May 20, 2022
There are two kinds of immigrants: the ones who don’t look back and the ones who spend their lives looking back. Miguel Macias has been both over the course of his life.
“Limbo” follows Miguel’s migration journey after moving to the United States from Spain in 2001, when he was 25 years old. As we learn about the struggles that come with remaining connected to the homeland, and the life-long dilemma of whether to return one day, “Limbo” dives into the ways in which migration and depression interlock. “Limbo” is a love story, but also a story about belonging, purpose, achievement, and the things that matter in life.
May 17, 2022
If you’re looking for a sign to go get that tattoo you’ve been dreaming of — well, this is it.
Tattoo and multimedia artist Tamara Santibañez believes that tattooing can work for anyone who wants it. The art form has existed for thousands of years, and it’s more than a tool for creative expression. In their book, “Could this be Magic? Tattooing as Liberation Work,” Tamara makes the case that tattooing holds deep meaning and even deeper potential: tattoos are a way to reclaim personal and collective histories, help heal trauma, and present one’s truest self to the world.
Tamara developed their tattooing ethos across their 13-year-long career. Originally from Georgia, Tamara moved to New York City as an art student and soon after pivoted into the world of body art and tattooing. Tamara developed a specialty in black and white, fine-line tattooing — their style draws from their Mexican-American heritage, and from popular Chicano tattooing styles that originated within the prison system on the West Coast.
In this episode of Latino USA, Tamara discusses their own journey in tattooing, the histories behind the art form, and the possibilities that await when taking ink and needle to skin.
May 13, 2022
Violeta Parra changed music in her native Chile and beyond. She is known as the “Mother of La Nueva Canción,” a political folk music movement that swept Latin America in the late 1960s. Most people might have heard a version of her masterpiece “Gracias a la vida,” which has been covered countless times across the world. But behind that anthem of gratitude there is a deeply existential and complex musician who presented love as an ethical principle in her songs, even when her own life was marked by loss and illness.
In the latest episode of our Genias in Music series —about the lives and work of notable women musicians— we dive into the complexities of Violeta Parra, a pioneer of political folk music in Latin America.
May 10, 2022
The Tiarras have been playing together since they were just little girls, but they’ve been sisters forever.
The band is arguably best known for writing and performing catchy tunes that dive into themes of Latina empowerment, self-love and they’re not afraid to get political.
On this episode of Latino USA, these hermanas tell us more about the role sisterhood plays in their creative process and why they hope their art and journey inspires future generations of Latinos and Latinas.
May 6, 2022
To kick off Latino USA's 2022 election cycle coverage, Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela are joined by Maria Teresa Kumar, founding president and CEO of Voto Latino, and Jaime Longoria, manager of research and training for the Disinfo Defense League at Media Democracy Fund for a conversation about misinformation and disinformation in the Latino community. They get into who is behind these disinformation campaigns, their impact on communities and the organizing that is being done to counter these issues.
May 3, 2022
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. With the Fire on High —Acevedo’s second novel— 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.
This episode was originally broadcast on May 28, 2019.
April 29, 2022
The following Latino USA story was originally broadcast on May 31, 2019. It was also the recipient of a 2020 Gracie Award from the the Alliance for Women in Media.
Huntsville, Alabama has a small, but growing Latino population. It's where Teresa Matías, a single working immigrant mother from Guatemala, lived with five sons. In 2015, Teresa joined a local Catholic church, 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 parental rights to her youngest son. But in all these meetings, Teresa, who knows only a few words in English and grew up speaking a Mayan language, never had a proper interpreter. Latino USA chronicles Teresa's story and how she ended up making a life-changing decision without full consent and proper translation.
April 26, 2022
Latino USA provides an update to a story we recently did about Melissa Lucio, the first Latina on death row in Texas.
April 26, 2022
Doris Anahi Muñoz always sang. In fact, singing was her first career choice. But reality hit when she realized in her teenage years that she had to secure a career so that she could provide for her undocumented parents. Her dream of becoming a singer came to a halt. Instead, she got involved in the music industry from behind the scenes and became very successful: at 23 years old, she founded her own music management company representing indie Latino emerging artists and launched a series of fundraising concerts for immigrant communities. But soon after she realized she was unhappy.That’s when Doris decided it was time to choose herself and step onto the stage as a singer and musician.
April 22, 2022
When Elisa Baena and Monica Morales-García first met on their first day as Latino USA fellows, they realized they were speaking a shared language — an ancestral tongue. They were chismeando!
Chisme is the Spanish word for gossip. It happens when you speak about someone in their absence, sharing information that’s supposed to be private and not necessarily factual.
In this episode of Latino USA, Elisa and Monica travel deep into a chismosa’s universe. They talk to professional chismosas from reality TV, entertainment news and academia to understand why chisme is so central in the lives of Latinas and Latinos.
April 19, 2022
Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa grew up listening to the stories of her rural Afro Puerto Rican community of Puerto Rico, but when she moved to New York, she realized that not everybody had access to this kind of storytelling. After a long career as school teacher and librarian, Dahlma realized that she needed to write the stories her mostly Dominican and Puerto Rican students in the Bronx were missing. Dahlma shares how she found her writing voice and gives us a sneak peak of her new novel, A Woman of Endurance, which centers the experience of an enslaved woman in Puerto Rico.
April 15, 2022
La Lupe was a legendary Afro-Cuban singer who was once known as the “Queen of Latin Soul.” She was one of the top performers in Havana cabarets amid the Cuban Revolution and became a legendary figure in New York after fleeing Cuba. She worked with some of Latin music’s biggest names, including Tito Puente, and was known for explosive boleros like “Qué Te Pedí” and “La Tirana.”
By the mid-1970s, Lupe’s label was acquired by Fania Records and she was pushed aside. She earned the reputation of being difficult to manage and there were rumors that she was a drug abuser, even though her family and friends have consistently denied these claims. Changing tastes in Latin music coupled with her strained reputation led her career to decline by the 80s.
This episode of Latino USA is part of our Genias in Music series, remembering notable women and their contributions to their fields throughout history. We question some of the myths about La Lupe that attempted to delegitimize her music and look at how her identity as an Afrolatina influenced the racist and sexist characterizations of her as “possessed,” “crazy” and “on drugs.” But by singing and moving in the ways she was known for, she was resisting her erasure and claiming her space –– whether audiences understood it or not.
April 12, 2022
Silvana Estrada has spent her entire life surrounded by the sounds of music: the tuning of a violin, the strumming and plucking of guitar strings, the bowing of a big-bellied double bass.
The 24-year-old singer and composer grew up in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico. Music was a way for Silvana to connect with the world around her. “Marchita” —written and recorded entirely in Spanish— draws from Silvana’s jazz background and the folkloric Mexican music she grew up with. The album confronts themes of heartbreak and love, and it’s a product of Silvana’s own pursuit of creative freedom.
On this episode of Latino USA, Silvana talks about connecting with audiences across the country, finding inspiration in the world around her, and forging her own musical path.
April 8, 2022
Independent filmmakers Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera have won many awards throughout their careers, but in 2021 they made history: they became the first married couple to each receive the MacArthur Genius Grant at the same time. In an intimate conversation, Cristina and Alex take us through their journey as filmmakers—from their early experimental student films and developing their craft, to their directorial collaboration in the hybrid film The Infiltrators, which won the audience award at Sundance in 2019. They also share a glimpse into their life as partners and parents, while discussing the power of film to change narratives about Latino identity and representation.
April 5, 2022
Latino USA presents a recent episode of Latino Rebels Radio that focuses on media representation in our community. Host Julio Ricardo Varela welcomes Stacie de Armas, the Senior VP of Strategic Initiatives & Consumer Engagement for Nielsen, to explain what Latino representation looks like in media, what audiences want and what needs to be done for more diverse programming.
To subscribe to Latino Rebels Radio, which is also produced by Futuro Media, click here.
April 1, 2022
Rodeo —the Spanish word for “rounding up”— is a multi-million dollar sport in the United States, but it’s rooted in the riding, roping, and cattle ranching skills brought by Mexican cowboys to the Southwest hundreds of years ago. Today, most of the top professional rodeo athletes are white, but if you take a closer look, there are a large number of Mexican-American cowboys who live and breathe the sport. In this episode from our archives, Latino USA visits the Tucson Rodeo, also known as La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros, and follows one family’s dreams to turn their kid into a rodeo champion.
This episode was originally broadcast on April 7, 2017.
March 29, 2022
For years, the U.S. Census has undercounted Indigenous migrants, grouping them under the label of “Hispanic” or “Latinos.” This is a problem for communities whose first language is not Spanish or English, but Zapotec, Chinantec, K’iché or any of the various Indigenous languages that are being spoken across the country today. The Indigenous, women-led organization Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo, or CIELO, decided to start counting their own community, and put themselves on the map of Los Angeles.
