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Archive for July, 2012

Covering the 2012 International AIDS Conference

Since 2009, Latinos have accounted for 20 percent of new HIV infections in the US. Jasmine Garsd reports on the International AIDS conference held in Washington, DC. Conference attendees discussed a range of issues relating to Latinos, such as the need for education, the stigma attached to GLBT people in the Latino community and how immigration laws may hinder undocumented immigrants from seeking diagnosis or treatment.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Jasmine Garsd was born in Argentina and hosts NPR’s Alt.Latino podcast. As a journalist she’s worked on the NPR programs Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More. She has covered a wide variety of topics for radio including immigration issues.

Walking Through Tent City

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona is on trial now in a federal court in Phoenix, charged with civil rights violations. Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa recently paid a visit to Arpaio and the sheriff showed her around his unorthodox open air jail, which some critics call inhumane but the Sheriff defends as tough on crime.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Here’s more photos from Tent City:

Luis Alfaro’s Bruja: Medea in the Mission

Emily Wilson takes us to see Los Angeles poet and playwright Luis Alfaro’s latest play, “Bruja,” where he transports Euripides’ Medea to San Francisco’s Mission district. In it, Alfaro poses questions about what is gained and what is lost by immigrants in a new country.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Emily Wilson is a freelance reporter and producer in San Francisco. She teaches media literacy, math, and English to adults earning their GED at City College of San Francisco.

Hamaca Time: Summer Reading

Summer time is reading time. We are asking professional book lovers about their recommendations for summer reading. First up, Aurora Anaya Cerda, owner of La Casa Azul bookstore in East Harlem, New York, about her pick for kids.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Aurora Anaya-Cerda founded La Casa Azul Bookstore in 2008, an online resource promoting children’s literature, educational programing and literature by Latino writers. As an independent bookseller, Ms. Anaya-Cerda has hosted more than sixty literary events in East Harlem and throughout New York City with renowned authors such as Esmeralda Santiago and Junot Díaz. She is the founder of the East Harlem Children’s Book Festival. Ms. Anaya-Cerda is also the Family Programs and Cultural Celebrations Manager at El Museo del Barrio. She has organized major cultural events in East Harlem, including the annual Three Kings Day Parade and the Dia de los Muertos celebration. Before moving to New York, Aurora Anaya-Cerda was a middle school English teacher, promoting art and literacy in her native East Los Angeles neighborhood. A UCLA graduate, Ms. Anaya-Cerda has a double Bachelor’s degree in History and Chicana/o Studies with a specialization in Education.

Noticiando: Violence in Anaheim, California

After police shot 24-year-old Manuel Diaz while running away unarmed on July 21, neighbors in Anaheim, California began to challenge police for overuse of force.  In response, police fired weapons at the angry residents, and unleashed a dog that charged a man who was on the floor next to a woman and child on a stroller. Several people were injured. For more about what led to this confrontation, we speak to Gustavo Arellano, the editor of the alternative newspaper the OC Weekly. 

Click here to download this week’s show.

Gustavo Arellano is editor of the OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in California. Gustavo also writes “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated and award-winning column. His most recent book is “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.”

Roundtable: Does the Latino Vote Matter?

As presidential elections approach, once again the state of the Latino vote gets discussed. While the Latino population keeps increasing, many are non-citizens, very young and in parts of the country that are not contested. So to what extent does it really matter to mobilize Latino voters in November? We speak to Ray Suarez, host of the PBS News Hour, and to Antonio Gonzalez, executive director of the William C. Velasquez Institute, to get a sense of the figures and the strategies.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of New American Media.

Antonio Gonzalez is President of the William C. Velasquez Institute. WCVI, founded in 1985, is a paramount national Latino public policy and research organization.Gonzalez assumed the presidency of WCVI in 1994, after working in various capacities for WCVI founding President Willie Velasquez as well as his successor Andrew Hernandez during 1984-94. He assumed the presidency of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, a non-partisan voter mobilization entity, in 1994.

Ray Suarez joined The NewsHour in October 1999 as a Washington-based Senior Correspondent. Suarez came to The NewsHour from NPR where he had been host of the nationwide, call-in news program “Talk of the Nation” since 1993. Prior to that, he spent seven years covering local and national stories for the NBC-owned station, WMAQ-TV in Chicago.

