hispanic

CLICK FOR HOPE | I HAVE DUAL CITIZENSHIP

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What does being a Latina mean to you?

It means I am a woman filled with strength, courage and power. Yet gentle, loving and nurturing. Someone who believes in fighting for what is right and standing up for yourself, especially in today’s time. 

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

I would definitely have to say the immigration process my family had to endure including my own during my early childhood and fear of the word, DEPORTATION.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

I love that I am able to embrace my heritage with such pride and admiration for it. I love our food, our history, our people, our music and art! I love that I am a woman who was raised by amazing Mexican women, specifically my mother and her mother, my Abuelita. I was taught to have old fashioned manners (something that seems to disappear more and more) and serve with hospitality and heart.... Especially with food, I love to cook and see my friends and family eat what I made with passion and love from my hands and soul. They get to taste a little of who I am and what I carry from generations and generations ago. 

What do you identify as? (Puerto Rican, Mexican, Salvadorian, etc.):

Mexicana but if we want to talk about specifics I am a VERY proud Jalisciense! Hecha de puro Jalisco!

Where you born in the states? If not, could you share what your experience has been being an immigrant, and the process of becoming a US citizen, resident, etc.

NO... I was born in Jalisco, Mexico.

I remember waking up at around 5 am in the mornings to arrive early at the long line of the immigration office, even with the rough winter weather we deal with here in Chicago. My mother and I received our legal US residency before my dad did and my biggest fear was not knowing if my dad would get his papers and get deported. The conversations my parents had in case he would get his applications denied and get deported were gut- wrenching to me. We would all have to leave... Never would my parents allow us to be separated but I didn't want to leave the place I called and known as my home for literally almost my entire life and lose my close friends. I didn't know what the schools were like in Mexico. I was only a little girl and knowing my parents came and stayed in the US to have a better education and chance of a greater life for me and my younger sisters, I didn't want any of that to go to waste. Thankfully, what at times seemed impossible with a lot of prayer and a LOT of fasting in my very early stages of being a born again Christian, God turned it around for my family and my Papi received his "papeles", his legal US residency. It is one of my most powerful personal testimonies.

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your American nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

Being a 1st generation immigrant, I do not really recognize myself of "American nationality". I have a dual citizenship and very proud to hold that. I never ever forget where I come from but I never ever forget the recognition I have for this country. I am a college graduate, with a Puerto Rican husband I met here in America, with about to be a total of 4 beautiful American born sons. I am very grateful for that. I get to teach my children to admire not just my culture, but their father's PR culture and the history of the land they were born in.

Do you speak Spanish? Yes, fluently.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community? Like you're too dark, or too white, etc.

Oh yes, for being tall and fair skinned with big curly hair, I get the, “You're Mexican???" type of reaction when a person finds out where I am from. I also received a lot of bullying for my hair as a child. Comments like, “Look at my hair, my hair is real!” from other kids or being called “Curly Monster” or making rumors that my hair was a wig, were kind of perplexing to me because I grew up Pilsen, a Chicago neighborhood that is predominantly Hispanic. Where people all have different heights, skin color, hair textures and features, I thought we should have been more accepting of one another. So I remember there was a short period where I felt like I “fit in” more when my hair was straightened with a flat iron or wish I was 5’4 and under. Thankfully I have a mother who taught me to love myself for who I am and taught me to embrace being “ÚNICA” in my own ways. As far an experience in Mexico, I was told one time I was "Mexicana pero Norteada", which basically meant "American tainted" and I took such offense to that. I am so grateful for being a part of both nations and think it is a wonderful privilege! 

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?:

Never be ashamed or embarrassed of who you are or where you come from. There were times I felt a little to some embarrassment for being a girl that was too tall, had curly hair (funny fact: my hair took a good amount of space in my second grade school picture) and even for having a name that still to this day, does not get pronounced right! But I have learned to love myself for me, for God made me who I am as He pleased and saw fit. He made no mistakes with me and that is my biggest hope for all girls of all ethnicities to feel about themselves.  

CLICK FOR HOPE | BEING A LATINA IS AN HONOR

Photo: Authentic Adventure Co. | You can purchase this shirt at our  shop!

Photo: Authentic Adventure Co. | You can purchase this shirt at our shop!

