Beyond the Images

Haiti’s troubled history means the country has often been blamed for its own fate. But Haitians themselves, with a strong sense of historical memory, often talk about the revolution that freed their ancestors from slavery as though it happened last year. They are a proud nation with a rich culture and strong sense of community.

As international media descend on the desperation in Haiti in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes, writer Edwidge Danticat fears that Haiti’s complicated history may be forgotten. Haiti was a poor country for a reason. But this poverty kept Haitians united in ways many do not comprehend. Danticat says media images may focus on a few looters and desperate people doing desperate things. But the real story, Haitians helping Haitains, is largely being overlooked. And that, she says, is the real soul of Haiti.

Listen to Edwidge Danticat’s extended conversation with Maria Hinojosa.

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


Haiti Earthquake – Beyond the Images.

Finding Middle Ground

When President Obama was just a candidate, his campaign slogan was “Change You Can Believe In.” Now, one year after assuming office, President Obama has been criticized for not being the change agent that candidate Obama so vigorously sold to the American people. In recent years Washington politics has been exemplified by legislative bottlenecking where compromise is no longer eschewed, particularly as both major parties are being pulled away from the political center towards the extremes. In such an environment, being a change agent seems daunting. In fact, governing itself often becomes a challenge.

To examine this issue, Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa gets away from the Beltway and speaks with grass-roots activists from opposite sides of the political spectrum. Dan Maloney has long been a conservative activist and is currently a Tea Party advocate based in Long Island, New York. Ruben Castilla Herrera is a progressive community activist based in Columbus, Ohio.


StoryCorps: Historias

Each month Latino USA airs interviews from the StoryCorps Historias, a nation-wide radio project that’s recording Latino stories. The full-versions of these interviews are archived at the Library of Congress becoming part of the history of the United States.

This week three stories about school.

The Hoover/Garcia Family

Larry Hoover speaks with his granddaughter Anastacia Garcia in New Mexico. Larry remembered his teenage years and getting into trouble with neighborhood gangs. In fact, his constant fighting earned him a foreboding warning from his mother. She said if he didn’t stop all the fighting, he’d end up at the local school for delinquent boys. He did in fact end up there – 30 years later as a teacher.

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

Sánchez Family

A couple of generations ago, it was common for students to have their names “Americanized” one they arrived in school. Ramón “Chunky” Sánchez gives us a student’s point of view. He grew up during the 1950s in a southern California farming town. And like many Mexican American children at that time, his name was changed. But he recalls one kid whose name was so unusual to the teachers that his was the only one not to be changed.

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

Villanueva Family

Lourdes Villanueva’s parents were migrant workers, harvesting fruit throughout the south. In a conversation from Tampa, Florida, she recalls raising her son as the family worked the fields and moved constantly. Wanting a better life for her children, Lourdes encouraged the value of an education to her son, Roger. But she also practiced what she preached. Today, Roger is a financial aid advisor at the University of South Florida.

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

StoryCorps stories were produced by Nadia Reiman and Vanara Taing. The Senior Producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.