In The Community
We totally get the feeling of watching a random TED talk at 3am then walking around the next day with a whole new outlook on life - they’re just inspiring like that. The magic of TED talks is unmatchable. Some hit harder than others though, so we’ve gathered a few that as Latinas you’ll find yourself shedding a few happy inspired tears.
What’s missing from the American immigrant narrative by Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez
We know the immigrant experience is a hard path filled with obstacles, but those who haven’t experienced it might not be too familiar with it. In this inspiring TedTalk, Camarillo tells us her story of immigrating and what coming to the U.S meant for her. Camarillo points out narratives that tend to glamorize the immigrant experience while flying past the struggles that come with it, also sharing her knowledge on how we can help those around us through this experience.
How to live passionately - no matter your age by Isabel Allende
Legendary Chilean author Isabel Allende’s TedTalk candidly shares the fears she had and continues to have as she ages, but most importantly she shares how she doesn’t plan on letting age stop her from living to the fullest. This is a must-watch for fans of Allende, who inspires you beyond belief to live your best life at every stage of it.
My identity is a superpower not an obstacle by America Ferrara
Diverse, actor, director and activist America Ferrara knows how the world looks better than anyone. As she analyzes instances in her career, she delivers a clear message to Hollywood: you need to stop resisting what the world actually looks like. Ferrera shares the importance of seeing our world as it is displayed in our media, with different cultures and authentic representation. She says, "Who we see thriving in the world teaches us how to see ourselves, how to think about our own value, how to dream about our futures."
The story of Marvel’s first queer Latina Superhero by Gaby Rivera
Rivera is responsible for creating a completely different kind of superhero story, not only because she can punch portals into other dimensions but also because her modern story broke barriers in popular media. America Chavez, the character written about by Rivera, is a superhero with characteristics that make her so openly human, it’s hard not to relate. Rivera shares how her own life as a queer Puerto Rican in the Bronx inspired all the qualities that make the newest America Chavez adventures so relatable.
Keep your eye on the prize by Lucy Flores
Luz Media’s very own CEO Lucy Flores brings us this talk to encourage everyone to see how our small actions can make life altering differences in the lives of others. Here she retells her own life story where her parole officer changed the trajectory of her life, and how that was only the beginning of a story about resilience, tenacity, and courage.
Latina women have been part of U.S history since its founding. They’ve left their footprint on science, art, politics, and more. They’ve been an important part of U.S. history and through their presence and actions have represented the Latino community well, though you wouldn’t get that sense from the history books and historical narratives that often erases U.S. Latino contributions.
Part of correcting history is ensuring Latinas no longer go unrecognized. Luz put together a list of little-known Latinas who should be known. Read on and share widely.
Gloria E. Anzaldúa
Source: The University of Arizona
Gloria was a queer Chicana writer/poet who questioned her place in the white patriarchal system. Her work was significant for the feminist movement, where she ventured into the loss of identity, race issues, and womanhood. For her work, Anzaldúa was awarded the Lambda Lesbian Small Book Press Award, a Sappho Award of Distinction, and an NEA Fiction Award, among others.
She was the first Puerto Rican librarian to work in the New York Public Library system. Pura Belpré brought Spanish language stories to Latino children and noticed the lack of representation for kids and decided to write stories for them.
She read stories both in Spanish and in English, giving Latino children the opportunity to listen to amazing stories and become passionate about storytelling. Her talent brought joy to the young and recognition to children who wanted to hear tales in a language other than English.
Source: Zona Franca
Ana Mendieta was a Cuban-American artist that tested the limits of art. Her work was a reflection of her loss of identity when migrating to the U.S and the violence women are subjected to. Mendieta created photos, performances, and art that spoke about her grievances and shared her feminist views. In 1978 Mendieta joined Artists in Residence Inc (A.I.R. Gallery), the first gallery for women in the United States, where she criticized the mostly white feminist movement that they represented.
Source: Lit hub
Emma Tenayuca was a Mexican American woman who pushed forward civil rights. As a labor organizer, she led and inspired women in Texas to strike and demand better work conditions in the 1930s. She fought for Mexican Americans who were discriminated against when applying to New Deal jobs and aid programs that were supposed to help workers recover from the Depression. Her activism inspired workers to fight for dignified lives and their own civil rights.
Marta Moreno-Vega, daughter of Puerto Rican parents of Yoruba descent, established the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) in 1976. An organization that promotes cultural equity, racial and social justice for African descendant communities. Her work focuses on making known the heritage of African people and its impact on the world while also lifting up those severely unheard voices.
