Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Claudio Sanchez: My Education Story

While the U.S. celebrates Mother’s day on the second Sunday of May, Mexico always honors mothers on May 10th.  For people living on the U.S. – Mexico border, getting it right can be tricky. I know – I was born on the border.

 

Norma Cantu describes the border as “a wound that’s forever healing.” For me, the border is my true home.

 

I grew up in Nogales Sonora, right across from Nogales Arizona. The working class neighborhood of Colonia Ingenieros was nothing more than a narrow dirt street between two hills with dozens of homes perched on either side.

 

Our small three-room house had a tiny garden where my grandmother grew medicinal herbs that she dried, stored and sold in Coca Cola bottles. Up to five people could fit if we slept diagonally on the only bed we had. A 20 foot wire allowed us to “borrow” electricity from the nearest lamp post. When the government finally cut us off, huge bonfires would bloom at night in the middle of the street, which in turn brought out the barrio historians. Their stories had a special place in Nogales Folklore.

 

My favorite was the story of “El Buya,” the neighborhood’s ancient, amiable bake who sprinkled his best bread with the finely crushed bones of disobedient children.

 

While I loved Colonia Ingenieros, my mother, Blanca Luz, felt differently. All she saw was people imprisoned by their fatalism. My mother’s name means “White Light” – her optimism and confidence could light up a room.

 

Not long after my parents separated, my mother grew tired of Nogales. She hated walking through the gauntlet of women peering from behind their long dark shawls. They were always murmuring, “Y que de los pobres niños, sin padre.” – poor kids, with no father.

 

My mother was a voracious reader with two years of college thanks to the philanthropy of an old priest. But in Mexico, her education did not guarantee a job that could sustain our family, let alone pay for good schools.

 

She was convinced that as a single parent, life would be better in the United States. It felt like we were poorer in this country than we were in Mexico My mother could not buy us lots of things but she surrounded us with lots of books.

 

Every night she would read mystery novels or Grimm’s fairy tales. Once a week, if I was good, she would bring me a pile of used comic books in both English and Spanish. I loved all the Marvel superheroes, The Lone Ranger and Pequeña Lulu, a precocious mischievous little girl not unlike Lucy, Charlie Brown’s nemesis.

 

My mom, Blanca Luz, made sure poverty did not trump education. She told us that if we were going to make something of ourselves, we had to hang on to our dignity as if our life depended on it. Our appearance, the way we carried ourselves, the precision of our speech, she emphasized that being poor is no excuse for failure.

 

It was a lesson that I began to understand and appreciate as a teen, when I started high school in this country.

 

Nogales High was 90 percent Mexican American, but speaking English with an accent was a curse. Losing your accent meant that you were ready to move up among the kids who wore their assimilation proudly. Only then could you dare mingle with the few “rich kids” who ran the school in the same way their parents ran the city’s economy and politics.

 

In high school I realized that the process of assimilation brings all immigrants to a crossroads, an identity crisis of sorts. I remember wanting desperately to shed my “alienhood” but realizing I would forever be labeled: Resident Alien, Mexican-American, Chicano, Pocho, Latino, “Hispanic, Her Panic, Your Panic, Our Panic” as my mother would often say. I can still hear her laugh.

 

It’s an idea that permeates my reporting about struggling families, kids and schools, because there but for the grace of God go I. Happy Mother’s Day, Blanca Luz. Gracias. Thanks for showing me how to survive and thrive on both sides of the border.

 

contributors1

claudio sanchezFormer elementary and middle school teacher Claudio Sanchez is an Education Correspondent for NPR. He focuses on the “three p’s” of education reform: politics, policy and pedagogy. Sanchez’s reports air regularly on NPR’s award-winning newsmagazinesMorning EditionAll Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getty Images/Scott Olson

EES It OKAY? Latinos On TV

Latino reality show lovers had a lot to look forward to at the beginning of this TV season – Juan Pablo, raised in Venezuela, was going to be El Bachelor and Shakira was returning to the popular singing competition, The Voice. But after “Ees Ok” became Juan Pablo’s catch phrase and one too many “her hips don’t lie” jokes, can we really consider this a new beginning for Latinos on television?

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headshotAntonia Cereijido is a senior at Medill, Northwestern University’s School of Journalism. She has interned at Latino USA, Endgame Entertainment, and MiTu Networks. She is also an entertainment blogger for the Huffington Post.

