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Empodera Latina
Empodera Latina

Season 2, Episode · 1 year ago

American Dirt - A Special Edition Episode

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

American Dirt was published in January by Jeanine Cummings about the ordeal of a Mexican woman who had to leave behind her life and escape as an undocumented immigrant to the United States with her son. Unfortunately, the fiction story failed to meet so many marks of authencity. In a collaboration with Denise Soler Cox of Proyecto Enye (www.instagram.com/proyectoenye)  and the Co-Founders of Latina Podcasters (www.instagram.com/latinapodcasters) , Rita Bautista (www.instagram.com/ritaebautista)  and Nicole Hernandez (www.instagram.com/thedaringkind) along with fellow latina podcasters, developed a piece with  community that involved the host of the podcasts Let there be Luz  (www.instagram.com/lettherebeluz) - Linda Garcia, Aboutconsent (www.instagram.com/aboutconsent) Rosalia Rivera and Tamarindo (www.instagram.com/tamarindo) -host Brenda Gonzalez. Everyone shares their personal perspectives on what was right, what was wrong and how we can do better in the future. Our goal with this episode is for you to listen with an open mind and open heart.  This podcast is dedicate to all my empowerment circle of supporters and patrons who are loyal followers and support this podcast. For more information on becoming part of the goddesses, visit: https://www.patreon.com/Empowermentandallthat --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/rita-bautista/message

You're listening to empowerment and all thatpodcast, your favorite podcast for women's empowerment, hosted by Rita Bautista. It's timeto be reminded of the authority of your inner goddess and elevate the powerwithin. Are you ready? Hey everyone, it's ready here and I'm in themidst of covid nineteen, as the rest of the world and everyone elsewho's listening to me. I wanted to let you guys know that, asof right now, I mark myself safe and hope that everyone who's listening tothis episode also has the ability to mark themselves safe as well. My heartgoes out to anyone and everyone whose family has been affected or is currently personallyaffected by the COVID virus, and I want to give a big heart feltmessage out to any first responder, nurse, doctor, medical rep or family practitioneror anything in between in the medical field. I want to thank youguys from the bottom of my heart for doing what you guys do genuinely everysingle day, heartlessly and honestly, in a very genuine and selfless space thatyou do it in. I hope nothing but the best for you guys,and I want you to know that we're all rooting for you in every singlespace that we're in and thank you for all the service that you do forus on a regular basis and only hope that, moving forward in the future, for what's going to happen, that you guys stay safe as well.Now, going into this episode, it's a very touchy subject for me.This book, American dirt, was published in January by Gineine Cummings. Engineinecomings wrote this book about the immigrant, illegal immigrant pilgrimage to the United States. What's interesting, though, is that the book got a lot of negativereviews from the Latin x community, who you would think would just completely supportthe book. Well, what happens when a book is written from a perspectiveof a person who may not actually have a hundred percent of the full understandingand knowledge because they don't have the personal connection to the place, it turnsinto something interesting. So in this episode it's probably one of my favorites andprobably one of the most proudest works that I have, because I was ableto reach out to denise solid cocks, who is the founder of project anIT, which is a group that is founded for people who are trying tofind their identity in the US and their parents are of Latin American heritage.Probably we first generation or second generation here who are still at the you knows, and they work and live within the come in the community of being anAmerican, but still, you know, stuck in between almost, and soher community that she's developed has found a way to create a space for allof those people. Well, once this book came out, I told her, I reached out to her and I was like, Denise, we haveto do something about this, we have to talk, we have to addresswhy this could be a good or bad thing. And I was like,you know, sometimes people feel like they don't have the ability to do anythingabout anything, and I knew that because of the community of that Thea podcastersthat we had developed in also because I do have a podcast and she hasone as well. I was like, we have a microphone. You know, Oprah took to the Airways so let everyone know that she had put thisbook on her top lists until the Latin x community authors reached out to herand told her about the disrespect and the...

