7 Latinx Artists That Are Pushing The Boundaries of Music

Arca – 

Arca, also referred to as Doña Arca, is a trans Venezuelan singer, songwriter, producer, and DJ. Known for her experimental sound, she tastefully blends genres, deconstructs samples, and opens up in a beautifully vulnerable and raw manner. Arca’s image, sound, and art evoke a sense that she is a futuristic visitor from another planet. However, her music touches upon the most human senses of all: love, nostalgia, and finding freedom in being yourself. Arca’s gender transition has occurred throughout her prolific career both in making music for herself and songwriting for artists like Kanye West, Björk, and FKA Twigs. Her music is almost a real-time documentation of this experience as she taps into the various emotions that come with exploring your gender identity. Her frustration and excitement is most explicitly showcased in the single, “Nonbinary,” off of her latest release KiCk i. KiCk i, is an avant-pop album that blends reggaeton, pop, and electronic music in a distorted and accentuated fashion. In true Arca fashion, the record takes all elements of both the natural and unnatural, challenging listeners to peer inside and consider the alien in themselves.

Check out Arca’s latest release, KiCk i

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Pelada – 

Pelada is a Montreal-based electronic duo, made up of producer Tobias Rochman and vocalist Chris Vargas. Together, the two create music that is impossible not to dance to by blending techno and house club genres. Their music explores themes of power, gender, and even environmental politics. Vargas’ raw and cutting lyrics – written and performed in Spanish – are enhanced by Rochman’s trippy, acidic techno background that make the duo a fan favorite in Montreal’s underground club scene. Their debut album, Movimiento Para Cambio, covers various styles of dance music from NY house to cumbias, all with overarching punk themes that force listeners to reflect on oppressive structures of society with songs like ‘A Mí Me Juzgan Por Ser Mujer’ (‘I Am Judged Because I’m a Woman’) and ‘Habla Tu Verdad’ (‘Speak Your Truth’) which urges women to overcome the stigma around discussing sexual harassment. Printed in their liner notes, Pelada states their message loud and clear: ‘ABRE TUS OJOS, LA BESTIA SE ALIMENTA DE LA EXPLOTACIÓN (‘OPEN YOUR EYES, THE BEAST FEEDS ON EXPLOITATION’).”

Check out Pelada’s latest release, Movimiento Para Cambio

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Tomasa del Real –

Valeria Cisternas, or better known by her stage name, Tomasa del Real, is a Chilean reggaeton artist often referred to as “La Reina de Neoperreo.” But what is Neo-perreo? Neo-perreo is a social-media inspired offshoot of Reggaeton, a new version with ingredients of auto-tune, EDM, and even punk influences. Neo-perreo culture gained popularity through social media as a hashtag and Youtube channel. The internet allowed accessibility for like-minded artists throughout Latin America to express and share their similar sounds and styles. The aesthetic is based on do-it-yourself culture, often coupled with Y2K aesthetics and other artsy online trends from Tumblr and Instagram. Tomasa del Real is one of the pioneers of the genre, championing a new way to listen to Reggaeton, liberating women and the LGBTQIA+ community in a previously male-dominated genre. One of Tomasa Del Real’s main intentions with the creation of this new sound was to promote gender and sexual equality at Neo-perreo parties. Neo-perreo is about taking control, having agency over your own body, and being genuine. Neo-perreo is more than just a genre, it’s a movement. 

 

Check out Tomasa del Real’s latest release, TDR

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Pacoima Techno – 

Representing the 818 is of the utmost importance for Pacoima Techno, an underground electronic music duo, composed of Aarum Alatorre and Pedro Alejandro Verdin. Based in Los Angeles, Alatorre and Verdin use their experiences growing up in the San Fernando Valley as inspiration for their music and community organizing. Their mission is to create spaces that bring people together through music, community, and dance. Pacoima Techno regularly holds parties in Highland Park called GOT 2B REAL, meant to be a safe space for POC and LGBTQIA+ folks to dance, sing, and party freely. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacoima Techno has taken these parties online, broadcasting “audio performances” under the same name with Dublab. Their music and performances draw upon the duo’s experience as students at art school in the San Fernando Valley, and often work collaboratively with other underground Latinx artists in Los Angeles. Pacoima Techno are co-founders of the underground record label CASA/TECA that embraces experimental music and art that wildly blend components of dance, electronic, latin, and synth music. Pacoima Techno is an art project, a community, and overall, an experience. 