In this episode, Janet Martinez from CIELO and Mariah Tso, a Diné cartographer from UCLA, tell us how they built the “We Are Here” map, and why a visual representation of Indigenous migrant languages matters.
March 25, 2022
On April 27, 2022, Melissa Lucio could become the first Latina sentenced to death to be executed in Texas. In 2008, Melissa was convicted for the death of her two-year old daughter Mariah Alvarez.
However, her family and others believe Melissa is innocent and argue that she did not have an adequate defense. In fact, in 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seemed inclined to give Melissa another chance and opened the door for the possibility of a new trial, but the state of Texas appealed that decision and the court backtracked.
Now, there aren’t many legal options for Melissa, and her family is racing to save her life.
March 22, 2022
On the night of the presidential elections in 2016, Xochitl Gonzalez was at the Javits Center in New York City attending an event in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination. She was talking to “other very liberal, Democratic volunteers” when the subject of Puerto Rico came up. Xochitl, born and raised into a Nuyorican family, was stunned and frustrated when she realized that nobody knew anything about the injustices her family’s ancestral home had gone through.
It was then and there that she decided that her first book would be about the experiences of the Puerto Rican diaspora. Xochitl’s debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming (2021) tells the fictional story of a Nuyorican family from Brooklyn. Olga, the main character of the novel, is an amalgamation of Xochitl’s own life experiences as a daughter of Latino militant activist parents and her career as a wedding planner for wealthy New Yorkers.
In this episode of Latino USA, Xochitl sits down with Maria Hinojosa to discuss why she wanted her first book to be so autobiographical but also highly political. And how she decided to leave her wedding business behind to fulfill her dream of writing.
March 18, 2022
In 1916, Maria Grever set foot in New York City with her two children in tow. She was a Mexican composer whose husband allegedly sent her to the city to escape political turmoil amidst the Mexican Revolution. But Maria Grever wasn’t just any composer. She composed anywhere from 800 to 1,000 songs spanning from the early 1920s until her death in 1951. She composed numerous top charting hits, scored for the big movie houses, wrote operas and Broadway musicals, yet many have never heard her name. While her accolades are many, Maria Grever the person is a mystery, making her one of the most famous unknowns in music history.
In this episode of Latino USA, we go on a quest to find out everything we can about this prolific composer and why it’s important to remember the women who came before us.
March 15, 2022
Latino USA presents another episode from the In The Thick podcast. In this episode, Maria and Julio are joined by Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, senior reporter and producer at Reveal, and Kate Doyle, senior analyst at the National Security Archive. They discuss Reveal’s new series “After Ayotzinapa”, a three-part investigation into the disappearance of 43 students from a Mexican teacher’s college in 2014. They also unpack the role of the U.S. in Mexico’s drug war, and the human consequences of corruption.
You can listen to the full series here.
March 11, 2022
After two years, Maria Hinojosa returns to Mexico’s southern border for the latest episode of the award-winning series The Moving Border. In 2020, the series revealed how a complex web of policies, created by the United States under the Trump presidency and supported by Mexico's own government, had created a virtually impenetrable policy wall for asylum seekers. This time, the series explores changes – or the lack of – after the first year of the Biden administration, and their effect on migrants who have spent months, sometimes years, trying to make it through Mexico into the U.S. Finding that the demographic of asylum seekers arriving in Mexico has changed, the report shifts even further south, traveling to the Darién Gap, the jungle at the border between Colombia and Panama, where hundreds of people arrive daily, risking their lives in hopes of making it one step closer to the U.S.
March 8, 2022
Angelica Garcia’s music is as colorful and eclectic as her many influences, ranging from traditional rancheras, folk and blues to electronic and pop music. In this intimate portrait, Angelica takes us into the worlds that shape her sound: the family parties in El Monte, California, where she first learned to sing; the empty church in Richmond, Virginia where she wrote her first songs; and her current practices of journaling and meditation that lead her to dynamic compositions. As she shares the inspiration behind her songs, Angelica reflects on her relationship with her voice: the memories it holds, and the lessons it has taught her as an artist.
March 4, 2022
2021 was a big year for Latinos in Hollywood, and now they’re getting some awards season love. With this year’s nominations, the Academy Awards are shining a spotlight on some Latino artists, with hit films like "Encanto" and "West Side Story" in the running for some of the evening’s biggest prizes – and to possibly even make some history.
But many critics find it worth asking: is this the kind of representation Latinos and Latinas have been looking for in Hollywood? And after being systematically shut out of the Oscars for nearly a century, is this recognition from the Academy something we should be striving for, anyway?
On this episode of Latino USA, Latino and Latina film critics Clayton Davis, Cristina Escobar, and Jack Rico step up to the mic for a roundtable about Latinos in film this past year. Ahead of Hollywood’s biggest night, they discuss the honors (and snubs) for Latino-led films this awards season. They also talk about importance of diversity in criticism, and push the conversation past the topic of “representation” to envision a more inclusive future for Latinos in Hollywood and the film industry as a whole.
So sit back, get your popcorn ready, and lights, camera… action!
March 1, 2022
Alexis Daria now writes love stories about Latina and Latino characters that reflect and celebrate her friends and family. In this episode of Latino USA, Daria takes us through her early morning writing process, reads an excerpt from A Lot Like Adiós, and asks us to ponder, what is so silly about a love story?
February 25, 2022
This year marks the 10th anniversary since the policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was put in place. It has been described as “extraordinarily successful,” benefiting more than 800,000 people. However, it still doesn’t offer a pathway to legal permanent residency or citizenship. This instability has driven many young immigrants to return to their countries of origin, even if it means abandoning the life they knew.
In this episode of Latino USA, you will hear the untold stories of forced return through the voices of Maggie, Madaí and Esme, three women who are trying to form a life in Mexico after growing up in the U.S. and who found their community where they least expected it.
February 22, 2022
When 8-year-old Relisha Rudd disappeared from a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C. in 2014, nobody noticed. By the time police appeared at the homeless shelter where Relisha lived with her family, 18 days had passed since she’d been seen at school or in the shelter.
Click here to subscribe for more episodes of Through the Cracks.
February 18, 2022
From the Latino USA archives, producer Marlon Bishop travels to the Dominican-Haitian border to unpack the history of what happened during the Perejil Massacre of 1937—and what are the consequences today.
This episode originally aired on October 6, 2017.
February 15, 2022
As a Zapotec and Maya Ch’orti’ environmental scientist, Dr. Jessica Hernandez has always found academia to be a hostile place. She had looked forward to sharing what she learned from her grandmother and father about nature as an undergraduate student, but her lived experiences and knowledge were dismissed and sometimes mocked by her professors.
Now, Dr. Hernandez is working to change how we think about environmental sciences by centering Indigenous science to heal our planet, because she knows Western conservationism isn’t working.
February 11, 2022
If some Latinos hear "la doctora," it doesn’t evoke the image of a medical doctor. Instead, it’s that of a Cuban American attorney-turned-show host who sings her own theme song.
In 2001, Doctora Polo had been practicing family law for over 20 years in Miami when she was hired to host a new court show on Telemundo that would later become "Caso Cerrado." It often aired for multiple hours a day on Telemundo and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy.
In this episode of "Latino USA," Doctora Polo reflects on her role as a Latina entertainer and the phenomenon of "Caso Cerrado" in Latinx pop culture.
February 8, 2022
From Futuro Studios and Sonoro
Chalino grew up surrounded by violence in a humble town in Sinaloa. But his life takes a turn for the worse when a group of men attack his sister. That day he promises to avenge her. Years later, when he is given his first pistol, Chalino is believed to have stalked one of the attackers at a party. This event gives rise to the first theory about who could have killed Chalino.
For more episodes, subscribe here.
February 4, 2022
From Futuro Studios and Sonoro
Narcocorrido superstar Chalino Sánchez sings to a sold-out crowd for the first time in Sinaloa. It's the best night of his career until someone hands him a note. His face turns pale and his smile slowly disappears. That night, after the show, Chalino will be executed. But who killed him and why? We begin a journey to understand Chalino's life and impact, and the theories behind his unsolved murder.
For more episodes, subscribe here.
February 1, 2022
Latino USA is featuring a recent Latino Rebels Radio episode where host Julio Ricardo Varela welcomes Chilean historian and journalist Camila Vergara to discuss Chile’s historic elections and how new political mechanisms will be required to loosen the grip of reactionary forces in an effort to radically redraft the Constitution.
For more Latino Rebels Radio shows, subscribe here.
