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Another First: San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists Gala

26 Jul

On July 20, 2012, I joined the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists at their 14th Annual Scholarship & Awards Gala which commemorated 25 years of the organization. The goal of SAAHJ is to help newsrooms better reflect the diverse population of Texas. The organization is comprised of local journalists, public relations professionals, students and others interested in the communications industry. (SAAHJ)

The event caught my attention when an online friend checked in on Foursquare and noted that she was at a planning meeting for the Gala. I thought to myself “that sounds like a great place to be.” … the Gala, not the planning meeting! I’m a professional in the communications industry (social media and public relations).  So, I asked how to attend the event, she encouraged me to get my ticket, I did and there I was. It turned out to be a fantastic night of inspiration, encouragement, friendship and fun.

Even when I wasn’t working in the communications field, I’ve always been drawn to it. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a reporter. As a young girl I would take my cassette tape recorder and record my own ‘news’ and then play it back just to hear myself ‘reporting’. (I’m pretty sure I have NEVER told anyone that I’ve ever done that.) I entered college pursuing journalism and completed my B.A. in Mass Communications (General Studies). Nonetheless, the SAAHJ Gala was an incredible time to meet so many Hispanic journalists, particularly las mujeres. Growing up in a small West Texas town, I don’t recall seeing any brown-skinned reporters or any with Latino surnames. However, at the Gala, there were plenty of San Antonio’s Latina journalists whom I have admired while watching the local news.

The organization honored KSAT-12’s Jessie Degollado with the Henry Guerra Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Journalism. Jessie’s reporting was described as trailblazing. In 1995, she received the award for best series from the Associated Press for “Chiapas Revolt – One Year Later.” In a tribute video, Jessie’s colleagues referred to her as the Energizer Bunny of KSAT-12, incredibly professional, genuinely interested in others, an icon in San Antonio, and one who has paved the way for Latinas and women in general. I am always moved to see someone being honored for their life work.

The other Latina journalists I had the honor to meet were the funny and beautiful News 4 WOAI Reporter Laurie Salazar; News 4 WOAI Anchorwoman Elsa Ramon, the Mistress of Ceremony and KSAT-12 News Anchorwoman Isis Romero. You can see all my photos on my Facebook page. Psst, I even got to meet Mayor Julian Castro! Yep, I get geeky about stuff like that.

The night also included honoring Father David Garcia with the SAAHJ Community Service Award. He is currently the director of the Old Spanish Missions of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and told the funniest joke about what happens to a Senator when he reaches the gates of heaven. (You’ll have to find me or him to tell you another time!) Father David challenged the group to not lose the value of their culture and reminded us that we’re all in this together.

SAAHJ awarded $25,000 in scholarships to local students pursuing degrees in communications. For a list of their names and more information, visit www.saahj.org.

The evening left me inspired and smiling. So, instead of recording on my cassette tapes, I will type on my keyboard and ‘report’ to my readers the stories from the desk of ¿Qué Means What? Thanks for reading y’all!

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My Birthday with Janis

5 Jul

So here we are … post 35 of 35. *exhale*

I wondered what I would share with you on my last post of this series. Would I have some great epiphany over the last 35 days? Hmmm, for now, I just keep going back to what I said to the first person I talked with on the phone this morning. My uncle Brian called (Facebook birthday wishes are awesome but phone calls rock!). In our conversation I said, “Thirty didn’t bother me but I kinda feel like I should be all grown up at thirty-five.”

Let me share with you a little about my uncle. He is important to me for many reasons. He has offered me sound advice, he listens to me when I talk and has just always been there for me. One reason I am indebted to him forever is because he introduced me to Janis … yes, Janis Joplin.

ahhhh … my absolute favorite song from her!

Here’s where I’m going with this …

Janis Joplin was not cool with the kids in my school when I was listening to her. What was this little Mexican girl doing listening to a gringa sing oldies rock-n-roll anyway? I didn’t care. I connected with her soulful voice and heart wrenching songs. For me, she resembled a unique identity through story telling that anyone can relate to. Nadie cantó como Janis when Janis was singing.

I have made new friends and bonded with great friends over Janis Joplin’s songs. I remember singing “Me and Bobby McGee” at the top of our lungs at parties with a dear college friend. Her Greatest Hits CD was playing full blast on my six-hour drive home from college – on repeat. Introducing others to Janis … yeah, that’s the best. A sweet friend of mine recently sent me a message because she was listening to Janis and she thought of me. She said she actually thinks of me every time she hears a song by Janis.

So today, a new friend shared that Me and Bobby McGee YouTube video. I sat in my home office, clicked play and turned up the volume on my laptop. And when it was over, I clicked play again. Memories came back, I sang the tune with all my heart … I realized that I am grown up. Because when I wasn’t a grown up, it was always the grown ups that would listen to the oldies over and over again saying things like “yeah, that was a good year!”

¡Salud to a ‘Good Year’! Rock on Janis!

Me and my Pearl: The Obessions and passions of Janis Joplin, a biography by Ellis Amburn

Thanks for being a part of my 35 in 35 posts series! 

post 35 of 35 … 

Get Real: Daily Blogging isn’t easy

30 Jun

The biggest blogging lesson I’ve learned so far:

There’s a reason not everyone blogs every day.

It is time consuming. And good great content doesn’t always just flow right out.

I’m on post #30 of 35. Today is Saturday. I want to relax, enjoy my family, attend birthday parties and have fun at Mom’s Night Out. I don’t want to be consumed with “What will I blog about today?”

Sure, I need to work on matching the time to write with the commitment to write.

I hope you read ¿Qué Means What? because you enjoy, are inspired, can have a laugh or share about my blog topics. I hope you appreciate the transparency I’m showing today 🙂

So, Happy Weekend! I’ll be back with FIVE posts in the next five days!

post 30 of 35 …

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