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FALL 2017







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Features 42



52 58 66 74

Cultural Cuisine

American eateries offer Cuban favorites

Language Loss

Spanish is becoming less common with each generation

Jorge Ramos

The legendary anchor proudly represents the Latino community

Land of the Free

Three stories spotlight new immigration enforcement


These Latinas have paved the way in their various fields

Career Paths

Female executives champion diversity at top companies


Up F�ont Home


Add Latin flair to your décor



Readers sound off on Latinos who inspire



Ballet Hispánico uses dance to unite


Advocates push for national Latino museum


Modern quinceañeras add trends to tradition



The face behind Reina Rebelde


Coloring hair: to dye or not to dye?




Project Runway’s Nina Garcia loves Latina style


Major Milestone

Lavish quinceañera parties celebrate a right of passage.


Hollywood misses the big picture


Rita Moreno makes it One Day at a Time


Generations bond around telenovelas


Diane Guerrero pens deportation story

Departments 82

How President Trump’s budget affects you


Hispanic-serving institutions offer life lessons



Escape to the “Island of Women”







Latina entrepreneur mixes beauty and business.


Latinos are predisposed to diabetes



Stamps deliver delicioso delicacies

All product prices and availability are subject to change.




DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council

ANA PELAYO CONNERY, a former editor in chief of Parenting and Florida Travel + Life magazines, has written for the Huffington Post, Better Homes & Gardens and other publications. She resides in Florida, where a large Hispanic population affords her a firsthand look at the impact of Jorge Ramos’ work covering issues affecting the Latino community (PAGE 52). A child of immigrant parents, Connery appreciates Ramos’ dedication to his audience.

TAMARA LYTLE has covered the White House, Congress, politics and breaking news in the nation’s capital for 28 years. She is the former Washington bureau chief of the Orlando Sentinel and is now a freelance writer and editor based in Vienna, Va. One of her first assignments in Washington was to cover the 1990 Immigration Reform Act. She shares accounts of how current immigration policies are affecting undocumented residents (PAGE 58).

MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington GUEST EDITOR Vanessa Salvo ISSUE EDITOR Tracy Scott Forson EDITORS Patricia Kime, Elizabeth Neus, Sara Schwartz, Barbranda Walls, Debbie Williams ISSUE DESIGNER Lisa M. Zilka DESIGNERS Miranda Pellicano Gina Toole Saunders CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Laura Castañeda, Luisa Colón, Ana Pelayo Connery, Tamara Lytle, Sylvia A. Martinez, Marissa Rodriguez, Christine Romero, Roxana A. Soto, Denise Valenti


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A proponent of women in leadership, SYLVIA A. MARTINEZ was thrilled to interview Latinas who have broken barriers and succeeded in uncharted territory. “They have in common a commitment to other Latinas following in their footsteps, which is what good leadership is all about,” Martinez says of the trailblazers (PAGE 66). She also writes about the state of Latino education under the Trump administration (PAGE 82).

CHRISTINE ROMERO spent a decade as a business reporter and has since worked in communications. Her work has apeared on and in USA TODAY’s Back to School and University of Colorado publications. “Family is central in the lives of (many) Latinas,” the Denver resident says. “It was important for me to dig into some of the family-friendly offerings that employers like Johnson & Johnson and Hilton are giving their workers” (PAGE 74).

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved herein, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or reproduced in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written consent of USA TODAY. The editors and publisher are not responsible for any unsolicited materials.





AS A CHILD, I can remember my mother singing lyrics from a song in Spanish, “Amor es el pan de la vida, amor es la copa divina” (Obsesión, Pedro Flores, 1935). While recovering in the hospital after I was born, the janitor always sang that song, she said. As an adult, I often hum the tune to myself. I am lucky to have grown up in a multilingual household in a Bronx neighborhood rich with different cultures. My parents spoke Spanish and encouraged me to become fluent. “Learn Spanish, little girl. It’s important,” my father said. The language was reinforced during my nightly “dates” with my mother and grandmother, watching ’novelas like La intrusa and Doña Bárbara. I’ll always cherish those moments. My parents made sure my sister and I knew where we came from, and I am fortunate to have spent many summers of my childhood in Puerto Rico, fully immersed in its rich traditions. Yet, I am grateful to have been born in the United States! My parents were able to put my sister and me



has also taken notice of Latino workers’ contributions. We profile companies such as MetLife and Hilton that actively recruit Latinos and offer mentoring programs to foster advancement. Similarly, this issue features entrepreneurs like Regina Merson, who recognized and leveraged our powerful consumer base to create a cosmetic line, Reina Rebelde. As you continue reading, don’t miss the great stories on Cuban restaurants throughout the U.S., the push for a national Latino museum and the timeless quinceañera tradition. There is also a compelling piece on one of my favorite things — telenovelas! These shows have evolved over the years, incorporating much more than the typical love story. They not only entertain, but also keep the Spanish language alive. This is important as many second-, third- and fourth-generation Latinos are losing their connection to español. Hispanic Living celebrates our culture and heritage, and reflects our strength and resiliency.

Vanessa Salvo, Guest editor


Remembering Our Roots

through college, and we have both enjoyed successful careers. Many who come to the U.S. are seeking the same thing — an improved environment where they can raise a thriving family and take advantage of better opportunities. This year’s Hispanic Living explores the changing landscape of our country, the struggles Latino immigrants are facing and how they hold on to connections to their culture while living in the U.S. The country’s composition has morphed in recent decades and is expected to go through even more change in the future. In fewer than 20 years, Hispanics are expected to comprise 23 percent of all workers, and the U.S. Census Bureau projects the Latino population to be nearly 29 percent of the total populace by 2060. This is a demographic shift that can no longer be ignored. Latinos are a part of the fabric of America. Our cover features iconic journalist Jorge Ramos, who has become an outspoken voice for our community. He is eternally grateful for the opportunities the U.S. has afforded him and wants the same for the millions of others who are pursuing their dreams. Corporate America

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DESPACITO DUO Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee made history with their summer hit, Despacito. In July, the smooth Spanish-language track and its partly-English remix became the most streamed song in history with more than 4.5 billion streams in six months. Find out more about Latino trailblazers and influencers in this issue.



Casa Hermosa These accessories add a touch of tradition BY TRACY SCOTT FORSON

YOUR PERSONALITY, interests and culture can influence your home décor. Showcase your Latin pride with furnishings that celebrate your heritage.

▶ An ancient Latin American print decorates this Geo brass inlay dresser, made with tropical hardwoods. $898,

▶ Primarily sourced from the Peruvian Andes, these colorful el hummingbird frazadas can be used as blankets, rugs, wall hangings and more. Starting at $355,



▶ Made from caña flecha, a Colombian palm fiber often used to make traditional Colombian hats, these poufs are as stylish as they are comfortable. $585,


▶ No matter the cuisine, bring Latin American flair to the table with this porcelain La Loteria dinnerware set, inspired by the popular Mexican game. Available in gold or silver trim. $38.62 to 61.93,

▶ A colorful embroidered shade tops this Otomi floor lamp, handmade by Mexican artisans. $995, straydogdesigns. com


▶ Using a traditional Mayan technique, Mexican artisans handcraft the textiles used to create these Chiapas pillows. $185 to $265,

▶ Timing is everything with this quaint wall clock that uses the Spanish words for the numbers. $24.95,



Honor Roll TO COMMEMORATE HISPANIC Heritage Month, Hispanic Living readers took to social media to shout-out their favorite Latino icons. Activists, athletes and entertainers were named and celebrated for their contributions to the culture. Here are a few:

“SALMA HAYEK has and always will be my inspiration. She paved the way for Latinas in Hollywood in her breakthrough (role) in Desperado and made it acceptable to be a Mexican with an accent. She is not only a sex symbol, but an activist and humanitarian. I can watch her films any day! Especially her role as Frida Khalo in Frida ... two of my favorite ladies!” — La Prieta

Hayek Salma

“My cousin, RAUL H. YZAGUIRRE. He is from my hometown region, known as the Rio Grande Valley (Texas), a veteran and former president of the National Council of La Raza. I love him and I know he has completed and devoted a lifetime of work defending and supporting the civil rights of first, Mexican Americans, and later to include all Latinos and Hispanics as it should be. Good job, Raul. We are so proud of you. Thank you and God bless you.” — Felicia Nicole Medina Dolor es Hu erta

“ZOE SALDANA! I adore her in just about every role I’ve seen her in.” — Megan Guzman “EVA LONGORIA has always been my favorite Latina celeb. She is classy with a splash of spunk and humor. She is effortlessly beautiful and intelligent in so many ways. She has accomplished so much, from acting to directing to becoming a strong business woman. She is truly inspiring and brilliant in my book. She’s the Latina Wonder Woman, hands down.” — Belinda Flores



oria Eva Long


“DOLORES HUERTA co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chávez, though he got all the limelight. She was the writer for the UFW publications to spread the message. She was jailed. She was a trusted adviser. She wouldn’t let Chávez get discouraged and give up.” — Enedelia Obregon

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Ballet Hispánico Dance company uses art to unite a community BY TRACY SCOTT FORSON

Decades later, as artistic director and CEO of New York-based dance company Ballet Hispánico, he still associates the art form with community building, including dancethemed street fairs and school partnerships, and strengthening those ties that bind. “What unites us (are)



the values that everyone has … the humanity that we find within each other,” Vilaro says. He tries to convey that when he choreographs works for the dance company founded by Tina Ramirez in 1970, when Hispanic dancers were seldom seen in mainstream productions or on Broadway.

Since then, the company has helped expose the world to Latin American culture through performances in Israel, Serbia, Norway and other destinations. “We feel we are the ambassadors of our culture,” says Vilaro. Audiences expecting only flamenco and


FOR EDUARDO VILARO, dancing has always been a community activity. Before he ever took the stage, he and his family used to bond through dance, using it to stay connected to their Cuban heritage.

We feel we are the ambassadors of our culture.” — EDUARDO VILARO, CEO AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, BALLET HISPÁNICO

For touring information, visit

salsa dancing that many associate with Latin tradition, get much more. The contemporary dance troupe’s performances include genres that generally aren’t racially specific. Vilaro explains that the Latin influence of Ballet Hispánico’s work comes from the artists’ life experiences. “The authenticity comes from the personal voice,” he says. “It comes from the artist saying, ‘I am going to show you my experience.’” Sometimes it’s a subtle nod to the culture, like an image of a Mexican hat onstage. Other times, it’s colorful, ruffled flamencoinspired attire. Oftentimes, it’s the music. However, Vilaro says his troupe is careful not to become caricatures of the culture. “Everything has a root to culture, but it doesn’t have to be a stereotype,” says Vilaro, who wants Hispanic artists to not only participate in the storytelling, but create the stories. “When someone else (tells the stories) what you get is a watered-down, iconographic, stereotypical thing,” he says. “You need to allow us to make those decisions.” Vilaro, who says education is the company’s backbone, is training his more than 700 students to be those decision-makers. The troupe’s instructors nurture talented artists, possibly those who will continue creating opportunities for Latinos, allowing the art form to do for others what it did for Vilaro: unite a community.



Historical Significance Advocates push for Smithsonian museum for Latinos BY PATRICIA KIME

FIRST PROPOSED BY a of the National Museum congressional commission of the American Latino, Find out appointed under the George says the museum would about current W. Bush administration, the showcase American history exhibits on construction of a National and not artifacts from other Latin American Museum of the American countries. culture Latino is still being de“It’s not going to have art across the bated six years later, despite from Colombia or poetry 19 museums bipartisan support, a rise from Spain,” Vargas says. “It of the in the Hispanic population would serve to illuminate Smithsonian and increasing pressure the American story for Institution at from prominent members the benefit of everyone — of the community. Latinos and non-Latinos, “Hispanic Americans Americans and those visithave been an indisputable ing our country — to get a part of American history, and new better understanding of our history, our chapters are written every day by the culture as a people, as Americans.” more than 56 million people who In 1994, the Smithsonian Institution make America’s Latino community so commissioned a review of its Latino strong,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Hispanic artifacts and found a lack at a June press event to promote the of permanent exhibits or programs. proposed addition to the National Mall. “We have filled some of the gaps Menendez has sponsored several described in that 23-year-old report bills to make the museum a reality. which was the impetus behind the Danny Vargas, a Virginia businessestablishment of the Smithsonian’s man who chairs the nonprofit Friends Latino Center,” says Smithsonian



HISTORIC PLACES Washington may lack a dedicated institution to Hispanic American history, but more than a dozen museums nationwide highlight the cultural and historic influence of immigrants from Spanishspeaking countries. Here are a few to visit: MUSEO DE LAS AMERICAS Rotating exhibits make up the bulk of the educational spaces at the small Museo de las Americas in Denver. Current and past exhibitions include a look at the trans-Pacific trade’s influence on Mexican culture and examples of Central American textiles. The permanent pre-Colombian art collection is expected to reopen next year after renovation. 861 Santa Fe Dr.; 303-571-4401; EL MUSEO LATINO This Omaha attraction opened its doors on Cinco de Mayo in 1993 and is the Midwest’s first Latino art and history museum. Housed in an 1887 school, El Museo Latino offers several programs for children and features exhibits, such as a colorful collection of beaded wooden masks and figurines. 4710 S. 25th St.; 402-7311137; NATIONAL HISPANIC CULTURAL CENTER Located in Albuquerque’s Barelas neighborhood, the National Hispanic Cultural Center showcases Hispanic culture in a museum, art gallery, theaters and a library. The venue hosts more than 700 events a year, from concerts to crafts. 1701 Fourth St. S.W.; 505-246-2261;


Actress Diane Guerrero speaks on Capitol Hill in support of a national Latino museum in June.

FIND C U LT U R E TO U N LO C K YO U R C O LO R F U L SIDE Little Havana is the colorful center of Hispanic culture in Miami. Here you’ll find locals grabbing an afternoon cortado or a fresh fruit batido, talking politics over a game of dominoes, or eating authentic dishes from all over Latin America against a backdrop of ever-present Cuban beats. On the last Friday of each month, Little Havana hosts Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays, a monthly gallery night showcasing the cultural arts scene of the neighborhood. Little Havana offers a taste of multicultural Miami at its best. What else will you find? Start your discovery at

© Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau — The Official Destination Sales & Marketing Organization for Greater Miami and the Beaches.



These cultural treasures are on display at the National Museum of American History.

