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Archive for the ‘Civil Rights’ Category

What’s The Deal With Participatory Budgeting?

Participatory budgeting gives local residents direct control over part of the city budget. The project is in its third year in New York City and is expected to be used in up to 22 Council districts, covering more than $20 million.

The way it works is this: local residents, regardless of age or citizenship status, get together to discuss capital needs — infrastructure, buildings or equipment — to improve their neighborhoods. Projects are voted on in community meetings, and then local politicians must spend on those items.

The project was started in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 1989, and it is currently in use in 1,500 communities around the world. In the U.S., it is used in Chicago, San Francisco, Vallejo, California.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons user Mondo



B2 melissa mark-viveritoMelissa Mark-Viverito currently serves as a New York City Council Member, representing District 8, which includes El Barrio/East Harlem, Manhattan Valley and Mott Haven. She was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and attended Columbia College at Columbia University in New York City where she earned her B.A. in Political Science in 1991. Melissa was selected to attend the National Urban Fellows Program and earned her Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York in 1995.

Unbanked In The Bay Area

In a national first, Oakland, CA is now offering its residents a groundbreaking new municipal ID card that doubles as a prepaid debit card. Residents can apply for the card regardless of their immigration status.


Farida-Jhabvala-Romero-reporting-in-Mendota-CA-broccoli-field-150x150Farida 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



California as a Crystal Ball

California is demographically ahead of the curve: its Latino population has outpaced that of the rest of the country. So how have the institutions and culture adapted? Maria Hinojosa asks Kimberly Nalder of the Project for an Informed Electorate and Belinda Reyes of the Cesar Chavez Institute, and takes a few audience questions.

Photo courtesy of

B2_Kimberly NadlerKimberly Nalder is the director of the Project for an Informed Electorate and associate professor in the Department of Government at California State University Sacramento.



B2_ belinda reyes

Formerly a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, Belinda Reyes is an authority on immigration policy and the social and economic progress of racial and ethnic groups in the United States and director of the Cesar Chavez Institute at San Francisco State University.

Tackling the GOP’s Latino Problem

The Republican Party continues to struggle to recover the level of Latino support it enjoyed during the George W. Bush era. The $64 million question: can the Republicans do it, and how? María Hinojosa speaks with Pablo Pantoja, former Republican National Committee Hispanic outreach director in Florida, and George Antuna, co-founder of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas.

Photo courtesy of…


pabloPablo Pantoja has worked and volunteered in several roles with the Republican Party at the local, state, and national levels. Recently, he repudiated the culture of intolerance in the Republican Party through a public letter to his friends and took a stand by switching to the Democratic Party. Pantoja is a veteran of the Army National Guard and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and a Master’s Degree in Political Science, Applied American Politics and Policy from Florida State University.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 1.21.40 PMGeorge Antuna Jr. is the co-founder of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas. He is a former candidate for the Texas House of Representatives and worked for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as Regional Director for San Antonio, South Central Texas and El Paso. Before entering public service, he was the Director of Protocol for then Texas Secretary of State, Henry Cuellar, and Policy Analyst of Workforce Development, Economic Development and International Relations for then Lt. Governor Rick Perry. Mr. Antuna was elected to the council of the City of Schertz in May, 2011. He currently works in the financial services industry.


“Voluntary Departure?”

The ACLU filed a lawsuit last week against the U.S. government alleging that immigration officers are pressuring undocumented immigrants into signing their own deportation orders and waiving their rights to appear before an immigration judge. John Carlos Frey reports.

Photo: Family victim of coerced deportation. Courtesy of Rebecca Rauber.

john-carlos-frey-cropped_150-122x150John Carlos Frey is a freelance investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His investigative work has been featured on the 60 Minutes episode, “The All American Canal;” a three-part series for PBS entitled “Crossing the Line;” and several episodes of Dan Rather Reports, “Angel of the Desert,” and “Operation Streamline.” In 2011 Frey documented the journey of Mexican migrants across the US-Mexico border and walked for days in the Arizona desert risking his own life for the documentary Life and Death on the Border”. John Carlos Frey has also written articles for the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, Salon, Need to Know online, the Washington Monthly, and El Diario (in Spanish). Frey’s documentary films include The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon (2007), The Invisible Chapel (2008), and The 800 Mile Wall (2009). He is the 2012 recipient of the Scripps Howard Award and the Sigma Delta Chi award for his Investigative Fund/PBS reporting on the excessive use of force by the US Border Patrol.

Bracero Pay Day on Hold

While Congress debates provisions for a new guest worker program, elderly Mexican farmworkers called braceros protest about retirement money they say they’re owed. Mónica Ortiz Uribe reports.

Photo courtesy of Mónica Ortiz Uribe.

MonicaOrtizUribe1_t210Mónica Ortiz Uribe is a native of El Paso, Texas, where she recently worked as a freelance reporter. Her work has aired on NPR, Public Radio International and Radio Bilingue. Most of her stories examined the effects of drug-related violence across the border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Previously, she worked as a reporter for the Waco Tribune Herald in Waco, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in history.


Five years ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents closed in on a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa and carried out the largest immigration raid in U.S history. Latino USA host María Hinojosa speaks with filmmaker Luis Argueta, director of “Abused: the Postville Raid,” a documentary about the raid’s impact on immigrant families and on the town.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image: Abused Documentary Facebook.

