Welcome to Hispanic Heritage News Archived Content Circa 2014


In 2014 Hispanic Heritage News was created in partnership with Mediaplanet. Hispanic Heritage News aimed to educate millions about the influence Hispanic culture has had on America as a whole. This site aims to empower future leaders emerging from Hispanic communities, highlighting community and educational programs that gear them up for success. It also aimed to inspire readers to recognize how their own daily routines have been influenced by this rich heritage.

When the domain's registration expired the site disappeared from the web. The new owners have chosen to present a few of the original articles that are as relevant today as they were in 2014.

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Hispanic Heritage News CIRCA 2014

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

 


 

EDUCATION

Nelson Mandela once said that education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. According to a new survey, nearly 89 percent of Latino young adults believe that a college education is important for success in life, yet only about half that number — a mere 48 percent — say that they themselves plan on earning a degree. Education is vital for a ensuring a successful professional life for our young Hispanic men and women across the globe.

Keeping Latino Parents Engaged in Their Children’s Education

EDUCATION Engaging Latino parents in their children’s schooling is a critical part of education reform.

STARTING AT HOME: School systems can play a paramount role in the success of the students they serve by providing families with the tools they need to help their children succeed academically.

Latino parents can become more effective advocates for their children when they learn how to engage with the school system and when they learn about strategies they can use to navigate the stages of development as they progress through their school years. 

Getting involved

How can schools develop a meaningful relationship with the parents of the students they serve? How can they make it possible for parents to become part of their children’s education? How can they provide parents with the tools they need to succeed? 

Language and cultural differences keep many parents from becoming involved with their children’s school as does, for some, their economic background. Other parents may have personally failed in school and do not feel confident approaching education. Others may feel the school has a negative perception of them, so they do not feel welcomed. And others simply don’t know exactly how to become involved in their child’s school or their children’s education.

All parents, including Latino parents, have high hopes for their children. They have dreams of a better future, a better education, a better job or career and a higher quality of life. What many parents lack are the resources to help them effectively support their children on the road to academic success and, therefore, to a better future. 

Parents as partners

The most successful schools engage Latino families in authentic, meaningful relationships as education partners. Parents can often do more for schools than raise funds, monitor the cafeteria, or visit every six weeks. Schools can more effectively engage parents when they help them become knowledgeable about the school system and when they involve them in the development of school programs. Effectively engaged parents, therefore, are:

  • Education partners
  • Members of decision-making committees
  • Leaders in helping their school improve instruction and service delivery
  • Partners with the school in the development of programs
  • Advocates for their children
  • Advocates for their school

Schools can play a major role in the success of the students they serve when they provide families with the information they need and empower them with strategies to help their children succeed academically. To this end, schools must strive to engage families and their communities as collaborators and tap in to the values, history and language that bind them.

"For all who care about children and their education, there’s nothing more inspiring than seeing an empowered Latino parent advocating for their child."

Schools that have successfully engaged parents as partners in their children’s education have taught us that:

  • Engaging parents leads to increased student attendance and greater academic success.
  • Parents become involved in a school when they are treated as true partners.
  • Parents feel respected when teachers take time to share with them their children’s challenges and successes.
  • Parents become better advocates for their school and their children when the school takes time to talk to them about the importance of attending school daily, completing take-home assignments and, in paving the road to college entry, the need to get good grades.
  • While many parents need to receive orientation in a language other than English, once they have received it, they make sure their children are in school, follow the school’s rules, and complete their work successfully.
  • Schools that integrate the culture, history, and language of parents and community are more likely to succeed in their family engagement efforts.
  • When given the tools, parents begin to understand the intricacies of standardized tests, academic exams, or academic requirements for college entry and are better able to serve as effective supports to both their children and the school.

For all who care about children and their education, there’s nothing more inspiring than seeing an empowered Latino parent advocating for their child.

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An aside: When I lived in NYC my neighbor told me about Hispanic Heritage News. I enjoyed reading the site's articles. It was a shame that the site did not survive more than a couple of years. Although I now live in Australia, I am still connected to the Hispanic community in NYC because my family remains there. The past four years under Presidnet Trump has been hard on my community. The GOP's draconian immigration policies have been a disaster and then Covid 19 struck impacting the Hispanic community in many devastating ways. Facetime has been my means of staying in touch with my family andfriends during these trying times. Melbourne, where I now live, has just emerged from an 111 day shutdown. It was one of world’s longest lockdowns. Roughly 5 million people in the Australian city of Melbourne can now leave home anytime they want, eat dinner at a restaurant and drink at bars for the first time in more than three months. As you might expect celebrations ensued.