 

Check out Pacoima Techno’s latest release, Pinches Perros (feat. Soltera)

 

Telescopios –

Telescopios is an Argentinian alternative indie rock band that is unafraid of bending and distorting the sounds of beloved Latin Rock and Pop. Based in Cόrdoba, the band is composed of artists Rodrigo Molina, Bernardo Ferrón, Nicolás Moroni, and Alberto Ortíz who all met in university. This band is actively defining new-wave alt-rock in the Argentinian musical landscape. The music takes cues from contemporary psych-rock artists like Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra but with fresh and creative twists that embed trippy textures with hard-rock guitars and drums. Their latest release showcases the band’s more electronic and ambient future, including some of the band’s most rhythmic work to date. Telescopios is a band without limits – blazing the trail for indie and alternative rock without steering too far away from the fan favorite Argentinian genres of Latin Rock and Pop.

Check out Telescopios’ latest release, Doble de Riesgo

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Youtube

 

Lorelle Meets the Obsolete –

Hailing from Guadalajara, Mexico, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete is stationed at the intersection of garage rock, kraut-rock, and dream pop. The husband and wife duo, Alberto González and Lorena Quintanilla, create dark-hued psych rock that embeds all kinds of murky and fuzzy textures to distort and perfect their sound. Lorelle Meets the Obsolete discography has spanned over 10 years, each album more expansive and avant-garde than the last, with their more recent releases reflecting the couple’s relaxing new home in Ensenada, Baja California, where they practice and record. The duo’s latest release, De Facto, is sung entirely in Spanish, being the band’s first album to do so. Quintanilla’s decision to sing in Spanish was prompted by the increase of political and social turmoil in Mexico in response to the Trump administration, and hoped the decision would offer comfort to Mexican and Latinx listeners alike. Tapping into multiple genres like shoegaze, post-punk, and psych-rock, Lorelle Meets the Obsolete is one of bands at the forefront of the dreamy and dark psychedelic scene. 

Check out Lorelle Meets the Obsolete’s latest release, De Facto

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Apple Music

Youtube

Lido Pimienta – 

Lido Pimienta is a Colombian-Canadian musician, singer, and songwriter. Her music traverses many styles of pop and electronic music, as well as taking influences from traditional indigenous and Afro-Colombian musical styles. Her latest album, Miss Colombia, was made to raise awareness of challenges faced by Indigenous and Black women in Colombia and draws from her own experiences as a queer Black Colombian woman of African and Indigenous Wayuu descent. She recorded the majority of Miss Colombia in her home studio and wrote and arranged each song herself. Pimienta calls this album a “cynical love letter to Colombia” as she addresses racism, misogyny, and homophobia in her home country. Her lyrics are unafraid to express the pains of these violences as well as making a call to action, with songs like ‘Resisto y Ya’ (‘I Resist and That’s It’) as she asserts her lived experiences are forms of resistance in themselves. The album is filled with beautiful messages of love, heartbreak, and strength in the face of adversity, all within beautiful percussion, woodwinds and electro-infused rhythms that draw from reggaeton, cumbia and porro, a Colombian folk genre from the Caribbean coast. 

Check out Lido Pimienta’s latest release, Miss Colombia

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Apple Music

Youtube

 

To view this article in its full designed glory, head over to our Issuu to view our Fall 2020 Boundaries Issue!

All in a Day’s Work

Photo taken by Angela Vargas

The Slack notification sound dings, I immediately check, it could be from any of my five channels that I’m currently in. I answer and my friend looks over and says, “you’re not at work right now, build boundaries and answer it later.” I was struck and somewhat offended. However, she’s right, working from home (WFH) has made it so that I can’t distinguish between work and social life. 

Hallie Bateman made the joke in her comic describing the concept of working from home, “First of all, there is no longer a separation between ‘work’ and ‘life.’ It’s one word now: ‘worklife.’ But the ‘work’ is silent now, though. It’s all just ‘life.’” The issue is, she’s not wrong. 

