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Que Lo Que Podcast

Author: Elbert Garcia and Venusmia Fernandez

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People who hail from the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic are the fifth largest ethnic group in the United States. Their contributions to the American fabric of life are felt daily in every industry, including politics, sports, entertainment, law and medicine. And while they've changed the face of places like Boston and New York, they are energizing all kinds of places around the nation -- and the world.

Join Venus ahd Elbert from Miami, as we talk to our Dominican community's most gifted leaders - from old school veterans to rising trailblazers. Get a glimpse of not just to their personal journeys, but also to their take on some of today's hottest issues in the U.S. and abroad.

Whether its about the history we've made or the history we're making, you are sure to learn about something -- or someone -- you didn't know.
23 Episodes
Our families are such an important part of the work that we do. So what better way to head into Election Week that listen to the woman who inspired Boston City Council Member Julia Mejia to not just run for office, but to be a tireless advocate for her community. Her mother, Mirta Peña. As fans recall, Mejia became the first Latina -- and Dominicana -- to win a seat on the Boston's City Council last year. It was a race that went down to the wire, ultimately being decided by 1 vote. But listening to her mother's story, its no secret from where Mejia gets her determination and dedication to public service. These are the people that are depending on our votes -- this and every Election season.
Tom Perez is the first Dominican to chair the Democratic National Committee, hoping to lead the party to success in national and local elections this November. It's the culmination of a career full of firsts. one that connects him with a family tradition of public service that stretches back decades to the DR. Venus and El B sit down with the former Secretary of Labor to talk about family, his childhood in Buffalo, NY and what is at stake for all families on Nov. 3rd.
Dominicana Laura Jimenez cut her teeth working on local campaigns and for elected officials here in Florida. But when former Vice-President Joe Biden asked her to lead up his Latino Engagement effort, she had no doubt stepping up and joining his team. With less than two weeks to go in the Presidential race, she talks to us about her journey, what's at stake this November and her reaction to seeing the local Dominican community beginning to organize politically in South Florida.
Its been more than six - wait 8 months - since we've been on the air.   ¿Coño, que paso?   What hasn't?   Elbert & Venus update fans as to how they are doing personally and professionally, comment on what they have seen in the our COVID-19 dominated world since March and tell fans what they can expect in the next couple of weeks for the podcast -- and the nation.
Special Episode: As many in the diaspora know already, municipal elections in the DR were recently cancelled and we at Que Lo Que were like "¿Pero que e la vaina con eso?" Venus couldn't be with us this week because she's en route to Chicago, so we turned to award winning journalist Marcia Facundo, editor of Entravision's Politica Ya website, to give us a little bit of background on what's going on con las #ProtestasJCE.  
As hundreds of Dominican Americans professionals descend on Washington, DC for the second annual Dominicans on the Hill, we talk to Dominican Health Care Association of Florida Executive Director Daisy Baez about the roots of the event and why the second one is just as important as the first. Former Florida State Representative Baez also reflects back on her resignation from elected office, the lessons that she can pass along to aspiring Latina politicians and how you don't have to be an elected official to help push important legislation, as she is doing now with healthcare. MORE ABOUT DAISY Daisy Josefina Baez served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2016 until her resignation in 2017. She represented the 114th district, stretching from western Miami to Cutler Bay in Miami-Dade County. She was born in the Dominican Republic and raised there by her grandmother after her parents divorced and her mother moved to New York City to support her family. Baez immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. She joined the U.S. Army in 1980 and served for three years as a Preventive Medicine Specialist in the 1st Cavalry Division Surgeon's Office in Fort Hood, Texas. After an honorable discharge, Baez received a bachelor's degree in social work-at American Technological University, and later a master's degree in education counseling from Sam Houston State University. After over 15 years working in hospital management and health care consulting, in 2011 she founded the Dominican Health Care Association of Florida. The group is a nonprofit organization with the mission of advocating for and supporting healthcare services by and for the Dominican community in Florida. She is currently the association's executive director. Ms. Baez has one daughter, whom she raised as a single parent.
