Archive for the ‘Identity’ Category

Two Tucsons: A Gentrification Story

One of Tuscon’s oldest Hispanic neighborhoods is slowly falling prey to that unstoppable force known as gentrification. Longtime Hispanic residents are slowly making room for newer, generally white newcomes. Reporter Aengus Anderson meets his new neighbors and finds out what his presence means to the future of Tuscon.

 

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B3_Aengus_HeadshotAengus Anderson is a digital media producer from Tucson. Most of his audio work is very long-format and explores how Americans think about the past, present, and future. His most recent project is The Conversation.

Garden City, Kansas: A Melting Pot On The Prairie

Out on the dusty plains in the middle of the heartland is a small town that has made neighbors of people from all over the world. Garden City, Kansas, once a very white town, is today home to Mexicans, Central Americans, Asians and Africans. They came to work in the town’s massive meatpacking plants that turn cattle into beef.

We often hear about anti-immigrant sentiment in Middle America, but Garden City is exactly the opposite story. When the immigrants first started arriving, residents made the decision to open their doors and welcome the newcomers with open arms. As a result, an area once known as a cowboy capital has become a cultural crossroads.

Reporter Peggy Lowe tells us how it all happened, and Maria speaks with former Garden City mayor Tim Cruz about the value of neighborliness.

Photo courtesy of the Kansas State Public Library

 

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peglowbPeggy Lowe is a multimedia reporter for Harvest Public Media and for KCUR, the NPR station in Kansas City, Mo. She was previously a reporter for the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News, and the Orange County Register. 

 

 

Becoming Latino with Javier Dzul

For many Latinos, “getting in touch with your roots” means exploring the culture of your country of birth, or that of your parents. For dancer and choreographer Javier Dzul, it means going back further. Dzul was raised as a ritual dancer in a remote Mayan community in the jungles of southern Mexico. As a teenager, he left that community behind and eventually came to run his own modern dance company in New York City. Moving from the real jungle to the concrete jungle was a jarring experience, to say the least. In his own words, Dzul tells the remarkable story of how he adapted to a new world, and how he eventually came to embrace the rich culture of his old one again.

Photo courtesy of Matthew McMullen Smith

A3_Dzul headshot_2Javier Dzul is the artistic director for Dzul Dance, a New York City-based company that fuses sacred Mayan dance with contemporary styles. Formal dance training began at the Universidad de Veracruz at which time he also became a principal dancer with Ballet Nacional de Mexico and Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. Javier then received a scholarship to study at Ballet Nacional de Cuba where he remained until 1989. In 1989 Javier was awarded another scholarship by Martha Graham to study at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Javier began choreographing and performing his own work in 1999. He established Dzul Dance in 2003. Photo courtesy of Acey Harper.

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Marlon Bishop_new headshotMarlon Bishop is a radio producer, writer, and reporter based in New York. His work is focused on music, Latin America, New York City and the arts, and has appeared in several public radio outlets such as WNYC News,Studio 360, The World and NPR News. He is an Associate Producer at Afropop Worldwide and a staff writer for MTV Iggy.

Growing Up Jesús

In Latin America, it’s a name like any other. But here in the U.S., Jesús is a name that could still raise an eyebrow. So Latino USA producer Michael Simon Johnson spoke with a handful of Jesúses to find out what it’s like to grow up with the holiest name in the book.

 

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michael-johnson-headshot-150x150Michael Johnson was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He spent most of his childhood making music and groaning when his parents put on NPR in the car. So naturally he graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Sound Design, moved to New York and made his way into public radio. As an engineer, he has worked for Afropop Worldwide, WNYC’s Radio Rookies, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He commits much of his time to working on radio and multimedia projects but can often be found playing the bass, rock climbing, and traveling.

Under Water: Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis

Recent reports having been calling Puerto Rico the “Greece of the Caribbean” – and not for its mild weather. It’s because Puerto Rico is at risk of growing broke. Unemployment is almost 15 percent; the poverty rate is at almost 45 percent.

The government’s credit rating was downgraded in late 2012.

Everyone seems worried about the economy.

Eduardo Cintrón is a security guard at a shopping mall called Plaza Las Americas. He says the prosperity on display here is a mirage, “All the people that are here, they only spend with the card, the credit card, more debt and more debt.”

Cintrón might as well be talking about the island itself. Puerto Rico’s public debt is $70 billion, almost four times that of the bankrupt city of Detroit. It’s a similar debt load to the state of New York, which has more than twice times the population.

And now, there’s worry among bondholders that Puerto Rico could default

Unemployment in Puerto Rico remains higher than in the rest of the U.S.

Unemployment in Puerto Rico remains higher than in the rest of the U.S.

 

How Exactly Did This Happen?

Economist Vicente Feliciano says the Puerto Rican economy grew at a healthy clip for decades, thanks to huge federal tax breaks that lured corporations to set up factories there.

“It was growing at Asian levels,” he says.

Puerto Rico achieved one of the highest living standards in all of Latin America. But then in the 1990s, the federal government eliminated those tax incentives. It was like a death sentence for the Puerto Rican economy, “there was an economic model that came to an end,” says Feliciano.

By the time the tax breaks were fully phased out in 2005, much of the island’s industry had evaporated.

The government began to borrow a lot of money to make up for the lost corporate tax revenue.

“Your salary is cut so you start taking on money from your credit cards and there comes a point that you max out,” says Feliciano, “You have to cut back on your living standards, and we have been going through that process

 

 

The Paseo de Diego is a working-class shopping district in Rio Piedras, San Juan. More than a dozen stores have closed here this year alone. Photo by Marlon Bishop.

The Paseo de Diego is a working-class shopping district in Rio Piedras, San Juan. More than a dozen stores have closed here this year alone. Photo by Marlon Bishop.

 

Puerto Rico Has Maxed Out

Essentially, Puerto Rico has maxed out. Rating agencies downgraded the island’s bond to near-junk status in late 2012, making it difficult to borrow. So far, there’s no federal bailout on the table. The government has promised it will not default.

Instead, it’s taking tough measures in order to raise cash.

In other words, Puerto Ricans are really hurting.

Kelvis Polo is a shop owner in the working-class shopping district in San Juan. His life began 17 years ago as a street vendor, and slowly worked his way up to become the proud owner of several apparel stores.

He’s had to close two out of his three stores. He has had to lay off 15 employees.

He says lots of factors are conspiring to bury him. For example, electricity is extremely expensive in Puerto Rico – higher than in any U.S. state except Hawaii.

On top of that, the government has imposed a flurry of new taxes: sales taxes, gas taxes, corporate taxes. Water rates went up 60% this year.

The cost of living is high, and the wages are staying flat. Polo’s former customers have no money to spend.

“We small businessmen are the backbone of any country’s economy,” he says, “but we don’t have the strength to keep going.”

Polo plans to close his last store in January and go back to selling in the street, where he’ll have no rent or electric bill to pay.

 

 

Wilfredo Martinez Cuevas says after 65 years in the retail business, 2013 is the worst year he's ever seen. He plans to close his store on the Paseo de Diego, San Juan in January. Photo by Marlon Bishop

Wilfredo Martinez Cuevas says after 65 years in the retail business, 2013 is the worst year he’s ever seen. He plans to close his store on the Paseo de Diego, San Juan in January. Photo by Marlon Bishop

 

The Price Of Austerity

The government’s new taxes will raise an estimated 1.4 billion dollars. That’s a step towards meeting the goal of balancing the budget by 2016.

But citizens feel angry. There is a sense that the government is just digging in the knife.

David Chafey, a top government financial officer, says the administration didn’t have much choice. It was either raise taxes or cut

spending drastically.

“The governor felt that cutting expenses to that amount would have been quite painful to a lot of people, and maybe for the past 8 or 10 years, different administrations have been able to postpone on some of those decisions,”  says Chafey, “but at this stage, given everything we were facing, these were things that we had to do.”

But those things have come with a price.

 

It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

Mario Alberghini is a 30 year-old entrepreneur who wants to stay in Puerto Rico. Given the current outlook, he says, it’s not easy getting a business off the ground.

“When you see young people leaving the island, they do it very calmly, and that is completely understandable,” says Alberghini, “Because on a certain level, you sort of don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Economists speculate that a recovery will come…eventually.

Salaries will probably be lower than on the mainland. And that could make Puerto Rico attractive to businesses again.

