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Happy Labor Day! What Are We Celebrating Exactly?

You have the day off from school and your parents are at home instead of at work today. Perhaps you're enjoying the final days of summer with a delicious cook-out to celebrate. You’ve probably heard or read somewhere that the reason for that is because today is Labor Day. But what are we celebrating exactly on Labor Day?

The holiday is way more than just a day to relax with family while enjoying a cook-out and playing outside. Labor Day is an important day to both our past and future as a country. Labor Day reminds us of how things used to be and appreciate how they are now.

Labor Day is a national holiday celebrated on September 7th when we acknowledge and honor workers and laborers here in the United States, particularly those in manual labor like construction workers, factory workers, and warehouse workers. These workers help make our country strong and successful by working hard to provide the country with things they need for everyday life; things like cotton, vegetables and fruits, metal, iron, and oil. While we might see these workers enjoying good working conditions and getting decent pay now, it wasn’t always like that.

During the Industrial Revolution of the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s, laborers like factory workers and construction workers worked very long hours, even to the point of exhaustion. They would come home without any energy left from working more than 16 hours a day! Some of these workers were even children just like you! Can you imagine having to work long hours at a factory instead of attending school? To make matters worse, many of these workers worked under horrible working conditions like extreme heat and no running water. They also didn’t make enough money to support their families with food and decent shelter. This might all seem unreal to you, but that was the reality in American during this time.

Eventually, these workers grew very unhappy and even angry with their employers. They wanted to be paid a decent wage and have their working conditions improved. After all, everyone deserves water while working in the hot sun, right? These people formed unions, or groups of workers, and began demanding better wages and conditions for themselves and their fellow workers. On September 5, 1882, many of these workers took the day off in New York City as a form of protest, but also as a way of finally relaxing with their families after weeks of working without a day off. Since their employers wouldn't allow them a day off from their work duties, these workers took matters into their own hands and took the day off without any formal approval. This helped employers understand the value of their workforce.

But it wasn’t until the Pullman Strike of 1894 when railroad workers performed a strike that President Grover Cleveland began negotiating with the unions. The Pullman Strike stopped much of the nation’s railroad travel and traffic, a huge contributor to the nation’s economy. Without the railroad system running, many other parts of the countries and many businesses couldn't function appropriately. Much of the country depended on the railroad system. It's like if the delivery trucks stopped running for a few days. How would you get your online orders? How would a company get their supplies? What if people didn't get medicines on time? Having the railroad system not function helped the government understand that workers were people and needed to be treated with respect. President Cleveland declared September 7th as the national holiday known as Labor Day.

Even though this seems impossible now, it is important to remember this part of history so that we continue to support and show appreciation for the hard-working men and women that provide us with food, services, cotton for clothes, material for our homes. Almost everything we have is in one way or another provided to us by the workers of this country.

Remember, it is because of these brave and courageous men and women that you can have the day off and go to school instead of working in a hot factory with no running water!

Sept. 7, 2020

On International Non-Binary Day, How to Discuss Gender Non-Binary With Children

Perhaps you've heard the term non-binary on the news, on the radio, on television, or while you listen to one of your favorite podcasts. Non-binary is usually mentioned when discussing people's identity, particular when dealing with gender. For some, hearing the term non-binary might have caused confusion because, traditionally, society has often discussed gender by only referencing male and female. However, some people don't identify as neither male or female. Rather, they identify as gender non-binary.

What exactly is gender non-binary? The word binary means "involving two." Therefore, non-binary means not strictly involving two. Some people who do not necessarily identify as neither male or female have adapted the term non-binary. It is important to recognize that gender non-binary is nothing new or a fad. Many cultures and societies have acknowledged non-binary members for centuries. Therefore, we must not perceive gender non-binary as something which only applies to young generations, but rather, something that has been around for ages, although not always within our own social groups.

In the last few years, people who identify as non-binary have made incredible strides toward social visibility and representation here in the United States, as has most of the LGBTQIA community. In doing so, many LGBTQIA issues and topics have been heavily discussed in the media and social dialogues. As adults, it is important to pay attention to these discussions in order to be educated and aware as well as know how to relay this information to children.

Children are curious by nature. They tend to have a lot of questions. They, too, might come across the term non-binary. Perhaps they've even encountered a non-binary identifying individual. Maybe they even show indications that they might later identify as non-binary themselves. As adults, we shouldn't shut down a child's nature to be inquisitive simply because we don't know the answers to their questions or because the topic makes us uncomfortable. We have to remind ourselves that children are smarter than what we believe them to be. Contrary to what we may believe, children can understand complex topics and issues, including gender.

