Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Demand for Latinas in Tech

The evolution of how we communicate with people has passed all boundaries. From e-mail and social media, to online advertising. Today, people are taking in information in more creative and tech-friendly ways, especially the younger generation. The new media industry is growing, and in more dynamic ways than ever before. With this growth, many women of color are joining the new media force.

Sara Inés Calderón, digital media expert, stated, “It’s important to have women of color in all aspects of media — from production to marketing to creating to distribution to new media. So, having Latinas and other women of color participate in new media, especially when media in general is such a white male-dominated industry, is essential.”

According to Pew Hispanic, the digital divide between Latinos and whites is smaller than what it had been just a few years ago. For example, between 2009 and 2012, the percentage of Latino adults going online increased from 64% to 78%, while among whites it only increased by half as much. In fact, according to Nielsen Media Research, Latinos are especially active on social media and are rising in numbers – in 2012, Hispanics increased their visits to social networks/blogs by 14 percent compared to February 2011 and are the fastest U.S. ethnic group on Facebook and  Women also use more social media networks than men, according to

Social media and advertising provide an outlet to voice opinions at a much larger scale than one can do alone to a group of people. It also serves as a tool to connect with like-minded people who share your same interests. Brenda Salinas, Associate Producer for NPR Latino USA, stated, “Latinos use social media in more way than any other ethnic group. Social media helps communicate with family in other parts of the world. There is also a different relationship with people on Twitter vs. real life. Many of us are so used to being the only one in the room, and we don’t have that feeling on social media.”

“It’s revolutionary that the second I’m interested in something, I can get the information in seconds – 20 years ago, we couldn’t do that! You can instantly connect with people that have your same interests, without feeling alone. The fact that other people are like me, is very comfortable. You can connect with people who have shared your same cultural experiences,” continued Salinas.

No matter what career you decide to do, new media will almost always play a role, especially with the future of where our communications medium is going. Being able to write is one thing, but being able to engage effectively in real time conversation online and being able to code, are skills that take time to acquire. For many Latinas, new media has played a crucial role in their careers, especially when making a career jump.

According to writer Erika L. Sánchez, “Without new media, I never would have developed this kind of writing career. My career is completely dependent on the internet. I started off with a small blog and clawed my way up to large publications. I feel that new media has helped give many marginalized people a voice. Though not all outlets acknowledge our communities, many people have taken to Twitter, Tumblr, or blogs to express themselves and engage in important political discourse. In this way, media has become more democratic.”

“There is no such thing as a radio producer, you’re a multimedia producer.  If it airs once, you are wasting your time and only reaching a fraction of people you can be reaching.  To do social media well, you have to be ahead of the curve and do it right. Elements of storytelling don’t change, but social media always changes. It’s always on the go and a learning process,” stated Salinas.

“New media has played a significant part of my career. When I started my career I was writing newspaper articles, then we started adding a few blogs, and when the economy crashed I lost my job and started working at a digital new media startup. New media gave me an entirely new career and opened up a great number of doors for me,” stated Calderón.

With the digital sphere always moving, it is important to note that it is always a learning process and no one can learn at a blink of an eye. But starting now when you’re young and full of energy, will put you ahead of the curve and make you prepared for whatever the world throws at you!

Read the original article on Latinitas Magazine.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fighting Health Disparities in the AANHPI Community

Today, 25.8 million Americans suffer with diabetes, and our minority communities are especially affected, with Asian Americans encompassing 8.4%. According to the Office of Minority Health, Asian Americans are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as compared to non-Hispanic Whites.

During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, let's honor the contributions of Asian Americans by learning how we can lower this health disparity by being leaders within our communities. Combatting diabetes requires understanding the three key health areas: prevention, improving care, and diabetes research.
Every year, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (NCAPIP) hosts a conference on the impact of diabetes in Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI). This year's conference evaluated key ways physicians and patients can better work together to improve AANHPI diabetes disparities.

