Acting with Intent: How Our Daily Choices Can Uplift the Latino Community

a community laughing together

Sometimes, we’re so busy with our day to day we forget each of us has the power to weave conscious actions into our routines, reflecting the love and pride we carry for our roots. It's not about large gestures or monumental events; it's in the subtle, daily choices we make and the ways we express ourselves. It's in how we show up for our community and ourselves.

Here are some mindful actions to weave into our daily routine that can create ripples of positive change:

Don't Just Scroll: Celebrate Latine Brilliance

two women looking at a smartphone

Photo by Antonius Ferret:

You know that friend who bakes the mouthwatering pan de muerto every fall, or the one lighting up the bar with her singing every week? Don't just be a silent fan. Share their posts on social media! We're always ready to reshare the latest meme, yet often hesitate to boost our friends who are hustling hard and could truly benefit from our support. When we amplify Latine voices, particularly those who may not have a broad platform, we're not just opening doors for them—we're putting a spotlight on the abundant talent within our community.

Speak Spanglish Proudly

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We've all been there—searching for the perfect word in English, only to find that the most fitting term or phrase is en Español. Or maybe you've stumbled upon those moments when the perfect comeback is a blend of both. That's the beauty of Spanglish. It's more than just a hybrid language—it's a testament to our adaptability and the bridge we've built between cultures.

Embracing Spanglish isn’t just about convenience; it’s about celebrating our dual identity, merging our past with our present. And the best part? It gives us a chance to welcome those unfamiliar with Spanish into our rich world of expressions and idioms. Every "estoy full" after a meal or "parquea aquí" when finding a parking spot is a nod to our multifaceted heritage. So, the next time you mix it up, wear your Spanglish with pride. After all, it's a language that captures the essence of who we are—unapologetically multicultural and brilliantly versatile.

Shop Local

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Here's a thought: The next time you're on the hunt for adobo, craving authentic handmade tamales, or in search of that standout piece of jewelry, why not turn to a Latino-owned business? Not only are you more likely to find products and services infused with genuine love, culture, and tradition, but every dollar you spend there helps strengthen our economic foothold.

Today, 62.5 million Latinos make up a whopping 19% of the U.S. population. And when it comes to our entrepreneurial spirit, it's unmatched. The nearly 5 million Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. pour a staggering $800 billion into the nation's economy each year, as reported by Congress's Joint Economic Committee. By shopping local and supporting these businesses, you're not just indulging in a personal treat or gift; you're contributing to a larger narrative of Latino success, resilience, and empowerment. Let's continue building our community's legacy, one purchase at a time.

Mental Health Check-ins

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Within our community, there's often a stigma around discussing mental health. Every time we gather around the dinner table, celebrate birthdays, or even in those long phone calls catching up with a dear friend, we have opportunities to change this narrative. Instead of sticking to surface-level pleasantries, dare to ask, “How are you really feeling today?” Share your own moments of vulnerability. Talk about that therapy session that made you see things in a new light or that meditation technique you're trying out. The beauty lies in realizing that our mental well-being is just as crucial as our physical health, and discussing it should be as natural as chatting about a recent doctor’s visit.

As we foster an environment where mental health discussions become everyday conversations, we break down age-old barriers. It’s not about having all the answers but creating a safe space for authenticity and support. And when we explore therapy options or share resources, we're not just seeking help but paving a path for others to find their own way to healing. Remember, our community thrives not when we silence our struggles, but when we uplift and support one another through them.

Reconnect with Traditions

a traditional dia de muertos ofrendaPhoto by Roger Ce on Unsplash

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it's easy to lose touch with the traditions that shaped us. Setting up an ofrenda for Día de los Muertos isn't just about colorful skulls and candles; it's a profound way to remember and honor those who came before us. Sharing stories of our past, understanding the origins of our customs, or even learning old family recipes, are all ways of honoring our roots.

More importantly, when we involve the younger generations, we're gifting them a legacy, instilling in them pride for where they come from, and ensuring that these traditions will be carried on. So, in between our busy schedules and modern routines, let's take moments to pause and reconnect.

Engage in Community Initiatives

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Joining or supporting community organizations can be as immersive as facilitating a workshop based on a talent or hobby of yours or as straightforward as volunteering at a local event, helping organize activities that celebrate our shared culture and heritage. Every moment spent engaging with community initiatives creates a ripple effect.

Maybe you have a knack for storytelling. Why not offer to read at a local school or library? Or perhaps you're well-versed in professional skills like resume-building or interview techniques. Consider running a workshop for young adults entering the workforce. Even attending local cultural events helps bolster community spirit, showing organizers and participants alike that their efforts are valued and appreciated. So, the next time you hear about a local event or an opportunity to get involved, take a leap!

Educate & Advocate

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Discussing the intricacies of immigration reform isn't just a debate topic; for many of us, it's the story of our parents, grandparents, or even our own journey. Advocating for bilingual education is not just about learning two languages; it's about preserving our heritage and ensuring our children are equipped to thrive in a multicultural world. And casting our vote? It's more than a civic duty. It's our voice, our representation, our chance to shape a future that reflects and respects our values.