The experience of working from home is a privileged one that existed before the pandemic but has recently gained prominence. An MIT study found that half of the population who were employed pre-COVID moved towards a remote work environment. The large surge of new WFH workers has caused a lot of people scrambling to adjust in building boundaries between their work and home life. The physical separation between the “office” and our “homes” is something that doesn’t exist anymore.

In an attempt to keep up with this new WFH atmosphere, there has been a surge of  self-help/productivity tips. These tips are rooted in privilege, given that a lot of low-wage jobs cannot rely on remote work. However, these tips do shape and reflect the ways that we as a society view productivity. It’s important to acknowledge that these tips are easier said than done. We should also recognize that WFH isn’t always glamorous or that there isn’t a “one-size fits all” answer to the question: How do we manage WFH in healthy and productive ways?

 

“You should build boundaries in your home; build a workspace and a resting space, so you don’t associate work with your rest space.”

This gets a little tricky when college students typically share small rooms with multiple students. Most of our space is multi-functional. However, it’s not impossible.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is not to do any school work or work-related tasks on my bed. Day 1 of remote learning taught me that when I attempt this, I will fall asleep in the middle of my lecture. 

Consequently, building that boundary even between our desks and our beds has proven useful. When we sit at our desk, we can enter a work-mindset . This means taking the extra step of not having distractions on your desk. This can be difficult however, as many college students use their desk as a form of extra storage. 

 

“You should get up from your desk, and walk around a little.”

This one is very interesting, do they mean actually go for a walk outside or just walk little circles around in my apartment? 

I mean I guess I understand the sentiment, I am exhausted of this $5 desk chair I bought from the girl who last leased this apartment. 

However, when work breaks or breaks in between classes are only 30 minutes, it’s hard having to choose between taking a walk, laying down and recovering, or making yourself something to eat. 

It seems extreme to schedule when to eat in a planner, but in an environment where you only have small pockets of time to do so, it becomes necessary. 

 

“Set business hours!”

I’ve lost all sense of time ever since the pandemic started — business hours are a lost cause. 

Where is the boundary necessarily? If my boss sends a Slack message at 6PM, will I simply say: “that is out of my business hours, I shall not answer.” 

Business hours are also really hard to navigate when you work part-time and are a college student. Classes don’t always fall in the 9-5 “work day” frame, so we are required to do academic work well after business hours. Thus, if we are not working, we are doing academic work, and it seems as if the day never has a healthy closing time that we can look forward to clocking out of. 

 

“Make sure to encourage connection through remote work.”

Staring into the abyss of black screens during Zoom lectures and discussions have made this one nearly impossible. However, there’s one connection we all seem to care about the most — our internet connection. 

The social aspect of going into an office is gone. However, this has made a lot of students want to join clubs or other social organizations. We are all tied to our technology during WFH that social Zoom calls are the one light. 

 

“Get ready as if you’re going into the office to be in the right mindset.” vs “Invest in leisure wear, since you will be at home.”

To the influencers saying we should invest in leisure wear since we’re working from home, my massive hoodie and bike shorts salute you. 

However, these contradictory tips both have some validity. 

No one wants to feel uncomfortable while they are at home, so putting on clothes you would wear to work seems somewhat pointless, especially if you are not on camera. 

However, being in loungewear all the time does tend to blur the lines of the being at work mindset. 

 

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In short, there is no proper way to navigate WFH. Finding what works for us is something that takes time. It also varies from student to student, worker to worker. This isn’t our normal, so as we scramble for ways to stay productive, we should take the time to take a breather. We aren’t robots, just because work has made its way into our homes, doesn’t mean it should permeate our life. As we look for the work and home balance, it’s important to value our own time and build the boundaries that will keep us sane.

 

To view this article in its full designed glory, head over to our Issuu to view our Fall 2020 Boundaries Issue!

Navigating Boundaries

Illustration by Haven Morales

Boundaries are good, healthy, and necessary in order to have fruitful relationships. Recently the idea of setting boundaries is celebrated with joy; everywhere there are reminders that setting boundaries is a step towards becoming a society that is cognizant of others’ feelings, while still accounting for your own. From the outside looking in, it might seem like boundaries are simple and straightforward, but that is far from the truth. Oftentimes, boundaries are terrifying to set and even harder to abide by but without them it is easy to fall into emotionally draining relationships, or even in trauma inducing situations; this is why setting up boundaries in the first place is necessary.

