La Vida En Black… Fernando Velasco

La Vida En Black… Fernando Velasco

By MimiTVA posting from the DMV, Super Bowl Sunday February 4, 2018

Today as we watch the Super Bowl lets think the son of a Colombian man who played for the Carolina Panther’s in Super Bowl numero 50.

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Fernando Velasco

Velasco’s work ethic is a lesson instilled by his grandfather. Velasco credits this work ethic to have been in the NFL. Velasco left the NFL in 2016 and recently signed as a Player Relations Coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs football team.

Velasco’s career in the NFL had him bouncing from team to team even at the beginning of the 2015 season he was playing with the Tennessee Titans.  An undrafted free agent in 2008, Velasco spent most of that year and 2009 on the practice squad. Versatility — his ability to play either guard spot and center — helped him make the team’s “swing” guy,  a backup interior lineman who is active on game days for the Titans.  He played with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Carolina Panthers before 2016 And the Titans released him in August.  And then on September 17, 2015, Velasco was signed by the Carolina Panthers to play center and be the back up to their 4-time Pro Bowl center, Ryan Kalil. After a ankle injury to Kalil, Velasco would start the week 8 contest against the Indianapolis Colts.

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“The thing about that area, everybody’s just hard workers, so that’s the thing that I definitely know is the reason I’ve been in the league this long, especially being an undrafted free agent, is just that work ethic,” Velasco said. “You come to work every day ready to get better. You don’t get content about being on the practice squad. You can’t get content about being a backup. So you always want to get better. You don’t want to be content.”

“Growing up in the household with my granddaddy, he went to work every day until he was 80-plus years old,” Velasco continued, “so seeing that from him, I can’t be content with anything less than being the best I can be.”

Velasco’s grandfather would be up and out at the crack of dawn to spend the day “loading and stacking” working for a grocery warehouse. Velasco’s Granddad would work late and then get up and do the same everyday until he passed away during Fernando’s freshman year in high school, “but that’s what he did to take care of the family.”

Velasco’s father is from Colombia and immigrated to America. He met Velasco’s mother in New York but was incarcerated for most of Velasco’s childhood and is prohibited from returning to America. Velasco’s grandfather filled the void.EAC4W9

“I had my granddaddy there, so it was a good learning experience,” Velasco said. “Sometimes it was frustrating, not having a dad to throw the ball around with, but it was a blessing and the Lord does things for a reason. It made me be the man I am today.” Velasco has reestablished a relationship with his father, who lives in Sweden. They’ve communicated through social media like Facebook and Skype and talked on the phone. Velasco met his father in Canada and Jamaica during an off season.

 

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Colombian Gold… María Isabel Urrutia Ocoró

Colombian Gold… María Isabel Urrutia Ocoró

It’s important to know who we are, from whom and from where we are formed… by telling these stories, we see an example of how we live, how we inspire and how we honor our ancestors, Aguanile, Mai, Mai…

MimiTVA Posting from the DMV, February 4, 2018

María Isabel Urrutia Ocoró (born 25 March 1965) is a former weightlifter, athlete and politician from Colombia.  Raised in Valle del Cuaca, she was always a stellar athlete.  Starting out in shot put and the discus throw she represented Colombia in the 1988 Summer Olympics.

On the advice of her coaches, Maria Isabel switched to weightlifting  in 1989 and became an amazing champion.  Urrutia won silver at the 1989 World Championships.   She went on to win gold at the 1990, silver 1991, gold 1994, silver 1995, bronze 1996, silver 1997, and bronze at the 1998 World Weightlifting Championships.

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Urrutia won a gold medal in the women’s 75 kg class in the 2000 Summer Olympics  becoming the second Colombian woman to win a medal and the first ever to win gold.  Maria Isabel Urritia is still the only gold medal winner to represent Colombia.  During these games she carried the flag of Colombia in the inaugural parade. Post her Gold medal win, she was honored through out Latin America.

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Colombian flag-bearer Maria Isabel Urrutia leads her team onto the field during the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics Friday, Sept. 15, 2000, at Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australia. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)

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Nowadays she is retired from sports but she also became a politician.   Urrutia held a seat in the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia from 2002 to 2010 (twice elected: 2002 and 2006).  A popular elected official she was noted for her excellent legislative results and transparency in governing.

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LaVidaEnBlack History Afro-Latinos in Football

LaVidaEnBlack History  Afro-Latinos in Football

It’s important to know who we are, from whom and where we were formed… by telling the stories ourselves, we see an example of how to live, how to inspire and how to honor our ancestors, Aguanile, Mai, Mai…

Posting from the DMV, February 6, 2016

Victor Cruz the salsa dancing wide receiver for the Giants is touted as one of the best in the NFL, unfortunately he had to have “season ending” surgery in 2015.  Raised primarily by his Puerto Rican Mother and Grandmother.  Cruz was twice kicked off the University of Massachusetts football team for bad grades.

