Veronica Soltero Godinez knows coding and robotics skills are in high demand today in many jobs. She wants to make sure school children in California are getting the computer science education they need to succeed.
This coming school year the California Department of Education will be depending on her expertise. It has appointed Veronica to a very prestigious committee aimed and making computer science education better for students in California.
She shared her good news on Wise Latinas Linked on Facebook.
Veronica has been an educator since 2005. She’s been a teacher, teacher’s coach, and principal in Idaho and California. She has served as Vice President of Inland Area CUE (Computer Using Educators) and continues to be involved with the organization.
She started her new job this month as principal at Maxson Elementary School in El Monte, CA. The school has more than 500 students who are mostly Latino children.
Veronica is an innovator who is always looking for ways to motivate students. She said “I was the one teacher after school playing with robots and learning to code with the students.”
The mother of three girls has started many after school clubs within the schools that she has served and she has also taught teachers how to use computer science to cross teach with English, science, math and history.
Veronica has lead coding and robotic programs for students and even invited parents to get involved. The programs teach the students team work, persistence, creativity and problem-solving skills.
KNOWLEDGE OPENS DOORS
Veronica is confident her students will have opportunities in the future for college scholarships and careers in demand in coding and robotics. Veronica told us “There are many jobs waiting to be filled that are sitting waiting for my students to graduate. Jobs with $100,000 salaries – just waiting.”
You can’t help but feel helpless for the family of Lourdes Salazar Bautista. Her time is running out after twenty years of living in the United States. A video of Lourdes’ children crying and pleading with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) not to deport their mother opens your eyes to life in the Donald Trump world. The president is willing to tear families apart and deport immigrants who are hard working people and good parents.
Lourdes in tears tell us in the video that she has a job and works to keep a home and food on the table for her children. What do her American children do if she is deported?
LOURDES STAY OF REMOVAL DENIED
Lourdes first came in contact with ICE in 2010, and after being detained for almost a month ICE “traded” Lourdes for her husband. Lourdes’ husband was deported and she was allowed to stay in the United States. Every year Lourdes has to check in with immigration and every year she is granted a stay of removal.
In March Lourdes’s stay of removal was denied and she has been ordered to buy her plane ticket and leave the country by August 2nd. She will leave behind three children all born in the U.S. (Source: Lucha Por Lourdes Facebook)
ICE acknowledges she has no criminal record, maintains it has been lenient already. (Source: MLive Michigan)
THE FIGHT TO KEEP LOURDES HERE, LA LUCHA POR LOURDES
MLive Michigan reports The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously on Monday (July 17) to approve a resolution to ask the federal government for a stay of deportation for Lourdes.
Mayor Christopher Taylor said her deportation will not make the U.S. safer or protect American jobs.”All it will achieve is to devastate a family and impoverish a community that values her,” he said. “It’s not a wise use of government resources. We should be doing better.” (Full story>> MLive Michigan)
JULY 18 VIGIL AND RALLY
Where: St. Mary Student Parish, University of Michigan
331 Thompson St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
If you live in the area please show up to support Lourdes and her family. More info about event>> Facebook Rally page
CONTACT ICE IN DETROIT
Detroit ICE Director Rebecca Adducci
CONTACT U.S. SENATORS FROM MICHIGAN
If these Senators believe in keeping families together, then lets see them prove it. Reach out, call and email them to help look into Lourdes’ case.
Artiles was forced to apologize for calling two other senators racial slurs three days ago. Members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus described Artiles as a bully. Many took to social media to unleashed their own anger on Artiles.
RAICES a nonprofit in San Antonio is dealing with 500 immigrant families that were left Sunday night by ICE at the center’s door. These are families who were released from private Texas prisons where they were being held.
RAICES is a refugee and immigrant center for education and legal services. Sunday night volunteers and workers had to hurry and find supplies, donations and even room for the mothers and their children. It appears ICE did not have a plan for this release. Here is what RAICES posted on Facebook Sunday night:
We need your help more than ever! Over 500 families were dropped off in San Antonio after being held in private prisons. Their disorganization led to the mothers to be released well past midnight of this past Sunday!