...things that were wrong with this book. But what I loved about this project too, is that not everybody hasthe same perspective. We all have different opinions, even though we all comefrom the same community, and I think that's also very apparent and true aboutour entire community as a whole. We're not always going to identify with theimmigration portion of what happens to people when they come here. We're not allgoing to understand the immigrant migration here. We're not going to understand the pilgrimage. We're not going to understand all this because not all of our countries haveto deal with that stuff, and the one thing that I ask of allof my listeners today, when you're taking a dive into this episode, isto listen with an open heart and empathy and understanding. We're all coming fromdifferent perspectives. We're all lending our voices to this episode for people to justbe educated on what's right and what's wrong when talking about cultural connection to abook that's being authored by someone who potentially shouldn't have started this particular book perse. Now, if you want to know my personal opinion, you justhave to obviously listen all the way through, but I'll just let you know thiswas a very interestingly traumatic and not traumatic sorry. It was a healingepisode. It made me feel good once we were done. It made mefeel happy that there's a future and moving forward, that hopefully we take allof the empathy that we're using during this time of quarantine and isolation and applythat to future thoughts of what immigration really is and the identity of people,and that at the end of the day, something as simple as a virus literallycan cripple all of us and we can see each other just as whowe truly are. At the bottom of everything. It's you know, we'rehuman. We want the same things for everyone across the board and we wantaccess and ability for all of us to be on the same page. Allright, guys, I hope you see through this entire episode. It's alittle bit longer than usual, but it's a great one and I promise you'rein for a treat. So here goes. Hello, I'm genine Cummins. Thisis my new novel, American dirt. I love it so much. Why? Well, first of all, from Jenney coming on, coming here. I was in. I was in from the very first sentence. Weshould say this book is receiving critical acclaim for its powerful portrayal of a migrantsjourney across the border to the US focuses on this and if you're going tolisten to anything, American dirt is the perfect one to listen to. Ialways knew that I wanted to write about immigration. I was interested in thattopic and I wasn't. I resisted for a very long time and learned thatthe publishing industry was all a buzz about this was going to be a breakthrough, a breakthrough Bo was reading it from myself forward. When I was finishedwith it, it's out. They're wondering why was such a slog to getthrough, why the book felt so formulaic and so soul is. And thenit hit me that this book has no soul because the author doesn't understands thestory she set out to write. Gross to me out, it grows tome out that this novel was being constructed as a blockbuster. It's it's bestseller, stuff out US was preordained. It was an anointed work and asan anointed work, I got to observe all this machinery come into place inorder to elevate the book and profit. Could be a great piece of fiction, it could be whatever it is, but in this day and age wherewe are breaking away from the thievery of other people's expressions. It's not.It's not happening, it's not where, it's not working for other folks whodo not partake. In the beginning is use. Publishers are stupid. PartTwo, part to this time it's I...

