Category — politics

Passage of the “Dream Act”

By Andrea Rivera
Passage of the “Dream Act”


Obama. Obama. Obama. His actions right before the elections in November inspires skepticism. He explains that he did it because it was the right thing to do, but why not before? Why now? Could it be for the elections? If it was the right thing to do, why didn’t he begin his presidency with this policy? Was it for the vote and support of Hispanic groups? Nonetheless, skepticism aside, he proposed a law will forever change the lives of thousands of affected undocumented families.    

On June 15, 2012, Barrack Obama announced a new hope for the undocumented: granting the freedom to any undocumented person who has lived their whole lives in the United States to obtain a work permit. Obama made it apparent that this was not a “permanent fix,” but it is a start. It is a start to a better nation; a start to eliminate fear in the minds of parents who think they have ruined the lives of their children by transporting them across the border; a start to fulfill the lives of our brothers and sisters, but an end to deportations and their corruption.

 It is time to change how our nation approaches the mixture of racism, neglect, discrimination, and frustration of the people. The misfortune is of undocumented minors sent a message thus far calling for the need for progress. This proposal gives the undocumented youth hope to persevere into the future without any hindrances. Progress will evidently lead to an unwelcomed number of problems but if we have overcome everything until now, imagine how much more we can do united.

The Dream Act was a policy created to allow undocumented teenagers to continue on to college right after school, but was shut down in 2010 by Congress. This was a loss and a shock for many students and families. Why won’t the government grant them that right?  I know the situation is delicate because everyone has different beliefs, but people as a whole should know right from wrong. At least I thought so. For example, I believe granting children their wish to continue in life after high school is not only right, but a beautiful concept: as a country we are fulfilling their dreams.  They have lived here their entire lives under the government system, and as children they do not have the maturity to understand why living here is unconstitutional. They were given free education as children but continuing would be tragically impossible because they are not legal. They are considered aliens… children considered aliens. Seriously? They are innocent lives who are going to face difficulties or obstacles because their parents are trying to do what’s best for them.

This policy is a gift to thousands of families across the nation. They are full of joy thanking every angel in heaven for listening to their prayers and for finally handing their children the hope they deserve. And also for giving next year’s high school graduates confidence and assurance to continue their schooling and their lives here in America, the land of dreams and prosperous lives.

 I have a neighbor named Cesar who is 9 years old and is the cutest little boy ever. Unfortunately he is undocumented and he knows he is from Mexico, but he doesn’t know that it’s illegal for him to be here. He frequently asks me about college and wonders when I’ll go, so that when I come back I can tell him everything, and give him tips to make it through. Thus far, every time the topic came up, I would change the topic as quickly as I could. It saddened me because I knew this kid was college material, capable of overcoming any challenges, but I also knew he wouldn’t have the chance to ever experience it… until now. I’m glad and extremely appreciative for the passage of this act. I’ll now be able to witness my neighbor who I see as a little brother, go off to college and succeed in his future dreams.

 We know this work permit will not grant any person citizenship, but allowing these children to one day become fully American is also inevitable. It may take months, years or decades but we have hope that this dream will come true. ¡Si se puede!

July 23, 2012   No Comments

Niños Californianos: A New Face For California Youth

Last week, early census numbers revealed that more than half of the children in California are Latino.  The country’s most populous state is the first to follow the forecasts of Hispanics overtaking whites as the largest minority.  If you’d like to read a little more about this new statistic, check it out here.

This confirms that Hispanics are indeed the face of California’s future (as if we didn’t already know).  A state like California, rich in culture, and the once main destination for many Americans, is yet again in a state of flux.  Only this time, it is facing a different challenge.  Regardless of what the numbers say, this reality is a tough one for many people to swallow.  California is the setting for a bulk of Hispanic history in America, so this news seems very fitting, especially for the time.  And considering the state’s political landscape, changes like these are more welcomed than they are in other regions of the country.  But California will not be the only state where Hispanics take the lead for long.  So any local or state initiatives that affect Hispanics will serve as a model for other states soon to follow the trend.