What did I do during the lockdown? I worked at home, watched a lot of movies on my computor, Facetimed, and like many Australians played pokies online since all landbased pokie venues were closed. I have several online casino site that are primarily for AU players. Uptown Pokies and Fair Go are the two online casinos I mailt visit. They both offer RTG software pokie games. For non Australian players, pokies is our name for slots. My mother sometimes chastices me for playing pokies, but I reassure her that I play only for fun and with a limited budget. Addictive gambling in Australia is a major problem for many folks and the pandemic with all the shut downs did not help.

Because National Hispanic Heritage Month which in the US is from September 15 to October 15, occurred during the shut down here in Melbourne, I did not do any celebration with my Australian Hispanic friends in person. But I did celebrate virtually with friends and family both here and in the US. Gracias a dios for the Internet!

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Shakira Addresses the Hispanic Academic Achievement Gap

EDUCATION The Grammy award-winning pop icon opens up about her goal of improving education outcomes in classrooms across the globe.

Shakira

BREAKING BARRIERS: 'Language opens doors to other cultures in a way that nothing else does, except music. They are the two most universal things we share as humans.' Photo: Kayt Jones/RCA records

Mediaplanet: You have done so much to help better the lives of millions around the globe in so many different ways and are internationally recognized for your humanitarian and advocacy work.  What initially inspired you to take up such great responsibility and develop such powerful and impactful philanthropic initiatives?

Shakira: No matter how big the idea, or how vast the project; everything starts the same way—with one small moment. For me it was the moment that my family experienced a level of financial loss and hardship that we never had before and that was difficult for me to process in my youth. It was the first time I gained a real sense of perspective. I saw that just past my door there were children suffering extreme poverty who didn’t even have an education to count on to improve their situation. Even at a young age, seeing that gave me a profound sense of the injustice that something so arbitrary as the place you were born could determine your fate for the rest of your life. I knew there had to be a way to equalize that, and my parents had always taught me that education was the key. So to me, the solution was simple. Achieve education for everyone, and you level out the playing field. I would say that two things; the desire to become financially independent and succeed, and the sense of purpose that childhood experience gave me, to do something greater in the world, drove my career ambitions in those days. 

MP: Your main focus in regards to these initiatives seems to be on early childhood development and universal education.  Can you explain why you feel that educating the world's youth is the best way to improve their quality of life?

Shakira

HUMAN POTENTIAL: "Education has an incredible return on investment. Investing in a child as early as possible is in some ways tantamount to buying an undervalued stock right at its initial public offering. Human potential is limitless; but not if it remains untapped. "

S: Education has an incredible return on investment. Investing in a child as early as possible is in some ways tantamount to buying an undervalued stock right at its initial public offering. Human potential is limitless; but not if it remains untapped. It’s a concept as old as time—like the old proverb goes; “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he’ll never go hungry.” The earlier on in a child’s life that they understand the value of education and how it can change their lives, the earlier they form habits that end up yielding exponential benefits. 

MP: You got your start in the entertainment industry at such a young age. How did that impact your personal education growing up?

S: I did start early, so after my teenage years my education was less traditional. I graduated high school but had already put out multiple albums by then. For me, so much of my learning was self-taught and came through a desire to absorb everything I possibly could. Traveling the world proves to be an invaluable education, and luckily my parents had always instilled in me a love of knowledge, so I think I took advantage to the fullest of all the learning opportunities that were afforded to me. I’ve taken lots of private courses and a couple in universities throughout the years, when and where I have time. I like to think of myself as a perennial student. 

MP: Language learning is often viewed as a stepping stone to success for many immigrating to countries whose native language is different from their own. As a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, what is currently being done to help reduce or eliminate disparities in education, health, and wealth throughout the Hispanic population in the United States? 

S: Being bilingual is a competitive business advantage, and it is vital to America for our rising generation of Hispanics to learn English fluently and maintain their native language fluency. English learners are the fastest-growing major student population, with nearly 4.7 million of these students attending K-12 schools across the U.S. One in 7 children today starting kindergarten in this country has a primary language other than English. Particularly for Hispanic students, which make up the majority of the English learner population—limited English proficiency in the early years is associated with low achievement and other poor school outcomes.

