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Feminist , Latino and LGTB cultural expert, historian, motivational speaker; Author of EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LATINO HISTORY (Plume/October 1994;1998; 2003; 2008) and many other fiction and non-fiction books and magazine articles, Himilce Novas is one of America’s foremost authorities on the increasingly powerful Diversity issues in the US and the world today.           


Presently, Latinos comprise the largest single minority in the United States. In fact, by the year 2010, one out of three Americas will be Latino. This means that our workforce, our schools and even what we eat and the way we approach a problem will be strongly influenced by a culture so different from the currently dominant, so-called AngIo culture, as to alter our tradi­tional American views forever.


In her writings, Iectures and workshops, Himilce Novas addresses Latino, feminist and LGTB concerns and aspirations eloquently, with a unique cultural perspective and a solution-oriented approach to government, corpora­tions and individuals alike.


Himilce Novas exposes the negative myths about Latinos and the GLTB community, and celebrates their strength, energy and phenomenal contributions to America and the world. She dis­cusses machismo, bilingual educa­tion, same-sex marriage, immigration concerns and solutions, legal landmarks, folklore, cui­sine, multi-ethnic traditions and the whole historical enchilada with wit, wisdom and elegance.

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                   Sexism and the Media


                     How the Misogynist Media Conspired to Steal the Election from the First Viable Woman Presidential Candidate.

                This lecture is   a straight talk, show-and-tell, and open discussion based on the documented record of the 2008 Democratic

                Presidential Primary Campaign


                   HN’s own fiction and non-fiction

              Writing for a living—how to hone your craft and get published

              Yes you can! Motivational  talk and workshop

 Latino Immigration to the United States: Contributions, Conflicts and Resolutions

 Debunking the myths and prejudices about Latinos in the USA

 We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used to It: Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Civil Rights

 Latino history, art and literature in the USA

 Machismo: What it is and what it isn’t

Feminism: It’s alive and  well  in a home and office near you

 Latino Religious Traditions in the US

 Cuban-American culture and contributions

 Latino Literary Masterworks

 Latin American Cuisine Across the USA

 Latino Art: Five Centuries of Art in the U.S.A. 

 Latin American Masters and Folk Art

 Asian American History




 Latina/o growth, pride and self-realization

 Discovering our individual gifts and contributions to the world

 Finding our own path and success as Latinos/Latinas

 Navigating the Inter-Cultural and Cross-Cultural Waters

                    Latino/a self-identity

                    LGTB/a self-identity

                    Same Sex Marriage


And other topics at:


Wellesley College, Columbia University, Yale University, Tulane University, Allegheny College, Penn State, Adelphi University ,Notre Dame University the University of Toledo, Eastern Illinois University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Holy Cross College, Russel  College, Union College, Trenton State College, De Pauw University, Syracuse University, Ithaca College, Utah State, Michigan State, Olivet College, Baylor University, Florida State University, Boston College, St Joseph's University, San Jacinto College, Bowling Green State University, Slippery Rock University, The College of William and Mary, and others, as well as organizations such as The Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, The Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference, The American College Personnel Association, The Teachers and Writers Collaborative, New York City, Boston area METCO Directors Annual Meeting, Words and Music Faulkner House Literary Festival, New Orleans, University of Colorado, Denver, Pittsburg State College, Kansas, Central Michigan University, TRW; Sowing Seeds, LULAC’s Latino Arts Organization of 2007 Tucson, AZ,  and many  other academic, corporate and government institutions.


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Download/Listen to Internet Radio interview with Himilce Novas

 about these topics and much more:

        Description: ani star japDebunking Latino myths and learning about Latino culture and contribution to America

      Description: ani star japSexism in our culture and in the media

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without any need to click further:

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Professor exposes Latino myths

Last Thursday, in honor of Latino Month, visiting Professor of Writing Himilce Novas spoke about the history of Latinos in a lecture titled “Latina/o Culture: Debunking the Myths.” Mezcla sponsored the lecture and asked Novas to clarify misconceptions regarding Latinos.

Mezcla member Jennifer Casiano ’04 opened the lecture with a short introduction. Professor Novas, author of Everything You Need to Know About Latino History, has researched Latino culture and explained the many myths about Latinos in American Society. Novas has been teaching at Wellesley since last spring, and she is currently teaching a writing course titled “Latino Literature and the Dawning of the New Great American Novel.” Before Wellesley, she also taught for five years in the Literature Program of the College of Creative Studies in California. Besides her teaching background, she has lectured for the past 15 years on writing and on Latino literature, history, and culture.

Novas began by insisting that society needs to get rid of the word “Hispanic” for several reasons. The word “hispanic” means that the Spanish language is spoken. However, most Latinos in this country do not speak Spanish. Another reason she believes this term is unsuitable is because “Hispanic” is derogatory and has been used in a racist sense. Latinos do not call themselves “Hispanic,” and, therefore, society should not classify Latinos by a name that they themselves do not use. Like any other minority group, Latinos are evolving and have many ethnic and cultural traditions.