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So he went back home and two events changed his life and his motivation.  Apparently Cruz was in a club when gunshots rang out and then a few weeks later, his father took his own life.   Cruz decided not to give up and fought his way back to play for the U-Mass team.

And life kept hitting him, right where it hurt.  He wasn’t drafted for the NFL. And then the Giants invited him to camp.  Cruz was not cut and started playing in the 2010 season only to unfortunately suffer an injury that benched him for the rest of 2010.   Victor Cruz’s career has been a roller coaster but when Cruz is on the field he is a standout.  In 2011 he was an integral part of the Giants Super Bowl victory.  In July, the 26-year-old signed a five-year contract extension with the Giants for a total of $45 million.

Cruz has gone on to write a book and is now a proud father and husband.

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A few other notable Afro-Latinos in the NFL include….

Mychal Rivera

The Oakland Raiders tight end, who also happens to be Naya Rivera’s little brother, was drafted into the league in 2013 during round six.

La Vida En Black Venezuela

La Vida En Black Venezuela

German bankers from the Welser family, who financed the sale of Venezuela in the 16th century, were the first to traffic in human beings into Venezuela.

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The family was granted colonial rights to the Province of Venezuela from Charles I, King of Spain.

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The Africans were a part of the Ewe-Fon people from Benin and the Congo. They were brought to South American shores in 1528. The Welsers were granted a special concession to settle and exploit western Venezuela but lost that privilege in 1556.

The Ewe-Fon people were known for their religious and spiritual practices. Quite resistant to Christianity, these people were often engaged in symmetry and subterfuge, including disguising Deities with Christian Saints. a53c29a964f4746dd9d5ba5baa60e232  In the Americas, Fon spiritual rituals and practices fused with French, Portuguese or Spanish practices to create new and distinct religions like Voodoo, Mami Wata, Candomblé and Santería.

During the sixteenth century, enslaved Africans were in high demand to be brought to Venezuela to exploit the copper mines in Coro and Buría (Yaracuy) and to Isla Margarita and Cumaná for pearl diving and fishing.  Specific Africans were sought out for their skills in mining, fishing and diving.  Catching-of-pearls-Bern-Physiologus-IX-centuryThe Conquistadors discovered an extensive pearl bed around the islands of Cubagua and Margarita, a few short kilometers north of the Venezuelan coast. In the early 16th century,  La Peregrina pearl was discovered by an enslaved African and his enslaver offered it to the Spanish queen.  The enslaved man was rewarded his freedom.

Small-scale agricultural plantations were also established in Venezuela, especially in the regions surrounding Caracas. Portuguese, French, and English enslavers continued to deal in human cargo taking Africans of diverse origins, primarily Bantu from the Congo, Angola and Manding from the Gold Coast, up until in the early 1800s.  Enslaved people were treated as units of commerce, called pieza de india in reference to their physical size and potential for hard labor. However, in Venezuela the trading of people as slaves ended (1820-21) before Yoruba people began to be kidnapped from the Motherland and sold in South America.  This distinguished Venezuela’s enslaved population from those in Cuba, Colombia and Brazil.

In the eighteenth century, large shipments of enslaved Africans were brought to Barlovento to support the booming cacao industry and to the sugar plantations in Zulia, around Lake Maracaibo. Venezuela’s enslaved population comprised 1.3 percent of the total slave trade in the New World, compared with 38.1 percent for Brazil, 7.3 percent for Cuba, and 4.5 percent for the United States (Brandt 1978, 8).

For more about the history of the African Diasporic community subscribe to this blog for more on La Vida En Black …

LaVidaEnBlack History 

LaVidaEnBlack History 

It’s important to know who we are, from whom and from where we were formed… by telling the stories ourselves, we see an example of how to live, how to inspire and how to honor our ancestors, Aguanile, Mai, Mai… Gracias Profe Evo!

Posting from the DMV, February 2, 2016

As a child from humble beginnings; Dr. Raul Cuero, studied and played with roaches in his family home in Buenaventura, Colombia.  Motivated by boredom he was inspired to use his expansive imagination to create and invent over 27 patented items. A National Hispanic Scientist of the Year, Dr. Raúl Cuero, Ph.D., today is a renowned microbiologist, inventor, and president/research director of the International Park of Creativity in Bogota, Colombia.

Dr. Cuero’s childhood memories of the behavior of roaches and lizards, which were abundant in his environment created his love of science.   Dr. Cuero was severely affected by the ravages of illnesses such as malaria, tuberculosis in his community. During the 1950s, more than 30 percent of the children in his hometown died from diseases like parasites, malaria, tuberculosis and viral infections before reaching the age of 10.

