Hispanicize 2017: Crecimiento, Conexión, y Unión / Growth, Connection, and Unity

 

Como ya sabrán, todos los años, mis papás y yo hacemos una expedición desde Orlando para Miami para asisitar a la conferencia Hispanicize. Es verdaderamente uno de los momentos que más anticipo cada año.

As you all probably already know, every year, my parents and I embark on an expedition from Orlando to Miami to attend Hispanicize Event. It’s truly one of the moments I most anticipate each year.

 

 

Durante los meses, luego semanas, antes de ir a Hispanicize 2017, varias cosas increíbles sucedieron.

Primero, me enteré que era finalista para los tercer Tecla Awards, que reconocen excelencia en los medios sociales y digitales, y son conocidos por celebrar a los Latinos que crean contenido. Yo estaba nominada para el primer premio, Jewel Award for Best Creator Doing Social Good, un premio nombrado en honor a mi querida amiga Jewel Figueras, quien falleció de cáncer del ovario este año.

 

 

También me di cuenta que los Tecla Awards caerían este año en el 6 de abril, en el aniversario de cuando lanzamos The Laurita Spina Bifida Project durante Hispanicize 2016.

 

In the months, then weeks, leading up to Hispanicize 2017, several incredible things happened.

First of all, I found out I was a finalist for the 3rd annual Tecla Awards, which recognize excellence in social and digital media, and are renowned for celebrating Latino content creators. I was up for the first-ever Jewel Award for Best Creator Doing Social Good, an award named in honor of my very dear friend, Jewel Figueras, who passed away from ovarian cancer earlier this year.

I also realized that the Tecla Awards would fall on April 6th this year, on the one-year anniversary of when The Laurita Spina Bifida Project launched at Hispanicize 2016.

¡Y, para añadirle más valor a la experiencia, aunque llevo ya 5 años como bloguera embajadora para Toyota, este año tuve el honor de trabajar junto al equipo de la agencia República en la campaña de Toyota para Hispanicize 2017! Jamás hubiese soñado que existiera una oportunidad así para mí.

¡Gracias también a mi familia de Toyota por prestarnos una Toyota Sienna 2017 para el viaje desde Orlando a Miami y el regreso! Fue perfecta para una familia de tres con mucho equipaje, electrónicos, y una silla de ruedas.

 

 

And, to add even more value to the experience, although I’ve been a blogger ambassador for Toyota for 5 years, this year, I had the honor of working alongside the República agency team on the Toyota activation for Hispanicize 2017!

Thanks also to my Toyota family for lending us a 2017 Toyota Sienna for the drives from Orlando to Miami and back! It was perfect for a family of three with lots of luggage, electronics, and a wheelchair.

 

 

 

Con el Toyota Camry del 2017 que decoró el lobby del JW Marriott Marquis Miami. 

With the 2017 Toyota Camry that decorated the lobby of the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. 

 

 

Las palabras me fallan hoy, así que mejor comparto un resumen visual de mis experiencias en Hispanicize.

Words fail me today, so it’s probably best for me to share a visual recap of my experiences at Hispanicize.

 

Con Sarah Domenech-Pérez, relaciones públicas para Walt Disney World Resort. ¡Eres una gran amiga! 

Sarah Domenech-Pérez, Public Relations, Walt Disney World Resort. You are an amazing friend!

 

 

¡Con Mami (Myrna) en DiMe Summit!

With Mami (Myrna) at DiMe Summit!

 

 

¡Con la bella Ana María Canseco de Despierta América, quien me saludó a mí!

With the beautiful Ana María Canseco de Despierta América, who came over to say hi to me!

 

 

¡Con la bella Isabel Dawson, que tiene la voz de un ángel, y es madre de Rosario Dawson!

With the beautiful Isabel Dawson, who has the voice of an angel, and is the mom of Rosario Dawson!

 

 

Hispanicize 2017 fue para mí una semana de mucho crecimiento personal. Mucha gente a lo mejor ya conoce que yo he luchado mucho con problemas de auto-estima y de imagen. Mucho de esto se trata por el “bullying” que sufrí como estudiante escolar, y también porque mucha gente no entiende lo que es vivir con espina bífida.

Por eso por poco me da un ataque de pánico cuando Angela Sustaita-Ruiz me invitó a participar en el primer desfile de moda de DiMe Summit, gracias a Prudential. El tema era empoderamiento económico.

 

Hispanicize 2017 was a week of great personal growth for me. Many people probably already know that I have struggled a lot with self-esteem and image issues. A lot of this is due to the teasing and bullying I suffered as a schoolkid, and also because many people do not understand what it’s like to live with spina bifida.

That’s why I almost had a panic attack when Angela Sustaita-Ruiz invited me to be a part of the first fashion show at DiMe Summit, thanks to Prudential. The theme was “Strut Your Best Financial Self.”

 

 

Con Henry Picado, el diseñador brillante del traje precioso que modelé durante el desfile.

With Henry Picado, the brilliant designer of the dress I modeled during the fashion show.

 

 

Con Ebby Antigua de Latina Magazine, estilista oficial del desfile de moda de DiMe Summit, presentado por Prudential.

With Ebby Antigua of Latina Magazine, official stylist for the DiMe Summit Fashion Show presented by Financial.

 

 

A fin de cuenta, terminó siendo una experiencia súper positiva para mí, gracias al apoyo de mi familia “Hispanicize.” No me puedo imaginar haber participado en un evento como este en cualquier otro lugar con otro grupo de personas.

In the end, it turned out to be a very positive experience for me, thanks to the support of my “Hispanicize family.” I can’t imagine having participated in an event such as this one anywhere else, with a different group of people.

 

Con Angela Sustaita-Ruiz. Co-fundadora y socio de DiMe Media, ella fue la que me motivó a desfilar durante DiMe Summit. Le agradezco tanto que me haya apoyado. 

With Angela Sustaita-Ruiz. Co-founder and partner of DiMe Media, she was the one who motivated me to model in the fashion show during DiMe Summit. I am so grateful for her support.

 

 

Detrás de cada evento exitoso de Hispanicize, hay un hombre con buen corazón y una visión creativa “del caray.” Gracias, Manny, por ofrecernos a todos una plataforma para lanzar nuestros sueños y apoyarnos uno a otro.

