Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Book Review: Chicano Homeland by Louis R. Negrete #review

April 24, 2019 0 Comments

Author: Louis R. Negrete
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 136
Genre: Historical/Nonfiction


Los Angeles author-educator Dr. Louis R. Negrete lived and now tells the compelling, dynamic story of the movement for the rights of Mexican-Americans in the USA, particularly those In California.  In his riveting, powerfully written historical book, CHICANO HOMELAND,  retired college professor Dr. Negrete vividly describes the issues that sparked the Chicano civil rights movement, that saw unbridled police brutality, institutional poverty (that still even exists today, he says), demands for better schools, the  anti-Vietnam war protests and the support for undocumented immigrants.

Mr. Negrete’s CHICANO HOMELAND captures in its historical pages the early Mexican settlement in Los Angeles to the 1950s Zoot Suit riots in L.A. to where Chicanos stand today in the California culture. He gives us a colorful, vivid history of a people that every Hispanic should read, especially as he says, “Chicanos and Chicanas, so they can know where they came from, how they got here and be inspired to chart a course to a genuine, lasting political power for what is now the largest ethnic minority in the United States.”

Commented author Dr. Louis R. Negrete on his book, “I believe that Americans must fight back against racism and national politics. The Chicano movement was a success but resistance to racism must continue, especially with the anti-immigrant policies popular today. I wrote the book based upon my experience growing up in Los Angeles, aware of persistent demands for justice and an end to racism. Younger Mexican-Americans and other minorities should know this part of United States history.”




I must admit from the get go that I'm from the other side of the fence. I'm a natural born white, non-prejudiced American woman. But, the reason why I wanted to review Chicano Homeland is that I wanted to hear it from the other side of the fence - from one person's POV who actually had grown up during the years back to the beginnings of the Mexican movements.

Louis R. Negrete didn't disappoint.

We start the book with the author's point of view on the roots of activism. So when did political protests against Mexicans start? There are differing opinions on that but as a young boy, Louis watched sailors in uniform chase down his uncle in Watts. His uncle escapes by running into a movie theater and the sailors turned away. Now..if I could put myself in Negrete's impressionable shoes, I would be led to believe at a young age that white sailors were to be avoided at all costs. The Civil Rights movement evolved later. Mexicans started to believe things would get better and they did; although there was still a fight for unbiased opinions toward them as a nationality.

The author also tells us what it was like in the fifties and sixties growing up in California. "It was the time of controversy," the author says, "with major, sometimes contradictory, turns in political and social life" and goes on to tell us about police abuse and neglect by the city's government. Once JFK was elected president, Mexicans had hope and were given promises, but after the election, the author feels that they were once again put on the back burner and nothing was ever realized regarding their living conditions or the attitudes toward the Mexican American population.

1964 becomes the year of urban unrest and riots after the assassination of JFK. The Watts riots began. While the newly appointed president Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, things still didn't improve. While Mexican Americans were paying their fair share of tax, only 1 percent went to the rehabilitation of their communities. Over half of all Mexican Americans were involved in drugs and one third of all Mexican American highschoolers dropped out of school. Mexican Americans were outraged to the war in Viet Nam and more activist groups were founded. By the late 60s, the Mexican American activists became more restless. They were tired of no jobs, tired of police brutality directed at them and wanted an end to the war. More groups were founded such as Young Citizens for Community Action. The Brown Berets led by David Sanchez and Carlos Montes became visible at most Chicano protest demonstrations.

What an exciting read. Negrete's book takes a deep look into the protests and the hardships of a people who just wanted to be treated like everyone else. It was actually an eye opener of events, many I had not heard about, that needs to be addressed, acknowledged and to learn from. We all need a voice without being violent. It will get us nowhere. But looking over the events that have unraveled over the years, it's no wonder Negrete wanted to get his book out there. An informative and eye-opening read!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A Conversation with Rachel Marie Martin, Author of 'The Brave Art of Motherhood' @finding_joy #interview

April 23, 2019 0 Comments

“One November day, I stood at my bedroom window watching as a sharp wind stripped the remaining leaves from the trees. Seeing those limbs laid bare, I felt similarly exposed. I realized I'd been lost in my own life, waiting for something to change. But I couldn't wait any longer.

So I started fighting. Reclaiming the lifeless spaces, unearthing joy in motherhood, and finding hope and purpose. No longer did I hide behind the words "When the kids are grown, I will. . . "

I changed one thing: my mind.

Now my kids are happier than they have ever been. And so am I.”