PLEASE HELP, GIVE WHAT YOU CAN
RAICES shared its immediate needs on Facebook. Please check out the list and do what you can to help these families.
1. Money! We spent over $1,700 on mattresses and bedding last night alone to accommodate everyone. You can donate here: www.raicestexas.org/pages/casa
2. In-kind donations of bottled water, medicine (most kids leaving detention are sick!), pens, diapers, and baby wipes. We also need extra cell phones for families to call their families in the United States. We have hundreds sharing 2 cell phones. In-kind donations can be dropped off at 1443 S. St. Mary’s St. in San Antonio. To have supplies be shipped order from: http://a.co/eg9Rndj
3. Spanish speaking volunteers are still needed. RAICES staff have been up past 3am the last two nights helping families. We need your support. People interested in volunteering should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please spread the word. And #EndFamilyDetention
Contact information for RAICES: Call (210) 226-7722
BACKGROUND ON RAICES
RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) was founded and incorporated in 1986 under the name of the Refugee Aid Project. During this time, Central Americans flooded into Texas after fleeing the civil wars and social upheavals of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Several churches and religious orders answered the needs of the new arrivals by providing food, clothing, language classes, housing, medical and legal referrals. The agency provided a forum for San Antonians to meet the new arrivals and learn first hand about the situation in Central America.
Rebecca Aguilar is the founder of Wise Latinas Linked, a social media networking group on Facebook and LinkedIn for Latinas with more than 8,000 members.
Our Latino community proved during the 2016 election that we are a powerful group with a strong voice and vote. For those who did not support President-elect Donald Trump we have to accept the fact that he is now our leader. We have to give him chance to unite us.
I have heard you loud and clear on our Wise Latina Linked pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I recorded this video message to all of you right after meeting with a group of concerned Latinas.
Let’s keep an open mind and heart and hope President-elect Trump will be a man who understands division gets us no where, united we are a stronger country.
Rebecca Aguilar is the founder of Wise Latinas Linked and an award-winning reporter.
We as Latinas continue to be cheated out of fair pay. We are still making a lot less than white males and other non-Latinas. We work the same hours for half the pay.
THE GENDER PAY GAP FOR LATINAS
Although we bring attention to this issue on November 1, Latina equal pay is an issue we need to continue to bring to the attention of politicians who want our votes and businesses that want us as customers.
Look at these graphics and get informed. Remaining silent is not an option. We are not only fighting for our fair pay but also that our young Latinas who will one day enter the workforce.
Go to the AAUW website for more information. AAUW.org
No matter how much Donald Trump calls his p-word, f-word, and b-word laced conversation “locker room talk”, it has made many American’s cringe. Women around the world are sharing their horrible experiences on Twitter under the hashtag #NotOkay.
When Monica Garcia Saenz hears the Republican candidate’s excuse for his vulgar comments about groping women she thinks about being a young girl and becoming a victim of sexual assault by a stranger.
After the second presidential debate, Monica was brave enough to share her story with the members of the Wise Latinas Linked group on Facebook. We asked Monica if we could share her very painful experience. She allowed us to post her message.
During this Hispanic Heritage Month we honor Sylvia Mendez who helped change life for Mexican children in California when legal action ended segregation.
Sylvia was the daughter of Gonzalo Mendez,a Mexican immigrant and Felicitas Mendez, a Puerto Rican immigrant. Like most parents, they wanted Sylvia and her two brothers to get a good education but they were not allowed to enroll into a “white” school.
Sylvia’s parents and other parents filed a class action lawsuit in 1945 on behalf of more than 5,000 children who attended segregated schools. They won the lawsuit.
In February 2011, President Obama awarded Sylvia Mendez the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Today Sylvia Mendez continues to share her story in schools across the country.
