Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

The Risk Of Reaching Dropouts

National estimates say that fewer than 70 percent of Latinos and African Americans graduate high school. In Austin, Texas, there’s a charter school dedicated solely to teaching dropouts and helping them graduate. But the state says the school doesn’t meet academic and financial standards. The school, American Youthworks, is at risk of getting shut down.

 

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urlJoy Diaz has been a reporter with KUT on and off since 2005. Since joining KUT, Joy has covered education, healthcare and immigration. She is now the station’s city reporter. Originally from Mexico, Joy moved to the U.S. in 1998 when her husband Luis was transferred from his job in Mexico City to train workers in a telecommunications plant in Virginia. While there, Joy worked for Roanoke’s NPR station WVTF.

 

 

 

Photo by Joy Diaz

Don’t Mess With Tejanos

“If it weren’t for the Tejano, Texas would be Ohio,” says Andrés Tijerina, a scholar of Texas history at Austin Community College. Tijerina argues that Texas culture – the boots and the hats, the mavericks and mustangs – all traces back to the state’s Mexican and Spanish roots.

 The Spanish first entered the Southwest searching for the seven cities Cíbola, a mythical and wealthy nation believed to exist in the American interior. They found no golden cities, but they did decide to stay and claim the vast territory for Spain.

The Spanish brought cattle ranching and cowboy culture to Texas – many had learned it in the shrublands of Western Spain. The Anglo-Americans who began settling in Texas in the 19th century were adopted Tejano ways. After the Texas War of Independence, those Anglos began to take over Tejano ranches, often murdering whole families and moving on their lands.

Some would call it ethnic cleansing. In this segment, we begin with the story of the search for Cíbola. Then, we speak with scholar Andrés Tijerina about how the narrative around Texas history has long ignored their contributions to the state.

 

 

Andres Tijerina

Andrés Tijerina, a native of Ozona, serves with distinction as Professor of History at the Pinnacle Campus of Austin Community College. He is author of Tejanos and Texas Under the Mexican Flag and Tejano Empire: Life on the South Texas Ranchos, and has edited several other works. Dr. Tijerina is a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association and an active presenter to gatherings of historians throughout the state. His writings have appeared as chapters, articles, and book reviews in journals ranging from the Southwestern Historical Quarterly to the American Historical Review.

 

 

 

 Photo of Austin’s Tejano Monument, courtesy of Marlon Bishop

Diversity on Trial

Race-conscious admissions policies have opened the college doors for many Latino students. Now, Fisher v University of Texas at Austin, a case soon to be decided by the Supreme Court, may change how schools are allowed to factor in race. Latino USA host María Hinojosa speaks with Angelo Ancheta, a law professor at Santa Clara University and the Counsel of Record for a Friend of the Court brief filed in the Fisher case.

Image courtesy of Flickr.com/SalFalko.

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Angelo N. Ancheta is the director of the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center at Santa Clara University School of Law. He is the former Director of the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, and the former Executive Director at the Asian Law Caucus. Mr. Ancheta served as the Counsel of Record for the Friend of the Court Brief filed by the American Educational Research Association in the Fisher v University of Texas at Austin case.

NOTICIANDO: DEADLY SOUTH TEXAS

With border enforcement front and center in both immigration reform proposals, security and migration issues are stepping into the limelight. The Washington Office on Latin America found that South Texas was different from other border regions. Senior Associate for Regional Security at WOLA Adam Isacson explains the findings—and reveals the sometimes deadly truths.


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Adam Isacson is a key member of WOLA’s Regional Security Policy team. He is a leading expert on defense, civil-military relations, and U.S. security assistance to the Americas. He collaborates on Just the Facts—a constantly updated source of information and analysis of the United States’ often troubled relationship with Latin America’s militaries. He helped found Just the Facts in the early 1990s.