From The Brave Art of Motherhood by Rachel Marie Martin

Rachel Marie Martin believes in the power of the human spirit to overcome, to thrive and to find deep joy and because of that she pours out her heart via these platforms: she is the writer behind the site, partner of, co-host of the Amplify Podcast, and a featured writer for The Huffington Post. Her top blog post, "Why Being a Mom is Enough" has surpassed 1.9 million Facebook likes and she has had her articles translated into over 25 languages. Her site reaches millions of visitors and has a robust, engaged Facebook community. Her articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, iVillage, The Today Show, Star Tribune, iVillage, Stuff New Zealand, PopSugar, Parents, What to Expect, Mamalode, NBC Parents, Dr. Greene, and many more. Her first book, "The Brave Art of Motherhood", published by Penguin Random House, was released on October 9, 2018. She speaks worldwide about a variety of empowering topics ranging from motherhood to social media marketing to website strategy to writing to creating an authentic community. She believes in living each day intentionally and loves working with others to cultivate a vision, realize their potential and see their dreams become a reality.

Book Description:

Full-time blogger, speaker, marketer, podcaster, and single mom of seven, Rachel Marie Martin presents a wake-up call to those of us who have found ourselves stuck in the 'I'm just a mom' phase of life.

Yes, this book is about motherhood . . . but really, this book is about finding yourself again and following your passion WHILE being a mom. Inspired by her incredible story, Rachel's words always come straight from the gut; they are visceral, real and soul searching. She challenges you to find the courage to break cycles, to take off masks and not let fear take control. This book is a balance of tough, "no excuses" ways of approaching life, while allowing breathing room and grace for yourself, for as we all know, life and mothering are not perfect.

After inspiring and conversing with thousands of women, Rachel has surmised there is always a reason to hope, to move forward and a reason to dare doing what you thought was impossible. (Yes, including what you are skeptical of accomplishing right now). She encourages you to say yes to your dreams and stop waiting for "someday" or "one day" or "when something happens".

Prepare to change the way you think about yourself and your life. This will be a book you read over and over armed with a highlighter in one hand and a journal for introspection in another.

Q. Welcome, Rachel!  Your new book, The Brave Art of Motherhood, would be perfect for Mother’s Day. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea to write this book?
I’ve been writing my website Finding Joy for over ten years and one of the most common questions I would receive was regarding if I had a book. My readers had seen me go through tremendous life challenges – divorce, dealing with finances, starting a successful business – and wanted to learn the steps to finding joy, happiness and purpose again. At a certain point you either look at opportunity and run after it or you ignore it. Clearly, I chose to follow opportunity and from that The Brave Art of Motherhood was born.  

Q. Can you tell us a little about your family?

 I’m the single mom to seven amazing kids aged nine to almost twenty-three. You can figure the math, but there were many many years where I lived with a child under five in my home. Those years of busy taught me a great deal about patience, goals and grace. Now my oldest two live in Seattle, I have a son who attends school in Minneapolis and the other four attend school here in Nashville. It’s a busy life, indeed, but I’ve grown accustomed to this story and love the adventures my children bring.  

Q. What do you believe was the hardest part of raising seven children?

Truthfully, the noise. By nature, I like things chill and quiet, and having seven is the antithesis of that. At my house in Minnesota I would often establish the main floor as the “quiet level” just to help that part of me out. But, beyond that, it’s probably also the amount of food those kids can eat - especially once they hit their teenage years.
Q. What would you say to single women having to raise their children alone?

That you are strong, even if you are tired of being strong, and that I want you to reclaim your strength. I know that there are times when you just want a break, or a breath, and part of being strong is deciding to cultivate that in your own life. Don’t listen to the critics or the statistics, but instead fight for your family, show up the best you can and love fiercely. Your love, even in the moments when it feels like it doesn’t matter and doesn’t measure up, is truly a life giving gift.

Q. Can you tell us more about

 I started Finding Joy just over ten years ago. It was originally a place for me to get that quiet, that chill, and to think about (and share life). As the site began to grow it moved from being a hobby to now a full time career. We have reached over 40 million people and our Facebook page is a vibrant community of women who live with deep authenticity, purpose and joy.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Conversation with Kevin C. Alston, Author of 'The 'Real' American Diet @kcasrkev1 #diet #interview

April 17, 2019 0 Comments
“IF YOU’VE BEEN dieting forever with very mixed results, then you’ve finally come to the right place. These lifestyle changes that I am recommending will be like no diet that you have ever attempted, so if you combine what I’m about to teach you with the proven methods that Dr. Joel Fuhrman teaches you in his books—Eat to Live is the best one to start off with—you will be well on your way to attaining your goal of losing the dreaded weight that you have been desperately seeking to get rid of for so long.”
--From The ‘Real’ American Diet by Kevin C. Alston

Born & raised in the small town of Mullins, SC, by God-fearing parents who instilled religion into his life at an early age, Kevin C. Alston has an insatiable appetite for knowledge since birth. God blessed him with a keen, analytical mind, & an almost feverish desire to help others. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, married to the love of his life, with five wonderful kids, & a deep passion that still burns within him to help the less fortunate, through whatever means necessary.  The correlation between what we eat & the epidemic-like rise in diseases of today has the author on an impassioned mission to get to the bottom of what he thinks is a big conspiracy by our government & Big Business.
His latest book is The ‘Real’ American Diet.