January 28, 2022
It has been over seven years since 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Guerrero, Mexico, were taken by armed men in the middle of the night. They were never seen again. Their disappearance sparked mass protests, as the 43 became symbols of Mexico’s unchecked human rights abuses. In recent decades, tens of thousands of people have gone missing in Mexico, and almost no one has been held accountable. The culture of impunity is so ingrained that families often don’t go to police for help, believing they’re either corrupt or too afraid to investigate.
In the first part of a three-part investigation of the Ayotzinapa case, Reveal’s Anayansi Diaz-Cortes and Kate Doyle from the National Security Archive take us inside the investigation into the attack on the students.
For parts two and three, go to the Reveal podcast feed.
January 25, 2022
Veronique Medrano is a Tejano and Spanish Country singer from Brownsville, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. Veronique finds inspiration as an artist from her experiences living on the border, her Mexican-American identity and her everyday life. On this How I Made It segment, Veronique walks us through the origins and diversity of Tejano music, being a woman in a male-dominated industry and the importance of archiving and preserving the genre for future generations.
January 21, 2022
Two boys, Mexican-American, 1987, El Paso, Texas… and they fall in love. That’s the pitch behind Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s bestselling young adult novel, “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.” Nearly a decade later, Benjamin would release the book’s sequel, “Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World,” to wide acclaim.
For both books, Benjamin drew inspiration from his life growing up near the border in New Mexico. But he didn’t immediately begin writing full-time—Benjamin was a priest for several years until he left the order just before turning 30. He eventually followed his calling to be a writer and moved to El Paso, where he would write several award-winning books including “Aristotle and Dante.” The novels would become a massive, queer young adult hit that spoke to hundreds of thousands of readers around the world. Benjamin, a gay Latino man himself who came out just a few years before the book was published, found solace in the characters, too.
On this episode of Latino USA, Benjamin talks about his journey from the borderlands to the priesthood and back to El Paso again. He also discusses “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe”—the book that he says saved his life and became a surprise international phenomenon along the way.
January 18, 2022
For this special Latino USA presentation of In The Thick, Maria and Julio are joined by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, historian, writer and professor at Princeton University, and Adam Goodman, professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, for a conversation about the deep-rooted history of white supremacy in this country. They discuss their chapters in a new anthology titled A Field Guide to White Supremacy, and also get into how white supremacy manifests in our society today, from the immigration system to policing.
You can subscribe to In The Thick here.
January 14, 2022
Juan Castillo escaped the Civil War in El Salvador and fled to the U.S. in search of freedom. He was barely a teenager when he arrived and soon fell into the wrong crowd. After being accused and convicted of a murder he denies having committed, he’s been striving to make a life in prison for the last 26 years. Now, as ICE is trying to deport him, he’s fighting to not only find freedom again, but remain in the only country he knows.
Juan tells the story of how he transformed his life, became a religious guide for fellow prisoners and detainees, and relied on art and literature to reach beyond the bars that confine him.
January 11, 2022
José Hernandez began modeling a couple years ago after a photoshoot of his went viral in 2018. The main image showed him holding a rooster, glammed up in a look that can only be described as Queer Chicano Chic, with glowing skin, a tight fade, cowboy boots, and a luscious mustache.
Since then José has been booked and busy. He’s worked with brands such as NYX Cosmetics, Facebook, and Grindr, and walking down the runways at LA and New York Fashion Week.
Though beauty standards in the modeling industry are among the most narrow in fashion, José is challenging those preconceptions and embracing his own aesthetic in his modeling, influenced by Mexican rancheros and 90s L.A. street style. In this episode of Latino USA, José Hernandez speaks about beauty, community, and representation—not only on the runway, but behind the scenes, where he believes it truly matters.
January 7, 2022
While tango is usually pictured as a dance between a white man in an elegant black suit and a white woman in high heels, and a tight red dress, the reality of tango goes much deeper. Born in the brothels and dance halls of Buenos Aires’ lower caste, this music and dance is actually rooted in Argentina’s African and queer subcultures.
Before it became the defining music of Argentina, tango was actually condemned by elites and the Catholic church, which saw it as obscene and transgressive. The dance’s reign was also threatened by the worldwide phenomenon of rock n’ roll and then all but buried by Argentina's Dirty War.
When tango began its revival in the 1980s and 90s, a new era of tango artists began challenging rigid norms established in the early half of the 20th century. Breaking from traditional gender roles and shining a light on the Black history of tango, these artists aimed to invoke tango’s past to make way for a more inclusive future.
In this episode, we travel to Argentina and meet three women who will help us to understand the controversial roots of tango and how they are helping to give new life to a dance very much rooted in tradition.
January 4, 2022
Chicago is a breeding ground for diverse sounds: it is the birthplace of house music and has a thriving indie hip-hop scene. One of the city's up-and-coming artists is Kaina Castillo. Known simply as KAINA, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter blends genres like soul and rock, creating dreamy soundscapes. A Latina of Venezuelan and Guatemalan descent, she writes about struggling with her identity, all while uplifting her immigrant roots. In this "How I Made It" segment, KAINA tells us about what it was like growing up with a small family, making a name for herself in Chicago’s vibrant music scene and the inspiration behind her music.
This podcast originally aired on October 8, 2019.
December 31, 2021
Armando Christian Pérez —better known as Pitbull— is a rapper, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, brand ambassador and has a whole host of other job titles. As his nearly two-decade-long career has diversified, his image and brand have solidified. He rose to prominence off bilingual records hits like "Culo" and "Toma" in the early 2000s and became a household name thanks to wedding and quinceañera classics like "Give Me Everything" and "Time of Our Lives." Today, the Latino demographic that helped catapult Pitbull to the top music charts is facing greater open discrimination than at any other point during Pitbull's career. During a day with Pitbull, the Cuban-American entertainer opens up about his thoughts on the state of immigration, why he won't stop making music with Chris Brown, and how country music is not just for white folk.
This podcast episode originally aired on October 11, 2019.
December 28, 2021
The musical genres most people associate with the Dominican Republic are merengue and bachata. Yet, there's another set of rhythms that are essential to the spirit of the country, and that's Afro-Dominican roots music. That's where the band Yasser Tejeda & Palotré come in. They blend some of the country's black roots rhythms like palo, salve and sarandunga, with jazz and rock to bring a new spin to local sounds—and to reimagine what it means to be Dominican. In this segment of "How I Made It," the band's frontman Yasser Tejeda walks us through the inspiration behind their latest album "Kijombo," and the making of the single "Amor Arrayano," which is all about love across the Dominican-Haitian border.
This podcast episode originally aired on February 25, 2020
December 24, 2021
Latino USA and Black Public Media bring you Alzheimer’s in Color, a 2021 Gracie Awards winner. It’s the story of Ramona Latty, a Dominican immigrant, told by her daughter Yvonne, and it mirrors countless other families of color navigating a disease that is ravaging the Latino community. It’s been four years now since Ramona was diagnosed. Four years of the lonely journey, which in the end her daughter walks alone, because her mom has no idea what day it is, how old she is or where she is. Ramona lives in a nursing home and COVID-19, and months of separation have accelerated the disease, and Yvonne’s despair.
This podcast episode originally aired on September 11, 2020.
December 21, 2021
When vocalist, composer and multi-media performance artist Stefa Marin Alarcon — also known as STEFA — takes the stage, it feels like walking through a portal into somewhere that is both past and future. Born and raised in Queens, NY to Colombian immigrant parents, STEFA’s music explores themes such as reconnecting with their ancestors and falling in love under capitalism. On this How I Made It segment, Stefa talks about their journey as a multifaceted artist creating their own origin stories as a non-binary, indigenous person trying to find home in their body.
December 17, 2021
Mexico is the most dangerous place for journalists in the world. And Lydia Cacho —a Mexican investigative journalist who worked in the country for over 30 years— knows this first hand: in 2005, she was kidnapped and tortured after uncovering an international child trafficking network. But that didn’t stop Lydia; she continued working, denouncing violence against women and children. Those after her didn’t stop either. In 2019, after they struck yet again, Lydia was forced to flee Mexico.
In this episode of Latino USA, Lydia opens up about this latest attack, what it’s like to live and work in exile, and how she takes care of her mental health as a journalist.
December 14, 2021
For this special Latino USA presentation of In The Thick, Maria and Julio are joined by Al Letson, host of Reveal and the new podcast series, “Mississippi Goddamn: The Ballad of Billey Joe.” Billey Joe Johnson Jr. was a Black high school football star who was found dead in Lucedale, Mississippi in 2008 after being pulled over by a white cop. They get into his story, the problematic history of investigations when it comes to suspicious deaths of Black people in Mississippi, and journalists’ responsibility when covering these tragic stories.