...think what you're seeing is nothing lessthan the decline and fall of the when I call the folklodical industrial complex ofus. Latino literature is different from a piece of journalism, piece of nonfiction. It's different from the script. You know. It has its own engineand it's got a roar for about your Chook says. Well, there arevalid criticisms around our promotion of this book. That is no excuse for threats ofphysical violence. The novel by denyine Cummings as about a Mexican mother andher young son fleeing to the US border. Comments is of Irish and Puerto Ricandescent on social media of firestorm. One person writing this book is aharmful, stereotypical and inaccurate representation of Mexican immigrants. Commons responded to the backlashsaying she did five years of research because voices of color and women's voices havebeen hijacked. It for a very low when I first heard about the book, my initial thoughts were heavily charged with the emotion of pain and the emotionof anger. Welcome to the podcast let there be lose. I'm your host, Linda Garcia, also known as lose warrior, and I think what hurtme the most was seeing that Oprah was at the center of the pain thatthe community was feeling. Like many other people, I absolutely Adore Oprah.I see her as one of my greatest teachers and the person that put meon my spiritual path, and so I really wanted to assess her positioning,why she felt the need to endorse this book, why it was important toher, and just really understand her perspective, because that was the most detrimental relationshipthat was on the line for me as all of this information was comingthrough, I almost really didn't care about the author. It was more sowho was endorsing this book, and there were so many in our community thatwere endorsing the book that I was a little confused. There was a bigwhy? Why was the book being embraced in this way by people of Color, and what was it in the book that moved them to feel this way. Did they really read the book? Did they themselves at one point questionwhy our story was being told via a white woman at this specific moment intime? The more and more I gave a time, the more I decidedthat I was not interested in reading the book, that if I was toread the book, it was to prove some point to myself. Once Isolidified the decision of not reading the book, I felt really empowered in taking mypower back, in protecting the way I personally feel and also protecting thework that I've done to heal my spirit. What I focus on expands, andso if I participate in something that is not serving me, it's notserving my higher self, then it's not helping the collective as a whole.One American dirt was a wake up call for many entities, but I wantto talk about three in particular. The Publishing Industry, book lovers and,Quote Unquote, allies the publishing and industry clearly got a little slept in theface. Runda is one of the host of them out into podcast, andthe reason why I chose her other than just loving her podcast. I reallylove her point of view, and I don't always agree with her point ofview, but I love how confident she...

...is in her point of view andI also love how bold she is when she shares her point of view.The publisher can industry clearly got a little slap in the face and was shakenup by this, and that is one hundred percent because of the work ofthe organizers behind then that the dead idea, and specifically my Ra Borba, aMexican American Writer. So they're going to have to pause and be morethoughtful about how they lift up the stories of Latin X, those Latin xstories, and maybe actually commit to some goals of reaching out to more writers, and I think, my opinion, I think they should be recent reachingout to more Mexican American writers in particular. And then I also think that thiswas a wakeup call for book lovers, because I think a lot of folksin that are in book clubs that were really excited about this particular bookand just treating the Oprah stamp of approval as the best, the best markfor them to decide to select a book. I think we're also shaken up andsurprised that, oh, it matters to represent stories accurately. And thenI think this was also a way up call for allies. There are manypeople that were sell celebrating this book really because they was portrayed as giving thevoice to the voiceless, that this was going to depict, that that horrorstory that people are allies here a little bit about in the news and theyknow they want to be empathetic to that, the migrant journey and what's going onwith the drug wars and in Mexico, Etcetera, etc. They are lightlyinterested in the issue and they thought that they could be excited and tosupport and lift up a book so that they could feel good and pat themselveson the back. But I think that's going to force allies to dig alittle deeper and recognize and listen to the actual voices of the communities that theywant to be empathetic to and not feel like they need to have this translatedto them through a white woman's Lens for it to be palatable. I reallythink that that's what this American dirt debacle and debate and discussion is is stirringup. It's helping for seeing allies to be more thoughtful on how they tryto amplify our stories. I think it's important. We need amplify and weneed to our stories amplified and we need their ally ship. But I thinkthis is going to force them to do their homework and not just feel like, Oh, look, this book. This book has that imagery that Iknow, I recognize to be Mexican, and it's about the words that Irecognize, like drug wars, like labest yeah, and I'm really happy thatwe're living in a moment in time that we can, we as Mexican Americans, we as Latinos, can check people, and that is what I'm most excitedabout this American dirt tobaccle, is that it's we own our voice andwhich we've had, that is ours and that we were able to check andI think this is going to be a turning point to how Latin next storiesare represented. As I dug in a little deeper, I just I diddecide to read. Actually, I should I take that back. I decidedto listen at first. Hey, there, this is Nicole Hernandez, host ofthe daring kind podcast. Such a scandalous book in the way that itwas portrayed and the cadence of things that were happening, crimes and killings,and it was rather gripping from the very start. My background is actually injournalism, my graduate work is in journalism, my Undergrad is in psychology, andso I decided to just get really...