We can’t think of a better way to open 2020 than by sitting down with Cecilia Gutierrez, Deputy Director of the MBKA Network and Partnerships at the Obama Foundation. The former Executive Director of Miami's Children's Initiative talks to us not just about what to takes to raise young boys and men of color and help communities heal from the struggles and trauma of poverty. She keeps it real about her personal journey balancing family, heritage and success as the first generation daughter of Dominican immigrants.
(Episode 12) - As we begin to wind down 2019, we're pleased to have a chance to sit down with renaissance journalist and  media advocate Claudia Cruz, Director of Internships and Experiential Learning at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. We talk to Claudia about her bicoastal journey working as a community and digital storyteller, the challenge and responsibility of connecting with first-generation Latinx students and the important role non-traditional media is having in keeping local journalism alive.  And that's just the first half-hour. ----------- More about Claudia Cruz Claudia Cruz is the Director of Internships and Experiential Learning at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to that, she worked as a technology reporter for CNET en Español where she covered the industry and corporations like Apple, Alphabet and Facebook in Silicon Valley.  Before that, she was an editor in local news operations like the Mountain View Patch ( which she launched) and El Correo de Queens, as well as a staff writer for Queens Courier and the Manhattan Times.    Did we mention that she was also a president of the Bay Area chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists with  Master’s degrees in Journalism from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, a JD from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a BA in International Relations and Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University? Where to her on Social Media  Twitter: @cruznews Instagram: @cruznews  Facebook:
As 2019 ends and the political campaign season of 2020 heats up, we sit down with Emerge America's Eva Facundo to talk about the wave of grassroots digital fundraising that is allowing a slew of new candidates to have a shot at elected office. We also talk about the difference between being Dominican in Miami and Southern California and what's it like to have a mother for a journalist.  Dominican-born and Miami-raised, Facundo now calls Southern California home as she serves as Deputy Director of Affiliate Fundraising for Emerge, one of the nation's premier organizations that recruits, trains and provides a powerful network to Democratic women who want to run for office. Her past political fundraising work includes doing work for Emily's List, the DSCC, Rep. Loretta Sanchez and a host of others running for federal and state elected office.  ---------- Where to Find Eva: Twitter/IG: @4Eva2Hair Where to find more about Emerge:
Club Tipico Dominicano is more than just an anchor business in Miami’s Little Santo Domingo neighborhood of Allapattah. For nearly 35 years, it has been a community hub, local business booster and a cultural gatekeeper.  The first and last stop where people could find authentic Dominican music and meals in a city that often forgets there is more than one island in the Caribbean. It’s a responsibility of food and fun that founder Luis De La Cruz has passed down to his daughter Jasmely D. Jackson -- one that she has embraced by being equally dedicated to tradition and innovation. As hipsters prepare to descend on Miami for Art Basel, we sit down and talk to Jasmely about Tipico’s legacy, its future amid a quickly gentrifying neighborhood and the challenge of keeping both the food and the music fresh for today’s audiences.    photo credit: the New Tropic
So many Dominican-Americans are student leaders early in their life, either at their schools or in their neighborhood communities. Yet, what happens after graduation? This week, we talk to Sanctuary for Families’ Lucero Jorge about being a leader after college, (re)defining Latinidad and what she has learned working with families dealing with gender-based violence. It's our way of leaning into this holiday season of thanks, paying attention to our younger generation and starting a discussion around gender violence on the heels of the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. GOOD BOCHINCE Passion Project: @blacklettuce (IG & Twitter) - cannabis / alternative self care project. Sanctuary for Families (@sffny on IG) Helpline: 212-349-6009 for Legal and Clinical Services Tony Peralta of the Peralta Project - @peraltaprjct y @taller_peralta (on both IG and Twitter) Mami Chula Social Club - @mamichulasocialclub. Founded by Claudia Mendoza (IG:@mujeronmondays)  MORE ABOUT LUCERO JORGE Lucero Jorge is currently the Senior Project Assistant and Outreach Coordinator for Sanctuary for Families, one of NY's leading service provider and advocate for survivors of Domestic Violence and other forms of gender-based violence. There, she helps manage cases and the organization’s helpline. She is only three years removed from graduating from Columbia University, where she was an active student leader, including being President of El Grupo Quisqueya no, the school’s Dominican student organization and one of the founders of the school’s First Generation, Low-Income Partnership (2014). WHERE TO FIND LUCERO @beinglucyj (IG & Twitter)
