Too often I’ve excitedly opened a new list promising to look at Latin American’s rich culture, only to feel disappointment when I didn’t see my mom’s native Nicaragua represented. If you’re Central American (or of Central American descent), you know mainstream media often doesn’t cater to you. With Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic boasting larger US populations than most Central American countries, it’s not surprising stories about El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, and Costa Rica get buried. But for those who long to connect to their culture, social media is a good way to make that happen.
That’s why, in honor of September 15 – the independence day of many Central American countries – we’re looking at those who use social media to bring attention to these countries. From artists to those focusing on lesser-celebrated parts of our history, here are nine Central American creatives and thought leaders you should follow immediately:
Daniel Alvarenga is behind SalvaCultura. Though El Salvador is his main focus, he also tries to bring attention to all of Central America. He shares many underreported stories from this area of the world. And he’s also proudly reclaimed voseo – the use of vos instead of tu – which he talks about and encourages on his account.
Latina Rebels is a collective run by five Latinas, with Nicaraguan-born Prisca Dorcas definitely helping to shape the content. Latina Rebels’ mission is to empower Latinas. “We, as Latinas, are passionate about unveiling the injustices that exist when gender and race (or ethnicity) collide in Latinas embodied realities,” the group’s description reads. “We function to disrupt the ‘good’ girl versus ‘bad’ girl binary that is a product of white colonization, which functions to police the bodies and mind of womxn of color – thus by voicing our contextual realities as mostly Latina immigrants, we hope to further the perspective of Latinidad in America.”
Honduran-American Janel Martinez created a hub for Afro-Latinas with her Ain’t I Latina website. And on Twitter, she continues to uplift the Afro-Latino community. But really, Janel is worth following because she always speaks the truth.
Ale Rambar’s Instagram is one colorful post after the next. The illustrator and designer fills his feed with his art, which draws inspiration from his native Costa Rica. Fun fact: Rambar designed the scarves worn by athletes in this year’s Olympics and Paralympics.
Honduran food is often defined by baleadas, and along the Caribbean coast of the Central American country, they are probably serving it the Garifuna way – on coconut flour tortillas. Isha Sumner, a New York-based chef from Honduras, documents the delicious foods she grew up with, but she found it difficult to find things like tejaditas de guineo, coconut milk porridge, and other Garifuna staples in cookbooks.
“I wanted a cookbook with all these cherished foods,” she told us. “I searched the Internet, but I wasn’t pleased with what I found. Having lived my formative years in Honduras, I knew that most of the books were one-sided. The foods from Honduras are diverse.” Now, she shared all the foods that make her culture unique on Facebook.
Súa Agapé is a Illustrator/designer/cosmic girl. Her Instagram is full of her bold and beautiful creations, which are often inspired by Guatemala. “My country inspires me all the time,” she told Ello. “The places in Guatemala are incredible, full of intense colors, landscapes, and cultural diversity.” And should you decide that you don’t want to just stare at her art through your phone, you can purchase her pieces on Society 6.