Many can attest that the process of setting boundaries is to be quite frank –exhausting. Navigating what you are comfortable with, where you draw the line, when the appropriate time is, who you set them for, can be a painfully dreadful process. Even after all of this the hardest part is left – how do you actually tell someone what your boundaries are and how can they respect them? Needless to say, the first time I did this with my mom, it did not go well. You see, my mom grew up in Jalisco to a family of nine during the 80s; for her, boundaries are a strange concept invented by millennials, never applicable to her or her family. She did not understand the concept because it was completely foreign to her. 

I have been conditioned to see boundaries as something that is normal and should be respected if brought up, yet the experience I had with my mom taught me that a lot of adults do not share this mindset and trying to hold them to my expectations of boundaries was bound to fail. It helped me to understand that a lot of adults view boundaries through the lens of losing authority. As far as my mother could tell, the boundaries I was trying to set would have removed her authority over me completely; which is why she reacted apprehensively. In reality, I felt it was necessary for my mental well-being to feel comfortable living back home while still attending school. This misinterpretation of what boundaries mean is very typical when first setting up boundaries with immigrant families. 

So how does one set up boundaries with someone who might be completely new to the idea? Some things I found to help when setting boundaries for the first time is simplicity and directness. Being extremely clear about what you want will make it easier for the other party to digest and ultimately easier for them to accept. Second, hold your ground even if you don’t get the reaction you hoped for. Although it is very discouraging for someone to disregard your efforts to set up boundaries, keep in mind that you cannot control the reactions of others, only your own. Third, be grateful to yourself and others who are willing to accept your boundaries or make an effort to respect your boundaries. Boundaries are hard for the person setting them and the ones having to abide by them, it takes time to get it just right so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out perfectly the first time. Above all, do not give up if you can’t set boundaries perfectly the first time, we are all human and it takes trial and error in order to perfect something as meaningful as boundaries; in the end, you will find that successfully setting up a boundary brings immense joy and it is worth all the stress. For my mom and I, setting up boundaries did not happen in a vacuum but starting that conversation brought us a deeper understanding of each other and ultimately helped both of us become cognizant of each other’s needs. Always remember to be kind to yourself and the other person throughout the process.

 

To view this article in its full designed glory, head over to our Issuu to view our Fall 2020 Boundaries Issue!

Stuck between the lines

Boundaries [noun]: a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line; a limit of a subject or sphere of activity.

 

The line between us stands bold and resistant.

 

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These lines represent the enclosure I have built for myself. The ones I set up whenever I’m confronted about things as simple as where I was born or where my parents work. The boundaries I set up are meant to keep myself at most ease; they both limit others from pursuing a conversation I am not ready for and limit myself from sharing too much in a potentially unsafe space. Often, there is this sense of security and safety that comes with not disclosing my identities as an undocumented Latina since I don’t always feel the need nor the want to explain myself or my background to others without getting emotional. Staying between the lines isn’t always the best option, but I’ve found it to often be the safest.

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While most of my boundaries are self-imposed, there are systemic boundaries in my life which I often have no control over and  frankly, have limited ability to tear down. Regardless of the ones I don’t have control over, I’ve learned when to lower my boundaries such as through my writing, where it is easier to share my status and it requires no direct confrontation. My writing is a safe space where I have the strength to speak up about my personal lived experiences. I find security in letting down my guard and proving others wrong whenever I surpass a boundary that society has placed on me.

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It wasn’t until I was at UCLA that I learned to let my 

guard down and open up about my genuine ideas and morals. I’m grateful that I feel represented in spaces with like-minded people from similar communities to those I belong to where I can simply voice whatever is going through my mind at the moment. 

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel hesitant when sharing views opposite from those my family and church followed. I didn’t feel shame in opening up about my status. I didn’t feel resisticted anymore and learned to believe that it is possible to succeed despite my status and the boundaries placed against undocumented students pursuing higher education. I didn’t feel as if I had to hide this legal boundary when forming relationships because I felt empowered to share my identity rather than hide it. I soon moved on to breaking new generational boundaries by being the first child to move out of the house, despite being unmarried, in order to pursue a college education. I learned to set my own boundaries beginning with my religious and moral beliefs. It felt relieving to finally tiptoe across the bolded lines I refused to previously cross.

