Where is Lupita?

If you don’t know Lupita by now, the first thing you should know about her is that she is everywhere. That’s why I am almost certain that you have run into her somewhere already, although you might have not noticed.

It could have been when you were at the Mexican restaurant asking whether the red salsa or the green salsa would burn your mouth more. She probably saw you walking by on your way to the subway station as you tried to beat rush hour on the train. Then there was this time when you were at the dollar store getting cheap soap and seltzer. Lupita was hanging out in aisle 10 with lamps, mugs and wall decorations.

This has nothing to do with the omnipresence of la Virgen de Guadalupe—the Brown Mother of Jesus of Nazareth. But as a Mexican, and a man who looks for pleasure, beauty and truth in everything I run into, it is hard for me not to see her everywhere, even though I am not really a believer. It is just that in México you become Guadalupano even against your will. From novelas to fiestas, Lupita is everywhere.

All I am doing here is asking for your help. For the past couple of months, and with the help of a few of my best friends (yes, I happen to have a lot of friends, like three…), I started to work on a project that I had kept in a drawer for a long time. You know, I had a job. This project is ¿Dónde anda Lupita? (loosely translated as Where’s Lupita?).

I chose to use Tumblr because the platform allows for easy reblogging and cute heart-shaped likes. The whole idea is to capture images of Guadalupe wherever she is, from the markets of Bolivia to the boutiques of Tokyo, from a sidewalk in Gwinnett County, Georgia, to the town of Colonia, Uruguay. And this is where you guys come in handy.

Many of you have been wandering around Mott Haven or other areas of the city where the image of la Virgen de Guadalupe hangs from a wall or rests on an altar with candles lit to honor her. Just in the South Bronx there are at least two huge images on display outside area churches. The most notorious is the one outside St. Jerome’s Church on 138th Street and Alexander Avenue. That’s where believers will hold a party on Dec. 12 to celebrate the 484th anniversary of her appearance to the Mexican Indian Juan Diego on the top of the Tepeyac Hill.

If you happen to cover any of these celebrations or if you just run into la Virgen Morena (the Brown Virgin) somewhere, please snap a photo and send it my way with a one-line caption saying what’s happening, where you found the image, and when you took the photo. I’ll make sure to credit you and, perhaps one day, buy you some tacos and/or beers.

With the large Mexican migration into the United States of the last 25 years, she has made her way all the way up the East Coast, She was already in the West, that part of the country formerly known as México. Don’t worry, this is no history lesson (although many of you are in need of one).

But let’s just get a couple of things straight. I am not trying to convert you into anything. You believe what you want. And no, I’m not going to tell you that the United States stole land from México in the XIX Century: Don’t forget El Alamo.

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A ‘Win’ for the Ayotzinapa 43 at the NYC Marathon

  • Antonio Tizapa ran the New York City Marathon in 3:44:16
  • He led the group of at least 12 runners that wore shirts stating support for Ayotzinapa
  • Many volunteers showed solidarity displaying photos of the 43 students through the race route
Antonio Tizapa ran the last yards of the NYC Marathon carrying the photo of his son. Gustavo Martínez Contreras

Antonio Tizapa ran the last yards of the NYC Marathon carrying the photo of his son.

Published in Voices of NY

Antonio Tizapa felt his legs could not take another step when he was just a few yards away from the New York City Marathon finishing line, but then he saw the photo of his son in the crowd.

“I was running very slowly because I had no strength and just then I saw his image; my brother was holding it and he hadn’t seen me. I approached and took it from him,” Tizapa said. “It was wonderful, being able to finish the race with him, with the support of the people, and that made me run faster in those last meters.”

Tizapa, 48, and about a dozen other runners in Sunday’s race were the foot soldiers for a local campaign to extend to the world of sports the call for justice for the 43 Ayotzinapa students forcibly disappeared in México on Sept. 26, 2014.

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A Marathon for Ayotzinapa

Antonio Tizapa and Amado Tlatempa will run the New York City Marathon demanding the return of their relatives and the rest of the 43 students forcibly disappeared in Mexico last year

Jorge TIzapa, in the yellow shirt, and Amado Tlatempa, in the center, have been joined by runners in their fight for justice.

Jorge TIzapa, in the yellow shirt, and Amado Tlatempa, in the center, have been joined by runners in their fight for justice.

Reasons abound to run the New York City Marathon. Some do it to fight breast cancer, others to remember a loved one, and yet some more to fulfill a promise.

But with each kilometer Antonio Tizapa and Amado Tlatempa run on Sunday’s race they will be sending a reminder to the world that the parents and relatives of the 43 Ayotzinapa students haven’t stopped their fight for justice.

“This is some sort of silent protest for our children. It has been over a year and we still demand answers, not the lies they have been trying to give us,” Tizapa said. “We also want to show to the families in Mexico that even though we’re here in the United States, away from home, we join the fight and use this sport, and the stage of the marathon, to call attention to what is happening in Mexico.”

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#CopaLibertadores: Palestino, the team of an entire people

A small South American fútbol club shows pride in its Palestinian roots and feeds hope to fans in the battered motherland

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Amazing image by Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff. You can find more of his artwork at latuffcartoons.wordpress.com

The exploits of a small Chilean soccer team are filling the Palestinian people with pride as their national colors set out for fútbol glory in this year’s Copa Libertadores in South America.