This book is a culmination of the author's life, but mainly the past 10 years, where personal tragedies have led him to discover more about the correlation with food, nutrition & the diseases of today, & how it affects us all.

This program is an experiment of sorts, with the author using himself as the guinea pig, with positive results having been discovered, & hopefully, in time, even bigger positive results yet to come.
Between our government & Big Business, we, the people, are already involved in an experiment.  It's like a big laboratory.  With all of the harmful toxins that are allowed in our air, food, &  water, diseases are at epidemic-like levels, & the author, for one, would like to know if there is more to this than is being told to us. It speaks volumes when other nations refuse to accept grains & meats from us, or at least it does to the author.

Most of the ailments we suffer from today emanate from our guts, & our poor diets keep the sickness-wheels turning, costing each of us millions of dollars, a whole lot of heartache, pain, & suffering.  It's time to make a change, & that change started with the author's experiment on himself.

Welcome, Kevin!  Your new book, The ‘Real’ American Diet sounds like something we all could use today. Tell us what was the pivotal moment when you decided you should write about book that discusses the correlation with food, nutrition & the diseases of today and how it affects us all?
Kevin: Boy, can it be used today! After my mom died from cancer back in '10, I thought about it. When my 'other' daughter passed, from cancer as well, I had had enough ( my 'other' daughter  is my oldest stepdaughter ). I actually saw my other daughter's long struggle against, first, breast cancer, & then, liver cancer. It was not something any human being should have to experience.
You mention in your book that you have a ‘routine’ that you use every day. Can you tell us what that routine is?
Kevin: I start my day off the exact same way, no matter what time I actually get up ( crazy work schedule having a lot to do with it ). I start off with at least 40 ounces of water ( I've gone from tap water to alkaline water, probably about 4 years ago, I made the switch ) that I squeeze fresh lemon juice into, & I add probably almost a 1/2 capful of apple cider vinegar. Every day is begun that way, no exceptions.
Would you say you ate well or poorly as a child? Were you allowed sweets?
Kevin: No. I wouldn't say that I ate poorly, but we did get our 'bad' things in. At the top of the list of the bad is probably the kids' cereals that we all were bombarded with growing up. Those things are loaded with sugar! Is that really the way we want to start our days off, with a bowl of sugar? It's no wonder diabetes is rampant. They've got us consuming more & more sugar. But, thank God my mom also taught us, me in particular, the importance of eating your green vegetables. The greener, the better. I try to have something green with every meal. The key word is 'try', but trust me, I will get it in that day, for sure, somehow.
Where do you buy your vegetables and fruits? Is it important to stay out of the grocery stores and buy fresh?
Kevin: There's a store called Nino Savaggio's, which in essence is a Big vegetable/fruit market. They've got everything there, pretty much, but the fresh fruits & vegetables are the main draw, at least for me it is. I'm there quite often. I do still go to grocery stores, but not for my fruits & vegetables.
How can your book help me with my diet?
Kevin: My book doesn't try to get you to stop doing anything that you are already doing. It just focuses on starting your day out right, incorporating a few new, good habits into your life, & in doing this, it will entice you to make better decisions about what you ingest.
What’s your view on soda? Is it okay to drink in moderation?
Kevin: My view on soda, we call it 'pop' up here. I haven't had a pop since '98. I just one day decided to stop drinking it, mainly because I knew it was mostly sugar, & since I didn't really drink a lot of them, it would be much easier to quit, & I did, cold turkey. Juices, in my opinion, are just as bad as pops, especially if it's not fresh-squeezed.
What’s your most favorite vegetable and fruit?
Kevin: My most favorite vegetable & fruit. My favorite vegetable is probably steamed okra. The sliminess turns a lot of people off, but not me. As for fruit, watermelon & peaches are probably neck-n-neck, in my book. But there are a few others that come close for both fruits & vegetables. I'm not a picky eater, & I love all food.
In closing, do you have anything you’d like to tell your readers?
Kevin: If someone was slowly poisoning a friend or loved one, what would you do about it? That's where I come in, because I have lots of friends & loved ones, & from the past sufferings of quite a few of them, I felt compelled to try & help the others, as well as myself, because we are all being slowly poisoned by the powers-that-be, all in the name of the almighty dollar. Our air, our food, our water. That's why there are so many ailments today that seem to be in epidemic-like occurrences. We need to stop the mad scientists! The money isn't in a cure. It's in keeping us sick, to keep the prescriptions being written, to keep the money train chugging along, full speed. Good health is your greatest wealth!

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