It's definitely okay to not be certain on how to navigate talking to your children about gender, including non-binary. As adults, we won't always have the answers to everything, and that is perfectly fine.

Here are some tips on discussing gender non-binary with children:

First, define non-binary: It is important to first help children give definition to their curiosities. Although gender is a complex issue to discuss, simplify it by saying that being male or female is actually your biological sex, or the sex you are anatomically born with. Gender is different. Gender can be fluid, meaning there are more options to gender other than male or female. Some people identify as a mixture of both. Give them the example of a swirled ice cream cone. Some people identify as vanilla, others as chocolate. Some identify as both, or, in our example, a swirled ice cream cone. All identities are welcomed.

Explain that there is more than meets the eye: It is easy to concentrate on someone's visible indications to their biological sex such as facial features and body structure. However, these don't imply the person's gender identity. Explain to children that only because something appears to be one thing, that doesn't mean it can't be something else. This can potentially be easier for children to understand than adults because children emphasize on imagination. They haven't developed fixated ideas of what is necessarily particular to one gender or the other. Having these conversations with children can prepare them to be understanding and educated adults.

Encourage them to acknowledge and celebrate people's differences: The most important part of explaining gender non-binary to children is to mention that people's differences should be acknowledged and celebrated and not feared or ridiculed. Children's ability to see beyond race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality is often taken for granted. Instead of being wary about having these kind of conversations with children, we should be looking out for any opportunities to discuss certain realities with them and encouraging them to see the world for what it is; full of diversity and variety.

Encourage them to continue asking questions: Just like adults, children will develop further questions and thoughts based on the conversations they have. Follow-up with children by asking them if they have any further questions or thoughts regarding gender non-binary. Continue the conversation by explaining to them that other identities exists, such as other members of the LGBTQIA community. In doing so, you will be enhancing the child's social skills, comprehensive skills, and building them up for a brighter future.

Southwest LatinX celebrates everyone's identity and differences. We operate as an all-inclusive organization and welcome everyone as they are.

July 14, 2020

Reminders Of What To Do As Our City Reopens

LatinXplorers:

For the last few months, we have been in quarantine and practicing social distancing. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, much of the things we are used to doing were placed on hold and the places we frequented were closed. Businesses were shut down. Parks and recreational areas were off limits. Restaurants resorted to take-out orders only. Theaters turned off their lights indefinitely. School classrooms went completely digital.

The pandemic changed everyone's daily routines and everyday life. Both adults and children had to adapt to new lifestyles during the quarantine. We all have been patiently waiting to resume some sort of normalcy.

Now that some places and businesses are reopening their doors, it is important to continue practicing some of the measures we have been practicing since the start of the pandemic. Slowly but surely, businesses and are starting to open their doors under certain regulations as are many social places and areas. While we are all eager to get back to life as we knew it before the pandemic, we are all still responsible of our own health and for being considerate toward the health of those around us.

We can do just that by doing the following:

 

 

Take your temperature before leaving home: One of the first indicators of an illness is having a high temperature. Normally, a child’s body temperature should be around 97.4° F and an adult temperature should be at around 98.6°F. If your thermometer is showing a reading higher than those temperatures, it would be wise to simply stay home. If your body temperature exceeds 100° F, you should seek medical attention immediately.

 

 

Wear a mask: Wearing a mask which effectively covers both your mouth and nose is one of the most important and responsible things to do when going out. The coronavirus can spread from person to person simply by being in close proximity to someone who is speaking, sneezing, or coughing. This is true even if the person is asymptomatic, meaning they show no apparent symptoms. Wearing a mask helps you avoid the spread of germs while protecting yourself from the germs of others. The CDC recommends wearing a mask in areas of "significant community-based transmissions," including grocery and retail stores, restaurants, and pharmacies. The CDC also recommends wearing cloth masks since they can be washed, sanitized, and then reused.

 

 

Travel with hand sanitizer: Because water and soap aren’t always available, it is wise to travel with hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should be used after touching surfaces such as door handles and knobs, store counters and products, and especially after sneezing or couching. It is recommended to use hand sanitizer with an alcohol content above 60%. Many brands make travel-size hand sanitizer bottles, which is convenient for when we are away from home.

