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Brandy Vela / Facebook

Enough Is Enough: Teenage Girl Commits Suicide In Front Of Her Parents

More than 5,000 incidents of suicidal behavior were recorded last year.

Brandy Vela, 18-year-old senior, took her own life Tuesday (Nov. 29) in front of her family. The Texas City High School student shot herself in the chest after bullying at school went too far. It is still unknown who the gun belongs to.

According to Latina, the school district's director of communications, Melissa Tortorici, made a statement about having prior knowledge of Vela's victimization. "She did bring it to the school's attention before Thanksgiving break that she was getting harassing messages to her cell phone outside of school," she explained. Vela's parents also brought up concerns for their daughter to the school prior to the incident. The Texas City Independent School District described her class as a "safe environment."

Jacqueline Vela, Brandy's 22-year-old sister, said that she was being bullied through the use of social media. Her older sister explained that she was sent hurtful messages about her weight that are still untraceable. Vela had fake profiles of her that said she would "give sex for free" with her number attached. The last message Vela received from her little sister was, "I love you so much just remember that please and I'm sorry for everything."

Jacqueline found her younger sister against her bedroom wall with the gun when she called for her parents help. After the gunshot was fired, her father, Raul Vela, frantically screamed out, "Help me." Victor Vela, Brandy's brother, had this to say about the bullies: "I'm glad you got what you wanted, I hope this makes you happy."

"I’m not going to give up and I’m going to make sure that Brandy is recognized,” Raul said to KHOU News. “And hopefully through Brandy we’ll get things changed through this bullying that’s going on.

A candlelit vigil was held at Vela's school in her memory. The school vows to make sure that there will be no more online harassment and use this as a learning lesson. Vela's funeral is scheduled for next Wednesday. With teenage suicide increasing and over 5,000 suicidal incidents last year, when will enough be enough?

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Angela Ponce makes history as the first trans woman to compete for Miss Universe.
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Miss Spain Angela Ponce Becomes First Trans Miss Universe Contestant

Angela Ponce didn’t walk away with the crown during last night’s Miss Universe pageant (Dec. 16), but she did end up being a winner in her own right. Ponce, who represented her country of Spain, is the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.

“This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusion and freedom,” the model wrote on Instagram Friday (Dec. 14). “And today I am here, proudly representing my nation, all women and human rights.” Catriona Gray, the 24-year-old Miss Philippines, walked away with the crown over models from South Africa and Venezuela, who came in second and third.

Ponce, 27, was crowned Miss Spain back in June, beating out 22 contestants for the win. At the time of that win, she told The Associated Press, “If my going through all this contributes to the world moving a little step forward, then that’s a personal crown that will always accompany me.”

The pageant, formerly owned by Donald Trump, lifted its ban on transgender contestants in 2012. This is the same year that Jenna Talackova of Canada threatened legal action against the organization, who was rejected because she was not a “naturally born” female.

Congrats on making history, Miss Spain.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Que honor y orgullo poder ser parte de la historia de @missuniverse. Esto es por ustedes, por aquellos que no tienen visibilidad, ni voz, porque todos merecemos un mundo de respeto, inclusión y libertad. Y hoy estoy aquí, representando con orgullo a mi nación, a todas las mujeres y a los derechos humanos. • #missuniverse #missuniverso #confidentlybeautiful #thailand #bangkok #roadtomissuniverse #67thmissuniverse #angelaponce #spain #preliminar

A post shared by ANGELA PONCE (@angelaponceofficial) on Dec 14, 2018 at 5:27am PST

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18 Best Latinx Albums Of 2018

A number of artists from the scope of latinidad contributed to making 2018 another rich year in music. If hip-hop is the world's most consumed genre, latin pop, reggaeton, latin trap, flamenco and more of the subgenres of Latinx music rested in between.

This includes J Balvin being one of the most streamed artists on Spotify, Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy scoring stellar Grammy nominations, the rising appeal of Harlem rapper Melii, the return of Wisin Y Yandel and Bad Bunny sprinkling the gift that is Latin trap on your getting ready playlists.

But there were also artists who took big risks like Kali Uchis' coy yet forward voice in R&B, Jessie Reyez's dynamic voice and collaborations with the likes of Eminem and many more.

Check out our favorite albums from the best and brightest Latinx artists of the year below.

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Popular Celeb Spot 'La Marina' Shut Down After Drug Bust

Adored by celebrities like French Montana, Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio, New York hot spot La Marina might be closing its doors for a good after a drug bust led to a suspension of their liquor license.

A statement released Dec. 6 by the New York Liquor Authority (SLA) broke down the case, which overlapped with an investigation by the NYPD in July. Bar manager Christian Mendez, 33, was arrested in November on felony charges after he was caught selling large amounts of cocaine, oxycodone and other drugs to undercover NYPD detectives. Their investigation into the venue also revealed 72 violations of the state liquor law like selling liquor to minors and impaired customers.

Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Lily Fan condemned the venue and hope to yank their liquor license for good. “When a bar manager is able to traffic and sell these types and quantities of narcotics from within an establishment it is incredibly alarming," Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano said.

“Licensees have a responsibility to ensure their establishments are operating within the law, and the SLA is obligated to take emergency action as it is clear that this licensee has failed to take any meaningful actions to protect the public.”

La Marina was also hit with sixteen violations of the ABC Law, including seven counts of operating disorderly premises for permitting the trafficking of controlled substances, six violations for fire, health and more safety code violations. Their inspection grade in July was something close to an F minus for mishandlings of food, shoddy plumbing and the presence of mice and flies.

The venue has been a staple in the area since its opening in 2012, attracting big celebrities and brands like Red Bull and HBO. The New York Post notes La Marina has a 15-year lease, where they make up to $7 million a year in revenue.

Their social presence hasn't acknowledged their current status, but their calendar for upcoming events has been scrapped from their website.

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