Behind every successful Hispanicize event, there’s a man with a good heart and an insanely talented creative vision. Thank you, Manny, for offering us all a platform to launch our dreams and to support one another.

 

 

 

Con mi nueva amiga, Sarah Serrano. Ella recitó poesías antes del programa y nos pusimos a hablar luego. 

With my new friend, Sarah Serrano. She recited poetry before the program and we got to chatting later. 

 

 

Una persona inolvidable e increíble que conocimos en Hispanicize fue la bella y talentosa Isabel Dawson. ¡La conocí durante DiMe Summit cuando ella fue a pedir un cafecito a la mesa de 787 Coffee Co., y salió cantando! Me intrigó tanto su espontaneidad, que le pregunté si la podía filmar. Ella luego vino a donde Mami y a mí, y nos cantó una canción que ella escribió sobre su relación con su madre. Nos conmovió tanto. Y después, nos tomó completamente por sorpresa cuando nos contó de su hija…¡Rosario Dawson!

Wow.

 

An unforgettable and incredible person we met during Hispanicize was the beautiful and talented Isabel Dawson. I met her during DiMe Summit when she want to ask for some cafecito at the 787 Coffee booth, and she broke into song! I was so intrigued by her spontaneity, that I asked if I could film her. She then approached Mami and me, and she sang us a song she wrote about her relationship with her mother. We were so moved. Then, she took us completely by surprise when she told us about her daughter…Rosario Dawson! 

Wow.

 

 

 

Los Positive Impact Awards, ya en su cuarto año, se han convertido en uno de los eventos más populares de Hispanicize. Los honrados este año fueron Dante
Alvarado-Leon, quien también ganó el título de “Person of the Year,” Luis Gutierrez, Felipe Pinzón, y Roxane Hara.

Pero el ganador adicional de la noche fue Dr. Alberto Carvalho, superintendente de las escuelas en el condado Miami-Dade, quien dio la charla “keynote.” Sus palabras energizaron al públicó de una manera sin precedente. Véanlo aquí: https://www.facebook.com/Hispanicize/videos/1301438383243988/

 

 

Con mi amiga Debbie Bookstaber de Element Associates, Mamanista, y Bloganthropy durante los Positive Impact Awards. 

With my friend Debbie Bookstaber of Element Associates, Mamanista, and Bloganthropy during the Positive Impact Awards.

 

The Positive Impact Awards, already in their fourth year, have become one of the most popular events at Hispanicize. The honorees this year were Dante Alvarado-Leon, who also won the distinction of “Person of the Year,” Luis Gutierrez, Felipe Pinzón, and Roxane Hara.

But the additional winner of the night was Dr. Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County public schools, who gave the keynote speech. His words electrified the public in an unprecedented manner. Watch it at the link above.

 


Con Manny Ruiz, director creativo de Hispanicize Event y un gran amigo. 

With Manny Ruiz, Creative Director of Hispanicize Event and a great friend.

 

 

¡Qué sororidad! Con Yolanda Pagan y sus hijas, Emma y Ellie, y con las hijas de Manny Ruiz, Elena, Briani, y Naomi. 

What a sorority! With Yolanda Pagan and her daughters, Emma and Ellie, and with Manny Ruiz’s daughters, Elena, Briani, and Naomi.

 

 

Uno de mis momentos favoritos en Hispanicize siempre es poder compartir con las hijas de “fellow Hispanicizers.” ¡Siempre termino con un club de jóvenes!

One of my favorite moments at Hispanicize always is hanging out with the daughters of “fellow Hispanicizers.” I always end up with a youth club!

 

Con Cemi Guzmán después de los Positive Impact Awards. 

With Cemi Guzmán at the Positive Impact Awards.

 

Alguien con quien pude reconectar este año es el talentoso Cemi Guzmán, hijo de Luis Guzmán. Nos conocimos el año pasado, y me siento orgullosa de cómo ha crecido como artista. Disfruté mucho conversar con él.

Someone I was able to reconnect with this year is the talented  Cemi Guzmán, son of Luis Guzmán. We met last year, and I feel proud of how he has grown as an artist. I really enjoyed talking with him.

 

Claro, siempre saco tiempo para celebrar el éxito de Toyota en Hispanicize. ¡Llevan tres años corridos como auspiciador oficial del evento!

Of course, I always take time to celebrate the success of Toyota at Hispanicize. They have been an official sponsor of the event for three consecutive years!

 

#VayamosJuntos porque Juntos #SomosImparables. 

 

 

 

¡Trabajar con Monika Montero y Ana Echenique de República fue muy divertido!

Working with Monika Montero and Ana Echenique of República was so much fun!

 

 

¿Qué me imaginaba yo cuando nos tomamos esta foto, Felipe Arango de The Calvert Foundation y fundador de #ParteDeLaSolution me iba a sorprender más tarde en la semana?

How could I have imagined when we took this photo that Felipe Arange of The Calvert Foundation, and founder of #ParteDeLaSolution, would surprise me later in the week?

 

 

Otra a quien le llamo una Hispanicize bestie. Chantal es bella por dentro y por fuera. Tiene un corazón de oro, igual a su mami, Susana Baker de The Art Experience en Miami. 

Another who I call a Hispanicize bestie. Chantal is beautiful inside and out. She has a heart of gold, just like her mami, Susana Baker of The Art Experience in Miami.

 

 

Este año, invité a James Lynn a que fuera parte del Ambassadors program de Toyota. No sólo creó tremendo contenido y estuvo presente en todo…pero me trajo una bolsa de café lareño. 

This year, I invited James Lynn to participate in our Toyota Ambassadors program. Not only did he create great content and was present everywhere…but he also brought me a bag of cafecito from Lares, Puerto Rico.

 

¡Con el equipo de Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing! Gracias por la tremenda conversación. Admiro tanto su pasión para apoyar a escritores (y futoros autores). 

With the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing team! Thanks for the incredible conversation. I admire so much your passion for supporting writers (and future published authors).

 

 

Esta chica. No puedo creer que sólo nos conocemos un año. Ahora no me puedo imaginar no conocerla. Te quiero mucho, Ria. 

This girl. I can’t believe we’ve only known each other for a year. Now I can’t imagine not knowing her. Love you, Ria. 

