone else happy.
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Tuned In Streaming services are highlighting Latino-themed content BY LUISA COLÓN
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
LATINO REPRESENTATION ON television has improved since the days Lucille Ball would mock her husband Desi Arnaz’s accent on I Love Lucy. Nearly 70 years later, there are many more Latino actors on the small screen — some even starring in series with Hispanics in lead roles. That makes sense considering that the U.S. Hispanic population surpassed 60 million in 2019, up from 35.7 million in 2000.
UP FRONT | ENTERTAINMENT
AMAZON STUDIOS; USA NETWORK; FOX; CW
Hulu original, East Los High
The response has been to produce and make available quality shows with a Latino focus. Still, there’s room to grow. “We need content that is Latino-themed content,” says Felix Sanchez, chairman and co-founder of the National Hispanic
Foundation for the Arts. “We need content that integrates us into the American landscape, as Americans.” Sanchez points out that despite the significant percentage of Latinos in Monterey, Calif., HBO’s Big Little Lies doesn’t feature a Latina character in
CW’s Roswell, New Mexico
its star-studded lineup, likening it to “a denial of our presence.” “(The industry) doesn’t get that it’s a big deal that they don’t cast a Latina in the show,” says Sanchez. Carina Adly MacKenzie, the creator of the CW’s Roswell, New Mexico,
makes another important point. “I think we need to see the industry evolve to not only see more diverse representation in front of the camera, but in positions of power behind the camera,” says Adly MacKenzie, who departed the series in July. “I was the person who insisted that the lead of the show be Latina. However, I, myself, am a white woman. I’m not sure I would take the job on Roswell if it were offered to me today. I probably should have taken on a secondary role and encouraged the studio to hire a Latina showrunner. We’re all learning and growing, myself included.” Some say lack of marketing and promotion is part of the problem. The acclaimed, Latino-focused Party of Five reboot, for example, and The Baker and the Beauty were both canceled despite being “stellar in their acting, casting, narratives,” says Sanchez. “And yet it was like wine. It didn’t have enough time to breathe and earn the support from the audience.” A growing number of streaming services are looking to fill the gap in Latino-focused television, although critics say they need to go much further to reach ethnic parity. Some, like Pantaya and Sling Latino, focus solely or mainly on Hispanic content, but others are also offering great programming that features Latino leads, locations and storylines — and giving them room to grow, breathe and find their audiences. Fans mourned when the family sitcom Cristela was canceled by ABC, but its sole season has found new life streaming on Amazon Prime. “I always thought that Cristela was a tremendous show that didn’t have enough room to expand a little more, to reach a broader audience,” says Sanchez. “It absolutely was very unique and very appealing in its authenticity.” Amazon’s original series feature lots of Latino content
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
available to Prime members at no additional cost. These include the drama El Presidente (starring How to Get Away With Murder’s Karla Souza); the romantic comedy Pequeñas Coincidencias, created by Javier Veiga, which is slated to return for a third season in 2021; two seasons of unscripted variety series LOL: Last One Laughing; and the gritty Mexican drama Diablo Guardián. During its first week, Love, Victor was one of Hulu’s most-binged original drama series in 2020; the show stars Michael Cimino as the titular lead, a high schooler exploring his sexual orientation. Another teen drama, the soapy and engrossing East Los High, featured an all-Latino cast and crew (and, interestingly, wove educational material into the show’s plotlines via a collaboration between the screenwriters and health workers). And the documentary We Are Freestyle Love Supreme revisits Lin-Manuel Miranda’s early days with a improvisiational hip-hop group. Rosario Dawson stars in USA network’s Briar Patch, which is available on Hulu. When Netflix announced an upcoming live-action movie based on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? featuring Gina Rodriguez in the lead (she’s also one of the producers, in addition to voicing Carmen on the animated series), it was just the latest in an impressive lineup of offerings featuring Latino talent, such as La Niña, The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia, Elite, La Casa de las Flores and the female prison drama Vis a Vis (or Locked Up) — just to name a few — that range from dramas to documentaries to telenovelas. And fan favorite Jane the Virgin (also starring Rodriguez) is available to stream, too. According to Nielsen, Spanish crime drama La Casa de Papel (or Money Heist) is the most watched non-English series on Netflix ever.
AMAZON STUDIOS (3); NETFLIX
UP FRONT | ENTERTAINMENT
UP FRONT | ENTERTAINMENT
These actresses are making a big statement on the small screen
WHEN LEGENDARY on broadcast scripted ACTRESS Rita Moreno shows were portrayed starred as Anita in 1961’s by Latino actors in 2017. West Side Story — a role In contrast, 63 percent that won her an Oscar — of the roles were filled her co-star playing the by white talent and 21 Puerto Rican percent protagonist, by African Maria, was Americans. the Russian“Diversity American is important (and because decidedly people un-Hispanic) — young Natalie people Wood. especially — Portrayals need to see RITA MORENO of Latinas in themselves film and television have represented and reflected come a long way since back at them,” says then. Carina Adly MacKenzie, While the film industry the creator of the CW’s may still largely overlook Roswell, New Mexico. Latina-driven stories, the Having diverse stories small screen is catching and perspectives on TV up and then some, with broadens opportunities hits such as the beloved for marginalized people One Day at a Time reboot, in real life. It’s incredibly in which Moreno stars as important,” adds Adly the matriarch of a Cuban MacKenzie, who left American family. “It’s of Roswell in July. paramount importance,” These five actresses, Moreno says of diversity playing varied roles, are in television. “It’s not one the faces of a new era white world out there.” of Latina representation However, TV does in television. They’ve not reflect the nation’s portrayed strong, fully diversity. According to formed characters that UCLA’s 2019 Diversity in help tell the story of Hollywood report, only 6 Latinas today in percent of the characters the U.S.
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
After a tragic exit for her character LaKeisha on the Starz hit series Power, Anthony (born Alani Nicole Vazquez) found a home on the third season of Showtime’s The Chi. On the drama series, which follows the intertwining lives of residents of one Chicago neighborhood, she portrayed Dom, an entrepreneur using her culinary skills to bring some Puerto Rican flavor to the diverse cast.
In the Disney+ series Diary of a Future President, Romero plays Elena CañeroReed, the future U.S. president, who is in middle school when the show takes place. Gina Rodriguez (who is also an executive producer of the series) stars as the adult Elena. The show, which has been renewed for a second season, provides a strong Latina character to whom audiences can relate — and look up to — all the while depicting a young girl’s adolescent journey (inspired by the childhood of creator Ilana Peña).
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UP FRONT | ENTERTAINMENT
Recently renewed for a third season, the CW’s Roswell, New Mexico features Mason, a Cuban American, as biomedical researcher Liz Ortecho. “Liz is a positive character because of how dynamic she is. She’s complicated, driven and flawed; she has great victories and experiences great losses,” says show creator Adly MacKenzie.
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
Young audiences are enraptured by Netflix’s The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia, co-created by Mario Lopez. Texas-born actress Chavez, plays Ashley, the youngest person to ever earn a Ph.D. When Ashley moves to California to work for NASA, she’s excited not just about rocket science, but about exploring more typical teen pursuits.
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If Machado — who plays Moreno’s daughter on One Day at a Time — looks familiar, it’s because the Puerto Rican, Chicago-born actress has been appearing in film and television for years, including supporting roles in fan favorites Six Feet Under and Jane the Virgin. In One Day at a Time, she stars as Penelope Alvarez, a United States Army Nurse Corps veteran and single mom dealing with issues ranging from depression and PTSD to managing the dating scene as a 40-something divorcee.
