Latino USA

Archive for 2009

StoryCorps Historias

All across the country many Latino families will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. While many ethnic communities have various forms of the tradition, the American version of Thanksgiving is uniquely a nationalistic celebration.

FERNANDEZ FAMILY
This week, StoryCorps Historias brings the story of one family’s first Thanksgiving meal. 

Jose Fernandez came to the U.S. from Cuba in the 1960s. He was a teenager when his family arrived in Florida. And here, from our StoryCorps booth in New York, he tells his wife, Teresita, about that first November.


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DIAZ FAMILY
Now another story about sharing a meal. 

It comes from Julio Diaz, a social worker from the Bronx. 

Every night diaz ends his hour-long subway commute one stop early just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

 But one night as he stepped off the train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.


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CARRANZA FAMILY
When he was a poor kid, Adolph Carranza remembers how donations from the Salvation Army would come around the holidays. Among the exotic canned goods he recalls was this strange jelly-like substance called “cranberries” that no one wanted to try in his household.


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Last year StoryCorps launched a new holiday tradition — it’s called the National Day of Listening, which happens on the day after Thanksgiving. StoryCorps encourages you to take an hour on that day to sit down with a relative or loved one and ask them about their life. 
 
StoryCorps has do-it-yourself materials to help you get a great interview and preserve it for your family — and they’re available for free online.

New American Voices: Mental Health and Refugees

Latino USA has often documented how immigrants coming from a particular community tend to migrate to the same region in the U.S. as a means of creating a safe social net. But refugees represent a different kind of immigration experience. And for refugees who have experienced war and violence, the mental health issues of that community can pose particular challenges.

When the U.S. accepts refugees, it is often the practice to resettle them together within an American city or community. So when many Somali immigrants in Minneapolis began showing signs of mental health trauma due to war, it caught local health officials by surprise. As part of Latino USA’s ongoing New American Voices series, Andrew Stelzer reports on how Minneapolis mental health workers are using media to help deal with the challenges.


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New Routes – Abriendo las Cajas

New Routes to Community Health seeks to improve the health of immigrants through immigrant-created media. Eight immigrant-led collaborations across the United States have received three-year grants from New Routes to create locally-focused media and outreach campaigns that speak directly to immigrants’ health concerns. Grants have been given to collaborations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St Paul, Oakland, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

In these communities, immigrant groups, media makers and prominent community institutions work together to produce original content in English as well as in immigrants’ first languages, including Amharic, Chinese, Creole, French, Lao, Somali, Spanish, Swahili and Vietnamese. New Routes to Community Health is grounded in the belief that everyone in society benefits when immigrants get help to live healthy, productive lives. Integrating immigrants into work and social life is key to building healthy communities.

CLICK HERE to see all New Routes project productions.

Conductor Alondra de la Parra

Alondra de la Parra is the founder and artistic director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (POA) based in New York. Originally from Mexico, De la Parra founded the POA as a means of promoting music and young talent. While largely focused on Latin American works and audiences, POA seeks to diversify classical music and bring it closer and “relevant” to the people.

Reporter Monica Ortiz Uribe recently caught up with Alondra de la Parra fresh from a Dia de los Muertos concert in San Francisco.


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Watch a slideshow as you listen.

Multi-Latin Grammy Winner Calle 13

Puerto Rican duo Calle 13 were the big winners at the 10th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, celebrated November 5 in Las Vegas and hosted by actress/singer Lucero and actor/comedian Eugenio Derbez. Calle 13’s René Pérez (aka Residente) and Eduardo Cabra (aka Visitante) swept their five nominations, taking home Record and Album Of The Year, Best Urban Music Album, Best Alternative Song, and Best Short Form Music Video.

Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa, known as the Voice of Latin America not only for her artistry but her championing of social causes, passed away Oct. 4. Her last album, Cantora 1 won two Latin Grammy awards including Best Folk Album.

