Latino USA

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After Ferguson: Being Black In Miami

The killing of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, M0. has reignited the spirit of the civil rights movement in the African American communities around the nation. While protests regarding Brown’s case continue in Missouri, his death has also reopened a long overdue conversation about the policing of black communities.

Miami-Dade County has not been the exception. The county in South Florida is predominantly Latino — Hispanics make up 65% of the population, blacks are just over 20%. The county’s mayors have been consistently Hispanic since the late seventies. And Hispanics make up a majority of the County’s Board of Commissioners.

On September 3rd, 2014, Dennis Moss, one of the county’s four black commissioners, opened the County Hall floor to a discussion about the lessons that Miami could learn to prevent events like Ferguson in Miami-Dade County.

The Commissioner and other members of the black leadership spoke of the feeling of hopelessness in the city’s black communities. They spoke of language discrimination in job applications — you have to speak Spanish for jobs– lack of access to private and public contracts, and opened a frank discussion about the policing of African American communities, especially black males.

The police department in Miami-Dade county is sharply different to the one in Ferguson. Miami-Dade’s police force reflects the different population groups, including Hispanics, blacks and other groups. Still, black leaders continue to sensitize police forces of every race on how blacks, especially men, experience police encounters.

City officials like Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez took part in the conversation, and all parties were glad the conversation happened in the open.

For this segment, we ask Dr. Walter T. Richardson, senior chaplain of the Miami-Dade Police Department, and Retha Boone-Fye, head of the Black Affairs Advisory Board in the county, about the conditions of African Americans in a place that is predominantly Latino/Hispanic.


Dr Richardson

Dr. Walter Thomas Richardson, a Miami native, is the senior chaplain for the Miami-Dade Police Department and Senior Pastor at Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in Perrine, Florida. Dr. Richardson currently serves as adjunct professor of religion at St. Thomas University where he teaches “World Religions.”





Retha BooneRetha Boone-FyeRetha Boone-Fye is the director of the Miami-Dade County Black Advisory Board. She previously served as Public Affairs Director for South Florida’s only Historically Black University—Florida Memorial.  She has been recognized by InFocus Magazine’s “Quiet Storm Award”; was named one of South Florida’s “Most Distinguished and Influential Black Women for 2010” by Success Magazine and was recently honored by ICABA World as one of South Florida’s “Most accomplished Black Professionals for 2011.”  She’s the second generation daughter of Bahamian parents and Jamaican great-grandparents. Mrs. Boone-Fye was the first of her immigrant family to attend university and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and her graduate degree from Nova-Southeastern University.




Latino USA intern Julia Shu contributed reporting.

Photo of gathering in front of Government Center in Miami on December 1st, 2000. Photo by Robert King/Newsmakers via Getty Images. 

Premeditated Mediation: Violence Interrupters

In the South Bronx neighborhood of New York City, a new program is making allies out of unlikely partners. Ex-gang-members are coming home from prison to patrol the streets and stop violence before it escalates and lands another person in prison. “S.O.S. South Bronx” is based on a program started in Chicago, where neighborhoods that used the program saw gun violence reduced by half. The program treats violence like a disease, and the S.O.S. members as antibodies trying to eradicate the disease through mediation. We take a stroll through the South Bronx with these violence interruptors.

Photo by Sarah Barrett

Keeping Kosher

Workers in New York City’s food manufacturing industry work long weeks for low wages. Unions have steadily disappeared over the years in NYC food processing plants where its 14 000 workers make about 6 dollars less than the industry as a whole, according to a survey by Brandworkers – a community organizing group for workers in the food processing industry.

Maria Corona worked at Flaum’s Appetizing, a kosher pickle and hummus factory in Brooklyn. Maria says she worked long days without breaks for only $3.75/hour. When she realized she was entitled to better wages, she and her coworkers got organized. Their protests, however, fell on deaf ears. Enter Ari Hart, a Rabbi who founded the Tav HaYosher – an organization dedicated to fighting worker exploitation.

Together, Maria Corona and Rabbi Ari Hart campaigned for better treatment and to get paid the minimum wage.

Photo by Mario Tama via Getty Images

Boston Residents will not be Uprooted

Frezzia Herrera is a teacher at a bilingual kindergarten and a resident of Roxbury, a neighborhood in Boston. She loves her neighborhood – taking walks in the nearby park and having a short commute. So her and her husband were shocked and disappointed when they received a letter informing them that their rent would go up $200 dollars starting the next month.

Herrera complained to City Realty Management, her landlord, and was able to negotiate. But she is just one of many Roxbury residents that is facing these rising costs. Many of her fellow neighbors have joined together to combat the rising prices and to ensure their neighborhood and community do not get uprooted.