 

Recently, society seems to be moving backwards much faster than it is moving forwards, and I fear that the progress I made in breaking down boundaries for myself will eventually be reversed. The pressure to constantly be an activist for my  community is always followed by the fear of the country’s future during election cycles. I fear that DACA may be rescinded or that I will be placed into an enclosure of fear once again due to the boundaries placed against me that would prevent me from ever reaching citizenship, or even reach the high stakes of fearing deportation once again.

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Stepping over the line was not easy to begin with, nor will it be to enclose myself behind them once again, if I have to. I question when I’ll ever have these boundaries lifted for good and hope that I’ll soon be able to cross the line without fear. I think about how much of my life I have published, even if it is very minimal. I think about how anything I have published, or even having applied to DACA, could be traced back to me and negatively affect me in the future, thus reinforcing the systematic boundaries the country impedes me from crossing.

 

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For now, under the uncertainty of our current administration and election, I stand in this middle ground where I can proceed to share as much as makes me comfortable or recreate boundaries which prevent me from disclosing too much about myself based on the outcome of the election. Ultimately, I am okay with how much I have shared with others thus far, but I know that there are always risks, fears, and doubts that will never truly go away. In the meantime, I stand where I have always been my entire life, conflicted between stepping over the line or enclosing myself between them.

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To view this article in its full designed glory, head over to our Issuu to view our Fall 2020 Boundaries Issue!

Nahla: Representing the Communities Who Have No Voice In Cinema


Nahla photographed by Kristian Punturere

We live in a world where society is predominantly led by men. Men are the majority in many areas of work such as construction, education, law, and engineering. This repetitive pattern has caused women to feel powerless and isolated as their work is often overlooked. As a result, women find themselves internalizing the idea that what they have to offer and who they are will ultimately be shut down. These issues are also present in the film world. There are not many women found behind a camera, and those that are often mention feeling a suppressing wave of criticism. Women in film face the underlying fear that what they want to put on the screen may be judged or seen badly. According to research conducted by Dr. Martha M. Lauzen at San Diego State University, “women comprise 20% of all directors, writers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 100 grossing films in 2019, up to 16% in 2018.” This is how Nahla enters the scene and shines her light and talent from behind the lens. Nahla is a 24-year-old Mexican-American filmmaker originally from San Diego, who at the age of 14 moved to Tijuana. By living in a border town, her identity transformed as she began to identify as a transborder person. She began to cross the border back and forth from Tijuana to San Diego for almost five years in order to get her education. At San Diego City College, she studied documentary film production while also working a full-time job.

From a very young age, Nahla found beauty in the arts. She expressed her creativity through many mediums such as drawing, painting, dancing, acting, stagecraft, and was even part of a mariachi band. As the clock kept ticking and the days went by, she asked herself an important question: What am I going to do with my life? Nahla found it hard to choose only one passion from her many interests. In the end, she figured out that the solution was film. 

Nahla art directing on set of DC the Don taken by Matthew Reyes

With this in mind, during a zoom interview she mentioned “in the society that is the United States, it is common to see that they want to categorize people in boxes when in reality, everyone has their unique path and I am lucky to have found mine.”

Nahla is on her own unique path where she has set her personal goals as to what she wants to accomplish within film. Her main objective as a filmmaker is “to capture the underrepresented voices in cinema.” This vision of hers came little by little. It made its appearance on her first day of class when her professor gave her a camera and told everyone to “tell stories that you know instead of telling the stories from a different point of view that you can’t personally understand.” At first, she didn’t do this; Nahla tried to make her art depict images that were not true to her. It wasn’t until her documentary production class when she began to tell stories that were more personal to herself. To her surprise, being true to herself came with problems. She started noticing that she was not only one of the few women in the room, but that her short films focused on the female perspective and she was showing them to a male-dominated room. Nahla did not let this stop her. She continued to make the films that she wanted to create instead of making films to satisfy male filmmakers. 

Nahla art directing on set of DC the Don taken by Matthew Reyes

Nahla has had the opportunity to work with many talented artists in the Los Angeles area. Among them are Viva la Bonita , Vel the Wonder, and A+ Films to name a few. While working in LA, she noticed that the pattern continued and not a lot of women were behind cameras. The first time she worked with director Alex Cobian, she noticed that besides her there was only one other female on set. When Natalia, the only other woman on the project, was not there, Nahla was the only female on set. The gender imbalance is a topic that, for her, is very present in the set atmosphere. Nahla and her team Guapruns ( @guapruns, GUAPRUNS ) are “striving to represent not only the Chicanx community but females in the industry as a whole.”

