The story of Wise Latina

Wise Latina International was established in 2010 and is a non-profit organization serving the international border area of the City of El Paso, the State of Texas, New Mexico and our international neighbors of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. It has a 15-member board of local and national Latinas.  Here is a slide show about the founding, mission and makeup of the organization.

El Paso pronounces March 21 Indian Culture Day and celebrates in style

EL PASO, Texas — El Paso recently celebrated its growing ethnic diversity with a jam-packed afternoon celebration and showcase of Indian art, dance and food at the El Paso Museum of History. The event, held March 21 after the City Council declared that day Indian Heritage Day, drew about 100 Indian and non Indian visitors. “The museum is trying to show that the border region is not just Hispanic or Anglo, but in fact the borderland is made up of a lot of different cultures,” Event Coordinator Asha Shetty said. Shetty was born in the South Indian city of Karnataka. The exhibit recognized Indian culture through dance portrayals, art and a little taste of food.

El Paso urged to issue city IDs for up to 50,000 undocumented residents

EL PASO, TX – Following in the footsteps of other cities with large immigrant populations, El Paso advocacy organizations are pushing city officials to consider issuing municipal IDs to residents who lack documents. “No one wants to have the feeling of being without identification,” said Guillermina Gina Núñez-Mchiri, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso, raising her right arm and waving her Texas driver’s license. “Or the feeling of not being able to say ‘this is me, this is who I am.’”

Supporters of the pro-ID movement say that the city-issued IDs would help between 40,000 to 50,000 local residents who lack legal documents such as driver’s licenses or birth certificates. Immigrant advocates said the Municipal ID Program will help local law enforcement and emergency services personnel quickly respond and identify people who lack legal identification. The program is designed to help those who face challenges when trying to obtain identifiable documents such as the homeless, transgender individuals.

Yo también soy Latina – Una mirada personal a lo que significa ser latina en la sociedad actual

Por Bianca Betancourt,

Angélica Ruiz estaba en la escuela secundaria cuando fue al salón de belleza de su barrio y con mucha decisión le entregó a su estilista una imagen impresa de cómo ella quería verse una vez que saliera del salón. La imagen en cuestión era de la cantante Ashlee Simpson, a quien Ruiz admiraba por su cabello negro, cortado en capas mostrando un flequillo. En lugar de dejar el salón con el look de la estrella de rock, Ruiz se fue con una lección aprendida. “Cariño, tu cabello no se va a ver así”, le dijo la estilista. Ella le explicó que debido a sus raíces naturales, con su cabello rizado y voluminoso producto de su herencia mexicana, negra e italiana, nunca iba a  parecerse al estilo de Simpson.

Rabbi helps Hispanics connect with secret Jewish roots

ELPASO – Two days after Rabbi Stephen Leon moved to El Paso from New Jersey in 1986, he received an urgent phone call from a Roman Catholic man wanting to speak with him about a family mystery. “He told me that his entire family were religious Catholics living in Juarez, but he remembers ever since he was a little boy, 3 or 4 years old, his grandmother would take him into a room on Friday night, light two candles, and say a prayer in a language he didn’t understand.” Years after his grandmother died, the man asked a priest what the tradition actually meant. The priest suggested he contact a rabbi. The man told Rabbi Leon about his grandmother’s ritual and was surprised when Leon told him the tradition was of Hebrew origin.

Ysleta del Sur Pueblo program connects learning with cultural roots

EL PASO – After seven years, tribal culture still serves as the core of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo’s Empowerment Program to improve its schools, enrich its community and encourage higher education. Ysleta del Sur Pueblo introduced the program in 2007 to focus on the education and employment needs of the Tigua community. The program concentrates on teaching the Tigua people how education can improve their lives and their community. According to the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo’s website, the Empowerment Program is a “consolidation of the Tigua Indian Training and Employment Program funded by the Department of Labor WIA and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Education Department funded by various sources such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs.” Tribal Empowerment Director Christopher Gomez said that when Ysleta del Sur Pueblo received a grant from U.S. Board of Education they decided to incorporate their culture into the curriculum in their pre-k program.