December 10, 2021
Lupe Salazar is a grandmother in Chimayó, northern New Mexico on a mission to disrupt the cycle of opioid addiction and the trauma caused by it in her rural community. The region has long been an epicenter of drug overdose deaths – long before the national opioid epidemic was declared a national emergency.
After her son began using heroin in jail when he was 18, Lupe realized the systems in place were doing a better job keeping him incarcerated than helping him access treatment for addiction. So, Lupe went back to college to learn for herself about addiction and how integrating holistic healing, like curanderismo, could help her community heal.
In this episode of Latino USA we follow Lupe’s mission to help heal a community fractured by generations of opioid use and overdose, dismantle the stigma shrouding addiction and treatment and reintegrate the with traditional and indigenous healing practices – all while trying to address her son’s ongoing opioid use and keep him alive.
December 7, 2021
In the late 2010s, dreamy, nostalgic music produced from the homes of young, independent artists became hugely popular, especially online. This style of music would be called bedroom pop, and today, a quick search on streaming sites comes up with hundreds of hits. Even bedroom pop is a new term for you, chances are you might recognize songs or artists in this genre—including a lot of the young Latinx artists who are pioneering the bedroom pop sound.
Among them is Victor Internet. Victor has been outspoken about their career and insists that there’s more behind bedroom pop than meets the eye: making music from home is a real struggle, especially as a young person of color with limited access to money and resources. And as bedroom pop blows up, they want to make sure the reality for so many musicians like him doesn’t get lost.
On this episode of Latino USA, we dive into the making of Victor’s bedroom pop stardom and break down the challenges of making it as a young independent artist today.
December 3, 2021
For Dr. Miguel Cardona, growing up in a Puerto Rican household in Meriden, Connecticut —straddling two languages and two cultures— uniquely prepared him for his role as Secretary of Education. He comes to the department at a moment when education in the country has both new and long-lasting challenges: systemic inequities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this conversation, Secretary Cardona shares what it was like to grow up in a Latino home in Connecticut, the possibility of bilingual education for all students, and what the Department of Education is doing to meet the challenges of returning to school amidst a continuing global pandemic.
November 30, 2021
Las Cafeteras are a band out of East LA that met while doing community organizing. They began playing at the Eastside Cafe, where they discovered Son Jarocho, traditional Afro-Mexican music from Veracruz. They quickly began to adapt the music to their realities fusing it with hip hop, rock, ska, and spoken word.
They are known for their politically charged lyrics, speaking out against injustices within the immigrant community and their experiences as Chicanos in East LA. For this “How I Made It” segment, we sat down with members of the group to discuss how they got started, and their work to tell and preserve brown stories.
This story originally aired on November 10, 2020.
November 26, 2021
On March 14, 2020, Martha Escudero and her two daughters became the first of a dozen unhoused families to occupy one of over a hundred vacant houses in El Sereno, Los Angeles. Some call them squatters, but they call themselves the Reclaimers.
The houses the Reclaimers occupied actually belong to a state agency that purchased the houses in the 1960’s in order to demolish them and build a freeway through this largely Latinx and immigrant neighborhood. This is the story of one of these houses, and its residents, past and present, who have fought to make it their home.
This story originally aired on November 6, 2020.
November 23, 2021
Latino USA presents another episode from the new season of Port of Entry, which focuses on artists and musicians who’ve turned pain into superpowers.
Mexican musician Javier Bátiz could very likely have been world famous had he headed north of the border with his good friend and bandmate Carlos Santana back in the 1960s.
But instead, Javier went south to Mexico City, where he built a successful career in the country he loves.
In this new episode of Port of Entry, we look into how Javier’s life, decisions and decades-long musical career have brought him internal peace and fulfillment he says is far more important to him than reaching the high-level fame his friend Carlos found.
Subscribe to Port of Entry here.
November 19, 2021
How does technology affect labor? How are tech corporations like Uber and Lyft redefining what it means to be a worker in the United States?
California has been ground zero for cementing the “gig work” business model of these companies into law. A year ago this month, the state passed Proposition 22 to allow app-based firms like Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as contractors instead of employees.
In this episode of Latino USA we follow a group of drivers who are mobilizing across California – and using their own technology to take on Big Tech. Their fight is not only about their own labor protections as drivers, but a battle to prevent this labor model from spreading to other sectors of the U.S. economy.
November 16, 2021
Before winning not one or two, but 15 Emmy’s for television writing, and before she became one of the first Latinas on television when she took on the role of “Maria” on Sesame Street in 1971, Sonia Manzano was a curious and imaginative little girl growing up in the South Bronx, a working class neighborhood in New York City. On this “How I Made It” segment, Sonia talks about discovering her love for television writing, and her new animated show: “Alma’s Way.”
November 12, 2021
In the 1960s and 70s, a community of Latinx poets in New York City created a movement. They called themselves the Nuyorican poets. Together, they broke barriers and built a cultural institution: the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
The Nuyorican Poets Café began as an informal literary salon in Miguel Algarín’s apartment living room, one of the movement’s founding poets. But soon after, Miguel and his fellow writers realized that they needed to expand to accommodate the growing roster of artists who frequented the space. They moved into a new venue nearby, and by 1981 they relocated again to the Nuyorican’s current location in New York City’s Alphabet City.
Today, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe is a haven for Black and Latinx writers and performers. In this episode of Latino USA, we stage a spoken history of the cafe featuring several artists from its storied past. We hear from poets Poet Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndez and Caridad de la Luz, known as “La Bruja,” playwright Ishmael Reed, and artist and archivist Lois Elaine Griffith.
November 9, 2021
For Ayodele Casel, tap dancing is magic. As a young high school student, she dreamed of one day dancing like Ginger Rogers as she recreated Ginger’s moves in her bedroom–but it wasn’t until Casel was a sophomore at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts that she took her first tap dancing class. That was her entry point into the art form which would eventually lead to a more than 20-year career as a professional tap dancer.
As a Black and Puerto Rican woman, Casel didn’t see herself reflected in the mainstream image of tap dancers because the form has been largely whitewashed through systematic racism. For that reason, she works tirelessly to remind her audiences that tap is deeply rooted in Black art and culture.
In this “How I Made It” segment, Casel takes us through her tap journey and reclaims tap dancing as a Black art form.
November 5, 2021
In the late 1800s, Teresa Urrea was a superstar. She was a “curandera,” (a healer), a revolutionary, and a feminist. At only 19 years old. she was exiled from Mexico by dictator Porfirio Díaz, who called her the most dangerous girl in the country. She moved to El Paso, Texas.
Urrea also had a miraculous power: she could heal people through touch. Her vision of love and equality for all people regardless of gender, race, and class inspired rebellions against the Díaz dictatorship, earning her the title of the “Mexican Joan of Arc.”
In this episode of Latino USA, we follow Urrea’s life and honor the legacy of a revolutionary woman decades ahead of her time.
November 2, 2021
On August 13, 1521, a few hundred Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernan Cortés, declared the fall of the Aztec Empire. On the 500-year anniversary of that invasion, director Rodrigo Reyes presents 499, a film —part documentary, part fiction— that explores the violent legacy of the Spanish conquest.
In 499, an anonymous conquistador is shipwrecked on the shores of present-day Mexico. After discovering that he is in the 21st century, this ghostly figure starts to retrace the steps he walked five centuries before—only now he is forced to witness the brutal consequences of hundreds of years of colonialism.
October 29, 2021
The social distancing measures put in place during the pandemic have exposed how vital – and hard – it is to take care of children, the elderly, sick and disabled people. And if that wasn’t enough, families had to look after their own homes without any external help. It's women who are bearing the heaviest burden of caregiving labor – especially Latinas. Latinas are dropping out of the workforce at a higher rate than any other group during the pandemic. Latinas are also overrepresented in paid caregiving and domestic work, and the covid-19 lockdowns left the majority of them out of work.
How essential is caregiving for a society to properly function? Is it in fact as vital as roads, bridges, and light posts? And should governments invest in caregiving the same way they invest in infrastructure?
In this episode, we dive into the high cost of caregiving labor for so many women, through the story of Daniela Contreras.
October 26, 2021
In July, massive protests erupted in Cuba against the one-party government that has ruled for over 60 years. One protester died and thousands were detained. In this Latino USA episode, we look at the root causes behind the protests and how the left is being redefined in a conversation with Carolina Barrero, an art historian based in Havana who is part of a movement of dissident artists, and who has been in house arrest for more than three months.