Aztec mask building facade, 1955

Flaco Jimenez’s accordion, circa 2009

Tortilladora, 1940-’50

Puerto Rico carnival mask, 1983

El Chico cookbook, circa 1975



Institution spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas. The center sponsors a Latino museum studies program and a leadership development program for high school students and promotes Latino visibility throughout the 19-museum system. It is staffed with 15 Latino researchers and curators who have spearheaded six exhibits on the Latino experience and are planning more, including initiatives on Latinos and baseball, Caribbean native ancestry and the Spanish-American War. There are also plans for a Latino gallery at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to open as early as next year. However, Vargas says the exhibits and the center’s online virtual museum are nice, but not enough. “There is a dire need for a museum,” Vargas says. “Contrary to what some might say, that Hispanics are not a recent patch being sewn onto the United States of America, the reality is we are an essential thread woven into the very fabric of America, and those stories haven’t been told very well.” The proposals have failed to receive floor votes in either chamber, but the museum initiative has garnered renewed support since the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened with much fanfare and enthusiasm in September 2016. A year later, tickets remain the most sought-after passes in Washington. Latino American museum enthusiasts believe their building would draw similar large crowds. “We see the numbers … 56, 57 million people of Hispanic origin in this country. Seventeen percent of the population,” Vargas says. “(A museum) just makes sense.” But not everyone agrees. Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post last year titled, “We don’t need a national Latino Museum.” He calls the ethnic designation “Hispanic” a “dubious social construct” to describe people from 23 separate countries with their own culture and history, and argues that the division contributes to social fragmentation. “There is one culture that is uniquely American, and it’s characterized by self-determination, a strong attachment to work and a love of freedom … these values are the reason my parents came here, and they should be celebrated as American values,” adds Gonzalez, whose parents immigrated from Cuba. Vargas, whose mother immigrated from Puerto Rico, agrees in that he shares those values, but he encourages putting them on display to inspire younger generations of Latinos. “This is by all means a red, white and blue initiative,” he says. “Imagine the young girl who walks through the doors and learns the stories of those who have gone before her. She leaves proud of her Hispanic heritage and her American heritage and she wants to be a part of that success.”

EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO With its prominent placement on New York City’s Museum Mile, El Museo del Barrio, or simply El Museo, is one of the country’s most visited Latino culture museums. The facility focuses largely on Latino, Caribbean and Latin American arts and history, with 8,500 pieces of preColombian and historic artifacts, arts and crafts, Mexican masks and art. 1230 Fifth Ave.; 212-8317272; HISPANIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA Much of the artwork at the Hispanic Society of America hails from Spain, with one of the most comprehensive collections of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts outside Madrid. This New York City museum also contains priceless works from former Spanish colonies, including 17th century oils from Mexico, Latin American tiles and decorative arts from Bolivia and Peru. 613 W. 155th St.; 212-926-2234; hispanicsociety. org — Patricia Kime


On Exhibit

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Super Sweet 15 Some quinceañera customs have changed, but the meaning is the same BY LUISA COLÓN

DOUGHNUT WALLS. MEME-INSPIRED eye performers help to wow guests.” makeup. Candy stations. Let’s face it, quinceañera The wow factor doesn’t come cheap, and Torres celebrations have come a long way since their explains that quinceañera celebrations have become roots in ancient Aztec traditions. But at the heart a billion-dollar industry. of the festivities remains a rite of passage: On her “So many factors come into play,” says Barrios. 15th birthday, a young girl begins her transition “Prices will range (from) $15,000 to $80,000; those into the first stages of adulthood. are the types of events that I’ve assisted in. If you look at the quinceañera market, for example, in “I had one. My sisters had one, and my niece had the East Coast, specifically one,” says Karen Rafael of New in the Miami area, families York City, who is planning a can spend in the hundred “quince” party for the oldest thousands. They seem a lot of her three daughters. “We more elaborate when you look are very excited for my girls.” at their setups and what they Rafael’s family is from do. But … events in Texas and Guatemala, and her husband’s California are catching up family is from Honduras. They quickly.” plan on incorporating customs While some of that cost from each country to uphold can be offset by generous gifts both families’ traditions, given to the birthday girl, Torwhich play an important role res warns that “it all depends in the celebration. on the quinceañera. There (are) “Here in the United States, a lot of girls that receive from (the quinceañera party) is a way $1,000 to $5,000 worth of gifts, to hold onto your roots,” says but there are also girls who Celia Barrios, owner of Tiaras don’t even receive that much.” and Tacones, a party planning As for the legwork, parents company in Los Angeles. have options that may cut With a rite of passage to down on costs. “You have to celebrate, as well as familial start looking for the place bonds and traditions, it’s no early so that you find the best wonder that the parties have This multitiered quinceañera cake become such major events, deal. All-inclusive packages includes a sparkling topper, gold on par with — and sometimes (that can offer everything accents and floral detail. even surpassing — the from reception and open bar luxuries and amenities of to lighting design and hotel weddings. guestrooms) are fine; that Like a wedding, a key element for fun-filled allows parents to focus on the other things,” says festivities is incorporating trendy features. “The Rene Sanchez, who threw a quinceañera party for girls are calling photo booths, backdrops, dessert his daughter Bianca in February. tables (and) doughnut walls ‘must-haves’ this If you feel that’s too expensive, find one eleyear,” says Karina Torres, social media coordinament, such as the photo booth, that is extremely tor at, an online resource for important to her and make it worthwhile, Sanchez everything quinceañera. “These are all trending suggests. quince accessories that aren’t necessary, but every Barrios, who’s spent more than 10 years in girl still wants.” Barrios adds that “a DJ, live band the event-planning business, recommends and alternative types of entertainment like photo being flexible when looking to get the most for booths, candy stations, oxygen bars, lounges and your money.




Balloons are released at Rosita Rosales’ quinceañera party in Los Angeles.



Here in the United States, (the quinceañera party) is a way to hold onto your roots.” — CELIA BARRIOS, OWNER OF TIARAS AND TACONES


“Saturday is (the) premium day for having an event, but don’t overlook a later-in-the-evening Friday event, a Saturday lunch event or a Sunday brunch,” she says. “These are all great alternatives when wanting a certain venue. Some people shy away from more elegant or expensive locations because of this.” One of the most important expenses, of course, is the guest of honor’s dress, the cost of which starts at around $300. Browse through options on social media and websites devoted to quinceañera and you’ll find beaded ball gowns, miles of tulle and taffeta and designs inspired by Disney favorites like Belle from Beauty and the Beast — all subject not just to personal preference, but to customs, too. “In Ecuador, the quinceañera dress is usually pink, and the party is known as ‘The Pink Party,’” says Torres. Some traditions are being challenged, as modern quince girls flirt with designs like shorter hemlines and midriff-baring gowns. Makeup isn’t just modern, it’s very of-themoment — currently trending designs that are worn by popular celebrities. Some of the most poignant aspects of a quince party don’t come with a hefty price tag. Celebrations can include a Mass, as well as a candle ceremony in which family members


or other key figures in a quinceañera teen’s life light 15 candles and offer loving words and anecdotes. Photo slideshows, the changing of the shoes (where the birthday girl exchanges her flats for high heels) and the father-daughter dance are also surefire ways to make a quince party memorable without breaking the bank. The number and makeup of the party guests are typically based on personal preference and budget. A quince girl may have a court of honor consisting of chambelanes and damas. In Peruvian tradition, there is one male chambelan. In other customs, the court is made up of 14 couples. “Now it’s really become a personal choice,” says Barrios. In fact, personal choice — and recognizing the guest of honor’s individuality — has become the new tradition of quinceañera celebrations. “Her quirky desires are really what makes her special,” Sanchez adds. Though it’s a months-long — and sometimes even years-long — planning process, Sanchez urges family, friends and planners to avoid getting caught up in the details and remember the reason for the celebration. “We tend to focus on all the nuisances of the preparations that we forget (what) it’s really about,” says Sanchez. “It’s all about the birthday girl!”


A plethora of desserts, including covered strawberries and cake, blanket the luxurious candy bar at Rosita Rosales’ quinceañera.


Regina Merson

A Beautiful Enterprise Latina entrepreneur connects cosmetics to culture

NO MATTER HOW busy her days, Regina Merson always made time to perfect her smoky eye. Even when the former Dallas attorney would sometimes clock in 100-hour workweeks, she was still passionate about her detailed beauty routine and polished makeup look. So, when the self-described makeup junkie found herself growing increasingly dissatisfied with the legal field and in search of something more creative, she decided to take a closer look at that passion. “I started investigating my own experience with makeup and creativity, and analyzing other Latinas’ relationships with



makeup,” says the Guadalajara, Mexico, native. Through her own research and interviews with Hispanic women, Merson learned more about the way consumers use makeup and their early beauty influences. “For me, it was a journeying back to find out the core emotional thing that we are after when we put on our makeup,” she says. After 18 months of study, Merson found that for many Latinas, herself included, makeup and beauty were deeply personal and rooted in their heritage and culture. She found that women often had memories of watching their mothers or grandmothers apply makeup

and pull their styles together. Beauty tips were often passed down through generations, and makeup application was as much a means of personal expression as it was a ritual. She also discovered that few brands directly targeted Latinas and reflected their shared experience. She resolved to change that. As she cautiously prepared to leave her firm and build the foundation for a business, a sudden round of layoffs proved to be the catalyst for action. “From the moment I was laid off, I hit the ground running,” Merson says. Within the week, she filed for a trademark for Reina Rebelde. “There is beauty and boldness




in starting an endeavor you are passionate about,” she adds. Meaning “rebel queen” in English, Reina Rebelde is Merson’s cosmetics line, which launched in 2016. Its inaugural set of 23 items — including products for eyes, brows, lips and cheeks, and makeup brushes — is available on and at select retailers. Each item — from the bold colors inspired by Mexican cities, telenovelas and Latina beauty icons, to the playful, Spanish-language product names such as fresa or exagerada — was designed to resonate with Latina consumers, aesthetically and emotionally. Even the packaging, which features an illustration of a Latina bombshell covered in tattoos of milagros from the shoulders down, was conceived as a way to honor the consumer’s heritage while celebrating her modernity and expressiveness. The “chica,” as Merson calls her,

also illustrates the way women says. “You feel a connection and are imprinted with the beauty you feel that inspiration.” tips and good intentions of other Reina Rebelde seems poised women. “We are all connected,” to tap into one of the industry’s she says. “I wanted to bring that most significant groups. Hispanic to life.” consumers are growth drivers, Merson is dedicated to honorand thus increasingly critical to ing and creating a community the beauty industry, according of women. She seeks out Latina to a 2015 Nielsen study. The beauty influencers to collaborate analysis revealed that while with on campaigns and help cosmetics use fell 1.2 percent introduce the line to their among non-Hispanics, it circles. Her careful, grew 7.4 percent among TIP multifaceted strategy Hispanic buyers. In It’s easier than seems to have hit addition, a 2016 you might think to learn the latest home. study by Univision makeup tricks. Tutorial Judith Castro, a revealed that Latinas videos are just a makeup artist and spend more per Web search beauty influencer month across beauty away. known as JCastro Beauty categories, and those on social media, was sent purchases are influenced Reina Rebelde cosmetics to try. both by such traditional heavies She appreciates the brand, not as families and friends, and only for its products, but also digital and social media. because of Rebelde’s story. Roberta Barrientos is one such “It empowers you more Latina driving this category’s to know that there are other growth. Barrientos is a heavy Latinas that are successful,” she beauty consumer, but is looking for more from her cosmetics than pretty colors. In May, she began a personal endeavor to seek out beauty companies owned by Latina entrepreneurs, and she shares her findings at “Makeup is something I have a passion for, so instead of throwing my money at companies that have a lot of followers, why not invest my money into finding and trying these (Latina) products?” she says. With her winged eyeliner and tattoos, it’s no wonder Reina Rebelde’s chica resonates with Barrientos. Her aesthetic was informed by her vibrant grandmother, whose love of bold and bright makeup, hair and personal style inspired her to be adventurous with her beauty. “She wasn’t afraid to let her creativity show,” Barrientos says. “That’s something I definitely apply to myself; I am not going to be afraid to be bold.”



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Gabriela Hernandez’s Besame Cosmetics line is inspired by1920s’50s trends.


Nuance Flawless Finish liquid foundation, $14.99, nuance



Shade + Light face contour palette by Kat Von D Beauty, $46,


Besame Cosmetics 1938 Apricot Cream Rouge, $18, besamecosmetics. com



Reina Rebelde Bold Lip color stick, $16, reina


Love Sick Stack by Melt Cosmetics, $48,








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Color vs. Culture For Latinas, lightening hair becomes a question of ethnic pride BY CHRISTINE ROMERO

MATURE LATINAS, LIKE many other women of a certain age, often rely on hair dye to look and feel their best and outsmart Father Time. However, for some Hispanic women, the decision to color can be complicated by society’s expectations and cultural messages. Stylists warn that using hair dye to cling to the dark hair of youth can make a woman appear older. Instead, some recommend lightening tresses to keep those grays at bay, causing a dilemma for some Latinas.




While other cultures may embrace a blonde boost, for many Hispanic women, the look invites accusations of trying to hide their ethnicity. “They judge it,” says MariSol Martinez Little, 35, a dark-haired Denver social worker who was born in New Mexico. She remembers older women in her family questioning the ethnic pride of Latinas who had chosen to go blonde and seemingly embraced a European beauty standard.

“They are pretty vocal about it,” she says. “They might even say it within earshot of the person who did the hair dyeing.” Of course, Latinas’ strands span the spectrum from light to dark. Yet, there are subtle and overt pressures for Latinas to look the part with dark hair — even if their hair is fair. Although naturally blonde, Colombian-born actress Sofía Vergara often shares how she darkened her hair for casting

directors who didn’t think she looked “Latina enough.” After her dye job, Vergara says people started to view her as Latina. Noelia Garcia, 44, visits her local Houston Walmart for hair dye about once a month. She goes darker to cover the gray streaks. She’s lightened her mane before, but when it was blonde, she heard, “What are you trying to be, white?” That fight to stave off grays, combined with the pressure to demonstrate cultural pride by keeping tresses dark, has helped make Hispanics the top hair-care consumers, spending more on these products than the general market, according to Nielsen, a U.S. data TIP and measurement Some beauty company. experts recommend lightening hair “It’s a Latina to cover gray, but thing,” says New most suggest simply York City resident finding a look Ashley Jimenez, 25, you love. a brunette, beauty and fashion assistant at Latina magazine. “Latinas are so conscious of the way we physically look. It has to do with self-esteem. We are just brought up that way.” However, those expectations may be changing, thanks to pop icons who seamlessly lighten, darken or add the colors of the rainbow to their hair. “Everybody knows Beyoncé doesn’t have blonde hair. Everybody knows (Jennifer Lopez) doesn’t have blonde hair,” says Martinez Little. Garcia points out that the stereotype of the dark-haired Latina is a flawed one that doesn’t necessarily apply to all Latinos. “Anybody (who) has ever been to Mexico (and many other Latin American countries), they know not everybody has dark hair,” says Garcia, who is of Mexican descent. “You’ve got blonde hair and blue eyes down there.”






