latino activist

Carlos A. Cooks was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic on June 23, 1913 to parents from St. Martin. He died in Harlem, New York, on May 5, 1966. He was a key link in the history of Black American nationalism between Marcus Garvey before him and Malcolm X, whom he influenced. He was also a member and leading figure of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) branches in Harlem and San Pedro de Macoris.

Luisa Moreno (1907-1992) was a Guatemalan social activist who emerged as a leader in the United States labour movement during the 1940s. She was responsible for a number of important activities, such as organizing and leading strikes, or writing pamphlets in both Spanish and English, working to improve the status and living conditions of Latino workers in the USA.

She worked as a seamstress in Spanish Harlem during the Great Depression, and organized her colleagues – mostly Latina women – into a garment workers’ union. Her efforts brought together many Hispanic unions with the purpose of improving their pay, life, and status in society. In 1939, she organized the first national Latino civil rights assembly, the Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española. She eventually gained enough notoriety and influence that she was deported in 1950.

anonymous asked:

I'm in love with the trans Sonny hc! Mostly because I'm a trans boy myself and in that way I can see all of me in a character, like I can see myself in Sonny de la Vega in many ways (I'm latino, activist, trans, etc) and that's the kind of representation that we all deserve in my opinion.

Good! Thats what fandoms are here for. Anything you want to project, its not wrong. :) I’m glad you see yourself in Sonny. He’s an amazing character which means you are both an amazing person and a great judge of character. 

Sometimes I want an RP with only Hispanic/Latino FCs because there’s so much diversity and yet no one talks about it. I want White Latinos, Spaniards, Afro-Latinos, Brazilians, Mexicans, Asian Latinos, Puerto Ricans, Latinos that speak Spanish, Latinos that speak Portuguese, Latinos that don’t speak either but are comforted by the sounds of the words, Republican Latinos, Democratic Latinos, Latinos whose parents are poor immigrants, Latinos whose parents are wealthy businessmen, devout Catholic Latinos, atheist Latinos, Latinos who pass, Latinos who don’t, racist Latinos, activist Latinos, Latinos in large dysfunctional families, Latinos who were raised by single mothers, Latinos who like art, Latinos who frequent museums, Latinos that are history buffs, Latinos who are at the top of their class. I want mestizos who have to explain why if you ever call them gringos, they will mess you up, Spanish heritage be damned. I want mestizos who have embraced that part of themselves. I want passing Latinos that know when people are insulting them and spout Spanish to retaliate. I want brown Latinos who don’t speak a word of Spanish and are tired of the looks their relatives give them.

God help me, I just want something other than maids and sassy Latinas.

anonymous asked:

"I don’t identify as hispanic, I prefer latina or mestiza." Isn't "Chicanx" the more politically conscious term? The student's I've seen into decolonial self-identity, that study their history,seemed to identify as Chicano/Chicano Studies etc. It also ties the historic, anti-racism, political movements of "brown' peoples in the U.S. Doesn't "mestiza" focus on the mixed Euro aspect rather than decentering from that and identifying as "Chicano"/native?

“I don’t identify as hispanic, I prefer latina or mestiza.” Also “Latino” refers to the LATIN language which is based in Europe, the ancestor to Spanish, so technically saying latino and Hispanic is basically the same thing. I never understood why so many “latino” supposed activists still have an aversion to calling themselves “Chicano” despite the more university students & “latino” professors also identifying as Chicano first. Non-Euro centered.

“I don’t identify as hispanic, I prefer latina or mestiza.” So really, Latino, Mestizo and Hispanic all center white/Euro/Spanish as the focus. Chicano is more accurate to describe Mexican-Americans but there doesn’t seem to be a blanket term to unite all brown people other than under some Euro Spanish umbrella. The brown community should think of a new name.

k, so clearly u missed my points about not interfering with how someone else chooses to go about their respective identity in the face of colonial forces.

But since u decided to ignore that, i’ll pick apart how u speaking on my personal terms with a misinformed idea about my history was a bad choice on ur part.

The first of many mistakes that u sought fit to spew onto the world was to think of ‘Chicanx’ as a term that had any potential in addressing the diversity/complexity that is the larger latin american community as a whole, when it is a term whose history is specific to only mexican americans.

((Like..How can u tell me that chicanx is a more ‘politically conscious term’ when ur bases for that is under the assumption that all “brown people” [not all latinx are brown, so…go u for mistake number 2~] should align themselves with a term specifically meant for mexican americans???))

