Remember earlier this year when a bunch of tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma killing and injuring people and destroying everything in their path? Eight of the people who lost their lives during one of these deadly natural disasters were immigrants from Guatemala. A recent article in The Oklahoman explored the need to improve the existing warning system to include instructions in Spanish, the primary language of more than 40,000 Latinos in Oklahoma City.
The amount of racism and hatred that ensued when the paper asked its readers if they agreed is terrifying.Continue Reading >
There are very few people I love more in this world than my abuelita. My amazing viejita is almost 100 years old, and she is not only the sweetest and most selfish woman I've ever met, but she's the only grandparent I was lucky to meet. I'd give anything to see her beautiful face on a daily basis, but she lives back in Peru. While this is difficult for me to deal with, I know it's even harder for my mom who hasn't lived near her own mamá in almost 30 years.
Why anyone lucky enough to live in the same city as their elderly parents or grandparents not visit them on a regular basis is beyond my comprehension. And yet, the Chinese government has deemed it necessary to enact a law that requires people to visit their elders or face being sued. How crazy is that?Continue Reading >
The U.S. Senate passed a landmark immigration reform bill today, which means that there is a possibility that millions of undocumented residents in this country will be able to finally legalize their status--a huge day for us Latinos. ¡Qué alegría!
Now the law has to pass the House of Representatives, where its prospects are tougher since it's controlled by Republicans, but it's not impossible!Continue Reading >
Puerto Rican abducted teen Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry were sent home safely yesterday, as more alarming details emerge from the Cleveland kidnapper case. The latest details about the sick treatment the women received from Castro reveal that he even replaced their birthdays with the anniversary of their abduction. On those particular days the 52-year-old pervert would give the girls a cake celebrating the day they were kidnapped. How twisted and horrible is that?
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In a sad and absolutely heartbreaking story, Mexico City police have recently revealed that a 9-year-old girl gave birth to a baby last month and-- as if that wasn't shocking enough-- the 17-year-old father is nowhere to be found. It's such an awful scenario that I can barely process it.
The young girl's mother told officials that the girl was "just over 8" when she first got pregnant. "The father is a boy who is 17, but we have not found him, since he ran away," she explained.Continue Reading >
I've been raising bilingual kids for over six years and I've been researching and writing about it for almost four and yet, I'm still very surprised when I hear people say that bilingualism causes confusion. I've found this is a particular concern of new parents who've been thinking about adding a second language, but are worried that their kids will get confused. Truth is this is just a myth. One that has been perpetuated through the years thanks to old and erroneous information about bilingualism.
Sadly some of those responsible for keeping this myth alive are unusual suspects like pediatricians, speech therapists and teachers—professionals we normally trust.Continue Reading >
I thought this day would never come, but it seems like this country is closer than ever to real immigration reform. President Obama just announced how he plans to overhaul our broken immigration system and I'm sure that the 11 million undocumented immigrants many of whom pretty much live in the shadows scared to death to be discovered and deported listened very closely to his words. I know I did... and I'm not undocumented. I do, however, know many people who are. Some are close friends and some others are acquaintances. The one thing they have in common: a desire to be able to stay legally in the only country they've ever know and loved. A country they call home.
And now, it looks like this may very well be a reality.Continue Reading >
Raising bilingual children is easier for some parents and harder for some others. In my case, for example, my husband and I are both native Spanish-speakers, so speaking Spanish to our kids all day long is not really an issue. But most parents I know are second or third generation Latinos, which means that although they may speak Spanish, it's not their native language. Regardless of your situation, the truth is that besides language proficiency, there are other key traits all of us raising bilingual kids need to do it successfully.
The good thing is that as a parent, you probably possess all of them already.Continue Reading >
When my daughter Vanessa was born more than six years ago, it never ocurred to me that I would speak to her in any language other than Spanish. Although I'm fluent in both English and Spanish and I have spent the majority of my life in the United States, I still consider Spanish my first language and the one I use with my family--even though they're all bilingual too. As my daughter went from baby toddler and started speaking, I realized that using only Spanish with her raised a lot of questions for me. Of particular concern were: How would she learn English? And would she be at a disavantage if she didn't learn it early on? At some point, I even wondered if I should start speaking to her in English.
These and other concerns led a college friend of mine and I to create a blog about the ins and outs of raising bilingual and bicultural children in the United States.Continue Reading >
I'm not a professional translator, but I've been translating from English to Spanish and vice versa the majority of my professional life as a journalist. Since I am fluent in both languages and I'm a word lover, one of my biggest pet peeves is bad translations. Sadly, I have seen my share of embarrassingly bad translations. These seem to be even more prevalent now that many businesses are starting to realize the need to offer their Latino customers information in their native language.
But the really bad translation I'm about to highlight takes the top prize not only because it's completely wrong, but also because it's insulting, offensive and mostly discriminatory.Continue Reading >