Author Archive

Maria Hinojosa on Melissa Harris Perry #Nerdland

In case you missed Maria Hinojosa today on Melissa Harris Perry, no te preocupes, don’t you worry. Our team gathered all the six clips from this morning’s show where Maria was part of the #nerdland table. The panel talked about Barack Obama’s “4th quarter surge,” prison reform and immigration. Here are the clips, in order of appearance.






#1529 – Know Your Rights

This week on Latino USA, in order for people to fight for their rights, they have to know them: stories about people, like a judge who is working towards more equal applications of the law, to a mother in East L.A. fighting for her autistic children’s education, to tenants taking on landlords to save their homes.

A Different Kind of Court

Judge Alex Calabrese is kind of a celebrity in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood. He’s known around the community as a judge who cares—about the people who pass through his courtroom and the community outside his courthouse. For Calabrese, justice is about fairness from day one. We visit his courtroom to see what’s so unique about his approach to the bench.

Photo by Julia Alsop.

Excluded From Jury Duty?

Non-English speaking jurors are often excluded from the jury box because of their inability to speak English, and in some states for their inability to speak, read and write in English. Although serving in a jury pool is a constitutional right, Latinos are not represented in the jury box. Having an interpreter in court with them could be an easy solution, but these services are only provided to defendants, and whether or not a juror gets an interpreter is the decision of the judge presiding that trial.

As a consequence, defendants are not having a jury pool that is fairly representative of their community.

Photo of jury box via Ken Lund (Wikimedia Commons).

A Mother’s Fight for Her Autistic Children

One in 68 children has been diagnosed with autism in the U.S., in contrast with one in 93 Hispanic children. There is a debate whether Hispanic children are actually less likely to be autistic or whether they are not being properly diagnosed. Either way, the rate of autism in Hispanic children is increasing in communities not familiar with the illness. One mother of two autistic boys in East Los Angeles, Josefina Nieves, worked hard to learn about her children’s condition and fought against the school district to give them a better education.

Photo of murals on buildings in East Los Angeles. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Closing the Justice Gap

When Cesar Bello’s home of 17 years was sold and strange men started showing up at his door pressuring his family to move, he knew he had to do something. That’s how he and his family ended up in the often confusing world of housing court. He was lucky that he found free legal help. But most people in civil court don’t. Unlike in criminal court, there’s no guaranteed right to a lawyer. For many people with low-income means, that means facing the judge without any professional legal help.

Photo by Youngking11 (Wikimedia Commons)

Dairy Workers Challenge Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

In Vermont, migrant dairy workers are agitating for better working and living conditions. A campaign known as Milk With Dignity, initiated by advocacy group Migrant Justice, is pushing for minimum wage, days off and paid sick leave. Yet instead of pressuring overburdened state agencies to step up enforcement, they’re going directly to corporations —starting with Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream— to guarantee better conditions for the workers in their supply chains. Ben and Jerry’s, which is owned by the multinational corporation Unilever, wants to include farmers in the negotiations, too.

Photo via Migrant Justice.

Marty Castro, Civil Rights Watchdog

In 2011, Martin ‘Marty’ Castro, a prominent lawyer from Chicago, became the first Latino to head the United States Commission on Civil Rights since the agency was created in 1957. Throughout its history, the Commission has drafted reports that have been key in the crafting and passing of landmark civil rights legislation, from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.

Under Marty Castro’s tenure, the Commission has delved into issues like police relations with communities of color, school bullying based on race, gender, national origin and sexual orientation, and on the conditions of detainees at immigration detention centers, for which Maria Hinojosa was called to testify based on her extensive reporting for Latino USA and for Frontline on PBS.

Maria Hinojosa talks to Marty Castro about going from the working class neighborhoods of Chicago to one of the nation’s top civil rights watchdogs.

About Martin “Marty” Castro

Martin R. Castro was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by President Barack Obama in January of 2011. President Obama elevated Mr. Castro to the position of Chairperson of the USCCR three months later, making him the agency’s eighth Chair since the formation of the Commission, and the first Latino Chairperson in the agency’s history. Mr. Castro received his B.A. in political science from DePaul University in 1985 and his JD from the University of Michigan Law School in 1988.



Sabiduría: Tattoos for Human Rights

Artist Sander van Bussel created the Human Rights Tattoo project to stand up for human rights. The art project consists of tattooing the entire Universal Declaration of Human Rights, letter by letter, on different people around the world. When the project is finished, the entire document will be tattooed on 6,773 people.

Human Rights Tattoo arrived at an art gallery in Brooklyn to tattoo the characters of article 16 of the declaration (freedom of marriage). So far, over 2,000 people have gotten a character of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights tattooed on their bodies.

What Latino USA Was Reading This Week

As I begin to write more pieces for each week, I had a crazy idea that we should at least share some of the stories our team has read and discussed both internally and with our social community. I hadn’t planned to give this feature some fancy name (feel free to tweet me if you have a suggestion), but since our show is a weekly show, many listeners have asked us: do you guys do anything else besides produce a weekly national radio show?