Latinx is NOT ‘basically the same thing’ as hispanic…

Latinx is a term specific to latin americans who recognize the impact of our history with colonization from latin-language based nations (Spain, Portugal, etc), which many of us across borders have shared in different ways, while hispanic is a recognition/alignment to Spanish origins that doesn’t just involve people in the Americas.

((Also… not sure what ur point in bringing up “Why don’t more ‘latin’ activists ID as chicanx like my smarty smarts university students and professors???” was other than an attempt to make ur proposal to substitute ‘chicanx’ identity for latin american identity as a whole seem more credible based on classist assumptions on ‘higher’ education))

Mestizx is a term that originated  from the Spanish casta system that was used in their social casting projects during colonization, so for once u aren’t wrong to say that words like ‘mestizx’ and ‘latinx’ (no genderedized language pls…) have their beginnings in europe. 

But that isn’t something that we’re trying to hide under the covers to begin with.

Both latinx and mestizx have since been reclaimed terms for latin americans who have more differences between one another than similarities, although one of the bigger similarities being the fact that all of us are impacted by past conquests of European superpowers (though in different ways) who have had latin based languages.

My interests in identifying as latinx over hispanic isn’t to omit the Spanish part of my history, it was a personal choice to avoid placing it at the forefront my own being.

I don’t believe in erasing a history that i find ugly. Which is the same reason why I don’t believe that calling myself ‘native’ over ‘mestizx’ is going to change anything about how European influence has had a part in my creation.

Mestizx is a term that has been reclaimed by people who have lost connection to their native ancestry under spanish colonizers and often lack other means to self identify.

Unfortunately, there are mestizx (as well as many chicanx in the mexica movement for example) who have turned their ideas of ‘reclamation’ of ‘native identity’ in their decolonization efforts as a cover for the continuation of oppressive mestizaje ideologies; which target, erase, and kill traditional/connected latin american natives who have fought mestizx assimilation since the beginning in our communities.

Though i support challenging people to become more insightful about the terms/structure of colonial hierarchies, trying to bypass a legacy of mestizx working to erase/silence native latin american in the name of “decolonization” is something that i have to fight against.

That’s why i choose to call myself a mestiza. Because that’s how i recognize myself in history. I understand its origins and implications, i know how people like me came to be, and what we have/are participating in.

I don’t need or want you to try to blanket my identity as “chicanx” because that experience is not a part of my history, and i will not identify as ‘native’ because im honest enough with myself to know where to respectfully set my boundaries.

Kindly fuck off with this faux “#decolonization” “#viva aztlan” shit that you’re telling me i need to swallow.

There wasn’t a damn word you said that i found ‘liberating’ to my self identity in latinidad.

- liz


Meet 16 activists at the front lines of immigration reform

For National Hispanic Heritage month, we’re featuring a wide array of Latino activists at the forefront of immigration reform. The series highlights activists from teenager Carmen Lima, who was just 13 years old when she confronted Speaker of the House John Boehner about pushing immigration legislation, to former Arizona State Sen. Majority leader Alfredo Guiterrez, who has dedicated his life to representing immigrants in Arizona and now considers himself “an old man of the movement.”

In the wide-ranging interviews, activists show that there are many ways to be involved in the immigration reform movement but being fearless is a common denominator across the board. “In the political realm, undocumented people have risked a great deal to stop deportations,” Marisa Franco of #Not1more Deportation Campaign said. “That’s not fearful, that’s courageous, and I think some elected officials should take note and match that courage.”

Whether an undocumented activist or an American activist, there are huge risks to being outspoken in the debate over immigration and even more so in the fight to protect the 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. While President Obama and Congress have yet to reach a resolution on the issue, these are 16 activists, among hundreds of others, who continue to provide critical support services, legal aid, and compassion to immigrant communities. 

“I can’t just stop now,” Lima said. “People are counting on us.”

When the FBI branded Martin Luther King Jr a “dangerous” threat to national security and began tapping his phones, it was part of a long history of spying on black activists in the United States. But the government surveillance of black bodies has never been limited to activists – in fact, according to the FBI;you only had to be black .

In the current fight between Apple and the FBI, black perspectives are largely invisible, yet black communities stand to lose big if the FBI wins. A federal judge in California is set to rule on Tuesday whether the FBI will be granted a request compelling Apple to unlock the iPhone of a San Bernardino shooter.

