Daniela Cervantes: HHF Ignite Program Fellow & SVL Intern

 

 

Daniela Cervantes is a 17-year-old incoming freshman at the University of California, Berkeley. She was born in Salinas, California and grew up in Greenfield, California where she attended Greenfield High School and graduated at the top of her class. Growing up in an underserved, low-income community, Daniela was fueled by her parents’ experiences as blue collar workers and Oaxacan heritage in order to strive for academic success.

Daniela distinguished herself as a leader in her school and agricultural hometown by serving as President of her student body during her 8th grade, freshman, and sophomore years, and then serving as Associated Student Body President as a senior. Through these roles Daniela ensured that organizing, planning, and executing activities such as Homecoming Week, rallies, and Prom met her class and school’s needs. Additionally, she co-founded her school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance to advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in a generally intolerant community. Daniela is especially proud to have impacted her community as founder and President of her class’ French Club which fundraised, planned, and executed a trip to France for herself and eight other low-income classmates who had been rigorously studying the language for four years.

Through her extensive leadership positions and dedication to volunteering with her local outreach organizations, Daniela’s senior year of high school was filled with college acceptances to New York University, UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and early admission to UC Berkeley, along with Berkeley’s most prestigious merit-based Regents and Chancellor’s scholarship.

Furthermore, Daniela was awarded the Coca Cola Scholarship of $20,000, which went to only 150 students in the United States out of 86,000 applicants, as well as the Youth Award in Community Service from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

Daniela is truly passionate about activism and advocacy for the representation and success of under-served and underrepresented groups such as communities of color, women’s and LGBT rights. She’s currently at a stage in her life where she can see herself as a politician, cinematographer, marketing executive, film producer, or a non-profit CEO. Daniela is looking forward to taking advantage of all the opportunities at UC Berkeley and beyond to fulfill her goals and create a meaningful impact in the world.

We are delighted that Daniela’s passion, vision and goals align so well with those of Silicon Valley Latino. We also believe her future is full of promise and are optimistic that she will not only accomplish her goals but exceed expectations. Silicon Valley Latino is happy to have her as an intern through the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Ignite Program and we’ll do everything to support her success. Adelante!

 

 

Pioneer Giju John & his Latin-Indian fusion music

 

Fusion music has evolved over the past few decades, bringing the characteristic elements of different regional music styles together in a harmonic way. This has also led to the formation of new music styles all together – Latin-Jazz, Mambo, Cha-cha-cha etc. There are numerous fusion styles in the global music scene now, but you may not have heard much about Latin-Indian fusion. And chances are also less that you are familiar with singer-songwriter named Giju John (unless you were in the competitive Salsa scene in Americas during the late 2000s).

SVL Amigo, Giju John, is one of the pioneers in the Latin-Indian fusion who debuted in the world music stage in 2007 with the first ever Indian-Salsa track. And since then he has continued to push this genre, through his work as an independent artist. There are other musicians who have produced notable music in the Latin-Indian style – primarily focusing on the Spanish guitar and Tabla tones – but what makes Giju’s work different from the rest is that he has taken the popular Latin dance-music genres – Salsa, Cha-cha-cha, Bachata – and created a unique style that blends in specific Indian elements while maintaining the essence of the original.
His debut album, released in 2007, ‘Rang Rangeeli Yeh Duniya’ (This Vibrant world) featured the first Indian-Salsa track which highlighted this creative balance, along with a music video that showcased an impressive and befitting Salsa choreography. Since then he has produced several tracks in his distinctive take on the Latin-Indian fusion genre and now for his latest work, he has chosen one of the most popular Latin music styles currently out there – Bachata. By bringing in Santur – an Indian string instrument – in place of the traditional lead guitar, along with a singing style influenced by his Indian classical training, Giju is introducing a uniquely soulful style called ‘Bachata Indu’.

For this album, Giju has teamed up with Grammy winning producer and director of the renowned Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Christian Tumalan. Together they have created a beautiful balance that at once brings out the romantic and sensual feel of Bachata while also highlights Santur fitting perfectly into its simple yet wholesome orchestration. Bachata Indu is also Giju’s first all-Spanish work, with plenty of guidance and help from Christian on the lyrics and diction. The album features three original tracks that have a dreamy-romantic and upbeat feel. The listeners would be pleasantly surprised to hear some non-traditional tones layered in the orchestration.

Originally from a small state in India called Kerala and growing up there till he was 23, Giju had gotten training in Indian Classical music and dance at a very young age. He used to perform in music bands during his school-college days, something which he pursued after he migrated to US 19 years ago for Graduate studies. It was in 2000, after he moved to Silicon Valley in California, that he got introduced to Latin music – in the form of Salsa. He happened to walk into local Salsa club randomly on a Friday night and it was pretty much love-at-first-sight for him. He started taking Salsa lessons the very next week and soon enough joined Salsamania Dance company, a newly formed dance company in 2000 which went on to become one of the top-rated Salsa teams in the world. Giju pursued Salsa professionally for over a decade as a dancer, instructor and choreographer with Salsamania and his own company, Beyond Dreamz Entertainment. It was during this time the idea of ‘Latin-Indian’ fusion dawned on him. Based on his exposure and expertise in the Indian and the Latin music/dance styles, he wanted to introduce specific Indian elements into the Latin dance-music styles without diluting its true essence. Purists may have a different opinion on it, but his work has resonated with thousands of music enthusiasts around the world.