Ruling the Runway Fashion icon Nina Garcia credits Colombian heritage for her success BY TRACY SCOTT FORSON

IT MAY BE a generalization to assume that her about fashion and that feeling good every Latina gravitates toward bold, bright about your clothes is more important than colors and vibrant patterns and shapes, following the latest trends. Wear what but Marie Claire creative director and Project fits and is flattering for your proportions, Runway judge Nina Garcia embraces those Garcia advises. aspects of Latina style with pride. “That was the biggest lesson I learned “I love color. I love print. If that’s a from my mother, who was a full-figured stereotype, I’m happy with that,” says woman with curves. She was confident Garcia, who’s been with the Emmyabout what worked for her.” winning fashion design competition show While the fashion industry is known for for 16 seasons. “Latin women its focus on rail-thin models, are very feminine and embrace Garcia is excited about the color in the right way. It looks twist on season 16 of Project very good. They know how to Runway, which premiered in play with prints (and) color.” August on Lifetime. Instead of Garcia, 52, says her Colomcreating looks for the obligatory bian heritage has helped her size 2, contestants are designexcel in the competitive world ing for diverse body types. of fashion for the better part Garcia, who visits Colombia of three decades, allowing two or three times a year and her to offer insights that her insists her two sons speak colleagues couldn’t. Spanish at home, says she “When I first started in the hopes the fashion industry industry, I know being Latina continues to welcome models and having that point of view who better reflect how most gave me a very different — NINA GARCIA women look, because clothes perspective from my peers. do more than just cover up. That was my source of strength and “The way you dress is suggesting power,” she says. “We are a culture that has something to the world. In the morning a lot to offer, and we should be very proud when you get up and are getting dressed, of our heritage and own it and use it for whatever you pull together is a message the best.” without words that’s going out to the That cultural perspective is one unique world,” says Garcia, who adds that stepping thing Garcia offers on Project Runway, out in style is part of her culture. where she doles out advice, guidance and “Latin women have a real appreciacandid critiques to aspiring designers tion for beauty. They like to always look alongside fellow judge Zac Posen, mentor groomed, always have their hair perfect, Tim Gunn and host Heidi Klum. their nails perfect,” she says. “That’s in our Garcia credits her mother with teaching heritage.”

I love color. I love print. If that’s a stereotype, I’m happy with that.”



Latinos. Cameras. Action! One of Hollywood’s most underserved audiences is also its most insatiable BY PATRICK RYAN




Eugenio Derbez co-stars with Salma Hayek in How to be a Latin Lover, above, and with Loreto Peralta in Instructions Not Included. CLAUDETTE BARIUS/PANTELION FILMS; MARCIA PERSKIE/PANTELION FILMS

MOVIE STUDIOS ARE taking note that when surpassed expectations in April, earning $12.3 films star Latino actors and present stories million in its opening weekend and drawing an specific to the Hispanic-American experience, it 89 percent Latino audience. The comedy centers pays off. on an oafish Lothario (Derbez) who attempts to Latinos accounted for 21 percent of all tickets seduce a widowed billionaire. Lover was Derbez’s sold in 2016, compared with 14 percent each first English-language starring role and movie for African Americans and aimed at American audiences, Asians, according to the Motion following his 2013 surprise Picture Association of America. hit Instructions Not Included, MORE THAN Yet a study by the University of the highest-grossing SpanishSouthern California’s Annenberg language film in U.S. history, at School for Communications and $44.5 million. Journalism found that in 2015, “Instructions Not Included just 5 percent of characters in showed Hollywood that there’s of the U.S. population 800 movies were Latino — far a huge Hispanic market waiting is Hispanic, making fewer than white (74 percent) for movies that appeal to them,” them the largest ethnic characters. In contrast, Hispanics says Derbez, who played a father minority group make up more than 17 percent caring for his daughter in the of the U.S. population as the dramedy. “The Hispanics I met country’s largest ethnic minority were like, ‘This is the first time group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. we’ve seen in a Hollywood movie a Latino that “Hispanic audiences represent one of the most is not a criminal, a drug lord or a gardener. It’s a important segments of the potential moviegoing very successful guy and we’re proud to watch a population,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior movie like that.’ When you give them the right media analyst for comScore, a company that material, they will show up.” measures audiences. More Hispanic-centered movies are on the Eugenio Derbez’s How to Be a Latin Lover horizon. Disney-Pixar’s Coco will be voiced by an

SCENE STEALERS HISPANIC ACTORS TO WATCH Movie studios may just be noticing the success of films starring and targeting Hispanics, but TV executives have been creating compelling characters and storylines for Latino actors for years. From Desi Arnaz to Ricardo Montalbán, TV has helped bridge the gap between people of many ethnicities. Here are a few of today’s notable actors: ROSARIO DAWSON With multiple ALMA (American Latino Media Arts) awards to her credit, Dawson is known for big-screen roles in blockbusters like Seven Pounds. However, she’s as talented on smaller screens. Recently she starred as Claire Temple in Netflix’s Luke Cage and will reprise the role on its upcoming companion series, The Defenders.


BENJAMIN BRATT This film (Demolition Man, Miss Congeniality) star and ALMA winner may be best known for his TV roles on hit series Law & Order and Private Practice. While one or two career successes might be enough for some actors, Bratt’s not done building an impressive body of work. He is currently starring on Fox’s Star and maintaining a recurring role on ABC’s Modern Family.

all-Latino cast and centers around Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration, while Gael García Bernal is set to star in a post-apocalyptic take on the Zorro character. A remake of Mexicanthriller Miss Bala is also in the works. It pays for studios to market to Hispanics, too. According to statistics collected by Univision, 56 percent of Hispanics go to the movies six times a year or more (versus 44 percent for non-Hispanics). One in two go to the movies on opening weekend. Hispanic moviegoers turned out in greater numbers than any minority group for last year’s biggest earners, including Finding Dory (26 percent of ticket buyers were Latino), Captain America: Civil War (22 percent) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (15 percent), according to comScore. Only the latter featured Latino talent in a major role: Mexican-born actor Diego Luna, as Cassian Andor. “I want to see (Latino) characters exist outside of the confines of stereotypes and kill fodder,” says Desiree Rodriguez, a contributor to the news site “We deserve to see our community in full as complex, fully realized characters in various genres and settings.”

LA LA ANTHONY For some, her NBA husband, Carmelo Anthony, is the star of the family, but La La Vazquez was on her way to boss status before their union. Fans remember her years as a host on MTV and followed her as she shared her life on La La’s Full Court Life. Since, she’s appeared in films, such as Think Like a Man, and Starz’s Power.

GUILLERMO DÍAZ Each week, viewers tune in to see what Díaz and his Scandal co-stars have in store. Whether his Huck character is pulling out a co-worker’s teeth or crying over his estrangement from his family, he remains a favorite whose layers only endear him to the show’s faithful audience.

KARLA SOUZA Even before producer Shonda Rhimes took note of Souza, Souza was considered one of Mexico’s biggest stars, appearing in Mexico’s top three box-office hits since 2013. Her popularity among American audiences has only increased since taking on the role of Laurel Castillo in ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder. — Tracy Scott Forson



Justina Machado and Rita Moreno

A New ‘Day’ Rita Moreno shines in Netflix reboot

The DNA of the original: a very strong woman trying her best to raise her family the best she can — given the circumstances, (remains the same).” — GLORIA CALDERON KELLETT, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER



WHEN LEGENDARY TV writer and producer Norman Lear decided to update one of his decades-old sitcoms using an all-Latino cast, he knew exactly who to call on to play the matriarch of the fictional family — Rita Moreno. “He said, ‘I want you in my sitcom,’” she recalls. Before she even knew what the series was about, she had decided to join the cast. “Then I asked, ‘What is it?’” For the Oscar winner, Lear’s involvement was the immediate allure of joining Netflix’s update of the 1970’s sitcom One Day at a Time, now streaming for subscribers. The original series, which aired from 1975 to 1984, focused on a divorced mom — unusual for TV at the time — and her two daughters living in Indianapolis. The new version centers on three generations of a Cuban-American family in Los Angeles. Moreno, a native of Puerto Rico, says the focus on a Latino family, a group more common

in the real world than on TV, “is very relevant to our times.” Imitating real life on the show, different generations have their own perspectives. Grandmother Lydia (Moreno) is a traditionalist; her daughter, Penelope (Justina Machado), is the practical breadwinner who’s separated from her husband; and Penelope’s teen daughter Elena (Isabella Gomez) is devoted to progressive causes. Penelope also has a young son, Alex, played by Marcel Ruiz. The cast may be new, but “the DNA of the original: a very strong woman trying her best to raise her family the best she can — given the circumstances, (remains the same),” says executive producer Gloria Calderon Kellett. Like the original, the new series tackles controversial issues, including bigotry and sexism. Despite the often -serious subject matter, Lear says there’s almost always room for humor, “because the foolishness of the human condition is a constant. It doesn’t go away.”



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WATCH AND LEARN TELENOVELAS MAY HELP YOU SPEAK THE LANGUAGE Telenovelas are not just a source of entertainment. According to Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, who teaches a class on telenovelas and culture at the University of Georgia, many of her students have learned Spanish, thanks to the soap operas they’re required to watch for her course. “Because it’s easy to know … the emotional tone of the scene, you start sort of guessing the words,” she says. “It’s a very entertaining way to learn.” If you’re looking to brush up on your Spanish, here’s a variety of top telenovelas available for streaming:

A cultural phenomenon that unites generations BY ROXANA A. SOTO

MARY SIDDALL HAS no doubts about her first memorable telenovela: Cuna de Lobos — with the evil Catalina Creel as its incomparable antagonist. Siddall was just a tween then, but like many Latinas of her generation, she recalls watching soap operas religiously with her grandmother in her native Peru. “It wasn’t only about watching television, but rather the bonding that occurred with my grandmother,” says the 42-year-old Denver resident, who was 7 or 8-years-old when she started watching ’novelas. “Everything would stop at 8 p.m. We’d sit to watch the ’novela while we ate.” Telenovelas — serialized melodramas broadcast in daily installments — have kept Spanish-speaking viewers glued to the edge of their seats with overly dramatic love stories for more than six decades. And while their American counterparts have seen a major decline in viewership with the cancellation of many long-running dramas — including Guiding Light, which ran for 57 years — telenovelas have maintained a following with some even re-created for American audiences. The co-viewing appeal and viewers’ connection to the beloved celebrities who bring the stories to life are reasons for the genre’s success, says Adrian Santucho, executive vice president of Univision Studios. “There’s also the hook, the payoff, the life lessons learned for all characters — especially the evil ones that repent — and the happy endings.”



uAVENIDA BRASIL: Hailing from the land of samba and fútbol, this telenovela became a phenomenon in 2012 for its realistic portrayal of Brazil’s new middle class and the contemporary themes it tackled. uYO SOY BETTY, LA FEA: This Colombian romantic comedy is considered one of the most successful telenovelas of all time because it spawned several international versions, including ABC’s Ugly Betty, starring America Ferrara. uMARIA LA DEL BARRIO, MARIMAR AND MARIA MERCEDES: In the 1990s, Mexican superstar Thalía was dubbed the “Queen of telenovelas” after starring in the so-called Maria Trilogy, the mostwatched telenovela series in the world. uLA REINA DEL SUR: Based on the highly acclaimed book by Arturo PérezReverte, this narconovela stars Kate del Castillo. The Telemundo production inspired USA Network’s version, Queen of the South, featuring Brazilian actress Alice Braga, in 2016. — Roxana A. Soto



uKASSANDRA: This Venezuelan telenovela from 1992 is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most widely distributed soap opera ever, having aired in 128 countries.

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Telenovelas are no longer just stories of star-crossed lovers who overcome odds to find happiness.


Like Siddall, New York City resident Vivian Llodra, 46, who’s been tuning into telenovelas for 20 years, remembers watching the soap operas with her Cuban elders. With about 100 episodes per series, their binge-watching appeal — requiring less of a commitment than some decades-long American soaps — is part of their success, says Llodra, who compares telenovelas to reality series. She describes them as “escape TV,” drawing in viewers who can step away from daily demands for an hour or two and get caught up in the over-the-top romances. “It’s a simple story,” Llodra says, summing up most telenovelas. “Boy meets girl; girl meets boy. They’re destined to be together, but first they have to go through the crazy.” That drama can range from a disguised twin trying to ruin the romance to a school shooting. “Then it all works out, and they live happily ever after.” However, telenovelas are no longer just stories of star-crossed lovers who overcome odds to find happiness. From recent hits like Telemundo’s narconovela La Reina del Sur to current series like Univision’s La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo, the telenovelas of Siddall’s and Llodra’s childhoods have changed. Today’s series are more in tune with realities like racism and illegal immigration. Estela Carrillo, for example, follows an undocumented single mom in California. In the first episode, she must decide between helping authorities


solve a crime and alerting Zuria Vega them to her status. Despite and Daniel Arenas star in that progress, Llodra points the Univision out that LGBTQ storylines are telenovela Mi missing from telenovelas, and Marido Tiene darker-skinned Latinos are Familia (My often stereotypically cast in Husband has servitude roles. Family). Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, a communications professor at the University of Georgia who’s studied telenovelas for two decades, says the storylines have to become more contemporary so that viewers, young and old, can find them more relatable. “These days we like things that have elements of realism,” she says. That’s where the universal language of love comes in, Llodra says. “Family getting in the way of love or jealousy getting in the way of love … that’s all relatable,” she explains. The entertainment value helps sustain the genre, but the family ties keep fans coming back. “(Telenovelas bridge) the gap sometimes and keep us from feeling isolated (from our homeland). It’s just a nice way to keep in touch,” says Llodra, who credits her mother and aunts for introducing her to the genre back when there was only one TV in the home. “It’s nostalgia. It’s something you grow up doing,” she says. “It brings you warm memories.”



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Diane Guerrero survived her parents’ deportation and made her way to Hollywood.

Untold Story In her memoir, actress Diane Guerrero describes parents’ deportation

DIANE GUERRERO AND her parents feared the day would come, and when it finally did, it was just as bad — if not worse — than they’d imagined. On May 17, 2001, a day she describes as one of the most difficult of her life, the Orange Is the Three New Black actress, immigrant then 14, returned families share their home from school deportation to find her parents stories. missing. The Page 58 undocumented couple had been deported back to their home country of Colombia. “They overstayed their visas. They were fighting to find a path for citizenship, and they kept trying,” she told USA TODAY in 2016, the year that her book, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, was published. The memoir recounts the ordeal Guerrero endured when she was left alone in Boston without her family. “The parent of a friend — she helped me, and she took me in,” Guerrero says. “No one checked up on me. No one called. It was as if I never existed,” recalls Guerrero, who at first expected authorities to follow up with her but later decided their distance was probably best. “I just kept quiet and pretended nothing happened.” In an excerpt from her book,



IN THE COUNTRY WE LOVE: MY FAMILY DIVIDED by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford

Guerrero explains why she chose to tell her story after spending years in the shadows: “It would have meant everything for me to know that someone, somewhere had survived what I was going through.” Each day, about 17 children experience similar scenarios, says Guerrero in the book, citing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement statistics. Many end up in the foster care system. The book is as much for their benefit as her own, says Guerrero, who believes she suffered from depression after the incident. It’s been years since the family was torn apart, but Guerrero still hopes they will be reunited in the U.S. some day. “They want to (return), of course, and I want them to,” she says. “I am so desperate for us to feel like a family again.”



c i t C n u e i h sin t u e A 42


Satisfy your craving for Cuban right here at home BY KEITH FLANAGAN





ubanAmerican culture often stems from Miami’s Little Havana, where an inevitable fusion of pan-Latin flavors — say, cilantro — often embellish Cuban classics. The combination of flavors gives the cuisine unique tastes that are not always exclusively Cuban, but influenced by the melting pot that is America. These restaurants from across the country have found ways to stay true to tradition, while adding distinct flair to the flavorful cuisine.