But for now, things will likely get worse before they get better.

 

 

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Marlon Bishop_new headshot Marlon Bishop is a radio producer, writer, and reporter based in New York. His work is focused on music, Latin America, New York City and the arts, and has appeared in several public radio outlets such as WNYC News,Studio 360, The World and NPR News. He is an Associate Producer at Afropop Worldwide and a staff writer forMTV Iggy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cost Of A Quinceañera

A quinceañera, or “sweet fifteen,” can be a glitzy affair with rituals to mark a girl’s transition into womanhood.

MTV Tr3s documented the crossover of the coming-of-age tradition in its series “Quiero Mis Quinces”.

As the Latino population in Las Vegas has grown over the past decade or so, so has the business of quiceañeras. Families might empty their pockets to throw a party, sometimes bigger than a wedding, for their little girls.

 

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Kate Sheehy is a Multimedia Journalist with a focus on documentary style radio reporting covering Immigrant issues and marginalized communities. Sheehy has reported for public radio stations in California, New York, Washington, D.C. and most recently Las Vegas, where she was part of a bilingual reporting team called Fronteras: The Changing America Desk.

#1349 – Let’s Talk About Sex

In this week’s show, we focus on how Latinas think about themselves as sexual beings, and the constraints on their decisions about sex and reproduction. We hear from one woman whose decision to end a pregnancy brings up memories of a history of control of women of color’s fertility. We also examine how changes in funding of public health clinics in Texas have affected the choices of tens of thousands of women in the state. And we tell you the stories of some of the nearly two million people who have been deported during the Obama administration.

Photo Courtesy of Spike Walker, via Flickr

Pavochón: Puerto Rican-style Turkey

When reporter Von Diaz was a girl celebrating Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico, her abuela ruled the kitchen. Each year she created a magical dish called a pavochón, a turkey cooked like a traditional Puerto Rican pork roast. This year, she tries to recreate the dish with her grandmother’s help.

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Von Diaz is a multimedia journalist based in New York City. Her reporting focuses on immigration, Cuba, and LGBT issues. She was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta, GA.She has published her work on PRI’s The World, WNYC, and New American Media.

The Real Spelunkers Of Puerto Rico

Forget the beaches ­– some of Puerto Rico’s most stunning natural environments are actually located under your feet. Our producer Marlon Bishop visits one of the island’s 2000 caves with a team of hardened local spelunkers on a journey in search of indigenous cave art. After a long journey hacking through the jungle with machetes, they arrive at a rarely-visited cave where Taino shaman may have once performed the sacred cohoba ritual.

This story is part of the RadioNature series which explores the ways Latinos connect with nature. RadioNature is supported by the REI Foundation.

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Marlon Bishop_new headshotMarlon Bishop is a radio producer, writer, and reporter based in New York. His work is focused on music, Latin America, New York City and the arts. He is a frequent contributor to WNYC, Studio 360, The World, Latino USA and MTV Iggy. He is an Associate Producer for Afropop Worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goths: Latinos On The Dark Side

Goth culture. Is it in? Is it out? Do they even care? Hear the stories of three Latinos who found a sense of community in Goth subculture while we try to answer the question of the ages: Why are Latinos obsessed with Morrissey? It’s not just the Pompadour.

Photo credit Suzy Exposito.

A2_HEADSHOT_NADIA_NOCREDITNadia Reiman has been a radio producer since 2005. Before joining the Latino USA team, Nadia produced for StoryCorps for almost five years. Her work there on 9/11 stories earned her a Peabody Award. She has also mixed audio for animations, assisted on podcasts for magazines, and program managed translations for Canon Latin America. Nadia has also produced for None on Record editing and mixing stories of queer Africans, and worked on a Spanish language radio show called Epicentro based out of Washington DC. She graduated from Kenyon College with a double major in International Studies and Spanish Literature

 

A2_LATINOGOTHS_SUZYEXPOSITO_HEADSHOT_NOCREDITSuzy Exposito is an illustrator, musician and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She’s a staff contributor at Rookie Mag and Bitch Magazine, and volunteers at the Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls. She’s living out her teen dream as the singer for feminist punk band Shady Hawkins. You can keep up with her on Twitter via @msmalcriada.

