Latino USA

Archive for June 5th, 2009

Commentary: Nuyorican Pride

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was raised in New York and is of Puerto Rican descent. And her appointment as the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court is a source of pride for all Latinos. If confirmed, Sotomayor would also be the third woman on the court. But as Commentator Joseph Pacheco notes, no one has a greater right to be more proud than Nuyoricans.

Nuyoricans are a cultural identity adopted by millions of Puerto Ricans who were raised in New York. Pacheco, who was the first Puerto Rican New Yorker to serve as a superintendent of New York public schools, knows something about being a “first.” And he dedicates a poem from his 2002 book, “First of the Nuyoricans,” to Judge Sotomayor.

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WEB EXTRA – Cardozo: First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice?

In July of 2005, Latino USA reported on President George W. Bush’s selection of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. At the time, there was disappointment within the Latino community that President Bush had passed on the opportunity to appoint the first Hispanic on the court. Our reporting prompted an email from one of our listeners. In it, Steven Kelman of San Antonio wrote that such a discussion ignores the tenure of Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who served from 1932 until his death in 1938.

Our producers decided to do a little investigating and what we found was an intense discussion about who is a Hispanic or a Latino and what falls in between. (Original airdate September 15, 2005.)


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Interchange: The LA Guitar Quartet and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra

Mention Sérgio Assad to a guitarist and watch the reaction: that’s what awe-inspired humility looks like. His quite exceptional artistry and uncanny ensemble playing come from both a family rich in Brazilian musical tradition and from studies with the very best guitarists in the Americas.

Now, Assad is turning to orchestral composition. And symphonic audiences across the globe are all the richer for it.

Late this Spring, the members of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet—virtuosos in their own right— were in Delaware, guests of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and its music director David Amado, to perform and record Assad’s composition “Interchange,” which he had composed especially for the Quartet.

The News Journal sent a photographer to the rehearsals (see those photos in a new window) and Latino USA sent Diantha Parker to talk with members of the Quartet, with Amado, and —later— with the composer about a work that she discovered is all about the drive found in music, especially Latin music.

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The Sotomayor Mambo

From the cover of Time Magazine to attacks by conservative pundits, Judge Sonia Sotomayor has garnered the attention of political elites and Latinos. She even has a song, “The Sotomayor Mambo,” newly dedicated to her.

Maria Teresa Peterson

Since the 1980s, nothing has become more political in Washington than Supreme Court appointments. So it comes as little surprise that Sotomayor would be targeted, attacked, defended, spun, counter-spun, and generally have her life put under an intense microscope. This has happened with past court appointees. And the fact that she is a Latina clearly does not make her immune to the same political battering. But the “racist” talk was getting to a point that a Texas Republican senator had to come out in her defense.

Maria Hinojosa speaks with Maria Teresa Peterson of Voto Latino about the political environment surrounding Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

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