TU U ES MI U
@YWCAUSA @YWCAUSA @YWCAUSA
UP FRONT | ENTERTAINMENT
The Baker and The Beauty
Representing Well Actress Lisa Vidal urges networks to share more Latino stories
HER RÉSUMÉ READS like a list of successful TV shows — many iconic — that have become part of American pop culture: Miami Vice, The Cosby Show, ER, Law & Order and Star Trek. Lisa Vidal has graced television screens for four decades. Whether she’s in a leading role or part of a supporting cast, Vidal appreciates those opportunities when she can pull from her own life and share it with viewers. Vidal, 55 and a breast cancer survivor, was able to draw from her real life when her Being Mary Jane character was diagnosed with the disease. The BET series starring Gabrielle Union aired for five seasons. Most recently, she starred in ABC’s dramedy The Baker and the Beauty, about a working-class Latino who gets swept up in a romance with a superstar. Vidal plays Mari, the matriarch of the close-knit Garcia family. “I knew (the qualities) I could bring to the character that would make her feel familiar and reflect the kind of family I came from and the love my parents had for their family,” she says. Vidal, a Puerto Rican raised in Queens, N.Y., says her parents supported her pursuit of an acting career, even sending her to the
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
FRANCISCO ROMAN/ABC; RUSSELL BAER
BY JENNIFER E. MABRY
We Make a Difference
We are navigating unprecedented times and working families are being affected like never before. A recent Primerica study shows the financial impact middle-income families are experiencing. Many plan to take steps in response to strengthen their financial futures. While the majority say they were financially prepared for the crisis, many people – particularly parents and people who have not had professional financial guidance – feel they were not. Primerica’s Hispanic American Leadership Council is committed to making a difference in their community and beyond through money management education. For more than 40 years, Primerica’s Representatives have met with families across North America, educating them about their finances and providing solutions that can help them achieve their goals – during any We Make a Difference economic environment. We are navigating unprecedented times and working To review Primerica’s “Middle-Income Financial Outlook Amid a Pandemic” survey, please go to http://www.primerica. families are being impactedAmericans’ financially like never com/public/Primerica_Covid_Insights_Report_July-1.pdf before. A new Primerica study shows the financial Primerica’s term insurance is underwritten in the U.S. (except in NY) by Primerica Life Insurance Co. in Duluth, GA, and in New York impact middle-income families are experiencing. For by National Benefit Life Insurance Co. in Long Island City, NY. Primerica Life Insurance Co. of Canada in Mississauga, ON, underwrites moreterm thanlife40insurance years, and Primerica’s Representatives have Canadian Common Sense Funds segregated fund products. In the U.S., securities and advisory services are metbywith across North America, educating offered PFS families Investments Inc., 1 Primerica Parkway, Duluth, GA 30099-0001, member FINRA [www.finra.org]. PFS Investments Inc.them conducts its advisory business under name Primerica Advisors. Primerica and PFS Investments are affiliated companies. In about their finances andthe providing solutions Canada, mutual funds are offered by PFSL Investments Canada Ltd., mutual fund dealer. Head Office: Mississauga, ON.
UP FRONT | ENTERTAINMENT
I really want to show diversity in the projects I work on. And diversity is not just Black and white.”
Nathalie Kelley, Vidal and Belissa Escobedo costarred in ABC’s The Baker and the Beauty, which featured a primarily Latino cast.
prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Shortly after Vidal graduated, she landed her first starring role on the PBS series Oye Willie and has worked continuously since. That’s not to suggest it’s been easy. Although the landscape is improving, roles written for Latinas are still a rarity. According to UCLA’s 2019 Diversity in Hollywood report, Latinos fill only 6 percent of lead roles on broadcast TV and 5 percent on cable networks. Even when Latinos are in lead roles, the shows don’t necessarily reflect the diversity and culture of the community. There remains a dearth of stories about the lives of Latino Americans on television. The Baker and the Beauty, which ABC canceled after one season, was the only network program in prime time this spring that featured an ensemble of Latino actors. Vidal is hopeful the show will find a home on another network, but
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says if Hollywood is serious about being inclusive, it has to be “intentional and purposeful” in the placement, promotion and support of a program like The Baker and the Beauty by setting it up to succeed, grow and retain an audience. Vidal is as devoted to her personal life as she is her profession. She and her husband, real estate agent Jay Cohen, have been married for 30 years and have two adult sons and a teenage daughter. She says the key to their relationship is that she and her husband are friends. “We love doing things together. So that definitely helps us run the race,” she says. Next, Vidal says she’d like to produce and direct as well as land a leading role in which she champions the underdog. “I really want to show diversity in the projects I work on. And diversity is not just Black and white,” says Vidal. “It’s everything in between, and I think it’s important we represent that because that’s what the real world looks like.”
— LISA VIDAL
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UP FRONT | ENTERTAINMENT
Taking the Lead Jennifer Lopez’s production company emphasizes inclusion and diversity BY BILL KEVENEY AND TRACY SCOTT FORSON
LIKE MANY SUCCESSFUL women, Jennifer Lopez’s ascent to stardom was a yearslong journey. Some early fans remember her humble beginnings in the background. In the ’90s, she swayed to the beat, sometimes out of focus, as a backup dancer in music videos. She entertained the live studio audience of sketch comedy show In Living Color during commercial breaks and as the credits rolled. She played small roles on short-lived sitcoms. However, the Bronx, N.Y., native with a Puerto Rican background worked her way to the top. Decades later, J.Lo is a household name who has earned her place up front. The triple-threat icon, who has headlined a Super Bowl halftime show, a Vegas residency, blockbuster films and TV dramas, is helping to shine a light on those who might otherwise be relegated to the background — telling their stories on screen and helping to launch their careers. “I remember my days of dancing and having pizza, (eating)
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only a slice all day, and going to dance classes and trying to make an audition. It’s a hard life,” says Lopez, a judge and executive producer of NBC’s World of Dance, a competition show featuring performers and styles of dance from around the globe. “This is about creating opportunities for people.” Contestants on the show specialize in just about every genre, including tap, hip-hop, ballet, modern, samba and more. For viewers, not only does the show entertain, it’s a chance to learn about other cultures through the art form. On season four of the show, a Colombian husband-and-wife duo performed a fast-paced version of salsa, called caleño, for J.Lo and fellow judges Derek Hough and Ne-Yo. Show Stopper, a jazz-funk team of women from Miami, described themselves as firstgeneration Americans whose members have roots in Cuba, Colombia and Puerto Rico. CBAction, a male quintet from Argentina, offered a street dance
I remember my days of dancing. ... It’s a hard life. ... (World of Dance) is about creating opportunities for people.”
ANDREW ECCLES/NBC; JORDIN ALTHAUS/NBC; TRAE PATTON/NBC (2)
— JENNIFER LOPEZ
routine. The teens of Miami-based group 305 took the stage performing Latin ballroom. “Jennifer’s presence both on screen as a judge and behind the camera as an executive producer of the show has helped to draw the very best talent from all around the world, including many Latino groups who have been inspired by her representation,” says Matilda Zoltowski, World of Dance executive producer. “Several times, many of the competitors have named Jennifer as an influence and thanked her for all she has done to lay a path for generations of Latinas to follow.” In an industry where women’s and minorities’ stories are often underrepresented, Lopez’s leading role as
founder of Nuyorican Productions, which produces World of Dance, allows her to take on projects that help shape the narratives and portray strong images of these marginalized groups. Nuyorican’s The Fosters, which ran on ABC Family (now Freeform) for five seasons, featured an interracial lesbian couple with a houseful of adoptive, biological and foster children of various ethnicities. Her 2019 film Hustlers, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination, was heralded for its diverse cast, including Constance Wu of Crazy Rich Asians and Akeelah and the Bee star KeKe Palmer. “One of the things I want to do at my production company with my partner (Elaine
Goldsmith-Thomas) is to take the women from the background and put them at the forefront and tell their stories,” says Lopez. Turning the spotlight on real-life stories and talent that might be otherwise overlooked is a calling for Lopez,
whose talent eventually placed her center stage. Today, when she’s in the background, it’s to create, produce and push others forward.
The women of Show Stopper, top, and the teens of 305 display Latino culture and styles on NBC’s World of Dance.
— Melissa Daniels of the Palm Springs (Calif.) Desert Sun contributed to this article.
Rhythm BY LAURA CASTAÃ&#x2018;EDA
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Gloria Estefan hasn’t missed a beat with new music, TV and film projects
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even-time Grammy Award winner Gloria Estefan spent years producing her passion project, Brazil305, a record of authentic samba and bossa nova rhythms, and is thankful for her patient fans. “With Brazil305, I hope to give them some hopeful and beautiful rhythms that they can dance to and just make them feel happy,” Estefan says. Brazil305 was released in August, and a documentary will air later this year. An original single from the album, Cuando Hay Amor, came out in June. That same month, her recurring role on the hit Pop TV sitcom One Day at a Time, featuring an animated episode with her character singing her classic tune Mi Tierra with legend Rita Moreno, brought some muchneeded levity during the COVID-19 pandemic. A ballad titled We Needed Time, sending a message of love and hope in a midpandemic world, debuted in May. A month before that, Put on Your Mask, a parody sung to the tune of another hit, Get on Your Feet, urged listeners to cover up. And she’s not done. Following its 2015 debut and worldwide tour, the hit Broadway musical On Your Feet!, based on her life and music with husband, Emilio Estefan, may become
a film. “Something’s coming down the pike,” she confirms.
