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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Sonia Manzano: From the Bronx to Sesame Street

This year, Sonia Manzano retired from her role as Maria on Sesame Street after decades playing this iconic role. Her book, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, tells the story of her traumatic and challenging childhood. But what many viewers didn’t realize was how her life on Sesame Street mirrored her real life. Sonia talks about these parallel lives and her mission to comfort kids through TV just as she found solace in TV. She also discusses the lack of true Latino characters on TV—and the revelation of finding a show that really looked like home. Plus, she reveals her favorite character on Sesame Street.

Featured image via Sesame Workshop

Are My Kids ‘Latino Enough?’

Latino parents can experience a certain kind of insecurity: Are you doing everything you can to ensure your culture is carried on? Are your kids speaking enough Spanish? Have they spent enough time in Latin America? Even Maria Hinojosa, who spends her days reporting on the Latino community has these thoughts. She opens up to our digital director, Julio Ricardo Varela, who also relates to these issues. And then Maria actually sits down with her daughter Yurema so see whether Yurema does identify as Latina.

Featured image: Yurema and Maria.

Empress Of: When Your Mom Crashes Your Rave

Lorely Rodriguez is a rising star in the indie music world. She performs under the name Empress Of. Her mom, Reina, is a working-class immigrant from Honduras. Growing up, the two didn’t always see eye to eye—when Lorely told her mom that she was going to study music in college, her mom cried in dismay. Then, when Lorely started putting out music as Empress Of and getting buzz on the Internet, she didn’t tell her mom about it until she had to go on tour and couldn’t keep the secret any longer. Lorely tells Latino USA about her mom’s eventual acceptance of her music career, their deep bond, and their deep differences. And about that time her mom crashed her rave.

Empress Of’s debut full-length album, titled Me, is out on Terrible Records now. Check out some of her videos below.

“Water, Water”

“Kitty Kat”


Featured image: Reina and Lorely (Empress Of)

Fabio Comes Home

Fabio and his little brother Delvis can travel freely between their families in Honduras and the U.S., but their parents and grandparents can’t. Reporter Nina Feldman accompanies Fabio on a journey back home to pick up his little brother from his grandparents’ home in San Pedro Sula and bring him back to his parents’ waiting arms in New Orleans.

Photo of Fabio (l) and Delvis (r) via Nina Feldman

Theater for Babies

Teatro al Vacío knows live theatre isn’t lost on young children. In the Mexican tradition of street theatre for kids, Teatro al Vacío performs with bright colors and lights exclusively for little kids. They worked with a child psychologist to develop performances tailored for children.

Sabiduría: Sonia Manzano’s Parenting Advice

Sonia Manzano might be one of the most recognizable mothers on TV. For years, while her character Maria on Sesame Street was starting a family, she was raising her own daughter. For this week’s sabiduría, or words of wisdom, Sonia shared her advice on parenting, kids, and growing up, as both a TV mom and real-life mom.

Featured image via Sesame Workshop

#1539 – Parenthood

This week Latino USA looks at stories of parenting.

We hear from award-winning actor Sonia Manzano, Sesame Street‘s Maria, who reveals how her own life mirrored her TV character’s life. Maria Hinojosa opens up about being worried whether her daughter is “Latina enough.” Indie musician Empress Of talks about how her mom crashes her concerts, and we hear about the struggles of families that live across borders.

Featured image: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images

Awareness, Access, and Advertisements

The good news: overall, teen pregnancy is down. The bad: Latinas are still getting pregnant at a higher rate than other teens. Latino USA’s Daisy Rosario reports on how public health campaigns are trying to combat teen pregnancy, and why critics of these ads view them as “shaming.”

Photo by Diana Montaño


Nicole Angresano is the Vice President of Community Impact for United Way of Greater Milwaukee. She oversees more than 160 United Way-funded health and human service programs, as well as leading United Way’s communitywide teen pregnancy prevention efforts aimed at reducing Milwaukee’s rate of births to teens by 46% by 2015 – an issue that has been a focus for her since completing a graduate school thesis on the topic.



YoungMama-JessGonzalesRojas (1)

Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health and rights for Latinas. Jessica is an Adjunct Professor of Latino and Latin American Studies at the City University of New York’s City College and has taught courses on reproductive rights, gender and sexuality.




A2_bill-profile-200x300Bill Albert is the Chief Program Officer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private, non-profit initiative organized in 1996 that focuses on preventing both teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults.  As Chief Program Officer, Mr. Albert is responsible for overall program planning and development, and for tracking program progress.

