The Latina Vote Matters! 

Latina youth and millenials have an opportunity to speak volumes about their rights if they organize, educate, and vote!  Mama says give it up…give me reproductive rights, immigration reform, equal pay, higher wages, paid family leave, civil rights, criminal justice reform, higher education, shoes, cake, you get the picture 👑

A LAwtino that is elevating the discourse around immigration issues is Gael Garcia Bernal 😍 and his new movie Desierto.  Hispanicize LA will have a special screening tonight in DTLA.  Indeed, Latina/o policy and voting issues are on the agenda at Hispanicize LA 2016!  One of the panels at this years event will explore why the Latina/o community lacks representation through one voice (i.e., where is the Latina/o Jesse Jackson?).   Your thoughts? Your kids thoughts? Your spouses opinion? Your friends argument?

Give up your thoughts and get out and VOTE! 💋 #mamasaysgiveitup


Roque Dalton (1935-1975)

Play time in El Salvador by LAwtina M.O.M.



They who widened the Panama Canal
(and were classified “silver roll” instead of “gold roll”),
they who repaired the Pacific fleet at California bases,
they who rotted in the jails of Guatemala,
Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua *
for being thieves, smugglers, swindlers, for being hungry,
they always suspicious of everything
(“permit me to haul you in as a suspect
for hanging out on corners suspiciously, and furthermore
with the pretentious air of being Salvadorian”),
they who packed the bars and brothels of all the ports
and capitals of the region
(“The Blue Cave,” “Hot Pants,” “Happyland”),
the planters of corn deep in foreign jungles,
the kings of the red page,
they who no one knows where they come from,
the best artisans of the world,
they who were stitched by bullets crossing the border,
they who died of malaria
or by the sting of scorpions or yellow fever
in the hell of banana plantations,
the drunkards who cried for the national anthem
under a cyclone of the Pacific or northern snows,
the marginalized, the beggars, the stoners,
guanaco sons of bitches,
they who hardly made it back,
they who had a little more luck,
the eternally undocumented,
the jack-of-all trades, the hustlers, the gluts,
the first the flash a knife,
the sad, the saddest of all,
my people, my brothers.


Los que ampliaron el Canal de Panamá
(y fueron clasificados como “silver roll” y no como “gold roll”),
los que repararon la flota del Pacifico
en las bases de California,
los que se pudrieron en las cárceles de Guatemala,
México, Honduras, Nicaragua,
por ladrones, por contrabandistas, por estafadores,
por hambrientos,
los siempre sospechosos de todo
(“me permito remitirle al interfecto
por esquinero sospechoso
y con el agravante de ser salvadoreño”),
las que llenaron los bares y burdeles
de todos los puertos y capitales de la zona
(“La gruta azul”, “El Calzoncito”, “Happyland”),
los sembradores de maíz en plena selva extranjera,
los reyes de la pagina roja,
los que nunca sabe nadie de donde son,
los mejores artesanos del mundo,
los que fueron cosidos a balazos al cruzar la frontera,
los que murieron de paludismo
o de las picadas del escorpión a la barba amarilla
en el infierno de las bananeras,
los que lloraron borrachos por el himno nacional
bajo el ciclón del Pacifico o la nieve del norte,
los arrimados, los mendigos, los marihuaneros,
los guanacos hijos de la gran puta,
los que apenitas pudieron regresar,
los que tuvieron un poco mas de suerte,
los eternos indocumentados,
los hacelotodo, los vendelotodo, los comelotodo,
los primeros en sacar el cuchillo,
los tristes mas tristes del mundo,
mis compatriotas,
mis hermanos.

(Las Historias Prohibidas del Pulgarcito)


Unschooling and Raising Bicultural Citizens

“The quick answer to Latina/o parents is to feed your child’s soul with your culture and cuisine, your language, and most importantly, your history, your folklore, your music, your art, your literature, and the sound of your laughter.”

LAwtina M.O.M.

Corazon, Romero, 1974

For LAwtina mothers and Millenials in general, who are unschooling and/or raising bicultural, and bilingual world citizens, the choice is not easy.  Alternative methods of education and resources in public education are scarce and difficult to obtain.   The term unschooling is one alternative approach to traditional education.  The term has several meanings,”unschooling”,  is also known as “natural learning”, “experience-based learning”, or “independent learning”.