About his latest work Bachata Indu, Giju says “As an enthusiast of Indian and Latin music styles, my intention with this fusion genre was to celebrate the differences in these two rich and vibrant cultures and create a sound that’s unique and soulful. I believe, this is the true essence of fusion music that transcends language barriers”. SVL got a pre-release copy of Bachata Indu, and after listening to the tracks, we are absolutely confident that these tracks can definitely bring the Latin-Indian genre, as well this gifted artist, into the mainstream.

 

‘Bachata Indu’ is releasing on June 8th. You can order it HERE.

You can check out some of Giju’s Latin-Indian fusion tracks here:

First Indian Salsa

First Indian Cha-cha-cha

First Indian Bachata

 

Giju’s official website is www.gijujohn.com and his FB music page is https://www.facebook.com/GIJU-133229957073/ .

Some of the artists that Giju is inspired by includes Tito Puente, A R Rahman, Aventura, Alfredo de la Fé and Prince Royce.

 

The Women and Men In The Arena

 

Regrettably for generations the narrative around the Latino community has strategically been a negative one, and most recently it has taken an even darker tone. However, the Internet and the various platforms that have emerged in the last decade have now allowed a more even playing field. We now have the opportunity to be part of the narrative, in fact, we can now write our own narrative.  We now write a narrative that is based on facts, on our own experiences, our very real experience. Furthermore, documenting these experiences allows us to capture the way we contribute and add value to society and in doing so we educate ourselves and the mainstream about who we are, what we do and how we do it.

 

In our latest video project, The Women and Men In The Arena, we’ve taken Roosevelt’s epic passage from his 1910 speech, Citizenship In A Republic, and have remixed it to pay tribute to some of the men and women who have devoted themselves to strive valiantly towards worthy causes. To those women and men in the arena, who despite your early challenges were able to succeed, we applaud you for your perseverance, tenacity, vision, and aspiration to achieve more than was ever expected. We thank you for having the audacity to envision a different reality, a better reality. We applaud you for daring greatly.

Because of the vision, commitment, leadership and faith in our community by these men and women, our society benefits from organizations like the National Council of La Raza, the Latino Community Foundation, Hispanics in Philanthropy, the Castellano Family Foundation, the Mexican Heritage Corporation, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Sacred Heart Nativity Schools, the Small Business Administration, the Avalos Foundation, Conexion, Latino Start-up Alliance, Hispanic in IT Executive Council and LISTAS to name a few.

It is with great pleasure that we release this video as we approach May 1st’s “Day Without An Immigrant” and it is our hope that as you choose to participate in these marches that you are fueled with more pride about who you are, what you stand for, and what you represent.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”


We look forward to producing more videos that will feature more of the countless leaders from our community who strive valiantly, stay tuned.

 

 

HITEC Making Great Strides – Pushing Up and Pulling Up

 

HITEC is the Hispanic IT Executive Council and one of the most relevant and impactful organizations in the country as they Push Up and Pull Up their members and the communities they engage in. It was founded to increase Hispanic representation in the diversity-challenged IT industry.  HITEC is also a premier global executive leadership organization of senior business and IT executives who have built outstanding careers in information technology.  Its premiere network spans the Americas and is focused on building stronger technology and executive leaders, leadership teams, corporations, and role models in a rapidly changing, flatter, and information technology centric world. These global leaders include executives leading Global 1000 corporations while others lead some of the largest Hispanic-owned IT firms across the Americas.  HITEC enables business and professional growth for its members and fills the executive pipeline with the next generation of Hispanic IT leaders.

This has all been made primarily possible through the vision and leadership of Andre Arbalaez (President) and Alberto Yepez (Chairman) as well as through the dedication and support from numerous distinguished Board of Directors many of which work for Silicon Valley High Tech companies. In addition to having excellent leadership awards and recognition events in markets like New York, DC, Miami and Silicon Valley (soon also in Dallas and Guadalajara, Mexico) they also offer their members a comprehensive emerging executive program. Most recently they’ve launched the HITEC Foundation that will provide scholarships to Latino students who are interested in pursing a STEM degree.

Silicon Valley Latino salutes the great work this organization has accomplished and continues to lead. We are also proud to note that many of our Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassadors (Guillermo Diaz Jr, Ileana Rivera, Ramon Baez, Juan Carlos Gutierrez) have taken an active part in propelling HITEC to new heights while others (Pepe Gomez, Anne-Marie Olholm-Azzi, Jorge Titinger to name a few)  have been behind the scenes.

Once again, we congratulate and salute HITEC and look forward to collaborating with this great organization again in the future.

Adelante!

