Archive for October, 2007

Please partner with me to help a business owner in Paraguay!

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I just made two loans to business owners using a micro-lending enterprise called Kiva.  You can go to Kiva’s website and make a loan to someone in the developing world to support his or her business.  Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan- and you get updates letting you know how the business is going. As a micro-loan, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan to their sponsoring organization, you get your money back – and Kiva’s loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.

I made two loans today– both, coincedentally, to individuals in Paraguay.  The first loan was to Antonio Garay who has a glass business.  I couldn’t resist making the loan to him because he was so close to the total that he needed, and so I could help bring his total to 100% of his need with a loan that I could afford.  The second loan went to Wilma Caballero in Paraguay who owns a clothing shop in the local market and would like to buy more merchandise for it to grow her business.  She still needs another $850.00 to complete her loan request of $1,025.00 (you can loan as little as $25.00!).  That is just 34 readers of this blog entry donating $25 each.  Let’s launch a little Hijas Americanas micro-lending movement to get this business off the ground by clicking on the link below to make a loan to Wilma Caballero too:

http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=22869&_isc=

Sometimes, it feels impossible to alleviate poverty.  I have such an interest in the micro-lending movement and have donated to micro-lenders in the past, but this is the first opportunity that I have seen where one can really engage in the process (I am sure there are more).  If the effort to support Wilma goes well, I’d love to partner with the readers of the Hijas Americanas blog to support a new business owner on a regular basis.  So join us in changing the world- one loan at a time.  And feel free to leave a comment on the blog if you think we should keep trying to do this as a team on some sort of regular basis.  If so, feel free to suggest a possible future loan receipient from the Kiva list– I am completely open to suggestions!    

Thanks!
———————————————————
What others are saying about www.Kiva.org:

‘Revolutionising how donors and lenders in the US are connecting with small entrepreneurs in developing countries.’
– BBC

‘If you’ve got 25 bucks, a PC and a PayPal account, you’ve now got the wherewithal to be an international financier.’
– CNN Money

‘Smaller investors can make loans of as little as $25 to specific individual entrepreneurs through a service launched last fall by Kiva.org.’
– The Wall Street Journal

‘An inexpensive feel-good investment opportunity…All loaned funds go directly to the applicants, and most loans are repaid in full.’
– Entrepreneur Magazine

October 30, 2007 at 10:16 pm Leave a comment

A Body Warrior to Meet: Alli

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What I love about myself:  My mind, even though sometimes it’s my enemy. I love being a quick thinker, a problem solver and able to come off with a witty retort. I also feel really fortunate to be healthy and happy, and to enjoy my work. 

My biggest challenge in accepting my body and beauty:  I don’t really like getting wrinkles and gray hair as I get older. Some women are all about growing old gracefully, but I’d rather preserve my appearance! In the last few years I’ve become obsessed with sunscreen, antioxidants, exercise and regular sleep. 

My biggest support in learning to appreciate myself:  My husband is very supportive of me, which is great, but I’ve put in the effort to learn to appreciate myself. This is a little embarrassing, but I do check in with a counselor occasionally, which helps me to keep on track emotionally. I also take time out to meditate, do yoga, take a soothing bath or go for a jog when I need to unwind, and I try to give myself plenty of rewards. I’ve decided that I need to be my own cheerleader. 

(more…)

October 29, 2007 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

Want to get in the Halloween spirit?

Berta Platas, Mary Castillo, Kathy Cano-Murillo, Sofia Quintero and Caridad
Pineiro are writing Halloween shorts and posting them on their blogs
every day from Saturday, October 27 until Halloween on Wednesday!

For all the details, go to Mary’s blog

October 29, 2007 at 12:53 am 2 comments

Women on rise in Latin America?

Came across the article below the other day in the paper.  It’s an encourging sign to see Latin American women begin to assume positions of power and, perhaps, it will ultimately create a sea of change with regard to the execution of crimes against women and the subsequent investigations.   

Latin American women rise in nations long dominated by men

by Jack Chang/ McClatchy Newspapers

Defying Latin America’s longtime reputation as a bastion of machismo, women in South America are winning political power at an unprecedented rate and taking top positions in higher education and even, albeit more slowly, in business.

The election last year of Michelle Bachelet to Chile’s presidency and the all-but-certain victory of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina’s presidential balloting next Sunday are the most visible examples of the trend.

South American women also are leading important social movements and are earning, studying and speaking out more than ever. For the first time, women are forcing their traditionally male-dominated societies to confront such issues as domestic violence and reproductive health.  More…

October 26, 2007 at 11:49 am Leave a comment

A M’ija to Meet: Maria, Half Puerto Rican, Quarter Irish/ Quarter Italian

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What I love about being Latina:  We’re beautiful, proud, and never afraid to say how we really feel.

What I love about being Americana:  We are blessed to live in a country that has privileges that many other countries do not have. 

My biggest challenge in growing up Latina in America:  Not being able to just be who I am; I’m either not Puerto Rican enough-the “white girl”, or THE Puerto Rican-I’m now one of the “token Puerto Ricans” of Fredonia.  Everything I do, or the way I act is either because I’m white or because I’m Latina-it’s never because that’s just who I am or how my personality is-it always has to be defined by an ethnicity.    (more…)

October 24, 2007 at 3:44 pm 7 comments

Another surprise in the research

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I am doing the 10 Things that Will Make You Think, Speak, And Act program several times this week, and so I thought I would share another one of the things that struck me in the research for Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina. 