 

Entre dos mujeres que admiro y quiero tanto — mi compatriota puertorriqueña, Pili Montilla, y mi amiga bloguera de hace más tiempo, Blanca Stella Mejía. 

Between two women I admire and love so much — my fellow Puerto Rican, Pili Montilla, and my longest-running blogger friendship, Blanca Stella Mejía. 

 

 

¡Entre tanta belleza, tuve que cerrar los ojos! Con Ebby Antigua, Ana Quincoces, y Sarah Serrano. 

Surrounded by such beauty, I had to close my eyes! With Ebby Antigua, Ana Quincoces, and Sarah Serrano.

 

Trabajando en la exhibición de Toyota. (Neida Sandoval está atrás, siendo entrevistada.) 

Working at the Toyota exhibit area. (Neida Sandoval is behind me being interviewed.)

 

 

Con Rich McCarson de Nespresso, un buen amigo. ¡Gracias por darme mi dósis diaria de cafeína! Y rico que estuvo.
With Rich McCarson of Nespresso, a good friend. Thanks for giving me my daily dose of caffeine! It was delicious.

Sin lugar a duda, el booth de Nespresso fue una de mis áreas favoritas del expo. Cuando empezaba a sentir que mi nivel de energía estaba en peligro de bajar, pasaba por allí para recargar mis baterías con un cafecito exquisito, y aprovechaba a conversar con los caballeros baristas.

Without a doubt, the Nespresso booth was one of my favorite areas of the expo. When I would begin to feel my energy level in danger of plummeting, I would pass by to recharge my batteries with an exquisite cafecito, and I would also take the opportunity to chat with the gentlemen baristas.

 

 

También fui invitada a un almuerzo exclusivo con NBCUniversal para celebrar el la iniciativa nueva de Telemundo, #ElPoderEnTi. Junto a figuras reconocidas y respetadas como Jose Diaz-Balart de Telemundo y NBC News, aprendí sobre cómo Telemundo busca empoderar a la comunidad hispana a través de su nueva plataforma.

I was also invited to an exclusive lunch with NBCUniversal to celebrate Telemundo’s new initiative, #ElPoderEnTi. Alongside notable and respected figures such as Jose Diaz-Balart of Telemundo and NBC News, I learned about how Telemundo is empowering the Hispanic community via their new platform.

 

 

 

¡Logré conocer brevemente a Ismael Cala, el periodista y escritor de CNN en Español!

I managed to briefly meet Ismael Cala, journalist and writer from CNN en Español!

 

Con Borja Pérez, SVP Digital & Social Media en NBCUniversal

With Borja Pérez, SVP Digital & Social Media at NBCUniversal.

 

De izquierda a derecha: Myrah Duque, James Lynn, yo, y Becky García, al frente de el famoso Toyota Camry.

From left to right: Myrah Duque, James Lynn, me, and Becky García, in front of the famous Toyota Camry.

 

 

Mis amigos Becky, James, y yo nos montamos en una Toyota RAV4 del 2017 durante el Ride & Drive de Toyota. ¡La jornada nos llevó a Ricky’s South Beach, donde disfrutamos tacos y karaoke con amigos!

My friends Becky, James, and I rode the 2017 Toyota RAV4 during the Toyota Ride & Drive. The journey took us to Ricky’s South Beach, where we enjoyed tacos and karaoke with friends!

 

 

 

Una de las experiencias más significativas para mí fue conocer a la embajadora oficial de la campaña “Juntos Somos Imparables” de Toyota, la bella Neida Sandoval, periodista y presentadora de televisión veterana.

One of the most significant experiences for me was meeting the official celebrity ambassador for Toyota’s “Juntos Somos Imparables” (“Together We Are Unstoppable”) campaign, the beautiful Neida Sandoval, veteran journalist and T.V. host.

 

 

 

 

 

Fue poco antes de conocernos en Miami que me enteré de que Neida y yo compartimos una conexión muy especial– ella tiene una sobrina y ahijada con espina bífida.

Claro, no perdimos la oportunidad para hablar un rato durante el Ride & Drive de Toyota, y entrevistarla a ella fue uno de los momentos más divertidos para mí.

 

It was shortly before we met in Miami that I found out that Neida and I share a very special connection– she has a niece and goddaughter with spina bifida.

Of course, we didn’t miss out on the opportunity to chat a bit during the Toyota Ride & Drive, and interviewing her was one of the most fun moments for me.

 

 

¡Qué alegría fue trabajar con estas damas verdaderamente imparables! De izquierda a derecha: Anabelle Alarcon, Yaneisy Blanco, María Rosa Collazo, y Monika Montero. 

What a joy it was to work with these truly unstoppable ladies! From left to right: Anabelle Alarcon, Yaneisy Blanco, María Rosa Collazo, and Monika Montero.

 

 

María Rosa y yo. Mi amiga, ahora mentora y guía en el mundo de mercadeo. ¡Te quiero! 

María Rosa and me. My friend, and now my mentor and guide in the world of marketing. Love you!

 

Mami, María Rosa, Yaneisy, y yo. ¡Me encanta compartir con las #RepúblicaGirls! 

Mami, María Rosa, Yaneisy, and me. I love spending time with the #RepúblicaGirls! 

 

 

¡En la Toyota Rav4 2017 con mi amigo James Lynn!

In the Toyota Rav4 2017 with my friend James Lynn!

 

Vean también la entrevista breve que le hice a Neida Sandoval. Aunque fue poco lo que hablamos en cámara, ya la conexión estaba hecha.

Also, watch my brief interview (in Spanish) with Neida Sandoval. Although we didn’t talk a lot on camera, the connection was already made off-camera.

 

 

 

En años anteriores, el tiempo no me ha permitido participar de los eventos de Hispanicize de película y música. ¡Esta vez, le doy gracias a Dios de que pude asistir al rodaje de la primera producción cinematográfica de Hispanicize Pictures! La presentación de “Hold On” se llevó a cabo en South Beach, y incluyó un desfile de actores y cineastas de renombre.

JW Cortés, estrella de la serie “Gotham,” fue uno de los más amables y divertidos.

 

 

 

In past years, time has not allowed me to participate the Hispanicize film and music events. This time, I thank God I was able to attend a screening of the first cinematic production by Hispanicize Pictures! The “Hold On” screening took place in South Beach, and included a who’s who of renowned actors and filmmakers.

