National Poll of Candidates: Trump Has Highest Unfavorables with Latinos, While Sanders Has Lowest

Over the past week, two posts from a new national poll of registered Latino voters conducted by America’s Voice and Latino Decisions (whose co-founders work with the Hillary Clinton campaign) have offered a deeper dive into the mood of the 2016 U.S. Latino electorate, including a finding that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has an unfavorable rating of 87% with Latinos. In contrast, the poll reported, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ unfavorable rating of 24% is the lowest rating among the race’s five remaining candidates.


Both Sanders and Clinton had the highest favorable ratings at 61%, 12 points lower than President Barack Obama’s rating. However, 15% of respondents didn’t know whether they had an unfavorable or favorable view of Sanders. Among Republican candidates, Cuban-American Ted Cruz had a 36% favorable rating, and his 52% unfavorable rating was the second-highest.

The poll asked 2,200 registered Latino voters questions about candidate opinions and other topics. One finding about issues that matter to Latino voters showed a sharp contrast with the general electorate:


In addition, the Republican Party continues to be seen in a negative light with Latino voters:


You can access the poll’s toplines here. The follow is the slide presentation that accompanies the poll.

1st Wave America’s Voice/LD 2016 Tracking Poll

The groups plan to release two more similar polls later this year.

After Transforming Church’s Role in Cuba, Longtime Havana Cardinal Steps Down

Top Story — Cardinal Jamie Ortega, the longtime leader of the Catholic Church in Cuba and a key player in the clandestine negotiations that resulted in resumed diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, stepped down on Tuesday. His retirement was expected, and he will be replaced by Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez as Havana’s archbishop, the Associated Press reported.

Ortega, 79, had been the Archbishop of Havana since 1981 and is credited with passing along letters from the Vatican to U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro urging them to reach a political détente.

Ortega also oversaw three papal visits to Cuba and served during a period in which, according to The New York Times, “the church became the only institution outside the government with any sway on the island.”

In the years since Ortega assumed his position, the church has expanded its influence into areas formerly dominated by the state and encouraged the government to accelerate economic reforms. In contrast with the marginalization that followed the revolution in 1959, the church is now expanding in both size and scope, offering social services like job training.

Ortega faced criticism, especially among the Cuban exile community, for allegedly not doing enough to support Cuba’s dissidents, including notably calling a group of activists “delinquents” in one case. The Miami Herald suggests Ortega sought a greater role for the church in Cuba at the expense of fully supporting pro-democracy efforts by dissidents.

Ortega’s retirement comes amid a generally chilly backlash from the Cuban government following the positive hype surrounding Obama’s visit to Havana last month. On March 28 former Cuban President Fidel Castro wrote a rare open letter in the state-run newspaper Granma, warning, “we don’t need the empire to give us anything.”

Revolutionary rhetoric also predominated at Cuba’s Communist Party Congress earlier this month, when President Raúl Castro announced he and other top party leaders would remain in power for at least another five years. The overriding message of the party congress was of continuity, and of improving upon Cuban socialism even in light of economic reforms and warmer relations with the United States.

In choosing García as Havana’s new archbishop, Pope Francis did not specify whether he expected him to follow Ortega’s political example and continue to advocate for change.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Following a scathing report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding Mexico’s investigation into the 2014 disappearance of 43 teacher-trainee students in Guerrero state, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement on Tuesday expressing concern over “the many challenges and obstacles reported by the experts” and urging the Mexican government to take the group’s recommendations “into serious consideration.”

The United Nations issued its statement on the same day that The New York Times published an editorial that detailed Mexico’s botched investigation into the disappearances and condemned “the government’s lack of political will to reform judicial institutions and its callousness toward its citizens.”


The U.S. Congress will not agree on a fiscal rescue plan for Puerto Rico ahead of a $422 million debt payment it owes on May 1, U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday, adding that there are no guarantees of a bailout for the territory before a $2 billion payment is due July 1, after which the island’s government could be sued by some bondholders.

