Why Slate’s Piece About Latinos Becoming The Next Whites Failed

In a United States that is becoming more diverse every day, new questions about race, ethnicity and identity regularly appear in mainstream publications and discussions. Central to these debates is the country’s growing Latino population. These days, it seems every editorial outlet in the country has to write about Latinos (demographics! advertising!), even when those outlets’ Latino representation is grossly underrepresented or virtually non-existent.

Such is the case of Slate, a magazine that has been around since 1996. Now, I am not going to get into an analysis about how many Latinos have written for the magazine, but let’s be honest: Slate is not the publication that immediately comes to mind when you are looking for news content that accurately and authentically reflects what is it to be a US Latino today. Even when Slate has tried to address issues of Latino identity, it has always been from the perspective of the outsider looking in. It is safe to say that Slate has never been one to focus on drawing in more Latino readers, but apparently now that being Latino is “hot,” they seem to be trying.

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If yesterday’s “Will Today’s Hispanics Be Tomorrow’s Whites?” opinion piece by Jamelle Bouie is the editorial direction Slate chose, it has already failed.

In fairness, Bouie —who tweeted with me last night after I called the Slate piece perhaps the dumbest thing the magazine has ever published— did base his piece on a very interesting question: will the current concept of “whiteness” change as the US becomes more and more Latino? (Sidenote: Bouie and Slate kept using “Hispanic” in the piece, an early indication that the piece was already going to miss the mark.) That question has merit, and I applaud him for asking it. Still, how Bouie (and his Slate editors) executed his thesis is what troubled me the most.

Let’s begin:

Reason 1: The headline

I ask a simple question: if you are a Latino on Twitter or Facebook and you see a “Will Today’s Hispanics Be Tomorrow’s Whites?” headline, what would your reaction be?

Mine instantly took me here:

The headline —even though it successfully caused me to click on the link— quite frankly, was offensive. The use of “will” at the beginning of the question implied that this was a prediction that would eventually happen. Nothing could stop it. Following this logic, think about it: white = racist against Blacks, Hispanics could become the next whites, so therefore Hispanic = white, which means that Hispanic = racist against Blacks. Why such a sweeping generalization? Why not just say “will some Hispanics” and move along?

Did Bouie agree to such a headline? And before he makes the typical claim that a writer has no control over the headlines to the pieces he writes, as someone who has written for several national publications and also edited for major news organizations, I have always submitted a headline with my piece. If my editors don’t like the headlines, they let me know, and we try to come up with another one. So the Slate headline alone indicates that the piece was indeed “going there.” And I wasn’t liking it.

Reason 2: The photo

Now, if you get past the headline as well as the subhead, “How Hispanics perceive themselves may shape the future of race in America” (cue dramatic music), the next element you see is a photo:

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This is just editorial sloppiness.

A piece about how Hispanics will become the country’s future whites, and the first thing you see is that of four brown-skinned people at an immigration rally? I don’t know if the people in this picture are Latino or not (maybe that “white” lady on the left is Latina too), but these are “tomorrow’s whites?”

Tell that to people who have been racially profiled in Arizona or have been deported from their families. “Tomorrow’s whites” wouldn’t be fighting to fix an immigration system that disproportionately targets those from Central American and Latin American countries. For example, a enforcement-heavy system that removed in 2013 alone over 240,000 Mexicans, more than 47,000 Guatemalans, a little over 37,000 Hondurans and about 21,500 Salvadorans. And we now know that a majority of those removals weren’t even necessary. Juan Crow is alive and well in 21st century America.

Reason 3: George Zimmerman

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Yes, that’s Bouie’s intro. Not only is he asking if Hispanics will become “tomorrow’s whites,” but his writing implies that Latinos will just become a bunch of Zimmermans. Cue up the Gollum video.

I will say this once and only once: some Latinos are racist, and Latin America has perpetuated an institutionalized form of racism for centuries. That system is finally being exposed, slowly but surely. Latino Rebels even wrote a very detailed piece when the whole “white Hispanic” issue dominated the case.

But let me answer Bouie’s point directly. Here is how he began his piece about Hispanics and whiteness:

The Trayvon Martin shooting was hardly in the national consciousness before fault lines emerged around the case. Was Martin as innocent as he seemed? Did Zimmerman fear for his life? Did Martin provoke the incident? Was Zimmerman a racist?

Perhaps most controversial among all of these was the question of identity. Yes, Trayvon Martin was black, but is Zimmerman white? For Martin’s sympathizers, the answer was yes. For Zimmerman’s, the answers ranged from “it doesn’t matter” to he “is actually a Hispanic nonracist person who acted in self-defense.”

Remember: anti-blackness in Latin American countries is still pretty raw and has a long ugly history. When I heard that Zimmerman was half Peruvian, I didn’t even blink or think that Zimmerman’s initial reactions weren’t racially motivated. They were, and almost every Latino I know who saw the death of a young black boy as a national tragedy would say the same.

Bouie’s introduction suggested that Latinos wouldn’t be sympathetic to a Trayvon because in the end, we just all want to be white. Guess Bouie forgot to mention that when it comes to what two groups share most in common when it comes to securing better futures, those two groups are young black and Latino men. Or that when Univision has Zimmerman on TV earlier this year, there was pure outrage.

And for every Trayvon, there is also an Andy Lopez. Or a David Sal Silva. Or a Jesús Huerta. “Tomorrow’s whites” don’t die in police custody on a regular basis.

Reason 4: This Twitter thread

By the way, they also plan to write a rebuttal to Bouie’s piece.

Reason 5: Painting Latinos with a broad brush

By now, I am at the point where I should actively petition every editorial outlet in the country to sign the following: We promise to never ever portray US Latinos with broad sweeping generalizations without talking with actual Latinos who know the issues. I doubt that in this “Latino is the new white” debate, Bouie and other writers could even begin to fully understand that Latino identity means something different to different people. To some, it means celebration of a common culture, language and experience. To others, it means a complete rejection of a contrived government-created label (Hispanic, Latino) that ignores proud indigenous roots. Add the the fact that we’re talking over 20 countries here, and the conclusions about Latinos by non-Latino gets messy.

