Making History: This Latina Is the First Undocumented Student to Earn a PhD

Mexican-born California native Gloria Montiel is breaking barriers and making history—literally. After becoming the first high school student from Santa Ana High School to attend Harvard in 2005, she has just made history in becoming the first undocumented student to earn a Phd from Claremont University.

Taking advantage of Barack Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) initiative—which he enacted in 2012 to give undocumented students a chance to gain higher education, Gloria strived to prove her detractors wrong. Though the journey didn’t come without struggle. “I said, ‘I want to go to Harvard,” she recalled to Ed. Magazine adding that a former classmate in her freshman year of high school said: ‘Don’t you know Mexican girls don’t go to Harvard?” This heartbreak only drove her to pull off a “miracle.” Taking on babysitting jobs to cover the rest of her tuition, she did—graduating from Harvard’s Education Master program in 2011.

Montiel spent most of her post-grad life educating people like her who may not know that they have the same opportunities and rights to education as other students do—mentoring prospective students about the same lessons she learned. Gloria’s story is the same as many people like her in America, especially in the turbulent times we live in today. However, she remains hopeful and determined in showing those people that they have one thing left—hope. In an interview with Univision she said: “I hope my story gives people a little bit of hope at a time when people are living in fear. However, it’s also proof of what’s possible to achieve.” It looks like she’s on the right path, as usual, already. 

Asian Culture Gets “Whitewashed” Again

With heightened attention on diversity and culture, you would think major Hollywood films would take notice. The newest film by Paramount Ghost in the Shell with lead actress Scarlett Johansson is the newest culprit in whitewashing films. The original character from the source material is Japanese and fans made their voices heard by using the films own marketing promotion. The film created a meme generator for fans to create their own creative content; many used it to promote Rinko kikuchi who fans thought should have been casted as the lead role.

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Nike Gets Inclusive With the ‘Pro Hijab’

In a time of great diversity, inclusion has never been stronger. Nike is one of the largest and most recognizable brands in the world, and has been on a big push for equality “Inspiration and Innovation for Every Athlete of the World”. Most recently Nike unveiled their equality campaign that features some of the biggest athlete of our time and supports all athletes no matter where they come from.

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Get ready for “Get Out”

Jordan Peele is set to make his directorial debut with his horror film “Get Out” starring Daniel Kaluuya. In this film, which he also wrote and produced, Jordan Peele takes a bold move to address race with a horror twist. In his fearless manner, Peele sets up a story with an African-American man who’s meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time, but she has not told them he’s black. The film proceeds to take a horror twist, as the main character encounters other African-American people who work at his girlfriend’s parents estate and seem a little off.

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A Day Without Immigrants

As the persecution of immigrants continues in our nation, “A Day Without Immigrants”, has quickly risen to popularity and encourages all to support migrants in these testing times. The protest calls for immigrants, whether naturalized citizens or undocumented, to stay home from work or school, close their businesses and not spend any money, as a way to protest the Trump administration’s stance on immigrants. The purpose is to show the economic power of immigrants in our nation and how we should support them and not push them way.

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African-American Women Behind the Space Race

February is Black History Month, and was first officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976, only 41 years ago. The purpose of Black History Month is to recognize black achievements and celebrate trailblazer who overcame major obstacles. The United States still lives under a very dark history because of slavery and the slave trade. On paper, America stood for freedom. But that freedom was denied to black America. White America, lived in a privileged world that denied human rights to others who look different.

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Diversity Grows in the World of Oscar

As the Hollywood favorite “La La Land” continues to dominate the award season, it came to no surprise as the film brought in 14 nominations. But one major aspect to celebrate is the rise in diversity in the nominees. After receiving harsh criticism with #OscarsSoWhite last year, the Academy made major strides to diversify.

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What Does Diversity in Culture Mean?

As diversity in pop-culture and mainstream media continues to be a major issue, it is becoming more evident that it is needed more than ever. More and more top companies are being pressured to diversify both inside and out, and show a true representation of the changing face of our nation.

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Holiday Family Traditions

The holidays is a great time to get together with your family and celebrate the importance of the holiday. It also means participating in old family traditions that remind you of your childhood. In the United States we have the privilege of such diversity that we get to experience so many traditions in our own backyards.

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