Selena Helped Me Gain The Confidence to Learn How to Speak Spanish

Hugo Balta


“I am not Mexican and I am not a Texan, but as a young Latina who once had dreams of singing and performing on stage, I idolized her”, writes Maria Elena Perez in a tribute piece to Selena, the Queen of Tejano Music.

“Growing up in the suburbs of Long Island and living in an English-speaking household, I never spoke Spanish but I unconsciously learned some words and phrases thanks to my Abuelas. Both of my Abuelas, who were born and raised in different parts of Puerto Rico, taught me Spanish through conversation, songs, and telenovelas. They also taught me about my culture and introduced me to a lot of my favorite Puerto Rican foods.”

The essay on Selena is for the latest issue of Pero Make It Newsy, a weekly newsletter dedicated to news about, by, and for women and people who identify as women. Each issue includes pieces written by its curators, Maria Elena and Nikki Rojas as well as a variety of recommendations and highlights.

In the latest issue, which dropped on Wednesday, Maria Elena also shares the challenges of not being Latinx enough.

“You can be Latinx and still learn how to fluently speak Spanish, even if you grew up in an English-speaking household. You can be Latinx and never learn to speak Spanish, and that’s totally okay too”, she writes.

Along with Maria Elena’s homage to Selena, this edition includes a book review of “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah and news curated articles covering trans rights, the so-called “she-cession” and a new position at the White House. There’s also have a column each week from our favorite puppy columnist, Princess Party Time.

Be sure to check out this week’s issue at Pero Make It Newsy. You can also sign up to get fresh editions sent straight to your inbox.

Publisher’s Note: MALN and Pero Make It Newsy are partners in best serving the Hispanic, Latino, Latinx community of Massachusetts.