As I was conducting the research for Hijas, I had several women reveal their battle with eating disorders to me.  One of the dominant feelings they had was sheer loneliness and even ostracization.  In the Growing Up Latina Survey, 15.6% of the women reported having an eating disorder at some time in their life.  When I talked to some of those women, I was struck by the ways that our culture sometimes exacerbates the problem of disordered eating while mocking the illness as “not Latino” in nature.  The young women who were treated for their eating disorders were treated as anomalies by both their caretakers and their loved ones, sometimes even judged as too acculturated and, thus, flawed enough to begin disordered eating.  (more…)

October 23, 2007 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

A Body Warrior to Meet: Ruth

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What I love about myself:  My heart and my spirit.  Even though sometimes my heart hurts and my spirit sags, those lows exist with sublime highs, so I love the ride between the two!  On my body, I love my feet, my hands, and my head, especially.  
                                                                                                                                                                                             

My biggest challenge in accepting my body and beauty:  Because much of my adult life I have been heavy, I constantly swing between feeling like my girth represents life experience and wisdom and wanting to be thinner for health and aesthetic reasons.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

My biggest support in learning to appreciate myself: Meditation and self-discovery have led me to appreciate my body as it supports me daily and to love whatever state in which it currently operates. My granddaughter used to tell me early in her life that she liked my lap because it was “soft” and I realized that my body echoed my desired and intentional softness of spirit.  I adopted her evaluation and cultivated my softness and hugability.  I also read and listen to those around me who like who they are and are good role models.             (more…)

October 23, 2007 at 1:35 am 1 comment

Meet the Body Warriors

I am launching a new weekly feature on the Hijas blog this week.  Starting today (and following every Tuesday), you will meet a Body Warrior-  a woman of any age, shape, size, culture, race, religion, background who is claiming her self and redefining beauty by looking at it through her own unique lens.  It doesn’t mean she always gets it right, it doesn’t mean that the chatter never reaches her ear, but it means that she lives delibertely with the intention of outwitting, outcharming, outsmarting, outgracing that chatter.  I hope you love these women as much as you have loved the M’ijas (who you will continue to see every Thursday), and I hope you learn as much from them and love them as much as I have and I do! 

Today’s inaugural Body Warrior is a very special one to me.  She’s on the top of my list of women that I admire, and she’s about as powerful and inspiring as they come.  I’ve been lucky to have her in my life for 15 years, and I am so happy to introducte her to your life.  Enjoy!   

October 23, 2007 at 1:35 am 1 comment

This Week in Hijas Events

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If you are from Greensboro, Wilmington, or Davidson, North Carolina, join me this week at one of these events.   

On Monday, October 22, I have two events at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  At 2 PM in the Joyner Room of EUC, I’ll be speaking on “The Story Behind Hijas Americanas”.  At 5 PM in Curry Auditorium, I’ll be speaking on “Ten Things that Will Make You Think, Speak, and Act:  Observations from the Research of Hijas Americanas.”  Both events will be followed by a book signing. 

On Tuesday, October 23, I’ll do the Ten Things presentation at 7 PM in Boren Lounge, Founder’s Hall, Guilford College in Greensboro.  It will be followed by a signing.   

On Wednesday, I head to Wilmington, North Carolina where I will do the 10 things presentation at 6:30 PM in Room 143 of Leutze Hall at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.   

On Thursday, I’ll be reading from Hijas Americanas at 7 PM at Pomegranate Books (4418 Park Avenue in Wilmington, NC). 

On Friday, I’ll be speaking on the writing process at the Lectures for Lifetime Learners at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Davidson, NC at 12:30 PM. Hope you can join us!            

October 21, 2007 at 7:37 pm Leave a comment

Fighting Back Against Pressure to be Perfect

Read a great column on Friday in The Charlotte Observer.  THe CO has some really talented editors, and one of the things that I have most apprecaited about the CO’s vision is that they are willing to think outside of the box.  The current and past style editors (Rachel Sutherland and Crystal Dempsey) have been wholeheartedly committed to having the section be the province of all women– not just cater to the wealthy, the thin, the blonde, or the young.   They do good work, and one of the things that I most look forward to is the Friday column by the style editor.  Sutherland’s column this past Friday was especially great.  Inspired by the newest ad in the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, Sutherland goes both global and local (as in talking about her own sense of self) with her thoughts.  I wanted to share the column with you here.   

DOVE HELPS US DEFINE BEAUTY by Rachel Sutherland 

The girl’s pink lips are slightly upturned at the corners. Her long, red hair is flitting in the breeze. The beat that is playing is infectious.

Something’s coming.

Faster than you can say “girl power,” in the video found only on the Web, she’s bombarded with images of skinny women, diet aids, food, plastic surgery and scantily clad dancers.

The message the round-faced girl and her Euro-indie soundtrack are sending is serious: “Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does.”

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty last week debuted the video “Onslaught” as a follow-up to “Evolution,” which won the Grand Prix for viral marketing at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

“(We) try to reach women and young girls where they are,” says Kathy O’Brien, Dove U.S. marketing director.

“We’re giving girls a reality check,” O’Brien says. “You start to realize the people you see in magazines and on billboards, that’s just not how they wake up in the morning. We want to help show them what’s real and what’s not.

Read it all here. 

October 19, 2007 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

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In a Bookstore Near You

What does it mean to be beautiful in America? For years, pop culture has insisted that beautiful women are tall, thin, and blonde. So what do you do if your mirror reflects olive skin, raven hair, and a short build? Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina offers a provocative account of the struggles and triumphs of Latina forced to reconcile these conflicting realities. Rosie Molinary combines her own experience with the voices of hundreds of Latinas who grew up in the US navigating issues of gender, image, and sexuality. This empathetic ethnography exemplifies the ways in which our experiences are both profoundly individualistic and comfortingly universal.
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