While seemingly about protecting national security – the same rationale used to justify 20th century surveillance of MLK, the Black Panther Party and others – this case is about much more. It could establish a legal precedent used to suppress the growing movement for black lives that is deposing public officials and disrupting the daily assault on black people in cities across the country.

Building off the civil rights and black power movements of the 1960s, a 21st century movement for black lives is coming of age, mobilizing the same courageous methods of non-violent direct action, using the same local-to-local strategy, and making many of the same demands. An intersectional approach is replacing old identity politics, and a newfound digital landscape is making communication possible in more directions and at previously unimaginable speeds. The movement for black lives is attracting the brightest minds and bravest bodies. Black activists are developing new ways of grassroots organizing in an information economy.

Like its predecessors, the democratic movement for black lives has been met by anti-democratic state surveillance and anti-black police violence. New “smart” policing methods are being used by modern-day gumshoes who, fueled by the false rhetoric of black criminality, experiment with high-tech tools to the detriment of black democratic engagement.

In the 20th century, the FBI admitted to overreaching and violating the constitution when it used its counter intelligence program, COINTELPRO, for domestic surveillance that spied on black activists. Last year, FBI director James Comey admitted in a congressional committee hearing to flying spy planes that monitored protests in the wake of police killings of black people in Ferguson and Baltimore with the agency working in tandem with local police. In Chicago, home of the infamous “red squad”, police collected “ First Amendment Worksheets ” on black organizations such as We Charge Genocide, and Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition.

There are reports from activists on the front lines of protests about police employing “kill switch” technology to cut off live-streaming, using Stingraysto intercept phone calls, or flying drones overhead for crowd control, but such claims are unconfirmed as police refuse to reveal their techniques and are not compelled by law to do so.

Twentieth century surveillance is alive and well in the 21st century, and is one powerful reason why, in a digital age and era of big data, the fight for racial justice must also include a fight for the equal and fair application of first and fourth amendment rights.


A letter was sent by some of us in the Black Lives Matter movement to California federal magistrate judge Sheri Pym, who is overseeing the Apple case, warning of the dangerous implications of siding with the FBI. It was signed by Beats, Rhymes & Relief, the Gathering for Justice, Justice League NYC, writer Shaun King, Black Lives Matter co-founder and Black Alliance for Just Immigration executive director Opal Tometi, as well as the organization I work for, the Center for Media Justice.

I signed because, as the child of a Black Panther, I grew up with the persistent threat of police spying. The police “watched” my family in the name of “safety” and “national security”, but I knew that we became targets of government surveillance because my mother advocated for black bodies abandoned and abused by state violence.

That is why the FBI case is not only against Apple, but is also against communities of color and communities of resistance. It is against democracy. It is against the black immigrant worker who has fled political persecution, the black and Latino youth putting themselves on the line to catalyze deep change, the gender non-conforming bodies subjected to daily assaults, the Muslim communities regularly targeted by bias and hate crimes. We don’t have the same protections others take for granted, we are instead treated as perpetually guilty.

Reports have surfaced that the Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the movement for black lives since the initial uprisings in Ferguson. We know that police are watching the tweets we write, the Facebook event pages we set up, and the demonstrations we organize in the streets. If we are arrested, our phones will be confiscated. Whether or not police can look into our phones, whether or not they need a warrant, is being tested in court. This is not a vision of some distant dystopic future, this is happening right now. This is why the FBI case against Apple, is also against us.

For black communities and others pushed to the margins of political and economic power – democratic engagement and the exercise of our human and civil rights in a digital age demands the ability to encrypt our communications.

It isn’t just Black activists either – Latino activists are raising a similar rallying cry. Consider the prospect of a President Trump, who has notoriously expressed his anti-immigrant views, and sided with the FBI in its fight against Apple. With record numbers of deportations already at hand – could undocumented immigrants be rounded up using the information transmitted from their cellphones?

A newly developed open source app for iPhones called Signal , which encrypts phone calls and text messages, has become a favorite among organizers as well as Edward Snowden . It allows for free and instant encryption of messages that cannot be cracked by anybody wanting to eavesdrop. Activists across the world have adopted the app as one way to protect their right to organize.

Yet encryption technology is for more than just activists. Whether protecting from identity theft or government surveillance – all communities need to protect their data in the digital age. We cannot have a healthy democracy without everyone’s voice.