Central America

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales on Tuesday repudiated the claim by Belize’s government that its soldiers shot to death a 13-year-old Guatemalan in self-defense in an incident on the border between the two countries. The resulting border crisis, stemming from long-standing tensions, has prompted troop deployments and a request for an mediation by the Organization of American States.

Union groups in Costa Rica launched a nationwide strike across public schools and health services on Tuesday, as thousands of school and medical workers marched to Congress with demands that included salary increases, higher taxes on the wealthy and land rights for peasants.


On Tuesday, Venezuela’s electoral council decided to begin collecting signatures in order to initiate a petition to eventually recall President Nicolás Maduro, a far-from-certain prospect given the many hurdles involved.

In an attempt to manage Venezuela’s ever-growing energy crisis, President Nicolás Maduro announced that public employees will only work two days a week for at least the next two weeks in order to save energy.

Southern Cone

Brazil’s health ministry announced that 230 people have died of swine flu in the past year, 70 of them in the past week, prompting a national campaign of free vaccinations.

Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer, who may assume the presidency in the coming weeks, has drafted an ambitious economic rescue program that would seek to regain investor confidence by, among other things, replacing the board of the central bank which has been accused of irresponsibly targeting growth at the risk of inflation, three sources told Reuters.

The remains of the Nobel-prize winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda were finally reburied in his former home of Isla Negra after being exhumed three years prior in order to conduct an investigation into whether he was poisoned or died of natural causes, the results of which will be released next month.

Argentina’s state-run oil company YPF will export oil for the first time in two years next month, taking advantage of a new subsidy which seeks to spur drilling despite a collapse in crude prices.

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Purple Spring: Thousands of Women Protest Against Sexist Violence in Mexico

By Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

April 24, 2016 marked a historic date in Mexico. More than 40 cities in the country, including Ciudad Juárez, Puebla, Guadalajara, Oaxaca and Mexico City (among others) were the sites of organized protests marches against machista-patriarchal violence. In Mexico, every day 7 women are murdered. Every day you hear or read in the news about disappeared, murdered, kidnapped, beaten, harassed, and raped women. This sexist (patriarchal) violence is lived through the everyday lives of women.

On this April Sunday, thousands of women across the country, of all ages —children, young women, adults and older women— marched against the simultaneous forms of violence they face in their homes, in the streets, in their jobs, in their schools, in their intimate relationships and in militant-leftist organizations. Women flooded the streets to speak out for the silenced and ignored voices. Women went out to denounce the naturalized violence.

Photo Credit: Queso / @come_queso /
Photo Credit: Queso / @come_queso /

On the Internet, with the hashtags #24A, #VivasNosQueremos (WeWantOurselvesAlive), #PrimaveraVioleta (PurpleSpring), and #MiPrimerAcoso, (MyFirstHarassment), women flooded the cyber-world with their testimonies of the first encounter with sexist violence.

We read on Twitter and on Facebook testimonies of the first time that women, as kids, were non-consensually touched, harassed and, in some cases, raped. For many women, it was the first time they publicly talked about these deep wounds. Many of them, including myself, found courage to make their testimonies public as we read other women’s post on social media. All of the stories had so much in common: physical-emotional violence exerted by close people, and sexual violence by friends, professors, boyfriends and family members; other harassment and violence cases were perpetrated by unknown men in public spaces. These voices and stories gave a face, a personal voice, to a structural, continuous violence that we women, as a collectivity, have lived in the quotidian with the hyper-sexualization of our bodies in private and public spaces. These stories made #VivasNosQueremos a trending topic on Twitter in Mexico on April 24 as thousands of us spoke from our heart and made public what we have been silencing, or what has been ignored and not heard before. It showed a deep collective wound as women in Mexico.

Read more at Latino Rebels

Brazil’s Opposition Party Split on Decision to Support New Interim Government

Top Story — Looking ahead to a 2018 presidential run, Brazil’s largest opposition party is split on the degree to which they will support a provisional government in the likely case that President Dilma Rousseff is impeached through a Senate vote on May 12.

