Campaign archives for Cuentame

La Opinion Covers ‘An Honest Conversation’

By Virginia Gaglianone at La Opinion

Como tantos jóvenes latinos, cuando Jorge Gutierrez, un joven gay indocumentado, comenzó a ejercer su activismo se encontró con quienes le decían que los asuntos gay no tenían nada que ver con los derechos de los inmigrantes y que debía concentrarse “en una batalla a la vez”.

Gutierrez contó que en un principio, cuando entraba a una reunión de jóvenes indocumentados se decía a sí mismo “Ok, hoy seré indocumentado solamente, y no me acordaré que soy gay”. Pero el joven activista pronto descubrió que no podía seguir negociando y dividir sus batallas, porque los dos temas le concernían por igual.

“Tenía que ser las dos cosas”, recordó. Sabiendo que había otros jóvenes en su misma situación, decidió tomar la responsabilidad y encarar la situación.

Gutierrez cuenta su historia personal en Undocumented and Unafraid, Queer and Unashamed, un video que puede verse en You Tube, parte de la campaña Una conversación honesta. La serie presenta cinco videos que se concentran exclusivamente en los problemas de la comunidad latina LGBT (lesbiana, gay, bisexual y transexual), y que buscan concientizar, impactar e iniciar un diálogo sobre el tema en la comunidad hispana.

La campaña es una iniciativa de la organización Cuéntame ¡Instigadores latinos!, una organización digital sin fines de lucro fundada en 2009 que se concentra en las artes, los medios de comunicación y el activismo dentro de la cultura latina.

Read the rest of Jorge’s story here.

HIV Plus Magazine: An Honest Conversation About HIV – A new video series encourages Latinos to open up about HIV

By Trudy Ring at HIV Plus Magazine

Some Latino activists are taking the old saying “Honesty is the best policy” and acting on it in a thoroughly modern way.

Cuéntame, a project of the social justice-oriented Brave New Foundation, is a social media group whose name translates as “count me” or “tell me your story.” Based in Culver City, Calif., the project is using Internet videos to let Latinos tell their stories and raise awareness of a variety of issues. Its video series An Honest Conversation deals with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues, including HIV, which disproportionately affects gay men, Latinos, and gay men who are Latino.

It’s not easy to raise awareness when people are reluctant to discuss these matters, which is common among Latinos, says Jessica McMunn Macias, a story and content producer for Cuéntame. “It’s very taboo in our community,” she says of LGBT topics and HIV. “An Honest Conversation’s goal is to open up the conversation with families.”

Last October, at the first gay pride event ever held in conservative Lubbock, Texas, Macias found a Latino gay man willing to open up about being HIV-positive. “It was just fate,” she says of encountering Ronnie, a 42-year-old nurse now living in Los Angeles. From an event stage, she asked if anyone would like to share a story. He tapped her shoulder and said he would.

In that appearance and a follow-up shoot the next day, there emerged a compelling, often tragic, but ultimately hopeful tale. In the video Ronnie (last name withheld by request) talks about being gay-bashed and otherwise abused, hiding his homosexuality to join the military, being found out and discharged, and eventually receiving his HIV diagnosis. He says he “gave up” for about two years afterward, drinking and partying to escape. But after receiving admonitions from an aunt, he finished college and became a nurse, and now he is helping others.

All his experiences, he says, have informed his life. “I have been beaten up as a kid. I’ve been sexually assaulted as a kid. I’ve been beaten up as an adult. I’ve been shot at, I’ve gone overseas, I’ve been in the military—I thank God that I’ve done all this, because I can walk into a room as a nurse now, and I can look at a person’s face…and I know exactly what happened,” he says, giving as an example a girl who was beaten up because she was a lesbian. “The only thing I need to figure out is, What do I need to do for her to get her out of that situation?”

Read More at HIV Plus or pick up the March/April 2012 issue.

Care2: A Marine Evicted, The Arturo De los Santos Story [Video]

By Jessica Pieklo at Care2

The story of Arturo De los Santos, a marine and victim of foreclosure fraud, sums up so tragically the new American dream, the one where hard work and playing by the rules can land a family on the street.

