A Star In The Darkness

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I know, I don’t need to tell you. This is the worst health crisis of our lifetimes. None of us were prepared and no one knows what the long-term consequences of all this will be.

But this isn’t the first time in which humanity faces pandemic situations. During the middle ages around 100 million people were killed by the black plague. Smallpox and measles killed around 90% of all Meso-Americans after the arrival of Europeans in the 15th century. Just a hundred years ago, Spanish flu infected one-fourth of all people on Earth and may have killed up to 50 million.

So, what is so different about this pandemic? Well, to start with, this is the one we are living in. Statistics are not yet done. This crisis is not yet written in history books. This is history in the making.

The other huge difference is that for the first time since the dawn of time we are all interconnected. We can know in real-time what is happening on the other side of the world, as well as what’s happening on a minute by minute basis. Such information means power. Power to protect ourselves and others.

And just as important, being connected means that we can actively help to overcome this situation. Never before have humans been better equipped to help others anywhere around the world, even while staying at home. And with that awareness comes responsibility.

It is our duty to protect ourselves and those we love, and by doing so, protect others around us. It is also our duty to protect and help anyone we can, especially our community.

Why? Precisely because we can. Because for better or for worse, we’re in this together. Because we don’t win this alone, we can only win this together.

As a Hispanic in the U.S., I’m devastated by how this pandemic is disproportionately impacting the Hispanic community. Not just because of COVID-19, but also because of the economic onslaught that will affect us long after the virus is contained.

Fortunately, when there is a struggle, there is also hope. Many organizations and corporations are stepping up to face the common enemy, and one of them is We Are All Human, through the Hispanic Star platform. Hispanic Star is specifically dedicated to helping the U.S. Hispanic community, by gathering resources, best practices, solutions, and tools under one unified ecosystem.

The Hispanic Star platform was originally intended to unite, celebrate, and empower the U.S. Hispanic community, by recognizing their invaluable contribution to this great nation in terms of culture, economy, history, and art.

And then COVID-19 hit us, and everything changed.

The Hispanic Star discovered a new sense of purpose. Celebrating culture would have to wait for better times. Right now, it’s about helping the Hispanic community heal and recover as soon as possible, by gathering individuals, organizations, and corporations under one platform, in order to provide practical solutions, human and financial resources, as well as spread education and best practices.

But the Hispanic Star, a platform repurposed to help the people, has to be known by the people. And so, to launch the Hispanic Star, a very special video was created, featuring an official version of the U.S. National Anthem that most people have never heard about.

75 years ago, President Roosevelt commissioned a Spanish version of the National Anthem to acknowledge the importance of Hispanics to the U.S.

Clotilde Arias, a New Yorker of Peruvian descent, created a beautiful Anthem in Spanish that preserved the strength, melody, and character of the original Star-Spangled Banner, and El Pendón Estrellado was born. Unfortunately, history forgot about this version, which is unknown to most Americans, including Hispanic Americans. Until now.

The launch of the Pendón Estrellado video aims to raise awareness around the need for Hispanics to act united as one in order to heal and recover from this crisis while strengthening our sense of belonging to this country. And by acting as one under the Hispanic Star platform, we will be better equipped to face the long road to recovery.

It’s time for all of us to become Hispanic Stars. It’s time for us to rise to the challenge and help our community win the war against the invisible enemy. Recovery will be long and hard, but together we will make it possible. Each of us has something to give and a role to play, even when we might also need a helping hand to cling to.

It’s time to help Hispanics help America.

And when all this is over, when the dust has settled and the sun shines again, maybe, just maybe, we might discover that this ordeal has brought out the best in all of us. And that we are better because of it, able to enjoy life fully, and to care for the welfare of others deeply.

I feel extremely privileged to be a collaborator of the Hispanic Star. For me, it all started when Claudia Romo, founder of We Are All Human, invited Per Pedersen and Grey to participate in this extraordinary project. The world would be a better place for everyone if there were more people like Claudia and her heroic team of collaborators.

As Grey’s creative leader behind the Hispanic Star symbol and launch campaign, I thank Bernardo Rodriguez Pons, Juliano Domingues, Emiliano Gozalez de Pietri, Guillermo Aracena, and Sebastian Mallarino for pouring their hearts and minds into making this happen. And to Per, for trusting us with what probably is the most important mission we’ve done so far while inspiring and guiding us every step of the way.

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