Voto Latino $500,000 Competition

April 17th, 2014

The Challenge: Create Change for the Latino Community Through Technology


voto_latino_innovatorsVoto Latino, in Partnership with The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Google, Announces the $500,000 VL Innovators Challenge. The tech competition will provide $10,000-$100,000 grants to 10-15 Millennial-led projects that improve the lives of and expand opportunities for Latinos in the U.S.



Millennials with innovative technological ideas for improving the lives of and expanding educational opportunities for the Latino community are being sought for a national competition that is awarding $500,000 in grants.


The Voto Latino Innovators Challenge, open to 18 to 34 year olds, seeks to fund projects that create digital solutions to challenges impacting Latinos today. The contest is part of the connected learning movement, a 21st century educational approach that takes advantage of today’s abundance of digital information and social connection and makes learning relevant to everyone.


“The VL Innovators Challenge is an investment in a rising generation of Latino Millennials who are more than just consumers of technology; they are creators, they are makers,” said María Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, a nonprofit organization that empowers Latino millennials to create positive change in their communities.


Ten to 15 projects will be selected for grants. Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and administered by HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory), the competition deadline is Sept. 10. Applications must be submitted at


“This challenge helps address pressing needs in our society, seeking to enable equity, to support and expand the pool of young Latino digital innovators, and to address pressing challenges faced by Latino communities across the country,” said David Theo Goldberg, co-founder of HASTAC and director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute at UC Irvine. “Latinos constitute a larger and larger proportion of American society, and face extended challenges socially, economically, and educationally. The MacArthur Foundation, Voto Latino, and HASTAC are coming together to support the surfacing of creative ways to address these challenges using digital media while mapping how these innovations enable learning for all.”


Challenge winners will be announced at Voto Latino’s 10-year anniversary gala in November.


— Mimi Ko Cruz


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Mexican Spotlight – April 30, 2014

April 14th, 2014

The Amazing Catfish (Los insolitos peces gato)


Los_insolitos_peces_gatoThe Amazing Catfish (Los insolitos peces gato) directed by Claudia Sainte-Luce will be playing at 7:00 PM on April 30 in the Newport Beach Film Festival Latino Showcase. 


22-year-old Claudia (Ximena Ayala) lives alone in Guadalajara. One night, she ends up in the emergency room with signs of appendicitis. There she meets Martha, lying on the bed next to her. 46-year-old Martha (Lisa Owen) has 4 children and endless lust for life, in spite of her illness.


Moved by the lonely young woman, Martha invites Claudia to come and live with her when she leaves the hospital. At first, Claudia is bewildered by the somewhat chaotic organization of the household, but soon she finds her place in the tribe. And while Martha is getting weaker, Claudia’s bond with each member of the family gets stronger day by day.


Claudia Sainte-Luce has a degree in Audiovisual Arts from the University of Guadalajara. In 2006 and 2007 Sainte-Luce directed the short films Muerte Anunciada and El Milagrito de San Jacinto. In 2010, IMCINE supported her in the production of her first feature film, The Amazing Catfish (Los insolitos peces gato). The film is known in the indie circuit as a tearjerker and is being cheered for strong performances.


Newport Beach Film Festival Latino Showcase:


Brazilian Spotlight – April 30, 2014

April 13th, 2014

The Invisible Collection (A Coleção Invisível)


A_COLECAO_INVISIVELThe Invisible Collection (A Coleção Invisível) directed by Bernard Attal will be playing at 7:45 PM on April 30 in the Newport Beach Film Festival Latino Showcase. 


Beto (Vladimir Brichta), a young man who divides his time between women and partying decides to return to the antique store of his family after a personal tragedy. To improve the business, he ventures to the Brazilian countryside in search of a collection of rare drawings, which ends up being owned by Samir (Walmor Chagas) an old landowner who has been ruined by the demise of the cocoa plantations.


While trying to bargain for the collection, he meets the landowner’s daughter Saada (Ludmila Rosa), and confronts a new environment that has gone from prosperity to moral and economic devastation, irrevocably changing the young man’s soul.


The Invisible Collection was filmed in Salvador and in the cocoa country, in the state of Bahia, Brazil.


The cocoa region, once very prosperous and theater of many books by Jorge Amado during its golden years, has gone through a process of rapid decay since the late 1980′s, mainly the consequence of a plague known as the “Witch Broom”.


The Witch Broom’s epidemic annihilated entire crops and has hindered the recovery of the plantations for more than two decades. Millionaires went bankrupt, thousands of laborers lost their jobs and mass emigration followed.