Katy Jurado decided early when she got to Hollywood that she would determine her career path and not fall into the stereotype of playing Mexican sexpots on film. She was already an actress in Mexico when she was discovered by an American director at a bullfight. Aside from acting, Jurado was also a movie columnist, radio reporter and bullfight critic in Mexico.
Jurado was offered her first American film in the early 1950’s. Her performance in the film “High Noon” won her a Golden Globe award. She was the first Latina to win that award.
For more on Jurado and her acting successes and work in Mexico and the U.S. go to the following sources:
During this Hispanic Heritage Month we honor Dr. Antonia Pantoja. One of her favorite saying was “We make the future, I make the future.” The Puerto Rican New Yorker committed her life to helping Latino high school students get an education and move forward in life.
More about Dr. Pantoja:
1922 – Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico
1942 – Graduated from the University of Puerto Rico
1944 – Arrived in New York City
1952 – Graduated with Masters of Social Work
1958 – joined a group of young professionals creating the Puerto Rican Forum, Inc.
1961 – Founded ASPIRA
1970 – established the Universidad Boricua and the Puerto Rican Research and Resource Center
1972 – Fought for bilingual education in New York City
1997 – President Clinton awarded Dr. Pantoja the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She became the first Latina to receive the highest honor the nation bestows on a civilian.
This Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15- Oct. 15) we will be honoring Hispanic women who have worked to make life better for others, especially the Hispanic community.
These are women who have made an impact in education, politics, art, journalism, science, civil rights, tech and other fields. Some of these Hispanic leaders are still with us today and some are not, but their legacy lives on.
MARIA L. DE HERNANDEZ FOUGHT AGAINST SEGREGATION IN TEXAS SCHOOLS
Read more about Maria Rebecca Latigo de Hernandez and her hard work.
Lilian Lopez Peña told us about the organization Somos Mayfair on our Wise Latinas Linked Facebook page. The nonprofit is setting the tone in the Silicon Valley by making sure every child has an opportunity to push forward.
LEAVING NO CHILD BEHIND IN THE SILICON VALLEY
Grassroots efforts – this was evident at the 8th Annual #GraciasALaVida celebration of Somos Mayfair in San Jose yesterday. Pictured to the left is Camille Llanes-Fontanilla, the Executive Director, an agent of change and a sister in the movement.
Unbeknownst to most, there is a large Latino population in Silicon Valley this organization serves, to give a voice to otherwise hidden social inequality. Camille, along with hundreds of Latino leaders and many other professionals in the country’s mega-tech hub, came together to recommit to the cause of serving our under-privileged and to propel our children forward.
We tilted Silicon Valley yesterday, with the weight and power of our #Latino community. Under one roof, there were many social influencers.
I had the opportunity to meet former San Jose Mayor, Ron Gonzales (now President and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of SV), a major supporter of education and literacy among our community.
The Alum Rock Union School Superintendent, Hilaria Bauer, made a special announcement: “Partnership accelerates change and it must start early – Somos Mayfair, Headstart, First 5, the Santa Clara County Office of Education and many more partner organizations, along with Alum Rock Union School District will offer universal pre-school services.”
Here is a clip of Camille as posted to Twitter by my news organization, ABC7 News Bay Area. As part of my work here and with the SF Latino Community Foundation, I suggested Somos Mayfair as an organization to receive hundreds of Disney #MagicOfStoryTelling books through First Book – they are on track for their new Disney book shipment in May/June.
I am also working on news coverage of the presentation. When I walked into the venue yesterday, Camille and staff had placed a book on every chair, which each attendee then placed into a book bin as a symbolic action of our commitment to literacy among our children. I knew I was in the right place, in the right space, in a room filled with amazing grace.
María Rebecca Latigo de Hernández was a civil rights activist. She worked hard to make life better for the Mexican-American community. In 1929, she co-founded the Orden Caballeros of America. The organization supported civic and civil rights.
