Category — leaders

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

Lateens at school

I had the opportunity to go to W.H. Adamson High last week and see our classes brainstorm ideas for their advertising campaigns. See related topic on previous post, and the takeaway of my experience below.

I LOVE being around Lateens. Young people in general, but Lateens in particular because every time I leave the school or I have been around them, I feel so energized, refreshed, so alive. Here are some of the words I wrote down while they were brainstorming that I thought best described them:

• Funny, super funny. They make jokes about the simplest of things every once in a while.

• Creative, it took them less than 15 minutes to come up with good ideas for their advertising campaigns.

• Short attention span, super short, you better keep them entertained.
I feel like you have to challenge them, make them think and make it quickly because they seem to get bored fairly easy.

• Real

• Sincere

• They love music. Music is their life.

• Smart

I know these are very generic words and I don’t mean to generalize Lateens, but I wish everybody had the opportunity to go and see for themselves, spend time with them. They are complex, yet simple characters. They are vibrant, yet get bored extremely easily and can come across as apathetic if you don’t look close enough. They are mostly shy, but school is their familiar environment and they feed off of each other’s courage.
Being around them was the best part of my day.

November 22, 2010   6 Comments

My Technological World

The following serves as a supplement to the previous entry, “MySpace vs. Facebook.”  Please note that this is a personal recount of a single Lateen’s experience.

It’s no secret that technology is known to make things easier. It’s known to make things work faster without the same physical effort. It’s also known that my generation takes adavantage of technology and uses it constantly. My generation is different, my generation is who will make a better tomorrow for everyone else.

At school, at work, and at home I am involved in so many different activities, from academic clubs, sport teams to volunteer services. I can honestly say that nothing would be possible without my cell phone and laptop. After a while of being so involved, I have learned to network and meet new people. I’ve learned that unfortunately, the truth is most of the time it’s not who you are, it’s who you know. This brings me to my experience with technology and how my friends and I use it.

I recently created an account on Facebook. I already had a MySpace page, but joining Facebook was a necessary thing to do because all the “older” important contacts I have made along the way only have a Facebook page. Personally, I think they think it’s professional. Throughout history, the human species has transformed constantly to meet its enviroment in an effort to survive. Clearly now people are not adapting to eating wild berries like cavemen did long ago, but people are still adapting. For example just a few years ago, friends exchanged beeper numbers.  Now, not only can you contact someone with the click of a button, but with a few more clicks, you can see documentation of their personal lives.

As I’ve said before I attend W.H Adamson High School. My school is roughly 95 percent Hispanic. It’s a small school with about 1,000 students total. Since it’s so small and mostly made up of people from the neighborhood many of us know each other very well. I was recently elected Senior Class President and to be honest there is a lot to the job. That said, I love it because I love being a leader, but a leader is no one if he or she has no followers. So when I have an idea, I like to get feedback from everyone before I make a decision. This makes others happy, and contacting all students would be hard, but now, in 2010, it’s quite easy. I communicate with my friends through mass text messages, and in turn they continue to forward them to anyone who might be interested. I can also chat with them on MySpace or send an event invitation on Facebook. All this technology makes it easier to inform everyone or make new plans simultaneously. [Read more →]

August 13, 2010   No Comments

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

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

What makes a Lateen happy?

I’ve never won anything free in my whole life, so when I got a copy of the yet to be published book, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, I knew I had to read it ASAP.

Since I finished the book, I’ve thought about it and the important lessons mentioned in it at least once a day.

Without giving away too much, the book made me laugh out loud more than twice, made me tear up once and made me want to go out there and conquer the world.  It took me back to my teen years when I would get infatuated with certain books, but it also made me wonder about how much Lateens are reading this days.

I couldn’t find a compelling statistic on readership among Lateens, good or bad, but most importantly I want this post to be a call to action for Hispanic parents. Somebody told me a long time ago that kids imitate what their parents do.  Therefore, parents should read to their kids, read themselves (so the kids see them) and write, if possible.  I wonder how many Hispanic parents do this. After all, all kinds of education start at home.  If you haven’t read to your kids and they are already teenagers, it’s not too late.  Grab a book, any book, (I recommend Delivering Happiness but I’m a little biased), or the newspaper and make it a family ritual.