BACK IN THE STUDIO Facebook Watch is launching Red Table Talk: The Estefans, featuring Estefan, her musician daughter Emily Estefan, and her niece, Univision TV host Lili Estefan. The show is modeled after actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s program with her daughter and mother and is tentatively scheduled to debut in October. “We’re going to need a traffic cop. Three Cubans trying to talk? I have two gavels, which I will employ!” Estefan jokes. “It will be mostly in English with some Spanglish, and we’ll talk about sexuality, motherhood, women and aging, spirituality and what it means to be a Latina.” Estefan’s Brazil305 is her most personal album yet. It’s a reimagining of 13 of her classic hits, plus five original songs including Cuando Hay Amor. She named it for Rio de Janeiro, site of Brazil’s famous Carnival, and Miami’s area code as a bridge between the two. It was recorded in Brazil with local musicians and producers. Estefan says she has always loved Brazilian music and persuaded Emilio, her then-bandmate and
future husband, to incorporate the genre into the Miami Sound Machine’s style when she was 17 years old. The band eventually released its own album titled Rio in 1983. “Those rhythms speak to me. They always have,” she says.
Similar to the Smith family‘s Red Table Talk, the Estefans will discuss hot topics in their new web series.
Estefan first started working on Brazil305 four years ago, but its completion and release were delayed due to the death of her beloved mother in 2017. “I just couldn’t think at that time. I could not get into (the) studio to do the kind of emotional work that was going to happen,” she says. With so much uncertainty these past few months as the Black Lives Matter movement sparked global protests against police brutality, and COVID-19 took a heavy toll on U.S. Latinos, Estefan decided it was time to get back into the studio. “Music has always been really healing for me. My fans look to me for a lot of that as well,” she says. The album includes a duet with Brazilian singer Carlinhos Brown, and it evokes the sounds of samba recordings popularized in the 1960s by Sérgio Mendes, Brasil ’66, Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobim. The documentary that accompanies Brazil305 includes a history of samba music, which was used by enslaved West Africans in Brazil to communicate with one another. She also interviews female musicians who have broken into the heavily male-dominated samba circle. “I came out knowing way more than I ever imagined of this music that spoke to my soul as a teenager,” Estefan says.
Gloria Estefan: Did you know? Estefan was offered — and turned down — the Julia Roberts role in the 1988 film Mystic Pizza. Instead, she studied acting and made her debut 10 years later in Music of the Heart with Meryl Streep. She now has a recurring role on Pop TV’s One Day at a Time as Mirtha, the younger sister of Lydia, played by Rita Moreno. She plays Candy Crush, sails,
rides her bike and enjoys good conversations over dinner. Her specialties are pancakes and Thanksgiving dinner. She was 5 foot, 2 inches tall but lost 2 inches after a 1990 bus crash. The two stainless steel rods in her back guarantee she’ll remain an even 5 feet tall for the rest of her life. “Glo,” as her friends call her, has weekly Zoom gatherings with her
Born Gloria Fajardo on Sept. 1, 1957, in Havana, Estefan inherited her artistic abilities from her family. Her mother, Gloria “Big Gloria” Garcia, was selected to dub actress Shirley Temple’s movies into Spanish before the Cuban Revolution, but her disapproving father put an end to that dream. Estefan’s uncles also were singer-songwriters. Instead of a life in showbiz, Garcia married Cuban volleyball champ and policeman Jose Manuel Fajardo, and the family came to Miami in 1959. Fajardo later returned to Cuba as part of the Bay of Pigs invasion where he was captured and imprisoned for nearly two years. After his release, he joined the U.S. Army and volunteered to serve in Vietnam in 1967.
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“I’ve done so much more than I’ve ever dreamed. I just want to live. I want time, which no one can guarantee. Give me good health and time, and I will take care of the rest.”
During his two years of duty, he was exposed to Agent Orange and became wheelchair-bound. Estefan helped care for him and her younger sister, Rebecca, while her mother taught school. He died in 1980. Estefan, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1974, met Emilio Estefan about a year later. She joined his band, which changed its name from the Miami Latin Boys to Miami Sound Machine to accommodate its new lead singer, and the two married in 1978. She graduated from the University of Miami a year later and
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CARRYING ON A TRADITION
high school friends. She was the first Cuban American recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. Gloria and husband Emilio Estefan also were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama and received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first time it was awarded to songwriters of Hispanic descent.
JOHN P. FILO/CBS; PROVIDED BY ESTEFAN ENTERPRISES; GETTY IMAGES
Artists LL Cool J, Lionel Richie, Carmen de Lavallade, Norman Lear and Gloria Estefan received Kennedy Center Honors in 2017.
Gloria a Emilio, nd 1980s
Gloria Estefan updates hit song to warn about COVID-19 Artists are known for using their gifts to express themselves and uplift others. So, it’s little surprise that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the legendary Gloria Estefan not only used her talent to offer new music, she used it to send a message and spread some joy. In April, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started recommending wearing a mask in public, Estefan released a parody of her 1989 hit song Get on Your Feet. The wife, mother and Grammy winner — with help from Heather Beltran — surprised fans with Put on Your Mask. “I wanted to contribute something that would put a bit of humor into a very serious situation because that’s what has helped me get through the toughest moments in my life,” reads Estefan’s website. The tune is the same, but the updated lyrics encourage listeners to follow expert advice on how to avoid spreading and catching the disease. “They say stay home. Please don’t you go outside. There’s no use dying. Each time someone comes within 6 feet, we feel like crying,” she sings in the two-minute track before launching into the chorus. “Put on your masks, when you go out in public. Put on your masks, help save the world from COVID.” In the accompanying music video, Estefan wears a white doctor’s coat, sprays disinfectant, fashions a mask out of a bandana and dons a “prone to shenanigans and tomfoolery” T-shirt. Estefan says an infectious disease specialist asked her to create something funny to help spread the word about protecting loved ones from the disease that has infected more than 4 million people in the U.S., the CDC reports. “I hope I make you smile while imparting an important message,” she says. “To those suffering from this vile plague or those that have lost loved ones, you are in my prayers and thoughts continuously.”
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Gloria and husband Emilio
GETTY IMAGES; JESÚS CARRERO
Lyrics of Love
was even recruited by the CIA. The government’s loss was entertainment’s gain. In addition to her seven Grammy Awards, she has had 29 songs that ranked on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. Estefan has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, been inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and honored with an American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, among other accolades. However, one tragic moment nearly put an end to her historic career. In 1990, she was involved in a bus crash in Pennsylvania, and her back was broken. Doctors weren’t sure she would be able to perform again or have another baby. She defied the odds on both counts. She triumphantly launched her comeback tour on a Miami stage a year later. “I felt like I had climbed Mount Everest,” she says. The Gloria Estefan Foundation was created seven years after her accident. It supports spinal cord research, animal advocacy and individual cases of hardship. It recently helped create Vero Beach Dog Park in Florida and provided 500 meals daily for two months to Miami-area hospitals and first responders during the pandemic. “My foundation tries to help people that fall through the cracks, that can’t get help from big organizations ... We try to fill in where immediate help is needed,” reads the foundation’s website.
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A FAMILY FOCUS
The Estefan family
Her daughter, up-and-coming musician Emily Estefan, is 25 years old. Estefan’s son, Nayib, 40, runs the Design District’s Nite Owl Theater in Miami, a screening room reviving 35 mm film. He and his wife, Lara Diamante Coppola, have an 8-year-old son, Sasha, who is already displaying musical talent.
In fact, the We Needed Time track was inspired by Nayib, who was discussing life under quarantine and the concerns Sasha had. Estefan told him that perhaps we all needed this time to stop and focus on the needs of others. She started writing the song in bed that day and finished it in the evening. It’s no wonder that Estefan is inspired by her children, with whom she's very close, but a love story for the ages is the one with her soulmate, Emilio, a visionary producer in his own right and winner of 19 Grammy Awards. “With Gloria, what you see is what you get. She’s not a hypocrite. She’s the same person. She’s still very shy. She doesn’t like to bother anyone. She’s a good human being and takes pride in family. She’s always thinking that everything has a consequence,” he says. “If Gloria threw me out of the house, I’d still say she’s the best woman in my whole life.” He’s proud that even though the record company wanted them to change their name and sound when they first started out, they refused and became role models for Latinos. “You don’t have to change yourself to be successful. Never let anybody change who you are,” Emilio says. “We became successful because we were different than anybody else.” So what’s next for the 63-yearold Estefan? For the time being, it’s pretty simple. She wants to see her grandson grow up. She wants her children and grandson to flourish. She wants to spend time with her husband, her sister Rebecca Fajardo-Cabrera, who is a nurse, and other family. “I’ve done so much more than I’ve ever dreamed,” Estefan says. “I just want to live. I want time, which no one can guarantee. Give me good health and time, and I will take care of rest.”
Top of their Grit, drive and determination of five Latina leaders
THE CORPORATE WORLD IS NOT for the faint-hearted. Still primarily dominated by men, entering the upper echelon remains a challenge for many women. And the journey to the corner office can be even more difficult for Latinas. While Hispanics make up roughly 17 percent of the labor force, they hold only 4.3 percent of executive positions in the U.S.