Authentic Cuisine


CUBA CUBA CAFE & BAR Cuba Cuba Cafe & Bar is the brainchild of Kristy Socarrás Bigelow, whose mother fled Cuba at age 12, along with her parents and grandparents. Eventually ending up in Denver, Miami-born Bigelow missed the Cuban flavors that reminded her of her youth. She solved that problem by opening her first Cuba Cuba Cafe & Bar more than 15 years ago and has since opened three more Colorado locations. The original Denver restaurant boasts nostalgic dishes like picadillo and vaca frita. ▶ 1173 Delaware St.; 303-605-2822;

Cuban sandwich


Located in the Ybor City area of Tampa, Columbia Restaurant opened in 1905 and is Florida’s oldest family-run restaurant. It began as a simple cafe that served Cuban coffee and Cuban sandwiches. Over the years, the location has expanded to 15 dining rooms with full-service dinner menus, offering entrees such as roast pork a la cubana, and a side of live music and dance. Still owned by the same family that opened it, Columbia Restaurant uses the original 1915 recipe for its Cuban sandwich. ▶ 2117 E. Seventh Ave.; 813-248-4961;


The menu at Pilar Cuban Eatery in Brooklyn keeps with tradition but takes it up a notch without changing the meat and bones of each recipe. Meats are smoked in-house; chorizo is house-made, and even unfamiliar Cuban dishes are featured to drive it home. Chef Ricardo Barreras’ arroz con pollo is one of his many standout items, cooked in the same spirit as his grandfather’s — beer included. ▶ 397 Greene Ave.; 718-623-2822;







New in Miami, Estefan Kitchen opened in March and promises fine Cuban dishes from familiar names Emilio and Gloria Estefan. Estefan Kitchen highlights traditional dishes and recipes passed down through the Estefan family, reinterpreted by Cuban chef Odell Torres. The family’s reworked dishes include lechón crispy moros, lechón flatbread and braised short ribs, enjoyed inside a space designed to emulate midcentury Cuba with a side of glam. ▶ 140 N.E. 39th St., Suite 133; 786-843-3880;



P O RT L A N D, O R E .

Ropa vieja


The name says it all at Cuba Restaurant & Rum Bar, which Cuban-born owner Beatriz de Armas opened more than a decade ago in New York City’s West Village. Savory offerings include the lechon asado (which features suckling pig) and rabo encendido (featuring braised oxtail), which are worth a closer look. ▶ 222 Thompson St.; 212-420-7878;



In Portland, Ore., owner and chef John ConnellMaribona pulls unique flavors from family recipes and serves them to hungry hordes — especially brunch crowds. Entrees are especially bold, working with ingredients like pork tongue in red sauce and Gulf prawns sautéed in garlic mojo sauce. There are empanadas and croqueta for days, pork roast and French toast made with Cuban bread. ▶ 2811 N.E. Glisan St.; 503-233-0511;



Chef Douglas Rodriguez is known as the godfather of Nuevo Latino cuisine. His Alma de Cuba’s signature vaca frita is a classic dish related to ropa vieja, but instead of just being stewed, shredded beef gets seared for a final touch of crisp, with an extra hit of citrus. It’s been this Philadelphia restaurant’s top-selling dish for 15 years and counting. Fusing fellow Latin American flavors, Alma de Cuba embraces a few dollops of Mexican crema on sweet plantains, or Peruvian chimichurri on fish. ▶ 1623 Walnut St.; 215-988-1799;





PAPI’S CUBAN & CARIBBEAN GRILL Papi’s Cuban & Caribbean Grill, with several Georgia locations, is more than a decade old and was decades in the making. In 1990, owner Reynaldo Regalado brought his family’s Cuban flavors to Atlanta and opened the first Papi’s in 2002. Menu includes Papi’s ajiaco soup and ropa vieja. ▶ 216 Ponce de Leon Ave.; 404-607-1525;


Authentic Cuisine

Terrific Tacos All across the nation, chefs are putting their special spins on what’s known as a Mexican staple: tacos. No matter your taste — be it pork to potatoes — there’s a taco for you.

WEST Puesto in San Diego lets diners mix and match three of the 13 taco options, such as filet mignon, chicken al pastor and tamarindo shrimp. ▶ 789 West Harbor Dr., Suite 155; 619-233-8880; Cala in San Francisco offers a rotating menu of tacos, including a marinated pork option, for weekday lunch. ▶ 149 Fell St.; 415-660-7701;


Ocho restaurant’s Cubano sandwich is best enjoyed en route to the basement’s moody Havana Bar, both inside San Antonio’s Hotel Havana, the epitome of Cuban culture-going-pan-Latin in the USA. Originally opened in 1914 by the son of a German immigrant, the building mimicked the Caribbean style of the time. ▶ 1015 Navarro St.; 210-222-2008;


NORTHEAST Anna’s Taqueria has expanded into seven Boston-area locations with specialties such as steak, al pastor and chicken tacos. ▶ GUAC Tacos + Tequila in New York City offers chicken, steak and shrimp tacos to go with its 11 guacamole flavors. ▶ 179 Avenue B; 212-254-4822;

MIDWEST With three locations in St. Louis, Mission Taco Joint offers nine types of tacos, from BBQ duck to Mofu Tofu. ▶ Arepazo, which has three locations around Columbus, Ohio, is well loved for its South American cuisine. At the original location, tucked in downtown Columbus’ business district, the fish tacos and Venezuelan arepa are customer favorites. ▶




Treats here are yummy and photogenic. Porto’s Bakery & Cafe has nearly 60,000 followers on Instagram, where pictures are worth 1,000 calories. With two locations in Los Angeles (Burbank and Glendale), Porto’s serves sweet and savory specialties that draw long lines. Of course, the bakery makes Cuban bread, an essential ingredient for an authentic Cubano sandwich. ▶


With multiple locations in North and South Carolina and one venue in Tennessee, White Duck Taco Shop offers more than a dozen eclectic taco varieties, such as mole roasted duck and mushroom and potato tacos. ▶ At Pepita Cantina in Arlington, Va., chef Mike Isabella serves up seven taco variations, such as red chili chicken with shredded chicken, avocado, crema and radish. ▶ 4000 Wilson Blvd., Suite D; 703-312-0200; — Tracy Scott Forson


LANGUAGE Spanish fluency in the U.S. decreases with each generation BY LAURA CASTAÑEDA

or a peek at how many young Latinos communicate with their Spanishspeaking parents or grandparents, take a look at the CW’s hit TV show Jane the Virgin. The matriarch, Alba Villanueva, speaks in Spanish, with English subtitles for viewers. Meanwhile, her daughter, Xiomara, and granddaughter, Jane, always answer her in English, save for the occasional slip into Spanglish. Daniel Miramontez can relate. The 19-year-old sociology student from Van Nuys, Calif., says he spoke Spanish while growing up, as do most of his older relatives. “But when I started going to school, I started losing my Spanish and speaking more English.” Miramontez validates what research indicates: Spanish proficiency drops while English proficiency rises for many young Latinos. As a result, a command of the language decreases with each Latino generation in the U.S. For example, about 57 percent of Latinos older than 69 are proficient in Spanish. Fewer than 50 percent of Boomer and Generation X Latinos speak the language comfortably, and approximately 25 percent of Hispanic Millennial adults know the language well, according to the Pew Research Center.



Younger Latinos are gravitating more toward English than Spanish, according to a Pew study. About 88 percent of Latinos ages 5 to 17 in 2014 said they either speak only English at home or speak English “very well,” compared with 73 percent in 2000. Among Latinos ages 18 to 33, the number has increased from 59 percent to 76 percent. Pew also found that English proficiency among older Latinos has remained stagnant over the same time period. So, while their children and grandchildren are becoming fluent in English, older generations aren’t retaining or learning at the same rate, causing a generational communication gap. Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research for Pew, says English is gaining ground over Spanish among U.S. Latinos for many reasons. Immigration, especially from Mexico, has slowed. U.S. births are now a bigger driver of Latino population growth than immigration. Increased intermarriage between Latinos and non-Latinos also is a factor. “All three are slowly changing the share of the Hispanic population that speaks only English at home,” he says. Another reason is that for many immigrants from Latin America, lacking a command of English has held them back in the labor market, so they make learning English a priority for their children. “They highly value English, and when it comes at the expense of maintaining Spanish, they may value it too much,” says Patricia Gándara, a research professor at UCLA. Even families that want their children to use Spanish at home and English everywhere else face challenges, says Elvira Armas, associate director of the Center for Equity for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She says that overtly or not, students get the message that English is the “language of status.” In addition, cities with large Latino populations have made policy changes in schools that make it difficult for students to maintain their Spanish, says Armas. California, for example, passed Proposition 227 in 1998, which

¿Hablas español? Spanish proficiency drops while English proficiency rises with each Latino generation, according to Pew Research Center: AGE: 18-34


of Hispanic Millennial adults know Spanish well



of Boomers and Generation X Latinos speak the langage comfortably



are proficient in Spanish




eliminated bilingual classes for students who were considered “limited English proficient” and required English-language immersion. It was overturned last year. Armas says that Spanish classes designed for native Spanish speakers are very successful, especially in middle and high school, because instead of strict “book Spanish,” the teaching takes into account regional differences. “There’s a motivational factor there because schools value students’ linguistic and cultural assets, and students see themselves as capable language learners,” she says.


The loss or decay of a community’s native language from one generation to the next is not new. But it is cause for concern. Research shows that learning another language has cognitive, competitive and cultural benefits for students. As a result, many educators and parents are emphasizing the benefits of bilingualism in our increasingly global society. “Children who are bilingual have cognitive flexibility in



thinking and really move through concepts in different ways,” says Hilda Maldonado, executive director of the multilingual and multicultural education department for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Maldonado, who is overseeing the growth of bilingual schools in Los Angeles from 42 to 101 next year, says that speaking more than one language also helps students perform better academically, gives them an economic edge in a global society and builds cultural competency. LAUSD, the nation’s second largest public school district, with 650,000 students speaking 92 languages, is emphasizing the benefits of speaking multiple languages by placing a seal on a student’s high school diploma to certify that they are biliterate. “When they earn that, it makes them stand out,” she says, adding that 27 states and Washington, D.C., are doing the same. UCLA’s Gándara says bilingual education is especially important for children in marginalized groups. “Children who go to school where their language and culture are honored and valued tend to do better academically. They have a strong sense of identity and feel like they have something special to contribute.” Speaking a second language may also prove an asset in the workforce. Gándara cites a study that suggests two-thirds of almost 300 businesses say they would hire a bilingual person over a monolingual person.


While there are some cities, like Miami, and neighborhoods across the country where Spanish is required for day-to-day activities, it hasn’t yet overtaken English as the country’s most common language. For many,

Young students at Rayuela, a preschool for language immersion in Altadena, Calif., not only learn to speak Spanish, but also learn about different aspects of Latino culture, such as art, cooking and dance. PROVIDED BY RAYUELA

“We may be forging a new identity that is not as tied to the Spanish language as in other parts of the world.”

learning español doesn’t happen organically — lessons are required. Helping their children become completely bilingual and bicultural is common sense for parents like Ted and Daisy Hamory, who sent their oldest son, Nicholas, to Rayuela, a Spanish immersion preschool in Altadena, Calif., and plan to send their two younger children there, too. Ted learned Spanish in school, and Daisy is Mexican American. Their goal is to help their children interact with relatives, travel effortlessly and build a foundation for learning other languages. Maldonado from LAUSD hopes that within a decade, schools will recognize that coming from a family that speaks more than one language is not a deficit but a resource that can be built on, so everyone can be bilingual. “It’s such an incredible asset to have,” she says. For Latinos, proficiency in Spanish is more than just a résumé booster or useful skill. Ninety-five percent of Latinos say it is important to them

that future generations speak the language, but 71 percent also say that speaking Spanish is not necessary to be considered Latino, according to Pew. “We may be forging a new identity that is not as tied to the Spanish language as in other parts of the world,” says Lopez. “Many Hispanics who are of those later generations may not be fluent in Spanish, yet they strongly identify with their ancestry and background.”




Jorge Ramos has been called one of the most influential journalists of our time. After more than three decades in the anchor chair at Univision, he is as determined as ever to tell the truth about the Latino experience in the United States — even if it gets him kicked out of the occasional news conference.



Jorge Ramos interviews Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the the Iowa Brown & Black Forum in January 2016.

helped Ramos cultivate a reputation as one of the most trusted names in news. A survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center revealed he is considered one of the most important Latino leaders in the country.

ears ago, a woman was walking through a Miami supermarket when she mentioned to her companion that she’d seen a news report announcing Fidel Castro's death. At the time, long before Castro’s actual passing in 2016, several unsubstantiated reports had declared the Cuban dictator’s alleged demise. Not so quick to believe the rumors, the woman’s companion turned to her skeptically and said, “Until Univision’s Jorge Ramos says it, I won’t believe it!”


An Emmy Awardwinning journalist and the lead anchor for Noticiero Univision for the past 31 years, Ramos relishes the opportunity to share that story — a conversation he happened to overhear himself. The anecdote also speaks to the core reason he chose to be a reporter: “The most important thing for a journalist to be is credible,” he says from his office in Univision’s Doral, Fla., studio. “If people don’t believe what we do, we are not doing our job right.”