Calle 13′s Pérez, known for his irreverent attitude, made perhaps the evening’s most touching gesture in calling onstage Sosa’s producer/musical director Popi Spatocco to hand him the Album Of The Year statuette. Pérez participated in Cantora 1, which had also been nominated in the Album Of The Year category, but lost to Calle 13′s Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo.


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From Patchogue, LI to Gualeceo, Ecuador

Patchogue is located in New York’s Long Island. The village has been in the news lately, but not in a good way. Reports of local teens “hunting” Latino immigrants and roughing them up in recent years surfaced. This harassment of immigrants eventually resulted in the death of local resident Marcelo Lucero at the hands of several White teenagers.

On November 5, one of those teens, Nicholas Hausch, pled guilty to four charges stemming from his role in the attack that killed Lucero. Hausch agreed to testify against the other six defendants in exchange for leniency. He now faces the next 5 to 25 years in prison.

Recently, WSHU radio producer and reporter Charles Lane decided to go beyond the headlines and take a closer look at the Latino immigrant community in Patchogue. What he found was an Ecuadoran community that had strong ties to its home base.

Lane traveled to Gualeceo, Ecuador and saw the economic prosperity that having remittances from North America bring to this community. Despite the economic benefits, however, families often are torn apart.


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UPDATE: Charles Lane’s (WSHU) reporting from Gualeceo won a 2010 Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage. ¡Enhorabuena!

Watch a slideshow from Gualeceo, Ecuador produced by Charles Lane.

A 3,000 Mile Bridge from NPR's Latino USA on Vimeo.

Detained Without Counsel

The number of people held in detention centers has tripled over the past decade according to Amnesty International. As federal immigration authorities have
detained more immigrants facing deportation there have been efforts to streamline the deportation process. Usually a hearing is held, the immigrant may not understand their defenses to removal, and a ruling is quickly rendered without legal counsel present.

A new report by the City Bar Justice Center based in New York says nearly 40 percent of all detained immigrants interviewed in NYC’s Varick detention facility
have valid legal claims to remain in the country and defend against removal.

Lynn M. Kelly is the executive director of the City Bar Justice Center. She spoke with Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa.


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An Unexpected Detour

Most travelers know that even joking about something can be considered inappropriate in an airport situation. Understandably, similar rules apply to border crossings. The wrong sort of statement could find one in the grasp of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). That’s what happened to Mexican civil rights attorney Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson.

Because of the drug war in Mexico, De la Rosa has been a busy civil rights attorney in Mexico. That nature of his clientele made him fearful for his life. So much so that he started making it a habit to spend the night in El Paso, just across the border from Juarez. But when U.S. border officials heard this, they decided to act.

We have two stories, beginning with El Paso based reporter Monica Ortiz Uribe.


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Jesse Katz: The Opposite Field

Baseball has long been recognized as America’s pastime. And in recent years, the diversity of baseball has greatly reflected that of this country. Little League is no exception. Organized baseball can be found in all kinds of neighborhoods in all kinds of communities across the country.

Los Angeles-based writer Jesse Katz grew up playing ball. When it came time for his son to play, he volunteered to coach, but ended up as the Little League commissioner of a park located within one of the most Asian neighborhoods in the country, itself next to one of the most Latino neighborhoods in the country.

The cultural mix served as the backdrop for Katz’s new memoir titled The Opposite Field. Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa speaks with two-time Pulitzer winner Jesse Katz about the book.


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Watch a short film featuring Jesse Katz at La Loma in VIMEO:

The Opposite Field Trailer from Jesse Katz on Vimeo.

Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson

Mexican civil rights attorney Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson had the proper permits to cross the border and was doing so legally at the designated port of entry. But when asked by U.S. border officials why he was crossing so much, De la Rosa mentioned that he was fearful because of the work he did.

Based on his expression of fear for his life, De la Rosa was taken into protective custody by ICE officials. But they did not put him in a comfortable safe house or hotel but rather kept him handcuffed in a prison facility as they awaited a bureaucratic decision over whether to give him political asylum. The fact that De la Rosa, a Mexican citizen, neither requested nor wanted asylum fell on deaf ears.

De la Rosa tells his story now to Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa.


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

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