 

 

Practice social distancing: While many of our favorite restaurants, stores, and public places are opening after being closed for a few months, it is still important to practice social distancing while in public. Remember to stay six-feet apart from other people and other groups. When out in public, imagine a large mountain bike between yourself and others. That is what six-feet apart looks like. Try to keep from visiting relatives in person and continue doing so digitally. Avoid areas with a large amount of people in one condensed area such as restrooms or restaurants. Along with wearing a mask, this is one of the most effective ways of preventing yourself from getting sick and getting others sick as well. And, most importantly, stay home is you are feeling the slightest bit ill.

It has been a challenging few months for everyone. While many of us stayed at home for the most part, it is reasonable that people want to get out of their homes and visit places such as restaurants and stores. However, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and helping businesses remain opened, we have to continue following the guidelines and regulations set in place by medical and civic professionals. If we all do our part, we can help our communities reopen while keeping everyone safe and healthy.

June 18, 2020

Cinco de Mayo: What Are We Celebrating and Why?

It is Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th. Perhaps you’re aware that something related to Mexico and Mexican history is celebrated today. Many events, parades, street fairs, and parties are held in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo is extremely popular in the United States. The holiday celebrates Mexican culture, heritage, and, most importantly, history.

There are many ways of celebrating Mexican culture and heritage on Cinco De Mayo. People usually feast on traditional Mexican food such as guacamole, enchiladas, or flautas. They listen to Mexican music such as cumbias, corridos, and mariachi. Homes, businesses, and schools are decorated in papel picado, or perforated paper, and the Mexican flag.

These are all great ways of celebrating and honoring Mexican culture and heritage, but perhaps we still aren't clear about what exactly Cinco de Mayo is all about.

Let's discuss Cinco de Mayo a bit more.

What exactly is being celebrated on Cinco De Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican culture and heritage. It also commemorates, meaning to celebrate something that already happened, an important date in Mexico’s history. Many people mistakenly believe Cinco de Mayo to be Mexico’s Independence Day, which is actually celebrated on September 16. In actuality, Cinco de Mayo is honoring the Mexican army’s defeat of the French army during the French-Mexican War on May 5th, 1862.

Why were Mexico and France at war?

During the Mexican-American War, which ended in 1848, Mexico had borrowed money from European countries to fight the American government and army. One of those countries was France. It was understood that Mexico had to pay back the money it had borrowed after the war.

Benito Juarez was Mexico's president at the time. For two years, he stopped paying back the money Mexico had borrowed from France. French Emperor Napoleon III saw this as an opportunity to expand French ruling into Mexico.

He sent French army men to invade Mexico. With the United States fighting its own battles during the Civil War, they couldn't defend the Monroe Doctrine. The doctrine, which is a set of beliefs by a political party or religion, did not allow for anymore European settling in the Americas. With the United States too busy to help Mexico, France invaded Mexico in 1861. Thus began the French-Mexican War.

Batalla de Puebla, the Battle of Puebla

On December 17, 1861, the French took over Veracruz. Then they took Campeche on February 27, 1861. Mexico's government and army was weak because of the Mexican-American War. They weren’t in good shape to take on the French. However, the Mexican people quickly organized to increase the odds of beating Napoleon and his army in future battles.

Led by Ignacio Zaragoza, Mexico’s Secretary of War back then, the Mexican army first fought the French invaders on April 28, 1862, at Acultzingo. They were forced to retreat and regroup at the city of Puebla. The Mexican army had limited resources, were outnumbered by the French, and were exhausted. Despite of all of this, the Mexicans defeated the French army on May 5th, or Cinco de Mayo. Unfortunately, the victory was short lived. The French would take over Mexico within a year, but Cinco de Mayo remained a symbol of the unity between the Mexican people and their strength.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Today, Mexico doesn’t make a big fuss over Cinco de Mayo. It is a minor event. Although it is a holiday, it is mostly celebrated in Puebla, the location of the victorious battle. There are celebrations and events, but Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States.

That is a good thing because Mexican and Mexican-Americans get to share their culture and traditions with each other and others on Cinco de Mayo. Throughout the U.S., people gather to eat Mexican food while listening to traditional Mexican music.

Perhaps the most important thing about Cinco de Mayo is pride. Because of Cinco de Mayo, many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans get the opportunity to show everyone else just how happy and proud they are to be Mexican or of Mexican descent. Just like the battle of Puebla helped the Mexicans feel proud about their victory, Cinco de Mayo helps Mexicans and Mexican-Americans feel proud about who they are.

 

May 5, 2020

Earth Day 2020: An Informative and Interactive Prezi Presentation for Kids!

