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The Latinx Collective: the "Batman in the barrio" edition
THIS WEEK'S FIVE:
HBCUvc, a nonprofit fellowship program providing Black and Latinx students with training and mentorship in venture capital, recently launched its inaugural “31 Under 31” list. The list features what HBCUvc describes as Black and Latinx rising stars in venture capital. The program said it decided to launch the list in response to the lack of representation in existing industry lists and that it aims to serve as a starting point for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists of color to connect more easily. ✊🏾
Trailblazing Chicana author Sandra Cisneros is often characterized as the first female Mexican-American writer to have her work go mainstream, through her book The House on Mango Street. A NYT bestseller (find it here or at your local POC-owned bookstore!), the coming-of-age novel appears on many young adult and school reading lists. In this Q&A, she talks about turning The House on Mango Street into an opera, her thoughts on the #MeToo movement in the literary world, and an oral history project she's working on to share the voices of more than 50 undocumented people. From Sandra:
I always tell students: The stories that are the most powerful aren’t the ones we remember, but the ones we wish we could forget. Sometimes these stories have so much power over us that we’re not allowed to speak them, because they will destroy us. It’s like the story is holding a knife to our throat, and it’s by telling the story over and over again that it releases us. Sometimes it takes a lifetime.
Billed as the first Latinx superhero movie, El Chicano is an action-packed thriller with an all-Latinx cast, it actually stars Raúl Castillo and George Lopez. The story follows twin brothers — one who dies suspiciously after prison and one who works as a detective — seemingly reconciled through the mysterious El Chicano. Juxtaposing gangster, noir, mystery and vigilante elements, it’s a Mexican Batman, complete with a barrio batcave. This article has a pretty positive review but I've heard mixed reviews on this film and I'm not a fan of films about gang bangers and drug dealers, so I'm curious what you all think. It's been out in theaters since May 3rd, but here's the trailer.
Regardless of reviews, it's quite cool that the director is Latinx and made his vision come to life. Onwards!
*Shoutout to subscriber Carlos Russo for the submission!*
In her new novel, With The Fire On High, poet and writer Elizabeth Acevedo asks readers to look at the ingredients of a teenage life, and examine what they might be missing when they subscribe to stereotypes about teenagers of color and pregnant teens. The book can be purchased here (or preferably at your local bookstore).
“How does this kid find joy? How do they find hope? How do they make it work?" Acevedo says. "I fundamentally believe that stories about young people have to have those things, especially young people of color because they so often don't see themselves reflected in ways that allow them to win."
Born in central Mexico, Cesar Vargas came to the U.S. as a 5-year-old w/his mother and 3 siblings. Like many undocumented immigrants, the family crossed the southwestern border to enter the country. Vargas' recent enlistment in the Army Reserve marked the culmination of a remarkable, nearly two-decades-long journey from undocumented immigrant to trail-blazing attorney and activist.
"It's a realization of the effort and sacrifice of my mother, who came here, risked everything to give me a better life, to provide us with a chance of the American dream," he said. "She has been a bedrock, a pillar of me graduating college, graduating law school and now achieving and graduating from basic combat training." For Vargas, the diversity of his graduating class epitomizes one of his primary reasons for joining the Army: to elevate the stories of immigrants in America who have answered the call to arms.
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