Mr. Isacson has co-authored dozens of publications, including “Ready, Aim, Foreign Policy” and “Waiting for Change,” which examine the increasing role of the military in U.S. foreign policy. He has testified before Congress on international drug policy, Colombia’s conflict, U.S. military aid programs and human rights, and has organized several congressional delegations to the region.

UPDATE ON “INSIDE WILLACY”

Catherine Rentz, who produced Latino USA’s October 2012 report on sexual assault and other abuses within immigrant detention centers, gives us an update on changes to legislation to report, investigate and prosecute these crimes.


Click here to download this week’s show.

Catherine Rentz is a reporter and documentary filmmaker in residence at the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington D.C. She’s produced several documentaries for PBS FRONTLINE about the airline industry, environmental resources, retirement finances, U.S. intelligence apparatus and immigration.

FELIZ HANUKKAH

When Austin resident Trina Hernandez found out her family had Jewish roots, it allowed her to ditch the commercial aspects of Christmas she had long disliked and connect to a tradition she found more meaningful for her and her son.


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Trina Hernandez is a busy madre y esposa and legal assistant by day and a blogger, contributor for Latinometro, and co-director for Austin’s LATISM chapter by night. She is also a proud resident of Austin, TX, sharing everything she experiences within the city. You can always find her on twitter (@atxtrina) or on her couch watching too much TV. And you can definitely always find her at home on Sabbath.

INSIDE WILLACY

Mental health coordinator Twana Cooks-Allen showed up to work at an immigration detention facility intending to treat troubled detainees. But she soon discovered the real threats were not the people locked up there. What happened inside the Willacy detention center in South Texas was so disturbing it sparked 13 special criminal investigations by the Department of Homeland Security. Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa went inside the center, and deep into this case, in a segment produced by Catherine Rentz, in partnership with the PBS show FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop.


Click here to download this week’s show.

Catherine Rentz is a reporter and documentary filmmaker in residence at the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington D.C. She’s produced several documentaries for PBS FRONTLINE about the airline industry, environmental resources, retirement finances, U.S. intelligence apparatus and immigration.

SNOWBIRDS

Two sisters from Minnesota who’ve migrated part-time to Texas share their views on immigration from Mexico. This is the second of two reports from the Rio Grande Valley about perspectives on immigration policy, produced by Maria Martin.


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María 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.

A TALE OF TWO GARZAS

In the first of two reports from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, reporter Maria Martin examines how the controversy over immigration reform is viewed in this predominately Latino part of the country.  Here she talks to two men, both named Garza.  One is a law enforcement officer; the other is a local politician and community organizer.


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of flickr (creative commons).

María Emilia Martin is a pioneering public radio journalist with more than 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. Martin 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. Sports Business Journal, among other publications.

YERBAS BUENAS

A group in El Paso is now working with local health and educational institutions to start a school that will teach natural healing methods—using herbs, acupuncture and aromatherapy to cure illnesses. What’s more, they’re aiming for state accreditation. Monica Ortiz Uribe reports as part of our year-long series on Latinos and health.

This report was produced for Fronteras: the Changing America Desk. For more Fronteras coverage, go to fronterasdesk.org.


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of flickr (creative commons).

Mónica Ortiz Uribe (Las Cruces), is a senior field correspondent with Fronteras and 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.

Wonder Twin Julián

At 37, San Antonio mayor Julian Castro already has a decade of political office under his belt. And now he is getting the Democratic Party’s national spotlight as the keynote speaker at the convention in Charlotte. Meanwhile, his twin brother Joaquin is running for Congress. Hernán Rozemberg of the Fronteras desk brings us this profile.


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

Hernán Rozemberg is award-winning journalist with more than 16 years of experience. He has worked for various newspapers, including The Arizona Republic and the San Antonio Express-News. For more than a decade, he has specialized in coverage of immigration and border issues, including at his current position as Senior Correspondent and Bureau Chief for a Southwest public media project, Fronteras: The Changing America Desk.  He holds at Master’s in International Relations from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Ted Cruz Brings His Conservative Message to the Republican National Convention

The Republicans kicked off their national convention in Tampa on Tuesday with a program starring a line-up of GOP all-stars. They also carted out many of their Latino headliners. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and First Lady of Puerto Rico Luce Fortuño had their chance to speak before what looked on TV to be a blindingly white audience. But the real Latino standout was Texas U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz.

