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Looking through the dark to get to the light
La Voz Photo

By Joshua Pilkington

La Vida Latina offers a positive look at 2017 with sights set on a brighter 2018

This year has not been an easy one. Many said the same of 2016. Latinos and the media, which La Voz both is and is a part of, were under extended duress courtesy of Twitter feeds and social commentaries. That said, La Vida Latina, was also able to find and focus on a lot of good people doing good things in 2017 and that is where we will place our lens on this year’s recap.

Among our favorite interviewees from 2017 was Carlos Rael, a santero from New Mexico who has honed his craft over the years to become one of the more memorable names in the art genre.

“I see it as a re-identification of our culture,” said Rael in our February interview of what it means today to be a santero. “In this modern day we have a completely different set of standards than what people had in the times of the lives of the saints. If I were to compare the lives of the saints back then to now, I would consider their lives to be somewhat like superheroes. They stood up against the Roman Empire at all odds and with death staring them in the face. … Today we have a few courageous people who are like that. They aren’t afraid to speak out.”

Keeping with the “art as a form of expression” theme, La Vida Latina had the unique opportunity to see the premiere of the Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. The exhibit not only offered a different lens on a variety of ethnic, racial and cultural issues, but it also gave a variety of artists the opportunity to express their views of culture in America.

“No single viewpoint can represent the complexities and nuances of being Latino in America today,” said Rebecca Hart, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Curator of the Mi Tierra exhibit at the exhibit premiere. “Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place is a forum for 13 artists to explore contemporary experiences of the American West. The artists included in Mi Tierra represent diverse, adamant, passionate voices that articulate their perspectives informed by personal experience.”

La Vida Latina also had the opportunity to speak with many successful Latinos from Colorado. U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello is one of those local celebrities whose law school, Law School…Yes We Can, has helped Latinos – and more specifically, Latinas – break into a field that lacks diversity in both gender and race: law.

I met her at the CU Law School Pipeline Conference where she was a panelist,” said Law School…Yes We Can student Alma Hinojosa of her first encounter with Judge Arguello. “She shared her story with the students there and I really connected with her. She had experiences that I was experiencing and it was so powerful in the sense that for the first time I had come across a professional who not only looked like me, but she made it to where she is now in life. That was really powerful for me to see.”

Our closing comment for 2017, however, came from David Conde who serves as President of the Board of Directors of East Coast Migrant Head Start Project and sits on several boards of directors and for the past several dacades has written ongoing commentary for La Voz.

“The new generation of Latinos needs to be better understood by the rest of us as they truly represent a radical departure in lifestyle, motivation and leadership,” he said. “At the same time, they are not burdened by the trauma of oppression experienced by the older generations and feel free to create a multicultural community that will constitute the new majority. For them, the mistake to be avoided is to again forget who they are and where they came from.”

With that mindset and an ever-changing landscape, perhaps 2018 will glow brighter than any year this decade.





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