Educator, Writer, Puerto-Rican by way of NYC.

“It’s only going to get worse.”

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I’ve got the first Moderna dose in my arm. It should be a cause for celebration. In some ways, it feels like a relief to be halfway there. On the other hand, my experience makes me wary about our ability, as a nation, to get this vaccine in a majority of arms in the most effective way and get the spread of infection under control. I have little faith in us after what I saw, which makes me angry. Because on the flip side, I know of three people who received their first Covid-19 vaccination doses and had a positive experience; no long wait times, and most importantly, organized and informed staff. These patients were in and out of the vaccine center within 30 minutes. …

I was one day old in 2021 when I discovered that the Piña Colada hails from my parent’s birthplace, Puerto Rico. Thanks to the Gentleman of Salsa (El Caballero de la Salsa) singer Gilberto Santa Rosa for mentioning this important fun fact on his recent YouTube Christmas Special, I went into a deep historical Google dive to find out more about this strained (colada) pineapple (piña) drink.

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The most popular and basic version of the Piña Colada is made with pineapple, crushed ice, and cream of coconut or coconut milk, and light rum blended until smooth. …

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Cancel culture.

Maga Hats.

800 square foot luxury apartments.

Teachers who can’t teach.

Toxic positivity.

Butt implants.

Lip implants.

Celebs who bragged about their wealth (especially during the pandemic).

Police brutality.

History books that were written prior to 2020.

Media who don’t call homegrown terrorists, terrorists.

The gentrification of cultural foods.

Racism disguised as religion or conservatism.

Sprite commercials that make no sense.

Arbitrary bi-racial couples in every commercial.

Supporters of incompetent leadership.

Competing chicken sandwiches, when we all know who the winner is.

Category 6 hurricanes.

Kevin Hart Ted Talks disguised as standup comedy.

Karens and Kyles.


Alternate facts. …

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I woke up from a good night’s sleep, logged into Twitter to read some news, and this exchange above is the first thing I read today. Whatever healing that took place in my brain and body last night as I recovered from teacher and coronavirus news fatigue has, in this one split second, reversed itself. This exchange sent me into a state of frustration, anger, and deep emotional pain for the 5000th time. I used to go into a fit of rage whenever I read a post like this, but I’m glad to report I’ve evolved. I‘m beyond tired of reading anything that has to do with a group of deniers who want to wreak havoc on our country. Every exchange from them causes me to experience anger and deep pain, and it’s not going to stop. Watching their antics is like scrolling through the For You page on Tik Tok; one minute you’re laughing from the ridiculousness of it all to trembling from not knowing if their foolishness might work in their favor one day. I can’t imagine what the stress has done to my body, what it’s done to many of us. After the election, I thought I would be able to breathe; I did, for a short time. But here we are again, watching the attempt at a coup, right before our eyes. At the same time, I appear to be living a seemingly normal existence on Google Meet with middle schoolers who don’t understand this situation's gravity. And this woman is professing her love to the purest of evil men? The same man that would gladly separate many of my young scholars from their own parents? …

Remember that the only stereotype that you encounter is the one that came from a source that taught you how to hate

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This week I had a realization, an aha moment, one that requires a hundred percent transparency.

I’ve been many people in my life; a dancer, an actor, a playwright, a novelist, a high school dropout, a keynote speaker, a Spanish speaker (only to lose the language later). I worked back-office operations at Merrill Lynch at 17 years old. At 23, I was promoted to supervisor of the Money Market customer service department at Shearson Lehman Brothers, supervising a department of 10 people. I had no degree, just a GED, and no prior supervisory experience. I found out I wasn’t ready to lead people smarter and older than I was and quit. …

A throwdown between Latinx Authors, the Publishers of American Dirt, and the Oprah Book Club turn into a heated and necessary debate on Apple TV.