Phillip Jerez is a former teacher who got involved in local politics as a way of trying making a greater impact outside the classroom. That led him to stints working for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz and serving as a Political Director for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum's historical 2018 gubernatorial run. Today, the Bronx-born, Columbia University graduate is President of Progress for Florida, a campaign consulting firm, which works to elect progressive candidates at every rung of the ladder. We travel to CIC Miami to talk with Phillip about his career, the politics of identity, his deep appreciation for his older sister and the danger in telling a singular story.
Miami's Gabriela “Gaby" Guzman is helping women see and own their power through connection, community, joy, and authenticity via "Las Comadres" network. She also hosts masterminds and other online experiences that enable women to achieve the clarity, support and courage that they need to start and grow their own businesses. Ir's not the road that she anticipated moving from Santo Domingo at the age of 19. We talk about that journey, how the need to build community is baked in Dominicans' DNA and what it takes to grow a support network committed to uplifting one another in life and in business. Mix in some reflections on race, parenting and politics and you have the kind of "good" bochinche that we need to thrive.  WHO SHE WANTS TO PAY IT FORWARD: Sus comadres of course. Check out the full directory of members at: HOW TO FIND GABY Best spot is on IG at @thegabyguzman
Born in DR, Julia Mejia made history Election Day when she became the first Latina and Dominicana to win a seat on the Boston City Council. For us here at Que Lo Que, the victory was emocionante from afar because we can connect so much with her story. Rising from poverty to be the first in her family to go and graduate college. Returning home to get involved in non-profit, education and civic engagement work. Stepping up to meet the next leadership challenge by running for office.  However, history is now on hold, as her razor thin margin of victory has triggered a recount. How did this single mom without ties to City Hall ties manage to get this far? What's her vision, not just fo the Council but for her community? Hear the answers from Julia herself and learn how you can help her seal this important victory. HOW YOU CAN HELP JULIA? Donate: Volunteer: ENGAGE WITH HER ON SOCIAL MEDIA: FB: TWITTER: @juliaforboston IG: @juliaforboston  
Here at Que Lo Que, we know that supporting and training the next generation of leaders involves not just sound judgement, but also a commitment to looking in the mirror and challenging our own perceptions and perspectives. So, this week, we sit down in a crowded Harlem café to talk with educator and Wesleyan University alumnus Marvin Cabrera about his work helping students get to college, the shifting definition of manhood and the tricultural journey he’s taken to become a better teacher and father.   Marvin is currently National Director of Dreamer Programs at the “I Have a Dream Foundation” where he helps support students from kindergarteners to alumni. Before his current role, he was a longtime employee at Columbia University’s Double Discovery Center where he directed one of its TRIO programs serving youth with a specific focus on academic tutoring, enrichment activities, and college counseling help.   
With Election Day less than a week away, we continue on the politics theme, introducing you to a young woman looking to make waves in Florida Politics and flip a seat blue in Florida’s State House of Representatives.   Gabriela “Gaby” DeJesus was born in PR and grew up in Santo Domingo, the child of Puerto Rican and Dominican parents before settling in Miami via a brief stop in NYC. Her dreams of being the next hot shot chef were derailed by an accident that left her not just changing careers, but also wanting to change lives. What followed was Master’s degree at FIU and helping to create the school’s graduate school Puerto Rican Association in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.   Now she’s looking to take that a no-nonsense mix of data and grassroots advocacy to Tallahassee and take on an incumbent that has his sights set on the Florida Speakership.   We sit down and talk to Gaby about what’s it like balancing her two cultures when people and the media often expect you to choose, what she’s learned early on about this side of the political process and how her love of cooking and food is a potential gamechanger on the campaign trail.    ---------------------------------- WHERE YOU CAN FIND GABY Website: FB: @GABY202FL Twitter: @Gaby_2020FL IG: @Gaby_2020FL #electwomen #latinopower @gaby2020 #PlatanoPolitcs  