Reason 6: Louis CK IS Mexican

I guess Bouie never really knew that some of us Latinos think Louis CK is the greatest Mexican stand-up comic around, which would already refute the fact that Latinos are just striving for “whiteness.”

That video actually complements my final point, but first let me call up Bouie’s concluding lament:

Our hierarchies are a little flatter, and—in public life, at least—we aren’t as obsessed with racial boundaries. But both still exist, and they take a familiar form: whites at the top, blacks at the bottom. The future could make a collection of minorities the majority in America, or it could broaden our definition of white, leaving us with a remix of the black-and-white binary. A country where some white people are Asian, some are Hispanic, and the dark-skinned citizens of America—and blacks especially—is still a world apart.

I have greater faith in Latinos than Bouie does.

Too bad Slate (and Bouie) never took the time to bring in a more nuance to this debate. Having been in a room where I was the only Puerto Rican in a room of “whites,” the one with the foreign name who “speaks English so well,” the one whose family goes back to places as diverse as North Africa and the Canary Islands, the little spic from the Bronx, Latino identity is about pride for who you are and never forgetting where you come from. My family is literally a rainbow of races, but we also have a bond that culturally unites us. It is this bond that keeps growing as Latinos get more and more connected online. The Latinos I know refuse to be boxed into other’s paranoid paradigms.

So why did Bouie even ask the question about whether Hispanic will become “tomorrow’s whites”?

Sure, there are some Latinos who will be “tomorrow’s whites.” However, from where I stand, that number is insignificant, just like other people of color striving for “whiteness.”

Hopefully Bouie and Slate do start listening more to what Latinos are saying, and even reading some of the comments being posted on the piece:

My Hispanic colleague commented on this issue and said:

“How can we ever be white. Maybe a few of the light skin ones could ‘pass’, but we [hispanics] suffer the same prejudice on our looks. We are short and brown. When I walk into a room full of Whites of European descent, I and everyone in there knows I am not one of them.”

“Everyone in there knows I am not one of them.”

That’s why “tomorrow’s whites” will never be “tomorrow’s whites.” They will be tomorrow’s Latinos.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the last two years, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  Univisionand The New York Times. Recently, he was a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream.

Diego Luna Plays It Safe in Disjointed “César Chávez” Movie

Let’s face it: the initial push to get Latinos interested in attending the opening weekend of Diego Luna’s “César Chávez” worked. From White House trips to social media chats, everyone in my social circles was fully aware that Luna’s film about the heroic labor leader was coming out the weekend of March 28, just three days before Chávez’s birthday (March 31, 1927). Many said they would go catch the film in an actual movie theater, invite a few friends and make it a community event. We all also hoped that Luna’s film would triumph, that it could be a Latino “Malcolm X” movement, a defining stake to prove that more stories like Chávez’s need to be told.

Expectations were high. Really high.

Sadly, the execution was low, resulting in a safe and mediocre film.

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Luna took the Hollywood route (no surprise there), instead of making a bolder choice—direct a more complexed and nuanced film about how a group of farmworkers in California made national and international news all because of grapes. THAT actual story was a big part of Luna’s film, but it was clouded and hidden by other story lines. The boycott story, from its origins to its victorious resolution, was by far the most gripping part of the movie. “How will they pull this off?” I kept asking myself as I watched, even though I already knew a lot about the strike and the boycott. THAT was the story and should have been the only one. Instead, Luna took us to other distracting (and boring) subplots, specifically the relationship Chávez (played admirably by Michael Peña) had with his son, Fernando (Eli Vargas). When I saw Fernando’s character on a golf course, I shook my head.

I can understand why such an artistic choice was made —trying humanize a historic figure is common in Hollywood biopics— but not at the expense of the bigger story. The best of “César Chávez” was great storytelling: when the focus was on the strike and the boycott. For example, when we see Peña’s character interacting with farm workers wanting better for their children (an opening scene all in Spanish) or when he confronted a sheriff over the Bill of Rights (boom). The struggle to strike, the in-fighting regarding strategy, the violence that occurred and even when Sen. Robert Kennedy (played by Jack Holmes with one of the most Kennedy-like accents ever) showed up to support the farm workers. These were the scenes that needed more exploration, more tension and ultimately, more drama. Cases in point: Luna never even had Peña as Chávez and Holmes as Kennedy talking to each other. Chávez’s fasting scenes lacked any emotional investment. There was no real interaction between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” (led by the always creepily talented John Malkovich). The scenes of workers getting gassed and shot at were so minimal, it’s as if Luna didn’t want to take the time to make us care about these atrocities. Great drama needs real tension. The movie never fully embraced such a basic tenet of storytelling.

The lack of a clear plot should not fall on Peña. He worked with what he had and portrayed Chávez as a quiet yet humble leader. Not giving Peña enough nuggets to portray several sides of Chávez falls on Luna and screenwriters Keir Pearson (“Hotel Ruwanda”) and Timothy J. Sexton (“Children of Men”). The screenplay lacked authenticity. It chose to gloss over some of the more dramatic parts of Chávez’s life during this period, and in the end, the movie soured. It’s almost as if Pearson and Sexton didn’t want to spend time about the more compelling challenges to La Causa: pragmatism vs. hero worship; “divide and conquer” vs. unity; violence vs. non-violence; Filipino vs. Chicano vs. Mexicano; “wetbacks” vs. union. The script read as if it the final ending was inevitable, a done deal. I wanted less of the done deal and more of how La Causa achieved its initial goals.

