Page 2 November 12, 2020
Meet the Man Who Inspired the
Musical “Hamilton” in Siempre, Luis
By Ashley DeFrancesco
Luis Miranda’s name may not be as well
known as his son’s, multiple Tony award-winner
Lin-Manuel Miranda, but it is his name that
you will remember by the end of Siempre, Luis.
Director John James does an extraordinary
job of creating a compelling portrait of an
unbreakable man who is passionate about his
family, his work, and his home of Puerto Rico.
Luis was known by his siblings as “the
brain” and his parents had high expectations.
He reminisced about the pressure to perform
well in school, saying that if he brought
home a mark of 95, his mother’s first question
was, “Did anyone get 100?” His gut told
him that he was meant for more, outside of
Puerto Rico. In 1970, he moved to New York
to attend NYU and quickly became a leader
and liaison for the Latinx community. Luis
helped his community organize their needs
and voice into active voting. He demonstrated
to the candidates how vital Latinx voters are
by creating strategic campaigning for Latinx
communities that hadn’t been done before. He
worked on the campaign for Mayor Ed Koch
as the Director of Hispanic Affairs, as well
as Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Senate,
both of which won. His work on these campaigns
and countless others created the space
for Latinx politics and culture to be heard,
listened to, and represented.
With impactful and touching interviews from
Miranda, his family, and those who worked
with him, James creates the portrait of an
unbreakable man whose family and country
come first, always. The source of Lin-Manuel’s
inspiration for his character Alexander Hamilton
in his revolutionary musical Hamilton is clear,
Luis is non-stop. Even after his heart attack
in 2016, Luis would help Lin-Manuel open
Hamilton at the University of Puerto Rico as
a way to help rebuild after Hurricane Maria
hit in 2017.
Siempre, Luis tells the beautiful story of a
unique, proud immigrant who found a way
to live his American dream and keep Puerto
Rico closest to his heart. Miranda is passion
and devotion personified.
Distributed by HBO, Siempre, Luis is now
playing on HBO and HBO Max. •
Siempre Luis, courtesy HBO.
“Why are you IN a movie
but you’re ON TV?.”
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By Samantha Schmidt
Hello Hawthorne! As individuals, we can
sometimes underestimate the morals and values
of community outreach. Becoming actively
involved with local community programs, such
as donating to a toy drive for Christmas, can
present a significant opportunity to develop
leadership, discipline, and engagement within
your community. In addition, taking part in
community services simply helps you boost your
self-esteem and give you a sense of pride and
identity. Because of these positive attributes, it
provides a natural sense of accomplishment.
Whether you decide to launch a program or
participate in an established group, the experience
is a great opportunity to take you out of
your comfort zone and hopefully others as well.
Daniel Marquez and Her
For today’s article, I interviewed Daniel
Marquez who happens to be a 33-year-old
Hawthorne resident of Mexican and Japanese
descent! She is an Urban Farmer and Garden
Manager for Community Healing Gardens, an
LA based non-profit. In addition to outreach
and education, Community Healing Gardens
grows and gives food to the local residents in
need. She is currently the Commissioner for the
Hawthorne Parks and Fine Arts Department.
Other than being a community helper, she is
a mommy of 4!
Interviewing Danielle Marquez
Q: Your name and the community work
A: My name is Danielle Marquez. I am
passionate about the environment and building
community. I am an urban farmer and lead
a garden-based nutrition education program.
Q: Explain/describe the process of starting
your community outreach
A: A few years ago, Hawthorne School District
was working on strengthening their health
index under the leadership of Anna Apoian,
Director of Nutrition Services at the time.
I started leading parent nutrition workshops
at the elementary schools. We then started
incorporating gardening and Harvest of the
Month during the day with some classes and
Q: What made you want to start this?
A: When leading the workshops I learned
many families were incorporating fruits and
vegetables and walked to school together. Wonderful
healthy habits! However, parents were
mainly concerned that their children weren’t
eating enough vegetables. That was reflected in
the trash cans after each lunch period. There
was a lot of fresh healthy food in the trash that
was uneaten. At the 2017 Childhood Obesity
Conference, I learned that Latinx and African
American children were 50% more likely to
develop diabetes in their lifetime. But diabetes
is preventable and reversible, which inspired
me to share health information in interactive
ways to not only provide an outdoor learning
space and resources but to also motivate our
community to eat healthier as well, especially
our youngest members.
Q: Have you created any bonds during
your years of community outreach?
A: I have met so many beautiful and inspiring
people since starting this work. From community
members, parents, students, and my
UC Master Gardening community who help
to provide educational resources, plants, and
experience in the vast range of urban gardening.
They are literally the wind beneath our wings
because without them some hurdles might be
too large, but we are stronger together. Waterkeepers
at our schools have kept a few of the
school gardens alive and I know many more
will support replanting others.
Q: Most favorite part of doing all of this
or explain a favorite memory
A: One of my favorite things is that each
season brings its lessons, challenges, and harvests.
It has been magical to see the gardens
growing, and those who approach them light
up with delight as they try to identify what’s
growing. Watching students learn to love their
gardens, and those who said they didn’t like
veggies are often the ones eager to taste what
they’ve grown. I am grateful for the lessons we
have learned that are unplanned and organic.
In the garden, nature is a beautiful equalizer
and we all get to grow.
Q: What advice would you give to those
who would want to start something like this?
A: Find a local school or community garden
that can use a hand. As in many things,
but especially gardening, many hands make
light work. Gardens often have long task lists
that are added to daily and volunteers are a
blessing. You can also contact your local UC
Master Garden program for potential volunteer
opportunities and information http://celosangeles.
For ongoing information, events and to follow
our journey, check us out on Instagram
and Facebook @simplefood4health
If you want to contact Danielle Marquez,
you can download the Instagram app from
your Apple Store or Google Play store for free!
Just go to your favorite mobile device, open
the application store you have access to, and
search ‘Instagram’ to download it! Once you
download this app, you can search @simplefood4health
for any desired collaborations or
be a part of her team!
After getting to know Danielle, I can tell
she has a huge heart for children’s health
initiatives. It shows in her character that she
truly loves and is passionate about educating
others about their general health and also connecting
children and parents about the benefits
of eating healthy foods and gardening! I very
much admire the fact that she gets to interact
with kids and teach them the basics of gardening.
It reminds me of my time in elementary
school on Thursdays when my teacher take us
outside to plant fruits and vegetables. Those
experiences provided me hands-on opportunities
at a young age and also connected me to
nature! Consequently, as a result, I sometimes
help my grandpa plant his vegetables from his
mini garden. He teaches me the importance
and value of Mother Nature while providing
us an opportunity to bond as a family. I want
to thank Danielle for being a positive leader
in our Hawthorne community. •