Raquel Reichard

Raquel is an award-winning journalist and editor. Currently, she is the Deputy Director of Somos, Refinery29's cross-platform sub-brand by and for Latinxs.

No, The Curvy Latina Ideal Isn't Healthier than Other Beauty Standards

I look over at my full-length mirror, the one plastered with Barbie and Spice Girls stickers, and examine my body to see if I meet the requirements. My round belly pops out of my tank top more than my chest, but my backside doesn’t look too different from the Black and brown women in the video. Sure, it’s not as rotund, but, I mean, I’m still a kid. Even then, I knew I was never going to be like Victoria Beckham, my favorite Spice Girl — and I didn’t want to be — but I could be like the curvy wo

Eating Disorders Don't Discriminate — But Treatment Does

After being rushed to the hospital, her heart rate was so low that Herrera, grappling with anorexia nervosa , was immediately admitted to an ED treatment center. She describes her six-plus months in inpatient and outpatient care as carceral. “We were punished for eating, and we were punished for not eating. We were threatened to be taken to psychiatric hospitals,” she says. While her time in the residential center helped her recover from anorexia, she says it didn’t heal her relationship with fo

Why Gabby Rivera Centers Queer Latinx Joy in Her Storytelling

Once a year, the U.S. acknowledges the egregious pay gap in which Latinas earn just 55 cents for every dollar a non-Latinx white man makes. It’s time we interrogate this fact year-round. The L-Suite examines the diverse ways in which Latinx professionals have built their careers, how they’ve navigated notoriously disruptive roadblocks, and how they’re attempting to dismantle these obstacles for the rest of their communities. This month, we're talking with author Gabby Rivera about overcoming sel

My Sexy Wardrobe Is a Personal and Political Reclamation of My Body

Over the summer, I posted a photo of myself in a low-cut black crop top — my double-D breasts jumping out of my bra and into your Instagram feed — with the caption: "Is this, like, too much teta for an official headshot?" I was half-serious, half-joking. Of course, I'll use the sultry glamour shot for work-related matters. If you follow my journalism on body politics, you know that my aesthetic is intentional and political. The lighthearted caption was simply my way of celebrating the strides I'

Why Isn't Puerto Rico a State?

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico is neither a state nor an independent country—and politics over its status remain complicated. Located about a thousand miles southeast of Florida, Puerto Rico is a Caribbean archipelago with a complex colonial history and political status. As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million residents are U.S. citizens. However, while subject to U.S. federal laws, island-based Puerto Ricans can’t vote in presidential elections and lack voting represen

For Brown Girls With Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts Is a Love Letter to BIWOC

Eight years ago, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez founded the digital platform Latina Rebels with the intention to democratize emancipatory knowledge that has long been locked up in college classrooms. Through essays, memes, and online discussions, the writer and activist made it her purpose to share the tools that freed her from the chains of internalized sexism, racism, and classism with Black and brown women and girls. "This information should be available to everyone. It should be available qu

How to Discuss Mental Health With Your Latinx Family

When Dior Vargas first opened up to her family about feeling depressed, she was told to toughen up. Life, they explained, was like a grim movie cast with cruel villains. To survive, she'd have to be strong, which they interpreted as emotionless. For a while, she tried following their advice. She internalized the idea that pain was a sign of weakness and believed tears were reserved for pendejas. The problem: her desolation was worsening. "I don't think their response came from a mean place. The

Why Doula M Illustrated a Children’s Book on Abortion

All around us, there are messages about abortions. Street billboards purchased by conservative organizations warn pregnant people not to have them. Politicians fight over expanding or restricting their rights, and teens in film and TV dramas struggle with making the decision. Despite the prevalence of abortion chatter, it’s still considered a hush-hush topic, especially for young readers. But abortion doulas Carly Manes and M want to change that with a new children’s book that helps young reader

Meet Paola Velez, the Pastry Chef Raising Millions for Social Justice Movements

For pastry chef Paola Velez, baking tres leches cornbread and Maria cookie icebox cakes is as much about feeding her community’s appetite for home as it is about giving back. Last year, the Washington, DC-based Dominican-American chef went viral for launching Bakers Against Racism. This bake sale raised millions of dollars supporting the global fight for racial justice, but it wasn’t the first, or last, time she used her culinary skills to uplift social movements. Ever since Velez first put an a