The Texas delegates, dressed in bar-b-que outfits- Texas flag shirts and cowboy hats – cheered him on. The audience repeatedly jumped to their feet to applaud Cruz during his 12-minute speech. As I watched it I kept thinking, “Why do they keep applauding? He’s not saying anything and what he does say makes no sense!”

I’ve written before about the many things that Cruz, a fellow Cuban-Texan from a conservative family, and I have in common. Our backgrounds aside, I can honestly say that Cruz and I agree on almost nothing. Cruz is a tea party favorite for his extreme rhetoric that includes abolishing the IRS and the education, commerce, and energy departments. But he didn’t come right out and say all of that crazy stuff in his speech. That would have alienated the less extreme members of the GOP. Now is a time to watch what you say.

Speakers at the convention kept repeating the same information:  “Obama put us 16 trillion dollars in debt, 23 million people unemployed,” and keywords like “We Built It”, “freedom, liberty, free market, grass roots,” and “We the People”. Cruz hit all of the talking points and quoted famous lines like, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” and Martin Luther King Jr’s line that men should be judged, “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” It’s the equivalent of a band that only plays their greatest hits, only Cruz is playing other people’s songs. Of course the delegates cheered: Reagan’s Berlin Wall quote is the Freebird of Republican rhetoric.

Cruz even spoke in Spanish. He told the story of his father’s immigration to the United States after being imprisoned under the Batista regime in Cuba. He said of his father, “No tenia nada, pero tenia Corazon (he had nothing, but he had heart)” in the thickest gringo accent you ever heard to limited applause. This was a calculated move to prove his Latino cred, and what good is a token Latino if he isn’t “Latino enough”?

Through the haze of tired rhetoric and familiar quotes, he said something that caught my attention, “Unfortunately, President Obama’s campaign is trying to divide America. To separate us into groups. Telling seniors that Medicare will be taken away. Telling Hispanics that we’re not welcome here.”

¿Que?

Let’s put aside for a second that the Republican party platform calls for overhauling Medicare so that seniors would have to buy private insurance with some government assistance. But Obama is telling Hispanics that we aren’t welcome?

Wasn’t it vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan who described arresting and deporting undocumented workers with the fishing term “catch and release”? Cruz supports Ryan even though he is in favor of throwing out so-called “anchor babies”? Cruz repeatedly talked about how much he loves the Constitution, but I guess he forgot that the 14th Amendment provides equal protection under the law to all citizens. Since “anchor babies” are born here, they too are citizens, Ted.

Or perhaps it slipped his mind that he opposes any form of amnesty, including the DREAM Act or the president’s immigration reprieve. Cruz also favors the building of a border wall as well as the terrifying phrase “boots on the ground” along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mitt Romney is hoping that during the fall campaign Latinos will forget all of the anti-immigration rhetoric he used during the primaries and concentrate on how badly the economy has hurt Latinos. Cruz touched on this when he said that there were 2.3 million Latino small business owners being hurt because Obama had “declared war on small business”. He didn’t go into how exactly the president was doing this. Latinos count the economy as their top concern, which isn’t to say that immigration isn’t a close second for most of them.

Latinos won’t soon forget that Cruz, a son of immigrants that grew up in a state with a huge Latino population, has sided with a party whose platform opposes their very presence in this country. How can you trust a man who turns his back on his own people? Cruz repeatedly talks about how his father achieved the American dream by coming to the U.S. and going to school in order to make something of himself. Why then does he oppose today’s Latino youth from doing the same?

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Image courtesy of flickr.  