A Conversation With Olympian John Orozco

Maria Hinojosa talks with Olympic gymnast John Orozco of the Bronx.  Orozco is one of two Latino athletes on the US Olympic gymnastic team competing in London.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of New News.

John Orozco is an American gymnast and the 2012 Visa National Champion. He currently trains at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.

Latin Alternative: An Alt. Latino LAMC Review

Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd, hosts of the NPR podcast, tell us all about the new music and concert surprises they heard at the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York July 11-14.

Click here to download this week’s show. Photo from Ana Tijoux concert at Celebrate Brooklyn.

Felix Contreras is a reporter and producer for NPR’s Arts Desk specializing in coverage of jazz, world music, and Latino arts and culture. He is also the co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR’s new web based program about Latin Alternative music A part- time jazz musician, Contreras plays Afro Cuban percussion with various jazz and Latin bands. He is a recovering television journalist who has worked for both NBC and Univision.

Jasmine Garsd was born in Argentina and grew up with a steady diet of Argentine rock. As a journalist she’s worked on the NPR programs Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More. She has covered a wide variety of topics including immigration issues for NPR.

Know Your Pro: Picture Perfect

Matt Armendariz travels all over the world to transform delectable dishes into photographs that look good enough to eat. If you’re a foodie who consumes cookbooks and food magazines, you’ve probably come across his handiwork. He tells us how he came by his shooting skills from his home and studio in Long Beach, California.

Do you know a pro we should know?

We’re looking for people with uncommon jobs: tightrope walkers, road kill disposers, chewing gum testers. We’d love to hear your suggestions for people we should profile. You can write us online, in the comments below; send us an email at; or call our listener line at 646-571-1228.

Click here to download this week’s show.

F‪or the past 20 years Matt Armendariz been immersed in food in one way or another. As a former graphic designer and art director in the food industry he surrounded himself with great food before branching out into photography and blogging. He began his blog in 2005 as a way to share his personal take on food and those behind-the-scenes moments I experienced in his work. His first cookbook called On A Stick! was released by Quirk in May 2011.

Noticiando: Familia es Familia

Ingrid Duran co-founded a newly launched campaign called “Familia es Familia,” aimed at fostering a greater acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people within the Latino Community. Host Maria Hinojosa talks with her and with Anthony Romero of American Civil Liberties Union.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Ingrid M. Duran is Co-Founder & Principal of D&P Creative Strategies, a company that she and partner Catherine founded in 2004 to increase the role of corporate, legislative and philanthropic efforts in addressing the concerns of Latinos, women, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) communities. Prior to starting D&P, Ingrid was President & CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where she expanded on an already extensive professional network that included members of Congress, elected officials and Fortune 500 executives.

Anthony D. Romero is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation’s premier defender of liberty and individual freedom. He took the helm of the organization just four days before the September 11, 2001 attacks. Romero also led the ACLU in establishing the John Adams Project, a joint effort with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to assist the under-resourced military defense lawyers in the Guantánamo military commissions. Born in New York City to parents who hailed from Puerto Rico, Romero was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He is a graduate of Stanford University Law School and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. He is a member of the New York Bar Association and has sat on numerous nonprofit boards.

A Latino Running Mate Won’t Win Romney ‘The Latino Vote’

It looks like Mitt Romney is going to announce his vice presidential running mate well before the Republican convention gets underway in Tampa at the end of August. Many people speculate that Romney will choose a Latino. The question is: Who would it be and will it make a difference to Latino voters?

Romney is a tough sell to most Latinos. During the primaries, the GOP candidates seemed to be competing to out-anti-illegal-immigrant each other. Romney came on pretty strong in his support for strict enforcement of immigration laws, even urging undocumented immigrants to “self deport” themselves. But in the general election he’s hoping Latinos will forget all of that and focus on the economy. Fat chance.

What Romney fails to accept is that while Latinos are as concerned with unemployment and the recession as anyone else, immigration is still a huge issue for them. Romney’s standing with Latinos became even more problematic after President Obama announced a new policy that will help undocumented college kids stay in the country legally, a move incredibly well received by the Latino community.