Black voices, and other voices of color, have long been missing from the debates on government surveillance – but not anymore. We’re here, and we are calling on companies to protect the rights of consumers, and on legislators to protect the rights of residents. One way to do both is to pass the Encrypt Act 2016 , which would, if passed, prevent the government, or a contracted company, from altering the security functions of computers and cellphones, or decoding encrypted information, in order to conduct a search. Even now, members of congress are bizarrely moving to ban encryption at the state level using the rhetoric of terrorism and black criminality.

Encryption is necessary for black civil and human rights to prosper, but isn’t enough. While it protects our democratic right to organize for change, we must fight for a world in which those rights are not under persistent threat. The Apple v the FBI case is a test case for democracy. It will determine, for this and the next generation, who has the right to communicate, and therefore the power to define reality.

In the encryption debate, the stakes are high for black people. Indeed, we are in a fight for our lives. I believe that we will win.

Juan Antonio Corretjer (March 3, 1908 – January 19, 1985), was a poet, journalist and pro-independence political activist opposing United States rule in Puerto Rico.

Corretjer (birth name: Juan Antonio Corretjer Montes) was born in Ciales, Puerto Rico, into a politically active pro-independence family. His parents were Diego Corretjer Hernández and María Brígida Montes González. His father and uncles were involved in the “Ciales Uprising” of August 13, 1898, against the United States occupation. As a lad, he would often accompany his father and uncles to political rallies. He received his primary and secondary education in his hometown. In 1920, when he was only 12 years old, Corretjer wrote his first poem “Canto a Ciales” (I sing to Ciales). In 1924, Corretjer published his first booklet of poems.

Corretjer joined the “Literary Society of Jose Gautier Benitez”, which later would be renamed the “Nationalist Youth”, while he was still in elementary school. When he was in 8th grade, he organized a student protest against the United States in his town. He was expelled from his local high school for organizing a strike to have it renamed for José de Diego. Corretjer was then sent to school in the town of Vega Baja.

In 1927, he moved to San Juan and worked as a journalist for the newspaper “La Democracia”. He later moved to the city of Ponce where he published his first two books of poetry: “Agüeybaná” (1932) and “Ulises” (1933). Throughout his life, he wrote for various newspapers and publications in Puerto Rico,Cuba and the United States.

In 1935, Corretjer travelled to Cuba and joined an anti-Batista group whose aim was to overthrow the U.S.-backed Cuban dictator. He also traveled to Haiti and to the Dominican Republic looking for international support for Puerto Rico’s independence movement.

In 1935, four Nationalists were killed by the police under the command of Colonel E. Francis Riggs. The incident became known as the Rio Piedras massacre. The following year in 1936, two members of the Cadets of the Republic, the Nationalist youth organization, Hiram Rosado and Elias Beauchamp assassinated Colonel Riggs. They were arrested and executed, without a trial, at police headquarters in San Juan.

In 1936, Corretjer met and became friends with the nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos. He was named Secretary General of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party

On April 3, 1936, a Federal Grand Jury submitted accusations against Pedro Albizu Campos, Juan Antonio Corretjer, Luis F. Velázquez, Clemente Soto Vélez and the following members of the Cadets of the Republic: Erasmo Velázquez, Julio H. Velázquez, Rafael Ortiz Pacheco, Juan Gallardo Santiago, and Pablo Rosado Ortiz. They were charged with sedition and other violations of Title 18 of the United States Code. Title 18 of the United States Code is the criminal and penal code of the federal government of the United States. It deals with federal crimes and criminal procedure. As evidence, the prosecution referred to the creation, organization and the activities of the cadets, which the government made reference to as the “Liberting Army of Puerto Rico”. The government prosecutors stated that the military tactics which the cadets were taught was for the sole purpose of overthrowing the Government of the U.S. A jury of seven Puerto Ricans and five Americans voted 7-to-5 not guilty. However, Judge Robert A. Cooper called for a new jury, this time composed of ten Americans and two Puerto Ricans, and a guilty verdict was achieved. Corretjer was sent to “La Princesa” prison for one year in 1937, because he refused to hand over to the American authorities the Book of Acts of the Nationalists Party, as result of his political beliefs.

In 1937 a group of lawyers, including a young Gilberto Concepción de Gracia, tried in vain to defend the Nationalists, but the Boston Court of Appeals, which held appellate jurisdiction over federal matters in Puerto Rico, upheld the verdict. Albizu Campos and the other Nationalist leaders were sent to the Federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.