...curious about it and use my journalistictraining to evaluate American dirt and when I did a couple things became very clear. Number, when this is a fiction novel, it was quite clear tome that that the publisher had set such great expectations for this novel that waswas just for pure entertainment. And I think that's actually where the trouble began, is that when you take something that is meant for entertainment, let's say, it's like the equivalent, and it's the equivalent of saying the bachelor representsthe true love story of our time, and that is just how absurd thetitles and the and the accolades that were given to American dirt became. They'reabsurd. So that's kind of where I ended up. I just took thebook for what it is, which is really quick, easy read, nota lot of depths to the characters, but definitely at page Turner. Janinecomings knows how to write a formulaic, gripping suspense thriller novel, and ifyou take it for that, then I think that you'd actually enjoy the book. I do think when I took it even a step further, I don'tbelieve that Janine fully anticipated to. I don't think it was her intent.I should say I don't think it was her intent to misrepresent the Latin communityby any means. I think she did try her best to interview the peoplethat she could in and to have the all the sources that she had availableto her, and and still she was writing at suspense thriller novel that's TotallyFiction, and so I think in that vein like you cannot expect it tobe a true, accurate portrayal of someone's life, because it was never meantto be. Welcome to the selfish waking US podcast, where we get tobe selfish together. Okay, are we running? There is a thing aboutour stories being told, like, whether or not they're told in the bestsight or the worst like. There is a thing in our community that said, well, at least our stories are being told, and that seems likewe can get our chin up over the bar and then we can raise therest of our body over and there was backlash against that idea and I sawin the project and your community with people saying you know. At first Ithought, listen, at least they're talking about us, and then the sameyou know. I'm thinking one person in particular that said you know, andthen I changed my mind after I talk to my daughter about it. AdmiralSalia is also addressing the same thing here. I believe the book is quite significantin the big picture right now in the way that it portrays the immigrantexperience and the immigrant characters are very exaggerated and unfortunately there is a very negativestereotype as it is, and I don't feel that this is helping in anyway. So, unfortunately, I don't see this as anything that is helpingthe narrative right now for the Latin culture, for immigrants and for the culture thatlives south of the colonial border.

I think that what the anger thatis currently being felt for this book is masking indignation and hurt. I thinkthat the indignation aspect is that it was so poorly representative of true Mexican culture. There were a lot of false narratives. Again, just talking about how,you know, as one example that they gave in the book, thatthis main character would be giving a woman that he wants to impress, thathe's so fond of, to give her Conchaz, which is considered to besuch a common bread, and it was portrayed in the book to be somethingthat was so amazing to give. But yet if you flipped it, culturallyit would be the same as someone giving a woman a doughnut and, youknow, instead of like a Crem Bru lay, and so missing those nuanceswas just such a gross misrepresentation that I think there was a lot of indignationfor the way that it was portrayed for someone who, quote unquote, researchedthis for five years. They did a very poor job in researching and soI think indignation for one and hurt for the fact that it was something thatthis kind of story has been attempted to be told by more authentic writers whounderstand or are genuine, genuinely Latin x writers, and not to say that, yes, she has a percentage of Porto Rican. So I know alot of people are discussing that, but I also feel like there is anaspect that was did not like, not denied, but neglected within her selfof exploring her own culture, and maybe that gap has created also more hurtbecause she, as a writer, herself, as a person, didn't head,never really embraced that about herself and now she's going and portraying in adifferent Latin x culture in such a grossly misrepresentative or misrepresented way. So Ithink that the hurt is there from that, but even also from the publishing industryand how they have completely missed the mark and how they continuously look athelping writers who are not people of color to be represented versus giving the truediverse voices a platform. So it's eleven. Are we going to jump on?It's five. So what you're about to hear is a conversation between bothfounders of letting a podcasters read about the stamp and the Co Anandus and myselfdiscussing the entire issue. Hey, guys, it's Ridaboutista here, the hosting creatorof empowerment and all that podcast. It's your favorite podcast for women's empowerment. I started the podcast back in May and ever since then my world hasbeen turned upside down in the most positive way. Okay, it says.Please requests record permission from the yeah, let me see. So one ofthe things I thought was really interesting missing...