A new generation of planters are now trying to revive their land through organic culture, while at the same time struggling against deforestation.


The cast of the film includes reknowned actors such as Vladimir Brichta and Walmor Chagas as well as local farmers and laborers who have lived through the history of the cocoa country.



Official Website:


Newport Beach Film Festival Latino Showcase:


Chilean Spotlight: 8pm – April 30, 2014

April 13th, 2014

The Summer Of Flying Fish

(El Verano De Los Peces Voladores)


flyingfishPlaying at 8:00 PM on April 30 in the Newport Beach Film Festival Latino Showcase, will be The Summer Of Flying Fish (El Verano De Los Peces Voladores) directed by Marcela Said.


The film is about: Teenager Manena, who serves as the innocent voice of reason in the story of her father, Don Francisco, and his determination to eradicate the carp from a lake in southern Chile where he has a vacation home.


Francisco and his buddies are quick to rationalize away the grievances of the local indigenous population, the Mapuche, but in a series of powerful, understated images we see the destruction being wreaked upon the land by the white settlers. Meanwhile Manena experiences the pangs of young romance, learning further lessons about the ways of men.


Director Marcela Said, already an accomplished documentarian, won a berth in the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes for this, her first narrative feature. With bold, wide-angle compositions she eloquently conveys the relationship of her characters to the land. Her restrained script, co-written with Julio Rojas, conveys in subtext the subtleties of modern economic colonialism and the complicated relationship between the Mapuche and the wealthy white landowners – then builds to a chilling finale.


Official Website:


Newport Beach Film Festival Latino Showcase:



Cesar Chávez hits Theaters 3.28.14

March 28th, 2014

cesar1A biography of the civil-rights activist and labor organizer, Cesar Chávez opens March 28, 2014. The film stars Michael Pena, America Ferrara, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich.


A Mexican American, Chavez became the best known Latino American civil rights activist, who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW).


Actress America Ferrara says of the film and the man is “This is an enormous moment in our history that has not been exhausted that can still contribute to art and history.”


Directed by Diego Luna, Chávez chronicles the birth of a modern American movement led by famed civil rights leader and labor organizer, Cesar Chavez. Torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to bringing dignity and justice to others, Chavez embraced non-violence as he battled greed and prejudice in his struggle for the rights of farm workers. His triumphant journey is a remarkable testament to the power of one individual’s ability to change the system.


Chávez’s hope was that his birthday, March 31, would become a state holiday that would encourage a day of service of people dedicated to community.


Para más información:

Education Opportunity for OC Students

March 28th, 2014

Chican@s Unidos 2014 Scholarships Are Now Open

unidosIn a modest, but significant way, Chican@s Unidos wants to contribute to the educational endeavors of sisters and brothers by providing scholarships that come from donations from the community for our community. Enrollment is open from now until May 5, 2014. Recipients will be announced on May 30, 2014.


Please join their Facebook event (click herein order to share the news widely. Especially if you know students from Orange County. You can also visit their website for more information.


The search is on for committed students and community members in the Orange County Chican@/Mexican@/Latin@ communities that are involved, engaged, and advocating for education.


Students that understand how going to college is not only about the individual but what can be achieved for all of us. It is up to students that understand that the amount of work that needs to get done within our communities, identifying our struggles and building our ability to work together.


They are looking for students who are able to communicate how their education is part of an overall goal to work towards positive changes in our communities, that is beyond being a role mode


2014 Scholarship Opportunities

Open from March 3rd to May 5th 2014


All Applicants must be from Orange County and attending school in Fall 2014 and must be committed to the Orange County Chican@/Mexican@/Latino@ community


High School Scholarships:

· Two $500 High School Scholarship: For graduating seniors, attending college in Fall 2014


General Scholarship

· One $500 Community College Scholarship: For students entering (but not graduating HS seniors) or continuing at a community college in Fall 2014

· One $500 University Scholarship: For students transferring from a community college or continuing university students in Fall 2014

· One $500 Graduate/Credential Scholarship: For students in a graduate school or teaching credential program in fall 2014


Second Chance Scholarship:

· One $500 a person who needs a second chance at an education or job training because they were directly affected by, or have had significant direct personal experience with the criminal “in-justice” system and prison industrial complex. This includes, but is not limited to, applicants who have themselves been incarcerated, as well as applicants who have a family member or loved one who has been incarcerated and who have, as a result, had adverse personal circumstances that has made staying in school difficult.



For additional information contact:

Carolyn Torres at or 949-295-6423.


