Monday, September 30, 2013

Celebrating the Hispanic Choice Awards' 10th Anniversary

Ah yes Philadelphia's Hispanic Choice Awards (HCA) are right around the corner! The HCA honors Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware's Latino professionals, organizations and businesses across all sectors in a three-part event: a red carpet entrance, a televised awards ceremony featuring live performances from today's top Latin artists and a VIP After Party. This year's event will take place on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the Merriam Theater.

Similar to last year, there will be seven winners will be announced including Creative Artist of the Year, Education Champion of the Year and the Corporate Partner of the Year. Past winners have included Joanna Otero-Cruz, Concilio; Afredo Calderon, Aspira; Peco; Lili Daliessio and Diego Castellanos. Nominations are taken throughout the entire summer and finally cut down to the top three candidates. All winners are announced live during the HCAs. And no I've never been nominated haha.

For the first time in HCA history, this year the awards show will be taped in front of a live audience for broadcast on CBS3 on a later date. Tickets for the Hispanic Choice Awards range from $18 to $55. HCA Experience Passes include VIP access to the Red Carpet, the Award Show and the official After Party. More information is available on the official website at All tickets available via the Kimmel Center Box Office at 215-893-1999.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Video: The Latin Flavors of Northern Liberties and Callowhill

So back in April 2013 Philadelphia launched a new campaign —Philadelphia Neighborhoods—that spotlights 14 of the personality-packed areas surrounding Center City. And in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, the latest highlighted neighborhood is "The Latin Flavors of Northern Liberties & Callowhill." In the video, my good ol' pal Tony Rocco discusses his photography project with neighborhood kids as well as his favorite restaurants and things to do.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Little Miss Hispanic Delaware not Latina enough

There comes a time when enough is enough. There have been a few incidents in 2013 alone (that have been reported) about someone not being American or even Latino enough. First we had a Mexican-American boy who sang the National Anthem at an NBA game and people were furious. Right. Then America erupted when Marc Anthony, Puerto Rican, sang God Bless America at the MLB All Star game. And finally just a short week ago Twitter went on a short rampage about Miss America, Nina Davuluri, not being American (and a terrorist). So is America a bit racist? I believe so.

But unfortunately there also comes a time when we (Latinos) discriminate against Latinos. Post Nuestras Raices Delaware Pageant, the crowd was not pleased with the winner: Jakiyah McCoy. Latino Rebels reached out to Maria Perez, president of the organization and she states, "Her parents were asked to bring in documentation. Of all of the documentation brought in there was nothing that confirmed Dominican heritage.” Really? Unfortunately the family wasn't able to provide documentation but since when do we have to force anyone to prove their heritage?

In the end, "McKoy wound up a runner-up for the pageant in spite of her failure to provide proper documentation." The sad part is how Jakiyah McCoy is feeling...she is only 7 years-old. What will she ask her parents? Am I Latina? Am I Black? These identity issues and more and what cause a child to be confused. Sure the pageant rules and regulations state you have to be 25% Latino, but shouldn't you provide this documentation with your application? Doesn't look good for both the pageant or Delaware.

Thoughts on Latino identity? Sounds off in the comment section.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PBS Invites you to share your Latino story

I probably should have mentioned I took the summer off from writing but we're back! I won't bore you with my summer travels but ever since I started my Fall 2013 semester at Saint Joseph's University Writing Studies Program, I've been meaning to write more. And what better way than to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month...or as others call it Latino Heritage Month.

I recently came across NYC's flagship PBS station "13" and what they're doing to promote Hispanic Heritage Month. While others tend to highlight the usual suspects,  the local PBS stations is asking for our stories.
  • More than four million Latino Americans call the New York and New Jersey region home. Alongside the landmark PBS series "Latino Americans" premiering September 17, 2013, we are collecting the stories of Latino Americans of New York and New Jersey for a 30-minute program, "Latino Americans of NY & NJ," to air on WNET stations Thirteen, WLIW21, and NJTV between September 17 and October 11, 2013. 
Some of the stories are heartwarming, inspirational, dedicated but above all, they are our stories.
  • Carmen Rodriguez, Puerto Rico, says, "In poor Latino families, the most common way to express generosity, neighborliness, love, gratitude and warmth is the sharing of food."
  •  Amy Ramirez Rodriguez, Dominican Republic, says, "My family migrated to NYC on Christmas Eve in 1965. Since then, my family has gone to great lengths to re-enforce the bonds between those of us here in NYC and those of us in Santo Domingo, en 'La Capital.'"
  •  Pedro Martinez, Cuba, says, "  I used to play a lot of religious ceremonies in Cuba that are still practiced in Cuba and here too (called “SanterĂ­a” in Cuba and “Yoruba” in Africa)."
These are just a few of the hundred stories the station has collected. To share your story and possibly be featured, visit