JW Cortés, star of the film “Gotham,” was one of the friendliest and most fun people.

 

Con JW Cortés. ¿Quién más va a posar así conmigo?

With JW Cortés. Who else is going to pose like this with me?

 



Como padre, como hijo. El actor Luis Guzmán posa con su hijo Cemi Guzmán antes del estreno de “Hold On.” Ambos colaboraron en la película. 

Like father, like son. 

 

 

Con Tarek Tohme, el director, productor, y protagonista de “Hold On,” y actor y productor Cemi Guzmán, que también participó mucho en la película. 

With Tarek Tohme, director, producer, and star of “Hold On,” and actor and producer Cemi Guzmán, who collaborated heavily on the film.

Los actores y productores Tarek Tohme, Cemi Guzmán, Micayla De Ette, y Luis Guzmán. 

Actors and producers Tarek Tohme, Cemi Guzmán, Micayla De Ette, and Luis Guzmán.

La película tocó los temas de fe, espiritualidad, y y perseverancia, pero también se se trató de el poder de la conexión humana. Mostró que la comunidad de Hispanicize tiene la habilidad y el talento para expandirse al mundo de cine, y que todo lo bueno se hace con corazón.

The film touched upon the themes of faith, spirituality, and perseverance, but also was about the power of the human connection. The film demonstrated that the Hispanicize community has the ability and talent to expand into the realm of cinema, and that all good things are done with heart.

Ed Martin de Joule Entertainment, Lauren Velez, actriz en How To Get Away With Murder, Luis Guzmán, y Ozzie Areu, presidente de Tyler Perry Studios.

Ed Martin of Joule Entertainment, Lauren Velez, actress on How To Get Away With Murder, Luis Guzmán, and Ozzie Areu, President of Tyler Perry Studios.

Ya yo respetaba a mi amigo, Anu Gunn, como persona y profesional. ¡Pero imagínate mi alegría cuando este músico, productor, y periodista me entrevistó para Hispanicize! Gracias, hermano, por este momento valioso de compartir nuestra humanidad.

I already respected my friend, Anu Gunn, as a person and as a professional. But imagine my joy when this musician, producer, and journalist interviewed me for Hispanicize! Thanks, brother, for this valuable moment of sharing our own humanity.

Con Anu Gunn, entrevistador oficial de Hispanicize, músico, actor y productor. Él me entrevistó durante la conferencia, y logramos hablar, reir, y llorar bastante. De camarógrafo estuvo el talentoso Giancarlo Candia. 

With Anu Gunn, official Hispanicize interviewer, as well as musician, actor, and producer. He interviewed me during the conference, and we managed to talk, laugh, and cry a lot. Our camarographer was the talented Giancarlo Candia.

 

 

Hispanicize también fue el lugar donde reconecté con amistades con quien no me había comunicado mucho, pero a quienes no he olvidado. Me sentí muy feliz de ver a Adrián Carrasquillo, quien ahora tiene el papel muy crucial como corresponsal de la Casa Blanca para BuzzFeed. Espero que la posición de él sirva para mantener transparencia con la administración actual y traer a la luz pública lo que está ocurriendo en Washington.

Hispanicize was also a place where I reconnected with friends who I hadn’t talked to in a while, but who I’ve never forgotten. I was very happy to see Adrián Carrasquillo, who now plays a very crucial role as White House Correspondent for BuzzFeed. I hope his position will serve to bring transparency to the current administration and to bring to the public light everything that’s happening in Washington.

 

 

¡Gracias, Adrian Carrasquillo, por presentarme a BA Snyder! Es tremenda persona. 

Thank you, Adrian Carrasquillo, for introducing me to BA Snyder! She is a wonderful person.

 

 

¡Con mi querido amigo Joe Ramirez, quien es más “español” que cualquiera que he conocido!

With my dear friend, Joe Ramirez, who is more of a “Spaniard” than anyone I’ve known!

 

 

¡Pude compartir un momento especial con la leyenda musical, Jon Secada! El cantó su interpretación con piano del éxito “She’s All I Ever Had,” que Secada co-escribió para Ricky Martin. ¡Gracias LaMúsica!

I shared a special moment with musical legend Jon Secada! He sang his piano-backed interpretation of the hit “She’s All I Ever Had,” which Secada co-wrote for Ricky Martin. Thanks, La Música!

 

 

¡Qué súper divertido fue trabajar con el equipo de Toyota y República! #SomosImparables.
It was so much fun working with the Toyota and República team! Together, we are unstoppable.  😉

 

Anu entrevistándome de nuevo en la alfombra roja…¡y Papi detrás, listo para tomar fotos!

Anu interviewing me once again on the red carpet…and Papi behind me, ready to take photos!

 

 

 

Posando de nuevo con JW Cortés en la alfombra roja. 

Posing once again with JW Cortés on the red carpet.

 

Disfruté muchísimo la experiencia como finalista de que me maquillara y peinara un profesional. ¡Gracias Neutrogena! Aunque…

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of having my hair and makeup done by a professional. Thanks, Neutrogena! Although…

 

 

Soy literalmente la peor persona a quien maquillar o peinar.

I am literally the worst person to do hair and makeup on.

 

 

En serio, la peor. Y eso es tomando champán. 

No, seriously, the worst. And while drinking champagne, to boot.

No tienes ni idea. 

Like, you don’t even know.

 

 

No es relajo. 

This is no joke.

Me veo tan…concentrada.

I look…like I’m concentrating. 


¡Franz, mi maquillista y estilista, fue el héroe de la noche!

Franz, my makeup artist and hairstylist, was the hero of the night!

 

Con dos de mis chicas favoritas – Sophia y Olivia, hijas gemelas de Cristy Clavijo-Kish. Las conozco desde que tenían como 11 o 12 años y se han convertido en mis “Hispanicize besties.”

With two of my favorite girls – Sophia and Olivia, twin daughters of Cristy Clavijo-Kish. I’ve known them since they were about 11 or 12 years old, and they’ve become my “Hispanicize besties.”

 

 


Entre galanes. En los Tecla Awards con los Mexican Gueys y Los Pichy Boys, ambos estrellas de YouTube y caballeros. 