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BY KAREN ASP
Jane Velez-Mitchell Founder, Jane Unchained; host, New Day New Chef
Velez-Mitchell, 65, has taken on a lofty goal. “I want the public to wake up about the most (destructive) habit the world has ever seen, namely the consumption of animals and animal byproducts,” says the New York City native, who now resides in Los Angeles. She’s passionate about spreading the message that animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change.
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Once a successful broadcast journalist, Velez-Mitchell noticed that few outlets were documenting animal cruelty. That’s when she decided to launch Jane Unchained, a digital news network. She also hosts New Day New Chef, a vegan cooking show on Amazon Prime
that recently launched the New Day New Chef: Support and Feed Edition. Its goal is to highlight the Support and Feed nonprofit that provides food to vegan restaurants, so the establishments can deliver prepared food to those in need. Although her reach is universal, Velez-Mitchell is zeroing in on the Latino community for good reason. “Slaughterhouse workers, who are primarily immigrants and to a large extent Latinas, are dying because of COVID-19,” she says. “By eating animals, Latinas are perpetuating the discrimination and putting the lives of other Latinas at risk.” That’s why VelezMitchell joined forces with Forward Latino, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy and service organization, to encourage a consumer boycott of large-scale meat processors. “Animal products are making people sick, causing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, especially in the Latina community,” she says.
NATALIE FORD; EIGHT SLEEP; BILL ENGELS/NASA
These Latinas credit their heritage with allowing them to get where they are today.
Co-founder and vice president of brand and marketing, Eight Sleep Growing up in Tijuana, Mexico, Zatarain, 30, looked up to Diane Sawyer and Oprah Winfrey. She also wanted to someday be an educated, accomplished businesswoman. “My parents were entrepreneurs, so that side was always in front of me,” she says. After graduating from college with a degree in communication sciences, Zatarain worked in public relations for a financial technology startup in New York City. When her husband, Matteo Franceschetti, started struggling with restless leg syndrome, he began researching sleep. The more he learned, the more convinced he became that technology is crucial to logging better sleep. In 2014, the couple partnered with two others and co-founded Eight Sleep, a mattress company that uses advanced technology to help people sleep better. Franceschetti is CEO. In starting Eight Sleep, Zatarain experienced the business challenges related to her being a Latina. “When we started raising money for the company, I saw the disparity between whites and minorities,” she says. “My friends and family weren’t in a position to give up large amounts of money (to invest in the business).” She is now mentoring future female entrepreneurs in New York City through WE NYC, which helps women start and grow businesses. One tip she shares: “Start with being authentic to who you are and understanding how that shaped you, as that diversity is invaluable.”
Associate administrator for communications, NASA Inclán, 40, has been obsessed with space since she was a kid. She grew up in Miami, and one of her fondest childhood memories is of seeing a live space shuttle launch while she was in middle school. “I remember lying on the ground and feeling (it) rumble,” she says. “It left a massive impression.” As a kid, she yearned to go to space camp, but it wasn’t an option. “I’m from a traditional Hispanic household, a working-class family, and no way would I have been allowed to sleep away at camp without my parents.” After graduating from Florida International University, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she had an internship. While there were challenges — at one meeting, somebody told her they were proud that she pulled herself “out of the ghetto” — being Hispanic has afforded her numerous opportunities. For instance, she became director of Hispanic outreach for the Republican National Committee, enabling her to get a broader perspective of the community nationwide. Now at NASA, she’s part of a team reaching out to the Hispanic community. She’s also learned a valuable lesson about being successful in business. “Every time you fail, it’s an opportunity to learn,” she says. And any time she gets discouraged, wishing she could do better, she’s reminded of the sacrifices her family made to come to America.
Executive vice president of multicultural marketing, brand and inclusion strategy, WarnerMedia Entertainment
Martinez, 50, has a calling to further the Latino community. “Media is one of the most powerful platforms to help shape culture and ensure that Latinos are present,” she says. “Our contributions are essential to the success of any business.” In her position at WarnerMedia, Martinez oversees a multicultural team that’s charged with positioning HBO, HBO MAX and the network’s programming within a cultural context by driving campaigns that target minorities and underrepresented consumers. Previously, she oversaw marketing efforts at HBO and HBO Latino, the only Spanish-language premium channel created and designed specifically for the U.S. Latino audience, she says. In terms of obstacles, “the greatest challenges facing women, particularly (Latinas) or anyone of color, are the systemic obstacles that exist in most institutions,” says Martinez, whose parents are Dominican immigrants. “Lack of true equality is further complicated by cultural differences that keep us out of corporate America.” That doesn’t mean women should be deterred. “We can’t change the system if we don’t participate and challenge them from within,” she says.
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Tanya Menendez Co-founder and CEO, Snowball Wealth
While growing up in Hayward, Calif., Menendez, 32, knew she wanted to start a company or nonprofit but never imagined being in the technology space. After all, she has a degree in sociology, but her financial struggles redirected her. “After being frustrated with how confusing and overwhelming personal finances can be, I decided to focus on building a solution.” So, in 2019, she began working full time on San Francisco-based Snowball Wealth with two other women. That required grit, determination and drive, something her parents, immigrants from Nicaragua and El Salvador, instilled in her. “They taught me you’re not defined by the circumstances you’re born into,” she says. Today, the app helps people understand and pay off student debt, the average user saving more than $6,000 on their loan repayments using the company’s recommendations, according to Menendez, who also runs an online community for women to discuss personal finances. “The goal is to provide more resources and place(s) for women to discover new ideas related to their finances and connect with like-minded people,” she says. These groups provide an opportunity for personal growth. “Create a vision for your future without restriction,” she says.
WARNERMEDIA; SNOWBALL WEALTH
Pand COVID-19 reveals health disparities face
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BY MICHAELA CHESIN AND JAYNE O’DONNELL
Ricardo Aguirre’s mother started feeling the symptoms of COVID-19 in May. Soon after, it was his father. Then he, his wife and two children became ill. Aguirre, his wife and his parents were all hospitalized around the same time. While he and his wife recovered in a few weeks, his mother and father grew gravely ill. The family catering business halted operations when Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey instituted a stay-at-home order in late March. When the state reopened in May, Aguirre was still in the hospital. Now that he’s recovered, he is busy taking care of his sick parents.
states, such as ,
Texas Florida California and North Carolina,
that have shown a substantially increased rate of COVID-19 among Latino communities.
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‘IT GOES AFTER THE WEAKEST THING’
he parents and two brothers of Silvia Deyanira Melendez, 24, are all in therapy after losing their daughter and sister to COVID-19 in March. “I don’t have the words to say how beautiful and nice to the family she was,” her father, Marcos Melendez, says. She weighed more than 300 pounds with a body mass index of 60, double the BMI considered obese. This most likely contributed
heavily to her Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and a cardiac condition that required open-heart surgery two years ago. The chronic conditions that increase the risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 are now well known: diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and being older than 65. Obesity’s effects are less well known or understood. The CDC groups “severe obesity,” defined as having a BMI of 40 or higher, with the other known “risk factors for serious illness” for COVID-19. CDC data shows the percentage of adults considered obese increased from 30 percent to 42 percent between 1999-2000 and 2017-2018. Nine percent had severe obesity, up from 5 percent in 1999-2000. “Before we had COVID, we had an obesity epidemic going on in the U.S., and we’ve had this for some time,” says Dr. Robert Fildes, a pediatric kidney physician. Earlier this year, editors of the medical journal Obesity said the coronavirus created a “dual pandemic threat.” A growing number of studies and data on COVID-19 deaths confirm the link. The extra weight on people in the 40-plus BMI range who contract COVID-19 increases the chance they will require hospitalization, most likely in the intensive care unit. Along with making mechanical ventilation more challenging, being severely overweight can make it more difficult to breathe, reducing the patient’s own ventilation, says Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a Kentucky physician and founder of the patient advocacy group Health Watch USA. It also reduces the amount of oxygen per breath, so patients have less of a reserve when they get sick. Depending on a patient’s size, an ultrasound’s view is more limited because of the excess tissue. Some of the most obese patients may not even be able to have a CT scan
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Arizona is among several
But the illness and the loss of business are not the worst of the toll. Five relatives, all of whom live close to one another in Glendale and West Phoenix, Ariz., died of the coronavirus within four weeks. “I can’t explain it. I’ve gone through so much pain already,” Aguirre says. “It’s alarming that our community is having to go through this.” The patient ethnicity data that is known makes it clear that the virus is hitting Latino patients disproportionately. Positive tests are one measure, although they fluctuate based on who gets tested and the availability of testing. The more dire measurement may be hospitalizations. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics from late June, Hispanic or Latino persons were hospitalized at a rate approximately four times higher than that of non-Hispanic white persons. “This virus is supposed to impact everyone indiscriminately, but the fact that it doesn’t is really a reflection of underlying inequities that have been in place for generations,” says Sen. Martin Quezada of the Arizona state legislature, who represents District 29, where Aguirre lives.