Latigo de Hernández protested the segregation of Mexican-American children and the inferior education they were being offered at school in San Antonio, Texas. In 1970, she was instrumental in the development of the Raza Unity Party’s gain in politics.
Latigo de Hernández used radio to get her message out. She was one of the first Mexican-Americans on the radio in the 1930, and later went on to do television until the 1970’s.
Highlights of Hernández’s Life
Taught elementary school in Monterrey
Mother of 10 children.
1929-Organized organization dedicated to political activities to help Mexicans.
1932-first Mexican female radio announcer. 1933- Formed organization to give financial help to expectant mothers.
1934-Formed organization to help get better education for Mexican community.
1934-spoke on “Voz de las Americas” to promote LULAC.
1938-took up works rights in the Pecan-Shellers’ Strike.
1939-visited Mexico’s president to create good will between Mexico and U.S. Mexicans.
1945- Book published with Hernández essays.
1945- formed Club Liberal Pro-Cultura de la Mujer.
1968- began bimonthly speeches on education and social progress.
1968-was part of El Círculo Social Damas de América on Television in SA
1968-testified before US Commission on Civil Rights on race discrimination against Mexican Americans and African Americans.
1969- Board member of Círculo Social
1970- became part of Raza Unida Party
1986-María Hernández died of pneumonia in Lytle on January 8, 1986
More resources on María Rebecca Latigo de Hernández
The subject of body image is so relevant not just for teens but for grown ups too. I wanted to take a moment to share my personal experience in hopes of helping others overcome they’re own body image issues.
I was trained in ballet in an RAD school in NYC and completed the children’s senior division with honors back in 1980. As you might imagine, I had the “ideal” ballerina body with the “perfect” turnout. I could kick my face, if I wanted to. Throughout my high school years I assisted at the ballet school and later taught adult ballet classes (in the 1990s).
After stopping dance for some time due to emotional issues (and I had so many, I was a total emotional wreck!!!), I got married, had a child and my body changed dramatically. I literally cried in front of the mirror, “I am no longer the dancer and the athlete I once was. Look at me. I’m out of shape. I have breasts and hips. I look like a regular person, a woman –eek 😩.” I was depressed.
My life took me to a place I never thought I’d be. I had learned a thing or two about personal development and written a book about it. So I knew this time around I had to work on myself and assess what I needed to do to bring myself back to happy again.
Top on the list… I had to embrace my new body; learn to love it or I’d sink deeper. Even if I wanted to transform it later, I had to learn to love it first because obsessing over its flaws would only keep those flaws closer to me.
So one day I looked at myself in the mirror and literally stopped myself from crying, smiled and said, “d*mn you look good girl!” Did I mean it? No. I was faking it to make it. I knew over time it would change how I felt about my body, and in turn change my behaviors and transform my life.
I practiced the “d*mn you look good girl” affirmation every day. In a short while I started moving again, I changed how I dressed — no more baggy clothes! I ate better, dealt with personal issues and started having more fun again.
After a few months of this and continuing to tell myself I was beautiful, I found myself transforming. I actually believed I was beautiful and I came to love my new body. My husband loved it too… hee hee! I became a glowing beam of self love and I believe the love I emitted felt good to be around and made me look “beautiful”!
Years later, I opened a movement studio (yoga and zumba) and our students suggested I start teaching ballet barre. I did it, now three years in. The women who come to my class couldn’t care less how shapely my body is.
What they see (I believe) is my strength and the passion I have for movement… spilling out of me. I push them, I challenge them, I remind them how awesome they are in every way! Ahhh, ballet can be soul awakening and healing.
Does it mean I don’t continue to improve myself and my body? Of course not. I continue to challenge myself. And I continue to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself how “gorgeous” I am every day!
All that I have to offer will not be hindered by any superficial means. That above all is what I bring with me to class every day… that and my womanly curves!