...the nuances. I think it's oneof the reasons why, in general, this book stood out to me,because I could connect to some of the characters in the story personally and alsojust on the on the broader topic. You know, I had my brothercame here. My brother, my my father's son, came here illegally.His son was actually murdered by the drug cartel in hunter is, not toolong ago. Sorry, miss me a little emotional, but I think thedanger in stereotypes is that you miss thing you wants. It's and when youtell a story and you continue to miss the nuance, you pull this soulout of it, pulled the emotion out of it, and there are peoplewho are continuously living this. I'm sorry, y'all, it's okay, it's okay. I need a second. I'm sorry, I didn't think it wasgoing to like. I wasn't raised with my older brother, but I can'timagine that pain of like losing your child after not being able to see themagain. And know that this book comes out and the story and I doubthe even read it or even knows about it right. But you know,one of the podcasters mentioned that it's like missing the little things that makes thisso real and when you're sitting there and you're reading this book and you're listeningto it. I read it and I listened to the Audio and even inthe audio it was just like it wasn't it didn't feel real. But Iknow it's real because I've lived it and my brother's lived it and my fatheris a grandfather's lift it and it's like this is a true story and sowhen you're telling it, if you miss these little details, you're basically takingthe emotion and the reality out of it. I think just even written in responseto what you've said, I was I came from the book of beingable to just like look at it as a fiction novel and suspense and Thrillerand to take it for entertainment. And I don't have the connection that youdo to that story because of a personal experience. And so even just hearingyou express this emotion and the sadness I feel, I feel, I feelthe empathy for you and and it does even now change how I think aboutthis book. When I think about someone like you who has that personal experience. It's crazy. I didn't think I was going to share that, butit just I felt compelled to because I read listened to the book again lastyesterday when I was on the airplane and I was like, God, Hi, I'm Rosali Udda, the founder of about consent. I'm a consent educatorand sexual literacy advocate and the host of the about consent podcast and, course, creator of content parenting. I found it quite interesting how people have respondedto the fact that she is a quarter Puerto Rican and were really attacking heron that, and I can understand the perspective because I've I've been in thosecorners of my own Lettinia, where I felt that if I didn't portray myselfmore Latina than within my own community, I would be bullied. I hadactually experienced that when I visited El Salvador...

...when I was seventeen and I didn'tspeak the language very well, and so I can relate to aspects of that. But at the same time, when I what I found really interesting isthat I didn't know that this author was at all Latin until I did moreresearch and that information came out, and so it was curious for me totry to understand why she didn't lead with that, why it was such asection of her heritage, of her lineage, that was so much in the backgroundinstead of in the forefront. I was definitely triggered when I heard andshe wasn't even Latina, and I thought, who the HECKT is this woman?Thing she is? That was my first response, and then I laterfound out that she was a quarter Latina and my own daughters are a quarterPuerto Rican. I work really hard to instill their Latin that into them everysingle day and I imagine them growing older into women and expressing themselves in acreative way and being criticized in this manner because they only were a quarter PuertoRican. And it was really hard to ignore the fact that this comes upin our work time and time again, and you know, it's called theenoughness police. You know, we've even called it something. So you know, Latinos enoughing other Latinos, whether they be a hundred percent, a quarter, fifty percent. We're just there's people there that are just like waiting tocriticize based on how Latino they think you are. And I'm going to sayI actually, my first thought was who the heck does this woman think sheis? So I almost can't even help my own thinking. But then Ihad the self awareness to say, hang on a second, no, thatdoesn't disqualify her. People write about communities all the time that they're not apart of. She just unfortunately, didn't do it well right. And myown daughters are a quarter Puerto Ricand, and that's when I started thinking abouthow some people and our community treat each other, and that's when it's stung, like are you kidding me? Here's yet another example of how we're enoughughingeach other and disqualifying each other, and as someone going to disqualify my ownchildren, that's not okay with me. I will first, I want tokind of address something that I used to be a bully. I was abully about this for years and it took for me to watch someone that Ilove very much finally come to me and tell me like, you're not anybetter than I am just because you speak Spanish, and I realize what allI was doing was passing on the hurt that I had when I would travelto hunters and everybody used to call me a Yankee. I was passing thatheart hurt on to my family member WHO and speak Spanish, who eventually teachesherself how to speak Spanish. Okay, so like it was this whole thing. It's like we're passing the pain on to the next person instead of justhealing it and saying enough is enough. You're letting, I'm letting a howcan we support each other? This is ridiculous, you know, and sofor that I genuinely have to apologize to anyone that I ever heard in thatspace, because, you know, where we have it hard enough as itis as women. If you're Brown, you haven't problem, if you're white, you have a problem. If it's like everybody has a battle that they'realready facing, and if we continue to add on more BS, it's justlike layers that never end, and it's it's a historical trauma that we stillhave yet to to like really heal through.