Feminism And Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe is a symbol of faith for both Mexican Catholics and non-Catholics. The brown virgin, who has strong associations with indigenous culture in Mexico, appeared to campesino Juan Diego in 1531 on a hill in what is now Mexico City. Writer Ray Salazar reads his essay about explaining La Virgen to his daughter, a budding young Chicana feminist.

 

 
RaySalazar

Since 1995, Ray has been an English teacher in the Chicago Public Schools.In March, The White Rhino tied for second place in the Best Blog category of the Education Writers Association contest: the 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting. In 2003, he earned an M.A. in Writing, with distinction, from DePaul University. In 2009, he received National Board Certification. His writing aired on National Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio many times. An editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Two of the posts here appeared on CNN’s Schools of Thought Blog.Ray also writes for San-Antonio-based News Taco, which provides news and insights from a Latino perspective. For thirty years, Ray lived in Chicago’s 26th Street neighborhood. Today, he lives a little more south and a little more west in the city with his wife, son, and daughter.

The Return Of The Queen

One of the toughest things about Christmas? Putting up with your family.

Writer Michele Carlo, author of the memoir Fish Out of Agua: My Life on Neither Side of the Subway Tracks tells us about watching, or trying to watch, a movie with her mother in a story she calls “The Return of the Queen.”

Carlo is a writer and performer who you may remember from out first hour long episode where she shared a school story with us. Listen for her on future episodes of Latino USA.

DISCLAIMER: In her story, Michele Carlo refers to a conversation in the mid-1980s where she told her mom that Rock Hudson was not only gay, but that he had married Jim Nabors. This is an urban myth. Jim Nabors did marry his long time partner Stan Cadwallader in January 2013.

imgres Michele Carlo is a writer/performer and comedic storyteller who has lived in four of the five boroughs of New York City and remembers when a slice of pizza cost fifty cents. Her stories have been published in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood’s Lost & Found: Stories From New YorkChicken Soup For The Latino Soul and SMITH Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jarrod Carruthers 

Al & Lalo’s Big Adventure

Our favorite funny men, Al Madrigal and Lalo Alcaraz return to Latino USA for their regular segment. This month they tell us the things they’re thankful for that they couldn’t discuss with their families. It’s not the stuff you’d expect. And we get to hear all about Lalo’s new adventure in television.

 Photo courtesy of Lalo Alcaraz.

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MADRIGAL-300x168A correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” since 2011, Al Madrigal has been named Best Stand-Up Comedian by the HBO/U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and his material dubbed “dynamic” by The New York Times. His unique, spontaneous and fast-paced lyrical storytelling style has made him a regular on television with numerous appearances on Comedy Central including his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents Special.

 

 

 

Lalo_hs-150x150Lalo Alcaraz is the creator of the first nationally-syndicated, politically-themed Latino daily comic strip,“La Cucaracha,” seen in scores of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times. He is also co-host of KPFK Radio’s popular satirical talk show, “The Pocho Hour of Power,” and co-founded the political satire comedy group Chicano Secret Service. His work has appeared in major publications around the world and he has won numerous awards and honors. Alcaraz received his Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University, and earned his master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. Alcaraz was born in San Diego and grew up on the border.

Al & Lalo: Ted Cruzin’ Around

Comedian Al Madrigal and cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz discuss Senator Ted Cruz, drivers’ licenses for undocumented migrants, and more.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Feller

 

contributors1

 

MADRIGAL-300x168A correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” since 2011, Al Madrigal has been named Best Stand-Up Comedian by the HBO/U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and his material dubbed “dynamic” by The New York Times. His unique, spontaneous and fast-paced lyrical storytelling style has made him a regular on television with numerous appearances on Comedy Central including his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents Special.

Lalo_hs-150x150Lalo Alcaraz is the creator of the first nationally-syndicated, politically-themed Latino daily comic strip,“La Cucaracha,” seen in scores of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times. He is also co-host of KPFK Radio’s popular satirical talk show, “The Pocho Hour of Power,” and co-founded the political satire comedy group Chicano Secret Service. His work has appeared in major publications around the world and he has won numerous awards and honors. Alcaraz received his Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University, and earned his master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. Alcaraz was born in San Diego and grew up on the border.