In The Making – The Ivan Reyes Story

Every once in a while we are fortunate enough to see an extraordinary talent unfold before our eyes. Well, fortunately for some of us in the Bay Area we have been able to witness the commitment, drive and passion of Ivan Reyes transform into the evolution of a true musician, an inspirational role model, a talented music producer and a visionary entrepreneur. Throughout his journey, Ivan has been committed to helping under-served youth through his work at places like the Boys and Girls Club and the Movimiento De Arte y Cultura Latino Americana MACLA.

Ivan is an accomplished musician and a truly talented music engineer and producer.  In addition, he possesses both solid non-profit experience and that of the commercial recording industry. Through his leadership and passion, many creative arts organization and entertainment companies/artists have benefited.

Ivan’s latest designs are two unique companies known as TempLo and Escena. TempLo is a team composed of talented music producers out of the San Francisco Bay Area innovating music production with their versatile skill sets. Beyond the music, TempLo helps musicians establish a brand within the music industry. Escena encompasses the multi-media and visual arts to deliver premier photography products and video services in the Bay Area.

His latest project, Untamed,  is co-produced with The BeatPushers. The album consists of 8 songs featuring different singers from around the states and sounds like a party!

We invite you to enjoy this short video featuring “In the making – Ivan Reyes”

 

 

 

Featuring Manuel Romero’s timely “Alza La Mano” video on election day!

We are delighted to feature Cultura Ambassador, Manuel Romero’s, great and timely video “Alza La Mano” on this election day. Alza La Mano translate to “raise your hand” however the message really translates beautifully to raise your voice and vote especially for those who are not able to do so during this election.

Manuel writes a beautiful song with such a strong message of love and unity. We would also like to thank Maggie Madueno, Director of the Saint Maria Goretti Children’s Choir and the Children’s Choir for collaborating with Manuel on this special project. We’re also loving the video as it was also beautifully produced with amazing images.

Manuel we wish you much more continued success! Adelante!

 

27 Million Strong That’s Who We Are!

Yes, we are 27 million strong and on November 8th we will have an opportunity to demonstrate that we do participate in the electoral process and that we are a valuable constituency. We will have the opportunity to demonstrate that we are a community who deeply cares about the direction of this country.   We will vote for freedom, equality, unity and to silence the ignorance. On November 8th we have the opportunity to exercise our right to vote and contribute to this great democratic process.

We ask that if you haven’t already cast your vote by then, that you come out on November 8th and exercise this highly valuable right.

Tu Voto Es Tu Voz!

This video encompasses our values and our value.

 

Nancy Rosales on the move in her new Ford Edge Eco Boost!

Our Cultura Ambassador, Nancy Rosales,  is a driven Entrepreneur, Business Innovator, Game Changer, Winner of the Latina Style Magazine Entrepreneur award and an “Inspire Higher Tour” Panelist.

In an effort to expand her “Pepitos” authentic Mexican Paleta business, she was looking for a vehicle that she could use for work and play, stylish and efficient.  She was asked to be part of the Ford campaign about real people. She agreed with flying colors for many reasons.  Going through the entire Ford approval process, she was able to authentically deliver her exact experience on camera with no script.

“It was easy it was fast, Ford knows its about people’s credit and making the process simple” she said.

Nancy is one of the most positive, inspirational and action oriented people we know and we’re delighted to feature her video, check it out!

 

Last day to vote for Sandra and her team – Real Lives Real Runners!

Cultura Ambassador, Sandra Carranza and her team at Evoq Media submitted a video in the “Real Lives. Real Runners” online voting contest and they’ve made it as one of the finalists. If they win, their video will be shown at the NYC Marathon telecast.

We encourage you to vote for Evoq Media’s video “I Coach” before 9:00PM (PST) October 20th via the link below:

https://poll.fbapp.io/rlrr

We thank you in advance for supporting our Cultura Ambassador!

 

WiSci (Women in Science) Technology Camp for Girls

We, at Silicon Valley Latino, are excited to share the work that Intel, Google, United Nations Foundation, APEC, GirlUp and the US Department of State are leading through the WiSci Tech Camp for Girls. We are also delighted that one of our Cultura Ambassadors, Julissa Ramirez Lebron (Product Manager at Intel), participated as one of the women in tech that exposed girls to tech and served as a role model as to what they may aspire to be as professionals. Julissa keep up the great work, we’re proud of all the work you lead to inspire the next generation!

This past summer Julissa along with many other women went to Peru and presented tech to numerous girls from various countries including Mexico, Chile, USA and of course Peru. This initiative is also taking on the gender equality issue and inspiring many young girls become the innovators of tomorrow.

We invite you to view this video that features a very cool camp and what the girls had to say about the experience.

To close the gender gap in the tech industry, we will achieve greater results through collaboration. This “WiSci” public-private partnership is just one of many examples of the steps we’re taking. See what the experience meant for girls who learned new skills as they worked together to innovate technologies for positive social impact in their communities.

https://www-ssl.intel.com/content/www/us/en/corporate-responsibility/wisci-girls-in-tech-video.html