Latino USA

Posts Tagged ‘Latinos’

After Ferguson: Being Black In Miami

The killing of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, M0. has reignited the spirit of the civil rights movement in the African American communities around the nation. While protests regarding Brown’s case continue in Missouri, his death has also reopened a long overdue conversation about the policing of black communities.

Miami-Dade County has not been the exception. The county in South Florida is predominantly Latino — Hispanics make up 65% of the population, blacks are just over 20%. The county’s mayors have been consistently Hispanic since the late seventies. And Hispanics make up a majority of the County’s Board of Commissioners.

On September 3rd, 2014, Dennis Moss, one of the county’s four black commissioners, opened the County Hall floor to a discussion about the lessons that Miami could learn to prevent events like Ferguson in Miami-Dade County.

The Commissioner and other members of the black leadership spoke of the feeling of hopelessness in the city’s black communities. They spoke of language discrimination in job applications — you have to speak Spanish for jobs– lack of access to private and public contracts, and opened a frank discussion about the policing of African American communities, especially black males.

The police department in Miami-Dade county is sharply different to the one in Ferguson. Miami-Dade’s police force reflects the different population groups, including Hispanics, blacks and other groups. Still, black leaders continue to sensitize police forces of every race on how blacks, especially men, experience police encounters.

City officials like Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez took part in the conversation, and all parties were glad the conversation happened in the open.

For this segment, we ask Dr. Walter T. Richardson, senior chaplain of the Miami-Dade Police Department, and Retha Boone-Fye, head of the Black Affairs Advisory Board in the county, about the conditions of African Americans in a place that is predominantly Latino/Hispanic.

 

Dr Richardson

Dr. Walter Thomas Richardson, a Miami native, is the senior chaplain for the Miami-Dade Police Department and Senior Pastor at Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in Perrine, Florida. Dr. Richardson currently serves as adjunct professor of religion at St. Thomas University where he teaches “World Religions.”

 

 

 

 

Retha BooneRetha Boone-FyeRetha Boone-Fye is the director of the Miami-Dade County Black Advisory Board. She previously served as Public Affairs Director for South Florida’s only Historically Black University—Florida Memorial.  She has been recognized by InFocus Magazine’s “Quiet Storm Award”; was named one of South Florida’s “Most Distinguished and Influential Black Women for 2010” by Success Magazine and was recently honored by ICABA World as one of South Florida’s “Most accomplished Black Professionals for 2011.”  She’s the second generation daughter of Bahamian parents and Jamaican great-grandparents. Mrs. Boone-Fye was the first of her immigrant family to attend university and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and her graduate degree from Nova-Southeastern University.

 

 

 

Latino USA intern Julia Shu contributed reporting.

Photo of gathering in front of Government Center in Miami on December 1st, 2000. Photo by Robert King/Newsmakers via Getty Images. 

Physics Teacher Puts Latino Students On STEM Tracks

A Latino student’s mind is a terrible thing to waste. Especially in California, where more than half of public school students are Latino.

But despite those numbers, high potential Latino students that would excel in Advanced Placement, or AP courses, are not taking them. Nationwide, as many as 4 in 10 qualified Latino students don’t take AP science courses, according to the College Board. In many low-income communities, AP courses are not even offered to students. And according to a ProPublica study, even when several states give equal access to low-income and higher-income students to AP courses, low-income students pass them in much lower numbers than their wealthier peers. Even though California has actually expanded the number of students taking AP courses, Latinos are still lagging behind in taking high-level AP science courses and passing the exams.

Michael Towne, a physics teacher at Citrus Hill High School in Riverside, California, is doing something about it. He’s created a physics program that’s channeling students from his class into careers in science and engineering. He’s been featured on national College Board reports, and in 2014, he was chosen out of more than 800 teachers to win the Fishman Prize, a national award for outstanding teaching in low-income communities. Mr. Towne has gone to Washington D.C. to talk to policy makers about expanding AP science course offerings for Latino, Black and low-income students. Mr. Towne and Alejandro Torres, one of his students, talk to us about cultivating genius and empowering Latinos through physics.

 

guests

 

Michael_204x204

Michael Towne served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked as a small business owner selling shoes before becoming a teacher in 2001. Mike has been asked to address both houses of the United States Congress on behalf of the College Board, and in 2013, he also spoke before Congress advocating for increased access to AP Physics. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education, Society and Culture from the University of California, Riverside, specifically focusing on access and equity for ethnic minority students in science. He credits his wife, a teacher for more than 20 years, with motivating his own move into teaching.