As a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, we are working hard to improve these outcomes. Many Hispanic children enter kindergarten already behind, so it’s key to reach these children early and close the gap before it overshadows their entire educational career. In his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to make access to high quality early learning a reality for every 4-year-old in America by making full-day preschool available to lower income families. This is key for much of the Hispanic population that falls within the parameters of “low income.” By understanding the importance of high quality early learning programs, the administration has made significant investments to help expand access for Hispanic children.

More concretely, the President’s budget also invests $1.4 billion in HHS’s proposed Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Initiative to increase effective early care and education for infants through age three. The budget also seeks to expand the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program by providing a long-term $15 billion investment beginning in 2015. We believe that by starting as early as possible in getting these children on the right track, we can improve their chances of success later on in life. 

MP: What, as a nation, can we collectively do to take steps towards reducing the achievement gap between Hispanic and non-Hispanic students throughout the United States?

S: The Hispanic population (nearly 54 million) constitutes the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States and there are still a significant percentage of Latino families, living in or just above poverty. We already know that poverty is linked to negative outcomes such as school truancy, lower academic performance, earning lower wages as adults and having a greater chance to be involved in crime or reporting poor health across the life span.

"As a nation we must ensure every child a healthy and fair start in life and a successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities."

I believe more attention needs to be paid to the status of Latino education in the US. For instance, fifteen-year-old Hispanic students in the United States rank 43th in reading and 44th in science, while the national rank is 17th and 23th, respectively. Federal policies should acknowledge this variation on educational outcomes by race and ethnicity across the country and work to end this type of disparities.

Shakira

SOWING THE SEEDS
"Being bilingual is a competitive business advantage, and it is vital to America for our rising generation of Hispanics to learn English fluently and maintain their native language fluency."

Latino students need to be empowered for academic success, starting from early education. Today, fewer than 40 percent of Hispanic children, ages three to five, are enrolled in an early learning program; and only 13 percent of Latinos have attained a bachelor’s degree. It is time to get stronger in our commitment to reduce inequity by expanding educational opportunities for all. Their success or lack of success will have enormous consequences in the future of our society as a whole.

As a nation we must ensure every child a healthy and fair start in life and a successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. Elected officials, policy makers, philanthropists, business leaders and social organizations must join efforts to reduce the social and economic barriers Latino children face to enroll and persevere in school.    
While Hispanic children are a large and rapidly growing population in the United States, we cannot fail in equipping them with a high quality education now, so that they can pursue their dreams in a positive way and contribute on making this world a better place. Their success or lack of success will have enormous consequences in the future of our society as a whole.

MP: It is widely known that you speak several languages yourself.  What languages do you speak?  Was it a challenge for you to learn any of them? Which was most difficult for you to learn? 

S: I speak Spanish, Portuguese, English, and some French and Italian. I’m now picking up more Catalan since I spend so much time in Barcelona. Portuguese was my second language but I have to say English was probably the hardest to master, and to write in creatively.

MP: If you had not learned to speak multiple languages, do you feel that you would have seen the same success you have seen thus far?

S: I really don’t. Language opens doors to other cultures in a way that nothing else does, except music. They are the two most universal things we share as humans, and both have allowed me to connect with people around the world in a way I don’t know that I ever could have imagined as a young girl just starting out. 

 


 

Under One Roof: Welcoming Children Refugees to New Homes

Under One Roof: Welcoming Children Refugees to New Homes

EDUCATION The issue of refugee children coming to the United States from Central America in search of better opportunities has recently turned into a noisy, political debate. 

6 Quick Facts on Hispanic College Enrollment, Completion

EDUCATION Stay in the loop with these education facts from the Department of Education.

Girl Scouts CEO Excited About Growing Hispanic Membership, Targets Future Leaders

EDUCATION Scouting the next generation of leaders, particularly female leaders, is first priority for Girl Scouts CEO Anna Marie Chavez.

How Can We Ensure Latino Students Are Given Equal Educational Opportunities?

EDUCATION We can start by making education a priority, and a college degree an accessible, realistic, goal. 