Senior members of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) said Monday that while it would back former Vice President Michel Temer’s interim government, the party is divided on the decision of joining his cabinet, Reuters reported.

The maneuvering comes just two weeks after Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted to impeach the president, casting Rousseff into a fight to stay in office that led her to make a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York last Friday, where she described her opponents as “coup mongers.”

Temer’s March 29 split from the government coalition had been the loudest death knell for Rousseff’s presidency up until the fateful vote a few weeks later. He is currently working with his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party to prepare to assume the presidency in May as Rousseff will be suspended from her office if the Senate deals the final blow with an impeachment vote.

In light of Brazil’s worst economic recession since the 1930s, business leaders are pressuring PSDB to fall in line with Temer in order to restore investment credibility and quell the crisis. Former central bank governor and PSDB member Henrique Meirelles is likely to be offered the position as Temer’s finance minister in the interim cabinet; more top posts are expected to be offered to other PSDB members.

Yet PSDB leaders are wary of their top members accepting cabinet positions like this one, as party leader Aécio Neves, who is expected to run in the 2018 elections, said last week. Still, the party walks a fine line, because if they do not fully join the Temer government and the interim president manages to pull Brazil out of the recession, PSDB could lose in the next election. The party plans to meet on May 3 to make a final decision on their position towards a likely Temer presidency.

The PSDB holds leverage over Temer in another way; the party has led efforts to annul Rousseff’s presidency through a case in the Supreme Electoral Tribunal based on allegations of illicit campaign financing. If that case succeeded, Temer, as Rousseff’s running mate in 2014, would be forced out of office as well.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

In Mexico, reactions to the release of a final third-party report on the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from Guerrero state have been widely negative. Family members of the students slammed the government, accusing the authorities not just of bungling the case but of misleading them and even planting evidence.

An op-ed in The New York Times by former Mexico correspondent Ginger Thompson compares the fallout of the case of the 43 disappeared students to hand-wringing among Mexican elites over the candidacy of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, concluding that the disappearance is a worse blow to Mexico’s image, and a self-inflicted one.

A separate analysis by the Times suggests the party of President Enrique Peña Nieto is likely to weather the fallout from the case despite its impact on Peña Nieto’s approval ratings, based on the fact that his party, the PRI, performed well in midterm elections last year and is likely to do the same in upcoming gubernatorial elections, polls suggest.

A large database of Mexican voter records was discovered by a U.S. security researcher to be entirely accessible to the public on the internet, raising questions about the Mexican National Electoral Institute’s security.

In Acapulco, one of the world’s deadliest cities, local Mexican police headquarters in a beachside tourist area and a hotel across town were simultaneously attacked by a group of armed men, causing the city, which is still a large tourist attraction, to temporarily go into lockdown.


The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell will visit Puerto Rico to review measures to control the Zika virus, which is expected to begin spreading in the United States in June. Nonetheless, members of the U.S. Congress are unlikely to grant the full $1.9 billion requested by the Obama administration for anti-Zika efforts.

Central America

El Salvador’s prosecutor for human rights, David Morales, said Monday that in at least two cases in 2015, police officers and soldiers executed gang members, then altered the crime scenes to look like shootouts, a claim the country’s defense minister said was being investigating by authorities.

Panama’s Finance Minister Dulcidio de la Guardia squared off with his French counterpart in Paris on Monday in a meeting that was called after the latter’s government threatened Panama with sanctions following the revelations of the Panama Papers.


Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Monday said it will not allow an opposition-written constitutional amendment cutting the presidential term from six to four years, highlighting the pro-government court’s status as a check on the opposition’s majority in the legislature, and presaging further difficulty in efforts to remove President Nicolás Maduro from office.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday announced a new cabinet on consolidating an anticipated FARC peace deal, as well as combating a slump in Santos’ approval ratings amid a slowdown in the oil-dependent economy.

Southern Cone

The New York Times looks into the diplomatic process behind Argentina’s settlement with its hedge-fund creditors under first-year President Mauricio Macri, who promised to pay the so-called “vulture funds” after years of refusal under former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Speaking at the international mining-industry fair Expomin, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet cautioned that the country —the world’s largest copper producer— should prepare for a “post-copper economy” in order to free itself from the cycle of commodities booms and busts.