because the machines have weight limits, says Dr. Jeanette Brown, a University of Utah Health pulmonologist who treated Melendez. “If they are large enough, you lose some of the tools in your toolbox,” she says. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are also factors that make contracting the virus more risky. Dr. Philip Adamson, vice president of clinical affairs and medical director with Abbott, a medical device company, says while diet and other lifestyle choices may mean Latinos are more likely to possess those high-risk markers, there can also be genetic components. Depending on their ethnic background, people can have “predisposition to certain diseases,” Adamson explains. “We’re only six months into this experience. We’re learning so much about this particular virus, how it mutates, how it affects the body.” Adamson, who hosts discussions about COVID-19 with doctors around the globe to better understand the virus, acknowledges that socioeconomic factors also put underrepresented communities at risk. “It’s not absolutely clear why African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics all have four or five times the risk of being hospitalized. There’s a lot of speculation, including socioeconomic reasons, such as being able to afford masks, the inability to shelter in place or social distance. When you don’t have that opportunity to maintain your health as well as others, we see such a higher prevalence,” says Adamson. Having one underlying condition that increases your risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 is enough cause for concern, but some patients have more than one. “The unfortunate thing is we tend to have many of the comorbidities,” says Brown, a Mexican American, of the Latino population. She’s been especially worried
Ricardo Aguirre during hospitalization, left; Martha Aguirre kisses her husband, Jose De Jesus Aguirre, top; the Aguirre family, bottom right.
“... a lot of people are dying, and we can do something to prevent it.”
— Ricardo Aguirre
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
‘WARTIME ERA OF HEALTH CARE’
oronavirus outbreak statistics have become notoriously difficult to interpret, in part because the wide-ranging set of medical facilities and labs that report positive tests don’t consistently gather demographic information. Still, data about Latino cases and hospitalizations shows a clear trend. A recent CDC study found that Latinos make up 33 percent of cases nationwide. The proportion is nearly twice that of the group’s 18 percent share of the U.S. population. Arizona is among several states, such as Texas, Florida, California and North Carolina, that have shown a substantially increased rate of COVID-19 among Latino communities. Aguirre, who lives in a house with his parents, wife and two kids, is unsure how his family got the virus. His mother worked at a produce company, while his father is retired. His family was social distancing until his air conditioning went out. As they were waiting for the repair,
his family had to crowd in together at a hotel for a week. “While we were at the hotel, we started to have the symptoms,” he says. Aguirre recalls going to Abrazo Central Campus hospital in Phoenix with his mom and dad May 10, where he waited with his mom for 24 hours in triage because they didn’t have enough hospital beds. “When the governor says we have capacity for everybody, that’s not true. I don’t feel it’s true. It’s frustrating because you can only have a certain amount of beds. How many people can you really treat? That’s the question,” says Aguirre. Dr. Pedro Rodriguez, a member of the Arizona Latin-American Medical Association (ALMA) health care advocacy group, notes that before the pandemic, he and other doctors at ALMA were working on addressing medical disparities in Latino communities. “They either have no access to health care or believe that they will not be able to access health care,” he says, noting that some people may be hesitant to talk to a doctor because of immigration status, language barriers or financial concerns. Rodriguez says he has noticed things have clearly become worse within his own practice and in the community. He says hospitals and clinics are running out of ICU beds, medical equipment and even medical personnel. Of the 13.4 million total health care workers in America, Latinos comprise more than 1.6 million, according to a League of United Latin American Citizens study. That means many who are relying on their paychecks to make ends meet have to go to work, even though they risk exposure to the coronavirus. “I would compare it to a Titanic without enough lifeboats,” Rodriguez says. “It is seriously saddening that we are entering
ILLUSTRATION BY DEBRA MOORE; GETTY IMAGES
about her parents, whom she described as obese, during the pandemic because they have Type 2 diabetes. Silvia Melendez’s mother, also named Silvia, has diabetes and high blood pressure like her daughter. After losing his daughter, Marcos Melendez couldn’t imagine losing his wife. “I was really scared about her, too,” says Melendez, a Peruvian American whose wife is from Costa Rica. “That virus is very dangerous. It goes after the weakest thing in your body, especially if you are overweight.”
almost a wartime era of health care in the middle of 2020 when all the writing was on the wall.”
‘PEOPLE ARE DYING’ guirre’s mother was released from the hospital in June and requires home care. His father was transferred from the hospital to a Youngtown, Ariz., nursing home after needing a tracheotomy, dialysis and suffering a stroke. At the time of his father’s discharge, Aguirre says, he was told the hospital needed the bed. Now, he says, his father has suffered a heart attack and is unresponsive. Aguirre, meanwhile, is exhausted from helping with his mother’s care while also grieving the deaths of his uncle, aunt, cousins and grandmother. “We need to come to our senses and realize that a lot of people are dying, and we can do something to prevent it,” Aguirre says. “We should all listen to our leaders, but if our leaders are not doing it, there’s not really much we can do.” Sen. Quezada encourages community members to reach out to his office to help locate assistance for people who need it, including facilities for testing. “We haven’t done a good job in terms of marketing those opportunities and then providing those opportunities to our people. My office wants to help with that as much as possible.” State Rep. Lorenzo Sierra says there’s a lot we can do, from taking personal responsibility to holding officials accountable. “The Hispanic community has been hit hard, but the Hispanic community will rise,” he says. “This is just another one of the barriers that we have to face as a people, but we will get through this, and we will come out stronger on the other side.”
JOSÉ ANDRÉS Mastering the Fires: Where there’s a need, he’s there to feed BY ANA CONNERY
ARTHQUAKES, HURRICANES, WILDFIRES. Chef José Andrés is no stranger to natural disas-
ters, famously running toward them with armfuls of food wherever it’s needed. But a global pandemic was not something he thought he’d ever see in his lifetime. >
Baltimore, April 2020
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
GETTY IMAGES; MIKE JETT
“It’s very hard to watch disasters on TV and know that there are thousands of people with no food and sometimes no home or running water,” says the 51-year-old Spain-born owner of dozens of restaurants, including Minibar by José Andrés in Washington, D.C., Somni in Los Angeles and É by José Andrés in Las Vegas. After an earthquake rocked Haiti in 2010, Andrés famously dispatched his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen (WCK), to set up makeshift kitchens in schools, community centers and roadside stands where those who’d been displaced by the destruction could be fed. Since then, Andrés has set up kitchens all over the planet, fed millions affected by a multitude of crises and gathered tens of thousands of volunteers, a feat that earned him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. “Whether it’s a refugee crisis in Venezuela or a cyclone in Mozambique, no two situations are ever the same,” says Nate Mook, CEO of WCK. “But José is great at constantly adapting.” When the COVID-19 pandemic hit,
California, October 2019
Mozambique, March 2019
“Whether it’s a refugee crisis in Venezuela or a cyclone in Mozambique, no two situations are ever the same.” he says, there was no one better equipped to figure out how to deal with the inevitable food shortage than the Michelin-starred chef. “In a natural disaster, you have destruction in a limited area, but a pandemic is everywhere. How do you respond to something that’s affecting everyone, everywhere?” Andrés’ knack for understanding how hyperlocal resources affect survival in times of crisis enables him to do more than just preach about what can be done: He shows you. “I shared a video announcing that
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
we were closing as a restaurant but reopening as a community kitchen, so we can help feed the needy,” Andres says. “Unlike with a natural disaster, restaurants weren’t physically destroyed by the pandemic, and with the right safety precautions and guidance, we realized we
Bahamas, September 2019
GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN
— Nate Mook, CEO, World Central Kitchen
could reopen them to feed the people.” About 2,300 restaurants followed suit, providing more than 250,000 fresh meals daily during the pandemic. Andrés’ restaurants (he has 30-plus under the ThinkFoodGroup banner) became the model for WCK to expand its Restaurants for the People program, which puts restaurant employees to work feeding those who need it most alongside food suppliers and delivery services like Uber and Lyft. Restaurant owners were able to pay their staffs and keep the farmers and suppliers in business while making meals for the elderly, the front-line workers, the stranded passengers on cruise ships around the world — anyone who
needed a meal and could not get one. Whereas organizations normally establish feeding sites where people can line up during natural disasters, the pandemic made that difficult for at-risk populations. “You no longer could have people eating together, and you certainly couldn’t have seniors and other vulnerable populations leaving home,” says Mook. He quickly activated local restaurants, food suppliers and delivery services to help food reach the pandemic’s most vulnerable. At press time, the program had been implemented in more than 200 cities across 35 states, including New York, Miami, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago.
