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Atria Books

Silence has a price…. I’ve spent decades of my life practicing my own “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in terms of my skin color and facial features. Form the over-the-shoulder looks at school to the thousands of products I bought to straighten my hair to try to look more like other girls. Although I never wanted to think of myself as a victim of discrimination, rejection grazed me like bullets, no matter what kind of body armor I wore to try and ignore the problem. – Ilia Calderón

This is a book by an exceptional woman. She does it all. There are very few stories of triumph that even touch what Ilia has achieved as a mother and a journalist. Give her any challenge, and she’ll overcome it. And I have no idea how she does it all with a smile on her face, as if it were nothing. I’m so lucky to work with her and be a witness to the way this woman is changing the world. 
-- Jorge Ramos, lead anchor of Noticiero Univision

Inspiring. Timely. Candid. Fearless.

Like the Fearless Girl, Ilia Calderon stands ready to take on the harsh realities of discrimination and racism.  Two topics that are on everyone’s mind as the months-long protests in Oregon continue; as thousands march on Washington DC; and as the Presidential Election gets closer.  Ilia shares her journey past poverty and prejudice to become the first Afro-Latino to anchor a high-profile news desk at Univision. Readers will be heartened and moved in the face of her courage, her strength and her endurance. 

SUMMARY:   As a child, Ilia Calderón felt like a typical girl from Colombia. In Chocó, the Afro-Latino province where she grew up, your skin could be any shade and you’d still be considered blood. Race was a non-issue, and Ilia didn’t think much about it—until she left her community to attend high school and college in Medellín. For the first time, she became familiar with horrifying racial slurs thrown at her both inside and outside of the classroom.

From that point on, she resolved to become “deaf” to racism, determined to overcome it in every way she could, even when she was told time and time again that prominent castings weren’t “for people like you.” When a twist of fate presented her the opportunity of a lifetime at Telemundo in Miami, she was excited to start a new life, and identity, in the United States, where racial boundaries, she believed, had long since dissolved and equality was the rule.

Instead, in her new life as an American, she faced a new type of racial discrimination, as an immigrant women of color speaking to the increasingly marginalized Latinx community in Spanish.

Now, Ilia draws back the curtain on the ups and downs of her remarkable life and career. From personal inner struggles to professional issues—such as being directly threatened by a Ku Klux Klan member after an interview—she discusses how she built a new identity in the United States in the midst of racially charged violence and political polarization. Along the way, she’ll show how she’s overcome fear and confronted hate head on, and the inspirational philosophy that has always propelled her forward.#

NOTE:  This book is available in English and Spanish.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Ilia Calderón is an Emmy Award–winning journalist, the coanchor of Univision’s flagship evening newscast Noticiero Univision, and cohost of Univision’s primetime news magazine Aquí y Ahora. She is the first Afro-Latina to anchor a national weekday evening newscast for a major Hispanic broadcast network in the United States, having previously coanchored three other news desks for Univision and two for Telemundo.  She lives in Florida with her husband and daughter.