For children who are raised in bicultural environments, and especially for Latina/o children, Latino parents face a unique set of challenges when seeking to immerse their children into a diverse school setting.  To understand these unique challenges, we must first understand racial segregation of Latina/o school children in the United States and acknowledge the continued de jure segregation and exclusion of Latina/o history in public education.


To really comprehend racial segregation in the school environment we must go beyond Brown v. Board of Education.  We must first study and understand a case that is often overlooked in our history, and in law school, Mendez, et al v. Westminister [sic] School District of Orange County, et al64 F.Supp. 544 (S.D. Cal. 1946), aff’d, 161 F.2d 774 (9th Cir. 1947) (en banc).  This case was the foundation for Brown v. Board of Education; Indeed, the attorneys for Brown studied the Mendez case and strategized with their attorneys for the history defining desegregation case.   It was the unity between Brown and Black that ultimately garnered a victory for a common cause.


Mendez, was a 1947 federal court case that challenged racial segregation in Orange County, California schools. In its ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an en banc decision, held that the segregation of Mexican and Mexican American students into separate “Mexican schools” was unconstitutional. It was the first ruling in the United States in favor of desegregation.

From this standpoint, Latina/o children have always and continued to be segregated into low-performing schools with inexperienced teachers and administration.  Stereotypes of lazy and unintelligent Latina/os have permeated the public education system, resulting in less than stellar performances.  Thus, the consequence is an entire generation of Latina/os that are unprepared for higher education, professional careers, or positions with power. IMG_2977

The result is disheartening, in 2016, there are less than 3% Latina/o attorneys, doctors, executives, politicians, zero in the Senate, yet, Latina/os are the largest minority in the U.S., and simultaneously, Latinas have a purchasing power that has corporations, media and advertising agencies immersing themselves in everything Latinas want, like and need, except education.

Continue reading this essay in I.M. McCall, Esq.’s forthcoming book: A Legal Discourse on the Rights of Latina Woman in the U.S.


LAwtina M.O.M.






Straight out of Compton: A Wise LAwtina


Luz Herrera
Luz Herrera, Esq., Attorney, & Founder of Community Lawyers, Inc. (CLI,

Take a hard long look at Luz Herrera, she is a rare Latina walking down the ivory towers of Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, and soon Texas A&M Law School.   Why?  Well, because Latina faculty in higher education are rarely visible in this way.  Only 4 percent of tenured or tenure-track female faculty members in the United States are Latina (78 percent are white, 7 percent are African American, and 7 percent are Asian American), and only 3 percent of female full professors are Latina.   Luz, is a social justice lawyer, UCLA law professor and Assistant Dean, and recently given tenure at Texas A&M Law School.  She was born in Tijuana to Mexican parents and grew up in the Latino neighborhoods of East Los Angeles.  She is our Womyn Crush Wednesday, and a great role model and leader for the Latina community.  Below is a great article that was recently published by the the Huffington Post, about Prof. Herrera’s path to higher education  (with some additional information regarding Community Lawyers, Inc.).  Read, support, and enjoy!

Luz, is not only the first lawyer and first tenured professor, in her family, she is the first woman in her family to go to college.

Like many Latinas and Latinos growing up these days, Luz did not know any lawyers and never even thought of being a lawyer until meeting some Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) attorneys her senior year in high school. “I decided to become a lawyer when California was in the middle of many anti-immigrant campaigns, a redistricting battle, and the tensions that lead to the 1992 civil disturbance (aka riots) in Los Angeles were brewing.”

Law school was tough. Herrera attended Harvard Law and later wrote an article detailing her frustrations in the Harvard Latino Law Review there.

“The first-year courses were teaching me to think like a lawyer, and while I acknowledged that I was changing, I was not all that pleased by what I was becoming. My discomfort in the law school classroom was due to my identity as a first-generation, working-class Chicana. The idea that laws were neutral and that their application was fair did not ring true in my world of working-class individuals. Despite being a student leader in college, I found myself staying silent in much the same way my parents had when they were forced to deal with legal matters.”

Law came alive only in law clinic when she found she had a real passion for providing direct services to people like those in her family and neighborhood. She helped people who were working towards self-employment by starting businesses and nonprofits and doing real estate.

