As a player, coach, and broadcaster, Tom Flores has been a part of the Raiders franchise for decades. When he started playing for the Oakland Raiders in 1960, football was just starting to find its audience, and he was the first Latino starting quarterback in professional football. He spoke to Latino USA about the role of politics in sports, his ambition to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and what it's like to be part of a team with such a strong Latino identity.
Today on Latino USA, we enter the U.S. Senate chambers and get to follow along as members of Congress tackle one of the nation's most controversial issues: immigration. There's just one twist—this Senate is comprised of nine and ten year-olds who are currently 4th graders. At the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, these young students are given the chance to craft and pass their own immigration reform bill, that will provide a pathway to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigra...more
Latino USA teamed up with the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y to put on an event honoring the 25th anniversary of Esmeralda Santiago's coming of age classic "When I Was Puerto Rican." In conversation with producer Antonia Cereijido, Santiago talks about what it's like to live through a hurricane, the #metoo movement, and learning to not care about what other people think of you.
In 1998, three television writers tasked with creating the next hit children's show came up with the idea of a young girl who would go on adventures, and ask questions directly to the audience. With the help of consultants, they created a seven year-old Latina girl named Dora Márquez and the show, "Dora the Explorer." Almost 20 years later, Dora is reimagined as a teenager in a new live-action film called "Dora and the Lost City of Gold." While some of the elements in Dora's world are still fict...more
On August 3rd, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in the border city of El Paso, Texas. 22 people were killed—eight were Mexican citizens and the majority were Latino. The suspect, in a white extremist manifesto posted online, cited what he called "an invasion" of Latinos in the U.S. The Walmart where the gunman opened fire is frequently visited by Latinos and Mexicans from both El Paso and Juarez—the neighboring city in Mexico. In this episode, Latino USA travels to El Paso, a town that has long...more
Gina Torres knew from a young age that she wanted to be in the arts. The Cuban-American actress grew up in the Bronx, New York and graduated from LaGuardia High School, the school for the performing arts featured in the movie Fame. She's made a name for herself in the sci-fi universe with roles on critically acclaimed series such as Firefly and Angel—and she even had a role in the Matrix sequels. Recently, you may have seen her playing something different—a lawyer, on the USA network series, Sui...more
On July 7th, Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo "Ricky" Rosselló, was on vacation in France when messages —containing his homophobic and sexist comments— from a private group chat were leaked. Weeks later, Rosselló announced his resignation. Latino USA brings context to the leaked messages that sparked massive protests in Puerto Rico and, in turn, led to the resignation of Governor Rosselló. We examine how the post-Hurricane María death count, the island's debt crisis, and its colonial legacy all c...more
Latino USA sits down with Guadalupe Rosales of Veteranas and Rucas and Map Pointz, two archival projects focused on the backyard party scene of 80's and 90's Los Angeles that celebrate big hair, house music and endless nights. Rosales is joined by Eddie Ruvalcaba, who photographed the scene with Streetbeat Magazine and attended parties as a teenager. In this episode from the Latino USA archives, the two speak about the power of documenting youth culture and why those parties still mean so much t...more
Just a year ago, not many people outside of South Bend, Indiana would have recognized the name: Pete Buttigieg. Known as "Mayor Pete," Buttigieg is in a wide-open primary race for the Democratic nomination to challenge President Trump. Since throwing his hat in the ring, he has gone from a virtually unknown second-term mayor, to a viable candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Latino USA's Maria Hinojosa sits down with Pete Buttigieg for an in-depth conversation about his thoughts ...more
There are an estimated 7,000 distinct languages in the world—but researchers say nearly half are in danger of extinction, and on average, one language dies about every two weeks. In Hawaii, the practice of speaking the Hawaiian language from birth nearly died two generations ago—until one man started a movement to preserve the Hawaiian language—without being a native Hawaiian speaker, himself. This story comes to us from our friends at NPR's Code Switch.