Fighting these health disparities requires changing the way diabetes research is conducted to ensure that treatments meet the needs of all patients. Increasing diversity in clinical trials is an important stepping stone for improving diabetes treatment for these groups--especially in large metropolitan cities where Asian Americans comprise a large demographic, such as Los Angeles and New York.

To help improve diversity in clinical trials, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the National Minority Quality Forum launched the "I'm In" campaign to improve health by increasing clinical trial participation among traditionally underrepresented populations.

According to Dr. Salvatore Alesci, PhRMA Vice President of Scientific Affairs, minorities will constitute 40% of the U.S. population by 2020. By increasing the diversity in clinical trials through advocacy, education, and technology, we will increase the safety and effectiveness of new medicines and improve health for all patients.

Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu of NCAPIP spoke about how physicians can act as communicators and leaders by working for and advocating for those they serve, which encompasses a new calling for physicians. We have the power to lower the diabetes epidemic in AANHPI communities by talking about diabetes with family and friends, taking action, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Read the original article on The Campaign for Modern Medicines.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Millennials: How to Tap into The Youngest Generation of Voters

While the nation prepares for the midterm elections this November, there is a group that could sway the deciding factor — Millennials. According to a recent poll by Harvard, 37 percent of Millennials identify as Democrat, while 25 percent say they are Republican. However, the poll doesn’t clearly examine the largest segment of this voting demographic — namely, the 38 percent who are not affiliated with either major party.

These numbers reveal a disconnect between the government and young voters, a further example that there is not an equal amount of representation in the U.S. and many don’t believe the nation is moving in the right direction.

What Millennial leaders find disheartening is that only 19 percent of voters in Generation Y consider themselves politically engaged, according to the Harvard poll. Nick Troiano, a member of Generation Y and an independent candidate running in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, believes it is a reflection of the current political system and environment.

“Young Americans have come of age in a time pervaded with political dysfunction and gridlock, resulting in poor job performance,” he said in an interview for IVN. “The survey also found that 61 percent disapprove of the job performance of the Democrats in Congress and 74 percent disapprove of the job performance of the Republicans in Congress. Young Americans are frustrated with both parties, which is why more and more are identifying as independents and is one of the reasons I am running for Congress as an independent candidate.”

According to Pew Research, even though Millennials stand out for voting heavily Democratic on many political and social issues, 50 percent still identify as independent. In order to change the way politics works and make voters less frustrated, there needs to be a change of attitude in voting and more advocacy for people who can represent all ends of the political spectrum.

“First and foremost, this survey confirms the skepticism of our political system on the part of Millennials,” said Jeff Frazee, executive director of Young Americans for Liberty. “While only 21 percent of respondents considered our nation to be headed in the right direction, 81 percent did not consider themselves to be ‘politically engaged’ or ‘politically active.’ This suggests that while many respondents believe our country has many problems, they do not see much hope of solutions via the political process as it currently stands.”

According to the poll, a majority of Millennials disapprove of the way President Obama is handling national issues, such as the economy, health care, and the federal budget deficit. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they disapprove of the way Obama is handling the federal budget deficit.

While 56 percent voted for Obama in 2012, 45 percent think the nation as a whole is headed down the wrong track. These reactions are what is going to steer the direction for the next election. So, the question that needs to be ask is, what will it take to tap into an age group that will make up 36 percent of the voting population by 2020?

It may be a matter of getting Millennials, and specifically ones who claim to be affiliated as independent, to run for office and change the way politics is done.

“It’s going to be tough to engage Millennials in the political discussion and have them be eager to go out and vote for someone who says they will change Washington. That ship has clearly sailed,” said Britt Hysen, editor of Millennial Magazine. “But I think in order to get Millennials more excited and connected to government, it’s going to take reaching them on their level, and that means through technology.”

During her interview, Hysen mentioned Code for America, an organization trying to connect local governments with “technologists” to create solution-based apps in order to increase political engagement at the local level. Residents are given the opportunity to present ideas for city apps which will be considered by tech developers and city officials.

