A local author is partnering with Waste Management to promote its new campaign that’s “for Latinos, by Latinos.”
Newcastle resident Maria de Lourdes Victoria has authored multiple books in Spanish and has made it her mission to help local Spanish-speaking writers to create art in their mother tongue.
When Waste Management began their campaign to reach out to their Latino customers, it reached out to the local Latino artist communities to seek submissions. Victoria’s submission — a poem that’s an ode to paper — was chosen as the winning submission and was made into a promotional video, which featured works of a Latino musician and artist.
In the poem, Victoria reflected on the large amount of art she receives from her grandchildren and feeling guilty about recycling them. However, she finds peace in knowing that the paper will be recycled and enjoyed by other little hands.
Victoria said she was interested in the campaign because of Waste Management’s approach to the campaign.
“What was really exciting was that an agency would think about reaching to the Latino community with Latinos,” she said. “When you do that the right way, you’re going to have the cultural sensitivity about the language but also you have the cultural understanding to create something meaningful, to really have a message that the audience you’re trying to reach is going to relate to.”
Victoria was born and brought up in Veracruz, Mexico. She moved to the United States in 1978 after getting married. She attended law school and practiced as a public defendant for about 20 years, but her career as a writer began much later.
It wasn’t until she realized her sons were having an identity crisis that she knew she had to write the story of her family.
“I wanted to take the time and write the story of their heritage. I wanted them to be proud of who they are,” she said.
She, along with her father, spent six years researching and chronicling of their family history in her debut book “El Dejo el Mar.”
Soon after, she plunged herself into the genre of historical fiction.
Her first novel, “Los Hijos Del Mar”, was the finalist for the Mariposa Award (best first novel in Spanish) at the 2006 International Latino Book Awards in Washington D.C. and her 2016 novel, “La Casa de los Secretos”, was a finalist in International Latino Book Awards as the best historical novel in Spanish.
She has also published several children’s books.
With each new project, Victoria said she’s drawn to explore Mexican culture and heritage to dispel the myths and misunderstandings about her people.
Even with multiple published books under her belt, Victoria said it’s still an uphill battle for a Spanish-writing author like her. This is a challenge Latino writers in America face. The raw talent is abundant, however the lack of resources and opportunities leave little room for growth and opportunity, she said.
“It’s a constant doors-closed issue for us,” she said. “That’s frustrating. Being an artist is already hard… (Latino writers) need a school you can go to, a place that can support your art, a chance at grants.”
For Victoria, the need more literature that’s written by people of color by people of color is evident.
“Literature for children are too white. The children who are not white have a hard time identifying with characters in literature,” she said. “…I believe you cannot write the experience of the other unless you are the other.”
And that is why opportunities like Waste Management’s campaign is important for the community, she added.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen an agency, thanks to the marketing department they have, be serious about saying, ‘Let’s do this and let’s do this right,’” Victoria said.
Maria de Lourdes Victoria’s poem:
Papel que sacrificas
tu blanca pureza.
Eres dibujo de nietas.
Avión y barquito.
Máscara de princesas.
Papel, me duele reciclarte.
¡Eres infancia de mis nenas!
Pero sé que igual han de gozarte
Otras manitas ajenas.
Dear paper who sacrifices
your own white purity.
You are a poem.
You are granddaughters’ drawing.
Plane and small boat.
Paper, it hurts me to recycle you.
You are my children’s childhood!
But I know that other little hands must enjoy you as well.