"Hispano" is an identity unique to New Mexico and southern Colorado. It defines people who consider themselves to be descendants of the Spanish conquistadors that arrived in the 1500s. Hispanos have lived side by side the Pueblo for centuries—mixing cultures, identities, and even bloodlines. But recently, tensions have risen between the two groups over Santa Fe's annual conquistador pageant, known as La Entrada, which celebrates the arrival of the Spanish. For some, it celebrates heritage. For o...more
It's a fact: Latinos are concerned about climate change—actually more than non-Latinos. Producer (and guest host) Antonia Cereijido is no exception and her anxiety led her to the work of Héctor García Martín, a scientist at the Joint BioEnergy Institute. Synthetic biology is an emerging field that allows scientists to re-engineer biological systems for new purposes, and one major thing it could lead to is new biofuels which would reduce the release of carbon dioxide—the main cause of global warm...more
In this episode, we're sharing two segments from our "How I Made It" series, which dives into the stories behind creative processes. Today, two music stories, separated by two generations. We hear how a mambo-obsessed Jewish kid from the Bronx ended up starting a Latin percussion empire, thanks to the trade embargo with Cuba. And, songwriter Ambar Lucid travels to Mexico to reconnect with her father for the first time since his deportation when she was a young girl.
In the early 1990s, Willie Perdomo was a teenager growing up in East Harlem. He saw and experienced firsthand a tumultuous moment in New York City, including the crack epidemic and the consequences of the war on drugs. In his newest book of poetry, "The Crazy Bunch," Perdomo wrangles with that history and the ghosts of that time. Latino USA's Antonia Cereijido takes a walk with Perdomo through his old neighborhood of Harlem to discuss his teenage years and how memories of that time inspired his ...more
For the past 25 years, Luna Lauren Vélez has been portraying powerful Latinas in front of the camera. From a young Nuyorican mother in the 1994 cult classic "I Like It Like That" to a Cuban police captain in the hit show "Dexter," the actress has been able to show the complexities of identity in her characters. That inspiration didn't come out of nowhere. Vélez is one of eight siblings in her large Puerto Rican family and is continually inspired by the strong women that raised her. Luna Lauren V...more
Senen Reyes, also known as Sen Dog, is one of the founding members of the pioneering rap group Cypress Hill. Their music differs from other West Coast hip-hop from the 80s and 90s—Cypress Hill was less concerned with gang life and focused more on marijuana activism. But Cypress Hill's legacy extends much further than making weed mainstream—they were the first all-Latino hip-hop group to have platinum and multi-platinum albums. Sen Dog joins us to talk about the legacy of his group Cypress Hill, ...more
When you think of the 1980's in New York City, you might think of grit and crime – but a vibrant, dazzling underground ball scene? Maybe not. The hit series "Pose" on FX is now telling the stories of that scene – a subculture of LGBTQ people of color creating a safe and joyous space during a time when they were not accepted. "Pose" is making history by featuring the largest cast of transgender actors ever on TV as well as the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors for a scripted series. Starring...more
Mauricio Pérez and his boyfriend Jorge Alberto Alfaro González met on Facebook in El Salvador during the summer of 2015. After Mauricio's sister was killed by members of a gang and Jorge's young cousins were killed by a rival group, both of them became targets of repeated attacks and death threats. So by January of 2016, Jorge and Mauricio decided to flee the country. They both applied for asylum in Mexico. But only Jorge's application was approved, forcing them to navigate Mexico's complex asyl...more
Arturo Castro is a Guatemalan actor and writer best known for playing "Jaime" on Comedy Central's "Broad City" and cartel leader David Rodriguez on Netflix's "Narcos." Now, after a decade in the business, Castro is taking the lead and starring in his own sketch show on Comedy Central. "Alternatino with Arturo Castro" is about Castro's identity as an immigrant and navigating life as a Latinx millennial. We sit down with Arturo Castro to talk about how he got his start in comedy and how he draws o...more
Los Angeles, you might be surprised to learn, sits on top of the largest urban oil field in the country and has been the site of oil extraction for almost 150 years. Today, nearly 5,000 oil wells remain active in Los Angeles County alone, many operating in communities of color, often very close to homes, schools and hospitals. Latino USA visits a neighborhood in South Los Angeles, the epicenter of an anti-oil-drilling movement that is gaining momentum. We meet Nalleli Cobo, the 18-year-old who's...more