 


 

Eva Longoria Gives Back

Eva Longoria Gives Back

EDUCATION EDUCATION The award-winning actress talks family values, the power of education today, and keeping our nation’s Latino youth curious for tomorrow. "I am so proud of my heritage, my people, my culture, my family's connection to the universe of Hispanics everywhere. Every child growing up in our culture needs to see examples of our success, our pride, and feel that they belong. Prejudice has no place - although it exists and in some places is prevalent, we also know that the world is changing in our favor. Any time someone disparages us - as Mexicans, or Puerto Ricans - be aware that it is those who hate that are on the wrong side of history. I often hear stories of ridicule for our fashion - can you believe that clothing is something people mock. Or the insane claims that because we love to wear certain kinds of jewelry, like these silver rings that make a statement - I wear (because I adore them), but do we deserve ridicule or second class citizenship? If someone makes fun of something I love, I will stand up and push back. We often love loud jewelry and clothing for the same reasons that anyone else does. In fact, my statement rings actually do make a statement - and that is 'respect me' for who I am. Do not judge me for my fashion choices or the jewelry I wear, or the music or the food I love. Judge me for the strength of my character. To all those who do not share my love of Hispanic culture I say they do not realize what they are missing. To all my brothers and sisters everywhere I say, 'dream BIG and stand TALL' and never compromise our values because the only way to gain respect is to respect ones self." Education and self awareness is the key to a better future for us all!

 


 

Measuring the Impact of Hispanic Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Hispanic Business

ENTREPRENEURSHIP Multicultural contributions strengthen the fabric of our communities across all 50 states

FOSTERING SUCCESS: Over the past decade, there has been approximately 200 percent growth in Latina-owned business, a sign of enormous and unprecedented initiative by any measure.

Prominent organizations and individuals nationwide are doing their part to create a serious dialogue that acknowledges the contributions of Americans of all cultures, genders and ethnic backgrounds.

Renewing a nation

Diversity has been a defining characteristic of our nation since its founding. Now more than ever it is the key to our economic success and our country’s future prosperity. While the image of America as a ‘melting pot’ may appear as an outdated paradigm, the fact is that diversity keeps American ideas, talent and skills fresh— and our nation competitive in the global economy. 

Today, minority business communities are a vital force in our economy. Hispanics are taking the lead on the entrepreneurial front, as owners of over 3.2 million businesses across the United States. In an era where over two-thirds of new jobs are created by small businesses, Hispanic enterprises have become an engine that is fueling our nation’s economic renewal. 

"Thanks to ingenuity, resilience and pure hard work in America, Hispanics have merged and emerged in the mainstream."

Our American society is hinged upon a mixture of various important social and cultural factors. Among the most important are education, technology, health, athletics and art — all areas where Hispanics have a powerful perspective.

A promising future

Perhaps the most accurate predictors of our continued economic prosperity are the education and well-being of our youth. Hispanic youth make up over a quarter of the total elementary and high school students in America, with a 70 percent college enrollment rate, a figure higher than non-Hispanic counterparts.

However, disparities still exist in access to health care, as nearly one in three Hispanic-Americans remains uninsured, a larger figure than any other racial or ethnic group in the country. Those who suffer from chronic diseases are faced with financial burdens that strain individuals, families and communities.

Thanks to ingenuity, resilience and pure hard work in America, Hispanics have merged and emerged in the mainstream. Our nation’s future has never been brighter with new challenges offering new opportunities for us to become more united, more accepting and with every day, a little bit stronger.

 


 

Mario Lopez Celebrates Heritage and Inspires Younger Generations

A FAMILY MAN: Lopez identifies his culture as “passionate, loving, fiery, festive and a lot of fun.”

Mario Lopez Celebrates Heritage and Inspires Younger Generations

CULTURE “Extra” TV host Mario Lopez is a son, a husband, a father and a proud Latino.

It’s so important. It’s a beautiful culture,” says Lopez, who’s also an actor, producer and author. “I think you should be proud of your heritage and celebrate it and at the same, if you’re first generation like I am, you embrace American culture as well.”

Lopez grew up in Chula Vista, a San Diego suburb, just minutes from the U.S. - Mexico border.  That’s where he went to school, got involved in wrestling and hung out at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, an organization he still supports, now as a chairman and fitness ambassador.

Inspiring a new generation

“At the end of the day, that’s all I am — a Mexican kid from Chula Vista. I’m very blessed, very lucky and I want to represent our people well and inspire other Mexican kids from neighborhoods like mine, who say, ‘If Mario can do it, I can do it too.’”

“There are always going to be obstacles. There are going to be dream squashers out there, but if you’re passionate about whatever it is you’re doing, don’t let anyone discourage you. Work hard, stay focused and do the right thing."

Lopez, who identifies his Mexican culture as “passionate, loving, fiery, festive and a lot of fun,” has always felt very connected to his heritage. He learned Spanish from his parents and is excited to pass on his rich culture to his two young kids, including his daughter Gia who is taking Spanish classes. The whole family, including Lopez’ wife Courtney and son Dominic, embrace the Mexican culture every day through food and music. “It’s part of our world,” he says.