What does being a Latina mean to you?:

Being Latina is an honor. It’s about accepting diversity, being able to speak a second language, embracing your ethnic roots and culture. Being able to learn about the authentic food, music, traditions and passing that down from generation to generation. It’s about accepting that Latinos come in all shades. Latinos are passionate, loyal, hard-working, family-oriented, with a side of attitude and loudness.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:

A lot of people think I’m Caucasian until they hear me speak. But the hardest thing for me is people that are not Hispanic feeling offended because you speak Spanish and tell you to stop speaking like that and go back to your country. Last time I checked Puerto Rico is part of the United States. People should not feel threatened by our culture. Being bilingual is something that would give you favor when it comes to job interviews. It comes with dignity and honor to be able to speak Spanish to those that never learned the English language. Another thing I struggled with while growing up, was with the pronunciation of my name. Having a spanish name and everyone not knowing how to say it. So all throughout my years in school people would say it in English and completely butcher my name (Ya Near Ra). Same as in the workplace. I would always have to correct them and I felt embarrassed instead of proud. But now that I’m an adult, I fully embrace the uniqueness of my name, pronounced as (Ja Knee Ra)

Share something you love about being a Latina?:

I love everything, the food, the music, the traditions, the culture, the unity, the diversity, the appeal, our curves, our hustle, dedication, our history and victories.

What do you identify as?: Puerto Rican

Where you born in the states?

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

Yes. I still celebrate Independece Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. At the end end of the day I’m still an American.

Do you speak spanish?: Yes, but broken.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community?:

Sometimes our people mess with us if we weren’t born in Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 which makes me feel like I’m not as Hispanic as they are. The standards are high for a Latina, you have to know how to clean and cook and serve your hubby but I do enjoy those things so they don’t come as a chore lol.

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?:

We should never resent our ethnicity. We should be proud of who we are and the way God created us for we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We should also invest time in knowing our grandparent’s history and how they came to the United States to give their family a better opportunity for success. Thank you to my grandparents, Eusebio Cruz and Cecilia Cruz for leaving Puerto Rico and moving to New Jersey to then move to Chicago. You paved the way for our family and thank you for the legacy you have left us.

CLICK FOR HOPE | I VOTE

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What does being a Latina mean to you?: It means culture and tradition, a long history that goes beyond my family. It means being unique and wonderfully different.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.: I’ve felt at times caught in between two worlds. Very Latina in the white world and not Latina enough in the Latino world.

Share something you love about being a Latina?: I love that being Latina makes me multi faceted. There isn’t just one side to me and my family. I like meeting other Latinas because although I’ve never met them before we will have some things in common anyway.

What do you identify as? (Puerto Rican, Mexican, Salvadorian, etc.): I Would say that I identify as American with a strong Mexican tendency.

Where you born in the states?: I was born in the US.

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your American nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?: I take advantage of and participate in what being American has to offer. My primary language is English, I vote, I love burgers, pizza and hot dogs, I love watching the fireworks on 4th of July. But when I’m home it’s mostly Spanish speaking and eating a lot of arroz con frijoles y un buen guisado.

Do you speak spanish?: Yes, fluently.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community? Like you're too dark, or too white, etc. : I’m sure I have although I can’t detail one out specifically but mostly it’s a general feeling of not being sure. For example, if I receive crappy service at the store or at a high end restaurant I’m always wondering if it’s because they suck or is it because I’m Latina…..that’s always the question.

CLICK FOR HOPE | I HATED THE STIGMA

Photo: Authentic Adventure

Photo: Authentic Adventure

What does being a Latina mean to you?:

It means my life is full, flavorful, rich with family, food, and faith.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:

Growing up as a Latina next the hood, I hated the stigma that I was going to be a teen mom or a product of my neighborhood. I had parents who pushed me towards getting an education and I have a church community that taught me I could walk in sexual purity and wait until marriage to have sex. So although it was a struggle to see my fellow Latinos settling, I knew I wanted more for me.

Share something you love about being a Latina?:

I love my curves.
I love our food.
And I love our cafe con leche.
I love my HUGE Latino Family
I love that my dad plays the congas professionally

What do you identify as?

Puerto Rican

Where you born in the states? If not, could you share what your experience has been being an immigrant, and the process of becoming a US citizen, resident, etc. (Share only what you are comfortable with):

Born & raised in Chicago

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

I’m thankful for my American heritage.
I’m thankful for the freedoms we have here.
I’m thankful for freedom to express our culture.

Do you speak spanish?:

Yes, but broken.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community? Like you're too dark, or too white, etc. Please share anything you'd like to share!:

I went to a predominately white bible college. I remember when my Latina cousins and I would get together on campus we felt like we were “too much” for our white friends at times. Some mentioned that we’re “too touchy,” we’re like no we’re Latinos.