Continue reading Straight out of Compton: A Wise LAwtina

Kids Fashion: All about Boyz!

I often listen to M.O.M.’s complain about boys fashion options, however, as a mother of boys (and a girl), I have found that European designers have some fantastic options as well as the following boutiques and brands: Castro, Melina, H&M, Ralph Lauren, Tizas, Burberry (on sale at Bloomingdale’s) American Apparel,, Eggy boutique on third street (one of my favorite!) and Reginal’s in Century Cuty carry some quirky fun items for kids!

I like to pair classic jeans from Seven (find them at Marshall’s) with fun t-shirts and sweaters from Castro and funky pants from American Apparel.  I also looove Allo and Lugh p.j.’s and jeans (they make fun designs)!

My boys are 2 and 5, and I teach them to pack their own clothes and snacks for the airplane or long car ride.  I love the Japanese method of organizing….everything is rolled and placed in plastic bags.  They have fun rolling their clothes and I enjoy an organized kid!😜


LAwtina M.O.M.💋💃🏽

Some LAwtina M.O.M. Motivation

Mind. Over. Matter.

 Humble start, early tragedy turn Latina immigrant into law partner

By LUIS VASQUEZ-AJMAC Urban News Service 

Eva Plaza

Eva Plaza never dreamed of becoming a lawyer or owning a business. But the sudden loss of her father when she was just 8 dramatically changed her life.

Born in Torreon, Mexico, Plaza and her three young siblings were reared by a single mom in El Paso, Texas. Her father died tragically at 33, without seeing a doctor, from a ruptured peptic ulcer. Without role models, Plaza overcame long odds, paved her own way, and became a partner in a top Los Angeles law firm.

“When my father passed away, we lost our home, and we had to move into public housing,” Plaza said. “Security, or lack of security, colored what I was going to do.”

As the eldest child, she felt responsible for supporting her working-class family. “The usual answers were doctor or lawyer,” she said. “I thought I would be a better lawyer.”

But becoming a lawyer — let alone a partner — in a predominantly white, male-dominated industry was no easy feat for a female Mexican immigrant. “Nobody took me under their wings,” said Plaza. “I learned by doing and not being afraid. And not accepting ‘no’ for an answer.”

Plaza’s accomplishments are rare. Fewer than 35 percent of all American attorneys are women, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. “The legal industry is nearly dead last in hiring and retaining women and minority lawyers,” said Joel Stern, CEO of the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms. “Less than 2 percent are partners.”

These disparities help explain why minority lawyers increasingly launch their own firms. “There are a lot of barriers, images and stereotypes that women have to push through, like women are not aggressive enough nor strong litigators and/or too combative and will not be good managers,” Stern said.

Despite these obstacles, Plaza graduated from U.C. Berkeley Law School in 1984. She served the U.S. Justice Department as a trial counselor and later oversaw enforcement of the Fair Housing Act as an Assistant Secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.

After two decades, Plaza left her secure and comfortable federal career. For family reasons, and a strong desire to reinvent herself and follow intellectual pursuits, Plaza moved to Los Angeles to start her own law practice.

“An easier path would have been to remain in politics,” Plaza said. “But that would have been more of the same. [The transition] took a lot from me, a lot of energy, my money and uncompensated time. This was not the road most easily traveled.”

She opened the Plaza Law Group, which thrived. Plaza soon thereafter met Gerry Fox, founder of Gerald Fox Law, who offered her a partnership.

“Eva is a fearless litigator,” said Fox, “but the most important thing about Eva is that she treats everyone with honor and dignity. Her presence is a role model for younger lawyers to learn how to act.”

Plaza sits on non-profit boards including that of the Latino Donor Collaborative, where she met Luis de La Cruz, owner of Andale Construction, now her client.

“I am very proud to know Eva’s background,” said de La Cruz. Coming “from El Paso with limited…resources demonstrated that she is an awesome intellectual person. And being in a man’s world, she demonstrated that the Si, se puede [Yes, you can] concept is still alive.”

Beyond handling Fox’s large cases, Plaza’s pro-bono work helps low-income families. She also advances minority attorneys as co-chair of the Lawyers Committee of Compton, a non-profit that provides free legal services.