The name most often mentioned as a Latino VP pick is Marco Rubio. The young Cuban-American senator from Florida is popular among Tea Partiers and conservatives. Rubio is probably the best known Republican Latino politician out there right now. He’s practically a household name and his nomination would lock up the Cuban-American vote for Romney. But Romney already has their support, so why work hard on a sure thing? Cuban-Americans aren’t that concerned with immigration policy, as their path to citizenship is totally different from that of other Latinos. Rubio is a strident opponent of unauthorized immigration, which is a big turn off for most Latinos other than Cubans. It’s doubtful that nominating Rubio would change many people’s vote. Political commentators are starting to agree with me, even conservative ones like Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Another possibility is Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño. He was an early supporter of Romney during the primaries. Fortuño has strong conservative economic credentials and is an outspoken proponent of having Puerto Rico join the Union as the 51st state.

Picking Fortuño would be a way for Romney to try to attract Puerto Rican votes, especially in the crucial swing state of Florida. But historically, Puerto Ricans have voted Democratic.  It would be a stretch for Romney to change this precedent.

It’s doubtful that picking Fortuño would be enough of an incentive for the majority of Puerto Ricans to vote Republican. While they may be glad that a Boricua is on the ballot, many still disagree with conservative Republican policies. Also, Fortuño’s pro-statehood stance isn’t very popular among Puerto Ricans on or off the island. Four times in recent years Puerto Ricans have voted to maintain the status quo and not join the Union.

New Mexico governor Susana Martinez is another possible candidate for VPOTUS. She’s not as well known as Rubio or Fortuño, but the benefit of Martinez is that she’s a double threat: a woman and a Latina. The thinking goes that she could attract both female and Latino voters because of her ancestry and gender.

The problem with Martinez is that she is a controversial figure. She admitted that her grandparents came to New Mexico as undocumented workers, which was not popular among anti-illegal immigration conservatives. She tried to win them over by passing a law making it nearly impossible for undocumented workers to obtain driver’s licenses in her state, but that wasn’t popular with Latinos. Martinez, unlike Rubio and Fortuño, has experience with the plight of the undocumented in her own family and yet is actively working to make things harder on recent immigrants.  Would Romney risk alienating his conservative base for a nominee that many Latinos see as a traitor?

So while it’s conceivable that Romney will pick a Latino as his running mate,  it probably won’t happen simply because it won’t make a big enough difference for the Republican ticket.  Yes, it’s true that the Latino vote could be a deciding factor in a number of key states and the GOP needs to find a way to capture that vote. But will Latinos who support the rights of undocumented workers—and in many instances have undocumented family members—vote for a candidate just because the person running with him has a Spanish last name?  Probably not.  If Republicans really want to win over Latino voters they need to do more than rely on symbolism that the GOP is their amigo.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Image courtesy of flickr

Jack Tomas is a writer, filmmaker, and editor working in New York. He’s originally from Houston, TX where he earned a BA in Theater and Communication from The University of St. Thomas. Later, he received an MA in Media Studies at The New School. Jack has worked several years as a professional filmmaker and his films have appeared in several film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, The LA Comedy Shorts Festival, and The New York Independent Film Festival. He has also worked as a professional blogger since 2009 writing for,,, and He lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with his wife Marybec and two cats.

Federal Government Opens Citizenship Database to Florida Authorities, Making Immigrant Leaders Wary

The federal government has sent a letter to Florida governor Rick Scott allowing his state access to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database listing the names of resident noncitizens in the United States.

The government acted after a district court judge ruled in Scott’s favor on the issue.  Scott wants to use the database in his push to eliminate voter fraud and ensure that only people who are legally allowed to vote in the U.S. do so.

Response from immigrant leaders in Florida and New York was mixed.

Maria Rodriguez, the Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, was skeptical of Scott’s push.  Her organization is involved with a lawsuit against the state government for “violations of the Voting Rights Act.”

She told Fi2W that only a minuscule amount of actual voter fraud cases have been recorded in Florida, while the registration gap among Latino voters numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

According to Politifact, only 49 cases of voter fraud have been identified by the Florida Department of State since 2007.  According to the Associated Press, 86 people have been removed from the voter rolls in Florida for lacking eligibility since April 11.

Meanwhile, according to an estimate by Latino Decisions, a polling service, over 600,000 Latinos in Florida are eligible to vote but unregistered.

According to Rodriguez, this is the true problem, and it is one that Scott’s administration is refusing to address.

“Why focus on the minutiae of the voter fraud, which happened accidentally and inadvertently, instead of really trying to encourage democracy?” she told Fi2W.

For Rodriguez, the answer is simple.

