Latinx | St. Louis Public Radio

Latinx

Novelist and comic writer Gabby Rivera is touring the U.S. to promot the re-release of her hit young adult novel, Juliet Takes a Breath.
Julieta Salgado

When a small press published "Juliet Takes a Breath" a few years ago, the work of young adult fiction first found critical acclaim from online LGBTQ and Latina publications before soon winning awards and attracting scores of dedicated readers. 

The book tells the story of Juliet Milagros Palante, a queer Puerto Rican from New York who leaves her family for a summer of self-discovery after a stressful coming-out. It’s a semi-autobiographical piece of fiction for its author, Gabby Rivera, who went on to write Marvel Comics’ first LGBTQ Latina superhero in 2017.

Charli Cooksey (left), founder and CEO of WEPOWER, listens to entrepreneurs Reina Stovall (right) and Dr. Brittany Conners (middle) during one of Elevate/Elevar's focus group meetings on March 13, 2019.
WEPOWER

According to a report by Diversity VC and Rate My Investor, less than 1% of all venture capital funding supports black entrepreneurs and 1.8% of funding backs Latino founders.

The St. Louis organization WEPOWER aims to boost those percentages. Recently, the company initiated Elevate/Elevar, an accelerator program for black and Latino entrepreneurs. The goal is to increase their chances to build wealth and enhance economic growth in their communities. 

(L-R) Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano, Valeria Rodriguez and Lindsay Newton joined Wednesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has the smallest Latino community of the nation's 25 largest metro areas — the only one that's less than 5% Latino. So how do local Latinos deal with being not just a minority, but one that’s dwarfed in size by other communities? And how do they straddle the Spanish-speaking worlds of their parents and grandparents in addition to life in the Midwest? 

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into ways that St. Louis’ Latino community continues to grow and influence the city – artistically and otherwise.

Joining the program were Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano, business counselor at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in St. Louis and co-host of the bilingual Auténtico Podcast, and Valeria Rodriguez, a Dominican-American multidisciplinary artist and member of the Latinx Arts Network – a collective of local artists. 

Local artists José Garza (left) and Miriam Ruiz (right) present their collaborative project, collectively titled Ojalá, in El Chico Bakery on Cherokee Street.
Photo courtesy of José Garza

The Luminary Arts Center is in the midst of its ongoing show “Counterpublic,” a triennial exhibition scaled to a neighborhood “set to animate the everyday spaces of Cherokee Street” with expansive artist commissions, performances, processions and more through July 13.

While the exhibit itself is only around for a few months, participants including local artists José Guadalupe Garza and Miriam Ruiz have created a series of “art interventions” in El Chico Bakery, a family owned and operated Mexican bakery in south St. Louis.