Jessica Yanez-Perez is like many Americans today, remembering the tragedy of 9/11. But she also reminds us that 9/11 brought us together as a country, and brought us together as proud Americans. We were standing against those who would try to hurt our country, and hurt our people.
But what has happened since then? Why is there so much hate within the American people? Why are groups turning on each other in the country of “the land of the free and the home of the brave”?
Listen to Jessica’s heartfelt message.
Thank you Jessica for reminding us that hate gets us no where, and what is important today is to understand and respect each other.
I don’t know the back story about this video of a reunion between a young boy and his father. All I know is that around the country children today are missing their parents who have been deported. And many are wondering why it has happened? Remember they are children.
This video has a happy ending after two years that the father was separated from his children. As of now the video has close to three million views. It has hit a nerve. It has touched many hearts.
Take into consideration that these are parents who only came to this country to build a better life for their families. In many cases they are fathers and mothers who started their families here and were ripped apart my the federal immigration system.
Although this little boy’s father has come home; don’t think he won’t be worrying his father will be deported again. These children are left emotionally damaged.
No one explains the grownup world of immigration and deportation. No one explains why a parent is not coming home. Some children are left to think their parents abandoned them.
It’s a sad situation that will continue to happen, children left behind when their parents are deported.
Rebecca Aguilar is a freelance journalist and founder of Wise Latinas Linked, the largest virtual networking group of Latinas on Facebook and LinkedIn with more than 7,000 members.
ABC’s ‘The View’ is excited about announcing its new co-hosts for its 19th season starting September 8. But as Latinas we’re not happy that once again we are missing in action.
We have not been invited to sit around the table in a permanent position in the show’s upcoming new season. ‘The View’ continues to ignore our Latina voices and our significance in this country.
Once again Latinas have been shut out, our voice and our point of view will not be heard on ‘The View.’
Look at ‘The View’s’ Facebook page and the photo of the new co-hosts joining the show. The only women of color are Whoopi and Raven-Symoné. But they can’t speak for us, they don’t see our world as Latinas because they’re not one of us.
Last season Rosie Perez stood her ground for us on everything from immigration to racist remarks made by guest hosts like Kelly Osbourne. How can we forget Osbourne’s comment “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?”
I’m still not sure if Perez left on her own or if she was asked to leave. I’m not sure if we’ll ever get the straight story on that departure.
But did ABC or ‘The View’ producers even attempt to find a Latina to sit around that table? Did they even interview a few Latinas just to humor us? ‘The View’ claims political commentator, Ana Navarro will be part of a group of contributors. In TV talk that means she’ll be on every once in a while. But you know what? That is not good enough.
The show is going on its 19th season and in all that time only ONE Latina has been asked to take a permanent chair. There are 50 million Latinos in the U.S. and ‘The View’ was only able to find ONE Latina in 19 seasons. Talk about unfair!
It’s amazing how every politician wants the Latina vote, every company knows our purchasing power, but still ‘The View’ continues to ignore us and not take us seriously. It’s time to stop supporting this show. Yes, I mean not watch it. Change the channel.
I’m glad comedian Joy Behar is returning to the show. She makes people laugh. But I won’t be watching. ‘The View’s’ producers have sent their message loud and clear to Latinas “Mi casa is not tu casa.” Translation “Our home is not your home.”
Time to use that remote and find another TV show in that time slot that will appreciate us. I’m sure their advertisers will welcome us too.
Latinas we have a voice. Let ‘The View’ know what you’re thinking on their social media pages. United we are a powerhouse!
Ricardo Aca may end up losing his job. He may not have a job by the time you read this story.
Aca is an undocumented immigrant and he works for Donald Trump. The Mexican immigrant says he’s been a busboy at one of Trump’s hotel restaurants for the past two years.
In a video produced by The New Left Media, Aca has come forward to let the world know that he came to the U.S. with his family when he was 14-years-old. He currently works two jobs.
