Latino USA

Archive for September 10th, 2009

Commentary: What We Don’t Know About Sotomayor

After an intense grilling by members of Congress and saturated media coverage of her personal life story, new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor can rightly be described as a celebrity. From her humble beginnings being raised by a hard-working single mother, to her battle with diabetes, to her “wise Latina” comments, Sotomayor has been thoroughly vetted by the media. Or so it would seem.

This week, Associate Justice Sotomayor heard her first case on the Supreme Court. But actually there’s a lot we don’t know about Sotomayor or issues of Latinos and the law despite the intense national scrutiny recently. Commentator Michelle Garcia faults the media for this fact.


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Hate Crimes Task Force

On Nov. 8, 2008, Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant, was murdered in the town of Patchogue, New York. Police say that several teenagers who called themselves the “Caucasian Crew” were partaking of a little sport they called “beaner jumping” when they beat Marcelo Lucero to death.

Among other things, the incident led to the formation of the Suffolk County Hate Crimes Task Force, pictured above. What the task force quickly learned was that Lucero wasn’t the only beating victim by these and other teens.

A new report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center documents the “Climate of Fear” in Suffolk County. It goes on to name names of political leaders they identify as hate “enablers.”

Mark Potok is director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project and editor of the new report. He speaks with Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa about the fears of immigrants in Suffolk County, New York.


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El Paso’s New Emphasis on Domestic Violence

In the 1950s and 60s, police often treated cases of domestic violence as personal family issues. Many women’s groups and activists worked throughout the 1970s and 1980s to change attitudes of prosecutors and law enforcement groups. But the issues surrounding domestic violence don’t simply go away with an attitude change.

El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza

In El Paso, Texas, teams of officers and victims advocates specializing in domestic violence cases are charged with investigating such complaints within 24 hours. It’s a program launched by the El Paso District Attorney. And it’s resulting in stronger criminal cases against offenders and quicker assistance for victims.

Latino USA contributor Monica Ortiz Uribe reports.


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

Jazz Harpist Edmar Castañeda

Bandleader Edmar Castañeda started playing the harp in his native Bogotá, Colombia when he was just 13 years old. In 1994, Castañeda moved to New York where he was infused in the local jazz scene.

Today, Castañeda combines his Colombian harp style of play with a New York Jazz sensibility. His unique style of play has earned him a firm place in the international jazz scene. Sometimes he’ll perform with his wife, singer and poet Andrea Tierra, but usually he can be found performing with his band The Edmar Castañeda Trio.


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

The Edmar Castañeda Trio on YouTube.

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