Reuters reports on the increased efforts of Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama to crack down on illegal gold mining in the Amazon, which leads to deforestation and pollutes the environment with large quantities of mercury used in the mining process.

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Meet the Woman Who’s ‘Decolonizing’ Body Positivity for Women of Color

Body positivity movements are not one size fits all. Women from diverse backgrounds have different experiences, struggles and social influences, all of which inform the way they view their individual bodies. They subsequently require and deserve culturally relevant resources that address and embrace those differences. With this in mind, Gloria Lucas founded Nalgona Positivity Pride(NPP), a multi-platform “Xican@-Brown*-Indigenous” network dedicated to raising eating disorder awareness in communities of color and “decolonizing“ body positivity.

A self-described “chubby warrior, DIY punx educator, and eating disorder survivor,“ Lucas launched NPP two years ago in response to the pervasiveness of heteronormative, white ideals shared through mainstream body-positive movements.

“I struggled with binge eating and bulimia for a very long time, and I didn’t seek help,” Lucas shares. She says the dearth of mainstream coverage of Latinas’ experiences with eating disorders is one of the reasons she did not speak out at the time. “Nalgona Positivity Pride was my opportunity to give back to the community and offer what I wish I would have had during those very tough times with my eating disorder.”

Read more at HuffPost Latino Voices

Report Accuses Mexican Police of Torturing Suspects in Ayotzinapa Case

Top Story — Mexican police tortured key suspects in the case of the 43 students who went missing in September 2014 in Mexico’s Guerrero state, according to the final report produced by a team of outside investigators.

The report, conducted by an interdisciplinary group of experts and overseen by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, was presented on Sunday It also revealed that the authorities refused to drop lines of investigation refuted by the experts and obstructed the experts’ investigations; it expands prior accusations against federal police of involvement in the attack against the students and against the police and the army for failing to help survivors of the attack.

The final report comes more than a year and a half after the initial attack that triggered outrage across Mexico and throughout the world, launching an international protest movement largely led by parents of the missing students and sending Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s approval ratings into a downward plunge.

The students were studying at a nearby rural teachers college in the town of Ayotzinapa, and were on their way to Mexico City to participate in the commemoration of the 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre on the night of Sept. 26, 2014, when police officers allegedly blocked some of their buses and opened fire before, in the AP’s phrasing, “supposedly” turning the students over to a local drug cartel.

The ensuing investigation came under increasing scrutiny in January 2015 when then-Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam held a press conference to reveal the “historical truth” of what happened on the night of the attack and disappearances. Three days later, the IACHRlaunched their independent investigation into the case. In September 2015, theypublished a report on their initial findings, essentially debunking the government’s version of events and validating widespread skepticism about its investigation.

Sunday’s report revealed that a study of 17 of the some 123 suspects arrested in the case showed signs of torture, in some cases, bruises, cuts and scrapes. One interviewee said he was dragged from his home and subjected to beatings, waterboarding and electrocution; this torture was apparently conducted in order to force confessions that would support the government’s narrative of events.

The report also reiterated the experts’ rejection of the government theory that the students’ bodies were burned in a nearby garbage dump, which independent investigators had ruled out as impossible for multiple reasons early on in their own investigation.

In earlier reports, the group of experts also found that federal police likely played a greater role in the attacks and denounced police and army personnel for failing to come to the aid of those who were injured that night; more detail was provided of police involvement, including evidence that federal officers diverted traffic from the site of the initial bus attack. The report further accuses prosecutors and officials working on the case of obstructing justice by not providing independent investigators with evidence in a timely fashion and refusing them access to a site where key evidence had been found, concluding that “there are sectors that aren’t interested in the truth.”

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

The death toll from an explosion last Wednesday at a state-owned petrochemical plant in Mexico has reached 32 as rescue workers concluded their search for missing bodies.