Jack Tomas is a writer, filmmaker, and editor working in New York. He’s originally from Houston, TX where he earned a BA in Theater and Communication from The University of St. Thomas. Later, he received an MA in Media Studies at The New School. Jack has worked several years as a professional filmmaker and his films have appeared in several film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, The LA Comedy Shorts Festival, and The New York Independent Film Festival. He has also worked as a professional blogger since 2009 writing for Guanabee.com, Tuvez.com, Egotastic.com, and Directorslive.com. He lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with his wife Marybec and two cats.

Getting to Know Ted Cruz

Days after Ted Cruz won the Texas Republican Senate primary by a healthy margin, he landed a coveted speaking spot at the RNC in Tampa. San Antonio Express News metro columnist Ricardo Pimentel fills us in on the life and politics of this young Cuban-Canadian politician.


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

 

Ricardo Pimentel is a metro columnist for the San Antonio Express-News. He is a former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a former editorial writer and columnist for the Journal Sentinel.

Understanding Ted Cruz – A Fellow Cuban-Texan Explains the Rising GOP Star

Last month, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz beat out Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in a runoff election for the Republican nomination to run for Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s Senate seat.

It was a big upset: Republican rock stars from Governor Rick Perry to Mike Huckabee endorsed Dewhurst. Cruz, however, was backed by some of the state’s more hardcore tea partiers, (I know, more hardcore than Perry?).  Much like fellow Cubano Marco Rubio, Cruz’s strong opposition to anything smelling of political moderation has led to endorsements from the likes of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Though I am a liberal Democrat and opposed to everything he stands for, I can’t help feel a certain kinship to Cruz, a fellow Cuban-Texan.

Let me explain. Though some of the facts about his family history have been questioned, his “When we came from Cuba” stories are similar to my own. Like Cruz’s family, my grandparents were strong supporters of Castro during the revolution against dictator Fulgencio Batista. Cruz says his dad Rafael, “was a guerilla, throwing Molotov cocktails and blowing up buildings.” Batista later tortured him. My uncle Pedgie was a guerilla fighter under Che Guevara and was murdered in cold blood by Batista’s thugs. Unlike my family, Cruz’s father fled before the triumph of the revolution in 1959. Lucky him.

Rafael Cruz came to Austin in 1957 with only $100 sewn in his underwear. The story reminds me of my grandfather leaving Cuba in 1969 with his medical diploma cut into small pieces and sewn in his boxer shorts. Except for a brief stint in Canada where Ted was born, the Cruzes settled in Texas rather than the Cuban exile mecca of South Florida.

The Lone Star State is also where my grandparents landed. Despite their first house being five blocks away from the Ku Klux Klan’s east Texas headquarters, they felt welcome. My grandfather described how he and his Cuban friends were the only Latinos in the Houston suburb of Pasadena where they settled.

Why would hardcore Texas conservatives welcome immigrant Latinos like my family and the Cruzes?

The answer is similar ideologies. Our families were both cartoonishly anti-Communist. Their disillusionment with Castro led them to react against anything  even remotely progressive.

During the revolution, Castro promised to establish a democratic republic with free elections modeled on the American system. That sounded pretty good to the 98 percent of Cubans that supported him, including my family and probably the Cruz family too. Pretty quickly after his victory it became apparent that he was allying himself with the Soviet Union and was setting up a Communist dictatorship. For a lot of Cubans not only was this an ideological betrayal but a personal one. My grandmother fell into a deep depression when her friend General Huber Matos was imprisoned and he revealed to her that Castro was a Communist. It was like a break-up for a lot of them, and often just like in a break-up you hate the “other woman.” For many Cubans Communism was the other woman.

I suspect that in the Cruz household, as in my own house growing up, the words “Democrat” and “Communist” were synonymous. My grandmother had a picture of Ronald Reagan next to a picture of Jesus by the family Bible. True story.

Like a lot of old-school Cubans, they blamed the Democratic Party for the failures of the Bay of Pigs invasion which led to my grandfather’s imprisonment by Castro for his involvement. My grandparents also thought that Democrats wanted to have too much of a hand in their lives.