October 22, 2021
Lifting weights and being physically strong has long been culturally associated with men. But within strength sports, there’s a category that’s become increasingly popular among women too: powerlifting. Powerlifting, which consists of lifting the heaviest weight possible in the squat, the bench press and the deadlift exercises, has exploded onto the regimens of beginner to experienced gym goers. Women are making a big impact in the sport and challenging all notions of what it means to be strong. In this episode of Latino USA, we follow Denise Juarez and Jasmine Idrogo, two elite Latina powerlifters who take us on their journey to qualify for the 2021 national powerlifting competition – and show us how they break stereotypes, battle machismo, and own your power, all while lifting some serious weight.
October 19, 2021
Latino USA is proud to present a preview of a new podcast by Futuro Unidad Hinojosa, the newest editorial division from Maria Hinojosa and Futuro Media.
Starring Emmy award-winning actress Karrueche Tran, We Imagine… Us: The Long Way Around is Futuro's first-ever fiction podcast series. It tells the story of a Black American father and his Black Vietnamese American daughter who set out across the United States in hope of rebuilding their lives. Offering a clear-eyed look at real-world struggles many communities in our country face today, its core message is that through solidarity we can make change.
In this episode, Albert "Bumpy" Watkins, after serving three years in prison, is released into a post-Covid America, where he has to navigate his new status as a formerly incarcerated person and his new role as a single parent to teenager Mercy Watkins.
We Imagine... Us: The Long Way Around premieres October 27. Subscribe here to enjoy full episodes, a companion factual series and more.
October 15, 2021
August 7, 2019 forever changed the lives of many immigrants in Mississippi. Almost 700 people were taken by ICE that day in the largest single state immigration raid in the country.
Latino USA continues its reporting in Mississippi and heads back to the state to follow-up with some of the people we met in last year’s episode, After the Mississippi Raids, to see what’s changed and what hasn’t in their lives and their communities.
We also dive into the racial history behind the chicken processing business in the South and the vicious cycle of an industry that continues to exploit the most vulnerable.
October 12, 2021
Throughout the year, Latino USA will begin to feature podcasts from independent Latino and Latina creators as a way to shine a light on the work they do by passing the mic on to them.
The first show we are featuring on our feed is Locatora Radio—an independent podcast based out of Los Angeles that blends humor, pop culture analysis and interviews with artists to engage listeners in nuanced discussions about feminism, sexual wellness, arts and culture for a modern Latinx audience.
In this episode of Locatora, hosts Mala and Diosa dive into the topic of “Faketinas,” or a person without roots in Latin America who masquerades as Latinx in order to obtain jobs, scholarships, titles and opportunities meant for people of Latin American descent.
October 8, 2021
August 7th, 2019 was the day that tore apart an unlikely community of Guatemalan immigrants in central Mississippi. A year ago, hundreds of ICE agents arrived at seven chicken processing plants and arrested 680 workers. Many of them were fathers and mothers whose kids were left behind for days, weeks, or even months. Today, many families are still dealing with the consequences of those arrests, many remain unable to work, as they grapple with the traumatic psychological repercussions. Latino USA traveled to the heart of Mississippi to hear about the long term effects of the largest single-state immigration raid in U.S. history.
This episode originally aired in August of 2020.
October 5, 2021
Roller skating has experienced a resurgence during the pandemic with videos of people dancing on roller skates blowing up on tik tok, but many do not know where these moves come from, and the role that Black skaters and skaters of color have played in keeping roller skating alive and accessible for their communities. For Amy Collado, founder of Butter Roll- a New York based social enterprise focused on Black, Indigenous and POC wellness through roller skating & the arts- the history of roller skating is personal. Amy recalls her mother’s memories of coming of age on the roller rinks back in 1970’s Brooklyn- memories that connect her to a legacy of joy, resistance, and community.
October 1, 2021
This week, we report on the origins of privately-run immigration detention centers and ask: “Are these places actually necessary?”
The unprecedented health crisis created by the coronavirus forced the release of thousands of migrants across the country, plunging the number of people detained in immigration facilities to a historic low.
And despite the dwindling detention numbers, the immigration court system never collapsed. So this begs the question: did we ever need detention facilities in the first place?
September 28, 2021
In this episode of In The Thick, Maria and Maria and guest co-host Jamilah King, deputy inequality editor at BuzzFeed News, are joined by Lina-Maria Murillo, assistant professor of gender, women’s and sexuality studies, and history, at the University of Iowa, and Veronica Martinez, journalist covering gender and immigration, for a conversation about reproductive justice. They unpack the latest on the Texas abortion ban and Mexico’s Supreme Court ruling that decriminalizes abortion, and also get into how people historically have crossed these borders for abortion care.
To subscribe to In The Thick, click here.
September 24, 2021
In a new migration reality, women and children are requesting asylum in Mexico at higher rates than men. But even as more women are crossing borders in long and dangerous journeys, many hoping to ultimately reach the United States, we rarely hear about their stories and what it’s like to migrate undocumented when you’re a woman.
For women, their body takes a central role when they’re in transit, regardless of their age. Some are forced to disguise their gender for protection, others end up using it for survival, and many are victimized because of it. Many are also mothers and carry their children with them.
In this episode of Latino USA, we travel to Mexico’s southern border and meet several migrant women in different stages of their journey north–from a teenage Honduran traveling alone to a Cuban woman who was sexually abused and a Guatemalan single mother who survived domestic violence.
September 21, 2021
Sandy Fleurimond, a first generation Haitian-American student at Temple university in Philadelphia, was looking forward to her senior year of college. She dreamed of studying abroad and graduating on a field full of friends and family. But being a college student in 2020, meant that many of these long-awaited milestones didn't go according to plan. In collaboration with Philly Audio Diaries, Sandy shares her story of loss and growth after the pandemic flipped her senior year of college upside down.
September 17, 2021
LOUD is a new podcast from Futuro Studios that tells the story behind Reggaeton.
In this episode, El General arrives in Brooklyn in the mid-80s to find a booming dancehall scene underway and links up with Jamaican producers who start recording and promoting Panamanian artists. Around the same time, a Spanish-language hip-hop revolution is taking place as mixtapes fly back and forth from NYC and Puerto Rico, led by legendary rapper Vico C.
September 14, 2021
Going for Broke is about Americans on the edge. They’ve lost jobs, lost their homes and sometimes lost the narrative thread of their lives. It’s hard stuff but you’ll find hope in the people themselves. And later in each episode, you’ll hear solutions that come from lived experience rather than conventional experts.
In this special preview episode exclusive to Latino USA, famed reporter Ray Suarez tells the shocking story of how his illustrious career fell apart in middle age. It revealed to him firsthand the crisis facing older workers. It also gave him insights into how to fix our condition.
Going for Broke is a new podcast series premiering in October from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and The Nation.
September 10, 2021
The September 11th attacks left nearly 3,000 dead, many more injured and an entire nation traumatized. The 24-hour news cycle that followed focused endlessly on the identity of the terrorists: non-citizens who had been able to exploit “vulnerabilities” in the system. The United States government responded with harsh policy changes in the name of national security, including the Patriot Act, but it also focused the weight of policy making on curving immigration, funding astronomical budgets to further tighten borders, and toughening enforcement against non-citizens — including Muslims, Latinos, and others with zero ties to terrorism.
In this episode, we explore major changes and events over the past 20 years that forever changed the U.S. immigration system through the lens of this one catastrophic day.
September 7, 2021
Latino USA is proud to present another Futuro Media show that Maria Hinojosa co-hosts: In The Thick, a podcast about politics, race and culture from a POC perspective.
In this episode of In The Thick, Maria and co-host Julio Ricardo Varela are joined by Norma Flores López, Chief Programs Officer at Justice for Migrant Women, and Reyna Lopez, Executive Director of Oregon’s largest farmworker union. They dive into how the record heat waves are affecting farmworkers, how the history of farming is rooted in slavery and what is needed to provide protection as well as a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers.
To subscribe to In The Thick, click here.
September 3, 2021
In Part 2 of “The Moving Border,” our award-winning series from 2020, we visit Tapachula, Mexico in search of a young man whose life is in danger. And we find a new frontier where refugees trying to make it to the U.S. are increasingly stuck, thanks to an international effort to make Mexico a destination state for asylum.
The Moving Border series was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, with additional support provided by the Ford Foundation.
This episode was first broadcast on May 27, 2020.
August 31, 2021
It was only a few years ago that Erik Rodriguez was attending medical school in his native Cuba, following his family of careerists’ footsteps. But when he heard James Brown’s "I Feel Good," he realized that he was meant for a different path. In this 2020 segment of “How I Made It,” Erik takes us through his transformation into Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk (a Billboard “Top 10 Latin Artists to Watch”) and explains how someone who had never studied music before found the confidence to listen to himself and be listened to by others.
This episode was first broadcast on December 20, 2020.