Which is the movie’s biggest problem. Key figures such as Dolores Huerta (played by Rosario Dawson), Helen Chávez (América Ferrera) and Delano’s Filipino workers just became outside observers to Peña’s Chávez character. Sure, there was tension here and there, but it was never sustained tension. For example, when Helen Chávez’s character offered to be arrested, we see a jealous César Chávez seeing his man pride armor getting chinked. It was a few interesting minutes between the Chávez couple, but after that, nothing. As for Huerta, her character was never developed, and that was a shame. In a movie about César Chávez, a character like Dolores Huerta is not a secondary character. You would think that Luna could have explored this relationship some more. I mean, Huerta is still alive. She was there. She lived it. (Oh yeah, I forgot that Huerta was reportedly never consulted to offer her insights to the film.)

In the end, the movie was only 101 minutes long, and maybe that explains why it never really satisfied. One of the biggest worker rights stories in the history of the United States got only 101 minutes of Hollywood air time. Given its long list of producers (Canana Films, Equipment & Film Design, Imagenation, Mr. Mudd, Participant Media), distributors (Lionsgate, Pantelion Films and Participant Media) and a big “Televisa Cine” who all had to be acknowledged even before the movie even began (awkward), you would think that some more money would have been raised to make this movie at least 120 minutes.

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When Chávez declares predictable victory at the end of the movie, my reaction was, “That’s it?” I got more emotional watching Gene Hackman in “Hoosiers” or Kurt Russell in “Miracle.” The biggest moment of victory in “César Chávez” just got a shoulder shrug, and that is tragic, especially since Luna had a chance to take what happened in the 60s and early 70s and connect it to what is happening today. He could have confronted Chávez’s critics as well as how many neo-nativists want to remind everyone that Chávez was against undocumented workers and is just a hypocrite of the movement. That would have earned Luna some major props and it would have been fearless. Instead, a potential “Latino Malcolm X” turned into a straight-to-Netflix choice.

But I guess Luna’s choice was set from the very beginning. This was never about a history lesson:

I would start crying, because from Day 1 I said, ‘I’m not going to do a history lesson.’ … Every time [teachers] come to me and say, ‘Why did you leave this out? Why did you not talk about this?’ I go, ‘Listen, film is not a history lesson.’ Film is in fact about engaging emotionally … and it’s about having a good time in the cinema. It’s about entertaining. Cinema can bring some curiosity for people to go and investigate a little more about Cesar. But film shouldn’t be teaching you. At least that’s not the film I like watching.

In this case, Luna made the wrong decision, and maybe he was the wrong person to direct this film. “César Chávez” should have been more of a “history lesson,” because that was by far the most enjoyable and dramatic part of the movie.

Nonetheless, the one good thing that IS happening: people are talking. Here are just a few of the comments I have seen in the last few days that I would tend to agree with:

“It was an okay film. Michael Peña’s (Cesar Chavez) performance was kind of flat. Dolores Huerta and the Filipino farm workers were downplayed in this film. I encourage people to see it as it’s an important part of our history.”

“I just saw the movie “CESAR CHAVEZ”
And I invite all my brothers and sisters
Please go see it and support the life
Of a powerful man that stood tall
For equality, fairness, and justice
And of course our champion of integrity
DOLORES HUERTA
La voz de Los invisibles speaks loud and clear
Viva la RAZA
Peace ”

– Carlos Santana”

In the end, Latinos should go and see this movie, and after that, have real discussions about it. My biggest concern is this: at what point do Latinos go beyond supporting mediocre movies and when will we get content that is outstanding and thought-provoking? “César Chávez,” as well-intentioned as it was, became just another ok film with poor plot choices.

I no longer want “ok.” I want “superior” and “top-notch.” I want “authentic.”

We will get there.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the last two years, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  Univisionand The New York Times. Currently, he is a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. The views expressed in any of the LR columns written by Julito on this page do not reflect the editorial stance of Latino Rebels or Al Jazeera America. His opinions are his own and his alone.

 

Seahawks Richard Sherman’s Only Fault Is His Humanity

For the record, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gave the best postgame interview since the days of Muhammad Ali. Just seconds after Sherman made a clutch play against San Francisco 49er Michael Crabtree that earned Seattle a trip to the Super Bowl, Sherman was on TV, being asked by Erin Andrews about how it felt.

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The response was pure gold:

As a media guy, I always thought that sports networks are always too quick to rush and get the postgame hit as quickly as possible. 99.9% of all postgame interviews are a snoozefest, and Sherman’s raw honesty was beyond refreshing.

Of course, social media jumped in a called Sherman every name in the book, and let’s not pretend race was not a part of it. What if Wes Welker did the same thing to Tom Brady? There is an excellent summary by Tommy Tomlinson that pretty much vindicates Sherman for being himself.

And then you have Sherman himself, who took to Twitter late last night to share his thoughts. First tweet is to Seattle’s fans:

Then there is this one, which to be honest with you, speaks to all the haters out there:

This one speaks to how crazy the game was. Crabtree and his 49er teammates (especially, Anquan Boldin) were talking trash all day. Stay true to yourself, Richard, who by the way is a Stanford grad.

Then there are these:

And yes, he did shake up the world:

By the way, Crabtree (the guy who lost) comes across as a sore loser when he tweeted this:

And this whole “Sherman is a thug” thing? Would a “thug” wish the best for NaVorro Bowman, whose tragic knee injury was replayed and replayed on TV? In fact, Bowman’s injury took more air time than Sherman’s own postgame words:

 

Richard Sherman is human, and last night during one incredibly intense game, we saw a range of emotions. What would you do if someone jawed at you for hours and then you got the last laugh? Good for Sherman for being himself. That’s what it is all about.

And in an age where sports has become corporate and boring in a lot of ways, Richard Sherman put a smile on my face. Here’s hoping more and more athletes toss away the fear of being themselves and start being themselves.

As for my final thoughts?

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the last two years, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  Univisionand The New York Times. Currently, he is a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. The views expressed in any of the LR columns written by Julito on this page do not reflect the editorial stance of Latino Rebels or Al Jazeera America. His opinions are his own and his alone.

