Latinx Column

The Revival of La Cuatro

By Galilea Oregon

I am, and will always be proud being of Mexican heritage, and it was not until my many visits to Downtown Santa Ana, specifically Fourth Street, coined “La Cuatro,” that I realized how beautiful it is to come from a colorful and lively cultural background. I got my haircuts there, in tiny hair salons that doubled as Christian churches, I got the best tacos and esquite from the little puestos on the side of the street. La Cuatro is like a tiny slice of Mexico.

Over the past few years, el sabor de mi gente has faded away into nooks and crannies blocked by the hipster 4th Street Market filled with cold brew coffee shops, vegetarian friendly eateries, and the famed carne asada fries pictured all over your Instagram feed. Local businesses that once were meant to cater to the Latino immigrant are now losing the competition to capitalism and big corporations that are putting them out of business.

However, the vivid colors and music are slowly returning, creeping out of the small Mexican-owned businesses, and surprisingly, it is the youth that is bringing back the liveliness to the once dulled-out atmosphere of Fourth Street. From the monthly Art Walk to mini music festivals held by TopAcid, La Cuatro has become the hub for all the OC “edgy kids” who chase after loud music and local artists. I had the privilege to attend the East End Block Party held by TopAcid and the people I saw were young adults, dancing, enjoying life, and they all had this vibe about them that made me feel right at home. I think that is what makes Fourth Street such a cozy place, simply feeling at home con mi gente, and maybe it won’t be as dedicated to Mexican culture, but I know that in the hands of the Latino youth, La Cuatro will continue thriving for the years to come.

Una Cancion, Unas Rosas, o Un “Te Amo”

By Erick Martinez

Una canción, rosas, o un te amo
Qué es lo que define el amor a una persona?
Seran estas cosas? O lo que cada cosa podra significar
Podría ser la manera de cómo son dados estos regalos?
El amor es incondicional no tiene limite y esta lleno de sacrificios
Sacrificios que valen la pena, sacrificios que no importa que tan grande sean siempre serán pequeños
El amor no se juega ni se cuestiona
Se confia
Sin amor el mundo se retorcera en agonía, en soledad
Sin encontrar al ser que nos hace completos jamás viviremos, y jamás podremos saber lo lindo que se siente el amor
El amor se quiere aun cuando hay peleas,aun cuando hay dia nublados
El amor nunca se da por vencido
El amor es para siempre, el amor vive para siempre, las cosas pequeñas son lo que hacen un amor interesante y duradero.
Es por eso que en el amor se dan estas cosas
Una canción, rosas, o un te amo

By Eileen Obregon

I am a woman que quiere cuidar a su familia
I am the one that fights
Because you simply cannot understand
I will be the one to be placed up next in the family line.
Simplemente no me entendiste
Yo soy la protectora sin importar
The leader
The caretaker
Even when you are not family I will support, tal como somos
Porque somos una comunidad, in a time like this,
Nos necesitamos ayudar unos a otros
We are family
No por sangre
Sino por como nos criamos
Somos latinos
No chicanos, no mexicanos, no guatemaltecos no salvadoreños
Todos juntos somos latinos
Y nos ayudamos porque somos familia
La familia es todo lo que tenemos
Latinos have each other.
Nos paramos juntos
Nos paramos altos y fuertes
Se el protector, el líder, el cuidador.

El Mundo en Sus Hombros

By Galilea Oregon

My hermanita of 13 should not be afraid

. Mi madre linda y querida should not be calling  Out of fear of me not getting home.

My prima does not deserve the panic attacks

From the same repeating nightmare

Depicting el hombre vestido de negro 

Standing at the foot of the bed

Con un cuchillo en la mano.

It’s just not fair.

Women of caramel colored skin

Cargan el mundo en sus hombros,

So that their daughters never know

El miedo y el sufrimiento.


El Poder esta en tus Manos

By Tanya Soto

Each person carries unspoken troubles—some bigger than others—but in the end, it’s our choice to choose what we gain from nuestros pasado y nuestros esfuerzos.

Briseida Molina grew through the struggle of becoming a young mother. Working to get an education, raising a child, and figuring out how to balance both situations isn’t easy, but “life is a bit easier now that [she knows] how to prioritize.” Her aspirations for the future are “to be independent, learn to do things on her own, and become a Registered Nurse.” In order to achieve her goals she currently enrolled in ROP classes for culinary arts and nursing. Her goals have always been clear: “I remember when I first went to the doctors to see if I was pregnant or not. As I was waiting in doctor’s office, I saw this poster up on the wall stating the amount of people that tend to drop out of school. That poster made me upset. I was mad because I didn’t want to be one of those people. I want to do good, for Matthew and myself.”

And doing good for Matthew and herself is exactly what she’s accomplishing, with a little help from her parents: “I honestly couldn’t do it without my parents. My mom quit her work to help me with Matthew, and my dad works two jobs to afford everything we need at home. They’re just amazing people. At first, they were disappointed, but it didn’t take long for them to accept me. Obviously, I couldn’t go out as much. I have to be responsible, and I’m completely ok with that.” Since Matthew turned three in May and is “smart for his age,” her future plan is to enroll him to preschool next year. She’s “just proud of Matthew and herself for continuing her education.”