Overcoming challenges

While Lopez is a Hollywood success story, he admits the entertainment industry has been challenging at times, especially when there aren’t many Hispanics on screen.

“I was difficult to cast,” he says. “I was Latino but still very all-American, so maybe that helped.”

Lopez persevered and advises other Latinos, especially kids, to learn Spanish, work hard and create opportunities for themselves.

“There are always going to be obstacles. There are always going to be people telling you ‘no.’ There are going to be dream squashers out there,” says Lopez. “But if you’re passionate about whatever it is you’re doing, don’t let anyone discourage you. Work hard, stay focused and do the right thing.

Mario's forthcoming memoir entitled “Just Between Us” will be released on September 30th.

KRISTEN CASTILLO, editorial@mediaplanet.com

 


 

Conquering Childhood Obesity in the Hispanic Community

KNOW THE FACTS: Over 60 percent of all Hispanic populations are either overweight or obese

Conquering Childhood Obesity in the Hispanic Community

HEALTH AND NUTRITION Childhood obesity will impact every aspect of the healthcare system. 

According to the National Council of La Raza, Hispanics represent one of the fastest growing segments of the population and according to the Census, they are expected to reach 30 percent of the total U.S. population by 2050. Childhood obesity and healthcare disparities continue to be a serious epidemic in the United States. Obesity is common among Hispanics and is severe particularly among Hispanic youth, according to research by the American Heart Association (AHA).

Obesity increases the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. The development of chronic diseases related to obesity can severely impact quality of life. The AHA’s recent study revealed that among Hispanics, the most severe class of obesity was most common among young adults between 25 and 34 years of age.

A growing epidemic

Between 52 and 58 percent of 18 to 24-year-old Hispanic women and men, respectively, were either overweight or obese. Of the more than 16,000 participants, about 40 percent of those struggling with obesity also had hypertension. The life expectancy in the current generation of children is projected to be the first in America to have a shorter life span than their parents. Hispanic preschool children are four times more likely to suffer from obesity than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.

"Hispanic preschool children are four times more likely to suffer from obesity than their non-Hispanic white counterparts."

The development of educational programs incorporating cultural influences would allow families to increase exercise, improve eating habits and decrease other risk factors that contribute to childhood obesity. Numerous programs — including First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) “Muevete USA” — are geared to improving the health of children. These programs concentrate on the understanding of nutrition and the importance of exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer and osteoarthritis. Educating children and the entire family is a high priority in improving the health of entire Hispanic communities. 

Healthcare disparities among the Hispanic population continue to exist for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.  Hispanics have less awareness of the dangers from risk factors that lead to heart conditions and diabetes. Research has shown that the lack of awareness by Hispanics often results in full-blown disease without preventative treatment. 

Fostering healthy futures

Healthcare providers will need cultural diversity training to address the environmental factors that contribute to the development of chronic conditions that could impact cardiovascular function and quality of life.

The continued growth of the Hispanic populations in the United States will require healthcare practitioners to have cultural awareness training that will promote trust with the patient and family. Changes to established habits require behavior modifications that occur after a healthcare provider-patient relationship is established or motivation for change occurs. Programs to address childhood obesity and health disparities are needed now to improve the health of future Hispanic generations. 

JOSE ALEJANDRO, editorial@mediaplanet.com

 


 

  • Healthy Recipes from Chef Lorena Garcia

    HEALTH AND NUTRITION Famous for putting a fresh spin on Latin classics, chef Lorena Garcia shares two of her favorite summertime snacks.  

  • Keeping Latino Parents Engaged in Their Children’s Education

    EDUCATION Engaging Latino parents in their children’s schooling is a critical part of education reform. 

  • Shakira Addresses the Hispanic Academic Achievement Gap

    EDUCATION The Grammy award-winning pop icon opens up about her goal of improving education outcomes in classrooms across the globe.

  • Under One Roof: Welcoming Children Refugees to New Homes

    EDUCATION The issue of refugee children coming to the United States from Central America in search of better opportunities has recently turned into a noisy, political debate. 

  • Why persity Matters in the Boardroom

    ENTREPRENEURSHIP The importance of persity in the boardroom extends far beyond filling quotas or creating a lineup that looks good to the general public. 

  • In The Kitchen with Chef Lorena Garcia

    HEALTH AND NUTRITION Mediaplanet sat down with Venezuelan-born restaurateur, TV personality and published author Lorena Garcia to talk about health, culture and tamales.  

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