Among wonderful guys At the Tecla Awards with los Mexican Gueys y Los Pichy Boys, both YouTube Stars and true gentlemen. 

 

Aunque estaba nerviosa la noche de los Tecla Awards porque no tenía idea de cual sería el resultado de mi categoría, también estaba respaldando a la agencia República, con quien trabajé esa semana, que era finalista para “Best Agency Doing Multicultural Social Media,” o “mejor agencia dirigiendo medios sociales multiculturales.”

¡Qué alegría me dio cuando ganaron! Aplaudo al equipo de República por seguir el lema de “repensar lo relevante.” 

 

Even though I was nervous on the night of the Tecla Awards because I had no idea what the outcome would be for my category, I was also rooting for República agency, who I worked with that week, as they were finalists for “Best Agency Doing Multicultural Social Media.”

How happy I was when they won! I applaud the entire República team for following the adage “rethink relevant.”

 

 

Con Jorge Plasencia, CEO de República y videógrafo talentoso a juzgar por la noche de los Tecla Awards. ¡Qué bueno que nos tomamos esta foto, antes de ganar los dos! 

With Jorge Plasencia, CEO of República and talented videographer judging by the night of the Tecla Awards. I’m glad we got this photo before we both won!

Uno de los recuerdos más especiales es que mi gran amigo, Jorge Plasencia, filmó con su teléfono celular el momento en que yo recibí el Tecla Award — el “Jewel Award” ––  para “Best Creator Doing Social Good” (mejor creador haciendo el bien social) Gracias por captar este momento tan increíble.

One of the most special souvenirs I have is that my great friend, Jorge Plasencia, filmed with his phone the moment I received the Tecla Award — the “Jewel Award — for “Best Creator Doing Social Good.” Thank you for capturing this moment, which was so incredible.

 

 

Mis lágrimas fueron verdaderas. Cuando hablé con mi querida Jewel el año pasado durante Hispanicize, no tenía idea de que sería la última vez que la vería. Y menos me imaginaba el regalo que me iba a dejar…el honor de ser la primera recipiente de este premio. Fue un momento agridulce, yo sintiéndome tan triste por su partida, y a la vez tan agradecida por el cariño que ella me tenía.

My tears were real. When I spoke with Jewel last year during Hispanicize, I had no idea it would be the last time I would see her. And I couldn’t have anticipated the gift she would leave me…the honor of being the first recipient of this award. It was a bittersweet moment, feeling so sad for her passing, and at the same time so grateful for the love she had for me.

 

 

Con las personas más importantes para mí, Mami y Papi. 

With the two people who are most important to me, Mami and Papi.

 

Gracias a la ayuda de Papi, Mami, y de mucha gente muy especial– incluso Manny Ruiz, Cristy Clavijo-Kish, Vanessa James, y Felipe Arango del Calvert Foundation y #ParteDeLaSolution, mi trabajo con The Laurita Spina Bifida Project fue reconocido en una de las plataformas más importantes para la comunidad hispana.

Thanks to the support of Papi, Mami, and many special people– among them Manny Ruiz, Cristy Clavijo-Kish, Vanessa James, and Felipe Arango of the Calvert Foundation and #ParteDeLaSolution, my work with The Laurita Spina Bifida Project was recognized on one of the most important platforms for the Hispanic community.

 

Con mi queridísima Pili Montilla, quien fue co-anfitriona de los Tecla Awards.

With my very dear Pili Montilla, who co-hosted the Tecla Awards.

Al hablar de mis “Hispanicize besties,” no me puede faltar mencionar a mi hermana Maylen Calienes, cineasta, actriz, y activista para la comunidad Latina. ¡Te quiero!

In speaking of my “Hispanicize besties, I can’t neglect to mention my hermana Maylen Calienes, filmmaker, actress, and activist for the Latino community. I love you!

¡Qué bendición fue celebrar este momento del Tecla Award tan especial con una de mis mejores amigas, Amanda Dufau! ¡Gracias por tu apoyo, hermana! 

What a Blessing it was to share this special Tecla Award moment with one of my best friends, Amanda Dufau! Thanks for your support, hermana!

Rodeada de “powerhouses,” Latinos poderosos. ¡Con Yvonne Guidry de Spoiled Latina, Amanda Dufau de Brandon’s Puppy, y los creadores de contenido de Pero Like de BuzzFeed, y MiTú! 

Surrounded by Latino powerhouses. With Yvonne Guidry of Spoiled Latina, Amanda Dufau of Brandon’s Puppy, and the content creators of Pero Like of BuzzFeed, and MiTu!

Es importante para mí reiterar lo que expresé en mi discurso arriba. “Nadie es profeta en su tierra.” Claro, a veces hay que luchar muchísimo para que te tomen en serio en tu propio pueblo o ámbito profesional. Pero gracias a la comunidad de que ahora formo parte en Hispanicize, mi “pueblo” me respalda y eleva. Espero seguir ese ejemplo para elevar a otros. Siempre hay poder en la unión.

It’s important for me to reiterate what I expressed in my speech above. “No one is a prophet in his own land.” Of course, often you have to struggle to be taken seriously in your own town or among your colleagues. But thanks to the community that I now form a part of at Hispanicize, my “village” backs me up and elevates me. I hope to follow this example so I can elevate others. After all, there’s always power in unity.

–Laurita ♥

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#WeAllGrow 2017: Un Recap Visual / A Visual Recap

Cuando a uno le faltan las palabras para expresar las emociones, uno revierte a las fotos. Aquí tengan una muestra de las experiencias bellas que viví durante #WeAllGrow Summit 2017.

Un agradecimiento especial a Ana Flores y su equipo, y especialmente a Consumer Reports por invitarme a hablar en el panel “Partnering with Mission Driven Organizations: Using your Social Influence for Social Good, presented by Consumer Reports.”

Es cierto lo que dicen. “Cuando crece una, crecemos todas,” y yo experimenté mucho crecimiento personal ese fin de semana.

 

When you’re at a loss for words to express your emotions, you turn to photos. Here is just a sample of the beautiful experiences I enjoyed during #WeAllGrow Summit 2017.

A special thank you to Ana Flores and her team, and especially to Consumer Reports for inviting me to speak on the panel: “Partnering with Mission Driven Organizations: Using your Social Influence for Social Good, presented by Consumer Reports.”