For the first time in a long time, Miami's traditional Dominican community of Allapattah will get a chance November 5th to elect a new city commisioner.  With early voting starting this weekend, Venus & El B sit down at Tipico Dominicano Restaurant with The New Florida Majority's Electoral Field Director Melanie McRae and Gender Justice Organizer Ysabella Osses to discuss what's at stake in this election and the issues that local residents are talking about.   It's a part of a series of special episodes that we will regularly feature discussing the cities and neighborhoods that our people call home.  ----------------------- For more information on early voting in Miami, visit ----------------------- MORE ABOUT OUR GUESTS The New Florida Majority's Electoral Field Director Melanie McRae is a proud Canadian transplant of Caribbean heritage who has spent most of the last decade as an advocate for candidates and issues that she believes in strongly. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom, Melanie has worked on everything from local municipal races and ballot initiatives to issue advocacy and statewide political campaigns. The learned common thread through all her experiences is that while great campaigns are people powered, successful campaigns connect the power of the people with insightful strategy that can only be gleaned from excellent data. NewFM Gender Justice Organizer Ysabella Osses  was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. She lived through the aftermath of the Pinochet dictatorship, which inspired her passion for politics, organizing, education and perreo. Ysa is a graduate of Florida International University and holds degrees in sociology, political science, and women's studies. Her purpose in life is to fight for the liberation of all women and femmes and does so as an Organizer with the New Florida Majority.   
Politics in any country is often a matter of who you know. But how do you break in, especially when you can't lean on family or college connections? If you are Miami resident Teresa Guzman Pagan, you take your love of Anderson Cooper and the West Wing and just jump in. We discuss with the Manhattanville College alumnus what it was like to work on Hillary Clinton’s Presidential run and how her work in local races since then have shaped her political education and perspective. We also talk to her about her current work as Senior Voter Registration Manager for the New Florida Majority and what the political landscape looks like heading into 2020. What’s the difference between political engagement here and in the DR and what does the future hold for a demographic that is still waiting to find its political voice in the Sunshine state. Her social media: Twitter: teresagp94 | IG: @chiefofstaffpagan Who she is paying forward: Visual artist and positive body image advocate Yadira G. Morel (IG: @somefreesoul), musician La Marimba (IG:la.marimba) & designer Erica Hernandez-Guttmann (IG: emhouseofdsgn)
Episode 3: One of the reasons why we created this podcast was to uplift the stories and work of Dominicans who are doing some great work here in Florida. People who might be thought of as working behind the scenes but whose efforts are having a great impact. One of those folks here in Miami is Darwin Rodriguez. Darwin is a public historian and arts educator that believes in breaking down barriers that often separate communities. A former Miami Dade County public school teacher, he is currently a lead teaching artist at the Perez Art Museum (PAMM) and an adjunct history professor at Florida International University FIU). His scholarship has focused on mass genocide around the world, as well as how the Atlantic Slave Trade is taught in the contemporary American History classroom. We sat down with Darwin to talk about his journey from Washington Heights to Miami, his role as an educator at one of the nation’s most influential art museums and his efforts to break down the walls that often separate Black and Latinx youth from the art world.  
All over the country, Dominicans are stepping up to meet the leadership crisis of the day and throwing their hats in the ring to run for local office. We'll be spending significant time over the next couple of months talking to candidates and the impact of these races not just on local communities, but also on the next generation of changemakers. Who better, then, to kick things off than longtime South Florida community leader and political player, Doctora Leonarda Duran Buike, who is running for Miami-Dade County Commision District 8 seat being vacated by Daniella Levine Cava. Over the next 40 minutes, hear us as we go back in forth in Spanish, English and Dominican Spanglish to explore her political education in the Dominican Republic under both Joaquin Balaguer and Juan Bosch, how she came to live and fall in love with South Dade and how her dedication to public service pushed her to run. And wait – did she just drop a recipe for morir soñando? This is certainly quintessential mangu for your soul – and ears.
Comments (4)

Ivan Terrero

"Baseless accusations:? What is "vote the right way"?

Feb 8th

Ivan Terrero

Ella es de Barahona!

Dec 28th

Ivan Terrero

De masiado pero ruido en el trasfondo, Ese ruido no permitió que la conversación se escuchara mejor

Dec 28th

Ivan Terrero

if you are in Florida reach out to Daisy Baez

Nov 16th