👨🏻🙋🏽👱🏾👩🏾👧🏻The Latinx Collective: Issue #26
THIS WEEK'S FIVE:
As cultural appropriation of traditional practices continues to make headlines, a growing number of women of color are reclaiming these traditional practices in order to heal black and brown communities. Many thanks to these knowledgeable and talented women -- Cynthia, Suhaly and Veronica -- for taking the time to speak to me about their work.
Rafael Espinal has been featured in the NY Times Sunday Routine series. Espinal was born on the cusp of Brooklyn's Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods to working-class immigrants of the Dominican Republic. He was elected to the City Council in 2013 and since then he's passed a comprehensive neighborhood investment plan, delivering affordable housing, jobs and infrastructure investments to East New York. He just announced his candidacy for public advocate on Nov. 13th. If he does become the next public advocate, he would be the youngest and first Latino ever elected by the public to citywide office. Wepa!
Elizabeth Acevedo was just named the 2018 winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for her book The Poet X, a New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse about a Dominican-American heroine in Harlem who discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. I recommended this book The Poet X a few months ago in issue #7. Highly, highly recommend you get the audio version & it's a great read for young adults too.
Roxana Mendez-Sola, a member of Salve Regina University's housekeeping staff who had fled El Salvador in 2000, has become a second mother to students at the Rhode Island university, particularly those of Latino descent. At the invitation of one of those students, she shared the story of her journey during a panel discussion titled “United, Not Divided.”
“Rosa said to me, ‘They always invite professionals to be on those panels,’” Mendez-Sola said. “But then said she was wondering why they never invited a person from a minority background with a verifiable story like mine and had lived the experiences they were talking about... That’s how I got involved in these panels.”
I love the art of dance. Some of my favorite experiences when visiting Spain have been going to Flamenco shows. This week I listened to a podcast episode by Afropop Worldwide called "The Hidden Blackness of Flamenco" and discovered a new documentary that teaches some unknown history and influences of Flamenco. I thought this community would enjoy both the podcast episode and the docu- film.
Flamenco as we know it was “born” in Spain in the mid-19th century. But for centuries before that, Roma (Gitanos, Gypsies) had been living in Spanish cities, often rubbing shoulders with the descendants of Africans (Moors), who had been there as both citizens and slaves going back to Medieval times and earlier. This overlooked pre-history of flamenco is explored in Miguel Angel Rosales’s award-winning documentary film Gurumbé: Afro-Andalusian Memories.
You can watch the trailer or rent the film for under $4 here! You can also listen to the podcast episode by Afropop here.
Thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Latinx Collective. As always, if you find this work valuable - feel free to share it with friends, family or allies. They can sign up on the website to join you in celebrating the every day contributions the Latinx community is making. If you want to share this issue (or any past issue), you can find all the links in the archive. Please share your comments by replying here, or tagging me on Twitter @emrosario or @latinxcollectiv. Thank you 💖