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Photo Credit: USA Today

On Friday, March 6th, Apple TV aired part one of Oprah’s Book Club featuring the controversial book club author, Jeanine Cummins. Cummins’s book, American Dirt, is the story of a mom and son who escape the violence at the hands of drug cartels in Mexico to seek asylum in the United States. The book has been ripped apart, practically spit upon, and adored all at the same time. It’s been called the modern-day Grapes of Wrath and on the flipside, teacher and writer, Myriam Gurba, called it, Fake-Ass Social Justice Literature. …

For me, TikTok is the most engaging social media app to come around in a long time. It’s a place where we can all hang loose and get away from the more pressing matters of the day. From creating or learning the new dance crazes; to hearing about someone’s divorce; to sending love to folks who are struggling with an illness; to mourning the loss of those who didn’t make it; to the kids who prank their parents viciously; and to the parents who prank their kids back, this app with over a billion and half users is the next big thing. Market demo numbers might make you believe this app is for 18–24 year-olds, but this 50-year-old will tell you, that’s a straight-up lie. From what I’ve seen, this app is for all ages and if you haven’t browsed around yet, you’ll soon find out I’m not wrong. …

Speaking on Latinx issues takes more than just celebritydom or success

There’s this interesting dynamic that occurs in the Latinx entertainment community (not sure if it happens with other folks) when a series or a movie becomes an overnight hit the lead actors and creatives suddenly become the voice of an entire community. Why is this not a good idea?

Let’s list the reasons:

Gina Rodriguez
Zoe Saldana
Michelle Rodriguez
and me.

Yes, I added my name to the list because it happened to me. After I’d written my play, YO SOY LATINA! (I AM LATINA!), a funny and very moving one-act play that challenges a group of diverse Latina women to examine their identity and their connections in the contemporary American landscape. The play’s premise unites these six women who come to share their anecdotes of living Latina in modern America. There is Migdalia, a Nuyorican, who experiences prejudice from her own family because of her interracial marriage; Jennifer, a young Mexican-American college student who discovered her Chicana rights; Alicia, a Colombian actress who struggles with what keeps her from landing Latino roles because of the lightness of her skin; Maria Elena, a Panamanian, who faces inequity from other Latinos because of the darkness of her skin; Soledad, a Dominican mother who finds the courage to leave her machista husband in pursuit of her dream; and Louisa, a Cuban-Irish who defends her right to be Latina. …

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The word gente in Spanish means people, fied is a suffix used to describe the enhanced measure of the root word. For instance, just like the word, beautified means to add beauty to something, Gentefied, in my opinion, is when you sprinkle gente (people of a Latinx persuasion) onto/into a space resulting in a transformed space, much different than what had existed before. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who controls the narrative.

In the case of the new series Gentefied, created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, there’s more good than bad here. The 10-episode series takes place in Boyle Heights, California, a place that has been on the come up for several years or as it’s more aptly known to many, gentrification. As a native New Yorker, I was curious as to the history of this neighborhood and searched on Wikipedia to find a trimmed down answer. The district got its name from its founder; an Irishman named, Andrew Boyle who bought 20+ acres after fighting in the Mexican-American war. The community, during the 1920s and 1960s, was diverse, but redlining forced out a lot of the non-Latinos, and the Chicanos and Mexicanos made the neighborhood their own. But of course, everything in time changes again, and just as we saw in the web-series, East Willy B, a Youtube series that attempted to tackle the issue of gentrification in Williamsburg, Brooklyn but failed, Gentefied succeeds in showing us what happens when hipsters start occupying brown spaces. …

The cancel culture surrounding Gina Rodriguez’s choice words causes me great pain, mainly because you can’t inspire change by attempting to beat knowledge or sense into someone while publicly humiliating them. For every ten insightful and intelligently laid out arguments, there are hundreds of comments that follow that read: that racist c**t should die #Cancelled. Followed by the many, “Oh my god, I love her. What did she do?” Then someone acting as the town crier attempts to recap the events, truth notwithstanding, in the hopes of gaining another mob member. Then that person lets out a huge pink thank you reeked in validation-seeking confetti because, laziness. Look, I’ll be the first to admit, my tact is non-existent on Twitter. My first reaction to trolls is a nice hearty Fuck You party because who the hell has time to engage in discourse with someone who thinks Latinxs should be grateful we got Miles Morales. And if that isn’t bad enough, the teen at home says, “Mom. I don’t have your back on this one.” Which then leads to a 30-minute heated debate between Mom, Dad, and Son about extremist behavior, language, and why the fuck does everyone on Twitter sound the same? So this got me thinking: Is the cancellation attempt of Gina Rodriguez less a racial problem and more a cultural semantics problem or is it both? …

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