REMAKING AN INDUSTRY Restaurateur Daniella Senior, who worked for Andrés’ Washington, D.C., restaurants for several years before striking out on her own, was among those tapped to aid in the pandemic relief effort. “It was incredible to be able to help the community while also helping put our teams back to work in the midst of a pandemic,” she says. “To-go orders help, but they’re limited, and they don’t require a full staff to make.” Thanks to Andrés’
Venezuela, March 2019
program, Senior was able to re-employ 70 percent of her staff, which allowed her to move forward with the June opening of her third Colada Shop restaurant in Washington, D.C. “Honestly we probably would not have opened that location had we not participated in José’s program,” she says. With an operating budget that relies entirely on private donations, WCK has served millions of meals around the world and reopened nearly 2,000 restaurants to date. Whether cooking and serving meals himself, connecting restaurants with community organizations who can identify the areas of most need or training restaurants on how to operate safely during a crisis while preparing menus that work well in disasters, Andrés is fulfilling the ThinkFoodGroup’s mission statement: to change the world through the power of food. “This isn’t just an organization he founded,” says Mook. “It’s who he is as a person.”
THE EARLY YEARS As a child growing up in Spain, it was Andrés’ father who taught him how to cook. “In Spain, cooking is kind of a big deal for men; it’s part of your social status to a degree,” Andrés says. “My father loved to cook paellas; we call them arroces in Spain.” One day he asked a young Andrés to gather wood and start a fire for a big gathering. Once he had the fire under control, his father sent him away, leaving the budding cook wondering why he wasn’t allowed to do more. “When the paella was finished, he put a hand on my shoulder and said, ‘You did the most difficult thing; you controlled the fire. Now that you learned how to do that you can do any type of cooking you want,’” he recalls. “That wasn’t just good advice for a young cook; it also turned out to be a metaphor for life. Master the fire, and you can do anything you want.” One of Andrés’ early jobs was cooking for an admiral in the Spanish navy. As he traveled all over the world, he saw for the first time the vast inequalities and poverty that exists in places like Africa’s Ivory Coast and Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. “I grew up with working middle-class parents, so I had
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic and pimentón and cook until the garlic is golden (be careful not to burn it), 2 to 3 minutes.
» Add the lentils, onion, tomatoes and water and bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to medium, so the soup simmers gently, and cook for 20 minutes.
» Using a slotted
spoon, transfer the onion and tomatoes to a bowl.
» Add the carrots
and potatoes to the pot and cook until the vegetables and lentils are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Do not overcook.
» Meanwhile, after the tomatoes have cooled a bit, peel them and discard the skins.
» Puree the onion and
Ingredients: ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon pimentón 1 pound brown Spanish lentils (pardinas) or other brown lentils, rinsed and picked over 1 medium white onion, halved 3 small tomatoes, cored 8 cups water 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick coins 2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces Kosher salt
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
Stir the puree into the simmering stew. When the stew is done, season with salt and serve.
» Or let cool,
refrigerate overnight, and serve the next day, when it will be even more delicious. — Excerpt from Vegetables Unleashed by José Andrés and Matt Goulding. Copyright 2019 by José Andrés. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER
Mom’s Lentil Soup
tomatoes in a blender or food processor.
GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN
never seen hunger like that before,” he says. Years later when he opened his first restaurant, Jaleo, in Washington, D.C., he learned that the pioneering nurse Clara Barton started the American Red Cross from a tiny office just across the street. “It reminded me of my parents, both of whom were nurses. Knowing what Barton created out of nothing made me realize that people like me feed a few, but we have the power to feed so many.” At around the same time, Andrés began volunteering with D.C. Central Kitchen, an organization started by Robert Egger that provides culinary training to unemployed adults whose food is then delivered to underserved communities. “Egger taught me that charity tends to be about the redemption of the giver when really it should be about the liberation of the receiver,” Andrés says. “It was life-changing.” Not long after, Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake. That same year, he launched World Central Kitchen.
WHAT’S NEXT In the process of rolling out WCK’s food relief efforts across the world throughout the spring of 2020, Andrés proved the concept that laid the foundation for the Federal Emergency
Washington, D.C., January 2019
“Nothing makes me more proud than making a simple meal that puts a smile on someone’s face.” — José Andrés Management Agency’s Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act, a bill that will allow local and state governments to partner with restaurants and nonprofit groups to feed vulnerable populations with the federal agency picking up the costs. The bill has been introduced in both the House and Senate and is expected to continue to receive support in both chambers. “Suddenly we have rural and urban officials on both sides of the aisle in a way breaking bread together,” says Andrés. “We were able to do it without any lobbying because it’s a good idea on its own. When we put politics aside, everything is possible.” FEED isn’t the first time Andrés stepped into the political arena. The naturalized citizen has been vocal with his criticism of President Donald Trump and his antiimmigration rhetoric. In 2015, Andrés backed out of a plan to open a restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., after then-candidate Trump famously called Mexicans rapists and criminals. “If you see something you don’t like, you can’t be silent,” says Andrés. “I could have had a restaurant in Trump’s hotel, but I chose to speak up. I tried asking him to change his speech, to apologize; then a week later, he
did it again and that was the moment when I said, ‘I don’t want to be part of this.’ I believe immigration is not a problem to solve; it’s an opportunity to seize.” Longtime friends and colleagues call Andrés a trailblazer, a force of nature who creates his own path. “He has crazy ideas, and you don’t know how in the world he’s going to put them forward, but somehow he creates the reality in between the dreams,” Senior says. In an industry that forces you to think quickly on your feet, Andrés continues to find ways to “master the fire,” just like his father taught him all those years ago. He recently launched Recipes for the People, a series of videos that feature him at home cooking simple, everyday meals with his daughters. “We shoot it all on our phones and we don’t overthink it,” Andrés says. “We dedicate each recipe to someone who inspired the dish or deserves recognition in some way.” That is what Andrés is perhaps best known for: being an amazing chef with an uncanny ability to use his talent for the greater good. “Nothing makes me more proud than making a simple meal that puts a smile on someone’s face,” he says.
| HISPANIC LIVING
LIVINGWELL FOOD 62
IN THE NEWS 70
LAST WORD 80
Chile peppers are a staple of New Mexican cuisine, offering a flavorful kick to breakfast sandwiches, sushi and, of course, salsa.
Satisfying Snacks These salty or sweet treats can please any taste buds BY PAM GEORGE
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Takis Fuego tortilla chips rolled-up snacks come in fun flavors like hot chili pepper and lime. $4.42 for 20-ounce bag, walmart.com
Go sweet, sour and spicy with Vero Mango, chili-covered, mango-flavored lollipops. $10.39 for 40 pieces, amazon. com
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Hot Commodity In New Mexico, chile peppers are a way of life
or Jim Garcia, nothing brings a family together quite like roasting a couple of sacks of New Mexico green chiles. The smoky, sweet aroma is unforgettable. The flavor is distinct. Once you have a taste, you are hooked. For Garcia, it’s a culinary obsession that began at a young age. Growing up in Albuquerque, N.M., with his six siblings, chiles were an important part of daily life. In fact, his family incorporated the tasty delicacies into almost every meal. If they were dining out, they’d even bring chiles along just
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
in case the restaurant was out. Since those days, he has bravely downed some of the hottest peppers in the world and served as the director of operations for El Pinto Restaurant & Cantina, a popular eatery in Albuquerque’s North Valley, for 16 years. There, he was part of a team that pumped out 50 tons of green chiles and 40,000 jars of salsa a year. They even produced 500 jars of the hottest salsa in the world, made from Moruga Scorpion peppers, which has sold out at the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show in 15 minutes, according to Garcia. If you ask him which chile sauce
he prefers, red or green, his answer is Christmas. In other words: both. “Red chile for breakfast because red chile and pork were just made to be together,” he explains. “Chopped green chile can make any sandwich perfect, and green chile stew can accompany any meal with perfection.” It’s safe to say that Garcia knows a thing or two about peppers. His home state of New Mexico, after all, has the ideal climate, soil, altitude and overall growing conditions for peppers of all sorts. New Mexican red and green, jalapeños, cayennes, you name it, they all thrive there. So, it
BY SARAH SEKULA
makes sense that many New Mexico residents take chile peppers very seriously. From green chile crossaints and sushi to red chile pork ribs, you’ll find them on nearly every menu.