August 27, 2021
In this award-winning two-part investigation from 2020, "The Moving Border" from Latino USA, we delve into the increasing pressure put on refugees seeking safety in the United States via its southern border. It reveals the surprising support the former Trump administration received to create an impenetrable policy wall that pushes asylum seekers south, away from the U.S.
In episode one, "The North," we visit Juárez and tell the story of a mother and daughter who are mired in a web of changing policy and subjected to ongoing violence. And we find evidence of how Mexican authorities are working hand-in-hand with the U.S. at the border.
“The Moving Border” series was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, with additional support provided by the Ford Foundation.
This episode was first broadcast on May 20, 2020.
August 24, 2021
For some years now, mezcal, Mexico’s other national spirit, has been in a cultural spotlight outside of the country, but its unseen devastating consequences have had a profound impact on the people making it. In this episode of Latino USA, we take a journey to understand mezcal’s production process and how to become a better consumer.
August 20, 2021
Steven Canals of 'Pose' and Linda Yvette Chavez of 'Gentefied' are making waves in Hollywood, an industry in which Latinos are disproportionately absent. In this episode, the two series creators break down their on-screen portrayals of Latino individuals and communities. They dissect notable scenes from their shows, discuss the goals that laid the foundation for their characters and storylines, while sharing the fears and questions they reckoned with along the way. As they dive into their creative processes, we learn about some of the origins of each show’s most defining elements.
August 17, 2021
Latino USA visits one family in south Texas who is dreading something that President Joe Biden said they should no longer fear: border wall construction. Advocates and land owners on the border have called on the Biden administration to withdraw and cancel several land condemnation lawsuits against property owners for the border wall that were initiated before Biden took office, but have spilled over into his presidency and are still making their way through the courts.
August 13, 2021
This October marks 15 years since the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was passed. This act paved the way for hundreds of miles of border wall to be built along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Latino USA looks back at one case from south Texas where a pioneering Latina took on the federal government to stop border wall construction on her university campus.
This case is a reminder of the fights that some continue to wage against an opponent almost impossible to defeat.
August 10, 2021
While the United States and other wealthy countries have secured enough COVID-19 vaccines for their citizens, other nations haven't been so fortunate. Latin America specifically has seen a lackluster vaccine rollout. And while global initiatives aim to get doses to everyone who needs them, a vaccine inequity crisis still looms over the world.
In this episode, we hear from Latin Americans who traveled to the U.S. to get vaccinated and from experts on how the country can contribute to fix this crisis.
August 9, 2021
This is the true story of the young people from Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico and beyond who beat the odds, refused to be quiet and created an irresistible musical culture that has kept the world dancing. Join Ivy Queen, one of the founders of the genre, for an incredible musical story about sex, race, drugs, censorship, and of course, perreo. First: stop Panama. LOUD: The History Of Reggaeton is a new podcast from Spotify Studios and Futuro Studios.
August 6, 2021
When diplomats, ambassadors, and other international officials take a post in the United States, they often bring along personal staff and domestic workers from their home countries with a special visa. The problem is, once they arrive in the U.S., some of them learn that the promises made back home aren’t real and end up facing exploitation and abuse—with very little protection available for them in the U.S. In this episode of Latino USA, we speak with human rights journalist Noy Thrupkaew about her upcoming investigation on the abuses faced by diplomatic domestic workers for The Washington Post Magazine, and we meet Germania, an Ecuadorian woman who experienced it firsthand.
August 3, 2021
Ada Limón spent almost her whole life dreaming about poetry. Today, she has five successful poetry titles under her belt, including “Bright Dead Things,” a National Book Award finalist, and her most recent book, “The Carrying,” which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry.
Ada’s debut poetry collection, “Lucky Wreck,” was published in 2006. In honor of its 15th anniversary, the collection was re-released in spring 2021. “Lucky Wreck” explores themes of life and death, along with bicoastal living in California and New York City.
In this episode of our "How I Made It" series, Ada Limón tells her story of a young woman falling in love with poetry and reflects on the making of “Lucky Wreck” 15 years later.
July 30, 2021
On this episode of Latino USA, we look at the attacks against voting rights taking place throughout the country and how New York City is trying to move in the other direction—extending municipal voting rights to up to one million non-citizen residents.
July 27, 2021
Carmen Maria Machado is a modern-day literary phenomenon. From horror to speculative fiction to comic books, her writing defies genre. She’s a bestselling author, a National Book Award finalist, and a Guggenhein Fellow. Her experimental memoir “In the Dream House,” about a past abusive queer relationship, was named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, the New Yorker and TIME Magazine, among others.
In this “Portrait Of,” Maria Hinojosa talks to Carmen about navigating mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, writing horror, and confronting her Latinx identity.
July 23, 2021
President Joe Biden made a lot of promises on the campaign trail related to immigration. He even promised to reverse several Trump-era policies. Biden has now been in office more than six months, so what’s changed and what hasn’t in terms of immigration? Latino USA looks at two Trump-era policies —the Migrant Protection Protocols and Title 42 expulsions— and where they’re at under the Biden administration.
July 20, 2021
By day, Héctor Rodríguez III is a school teacher; by night, he’s creating the world of “El Peso Hero”, a comic book superhero based on the border that is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
In this episode of our "How I Made It" series, Héctor talks about growing up loving superheroes, but not feeling represented by them. Something he’d eventually deal with by building his own comic world centered on the border.
July 16, 2021
We continue our investigation into the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). While looking into what happened the night Joseph Chacón died, reporter Deepa Fernandes finds out that another baby, Draco Ford, had passed away in the same foster home two months earlier. Why weren’t the foster children, including Joseph, immediately removed after Draco died? We also delve into the difficult decisions social workers have to make and the systemic problems of the foster care system in the U.S. as a whole.
July 13, 2021
Chilean-American singer-songwriter Francisca Valenzuela has always forged her own path in music. Born and raised in California, Francisca began her career after moving to Chile with her family. Even when major labels and venues wouldn’t open their doors for her, Francisca recorded and performed on her own terms until she became one of Chile’s biggest stars. Francisca went on to release four studio albums, start her own music label, and create Ruidosa, a Latinx feminist collective for women and non-binary voices in music.
In this episode of our "How I Made It" series, Francisca Valenzuela revisits her early days as a young woman building a music career in Latin America, and takes us down the road that led to her latest album, La Fortaleza.
July 9, 2021
After a domestic violence incident, Leah Garcia called the police looking for safety for her and her two children. But her calls triggered the involvement of LA’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the largest child welfare agency in the country. Leah’s 5-month-old baby, Joseph, the son she had with her abusive partner, was placed with a foster care family. What happened after became a mother’s worst nightmare: the same system that was supposed to keep her child safe proved to be the biggest threat to his well-being.
July 6, 2021
In this segment of our “How I Made It” series, Charlie Uruchima shares his journey with his ancestral language and tells us how he created "Kichwa Hatari," the first Kichwa-language radio station in the U.S. From a bedroom-turned-radio studio, to building an entire community of radio hosts and language activists, Charlie tells us how he discovered the power of radio to build solidarity that defies borders.
July 2, 2021
In 2018, just months after Hurricane Maria, an eccentric group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts arrived in Puerto Rico. They came with big plans for the island—to help rebuild after the hurricane, and in the process create a high-tech cryptocurrency paradise in the Caribbean.
They also came to take advantage of Puerto Rico’s favorable tax laws. But not everyone in Puerto Rico was onboard with their vision to change everything on the island. Latino USA follows the often-bizarre story of these Bitcoin pirates of the Caribbean, from crypto boom to crypto bust.
June 29, 2021
The Dominican Republic has one of the harshest anti-abortion laws in the Americas, but a legal reform might be closer than ever before. In recent months, women’s rights activists have taken the streets to protest in favor of the “three causales”—three circumstances under which abortion would be allowed: when the fetus is nonviable, when the woman’s life is at risk, or when the pregnancy is the result of a rape or incest. The approval of these three ‘causales’ has been a decades-long battle, because conservatives and the Catholic church still have a big influence in the country. In this episode, we speak with Dominican journalist Amanda Alcántara to learn more about how women are fighting for their reproductive rights on the island.
June 25, 2021
We tackle the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos controversy and dive into why this story is so much more than just about a processed snack food but a story about race, culture, identity, and the stories that we choose to believe.
June 22, 2021
After a historic clash between Ecuadorians and their national government in 2019, one photo of an Andean woman mid-protest became an iconic symbol of resistance around the world.
The image was taken by a member of Fluxus Foto, a collective of Ecuadorian photojournalists. Their mission is to document indigenous peoples’ long-lasting struggles to have their rights guaranteed, and the collective has only continued to grow over the past few years.
