Author Archive

Teaching Chicano History Through Theater

During the 1960s, East Los Angeles became the center of the Chicano Movement, or Movimiento, the Mexican-American civil rights struggle. Thousands of Chicanos marched in protests, won reforms and changed America forever. But two generations later, that history is being forgotten. California schools don’t teach it and many immigrant parents don’t know it. A group of Chicano artists is trying to bring that history back to life by bringing a special theater program to an East L.A. school for youth at risk.


The Invention of Hispanics

Before 1970, the US Census Bureau classified Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants as whites. Each community of Latin American origin would go by their nationality and by the region where they lived in the United States. But all that changed in the seventies, as activists began lobbying the US Census Bureau to create a broad, national category that included all these communities. The result was the creation of the term “Hispanic”, first introduced in the US Census in 1970.

Then it was up to Spanish-language media to get the word out. The network that would later become Univision released this series of ads calling on “Hispanics” to fill out the 1980 Census. The ads feature “Hispanic” sports stars and… Big Bird:

By the 1990s, Univision was creating the images and sounds associated to Hispanics in the US. The 1990 Census ads feature the likes of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz telling Hispanics to fill out el censo:

Maria Hinojosa interviews author and scholar G. Cristina Mora about origins of the term, the people that crafted it, and what it actually means to be Hispanic in the United States today.





Cristina Mora

 G. Cristina Mora is a sociology professor at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses mainly on questions of racial and ethnic categorization, organizations, and immigration. Her book, Making Hispanics provides a socio-historical account of the institutionalization of the “Hispanic/Latino” panethnic category in the United States.






Videos courtesy of Univision Communications and the Univision News library in Miami, Florida. 

Photo courtesy of El Telecote archive on Found SF 

Why Latino History Matters

To wrap up our history special, we explore why Latino history matters. We speak with historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (author of “Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States). Fernandez-Armesto makes the argument that if the United States wants to be a great nation in the future, it needs to embrace its history as a Latin American nation. Then we return to Laredo, a 96 percent Latino city on the US-Mexico border that’s also hosts the nation’s biggest celebration of George Washington’s birthday, to get a sneak peek at what our country’s Latino future might look like.


reynolds_fernandez_armestoBorn in 1950, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto was raised in London by his Spanish born father and British born mother, both active journalists. As a historian, he has written numerous books on a variety of subject from American History to the Spanish Armada. He currently teaches at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of  Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States.

This Week’s Captions: Take Care

A dangerous fungus lurks in the dirt of California’s Central Valley. But there’s little funding for research to combat it. We’ll learn what some people are doing to educate local people, and about the ways Latinos get medical care.

This Week's Captions: Take Care

This Week’s Music: Take Care

Do you want to know more about the music behind our Take Care episode? Here’s our latest Spotify playlist, along with one YouTube link to a song you can’t get on Spotify: “Sentimiento Electrónico” by Sonido San Francisco.

“Sentimiento Electrónico”

Are you on Spotify? If so, give us a follow here.

#1520 – Take Care

A dangerous fungus lurks in the dirt of California’s Central Valley. But there’s little funding for research to combat it. We’ll learn what some people are doing to educate local people, and about the ways Latinos get medical care.


Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Valley Fever: California’s Dirty Danger

The fungus that causes Valley Fever is common in the dusty fields of California’s Central Valley. Here, a woman walks through a dry riverbed in Tulare County.

Photo by Sean Havey


In parts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico, a mysterious disease lurks in the dirt. There’s no cure for Valley Fever and little funding for research, but those who get sick can face a host of lifelong problems that can lead to death.

As Dr. Jared Rutledge explains, “People can get infected when they inhale the fungal spores, the microscopic part of the fungus that allows it to reproduce, like a seed to a plant.”

Once the spores are airborne, the wind can carry them for miles. In California, this means that the residents of the south Central Valley who are most at risk. Latino USA’s California Endowment reporting fellow Vanessa Rancaño brings us this story.

Latino patients struggle with communication in California

Gloria R. Lopez, left, talks to Licensed Clinical Social Worker Uzma Nazir, far right, through Medical Interpreter Fabiola Cardenas, second from left.  Lopez is being briefed on recovery and lifestyle implications after a kidney transplant she is yet to receive while her daughter Gloria A. Lopez, second from right, listens in to learn her role as caretake for her mother.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio


Conversations at the doctor’s office are not always easy. Fear of bad news and complicated medical terms can make for a tense environment. But for those who speak limited English, language problems can present barriers to good care. Federal and state laws require translation or some other plan for non-English speakers. But in California, these patients have mixed success communicating with health care providers.