Meet Palestino, a 95-year old club in Chile’s Primera División that has been playing some quality fútbol lately.

Last weekend they defeated Uruguay’s Nacional de Montevideo in an epic two-game playoff to qualify for the first time in 36 years to the group stage of the tournament, where they will face Argentinian powerhouse Boca Juniors.

While los Xeneizes can brag to be la mitad más uno (a half plus one) in their Buenos Aires stadium of La Bombonera, they cannot claim the hearts of an entire nation as their Chilean rivals do.

Despite playing thousands of miles away, many think of Palestino as Palestine’s second national team, an idea the club feeds proudly representing its roots and showing support for their distant brothers and sisters. Continue reading

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#SB49, or how football stumbles while fútbol grows

This year’s Super Bowl couldn’t come soon enough for an NFL that took blows from all angles, while fútbol in the United States showed promise from a coming of age fan base

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I am rooting for the Seahawks to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XIL. But whatever the outcome of the game is, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will certainly have his head busy on what to do as he leads American football through the ominous road that lays ahead.

I bet you Goodell, pizzerias and I are all hoping this is a close game. I want the entertainment. Pizzerias want the money (pizza sales are higher if it’s a tight game). And Goodell will want to have some distraction, something that keeps him from thinking of the unfinished business this season brought to his desk.

The scandals have not stopped pouring down on the office on Park Avenue. Many now question Goodell’s leadership after witnessing his office’s appalling decisions in the Ray Rice domestic violence case, perhaps the loudest headline of the many that hit the behemoth in 2014. Continue reading

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Cuauhtémoc Blanco wants to be mayor of Cuernavaca

The Mexican legend will retire from professional fútbol in May, just weeks before the elections

An image of Cuauhtémoc Blanco promoting his campaign is making the rounds on social media.

An image of Cuauhtémoc Blanco promoting his campaign is making the rounds on social media.

At 42, Mexican fútbol legend Cuauhtémoc Blanco might not be able to run on the field as he used to, only a sign of his impending last match.

That is probably why ‘El Temo’ is now running for office.

Blanco, who plays for Puebla in Mexico’s Liga MX (the country’s top fútbol league), filed Thursday his nomination to run for mayor of the city of Cuernavaca, capital city of the state of Morelos that is about an hour drive south of Mexico City. Continue reading

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#ImmigrationAction: Where to watch President Obama’s Immigration Announcement

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Since all the major networks have priorities more important than what could be a historic presidential announcement on immigration, I’m sharing a couple of links where you can watch el presidente.

President Obama will move forward with an Executive Action that could benefit up to 5 million undocumented immigrants out of the 11 million estimated to live in the country. Similar to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), this will be a temporary fix that won’t provide any path to citizenship or residency.

First, the White House will be streaming live on its web site starting at 8 p.m. EST.

Obviously, C-Span will also transmit via internet the presidential message on its page.

The only major network that will air the… wait, why am I writing this in English??? OK, la única cadena que le da su lugar al mensaje presidencial es Univision, que transmitirá en vivo el mensaje de Obama.

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Poniatowska: México vive su hora más oscura

La escritora pidió a la comunidad inmigrante se una a las demandas por justicia para los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos

Elena Poniatowska se presentó para dar una charla en el Instituto Cervantes de Nueva York. / Gustavo M. Contreras

Publicado en El Diario

La desaparición de los 43 estudiantes rurales de Ayotzinapa es un horrible recordatorio de que el actual sistema político mexicano está caduco, afirmó la escritora Elena Poniatowska.

“La democracia en México ha fallado totalmente. Estamos en el peor momento quizás de nuestra historia”, manifestó la autora. “México está de la patada. Me siento muy triste; para mí es gravísimo lo que está sucediendo”.

A casi dos meses de que los jóvenes desaparecieran a manos de la policía municipal de la ciudad de Iguala, en el estado de Guerrero, Poniatowska trajo a la ciudad sus 82 años de vida para presentarse esta semana ante un par de cientos de personas en el Instituto Cervantes.
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#WTF Go Cowboys!

#ChangeTheMascot

Comedian Hari Kondabolu brilliantly tries to help Dan Snyder and his team to find a new face, literally.

ChangeArt3

I never thought I would be rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, but the day or, more precisely, the night has arrived .

Tonight’s Monday Night Football game features the Cowboys against the Washington team, whose owner, Daniel Snyder, refuses to change the slur his team and brand are known for.

Covert racism is more pernicious that overt racism. The latter you can simply identify it when it pops up somewhere (Neo-Nazis, for instance). Continue reading

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Fútbol de Estados Unidos crece hacia el futuro

En Estados Unidos ya se vive el fútbol con una pasión sin precedentes.

En Estados Unidos ya se vive el fútbol con una pasión sin precedentes.

El mundial plantó la esperanza entre la gente del balompié

Al final de la copa del mundo Brasil 2014 el gran ganador parece haber sido el fútbol de Estados Unidos, donde se plantó la semilla de la pasión por el equipo nacional.

Como en ninguna otra ocasión, el deporte de las patadas ocupó las portadas de los principales periódicos; se coló al frente de los noticieros, y estuvo en boca de todos.

“Cada día hay más interés en el deporte, más consumidores que están buscando seguir el fútbol y tienen la oportunidad de ver a una buena selección que está haciendo una buena labor, que ha progresado”, afirmó Alfonso Mondelo, director de programas de la MLS. Continue reading

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