Sabiduría: Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch

We wrap up the show with another “Sabiduria,” or words of wisdom. Author and retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch talks about about owning your past.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

 


Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch was born and raised along the border in a small barrio in Laredo, Texas. Although she grew up without material wealth, Consuelo was taught by her immigrant parents that she was rich in culture, tradition, values and faith. After graduating from Hardin Simmons University, Consuelo entered the U.S. Army as an officer and served for two decades. She became the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the Combat Support Field of the U.S. Army. In 1996, Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch founded the human development company, Educational Achievement Services, Inc. (EAS, Inc.), tofulfill her mission of preparing tomorrow’s leaders. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch is the proud mother of five daughters, the proud grandmother of 3, and currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband, David.

Street Life…In 1993

In this special archive edition, we hear three essays from a friend of Latino USA. Former gang member John Guardo takes us through his escape from violence and drugs, and reflects on his experience as a Colombian immigrant.

Photo from Latino USA archives.

Yelping the Border

What do you think of your local border crossing? Well, now you can tell the world on Yelp. We talk with editorial cartoonist and Pocho.com editor Lalo Alcaraz.

 

 


Lalo Alcaraz is the creator of the first nationally-syndicated, politically-themed Latino daily comic strip, “La Cucaracha,” seen in scores of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times. He is also co-host of KPFK Radio’s popular satirical talk show, “The Pocho Hour of Power,” and co-founded the political satire comedy group Chicano Secret Service. His work has appeared in major publications around the world and he has won numerous awards and honors. Alcaraz received his Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University, and earned his master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. Alcaraz was born in San Diego and grew up on the border.

Charrito de Oro

Ten-year-old Sebastian de la Cruz got a dream gig singing the U.S national anthem “Mariachi style” during this year’s NBA finals. But after his performance, a wave of bigoted remarks soon followed. Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa cheers on the little “Charro” for turning negativity into a chance to showcase his pride.

Check out el Charrito sing at Game 4 of the NBA finals.

TO BE, OR NOT TO BE

The decision to be a mother is just as important as the choice not to become one. This Mother’s Day, Latino USA Editor Leda Hartman brings us a commentary about deciding to become –or not become– a mom.


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

Leda.1Leda Hartman is a print and broadcast writer, reporter and editor. She is a longtime contributor to nationally broadcast public radio programs. Her work has aired on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Latino USA, Living on Earth, Studio 360, and The World and Voice of America.

Pochos in Chilangolandia

Commentator Daniel Hernandez is a pocho, a Mexican-American, living in Mexico City. But lately he’s noticed he’s not the only one, and the line between pochos and chilangos, what Mexico City natives call themselves, is blurring.


Click here to download this week’s show.

Screen-Shot-2012-06-07-at-6.00.08-PMDaniel Hernandez is a freelance journalist based in Mexico City and a news assistant in the Los Angeles Times bureau in Mexico. He’s been a staff writer at the L.A. Times and LA Weekly. A native of San Diego, Calif., Daniel is author of the 2011 book “Down & Delirious in Mexico City.”

NORTEÑO ACADEMY

In Salinas, California, a budding classical music star comes home to teach local kids how to play something quite different…Tex-Mex norteno music…for free. Radio Bilingue’s Farida Jhabvala Romero reports.


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

 

Farida Jhabvala Romero reporting in Mendota, CA broccoli field Farida is a reporter for Radio Bilingüe, the National Latino Public Radio Network. She regularly covers health and the environment. She also contributes stories on California traditional artists for Radio Bilingüe’s series Raíces: Reportajes sobre Artistas del Pueblo. Prior to joining Radio Bilingüe, Farida worked as a reporter for El Mensajero, a San Francisco weekly, and other publications. She has a bachelor’s degree from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and currently lives in Alameda, California, with her husband Eric and 2-year old daughter Devika. She can be reached at farida@radiobilingue.org.

CINDY’S STORY

What does being in the “back of the line” mean for today’s undocumented immigrants? We speak to DREAMer Cindy about her opinion on both the Senate and the President’s proposal and her feelings on how effective either proposal would be.

Click here to download this week’s show. [Photo courtesy of Flickr.]

 

 

DOLORES, FROM THE HEART

We say farewell to Cuban-American writer, Dolores Prida. She died in New York on the eve of the presidential inauguration, just after attending a party celebrating 20 years of friendship and mutual support with Latina journalists, publicists and lawyers.

Click here to download this week’s show.

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