Editor's note: Erica Y. Lopez is a freelance contributor for several publications, including Fox News Latino, ABC News and the New York Daily News.
By Erica Y. Lopez, Special to CNN
Hoping to find a new job in the new year? Some people ready to make a fresh start in 2012 turn to traditional botánicas, emporiums with deep Latino religious roots to buy herbs, amulets and potions for improved health, new romance or an end to misfortune.
“Everything sells at this time of year, but some of the more popular items are the Three Kings and Jerusalem incense and the Money Draw and Seven Seas floor cleaners,” says Jorge Vargas.
New York’s Spanish Harlem remains home to some of the oldest botánicas in the Big Apple. Located in predominately Latino neighborhoods, botánicas draw followers of Santería (the Latin American religion combining African deities and Catholicism) or the healing tradition of Curanderismo. They can also be a place for novice spiritualists to seek guidance and shed negative energy - a perfect match for New Year’s resolutions. FULL POST
Editor's note: Albert Cutié is an Episcopal priest and former Roman Catholic priest known as Padre Alberto or "Father Oprah." He is the author of the memoir, "Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love" and hosted the talk show "Father Albert."
By Fr. Albert Cutié, Special to CNN
In South Florida, every time a politician at the state or federal level aspires to attract the Latino vote, they come to a famous landmark restaurant on Little Havana’s Southwest Eighth Street. It’s called Versailles, and they come to drink the infamous cafecito, a Cuban-style espresso that is served at a window counter in front of the restaurant. It’s designed for those who prefer to stand outside and talk about world news and politics, rather than sitting down in a comfortable, air-conditioned cafe.
Regardless of what party or political inclination these people represent, getting acquainted with the Miami community begins with drinking the famous miniature cup of coffee and talking to folks who have made it part of their daily routine for decades. In the world of politics, there is no doubt that reaching Latinos - the largest minority in the United States - has become a priority for most. Yet, when it comes to many churches, especially our mainstream religious communities in the United States, I often wonder if we’ve truly started to make a sincere effort at reaching out to Latinos effectively?
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Editor’s note: Susan Bodnar is a clinical psychologist who works with people from diverse backgrounds and teaches at Columbia University’s Teachers College. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, two children and all of their pets.
By Susan Bodnar, Special to CNN
Last night I went online, clicked into my bank, and began to pay bills from three separate piles: must be paid or else, can wait a bit, and we’ll pay these whenever. I never used to have to juggle, but this economy challenges even the most fastidious of savers. Everyone I know seems to hurt a little at the end of the month. During these stressful economic times, I remember stories about survival from my family’s immigrant generation.
We framed my great-grandmother’s shopping list to commemorate her attempt to write in English using foreign pronunciation; becoming American with the tools she could muster from her home country. Baba maintained an allegiance to Czechoslovakia, but her heart came of age in the new country. She spoke in that sing-song melodic cadence of her birth tongue, substituting the English words she had proudly learned. Even when I was a young adult, she summoned me using that potluck language of hers, “Přijďte to your baba and řekni me about škole.” Assimilation was simple for my Baba – embrace it all and make it work.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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