You know, I mean people inour countries, colorism is like the thing, you know, and thenwe come to this country, which is very black and white still to thisday, and we're trying to find our space here and then, on topof that, we're here and then they lump us in one under one nameand then, on top of that, those people are categorizing themselves through colorism. It's like layers of bs that we just can't we just need to stopand say I'm sorry, I didn't realize what I was doing was passing thehurt along to the next person and damaging you even more. We just needto stop. I as a controversy escalated, we learned that the book tour wascanceled, some libraries pulled the book from their bookshelves. Miriam Bouba,who was one of the first to speak out against the book, was puton administrative leave, which sparked a protest at the school that she teaches.That celebrities back pedaled their endorsements and Oprah hosted a special two part episode onApple TV. So at one point I actually became concerned for Jinine Cummings afterlistening to her on the let they know USA interview, and this kind ofcame up in our group called to so I want you to hear that.HMM, take to it. Welcome to our world selfrespect set. She losta live her, she lost her name, she lost her reputation. I don'treally don't think so. That's the crazy thing. That book. Yeah, you got, have me know, but just because it's selling doesn't meanthat she has a good name. I mean, look what happens. She'llbounce back. I look, there's enough money behind what happened. She'll bounceback. And that's the thing that we're missing here is if this was aLatin x writer, that person would never be able to write another book.And I don't mean to say this, it's probably going to come off wrong, but it's almost like the whitewashing is totally okay and she'll bounce back withanother book. Interesting because I and the let they know USA interview she saidshe had one book that was already sold. I was unrelated to this, andthen she said I don't know if I'm ever going to write another bookagain. So it's interesting read that you that you feel like that, becauseI definitely feel like she's I feel like she's in a bad way and Idon't know if she continues to be in a bad way, but I feltlike I don't know if she'd bounce back, you know. So let let meask you this. You sold your wedding rings to continue on your projectbecause you knew that you believed in what you were creating at the end ofthe day. HMM. This woman believes in her literary work and, asa person who continues to create constantly, you're not going to stop just becauseeveryone tears you down. HMM. It's when things are getting really hard andwhen you're getting torn down, it's when you know that you're onto something.I love your bringing that up. So I was going to say one thingand I'm just going to say it as I can get out. I feellike my work and the work that I do here is extremely personal and Ifeel like, even though she's letting that this wasn't like she's projectating his personalthese are my story and then trying to bring to light other people's stories,but that I feel very connected to. The immigrant journey wasn't her story,so that the Puerto Rican story. It just isn't right. So that's thatopinion. What Henry wanted me to bring off, which is what continues tocome up, which I'm not sure, well, you guys don't have anawareness of this, is that our next film is about secrets, secrets inthe let the know culture. It's about the secrets we keep, it's aboutthe norms. This norm in our culture looked RAPO Suciosa, love an Nakasa. It's about that norm that we have that says don't say anything because itcould affect all of us, right,...