AP Story on Obamacare Spanish Site Misinforms and Misleads English-Language Press

UPDATE: VOXXI also ran a piece in December that is a bit more accurate than the one the AP wrote.

There are many points that need to be made about a poorly reported Associated Press article claiming that several Spanish speakers are up in arms about how the government’s CuidadoDeSalud.gov page was a computer-generated translation riddled with linguistic errors and “Spanglish,” but before diving into that, let me make one thing clear: not having a fully functioning Spanish site ready in October when HealthCare.gov rolled out in English was a story that many outlets (NBC Latino, Fox News Latino and Boston’s NPR) covered. In October.

Such news barely registered with the mainstream U.S. media landscape because so much attention focused on HealthCare.gov’s launch failings. The lack of a Spanish website once again proved one of the biggest mistakes large organizations continue to make: in a country with a fast-growing number of Spanish speakers, treating Spanish as a lost-lost second cousin no longer cuts it in the United States. In addition, assuming that Spanish will also be a translation instead of original content also sends the wrong message—English-dominant organizations such as the government really don’t see Spanish speakers as equals. I have been spouting that theme for years, and quite frankly, most private and public organizations still don’t understand that.

However, this week’s AP article falls into the very same trap that it is trying to criticize: if you are going to actually critique what is proper Spanish, at least approach it from the eyes of a native Spanish speaker. As someone who has worked in the world of Spanish language development, both in media and education, for over 25 years, the AP article doesn’t fully pass the test.

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Here’s why:

  • Let’s start with the title of the Spanish language website: CuidadoDeSalud.gov. Any native Spanish speaker or serious student of Spanish could easily tell you that the term “cuidado de salud” or “cuidado de la salud” is a perfectly acceptable term for “health care” or “care of one’s health.” In fact, all you need to do is consult newspaper articles from all over Latin America. From Argentina (January 14, 2014): ”Reducir el consumo de sal, clave para el cuidado de la salud”. From Puerto Rico (January 11, 2014): “a nuestra gente el cuidado de salud que necesita”. From CNN Mexico (December 28, 2013): ”Twitter, al cuidado de la salud de los británicos”. One Mexican company uses the term as an official company name, while another also uses it within the context the importance of good health care. For the AP to suggest that the name is plain wrong is just irresponsible, since in the context presented on the website, it does not mean “for the caution of health.” If the site said “Cuidado con la salud,” then AP has a point, but the website doesn’t, so the reporting is inaccurate. It is also irresponsible that other reporters and columnists didn’t even explore this very basic fact. Instead, we instantly assume that the AP is the standard. As with any media outlet, even the AP makes mistakes. Just ask Rand Paul. Also, the English site is called HealthCare.gov, so why wouldn’t the Spanish translation be any different?
  • The site is riddled with “Spanglish” terms: The AP article uses the example of one person based in Miami who says the following, “When you get into the details of the plans, it’s not all written in Spanish. It’s written in Spanglish, so we end up having to translate it for them.” Granted, government websites translated into Spanish have never been good, and it goes back to the fact that I raised earlier: that content does indeed need to be written in Spanish and not translated. However, reviewing the actual site would suggest otherwise. For example, a term such as “inscribir” makes complete sense over “aplicar.” As a native Spanish speaker, I think the website translation is mediocre, but it is readable, just like every other Spanish version of U.S. government pages. I have read much worse and I have read much better. But is the site Spanglish? Not even close. Spanglish is using invented variations of English words, like “choosear.” (Yes, I actually saw that word once in a translation for the word “choose.”)
  • The site must be computer-generated. Again, this suggestion comes from one person in the article and it is buried in the story. Computer-generated translations would bring up bad word order, bad syntax and it would just read poorly. This translation does not read poorly. By the way, I have several other editorial suggestions that would make the site better. The first one? Write in Spanish and do a heavier adaptation that is more natural. See the pattern here on how to avoid the critics? There are plenty of authentic Spanish-language health care sites in the world. Maybe people working on the website should pay more attention to them? And, one more thing: Spanish style is initial capital letters and lowercase. Seeing headlines in all initial capital letters is a Spanish editor’s pet peeve. (For example: “Pequeñas empresas” and not “Pequeñas Empresas”.)
  • Then there is the entire issue with the word “prima” (for “premium”), which also means “female cousin.” Granted, for a second, I did a double take. Also, if you actually read the entire AP article, it is the only example of an error that was listed (buried in the middle of the story), so the notion of the site being riddled with errors speaks to more irresponsible reporting. The term is correct within the context of the page, which is a page about health care. Here are some examples of “prima”  usage in other outlets: today’s Nuevo Herald from Miami (my emphasis): “Los datos tampoco suministraron detalles sobre la selección del plan por condado, o si los consumidores deseaban pagar mayores primas para tener una red más amplia o un deducible menor.”  Also, check here and here. Oh yeah, and Univision, too. Of course those who don’t do the research will be quick to say, “riddled with errors.” But it goes to the fact that the AP article needed to talk to people who know Spanish editorial content. Instead, the AP relied on the opinion of one person and concluded that it is a disturbing national trend which would cause disaster for The White House.
  • Finally, English-language media needs to step back for a minute and actually talk with linguistic experts and people who do this for a living, especially health care translation work. The AP article misled you, and you did little to discover more on your own.

Nonetheless, there is one thing that is disturbing, and it is the follow-up reporting Buzzfeed did, so maybe AP’s article did so some good:

The White House officials said they were aware of the sometimes-clunky Spanish. “We are committed to ongoing improvements,” the senior official said via email.

The officials warned against assuming a less-than-ideal Spanish-language website would affect Latino enrollment numbers.

“The Latino community is using in-person assistance at a higher rate than the general public,” the official said. Many Latinos speak English, administration officials have said, and so the Spanish-language site is not the primary way to reach them.

“This sort of translation does not affect your average Latino enrollee,” the official said.

Did The White House have to go there? Why not just say, “Hey, we got to make some fixes with specific terms, but the translation reflects current industry standards?”