Born and raised in Mexico City, Ramos, 59, chose to study journalism despite his father’s wish that he focus on law, engineering or architecture, the profession of Ramos’ father and grandfather. It wasn’t just about continuing a family tradition; his safety was a concern. Mexico was and still is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. As Ramos is quick to point out: “In the past 17 years, more than 100 journalists have been killed in Mexico.” The risks didn't

deter the ambitious young reporter who quickly began feeling the heat. The third story Ramos ever produced for television was censored because of its criticism of the Mexican president at the time. Unable to give up on his dream or accept the status quo, a defiant and determined Ramos handed in his resignation letter, which he considered a badge of honor. “I was a censored journalist once, and now I have complete freedom of expression,” says Ramos, who later thanked the Mexican government and his former employer. Having that freedom and an enormous platform at Univision — in cities such as Houston, Chicago and Miami, his evening broadcasts consistently beat other networks in ratings — has

When he arrived in the United States in 1983 on a student visa, Ramos immediately enrolled in an extension program at UCLA, where he spent a year studying journalism. “This country gave me opportunities that my country of origin couldn’t,” says Ramos, who Fortune magazine named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” in 2016, alongside Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Unlike in his home country, Ramos’ American employers at Univision embraced his fire-starter journalistic style, and in just three years, he became one of the youngest anchors to lead a major news broadcast. But while many in the Latino community have watched Ramos for decades, he became a household name to mainstream audiences when he confronted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about




Readers wait to have Ramos sign their copies of his book, Take A Stand: Lessons From Rebels, at Barnes & Noble Union Square in New York City in March 2016.

Ramos has received eight Emmy Awards, including a lifetime achievement honor in 2012. In July, he dedicated his Gabriel García Márquez Recognition of Excellence media award to journalists killed for questioning power.

controversial remarks Trump made in support of deportation during a 2015 press conference in Iowa. When Trump instructed a member of his security team to “get him out of here” and told Ramos to “go back to Univision,” many people interpreted it as “go back to your country” — and rallied behind Ramos, who initially refused to budge. After Trump allowed Ramos back into the press conference, Ramos continued his line of questioning. “Jorge Ramos won’t sit down and wait his turn,” says Sergio Garcia-Rios, a professor of government and Latino studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. “No one else had really (displayed moxie) before on that level.” Ramos’ hard-hitting, persistent, unapologetic approach was also on display in 2012, when he confronted President Obama about the record number of deportations occurring under his watch. “Ramos is the rare journalist who isn’t so much bipartisan as he is pro-Latino,” says GarciaRios. “He is by far the most influential journalist in the Latino community. He also accepts the responsibility of being ‘a voice for the voiceless,’ as he’s been called, and he uses it to foster Latino participation in politics, in particular voter turnout and engagement.” Garcia-Rios’ research on the media’s influence on Latino voters has shown that those who watch

Spanish-language news, and Ramos in particular, are twice as likely to participate in politics. “He has such a huge influence that we titled the paper ‘The Jorge Ramos Effect,’” Garcia-Rios says. Often referred to as the Latino Walter Cronkite, Ramos received a top journalism award named after the legendary anchor earlier this year. He was recognized for his candid interview with an unmasked member of the Ku Klux Klan, a report on two

on his mission. “I believe that journalists have two primary responsibilities,” he says. “The first is to inform, but the second is to question and challenge those who are in power.” Ramos welcomes the responsibility — and recognition — with open arms. “With a U.S. population of nearly 50 million and only four (Latino) senators, the Latino community is underrepresented in American politics,” he says. And he believes it’s partly his job to fix that. “The

Since I speak so much about immigration, people may not realize how grateful I am to the United States.” — Jorge Ramos, Univision anchor Muslim women describing a violent hate crime inside a Minnesota restaurant and his conversation with a classroom full of Latino students expressing fears their parents may be deported. “He understands the need to inform people, and he is not afraid to ask tough questions, but he is generally seen as fair,” Garcia-Rios adds. While journalists’ integrity has been questioned recently with accusations of “fake news” and ratingscentered reporting, Ramos has remained focused

question is, ‘Who defends those who don’t have a voice?’ The answer, many times, is Spanish media. We’re taking the lead in making sure those voices are never silenced.”

n A FUTURE IN SPANISH A growing anti-immigrant sentiment across the U.S. and the recent focus on “fake news” have increased skepticism toward journalists, but Ramos is both unafraid and undeterred. In fact, he seems quite optimistic. “Right now, we are


Rebel going through a major demographic revolution. I call it the ‘Latinization’ of the United States. By 2044, the white non-Hispanic population will become a minority, and Latinos will become a minoritymajority,” he says. “The majority of the growth is coming from people born in the United States.” Ramos points to the millions of Spanish-speaking undocumented immigrants and cites research that shows three out of four Latinos speak Spanish at home as evidence that the shift will translate into more opportunities for Latino networks and newsmakers. “You put all of these elements together,

immigration — it’s a task not required of Englishspeaking anchors,” he says. “Whether explaining the process of how to vote for the first time if you’re a new citizen, to what to do if (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) shows up at your door, this is information that is vital to our audience.” In addition to that specialized reporting, Spanish media are also tasked with keeping its audience informed on what’s taking place in Latin America. “Latino journalists have to know exactly what is happening in countries such as Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela,” Ramos says. “Our world is

shoulders. “It’s disappointing and sad to see what is happening,” he says. When asked about Trump’s campaign comments, labeling Mexican immigrants as drug traffickers and rapists, Ramos quotes research from the Migration Policy Institute that shows less than 3 percent of undocumented immigrants have committed felonies. “More than 97 percent are good people,” he adds wistfully. “One of the most difficult things in the world to be is an immigrant.” Though the status has its struggles, Ramos says he’s happy to be living in the U.S. “Since I speak so much

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump fields a question from Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos during a press conference held Aug. 25, 2015, in Iowa. Earlier in the press conference, Trump had Ramos removed from the room when he failed to yield to Trump. along with our proximity to Latin America, and it’s clear there’s a solid future for Spanish-language media.” For Ramos, journalism isn’t a job; it’s a public service. “Our audience requires guidance on issues such as health care, voting rights and



much larger than the one you generally see on an English-language broadcast.” The emotional complexity of being a Mexican immigrant reporting on a border wall between his home country and his adopted country rests heavily on Ramos’

about immigration, people may not realize how grateful I am to the United States,” he says. “When I arrived I had very little, but now I see my children — Paola, who is 30, and Nicolas, who is 18 — enjoying better opportunities. Every single day I thank this country

for that.” With a nightly newscast, several best-selling books, a new weekly series (Show Me Something, on Fusion, Univision’s sister network) and myriad other projects in the works, how does Ramos unwind? “I’ve been playing fútbol (soccer) every Saturday morning with the same group of friends for the past two decades,” he says, noting the commitment it takes to keep a tradition like that going. “It’s the best relief ever. It reminds me of growing up in Mexico when I wanted to be a fútbol player.” Ramos also credits tennis and jogging with keeping him healthy — and sane. “I have to keep moving, otherwise the stress will kill me,” he adds. But it’s yoga, which he discovered 15 years ago, that he says makes the biggest difference in how he performs his job. “If you look at a newscast I did 30 years ago and compare it to today, you will notice that I am not reading the teleprompter as fast. I pause more; I don’t interrupt interviewees as much as I used to. Yoga has helped me a lot.” Even after several successful decades in the news business, Ramos sometimes feels nostalgic for his home country. “I wonder what would have happened to me if I had stayed in Mexico,” he says. “I can work, go home, enjoy a bike ride, go to the supermarket and sleep peacefully. I am not sure I would be able to do the same things had I stayed.”



Jorge Ramos welcomes singer John Legend to Show Me Something, airing on Fusion.



Ramos’ latest show breaks the mold

FOR YEARS, Jorge Ramos has been the face of Univision news, using his platform to bring attention to those issues that affect the lives of Latino Americans, challenge the policies that discriminate against immigrants and provide a voice for the community. “This has been at the very core of Jorge’s incredible journalistic work,” says Adrian Santucho, executive vice president of Univision Studios. Ramos is expanding his reach with the new series Show Me Something on Univision’s sister station Fusion. Taking a break from the studio, Ramos walks the streets with singer John Legend, chef José Andrés, talk-show host Conan O’Brien and others to expose his audience to different perspectives and opinions on topics relevant to Latino Americans. Instead of the standard interview format, the pedestrian aspect allows Ramos and guests to interact with those they encounter, stop into businesses and visit significant locales, like Andrés’ restaurants. The eight to10 episode series premiered in April, and each installment airs as a primetime special. “Jorge has sat face-to-face with world leaders and pop culture icons alike for decades, and so often during the interview or after they would say, ‘I wish I could show

you’ or ‘You really need to see,’” recalls Santucho. “Now that is where the conversation starts. Jorge is asking people to show viewers something they love, something that challenges or defines them.” For instance, Andrés clarifies that while he’s a self-proclaimed Washingtonian, at home in the nation’s capital, he also proudly embraces his status as an immigrant. As Ramos and O’Brien go for a stroll in Mexico City, the newsman demonstrates the correct way to eat an authentic taco, and the comedian explains why he uses his late-night show to expose his audience to South Korea, Cuba, Armenia and other overseas locales. “The solution to a lot of problems is to go and meet people,” O’Brien says. That’s a philosophy that has also worked for Ramos during his career of more than 30 years, whether he’s questioning Donald Trump on the campaign trail or actor and activist Eva Longoria in the studio. Those years of experience are at work in Show Me Something, which finds common ground between Ramos and his wide range of guests — discussing everything from childhood memories to politics — helping to display the humanity and diversity within the Latino community. — Tracy Scott Forson


Increased enforcement threatens

undocumented immigrants






ometimes, the course of one’s life can be altered in a matter of moments. A seemingly insignificant event, like being stopped by police because of a faulty taillight, can have catastrophic consequences, especially if you’re living in this country illegally. One day, you’re living the American dream; the next, you’re being deported. For the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., the Trump administration’s focus on enforcing deportation laws has caused heartache and stress. However, those in support of strict immigration laws have found President Trump’s new policies refreshing. “He came in with a stronger mandate than any president on immigration since Teddy Roosevelt,” says Dan Stein, head of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors limiting legal immigration. In 1907, Roosevelt shared his view that all newcomers to the nation should assimilate entirely, abandoning the language and traditions of their homeland. Trump campaigned on extending the wall to protect more areas along the Mexican border, deporting more categories of undocumented immigrants, limiting legal immigration and ending citizenship rights for babies born in the U.S. to undocumented parents. Just days after his inauguration, Trump issued executive orders that proposed hiring 15,000 immigration and border patrol officers, increasing coordination with local police on immigration enforcement and implementing stricter oversight of visa screening and distribution. His priorities for deportation, unlike former President Obama’s, include those who are in the U.S. without documentation, even if they haven’t been convicted of a crime. During the first 100 days of the administration, for instance, the number of people arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who were not criminals jumped 157 percent compared with the same period in 2016, says Greg Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA considers the new focus on deporting all undocumented immigrants a danger to due process and humanitarian needs, as well as indiscriminate. “The administration is now apprehending far more people who have no negative factors,” Chen says. Stein counters that it’s “a ridiculous concept” that undocumented workers with no criminal record should be spared deportation “just because they haven’t gone out and murdered someone.” Stein says Trump has already discouraged illegal immigration into the U.S., an action he suggests will benefit the country, citing the nation’s inability to provide for everyone who’d like to reside in America. So people who apply through legal channels and wait their turn should have priority, Stein says. “Fairness is a fundamental American value.” Trump’s enforcement policies have affected families nationwide, including a young woman who worries her reprieve under a program for young immigrants will evaporate, a husband and entrepreneur with deep ties in his community who made a mistake at age 24 and a father with no criminal record whose troubles started with the delayed delivery of a forwarded letter. Here are their stories:


Greisa Martinez Rosas


★ Greisa Martinez Rosas When she was 7, Greisa Martinez Rosas collected seashells as she walked along the Rio Grande border in Mexico with her family, anticipating a better life just across the cold waters. She left her bag of shells at the place where they planned to swim across the next day, leaving behind a sluggish economy with few educational opportunities for her and her three sisters. Her parents bought a house in Dallas and years later, Martinez

Rosas, now 29, attended college, setting an example for her sisters. One day, her father, who worked selling pallets to pay for her books at Texas A&M University, was pulled over by police for not making a complete stop, and in an instant their lives unraveled. With no driver’s license, he was deported within a week. “If you have a house, a dog, you stay out of trouble, your kids are in college, everything should be fine. That’s what we thought,” says Martinez Rosas, whose

perspective changed the moment her dad was deported and their lives upended. Ten years later, she took advantage of a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that gives students and high school graduates who arrived as kids (known as “Dreamers”) a reprieve from deportation. The Obama administration program is renewable every two years, and although Trump campaigned against it, he has yet to dismantle the program. However, its future is uncertain. (See sidebar.) Although there are other paths toward citizenship, such as employer-sponsored residency, they’re not options Martinez Rosas can pursue, so she worries. Her father is ill now, living in Mexico with little access to health care for his diabetes. She wants to visit, but is worried that she won’t be allowed to return to the U.S., where she lives near Washington, D.C., and works as an advocacy and policy director at United We Dream, a proimmigrant group with more than 100,000 members. Every day, Martinez Rosas worries about DACA's renewal and the possibility of being deported. She must re-apply in November. “I don’t want any family to feel like mine does, which is broken,” says Martinez Rosas, who helps her mother pay medical costs associated with cancer treatments and contributes to her sisters’ college education. “I’ve grown up in the state of Texas. I belong here. (Immigrants) are part of the community. An attack on one of them is an attack on everyone,” Martinez Rosas says.


Hannah, Rudy, Shelly and Noah Blanco

★ Rudy Blanco When Shelly Blanco, 42, voted for Donald Trump, she never expected his push to deport “bad hombres” would land her husband in jail. Shelly’s husband, Rudy Blanco, had arrived in the U.S. from Cuba at age 8 during the mass emigration known as the Mariel Boatlift. On the boat ride to freedom, the lights of Key West flickered in the distance. The family now lives in Shelly’s hometown of Perry, Fla. She met Rudy while visiting the Keys and fell into a whirlwind



romance, marrying in 1995. He was 22, and she was 20. Cubans like the Blancos were given permanent residency, but Rudy’s parents never applied for citizenship for the family because of their fear of government, the result of living for years under communism. When Rudy was 24, he made a mistake that would — 21 years later — fracture his family. Their daughter, Hannah, (they also have a younger son, Noah) was born prematurely at 28 weeks, and they faced the pressure of mounting medical bills. Looking for a “quick fix,” Rudy sold a

gram of cocaine, his wife says. “He was not a user,” Shelly says. “It’s a lesson he’s had to live with for 20 years.” Before mandatory minimum sentencing became a law, Rudy’s arrest might have meant a decades-long stint behind bars. Instead, he received probation and was required to perform community service. His lawyer at the time assured him it wouldn’t affect his immigration status. When he applied for citizenship in 2004, he passed his test and a clerk reiterated his lawyer’s assurances, telling Rudy that the old transgression wouldn’t be a problem and to expect a letter with the date of his naturalization ceremony. When the letter arrived, it announced his deportation instead. Because relations with Cuba were still strained, immigration officials did not actually deport him, but they had him report in weekly at first, and then annually for the next 13 years. By his May 2016 check-in, the Obama administration had reopened relations with Cuba, making deportations possible. Then, the Trump administration came to power, promising to increase immigration enforcement. On May 9, Shelly and Rudy, who had spent only five days apart during their marriage, stopped at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Tallahassee, expecting a perfunctory appointment. She watched helplessly as he was taken to the other side of a glass wall. “I watched Rudy completely deflate, and I knew it was happening — they were detaining him,” she says. “That moment felt like a death. I didn’t




know when I was going to see him again.” She sees him now via video connection at the Wakulla, Fla., jail, where he was being held in July awaiting deportation. Rudy owns a home remodeling company and usually works outdoors all day, so being confined and separated from his family has been depressing, Shelly says. He passes the time teaching others how to speak English, starting with “y’all.” Shelly is now pressing for a pardon on the drug conviction, asylum for her husband and a stop to the deportation. An online fundraising effort is helping pay legal bills and includes comments from community members about the contributions Blanco has made to their town and his adopted country, including the fact that daughter Hannah serves in the U.S. Coast Guard. Shelly, who was born in the U.S., will move with him to Cuba if he is deported. “He’s my soul mate. He’s my breath,” she says. But she is scared he’ll be treated harshly because he’s still considered a “maggot” for leaving, she adds. Immigration law has failed when it allows a child into the country and then doesn’t encourage his family to apply for citizenship, she says. “If we allow them to come in, don’t set them up for failure," she adds. During Trump’s campaign, he talked of tossing violent criminals out of the country and evaluating undocumented people “case by case,” she notes, not deporting someone who has done so much.

