Published On: Sun, Oct 14th, 2012

Sunday Sofrito: Red Bull #LiveJump Edition

We are a day away of officially closing out Latino Heritage Month as we know it and beginning our regularly scheduled daily celebrations of our culture here at Sofrito For Your Soul. As I started another day of blogging I watched an amazing video lecture about Latino Heritage Month by Professor Miguel Perez , who spoke about our heritage and it’s absence in our schoolbooks but more importantly in our tradition of storytelling. Many of our kids are not aware of our cultural contributions to this country… his video is a wake up call for us all.

(special thanks to Rhina Valentin and Albert Areizaga for sending the video)

Then, just two hours later, I was drawn in from the online excitement going viral on my FB and Twitter feeds about Felix Baumgartner, the man who just completed the Red Bull Stratos #LiveJump from over a 125,000 feet (24 miles) above the earth. I watched like many… for over an hour as the excitement builds just prior to the jump. I was literally at the edge of my seat… wondering, how does one become “that guy”, a pioneer… at the very root of it I ask;

What makes a man want to go to space without a space ship?

The answer is simple, when you have passion for something you just do it… and you never think about making history as your doing it, you never think that these will be that time that others look back on with pride on when they discuss what it is that you poured your heart and soul into. You will brave uncharted territory and the unknown just for a shot at knowing if your dream can be made a reality.

Allow me to illustrate my point…

X-Men, a group of graffitti vandals starting a program to keep kids off the streets. Once considered outlaws but today are incredible mentors to kids who nobody understood.  Today the create art in legal spaces, learn basic life skilss and are getting mentored by professionals within the XMental, Inc family

Nancy Marmolejo, who was told that she should not brand herself as a “Comadre” when she coached other professionals, because she would never be taken seriously. Today she runs an incredible company that educates small business to be more visible in a different way.

Kim Possible and others  saw a need in Azua Dominican Republic for kids to have a safe place to learn family values and supplement their education. They created Casa Ana with the help of the local NYC community and today children who are identified as disadvantaged orphans or children lacking family structure and support are provided with the necessary tools, including a well-rounded education, technical skills training, motivation and cultivation of a sense of pride in their community.

Rock Wilk (a poet) who although is not Latino has been an incredible supporter of many of our community efforts. It is because his message, his life work is built on the premise of love and family. The Latino community supports him because his work (Broke Wide Open) speaks to people about the human spirit in a universal way. (you have to see his show)

Even when thinking about our Capicu Culture,  PapoSwiggity and I creating a space in Brooklyn that would be home to Latino poets, artists,  community builders and would eventually inspire others to do the same in their own communities.

Along the way we have all grown so much…

but nobody has stopped for one moment thinking about the jump, we simply think about the end result… what it is we want to accomplish and how will we land… then we just did it, we jumped.

Like my friend Carmen M. Colon said to me just this morning while talking about her passion project…

“I don’t want to die and become some cool myth. I want to grow up to be an old has-been. “

And mi gente, that is how you make history…

Thank you for putting it all in perspective Felix!

(PS… I think Felix screamed Capicu!!! when he landed… at least in my mind he did)

George Torres

The Urban Jibaro

Cultivando Cultura since 1997…
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Sunday Sofrito: Red Bull #LiveJump Edition