“This is the latest example of [Scott] trying to activate his nativist base,” she said.  ”It’s a complete diversion from the real issues around keeping our democracy vibrant, and supporting inclusion.”

In New York, Valeria Treves of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) saw the sharing of citizenship databases by different levels of government as potentially intimidating to newer Americans.  Many immigrants who are not citizens send their children to school, pay taxes, and inform the police of potential criminal activities, she said, and the feeling that their information is being monitored by many different government agencies is intimidating.

“I think it erodes the trust between immigrants and different parts of the government,” she told Fi2W.  ”If they see all this info sharing between local and federal agencies, it’s going to dissuade immigrants from engaging in the actions that we all engage in.”

Treves said that her experience working with immigrants showed her that the vast majority of immigrants who register to vote without being citizens do so without realizing it, and attempting to present it otherwise is dishonest.

“I really feel like the rhetoric of immigrants doing this for malicious intent is overly political,” she said.  ”It’s not accurate.”

Alan Kaplan, the Civic Engagement Director for the New York Immigration Coalition, supported Florida’s right to check its voter rolls, but echoed Rodriguez and Treves’ misgivings on voter fraud’s legitimacy as a political issue, and saw it more as a tactic to discourage voting among certain populations.

“I think any time you confuse voters, especially new voters, you could be causing them to not go out and vote, and I feel like that’s part of the stategy of going after the voter rolls,” he said.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Photo courtesy of flickr

Justin Mitchell was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2002 with a degree in theater, and worked as an ESL teacher in the Czech Republic, Cambodia, and Korea. He is now a student at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism with a focus in international journalism. Follow him on Twitter @mittinjuschell.

Somos: What’s In A Name?

Latino, Afro-Cuban, Chicano, Mexican-American:  For as long as people of Latin American descent have been a part of the U.S. they’ve been referred to by many names. What’s more, we even have different names for ourselves. In this segment of our new Somos series, we talk to writers and activists about what name they choose to identify themselves by – and why it matters.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of

Explaining Somos

“Somos” is the name of a series that we are starting where we explore issues of Latino identity. We invite you to tell us how you identify yourself by making a video on youtube, posting a comment here, or leaving a message old-school style on our phone (yes, we have a phone attached to a wall!) at 646-571-1228. Don’t forget to tell us your name and where you’re calling us from. And after you post your video, tell us about it here or tweet us! We love hearing from you.

Marina Garcia-Vasquez is the co-founder and director of, a culture site and creative consultancy collective. The group aims to promote Mexican culture and heritage in a positive light through the accomplishments of Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans both in the United States, Mexico, and globally. Based in New York City, Marina is a working journalist dedicated to writing about art, design, and architecture. She is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism M.A. program in Arts and Culture and a published poet.

Roland Roebuck is a recognized DC activist nationally known as a leading spokesperson on issues that impact Latino Afro-Descendants. He has worked tirelessly to champion human and civil rights. He is a founding member of several Washington DC community organizations and has compelled national organizations and elected officials to implement initiatives that address the needs of minority groups.


Matthew Yglesias is Slate’s business and economics correspondent and author of Slate’s Moneybox column. Before joining the magazine he worked for ThinkProgress, the Atlantic, TPM Media, and the American Prospect. His first book, Heads in the Sand, was published in 2008. His second, The Rent Is Too Damn High, was published in March.

Michigan Living Arrangements

This is the time of year, when migrant farm workers are traveling the country, from harvest to harvest. Farmers wanting to ensure a steady flow of workers need to provide decent temporary housing. Andrew Stelzer reports on a small town in Michigan where local opposition is thwarting one farmer from renovating an abandoned motel to house his workers.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Andrew Stelzer is an award winning radio producer and news reporter, currently working as a producer and host at the National Radio Project in Oakland, CA. Andrew’s radio work has been featured nationally and Internationally on programs including NPR’s Weekend Edition, PRI’s The World, Studio 360, Weekend America, Marketplace, Living on Earth, On the Media, Free Speech Radio News, Latino USA, Only a Game, Radio Netherlands, World Radio Switzerland, Independent Native News, Radio France International, and the Workers Independent News Service. He also files regularly for KQED radio news in San Francisco.

You On SB 1070: Listener Comments

Last week, Maria Hinojosa shared her thoughts on the Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s immigration law. Here’s what some of you had to say.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Radia.


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