The short answer is yes

The longer answer is that we are constantly looking for stories: whether we’re getting pitches from you (submit your ideas here) or if we’re reading, checking our feeds, watching videos or listening to other podcasts.We are so much more than just your favorite show (yay!), and my hope is that each week, we will try to present more of the day-to-day in our editorial world..  With that said, the simplest way to start is to just tell you about the top stories we found this week that we shared with our Facebook and Twitter communities. Here goes:

What was the most popular Facebook story of the week?

This past Tuesday, we posted a Texas Observer story that has led to 300+ shares and a ton of Facebook comments (ok, about 30, but that’s a lot of comments!). What was the story about? Some parts of Texas are not issuing birth certificates to children born in the United States to undocumented parents. If you haven’t read the piece, go here. Meanwhile, I wanted to share a few comments from our Facebook fans:

“As routinely as Texas intentionally works to violate the Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, particularly the first, fourth, fifth, ninth, fourteenth, fifteenth and twenty-fourth amendments, it would seem time for our federal government to act so as to hold the Texas government responsible for such violations of the rights of citizens of the United States of America, and for its violations of the enumerated rights of non-citizens in the United States.”

“I cannot think of a single legitimate reason not to accept a foreign passport or matricula consular as forms of I.D. for the parent of a US citizen. This is disgusting how transparent this bigotry is.”

“What a disgrace for our great state. Hopefully these families can resolve this issue soon. These children are U.S. citizens.”

What was the most popular Twitter story of the week?

The Observer story also got attention on Twitter, but two other stories are also getting noticed. The first one? Rita Moreno being named a 2015 Kennedy Center Honors recipient. I will attest to this: when our team heard the news in our Harlem office, we were thrilled. We even got to revisit this amazing 40-minute 2014 interview Moreno had with Maria Hinojosa.

The other story came from Univision Noticias. Earlier this mornig, the news outlet published a bilingual report about the U.S. Latino electorate. It is a fascinating read for all you political geeks out there, as well as for podcast people like us, since our team is in the middle of planning its 2016 election coverage.

That’s it for now. Tomorrow is Friday, which means another new show will be up. (You can subscribe to the show right now.) See you online, and seriously, if you have any suggestions, don’t be shy. Tweet me. I will respond.

This Week’s Music: Béisbol

Ok, guys, here’s the playlist for this week’s Béisbol episode. Follow us on Spotify to find the music we use in our shows. As always, a huge thanks to Nadia Reiman, our Latino USA music genius, for picking the songs that have become such a staple of our shows.

Not all the songs we featured were on Spotify this week, so we’re adding YouTube videos. First off, the famous WPIX 1970s New York Yankees theme song, the intro to the The Bronx Judas segment (that’s me), for obvious reasons.

I was also surpised to see that “Guavaberry” was not on Spotify, so I found this throwback video gem from 1987. 1987!!!

I guess I have to add this one, even though I am a Red Sox fan now.


We also included “Baby Elephant Walk.” Go 1960s!

Here is Mariachi Nuevo Real’s “Llévame al juego de béisbol.”

We close with “Alatagracia.” Brilliant.

From Invisible to Visible: Maria Hinojosa’s Story

Last month, Maria Hinojosa spoke at the first-ever TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue event, held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on June 24. The title of Maria’s talk was “From Invisible to Visible.” Here is the official video, which was published on YouTube yesterday.

What did you think of what Maria had to say? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, or better yet, tweet @Maria_Hinojosa. Many of you had a lot to say about Maria’s talk on June 24, and we would love hear more about the issues Maria raised in this very personal story.

Photo of Maria Hinojosa, taken June 24, 2015, by TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue.

The Bronx Judas

Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in MLB, embodies the best of baseball: tradition, family, and the American spirit—that is, if you’re white. For Boston’s black and Latino communities, Fenway has represented a cruel racial history of exclusion. But that history started to change once the Red Sox witnessed a string of powerhouse Latino players like Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, prompting the stadium to fill with Dominican flags, Caribbean music and and a whole new culture the city didn’t know it had.

Latino USA’s Digital Media Director Julio Ricardo Varela, who founded, tells the story of how he betrayed his Bronx roots and became a Red Sox because of this change.

Photo of Julio by Miguel Varela.

Latinos and Baseball’s Color Line

Long before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line, Latinos were bending it. For decades, the color line unofficially barred African-Americans from the Major Leagues, but racially ambiguous Cuban and other Latin American players found themselves dead center in the middle of a racial hierarchy that allowed a select few to push the limits of Major League Baseball’s presumed whiteness—limits that went so far that some managers even tried to some pass African-American players off as Latinos in the hopes of hiring them without public backlash.

Photo: Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame (Credit: Latino USA)

Ernesto Jerez: The Voice of Béisbol

Ernesto Jerez, ESPN’s Spanish-language MLB broadcaster famous for his signature home run cry, gives his thoughts on where America’s pastime is headed. As more and more Latinos make their way into MLB, Jerez believes they will play a crucial role —both as players and fans— in keeping the game alive in a society that seems to have decreasing patience for a nine-inning game.

Photo of Jerez celebrating his 2015 Emmy win (via Twitter).


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