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Dr. Cuero is also the founder, president, and research director of the International Park of Creativity (IPOC). IPOC’s soul purpose is to incubate young inventors under the mentorship of inventors.   IPOC was formed to nurture the invention of new technologies and products for global markets.  The young scientists implement scientific research and developments for diverse industries and other institutions seeking new technologies and products in a competitive global market.  Finally IPOC is a global “Think Tank” a center for economic, social, scientific and technological development.

Wit Ostrenko, MOSI president, stated “As the Director of the International Park of Creativity, we feel Cuero’s is essential to our mission and his core ideology of making science real and demonstrates the power of S.T.E.M. Education for our youth.”

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Dr. Cuero and his research team in Colombia’s, International Park of Creativity “IPOC” developed this novel technology over the span of six (6) years.

Dr. Cuero’s latest book in English is available in Amazon  is about creativity  where scientist and inventor R. Cuero, PhD, explains how to use your loneliness as a resource to ignite your imagination so you choose innovative action over sedentary reticence. Using creative experiences, history, philosophy, and sociology, Dr. Cuero presents a positive view of both loneliness and modern technology, and offers clear steps to overcome obstacles in order to achieve progress through creativity.

 

LaVidaEnBlack History Month 

LaVidaEnBlack History Month 

It’s important to know who we are, from whom and where we were formed… by telling the stories ourselves, we see an example of how to live, how to inspire and how to honor our ancestors, Aguanile, Mai, Mai…

Posting from the DMV, February 1, 2016

MimiTVA commits to post about different Afro-Latinos throughout Black History Month and beyond.  I’ll start out with my personal favorite … El Negro Primero, the Venezuelan soldier, Pedro Camejo!

In Venezuela, Simon Bolivar known as the liberator of South America realized the vital role Black men played in the colonies quest for freedom from the Spanish Crown. One of Bolivar’s fiercest soldiers was El Negro Primero, Pedro Camejo. Born a slave, Camejo’s nickname was a testament to his bravery for Pedro was always the first to enter the battlefield.

 Frightening the enemies with his vicious spear, Cameo rose to the rank of Lieutenant.

After fighting valiantly in the Battalla de Carabobo, Camejo was mortally wounded and before taking his last breath he uttered this unforgettable phrase to say goodbye to his trusted leader, General Josè Antonio Pàez, “Mi General vengo a decirle adiòs porque estoy muerto” (My General, I came to say goodbye because I am 
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Camejo has a municipality named for him as well as a statue in Caracas, the only such statue of a black man in all of Venezuela.  He fought for freedom and died a brave and unforgettable death.

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Sara Gòmez; The Documentary Gem of Cuba! 

Sara Gòmez; The Documentary Gem of Cuba! 

#LaVidaEnBlack #TheBlacksideofHispanicHeritage

  Sara Gómez (November 8, 1942 – June 2, 1974) was an Afro-Cuban filmmaker. She was born into a middle-class family in Havana and she was afforded an education in literature, piano and Afro-Cuban ethnography. 
She became a journalist before joining the newly-formed ICAIC in 1961, Castro a fan of film as art developed ICAIC as a new center for film in Cuba.   Gòmez quickly rose in the ranks as an assistant director to Jorge Fraga and Tomas Gutierrez Alea, as well as to the visiting French director Agnes Varda. 

One of only two black filmmakers at ICAIC at the time, and for several years its only woman director, Gomez made a series of documentary shorts. One of which is featured here…

“De Cierta Manera” was her last film and her first feature although Sara died after filming.  

De Cierta Manera (One Way or Another) a 1974 Cuban romantic drama was Directed by Sara Gómez. Considered Avant Garde; the film mixes documentary-style footage with a fictional story that looks at empoverished neighborhoods of Havana right after the Revolution of 1959. 

The film illuminates the history before the Revolution and the development that occured after Castro took over in 1959 Cuba. 

Its plot shows how tearing down slums and building modern settlement will not change the culture of its people. 

Gómez wrapped filming with Mario Balmaseda and Yolanda Cuellar just before her death; technical work was finished by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Julio García-Espinosa y Rigoberto López before its posthumous release.

As De Cierta Manera reveals, Sara Gómez was a revolutionary filmmaker at a crossroads; the Afro-Cuban community, its cultural traditions to include the African based religions, Abakuá and Santería, women’s issues, the treatment of marginalized sectors of society, and the role of family within the context of the revolution and workers’ rights. For its time, the film was extremely radical both in form and content.  Sara Gómez remains one of the most significant filmmakers from Latin America.  There is an award named for Sara Gòmez in the Women in Film and Video Chapter of Cuba.