“Eva is paving the way for new attorneys, like myself,” said Ingrid McCall, the groups’ interim executive director. “Her mentorship has been invaluable. I encourage other lawyers to do the same and start to volunteer.”

But law firms are businesses, too. Successful partners need to attract clients continually, which Plaza does.

“You need to have a method for bringing and serving clients, or you have to have a special skill that will help keep or attract new clients” said Francisco Montero, managing partner at Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth.

Montero also has seen technology transform the law business.

“The speed-of-response and expectation levels for lawyers has grown exponentially,” Montero said. “You are expected to respond at all hours to emails, social media and blogs.”

Robert White of the California Minority Counsel Program applauded Plaza. “It’s great to see someone like Eva succeed, who has persisted, who has done the marketing, put in the miles and developed her own business,” White said. “Eva epitomizes what goes best in the legal field. We need more people like her.”

Eva Plaza’s journey confirms Alexander Graham Bell’s observation: “When one door closes, another one opens.”

I hope you enjoyed her inspiring story!


LAwtina M.O.M.

Reading Comprehension and Strategies!

Reading Comprehension and Reading Strategies

Don’t Just teach them to read…teach them to comprehend!  Below is a great article from the Harvard Library on strategies for reading.

No solo leas con tus hijas, tambien trata de ensenarles a comprender lo que estan leyendo.  Leer con estatregia es muy importante.


More of my favorite books (Harry Potter is a given) for kids 0-12!  Mis Libros favoritos para  sus hijas e hijos…

  1.  Only One You by Linda Kranz;
  2.  The Dead Family Diaz by P.J. Bracegirdle;
  3.  Stellaluna by Janell Cannon;
  4.  Meche se bana by Lene Fauerby and Mette-Kirstine Bak (Spanish);
  5.  I am a little elephant; by Francois Crozat;
  6.  The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler;
  7.   Witch’s Broom by Ruth Chew; and
  8.   America – The making of a Nation.



LAwtina M.O.M.

Harvard Library Article…

Thinking-Intensive Reading

Critical reading–active engagement and interaction with texts–is essential to your academic success at Harvard, and to your intellectual growth.  Research has shown that students who read deliberately retain more information and retain it longer. Your college reading assignments will probably be more substantial and more sophisticated than those you are used to from high school. The amount of reading will almost certainly be greater.  College students rarely have the luxury of successive re-readings of material, either, given the pace of life in and out of the classroom.

While the strategies described below are (for the sake of clarity) listed sequentially, you typically do most of them simultaneously.  They may feel awkward at first, and you may have to deploy them very consciously the first few times, especially if you are not used to doing anything more than moving your eyes across the page. But they will quickly become habits, and you will notice the difference—in what you “see” in a reading, and in the confidence with which you approach your texts.

1. Preview

Look “around” the text before you start reading.

You’ve probably engaged in one version of previewing in the past, when you’ve tried to determine how long an assigned reading is (and how much time and energy, as a result, it will demand from you).  But you can learn a great deal more about the organization and purpose of a text by taking note of features other than its length.

Previewing enables you to develop a set of expectations about the scope and aim of the text.  These very preliminary impressions offer you a way to focus your reading.  For instance:

  • What does the presence of  headnotes, an abstract, or other prefatory material tell you?
  • Is the author known to you already?  If so, how does his (or her) reputation or credentials influence your perception of what you are about to read? If the author is unfamiliar or unknown, does an editor introduce him or her (by supplying brief biographical information, an assessment of the author’s work, concerns, and importance)?
  • How does the disposition or layout of a text prepare you for reading? Is the material broken into parts–subtopics, sections, or the like?  Are there long and unbroken blocks of text or smaller paragraphs or “chunks” and what does this suggest?  How might the parts of a text guide you toward understanding the line of inquiry or the arc of the argument that’s being made?
  • Does the text seem to be arranged according to certain conventions of discourse?  Newspaper articles, for instance, have characteristics that you will recognize; textbooks and scholarly essays are organized quite differently  Texts demand different things of you as you read, so whenever you can, register the type of information you’re presented with.

2. Annotate

Annotating puts you actively and immediately in a “dialogue” with an author and the issues and ideas you encounter in a written text.

