Why Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl 2014 Commercial Got it Right

I know I am late to the party but it took a little bit of time to figure out my response to the negativity that surrounded the Coca-Cola Super Bowl 2014 Commercial.  At first I wanted to write about the ignorance of the individuals who tweeted their disgraceful comments.  However, that just made me angry and liable to say something I would regret.  After mulling it over, I decided to write about how Coca-Cola got it right.

I am very familiar with “America the Beautiful.”  My alma mater is Wellesley College and a Wellesley alumna, Katharine Lee Bates, authored the poem.  It was a big part of my college experience so as I sat in my neighbor’s living room and heard the first few notes of the song, I thought it was pretty cool there was a commercial using it.  Within five seconds, I stopped what I was doing when I realized the next few words were in Spanish.  It took about 10 seconds for everyone in the room to realize that the commercial was in multiple languages.  For the rest of the commercial, an immigrant and the children and grandchildren of immigrants from three countries sat in silence.  They heard the language of their parents and grandparents during the Super Bowl.

While I don’t have a typical immigrant background, Coca-Cola’s commercial spoke to me.  My grandmother and mother are not technically immigrants in that they came here from Puerto Rico and are citizens by birth, contrary to what Laura Ingraham would have you believe.  However, both instilled a deep sense of pride in my Puerto Rican heritage AND American roots.  Listening to the Coca-Cola Super Bowl 2014 commercial made me feel that same sense of pride.

That is why Coca-Cola’s commercial was pure genius.   It played to the sense of belonging and patriotism that immigrants feel and want their children to feel when they make the decision to come to this country.  In 2011, there were over 40 million immigrants and over 17 million children of immigrants in the U.S., not to mention the millions of Americans who are grandchildren of immigrants.  Coca-Cola did not make this commercial without knowing these facts.  It made a decision based on economics and it made total sense.  This decision will reap rewards for them well into the future.  They scored because I will always remember the first time I heard a commercial in multiple languages that just happened to air during the Super Bowl.  You can’t get more mainstream than that.

ALL Kids Deserve a Chance at Success

Today is El Día de los Niños, a day that originated in Latin America to celebrate children. Our nation has been celebrating this day for many years now and many libraries have taken the day to celebrate the importance of literacy for children.

While it is great to celebrate children, what we really need is to invest in them.  Our children are our greatest gift.  They are our future.  They are the ones that will lead our nation and teach our next generation but every day we are failing whole segments of them.

Why?

That is a great question.  I think many individuals will give different answers but I’ll give mine.  I think we allow it to happen because it keeps the power structure intact for those who make decisions.

Take this research.  No Rich Child Left Behind – NYTimes.com.  It details the growing achievement gap between the richest children and children who are middle class and poor, why this is happening, and what can be done about it.

But guess what?  We are not doing anything about it.  The President has a plan but the likelihood of it making it past Congress is probably zero.  As parents, we should be screaming from the rooftops of our homes about the need to invest in our children, but we are not.  The airlines can get Congress to help them stop the pain of the sequester but we cannot get them to stop 70,000 kids from getting kicked off of Head Start.

What does that say about us?  As long as it does not affect my child, it is ok?  I’m sorry to inform you but this will affect your child because your child will become a future leader who will have to deal with the consequences of not properly educating all of our nation’s children.

I, for one, cannot let that happen.  I will continue to advocate for all children because my daughter’s future is tied to the future of all of her peers.  Are you in?

Why All Mamis Should Make Their Voices Heard on the Fiscal Cliff

Mamis, think the fiscal cliff isn’t a big deal?  Think again!

The fiscal cliff is approaching rapidly and negotiations between Congress and the White House appear to be going nowhere.  It seems like falling off the cliff is inevitable.  What isn’t inevitable, however, is the damage that this will cause to the economy, our communities, and our schools.

The fiscal cliff refers to the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and the start of new budget cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 through a process known as sequestration.  How this will affect the economy has been front-page news, but what is talked about less is what happens to our education system on January 2, when the budget cuts go into effect.  For our most vulnerable children, particularly the more than 17 million Latino children in this country, the stakes are high.

While our education system is funded primarily by local property taxes, federal funds account for 8% of all education spending.  However, poor districts receive additional funding from the federal government that they count on to keep schools open, teachers in the classroom, and assistance available to the neediest students.  For some districts, federal funding covers a substantial portion of their budgets.  For example, a recent analysis found that federal funds make up more than 15% of the school budgets in Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia and more than 20% of the budgets in Chicago and Milwaukee.

What does this all mean?  After the fiscal cliff, for every $1 million that a school district receives in federal funding, sequestration will take away $82,000.  For districts with disproportionately large Latino and Black populations, that loss could have devastating effects.  The programs that stand to lose most are those created to help these children compete.  For example:

  • 1.8 million fewer children will be served by Title I, which helps the poorest students.
  • 145,180 children will lose access to before- or after-school programs.
  • 10,899 fewer educators will be available to support special needs students.
  • 26,949 fewer infants and toddlers will receive early intervention services.

Latino children have so much at stake during this debate.  They are 23% of all public school students.  Thirty-seven percent of all Latino children attend the nation’s poorest schools.  Over one-third of all students served by Title I are Latino.  If we fall off the fiscal cliff, our children will suffer the consequences of our inaction.  As the mamis of our future leaders, we must inform ourselves and act to ensure that Congress and the Obama administration make the right decisions.  Our children are depending on us.

 

This was first posted at the NCLR blog at nclrblog.wordpress.com.