The most important initiative must be education.  With most children in Cali now being Latino, efforts to revitalize and sustain quality education, maintain schools, and recruit and retain well-qualified teachers can no longer be segmented.  When you live in a state where most of your children are Hispanic, and when Hispanics are more likely to drop out of school than any other group, reaching them is not an option and should not be taken lightly.

In our work with the local Hispanic high schools, we have met so many promising students with the will and the wit to not only get into college, but excel in college.  Young Hispanics in America stand out.  Many times their focus is on the wrong thing, but under no circumstances does this mean they’re not smart.  They’re born with a common sense many adults don’t even possess, and whether it’s through their own experiences, or witnessing their parents’ drive, they understand hard work.  If California is going to continue serving as a pillar of this nation, the state’s leaders much begin connecting with its children now.  And although education needs to remain the focus, merely getting to know them, and learning to understand how they think must be achieved as well.  And it needs to happen now.  I read a distasteful article the other day published by Tulsa World titled “Hispanic Population Growing; we must deal with it.”  Granted, even though the home of many Indian reservations, Oklahoma isn’t exactly considered famous for its embracement of diversity.  But this article was published less than a month ago, and proves that if the kids in California are already mostly Hispanic, then the rest of the country still has quite a ways to go.

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March 15, 2011   1 Comment

Adios 2010

It’s been a little while.  First of all, Happy 2011!  Brand Lateen has been up and running for almost a full year, and we’re excited to see what this year has in store for us.  As we gear up for yet another year of discoveries about our evolving young Latino consumer, let’s first bid a proper despedida to 2010.

I’ll start with an update on how our program at W.H. Adamson High School finished out.  Our four classes did a wonderful job, and we saw a positive change in attitude in many of the students.  From having little to no interest in advertising, and very limited knowledge of the field, a lot of the students had done a complete 180 by the last day of the program.  As they came closer to a finished product, enthusiasm we had not seen prior began to emerge from many of them.

We ended it all with a day at the agency and then each class presented their campaigns to a board of judges.  The judges chose the Boost Mobile campaign as the winner based on how well-thought out and consistent it was throughout.  Their presentation had the least hiccups of any of the groups, and they kept their audience engaged and informed.  Their creative was very in touch with the brand, and much of the artwork done for the project was outstanding.  Each person in the Boost Mobile group was awarded a $10 gift certificate to Target, a free extra value meal and a free hot chocolate from McDonald’s.

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January 3, 2011   1 Comment

Lateen Workers

The following entry serves as a second part to the previous entry, “A Lateen in a Latin Country.”

I think anyone with a good set of eyes can tell blue apart from red, yellow from green and white from brown. In my short week at Costa Rica it was obvious to many of the locals that I was different from the majority of the other Americans I was traveling with. Not just because of my personality, but because of the color of my skin. Although the group I was with did an awesome job, the locals of Parismina asked so many questions about what they do at home because, as they insisted, it seemed like they had never worked a day in their lives. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great group of people and all of the tasks we took charge of, we finished together. I really don’t think there is a group with more heart. But as I interacted with some of my new friends from places like Canada and Colorado, I was shocked by a turn in the conversation.

“Adan, you are a very motivated and ambitious guy,” one said. I smiled and said “I just want a better life for myself and my parents.” She smiled and responded “I wish that I had a reason to push myself more, or at least to be hungry for something better.” This struck me, and very curious, I had to ask, “Why?”

“Everything has been handed to me all my life. I really do not know the meaning of hard work besides school work.” We both laughed, but I can’t manage to forget her words. I know I cannot speak in generalities, but I came to the conclusion that many other non-ethnic groups really don’t know the meaning of working hard to survive in this greedy world, or at least in the United States of America. [Read more →]

August 5, 2010   No Comments

The Future Lateen pt. 2

So once gain, Hispanics will be this country’s majority in 2050.

