Celebrating a Legend: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!!!

(January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968)

 

Martin Luther King, Jr.  Memorial -- The Mall Washington (DC) September 2011

Photo Credit: Ron Cogswell

 

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Today we celebrate a man who dedicated his life to making the world a better place for all of us. He sacrificed his life to spread a message of love, respect and dignity for all people based on their character, not the color of their skin.This country has come a long way because of his work, but we still have a ways to go. Let us make a choice to continue the battle against racism and discrimination everyday by spreading and living his message of love, respect and dignity towards others.

The #2 Killer of Educated Latinas

Sailor examines a patients eyes at clinic in Paita, Peru.

Photo Credit: Official Navy Page

As a busy college student, it may be hard to fit in a doctor’s appointment between tests, meetings, work, and family. This may be especially true for those Educated Latinas that live on campus or with roommates; without mommy’s watchful eye, your health may take a backseat. Putting YOUR health first will ensure that you stick around long enough to enjoy the benefits of your degree.

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, According to the CDC, at least “50% of people will contract HPV in their lives. Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems from it. In 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years.” However, without regular checkups with your gyno, HPV can evolve into cervical cancer.

Though most women will contract HPV,  Latinas have the highest risk for developing cervical cancer. Why? The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIHR), says, ” Latinas face (2nd) high(est) mortality rates  from cervical cancer as a result of their low rates of cervical cancer screening. Latinas’ limited access to adequate cervical cancer screenings is a result of barriers to access such as fear associated with their lack of immigration status, embarrassment, lack of knowledge, lack of insurance and lack of English proficiency.” Here’s what you can do to prevent yourself, your family and friends from being a statistic:

1) Go to your Gyno– NLIHR states, “Cervical cancer is very preventable. 85% of women who die from cervical cancer never had a pap smear.” Do not let this be you! Find your local gynecologist office and schedule and an appointment for a PAP test and pelvic exam A.S.A.P. If you are also experiencing other issues with your “Goodies” do not, I repeat, do not be afraid to ask your gyno. Trust me, she has heard it all so speak up! It’s better to be safe than sorry.

2) Practice Safe Sex– If you haven’t heard it enough, here it is again. Protect yourself and your future by practicing safe sex at all times. Besides preventing pregnancy you are doing your body a favor by keeping STI’s  (sexually transmitted infections) and their sticky repercussions at bay.

2) Spread the word–  Finally, encourage all the women in your life to go get checked especially if there is a history of cancer in your family. Calm their nerves by sharing your experience with them and maybe even offering to go with them.

It is so heartbreaking to lose such amazing and strong mothers, sisters, wives, daughters to a preventable illness as cervical cancer. Let’s all do our part to protect ourselves and our loved ones!

 

 

 

Credit: Friend or Foe?

Credit Scores

Photo Credit: Casey Serin

Extra, extra read all about it! Your credit score can be your friend or foe,

Educated Latinas, whom would you like to know?

The credit score that can be your friend,

And save you thousands of dollars in the end.

Or credit score that can be a foe,

That will give you an average house or car but with the highest note.

Ladies, ladies, which one will it be,

Lets us begin with a brief history.

In 1958 Fair Isaac Corporation came up with a plan,

To build its first credit scoring system that would permeate the land.

The system would gather a person’s personal information like a name, social number, occupation, and more to store,

The brilliant, sophisticated, and genius computer would then administer a credit report.

This report will display information for the lenders, the government, collection, and credit agencies’ to see,

Along with a three digit number that serves as reputation of character for you and me.

This significant number so special for Fair Isaac Company to claim,

Decided to use the acronym, “FICO” Score as the name.

I will fast forward up to date, so that it will be transparent to see,

How the Fico score can be friend or foe to you and me.

Frankly, it is very easy for the FICO Score to be a great friend,

I’ll try my best to make it simple for you to understand.

If you have a loan or you borrow money, make sure you make your monthly payments on time.

This great habit over months will have your FICO score higher in no time.

By avoiding late payments you are starting to establish yourself,

As a person of great intent to pay back, this will assist you to wealth.

With your FICO Score high the lenders will trust and give you more,

A whole lot more money for business ventures; school loans, or even a house to explore.

Loan or borrowed money if used correctly can be great,

The best of all, you can possibly get the lowest interest rate.

With the lowest interest rate you have more money in your pocket.

When you pay the loan back, you pay less to save more money in wallet.

These are some of the great perks you receive as the FICO Score being your friend,

They say the grass s greener on the other side; let’s check from the other end.