Greetings, LatinXplorers, and Happy Earth Day 2020! Today, April 22, 2020,

we are commemorating 50 years of Earth Day celebrations by presenting you with an interactive and educational Prezi presentation for all of our LatinXplorers!

The presentation gives some brief yet informative details about Earth Day and what we can all do to help Planet Earth, including information about our hometown of El Paso, Texas.

At the end of the presentation, you'll be asked to make a pledge, which is similar to a promise, on how you are going to contribute to the preservation and improvement of our planet.

Write it down and ask your parents to take a picture of your pledge and share it on our Facebook page!

Happy Earth Day, LatinXplorers!

Copy and paste this link to access the Prezi presentation: https://prezi.com/view/D755NzLoRLEcCoMkFrXh/

April 22, 2020

Cookies and Math: A Fun Way of Learning Fractions in At Home

If you had the choice to pick between baking cookies or doing a math lesson, it’s likely that you’ll choose the cookies. That is understandable. Cookies are fun and delicious! However, math is a very important subject. While it might not be delicious like cookies are, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

Fractions are an important part of math. Understanding fractions is a necessary skill for everyone. Fractions are fundamental for more advanced math which you will learn either in high school or college and help you with everyday life activities. They help tell time, they help make good shopping decisions, and help people make appropriate measurements. They also help you to bake!

Fractions are best understood when accompanied by visuals such as graphs, charts, and tables. For instance, many fractions are represented by a circular graph, or a pie graph. Can you guess what is also in the shape of a circle? A cookie, of course!

Southwest LatinX encourages fun and entertaining ways of learning different subjects such as math. By baking cookies, we will combine two of life’s essential skills; making food and knowing fractions. Additionally, cooking and baking helps to understand and visualize fractions by learning about measurements such as teaspoons and cups.

Let’s begin by following this easy recipe for sugar cookies. Parents and guardians: Please be sure to accompany the children in preparing the sugar cookies. We do, however, highly encourage you to allow them to figure out the measuring and preparation requirements mostly on their own.

To make sugar cookies, you’ll need:

2 ¾ cups all-purpose floor

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter

1 ½ cups white sugar

1 egg Cookie sheets

OPTIONAL: Frosting/icing for both decorative and educational purposes. By decorating the different fractions, you can build wholes made from different fractions while identifying where the parts came from.

For example: If you decorate your 1/2 fraction in red and your 1/4 fraction in yellow, you can then put them together and see how one side of the red 1/2 fraction combines with two sides of the yellow 1/4 fraction.

The directions are as follow:

1.) Ask an adult to preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix the flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in a small bowl. Stir into a mixture and set aside.

2.) Using a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar into a smooth mixture. Add the egg (don’t forget to crack it first!) and the vanilla extract. Add the contents of the small bowl with those in the large bowl. Once it is all mixed together, roll small parts of the mass into balls and then flattening them into medium-sized circles. Place the circles on a cookie sheet.

3.) Using either a fork or a knife, cut the circles into the following fractions: 1/2, 1/3,1/4, 1/5, 1/6, and 1/8. Leave one circle uncut to represent a whole. The fractions should look like this:

 

 

4.) Bake inside the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies look golden brown. After removing them from the oven, let them cool for about 2 minutes.

Once they have cooled, place each cookie, or fraction, on a different piece of paper or paper plate labeled with the fraction it represents. If you choose to decorate your cookies with frosting/icing, this can help differentiate the fractions from each another.

You can now rearrange parts of each fraction to see how many ways there are to make a complete whole. See! Who said math couldn’t be both fun and delicious?

Enjoy, LatinXplorers!

April 17, 2020

Southwest LatinX's Tips On How To Make Life Easier During COVID-19 and Quarantine

LatinXplorers:

It is a confusing and concerning time for all of us. The novel coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, has altered everyday life for everyone. Most of us, if not all, are currently learning distantly, physically away from classmates, friends, and teachers. Many events have been cancelled, the parks in all areas are closed, and many probably haven’t haven’t left their homes much. Even worse, many people are ill. We are currently experiencing a pandemic, meaning the sicknesses related to the coronavirus are widespread, reaching almost all continents with the exception of Antarctica.

Understandably, there may be questions and concerns. It is perfectly okay to be worried about yourself, friends, and family. It is okay to be concerned with the state of the world. These emotions are valid and encouraged to be expressed.

Southwest LatinX values the safety and well-being of our community’s youth. While we don’t have answers and solutions to what we are experiencing, we can provide a few tips to help make the experience a bit easier: