Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Swimming at ‘The Point’

As part of our series RadioNature, Maria Hinojosa takes her kids for a swim with their 75-year old grandmother at the ‘The Point’ in Lake Michigan. It’s where her mother took her as a child, and where today, three generations connect with nature and each other in profound ways.

This story is produced by Nusha Balyan and edited by Deborah George.

RadioNature is a year-long series that looks at how people of color connect with nature. Funding comes from the REI Foundation.


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Kidnap Radio

My father’s kidnapping began on November 22, 1999 and ended August 13, 2000. He was kidnapped by the FARC and kept in 38 different places, spending the first months of his kidnapping alone, with only his guards and a radio, for company.

I was 19 when my father was kidnapped in Colombia. It was 1999. My mother came to my college campus to deliver the news and I flew to Bogota to be with my family for a few weeks. (My mother is American, my father’s Colombian and they divorced when I was 5.) After that, except for brief trips for a wedding and a funeral, I didn’t go back to the country where I was born until I traveled there to report this piece in the spring of 2009.

I was able to make the trip thanks to Jay Allison. I met Jay in Woods Hole through Ibby Caputo, a dear friend and a former intern at Atlantic Public Media. After hearing part of the story of my father’s kidnapping and rescue, Jay suggested I undertake this project and guided me along the way.

I asked my father to meet me in Bogota for a long weekend in April so that I could interview him. I had heard bits and pieces about the kidnapping in the intervening years – when I would visit our family — but in the course of our interviews I realized I had known very little about what he’d endured.


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Caracol Radio streams the radio show Voces del Secuestro every Saturday night from midnight to 6:00a Sunday.

This piece was produced for Transom.org by Jay Allison.

Arturo O’Farrill and The Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra

Chico O’Farrill was one of Latin jazz music’s most creative voices. From his masterwork “The Afro Cuban jazz Suite” for Charlie Parker, through his work as an arranger for Dizzy Gillespie and others, to his critically acclaimed “Heart of a Legend” album released in his 70’s, Chico’s compositions and arrangements have been recognized as among the most innovative in Latin Jazz.

After 15 years of Sunday night performances in New York’s storied Birdland Jazz Club, the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra ended its run last week, almost 10 years to the date of Chico O’Farrill’s passing. His son, Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer, Arturo, who had been leading the band, says the burden of running two orchestras, a non profit arts organization and his own smaller ensembles – not to mention his role as father and husband – made the choice inevitable.

Maria Hinojosa talks to Arturo about his father’s legacy, his own musical explorations, and what’s next now that his Sunday nights are free again.
Produced by David Cruz.


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Roundtable Debate About the Current Administration and Latinos

As Presidential campaigning begins to heat up, eyes are once again being cast on the Latino vote. Even Obama is in on the action, making visits this month to Puerto Rico and El Paso, Texas in hopes of wooing the Latino electorate.

But unlike 2008, the President is receiving a lukewarm reception, because this time around it’s more than just about jobs and the economy for Latinos. It’s about immigration. Now many Latinos are upset with Obama and the Democrats’ for their inaction on the issue, and equally offended by the Republican’s hostile anti-immigrant rhetoric. So what will it mean in the next election if immigration reform isn’t addressed? Will Latinos become disillusioned and not vote? Will they abandon support of the President? Or will they put their hopes in Obama’s second term?

Maria Hinojosa talks to Maria de los Angeles “Nena” Torres, Director and Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago and Maria Teresa Kumar, Executive Director of Voto Latino, to find out how Latinos will push back on their lawmakers – both at the polls and on the streets.

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An Ode to Aura

Many spend a lifetime in search of their true soul mate and ultimate love –passionate and everlasting. Very few can say they’ve experienced it. Internationally acclaimed Guatemalan – American author and journalist Francisco Goldman is one of the lucky ones, but his love story has a tragic ending.

Goldman’s soul mate was the beautiful and talented Mexican writer, Aura Estrada. They got married in the summer of 2005, but less than two years later she died in a random swimming accident at their favorite beach in Mexico.

To cope with his grief, Goldman began to write. In his critically acclaimed novel Say Her Name, he chronicles their love story and deep spiritual connection through the prism of his bitter-sweet memories that at times blur the line between reality and fiction.

Maria Hinojosa recently sat down with Goldman to talk about his book and his life with Aura and after her death.


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An Ancient People in Exodus

Nearly half of Guatemala’s 14-million people are Mayan, whose first language is not Spanish. Through the years, they have preserved their ancient culture and over two-dozen languages indigenous to their different rural communities. These days, it is estimated that 1 out of 10 Guatemalans have migrated to the United States, many of them, Mayan.

In this special report funded by the Paul Robeson Fund, Latino USA’s Maria Martin visits some of the indigenous communities to find out why so many Mayans leave their families and their strong cultural traditions, and what happens when they return home.


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Algo Un Poco Mas Personal

Maria Hinojosa reflects on Osama Bin Laden’s death and her personal experiences from September 11, 2001.

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Bienvenidos a Casa

Telenovelas and radio novelas are wildly popular all over the world and in the United States, and now the dramatic Latin soap operas are starting a dialogue about sexual orientation. “Bienvenidos a Casa” or “Welcome Home” is a dramatic radio novela that addresses the problems Gay and Lesbian teens face in Latino communities that are deeply rooted in religion and conservative family values. Radio Bilingue, a non-profit bilingual satellite station, worked with the “Family Acceptance Project” to use the highly popular format as a means for social change.

BBC Radio’s Alex Collins reports on the Latino LGBT reality and how this new radio program can help change lives and family relationships.

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Frequently Unanswered Questions

The United States is a Nation of Immigrants, but many Americans don’t realize what the generations before them went through and sacrificed to provide them with a brighter future. Actress Daphne Rubin-Vega has felt the consequences of such decisions first hand.
She is a two-time Tony and Drama Desk nominee, best known as Mimi in Broadway’s long running musical Rent. And she was only three years old when she was separated from her mother who left Panama to study nursing in New York City. Her Mother was absent through much of Daphne’s childhood. Back then, Daphne didn’t understand why; and now, a mother herself to a 6-year old boy, the questions pile up but the answers are still scarce.

A letter Daphne found in a drawer, written by her Mother long after her Mother died gave Daphne a new perspective and was the inspiration for her one-woman semi-autobiographical play “FUQ’s.” “Frequently Unanswered Questions” explores the bonds of a family separated not just by the Caribbean Gulf, but by the longing and loneliness of being the last one standing, struggling to understand her Mother’s choices. Maria Hinojosa sat down with the actress to talk about her new play.

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“FUQ’s” is being performed March 22nd and 24th as part of the Culture Project’s “Women Center Stage” series in New York City. It was written by Rubin-Vega with playwright Winter Miller and Directed by John Gould Rubin.

Watch exclusive clips from Daphne Rubin-Vega’s rehearsal and interview with Maria Hinojosa.
Video by Nusha Balyan

Latinos and the Debate Over Reproductive Rights

The Republican controlled House passed a bill that will eliminate all federal funding for family planning under the Title X program. The legislation specifically targets funding going to Planned Parenthood, which conservative lawmakers have attacked for its abortion services and advocacy of women’s reproductive rights. Within the Latino community, health advocates argue that this is a direct attack on access to health care for Latina women, while pro-life advocates say Planned Parenthood is promoting abortion among Latinos and other communities of color.

We host a discussion on the proposed cuts with Silvia Henriquez, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute of Reproductive Health and Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.

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La Posada

La Posada—the Mexican Christmas procession recreating the Holy Family’s attempt to find shelter before Jesus was born—is a cherished tradition for many Latino families. It has deep religious roots, and deep resonance with current events: a story of temporary homelessness, and journey, and searching for a place of welcome at a time of great need.

Listen as Maria Hinojosa finds out what a Posada is like in chilly New York City in this piece produced by Nusha Balyan.


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Julián and Rosie Castro: Intergenerational Political Action in San Antonio

Quick—name a political family from Texas!

The first one that comes to many folks’ minds is probably “Bush.” (Even though, as is often overlooked, they’re originally from Connecticut.) If you ask that question on the ground in Texas, specifically in San Antonio, the political family likely to be named is “Castro.” Joaquín Castro is a member of the Texas State Legislature. Rosie Castro was a member of the Latino third party La Raza Unida and has been a political activist for decades. Rosie’s son (and Joaquín’s twin brother) Julián Castro is the Mayor of San Antonio, the youngest in the city’s history. Julián is seen as part of a third wave of Latino politicians in the U.S. We interviewed Julián and Rosie to find out what motivates his work and how Latino politics of the past have affected him. We also spoke with Henry Flores, a Professor of Political Science at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, about why Julian Castro is a significant figure in modern politics.


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Listen to NPR’s All Things Considered this weekend for Maria’s profile of Julián Castro, whom some say represents a third-wave of Latino political leadership. He talks about his mom’s influence, and his responsibility to represent Latino interests as well as the rest of the people of San Antonio. Check your local station for broadcast times in your area.

Children of the Exodus

In the debate over immigration, we most often hear about parents who are deported without their children. But what about the opposite–children who are deported without their parents, apprehended while trying to cross the border and sent back to Mexico alone? Melissa del Bosque of the Texas Observer investigated what becomes of these Children of the Exodus, and she shared some of her findings with us.


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A Story About Gratitude & Family

Writer Julia Alvarez lives in Vermont, a state with a rich history of rural life. Spend any time on a family-owned farm, though, and you begin to realize just how difficult the work is, and how thin the margin is between success and failure.

A family-owned dairy farm is the setting for the novel Return To Sender. It tells the story of Tyler, an eleven year old boy with a passion for astronomy and his growing friendship with the children of Mexican farmworkers who labor on his family’s farm.

It’s a story about family, and the land, and borders, and gratitude — and we thought it was an excellent story to bring you on this holiday weekend.

Among several other awards, Return To Sender is the recipient of the 2010 Pura Belpré Award, presented by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. It is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library and it is presented each year to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator who best portray, affirm, and celebrate Latino cultural experiences in outstanding works of literature for children and youth.

Dia de los Muertos Mass

While some might see Dia de los Muertos as a morbid celebration, it’s usually just the opposite. But one Day of the Dead mass at the Mexico-New Mexico border does have a very somber purpose. The service, held in Anapara, New Mexico (near El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico), is a remembrance of those who have died trying to cross illegally into the United States. Reporter Mónica Ortiz Uribe takes us there.


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