★ Luis Barrios Luis Barrios was tooling along in a company truck on his job cleaning out septic tanks when a faulty taillight landed him in trouble. Barrios, who lives in Derby, Conn., and turns 52 in September, fled Guatemala in 1992. Fearing for his life after his father was murdered, he felt he had to leave. Later, a brother was killed, as well as the niece and nephew of his wife of 20 years, Dora Beltran. In 1993, Barrios applied for asylum, which is available to people if they are part of a group (in this case, his family) that likely would be persecuted if they returned to their countries. The notice of Barrios’ case hearing was mailed to an old address and then forwarded to his new address. It arrived the day after the scheduled hearing and,

in 1998, the judge ordered him deported for missing the proceedings. He’s been fighting that decision ever since, according to his attorney, Erin O’Neil-Baker of the Hartford Legal Group. Because of that limbo, when state police pulled him over for the taillight, Barrios landed in jail for five weeks — the start of a roller-coaster ride for his family and igniting protests from his supporters in the community. “He’s always helping others whenever they have a need, and my dad is very kind,” says his daughter, Jessica, a college student. Colleagues from the septic company where he has worked for 13 years and others in the community have rallied around the family and staged protests in his honor. Barrios says he’s always done what immigration officials asked. “We work hard in this country. I tried to be working, honest,

Lester, Gabby, Luis, Sindy and Jessica Barrios with Dora Beltran



pay my taxes and do everything by the law.” Barrios has four children, all born in the U.S., ages 11 to 19. Losing their breadwinner and father would be devastating, says Jessica, the oldest. Moving the whole family to Guatemala wouldn’t work, she adds, because of safety concerns, few opportunities for school and employment and the fact that her 11-year-old twin sisters don’t speak Spanish. Barrios says he has almost no family left there, no place to live, few work prospects and safety concerns. “I’m afraid if I have to go back to Guatemala,” he says. “I don’t have anything in Guatemala.” In Connecticut, by contrast, he owns a home with a pool, has a job he loves and his family. Yet after years of just needing to check in with officials, immigration officials ordered him out on a May 4 flight under the new increased enforcement by the Trump administration. Barrios had to break the news to his twins who were devastated by the idea of losing their father. Less than 12 hours before his flight, he won a reprieve. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and other lawmakers stepped in. He now has been approved to stay in the U.S. until March 2019, and Jessica, as a U.S. citizen, can apply for him to stay longer. Meanwhile, O’Neil-Baker is still working on his asylum case. The Barrios family, with about 60 church and community members who had helped them, celebrated the reprieve over tamales and grilled steak. Barrios got a very rare two-year stay, his lawyer says. “Unfortunately, a lot of people exactly like Mr. Barrios are not as lucky.”



Will the dream become a nightmare? DACA recipients on edge over protected status


ive years ago, President Obama announced the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly warned the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in July that the program to protect so-called “Dreamers” is in jeopardy, assuming 10 Republican-led states follow through on threats to mount legal challenges to the program by September. The legal challenges are based on claims that Obama lacked authority to grant “amnesty” to DACA recipients. President Trump has allowed DACA to continue — at least for now. That has enraged critics of the program, who oppose any leniency for undocumented immigrants, and struck fear in enrollees and applicants, who worry Trump will shut it down at any time. “It’s a feeling of knowing there’s something in your hands that’s working, but at the same time, there’s a level of anxiety,” says 29-year-old Greisa Martinez Rosas, a Mexican native and DACA enrollee from Washington, D.C. “We are on high alert about what’s going to happen.” The program requires applicants to show they have attended school or joined the military, arrived in the U.S. before age 16 and haven’t committed any serious crimes. If approved, they receive a two-year reprieve from deportation, a work permit and the opportunity to renew their DACA status if they stay out of trouble. More than 780,000 immigrants have enrolled, with most now on their second or third renewal. Trump had vowed throughout his presidential campaign to end the program, which he described as an abuse of Obama’s presidential powers. “People were very much waiting with bated breath to see what happened,” says Michael Jarecki, an immigration attorney in Chicago. Fear that the program would be pulled led to an increase in applications while Obama was still in the White House. More than 114,000 people applied from October through December 2016, up 128 percent from the same period the year before. DHS spokesman David Lapan said in July that attorneys both inside and outside his department have concluded that “if DACA is challenged in court, it would likely fail.” Kelly says he's sympathetic to Dreamers and would like Congress to pass a law permanently protecting them. — Alan Gomez


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Immerse yourself

These Latinas blazed paths to success in politics, justice, sports and beyond




hen you find something that you care deeply about, do the work, get involved and make a difference,” says Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. That certainly sums up the preparation, dedication and persistence of many Latina trailblazers — women who, despite the odds, persevered and reached the highest levels of American business, sports, politics and more. It takes a certain kind of woman to be a pioneer, someone who isn’t afraid to be first, who has the confidence to forge a new path, who also will educate others to ensure that they can also self-assuredly stride down that pathway. Acevedo uses the acronym G.I.R.L. to sum up the traits it takes to be a Latina first. G.I.R.L., which stands for go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders, aptly describes Acevedo, whose childhood scout experience led her to become a rocket scientist. “Girl Scouts taught me to be creative, persistent and resilient. I carry that onto this day,” she says. “You have to have some of those same traits to be a trailblazer,” she adds. “You have to take risks. Some-

times you fail — that doesn’t mean stop. You adapt your approach and keep working at it. Be persistent.” While not the first Latina to lead the 1.8 million member Girl Scouts (Anna Maria Chavez, who held the post from 2011-2016, holds that distinction), Acevedo has blazed a trail as a scientist. She, along with Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut, is one of the first Hispanics, male or female, to earn a graduate engineering degree from Stanford University. “While (Ochoa) went the astronaut route, which was a very big deal, I was more interested in how do you break gravity’s pull to get a rocket into space?” explains Acevedo, who went on to work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She credits a Girl Scouts troop leader with recognizing and fostering her love of science. All the women featured here share their stories to teach the next person, says Amy Hinojosa, president and CEO at MANA, a national Latina organization that recognizes firsts through its annual Las Primeras awards. “They are committed to work, their craft, their community and mentoring the next generation. They are shining examples of what Latina leaders should aspire to be.”





onia Sotomayor was 9 years old when she decided, while watching Perry Mason, to become a lawyer, and nothing or no one could deter her from that path, says Sylvia Mendoza, author of Sonia Sotomayor: A Biography, written for young readers. “It didn’t matter that she was



poor, a woman, a Latina, had a single mom, and her dad had died when she was 9, or that she had juvenile diabetes,” Mendoza says with admiration. “She knew she was smart; she knew all of this stuff about herself.” In Sotomayor's autobiography, My Beloved World, she warns against allowing present limitations to affect the future.

“Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire,” she wrote. Sotomayor graduated as valedictorian of her Catholic high school and summa cum laude from Princeton University. She graduated Yale Law School,



“You cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true.”




FIRST LATINA ELECTED TO THE U.S. SENATE where she served as editor of the Yale Law Journal. “It wasn’t easy. She had teachers who discriminated against her,” Mendoza says. “This little girl from the Bronx (in New York City) went on to become a justice in the Supreme Court.” Mendoza, who once met Sotomayor when the justice was on her 2013 book tour, says several things led Sotomayor to success: “She had a thirst for knowledge. She couldn’t read enough. She had an incredible curiosity. Secondly, she had a desire to serve others and do what’s right. She had an indomitable spirit, and her actual love of the law; that’s what kept her focused.” After law school, she worked as a prosecutor in the New York County district attorney’s office, in private practice, and as a federal appeals court judge before being nominated to the Supreme Court in 2009 by President Obama. Mendoza says Latinas can and should celebrate the achievements of 63-year-old Sotomayor, a proud Puerto Rican, then strive to match or eclipse it. “She shows us how to dream big,” she says.


his granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant made history last November when she was elected to the U.S. Senate, making her the first Latina, and only the 50th woman, to hold such a post. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., was also the first Latina elected as Nevada’s attorney general, a position she held for two terms before seeking the seat held by former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Cortez Masto says her historic win has been both thrilling and trying. “It’s been exciting, and it’s a challenge,” Cortez Masto says. “It’s frustrating dealing with these executive orders coming out of the White House, the mass deportations and the portrayal of Mexicans as criminals.” Excitement has come in the form of being a role model to young girls and being part of a slow change in the demographics of Congress. “It’s exciting to meet young girls, Latinas, who are excited to meet me,” she

says. “I hope that these young Latinas, when they see me, say to themselves, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ I’ve just opened this door. They should take it much further than I have. “One of the exciting things to making history is to be part of the diversity in Congress,” she adds. Diversity is important in boardrooms and government, which should be just as diverse as the communities we represent, she says. Cortez Masto, 53, says positive stories of the impact Latinos and immigrants have on this nation aren’t reaching the masses. “There is not enough recognition for our contributions to this country,” she says. “I’m a perfect example of that because my grandfather came from Mexico. Now I’m the voice of many Latinos in Nevada and in this country.” She offers this advice to young women: “If you have a passion, follow it and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. Know that you can succeed.”



“(My goal was) wanting to do the best job I possibly could.”




llen Ochoa shattered one glass ceiling while reaching new heights as the first Latina astronaut to travel to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993, serving on the nine-day STS-56 mission, which studied climate change and the Earth’s atmosphere. Logging nearly 1,000 hours in orbit and traveling to space three more times, Ochoa, 59, now serves as director of the Johnson Space Center, the first Latina



and only the second woman to head the center. In her role, she oversees space programs such as the much-publicized, yearlong mission on the International Space Station by Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, which ended in March 2016 and provided valuable information for future human space exploration. The veteran astronaut is not done soaring as a Latina first. In May, she was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the first and only Latina of 95 in-

ductees. Ochoa also has six schools named in her honor. The California native started as a research engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in 1988 and joined the Johnson Space Center in 1990 when she was selected as one of 23 astronauts. An accomplished flutist, she didn’t consider becoming an astronaut until graduate school when the space shuttle flew for the first time and she learned about the possibility of doing research in space. Of her four space missions, she says her goal was always “wanting to do the best job I possibly could.” Ochoa says there were many things about space travel she enjoyed, among them, “the opportunity to see the Earth from space, which is something astronauts never get tired of.” While her astronomical achievements seem extraordinary, Ochoa believes anyone can follow her to space: “Astronauts aren’t special people that were anointed at birth. They’re regular people who have a great interest in science, in exploration, in discovery, and who have used that motivation to set goals for themselves. … So it’s something that anybody can do.”






rofessional boxer Amanda Serrano is a six-time world champion in five divisions, having won the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) featherweight world champion twice — a title her sister, Cindy Serrano, currently holds. Amanda, a southpaw, is the first woman and Latina to achieve such a feat. The Serrano Sisters, as they’re known in the profession, are a rarity in the boxing world. The puertorriqueñas are the first sisters to win world titles, and both have won multiple world champion boxing competitions. Amanda, 28, is currently the WBO super bantamweight world champion and the bantamweight world champion. She’s previously won the WBO lightweight and featherweight world championships, as well as the International Boxing Federation super featherweight world champion. Meanwhile, Cindy,

35, is a former Universal Boxing Federation lightweight and super featherweight world champion. “It’s an incredible feeling to be world champion, but to both be world champions and be the first siblings to do it is an unreal feeling,” says Amanda. “Mere words can’t describe it.” Trainer and manager Jordan Maldonado says the two women are sparring partners and “constantly opening doors for each other.” In fact, it was Cindy who first entered the boxing world in 2003. That motivated Amanda to pursue the sport. Cindy, who turned pro at 20, was motivated by Amanda’s success to return to the ring four years ago after a three-year retirement. Amanda turned pro in 2009 at age 19. She holds a record of 32-1-1 (with one draw and one loss, to Sweden’s Frida Wallberg in 2011), with 24 knockouts “the highest percentage at the elite level,” Maldonado says. Cindy has a 26-5-3 record;

she won by knockouts 10 times. “My role model will always be my sister Cindy,” says Amanda. “She started me out in my sport and is a full-time mom (of a 16-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son), yet she manages to work as hard as I do.” Amanda also credits her parents who “sacrificed everything so that we can achieve our dreams and goals,” she says. The Serrano Sisters say it takes a combination of many factors — confidence, drive, dedication and sacrifice — to succeed. “Everything has to come together to achieve one’s dream, not only in boxing, but in many other fields in life,” says Cindy. Amanda adds: “In boxing you just have to endure additional pain because it’s a contact sport. At the end, the success makes it all well worth it.” Though they love boxing, the sisters are likely to make career shifts to MMA. Amanda already is training as an MMA fighter and anticipates having her first match before year’s end. Maldonado says MMA does a better job of promoting female fighters than boxing, where men’s bouts dominate. “Boxing is my first love, but after all of my success in it, I want a new challenge,” Amanda says. “I’ll always stick to my boxing, but I’m excited about a bit of change.” Amanda says she urges aspiring Latina boxers “to follow your heart and give it all you’ve got. Don’t be afraid to miss out on what others think is important to achieve your goals. Anything worth having comes with a price. In order to get it, be ready to pay your dues. At the end, the glory of achievement will surpass the work you put in to get it.”