On May 21, 1948, a bill (Puerto Rico’s Gag Law) was introduced before the Puerto Rican Senate which would restrain the rights of the independence and nationalist movements in the island. The Senate, which at the time was controlled by the PPD and presided over by Luis Muñoz Marín, approved the Bill. The Bill, also known as the “Ley de la Mordaza” (gag Law), made it illegal to display a Puerto Rican flag, to sing a patriotic tune, to talk of independence, and to fight for the liberation of the island. The Bill, which resembled the anti-communist Smith Law passed in the United States, was signed into law on June 10, 1948, by the U.S.-appointed governor of Puerto Rico, Jesús T. Piñero and became known as “Ley 53” (Law 53). In accordance to the new law, it would be a crime to print, publish, sell, exhibit, organize, or to help anyone organize, any society, group or assembly of people whose intentions are to paralyze or destroy the insular government. Anyone accused and found guilty of disobeying the law could be sentenced to ten years of prison, be fined $10,000 dollars (US) or both. According to Leopoldo Figueroa, a member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, the law was repressive and was in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees Freedom of Speech. He pointed out that the law as such was a violation of the civil rights of the people of Puerto Rico.

On October 30, 1950, the Nationalists staged uprisings in the towns of PonceMayagüezNaranjitoAreciboUtuado (Utuado Uprising), San Juan (San Juan Nationalist revolt), and Jayuya (Jayuya Uprising).

Known as the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party Revolts of the 1950s, the revolts were a widespread call for independence by the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, against United States Government rule over Puerto Rico. It specifically repudiated the so-called “Free Associated State” (Estado Libre Asociado) designation of Puerto Rico - a designation widely recognized as a colonial farce.

The revolts failed because of the overwhelming force used by the U.S. military, the U.S. National Guard, the FBI, the CIA, and the Puerto Rican Insular Police - all of whom were aligned against the Nationalists. This force included the machine-gunning of Nationalists all over the island, and the aerial bombing of the town of Jayuya. Hundreds of cadets and Nationalists, among them Corretjer,were arrested by mid-November 1950, and the party was never the same.

The themes and inspiration for his poems and essays were devoted to his defense of his native land. Corretjer’s epic poem “Alabanza en la Torre de Ciales” (Praise in the tower of Ciales) (1953), is considered one of the representative works of the “neocriollismo” movement and has had a strong influence on many later poe In Corretjer’s poetry the Taino is no longer an idealized figure but allegory of revolutionary legacy. In the prologue of “Yerba bruja”, Corretjer states it was not his intent to “dig up a mummy” but to bring to light “the splendor of the indigenous imagination that lives on in our own.”

His poetry spans several decades and transcended any particular literary movement. The Puerto Rican Athenaeum awarded him the honorary title of Puerto Rico National Poet.


Tenemos Familias | Bernie Sanders

New 5 MINUTE LONG AD released by the Sanders campaign that will air full-length nationally on Univision and select stations in Florida

Junot Díaz (born December 31, 1968) is a Dominican-American  writer, creative writing professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and fiction editor at Boston Review. He also serves on the board of advisers for Freedom University, a volunteer organization in Georgia that provides post-secondary instruction to undocumented immigrants. Central to Díaz’s work is the immigrant experience. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, in 2008. He is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow.

Díaz was born in Villa Juana, a neighborhood in Santo DomingoDominican Republic. He was the third child in a family of five. Throughout most of his early childhood, he lived with his mother and grandparents while his father worked in the United States. Díaz emigrated to Parlin, New Jersey, in December 1974, where he was re-united with his father. There he lived less than a mile from what he has described as “one of the largest landfills in New Jersey”.

He attended Madison Park Elementary and was a voracious reader, often walking four miles in order to borrow books from his public library. At this time Díaz became fascinated with apocalyptic films and books, especially the work of John Christopher, the original Planet of the Apes films, and the BBC mini-series Edge of Darkness. Díaz graduated from Cedar Ridge High School (now merged to form Old Bridge High School) in Old Bridge Township, New Jersey in 1987.[8] Though he would not begin to write formally until years later,[9]