De los Santos’ story can be summed up like this. Art, a long-time factory supervisor who spent five years in the Marine Corps, purchased his home almost ten years ago and lives there with his wife and four kids. In 2009, Art asked JP Morgan Chase for a loan modification, anticipating a drop in hours at work – and was told by the bank to miss payments on his mortgage in order to qualify for the modification.

De los Santos followed their recommendation, and after missing some payments, JP Morgan Chase and Freddie Mac granted Art a temporary modification and Art complied with all the terms of the modification. The pressure eased a bit, but instead of continuing to work with De los Santos, JP Morgan Chase and Freddie Mac rejected Art for a permanent modification because his income had recovered. And then, instead of allowing him to catch up, they quickly foreclosed on the home.

De los Santos, his family, and throngs of supporters decided they were not going to let the unwillingness of JP Morgan Chase and Freddie Mac just get away with just tossing Americans aside. The family re-occupied the house and, with the help of a team from Cuentame, a civil rights organization affiliated with Brave New Foundation, shot a video attempting to publicize the family’s story.

A Sheriffs notice to vacate expired this Tuesday morning, and a large crowd of supporters has stood with Art, his wife Magda, and their four kids awaiting the arrival of deputies to the house. Today Freddie Mac asked the Riverside County commissioner to force Sheriffs to evict the embattled homeowner and his family and short of a miracle they will be forcibly removed from their home.

Congratulations! Revolucionario Axel Caballero, Director of Cuéntame, Nominated for The Mobilizer Award

Axel Caballero is well known in the world of Latino and international political organizing. He’s an advocate for multiple causes, including nuclear disarmament, environmental protection, immigration, and human rights. He’s the founder and director of Cuéntame, a news and organizing site for Latinos and a general audience. He has also worked with and been featured by Brave New Films. Axel and his work to provide the public with information and a platform for dialogue represents a true modern day Revolucionario, and for this work he’s nominated for The Mobilizer award. Cheers, Axel!

The Mobilizer Award is sponsored by Univision News, MTV tr3s, MarketWire, Latino Metro, Hispanicize, iNDIGO Project Media. The awards show will take place at SXSWi on March 12, 2012.

Axel Caballero on Twitter

Cuéntame on Facebook

Read more at The Social Revolucion. Jorge Gutierrez – Young, Gay, Latino & Undocumented

By Rick Andreoli at

Is it tougher to be gay or undocumented? This is what Jorge Gutierrez—who is young, gay, Latino and undocumented— discusses in the 4th video of Cuentame’s “An Honest Conversation” series, which focuses on LGBTQ issues in the Latino community.

Gutierrez offers up his inspiring story of breaking through numerous barriers through activism, and how he is now unafraid to open up and give people his honest opinions on all these topics. Through this video you see one young man breaking taboos, challenging conventions and shifting paradigms within and outside of the Latino community. Brave, courageous and up front, Jorge’s “honest conversation” will surprise and inspire you.


Join the Conversation:
Share Your Story:
Read Jorge’s full story

Watch more “An Honest Conversation” videos
Gay Latinos Break Their Silence
Gay Latinos Speak: Bianca
Gay Latinos Speak: Army Vet Ronnie


AOL Latino: Arturo De Los Santos, doble víctima de la crisis hipotecaria (+VIDEO)

By Gabriel Lerner for AOL Latino

Con su esposa Magdalena, Arturo de Los Santos ha estando luchando por largos meses para conserver la casa en Riverside, California, en donde criaron a sus cuatro hijos y en donde tejieron sus sueños y esperanzas.

Pero a menos que ocurra un milagro de ultimo momento, el sheriff del condado de Riverside podría en cualquier momento evacuar a la familia de la casa que ya reocuparon una vez después de haber sido expulsados anteriormente.

De Los Santos dice que no se van a ninguna parte, que se quedan hasta que negocien con ellos.
Toda vez que a diferencia de muchos dueños de casa que simplemente abandonaron sus propiedades porque no los podían pagar, ellos sí pueden. Solamente que el banco no está dispuesto a recibir su dinero.

“Si tanto quiere [el banco] vender la casa, ¿por qué no la vendió durante los seis meses en que estuvo desocupada completamente?”, pregunta Peter Kuhns, organizador del grupo ACCE, que asiste a De Los Santos en su lucha.

Read more at AOL Latino.