Durante sus esfuerzos, Briseida has learned that “everyone has the power to change and do what they desire.” She wants people to acknowledge that “we Mexicans work for a better life, not just for ourselves, but for our children.” She would like to encourage others to “keep working hard, but also not evolve around work. Take advantage of life, you never know what can happen and life is short.”


By Tanya Soto


La sociedad dice que

We are the minority

But we seek comfort en la raza

And we seek comfort en la familia


We’re the in between

Yes, the in between

In between red, white, and blue

And red, white, and green

We’re the mouth that speaks

We roll our tongues

Para que las palabra salgan

Y abuelita pueda entender

We’re the mouth that switches languages

Like an on and off switch


We are the hips that sway

Until 2 am

We are the voices that sing

And scream todas las injusticias



Si, somos our ancestors wildest dreams

We are what we have achieved

We are what we are

And we’re not going to leave


By Tanya Soto

You wake up on a Sunday morning, hungry, and decide to cook yourself breakfast. You ask your abuelita for guidance and she looks at you with disappointment—disappointment because as a Latinx woman you should know how to cook. You should know how to cook un huevo without burning it. You should know how to cook “porque un hombre no va a querer una esposa que no sepa cómo cocinar.” You should know how to cook and clean, not to look after yourself, but to look after your husband because you should also aspire to marry.

Never mind the fact that you’re book smart. Say goodbye to all your own priorities because todos tus enfoques should now consist of knowing how to turn una tortilla and how to clean your kitchen once you’re done cooking. Twirl your hair y ponte bella because a man wants to see your beauty. Make yourself oblivious to your knowledge and your dreams of having a career. Acknowledge the fact that a Mexican family is supposed to be a huge family—with children.

Due to their culture’s machismo, women often grow unhappy because their aspirations of having an education, a career, and traveling the world are impossible—solo porque “esa es la tradición y así debe de ser.” Young women are taught to look hermosas, no para que ella se sienta bien de si misma, sino para agarrar un marido.

Estoy harta. Estoy harta que todo lo que una mujer tiene que hacer es para satisfacer a alguien más. Si quieres casarte, Si quieres una familia, Si te gusta limpiar y cocinar hazlo por ti misma. All the things you want to do shall be for yourself—not for any man and not to satisfy others.


By Tanya Soto

Mamá dice que el amor vence el odio

Que todo el odio es un episodio

Que a va terminar y no dominar

Mamá says love will conquer hate

That hate is just an episode

That it will end and not dominate

But I see my people’s desperation and devastation

Hungry for liberation

My people tired of having to fit in specific formation


Mi gente mi querida gente

My people my dear people

With eyes full of tears

With hearts full of fears

Being promised change now for many years

Guess it wasn’t sincere

Mi Gente

My people

I know you feel like your dreams and hopes are nowhere near

Scared they’ll disappear

My only hope is the new generation

With our intelligence

Maybe later will turn into careers


Mamá dice que el amor vence el odio

Que todo el odio es un episodio

Que va terminar y no dominar

Mamá says love will conquer hate

That hate is just an episode

That it will end and not dominate

Con Mi Cultura y Mi Piel Morena

By Tanya Soto

Mi cultura has always been extremely important to me. I always seem to carry a thirst for something real, for something a part of my Mexican roots.  So when I was told that I was going to spend the holidays in my dad’s birthplace—Aguascalientes Mexico—I was thrilled.

After a flight that felt like an eternity, my Tita Maria Elena, with hospitality, received us into her home. Due to the long distance, I’ve never exactly felt a connection with my Tita. Our granddaughter-grandmother relationship really only consisted of short phone calls. So, I took advantage of this trip to try to establish a connection with mi familia, mi Tita, y mi tierra.

The first couple of days, everyone was shy and full of awkwardness. By the second day, tios, tias, primos, and just about everyone, would come to visit and attack me with millions of questions:

“¿Cómo es la vida en los Estados Unidos ? ¿Cómo están todos aya ? ¿Dónde te gusta más aquí o los Estados Unidos ? ¿De cuál música escuchas ? ¿Qué comes alla ?”

Throughout the course of these conversations, I could tell they expected me to be completely assimilated into the “American ways.” They were impressed that I was fluent in español. They were taken aback that I eat huevos con chorizo, frijoles, chiles rellenos, y tamales and not pizza and cheeseburgers all the time. Overall, they were happy that I liked Mexico just as much as I liked the United States; my lack of assimilation helped me connect with mi sangre and helped me gain more self-identity.

Seria. If I had to choose one word to describe mi Tita…it would be seria. She was often serious, but the few times I made her crack a smile make the memories I have of her warm. I felt an actual connection with her—for the first time—when my she, my sister, and I I sat down in our room and spoke for hours. Tita showed us pictures of my Tito (who unfortunately passed away in 2001) and spoke so suave and apasionadamente about him. She spoke about her past and she spoke about all her struggles. She even mentioned—with a little brillo in her eyes— how blessed she was for living so many years. It was at the moment where my thirst for something real was nearly satisfied.

Mis padres always taught me to be proud of who I was; I’m glad they….. I’m glad that I had la oportunidad to reconnect with my sangre. I’m glad that I haven’t and won’t assimilate. Con mi piel morena, mi cultura, and with my head held high, I will achieve great things.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mr.Z says:

    Thank you for this column. It’s wonderful. Keep representing our culture!

  2. Génesis Hernández says:

    ¡Me encanta! espero que sigas escribiendo.
    -Miss Hernández

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