He attended Kean College in Union, New Jersey for one year before transferring and ultimately completing his BA at Rutgers College in 1992, majoring in English; there he was involved in Demarest Hall, a creative-writing, living-learning, residence hall, and in various student organizations. He was exposed to the authors who would motivate him to become a writer: Toni Morrison and Sandra Cisneros. He worked his way through college by delivering pool tables, washing dishes, pumping gas, and working at Raritan River Steel. Reflecting on his experience growing up in America and working his way through college in 2010, Díaz said: “I can safely say I’ve seen the US from the bottom up…I may be a success story as an individual. But if you adjust the knob and just take it back one setting to the family unit, I would say my family tells a much more complicated story. It tells the story of two kids in prison. It tells the story of enormous poverty, of tremendous difficulty." A pervasive theme in his short story collection Drown is the absence of a father, which reflects Diaz’s strained relationship with his own father, with whom he no longer keeps in contact. When Diaz once published an article in a Dominican newspaper condemning the country’s treatment of Haitians, his father wrote a letter to the editor saying that the writer of the article should "go back home to Haiti.”

After graduating from Rutgers he was employed at Rutgers University Press as an editorial assistant. At this time Diaz also first created the quasi-autobiographical character of Yunior in a story he used as part of his application for his MFA program in the early 1990s. The character would become important to much of his later work including Drown and This is How You Lose Her.[12] Yunior would become central to much of Diaz’s work, Diaz later explaining how “My idea, ever since Drown, was to write six or seven books about him that would form one big novel”. He earned his MFA from Cornell University in 1995, where he wrote most of his first collection of short stories. Currently, Díaz teaches creative writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing and is also the fiction editor for Boston Review. He is active in the Dominican American community and is a founding member of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Writing Workshop, which focuses on writers of color. Díaz was a Millet Writing Fellow at Wesleyan University, in 2009, and participated in Wesleyan’s Distinguished Writers Series.

Díaz is related to American journalist Nefertiti Jáquez, who currently works for NBC News in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He lives in a domestic partnership with paranormal romance writer Marjorie Liu.

His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker magazine, which listed him as one of the 20 top writers for the 21st century. He has also been published in StoryThe Paris Review, and in the anthologies The Best American Short Stories four times (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000), The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories (2009), and African Voices. He is best known for his two major works: the short story collection Drown (1996) and the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007). Both were published to critical acclaim and he won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the latter. Diaz himself has described his writing style as “[…] a disobedient child of New Jersey and the Dominican Republic if that can be possibly imagined with way too much education.”

Díaz has received a Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, the 2002 PEN/Malamud Award, the 2003 US-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Rome Prize from theAmerican Academy of Arts and Letters. He was selected as one of the 39 most important Latin American writers under the age of 39 by the Bogotá World Book Capital and the Hay Festival. In September 2007, Miramax acquired the rights for a film adaptation of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

The stories in Drown focus on the teenage narrator’s impoverished, fatherless youth in the Dominican Republic and his struggle adapting to his new life in New Jersey. Reviews were generally strong but not without complaints. Díaz read twice for PRI‘s This American Life: “Edison, New Jersey" in 1997 and "How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie" in 1998. Díaz also published a Spanish translation of' Drown, entitled Negocios. The arrival of his novel (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) in 2007 prompted a noticeable re-appraisal of Díaz’s earlier work. Drownbecame widely recognized as an important landmark in contemporary literature—ten years after its initial publication—even by critics who had either entirely ignored the book or had given it poor reviews.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was published in September 2007. New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani characterized Díaz’s writing in the novel as:

a sort of streetwise brand of Spanglish that even the most monolingual reader can easily inhale: lots of flash words and razzle-dazzle talk, lots of body language on the sentences, lots ofDavid Foster Wallace-esque footnotes and asides. And he conjures with seemingly effortless aplomb the two worlds his characters inhabit: the Dominican Republic, the ghost-haunted motherland that shapes their nightmares and their dreams; and America (a.k.a. New Jersey), the land of freedom and hope and not-so-shiny possibilities that they’ve fled to as part of the great Dominican diaspora.

Díaz said about the protagonist of the novel, “Oscar was a composite of all the nerds that I grew up with who didn’t have that special reservoir of masculine privilege. Oscar was who I would have been if it had not been for my father or my brother or my own willingness to fight or my own inability to fit into any category easily.” He also has said that he sees a meaningful and fitting connection between the science fiction and/or epic literary genres and the multi-faceted immigrant experience.

Writing for Time, critic Lev Grossman said that Díaz’s novel was “so astoundingly great that in a fall crowded with heavyweights–Richard RussoPhilip Roth–Díaz is a good bet to run away with the field. You could call The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao… the saga of an immigrant family, but that wouldn’t really be fair. It’s an immigrant-family saga for people who don’t read immigrant-family sagas.”