Novas also discussed Latino history, as well as Latino contributions to American society and their current status. “[Latinos] have changed and they continue to change the state of this nation,” said Novas. As the largest single minority group in the U.S., Latinos made many contributions that go unnoticed. For example, Cesar Chavez dedicated most of his life to fighting human rights abuses. Novas exposed the truth about Latinos and addressed four myths about them.

The first myth addressed was that too many Latino immigrants in this country live off welfare. The fact is, less than a third of Latinos are immigrants. Recent studies show that only six percent of Latinos live on welfare.

The second myth she clarified is that Latinos are foreigners. She asked, how could this be true if they have been in this country since the year 1500?

The third myth is that only illegal Latino immigrants suffer in this country. There is still a “systematic persecution throughout the west,” said Novas. She believes schools do not educate about how Latinos have suffered in the United States.

Finally, the fourth myth she addressed is that not enough Latinos contribute to this country. She mentioned there are various contributors, such as scientists, philosophers and many other great thinkers. However, society only hears about baseball players, singers and actors, rather than “any human activity that adds to the benefit and inspiration of the whole interval,” Novas said.

Novas concluded by saying “it is time” for more Latina and Latino role models for the younger generations. She hopes that, among the many successful Wellesley alumnae, there will be a future Latina Wellesley alumna who will bring hope and inspiration to many.

After her lecture, Professor Novas answered questions regarding higher education for Latinos and, specifically, how to bring about Latino unity on this campus. She answered that Latinas need to look for the things they have in common, look at their experiences and come together to defeat their hardships. Also, it is important for the educators to teach their students about the culture.

There was positive feedback about this lecture from students. “I learned a lot,” and it was “really nice [how] she sent forth [the message] about how people of ethnic groups [need to focus] on commonalities” in order to unite and make society aware of the Latino culture, said Migdalia Arciniegas ’04.

Juanita Nava ’04 said, “I was very happy to have Professor Novas talk because I most certainly learned more about Latinos in general that I hadn’t known before. I think it is important to have talks like hers because people need to learn that Latinos are quickly becoming the biggest ethnic group, many of whom are retaining their culture.”


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               From Bookviews: My Picks of the Month

Knowing history is the mark of a well-tuned mind. One cannot predict the future without knowledge of the past. And there’s a lot of it! That’s why I was rather intrigued to receive the 2003 edition of Everything You Need to Know About Latino History ($14.00, Plume) by Himilce Novas. Latinos are going to transform the United States because they are the fastest growing minority and have been for several decades. In 2000, there were more than 35 million Latinos, a 58% increase from 1990. Most of us, myself included, know little about their Latino neighbors, their culture, their history, or their dreams for the future. Well, this softcover is a bargain of information with chapters on Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and others.



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 Observe Hispanic Heritage Month in these ways

How, you may ask, can you celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month?

·        ·         Among some of the 50 ways suggested by Ricardo Parra, a writer who lives in the Midwest, are:

·        ·         Read some good books by and about Latinos. Suggestions include "Everything You Need to Know About Latino History" by Himilce Novas. There are many fine Latina and Latino authors. They include Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Himilce Novas, Laura Esquivel, Carlos Fuentes, Rudolfo Anaya, Sandra Cisneros, Oscar Hijuelos, Esmeralda Santiago, Ana Castillo, Julia Alvarez, Luis Rodriguez and many, many more.

·        ·         Catch a good movie featuring Latino stars. Last year it was "Selena" with Jennifer Lopez.
This year it's "Dance With Me" with Chayanne and Vanessa Williams. It features a great sound track of Latino music. This year we also saw the "Mask of Zorro" with Antonio Banderas.

·        ·         Read some Latino magazines such as "Hispanic," "Latina Magzine," "Moderna" and other magazines now available.

·        ·         Listen to some salsa, Latin Jazz or the Tejano sound.

·        ·         Treat your family and friends to variety of Latino food this month such as arroz con pollo, chicken and mole, caldo de res, fajitas,  arroz con gandules, empanadas, tortas or other good stuff.

·        ·         Learn new Latino recipes whether from the Southwest or other Latino communities.

·        ·         Learn some Latino dances. Can you merengue, samba or rhumba? Surprise them at school or the office with a conga line.

·        ·         Learn to play a musical instrument or play it better.

·        ·         Visit a Spanish speaking country, learn about your roots but also learn about the roots of other Latinos.

·        ·         Learn about issues affecting Latinos like English only, immigration, affirmative action, welfare reform, education, youth, violence, drugs, teen pregnancy, child and spousal abuse, and Latino health issues.

·        ·         Speak out against immigrant-bashing, prejudice, racism and sexism when you see it occur.

