Meet Cindy Tovar, an educator and the founder of Hispanecdotes. She is one of the Unique women we’ll be featuring during Women’s History Month.
The daughter of Colombian immigrants, Cindy was born in New York, raised there and in New Jersey. She’s a city girl who recently moved to Washington state, and is now embracing the outdoor lifestyle and less hectic way of life.
In the spirit of storytelling, here she is in her own words.
I’m an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, and I love what I do. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, I just wish I had more time for it!
My interest in writing was instilled in me by my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs.Rodgers. One of our class projects was to write and illustrate our own books, which was really exciting for me. She taught us the power of our words when we wrote letters to then-First Lady Barbara Bush, voicing our concern over library budget cuts (she wrote back!). She created a Writer’s Club for us after school, held weekly in a classmate’s home, and encouraged us to write our own stories there. She also taught us the value of keeping a journal, a practice I continued into my high school years.
Once I entered college, I stopped writing for fun and didn’t get back into it until I was done with my education, which is when I started writing for Being Latino Online Magazine. I eventually became an Associate Editor there before deciding to step down from that position.
David Sedaris is my writing inspiration. His humor cracks me up, first of all. And I love the way he weaves tangents and side plots into his essays but yet manages to tie everything together at the end somehow. He’s a master at that, and I hope I can someday write as well as he does.
I launched Hispanecdotes, the online magazine, on February 3rd of 2017.
The name came before the concept. There’s really no story behind the name besides that I was hoping to come up with a play on words (love those!) and the name just came to me one day as I was brainstorming. I wish I had a better story, or that I could remember exactly the time and place I thought of it!
Originally, Hispanecdotes was the name of my personal blog that I created back in 2012. I had the WordPress site, a Facebook page and a plan: I was going to write and post articles three times a week, in different categories. I even had a calendar to map out which articles I would write and when. Well, I think I was going strong for a while until I started getting worn out. I guess my expectations were a bit unrealistic. And then one day I just stopped writing altogether. Life just got a bit complicated, and I knew it would come out in my writing, but I wasn’t ready to face it yet. It wasn’t until December 2016 that I decided it was time to start writing again.
In January, I joined Vanessa Martir’s #52essays2017 challenge. Immediately, I was inspired by all the amazing Latino writers who were a part of that challenge! It made me think: “Look at all this talent, hidden within personal blogs.” It made me wish that there was still a place for us to showcase that talent, and that’s when the idea started to form. After making the decision to turn Hispanecdotes into a platform for Latino writers, it all happened rather quickly from there.
A place for our stories
It’s important to me to provide the platform because I believe there is a need for Latino writers to be in the public eye. Especially writers that aren’t just going to perpetuate common stereotypes. Perhaps if more people read our personal stories, they’d find similarities to their own experience, things they could relate to. And maybe the realization that there is some common ground between us could nurture feelings of empathy and understanding, which are lacking right now, and could help form a bridge across this sea of racism prevalent in our country. I think our voices need to be heard, but not just our political views. There’s enough political commentary out there, but what of our personal commentary? There needs to be a place for that, too.
The magazine is just starting out, so it’s still a baby in my eyes. I’m not quite sure what it will become, as I’m sure it will evolve over time, but one thing I do know is that its focus will always be on writing, as an art form. The long-term goal would be for Hispanecdotes to be recognized as the go-to magazine where readers can have access to good-quality writing, in a variety of styles and voices, that reflects our experience as Latinos living in the United States.
Look into to the Future
I don’t know what was in the champagne this past New Years Eve, but this year I’ve adopted an unshakeable attitude that the possibilities are endless: you just have to pursue them! I’ve always been ambitious but I think I was afraid of my dreams, and now I’m ready to take them on. I’d love to write a book! I’d love to buy a professional camera and take a photography class! I’d love to start a family! I’m reaching for the stars this year, and I hope everyone comes along for the ride!