I did an interview for a syndicated radio show yesterday to promote my recently published book Bilingual is Better, and I was asked some pretty interesting questions. One of them reminded me that while a lot of parents wholeheartedly support the idea of raising bilingual and bicultural children, a lot more people out there go as far as thinking that this practice is unpatriotic. I know that sounds ludicrous to most of us, but it's the sad reality. A lot of people truly believe that in order to be fully American, you need to let go of your (or your ancestor's) heritage, language, traditions and just assimilate into this country's culture. But nothing could be further from the truth.
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Unlike other presidential elections, this year, I did my best to keep my lips tight regarding several of the more controversial issues at stake. Not because I didn't care, but because I can't vote. And, like my husband likes to say, if I won't do anything to try to change the things I don't like or I don't agree with, then I shouldn't have the right to complain about them. But yesterday, as I watched the results of the presidential election with my two small children and my mom--all of whom are American citizens--I came to the realization that the time has finally come for me to become a naturalized citizen.
It's been years (too many to divulge without being embarrassed) since I became eligible to go through this legal process, but for very personal reasons--that have made sense only to me--I have opted against it.Continue Reading >
I've been in this country for 18 years and for all this time I've been hearing about the importance of the Latino vote, but nothing demonstrated that unquestionable power like last night's re-election of President Barack Obama. We've now become more than just a big pile of money for marketers, transcending our economic spending power and finally flexing our political might--and I sincerely hope we are here to stay. The Obama family gets four more years in the White House, and it's all thanks in large part to Latino voters.
Another huge segment to whom President Obama owes this election? Us women! The president received 19% more female votes than his Republican rival Mitt Romney.Continue Reading >
To my future children and their generation,
Three months ago, the world celebrated the Olympics in London. Team USA won 102 medals, 44 gold and 29 silver and bronze, respectively. The passion, diligence and sacrifice displayed by each and every athlete brought tears of joy and pride as we cheered them on. When I attended the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida in August with over 20,000 others, many of us blogged and tweeted pictures and excerpts of the speeches given by the party's prominent leaders and rising stars. Just like I was proud to be American at the Olympics several months ago, I felt that pride as I was reminded that America is exceptional because she stands for freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
A whole lot can be said about yesterday's Vice Presidential debate, but the one adjective that comes to mind immediately is: lively. Both Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan were extremely passionate about the points they debated and I know they kept me a lot more interested than their partners ever did in last week's Presidential debate. In all honesty, though, I stayed glued to the TV because I couldn't get over Biden's unadulterated body language. I must say, he made me crack up in more than one occasion with his unabashed reaction of disbelief to many of the claims his counterpart made last night.
While a lot of moms out there thought Biden was completely out of line and disrespectful with his constant interruptions, I think he was the clear winner, proving--once again--that experience is a much needed attribute in politics.
Labor leader César Chávez would be pleased to know that President Obama has declared his home a National Monument. The President will name the Keene, California home the César E. Chávez National Monument next week as he makes his way through the state. Surprisingly, this will also be the first monument to recognize the work of a present day Latino in the United States.
The site is rich with history, since Chávez's home was the national headquarters of the United Farm Workers union from the 1970s until he passed away in 1993. His gravesite, located in the area will also be part of the monument. Obama showed his respect and support for Chávez and expressed the importance of his role as a spokesperson and leader for labor workers and everywhere. All sentimentality aside, this is a super smart move on Obama's behalf as elections are underway and can help him earn the Latino vote.
Ask any mom and she'll probably tell you the same thing: harm my children in any way and be prepared to get my full wrath. That's what parents do. We defend and protect our children. So I can totally see why the father of a California teen killed by a gang member who is an undocumented immigrant wants to make sure the killer not only pays for his crime, but that others like him don't get to do something similar.
You see, Pedro Espinoza, who killed 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw Jr. after mistaking him for a rival gang member, had been released from jail only 36 hours before, despite a long rap sheet and his undocumented status. Now, Jamile Shaw Sr. is worried that unless Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes the Trust Act--which would essentially release jailed undocumented immigrants into the streets--others will be in danger too.
I was as shocked as everyone else when I heard about the protests in Libya, Egypt, and now Yemen, that caused the deaths of a U.S. ambassador and three embassy employees--and even more so after I realized that it all stemmed from a YouTube trailer for an anti-Islam propaganda film. But the story only got more unbelievable when I heard that a Latina actress, Cindy Lee Garcia, was right at the center of all the controversy!
Garcia recently opened up to Jezebel about her role in the offensive movie, revealing that she had absolutely NO idea that she was participating in an anti-religion spoof!Continue Reading >
What could have happened to 22-month-old Cyleste Gonzales? The little angel had bruises all over her body, a broken arm and an injury to her abdomen when she died four years ago. Cyleste, and her older brother, were under the care of Sarah Sifuentes, who'd agreed to look after them since their mother, a good friend of hers, was going to jail. Although a jury found Sifuentes guilty of injury to a child by omission causing seriously bodily injury and she has been sentenced to 19 years in prison, it is still unknown how and by whom little Cyleste's body ended up so battered.
What San Antonio prosecutors were able to prove is that Sifuentes knew Cyleste was injured, but she didn't do anything about it until it was too late. Basically, she allowed her to die from her injuries.Continue Reading >
The most buzzed about speech of tonight's Democratic National Convention opener has GOT to be San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julian Castro's. As the first EVER Latino keynote speaker, Castro has a lot riding on this speech and I have to say--I don't think they could've picked a better man for the job.
Mayor Julian Castro is about as close to a Latino Obama as we can get, and I'm not exaggerating here. He is the Democratic party's rising star and they have made an incredibly wise decision in bestowing upon him the honor that so many other notable men and women have held before (President Barack Obama himself, as well as incredibly influential TX Rep. Barbara Jordan come to mind). Most importantly, his story is one that many Latinos can identify with and believe in. You see, it all started with Castro's mom...