...and so we're all going to sufferif you decide to say something, even if that thing that they're asking notto be, you know, to be kept secret, is shredding that personemotionally. Okay, so at any cost, is what I'm saying. And it'sgoing to be thoughtful, it's going to be hopefully, it's going tochange a lot of lives. I am terrified to be the next on thechopping block and this what happened with this book brought up all kinds of fearfor me. We're making this movie because so many, let the US,have come up to me and brought up their secrets and many have asked me, would you ever make a movie about this so we could deal with thisas a fucking culture, right, and I and after let a know,I means many, many, many women have talked to me about this andI'm afraid of being misinterpreted. I'm afraid that my intention will be, youknow, that I'll miss something right, that just bringing to light this thingthat we do, that we but many of us participated in, will likeout, ah, I'll get ridiculed and publicly stoned. So, yeah,I know. So I think one of the most beautiful things that you saidearlier was that you connect to this because it's something that's a part of you. You know, I never knew what it was like or what a wordI could use to make myself feel like there was a space that I belongedin, and I remember the first time I heard about your projects from mycousin Reille years ago. This is when you launch the map thing, andI was like, she's on something. I don't know what it is,I can't put my name on it, my finger on it, but Iwas explaining to my mother earlier today, because I let her hear some ofthe clips, and I was like, I finally understand where my space isin this community and I truly believe that what you're doing is something that isbigger than all of us and you're giving people a space to feel like they'repart of the community. And as long as you put your heart into thatspace and you continue doing that and you continue doing it, because the onlyway to get rid of. Your right is to continue doing it and bein that fear and be in that space, but don't stop, because people needthis and if the healing comes from it, you know, so beit, but I'll be here. I'll be here to tech you. I'mgiving you a big ass hug right now. Can I just like, can youbring it? Definitely Denver to hug your that's it. Come on,my way to Denver, he skiing before the snow is over. Anyway.I mean, we better let me know if you come here. Yeah,we're like best friend. Commercial Pause here, commercial breaks pause here, speaking ofwhat you guys have created and letting a podcasters I want. I don'teven know how I found you, but I'm so glad that I did,and it reminded me because these guys were asking me like how did this allstart? How did you meet them? How this happened? I saw whatyou guys were doing, and here's what I saw, that you guys wereabout raising people up and you guys were about supporting women, Lettinas and withwhat you had, and it was and it was, it was new,and I just I was like yes, right here, this right here,this is what we need more of and if everybody could just take their littlecorner of the world and decide, I'm going to take some time and I'mgonna I'm gonna plant some seeds here, right and you guys feature somebody knewevery single week and that means the world to those people you know, andyou chose me to do that and I...