And because Aca can’t vote, he is using his photography skills to let Trump and other Republicans know that he and many undocumented immigrants are not criminals, drug dealers or a rapists. They are good people who work hard to be here.
The Daily Mail is reporting that ABC execs at The View forced co-host Rosie Perez to apologize to Kelly Osbourne. After the show Perez had it out with the producers and then left The View for good. Never to return.
You may recall that Osbourne was filling in as a co-host on the show. The women were talking about Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant statements when Osbourne blurted out “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump.”
Osbourne’s racist comment stunned her co-hosts and the audience. Perez jumped in right away saying “oh, that’s not..oh no..” and “Latinos are not the only people doing that.” Here’s the video.
I saw the show and knew right away Osbourne’s derogatory statement was about to go viral. According to The Daily Mail, after the show Osbourne started crying, and show executives cornered Perez forcing her to apologize on Twitter. Here’s the tweet.
The next day on Twitter, Perez did a bit more explaining.
LATINAS LASH OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Like most women, Latinas don’t like to told what to do. And hearing that Perez was forced to apologize to Osbourne had Latinas speaking out overwhelmingly in support of Perez on social media. Here are just a few comments from our Wise Latinas Linked members on Facebook.
M. Rascon “Wow. I think all Latinos need to boycott his show. This is just another sign of disrespect Latinos receive and why I get so passionate about this Trump issue.”
B. Wilson “Total crap. I’m glad Rosie walked off. And this is really shameful, considering how Kelly left Fashion Police after unfortunate remarks by Giuliana Rancic about singer/actress Disney star Zendeya.”
M. Galaviz “I wonder why Kelly wasn’t ‘forced’ to publicly apologize to Rosie and the Latino community for her disrespect words.”
S. Ibarra “I’m sick of Kelly Osbourne. Who made her the queen?…”
I. Marsh “No need to apologize Rosie! That pendeja let her true feelings show. She should be apologizing to you!”
A. Marcos “Beyond the ‘drama’ and the racist remark, what this demonstrates to me, is the deep embedded belief that so many people have about us…”
ROSIE PEREZ DESERVES AN APOLOGY
If ABC execs did force Perez to apologize as The Daily Mail is reporting, they should now publicly apologize to her. Perez did nothing wrong. She was standing up for Latinos. It’s called “The View” right? That was Perez’s view; defending us from a ridiculous statement.
How many times is Osbourne going to apologize for putting her foot in her mouth? How many times will she pour on the tears? It’s getting old.
Right now The View cannot afford to lose anymore viewers. Just a reminder, Latinas are not only a big voting block but we are also a big viewing block. The View’s sponsors know that too. If Latinas don’t watch the show, we don’t buy the products advertised.
Can someone tell Kelly Osbourne I would be more than willing to give her FREE classes on Sensitivity 101 and Diversity 101. The more she knows about Latinos the better for her reputation.
There has to be a special place in heaven for Las Patronas de Veracruz. They are probably the most giving, unselfish group of hard-working women in Mexico.
Las Patronas de Veracruz are angels to immigrants trying to make it to the U.S. For more than two decades, these women have cooked rice, beans and tortillas to give away to thousands of Central American immigrants crossing Mexico north on a train.
The village of La Patrona lies in a corner of the eastern state of Veracruz. In 2014, students from Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work’s Study Abroad program went to Mexico to work with the women of La Patrona. Here’s a video the students produced.
This is the magazine cover everyone will be talking about this week. Thirty-five women who accuse Bill Cosby of rape are on the cover of New York magazine. Here is part of what New York Magazine wrote on Instagram:
“Today, the way we think and talk about rape has evolved, creating a safer space for survivors to feel empowered by speaking up and reclaiming their victimhood. And that’s led us here. Of the 46 women who have come forward to accuse Cosby, we spoke to 35 of them — “a sorrowful sisterhood” of women united by their dark experiences,…”
The women on the cover range in age from their 20’s to 80-years-old. They are also of diverse backgrounds including a supermodels, waitresses, TV writers and journalists.
