Tuesday, September 29, 2020

GUEST BLOGGER SERIES: Latina Lista's Marisa Treviño on Blogging

Latinovations would like to thank Marisa Treviño for her contribution to La Plaza and encourages everyone to check out Latina Lista.

There was a time that whenever I told people I wrote a blog, I would either get puzzled looks or sympathetic smiles from journalist friends who considered blog writing to be nothing more than a writing exercise to fill time between paying assignments.

It wasn’t until I published one particular post that my friends, in and out of journalism, realized the value of blogs.

On December 20, 2006, I published a post on my blog, Latina Lista, regarding the draconian conditions of an immigrant family detention facility located outside Austin, Texas.

The post featured the same elements as every other one I had written since starting Latina Lista in 2004: the issue, the facts and why the public should be outraged.

The idea that children, as young as infants, were being detained at the T. Don Hutto facility in prison-like conditions, given only an hour or two of instruction a day, and less time for outside recreation, while having to wear prison garb and suffer from threats of being separated from their parents if they didn’t obey the guards’ rules didn’t just outrage me — it enraged me.

It enraged a lot of other people too.

Within days, the major mainstream blogs of the blogosphere, that normally devoted their sites to issues emanating from Capitol Hill, picked up my post.

Their attention achieved in getting two things done: 1. It garnered more widespread outrage from political and social influentials and 2. Marked a turning point for Latina Lista by transforming the perception that Latina Lista was a blog written only for Latinas/os to a Latina-written blog.

It was a goal I had been working towards throughout my 15 years as a freelance syndicated newspaper op-ed writer — to have the Latina voice included, in a meaningful way, as part of any national dialogue.

It was a long way from my days in the early to mid-90s when editors only wanted columns from me that had to do with “How to make a piñata” or “Ways to keep Hispanic traditions alive in busy families.”

And it was a long way from the day I submitted an opinion column to a publisher of a Midwestern newspaper who promptly told me that they would never publish a column from me because Latinos were not their readers.

I tried to explain to him that my mother and all my extended family, along with, friends and neighbors who lived in that city read his newspaper and they were all Latinos, but he refused to believe it.

It was that kind of editorial discrimination, along with, thinking that if a Latina/o perspective was published more than once a month, it was too much for their “regular” readers that fueled my embrace of the blogosphere.

For the first time, I was my own publisher. I got to choose what I wrote and how often I published. With so many opinions on a wide range of issues bubbling inside me, I felt the blogosphere to be a liberating exercise that I religiously practiced.

It made no difference how many hours I spent at work during the day as an editor of a trade magazine. When I arrived home and dived into creating that day’s post, time and exhaustion disappeared.

I wasn’t alone.

It didn’t take long before more Latinas and Latinos discovered the power of blogs. For the first time, we could make our own rules and join in the public discourse — whether we were invited or not.

After the Hutto post, and more Latina/o bloggers took up the cause, the mainstream blogosphere realized that Hispanic bloggers deserved to be included and recognized. So, step by step, we have found our voices beginning to carry equal weight in the mainstream blogosphere.

Though blogs/new media have been blamed for the downfall of the print newspaper industry, there’s no denying they have been instrumental in opening new doors of opportunities for anyone who used to be deemed a “nontraditional” voice.

The beauty of blogs is that it has transformed marginalized voices into must-hear perspectives that everyone now realizes aren’t just Latina, black, Asian, or gay but together comprise what are known as  “America’s voices.”

Marisa Treviño is a Dallas, Texas-based freelance opinion journalist whose writings focus on Latino and social justice issues pertaining to education, immigration, women and families.

At her blog, Latina Lista (www.latinalista.net), she takes the news of the day that impacts the Latino community, or the perception of it, and adds her perspective — with the goal of creating dialogue and understanding across communities and borders.

In addition, she is a contributing columnist with Hispanic Link News service and is an award-winning public radio commentator for Texas public radio station KERA. Her columns have appeared in USA Today, as well as, syndicated across the country in both English and Spanish. She has also been a guest on CNN and NPR.

As a natural extension to her column and blog writings, she has also written several award-winning plays that have been staged at Hispanic Playwrights festivals in Texas.

Comments

  1. Honestly this is one of the most informative blogs around…hats off to Marisa for starting this! Blogging is the way to reach our community.