Again, I don’t want to reveal too much, but Delivering Happiness also made me think about what makes a Lateen happy.  What makes us happy?  Why does happiness mean something different to all of us?  What is the science behind it?  It also made me think about how responsible we adults are for Lateens’ happiness … I say a lot.  I say it’s in our hands to help them find their happiness, to help them find that ONE book that can make them laugh and cry at the same time, to help them find their passions and their path, but how do we do this?  We have to get involved, we have to mentor them (it’s a win-win situation because there’s also a lot we can learn from them) and most importantly we have to be present in their lives.

What would make me happy would be to have at least one Lateen parent read to their kids and for at least 10 people to read Delivering Happiness.  I think it’s a fair deal for getting a free book.  I highly recommend it and think it will help you rethink your own happiness and that of those around you, including Lateens.

May 11, 2010   6 Comments

What I wish somebody had told me when I was a Lateen

  • Keep your dreams alive, they ARE possible.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. This one is tricky. You might not notice until it’s too late that the energy people give out has an effect on you if you are close enough. The more you surround yourself by mentors, good friends, and positive role models, the greater the chance you have to make it. Learn from them. Successful people always respect a striving Lateen. They will become your platform.
  • It is possible to go to college whatever your circumstances are. There are scholarships, there are waivers ( and even if you have to work your hardest trying to survive, it is all worth it.
  • Education is your power. Nobody will be able to take it away from you once you have it. Go get it now!
  • Be healthy. It was particularly difficult for me to stay healthy in the transition from high school to college and then during college due to the amount of stress it all created, with the combination of juggling school, work, money, living arrangements, friends, boyfriends, family, and of course money, money, money. If I had to do it all over again, I would focus primarily on being healthy. You need your health to study, to think clearly, to move faster, to learn. Sleep well, eat well, exercise – the basics.
  • Stay tough. You already are, just don’t forget to keep it up.
  • Be true to yourself. By this I mean that even if it bothers your family, friends, etc. make your own decisions and live up to them. Own them.
  • If you already have a religious or spiritual practice, keep it up. If not, find your own. This is something I still strive for (and I’m in my 30s) but I think it does help to have faith in something bigger than ourselves.
  • Embrace your cultures.
  • Love will find you when you are ready for it. Don’t stress over it. I know at least one person told me that but I didn’t listen closely (or rather didn’t believe it back then). I hope you don’t have to waste as much time as I did “looking” for love, instead, always love yourself first.
  • And most importantly, HAVE FUN! You are a great Lateen, rock on!

May 6, 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

The Future Will Be More Hispanic

The future belongs to the young, and so we know that our future will be more and more Hispanic. That counts one of every five kids in school today, one of every four newborns and that number jumps to one of every two in California and Texas. The Pew Hispanic Center released an in-depth report that paints a fascinating picture of the values, education and employment of the next generation: Hispanics between the ages of 16 and 25. That includes high rates of teen pregnancy, gang affiliation and school dropouts, but it also finds that the majority of Latino youth speak English as their dominant language and place a high value on education and career success. Contrary to popular assumption, the great majority of young Hispanics are born in the U.S.

This group has already taken notice of their role in this country and the impact that they have from mainstream culture to their local communities. They are proud to be active participants of the broader youth movement, while being able to create something that is uniquely Latino. They are not ashamed, embarrassed or intimidated. Lateens meld together their American society with their Latino experiences to create a new America.

This doesn’t mean that today’s Lateen is not going to struggle, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. They realize that many of the issues such as immigration, unemployment and racism are not going to go away overnight. But they also realize that the future will be more Hispanic than it is today and it is up to them to define what the future will hold.

April 23, 2010   1 Comment

Do Latino teens have anyone Hispanic to look up to?

Latinos are the largest minority segment in this country. Yet, even with remarkable increases in population growth and purchasing power, Latinos are struggling. It is true that Latinos are underrepresented in television shows, the movie industry, and even mainstream media, but that does not mean that leaders don’t exist. Sure we could benefit from stronger, more prominent figures, but that is not the issue. The next generation doesn’t look up to those who have paved the way because they aren’t aware. How can they be influenced when they see an image of Sonia Sotomayor and they confuse her with their mother’s friend that cleans houses for a living? As of today, we should give ourselves an “F” because of our inability to engage our youth. We need to educate them on the successes and failures of our current leaders. It is imperative that we build the Latino community from the bottom up. This is where we need to take a page out of the African-American community’s playbook. There is still progress to be made within the black community, but they have strong established leaders that are an inherit part of their history, culture and future. [Read more →]

April 9, 2010   1 Comment