Photo by Sara Van Note

Working While White at Latino USA

Despite what you may think, not all of Latino USA’s staff are, you know… Latinos. Of course, most of them are, but as part of a proudly diverse newsroom we also have two white men as producers. Host Maria Hinojosa sat down with the office gringos, Michael Simon Johnson and Marlon Bishop to find out what they’ve learned about being good allies and how to work for a show about a culture that isn’t theirs.

Marlon Bishop_new headshot Marlon Bishop is a radio producer and journalist with a focus on Latin America, New York City, music and the arts. He got his start in radio producing long-form documentaries on Latin music history for the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. After a stint reporting for the culture desk at New York Public Radio (WNYC), Marlon spent several years writing for MTV Iggy, MTV”s portal for global music and pop culture. Marlon has also lived and traveled all over Latin America, reporting stories as a freelancer for NPR, Studio 360, The World, the Village Voice, Billboard and Fusion, among other outlets. He is currently a staff Producer for Latino USA.




Michael_Johnson Michael Simon Johnson is a radio producer and audio engineer based in New York. A Pittsburgh native, he graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Sound Design. As a producer, he covers criminal justice and is currently a 2014/2015 John Jay Juvenile Justice Reporting Fellow.

How the US uses tech in Cuba

The U.S. continues to promote text messaging programs in Cuba in an effort to instigate anti-Castro demonstrations, according to Cuban officials. While the U.S. admits to promoting such programs, it says they help facilitate communication, not sedition.

Photo by  STR/AFP/Getty Images

After The Floods

In September 2013, rain pounded Colorado. Catastrophic flooding killed ten people and destroyed more than 1,800 structures, including six mobile home parks with large Latino populations.

Back then, we interviewed Colorado-based reporter Lesly McClurg about stories she collected from Latinos who were affected by the floods.

Now, one year later, Lesley McClurg brings us a report about how families have struggled to recover in the face of language barriers, split communities, and the fear of revealing their immigration status. She visited two families in northern Colorado who lost everything.


Photo via Lesly McClurg

Getting hitched Trek Mex Style

Elicia Sanchez did not want her wedding to be another boring event where people sit around and hear the same old speeches about people being so in love… blah blah blah. So she combined two important influences in her life: her Mexican heritage and Star Trek. She would be having a Trek Mex wedding. Enter worf masks, bat’leths, tacos and mariachi music.

Elicia-Sanchez With jokes about Star Trek and a name no one can fully pronounce, Elicia Sanchez is a stand-up comedian, writer, comic book reader and mostly an adult.  After relocating several miles to Seattle, WA from Olympia, WA in 2007, she has been balancing meager paychecks between comic books and happy hour while performing stand-up since 2010. 

This Week’s Captions: Allies

What does it mean to be a good ally? Latino USA asks black leaders from Miami, trying to prevent a crisis similar to that of Ferguson, Missouri’s. We hear about former inmates returning to the Bronx to prevent violence. A rabbi teams up with Latino food workers to ensure they’re well treated. Boston neighbors fight for affordable housing. We learn about how the U.S. tries to create allies through texting programs in Cuba (and why it hasn’t worked). Our white producers fill us in on how they feel about working in a Latino newsroom. We revisit the Colorado floods, one year later. And one woman brings together two of the most important influences in her life: Mexican culture and…Star Trek.


Latino USA, the foremost Latino voice in public media and the longest running Latino-focused program on radio, is the first radio program to commence equal-access distribution via Captioning for Radio. “Research has shown that Latino children have a higher incidence of hearing loss and deafness than other populations,” according to Latino USA’s Anchor & Executive Producer Maria Hinojosa. “When the opportunity to break this sound barrier came to our attention, we were pleased to embrace this new technology developed by NPR Labs and Towson University for the thousands of Latinos with serious hearing loss.”
The International Center for Accessible Radio Technology (ICART), a strategic alliance between NPR and Towson University, is co-directed by Mike Starling of NPR and Ellyn Sheffield of Towson University.
For each week’s captioning, check back on


This Week’s Music: Allies

-Sueño en Paraguay by Chancha Via Circuito 

-Ven (Beautiful) feat. Julieta Venegas by Ceci Bastida

-No Vacancy by Nortec Collective Pres. Bostich + Fussible

-Aventura Judia by David Buchbinder

-Un lugar desconocido by Los Mil Jinetes

-Drume Negrita by Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido

-Mañanas by Diego Rebella

-Play that Funky Music by Wild Cherry

-Si Agua by Mia Maestro

-Camino Verde by Nortec Collective Pres. Bostich + Fussible

-Cancion de 2 acordes by Diego Rebella

-Are I Here by Helado Negro


THIS WEEK'S SHOW: In this week's show,…

This Week's Captions: Money...

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