In addition to the Pulitzer, The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao was awarded the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Novel of 2007 the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, the 2008 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction, the 2008 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and the Massachusetts Book Awards Fiction Award in 2007. Díaz also won theJames Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award for his article “He’ll Take El Alto”, which appeared in Gourmet, September 2007. The novel was also selected by Time andNew York Magazine as the best novel of 2007. The St. Louis Post-DispatchLos Angeles TimesVillage VoiceChristian Science MonitorNew StatesmanWashington Post, and Publishers Weekly were among the 35 publications that placed the novel on their 'Best of 2007’ lists. The novel was the subject of a panel at the 2008 Modern Language Association conference in San Francisco. Stanford University also dedicated a symposium to Junot Díaz in 2012, with roundtables of leading US Latino/a Studies scholars commenting on his creative writing and activism.

In February, 2010, Díaz’s contributions toward encouraging fellow writers were recognized when he was awarded the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, alongside Maxine Hong Kingston and poet M.L. Liebler. Also in February 2010, Díaz contributed a highly negative critical assessment of the presidency of Barack Obama to The New Yorker. writing in his essay “One Year: Storyteller-in-Chief”:

All year I’ve been waiting for Obama to flex his narrative muscles, to tell the story of his presidency, of his Administration, to tell the story of where our country is going and why we should help deliver it there. A coherent, accessible, compelling story—one that is narrow enough to be held in our minds and hearts and that nevertheless is roomy enough for us, the audience, to weave our own predilections, dreams, fears, experiences into its fabric. It should necessarily be a story eight years in duration, a story that no matter what our personal politics are will excite us enough to go out and reëlect the teller just so we can be there for the story’s end. But from where I sit our President has not even told a bad story; he, in my opinion, has told no story at all. I heard him talk healthcare to death but while he was elaborating ideas his opponents were telling stories. Sure they were bad ones, full of distortions and outright lies, but at least they were talking to the American people in the correct idiom: that of narrative. The President gave us a raft of information about why healthcare would be a swell idea; the Republicans gave us death panels. Ideas are wonderful things, but unless they’re couched in a good story they can do nothing.

In September 2012, he released a new collection of short stories entitled This Is How You Lose Her. The collection was named a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award on October 10, 2012. In his review of the book on online arts and culture journal Frontier Psychiatrist, Editor-In-Chief Keith Meatto wrote, “While This is How You Lose Her will surely advance Diaz’s literary career, it may complicate his love life. For the reader, the collection raises the obvious question of what you would do if your lover cheated on you, and implies two no less challenging questions: How do you find love and how do you make it last?”

A description of the book is as follows:

The stories in This Is How You Lose Her, by turns hilarious and devastating, raucous and tender, lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of our all-too-human hearts. They capture the heat of new passion, the recklessness with which we betray what we most treasure, and the torture we go through – “the begging, the crawling over glass, the crying” – to try to mend what we’ve broken beyond repair. They recall the echoes that intimacy leaves behind, even where we thought we did not care. They teach us the catechism of affections: that the faithlessness of the fathers is visited upon the children; that what we do unto our exes is inevitably done in turn unto us; and that loving thy neighbor as thyself is a commandment more safely honored on platonic than erotic terms. Most of all, these stories remind us that the habit of passion always triumphs over experience, and that “love, when it hits us for real, has a half-life of forever.”

Also in 2012, Diaz received a $500,000 (U.S.) MacArthur “Genius grant” award; however, the reaction to the news was not entirely positive, as evidenced by a negative piece by Nina Burleigh in the New York Observer that called the decision to award Diaz “baffling” in the light of his having already won a number of major literary prizes. Diaz himself is quoted as saying of his award win in the MIT News “I think I was speechless for two days,” and that it was both “stupendous” and a “mind-blowing honor.”

Diaz is currently at work on his second long novel, a science-fiction epic provisionally entitled Monstro. Diaz has previously attempted to write a science fiction novel twice, with earlier efforts in the genre “Shadow of the Adept, a far-future novel in the vein of Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer, and Dark America, an Akira-inspired post-apocalyptic nightmare” remaining incomplete and unpublished. In an interview with New York Magazine prior to the release of This Is How You Lose Her, Diaz revealed that the work-in-progress novel concerns “[…] a 14-year-old “Dominican York” girl who saves the planet from a full-blown apocalypse," but he has also warned that the novel may never be completed: "“I’m only at the first part of the novel, so I haven’t really gotten down to the eating,” he says, “and I’ve got to eat a couple cities before I think the thing will really get going.”