This was a bold move by New York Magazine and it will be empowering to women around the country. Bill Cosby claims he has done nothing wrong.
I’d like to know your thoughts on the cover. Please share in comments.
Visit New York Magazine’s Instagram page and hear recorded interviews with the women.
Mark Waltrip, Chief Operating Officer at Westgate Resorts says his company does not discriminate against anyone, including Latinos who may not speak English. Waltrip and I spoke by phone for 30 minutes this morning.
The COO was responding to my story about Luis Diaz and his family from Oklahoma City. They went to a Westgate Resort information center last Thursday in Branson, MO. Diaz says he and his family were denied discount show tickets because the store manager overheard him speaking in Spanish to his mother. Diaz remembers the manager telling the salesman “That does not apply to them. They can’t get the discount because both husband and wife have to speak English.”
Diaz posted his experience on his Facebook page. He also posted a video of himself going back into the store to get answers from the manager on why they couldn’t get the tickets. The manager is seen in the video saying “a husband and wife must be able to speak English.” Diaz was with his mother.
Waltrip calls the encounter between Diaz and the manager “a big misunderstanding.” He says he not spoken to the manager, but has seen the video and talked to the manager’s supervisor.
Waltrip blames Diaz for the situation getting out of hand. “It’s an unfortunate situation but the reality is we do not discriminate. There is no discrimination in this instance,” Waltrip says. “He (Diaz) just simply would not listen or understand what the manager was trying to explain to him.”
Waltrip says the manager tried to explain that the discounted tickets were an incentive to take a real estate tour, but the Diaz’s did not meet the qualifications. “In order to take that real estate tour, they have to meet certain qualifications, including age, income, and most of all anyone taking a complimentary real estate tour has to be able to understand, comprehend, read documents and sign off on their understanding of documents. And that’s why…both parties have to be able to speak English.”
Waltrip believes it is important for Westgate management to be upfront about everything involving the real estate tours with possible customers. “It’s not a discriminatory thing, it’s simple if you’re going to conduct business you’re going to be able to communicate, and that is what the manager was trying to explain. We’ll gladly give you a tour of the resort. We’ll gladly sell you tickets, but we can’t pay you to take a tour unless you meet the qualifications.”Diaz told me on Saturday that the salesman never brought up any kind of real estate or timeshare information if that was his objective.
Waltrip says the only thing his manager did wrong was not handle the situation in a correct manner. “Mr. Diaz is not being entirely truthful, but at the same time our manager is going to get counseling on how he communicates with people. While what he said was factual, it could have been said in a much politer way. But Mr. Diaz, if you listen to the video, was clearly looking for a confrontation.”
Diaz told me on Saturday that he returned to the store to get the manager on video explaining the reason why his family was being denied access to the discount tickets. He says he was upset when he walked back into the store, even after the salesman came out and said “Man! I’m really sorry.”
WESTGATE RESORTS AND THE LATINO COMMUNITY
Waltrip describes Westgate Resorts as a highly diverse company. “I don’t think there is another company of our size with 12,000 team members that can say that 73 percent of their directors and above are women and minorities, and by the way most of them are Hispanic.”
He also adds that Latino customers are important to Westgate Resorts and that’s why it has a Facebook page in Spanish and an 800 customer service number where you can find Spanish-speaking operators. “We have the best track record in the entire industry for promoting, hiring and working with Hispanic families. We take this very seriously.”
Luis Diaz is still in Branson attending a dance competition for his sister. He told me today that he is telling the truth. “I’m not expecting nothing in return. I just wanted to show people what we experienced.” He says the rest of the trip to Branson has been fun and his family has been able to see a few live shows.
A MESSAGE ABOUT YOUR “COMMENTS”
If you plan to post a comment, make sure you sign it. That also can be done through your Facebook handle. I will not approve any comments where there is verbal abuse. I believe in freedom of speech, but not freedom to be ugly.