It’s funny how the statistics are all there, yet many general market agencies (major ones) are still on the fence as to whether or not it’s worth the time or money to attempt exploring and advertising to the dynamic, immense demographic. I’m not sure here, and I hate to sound harsh, but does the hesitation merely spur from not seeing the bigger picture, or for lack of a nicer word, ignorance? The prediction cited at the beginning of this post doesn’t mean that Mexico and Central and South America are simply going to swallow the United States. While Latin Americans will likely never stop migrating to this country, no one should forget about our second and third generation-ers. They’re the young ones already here, the bilingual and bicultural ones, the ones consuming every type of existing media at a faster rate than the GCM population, the ones who are willing to dive right into just about anything remotely appealing, the ones with that energy and heart America is slowly losing its grip on, and they’re the ones who in 2050 will be looking after today’s critics. The “ones”…there’s gotta be a name for ‘em. Ah, yes.  Lateens. [Read more →]

July 16, 2010   1 Comment

The Future Lateen pt. 1

One type of Lateen that deserves a little love is the one I’d like to call the “future” Lateen.  This is the Lateen who is born to one Latino parent, and one parent of another powerful cultural influence.

In college, I knew two brothers who were half Mexican, half black, and very much attuned to both the Mexican culture and that of African Americans, two rich cultures, each with a powerful voice…and each with an awfully distinct way of thinking. They were fun people, and depending on the situation, they could easily transition back and forth between displaying a Mexican and a black persona. Other times, they were simply intriguing people that you couldn’t quite put your finger on. I point these brothers out because they’re the only ones I’ve known personally that exemplify this idea.  Based on what you know about cultures from other parts of the world, imagine what happens when a Hispanic falls in love with say…an Asian, someone from the Middle East, or an Eastern European. What are their children like?  The merging of culture is nothing new, but think of the overwhelming experiences a child of a true Mexican parent and a genuine Chinese parent may have growing up in America, for instance. The holiday season would consist of Posadas, and Chinese New Year. What do you think the family’s staple dinner items might be?  What about language?  The child could grow up speaking Spanish, Mandarin and English fluently, three of the most widely used languages on the planet. [Read more →]

July 16, 2010   2 Comments

Cool Lateens – Julian Castro

A leader is someone that makes people believe in them, but a great leader is someone that makes people believe in themselves. That truth is all around the world. In different settings, there is always that one person that instills people with pride; there is always one person that makes a difference. For example in India, Ghandi believed in peace, in Rome Julius Caesar believed in fighting for the people, in the United States Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a dream of equality. These individuals (and many more throughout time) allowed their beliefs to shape history for good and bad. These types of historical events inspire others to bend the rules, seek change, and pursue their convictions. A great example is Barack Obama: the first African-American President of the United States. He has made many people around the world believe that anything is possible. Now many Lateens are beginning to ask themselves; Who will represent us? Who will be the face of a progressive Latino society? I wish I could magically skip a few years to start my dream of being a “great” politician and run for Mayor, then Governor and who knows? Maybe even President. But the reality is I can’t skip ahead, and unfortunately I am not old enough. The fact is we need someone, and we need that person NOW.

Don’t have fear, Julián Castro is here! No, he is not a superhero, but he is a Latino politician. Castro was born in San Antonio on September 16, 1974 (also the same day of Mexico’s Independence Day). He is the twin brother of Joaquín Castro. He graduated in 1996 from Stanford University, majoring in political science and communications. He said he began thinking about entering politics while at Stanford. He later graduated from Harvard Law School.  Interestingly enough, his brother graduated from both schools with him.

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July 7, 2010   No Comments

Lateens Join The March

A group of people each with distinct character, yet a group of people wanting something in common. That’s the group of people that gained the world’s attention on May 1, 2010. These special groups of people are mostly immigrants, but are known as illegal aliens. No, not the kind of aliens from some far off galaxy, but humans that are born outside the United States of America. From sea to shining sea, across the plains of Texas, to the monuments in Washington, under the lights of New York, to the hot sun of Arizona and over the hills of California millions and millions of feet marched, leaving a message in every step. The need for opportunity to give back to the nation and the desire of no discrimination.

We filled up roads, we filled up highways, and we even filled up cities. You might be wondering why I mention “we.” It’s simple, I choose to march. Yes, I am legal, but like most Lateens in the U.S. some members of my family are not. Well over 200,000 people per city marched peacefully demanding immigration reform and condemning racial profiling by the state of Arizona.

