La Horchata Zine

In 2017, artists Veronica Meléndez and Kimberly Benavides created a platform for Central American art. They began printing La Horchata. This self-produced magazine, or zine, is named after a sweet traditional drink. It was Mélendez and Benavides’s response to the lack of visibility Central American artists face. 

“A huge reason that we started the zine was because of the lack of visibility for Central American artists. When we would learn about anything Latino, anything that was categorized as Latino, it was oftentimes Mexican or Caribbean, maybe South American, maybe. And that's not reflective of us and that's not reflective of our experiences.  So, we really wanted to push to create our own thing if nobody else was going to make one, then we would do it ourselves.”   

Kimberly Benavides, Founder of La Horchata Zine, interviewed for Foro storytellers   

Echoes from the Past

Art and literature are powerful ways to spread ideas, build community, and express identity and culture. Puerto Rican writer, poet, and independence advocate, Lola Rodríguez de Tió (1843–1924) used her writing to fight for and celebrate her country. She wrote the lyrics to “La Borinqueña,” which calls for Puerto Rico’s freedom. De Tió also wrote a celebrated verse describing Cuba and Puerto Rico as “two wings” of one “bird.” Today, this is a popular phrase linking both islands. Exiled multiple times from Puerto Rico for her revolutionary activities, de Tió settled in Cuba. 

Illustration of Puerto Rican writer, Lola Rodríguez de Tió, from bust-up, holding a book open toward her. She has black, straight hair, pulled back, and a medium skin tone. She wears a gray, button-up dress, white collar, and a puffy necktie. Behind her, yellow, pink, and green leaves, and branches.