“Your inner voice is the most valuable thing you have. No one can take it away. You know it in your gut, you just have to trust it.”
Imagine this: It’s 8:59am on a Monday in Los Angeles. A large boardroom is filled with every top executive at a major filmmaking studio. They are gathered to discuss the development of their next next multi-million dollar film. In your mind, who fills those chairs? They’re probably all men, right? But at this meeting, one woman walks into the room. No, she’s not walking in late, fumbling her papers and spilling coffee, while making the boys uncomfortable per the usual Hollywood scenario. She takes a seat at the table. The clock strikes nine and she says, “Wow! There are many of you boys here today. Where are the women?” Yes, she said that. She addressed the elephant in the room. She’s strong and outspoken and she’s the Executive Vice President of Production at Marvel Studios. She is Victoria Alonso.
Victoria, one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, is known for being vocal about the lack of female representation in her industry.
In every meeting, she makes it a point to address the lack of women in the room. Consistently addressing this disparity is how Victoria is moving the dial. “You must always make those thoughts present, so it’s in the subconscious,” she says. “Now, whenever I walk into a room, everyone present immediately thinks about it. That’s how you create change.”
This courage has been a trademark for Victoria since she was young. At 15 years old, she moved from her home country of Argentina to San Diego for six months as an exchange student. “I loved the English language. I loved the freedoms that this country had compared to the dictatorship where I grew up.” Four years later, she moved to the United States permanently, but never really thought she would go into filmmaking. “I didn’t grow up in a family of filmmakers. My dad died when I was 6 years old and my mother was a leader in the Ministry of Education in Argentina, so media was never at the forefront. I was interested in theatre. I was attracted to the art, the life and the people.” Her love of theatre led her to her degree at the University of Washington.
Soon after, she settled in Los Angeles where she worked 3 jobs, one of which, introduced her to film. “I was a page at Paramount studios giving tours of the sets of shows like Cheers, Dear John, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This led to my first job as a P.A. and from then on, I just started working my way up the ladder until I arrived at Marvel.” Now, “working your way up the ladder” as a gay, immigrant, woman of color can’t be easy, but to Victoria that was her strength. She continues, “I knew I was a little different, but I embraced those differences. When you come from different places and points of view, and you have a position where you have a voice that is heard, you can open up someone’s ideas.”
Her voice has led to creating impactful changes, which include expanding representation at Marvel Studios.
“Consistently, we are trying to figure out if we’ve hired the right amount of balance. I always ask, ‘Why can’t we hire women to do that?’ and I ask for the resumes of females that can do that job. I will not stop until we can create a 50/50 inclusive and diverse studio at every level.”
Victoria’s mission to diversify Hollywood is also reflected on screen. She was an Executive Producer for the film, Black Panther. “People consistently had the excuse that if you make a movie like that, it’s not going to sell, it’s not going to make money and it’s not going to have a forum or an audience. Black Panther made $1.3 billion worldwide. You are leaving money at the table by not making these movies. You are losing money by not taking representation into consideration.”
Victoria is also an Executive Producer for the upcoming film, Captain Marvel, the first Marvel film with a female lead, a project that Victoria sees as a dream come true. “In Captain Marvel’s journey, she listens to herself and she breaks those barriers. If there’s one thing I want women to remember, it’s that your inner voice is the most valuable thing that you have. No one can take it away. You know it in your gut. You just have to trust it.” And it was by trusting her own inner voice, that Victoria was able to push through challenges and remain resilient through constant rejection throughout her career.
“Because I get knocked down, you don’t stay down. To be denied of your opinion, doesn’t mean to be denied of your voice. Silence is your enemy. Silence will not lead you to your goals. Find strength in your voice.”
Victoria’s success is also fueled by confidence and persistence, two characteristics that are necessary for all women who are fighting to break corporate barriers.
“For women on the journey to becoming – be the best person you can be and not who someone else wants you to be. If for some reason you show you are not okay with who you are, people will question it. Who you are is part of the unique that will allow you to be in the game. “
“I knocked on a door, and if it wasn’t open, then I’d knock on a window. Maybe it’s a gate, maybe it’s a doggie door, maybe it’s a tree, but there has to be a way in. Do not lose hope on your journey. The journey will be what the best journey for you is and the best way to do it is your way.”
As Victoria focuses on making positive changes behind the camera and fighting for representation on screen, I can’t help but think of the key traits she shared for success – courage, persistence, and confidence. Characteristics that are also embodied by every superhero whose story Victoria tells – from Iron Man, to Captain America, Thor and Black Panther, not all heroes wear capes, and in this case, she wears what she wants.