Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Carol Rossetti July 13, 2015

Say what you will about the evils, annoyances and oddities of social media, but more often than not, I find some fabulous and inspiring women by being plugged in to the matrix. About a year ago, I stumbled upon some thought-provoking drawings created by Carol Rossetti, Brazilian illustrator and graphic designer. Now I look forward to when her work pops up in my Facebook feed every week. Honestly, there hasn’t been one drawing that I haven’t fallen in love with for a variety of reasons.

All photos courtesy of carolrossetti.com.br

All photos courtesy of carolrossetti.com.br

You see, Rossetti’s work is all about empowering women of all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, orientations, lifestyles, and ways of thinking. On a first glance, her vibrant artwork is almost whimsical, but when you look again, and read the captions and stories she adds to each picture, you will see she is doing a lot more than just capturing a diverse collection of women. Rossetti’s focus is on women’s freedom to truly be themselves and not be defined by others. She says on her website:

“I feel very disturbed by the world’s attempts to control women’s bodies, behaviors and identities; so I’ve started a series of illustrations in a friendly tone hoping to reach people about how absurd this really is.”

Not only is Rossetti helping to show the beauty and strength of all women with her drawings and words, but with some help, she has had her stories translated into several languages, like English, Spanish, Arabic and more. If you scroll through her work and find that many of them resonate with your experience or those of your sisters, that’s because the artist makes sure careful research goes into each woman’s story.

I already know I need one of her prints framed in my home, but it’s so hard to choose JUST ONE! But there are worse problems to have, right? 🙂 So, yeah…if you’re trying to think of a cool gift to get Lizz, you know where to go! (Start shopping here!)

Check out these examples of her work below — a woman who rocks her afro with confidence, a lesbian who won’t be judged by her family, a little girl who happily kicks some butt in karate instead of ballet, a woman who flaunts her grey hair, a Muslim woman who’s proud of her hijab, and a full-figured woman who embraces her size by showing it off in a bikini. To take a look at more of her awesome drawings here.

Rossetti understands the impact of her work, to the extent of even offering black and white versions of her works for free when they will be used in public spaces to educate and highlight women’s stories.

Obrigada, Carol, for your beautiful drawings,

but even more for your generous celebration of diversity! 

 

LizzLoves Black Barbie Petition July 4, 2015

Filed under: activism,culture,education,girls — lizzloves @ 1:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Photo courtesy of Change.org

Photo courtesy of change.org

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find change.org petitions addictive. I get a few of them a week via email and, let me tell you, they can be a bit hard to ignore. There are so many great causes and the people behind them pull you in with their passion. But I like to be genuine and committed to things I sign, so I’ve managed to resist the urge to become too sign-happy. However, when I saw this recent petition about bringing diversity to the Barbie line, my mouse finger instantly started to itch to join the others who believed in this cause.

This new petition really resonated with me because I felt like Tessa, the young woman who started it, was telling a little bit of my own childhood story. I, too, was a little brown girl who grew up searching for dolls and images that looked more like me. Not only was I a Latina growing up in a predominately white town, but I was also adopted by a white family. My mom recalls me constantly looking for dolls that looked like me — the closest matches became Snow White with her black hair, a limited edition Hawaiian Barbie, and a “My Child” doll who looked like me…save for her green eyes. Needless to say, especially in the ’80s, it wasn’t easy to find a doll that looked like Little Lizz.

So, in some ways, it shocks me that this petition brings to light that diversity is still an issue with the Barbie line. How can it be, with such a long history and large profit, that Mattel has not made their dolls more ethnically diverse? While it could make a lot of little girls very happy, and that should be the priority…wouldn’t it also make them a lot more money? Even the “American Girl” line is way ahead of them. Come on, Mattel, get with the times!

I happily signed this petition for the little girl in me, and for all of the little girls who deserve dolls that look like them so their playtime imaginations can feature women of color in successful, adventurous roles. Will you sign, too?

Did you have dolls that looked like you when you were a little girl?