Please download application at


Applications can be mailed or emailed. If you would like your classroom or space to be a drop off location please let Chican@s Unidos know.

Dialogue/Diálogos readings in April

March 28th, 2014

Staged reading with Dialogue/Diálogos teaching artistsMembers of the Santa Ana community—and others—are invited to attend one or more staged readings of a new community-inspired play by José Cruz González. The play-in-development is part of Dialogue/Diálogos, a creative partnership between South Coast Repertory (SCR) and Latino Health Access (LHA).


The readings for the play, titled The Long Road Today, take place at Santa Ana College on April 2, Bowers Museum on April 18, Orange County School of the Arts on April 23 and KidWorks on April 30. All four events begin at 6:30 p.m., are free and open to the public.


The Long Road Today is based on the richness of more than 500 stories shared by community members. The play is a story about the transformation of self, of spaces in Santa Ana and of its residents’ perceptions about their city and among their neighborhoods. The Long Road Today is bilingual, with original music by LHA Promotor Moisés Vázquez.


The cast of readers will consist of both new program participants and individuals who have participated in Diálogos workshops as part of the project, which is aimed at creating a community-inspired play. These readings will offer the community opportunities to provide feedback to the playwright José Cruz González and help shape the final script.


sara_y_jose_sml“It’s important for me that Santa Ana community members hear the first draft of the play, which they inspired through their generous contribution of stories,” said González. “I can’t wait to hear thoughts, questions and impressions from the residents of Santa Ana. It will help me tremendously to continue developing the piece with the community’s feedback.”


Dialogue/Diálogos is a two-year bilingual community-based theatre initiative with Santa Ana’s Latino community. The project has three phases: story-gathering days, play-making workshops and play development. The resulting play is based on the stories of Santa Ana residents.


González facilitated the story-gathering first phase in early 2013 with the help of a team of teaching artists. Next, he and the team taught workshops where participants learned how to work with stories, design and basic theatrical skills. Finally, the collected stories have culminated in a first draft of the play. Santa Ana residents who participated in the workshops will take part in the full theatrical production—to be presented in fall 2014.


“I had the opportunity to be present at all the storytelling events in 2013,” said Vázquez. “It wasn’t planned that I would write original music for the play, but as a musician and longtime resident of Santa Ana, the story-sharing sessions stirred in me a desire to write music about my community. I’m happy that my music is included in the play.”


“I felt very fortunate to be invited into the lives of the folks we met at each workshop, knowing that they will contribute to telling the larger story of their community,” said Armando Molina, a Diálogos teaching artist and the director of the play. Molina currently is the artistic director of Company of Angels theatre and his history with SCR dates back to his work in the 80s and 90s as an actor in numerous Hispanic Playwrights Project plays.


González has a long connection to SCR, dating back to 1986 with the launch of the theatre company’s Hispanic Playwrights Project to create new work by Latino playwrights. He is the recipient of many honors, including a residency for the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights. He has written for “PAZ,” the Emmy Award-nominated television series produced by Discovery Kids for The Learning Channel. González teaches theatre at California State University, Los Angeles.


Dialogue/Diálogos is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation, as part of its Exploring Engagement Fund for Large Organizations.


Details: South Coast Repertory, in partnership with Latino Health Access, will host four staged readings of the new Santa Ana-inspired bilingual play, The Long Road Today, by José Cruz González. The series of readings is part of the Dialogue/Diálogos project. González, joined by Project Engagement Director Sara Guerrero, will hold a Q&A session with the audience following the reading of the play.


Wednesday, April 2, at 6:30 p.m.

 Santa Ana College in Phillips Hall Theatre

1530 W. 17th St.

Santa Ana, Calif.


Friday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m.

 Bowers Museum in the Fluor Family Gallery

2002 N. Main St.

Santa Ana, Calif.


Wednesday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m.

Orange County School of the Arts in the Symphony Hall

1010 N. Main St.

Santa Ana, Calif.


Wednesday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m.


1902 W. Chestnut Ave.

Santa Ana, Calif.


Plan to attend:

Open to all ages and no theatre experience is necessary. RSVP is encouraged by calling (714) 708-5843 or emailing

Light refreshments—snacks and beverages—will be provided.

Event updates will be announced online, including the readers cast lists.


For more information:


Yesenia’s Dream Dress Drive

March 28th, 2014

yeseniasOne hundred and fifty diverse young women from Orange County and surrounding communities will gather on Saturday, April 5 for a day including everything from pampering, etiquette tips and self-esteem tools to hair and makeup tips, accessories, prom dresses and a Zumba class. Yesenia’s Dream Dress Drive will take place on Saturday, April 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at Arbonne International Headquarters  in Irvine.