Huffington Post: Arturo De Los Santos, Foreclosure Crisis Victim, Faces Eviction From Re-Occupied Home (VIDEO)

By Gabriel Lerner at Huffington Post

LOS ANGELES — Arturo De Los Santos and his wife Magdalena have been fighting to keep the home in Riverside, California, where they raised their four children and on which they have pinned their hopes and dreams.

Barring a last-minute miracle, the sheriff is set to evict them Tuesday morning. But De Los Santos and his family say they are not going anywhere.

Chase’s foreclosure department put the house, located at 3270 Layton Court, up for sale, even as the bank’s own loan modification department was finalizing an agreement that would have allowed the family to stay put.

“They have a department of loan modification and a department of foreclosure, which is stronger,” Arturo De Los Santos told The Huffington Post this weekend, switching back and forth between English and Spanish. He says he is both upset and disgusted because two weeks after receiving an eviction notice, his request for a loan modification was approved, but by then, he was unable to get his house back.

The De Los Santos family epitomizes the growing number of people who work hard, follow the rules and achieve the American Dream, only to see it crumble into a nightmare. After reaching an agreement to make reduced payments on a trial basis until a final settlement was defined, and making three payments in accordance to that agreement, “the loan modification department didn’t accept my money. They said, we are not accepting more payments,” said De Los Santos.

Read more about Arturo De Los Santos at Huffington Post.

Huffington Post: Jorge Gutierrez, Undocumented Queer Activist Works To Bring LGBT And Pro-Immigration Groups Together

By Gabriel Lerner at Huffington Post

Jorge Gutiérrez, 27, was addressing a hall packed with almost 200 young people in Memphis, Tennessee.

Like him, they were brought to the United States as children. Like him, they grew up as Americans. Although they were bilingual, English was their first language.

Their parents came illegally, so they too, are undocumented.

Then, he told them that he is not only undocumented, but also gay. He asked the pro-immigrant organizations represented there to be inclusive. If there were others who, like him, were undocumented and LGBT, he asked them to stand up and come down to the front.

One by one, more than 20 activists stood up and approached. Some of them were revealing their sexual identity for the first time. Some were well known activists in the DREAMers movement.

Gutiérrez, currently lives in Santa Ana, California. At the age of 10, he arrived illegally from El Cora, Nayarit, Mexico, with his mother, two brothers and two sisters. In 2008 he graduated from Cal State University – Fullerton with a BA in English.

He is undocumented and queer, one of many.

“Some of the most recognized leaders of the DREAMer movement, who never talked about it, are now out of the closet, and are calling on others to do the same,” he told The Huffington Post in a series of phone calls.

Read the full story at Huffington Post’s Latino Voices.

AOL Latino: ¿Soy o no soy gay? Bianca, una conversación honesta

By Aurelia Fierros at AOL Latino

Bianca Molina es una joven y entusiasta latina llena de sueños y expectativas, que se prepara para ingresar a la universidad en el otoño y que ya está lista para hacerse cargo de los desafíos que le deparará la vida.

Pero hasta hace poco, sus objetivos no eran tan claros, y su existencia giraba en torno a una sola pregunta: “¿soy o no soy gay?”

A las dudas, confusión y remordimientos que llenaban su vida, cuenta Bianca, se agregaron largas noches de lágrimas y desesperación, todo en el más completo de los secretos.
Hasta que llegó el punto de ruptura.

“Yo tenía dieciséis años y estaba muy deprimida. Vivía escondiendo mi identidad, en el closet. Yo sabía que algo estaba mal, sentía que estaba mal, porque estuve por tantos años en una escuela católica, donde predicaban con mucho énfasis contra la homosexualidad y todo eso estaba en mi cabeza y yo no era capaz de aceptarme a mí misma tal como era”.

“Pero entonces a mi madre le diagnosticaron cáncer. Esa fue la gota que rebasó el vaso. Sentí que Dios me estaba castigando por tener esas emociones, por pensar como pensaba, por sentir lo que yo sentía, y que me culpaba por todo lo que significaba perder a mi madre. Decidí quitarme la vida.

Read the full story at AOL Latino.

What is Self Deportation? Axel Caballero on RT’s The Alyona Show

At NBC’s Republican debate on Jan. 23, we once again, heard a lot about the issue of immigration. Mitt Romney suggested that self deportation could be an easy fix. Cuentame’s founder Axel Caballero weighs in.

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