 

 

 

imageAlejandro Torres was born and raised in Southern California, by Mexican parents, the second of four children. He is a first generation college graduate from University of California, Riverside with degrees(B.S) in Physics and Applied Mathematics, currently a marketing analyst for California Steel Industries.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Alexandra-Beier/Getty-Images

Measuring Intelligence with Latinos

What do we mean when we talk about intelligence? We start by taking a look at some controversial claims about Hispanics and IQ.

Then we talk to Dr. Michael Lopez. He explains a little bit about our complicated brains, as well as what factors he believes need to be accounted for if you are looking for ways of gauging intelligence for people of all backgrounds.

 

guests

 

A1_DrMichaelLopez

Michael López, Ph.D., a Principal Associate at Abt Associates, brings over 25 years of extensive experience conducting policy-relevant, early childhood research, at the state and national levels, with an emphasis on low-income or culturally and linguistically diverse populations. He currently is serving as Co-Principal Investigator for the National Center for Research on Hispanic Children and Families. Prior to joining Abt, he was Executive Director of the National Center for Latino Child & Family Research.

 

Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

My Tia’s Battle With Mental Disorder

Blas Díaz is a social worker at a nursing home for the mentally ill in Chicago. Even though he spends his days helping people battle mental disorders, he was shocked to discover his own aunt had been battling bipolar disorder her entire life. Blas sat down with his tía and talked about the struggle to find the right medicines, the ever-present temptation of suicide, and the family support that’s helped her come this far. She has chosen to remain anonymous for this piece. Blas’ story comes to us by way of the Vocalo Storytellers Workshop from Chicago Public Media.

Deena and Jay: Living with Depression

Ever since she was a young girl, Deena realized that something wasn’t right – that she never felt happy or comfortable in her own skin. She suffered from depression. But in the South Texas, Mexican-American family she grew up with, there was a stigma around mental illness that prevented her and her family from seeking treatment.

In college, Deena met Jay. They got married, had kids. After each birth, Deena suffered really bad post-partum depression. After she miscarried her third child, things fell apart. Deena’s depression was getting worse. On top of it, her marriage to Jay began to unravel. She decided to try getting on medication.

The doctor prescribed her Lamitrogine (also known as Lamictal), an epilepsy drug with a secondary use of treating manic-depressives. A week later, she developed flu-like symptoms, then irritation in her eyes and throat. She didn’t realize it at first, but these symptoms were the beginnings of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a life-threatening condition that often happens as the result of an immune reaction to medication.

With Stevens-Johnson, cell death causes the outer layer of the skin to separate from the body and die, including the the epidermis inside your body and internal organs. Deena has to be airlifted to a military hospital, where doctors saved her life by oxygenating her blood outside of her body for almost a month while she was in a medical coma.

Deena survived. But with various medical complications ranging from damaged eyes to a scarred throat, life is full of new challenges that impact her mental health. While she was under, her husband Jay had to make the decision to put her on the machines that saved her life. Deena says that sometimes she wished he had let her die.

Now they have to figure out how to pick up the pieces of their life and marriage, and raise their kids. Nothing about it is easy.

 

Sabiduria: How I Stopped Drinking

In order to deal with stress, many people turn to alcohol. But one Latina tells us how she, with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, stopped drinking. Our guest has chosen to remain anonymous.

 

If you need help with alcohol addiction, you can visit the following websites:

 

Photo by John Kraus via Flickr

Health Care Reform Leaves Undocumented Uninsured

The Affordable Care Act does not actually cover everyone. Even in California, the state that leads in enrollment, an estimated one million people cannot access health care – undocumented immigrants. Many are undocumented immigrants. We visit Sonoma County’s Graton Day Labor Center, an advocacy and training group that tries to address this community’s needs.

Photo by Lisa Morehouse

 

 

The World Cup and Latinos: Vamos USA!

More and more Americans started tuning in to Team USA’s matches in this year’s World Cup in Brazil. The US’s heart stopping match against Portugal became the most watched soccer event in US TV history. It’s still unclear if the soccer hype will outlast the tournament — especially now that the US National Team is out. But one thing is certain: soccer is especially popular among Latinos in the United States. And as reported by our former producer Brenda Salinas, Latinos have divided allegiances when it comes to the World Cup. We continue our coverage of the World Cup by taking to the streets of Queens, in New York City, at one of the most demographically diverse places in the nation, to ask Latinos of different national origins who they’re rooting for this World Cup.

We found strong rooting for the countries of origin for immigrants, first and second generation Latinos. And we also found support and excitement for the US National team. And when it comes down to it, even if Mexico, Colombia, Argentina or Costa Rica were to face off against the U.S., Latinos don’t feel like picking a side. Some of them even enjoy the benefits of rooting for two national teams.

 

Our interns Roxane L. Scott and Sarah Barrett contributed reporting for this piece. 

Cover photo by Getty Images.  

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.

 

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).

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