If You Build It…

Emily Wilson reports from Alameda County, where there are few health clinics available to address problems like teen pregnancy and gang violence. That is, until a group of teenagers decided to take action and lobby hard to get a community youth center built.

Photo courtesy of Jamie Hintzke



emilyheadshot.jpgEmily Wilson is a freelance reporter and producer in San Francisco. She teaches adults earning their GED and high school diploma at City College of San Francisco.

Bienvenidos a Woodburn

The increase in Latino populations throughout many U.S. communities in the past two decades may be old news. But in states like Oregon, the change is very recent and very dramatic. Producer Dmae Roberts brings us a portrait of a town transformed in the Beaver state. Woodburn is now 60% Latino, the highest proportion in the state.

Image of the Quinteros at their Woodburn “taquería,” courtesy of Dmae Roberts.

DmaeDmae Roberts is a two-time Peabody award-winning radio artist and writer based in Portland, Oregon who has written and produced more than 500 audio art pieces and documentaries for NPR and PRI. She is a USA Rockefeller Fellow and received the Dr. Suzanne Award for Civil Rights and Social Justice from the Asian American Journalists Association for her Peabody-winning eight-hour Crossing East Asian American history series that ran on 230 stations. Her essay “Finding The Poetry” was published in John Biewen’s essay book Reality Radio (UNC Press).


Dominican-American author Raquel Cepeda went on a search to find out about her heritage and identity. How? Through ancestral DNA testing. María Hinojosa speaks with Cepeda about her memoir, “Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina.”

Raquel.photoRaquel Cepeda is an award-winning journalist, cultural activist and documentary filmmaker. A former magazine editor, her byline has appeared in The Village Voice,, and the Associated Press. She directed and produced “Bling: A Planet Rock,” about American hip-hop culture’s obsession with diamonds.


In Chicago, officials plan to shutter 54 schools they say are under-utilized. The closings are expected to save the city millions of dollars, but many are angry and upset. Students from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University examine the impact at two schools in a heavily Latino neighborhood on the west side. Paige Sutherland, Tanya Basu, Ananth Baliga and Lisa Carter report.

Image courtesy of Flickr/chicagopublicradio.

TanyaTanya Basu is a graduate student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she focuses on economic reporting.


Lisa CarterLisa Carter is a journalism graduate student at Northwestern University. She is a native Texan who has written for publications in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, Austin and San Antonio.



ananthAnanth Baliga is from Mumbai, India and he is currently studying public policy reporting at the Medill School of Journalism. He began to study software engineering, but switched careers to follow his interest in political and public policy reporting. He previously worked in New Delhi Television, a national news channel in New Delhi, India, as an intern reporter.


Sutherland_biopicPaige Sutherland is a graduate student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she focuses on urban reporting. She is originally from Boston, MA and received her bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.


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.


Thousands of farmworker families in California’s eastern Coachella Valley live in mobile home parks. They’re cheap and convenient to the farms but many of them are in terrible conditions. One of them –Duroville– is closing by court order and most of its residents are moving into a new park built with county money allocated before major budget cuts. In the new budget reality, some advocates say don’t close the bad parks –let them stay open and renovate slowly. Lisa Morehouse reports.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Lisa Morehouse. 

Lisa-Morehouse-150x150Lisa Morehouse is an award-winning independent public radio and print journalist, who’s filed for KQED’s The California Report, NPR’s Latino USA and All Things Considered, Edutopia magazine and McSweeney’s. Her reporting has taken her from Samoan traveling circuses to Mississippi Delta classrooms to the homes of Lao refugees in rural Iowa.  She’s currently working on After The Gold Rush: The Future of Rural California, an audio documentary website and series. A former public school teacher, Morehouse also works with at-risk youth to produce radio diaries.


Professor Angela Garcia has personal experience with addiction. She talks to Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa about her thoughts on La Cultura Cura, her book The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along the Rio Grande, and her thoughts on the relationship between poverty and drug addiction.

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

 Angela Garcia is a Professor at Stanford University. A central theme of her work is the disproportionate burden of addiction, depression and incarceration among poor families and communities. Garcia’s book, The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along The Rio Grande (Universityof California Press, 2010) received the 2012 Victor Turner Prize and a 2010 Pen Center USA Award. The Pastoral Clinic explores the relationship between intergenerational heroin use, poverty and colonial history in northern New Mexico.


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