Translation is a very complex art, and it is clear that those involved in the rollout didn’t get it. But they didn’t get it because they never correctly approached the development of a Spanish-language in the first place when they had a chance to do it right. Now they are just settling and trying to defend it, but at the same time, the opinions of just two or three people in one AP article really don’t speak to the bigger issue about all this: stop treating Spanish as a second-class language, and if the mainstream media had more people who understood the nuances of this issue, articles like the AP’s story would have done a better job in explaining the complete picture.

Cuidado, indeed. Now that is the right way to say, “Caution.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the last two years, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  Univisionand The New York Times. Currently, he is a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. The views expressed in any of the LR columns written by Julito on this page do not reflect the editorial stance of Latino Rebels or Al Jazeera America. His opinions are his own and his alone.

My Brother Fernando Varela Speaks the Truth During Amazing FORTE AGT Finale Performance

Originally published on JulioRVarela.com

Last night during the final round of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” my brother Fernando Varela made me cry.

His emotions after FORTE’s spectacular rendition of “Caruso” were real and loving, and my tears for him were tears of joy and relief. You see, I know that Fernando has busted his tail for over 16 years and now he,  Josh Page, and Sean Pannikar are on the cusp of having their lives change forever.

America's Got Talent - Season 8

Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.

That is my brother. Soaking in the moment, but still taking the time to remind us that this is all about dedication and (surprise, surprise) hard work.

Yesterday my brother’s Twitter was extremely active. So was FORTE’s. They got a lot of love from all over the world, but this is the one tweet that said it all for me:

The “boys” left it all on the floor last night. They are already winners. The ride has been a fantastic one. This is the only the beginning.

This is the NBC AGT YouTube video that was posted last night.

This is the full performance video where my brother said it all at the end.

Yes, people, there are still good stories out there.

Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the past year, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  UnivisionForbesand The New York Times. Currently, he is a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. The views expressed in any of the columns writte by Julito on this page do not reflect the editorial stance of Latino Rebels or Al Jazeera America. His opinions are his own and his alone.

#ForteAllDay: The Multicultural Tenors Who Captured the Hearts of Online America

I’m biased. And it’s for obvious reasons.

My brother Fernando Varela is part of FORTE, the tenor group entering Tuesday night’s Top 12 on “America’s Got Talent” as one of the Acts to Watch. The journey of the group the Latino Rebels have designated our “Official Multicultural Tenor Trio” has been beyond the wildest dreams of Fernando, Josh Page, Sean Pannikar. With an assist by  Hanna Ryu, this is all about #ForteAllDay, as my 10-year-old says (apologies to the Chicago Bears, but we plan to use this hashtag for a while as well).

FORTE (l-r): Fernando Varela, Sean Pannikar, Josh Page (Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

(Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

As the boys enter the next round (I can say that since I am 44), a brief video recap:

The Auditions (300K+ official AGT YouTube Views)

The Second Round (180K+ official AGT YouTube Views)

The Third Round (I was in the 4th row with my sister) (220K+ official AGT YouTube Views)

The Semifinals (200K+ official AGT YouTube Views)

Tomorrow, everyone I know—from my family to my friends, to the first people who supported Fernando online five years ago when two brothers decided to try this thing called “Twitter,” to all the countless friends we have made over the years—will be pulling and voting for FORTE. The response has been crazy fun.

So, I am asking for you help. The boys need your vote. You can RSVP event my sister created as a reminder, and you can vote here. And yeah, FORTE shared this photo as well, in case you needed another reminder.

Follow them on Twitter or give them a like on Facebook. You can say that you knew them when, because I have no doubt that Fernando, Josh, and Sean will conquer the world with their talent.

fortevote

Vote, vote, and vote.

***

EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the past year, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  UnivisionForbesand The New York Times. Currently, he is a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. The views expressed in any of the columns writte by Julito on this page do not reflect the editorial stance of Latino Rebels or Al Jazeera America. His opinions are his own and his alone.

Criticism Is Fine: Libel Is Not (The Curious Case of the Anonymous Think Mexican)

Originally published at JulioRVarela.com

I was not going to respond any more about the libelous and slanderous posts being perpetuated by the anonymous Think Mexican profile, but since this coward has now begun to personally attack dear friends, I will respond. This will be brief and this will be to-the-point: Think Mexican is currently consciously libeling myself and Latino Rebels. He/She/It is acting with malice. It is simple as that. I have already reported these false posts to all the social networks that have allowed such content to be published.

By consciously displaying malice and exhibiting a desire to disparage me and my group, Think Mexican has shared the following lies:

  • TM has manipulated images and my professional resume (classless).
  • Has “proof” that Jorge Ramos paid us to publish a piece about him (hilarious).
  • Has said that Latino Rebels are in a partnership with Fox News Latino (umm, that is another Latino page).
  • Has said that we are in a marketing relationship with Latinos in Social Media (LATISM). That statement alone is beyond funny, and just sad.
  • Has “proven” that we are working for Televisa because the head of Televisa’s Twitter page is following us. BTW, we are also followed by a guy who looks like Yoda.

For further “proof,” Think Mexican is using a published ABC News profile from earlier this year. That article initially contained several factual errors. After that piece was published, I alerted the reporter, and ABC News had to revise the piece because of those factual errors. ABC News never publicly said that such revisions and corrections were made. During that time, I also expressed my extreme displeasure about how the reporter portrayed my professional career. There was a suggestion that I was a communist (silly) and that Latino Rebels was being funded by bigger clients (since I and the CEO/CFO/GM of Latino Rebels, I can tell you that such a “fact” was also false.) However, unlike Think Mexican, ABC News displayed no malice. It was just sloppy reporting, and I moved on, after letting the reporter know that the piece missed the mark.