“We need to revert back to local government,” Hysen remarked. “Millennials are result driven. Therefore, if they start to directly affect their communities through actionable development, they may have the confidence to transform their state and eventually their country, too.”

To change the 81 percent who don’t consider themselves politically engaged, Millennials need to realize that change is only going to occur if they take actionable steps. This means learning about the political system and raising their voice on issues that go against their values and beliefs.

“If Millennials want to have a voice, they have to create that voice for themselves,” Frazee concluded. “The political class has little to gain from listening to a generation that is increasingly skeptical of politicians, and so it is up to Millennials to make our voices heard through effective political organization.”

Read the original article on the Independent Voter Network.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Mother Taught Me To Always Speak Up

I’m not going to lie, being the youngest of three children definitely has its advantages. Other than practically growing up with two sets of parents, one thing that always stood out was the incredible advice I was always given from both my siblings and parents–great advice that made me prepared to tackle any new adventure and challenge head on. If it wasn’t for the incredible encouragement they have instilled in me, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to live abroad for a year or move across the country.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to honor my mom by sharing the best piece of advice she has ever given me: always speak up, especially when something is wrong. My mom exemplified her advice while I was growing up, and it has become an integral part of who I am today.

When I was about nine years old, my mom told me about the art of speaking up about issues that you’re passionate about, because if no one does, who will? My hometown in California had plans to take down most of the trees in the town, really one of the most beautiful attributes of that neighborhood. My family and I were furious, so with my mom’s encouragement and dad’s first instinct, I went around my neighborhood collecting signatures to overturn the city’s decision. We succeeded, and 13 years later, those trees are still standing.

A little more than a year ago, I worked in the Los Angeles mayoral race, a city with one of the lowest voter turnout rates. With the goal of changing the way politics work in Los Angeles, I went with my team to speak to voters in underserved communities to listen to their concerns, and by doing this action, we registered people to vote in more than 12 neighborhoods across the city.

Although these actions are just a few examples, they continue to resonate with me. I learned if one speaks up for change in a community, the results could be mesmerizing. Having strong multicultural female leaders, such as my fearless mom who has built the bridge between English and Spanish speakers in Los Angeles by serving as a Court Interpreter, my strong sister who is standing up for independent family farmers and protecting a healthy and productive food supply for American consumers, and my wise grandma who served our nation in the Kennedy Administration, has empowered me to want to continue making our world a better place.

These are the types of values that I still hold dear to my heart and can play a role in everyone’s careers. The acts of being self-aware and open to new challenges are attributes that will take you far in your career, and I thank my mom for teaching and establishing this in me at such a young age.

As you are thinking about the wonderful advice your mom or an important woman in your life has given you, just remember it has impacted you in some way, shape, or form, so take the time to thank them. If I ever have kids one day, I hope to be just as fearless as my mom and pass along the same qualities she instilled in me.

Read the original article on Levo League.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

U.S. Cultural Perceptions of Latinos

I was recently inspired by my friend Sara's video of common questions Latinos in the U.S. get asked quite often. After seeing the video, it made me think about everything I have ever been asked during my lifetime of identifying as Mexican-American. For some reason, perceptions of Latinos in the U.S. are not as open-minded as one may think. And it is something me and many other Latinos experience on a daily basis.

The "What Are You?" Question - Latinos, Hispanics Are Constantly Asked Their Race by Sara Inés Calderón

Ethnic stereotypes are visible in every culture, and extremely so for Latinos. Latinos come in every shape, color and size, and some people still need to get used to that fact. Although many of us have indigenous roots, many of us also have Spanish blood or have ancestors from Spain that immigrated to Latin America.

Stereotypes may form because of what media has portrayed as a "typical" Latino, or it may have to do with the need to have some sort of identity, whether it be cultural or not. Based off what we determine as our identity, usually leads people to treat others according so.

