What It Took to Finally Stand Up to My Biggest Fear

I was in the emergency room in the spring of 2021 when I decided something had to change. I had driven to the hospital so many times in the past few years that I knew the directions to the emergency room and the intake questions by heart. I don’t have a life-threatening condition, as you might imagine. I have a pathological fear of vomiting, also called emetophobia, and over the years, I have tried everything to try to prevent it.

I Realized I Had Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Because of Justin Bieber's Diagnosis

The symptoms began while I was on vacation in late April. I was eating dinner at a restaurant in Turks and Caicos when the difficulty swallowing hit; pieces of shrimp and coconut became lodged in my throat—even the water I tried to wash it down with shot up through my nose because I couldn't swallow it. After two days of this, plus the added symptom of losing my voice, I sought help at a local urgent care. The doctors there weren't sure what I had—though they ruled out COVID-19 after I tested n

My Father Never Thanked Me For Caring For Him When He Was Sick. Now I Understand Whyk. Now I Understand Why

I was away in Turks and Caicos in late April. Since losing my Cuban immigrant parents and ending a seven-year relationship traveling has become even more cathartic, and visiting beach countries is especially peaceful. But until this spring, I’d never been sick while away. Every time I spoke, I sounded like Mickey Mouse after swallowing ten helium balloons, which scared me. But when I could no longer swallow solid food, I freaked out. I switched to liquids and prayed for the best. I ended up in a

My Immigrant Parents Left Me an Inheritance, and Their Complicated Relationship with Money

After my parents died 16 months apart, I inherited a windfall that included my mortgage-free childhood home (valued at $328K) and nearly six figures from their savings. That, combined with a salary in the low six figures and the fact that I’m child-free, meant that I’d be living pretty comfortably, right? Not exactly. Even though I outearn my much older ex and many of my peers, I feel perpetually poor: In my mind (and some of my actions), I’m still that working-class girl I was growing up, scra

"I tried to take my own life after my mom died"

As the only child from my Cuban parents' marriage, born when my mother, Magaly, was 40 and my father, Armando, was 54, I grew up in a sheltered home in working-class Union City, New Jersey. I wasn't allowed to sleep over at friends' houses for years. And even when I had a newly minted driver's license at 17, I was prohibited from driving solo until age 20, and only then because I had a summer internship at a newspaper. Despite how overprotective my parents were, my mom and I were very close. I

California Teens Expose the Chemicals in Household Cleaners That Are Putting Their Community at Risk

When Giselle Lazaro met with study subjects for a scientific research project she was conducting, she found herself on familiar territory—in households that resembled her own Mexican American home in Salinas, a working-class city in central California. Lazaro and 14 other students from Salinas high schools were conducting a study to identify health hazards from traditional cleaning products and raise awareness about how to avoid them. "Scientists are often portrayed in the media in white lab co

I Protested Planned Parenthood. Then I Needed Their Help.

I was raised in a conservative Cuban Catholic household by parents who were 40 and 54 years old when they had me. From an early age, I was taught that staying a virgin until marriage was the only option, a gift you gave your future partner. I wrote an article in my college paper about it. I emphasized that casual sex, and the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), were symbols of not taking yourself seriously.

Voices: My Cuban Uncle Diagnosed My Eating Disorder Over The Phone

I was born in New Jersey to Cuban parents whose families had left their beloved homeland for political reasons, and they were still very much culturally Cuban. Pork was a staple dinner item at our house, and we spent at least one month in Miami during the summers visiting with other exiled families who would talk about the lack of food, opportunities and freedom back in Cuba. I came from a lower-income household, but food was always abundant in our home. My path to anorexia started with a diet

Meet These Latino Vegan Restaurateurs

NEW YORK, NY -- Radha Ugo, 30, has never eaten meat in his life and never will. Ugo, a Manhattan resident who was born in Peru to an Argentinian father and a Uruguayan mother, said his parents had already embraced a vegetarian lifestyle before he was born. “I do my best not to cause harm and suffering to other living creatures,” Ugo said. “When it’s in front of your plate and put in a cute sandwich with cheese and lettuce, it looks harmless. … But this animal died so it could sit in your sandw

One in six newly married Americans has spouse of different race or ethnicity

In the nearly half century since the landmark Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia made it possible for couples of different races and ethnicities to marry, such unions have increased fivefold among newlyweds, according to a new report. In 2015, 17 percent, or one in six newlyweds, had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity compared with only 3 percent in 1967, according to a Pew Research Center report released Thursday. "More broadly, one-in-10 married people in 2015 — not just those

An Environmental Justice Advocate’s L.A. Story

Dr. Michael Anthony Mendez on the subject of his new book, Climate Change from the Streets, and the readiness of Latinos to act on climate and justice. Like Mike, Carol, Marcia, Greg, and company, Michael Anthony Mendez grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley. But unlike the Bradys, Mendez, who is Mexican-American, didn’t live in a roomy split-level on a tree-lined block. His neighborhood, the North Valley section of Los Angeles, housed two landfills but had no parks for the people, mostly

Inspiring Memoirs Tell Journey From Child Farm Worker to Academic

As a child migrant worker in the 1940s and 50s, Francisco Jiménez would spend 12 hours a day, seven days a week in the California fields, missing the first two months of school every year to help his parents during the harvest season. Decades later, this renowned scholar and professor would be chronicling his inspiring journey, highlighting that despite difficulties, education is a path forward. Jiménez has shared his family’s life and struggles in four award-winning memoirs aimed at young read

'A hidden gem': Nebraska Latinos tout its rich history and diversity

OMAHA, Nebraska — When state Senator Tony Vargas moved with his future wife to Nebraska from New York City in 2012, he was surprised at the diversity in Omaha, the state's largest city. “It’s a hidden gem here — we have a confluence of identities that people don’t usually think of when they come to Nebraska," said Vargas, 32, the son of Peruvian immigrants. "South Omaha in particular has had a rich immigrant experience. It’s not just Latinos, but Irish, Polish and Italian-Americans who have set

For This Latino Family, Civic Engagement Crosses Multiple Generations

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. It’s not enough for Olma Echeverri and her husband Germán De Castro to exercise their right to vote. The longtime Colombian-American Democrats from Charlotte, North Carolina, have inspired their children and grandchildren to become civically active as well: bringing them to debates and rallies for local, state and national elected officials for two decades. Echeverri and De Castro will

Global Eats: 38 Restaurants That Put the World on Your Plate | NJ Monthly

All but four of the 50 states are geographically larger than ours. But New Jersey—thanks to its immigrant communities and the diverse roots of many of its citizens—offers a veritable expo of world cuisines in its packed confines. In these pages, we concentrate on the cooking with which you may be least familiar, omitting those we think you know best (Chinese, French, Greek, Indian, Japanese, Thai) and the two we’ve celebrated in previous issues (Italian and Mexican). So grab a fork, chopsticks,

Why I changed my mind about Cuba

Editor's note: Carmen Cusido is a freelance writer based in Union City, New Jersey, and a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She's a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists' New York City board. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own. (CNN) -- Growing up in the United States, my summers were filled with trips to Little Havana in Miami, where my family and I would watch anti-communist plays featuring popular Latino actors. Those tri