THE PLIGHT OF THE PEPPER
Dried red chile peppers
MEGAN MAYO RYAN; MARBLESTREETSTUDIO.COM (2); DIRT ROAD TRAVELS; GETTY IMAGES
Chile pepper hot sauce
DID YOU KNOW? Because of a lawmaker’s mistake, chile peppers are an official state vegetable (sharing the title with pinto beans) of New Mexico, even though chiles are a fruit. Red or green? That’s New Mexico’s official state question. Chile peppers have been grown in New Mexico for more than 400 years. SOURCE: STEPHANIE J. WALKER, NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY
Sadly, though, the annual chile production in New Mexico, which is said to be the only authentic source of green chiles, has dramatically dropped since the early 1990s when there were nearly 35,000 acres of chiles planted, Garcia says. “By 2010, chile acreage had fallen to just over 8,500 acres, and although there was over 10,000 acres of chile planted in recent years, chile industry experts put the main concern on imports from many countries like Mexico and China,” adds Garcia. In other words: Those countries are growing imposter chiles. “The quality of the chile rivals our New Mexico chile, but true flavor aficionados can distinguish the difference,” Garcia explains. “These imposter chiles flood the growing market and ignore the tenets of the New Mexico Chile (Advertising) Act that dictates all chile with the New Mexico brand must be certified.” That said, he suggests next time you are shopping, whether it’s in New Mexico or at your local grocery store, ask the vendor where the chile peppers are from.
You can also order online from certified vendors like buenofoods.com and newmexicanconnection. com. Danise Coon, a senior research specialist at the Chile Pepper Institute, also encourages people to learn about New Mexico’s chile pepper history. Much like Garcia, Coon grew up on a farm in Española, N.M., where her family spent summers roasting, peeling and freezing green chiles. It was there that she ate her first jalapeño, at age 6, without crying. Fast forward to today and chile peppers are still a major part of Coon’s life. Her job at the Chile Pepper Institute, the only center in the world dedicated solely to the fruit, has her developing ornamental chile peppers and helping with the seasonal teaching garden. “We like to showcase all of the varieties developed at New Mexico State University, as well as rare and more unusual varieties like the Ubatuba and Rezha Macedonian,” Coon says. At the end of the day, Mexico and China will continue to vie for authenticity when it comes to chile peppers, but the flavor of these wonderful peppers begins in the rich basin of the Rio Grande Valley. “There is a reason why we call ourselves ‘New Mexico True,’” Garcia says. “It is much more than a staple; it is a way of life.”
CHILE PEPPER PIT STOPS Next time you visit the Albuquerque area, here are some ways to sample authentic New Mexican chiles: uBreakfast Burrito Byway: New Mexico claims to have invented breakfast burritos, so exploring the Burrito Byway is a must. The Range Café Cottonwood, Frontier Restaurant and Sadie’s of New Mexico should be on your short list. uGreen Chile Cheeseburger Trail: Eat like a local at El Pinto Restaurant & Cantina, Owl Cafe and Barelas Coffee House for the cheeseburgers, of course, but also popular dishes like chicharones. uNational Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show: Launched in 1988 and held around February or March each year, you could easily call this the hottest show on the planet. For some tasty recipes, visit visitalbuquerque. com.
Culture Clubs Latino sororities, fraternities ease transition to collegiate life BY JENNIFER E. MABRY
hen Maricarmen Lopez entered the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (UNCG), she was seeking a place where she felt she belonged. A first-generation college student, Lopez, whose parents emigrated from Mexico, made friends with students from an array of backgrounds, but none was Hispanic. “I felt lost and wanted to make more friends in the Latino community,” she says. An adviser from the college’s Office of Intercultural Engagement connected her to a few organiza-
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
tions, including a campus dance troupe. Still, Lopez says, “I felt like I needed more. There was a point in my life where I didn’t have a lot of Latina friends.” An online search for social groups led her to discover Lambda Theta Alpha, the oldest Latina sorority in the nation. Founded in 1975 at Kean University in Union, N.J., the organization aims to help Latinas in higher education forge a new identity of independence and political and social consciousness. College enrollment overall has been on the decline for years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. However, the number of Hispanic students enrolled
in college rose from 3.17 million in 2016 to 3.27 million in 2017, making them one of only two demographic groups that increased in college attendance, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education, an advocacy group focused on Latino students, says simply counting Latinos as part of the student body isn’t enough. “You can’t just enroll them if you’re not going to help them graduate,” Santiago says. “We’re saying you have got to focus on what it means to serve (the students).” When Lopez discovered UNCG had a Lambda Theta Alpha chapter, she says, “It felt like I was home.” The 22-year-old plans to study medicine with the goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist. She credits her sorority with “helping to build my confidence and leadership skills.” Last year, she served as the organization’s treasurer, and in the fall she’ll manage recruitment and retention of new members. She’s also been active in organizing fundraisers. Edgar Quiroga, a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, also felt adrift during his first semester away from his north Texas home of Plainview. Quiroga, 20, is majoring in government and plans to study immigration law. He says he was unfamiliar with fraternity life beyond stereotypical depictions of partying students, and he felt it was something to avoid. His mind was changed during his freshman year, when a member of Omega Delta Phi approached him about joining. He was impressed that the brothers didn’t push the fraternity, but focused on getting to know him as an individual. “It made me feel I’d found a group of people that I’d like to be a part of. And their priorities were focused on serving the community and education,” he says. “I liked that.” For years, Omega Delta Phi members have served as mentors for Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy, grades six throught eight, in Austin. The fraternity brothers visit the school weekly and talk with the students about how they can achieve their goals. “It’s a fulfilling experience because when I was that age, I never imagined I would go to the University of Texas,” says Quiroga. “I hope we impact a few kids and motivate them to work hard and do good in school, so that they can go to their dream university too.” — USA TODAY writer Chris Quintana contributed to this article.
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IN THE NEWS
Dream Come True
Supreme Court ruling extends protections for DACA recipients BY ALAN GOMEZ AND DANIEL GONZALEZ
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
her favor, that President Donald Trump and his administration had failed at their attempt to end the program. “I was like, ‘Wait, I don’t think I’m reading this correctly,’” says Hernandez, 26. Then she saw a tweet from a legal expert declaring that the program had survived. “That’s it,” she thought at the time. “We won. There’s already so many tears that have been shed. Nobody can believe it.”
254,000 the approximate number of children born in the U.S. who have at least one DACA parent
SOURCE: CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS
‘ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS’ In a 5-4 opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court ruled that the Department of Homeland
Security’s “arbitrary and capricious” process to end DACA was unlawful. That means that the program created
NICK OZA/ARIZONA REPUBLIC
ne Thursday morning in June, Itzel Hernandez sat down at her computer in her home in central New Jersey and repeatedly clicked refresh, just as she’d done every day that the Supreme Court released its opinions, to look for the court’s ruling on DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It was just after 10 a.m. when she saw it. Hernandez, like so many other DACA recipients across the country, started speed-reading the decision. It appeared that the court was ruling in
by former President Barack Obama in 2012 will endure, allowing the nearly 650,000 current recipients, also known as “Dreamers,” to continue legally living and working in the U.S. Trump called the June 18 ruling “politically charged,” the latest in a series of “shotgun blasts” to the face of Republicans and conservatives, he added. His administration could attempt to rescind the program again by implementing procedures the court says were not properly followed. DACA recipients had anxiously awaited the court’s ruling, which marks a substantial victory for young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. “I feel energized that the highest court in the nation knows that the Trump administration is making decisions that are capricious and arbitrary and are not benefiting the country as a whole,” says Karina Ruiz, executive director of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition advocacy group.
Young Latinas Ruiz says participate in she was demonstrations pleasantly to protect DACA surprised by (Deferred Action for the Supreme Childhood Arrivals) Court’s recipients. decision, but she considers it only a short-term victory. Ruiz believes the decision will galvanize DACA recipients and advocates to keep pressuring Congress to pass legislation that would allow them to remain in the U.S. permanently.