 

LizzLoves Latino Reading for Youth December 10, 2012

Filed under: books,business,culture,parenting,youth — lizzloves @ 5:24 am

maswired.com

A week ago, an article was released in The New York Times that hit home for me. The piece confirmed the sinking feeling I had been having when I looked at the current literary landscape: Latino students are not seeing enough leading characters in the books they read that look, sound and act like them.

 

Despite the ever-growing Latino population in our country, we are still seeing a majority of white characters in main character roles in books that our young people are reading. Some might say, so what—reading is reading, right? Others might argue, why should it matter if characters are Latino or multi-ethnic?

 

Jane Fleming, an assistant professor at the Erikson Institute, a graduate school in early childhood development in Chicago, told The New York Times, “Kids do have a different kind of connection when they see a character that looks like them or they experience a plot or a theme that relates to something they’ve experienced in their lives.” And that connection leads to an engaging learning experience.

 

And while this article does address the derth in Latino characters, it also highlights a few authors who are dedicated to giving Latino characters leading roles in their writing, like Pat Muñoz Ryan, Julia Alvarez, Gary Soto, and Alma Flor Ada. And I would personally like to add two others, Malín Alegria and Sofia Quintero, who both create relatable and real teenage Latino characters in their young adult novels.

 

The Times article also points out the importance of creating characters and stories about Latinos in everyday life, not just around holidays like Cinco de Mayo. “It should be as natural reading about these characters as white characters,” Julia Alvarez told the Times.

 

I’m personally very thankful to authors who are already making efforts to organically weave Latinos into their tomes. I smile when I can picture myself, and someday, my children in their stories. I will do my best to support them, and I hope you will, too. And for those of you who are thinking about writing the “great American novel,” remember that Latinos are an important thread in the fabric of our nation’s culture.

 

So this holiday, give the gift of reading to the young people in your life and support Latino authors, who are featuring young Latinos in their works, at the same time. A quick tip for an easy and fun way to find some of them: visit Latino bookstore, La Casa Azul in El Barrio, where you can find an amazing collection of Latino literature, from the classics to up-and-coming voices. Owner Aurora Anaya-Cerda joyfully brings her passion for Latino literature to NYC’s most famous Latino neighborhood.

 

 

LizzLoves Bebo Organics June 27, 2011

The Ulloa Sisters

 

These days, it’s not only tree-hugging, compost-having parents that care about incorporating organic food into their children’s diets.  The population of parents who are reading labels and being more careful about what they put in little tummies is growing every day.

 

And now, thanks to a trio of Latina business women (who also happen to be sisters and super moms), organic baby food has not only become more accessible, but also even yummier!

 

Bébo Organics, the brainchild of the Ulloa sisters, is baby food that uses local, organic ingredients without preservatives or thickeners. They only use all natural meats, fruits and vegetables. Even the packaging is green: it’s reusable, recyclable, phthalate-free and BPA-free. Take a look at some of their comidas deliciosas here.

 

If you want to learn more about why organic foods might be a good choice for your niños, check out their super-thorough FAQ page.

 

Felicidades a las hermanas Ulloa…and gracias for caring about the health of babies everywhere!

What are some of your favorite ways to get vitamins & nutrients into your little ones? Share your tips in the comment section below!

 

 

LizzLoves Janet Jackson’s True You May 10, 2011

Janet Jackson on her Number Ones tour

I got an email from a concert ticket service the other day that gave me a heads up about Janet Jackson coming to New Jersey in August for her Number Ones tour. My fingers instantly got itchy to go buy a ticket to the show, but the thing is…I just saw her show in March!!

But, listen, Janet put on such an incredible performance, that I would see it at LEAST two more times if I had the funds.

I have been following, and loving, Janet since I was about 9 years old. I can remember when my friend Jessica lent me the Control album…on cassette. I almost didn’t give it back! I loved singing and dancing along to her music, and soon enough, I began to want to BE her. I idolized her and even dressed like her (yes, including a key on one of my hoop earrings!).