The 12 photographers in Fluxus have risked their lives to capture political demonstrations and social movements. More recently, they’ve immersed themselves in local indigenous communities to document their lives amid a global pandemic. In this episode of our “How I Made It” series, Fluxus members take us behind the scenes of photographing the fight for social justice throughout the region.
June 18, 2021
As “In the Heights” hits theaters one year after its original release date, we talk to director Jon M. Chu about why he thinks immigrant narratives deserve to be summer blockbusters. Chu tells us about his youth as a child of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants, and the role that TV and film played in his family’s sense of belonging. After a successful career directing large budget franchise movies for over a decade, Chu talks about the reckoning that led him to fight for movies like “Crazy Rich Asians” and now, the movie adaptation of “In the Heights.”
June 15, 2021
Two Afrolatinx cousins have an intimate conversation about race and Latinidad a year after George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a white cop. Umar Williams, a musician and radio host living in the Twin Cities, discusses with his younger cousin, Alexander Newton, who lives in Washington, D.C. In this episode, they talk about growing up ‘Black is beautiful,’ their Panamanian heritage and how they rediscovered Latinidad.
June 11, 2021
In the United States, the word “cholo” invokes images of gang members, lowriders, and tattoos. But in South America, cholo or “cholito” can either be a term of endearment or a racial slur used against people of indigenous ancestry. How come one word is used to describe two very different groups of people on opposite sides of the world? We take a journey, from the streets of California to the Andes of Peru, to find the roots of an ancient and harmful term that some people are, nonetheless, reclaiming as an element of pride and identity.
June 8, 2021
The rock en español group, Maná, is one of the most successful Spanish-language rock bands of this generation. They've sold over 40 million records worldwide. But the band didn’t start out playing stadiums. It all began when one member started an English-speaking band three decades ago in Guadalajara, Mexico. Latino USA sits down with drummer Alex Gonzalez, who tells us how they got their start and became Maná.
June 4, 2021
Writer Yesica Balderrama immigrated from Morelos, Mexico to New York City with her family over two decades ago. Since then, they’ve been living in Queens as undocumented immigrants. While Yesica eventually was able to become a DACA-recipient, her mother and uncle are still undocumented. She has since moved out, gone to college and become a writer. But as she’s drifted away and created her own independent life, Yesica has started to become increasingly worried about how little her family has changed. In this intimate story, Yesica decides to confront her relatives with tough questions about their lack of progress, and how they try to stay afloat in this country.
June 1, 2021
From KPBS and PRX, “Port of Entry” tells personal stories, stories of love, hope, struggle and survival, from fronterizas and fronterizos and other people whose lives are shaped by the wall. Despite the pandemic and travel restrictions, people are still crossing into Tijuana for medical procedures and medications. They’re looking to save money on everything from discount dental work and weight-loss surgery to more affordable insulin. People like Liz Salcido, who has Type 2 diabetes. She needs insulin daily, just to survive. But sometimes, when money is tight, she’s had to ration the life-saving drug. In this episode of “Port of Entry,” we follow Salcido and another San Diego woman who went on a journey to find more affordable insulin across the border in Tijuana.
May 28, 2021
When pioneering trans activist Lorena Borjas first arrived in the U.S. in late May of 1981, she found both community and an epidemic. Through her experiences on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, NY, Lorena developed a personal approach to connect trans Latinas and trans sex workers to critical medical and legal resources. Decades later, it would be another massive health crisis — COVID-19 — that would take the life of this beloved community leader, putting into stark relief her vast legacy. Now, her closest friends paint an intergenerational portrait of Lorena, as a trailblazer, a mentor, and a mother.
May 25, 2021
Artist and singer Kali Uchis is known for genre-defying music inspired by the wide range of songs she loved as a child, from doo-wop and soul to latin pop and reggaetón. In this How I Made It segment, Kali Uchis talks about growing up between Colombia and Virginia, how she broke into the music industry, and why, after years of singing primarily in English, she decided to drop a Spanish-language Latin album in late 2020.
May 21, 2021
After a year with historic implications, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sits for an intimate, in-person interview with Maria Hinojosa. AOC opens up about the January 6th Capitol riot and the lasting impact of living through a global pandemic. She also talks about how she’s recognizing and processing trauma, her role as a young, influential Latina in U.S. politics, and what she’s doing to support her district — New York’s District 14 in the Bronx and Queens, which has a large Black, brown, and immigrant population and was one of the hardest hit during the peak of COVID-19.
May 18, 2021
On today’s episode of Latino USA, we meet some of the Latinas and Latinos involved with the recent and historic mission to Mars. The Perseverance rover traveled almost 300 million miles to Mars and landed on the Red Planet on February 18, 2021 in hopes of finding traces of previous life on the planet.
May 14, 2021
It was an anti-immigrant initiative in his home state of California that pushed Alex Padilla into politics, now he is making history as the first Latino to represent California in the U.S. Senate. In an extended interview with Padilla, Maria Hinojosa asks the senator about Prop 187, the controversial 1994 ballot measure that politicized Padilla, and many other Latinos of his generation. They also discuss the Senator’s career-long focus on voting rights, and the threats they face today.
May 11, 2021
From KPBS and PRX, “Port of Entry” tells personal stories, stories of love, hope, struggle and survival, from border crossers and other people whose lives are shaped by the wall. Despite the pandemic and travel restrictions, people are still crossing into Tijuana for medical procedures and medications. And, in fact, over the past decade, the urban landscape south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry has transformed as investors build big, new medical centers and pharmacies. Filling up those new medical facilities at the border are people from the U.S. and other parts of the world who cross south to take advantage of more affordable medical procedures and medications. They’re looking to save money on everything from discount dental work and weight-loss surgery to more affordable insulin. But, not every single medical tourist is crossing the border to save money. People like Maria Davis-Cherry are crossing the border in hopes of saving their own lives.
May 7, 2021
We continue the story of Joseph Webster, a Black man who was serving a life sentence for murder in Tennessee – a murder he says he didn’t commit. After a conviction review unit in Nashville created to address potential miscarriages of justice refused to re-investigate his case, despite uncovering new evidence, Joseph and his lawyer question whether these units can actually address the flaws in the justice system. We also explore the state of wrongful convictions across the U.S. and whether review units are helping — or not — to free people from prison. And finally, the moment Joseph and his family have been dreaming of for nearly 15 years.
May 4, 2021
For over 25 years, Uruguayan band No Te Va Gustar has been filling concert venues across Latin America. With their mix of pop, rock, reggae, ska, and other styles, the band has evolved over the years from its original three-member composition to its current nine members. Their most recent album, "Otras Canciones," commemorates their 25th anniversary by featuring some of their most popular songs, performed in front of a live audience and featuring collaborations with legendary guests like Julieta Venegas, Draco Rosa, Jorge Drexler, and Flor De Toloache. For this edition of our segment, "How I Made It," we hear from three members of No Te Va Gustar: Diego Bartaburu, Martín Gil, and Francisco Nasser.
April 30, 2021
Nearly 2,800 people have been exonerated — or legally cleared — after being convicted and going to prison for crimes they didn’t commit over the last three decades. In this episode of Latino USA, we explore the case of Joseph Webster, a Black man who was serving a life sentence for murder in Tennessee – a murder he says he didn’t commit. We also learn about how the justice system is trying to right some of these wrongs through the creation of conviction review units and the long-term consequences that wrongful convictions have on people’s lives.
April 27, 2021
For seventeen years, Ornella Pedrozo thought of her mom's detainment by ICE as her deepest, darkest secret. When she was four years old, her mother Violeta, who had fled the armed conflict in Peru, was abruptly detained by ICE. That separation, which lasted seven months, was something that Ornella didn't really talk about, until recently. In this episode, you'll hear fragments of a letter Ornella wrote about her complicated feelings back then, and she also sits down with Violeta to talk — at length for the first time — about how those seven months left a permanent mark.
This episode originally aired in February of 2020.
April 23, 2021
Known by many as “La Reina del Rock,” the queen of Latin American rock, Alejandra Guzmán has built a legacy for herself through her soulful performances and scandalous lyrics. Her famous Mexican parents, rocker Enrique Guzmán and actress Silvia Pinal, introduced her to the industry, but it’s Alejandra’s fierce stage presence and ambition that have sold over 12 million records over three decades. In this episode, Alejandra talks to Maria Hinojosa about her rebellious roots and what the rock 'n' roll lifestyle looks like with hip replacements.
This episode originally aired in February of 2020.
April 20, 2021
On today’s episode of Latino USA investigative journalist Jean Guerrero speaks with Maria Hinojosa about her recent reporting on Latino social media influencers who are fanning the flames of the immigration debate. Guerrero also reflects on the dangers of misinformation and talks about why combating false narratives is personal for her.