‘IT WAS ALL WORTH IT’ Karen Caudillo saw news of the Supreme Court’s decision and started crying tears of joy. Caudillo was illegally brought to the U.S. by her parents from Mexico when she was 4 years old. She was approved for DACA when she was a junior in high school, and that allowed her to attend the University of Central Florida, where she graduated last year with a
bachelor’s degree in political science. It also allowed her to start her own house-cleaning business. When Caudillo first saw that the decision was released, her heart sank, fearful of what it would say. But once it became clear that DACA had been upheld, she FaceTimed with her mother, and the two wept. “She told me, ‘This is proof that all of our efforts, all of our sacrifices to get into this country, to give you a better life than what we had, it was all worth it,’” says Caudillo, 24. For Gaby Pacheco, 35, the ruling removed a huge weight she has carried on her shoulders for nearly a decade. While most undocumented immigrants live their lives in the shadows, always fearful of alerting police or government officials, Pacheco was among the first DACA recipients who publicly advocated for legal protections, blasting out her name and her face for all to see. In 2010, she and three other young undocumented immigrants led the Trail of Dreams, a four-month march from Miami to Washington, D.C., to push for passage of the DREAM Act, a bill to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation that has been repeatedly proposed and defeated in Congress. She participated in a sit-in in the late Sen. John McCain’s office. She helped lead the pressure campaign that urged the Obama administration to create DACA. And when it was created, she was part of a team of negotiators with United We Dream that worked with the Obama administration to implement the program. One of the key wins during that negotiation was persuading U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that operates the DACA program, to seal off the personal information provided by applicants from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency that arrests and deports undocumented immigrants. That agreement lasted until Trump entered the White House in 2017. Ever since, ICE has threatened to use that information to target
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DACA recipients with standing orders of removal if, and when DACA was terminated. “When Donald Trump won and his first promise was that he was going to end the program, that’s when I stopped sleeping,” Pacheco says. “I feel responsible for all the lives of all these young people. That’s what I’ve been carrying all these years.” That’s why June’s ruling was such a relief for Pacheco, who was part of the DACA program but no longer needed it after she became a permanent legal resident in 2017. “I started trembling: my hands, my feet, my whole body. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this actually happened,’” she says. “I feel like that little monkey that’s been on my back all these years, I can say, ‘Get off of me.’”
‘JUST AS COMMITTED’
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
Jairo Reyes with Karen Caudillo
left out of the DACA program. And Hernandez, an immigrant rights organizer for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that advocates for justice reform, says there are still 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. who continue to be arrested, detained and deported that need protection. Pacheco is now the program director for advocacy for TheDream.US, which helps DACA recipients pursue a college education. She says immigrants need to watch closely to ensure the administration continues operating the program properly. The administration could try to end the program again, just as it proposed multiple versions of a travel ban targeting majority-Muslim countries before the Supreme Court finally approved the third iteration. In July, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad F. Wolf, announced the agency would
of active DACA recipients are from Mexico. SOURCE: U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES
no longer be accepting or renewing applications for specific DACA benefits. “There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission of the DACA policy,” he said. A battle was won, but young Latinos remain in the fight. They are just as committed to pushing for full citizenship, Hernandez says. — Daniel Gonzalez writes for the Arizona Republic.
JOSE LUIS MAGANA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jose Patiño, 31, another DACA recipient, says he didn’t sleep the nights before each day the Supreme Court was scheduled to issue opinions, realizing that the decision could significantly change his life. He came to the U.S. from Guanajuato, Mexico, when he was 6 and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in secondary education from Grand Canyon University. When he learned of the DACA ruling, he says he yelled in joy, spilling coffee on his shirt. “It was such a relief. I couldn’t believe it. I was expecting they were going to side with the administration. It was a huge, joyous moment,” says Patiño, education and policy director at Aliento, an immigrant advocacy group in Arizona. Despite the excitement, many recipients agree that there is still much work to be done. Caudillo, who works as a digital organizer for FLIC Votes, a Floridabased organization that advocates for immigrants, says she’s concerned about problems that still plague undocumented immigrants who are Black and transgender, and young undocumented immigrants who were
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Winner of the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year from Latinas & Power Symposium
Herencia del Valle vineyards
Guillermo’s daughter, Mia Herrera
Mexican American-owned wineries take root in Napa BY SYLVIA A. MARTINEZ
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
more established winemakers for generations. For decades, Latinos have been “the vineyard whisperers,” says Guillermo Herrera, owner of Herencia del Valle winery and president of the Napa Sonoma Mexican American Vintners Association (MAVA). “We’re the backbone of this industry. We’ve been making wine for a long time — since Mexican laborers came to the U.S. during the 1920s. We grow it. We pick it. We crush it. … It was inevitable for the children of the initial pioneers to make their
Guillermo and his mom, Antonia
Our heritage is rooted in this valley.” — GUILLERMO HERRERA, OWNER, HERENCIA DEL VALLE WINERY
HERENCIA DEL VALLE (3); RHODA STEWART
he names — Farm Worker, La Chica, Encanto — speak to the changing landscape of California’s wine business. Bottles with labels that read Mi Sueño, a nod to the American dream come to fruition, or feature a stylized ballet folklorico dancer, also reflect the proud Latino lineage and heritage. The name bearers, however, have long been a part of the industry, working the land, growing and harvesting the grapes for larger,
Farm workers are who we are, how we ended up (in Napa Valley).” — LIDIA MALDONADO, OWNER, MALDONADO FAMILY VINEYARDS
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
own wine.” The fruits of that labor have led to award-winning, critically acclaimed varietals in Napa and Sonoma valleys. Herrera, who’s owned Heritage Vineyard Management Inc. since 2007, purposefully chose the name Herencia del Valle when launching the family wine business in 2012 as an homage to Mexican migrants. “It’s a tribute to the parents that made it possible for all of these Mexican American vintners to make wine,” Herrera says. “Our heritage is rooted in this valley. It’s bigger than just the Herrera family.” He is also part of the newly opened Braceros Tasting Lounge,
a name taken from the Braceros Program, which ran from 1942 to 1964, when the U.S. opened its southern border and welcomed migrant agricultural workers due to a labor shortage during World War II. Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, the lounge offers tastings and events promoting five smaller Latino labels under one roof. What the winemakers lack in quantity, they make up for in quality that showcases their agricultural expertise and experience, the vintners say. Herencia, for instance, produces only 150 bottles per varietal per year. The wines are sold in limited series, which have received critical
HERENCIA DEL VALLE
Herencia del Valle vineyards
acclaim, including from Wine Enthusiast and The Tasting Panel Magazine, and range in price from $100 to $250 for threebottle packages. Considered a premier wine region, Napa is home to many winemakers of Italian and French descent and wealthy American vintners who bought wineries after earning fortunes in finance or other industries. By comparison, many Latino vintners have risen from the soil worked by them or their immigrant parents. Skyrocketing land prices in Napa have made it difficult for Latinos to buy their own land for vineyards and wineries. Despite the odds, the number of Mexican American vintners is growing. In the last 20 years, “we’ve gone from a handful of wine labels to 30, 40, 50 wine labels between Napa and Sonoma,” says Lidia Maldonado, who owns Maldonado Family Vineyards with her husband, Hugo. “I want to call it an explosion almost.” Herrera, too, has witnessed that growth. “It was only a matter of time that Latinos got so good at winemaking and making their own wine. It’s the next step in this evolution in the wine story that we’ve been involved in for decades,” he says. “I’m happy to see people making that leap.” The Maldonados started making wine from grapes planted by
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
Lidia Maldonado and the Rios brothers
Hugo and Lupe Maldonado
family patriarch Lupe, who, after decades of laboring in others’ vineyards, was able to buy 10 acres and plant one of his own. Their first vintage was well rated by Wine Spectator, and they were able to sell their wines through a wine broker. Like other vintners, the Maldonados started with, and still operate a vineyard management company founded by Lupe, originally from Mexico. In 2009, the Maldonados opened a wine cave on land they purchased in Calistoga, Calif., and are now responsible for creating their wines from start to finish, says Lidia. In addition, they do custom crushing for her two brothers who own boutique wineries, lawyer Rafael Rios III’s Justicia Wines and Rios Wine Company, owned and operated by Manuel Rios. Currently, Maldonado has its own tasting room and produces 7,000 to 9,000 cases per vintage, including the Farm Worker, a red wine meant to pay tribute not only to their family’s history but also that of other industrious migrants. “Farmworkers are who we are, how we ended up here,” Lidia says. “The hard work of our fathers allowed us to get an education and create a better life. They planted the seed. It’s our turn to produce a crop, and hopefully our kids can take it further.”
MALDONADO FAMILY VINEYARDS
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New children’s book celebrates artist’s lasting legacy
wenty-five years after her death, the vibrant life of Selena QuintanillaPérez continues to inspire anyone from humble beginnings who’s chasing big dreams. Young readers can learn more about her road to success in Queen of Tejano Music:
HISPANIC LIVING | 2020
Selena, a children’s book released in August, available in English and Spanish. ($18.99, littlebeebooks.com) Author Silvia LÓpez and illustrator Paola Escobar chronicle the Grammy-winning artist’s rise to stardom, before her violent death in 1995. The book includes a timeline of significant events in Quintanilla-Pérez’s life. There’s also a helpful glossary,
explaining terms like “Hispanic” and “quinceañera.” “I try to bring to life for young readers this young Mexican American whose hard work and commitment to her craft led to her success,” says LÓpez. “Selena served as a role model for Latina girls as well as an inspiration for all young people seeking to follow their dreams.”
PROVIDED BY SILVIA LÓPEZ; GETTY IMAGES
BY TRACY SCOTT FORSON
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