"Because people have a script in their heads: how to act and what to say when they meet certain people. If they don't know 'what' someone is (man, woman, gay, straights, Hispanic or not) they feel lost and they don't know how to act," said Vashti, a native of the island of Puerto Rico who moved to the U.S. when she was 17.

But with the popularity of stereotypes, also becomes "fact" for many. For many, seeing or hearing stereotypes becomes accurate because that is what they are most used to and the only info they can rely on about Latinos.

"I think that because Latinos aren't integrated into many aspects of our society — corporate boardrooms and places where decisions about media content are made for example — stereotypes replace actual knowledge about what latinos are, or are like. So then you get stereotypes becoming "fact" for some people, though the rest of us are left which a much more complex reality in which latinos -- just like people in the u.s. -- come in all shapes and sizes (and colors)," said Calderón, Director of Social Media and Partner Development at MiTú Network.

Stephanie Cuevas, who identifies as Mexican-American, encountered an interesting situation when she was marked as "White" instead of "Hispanic" by a police officer "Since we don't have the freedom to claim our identity in government forms as we please, I think people are confused when they look at others. I think the type of thought process people stumble upon when they find a racially ambiguous person is, 'You don't quite fit that box that I know, but you must fit into a box'," said Cuevas.

Cuevas corrected her speeding ticket.

Cuevas continued, "I would compare America's portrayal and perception of race to the census. The census asks us to "check off boxes" according to our background. It tries to put populations into monolithic categories, yet these categories shift. For example, in 1930, Mexican was considered a race. However, in 1940, and future recordings of the census, it was no longer offered. The races listed on the census can be listed like nationalities in some cases, and other cases it's clor of skin, like white or black. The list of "races" has grown and changed over the years, and I find that completely fascinating. We're supposed to fit into these boxes, and yet the "categories" are shifting constantly. It's as thought there is an outside entity that's trying to define us, when we should have the freedom to define our own identity."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Retaining Your Cultural Heritage Through College

Sometimes with the start of a new chapter in one’s life, it’s difficult to hold one’s heritage close. And for some, the fear of losing one’s cultural roots may prevent someone from attending college far away or stepping off to a new adventure. This is why it’s so important to see the value of being a Latina or Latina-American in a different setting from how you grew up.

One of the greatest things about living in the United States is that you’re surrounded by so many cultures and cultural perspectives. And many grow up in a household that celebrates more than one culture and speaks more than one language. Today, there are roughly 53 million Hispanics in the United States, making it the largest ethnic minority in our nation. And for states such as California, Hispanics are the majority.

California native and Yale graduate, Stephanie Cuevas said, “My high school was approximately 90% Latino. Transitioning to college at Yale, where Latinos only made up 10% of the student population, was a bit of a culture shock.”

Many can relate to this situation, and one of the best things to avoid feeling out of place is joining an organization that celebrates Latino culture and taking Latino studies courses. This will not only help with avoiding feeling out of place, but one can find many in the same boat to relate with.

“As a light skinned Mexican-American, my peers often questioned my relationship to my cultural identity and would sometimes label me as "white." Rather than assimilating, I took courses in Latino studies and maintained involvement in our cultural house, La Casa Cultural. Through these steps, I grew closer to my family's roots, and further explored what it means to be a Latino in America. We are a rich and diverse group with similar, but different, cultural perspectives,” said Cuevas.

“Don't let fear stop you from putting yourself out there to meet new people in clubs or organizations. Joining a club organization with a cultural focus will be your home away from home. Most universities have international clubs for culture, comida, or even Hispanic interests! Yes, even in dominantly non-Latino schools! If your school doesn't have one, you might consider starting your own to unite other Latinos,” said Jasmine Villa, Latinitas Communications and Fundraising Assistant.