How Latinas Can Break Free From The Likeability Trap

Journalism has an inclusion problem. In local and national newsrooms across the U.S., Latinas are underrepresented as reporters, editors, and producers. According to a study by the Women's Media Center, the demographic makes up just 2.4 percent of the news media workforce — and despite efforts at improving diversity and inclusivity across the American workforce, the problem might actually be worsening in this sector. The American Society of News Editors Newsroom Employment Diversity surveys show

7 Ways Latinxs Can Overcome Generational Financial Trauma

Having enormous amounts of credit card and student loan debt, living paycheck to paycheck, or being unable to make car payments are more than just unfavorable occurrences. For some, these life circumstances trigger financial trauma that can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. It's that intense anxiety, paranoia, and fear that appears during financial transactions or even conversations around money that eventually impacts how certain perceptions and behaviors surrounding fin

How Latinxs Are Reclaiming Ancestral Healing Practices

While the commoditization of wellness in the United States has historically only served the privileged, barriers to mindfulness practices have begun to wane. As a result, more low-income communities of color are embracing holistic lifestyles. For a growing number of Latinxs, the adoption of wellness routines has been accompanied by a journey toward ancestral healing that is rooted in reclaiming lineal practices that were long demonized and forgotten. In communities throughout the US, Latin Amer

Latina And Latinx Sex Educators To Follow For The Lessons Your Teacher Skipped

Sex education in the United States is failing young people. Only 13 states in the country require sex education to be medically accurate. As a result, countless teens are receiving information about their bodies, sexuality and relationships that are not based on research but instead on conservative and religious ideologies rooted in sexism, homophobia and transphobia. Research has shown that non-comprehensive sex education that only promotes abstinence and stigmatizes teenage sexuality doesn’t

The Lives Of LGBTQ+ Youth In Puerto Rico Are In Danger

Last month, Garcia, now a college student, was one of several queer and trans Puerto Ricans who offered their testimony in public hearings for Senate Bill 184, a measure that would have banned the practice. These individuals spoke about the mental, emotional, and, in some cases, physical violence experienced under conversion counseling, which has been linked to causing " serious potential harm ," such as depression and suicidal ideation, by The American Psychological Association and even classif

Yes, You Can Use SNAP to Shop for Groceries on Amazon — Here's How

For too long in the United States, a person’s socioeconomic status has determined their access to quality, healthful foods. Poorer families are more likely to live in food deserts than their wealthier counterparts. Without access to a car, carrying groceries home from neighborhood supermarkets can still be difficult. And for some who live with physical disabilities, in-person shopping isn’t an option, nor is it affordable to use a grocery delivery service.

Dominga de la Cruz-Becerril & Other Rebellious Women Who Fought for an Independent Puerto Rico

Most Puerto Ricans believe that the archipelago’s territorial status needs to change, but they are often divided on the best solution: independence, statehood or its current commonwealth status. Two bills in Congress aim to address the matter. The Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act calls for a status convention among local legislatures who are elected by the Puerto Rican people to solve its territorial status, while the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act pushes for the territory to become the 5

How Afro-Boricua Antonia Pantoja Fought For Education Equity

Few education organizers have had such a transformative impact on Latinx students as Antonia Pantoja. In the Afro-Puerto Rican educator and civil rights leader’s 80 years, she created spaces that restored dignity to discriminated youth of color and influenced policy that directly improved the way Spanish-speaking students learned in public schools. From New York to California, Pantoja’s legacy is still felt nearly two decades after her death on May 24, 2002. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to a

‘Connection That’s Just Ineffable’: This Collective Has High Hopes for the Future of Psychedelic Healing

Last November, Oregon voters passed a measure that legalized the use of psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposes, becoming the first state in the country to do so. Starting in 2023, licensed therapists will be able to use psilocybin to treat chronic mental health issues, including depression, addiction and PTSD. Despite 55% of voters approving the measure, there remains a lot of confusion and stigma around psychedelic therapy, particularly among communities of color who haven’t been centere

With “Florecer,” LA Cumbia-Salsa Band La Mera Candelaria Celebrates Survivors Of Sexual Violence

In the United States, someone is sexually violated every 73 seconds. With each passing year, more than 433,600 people, mostly women and girls, experience some form of this brutality, including rape, molestation, sexual harassment, sex trafficking and reproductive coercion. For many survivors, art is used as a tool to promote healing, providing them with a creative outlet to externalize their trauma and express themselves. With the upcoming album Florecer, Stephani Candelaria, of the woman-fronted cumbia-salsa band La Mera Candelaria, uses art, and music in particular, to work through her own history with sexual abuse and inspire holistic healing among her listeners.
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