Author Archive

February 16, 2012

The blame game of personal responsibility

by Nick Baez

Clichés abound these days. We hear the same platitudes being shouted from the rooftops, even amongst those within our community. “Just work harder!” “If I can do it, so can you!” “Stop expecting handouts!”

Yes, Latinos seem to be quite fond of the whole “hard work equals success” mantra. As a result, from among many in the community, there are frequent calls for individuals to simply take control of their lives and “rise up” out of their current downtrodden situations.

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February 8, 2012

The Maria Paradox

by Nick Baez

During my work with Latino youth, I am proud to say that I have witnessed an exponential rise in the number of intellectually superior, upwardly mobile Latinas.

More and more of our community’s women are graduating from college, receiving advanced degrees, and pursuing professional roles in the fabric of society. In spite of this, as many in my line of work have noted (myself included), there still remains an unspoken, yet nonetheless pervasive force at play that often serves to produce guilt and shame over such achievements. 

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January 25, 2012

Beware of shiny objects: How not to fill the Latino leadership void

by Nick Baez

Some of you may recall an alarming study conducted a little over a year ago by the Pew Hispanic Center, in which Latinos were asked a simple question: “name the person who you consider to be the most important Latino leader in the country today.”

A whopping 64 percent of respondents answered “I don’t know.” These findings support a growing line of research that suggests the current U.S. Latino community is experiencing a leadership void on a national level. 

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January 22, 2012

Beware of shiny objects: The Latino leadership void

by Nick Baez

Some of you may recall an alarming study conducted a little over a year ago by the Pew Hispanic Center, in which Latinos were asked a simple question: “name the person who you consider to be the most important Latino leader in the country today.”

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January 12, 2012

Helping families through mental illness

by Nick Baez

The prevalence of mental illness has risen over the years, primarily because our diagnostic tools have greatly improved, and our scientific understanding of mental illness has grown exponentially. However, when a close family member is the person afflicted with mental illness, our method of helping the person is often clouded by our great desire to see them healed as quickly as possible.

The process can therefore be extremely frustrating, tiresome, stressful, and infuriating.  Since I have worked with many who have difficulty with helping family members cope with their mental illness, I wanted to present four quick points for consideration for those of you who may find yourselves in this situation.

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January 5, 2012

An open letter to our support system

by Nick Baez

The holiday season has drawn to a close, and for many, it has left memories of fun celebrations, gatherings with friends and family, and reminders of unconditional love and support. The sad reality remains, however, that for some the holiday season instead represented a time of somber reflection on past trauma. And as individuals seek to navigate their pain and suffering, they often turn to close friends and family for support.

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December 29, 2011

Latino New Year’s resolutions: A call for self-examination

by Nick Baez

As the curtain comes down on another year, many of us will take some time to sit back and reflect. And as the dawn of a new year approaches, many of us will also attempt to adopt a resolution that will lead to self-improvement, greater happiness, and a better quality of life. As I reflect on the year that was, for the greater Latino community, I have developed my own New Year’s resolution for the community at large, in an effort to forge a greater sense of unity and a more refined public direction. Here is the three-part resolution that I feel all Latinos should consider.

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December 22, 2011

Feeding, fighting, fleeing, and fornication: Sound like your Christmas gathering?

by Nick Baez

Ahh yes, tis the season, ladies and gentlemen. It is time to spend hours in airport security, traffic, and retail stores in a supposed effort to spread peace on earth and goodwill towards men. Many of us who have large Latino families, however, would gladly fight through crowds at the local Macy’s than spend just a few hours with those insane family members who always seem to emerge during the holiday season. 

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December 12, 2011

More than just the holiday blues: A look at seasonal depression

by Nick Baez

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…at least in theory.

That’s right folks, amidst the falling snow, slowed traffic, long lines at the airport, and shopping centers so crowded that one wonders how there is ample oxygen for all, the holiday season is in full swing. But for many, the holiday season is instead characterized by nervous apprehension, a sense of dread, and intense feelings of sadness.

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November 28, 2011

The forsaken and invisible: a look at homelessness in the US

by Nick Baez

With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, most of us find ourselves in full-fledged holiday mode. Regardless of religious affiliation (or lack thereof), the time between Thanksgiving and the end of December is usually the time when we are able to spend the most time with family and loved ones. But as we shop for presents, gather with friends, and hurry to catch that last bus that will guide you home to warmth and a great meal, within our midst lies a silent minority. 

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