“You don’t have to be in the power business to be a powerful woman.”




eisha Williams took the helm as CEO and president of PG&E Corporation in March, making her the first Latina to head a Fortune 500 company, according to Fortune magazine. She also sits on the corporation’s board of directors. MANA President and CEO Amy Hinojosa praised Williams as not just the first Latina to head a Fortune 500, but a Fortune 200 company. Before becoming president and CEO, Williams served as president of electric at Pacific Gas and Electric Company, where she has held various leadership positions since 2007. With more than 30 years of experience in the energy field, Williams oversees roughly



22,000 employees and the natural gas and electric service for 16 million people in central and northern California. Williams, who was 5 when her family fled Cuba in 1967, credits a longtime male mentor with fueling her desire to dream bigger. In a story she has recounted numerous times, Williams says she was content to be a manager at Florida Power & Light, where she began her energy career and spent almost 25 years, but then her boss and mentor said, “Somebody has to run this place. Why not you?” It was just the jolt she needed to ignite her aspirations. “Being the first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company is

enormously gratifying,” Williams says. “You hear all the time about people being the first to do something or achieve a certain level of education or leadership. What we have to think about is, how do we help bring others along? What I look forward to is getting to a place in the business world where being a woman and a Latina in a top leadership role is as common as any other type of leader.” Hinojosa, who recently heard Williams speak at a Latina leaders event in Washington, D.C., says, “What really impressed me about her was her accessibility. Some CEOs are highly scripted. She was incredibly open about her story, her leadership struggles and mentorship. “She gave freely of her own experience. Being truthful and honest, she gives someone an insight of how someone becomes the first Latina CEO of a Fortune 200 company.” When Williams was recognized as one of San Francisco Business Times’ Influential Women of 2016, she had this advice for young women: “You don’t have to be in the power business to be a powerful woman.”



Simple and Delicious!

With ingredients like sweet tomatoes, crunchy bell peppers, fresh tarragon, olive oil and Bumble Bee® tuna - this light dish is easy to prepare for your family!

Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes Ingredients

2 cans or pouches (5 oz) Bumble Bee® Tuna in Water, drained 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs 1 tablespoon diced onion 1 tablespoon diced green bell pepper 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 large tomatoes

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Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut a thin slice from the top of each tomato and scoop out most of the pulp leaving a thick shell so that the tomato will hold its shape. Invert on paper towel and set aside. Combine tuna, bread crumbs, onion, bell pepper, tarragon, olive oil, pepper and salt. Stuff each tomato with tuna salad mixture. Place in lightly greased pan and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Garnish with tarragon as desired.

* See nutrition panel for full nutrition facts

©2017 Bumble Bee Seafoods



Women executives encourage diversity at these top companies BY CHRISTINE ROMERO

Not only does their presence benefit corporations and consumers, it also boosts communities by creating role models for members of one of the nation’s fastest growing minority groups. Latinas will account for nearly a third of the women in the United States by 2060, according to Fulfilling America’s Future: Latinas in the U.S., published in 2015 by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. By 2034, an estimated 23 percent of all workers in the U.S. will be Hispanic, an increase from 16 percent in 2014, reports economic forecasting firm IHS Markit, in the study Hispanic Immigration and U.S. Economic Growth. For those companies still working toward more ethnic diversity, and Latinas searching for a welcoming workplace, the following corporations are among those leading the way:


DECADES AFTER AFFIRMATIVE ACTION was introduced to encourage the hiring of minorities and protect them from discrimination on the job, many companies are still struggling to create diverse environments that welcome those who are part of marginalized groups. Although many companies are working toward inclusion, there is still room for improvement when it comes to employment and equality. Latinas earn 59 cents for every dollar earned by a white male — the lowest amount among women of any other ethnic or racial group, reports the Economic Policy Institute, an economic think tank. Still, significant strides have been made as more Latinas rise to executive level positions within iconic American companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Hilton, MetLife and TIAA.


“Diversity is more than just race, ethnicity, age and gender. It’s about fostering an inclusive workplace where employees of all backgrounds and perspectives can make a difference in their own careers and the lives of our customers.” — NATASHA RADDEN, TIAA VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION OFFICER

TIAA Based in New York City, provides financial services | Managing more than $938 billion in assets



Natasha Radden

us better understand the needs of our customers and enables us to better serve those needs.” TIAA has a formal mentorship program that is open to employees at different stages of their career, Radden says. TIAA also gives employees advice on how to find or be a mentor. “As the marketplace continues to evolve, diversity and inclusion remains a business priority for TIAA,” Radden says. “We believe that having a team with a wide range (of) perspectives and experiences helps us to better understand our diverse (clientele) and provide the best solutions to meet their financial goals.”


“Diversity is more than just race, ethnicity, age and gender,” says Natasha Radden, TIAA vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer. “It’s about fostering an inclusive workplace where employees of all backgrounds and perspectives can make a difference in their own careers and the lives of our customers.” TIAA takes a multipronged approach to recruiting a diverse pipeline of candidates that includes Latinas. Radden says the company focuses on three pillars: uWorkforce: Recruits, hires, develops and works to retain diversity and leverage employees’ backgrounds to build an inclusive environment. uWorkplace: Emphasizes succession planning, hiring and professional development, to make sure the employee base reflects its customers. uMarketplace: Collaborates with key institutional clients and works to promote supplier diversity; acts as an incubator for innovative business programs. Radden says the company also looks for talent by seeking college level and recently graduated interns from Hispanic-serving institutions. Once employed, TIAA’s Latino and Hispanic Employee Resource Group (known as Unite) promotes professional development of its members and encourages community involvement, Radden says. The group hosts cultural events, such as panel discussions and guest speakers focused on the Latino experience, she adds. Unite helps TIAA find new talent, and this is more important than ever, Radden says. “As the U.S. workforce becomes increasingly diverse, the financial services industry has not experienced the same growth rate in terms of gender and ethnic diversity, particularly in senior management and roles requiring specialized skills,” she says. “Recruiting and retaining Latino talent is a key component of TIAA’s human capital strategy, as it is critical that our workforce reflects the diverse populations we serve. Having a diverse workforce helps



Walmart’s new training academies help workers excel Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, consistently ranks high on diversity tracking lists. Its continued massive investments in frontline, entrylevel workers — from training academies to competitive wages — make it appealing to many Latino employees. The Bentonville, Ark., retailer employs 1.5 million people in the United States, and 14 percent of its workforce is Hispanic or Latino, according to its 2016 Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Report. In total, 42 percent of its U.S. workforce are people of color. Walmart holds numerous events with its Hispanic Latino Associate resource group, and the President’s Inclusion Council is made up of 12 company executives from various backgrounds who meet quarterly to build an inclusive corporate culture, according to the company. Walmart’s President’s Global Council of Women Leaders also examines similar issues for females. “Investing in women is good for our

business,” the company says in its report. “Not only is being able to attract female talent a key to hiring critical skill sets, but women are our company’s core customer, investing 90 percent of their income in families and communities in emerging markets.” By May 2018, Walmart expects to graduate 225,000 of its employees from its new training academies. Using classroom and sales floor exercises, the company teaches retail fundamentals and specific skills for more than 65 positions, such as customer service manager and assistant store manager. “Everything we do begins with our associates,” says Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, in a statement. “That’s why we have invested in training academies for associates to

further develop the skills they need to better serve customers and succeed in today’s retail environment. Walmart is a place where anyone can fulfill their potential.” About 75 percent of those holding management positions at Walmart climbed the ranks from hourly jobs. In early 2015, the company opened its first training academies for employee development and raised wages for 1.2 million employees. Walmart is on track to have 200 training academies open in all 50 states by the end of summer. “These investments are paying off for our customers through cleaner stores, friendlier service and faster check-out times,” according to McMillon. — Christine Romero


Walmart employees are expected to graduate in 2018 from its new training academies


of Walmart’s workforce is Hispanic or Latino, according to its 2016 Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Report


MetLife Inc.

Based in New Brunswick, N.J. | Operations in 60 countries

Based in New York City | 90+ million customers worldwide

“J&J’s values are spelled out on our credo, including the belief that ‘Everyone must be considered as an individual, and that there must be equal opportunity for employment, development and advancement for those qualified,’” says Maria “Duda” Kertész, president of the Johnson & Johnson's HealthE unit, which generates $1.5 billion in annual revenue. “The fact that those principles were written 74 years ago says a lot about who we are as a company and what kind of environment we provide to make sure great talent thrives.” Kertész, of Brazil, is a member of Johnson & Johnson’s North American leadership team. She oversees the unit that includes numerous household names in oral care as well as Johnson’s Baby, Healthy Essentials and brands such as Listerine and Band-Aid. The company offers mentorship to Latinas, actively works to hire them and includes family-friendly benefits in its compensation package. “During my 18 years at Johnson & Johnson, from my first job as a college intern at Johnson & Johnson Brazil, to my current role as U.S. president (for) HealthE, I’ve been supported by diverse leaders who have provided me with the skills and training that have helped me succeed,” Kertész says. Johnson & Johnson uses a variety of strategies to attract Latinas, including a strong presence on niche diversity

“We work very hard to ensure that when our employees walk through the doors of any of our workplaces, they are valued for all aspects of who they are as individuals,” says Elizabeth Nieto, MetLife Inc., global chief diversity and inclusion officer. “We want to be known for being a diverse and inclusive company that attracts, develops and recognizes the best talent globally.” Nieto, who hails from Argentina, says MetLife leverages numerous tools and resources to recruit Hispanic women, such as partnering with organizations like INROADS (a multicultural nonprofit aimed at mentoring and developing underserved youth) and the Association of Latino Professionals For America. The insurance company also has a formal mentorship program and created what it calls ACT2, a program targeting professional women who have returned to the workforce after at least two years. The company’s recruitment efforts include career fairs, social media, diversity business resource networks and employee referrals, Nieto says, adding that this helps MetLife continue to strive for inclusion of ethnic diversity at all levels of the company. “The question that I pose to myself and the leaders in my organization is, ‘Who is part of our society, and who is not seated at the table?’” she says. While careers are often a top priority, MetLife offers seminars and webinars to enhance employees’ personal lives, including, “Caring for the Caregiver” and “Quality Time for the Time-Pressed Family.”



Maria “Duda” Kertész recruitment websites, including the LinkedIn group for the Hispanic Professional Women’s Association (HPWA). The company also forms relationships with business organizations and targets Twitter posts to leverage influencers in the community, using hashtags such as #LatinaStrong, #LatinaRiseUp, #LatinaJobs and #LatinasinSTEM. Johnson & Johnson hosts 37 chapters of the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement (HOLA), with about a thousand members, to help support Latinas. One of HOLA’s missions is to train scouts to spot talented professionals to join the company, Kertész says. Diversity is an “innovation driver,” and it allows the company to better understand and meet consumer demands, she adds. Johnson & Johnson also helps foster connections in an enterprise-wide sponsorship program, which is specifically meant to pair senior leaders with up-andcoming diverse talent.

Elizabeth Nieto


Johnson & Johnson



Based in McLean, Va. | With nearly 5,000 properties worldwide “Finding a truly supportive, of Minorities in Hospitality and stimulating and flexible work other groups. environment can be difficult for Fuentes says the efforts both women and men and hourly to assist with educational and salaried team members. opportunities span the range At Hilton, we are committed to from GED assistance to the gender equality at all levels of the Women’s Leadership Program organization,” says Laura Fuentes, at the University of Virginia Hilton’s senior vice president Darden School of Business. She of talent and rewards. To create says her own career benefited that nurturing from Hilton’s atmosphere, Women’s “we invest in Executive extraordinary Networking programs, such Program. as mentoring, “As part of rotations, this program, I leadership have been lucky development, enough to have online our president curriculums, and CEO, Chris flexibility, Nassetta, as parental leave my mentor,” and wellness, to Fuentes says. name a few.” Employees Laura Fuentes Many have access to Latinos are in eight resource service roles in the hospitality groups, including those for industry — making opportunities women and Hispanics, as well as for advancement and perks that other underrepresented groups. improve work-life balance of “Our Hispanic/Latino team great importance to them. member resource group fosters In 2016, Hispanics represented an inclusive and innovative nearly a third of those employed business culture, promotes in the traveler accommodation professional growth through sector, which includes lodging networking and development, and hotels, the U.S. Bureau of provides market insights and Labor Statistics reports. gives back to our communities,” Hilton begins its recruitment Fuentes says. and retention of Latinas before The company also uses many even join the workforce, Latino-focused conferences says Fuentes, a Latina of Spanish to show support and engage descent. In addition to bringing in the community, including on talented interns, the hotel sponsoring the 2017 League of chain has minority scholarship United Latin American Citizens programs for hospitality students national convention that draws and school partnerships with more than 15,000 people. Hilton Florida International University, also has relationships with other San Diego State University, the nonprofits, such as the Hispanic Hospitality Institute at Miamiadvocacy group National Council Dade College, local student of La Raza, to identify seasoned chapters of the National Society talent for management positions.

FAMILY MATTERS These company benefits keep moms in mind Hilton uPaid parental leave uAdoption assistance Johnson & Johnson uCompetitive maternity leave uFertility and surrogacy benefits uOn-site child care in six locations uFree breastmilk shipping for business trips MetLife Inc. u15 days of backup child care per dependent annually uResource group for new parents TIAA uFertility benefits uElder care uAdoption assistance uPaid parental leave uBackup child care for sick kids uAllowing kids to travel with parents on work trips


National PTA Celebrates

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH PTAs across the country believe in strengthening family engagement in schools by celebrating important cultural distinctions and achievements, while working on solutions to potential educational issues.

Support Every Child, Join PTA! Learn more at





A SHORE THING Only about 8 miles from Cancun, Isla Mujeres offers a more serene scene, perfect for a relaxing girls’ weekend or romantic getaway. Tour the Mayan ruins, visit beautiful nearby coral reefs or just enjoy the island’s picturesque beaches.


Funding Failure?

Proposed budget cuts may threaten Latino strides in education


ven as immigration and terrorism raged as fiery topics during the 2016 presidential campaign, a majority of U.S. Latinos identified education as a top priority issue for the new administration and Congress. Seventy-three percent of Latinos say that improving the educational system should be a major concern in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center survey taken before President Trump took office. How do the Trump administration’s educational priorities line up with those of Latinos? A review of the proposed education budget shows




BILLION The approximate amount in Pell Grants funding that would be lost under the Trump administration’s proposed budget.

little alignment and some cause for concern, according to Alejandra Ceja, former executive director for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. “If the budget released (in May) is indicative of this administration’s priorities, we’re in for some tough years as a community,” says Ceja, who now serves as executive director of the Panasonic Foundation. As proposed, budget cuts suggest communities of color are not a priority, Ceja says. The recommended $9 billion, or 13 percent, cut in education funding would come “at the expense of our students, our parents, our educators and our future workforce,” she says.



Alejandra Ceja, former executive director for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on education, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended the cuts and said the budget remains “focused on meeting the educational needs of the most vulnerable students, including poor and minority students and students with disabilities.” Critics disagree, arguing that many cuts in both K-12 and higher education, including before and after-school programs and almost $4 billion in Pell Grant funding, would disproportionately affect low-income and minority students. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., joined almost 200 members of Congress in June to express concern about DeVos’ proposals, which they say will undo consumer protections for student loan borrowers and overhaul federal student loan servicing “that will actively harm borrowers and ultimately put taxpayers at risk.”

