Hispanic Heritage Month: Honoring Latino History of Rhode Island

Screenshot: Latino History of RI

This Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) we are highlighting great work being done across the U.S. that is by Hispanics and/or focuses on Hispanics. Today we want to shine a light on the Latino History of RI.  The website profiles Latinos in New England and their contributions.

Within the website you’ll find Nuestra Historias: The Blog of the Latino Oral History Project of Rhode Island.  It is the brainchild of Marta V. Martínez, an independent oral historian. They are interviews with many of the Latinos who have built a life in Rhode Island.

The project was started in 1991 when Martinez met and recorded the life of Josefina Rosario who was the co-owner of Fefás Market. Rosario and her husband operated the first bodega in Rhode Island. She became known as “Doña Fefa”, the mother of the community.

Martinez would go on to record the audio history of many Latino pioneers: factory workers, community leaders, activists, artists, politicians educators and social service workers. She focused her work Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians and Guatemalans who reside in Rhode Island.

Screenshot: Nuestras Historias 

In 2016, a Latino Fotohistorias History Markers was set up in Providence, RI. It was the first to recognize the contributions of Latinos to the state’s history, near where Dona Fefa’s market once stood.

Congrats to Marta V/ Martínez for getting the Latinos stories out to the public and showing that many Latino men and women are making a difference.


Providence Journal, Tribute to R.I. woman who sponsored Dominicans kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 2016

Nuestra Historias: The blog of the Latino Oral History Project of Rhode Island


Latinas get creative with Feliz Navidad trees this holiday season

We like to have fun at Wise Latinas Linked. One thing we noticed is how Latinas put new and fun twists in their Christmas tree decorations this year.

Some women concentrated on a Latino theme and others pulled in a little bit of this and that to make their Feliz Navidad tree stand out.

Laura Sanchez Kinkade of Fort Worth, Texas decorated her tree with all types of ornaments: piñatas, Frida, skulls, sombreros, and more.

Here’s Laura’s post on Facebook:

…here are pictures of my Feliz Navidad tree. I started buying ornaments at after-Christmas sales last year and found a few at a time between World Market, Target, Michaels, Earth Bones, and other stores throughout the year. My niece brought me the garland, sombreros, and jarritos from Guadalajara. Next time she comes I’ll have her bring me baleros, trompos, and maracas. I think their bright colors would be a good addition. By next year, I should have enough to make it the full size, main tree. I still want to add some serape fabric bows but it makes me smile every time I walk into the house.

Christmas tree by Laura Sanchez Kinkade

Nora Dominguez of Bakersfield, California put her love of the Latino culture into her tree. A big sombrero, guitars, and a Mexican blanket make this tree give you a warm and cozy feeling.  Nora celebrated on Facebook when she got her tree completely decorated.

Cultural tree done! On to the traditional tree.

Christmas tree by Nora Dominguez

Veronica Bravo of Dallas, Texas recycled and counted on garage sales, clearance sales and a little do-it-yourself to get the job done.

Veronica told us on Facebook how she put her beautiful tree together:

I’m very thrifty, so I incorporated last year’s New Years party hats, white wooden beads I found in a garage sale, ribbon from last year’s hobby lobby clearance sale, old ornaments, and last but not least, hand made bows made out of fabric that I found buried in my downstairs closet after trying to hide my daughter’s Christmas presents.

Christmas tree by Veronica Bravo

Thank you Veronica, Nora and Laura for inspiring to be creative and unique.
Happy Holidays!

Latina beauty pageant contestant is fighting her stage three colon cancer with a “positive attitude”

Screenshot: Inside Edition

The next time you are feeling life is unfair think of Andrea Andrade. The California woman has stage three colon cancer. Doctors have told her she has between six months and two years to live.

Andrade told Inside Edition  she was not going to let her cancer diagnosis keep her away from the Miss California USA beauty pageant. The 27-year-old went to represent Fresno County and it was her dream come true.

Andrade did not take home the crown, but as she told her Facebook friends she was “OK” with the outcome. She now has a mission to make people aware of their bodies and the food they eat.

As a busy television station account executive she lived on fast food and now believes her bad diet may have a connection to her colon cancer.

Us Mexicans love to eat. We all know that…it’s not good for our bodies. My doctor told me I am not allowed to eat carnitas. That’s probably one of the most dangerous things I can do to my body.


The chemotherapy is already making a change in Andrade’s body. She says her hair is falling out, and the skin on her hands and feet have turned very dark.

It not only is killing me on the inside, but it is also killing me on the outside.

Andrade says eating healthy, being positive and having faith cures a lot of things. For now she will continue her chemotherapy and working with organizations to make more people aware of the food they eat and the connection to colon cancer.