It’s true what they say: “When one grows, we all grow,” and I experienced tremendous personal growth that weekend.

 

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Carlos Ponce trae sabor a South Beach con el National Pork Board / Carlos Ponce brings flavor to South Beach with the National Pork Board

 

Esta entrada no es auspiciada por el GOYA, National Pork Board o SOBEWFF. Yo no recibí compensación por publicarla, y todas las ideas y opiniones son mías. 

This post was not sponsored by the GOYA, National Pork Board or SOBEWFF. I did not receive compensation for publishing it, and all ideas and opinions are my own. 

 

El que me conoce a mí, sabe que amo a Miami. Todo— la música, la comida, y las mezclas de culturas– me atraen los sentidos.

Aunque no esté por allá ahora, disfruté mucho seguir la acción en las redes sociales del South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) de amistades y colegas que estuvieron allí.

Sobre todo, me emocionó ver al cantante famoso Carlos Ponce, quien es embajador del National Pork Board.
All who know me, know I love Miami. Everything— the music, the food, and the mixture of cultures– attract my senses.

Even if I’m not there right now, I really enjoyed following the action across social media networks during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) from friends and colleagues who were there.

Above all, I was thrilled to see Carlos Ponce is the new ambassador for National Pork Board.

 

Carlos Ponce posando con los ganadores del concurso de SOBEWFF.

Carlos Ponce poses with the winners of the SOBEWFF sweepstakes.

Aquí tengan un algunos detalles sobre el evento, en inglés.

Here are a few details about the event:

The National Pork Board (NPB) returned to the 2017 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF), as the Official Pork Sponsor and Preferred Protein of the Festival.

The National Pork Board also invited internationally recognized Puerto Rican actor, singer-songwriter and host, Carlos Ponce, to heat up kitchens across America and bring “The Taste of Now” to life. The campaign launched with a national sweepstakes that gave fans a chance to win a round trip to Miami to meet Ponce and be his guest at the Goya Foods’ Swine & Wine presented by The National Pork Board, home of the National Pork Board’s 3rd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The exclusive, all-pork event took place this Sunday, February 26 at The Biltmore Hotel, featuring 13 renown chefs from restaurants all over the country who competed to create the best pork dish throughout the night. The competition was judged by on-screen celebrity Carlos Ponce and chefs Richard Ingraham, Jose Mendin, Ingrid Hoffman, James Tahhan, Ana Quincoces and Fernando Desa.

Winners of the National Pork Board’s 3rd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards were Brian Nasajon, executive chef from Wynwood’s Beaker & Gray Restaurant, who took home the 1st place. In 2nd place was Douglas Rodriguez, executive chef of Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia and 3rd place went to Chef David Hackett of The Biltmore Hotel. All three winning chefs received Pork branded roasting boxes from La Caja China™.

From left to right: Carlos Ponce, Frank Unanue, president of Goya Foods’ Florida, Richard Ingraham, Ana Quincoces, David Hackett of The Biltmore Hotel, Brian Nasajon, executive chef from Wynwood’s Beaker & Gray Restaurant, Brett Friedman, managing partner of Agency 21 and Jose de Jesus, director of multicultural marketing at the National Pork Board. 

For more information on the National Pork Board, including new recipes, information on choice and lean cuts, health, and safety information, cooking tips and promotions, visit  Pork Te Inspira. To join the social conversation, like the Facebook page at Facebook.com/PorkTeInspira, and follow on Twitter.com/PorkTeInspira and Instagram @PorkTeInspira, using #SabrososMomentos. PorkTeInspira.com is a resource of pork information and inspiration, including mouthwatering recipes, nutritional content information on pork, choice cuts, health and safety information and cooking tips.

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River of Lights ilumina a Animal Kingdom / River of Lights illuminates Animal Kingdom

 

Los que llevamos años visitando al Animal Kingdom en Walt Disney World Resort tal vez pensamos que lo conocemos bien. Uno se cree que ya ha visto todas las atracciones, las exhibiciones y se lo conoce como la palma de la mano.

Pero hay otro aspecto muy diferente de Animal Kingdom que aun es reciente…la vida nocturna. ¡Es cierto…el reino de los animales toma vida de noche, y el parque se transforma con una mágia muy nueva!

El viernes, 17 de febrero pude ir al Animal Kingdom y descubrir algunos de las nuevas instalaciones, incluso disfrutar el gran estreno del nuevo espectáculo de luces, agua, y música, Rivers of Light.

 

 

Those of us who have visited Animal Kingdom many times over the years perhaps think we know it well. You think you’ve seen all of the attractions, the shows, and that you know it like the palm of your hand.

But there’s an entirely different aspect of Animal Kingdom that is still very recent…the nightlife. It’s true…the kingdom comes alive at night, and the park transforms with a very new brand of magic!

On Friday, February 17th, I was able to go to Animal Kingdom and discover some of the new features, in addition to enjoying the premiere of the new spectacle of lights, water, and music, Rivers of Light.

 

¡Es una galleta…no jabón! 

It’s a cookie…not soap! 

 

 

 

En el camino, me encontré a amigos. Algunos fueron humanos…

Along the way, I ran into some friends. Some were human…

 

Con Xavier de Disney Public Relations. 

With Xavier of Disney Public Relations. 

Y otros eran de otras especies.

And others were of other species.

 

 

A mi familia y a mí nos encanta ver a los gorillas. 

My family and I love seeing the gorillas. 

 

El nuevo amfiteatro se llenó desde temprano con 5,000 personas esperando con ánsias la nueva presentación.

The new amphitheater filled early with 5,000 people anxiously awaiting the new show.

 

 

 

 

 

Y cuando comenzó, el espectáculo de 15 minutos no decepcionó. La combinación de artistas, linternas flotantes, y efectos especiales fue impresionante.

El equipo de Imagineers de Disney incorporó 50,000 bombillas programables de LED y música compuesta por el creador de la banda sonora de la película de Disney, “Moana.”

 

And when it began, the 15-minute spectacle didn’t disappoint. The combination of performers, floating lanterns, and special effects was impressive.

Disney Imagineers incorporated 50,000 programmable LED lights and music composed by the man who wrote the musical score for Disney’s “Moana.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vean el video que tomé para Facebook abajo durante “Rivers of Light.”