Latino USA continues its coverage of the field of candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination with a conversation with Senator Cory Booker. Booker has come a long way since 1995 when, while attending law school at Yale, he moved to Newark to help the community, later moving to a housing project where he lived for a number of years before it was demolished. He became mayor of the New Jersey city in 2006, then went on to become a U.S. senator. Latino USA's Maria Hinojosa sits down with Cory Book...more
27-year-old Laura Molinar was in medical school in Chicago, when she was flooded with news about the family separation crisis. Born and raised in San Antonio, Molinar felt moved to action—so she started Sueños Sin Fronteras, an organization to bring medical professionals to shelters on the border. While volunteering, Laura began to notice a need among the migrant women there—for access to birth control and emergency contraception. There was just one concern: the shelter was run by a Catholic org...more
Sandra Cisneros doesn't need an introduction. Her coming-of-age novel, "The House on Mango Street," has sold over six million copies and has turned the Chicago native into a household name. Earlier this year, the Mexican-American author joined Maria Hinojosa for a live conversation at the Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. The conversation was part of WBEZ's Podcast Passport series, in partnership with Vocalo Radio. In this live and intimate conversation, Sandra Cisneros reflects on her past, pre...more
Since the beginning of the Trump administration, the U.S.-Mexico border and immigration policy have been front and center in public conversation. However, while the increased attention may seem new, a humanitarian crisis at the border is nothing new. Jeh Johnson was the Secretary of Homeland Security during President Obama's second term, from late 2013 to 2017. He ran the agency during a tense period—when tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children and families were arriving at the borde...more
Huntsville, Alabama has a small, but growing Latino population. It's where Teresa Matias, a single working immigrant mother from Guatemala, lived with five sons. In 2015, Teresa joined a local Catholic church and baptized her sons, and found them godparents. The godparents of her youngest son, would take a special liking to him. Over the next year, a series of events would begin to unravel—in which the godparents got lawyers and judges involved—eventually resulting in Teresa giving up complete p...more
Elizabeth Acevedo is a Dominican-American poet and award-winning author. Her debut young adult novel "The Poet X" made the New York Times bestseller list in 2018. This May, Acevedo released her second novel "With the Fire on High," which tells the story of an Afro-Latina who dreams of becoming a chef. We sit down with Elizabeth Acevedo to talk about how storytelling became an important part of her life, her identity, and the impact of her success.
Five years ago, Latino USA producer Antonia Cereijido was only an intern and still in college when she did what a lot of people do when they're not sure what their life will look like after graduation: she cried in the bathroom. After wiping her eyes and returning to her desk, she tried to comfort herself by calculating how many other Latinos had cried at the same time she had. Which led her to ask herself: do Latinos cry more that other people, on average? Thus began her strange and lachrymose ...more
Early this year, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival announced their 2019 lineup, boasting over 10 Latino acts—including Bad Bunny, J Balvin and Los Tucanes de Tijuana performing on the festival's main stage. Coachella is one of the largest music festivals in the U.S. and one of the highest-grossing annual festivals. Historically, the festival's headliners have skewed white and in English, but that seems to be changing. Latino USA goes to the most Latino Coachella ever and speaks to art...more
Did you know that Marvin Gaye's classic song "Got to Give it Up" is influenced by the cha-cha-chá? And that the cha-cha-chá has been a part of U.S mainstream music for decades? Latino contributions to American pop music are present everywhere from salsa to punk and jazz to hip-hop and they're all celebrated in a book titled "American Sabor: Latinos and Latinas in U.S. Popular Music." One of the authors, ethnomusicologist Marisol Berríos-Miranda, joins Latino USA to discuss some of these Latino m...more
On May 3, 2017, a young woman was found dead on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Soon after the Mexico City Attorney General's office sent out a series of tweets—that would be picked up by the Mexican media—that characterized the 22-year-old as a dropout and alcoholic. The response online was immediate: many women saw these tweets and media reports as an attempt to discredit the woman as a victim and in response, thousands of women started to tweet with the hashtag #Si...more