I remember feeling so affirmed and validated when I watched Janet dance her butt off in the “Pleasure Principle” video, flipping off boxes and giving a sexy scowl. But while I loved her moves, what really spoke to me in that video was Janet’s physique. She had a real body, slightly thick and athletic, not super skinny like lots of celebs. She made me feel like, despite my chubbiness, I could not only be pretty but, maybe,  even a superstar.

So, on my recent high after seeing Janet bring the house down in Connecticut, I ran to the library and got her new book, True You. I was shocked to find out that, all the time I was loving her throughout the years, Janet could barely look at herself in a mirror because she didn’t like what she saw. It wasn’t until recently that Miss Jackson came to love and accept her whole self. In True You, she traces her journey to happiness and self-awareness.

Janet was not only candid–she was even raw at times. Her humility reminded me that, just like all of us, she too has internal struggles. Her honesty is beautiful. She laid her heart on the line to speak to young girls and women everywhere who are fighting to find peace with their bodies, looks and overall self-esteem.

Thank you, Janet, for sharing your journey with us…

“I am loved, I’m valued, and I’m capable of achieving balance in my life…I can be happy with who I am, not what I should be, or what I might have been, or what someone tells me I must be…”–Janet Jackson, True You


 

LizzLoves Fly Girl Fest May 6, 2011

NYC ladies, oyeme…listen up! If you heart hip-hop, door-knocker earrings and pink AF1’s , and your soul thrives on social justice and artistic expression, tonight’s Fly Girl Fest 2011 is where you should be!

Brought to you by leaders, JLove Calderon and Wanda Vazquez, Fly Girl Fest will feature musical and artistic presentations from young women, students at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice.

This is NOT your average community event or talent show. It’s much more! These ladies have been guided and mentored by professionals to not only display their talents in a polished presentation, but to rise up as up-and-coming youth leaders. As an added bonus, dope spinstress DJ Chela will be on the 1’s and 2’s between sets.

Put ya’ hands together for these chicas. Thank you for stepping up as the leadership of tomorrow, and spreading the message of girl power and sisterhood!

So head out to Brooklyn tonight (6-8 pm @ El Puente, suggested donation = $3) for this moving event!

Read more about last year’s Fly Girl Fest here.

 

LizzLoves Judith Jamison March 14, 2011

“People come to see beauty, and I dance to give it to them.”-Judith Jamison

 

Have you ever had the pleasure of witnessing the beauty of an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater production? In a word: breathtaking.

 

I went to a show at BAM in Brooklyn a few years ago, and I can still remember the chills I got while I watched the dancers float across the stage. Their movement, synergy and passion came together to create a brand new color that doesn’t have a name in the existing spectrum.

 

Today I’m recognizing the company because I learned that its exquisitely talented Artistic Director for the past 22 years, Judith Jamison, will be stepping down this year.

 

Judith is not just a leader; not just a choreographer. She is a force, a legend, an inspiration. In the beginning of her career she was a powerful and evocative dancer. She trained with some of the biggest names in ballet, including Agnes de Mille. After some time with the American Ballet Theater, she joined the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in 1965, where she became Alvin Ailey‘s muse. During her 15 year dance career with the company,  Mr. Ailey built several shows around her incredible talent.

 

Judith went on to have a very rich career in several platforms of dance, but where she may have had the most impact on audiences was when she was behind the scenes as the Artist Director at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, a role she took on in 1989, after Mr. Ailey’s untimely death. Building upon the founder’s model to incorporate several styles of dance—ballet, modern, jazz and African—Judith’s productions were (and are) a magical journey through dance history.

 

Judith’s career thus far has been an inspiration to dancers and choreographers everywhere, but particularly to women and people of color.

 

Thank you, Judith Jamison. Because of you, little brown girls in the tutus and toe shoes will always have strong role model in you and the dancers you have nurtured throughout your career. You are a beautiful face, voice and spirit of a community.

 

“So many people dwell on negativity and I’ve survived by ignoring it: it dims your light and it’s harder each time to turn the power up again.”—Judith Jamison

 

*Tell me about your Ailey dance experiences here in my comments section!*