See below for the Facebook video I took during “Rivers of Light.”

 

 

 

Fue una tarde excepcional, por la noche aprovechamos a experimentar el Kilamanjaro Safari. ¡Me parece mucho más emocionante cuando la aventura es de noche!

It was an exceptional evening, and we took the opportunity to experience the Kilamanjaro Safari. It seems a lot more exciting when it’s a nighttime adventure!

 

Para más fotos y video, visiten mi página. ¡Gracias, Walt Disney World Resort, por invitarme a disfrutar la naturaleza salvaje!

For more photos and video, visit my page. Thanks, Walt Disney World Resort, for inviting me to enjoy the wild nature!

Posted in Cultura, Entretenimiento/Entertainment, Familia/Family, Música/Music, Naturaleza/Nature, Viajes/Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photographer JeanPaul SanPedro captures actors through the lens of their Cuban roots

It’s one of those earth-shifting, life-altering moments that remains forever embedded in our collective memory.

We will all probably remember what we were doing, where we were the night of November 25, 2016, as news broke about the death of infamous Cuba dictator Fidel Castro. That night, generations of Cuban-Americans who had witnessed or heard their loved ones relating stories of fear and oppression finally began to heal.

Shortly before that, however, an actor, director, and photographer based in Los Angeles, JeanPaul SanPedro, set out to create his own revolution– a revolution of using his camera lens to capture the strength, the resilience, and the beauty of his Cuban-American contemporaries. All are actors, directors– artists– like him. Although their personal thoughts and opinions, as well as their experiences, are as different as night and day, all seem to agree that the time has come for the archaic perceptions of Cubans and Cuban-Americans in the media to change.

I got to speak with several of these artists who are breaking ground in their industry, simply by breaking their silence– and striking a fearless pose.

 

JeanPaul SanPedro, JeanPaul SanPedro Photography


If you see the pictures, there’s a few actors there that you might not recognize, but they’ve done 42 independent films, but they’re not known, and they don’t get noticed by Hollywood, yet they’re very talented people. It doesn’t have to be all Andy Garcias. It’d be cool if he came, but it’s more about the struggle that we go through, which is a similar struggle [to the one] that they’re going through in Cuba.

To me, Raúl has been in power since about 2006, officially since 2008. They’re very much officially under that Castro law. I hope for the best; I hope to go back there one day, and it would be a freer country, and, you know, I would love to shoot a movie there one day, but we’ll see where that goes.

There’s a lot of people in Miami; I remember older people, my friends’ grandfathers, have like this very distinct wine bottle, like a four-foot-tall wine bottle, and it was saved. I was always like, ‘why don’t you guys drink that?’ They were like, ‘this is for the day Fidel dies.’ And a lot of people unfortunately passed before [they opened] that bottle, but a lot of people got to see that. I empathize with them, what a victory for them. To say that I understand exactly– I wasn’t there. I was born here, I was born in Miami. That’s what I know.

I wanted to show that with the pictures. I know Roberto Sanchez came from Cuba, I think in the eighties, and some people have been through it rough, and I think we did a good job with the pictures depicting ourselves as strong, powerful people.

I really wanted to stay away from anything cheesy, or as anything depicting us as what commercial media sees us as. Some people were like ‘oh, let’s put like a party with rum,’ and I was like, ‘no, I don’t want to get into the commonalities that people think of us. I just want us to be there, strong, and dress nice, dress sharp, and with a purpose, and I think we achieved that. The pictures have been really impactful. People have been writing me and writing these actors, and a lot of them I like to read, not so much about the pictures, but, ‘Wow, you look so classy, you look so strong, so elegant.'”

I’ve gotten E-mails and messages from people in Miami, people my age, who aren’t that vocal about the whole Cuba thing. Even people from Puerto Rico who live in New York who wrote me and said, ‘I love this series, it’s so powerful.’ I really think it’s because there’s a hunger on the whole in the Latino community to maybe start uniting. In this case, it’s art with people coming together, voicing their opinions, no matter at what cost.

There’s so many more roles now, why do women need push-up bras and huge accents to do a role? Either that, or it’s the very street Latina from New York, or the maid.

Latinos that make it here, they make it and then they feel so happy that they made it, that they feel afraid to speak their minds because they’re going to lose any position or status that they’ve arrived to, and I get that, because everyone has families and they have to make money, but we’re also suffering. It’s really our own fault, because we don’t unify. I don’t like to be seen as crying about it…it’s more about taking action.

 

Guillermo Jorge, Guillermo Jorge at IMDb

I was born in Mercy Hospital, in Coconut Grove, ‘Miami,’ Florida.  My father was from Havana, Cuba, and my mom from the eastern part, Holguin. In my 13 years in L.A., I never really cherished where I come from. I feel like I received more help from non-Cubans than I ever did from my fellow countrymen.

Coming to L.A., I’ve always wanted to feel more American.  I dove into this world of entertainment. I received the [stereotypical] responses when they heard I was Cuban. ‘Oh, I love Scarface; oh, you guys must be hot-tempered and passionate.’ I avoided my roots until the last 4 years. Maybe because I don’t ever really play Cuban, at USC, I was told I wasn’t white enough. I’ve played everything except Cuban. I have had resentment towards the Cuban community, the conservativeness about it, especially these past 4 months. I saw this as a way of tuning into my heritage and bonding with what I know.

My parents lost a lot in Cuba, especially my mother’s side of the family. My father came over to the U.S. through the Peter Pan flights- Like my dad said, with a little briefcase and a pair of shoes. He lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana in a basketball gym before heading down to Miami.

We’re a proud people who have endured loss and strife. We’ve shot up the American dream in government and entertainment, etc.

Somos pocos, pero somos fuertes.

 

Doris Morgado, Doris Morgado at IMDb

I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where my family received political asylum after my grandfather was released from a Cuban prison for being against the communist government.

I love JeanPaul’s work and the vision of getting Cuban actors, who are super talented, in a sexy and sophisticated photo shoot. The offer was too great to pass [up]. It’s important to portray our look with that of our talent. As Hispanic actors, we are so diverse, so this shoot helps put us in a new light— a stronger, more brilliant light where we all shine.