The Colorectal Cancer Alliance says colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States.

The American Cancer Society estimates that this year 95,520 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer, 39,910 will be diagnosed with rectal cancer, and 50,260 will die from this disease.

Spec Formliners to pay $105,000 to settle EEOC pay lawsuit where female sales rep was making less than male


The EEOC says Spec Formliner was paying a female sales representatives less than a male doing the same job. The company also required the female sales rep to sell more to earn the same commission as her male co-worker.

The company in Santa Ana, California manufactures urethane, semi-elastomeric, and plastic form liners to use in concrete forming systems.

The EEOC lawsuit against the company has been settled. Spec Formliners will have to pay $105,000 to the former employee the federal agency represented.


Spec Formliners also agreed to hire equal employment consultants who will help the company create, review and revise its policies, and practices to ensure they are following EEOC federal rules.

The EEOC will also be monitoring Spec Formliners’s progress.

Rosa Viramontes, director of EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office says “The changes that will be implemented as part of this settlement will ensure that female sales representatives will receive fair compensation for sales equal to those of their male counterparts. This not only benefits female employees, but also the company as a whole.”


This EEOC case proves that companies cannot get away with paying a woman less than a man for doing the same job. Contact your local EEOC office if you feel that you are not getting your fair share.

Very detailed documentation is a good start.

How to file a charge with EEOC. Visit this page>>Filing a Charge

EEOC- Settlement



Texas girl celebrates her quinceañera with Whataburger

Screenshot: Twitter

Evelyn Lopez Terrazas looked beautiful at her quinceañera on Saturday. But what got everyone’s attention  was the photo of her chowing down on her favorite Whataburger.

Once her photos were posted on Twitter they went viral.

Her friends are calling her the “Whataburger Model.”

The Natalia, Texas, teenager’s coming-of-age party is definitely something to remember.

Here’s hoping Whataburger puts Evelyn in its commercials and gives her free burgers for at least a year.


November 2, Latina Equal Pay Day: We deserve it, join the Twitter storm



We are getting the message out and flooding social media with the conversation about the importance of Latina Equal Pay day.

November 2, 2017 is Latina Equal Pay Day.

We are still fighting for our equal pay, the same money white males make today.

Fact: Latinas make 54 cents to one dollar a white male takes home.

How can we have a save for a home, a car or our retirement if we keep getting shorted when it comes to our income.


On November 2, join the Twitter storm at 2pm ET. Let us tell the world why we need equal pay as Latinas. Here are some tweets you can use. Copy and paste :

  • Why we need #LatinaEqualPay
    #Latinas make 54 cents to every $1 that a white male earns in the U.S. – U.S. Census Bureau
  • Why we need #LatinaEqualPay
    Eliminating the wage gap would provide much-needed income to #Latinas whose wages support their households.
  • Why we need #LatinaEqualPay
    40% of #Latina mothers bring in 40% or more of the families income. Family relies on that money.
  • Why we need #LatinaEqualPay
    Nearly 3 million family households in the U.S. are headed by #Latinas -U.S. Census Bureau



  • Why we need #LatinaEqualPay
    Median wage for #Latinas in U.S. are $31,109 a year.
    White males median wage $57,204 – U.S. Census Bureau
  • Why we need #LatinaEqualPay
    It means a #Latina working full-time can have 3 more years of child care.
  • Why #LatinaEqualPay matters
    Latinas working full-time can have 3 more yrs of tuition & fees for 4 year public university – U.S. Dept of Ed
  • #LatinaEqualPay means a #Latina working full-time can have 193 more weeks of food for her family – U.S. Dept. of Labor Statistics
  • #LatinaEqualPay means a #Latina who works full-time can have more than 17 additional months of mortgage & utility payments -U.S. Census
  • #LatinaEqualPay means a Latina working full-time can have 27 more months of rent – U.S. Census Bureau
  • #Latinas and their families cannot afford discrimination and lower wages #LatinaEqualPay
  • Nearly two-thirds of voters support the Paycheck Fairness Act. #LatinaEqualPay
  • 20 states with large numbers of Latinas, pay them from 43-63 cents for every dollar paid to white male – U.S Census #LatinaEqualPay now!
  • Why we need #LatinaEqualPay
    38% of all Latina-headed family households live below the poverty level – U.S. Census Bureau
  • Why we need #LatinaEqualPay
    More than 1.1 million Latina-headed family households live in poverty in U.S. – U.S. Census Bureau


Women of Color stand up and be heard



A big thank you to @ReignofApril who started the Twitter conversation #WOCAffirmation on Friday.

She empowered us. As Women of Color (WOC) we have the power to create change.