 

 

A2_LATINOGOTHS_HEADSHOT_PABLOPOFFALD_NOCREDITPablo Poffold is a 3D Artist who originally hails from a small town in Indiana. He was born in the U.S. to Chilean parents, and spent his childhood and adolescence drawing, painting, tinkering with digital art and audio software, and playing video games. He now works in the video game industry and feels very lucky to spend his daisy making art for a living. You can find his website at www. palboin3d.com.

Losing Your Citizenship In The Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, the Constitutional Court has retroactively revoked citizenship from anyone of Haitian descent dating back 84 years. Maria Hinojosa reports on how this change is affecting Dominican-born Haitians, and how the dynamic is playing out among Dominican and Haitian-Americans here in the U.S.

 

Zapotec Language Postcard

An indigenous language in Mexico called Zapotec is in danger of dying out. Its best chance of survival is, ironically, in Los Angeles.

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ruxandraRuxandra Guidi has a decade of experience working in public radio, print, and multimedia and has reported throughout California, the Caribbean, South and Central America, as well as Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Ruxandra is a recipient of Johns Hopkins University’s International Reporting Project (IRP) Fellowship, which took her to Haiti for a series of stories about development aid and human rights in 2008. That year, she was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for International Reporting, given to U.S. journalists under 35 years of age.

After earning a Master’s degree in journalism from U.C. Berkeley in 2002, she got her break in public radio by assisting independent radio producers The Kitchen Sisters. A couple of years later, she did field reporting and production work for the BBC public radio news program, The World. Her stories focused on Latin America, human rights, rural communities, immigration, popular culture and music.
Most recently, Guidi was a border reporter for the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration between public radio stations throughout the Southwest and U.S.-Mexico border.

Throughout her journalism career, Guidi has also produced magazine features and radio documentaries for the BBC World Service in Spanish, National Public Radio, The Walrus, Guernica, Virginia Quarterly Review, World Vision Report, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Dispatches and Marketplace radio programs.

She’s a native of Caracas, Venezuela.

Eddie Zazueta: Bay Area Rhymes

Nineteen-year-old Bay Area poet and rapper Eddie Zazueta writes about hip hop, street culture, and life in the Bay Area. He performed two original pieces for us at our live show in Sacramento.

Eddie opened with his song “Around the Sun,” where he speaks to the influence of hip-hop in his life:

And he closed with a performance of his poem “South Berkeley,” where he talks about life in the neighborhood where he grew up, and how it’s changing.

Photo courtesy of Youth Radio.

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Eddie Zazueta is a rapper and poet from Oakland, California. Eddie is a youth participant of Remix Your Life, a program of Youth Radio. Youth Radio is an Oakland-based media company that focuses on training youth in various forms of media production.

Forbidden Words and Forgotten Arts: Daniel Alarcón

Peruvian-born author Daniel Alarcón brings us a story about cultural adaptation and breaking interracial taboos, called “The Forbidden Word”. The story was originally produced by Radio Ambulante, the Spanish-language storytelling radio program he runs. He talks with Maria Hinojosa about the project, and discusses his new novel, titled “At Night We Walk in Circles”, about a young Latin American actor traveling with an avant-garde theater group. Special thanks to Radio Ambulante’s Martina Castro.

And here’s Radio Ambulante’s original “Palabra Prohibida/Forbidden Word” story, en español:

 

Daniel Alarcon (c) Adrian KinlochDANIEL ALARCÓN is author of “War by Candlelight”, a finalist for the 2005 PEN-Hemingway Award, and “Lost City Radio”, named a Best Novel of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post, among others. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, n+1, and Harper’s, and he has been named one of The New Yorker’s 20 under 40. He lives in San Francisco, California.

About Radio Ambulante: Radio Ambulante is a Spanish-language radio program that tells Latin American stories from anywhere Spanish is spoken, including the United States.

Ode To The Plantain

Maria Hinojosa and producer Daisy Rosario sit down to chat about that staple of the Caribbean Latino’s diet, the plantain. Or, as Daisy calls it, “the Latino potato.”

 

Daisy_faceDaisy Rosario is a comedian, writer and producer of things from radio stories to live events. Recently graduated from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, she also works with The Moth and the Upright CitizensBrigade Theatre. Daisy is an obsessive baseball fan.

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