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics provides guidance on the development and coordination of education policy that impacts the Hispanic community.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcomittee on education



Cortez Masto says the budget cuts as proposed would “gut the education system ... I’m hoping it’s dead on arrival. It would devastate our community. Nevada has a strong Latino population and one-third of students are struggling just to be able to afford a four-year degree, to pay off loans. If we do away with Pell Grants, they will not be able to afford to go to college.” DeVos, a long-time supporter of choice and school vouchers, has stated repeatedly that “throwing money” at low-performing schools has not yielded meaningful results. She has proposed a $1 billion increase to Title I funding, which supports schools with high concentrations of low-income students, if they adopt school choice-type programs. However, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member of the education subcommittee, likened the recommendation to “holding

$1 billion hostage.” She has called Trump’s education budget an “anti-public school agenda.” Ceja calls the proposed budget cuts an “atrocity” and urges Latinos to pay particular attention to the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was signed into law in December 2015. “It minimizes federal oversight and will shift accountability to the state and local level,” Ceja says. It’s important for the Latino community to ensure that the states maintain the same level of accountability under Trump, as was established under the Obama administration, she adds. Other areas of concern for Ceja and education equity advocates: uThe continuation of the Civil Rights Data Collection, information gathered every two years that addresses equity gaps, such as whether schools with high minority populations offer science, technology, engineering and math courses. u The number of positions at the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, which ensures equal access to education and promotes “educational excellence through vigorous enforcement of civil rights in the nation’s schools.” The budget proposal suggests cutting 60 jobs from the office. u Whether the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, along with other minority group initiatives, will continue to exist. “There’s no indication that it’s going to continue, and that’s alarming,” Ceja says, noting that the charter authorizes the initiative through September 2017. “The initiative plays a key role when it comes to having a seat at the table of public policy and advocating for Latino students,” she says. “(The Obama administration) left with one of the highest graduation rates (9.2 percent in dropout rate in 2015 compared with 27.8 percent in 2000) in the Latino student population and the highest markers (from 4 percent in 1976 to 17 percent in 2014) for Latinos entering college, but we have a long way to go. With these budget cuts, we will see a decline in Latino students going to college. We cannot sit idle these next couple of years. This will be a test for our community; we cannot sit back and let these cuts take us back.”






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Fall in love with Hispanic cultures through our many exhibits and events.

#Choose Culture



ash hit!

Sure to be a sm


JUNE 23, 2017 – JANUARY 7, 2018


National Hispanic Cultural Center 1701 4th Street SW • Albuquerque, NM 87102

(505) 246-2261

In a town already enflamed with immigrant tensions, the disappearance of a young woman sets off a powder keg of accusations, bigotry, and fear — with deadly results — in the latest mystery featuring Latino homicide detective Jimmy Vega.

THE JIMMY VEGA MYSTERY SERIES A Latina Book Club Book of the Year

“A tremendous talent.” —Lee Child


HSIs offer more than just an education BY DENISE VALENTI




A first-generation college student and University of California-Irvine graduate, Daniela Estrada celebrates with parents Flavio and Estela.

expenditures in comparison to similar institutions. It also must apply and compete for federal grants. But enrollment numbers, demographics and finances are a small part of what it means for a school to be an HSI. “It’s an institution that is already committed to doing its best in support of Hispanic education,” says HACU president Antonio Flores. With a recent uptick in the instances of apparent prejudice — such as swastikas on campus properties — at universities, Flores points out that HSIs generally provide a more welcoming and supportive environment for Latinos than may be the case elsewhere.


Life Lessons

n the 25 years since Hispanicserving institutions (HSIs) officially were recognized under the Higher Education Act, the number of colleges and universities with this designation has quadrupled. A higher graduation rate among Latinos, welcoming environments and programs targeted specifically toward helping Latinos succeed have contributed to the increase. Since 1994, the number of HSIs has grown exponentially, from a little more than 100 to 472 in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). To be designated as an HSI, a nonprofit school must have a student body that is at least 25 percent Latino, a high number of students in financial need and low per-student

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Aside from seeing similar faces on campus, students attending HSIs can expect to find more Latino-specific programs and support. At the University of California-Irvine, one of the most recent schools to become an HSI and only the second member of the prestigious Association of American Universities to receive HSI status, initiatives aimed at Latinos are embedded throughout the institution. In addition to boasting a robust Chicano/Latino studies department, the university hosts more than 25 Latino student organizations and offers culturally based housing options. Within subjects such as biology, there are mentoring programs geared specifically for Latinos. More generally, Irvine’s SAGE Scholars program, (Student Achievement Guided by Experience) helps students with significant financial need develop leadership skills, gain work experience and get help with graduate school applications. “It’s one thing to get the students here, but the real test is, what is their level of success once they leave,” says Chancellor Howard Gillman. “These kinds of programs are designed to make sure they’re going to achieve at the highest level.” As a collective, HSIs share best practices and are able to leverage resources to help Latinos reach their potential, Flores says. A program established more than a decade ago to help community college




25% of a school’s population must be Latino in order to be considered for HSI status

students earn four-year degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, for instance, has almost doubled the percentage of Latinos graduating with STEM degrees from about 4.2 percent to more than 8 percent. “These gains are not just important to Hispanics,” Flores says. “They are critical for the nation.” For links and resources to member institutions, visit

— Denise Valenti


Minority students report feeling a familial atmosphere among peers and faculty at HSIs.

While Latinos can find a wealth of support at Hispanicserving institutions (HSIs), they’re also likely to similarly benefit from the resources available at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). “There’s this focus on everyone is successful and can be successful,” says Marybeth Gasman, a professor and director for minority-serving institutions at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s not about black students, but all students.” Ten years ago, the percentage of Latinos attending the nation’s 105 HBCUs was less than 1 percent. As of 2015, they comprised 3 percent, Gasman says. Demographics are partly responsible as the number of Latinos earning diplomas continues to rise. But also, HBCUs are actively recruiting Latinos, especially in areas with heavy Latino populations. HBCUs with the highest Latino enrollments are mostly located in Texas, and include Prairie View A&M University, Paul Quinn College, Texas Southern University and Saint Philip’s College — currently the only college that is designated as both an HCBU and HSI, Gasman says. Some of these schools have Latino fraternities and sororities, as well as alumni groups. They’ve even had Latina homecoming queens, Gasman says. “From the students I’ve talked to, what they’ve told me is that they feel comfortable (at HBCUs),” she says. “It feels very family-like, so that is a draw.”

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The lighthouse at Punta Sur

A Calming Coast

Mexico’s Isla Mujeres beckons those who want to escape

ocated in the Caribbean Sea about 8 miles from Cancun, Isla Mujeres, aka the “Island of Women,” offers powdery beaches, undulating palms and an easy-going ambience on its teensy wisp of terrain, just 5 miles long and 0.3 miles wide. On Punta Sur, at the southernmost tip of the island (which feels far away



from the tequila-fueled party scene on the Mexican mainland), there’s a temple ruin devoted to the Mayan goddess Ixchel, “the goddess of the moon … associated with healing and fertility,” says Gustavo Rodriguez Orozco, director of tourism for Isla Mujeres. “For centuries, Mayan women came to this island to seek her help.” Local people still tend to believe that Ixchel will help them resolve fertility issues, he adds.

Isla Mujeres tourism information: cancun. travel/en/ caribbeantreasures/ isla-mujeres





Of course, men are welcome. Isla Mujeres is promoted as a romantic destination, the perfect locale for idyllic weddings on a beach lit by Tiki torches. But some say there’s a definite feminine vibe in the salt-tinged air. “You can sense a different energy here (among women),” says Marcia Collado, a yoga instructor at the Zoëtry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres Cancun resort ( “Since the island is sacred to the Mayan moon goddess, I think (its) history empowers us, allowing us to keep in touch with our femininity.” To help guests get in touch with their inner goddesses, the resort’s spa offers a Mayan massage that incorporates Mayan healing practices, and they use Mayan herbs and mineral salts in a body treatment called Villa Rolandi’s Secret. Whether it’s mystical Mayan power or simply the power of suggestion, few would deny that this sleepy island has restorative qualities, especially if you slow down to its leisurely rhythms. Let the unwinding begin as you ride the ferry from Cancun across the stunningly aqua waters of the Bahia de Mujeres. There’s no real rush to get anywhere once you arrive; in fact, most guests get around via golf cart at slow-motion pace. You’ll likely be

tempted by Playa Norte, considered one of the best beaches in Mexico. It’s also easy to spend hours (and days) swimming and snorkeling in the calm waters of the western side of the island, where the coral reef sits offshore. Add some art to your undersea journey with a visit to the MUSA Underwater Sculpture Museum (, a dreamlike installation of 500-plus permanent life-size sculptures, such as Bendiciones, designed to provide habitat for marine life. If you like your indolence spiked with adventure, swim with whale sharks! Few things are as empowering — and humbling — as sharing the sea with a creature that can measure up to 65 feet long and weigh more than 12 tons. One of the world’s largest congregations of whale sharks happens off the coast of Cancun, and they arrive in these waters in July and August to feed and mate. To swim with whale sharks, you need to go out with an outfitter (try Solo Buceo, which offers two-hour, early-morning trips from mid-May to mid-September; It’s OK to be a beginner, but it’s not OK to touch the whale sharks. Snorkeling alongside these polka-dotted giants is truly exhilarating.

Coral reef

Bendic iones

Visit MUSA Underwater Sculpture Museum: musamexico. org



Defend Against Diabetes The disease may be common in your family, but you can still take steps to prevent it


hen diabetes seems to be as common a family trait as dark hair or brown eyes, it may be easy to assume the disease is inevitable, but experts say it’s important to have a preventative attitude and not just accept that diabetes will be in your future. Ruchi Mathur, director of the Diabetes Outpatient Teaching Education Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, previously ran a diabetes clinic in East Los Angeles. She says many patients in that community would say, “‘Oh, we have this disease. We can’t do anything about it. It’s God’s will.’” This way of thinking is problematic, says Mathur. “People need to be empowered. You can’t just throw up your hands and leave it to the fates. Your body is a gift. You can actively benefit your health by taking control.” Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and avoiding smoking are habits that can help decrease chances of developing the disease or even prevent it,



experts say. Take 56-year-old Cat Cuevas, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 10 years ago. Even though her mother, sister and grandparents had diabetes, she

The minute you step off the plane from another country, you ... eat more junk food.” — MARIELINA FIGUEROA, REGISTERED DIETITIAN

admits she was in denial and ignored her health. But with her three children now grown, Cuevas, an accountant from El Monte, Calif., has more time to focus on her health and regulating her diabetes. She

has joined a gym, buys fresh food at a local farmers market and gets healthy cooking lessons from a friend’s son who is a chef. These lifestyle changes have helped. In just six weeks, her daily blood sugar level dropped from 230 to 129 (126 or above is considered diabetic). “I’m excited because it’s all working,” says Cuevas. “I’m defeating this demon in my body.” Compared with non-Latino whites, Latinos are twice as likely to have diabetes. Nearly 38 percent of Latinos aged 20 or older are believed to be prediabetic, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. Rates tend to vary by different groups, with more Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans developing diabetes than Central and South Americans and Cubans, according to the CDC. Recent research has also identified genetic variants in certain genes that are associated with higher rates of Type 2 diabetes in Latinos, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In addition to the genetic





EAT, DRINK, BE HEALTHY Poor eating habits are putting Latinos at greater risk of developing diabetes. Adding these foods and drinks to your diet may help prevent the disease, says Marielina Figueroa, a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. u Water. Avoid sodas and limit juices. Even agua frescas are mostly sugar.

predisposition for diabetes, Latinos who immigrate to the United States — and subsequent generations — end up eating more sugar, salt, protein and junk foods, consuming larger portions and reducing the amount of exercise they get, says Marielina Figueroa, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Cedars-Sinai. “The minute you step off the plane from another country, you (walk less); eat more junk food (and) processed food, and spend less time in the kitchen,” she says. “Everything comes in a box, bottle or can.” To help Latinos and others fight the disease, the CDC has developed the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP). This structured lifestyle change initiative, which is available in Spanish, can be completed online or in person, and is designed for those who are at risk for Type 2 diabetes. The yearlong program



uses a lifestyle coach to help participants eat better, exercise, deal with stress and cope with challenges that can get them off track. Some insurance and workplaces will cover the cost. These programs work, according to experts. CDC research shows that people with prediabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle change program can cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, or by 71 percent for people age 60 and over. Even 10 years after completing the program, one third of participants were less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. “A prediabetes diagnosis provides an opportunity to make positive changes that can help people preserve their health,” says Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, adding that joining a structured lifestyle change program like the NDPP is the best way to start.

u Corn tortillas. Corn tortillas have more calcium and iron than flour tortillas, and they are typically cooked without lard. u Fruit. It’s better to eat fruits instead of drinking them to benefit from their fiber. But fruits also have sugar, so watch portions. u Veggies. Try to eat more leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale and limit starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. Fresh salsa made with tomatoes, onions and garlic can top almost anything. u Garlic. Fresh garlic is highly nutritious and low in calories and can be used raw or cooked. u Spices. Flavoring food with spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, oregano, ginger or chili pepper can help reduce or eliminate the amount of salt and butter used in dishes. u Fish and poultry. Avoid too much carne asada or fatty tacos al pastor and focus on lean protein such as fish and poultry. u Eggs. New guidelines say one egg yolk a day, a good source of protein, is perfectly safe. — Laura Castañeda


Cat Cuevas improved her blood sugar levels by adding healthier foods to her diet.

u High-fiber multigrain bread. Stay away from sugar-packed pan dulce, except for the occasional treat, and white flour, which has been stripped of healthy bran and germ.

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Special Delivery Delicioso stamp series pays homage to Latin American cuisine BY TRACY SCOTT FORSON




t’s not common to send flan or ceviche through the mail, but a delivery featuring some of your favorite Latin-inspired dishes may be headed your way, postage paid. The Delicioso Forever stamps, released in April by the U. S. Postal Service in conjunction with the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, depict tamales, sancocho, empanadas and chile relleno along with the flan and ceviche. Illustrator John Parra’s artistic techniques and bold color choices for the images are as robust as the traditional cuisine is flavorful. Antonio Alcalá served as art director. “Ours is truly a world culture, and our stamps allow us to weave together the many threads of our national tapestry,” said Robert Cintron, USPS vice president of network operations, in an April press release. “With the issuance of the beautiful Delicioso Forever stamps, it is the Postal Service’s way of saying these delicioso dishes epitomize the best of America, and will do so forever.” The book of 20 stamps includes four tamale and flan versions and three each of the other foods.



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Hispanic Living  
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