Friday, May 06, 2005

Latino parents often lack college-entry savvy

Reading this article about the challenges Latino parents face helping their kids pursue a college education really hit home as we are smack in the middle of the process with our son, Noel Luis. With all of the advantages that our family has, educationally and all, it is still a very taxing process for us, and filled with ups and downs. I can only imagine how discouraging/frustrating this process can be for non-English speaking parents.

We are also finding out from personal experience, that while being a graduating Latino with good grades can be an advantage at certain institutions (ASU is one example that give a full scholarship to National Hispanic Scholars), many schools are flooded with thousands of great students, and not all Latino or African-American get in.

My son was denied admission at three very well respected institutions, that we knew would be a stretch to get in, and he had very good marks and test scores. If that means that even more qualified mestizo youth are getting in, then in the midst of my disappointment, I am extremely happy for these kids and their families.

Supporting Latino families as they maneuver the college seach and application process would be a fantastic way to demonstrate real love and care towards a family in our community.

Esperanza USA

Check out this link to a NY Times article about Rev. Luis Cortes and Nueva Esperanza. NE is a leading Latino-led community development organization that is helping to empower churches to bring about community change. Luis and his brother Danny (a very good friend of mine) represent the new-gen mestizo leaders that our community needs to restore inner-city Latino communities throughout our browning nation.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Iglesia Cristiana Comunitaria

May 10-13 I will be traveling to the Dominican Republic to speak at a gathering of pastors and leaders from the DR and a few other Latin American countries. Much of what is happening there is the result of the leadership of two amazing men & their wives. Robert Guerrero & Damaris, and Tomas & Dee have worked tirelessly to establish a 'red' or network of church leaders to promote 'mision integral' or, wholistic ministry.

With the incredible needs that exist in Latin America it make great sense that churches embrace a more wholistic approach to ministry, that is rooted in taking the entire Gospel to the entire person. By ministering to the practical/devastating needs of people, Christians are able to demonstrate a powerful witness of God's love before uttering one word. When dynamic arts, preaching and community development (which can vary from very simple to very sophisticated) are brought together in a church community to impact a local neighborhood, powerful things begin to happen.

I absolutely am convinced that I will learn so much more in the DR from the leaders there, than I will have to teach them. A theme for this conference will be, how can the church be an authentic witness in the midst of suffering and oppression. In order to speak to that reality, I will most certainly have to tap into my mestizo upbringing and experience here in the USA. My greatest fear for the church in the barrios of our nation, is that we will not be willing to enter into the suffering and rejection of so many of our Latino neighbors (not all) but instead, choose to proclaim a prosperity Gospel that seeks the blessings of God without seeking His justice as well.

Our faith cannot become our 'get out of the barrio' card, so that we can pursue the American dream without regard to where the majority of the 40 million Latinos that live in our cities exist. In the DR, I'm certain I will be pushed to recalibrate my own understanding of suffering and costly discipleship. I pray that I will have something of value to contribute. More so, I am thrilled to get the opportunity to meet my brothers and sisters in the DR that are seeking to live their lives for the advancement of God's Kingdom in that part of the world.

The Woes of Blogging

I just lost a posting I did regarding my son's college search process because of a lost connection! It was too long to redo right now. Maybe later.

Cinco de Mayo

In the minds of most Anglo Americans, Cinco de Mayo is recognized as a day of importantance in the Latino community. Most assume it is Mexico's version of Independence Day.

In reality, the day when Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain is midnight, the 15th of September, 1810. Cinco de Mayo marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Althought the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that Mexico and all of Latin America were willing to defend themselves of any foreign intervention. Especially those from imperialist states bent on world conquest.
Cinco de Mayo's history has its roots in the French Occupation of Mexico. The French occupation took shape in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. With this war, Mexico entered a period of national crisis during the 1850's. Years of not only fighting the Americans but also a Civil War, had left Mexico devastated and bankrupt.

In the United States, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to be known as simply "5 de Mayo" and unfortunately, over, the years Cinco de Mayo has become very commercialized and many people see this holiday as a time for fun and dance. Oddly enough, Cinco de Mayo has become more of Chicano holiday than a Mexican one. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on a much larger scale here in the United States than it is in Mexico. People of Mexican descent in the United States celebrate this significant day by having parades, mariachi music, folklorico dancing and other types of festive activities.

More info can be found at the following link:

I am afraid that this day is now, more identified with Corona than with courage. But, for those of us who are working with Mexican-descent youth and families, it is important to look for any and all opportunities to affirm our culture, and to recognize that our nation is filled with many influences from South of the boarder that today, impact mainstream culture in significant ways.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Spanglish Word of the Day

Frisando (FRE-san-d0) Freezing. Es el primero de Mayo y nos estamos frisando en Chicago. (It's the 1st of May and we're freezing in Chicago.