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?:

I have a huge desire for young girls to see more Latina role models who don’t use their body in a sexual way. I desire to be an example of someone by God’s strength, who waited until marriage to have sex and I am in a healthy marriage while still pursuing my Dreams. I desire girls to see more Latinas who waited. I actually had an idea to do a photo shoot on latinas who waited and started over. So I love this idea of sharing all Latina’s in all their fullness and light. ️

CLICK FOR HOPE | I KNOW I'M DIFFERENT

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What does being a Latina mean to you?:

I know I am different, being a Latina means embracing that difference.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:

I have struggled with not being as culturally connected to my heritage as other people. Only more recently have I embraced just being me.

Share something you love about being a Latina?:

The passion I feel and I see in other Latinos.

What do you identify as?

Mexican/Peruvian

Where you born in the states? If not, could you share what your experience has been being an immigrant, and the process of becoming a US citizen, resident, etc. (Share only what you are comfortable with):

Yes, in Chicago.

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

I love the mix of people that I grew up with in Chicago. It is truly a melting pot. So while I love being an American, it feels special to be an American but have more to my background by having immigrant parents.

Do you speak Spanish?:

Yes, but broken.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community? Like you're too dark, or too white, etc. Please share anything you'd like to share!:

I never listened to Mexican music, watched Spanish TV or preferred Mexican foods, so I was always different while growing up. I was seen as trying to deny my Mexican background, but that’s just not how it was in my family.

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?:

I never understood the importance of being Latina until I had kids. Before then, I felt like it didn’t really matter. But now that I have kids, I can see that they are different and I want them to know and be proud of that. To embrace it in a way I didn’t understand while I was growing up.

AM I LATINA ENOUGH?!?

Photo: Ed and Aileen Photography

Photo: Ed and Aileen Photography

Friends, it's finally here. I've been wanting to do a campaign that celebrates being a Latina for Click For Hope for a long time.

Why?!? Well for lots of reasons.

Growing up I personally struggled with being Puerto Rican and Mexican. Comment after comment, I wrestled with my cultural identity. I couldn't quite figure out where I fit in the world. Since I'm not fluent in Spanish, I wasn't fully accepted by my Latino community...I'd hear comments like, "You're so white," or "You speak like a Gringa." And then I found I didn't quite fit in with the my white friends as I was too tan, with brown hair, and a funny accent. I could go on and on with the comments, but that's not the point of this post.

A few years ago, God walked me through a journey of finding pride within myself, and my culture. I share that part of my story HERE. God has been healing me by uprooting every single lie that I've believed about myself, and planting me with so much truth.

So I thought how amazing could it be to put a campaign together featuring as many latinas as possible on my blog along with their stories: the good, the hard, and fun parts. And so friends starting tomorrow at 8pm, I will be showcasing a new lady for you to meet, and to read her story.

My hope through this campaign is to help bring an awareness to just how diverse we are, and we can't be put in a box. While the words "Latina" and "Hispanic" are man made words that come with assumptions and stereotypes, we are so much more than that. We have a lot of offer, and in fact our voices matter!

I hope you are inspired by these stories! I hope you are open to asking yourself if their are any biases, stereotypes, assumptions, within yourself that need to be surrendered. I hope you can see us through a different lens, than what you were told, or assumed.

So friends, follow along with me these next 30 days, and read the stories of these ladies who share themselves so beautifully!!!

MUSIC VIDEO | DO IT AGAIN

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Hey Guys, it's Jeremy here! A few weekends ago I had the privilege of leading worship at The Crossing (the crossing.church) in St. Louis and it was such a great experience! Before I left for St. Louis I was connected to Kenny DeShields, a worship arts director at The Crossing, and after one phone conversation it felt like we had known each other for years. I felt an immediate spiritual connection and before ever actually even meeting Kenny I asked if he’d be down to worship together for my next cover video! Honestly, I had not ever even heard Kenny sing so it was definitely a risk, HAHAHA! Well, my intuition wasn’t wrong and this is one of my favorite videos.

We set up at this really cool graffiti wall right near the St. Louis arch and river bridge and worshipped as the sun began to set. Here’s our cover of one of our favorite songs “ Do It Again” by Elevation Worship. I’m so grateful for Kenny’s heart, his beautiful family, and excited to see all that God is doing in his life and at The Crossing. We hope you enjoy our cover and follow Kenny at (kenny deshields.com)