Other than joining clubs or organizations, keep speaking and practicing Spanish - whether it’s calling a family member or just reading a book in Spanish. It’s a quality so imperative to have for today’s growing demographic. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, the number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has grown rapidly over the past few decades. Today, there are 37.6 million Spanish speakers, making it the most spoken language after English. It’s a quality many don’t see the importance of at a young age, but see the role it plays when getting into professional careers. And it’s also a quality many are envious for not having - so feel empowered!

“Practice your Spanish as often as you can. Speak Spanish, write in Spanish, and read in Spanish,” said Alexandra Landeros, Freelance Writer and Publicist.

And lastly, don’t ever feel out of place. Being with people who make you proud of who you are and ones you can count on lead to a satisfying and fulfilling college experience.

Read the original article on Latinitas Magazine.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Life of Latina Bloggers

The role of Latina bloggers, or “blogueras,” is becoming more prevalent in all forms of social media. Latina women from various age groups are creating popular blogs. They hold a strong community in the online media world not only because of their excellent writing skills or savvy issues they choose to write about, but also because they play a crucial role in bringing a different perspective to the table. These Latina bloggers are are gaining a following and getting their voice heard online.

Sara Inés Calderón, writer for various blogs, such as Latinopia, TechCrunch, and Politic365, states, “I think being a woman who is Latina — or a “double minority” — does add another layer of perspective, but so does being a man. I don’t think it’s better or worse, just different. But I think that because women are generally more social and more involved with different groups of people, sometimes Latinas can bring a variety of perspectives together that others might not be able to.” 

Latinos in Social Media (LATISM): 

The strong unison of Latina bloggers can be seen in groups specializing on blogging. For example, LATISM, which stands for Latinos in Social Media, is a group of bloggers coming from every writing background — from political standpoints to living an eco-friendly lifestyle. With over 150,000 likes on Facebook, LATISM is taking the Latino blogging community by storm.

The Latina Voice: 

Alexandra Landeros, Co-Chair and Co-Founder of LATISM Austin Chapter, and blogger of Chronicles of Undercover Mexican Girl, describes how her passion of writing came about:

“I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. As young as 6 or 7 years old, I loved to make up stories – sometimes I would imagine stories while I was laying down at night before falling asleep, or while I was daydreaming on a rainy day. They were usually stories of adventure and romance. Growing up in the early 1980s, I was influenced by movies such as Goonies and Indiana Jones, by TV segments such 3-2-1 Contact’s Bloodhound Gang, and by the books of C.S. Lewis and Lucy Maud Montgomery. 

In addition to writing, I loved to handmake the books where I’d write down my stories. I’d take looseleaf and construction paper, using a needle and thread – or staples – to bound together a book. Then I would write a story out of my imagination, complete with drawings. When I was finished, I’d draw a bar code on the book. Even then, I was entrepreneurial about my writing. I knew I wanted to be able to sell my work and make a living as a writer.” 

Blogs by Latinas is another website dedicated to the Latina blogger world. It’s an online directory of Latina bloggers, covering every issue you can imagine. “The BBL Blog is all about my blogging world, social media, inspring Latinas, and Latino news,” says Monique Frausto, the creator and founder of BBL.

According to Luviano, “Today, Latina bloggers are being interviewed on national television, courted by many companies and getting book deals. But one thing is certain – they have not even come close to maximum exposure.” 

Join the blogosphere at 

Whether you were inspired by a TV show, or looking up to your siblings like I did, the most important thing about someone’s role as a writer/blogger is to tell the truth. Adding your personal creativity to a story is also what makes the story original, and what makes readers wanting to read more of your work. It is those critical and independent thinkers who are going to move our world forward, and it starts with YOU!

Think you’re too young to start your own blog? Wrong! Join today and share your voice on issues you are passionate about with other like-minded youth.

All in all, blogging is a great way to express your creativity and personal beliefs. It’s not only great for writing, but it also leads you into the world of marketing or journalism. One day you would write about your family, while the next you see yourself writing about that great product you bought. Once you put yourself out there, you will see yourself making connections and creating a larger impact in the communications world.

Read the original article on Latinitas Magazine.