My grandfather was a political prisoner in Cuba and we were lucky enough to be able to leave Cuba to ensure a better future for my brother and me. It wasn’t easy for them to leave everything behind, but thanks to that leap of faith and that courage, I’ve been blessed to have been raised in the U.S.

Projects like these are very important because Latinos can sometimes be placed in a small box of what society thinks of us, but we’re so much more then that.

Cubans are strong, beautiful, passionate, loving, and intelligent individuals. We have so much to offer to the community and especially to the world through the arts. We’re great storytellers because of the mixture of cultures and different ethnicities within our island. We are able to portray many different stories simply because our looks are so mixed and our story and our culture is so rich.

I think right now, we’re at a great place in history to allow the world to see us as we see ourselves. We are much more than the box that we are placed in because of our origin of birth. I’m excited that more and more projects are being made that are accepting and embracing our culture.

 

Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gomez on Twitter

So, I was born in New York city, but raised in Miami. With all the attention that Cuba is getting at the moment, we really don’t have a big acting community that is Cuban.

I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I’m very proud of my heritage and thought it was a nice gesture to put it out there, where I was from. Both my parents are Cuban and even though I wasn’t born there, I grew up with a strong sense of culture that is still a big part of who I am. 

It’s interesting all the dialogue about immigration. In the sixties, when all the Cubans came to the U.S.  because of the political change, this country welcomed them. Very different what’s happening now with immigration and where it’s going. I just think what’s good about this project is that it lets people know that there are Latinos working in Hollywood from many cultures— Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Columbians, etc. I think Cuba is a mystery to a lot of people; many people just think of rum and cigars and overlook the fact that there are eleven million Cubans in Cuba today who are curious about the world. I think slowly, with Internet on the island, people will be able to see outside of Cuba and learn about other countries outside of the island. I had the opportunity to do an episode of “House of Lies,” the first American television show to shoot in Cuba since 1958.  It was one of the most amazing jobs I had ever had.  We worked with Cuban crews and it was beautiful seeing both American and Cuban crews working together. I really think the arts can bring any culture together. I hope for the Cuban people and artists in the country, that we can continue a dialogue to further exchange music, art, theater and dance between both the U.S. and Cuba.

 

Bertila Damas, Bertila Damas at IMDb

[I was born] on la calle Regla (street) in Luyano, Havana, Cuba, in the Clínica Hijas de Galicias .

Anytime that there’s an opportunity to gather with my Cuban friends, it’s always something I am interested in. It’s always fun and it is a chance to feel that feeling of being Cuban, to hear the sound of Cuban, which brings back the joys and the tribulations. In this case, it was truly a lovely honor to share with such a talented group and to connect with each other in the aftermath of Castro’s death. 

[To me, it’s] as personal as it gets; it is the music that runs through the blood in my veins. My history, my ancestors, my heart.  I don’t know a Cuban that does not have an interesting story to share. 

Like every Cuban exile, I feel the pain of loss and separation as well as the continued hope for a Cuba Libre.

I consider myself fortunate and grateful that I have had a home in the U.S., a country that has offered me sustenance as well as the freedom to live my life as I have seen fit without hindrance.

The photo bears witness. It is an opportunity to document who, what, when, and where; that we were here and that we made a difference. I hope that there will be more work like this that will document those of us who are Cubans in entertainment as well as other industries. Perhaps the photos will serve as a hopeful inspiration for those that may follow us and their future.

I dream in Cuban, I dance in Cuban and I live in Cuban…

Ser Caribeña es ser el mar, las palmeras, y la azucar…es tener en mi sangre la historia de la esclavitud, la sangre del Siboney y las raíces de los conquistadores..mi piel, mi sangre, negra, roja, y blanca… para siempre en mi corazon, Cuba.

 

Roberto Sanchez, Roberto Sanchez at IMDb

I was born in Havana, Cuba on January 4th, 1965. I came to the U.S. when I was three years old.

Initially, it was an opportunity to shoot with JeanPaul (who is Cuban) again. We had done a photo shoot a few months back, also with a “Cuban theme.” This time, we thought it might be cool to get together with some other Cuban Thespians and do a nice group shot— something that would show who we are and what we represent without being stereotypical. I reached out to about 12 friends of mine, most of whom I had worked with before or had met at industry events. Everyone was immediately on board. With the current event happening in Cuba this past week, our photo shoot became something more than what it was initially intended to be. For me, it was a celebration of a partial end to an era that brought a lot of pain and heartache to my family. My story is not very different than [that of] others who decided to leave in hopes of a brighter future.

My father was a member of the Cuban National Judo team back then. We were able to leave for Spain a couple of weeks before the team arrived in Spain for a competition. Our intention was to never return to Cuba. Authorities in Cuba found out and kept my father behind. It would be 16 years before I saw my father again.

I think projects like these are important because we are able to show a bit of who we really are not what others think we are. We are strong, hard-working, educated, positive, loving, musical, dramatic, and we come in all shades and colors.

I think it’s important to never lose touch [with] who you really are. We have been blessed with wonderful opportunities in this great country, the best country in the world. But I will never forget where I came from or where a part of me still lives. One day, I will return home, but not yet. One down (Fidel) and one to go (Raul)!  ¡Dale!

 

Maylen Calienes, founder of Latino Filmmakers Network

What I wrote [online] in regards to that picture just came out of me because of the feeling that I felt from the picture. Like, ‘wow, I feel like I look strong. I feel like I look powerful. I feel like I could rule the world in that picture. It just came out of me naturally because of the feeling the picture gave me as a human being and as an artist.

For Latinos it’s very hard, especially– because I know we have Univision, we have the Latino market which is a completely different thing, but Latino-Americans, our generation, our people, are bilingual. When is it that we’ve seen a picture of Latinos dressed up in a Vanity Fair-type of thing? You usually see other colleagues of ours in the entertainment industry.

Latinos haven’t really broken that barrier. Latinos are just seen in that light of ‘el barrio.’ That’s what I feel, and even at Sundance, the first two years, I used ‘A Royal Social Affair’ and the crown to take Latinos out of el barrio and bring them to monarchy because we have to start being seen in a different light in order to start making progress in this industry. We have to seem like everybody else, too.

 

To view all of JeanPaul SanPedro’s photography work, please visit www.jeanpaulsanpedro.com.

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