There's a nun in Texas that is known for being one of the nation's strongest champions for immigrants: Sister Norma Pimentel. Sister Norma is currently the executive director of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, but growing up, she wanted to be an architect. However, a chance encounter with pizza, of all things, changed her life forever. Maria Hinojosa visits Sister Norma in her convent chapel to talk about running the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas, and the work sh...more
Filmed over six years, "The Silence of Others" reveals how survivors and their families have struggled to cope in the aftermath of Spain's 40-year dictatorship under General Franco. The film, executive produced by Pedro Almodóvar, follows the victims as they organize a groundbreaking international lawsuit and fight a "pact of forgetting" around the crimes they suffered. Survivors of the dictatorship and human rights lawyers built a case in Argentina that Spanish courts refuse to hear. Maria Hino...more
Almost 70 years ago, a group of majority Mexican-American miners in New Mexico readied themselves for a showdown with their bosses. The miners were going on strike to demand an end to discriminatory practices at the mines. The events inspired the 1954 film "Salt of the Earth"—made by filmmakers who had been blacklisted in Hollywood for supposed leftist sympathies. Latino USA heads to Grant County, New Mexico, to uncover the history of the The Empire Zinc Strike, to find out how a sleepy mining t...more
In November, 2011 a man and his son were walking along the shore of Lake Michigan when they spotted a body, wedged in the rocks, badly decomposed. At the time, there were very few clues as to who the remains belonged to. The investigation spanned five years and stretched from Wisconsin to Texas to Illinois. It involved multiple agencies and dead ends. But ultimately, it took the skills of a forensic anthropologist from Puerto Rico to get answers—and simultaneously, reveal the difficulties of ide...more
Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa sits down with actor and entrepreneur Danny Trejo. Trejo has starred in over 300 films, often playing villains and tough guys of all sorts. He now runs Trejo's Tacos, Trejo's Cantina, and Trejo's Donuts in Los Angeles. He shares how he went from regular stints in prison to being one of Hollywood's most recognizable faces.
When Austin's cumbia-funk institution Grupo Fantasma went to record their seventh album at a studio in Tornillo, Texas, they had no idea that right next door was a tent city for detained immigrant youth operated by ICE. When they found out, they decided they had to do something. So they teamed up with fellow legends Ozomatli and Locos Por Juana to create a sinister funk tune with a message about the walls that divide us. On this edition of How I Made It, members of Grupo Fantasma break down the...more
A few weeks ago, student organization MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) voted to change their name after 50 years—and that decision was met with a lot of commentary, especially on social media. Those in favor of the name change, argue that dropping the words "Chicanx" and "Aztlán" from the name, makes MEChA more inclusive. But others, including MEChA alums, say that those words are heavily intertwined with the 1960's Chicano movement, and a name change would erase that important s...more
Celebrated jazz musician Arturo O'Farrill has dedicated his life to envisioning a future of inclusion and collaboration. His newest project, "Fandango at the Wall," was inspired by a festival he participated in on the U.S.-Mexico border. In the album, O'Farrill brings together the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with more than 60 musicians. In this episode, Maria Hinojosa sits down with O'Farrill to discuss how he's not only crossing artificial borders, but erasing them.
In the U.S., the two fastest-growing ethnic groups are Asian and Latino—and those groups are not mutually exclusive. For centuries, immigrants from Asia have settled in Mexico all the way down to Argentina, and their descendants carry both Asian and Latin American identities. Inside the U.S., Asians and Latinos have lived side-by-side in heavily immigrant neighborhoods and have created lives together. In this episode, we'll hear from four Latino USA listeners, who discuss their own Asian Latino ...more
Grammy Award-winning singer Miguel and Mireya of the Latin Grammy-winning all-women mariachi group Flor de Toloache have released a song that fuses bachata, mariachi and R&B. But most importantly, the song represents Miguel and Mireya continuing their family's musical legacy. Miguel and Mireya are cousins who met for the first time a little over a year ago. In this episode of "How I Made It," Miguel and Mireya reflect on their experience working together in the studio for the first time and the ...more
Last year, a 65-year-old grandfather was attacked and fell onto the New York City subway tracks—which eventually led to his death. He was punched from behind by a young man with schizophrenia who shouted that he was the devil. This isn't the first time this has happened, a similar situation played out 19 years earlier. So why does the cycle continue? Latino USA examines how and why someone with serious mental illness falls through the cracks of the nation's mental health system.