It’s also a way to have an ongoing conversation with yourself as you move through the text and to record what that encounter was like for you. Here’s how to make your reading thinking-intensive from start to finish:

  • Throw away your highlighter: Highlighting can seem like an active reading strategy, but it can actually distract from the business of learning and dilute your comprehension.  Those bright yellow lines you put on a printed page one day can seem strangely cryptic the next, unless you have a method for remembering why they were important to you at another moment in time.  Pen or pencil will allow you do to more to a text you have to wrestle with.
  • Mark up the margins of your text with words and phrases: ideas that occur to you, notes about things that seem important to you, reminders of how issues in a text may connect with class discussion or course themes. This kind of interaction keeps you conscious of the reasons you are reading as well as the purposes your instructor has in mind. Later in the term, when you are reviewing for a test or project, your marginalia will be useful memory triggers.
  • Develop your own symbol system: asterisk (*) a key idea, for example, or use an exclamation point (!) for the surprising, absurd, bizarre.  Your personalized set of hieroglyphs allow you to capture the important — and often fleeting — insights that occur to you as you’re reading.  Like notes in your margins, they’ll prove indispensable when you return to a text in search of that  perfect passage to use in a paper, or are preparing for a big exam.
  • Get in the habit of hearing yourself ask questions: “What does this mean?” “Why is the writer drawing that conclusion?” “Why am I being asked to read this text?” etc.  Write the questions down (in your margins, at the beginning or end of the reading, in a notebook, or elsewhere. They are reminders of the unfinished business you still have with a text: something to ask during class discussion, or to come to terms with on your own, once you’ve had a chance to digest the material further or have done other course reading.

3. Outline, Summarize, and Analyze

The best way to determine that you’ve really gotten the point is to be able to state it in your own words. Take the information apart, look at its parts, and then try to put it back together again in language that is meaningful to you.

Outlining the argument of a text is a version of annotating, and can be done quite informally in the margins of the text, unless you prefer the more formal Roman numeral model you may have learned in high school.  Outlining enables you to see the skeleton of an argument: the thesis, the first point and evidence (and so on), through the conclusion. With weighty or difficult readings, that skeleton may not be obvious until you go looking for it.

Summarizing accomplishes something similar, but in sentence and paragraph form, and with the connections between ideas made explicit.

Analyzing adds an evaluative component to the summarizing process—it requires you not just to restate main ideas, but also to test the logic, credibility, and emotional impact of an argument.  In analyzing a text, you reflect upon and decide how effectively (or poorly) its argument has been made.  Questions to ask:

  • What is the writer asserting?
  • What am I being asked to believe or accept? Facts? Opinions? Some mixture?
  • What reasons or evidence does the author supply to convince me? Where is the strongest or most effective evidence the author offers  — and why is it compelling?
  • Is there any place in the text where the reasoning breaks down?  Are there things that do not make sense,  conclusions that are drawn prematurely, moments where the writer undermines his or her purposes?

4. Look for repetitions and patterns

The way language is chosen, used, and positioned in a text can be an important indication of what an author considers crucial and what he or she expects you to glean from his argument.

It can also alert you to ideological positions, hidden agendas or biases.   Be watching for:

  • Recurring images
  • Repeated words, phrases, types of examples, or illustrations
  • Consistent ways of characterizing people, events, or issue.

5. Contextualize

Once you’ve finished reading actively and annotating, consider the text from the multiple perspectives.

When you contextualize, you essentially “re-view” a text you’ve encountered, acknowledging how it is framed by its historical, cultural, material, or intellectual circumstances. Do these factors change, complicate, explain, deepen or otherwise influence how you view a piece?

Also view the reading through the lens of your own experience. Your understanding of the words on the page and their significance is always shaped by what you have come to know and value from living in a particular time and place.

6. Compare and Contrast

Set course readings against each other to determine their relationships (hidden or explicit).
  • At what point in the term does this reading come?  Why that point, do you imagine?
  • How does it contribute to the main concepts and themes of the course?
  • How does it compare (or contrast) to the ideas presented by texts that come before it?  Does it continue a trend, shift direction, or expand the focus of previous readings?
  • How has your thinking been altered by this reading, or how has it affected your response to the issues and themes of the course?