As a result, La Ciné Femme was born. During a Zoom interview, Nahla stated that to her, La Ciné Femme is “a community for women and feminists that is pushing towards having as many women as men on set to fill the gender gap.” The name of her project is translated from French as ‘the female filmmaker’. On the bottom of La Ciné Femme´s logo reads “Since 1896”. That year is there to honor the year the female filmmaker Alice Guy-Blachè was born. Alice Guy-Blachè is the first recorded filmmaker to use a close-up shot but unfortunately, history has not acknowledged her innovation. Guy-Blachè lived part of her life in Chile and at the young age of 21 she got involved in cinema. By the year 1910, she had founded her own company, Solax Studios, in the United States.

Nahla’s homage to Alice Guy-Blachè demonstrates her project’s goal to give women in film the proper recognition and a space where they can feel they belong.

La Ciné Femme Logo created by Nahla

Nahla expressed that film is “the most powerful tool to tell a story.” It is the best way to vividly experience by seeing and hearing a narrative and to digest the stories of others. In the near future, she plans to make a film she wrote alongside her team that reflects on border life and what it means to be a transborder person. Besides that, she also has plans to create her own clothing brand for La Ciné Femme. Through this, she will give female filmmakers clothing they can feel comfortable wearing while working on set. Lastly, her plan is to travel to different parts of the world to connect with other filmmakers, to keep making art with others, and to continue her journey of sharing people’s stories that are still waiting to be heard.

If you would like to stay up to date on Nahla’s projects and the work of La Cine Ciné Femme, follow them on social media.

Website: https://www.xn--lacin-femme-fbb.com/

Instagram:

Nahla (@nahlahh_) 

La Ciné-Femme (@la.cine.femme)

What If?

Illustration by: Sofia Rizkkhalil

What if you create a utopia in your mind?

Free from the constraints of reality, 

Nowhere near as repressed nor confined

By something as consequential as finality.

 

You don’t even realize what you are doing;

Illusions of something more occupying the time and space of the present

Until it becomes all-consuming, 

And you fail to recognize that it has now turned equally unpleasant.

 

Because when you open your eyes, 

You’re faced with a stark end to a seemingly perpetual fantasy,

And there’s nothing left to do but improvise, 

Attempting to bridge your reverie with reality.

 

For what is our world without the notion of progress?

Without getting to plant the seed and watch it grow into fruition,

Without turning the dissatisfaction behind what ifs into inspiration regardless,

Struck by the gravity of life, propelled into living with intention.

 

As everything seems to spiral down further, 

Morphing into something completely unrecognizable,

You have to move past being a casual observer

To become a person concerned with the achievable. 

 

The same instinct that pushed you to find solace in the immaterial

Has to fuel you to redress the issues that made you think of the inconceivable.

 

So you ask yourself:

What if compassion drove humanity?

What if the mechanisms of power were rooted in equity?

What if we would solve world hunger?

Wouldn’t that fill everyone with wonder?

What if we could cure every affliction?

Does it seem like something done only in a work of fiction? 

What if the people we elected were more concerned with eliminating inequality? 

What if we never lost another innocent life to ceaseless brutality? 

Or better yet, what if no one ever needed to fight another war? 

What if the sustainability of our planet wasn’t dismissed and treated as a chore?

What if our differences were cause for celebration?

What if they weren’t used as a means of alienation?

 

You see, these questions deserve your attention,

An unrivaled, unrelenting level of focus

That flourishes not in some idealistic fabrication, 

But in something concrete, ultimately culminating in your greatest opus.

 

What if I made the world a better place?

The Pink House

Photo by: Destiny Diaz

 

I want to paint an image of my childhood home. 

Hoping if I can nail this image, then I’d have a sense of where I’m from.

 

Images pulled together from old photos and half memories 

I want to recreate the home that I once knew, but hesitate

out of fear of getting it wrong.

