Raquel Reichard

Raquel is an award-winning journalist and editor. Currently, she is the Deputy Director of Somos, Refinery29's channel by and for Latines.

Why Some Latines are Returning to Their Motherland

'The US is very individualistic, and I wanted community': What is rematriating? In 2013, when Joselyn Gerarda Whitaker Rae was 22 years old, she took a trip from New York to Huánuco, Peru, the city where she was born but hadn’t been to since she was adopted by a white American family as a 1-year-old. Whitaker Rae, whose adoptive parents had recently died, was in search of family and home, but she only had the village where she was born and the name of her birth mother. After four hours of sear

How Slow Living Helps Me Ditch a Culture of Self-Sacrifice

Leaving New York — where the culture is hustle, hustle, work, work — and moving to LA, which obviously still comes with a lot of expenses, in 2015 gave me opportunities to look at things differently. The days were just slower. I enjoyed that. It allowed me to notice things about myself that I had previously missed because I was always on the go. This made me want to intentionally live slower. Now, I walk for leisure. My grandmother told me she used to do this in Panama, but I don’t see my family

Loving and Losing My Soulmate Taught Me the Power of Sisterhood

F: There have been so many times, but the most recent time was when I got married last year. Janel was my maid of honor. I knew I wanted her to be my maid of honor, but I didn’t know if she'd say yes or no. She isn’t much of a planner; that’s usually my role. One day, we were running the New York Marathon — it was the same group from college; we’re all still close — and we had lost each other. With my legs burning, I found Janel through a tracker and ran as fast as I could to get to her. She was

What Will The Roe v. Wade Decision Mean For Puerto Rico?

“They copy-paste the projects and laws from the States,” Mayra I Díaz Torres, a member of the abortion rights collective Aborto Libre and former program director of Clínica IELLA, a Profamilias clinic that provides abortion care, tells Somos. “But we as a colony need to be clear that the laws that have worked in the U.S., or the laws that take place there, never have been for us. The States never have taken our wellbeing as a priority, so we need to see this as a colonial impact to our wellbeing

The “Great Replacement” Theory Is the American Way

In Gendron’s alleged manifesto, the man, whose attack is being investigated as a hate crime, shares details about the planned massacre, like choosing Buffalo as the scene for his attack because it was the city closest to him with the highest number of Black people. Racist mass shootings targeting Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous populations in this country aren’t new — and neither is the premise, or motive, of the “great replacement” theory. In fact, it’s the American way. After the invasio

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

Eva Longoria on Building a Power Pipeline For Latinas: "I Hate When People Say the Talent Is Not Out There"

Once Eva Longoria became famous for starring in the TV show Desperate Housewives, she also became overwhelmed with pleas for her charitable support. "I was getting, like, 1,000 requests a week for, you know, dolphins in Japan and AIDS in Africa and sex trafficking in Thailand," she says. "All of that is important to fix, right? But I learned quickly, I couldn't do everything. And I wanted to stand for something." A mentor pushed her to define where she wanted to make the most impact, and she rea

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
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