My abuelo lived through 3 dictatorships in his lifetime (Machado, Batista, and Castro) only to come to the U.S. in time for Watergate. He simply didn’t trust governments and wanted to have as little interaction with them as possible. He always told me that all politicians, even guys like Reagan, were all “hijo de puta mentirosos (son of a bitch liars).” In ultra-conservative Texas circles, these ideas are as ingrained in the culture as bar-b-que and cowboys.

Today I am considered a heretic in my “Cu-Tex” family. My cousins mostly still think the way we were brought up to think. I simply cannot discuss politics with most of my older relatives. They tell me they’re glad my grandparents didn’t live to see what I’ve become.

When I look at Ted Cruz, I reflect on how easily I could have been him ideologically. If I hadn’t drifted to the left in my teenage years, perhaps like Cruz, I too would want to abolish the commerce, education, energy, and TSA departments as well as the IRS. Maybe I would also say things like, “I’ll throw my body in front of a train to stop anything short of its complete and total repeal” in reference to “Obamacare.”

Maybe if I had read more Ayn Rand?

There but for the grace of God go I, my friends.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Image courtesy of flickr.

Jack Tomas is a writer, filmmaker, and editor working in New York. He’s originally from Houston, TX where he earned a BA in Theater and Communication from The University of St. Thomas. Later, he received an MA in Media Studies at The New School. Jack has worked several years as a professional filmmaker and his films have appeared in several film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, The LA Comedy Shorts Festival, and The New York Independent Film Festival. He has also worked as a professional blogger since 2009 writing for Guanabee.com, Tuvez.com, Egotastic.com, and Directorslive.com. He lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with his wife Marybec and two cats.

Will Latinos Play A Key Role in the 2012 Presidential Election?

Will the economy or immigration drive Latino votes? Is Ted Cruz the new face of American politics? In this podcast episode, Fi2W executive producer John Rudolph interviews senior analyst Sylvia Manzano from the polling firm Latino Decisions for a midsummer snapshot of Hispanic voters.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Podbean

In 2008 Latino voters played a pivotal role in sending Barack Obama to the White House. But this year things could be different; the economy is still in recovery and the president has not kept his pledge to bring about significant immigration reform.

Pollster Sylvia Manzano says the margin of support for Obama will be similar to 2008: 70-72 percent of Latinos say they would vote for Obama versus 20-22 percent for Mitt Romney. The big difference will be turnout. The lack of immigration reform and record numbers of deportations of undocumented immigrants under President Obama has meant Latinos are less enthusiastic about his candidacy than they were four years ago. However, enthusiasm has increased this summer since the announcement of the deferred action program and the Supreme Court’s decision striking down major portions of Arizona’s immigration law known as SB 1070.

The number one issue for Latinos is the economy says Manzano, which sounds good for Romney, except she points out that Latinos are much more likely to support Democratic strategies, like raising taxes on the wealthy, government investment and increased spending. There’s not much support among Latinos for Republican prescriptions including tax cuts and cuts in social services.

Latino Decisions has identified five states where Latino voters could be the deciding factor in the presidential contest.  They are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia.

According to Manzano, Texas, a state not on the list, represents the future of American politics. She focuses on two rising stars – Republican Ted Cruz who is running for the U.S. Senate in Texas and Julian Castro the young mayor of San Antonio who will give the keynote address at this year’s Democratic convention. This is about national demography says Manzano: more Latinos means more Latinos in both parties.

Manzano argues that the growing Latino electorate in Texas means we’re likely to see the emergence of a more moderate Republican party rather than a quick shift to electing Democrats. She says this is like New Mexico where Latinos tend to vote for moderate Democrats or liberal Republicans. She says Arizona, another state with a growing number of Hispanic voters, is more likely to follow California and turn blue over time.

For more analysis from Sylvia Manzano, make sure to check out the Latino Decisions Blog.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Image courtesy of Flickr

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