·        ·         As you enjoy your meals during this month-long celebration, make a special effort to keep in mind the farm workers, packers, cannery workers, food and
restaurant workers, and domestic workers.
Remember to support their struggle and causes.

·        ·         Serve as a volunteer in English classes to help immigrants learn English.

·        ·         Learn to grow and appreciate the many beautiful cultures and rich traditions of others. Avoid being a cultural chauvinist.

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Himilce Novas


Himilce Novas, novelist and former visiting professor of Writing and English and American literature at Wellesley College, University of California at Santa Barbara, Clark University among others, was an editor and writer for Gold Key Comics from 1973 to 1975. Here, she tells VFA about her recent "blast from the past" about Women in Comic Books.

"I was contacted by Jake Oster , a comic book aficionado currently researching early comic books of the late 60s and 70s. He was told by erstwhile editors, writers and artists who worked with and for me at Gold
Description: HimilceTwilightKey Comics (Western Publishing) that I was the only person they knew of who insisted on feminist angles and themes for the comics. And, they stressed, I would not agree to publish or write any story that in any way denigrated or discriminated against girls and women. I accepted the job at Western Publishing for Gold Key comics ONLY because I had made up my mind to do what I could to create role models for girls, and also right the wrongs-or as many as I could. I have always believed in action and in bringing a feminist flash light to the area of one's work and expertise (think globally, act locally), so I looked upon my work at Gold Key Comics as a "mission" and, I suppose, a duty.

The funny thing was that I grew up in a literary/academic family with no comic books around, so I never read comics as a child. I accepted the Western Publishing job because it came to my attention that there were almost no credible women heroes in comic books and all the characters, even the animal characters, were "he." Characters like Annabelle the Cow were female, but always derided. There were hundreds of Tweetys and Sylvesters, but except for the "grandma," there were no good girl or women characters. They were either non-existent or in the background - as characters of scorn and never powerful. So, I decided to start integrating the comics and to edit and write comics where women and girls had strong role models and were heroes, not just shadow characters in the peanut gallery. It was important at that time to obliterate the notion of women as "evil," "sinister" (left-handed), manipulators, or else stupid bumblers who soured all the fun for the boys. It was not an easy job-and it still isn't. "Put the blame on Mame" is still alive and well, unfortunately. But there has been some progress and we need lots more. Until we have gender parity in every area of life, including government, society and the arts, there can be no harmony, peace or justice in the world-and ultimately no world.

Among the many comic book titles I wrote and also served as editor of were Bugs Bunny; Yosemite Sam; Tweety And Sylvester; Star Trek; Boris Karloff Presents; The Twilight Zone; Underdog, One of my favorite comics titles/stories I wrote was The Twilight Zone story, No Perfect Crime, where a young woman was not only a hero, but a "seer" with supernatural powers which she used to bring benevolence and justice to humankind.

I was fortunate at that time to have worked with some of the giants of what are considered the "classic comics" of all time. Wally Green, whose father, Bud Green, wrote the famous song, "Sentimental Journey," was my direct boss. Pat Fortunato, a writer and later the founder of Mega Books (which resurrected the Nancy Drew stories, among many others) was one of the many writers in my stable. The famous and prolific comic writer, Paul Newman, also worked for me.

In general, the feminist movement has made strides in the last 30 years, but the fact that we don't yet have a woman president when women are 52% of the population, speaks volumes. In South Africa , they called that apartheid, the rule of the majority by a minority. What are we calling it here?"

HIMILCE NOVAS graduated from Hunter College of the City of New York and, early on, joined NOW and took part in feminist actions in NOW and radical feminist groups. Among her many varied jobs, Himilce was senior editor at Doubleday--the youngest senior editor and woman in the multimedia division at Doubleday at that time. She looked upon all her work as a mission, which besides her teaching, writing and feminist activity included off Broadway plays. One of her plays, Free This Day, was the first feminist play that the renowned Joseph Papp ever published in his Public Theater journal, Scripts (1972). Today, she devotes her time to writing and political activism , dividing her time between AZ and California. She shares her life with her marriage partner, the editor and writer Rosemary Silva, whom she married in 2008 after 18 years of "unwedded bliss." Her books include the best seller, Everything You Need To Know About Latino History, Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts: A Cuban Love Story; Princess Papaya, Everything You Need To Know About Asian American History, Latin American Cooking Across the USA.

 We have reviews on some of Himilce's books at the VFA


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“I am honored to be featured in this book, as I was honored to be a

part of such  a critical  moment in history, and to work shoulder to shoulder

with so many  courageous pioneers”   Himilce Novas

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                                      SPOTLIGHT ON HIMILCE NOVAS IN LA BLOGA



Sowing the Seeds Presents:

       Mujeres Writing Conference


Denise Chavez


 Himilce Novas

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