Latino USA

Archive for March, 2011

Utah’s New Approach to Immigration

The passage of Arizona’s SB 1070 started a dialogue about immigration that prompted some states to start passing their own immigration laws in the absence of comprehensive reform at the federal level. In the red state of Utah the government is hoping to implement a unique approach to immigration. They passed a similar bill to Arizona’s SB1070, but also passed two other bills that create a guest worker program and offer undocumented immigrants legal status. States aren’t allowed to create their own immigration policies, but Utah’s Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is hoping the federal government will grant Utah a special waiver. He initiated the conversation about having a guest worker program, and is hoping the president will consider adopting it as a national strategy. Maria Hinojosa spoke with Mark Shurtleff about the thinking behind Utah’s new approach to immigration.

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The Connecticut DREAM Act

A different type of “DREAM act” could very soon be a reality in Connecticut – it would grant undocumented students in-state tuition rates and provide them with the same opportunities as their documented peers. Although the bill doesn’t provide a path to citizenship, it makes getting higher education much more accessible for undocumented students. The bill just passed its first hurdle in the democrat-controlled General Assembly for the second time, but this time, the new governor, democrat Dannel Malloy, has pledged to sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Reporter Melinda Tuhus is in New Haven, CT to find out what residents think about the bill and what its passage could mean for students and the state.

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Bienvenidos a Casa

Telenovelas and radio novelas are wildly popular all over the world and in the United States, and now the dramatic Latin soap operas are starting a dialogue about sexual orientation. “Bienvenidos a Casa” or “Welcome Home” is a dramatic radio novela that addresses the problems Gay and Lesbian teens face in Latino communities that are deeply rooted in religion and conservative family values. Radio Bilingue, a non-profit bilingual satellite station, worked with the “Family Acceptance Project” to use the highly popular format as a means for social change.

BBC Radio’s Alex Collins reports on the Latino LGBT reality and how this new radio program can help change lives and family relationships.

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¡Sissy Puede!

Writer Erasmo Guerra felt alone and outcast growing up as a gay teen on the Southern Border of Texas. He struggled with the intolerant environment. Now decades later, as a gay man in a long term relationship, he reflects on the isolation and depression of being a gay boy growing up in a masculine Latino world.

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John Santos

The Internet has made listening to music from all over the world instantaneous, but often lost in these eclectic rhythms are the origins of sound. For artist and percussionist John Santos, history and the tradition of music is his guiding tool to creating an exquisitely unique sound. He is born in the Bay Area of San Francisco, but raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music. He is considered one of the leading Afro-Latino musicians in the world today. Maria Hinojosa talks to Santos to find out what his music represents and how the roots of resistance are expressed on his latest album La Esperanza.

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The State of Democracy in Central America

This week on Latino USA we start a new series looking at Democracy in Latin America. In this first report, Latino USA producer Maria Martin looks at how the democratic process is playing out throughout Central America — and the challenges faced by these countries after enduring decades of civil war.

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Frequently Unanswered Questions

The United States is a Nation of Immigrants, but many Americans don’t realize what the generations before them went through and sacrificed to provide them with a brighter future. Actress Daphne Rubin-Vega has felt the consequences of such decisions first hand.
She is a two-time Tony and Drama Desk nominee, best known as Mimi in Broadway’s long running musical Rent. And she was only three years old when she was separated from her mother who left Panama to study nursing in New York City. Her Mother was absent through much of Daphne’s childhood. Back then, Daphne didn’t understand why; and now, a mother herself to a 6-year old boy, the questions pile up but the answers are still scarce.

A letter Daphne found in a drawer, written by her Mother long after her Mother died gave Daphne a new perspective and was the inspiration for her one-woman semi-autobiographical play “FUQ’s.” “Frequently Unanswered Questions” explores the bonds of a family separated not just by the Caribbean Gulf, but by the longing and loneliness of being the last one standing, struggling to understand her Mother’s choices. Maria Hinojosa sat down with the actress to talk about her new play.

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“FUQ’s” is being performed March 22nd and 24th as part of the Culture Project’s “Women Center Stage” series in New York City. It was written by Rubin-Vega with playwright Winter Miller and Directed by John Gould Rubin.

Watch exclusive clips from Daphne Rubin-Vega’s rehearsal and interview with Maria Hinojosa.
Video by Nusha Balyan

Alt.Latino

This week Maria Hinojosa checks in with Jasmine Gards and Felix Contreras of Alt.Latino, a new NPR podcast exploring the latest in Latin alternative music. As the two hosts explain, “borders and boundaries mean nothing” in this unique Latino genre that mixes rock, cumbia, techno, folk and more. Together they take use through the history of Latin alternative and share their picks for the latest artists to watch out for.

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Listen to a couple of tracks from Felix and Jasmine’s personal play list!
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Latinos and the Debate Over Reproductive Rights

The Republican controlled House passed a bill that will eliminate all federal funding for family planning under the Title X program. The legislation specifically targets funding going to Planned Parenthood, which conservative lawmakers have attacked for its abortion services and advocacy of women’s reproductive rights. Within the Latino community, health advocates argue that this is a direct attack on access to health care for Latina women, while pro-life advocates say Planned Parenthood is promoting abortion among Latinos and other communities of color.

We host a discussion on the proposed cuts with Silvia Henriquez, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute of Reproductive Health and Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.

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

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