...was so honored to be one ofthe people that you chose. And all the ways that you add a bythe people in the group and try also to pour into the women that arein the group, whether they've started a podcast yet or they're just getting startedor they've been around for a while. There's value for everybody and the toneis so important. What you stand for is really showing up every single day, and that's why I wanted to partner with you, because I you know, I see you, guys, watering and giving son to so many womenin that group and I wanted to make sure that someone watered you and gaveyou some and that's going to make me cry, because this is how youdo it. Yeah, this is how it's done and it's emotional and itmeans that you have to be real right. It's all the things but it's messy, right, we have to talk about hard things and we have tocoordinate lots of stuff, but it's so worth it. Our goal with letsa podcasters and red and I set on many calls in the Saturday morning withour hair sticking straight out. We did not look cute and we just talkedabout how we wanted to come to this from a place of celebration and tostop focusing on what we can't do and what hasn't been done yet and tosay this is where we're going and we want to take everybody with us,and our focus had to really be about how can we not let our egosget in the way. So how can we come to this without trying tocompete with each other, which is so which I think so many of uscome from backgrounds where we're constantly competing, whether it's in our our workspace oreven just among like cousins, who's the prettiest, you know, like weall have these ways in which we could compete with each other. And howcan we actually, like, put our it goes to the side and justsay that we're going to do this for everybody, because everybody's going to benefit, and so that's what what we're doing is really about. Yeah, andit shows, and it shows. So those intentions were incredibly important, becausethat's what it feels like. That's exactly what it feels like. So thankyou for that. So from my personal experience, I think that anger isa beautiful emotion as long as it is controlled properly, and I am proudof the authors who were appalled by this book and felt that they needed toband together, and because of that, now the publishing company that put outAmerican dirt is looking at more Latin x authors. I do also believe,though, that at times we allow ourselves to go with the status quot becausenobody pushes up against things that are just normal because that's just how it is. But when you know better, it's your sponsibility to do better. Ithink this anger certainly is a mask for the suppression of sadness and for thefrustration. I struggle, I really do struggle sometimes with feeling like I haveto be more than enough. I feel like I'm constantly having to prove myselfand I remember, even as a young girl in high school, that mystepfather always hold me, you're going to have to dress up everywhere you go, you're going to have to wear the buttoned up shirt. You need tomake sure that you always look professional, because you can't get away with justwearing a sweatshirt and jeans. You need...

...to always be polished, otherwise you'regoing to think you're uneducated and you're always going to have to bring in yourbig vocabulary words and that you are serious about your work in the world.And I think that's really hard sometimes, because as much as we want toprogress and have these amazing careers and to make an impact in our community andto make our families, you know, proud of us, it's a lotof work to keep up with. And yet we find ourselves in a placestill now today, where we cannot where we aren't seen as acceptable. Thisanger in our community is also masking the fact that we continue to glamorize thebrutality of the cartels. I mean, we have allowed this brown skin isbad narrative to prosper and to thrive, and yet it belittles our efforts,and I think that is one thing that we really have to go after.We have to push back on all of these stories that are created for entertainmentfrom American dirt to Narcos, you know, to so many other movies and documentariesabout the cartels where we just focus on this Brownskid. Is Bad narrative. How do we get out of that? And not to say that those can'texist, but where's the other side of it? So I can't dwellin my anger. It's not productive. I have no creativity when I'm angry, I have no hope and I lose all faith. I can't do it. I could if I wanted to, but I just choose not to.I choose to to exist in in hope. I choose to exist in hard workand in faith that eventually will get to the mountain top when it's ourtime. But I'm not giving up on this. Even though these things happen, I'm not giving up on this. In the past, this book couldhave easily made me feel discounted or misrepresented. I worked in the television and filmindustry for over seventeen years. This was a battle that I would takevery seriously day in and day out. It would completely consume me to fightwith proper representation, with my employers, with my colleagues, and it wasexhausting and it was also not healthy for my sanity, and I realized atone point in time that I was so focused on the problem that I wascompletely missing the solution. The solution for me personally was to hone in onmy craft for storytelling, to not wait for a producer to come and produceme, to work on my craft diligently, day in and day out, forthe love of it, for pure intention of it, not to bepublished by someone else, but to utilize the tools that are accessible to me. Just remember that we are all here on the shoulders of our ancestors andto continue growing and moving forward, we need to support each other. Whetheryou're in central or South America listening to this podcast, or you live hereor your third generation here, or you're...

...an immigrant trying to make your wayup here, we need to be able to come together as a community andunderstand that we all represent the Latin x letting a Lettina Latin community and ifwe don't support each other, this stuff's going to continue happening. Boom,I just got chills. To you. Thanks for tuning in to empowerment andall that podcast with your host, read a Bautista. Want to help megrow the listener tribe. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast and follow uson instagram and facebook. Under empowerment and all that, and remember keep itpositive or don't keep it at all.

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