This piñata artist wants to be angry at Donald Trump. He's being proactive instead.

This young artist based in Sin City is using piñatas to make a statement on human rights and racial equality.

Justin Favela is a 30-year-old Latino artist who proudly lives in Las Vegas, a city rich with self-expression and color — much like his art.

Favela is a mixed-media artist, but he mostly makes piñatas. Why piñatas? Growing up, Favela didn't like the forced masculinity that smashing a piñata to bits entailed. So he decided to make them his own way, turning them into the trademark of his artwork. Favela started a six-month artist residency at the Juhl building in September 2016 after the building's owner saw his work in another Nevada art show.

During the early days of the presidential election, Favela gained a little notoriety after creating a piñata bust of President-elect Donald Trump.

Image by Ed Fuentes/PaintThisDesert, featured with permission.


Favela was commissioned by a restaurant run by his cousin in Las Vegas to create a piñata in Trump's likeness shortly after Trump announced his candidacy. It was made for an event where patrons would demolish it with a stick. That is, after all, how piñatas tend to work.

Even so, Favela later felt uncomfortable with the whole thing.

After the president-elect painted all Mexicans with a broad brush as rapists and criminals, Favela and his fellow Latinos got angry. But to him, that still didn't justify creating the likeness of Trump out of tissue paper and glue, only to have it pummeled to pieces by overzealous restaurant patrons.

Favela thought watching the Trump piñata get smashed would feel satisfying for him. But instead, he watched people smash the piñata to bits ... and he started to regret his art project.

Justin Favela working in his Las Vegas studio. Image via Justin Favela, featured with permission.

He says he doesn't like that he spent all that time creating an effigy of a man who, in his opinion, is full of hate. But he also felt conflicted about the violence: By making what he refers to as the "Trumpiñata," was he encouraging Latinos to display precisely the violent behavior they were being accused of?

"I think the whole Trump piñata movement reinforced the stereotype of us being violent people, but on the other hand, it was a way for us to make a political statement," he said.

Favela's conflicted feelings sum up a lot of the current conversation about Trump, especially for minorities.

We're mad that Trump was elected, but we also want to go high when he goes low ... and that's a lot easier said than done. Favela is still trying to make sense of what he's feeling post-election, and that's OK.

Watching Trump win the presidency after hearing him say inflammatory things about minorities is a highly emotional experience.

The artist gave a downtown Las Vegas motel the "piñata treatment." Image by Krystal Ramirez, featured with permission.

But Favela is dealing with this anger and pain in an interesting way: He continuing to create loud, unapologetic work.

"Visibility is everything. I have always made art about my identity as a first-generation Latino in America," Favela says. Now, more than ever before, I think it is important that from now on I make art for myself and for people that look, walk, and talk like me."

Favela told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he's working on a really big piece for a group show at the Denver Art Museum that will feature 13 Latino artists. He's recreating the garden set from the 2002 movie “Frida,” about Mexican painter Frida Kahlo starring Salma Hayek. The piñatas will now be about representation, not destruction.

Favela also co-hosts a twice-monthly podcast, “Latinos Who Lunch,” where he talks about art, pop culture, and identity politics.

Image by Mikayla Whitmore via Justin Favela, featured with permission.

Favela's feelings about Trump aren't black and white. But to me, they are hopeful.

There's fear, frustration, regret. There's a strong desire to keep pushing forward while also wanting to look back and wallow in defeat.

Latinos have the power to help shape this nation and Favela hopes that, as the majority minority in this country, Latinos will work together with other social justice movements. He believes that's the only way to truly take steps forward in the fight for human rights and racial equality.

"I want Latinos to know that we are going to be all right. The struggle is nothing new for us. We got this," Favela says.

In general, I think we can all learn from Favela's outlook: Sure, it's going to take a little time to let our feelings settle. We may need some time to regroup. But then, like Favela, we can use the tools we have to move forward, to fight for equality, and to bring representation to all people, everywhere.

With those tools, and with some piñatas, maybe we can even change the world.

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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.

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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.

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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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