Susan Gilroy, Librarian for Undergraduate Writing Programs, Lamont Library

printable version

Summer time Reads for your Bambinos, Cipotes, & Kids! 

Get your kids to dedicate some time every single day to read 🎓.   I love Kumon books to supplement reading and math for elementary school-aged children and Usborne books for science and bilingual books.  As always, I encourage you to buy bilingual books such as those pictured above, to not only introduce a second language, but to also introduce cultural identity and history (even if you are not Latina, Korean, Jewish, Italian, etc.) 👊🏾💃🏽🤓🎓

Father’s Day Chops with a Salvadorian Twist 💋

Lamb chops with mint sauce & Salvadorian green bean sauté 💋

Happy Father’s Day!  For those of you who don’t have one…tough, make this for yourself (more for you 🎉) or your “father-like-mentor” and ENJOY! 💃🏽👊🏾🎉🔥.  In El Salvador, green beans are a staple in every home and I’m giving them a little modern twist for Parent-Day and pairing them with lamb chops 💋

Mint sauce:  (1) 2 cloves of Roasted garlic (350 degrees, wrap the garlic in foil and a dash of olive oil, in the oven for about 25 minutes or longer if in lower heat).  I know it seems like a lot of work for 2 cloves BUT, it’s the key to the sauce and the rest will enhance ANYTHING you make 😎

(2) 2 tsp. whole grain mustard; (3) white wine vinegar; (4) Fresh Mint; (5) salt; (6) 💋🔥😘 (7) add some olive oil, whisk it and pour/dip/EAT!

Lamb CHOPS:  the best quality you can afford (grass-fed, local butcher, organic, no antibiotics, blah-blah, Costco); then sprinkle with kosher salt and a bit of black pepper.  Heat your sauté pan with some olive oil or grape seed oil and fresh herbs and some butter👙.  Place your chops on your pan and DON’t touch them (for about 3-4 minutes) and then flip  –don’t touch for  2-3 and cover them, turn off the heat and let them sit for a few minutes before serving 💋

Green beans:  Roasted yellow peppers and shallots (roast them with your garlic for above mint sauce); heat your pan with olive oil and throw in your green beans, roasted peppers and shallots; add some salt 🍋

Serve with some AMOR and some 🍷 and a little 🎁😍 ⚡️💋👯🔥

Feliz CHOPs!


LAwtina M.O.M.

Mamasita vs. Mommy: Mind over Munchies!

Narelle Brennan, showgirl, Stardust Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

I hate working out.  The thought of giving up pupusas, tortillas, lattes, chumpe, bread, in-n-out, cheese, wine, Sprite, tres leches cake, forget about it!  However, summer is around the corner and the Holidays are creeping up, and the baby is now 3 years-old, no
more excuses! 

After gaining 55-65lbs every pregnancy (3 total), I’ve learned through trial and error without a trainer or videos, what really works. 

First, NuTRITION!  What you eat is what you get.  Meal preparation is key:  grilled chicken; salmon; scallops; frozen grapes; blueberries; chicken/veggie broth; tuna ceviche; cucumbers; Brocolli; asparagus; and anything green 😍 (Never any soda, juice, or alcohol)🎁

Linda Greene, Las Vegas, Bally’s Casino, showgirl.

Now that we have our tastebuds in line again, start weight training with 2-5lbs; then, cardio: walking 10 minutes, then add some lunges or jumping jacks, walk for 5 minutes, and then finish with some weighted twists for your abs.

The goal is to SWEAT until your underwear is wet!  Add 2 minute challenging workouts until you get to 35!minutes of HIIT workout 💋.   After 1-2 months, you should be able to walk and run, alternating between walk, lunge, run 👯

Ila Borders. Pasadena,CA.  Annie Leibovitz. Women.

After reaching a 35 minute HIIT workout, add your favorite sport to the mix or a class (yoga, spin, Pilates) as a workout (this means that you should play with your kids at high intensity or join a neighborhood team/class/gym) 😎

Then, be PATIENT💅🏻…and feel your mind conquer the munchies 💪🏼

Ms. Olympia 1990-1995.  Lenda Murray by Annie Leibovitz. Women

mind. over. matter.