Pauline Bartolone of Capital Public Radio reports from Sacramento.

Forgotten Citizens: The children of the deported

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

It’s been well publicized that deportations have skyrocketed over the last decade. Over 3 million undocumented immigrants were deported between 2005 and 2013 alone. But less discussed are the estimated 1.5 million American citizen children who have been affected by a parent’s removal. That number comes from Dr. Luis H. Zayas, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who chronicles the mental health consequences of deportations on children in his new book Forgotten Citizens: Deportation, Children, and the Making Of American Exiles and Orphans.


In researching his book, he studied two groups of children. One group he calls the “orphans” — those who are left in the U.S. to fend for themselves when one or more parent is deported. The other are the “exiles,” U.S. citizen children who return to Mexico with their parents. Both groups, he says, tend to suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression that go on to affect their development. Ultimately, he argues that the U.S. government should make the psychological needs of these citizen children more of a priority when developing and executing immigration policy.

Luis H. Zayas joins Maria Hinojosa for a conversation about mental health, children, and one case for reducing deportations.

zayas headshot

Luis H. Zayas is Dean and Robert Lee Sutherland Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. Specializing in minority and immigrant families and children, his research has appeared in numerous scientific journals and has been reported widely in newspapers, television, radio and other news outlets. He is the author of Latinas Attempting Suicide: When Cultures, Families, and Daughters Collide. Zayas is a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare


Dreams become reality for undocumented Med Students

We all know getting into medical school is tough. But if you’re undocumented, it’s even harder. President Obama’s executive action on immigration has helped unlock some doors, giving lawful presence to young immigrants who came to the US as children. Now some of these students are knocking on the doors of med schools. From California, Ali Budner has the story.


What’s Cuban medicine like?

Cuba spends about $400 per person each year on healthcare, while in the U.S. that number is about $9000 according to the World Health Organization.

Yet the two nations have about the same life expectancy: 76 for men and 81 for women.

There are a lot of reasons why the U.S. spends so much more. Medical resources are limited in Cuba. The U.S. stopped trading medical supplies over 50 years ago when they set up the embargo. Cuba is also poor.

But it has the highest doctor-per-patient ratio of any country in the world. And labor is cheap. Doctors’ salaries are only $30 a month.

The country can’t afford many prescription drugs, so Cubans often use herbal medicines. And health stats show the system seems to be working. Katie Manning reports.

Photo courtesy of Katie Manning 

Breastfeeding in schools

Teen mothers are often faced with the choice of dropping out of school, or having to go to an alternative school, if they want to breastfeed their babies. But that could change in California, where the legislature is considering a bill to require safe, private breastfeeding spaces in the state’s high schools. Alice Daniel reports.

Photo by Jo Amelia Finlay Bever via Flickr

Sabiduría: Zarela Martinez Won’t Let Parkinson’s Stop Her

Zarela Martinez is one of the most celebrated Mexican chefs in the United States. At one point, she owned restaurants, wrote cookbooks, hosted a PBS series and throughout her career, helped introduce Americans to the richness of Mexico’s many regional cuisines. Then, in 2004, Zarela was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It’s a neurological disorder that causes the loss of fine motor skills and, in its later stages, dementia. It can be extremely debilitating. The diagnosis would have devastated some people— but not Zarela. Her philosophy of self-healing is this episode’s Sabiduría, or words of wisdom.


Photo by Laurie Smith

What Latino USA Show Would You Vote For?

This Memorial Day weekend, the Latino USA team is asking our listeners the following question: Which show should we rebroadcast? Take the survey below (it only takes seconds) to let us know. If you need to check out the three nominations, here are the links to the shows: A Latino History of the U.S., Life Sentence and Latino Icons. (FYI, it you can’t access the survey below, you can vote here.)

Create your own user feedback survey

#1519 – Palabras

What’s in a word? Find out with Latino USA as we talk about Spanglish and its implications, how to interpret the made up language of some popular movie characters, and living as a Deaf Latino.


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

This Week's Captions: Money...

THIS WEEK'S SHOW: From Puerto Rico to…


Audio visual notes for the hearing impaired.

Join the conversation

© 2015 Futuro Media Group

Contact /

Your privacy is important to us. We do not share your information.

[bwp-recaptcha bwp-recaptcha-913]

Tel /

+1 646-571-1220

Fax /

+1 646-571-1221

Mailing Address /

361 West 125st Street
Fourth Floor
New York, NY 10027