Of writing and the arts, Diaz has said "Art is what matters most, and if you’re not contextualizing for a larger push for the arts, what does it matter? What’s really relevant, important, and exigent is that all of us are under pressure to spend less time with art, and we’ve got to figure out a way to talk and encourage each other to do the opposite." With regard to his own writing, Diaz has said “There are two types of writers: those who write for other writers, and those who write for readers,” and that he prefers to keep his readers in mind when writing, as they’ll be more likely to gloss over his mistakes and act as willing participants in a story, rather than actively looking to criticize his writing.

Díaz has been active in a number of community organizations in New York City, from Pro-Libertad, to the Dominican Workers’ Party (Partido de los Trabajadores Dominicanos), and the Unión de Jóvenes Dominicanos (lit. "Dominican Youth Union”). He has been critical of immigration policy in the United States. With fellow author Edwidge Danticat, Díaz published an op-ed piece in The New York Times condemning the illegal deportation of Haitians and Haitian Dominicans by the Dominican government.

On May 22, 2010, it was announced that Díaz had been selected to sit on the 20-member Pulitzer Prize board of jurors. Díaz described his appointment, and the fact that he is the first of Latin background to be appointed to the panel, as an “extraordinary honor”.

He is currently the honorary chairman of the DREAM Project, a non-profit education involvement program in the Dominican Republic.


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Happy Birthday, José Ferrer Canales!

Dr. José Ferrer Canales (September 18, 1913 – July 20, 2005) was an educator, writer and a pro-independence political activist.

Ferrer Canales was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico into a poor working-class family. Despite the economic hardships his family faced, he was able to attend school. He received his elementary education at the Pedro G. Goyco Elementary School and his secondary instruction at Román Baldorioty de Castro School in San Juan. He attended and graduated from the Central Superior High School. It was very difficult for him because after school he had to work in order to help support his family.[1]

In 1934, Ferrer Canales enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico. During his university years he met and befriended Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos, leader of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. This led to his active participation in the pro-independence movement. In 1937, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Arts, graduating Magna Cum Laude. In 1944, Canales earned his Master’s degree in Arts with his thesis: “Enrique José Varona”. He felt influenced by the philosophic ideas of Varona, Eugenio María de Hostos and José Martí.[1]

More on Dr. José Ferrer Canales


On Monday, activists from the San Francisco Bay Area came together in the Mission District to affirm our support for the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela in the face of attacks from segments of the right-wing opposition, and from foreign interference in its affairs. This is a small photo set from the event, which we hope will show our sisters and brothers in Venezuela that they can count on the support of people in the United States for their independence and their political project.

Photos and report by Natalio Pérez

Sometimes Latino activists on Tumblr are so anti-black/racist against other non-white people and they don’t even realize it. They talk about rejecting terms of colonialism like Hispanic and Latino and I agree with rejecting Hispanic (I work on eliminating it all the time from my vocab). But like…Latin America is full of people of different races and people that are mixed with non-white folk etc. This blog on Tumblr was talking about instead of saying Latino or Hispanic we should identify solely as the native group from the country you’re from…I have so many problems with that because a) so many people with indigenous ancestry are disconnected from it and don’t know what to identify as because they can’t or are from multiple native groups (it’s elitist as fuck) b) a lot of Latinos are mixed with black, asian, or arab and basically you’re telling them to give up a whole part of their identity which includes ANOTHER group that suffers under white supremacy because of your ideology, denying them latinidad unless they embrace only their indigenous ancestry like wtf? Black Latinos are denied their identity all the time by white passing Latinos and you’re doing the same thing. Let people access their culture and identify as they want wtf. Latino is the only term accessible for a lot of people when they have no links to their ancestry which is a direct result of white colonialism ugh. It creates community and links us with commonalities like I’m ~mixed~ as hell and from Nicaragua and can talk about similarities with someone else is ~mixed~ as hell from Bolivia because Latinidad allows for fluidity because of so much racial mixing and how hard it is to wrap your mind around an identity that can be so many things and none at the same time.

So this person would tell me to identify SOLELY as Miskito? Even though Miskito people have been mixing with Black Central Americans since they were brought over as slaves?? Like how reductionist can you be ugh.