The political climate is like the weather—unpredictable and ever-changing. Just as we dress appropriately to face the day's forecast, we need to stay informed to navigate these uncertain terrains. It's not only about the national headlines; local policies can shape our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. Being informed means delving deeper, seeking out reputable sources, attending community meetings, and asking questions.

And finally, the most essential tip?

Celebrate every win, big or small.

Did your niece just graduate? Did your comadre open up her own salon? Or maybe you perfected that family tres leches recipe? Celebrate! Every milestone, whether it’s in business, education, or personal achievements, uplifts our community. So, next time there's a win, let the cheers ring loud and proud!

Women in Texas at the National Women's March, rallying against deadly abortion restrictions.
Lucy Flores

The landscape of abortion rights in the United States has become more restrictive than ever in recent history, particularly in Arizona and Florida, where recent developments represent a major setback for women’s reproductive rights. On April 9, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in a 4-to-2 decision to uphold an 1864 law banning abortion from the moment of conception. The only exception is saving the mother’s life, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest under this law.

Just a few days earlier, on April 1, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled in favor of upholding a 6-week abortion ban, which will take effect on May 1. This further reduced the legal threshold for abortions in Florida, which used to be 24 weeks of pregnancy before Republicans passed a law in 2022 banning abortions after 15 weeks. Both of these rulings have sparked intense debate and outrage about their impact on women’s rights.

Overview of the Near-Total Abortion Ban in Arizona

The Arizona Supreme Court voted to uphold an 1864 law, a law passed even before the state officially was a part of the United States of America, that makes all types of abortion illegal, including medication abortion, from the moment of conception. Though there are exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, the ban makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest and imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment, on medical professionals performing abortions.

Medical professionals have spoken out about how dire the situation will become for women with this near-total abortion ban. Dr. Jill Gibson, chief medical director of Planned Parenthood in Arizona, told CNN that this ruling will have “absolutely unbelievable consequences for the patients in our community.” She continued by saying, “Providers need to be able to take care of their patients without fear of legal repercussions and criminalization.”

Representatives from Arizona and other states across the country have also spoken up against this near-total abortion ban.

Video by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramVideo by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Image by Rub\u00e9n Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Until this Arizona Supreme Court decision, abortion had been legal in the state up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. The right to abortion via Roe v. Wade prevented the enforcement of the near-total abortion ban, but since a majority vote in the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe, those opposed to abortion rights had been fighting to enforce the 160-year-old 1864 law.

This new abortion ban in Arizona is not effective immediately as the court has paused its ruling for 14 days until additional arguments are heard in a lower court about how constitutional the law is. However, the law will likely come into effect in May, a few weeks from now. Planned Parenthood Arizona, the largest abortion provider in the state, will continue serving the community until the ban is enforced.

An Overview of Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban

The landscape of abortion in Florida has also undergone a significant change with the enforcement of a 6-week abortion ban, replacing the previous 15-week limit. This ban, similar to Arizona's, severely restricts access to abortion care and poses a significant challenge to reproductive rights in the state. Providers are bracing for a public health crisis due to the increased demand for abortion and limited options for patients.

Practically speaking, a 6-week abortion ban is a near-total abortion ban because pregnant people often don’t even realize they could be pregnant by this early stage. Combined with Florida’s strict abortion requirements, which include mandatory in-person doctor visits with a 24-hour waiting period, it’s nearly impossible for those who may want an abortion to be able to access it before 6 weeks. Not to mention that fulfilling the requirements is particularly challenging for low-income individuals.

Video by theluncheonlawyer on InstagramVideo by theluncheonlawyer on Instagram

Moreover, this Florida law also restricts telemedicine for abortion and requires that medication be provided in person, effectively eliminating mail-order options for abortion pills. While exceptions for rape and incest exist in Florida, the requirements are also strict, asking victims to provide police records or medical records. For victims who don’t always report sexual violence for many different reasons, these exceptions don’t make a difference.

The consequences of Florida’s ban extend to neighboring states with more restrictive abortion laws. For instance, residents of Alabama, facing a total ban on abortion, and Georgia, with its own 6-week abortion ban, have relied on Florida for abortion services. That will no longer be an option, further limiting care alternatives.

The Road Ahead

These recent abortion bans in Arizona and Florida are a major setback for women's rights, particularly impacting Latina women who already face barriers to accessing quality healthcare. These bans not only restrict women’s reproductive freedom but also endanger their lives.

Efforts to challenge these bans through legal means and ballot measures are ongoing, but the road ahead is uncertain. While there’s hope for overturning these abortion bans, the challenges of conservative laws and legal battles are formidable. The November ballot in both states will be crucial in determining the future of abortion rights and access for all.

graphic design highlighting Dolores Huerta 94 birthday, the iconic civil rights activist and labor leader.

Today, Dolores Huerta, one of the most important Latino icons within civil rights, is turning 94 years old. This occasion is the perfect opportunity to celebrate not only her robust life but also her immense contributions as a social justice champion. Huerta is a living legend whose tireless efforts have helped transform the landscape of civil rights, feminism, labor rights, farmworkers’ rights, and even environmental justice.

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