But if you want to know, in the past three years, my clients (who bill me through Latino Rebels LLC) have been: four educational curriculum companies who hired me to develop PreK-12 programs; a science curriculum company that needed Spanish translations; a manufacturing company who uses my social media expertise as a community manager; and a major media company that retained my company to run an educational awareness campaign. I have also worked with several friends who needed help in amplifying their messages: whether it is a petition about immigration reform or a story about a young man dying at hands of Bakersfield, CA police. That is what Latino Rebels does. We share untold stories. We don’t run ads on our site and we don’t make money off the site.

What the critics don’t understand and cannot understand is that I also founded LatinoRebels.com as a collective of about 20 people. These are special people who do what they do for the love of the game. They are amazing, and they are my family. I love them, and I would defend them anytime, anywhere. We work really hard to pay our contributors, and there is no secret marketing agenda. The critics just don’t get it because they continue to try and categorize us through a traditional business model. They can’t, and it perplexes them.

Think Mexican lies, and to be honest with you, I have really have no respect for anyone who hides behind an anonymous page. The sad thing of all this is that Think Mexican is falling into the trap that the mainstream wants: keep them all divided, so they can still be conquered. I personally believe in a lot of what Think Mexican does, and respect the content, but I don’t respect personal attacks and fictitious accusations.

Think Mexican celebrates hate and is cheering for failure. I choose love and celebrate my friends.

TM

Think Mexican can call me any name in the book, and he/she/it can disagree with me all he/she/it wants, but spreading fabrications and claiming that it is TRUTH is a slippery slope. But what do you expect from an anonymous person who is actively promoting a campaign for me to fail?

Bring it.

I am Bronx and Think Mexican lacks courage and character.

Dignity comes from honesty and being real. How can an anonymous profile be real when he/she/it is anonymous? But if he/she/it wants to keep hating me, I welcome it. It only makes me stronger.

I started my career 25 years ago as a journalist,  and I  have been filing/editing/reporting new stories for the last five years through good old-fashioned reporting. My blogs have kept my love of journalism alive. Many of those stories made national news outlets. That is called hard work and dedication, and such a philosophy is not driven by money. To be honest with you, at 44 years old, I don’t do this for money. I do this because I love it.

Now I have returned to journalism. In this economy, I am blessed to have a steady job again. Such an opportunity has grounded me, and I feel like I am 23 years old, when I was young editor working for a company that was family to me. For a long time, that sense of family was lost, and the Rebels helped me find it.

This is the last thing I will ever say about this sad situation.

And if Think Mexican continues to lie, the next response won’t come from me.

***

EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the past year, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  UnivisionForbesand The New York Times. Currently, he is a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. The views expressed in any of the columns writte by Julito on this page do not reflect the editorial stance of Latino Rebels or Al Jazeera America. His opinions are his own and his alone.

The Latest and (Hopefully the Last) Update on NAHJ Political Speaker Panel Fiasco

Just as I was about to move on from the media story that has every Latino journalist person talking, something changed last night.

Before I go into those details, I wanted to provide some updates surrounding the controversy that occurred this past Sunday at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) conference in Anaheim, where GOP strategist Hector Barajas accused California House Speaker John A. Pérez of  “political bullying” for booting Barajas off an NAHJ panel about the Latino vote.

First, NAHJ president Hugo Balta responded on Tuesday. I spoke with him a few hours before he issued a Facebook statement about the situation. I wrote about that statement for NBC Latino yesterday. In my mind, NAHJ admitted that it was a mistake, lessons were learned and they will be a better organization because of this.

t-conv13

National syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette wrote a piece yesterday with specific details as to what Pérez had done, according to people who know of the situation. In that piece, Navarrette wrote:

[Barajas] was invited to appear on the panel by Gadi Schwartz, a reporter at KNBC-Channel 4 in Los Angeles and the NAHJ member who organized the speakers for the event.

Barajas intended to deliver three messages – Latinos need to work with Republicans and Democrats, study the issues, and question elected officials.

He never got the chance. His appearance was vetoed by Pérez, one of the most powerful Democrats in the state.

According to Schwartz, Pérez called the day before the event to complain about Barajas being on the panel and insisted that he would not participate.

“He was upset,” said Schwartz. “He said he didn’t want to debate a staffer.”

Schwartz stood his ground. So Pérez went over his head and called someone in the leadership of the organization. Schwartz was then ordered to tell Barajas he was off the panel. He did so, but he isn’t happy with how it turned out.

“I didn’t think it was going to turn into a sideshow,” Schwartz said.

The story coming from the Pérez camp this week was that Pérez agreed to the panel since he thought it was for elected officials only, so when he heard about Barajas being on the panel, according to Navarrette’s story, he made some calls to people at NAHJ and Barajas was disinvited. But no one told Barajas, who flew in from Sacramento with his wife only to find out that he was not on the panel when he showed up at the panel. So he did what most people in the new media age would do. He took to Twitter. The story took off.

Last night, HuffPost Politics picked up the story (giving Latino Rebels a h/t, thanks), and got a statement from Barajas: “Thank you for the comments. We share the same value of empowering Latino families, students, and professionals. I look forward to working with NAHJ.”

So it looks like Barajas has moved on, and so has NAHJ.

John A Pérez (via his official website)

John A Pérez (via his official website)

However, as of last night, the only one who still wants to discuss this issue is Pérez’s spokesperson. At least via email. In the past day, I have received several emails from Steven Maviglio, who was quoted in the original SF Gate story. I asked him if our email comments were on the record, and he said yes. Here is the thread (any errors were left unedited for the purpose of the email thread):

Maviglio: Would have been glad to have talked to you about the facts on this issue if you’d called.

JRV: We reported what you said to SF Gate. Was that statement not accurate? Dear Steven, more than happy to call you tomorrow or if you want to send a statement, etc. we would be more than happy to publish it tomorrow.

Maviglio: This is completely false [referring to my NBC Latino column]: “From what I understand, Pérez and Barajas are not political friends, and there is a history of animosity.” The Speaker and Hector obviously have different political philosophies, but there’s nothing personal there, at least from the Speaker’s perspective.