Here are a few pieces of advice that we believe will inspire you to stand your ground, speak up, fight for your fair share, and push back when you must.

  1. Find your voice. Use it.
  2. Don’t let fear make you a prisoner. Dig deep and find that courage. You have it.
  3. Push forward when someone tries to push you back.
  4. WOC should stand up for each other. When one is targeted at work, don’t run and hide. Defend your sister. Remember you could be next.
  5. Open doors for other women of color. Don’t be the one who is guarding “her turf.”
  6. Speak up when women of color are not invited to the conversation. This is the only way we break up the “white boy’s club.”
  7. Mentor another woman of color. We need to raise each other up.
  8. When someone is putting down a WOC who is not present, be the one to silence the hater.
  9. Reach out to a WOC who may need a word of encouragement, pat on the back or the simple words “it will be OK.”
  10. Be a friend 24/7.

Together we can lead a movement and make sure we are treated as equals.


Rebecca Aguilar is an award-winning  journalist and the founder of Wise Latinas Linked, a Latina networking group of 9,000 Latinas on Facebook and LinkedIn. 




Latina outs Alabama student who carried a “Put the Panic in Hispanic” sign at a high school pep rally

Screenshot: Jennifer Lopez Facebook

On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Harley Powell went to her high school in Alabama with a sign that read “Put the Panic back in Hispanic.”  It doesn’t appear anyone at Robertsdale High School told Powell to put down the sign.

Jennifer Lopez Vasquez was angry and wasn’t going to let Powell get away with it. She let the world know on Facebook. Here is her post.


This happened yesterday at our school pep rally. They know it’s Hispanic Month. That’s very disrespectful in so my ways. But it’s funny to think that our school thinks it ” OKAY ” this is Honestly what white trash looks like


Jennifer’s post on social media went viral and also got the attention of the local television stations. Powell took down her Instagram account, her family hired a lawyer. He told NBC 15 “This is a kind of sophomoric joke that’s kind of just gotten out of control.”

The attorney released a statement in Powell’s  behalf where where she claimed her “right to speech” and also that she has Hispanics in her family.

canva-photo-editor (1)
Powell Statement: FB Screenshot


NBC 15 story: Robertsdale pep rally sign causes controversy

As I write this blog, the school is still trying to decide what if anything will happen to the high school girl. Powell may learn from this mistake but it doesn’t appear she even realizes the magnitude of her actions.

We are proud of Jennifer Lopez Vasquez for having the courage to let us know about this teenager’s disrespect of Hispanics. This is how we make a difference. We speak up. Silence is never an option.

Thank you Jennifer!

Latina appointed to California committee aimed at developing new computer science standards in schools

Veronica Solter Godinez in the classroom.

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.

Photo Courtesy Veronica Soltero Godinez

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.


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.”

Veronica Soltero Godinez

Veronica will join twenty other individuals appointed on the California Computer Science Standards Advisory Committee. She is the only Latina appointed. It’s good to know the State of California brings diversity to the table.

Congrats and good luck Veronica! You can follow Veronica on Twitter @MsVGodinez

Rebecca Aguilar is an award winning journalist and the founder of Wise Latinas Linked, a social media networking group on Facebook and LinkedIn for Latinas with more than 9,000 members. 

“Please don’t take my mom from me too” pleads daughter of Michigan woman

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.

A rally is planned for tonight (July 18) to keep Lourdes from being deported to Mexico.

#LuchaporLourdes: Lourdes’ Call to Action from Aresha Martinez-Cardoso on Vimeo.

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 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)


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)



Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm
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

Detroit ICE Director Rebecca Adducci
Phone: 313-568-6036
Email: rebecca.j.adducci@ice.dhs.gov


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.

Senator Gary Peters (D)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SenGaryPeters/

Contact: www.peters.senate.gov/contact/email-gary

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stabenow/
Contact: www.stabenow.senate.gov/contact


A petition has been started to stop the deportation of Lourdes Salazar Bautista. Please sign it. >>Petition


The media is always looking for stories. If they don’t know about this issue they can’t report it. Contact the reporters at the following places:

Detroit Free Press  : City/Metro desk: city@freepress.com; 313-222-6600

The Detroit NewsLocal News (Metro Detroit and business):
Phone: (313) 222-2323
Email: metro@detroitnews.comnewstips@detroitnews.com

Fox 2 Detroit: Call the newsdesk: (248) 552-5103 and send an email:fox2newsdesk@foxtv.com

Local 4 News : You may call the WDIV newsroom at 313-222-0500, you can also ask for our web staff or assignment editor.

WXYZ-TV Channel 7: Breaking News Hotline 248-827-9407 ,  Breaking News Email: news@wxyz.com

We all have a voice. Use it! Mucha suerte Lourdes.