With U.S. natural gas reserves at an all-time high following the warmest-ever winter and a boom in shale drilling, producers are now eyeing Mexico, building several pipelines to ship gas directly across the border, reports the Financial Times.


Haiti yet again missed an election deadline on Sunday, delaying a presidential runoff for the third time and ensuring that the country will not elect a president by May 14, as was agreed upon in a Feb. 5 transfer-of-power accord.

The Associated Press reports on the killing of three deaf women in Haiti that has drawn attention to the violence against the disabled in the country and sparked protests from advocacy groups.

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday called for the U.S. Congress to offer Puerto Rico a path to restructuring its $72 billion in public debt as a way to help the U.S. territory cope with a spiraling economic crisis.

Central America

A former chief of Honduras’ national police has claimed the government fabricated a set of leaked documents that implicate high-ranking police officials in the assassination of two anti-drug officials. The ex-chief, Ramón Sabillón Pineda, doesn’t deny that police were involved in the killing of the country’s anti-drug czar and his senior advisor, but says that the documents fail to implicate powerful political figures that he says were involved in the plot.

Thousands of demonstrators in Nicaragua marched on Friday in protest against a planned Chinese-financed interoceanic canal, which they said will displace villagers and cause environmental devastation along its path.


After Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa announced last week that taxes would likely be raised to pay for earthquake reconstruction efforts, business owners are complaining that their taxes are already too high. An economist told The New York Times that if the oil-exporting country had earlier adopted a more modest fiscal policy it would currently enjoy a large budget surplus.

Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht SA, whose CEO is currently imprisoned over his alleged role in the massive graft scheme at oil giant Petrobras, sold its majority stake in a $5 billion natural gas pipeline project in Peru, after international creditors asked that the project have no links to the corruption-tainted company.

Southern Cone

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff told reporters in New York on Friday that she plans to appeal to the trade bloc Mercosur and the diplomatic group Unasur, invoking clauses in the groups’ bylaws that call for respect of democratic institutions, should she be removed from power in the coming months, a move The Associated Press described as “likely [to] have little effect.”

Land rights campaigners have praised the decision by the Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA to suspend construction permits for a mega-dam project in the Amazon, after a report concluded that the dam would flood indigenous land protected by the Brazilian constitution.

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Clinton Political Director Dodges Question of Puerto Rican Statehood in Newspaper Interview

In an Spanish-language interview with Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Día published Sunday, Hillary Clinton’s national political director told the newspaper that the Democratic presidential front-runner believes that the island’s political status must be resolved, but did not specifically mention whether Clinton supports statehood for the U.S. territory.

The newspaper included three questions it asked of Amanda Rentería, who was visiting the island to evaluate how Puerto Ricans are coping with the ongoing zika problem. (Rentería’s Twitter timeline includes photos of places she visited while in Puerto Rico.)

Here is a translation of the first question, along with a translation of Rentería’s answer that El Nuevo Día ran in Spanish:

What does Hillary Clinton think about the bill submitted to Congress by Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, calling for a “yes or no” statehood plebiscite?

Rentería: In 2008, she [Clinton] said that she wanted Puerto Ricans to tell us what they wanted. That position has not changed. She shares the urgency of resolving [the status question] because when you look at everything, whether it is health or the fiscal crisis, you see that people here deserve a solution.

The newspaper pointed out that Rentería did not specifically address Clinton’s position on statehood for Puerto Rico, an issue that Democrats like Pierluisi, who has endorsed Clinton’s 2016 campaign, have been advocating for.

In 2012, the first part of a non-binding plebiscite determined that 54% of Puerto Ricans rejected the island’s current territorial status, with 61% of Puerto Ricans choosing statehood as the top choice to replace the territorial status quo. As a result of that 2012 plebiscite, the Obama Administration earmarked $2.5 million as part of the 2014 omnibus spending bill for a binding status vote designed to put some closure on a topic that has dominated Puerto Rico’s politics for decades. The island’s current governor, Alejandro García Padilla, a defender of the island’s current status and also a Democrat, initially supported the Obama plan, but given Puerto Rico’s current fiscal crisis, the status question has now lost some momentum.