Still confused? We demand the DREAM Act. Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a 6-year-long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service. On the other hand in Arizona SB1070 requires officials (in state and local levels) to make a “reasonable” attempt to determine the immigration status of a person “if” they come in contact with someone they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in this country undocumented. These laws affect all of us that marched, but the real point here is what happened to me at the march.

When I got out of the car, I looked around and I noticed I was not the only teen out there. In fact I would guess that at least 65 percent of the people marching were between the ages of 15 and early 20s. While it was a great march, I lived a dramatic experience that I hope no one goes through. When I started walking into downtown I could see City Hall full of white shirts and American flags waving in the air. It was inspiring. As I got closer to the spot where everyone was, I realized I was behind the “Minute Men,” also known as the anti-immigrants. At first I thought, “How cool will this be? I can see how the other side views us.” But I was not prepared for this awakening.The group of about 50 people looked at me and my family, pointed their speaker and said “Look at these Mexicans! They don’t pay taxes, they are committing crimes, they are taking our jobs, these aliens need to go back to Mexico.” I could feel my heart skip a beat, my soul burn, my fist clinch hard, and I was ready to attack. The only thing that could save me from acting out was my mom, an alien in their eyes. She held my hand and told me, “Not to get down to their level. To set the example for my little brother that perseverance is the tool to success.” Never would I think that in my own country of birth I would be screamed at like that. Never will I think again that I’m fully safe in this country. I think experiences like this help create a separate American identity for Lateens; it makes us even prouder of our roots because our own (other Americans) will not accept us.  I knew that I could not stoop to their level and judge them. Everyone had a reason to be there – their personal beliefs…which because we live in U.S. we are entitled to. But I will never forget the hate I felt directed toward me and my family. It was just like in elementary school when I read about hatred between whites and blacks, except this time I was not reading about discrimination. I was living it myself.

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June 15, 2010   3 Comments

Identity: I Am Me

Story of a Lateen becoming a new age Latina in this country.  Powerfully written in her own words.


More than just a word thrown on a page

A noun efficiently used in discussion of who you are, where you’re from, and who you hope to be, It is your root system spreading deeply, widely, freely.

When you pass me, who do you see?

Yes, you notice my dove chocolate skin;

My curious double espresso pair of eyes; my dimple on the right side; my almost perfect row of pearly crest whitened teeth; my 100-watt smile, melting away all adversity; my dark brown almost black hair that has been stripped of its kinky curls to be straight to the roots.

My short stature, curvy body along with hips that absolutely refuse to fit into Abercrombie & Fitch.

That is me.

This intense description of my physical appearance is lacking.

Sure I am what you see, but do you see what I am?

Doubt it!

I am more than a body and words on a page.

I am a series of complex roots.

Twisting. Crossing. Intersecting uniquely below the surface.

I am the product of the clash between two worlds.

Culture clash, cling, clash and change. Yes we can.

Brought in the headlights between two worlds, a subject of profiling.

Whether it was racial or not. I believed that I was caught.

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April 30, 2010   1 Comment

Lateens Keep Close Eye on Arizona Immigration Law

Senate Bill 1070, a recent bill passed in Arizona is the toughest immigration law in all of the United States.  Under the law, local policemen can act as immigration agents.  They can detain anyone suspected of being an illegal alien, arrest or fine a person who fails to provide a U.S. identification document, or arrest anyone who hires or transports an undocumented worker.

In other words, Arizona cops will soon have the authority to pull over anyone they “suspect” might be of illegal status, and racial profiling has basically become legal in the state.  The law isn’t expected to go into effect until the middle of the year, but the debate is sure to continue.

Across the nation, Latinos are banding together in protest, and Lateens especially have expressed a strong interest in the topic.  Most Lateens who were born here and are therefore citizens are being spurred into advocacy and action for immigrants’ rights and because of how the immigration law affects their families.  Imagine living in a world where policemen can freely harass your parents, or other relatives simply for being of Hispanic heritage.  Say one day, your mother goes to the grocery store and forgets her pocketbook.  If she’s pulled over before she gets back home and can’t present the officer with proper identification, she’s going to jail, even if she is legal.

Can you say Gestapo?

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April 27, 2010   2 Comments