Latinos gaining influence in the pages of comic books

American comic books have traditionally been dominated by white male characters that are wealthy and powerful and reflect the dreams of a once-mainstream audience of white boys. Women and minorities have been hugely underrepresented in comics or, if there were characters from a minority background, they would be presented in a racially stereotypical way, often with their race or ethnicity shaping their super power such as the Zorro-like swordsman El Aguila or the Chinese-American girl Jubilee who shoots fireworks from her hands. But times are changing as awareness grows that the high proportion of white men working in the comics industry is not reflective of the greater population and the potential readership market. The data crunching website recently ran the numbers and found that while attendance at comic book conventions split fairly evenly between genders, only one in four comic book characters is female. Now, as the comics industry is trying to better reflect the market’s demographics, Latinos are slowly growing in influence.

At 80, El Paso folklorico pioneer Rosa Guerrero still lets faith guide her steps

EL PASO – Dressed in a bright orange jacket adorned with a necklace and a crucifix pendant, Rosa Guerrero flashes a warm smile, projecting the trademark youthful spirit and upbeat stamina that belie her approaching 80th birthday. “Age is just a matter of the mind,” Guerrero said as she sipped her cranberry and orange juice drink, a mix she concocted herself. “If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.”

Guerrero’s long resume in the professional dance world has not weighed her down. An avid dancer in all types of genres, a dance teacher of students that range in age from two-year- olds to 100-year-olds, and an ambassador for Mexican folkloric dance, her love for dance is evident in the rhythm of her hand gestures and expressive nature. “I started dancing in my mother’s womb,” Guerrero exclaimed as she sculpted a simple dance move with her hands.

The Mextasy of William Nericcio dashes stereotypes and builds ‘mexicanidad’

EL PASO— The Mexican experience in America, presented with verve as a celebration of the culture and and as a bulwark against negative stereotypes in popular art and media was dubbed Mextasy by Dr. William Anthony Nericcio. “This anti-Mexican fervor needs to be met with a kind of invocation of mexicanidad that needs to be equally strong,” Nericcio says. “You got to attack it with the same power with the same fervor, with the same dynamic focus.”

Nericcio captivated a room of faculty members and students when he came to the University of Texas at El Paso recently to discuss and present his travelling art show,

TheMextasypop-up exposition contains objects that Nericcio has collected over the years, Ranging from dolls to posters that harken back to the 1950’s representing and satirizing the Mexican experience in the United States, representing an analysis of Hollywood’s contribution to perceptions of Mexican ethnic identities. Nericcio gets serious when addressing how consumers should fight the negative commentary on Mexicans that some commentators in media like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter advocate. Ectasy healing

For Nericcio, Mextasy can be seen as a form of defense and cure against those Mexican stereotypes and tropes.

For Hispanics, same-sex marriage another sign of generational culture shift

By Vanessa Hornedo, Hispanic Link News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 8 –The Supreme Court’s recent decision to not hear five states’ appeals that challenge same-sex marriage, coinciding with the majority of states now accepting the rapid social change, leaves the nation’s 54-million Hispanics trying to determine where their cultural heritage fits in. “Hispanics have been lagging a couple of steps behind and this will move our community to be more embracing,” Armando Vázquez-Ramos, professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at California State University, tells Hispanic Link News Service. “We have to go beyond the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church relative to same-sex marriage and gay and lesbian communities in Latino families because it’s not typically accepted.”
According to a 2013 Pew Research Center National Survey, 55 percent of Latinos identify as Catholic – a faith which denounces marriage between two people of the same gender. Bishop Richard Malone, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, responded in a joint statement released Oct.