While the island’s previous governor, Luis Fortuño, is a pro-statehood Republican, many Puerto Rican Democrats on the island are also pro-statehood advocates. In recent years, these pro-statehood Democrats have been calling on the Obama Administration to take on a clearer position the statehood process for Puerto Rico, promoting a clearer plebiscite “statehood or independence” vote, where the current territorial status is not an option. Many of these Democrats have asked Clinton to be more specific about her campaign’s position on this issue, given that the Puerto Rican Democratic caucus is scheduled for June 5.

El Nuevo Día then asked Rentería a specific question about the 2012 plebiscite:

Does Clinton recognize that result of the 2012 plebiscite, where 54% of Puerto Ricans rejected the current territorial status?

Rentería: The truth is that 2012 was long ago. She [Clinton] thinks that [the solution about status] must have approval of the Constitution and that the Department of Justice supports it. There are many people who have many questions about the 2012 [plebiscite]. She says that whatever solution must have the support of the Constitution and Congress. She also says that people here should be able to vote for President of the United States.

The final question published had to do with a Tennessee Plan proposed by Ricardo Rosselló, a pro-statehood Democrat who is running for governor of Puerto Rico in 2016. The Tennessee Plan was what made Tennessee a state of the Union in 1796, and many Puerto Rican statehood advocates believe such a strategy would work for the island as well.

Has Clinton shared her thoughts about the Tennessee Plan proposed by Ricardo Rosselló?

Rentería: No, the truth is no. She [Clinton] is a person who wants to support everyone and I think she will have a great relationship with whoever wins.

Last year while campaigning in Orlando, Clinton said that “Puerto Ricans are American citizens” who should be able to vote for President, but did not mention her position on statehood.

Every Picture Is Imperfect: Kwame Anthony Appiah on Reshaping Identity

Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of law and philosophy at New York University, talks about growing up in an interracial, international family. The son of an English mother and Ghanaian father, Appiah now lives in the United States with his husband.

As a child, Appiah was protected from the worst of racism by family members with certain class privileges, but experienced the shifting identities of being mixed-race in multiple countries. Appiah believes that because race has no biological basis, we must question racial divisions in the world and learn to rethink our definitions of identity. He is a prolific writer and his books include The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen and Lines of Descent: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity. Appiah also writes for The New York Times, answering questions from readers on ethics.

Featured image of Kwame Anthony Appiah, courtesy of PEN America.

Claudio Lomnitz on the History of Racial Identity in Mexico

Most of the time when we talk about identity, we talk about how our individual experiences shape how we see ourselves. This can also happen to a country as a whole.

What does it mean for people in Mexico to all be grouped as “Mexican?” Does it help or hurt such a culturally diverse country? And why doesn’t Mexico like to talk about race?

That’s some of what we asked Claudio Lomnitz. He is a historian, author and anthropology professor at Columbia University whose works looks at politics, history, race, and culture in Mexico.

He is the author of Death and the Idea of Mexico and The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón. Lomnitz also writes a column for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada.

Featured image of Claudio Lomnitz, courtesy of PEN America.

Before It Was a Beat: Rubén Martínez on Race, Representation, and Identity

These days, it’s not uncommon to read a think piece discussing race and identity, or to hear race relations discussed on the evening news. Many reporters are even assigned to cover race and identity, but back in the 1980s and 1990s, the “race beat” wasn’t a thing yet.

Enter Los Angeles-born Rubén Martínez, who was the first person of color hired at L.A. Weekly to report on one of the most racially charged events in recent history: the L.A. Riots. What’s it like to report on race relations in your hometown in the midst of racial turmoil, at a time when the “race beat” wasn’t mainstream yet?

In this interview, the Emmy Award-winning Martínez tells us how his Mexican and Salvadoran background influence his work. He also talks about the current state of racial affairs in the United States, and offers his take on the next generation carrying the torch in the fight for racial equality and inclusion.

Featured image of Rubén Martínez (Photo by Angela García)