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To Dream, Create and Celebrate: La Galeria Magazine Print Edition Aims to Redefine the Dominican Experience in the US

La Galeria Magazine started off as a conversation on longing and the need to connect with the motherland of the Dominican Republic.

The first print edition, “La Galeria Magazine: The Dominican Dream” has a glossy cover and the minute you open it, you are drawn into the world of the Dominican diaspora. You are exposed to voices, opinions, perspectives, and visions of a people redefining themselves under their own terms. It’s a dream that journalist and co-founder and editor-in-chief Amanda Alcantara can finally hold.

Courtesy of La Galeria Magazine

The seed of La Galeria broke ground when Alcantara went back to the Dominican Republic after five years of being away. “I had been really depressed. I hadn’t been back and I grew up in the Dominican Republic, it was like I was away from home. I went back and felt really connected and knew this is what I needed,” she said. So when she came back, she connected with a friend and writer of La Respuesta, a Puerto Rican publication. That’s when it sparked for her. Her friend said, “You should start the Dominican version of La Respuesta”. She put out a call which led her to connect with her future co-founders, Carmen Mojica and Isabel Cristina.

Starting off as an online publication aimed to celebrate their community and create opportunities for dialogue, La Galeria recently published their first print edition and held a launch event in New York. It took hard work, patience and most of all, community effort to create this project. With over 30 contributors of essayists, journalists, photographers, and poets, the print magazine bears fruit of a vision representing what the Dominican community looks like today. From stories like “Plantain Magic” to pieces highlighting LGBT rights in the Dominican Republic, this print publication is a testament and archive of contemporary Dominican thinkers and creators. It’s a versatile and diverse magazine diving deep into the history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, documenting the life of the undocumented and re-imagining a transnational, Caribbean, immigrant, Black culture full of pride and dreams. It’s something that Alcantara and other Dominicanas never saw growing up.

Courtesy of La Galeria Magazine

She recalls only ever seeing white Latinas and lighter skinned straight-bodied women being displayed in magazines.

“I didn’t even realize I wasn’t be represented. I was thinking, ‘I need to be more like this. I thought that was the norm and understood that white was beautiful and everything that wasn’t white, wasn’t beautiful. Therefore I wasn’t beautiful. Throughout all my life I’ve had to unlearn all of that and reimagine what beauty means. To see the magazine now—in print— feels like it’s real. Imagine if I had this when I was a little girl, I would have been able to see myself as beautiful,” Alcantara said.

With art direction led by Joan Encarnacion, the visuals and layout of La Galeria are stunning. It visually tells a deep and rooted story of the often forgotten Dominican history in the United States. Documenting everyday working-class life, protests, and celebrations, it truly captures a time in the collective memory. The publication, both online and print, fills a space that has long been needed in this community, allowing an opportunity to explore political and cultural narratives. For Alcantara, the Dominican diaspora represents a pride that unapologetically bursts through the seams.

“To me, we’re constantly reclaiming ourselves. These exaggerations of platano power, rocking the flag and saying ‘we’re Dominican’ all the time is a form of nostalgia for home. And a romanticization of a better world because we are oppressed in the U.S and in the DR. When I think of the Dominican diaspora, I think of that. For very long, it was about reclaiming Domincanness and celebrating our nationality. Now we’re seeing that evolution and reclaiming our Blackness and power. And recognizing that we have built community here. In a way we are our own thing,” said Alcantara.

With journalistic roots, political drive and artistic framework, La Galeria Magazine’s first print edition is a love letter to the Dominican diaspora full of expression, color, and dreams.

You can buy La Galeria Magazine: The Dominican Dream on Amazon. Check out their online content here.


Read: These Women At The Afro-Latino Fest Tell Us What Being Of African Descent Means To Them

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

A 9-year-old U.S. citizen was separated from her mother for 36 hours after agents at the border accused her of lying about her citizenship.

Like thousands of students in our country, Julia Isabel Amparo Medina’s daily commute requires her to cross the U.S. border.

The fourth-grade student attends Nicoloff Elementary School in San Ysidro, California and was in a carpool to school from her home in Tijuana when she ran into traffic. Medina, was commuting to school in a car driven by her mother’s friend Michelle Cardena, Cardena’s two children and her own older 14-year-old brother, Oscar. When the long line to get into the U.S. seemed to be jampacked upon their 4 a.m arrival, Cardenas instructed the kids in her car to walk to the border. She assured them that when they reached it, she would call them an Uber to get them the rest of the way to their school.

But Medina and her never made it across the border or to school that day.

According to the New York Times who talked to a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, two Amparo and her brother arrived at one of the San Ysidro port of entry facilities for pedestrians at 10:15 a.m. last Monday.

Upon their arrival, Amparo and her brother presented their U.S. passports to a CBP officer who soon accused her of being someone else. Note: Amparo’s passport image which was taken years before so she did not look exactly like herself. They also accused her brother of smuggling.

A CBP spokesperson has said that Amparo “provided inconsistent information during her inspection, and CBP officers took the 9-year-old into custody to perform due diligence in confirming her identity and citizenship.”

After CBP officers the confirmed that her brother was a U.S. citizen, he was permitted to enter the U.S while his sister stayed behind. It wasn’t until 6:30 pm on Tuesday, that Amparo was confirmed to be a U.S. citizen as well and was released and admitted to the U.S. to her mother.

Speaking to NBC7, Amparo said she was “scared” of her detention and that she was “sad because I didn’t have my mom or my brother. I was completely by myself.”

According to Amparo’s mother Thelma Galaxia, her daughter claims that she was told by an officer that she and her brother would be released if she admitted to being her cousin. Galaxia claims that officers also convinced her son Oscar to sign a document that Amparo was his cousin and not his sister.

When Galaxia was alerted that her children had been detained she contacted the Mexican consulate.

After being notified by the consulate that her daughter would be released at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. While the family felt relieved to be grateful to be reunited with their daughter, Galaxia says the separation should never have happened.

Over the weekend, Twitter was swift to express their outrage over the incident.

Some even expressed their dismay of having a similar situation happen to them.

Many are using the incident as an example of the racial issues plaguing so many U.S. citizens like Amparo.

So many of the comments included outside opinions from those who have yet to experience the direct targetting of ICE.

Over all, nearly everyone was quick to point out the saddest aspect of Amparo’s experience.

Read: Preschool Students Are Doing Active Shooter Drills And I Guess This Is The New Normal Now

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