Images of Latinos in U.S. culture to be examined in 1-night lecture, exhibit at UT El Paso

The UTEP Department of Communication and the Chicano Studies program presents a lecture and exhibit by Dr. William Anthony Nericcio that examines American visual culture reflecting images and stereotypes of Latinas/os. The event, Mextasy: Seductive Hallucinations of Latina/o Mannequins Prowling the American Unconscious , will be at  5:30 pm, Wednesday, Oct. 15 in Quinn Hall Room 212 at the University of Texas at El Paso. 

Mextasy is a traveling art show/exhibit based on the work of William “Memo” Nericcio and Guillermo Nericcio García. The show, originally curated by Rachel Freyman Brown, South Texas College, McAllen, Texas, had its last exhibition at Boise State University, for the Third Cinema Research Group and El Consulado de México en Boise, Idaho on April 11, 2014.  

Mextasy both reflects and expands upon Nericcio’s 2007 book with UT Press, Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the Mexican in America.

Does stripping for money empower or demean women?


The almighty dollars wait to be scooped up from the floors of Dreams… Jaguars, Tequila Sunrise or any strip club The bills are usually wet from the sweaty hands of the men, eager to touch the women. Up on the poles, the women hang on a fine line that moves from humility to humiliation, from objectification to empowerment. In the instant it takes to kneel down and pick up the bill, an array of emotions and thoughts web through the stripper’s mind. Having once been employed by local strip clubs, I know that feeling and I recall the stigmas that are born from such a life. I decided to dive back into the world of strip clubs for a class project and look again into the tangled universe of a stripper’s thoughts.

Declining minority representation in American newsrooms dominates discussion at convention of Hispanic journalists

SAN ANTONIO – The celebration of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ 30th anniversary was brought to a sobering pause last week when Hispanic Link News Service publisher Charlie Ericksen voiced his dissatisfaction with the progress mainstream media have made in diversifying the staffs of their newsrooms.

Hispanic journalists from all corners of the country made their way here to the NAHJ convention to celebrate its three decades of advocating for more minority participation in news media. Much of the talk at the four-day NAHJ convention was on the diversification of newsrooms throughout the United States and that conversation became a strident argument. During the convention’s final event – the Gala and Awards banquet – the association recognized news organizations that had “increased the visibility and accurate representation of Latinos in cable news,” including CNN, PBS, Buzzfeed and Fox News Latino. Ericksen, 84, a founding member of NAHJ, was given a chance to speak when he was recognized for his lifetime of work in newsroom diversity. He told the gathering that celebrating increased visibility and accurate representation of Latinos in the media by honoring a network such as Fox News was a “kind of a farce.” He also said that despite the organization’s 30 years of work on increasing newsroom diversity the number of Latinos in mainstream newsrooms has actually declined.

Mindless in Gaza

LAS CRUCES, NM — After three weeks in Europe I returned to my patch of high desert and basked in the hundred-degree afternoon knowing there is no place like home and with some new perspectives on the tragic human strife we see in the world. Nothing like visiting Europe to see the tracks of senseless violence in human history glorified in art, and architecture. From the gleaming marble statuary in Florence to the dark halls of old palaces built on blood in Spain, history demonstrates that military might and time eventually conquer just about everything. In Florence’s Medici palace, one football field full of statues and paintings after another speak of immense wealth, war, religion, politics. In Spain’s Prado museum, one painting in particular attracted my attention.

Empower girls, keep them in school, global education experts say


WASHINGTON – Globally, 30 million girls don’t get a basic education, according to the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. Isabel Matenje, a gender and social development specialist who is married to the ambassador of Malawi to the U.S., was one girl who got the opportunity to pursue an education.  In fact, she was the only girl at her school who didn’t drop out. “I happened to go to a secondary school that was in a district where my dad came from and that was kind of the rural district,” Matenje said. “I was working very hard, being advised by my parents that I needed to succeed. The other girls’ parents weren’t helping them to understand what education was all about.”

Experts in women’s education said Tuesday at the Brookings Institution that it is important for girls and their families to see the value in educating girls and empowering them to feel entitled to an education.