If you get into the habit of paying your bill or loan late,

Then the Fico Score as a foe you will awake.

You will find a realtor to ask a lender to see if you qualify for a home,

Your foe mad to the bone, mean in tone, says “You don’t qualify for a loan.”

You will fill out an application for a high paying job,

You think you are well qualified, but you ended up getting robbed.

You lost the job to a person that may have no school accolades from a university like you,

You see the person and ask, “Hey, you got the call to be hired. What did you do?”

The new hire said, “Well, if the question you insist, then answer I must,

In dealing with a lot of money, the boss said, you were someone not to trust.”

Mad and angry you reply, “Well how can the boss say that?”

The new hire looked at you dead in the eye, and replied “Your low fico scored and late payments told him that.”

You’re an educated woman, who went back to school,

But had to pay back a loan at a higher interest rate and played the fool.

Again I ask, “Your credit score is it your friend or foe,

Which one will you choose Educated Latinas, only you would know?”

Here are some websites so you can see,

How you measure up financially:

Experian.com

Transunion.com

Equifax.com

Annual Credit Report

(Disclaimer: A credit report is free, but you may have to pay a small sum for your credit score)

Until the next time we meet again, I hope you are getting acquainted with your new friend.

What Is Your ID?

Photo Credit: Marisa Mendoza

 

According to the Census Bureau, the Latino community boasts a population over 50 million  or in other words 1 in every 6 American in the U.S. is of Spanish origin. However, as the population grows and becomes more accustomed to various influences, it begins to impact how we identify and define ourselves within the community. Is it enough to just be Latina, Hispanic or Chicana anymore? What does it really mean to be Latina anyway?

My Journey to Self–Identification

As a native New Yorker, I walked in a sea of diversity everyday. It was second nature for me to associate flags, accents, and language to their respective countries. I personally identified as Dominican and Puerto Rican or Dominiriqueña or Dominirican (or whatever combination my friends and I came up with that day). I never really had to confront my heritage or ethnicity because everyone was used to everyone. That all changed when I moved across the country to attend college.

I moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to start my Freshman year at LMU. I felt homesick and lonely being practically the only Dominiriqueña from New York on campus. I yearned for someone who could understand me, my accent, my craving for tostones, concon, and queso frito without having to explain. On and off campus I was constantly questioned, defined, and boxed into an identity that wasn’t me at all. One day, I reached a point where I was so sick and tired, I retaliated by introducing myself like, “Hi, I’m Ariana from New York and I’m Dominican and Puerto Rican. Anything else you want to know?” That shut them up pretty fast. I began to obsess about making sure everyone just who I was; I blasted merengue in my car, I bought D.R & P.R. flags and put them in my car on the walls in my dorm,my laptop and on my notebooks. Six years later, I’m used to the questions, the looks of surprise when I (try) to speak Spanish, I took down most of my flags and I don’t introduce myself like that anymore. Within that time, beaten down by the ignorance, I tried multiple ID’s on for size, Caribbean Latina, just Latina, just Dominican, just Puerto Rican and now Black Latina. I chose Black Latina for various reasons but before I do that, I want to define it in my own words.

My Conclusions

I learned while filling out the Census last year that Latino and Hispanic are not a race but an ethnicity. ‘Hmmm, Okay,’ I thought,  so now I had to figure out what I considered myself racially. Now, I can get really technical based on Spanish Caribbean history and mark either European Spanish, Native Taíno, African/Black and  technically, I am a mixture of all three! However,  I chose Black Latina (sometimes I say Afro-Latina too) to pay homage to my African ancestors (I want to be very clear that Black is a color and not a race and it is not limited to African Americans). Being a liberal studies major, I became super sensitive to the plight of the oppressed and so I chose to side with them. Black Latina was also was the best description for my experiences. I always hung around and dated Black people (Not just African Americans but also West Indians who would consider themselves black but also identify their ethnicity with their country of origin). Sometimes I felt I was too Black for the Spanish people and too Spanish for the Black people, but I learned to adapt by just being Ariana and not my cultural or racial identity.

I’ve come to learn that identity is a part of you are not your whole. It, combined with other categories such as class, sexual orientation, educated, gender, religion, all encompass who you are as an individual. So what does being Latina really mean? Is it defined by behaviors and stereotypes? Can it even be defined by the community? Is it everything and nothing at all? I say it’s whatever you want it to be. What is your ID? 

P.S.- If you are interested in learning more about the Black Latina experience, check out the Black Latina Movement Blog and their official website Black Latina  Movement.