This characterization also is untrue: “If Pérez, an elected official, didn’t like that his political enemy was on the panel, tough. Are we at a point now where we can’t even have discussions from different perspectives because we don’t like each other? What message does that send out to the community? Pérez’s excuse was that the panel was just for elected officials, but when Voto Latino’s María Theresa Kumar and activist Eva Longoria were also on the panel (not elected officials), all bets are off.”

The facts: the Speaker accepted an invitation to be on a panel with former Gov. Bill Richardson and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. The program at the conference distributed said:

Latino Vote
The Latino and Hispanic voting demographic is one of particular interest and scrutiny, especially since the 2012 presidential election. Elected Latino politicians discuss the coverage of this voting group in the 2012 elections and beyond, and examine the growing Latino vote and what it means for future elections and those who cover them.
Speakers: California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles); U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-CA); Eva Longoria, actress and activist

Our office was told that Ms. Longoria would be the moderator – not “on” the panel.

When we discovered Hector was on the panel, the Speaker called, and the response was that they couldn’t find any Republican elected officials to be on the panel. The Speaker offered to help, then made calls to California Republican Assemblymembers Chavez and Linder to check on their availability, and Mr. Chavez said he could be available.

The decision to replace a Republican consultant with an elected official was made by the organization, not Speaker Pérez. And based on what the panel was billed on, it was a smart decision, attracting quality elected officials. It wasn’t about “eliminating discussions from different perspectives” at all – they had a lively discussion, as noted by the Editorial Page editorial of the San Francisco Chronicle in Carla’s piece.

The organization kept to its original promise and the result was a popular discussion of the issues. Not quite sure what the problem is there, other than Hector’s ego being bruised because he was bumped by the organization for someone who was elected to public office.”

JRV: Are you referring to the opinion piece I wrote on NBC Latino?  I thought you were referring to the news piece Latino Rebels piece that was published on Monday, which included the SF Gate piece.

Mr. Barajas flew down to conference with his wife and found out about not being on panel until he got there. If there are no issues with Speaker Pérez, why would Mr. Barajas single him out and accuse him and why did your office’s initial statement say it was for elected officials when María Theresa Kumar was on the panel as well. Did Speaker Pérez or NAHJ ask Ms. Kumar to not be on the panel as well?

Also, I have several sources who told me that there was an issue with Speaker Pérez and Mr. Barajas. So you are saying that their is no personal animosity with them at all? That the decision was not political?

Also, why would NAHJ admit that mistakes were made and that, from what I understand, suggest that the decision was not made by them? Why would Mr. Balta say this?

“I acknowledge and take responsibility for Mr. Hector Barajas trepidation and that of Mr. John Perez with respect to some of the decisions made by NAHJ organizers of the Latino Vote session. As president I am ultimately responsible for all the actions of NAHJ members and staff (in the planning and execution of such programs).”

“The Latino Vote session’s intent as described in the program book was to have “Elected Latino politicians discuss the coverage of this voting group (Latinos) in the 2012 elections and beyond…” I strongly believe that regardless of the behind the scenes turmoil the end result was faithful to the session’s vision.”

“Still, I recognize that despite NAHJ organizers’ best intentions, an uncomfortable situation was created that affected panel guests. For that I am sincerely sorry and pledge that NAHJ will do better in organizing similar sessions moving forward.”

Can we follow up tomorrow? I am on East Coast time.

Also, Steven, was this report by Ruben Navarrette not accurate as well? [cut and paste of Navarrette's conversation with Schwartz]

Maviglio:  As I explained earlier, the decision was not political. Hector was replaced with a Republican elected official. As the invitation to the Speaker, and the subsequent listing in the program noted, this panel was for elected officials. The discussion was well received and followed the intent of the invitation and the program listing.

Having been in the same position myself, if an elected official was to replace me on a  panel that was advertised as being of elected officials, I would politely yield. Instead, Hector has embarrassed himself and the NAHJ.

JRV:  Thanks, I still have several questions. Can I talk with you or the Speaker today? When would be a good time? Here are more questions:

So what Navarrette reported is not true? His piece was pretty detailed. Was Schwartz’s story not true as well?
 
What about Maria Theresa Kumar? She was not an elected official. Why was she allowed to be on panel but not Barajas?
 
Also the original program did not list Barajas so how did he get removed? Balta said that Speaker Perez did call someone at NAHJ? Who was it? What was said? Can you tell me 100% that no calls were made an that Speaker Perez’s tone to help out with the panel was professional and not personal against Barajas?
 
I would be more than happy to share your story but I would need to ask you guys some tough questions and if you are open to it, can we talk today?

Maviglio:  Julio, I contacted you to correct errors in your story. At this point, this is nothing more than a publicity stunt by Hector, who is attacking everyone in sight because he was rightly replaced by an elected official on a panel of elected officials. At the end of the day, we are talking about a Republican consultant being replaced by a Republican elected official.

I don’t know about the Navarrette story. I can tell you the part about me hanging up on him is completely false — I had him on speakerphone with two of my colleagues around me, and I can tell you that part of his column is completely fabricated. And it appears at least one other person interviewed also claims they have been misrepresented.
As for my Ms. Kumar was “allowed” on the panel and your other questions, you should ask those questions of NAHJ. We were not involved in the decision of who was selected to be on the panel; the Speaker’s invitation was to be on a panel with Congresswoman Sanchez and Gov. Richardson moderated by Ms. Longoria.

JRV: Is this on record? I can publish your comments on LR?

Maviglio:  Sure.

JRV: Ok. Thanks.

***

EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the past year, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  UnivisionForbesand The New York Times. Currently, he is a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. The views expressed in any of the columns writte by Julito on this page do not reflect the editorial stance of Latino Rebels or Al Jazeera America. His opinions are his own and his alone.