I fear I am working not with the memory of the place

but the memory of the photos of that space and it makes me squeal—

 

Like how the door did or at least I think it did when I was small,

the shriek I let out when my fat leg got caught in the door frame when I ran up the steps too quickly.

How EVERYTHING was out of reach, and the windows gated with black bars.

The Art Laboe Show from the yellow speaker set booms another oldie but goodie.

“I’ll be waiting for you puppet” kisses the woman in the speaker and chimes in the melody of James and Bobby Purify.

 

I feel like I am holding onto slivers

of the place where noise always breaks.

                                   They dig deep 

 

Like the house with the palms in the front yard,

its pink walls and popcorn ceilings.

The cucumber slices with limón y sal.

This was before Tajín.

Before we knew we liked the burn of chile better than the tang of salt on our tongues.

Before our tongues were torn out of our mouths at the schools with no space for kids like us.

All that is left is the melody that brings back flashes of the pink house. 

Perú Faces a Presidential Crisis

This November, Perú experienced a period of political unrest as deep rooted corruption rose to the surface and subjected the country to a presidential crisis. 

On November 9th, the Peruvian Congress, headed by Manuel Merino, voted to remove President Martín Vizcarra from office. Vizcarra was removed due to allegations of accepting around $630,000 in bribes in a past position as a regional governor and failing to properly lead the country during the coronavirus pandemic. Congress claimed his “moral incapacity,” based on a broadly interpreted section of the Constitution, served as a reason to remove President Vizcarra. Despite these allegations, Vizcarra remained popular among Peruvian people. 

 

Former President Vizcarra. Image Credit: Wall Street Journal

 

Perú faces a long history of corruption, as many past presidents have been prosecuted as criminals and current lawmakers are being investigated for a large variety of serious crimes. As a result, Vizcarra stood on an anti-corruption platform, which greatly contributed to his popularity. He attempted to stop parliamentary immunity and Congressional re-election. When Congress denied the proposals, Vizcarra called for an election of a new Congress. Peruvian people voted for politicians who belonged to newer political parties in hope of change, but unfortunately, the new members of Congress ended up being just as corrupt as the last. 

 

Graphic Illustration by Sara Robles. Image Credit: @imperspectivas

 

Due to Vizcarra’s popularity, many believe he should not have been removed even if the corruption allegations were true. Many feel that the political turmoil is not worth it during the last few months of the presidency before the upcoming election in April 2021. Others are in agreement with Vizcarra’s removal and believe that even if there is a chance that a lawmaker is corrupt, they should be removed from office. 

After Vizcarra’s removal, Manuel Merino became next in line for the presidency and was quickly sworn in. However, protests broke out throughout the country, as some even believed that a coup had been staged. 

These protests started as small demonstrations in Lima but quickly grew to large protests all over Perú. The demonstrations were composed of diverse groups of mostly young people, who organized over social media without a central leader. 

 

A large demonstration in Plaza San Martín de Lima. Image Credit: RPP Noticias

 

When interviewing Victor Lozano, a young Peruvian, he described his perspective about why people had gone out to protest in full force. He said although the direct cause of the protest was Vizcarra’s removal, many Peruvians feel the true cause of the demonstrations was to speak out against parliamentary immunity and demand an end to the country’s corruption. He describes que “la gente estaba cansada de que les tomen el pelo y salieron a alzar su voz en contra” a la corrupción. It’s important to note young people are fighting against deep rooted issues, not only an unfit president, and due to the intensity of the protests, it is not likely they will back down. 

Though the protests were intended as peaceful demonstrations, many people documented instances of what they saw as unnecessary police violence. Police officers used “blunt force, tear gas, [and] projectiles” to control crowds. Protestors documented instances of police violence against the press, leading La Asociación Nacional de Periodistas del Perú to denounce the use of force on behalf of the police. 

Police violence during protests caused injuries among over 200 people. Police violence led to the deaths of Inti Sotelo Camargo (24) and Bryan Pintado Sánchez (22) due to projectiles shot at them by police forces. 

After these tragic deaths, Manuel Merino resigned from the presidency and was replaced with the third president of the week—Francisco Sagasti, who will remain president until the upcoming 2021 elections. Some are hopeful that Sagasti’s education and experience working in the United Nations indicate that he has the potential to be a good president.Regardless of Sagasti’s experience, the months leading to the election will be difficult as Perú faces government corruption.