Mothers of the young women attending the Dream Dress Drive will be offered workshops that address family relationship skills, nutrition, human trafficking along with a Zumba class to encourage fitness.


Now in its seventh year, Yesenia’s Dream Dress Drive is presented by Yesenia’s Humanitarian Foundation, named for Yesenia Monett Orozco, a young Mission Viejo woman whose life was cut tragically short by a car accident in November 2007 just shy of her 27th birthday. Yesenia was passionate about helping deserving young women celebrate their high school prom nights with elegance and integrity. She collected gently worn dresses from friends, family and patrons of the family’s former Santa Ana flower shop. The Dream Dress Drive continues Yesenia’s dream to empower young women at their senior prom while providing knowledge and skills in financial literacy, self-image and social etiquette to help them succeed in life.


Each of the young women in attendance will receive a prom gown, shoes, accessories and a full day of activities including social and business etiquette classes, self-esteem workshops, Zumba classes and a generous gift bag including Arbonne make-up, Cookie Lee jewelry and Dr. Gloria Sterling’s latest book, “Is Anyone Listening?”


Yesenia’s mother and organization founder /president Elizabeth Orozco reflects, “The Dream Dress Drive is a tribute to my daughter’s beautiful spirit and was never about just a fancy dress and looking beautiful for one night; it is investing in and building up young women to help them find their own path in life; the way that Yesenia found her path through helping others.”


Other event sponsors and guests include Dr. Gloria Sterling, Judy Davidds-Wright, Arbonne International and Cookie Lee Jewelry. Ladera Ranch-based Casa Ranchero will provide lunch for all attendees including dozens of volunteers with many special skills that make the event possible.


For more information about Yesenia’s Humanitarian Foundation or the Dream Dress Drive, call (714) 881-0800 or visit

Latina Conference April 2014

March 11th, 2014

hispanic_womenHispanic Lifestyle is proud to announce that the Latina Conference 2014 will take place on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at the Ontario Airport Hotel, Ontario, California from 9am to 2pm.


The event will recognize several Latinas of influence who have been featured on the television program Hispanic Lifestyle and on for their contributions in business, community service, entertainment and education.


The all day conference will include panel discussions on Latinas in Business, Latinas in Entertainment, and Latinas in our community. Hispanic Lifestyle will feature the presentation of the “2014 Latinas of Influence” during the lunchtime program.


Latina Conference 2014 will also include networking opportunities and an exhibitor area. Note last’s years event sold out. There are limited sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities.



9:00am Registration Check In – Exhibitors


9:30am Panel Discussion | Community Involvement


10:30am Panel Discussion | Latinas in Business


11:15am Panel Discussion | Latinas in Entertainment


12:15pm Lunchtime | 2014 Latinas of Influence


Exhibitors | Door Prizes |


Hispanic Lifestyle is an independently produced television program that profiles and promotes positive images of the Latino community. They highlight the achievements of community leaders, organizations, business owners, with segments on health, travel, food and entertainment.  Hispanic Lifestyle is broadcasted on PBS and independent television stations in California, Arizona, Oklahoma and Texas.


For sponsorship information, please send your email to:


Richard Montoya’s ‘Water & Power’ Film

March 10th, 2014

richardmontoya_wpActor & playwright Richard Montoya, founding member of the Chicano comedy-theater troupe Culture Clash began adapting his neo-noir stage drama “Water & Power” for the screen in 2007. As a Sundance Institute film fellow he crafted the stage play into a script with the help of Author Walter Mosley.


On January 28th, Montoya announced on the films Facebook page that the time has come to “Spread the word” about the film.


The journey of this project began even earlier than the stage play debut at the Mark taper Forum in 2006 and now “Water & Power” is scheduled to hit theaters on May 2, 2014. As of right now the page has 1600 likes and the hope is to keep up the momentum for the films opening.


The story centers on twin brothers nicknamed “Water” and “Power” from the hard scrabble Eastside streets of Los Angeles that rise through the city’s political and police ranks to become players in a complex and dangerous web of the powerful and corrupt of Los Angeles.


One a decorated cop – the other a senator, find themselves in a seedy motel room on the eastern edge of Sunset Boulevard on a dark and rainy night. Something has gone very wrong. Will the brothers be able to fix their dire situation? The Fixers and Powers of the city seek answers. Everybody will be looking for the Twins.


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