Luis Argueta (photo by Bea Gallardo)Luis Argueta is a film director and producer whose work spans features, documentaries, shorts and episodic TV. He has also worked as commercial director, lecturer and teacher in the United States, Europe and throughout the Americas.  Born and raised in Guatemala, Argueta is a US Citizen and has been a resident of New York since 1977. His film The Silence of Neto is the only Guatemalan film ever to have been submitted to the Academy Awards competition and he is the only Guatemalan director to have received a CLIO. In April 2009, the British newspaper The Guardian, listed Mr. Argueta as one of Guatemala’s National Living Icons, alongside Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and Singer/Songwriter Ricardo Arjona.


Lost Women

Maria Hinojosa examines a pattern of violence and human rights abuses in Mexico. In the seven years since the Mexican government launched its war against the drug cartels, more than 60,000 people have been killed and an estimated 25,000 have disappeared.  Much of the violence comes from police and government forces as well as the cartels — and women are often targets.  Does Mexico’s new President, Enrique Peña Nieto have the will to curb the excesses?

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

Mem.Photo_-copyMaría Emilia Martin is a pioneering public radio journalist with over two dozen awards for her work covering Latino issues and Latin America. She started her career at the first community public radio station owned and operated by Latinos in the U.S. She has developed ground-breaking programs and series for public radio, including NPR’s Latino USA, and Despues de las Guerras: Central America After the Wars. A recipient of Fulbright and Knight Fellowships, she has extensive experience in journalism and radio training, in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia and other countries.

The Enforcement Taboo

From rallies in the Capitol, to acts of protest near the Texas/Mexico border, to a federal court room in New York, immigration activists give a final push to ensure that Congress delivers the long awaited bill reforming immigration policy and enforcement. María Hinojosa speaks to Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel of Latino Justice PRLDEF based in New York City.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of the Wilson Center’s Mexican Institute.

juanJuan Cartagena is the president and general counsel for LatinoJustice PRLDEF. He is a constitutional and civil rights attorney with experience in employment rights, language rights, voting rights, public education financing, environmental law, housing and access to public hospitals.


Congress is headed for Easter recess. How close are we to seeing immigration reform legislation, and how are national and grassroots immigrant advocacy groups mobilizing to shape new policy? María Hinojosa speaks to Pilar Marrero, senior political writer at La Opinion, for an update.

Click here to download this week’s show.  Image courtesy of Flickr (Creative Commons)

PilarMarrero1Pilar Marrero is a journalist who for 25 years has extensively covered the areas of city government, immigration and state and national politics. She works for La Opinión as a senior reporter and it’s a regular commentator for radio and television in both spanish and english media. She´s the author of “El Despertar del Sueño Americano” published by Penguing Books and now on sale. The english version of the book, Killing the American Dream, comes out October 2 published by Pallgrave McMillan. Marrero lives in Los Angeles.


The Illinois legislature passed a law which will allow undocumented immigrants residing in the state to obtain driver’s licenses.  With this move, Illinois joins three other states — New Mexico, Washington and Utah that allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally. Dan Weissmann reports.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Dan Weissmann is a Chicago-based radio producer and multimedia reporter. His work has appeared regularly on WBEZ (Chicago Public Media, 91.5 FM) and can be found at


Since 1959, the Cuban government has combatted racial discrimination. Officially all Cubans had the same opportunities.  But since the harsh economic times in the 1990s, black Cubans complain of increasing racial discrimination. Reese Erlich reports from Havana on this controversial issue.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Reese Erlich is a best-selling book author and freelance journalist who writes regularly for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio, Marketplace Radio and National Public Radio.


After the 1959 revolution, being gay in Cuba was considered counter-revolutionary. LGBT Cubans were jailed and harassed because of their sexual identity. Hear from two lesbians talk about their life on the island since the Revolution.

Click here to download this week’s show.

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 is a Feet in Two Worlds fellow, and has published her work on PRI’s The World, WNYC, and New American Media.


Host Maria Hinojosa speaks with Newsday film critic Rafer Guzman about The Central Park Five, a new documentary by Ken Burns and his daughter Sarah Burns about a 1989 case where five young men were convicted of the brutal rape of a jogger. This case became a lightning rod about youth of color and violence in New York and in the nation.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Rafer Guzman is the film critic for Newsday. He is also a contributing critic to WNYC’s “The Takeaway” and co-host of the podcast “Movie Date.”



Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated teens convicted of rape in the Central Park jogger case, talks about life after prison and about watching himself on screen in the film The Central Park Five.

Click here to download this week’s show. Photo courtesy of Maysles Institute.

Yusef Salaam was born and raised in New York City. He attended Public School 83, Manhattan East, The Arts Student League of New York and studied art at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and jewelry making at the Fashion Institute of Technology. On April 19, 1989, at just 15 years of age, he learned that he, along with other young boys were being falsely arrested for rape. Yusef Salaam served approximately 7 years of his life in prison along with 3 years on parole. Now a proud father, Yusef advocates for education, the need for videotaping of all police interrogations, for policy change in the child welfare system & the prison industrial complex, the effects of the disenfranchisement of poor people and its overwhelming effects on their families and the entire community at large. He sits on the Board of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the advisory Board for The Learn My History Foundation: dedicated to Youth Empowerment, Education and Change, and is the inspiration behind People United for Children.


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