This film powerfully tackles homophobia from a Latino dad's point of view.

The willingness of any parent to adapt their way of thinking to make their child happy is a beautiful thing.

When Santiago Vasquez's son told him he was gay, Santiago looked at his wife, then burst into tears of joy.

Santiago is featured in "El Canto del Colibri," a powerful and raw new documentary about Latino dads coming to grips with their children's sexuality in a culture that often has zero tolerance for it.

"Colibri" means hummingbird in Spanish. "Much like the seldom-heard song of the hummingbird, the voices of Latino fathers are rarely heard in addressing LGBTQ issues," the opening lines of the documentary explain.


So "El Canto del Colibri" is "the song of the hummingbird."

Santiago Vasquez and his son, Santi. Still from "El Canto del Colibri," used with permission.

In the documentary, Santiago said it was a relief for him to hear that his son was gay.

He saw an excruciating look of pain on his son's face when he said he needed to tell them something. Based on that look, Santiago, a police officer, said he immediately thought his son, Santi, was maybe on drugs or perhaps he had witnessed a crime.

But when he heard Santi's words, he asked to give him a big hug and a kiss. "Prepare yourself to fight for your rights," he said.

"El Canto del Colibri" is a big moment for the Latino culture, which has traditionally had low tolerance for LGBTQ lifestyles.

In particular, Latino men tend to have a reputation for being extremely homophobic.

Machismo, a common cultural phenomenon in Latino history, preaches an overzealous masculine pride among Latino men where they feel the man should make the rules and has the final say in any household. It's an outdated concept that many now feel has no place in today's evolving society.

But this documentary hopes to show how things are changing. Now, Latino men are moving away from machismo, leaving their homophobic ideals behind, and embracing their children. By sharing real stories of Latino fathers and their kids talking openly about sexuality, this documentary shows that things are changing, finally, slowly.

Still of Joaquin Lopez sharing a laugh with his father, Salvador, from "El Canto del Colibri," used with permission.

The emotion that comes across most frequently in the documentary is fear.

There's fear that society won't accept their child for being gay. Fear that he or she will be treated unfairly. And also fear that they'll be physically injured by ignorant people who don't agree with their lifestyle.

Some fathers in the film admit to blaming themselves somehow for their son or daughter's sexual orientation. One admits not being very affectionate with his daughter when she was young, as if that could've been a factor. For others, their kids' sexual orientation is almost perceived as a reflection on themselves.

"Parents think that their boy's sexuality, more than their daughter's, is a reflection of their own sexuality," says Jorge Hernandez, one of the young men in the film. "They feel that their sons represent who they are as people."

Alberto Salamanca, another father featured in the film, says that he first had to accept in his mind the fact that his kid was gay and then realize that — before all else — that's his child. And if he doesn't accept him, then how will society accept him?

Still of Cris and his father, Alberto Salamanca, from "El Canto del Colibri," used with permission.

The other key emotion is love: For many of these dads, their children finally shook them out of that deep-rooted machismo mentality.

Santiago remembers flying into a rage after seeing Santi being affectionate with his boyfriend in front of the family, including his youngest son.

It took his daughter saying, "Daddy, you're wrong!" and his younger son saying, "I know my brother's gay, and I don't care," for him to realize he needed to change his way of thinking.

Santi says he is glad he did the documentary. "Not only were my dad and I able to express our thoughts and emotions, but it also showed that even when you love someone, e.g., your son or child, you can still have prejudices and fears sometimes translates into anger because that may be the only recognizable emotion in that moment."

While the kids in this documentary were brave, I was actually most impressed by the fathers.

Initially, they frustrated me. But in the end, I realized that they, too, were brave. They were willing to adapt and to choose to love their children despite the cultural norms around them.

Still of Ricardo Hernandez with his son, Jorge, from "El Canto del Colibri," used with permission.

"As a gay Latino man, my hope is that Latino families can cope with the menagerie of emotions that they may have when their child comes out," Santi said. "It's OK to have fear and doubt, but please know that there is beauty in diversity."

Javier Bandera and Zizi Bandera, a father and daughter, said filming the documentary actually helped them heal.

"The most beautiful moments of healing for me happened behind the scenes, from my mom decorating the whole house with rainbow papel picado and streamers when the film crew came over, to coming out to my oldest brother live during the filming," Zizi said.

"It gave us the privilege to be able to help other families understand their LGBT children," her father, Javier, said. "Especially after the tragedy in Florida. It changed my life and helped me see that we have to think differently and be more understanding towards our kids."

Still of Zizi and her father, Javier Bandera, from the documentary "El Canto del Colibri," used with permission.

Director Marco Castro-Bojorquez says he originally set out to dismantle the idea that Latino men are homophobic, transphobic, or machista by nature.

He wanted to show how unconditional love has the power to change hearts and minds in our families and in our community.

I'd say he got his wish.

This film sparks a difficult conversation in a culture that needs it very much. It represents an important step in not only lifting up, but understanding and supporting the LGBTQ movement within the Latino community.

And by opening up in "El Canto del Colibri," these fathers have also become champions of the LGBTQ movement and strong allies for their children.

Who would have thought that a group of Latino fathers would lead the charge for embracing the LGBTQ community in the Latino culture? Certainly not me, but I love it.

Watch the film's moving trailer below:

The documentary is now available on Vimeo.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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