115 Years After US Troops Landed in Puerto Rico, the Narrative for Island’s Future Must Change Immediately

On July 27, 1898, The New York Times published the story of US troops landing in Guánica, Puerto Rico two days earlier on July 25. It was part of the Spanish-American War, which pretty much ended two weeks later on August 12, 1898, when a cease-fire was established. The Times’ headline read “Our Flag Raised in Puerto Rico.”

nyt-pr-july-27-1024x850

New York Times archives.

The news story began:

time2

Like I said in an opinion essay published last Saturday for The Boston Globe, Puerto Rico is still “stuck in the same spinning wheel it has been experiencing ever since American troops landed in Guánica 115 years ago.”

Ironically, July 25 is also Puerto Rico’s Constitution Day, which is what the island’s current government is pushing today: a celebration of the Estado Libre Asociado, the commonwealth that is not a commonwealth, and the current territorial relationship 54% of those who voted last November rejected. That official social media narrative of Constitution Day can be found under #AniversarioELA, and it is no surprise that it is being mocked. For example, just check out the parody Twitter account of @aparciagadilla, which makes fun of the island’s governor and pro-status quo supporter Alejandro García Padilla.

As is typical of Puerto Rican politics, the official narrative is trying very hard to stay relevant, when in fact a new and authentic social media narrative is winning the day. When I wrote my Globe piece last Saturday, I was not surprised that the piece resonated with many fellow boricuas, from San Juan to San Francisco. It even got reported in Puerto Rican press. Little by little, the new narrative is becoming the authentic narrative: a REAL dialogue that is inclusive of all Puerto Ricans, no matter their views on political status and how to resolve the island’s colonially convoluted relationship with the US.

I am fully convinced that the vast majority of Puerto Ricans are tired of the same old politics. Tired of a governor who continues to ignore colonial reality, as well as tired of a pro-statehood resident commissioner who is trying extremely hard to achieve the utopian dream of statehood through raw partisan politics. Ironically, both Garçía Padilla and Pedro Pierluisi, the resident commissioner and a non-voting member of Congress, are aligned with the Democrats. But when it comes to political status, it looks like a fight between the Tea Party on one side and the Left on the other. Talk about extremes among people who might actually have more in common politically than most.

García Padilla and Pierluisi are just the latest act of the Puerto Rican Political Status Follies, running continuously ever since Luis Muñoz Marín stopped being a Nationalist and started seeing the power he would gain from creating a “commonwealth” with the US.

And who keeps losing form all this political sniping? The people of Puerto Rico.

This frustration applies as well to Congressional leaders of Puerto Rican descent who actually have a vote in Washington. Just this week, both Nydia Velásquez (D-NY) and Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke out against the statehood bill Pierluisi introduced. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. Their views are exactly what I rejected in my Globe piece: let’s hold another non-binding plebiscite about status. And you wonder why Puerto Rico is still in political limbo? Even when we have Puerto Ricans in Congress who can vote, they are quick to suggest a method that has been overplayed and abused. The never-ending cycles of plebiscites have achieved nothing. Enough is enough.

So I wonder: will Puerto Rico wake up? Do we have the political will to no longer rely on political games and take this matter in our own hands? I leave you with the conclusion I wrote earlier this week:

The island does not need any more nonbinding plebiscites. It doesn’t need statehood bills that have little chance of passing in Congress. It needs leaders who realize that the political status game must disappear.

There is really only one solution. Puerto Ricans from both the island and the mainland should call for one more binding vote with two choices: statehood or independence. The United States must honor the results. That is the only way for Puerto Rico to settle its colonial past.

The time to act is now.

115 years have passed, yet we Puerto Ricans are still given manufactured narratives, when almost every boricua I know believes that if we don’t fully resolve our political identity now and shed our colonial tendencies, we will likely never will.

***

Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77 ) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. In the past 12 months, Julito represented the Rebeldes on Face the NationNPRUnivisionForbes, and The New York Times.

Something’s Coming: Why I Am Joining Al Jazeera America’s “The Stream”

Exactly two years ago today, while I was covering the latest from Puerto Rico, several of my friends shared a report about the island that, according to them, was a “must watch.” It was a segment called “Puerto Rico: The fiscal experiment,” produced by Al Jazeera. To this day, it is still one of the most comprehensive reports I have ever seen about Puerto Rico’s current situation. The piece was journalism at its best: tell the story, include different points of view, and invite viewers to draw their own conclusions.

I was highly impressed, and it was the first time I had ever really noticed the quality of news content Al Jazeera was producing in English.

Fast forward to the end of 2012. I was in New York City hanging with friends in lower Manhattan when I got a call from Washington, D.C. It was an Al Jazeera English producer for a show called “The Stream.” Would I like to be a guest next week to talk about Puerto Rico’s social media activism and the issues surrounding the “La Comay” controversy?

miazbiogybkeyd5nnlhg

Even though my schedule couldn’t accommodate the invite, I was even more impressed that Al Jazeera English was dedicating time to a story that deeply connected with me and millions of others in the Latino online space. Ever since then, I was hooked to the “The Stream.” The combination of conversation and social media was powerful. Here was the new media “60 Minutes.” I soon found out that many of my friends also loved the show, as well as a huge part of our Latino Rebels community.

This Monday, I start my new job as a Digital Producer for “The Stream.” Having met the show’s core staff and leadership, this decision was an exciting one for me, as well as an easy one to make. Simply stated, “The Stream” fully understands the power of the new media. For example, tomorrow they are running an #OpenEditorial for content and ideas. They believe in amplifying stories that come from the ground up, a belief I have been embracing ever since I started tweeting in 2008 and founded LatinoRebels.com in 2011.

Although the Rebeldes will always be with me, my new position at “The Stream” allows me to expand my talents at a ground-breaking award-winning news show I believe is the future of news media.

And no, I won’t be disappearing from the online world. Quite the contrary. I will do my best to get the stories that matter to “The Stream.” If you ever have a story that you think needs attention, please do not hesitate to contact me via Twitter or Facebook. You know where to find me.

This is going to be an incredible adventure. Something’s coming, for sure.