When she was nine years old, Xiomara Torres fled the civil war in her home country of El Salvador and came to the U.S. As a child she adjusted to her new life in East Los Angeles before she was removed from her family and put into foster care—where she spent six years of her life moving from home to home. Now, she's the subject of a local play in Oregon titled, "Judge Torres." In this edition of "How I Made It," Judge Torres shares how she overcame the hurdles of the foster care system and made ...more
When we talk about what made rock & roll as we know it, the most common description is: a mixture of R&B, a predominantly black genre, and country, a predominantly white genre. But the sound is not as black and white as many think. In this episode, Latino USA explores the Latino influences that helped shape rock & roll, and we profile unsung Latino rock artists who had a hand in crafting the sound—from Chicana punk rocker Alice Bag to David Bowie's right-hand man guitarist Carlos Alomar.
Venezuela has been known for its oil wealth and also, for its obsession with beauty pageants. In the history of the Miss Universe pageant, Venezuela has won seven crowns, the second-highest number of crowns. However, as the growing economic and political crisis in Venezuela deepens, beauty has taken a backseat for many Venezuelan women. Some women are now crossing the border to Colombia to sell their hair to salons to make ends meet. In this episode, Latino USA travels to the Colombian border c...more
Since the 1980s, Cherríe Moraga has been a queer feminist Chicana icon, alongside thinkers like Audre Lorde and Gloria Anzaldúa. Her newest work is a memoir: "Native Country Of The Heart." It centers on her close relationship with her mother who died in 2005 after suffering for many years from Alzheimer's disease. Maria Hinojosa and Cherríe Moraga discuss the struggles of watching a parent grapple with losing their memory, how ideas about gender get passed down, and the future of feminism.
At the only shelter for unaccompanied minors in Tijuana, Mexico, teens watch Pokemon and blast Bad Bunny songs. Most of these teens are from Central America, thousands of miles from their families, and waiting for months to apply for asylum in the U.S. As they wait, shelter administrators work to regulate their stress and trauma. But now, they're also worried about their safety outside the shelter's walls. Last December, two of the teens staying there were kidnapped and murdered. Jesse Alejandro...more
Over the past two months, President Donald Trump has been demanding funds from Congress to build his proposed border wall—which led to the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history. As Congress and the White House continue to clash over funding, Latino USA heads down to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to visit the communities affected by the decisions being made in Washington, D.C. We visit a chapel threatened by the possibility of the wall cutting across its property, a "dragtivist" p...more
There's a long and extensive pattern of sexual abuse and harassment in immigration detention facilities, even though the Prison Rape Elimination Act was introduced in DHS facilities in 2014. Over a ten-month period, Latino USA partnered with Rewire.News and dug into one specific case of alleged sexual abuse, that of Laura Monterrosa at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center. What we learned after reviewing documents obtained through a FOIA request raised questions about the efficacy of internal inves...more
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Patricio Manuel is the first openly transgender boxer to ever fight professionally in the U.S. Despite the name, Patricio is not latino, he identifies as black, but he was raised in the Mexican-dominated boxing gyms of L.A., where he earned his nickname "Cacahuate," or peanut. He is a five-time amateur boxing champion and while he is making history in the ring, he hasn't always been accepted in the boxing community. Latino USA sits down with Patricio "Cacahuate" ...more
We follow the journey of one quinceañera, Hailey Alexis, from Whittier, California—as she plans for the big day. From searching for the perfect dress, to last-minute dance rehearsals during her party. We talk with family friends who are debating whether they will have a quinceañera for their daughter, and attend one of the biggest Quince Expos on the East Coast. Throughout the process, we explore how the quinceañera is seen as a status symbol, a form of female empowerment, a statement about Lati...more