April 16, 2021
Can undocumented people get the vaccine? How much is it going to cost? And how well do the COVID-19 vaccines work around children? Or with pregnant women? Many are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after a long year like no other, as adults in the U.S. are quickly becoming eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. But some still have questions. Many Latinos — who are among those hardest hit by COVID-19 — have expressed concerns about access to the vaccine and avoiding the spread of misinformation among loved ones. Latino USA asked listeners to call in with their questions about the vaccine, and guest health experts Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo, from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of Salud America!, join us to provide some answers. Also, Maria Hinojosa checks back in with Dr. Anthony Fauci after getting her second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
April 13, 2021
Ten years ago, when she was at the peak of her career, Dominican writer and musician Rita Indiana announced she was leaving music. But “La Montra” is now back with a new album, Mandinga Times, a fusion of punk, rock, rap dembow, heavy metal, and reggaeton. In this episode, Maria Hinojosa speaks with Rita Indiana about her new album, her queer Pan-Caribbean identity, and why she decided to leave the music scene.
April 9, 2021
For women, losing access to contraceptives and getting pregnant without planning has long-term consequences – on their education, professional development, and economic and psychological well-being. Latino USA follows Ecsibel Henriquez, a 20-year-old Venezuelan migrant, as she gives birth to her second unplanned child in Colombia. We also look at how access to birth control and other reproductive services for women in Latin America and around the world has been impacted by decisions taken in the U.S, and how it is not only a foreign issue.
April 6, 2021
Until recently, San Francisco Gotera prison in El Salvador was a gang prison, dedicated to holding members of the notorious MS-13 and 18th Street gangs. In 2017, nearly all the inmates inside San Francisco Gotera withdrew from their gangs and converted to Christianity. Evangelical churches came to control every part of the prison, except for one: a small isolation block where nine former gang members have chosen to live, locked in around the clock, because they are openly gay. Latino USA speaks to filmmakers Marlén Viñayo and Carlos Martinez about their award-winning documentary, Unforgivable, which documents life inside that isolation cell.
April 2, 2021
Luis J. Valentín Ortiz from the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo tells a hidden story from Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, that of the micro-creditors — thousands of low-income retirees and former public employees with claims that the government may never pay, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. As a federal judge prepares to make a decision on whether they’ll get paid, this episode asks: how can the government settle its many debts — not just monetary — with its citizens?
March 30, 2021
In the late 90's, Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero embarked on a one-way trip to Dublin, Ireland. While they were originally heavy metal musicians back home in Mexico, they traded their electric guitars for acoustic ones and became street performers in Ireland to sustain themselves. Eventually, they started getting more recognition. In 2006, they put out their first album, which debuted at number one on the Irish Albums Chart. Their latest album "Mettavolution" has earned them their first Grammy. In this “How I Made It,” Rodrigo and Gabriela take us back to the origins of their band and tell us what keeps them going after more than 20 years.
This story originally aired in December of 2019.
March 26, 2021
The stereotype goes that Latinos only listen to salsa or reggaeton. But one of the biggest genres of music across Latin America is actually heavy metal, with bands like Iron Maiden selling out stadiums across the region when they tour there. On today's Breakdown we ask.... why? How did metal take over Latin America so completely? We look at the extreme fandom for metal across Latin America and discuss the story behind the groundbreaking Brazilian band, Sepultura, and how they changed the fate of metal music forever.
This episode originally aired on December of 2019.
March 23, 2021
Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States has long been a subject of intense debate. In 1952, Puerto Rico adopted a new status that was meant to decolonize the island. In English, we call it a “Commonwealth.” In Spanish, it’s called “Estado Libre Asociado”, or ELA. Puerto Ricans were promised for decades that this unique status meant they had a special kind of sovereignty while maintaining ties to the US. Now, a series of recent crises on the island have led many to question that promise, and to use the word “colony” more and more. In this episode, political anthropologist and El Nuevo Día columnist Yarimar Bonilla looks for those who still believe in the ELA, and asks what happens when a political project dies.
March 19, 2021
Despite being a U.S. colony, Puerto Rico competes in sports as its own country on the world stage. Since the 70s, Puerto Rico’s national basketball team has been a pride of the island, taking home trophy after trophy. But in the 2004 at the Athens Olympics, the team was up against the odds, with an opening game against a U.S. Dream Team stacked with players like Lebron James and Allen Iverson. Futuro Media’s Julio Ricardo Varela tells the story of a basketball game that Puerto Ricans will never forget, and why he thinks now, more than ever, is a crucial moment to remember it.
March 16, 2021
Photographer Chris Gregory-Rivera examines the legacy of the surveillance files known in Puerto Rico as las carpetas — produced from a decades-long secret government program aimed at fracturing the pro-independence movement. Gregory-Rivera looks at las carpetas through the story of one activist family, the traitor they believed was close to them, and the betrayal that holds more mystery than they realize.
March 12, 2021
A year after COVID-19 first shut down the United States, Latino USA looks at how the pandemic has changed the lives of Latinos across the country. We’ll check in with a domestic worker in Chicago who has lost work because of the pandemic. We'll visit a Honduran family living in Mexico after they tried asking for asylum in the U.S., but were turned away. We’ll go to the South Bronx to hear how one family saved their restaurant by turning it into a mutual aid soup kitchen. And we’ll hear from a priest in Texas who is helping his community heal from a year of tremendous loss.
March 9, 2021
A winter storm in Texas left millions with no power and water issues in February. Latino USA producer Reynaldo Leaños Jr. documented his family’s experience during the storm and kept an audio diary of what happened.
March 5, 2021
Weeks after Hurricane María, the Government of Puerto Rico accepted an emphatic suggestion from officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), put it in writing as if it were its own decision, and celebrated it would be used to rebuild in a “resilient” way. On the island of Vieques — which has a very high rate of cancer — they were supposed to rebuild its only hospital, destroyed by the hurricane in 2017. Now, a young girl has died from lack of care, and a neglected community fights for their basic human right: access to quality medical services. Reporter Cristina del Mar Quiles from El Centro de Periodismo Investigativo explains how federal red tape has hindered hurricane recovery.
March 2, 2021
What will the music of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley sound like 100 years from now? That’s the premise at the heart of Futuro Conjunto, a multimedia sci-fi project by artists Charlie Vela and Jonathan Leal. Futuro Conjunto is an expansive work of speculative fiction, but it also revolves around urgent issues of our present, such as climate change, technology, war, and class disparity. The multimedia project also draws from the Rio Grande Valley’s history and musical traditions, and Vela and Leal collaborated with more than 30 local artists to make this project happen. Futuro Conjunto is, first and foremost, a musical album. But it’s complemented by animated clips, an interactive website, and a detailed history that imagines the events that came to pass between today and several generations into the future. In this “How I Made It” segment, Vela and Leal explain the inspiration behind Futuro Conjunto and break down how they captured the sounds of the Rio Grande Valley’s future.
February 26, 2021
Gustavo Dudamel is one of the most famous and acclaimed conductors in the world. He’s been the Music and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 2009, when he was just 27 years old. El maestro is the best-known graduate of El Sistema, Venezuela’s national youth music education program. In the years since, Dudamel made a name for himself conducting world-famous orchestras, running his own arts charity —The Gustavo Dudamel Foundation— and founding the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles. Even amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dudamel has been living up to his personal passion of finding creative ways to play and expand access to music, all while stressing the importance of staying in touch with his Venezuelan roots. In this episode of Latino USA, Dudamel talks about staying indoors, calling family home, and his belief that music will inspire a stronger future for all.
February 24, 2021
Alana Casanova-Burgess traces the history and development of Levittown, a massive suburb that was founded on the idea of bringing the American middle-class lifestyle to Puerto Rico during a time of great change on the island. Casanova-Burgess (herself the granddaughter of an early Levittown resident) traces back the story of the boom and bust of Levittown and explores what its shortcomings tell us about the promises of the American Dream in Puerto Rico.
February 24, 2021
In this kick off episode, host Alana Casanova-Burgess sets out to define la brega and examine what its ubiquity among boricuas really means. A brega implies a challenge we can’t really solve, so you have to hustle to get around it. In Puerto Rico, Cheo Santiago runs a social media account called Adopta Un Hoyo, where people deal with the huge problem of potholes by painting their edges white and posting photographs of craters to the site. Because the roads are rarely fixed properly, the challenges of potholes (hoyos) and what people do to fix them or get around them is a metaphorical and literal brega in Puerto Rico. Plus, the scholar Arcadio Diaz Quiñones reflects on how this useful word has its limitations, and how la brega sometimes asks too much of boricuas.
February 23, 2021
Yesika Salgado grew up in Los Angeles in a Salvadoran family, and she calls herself a fat, fly poet—her most recent book of poems is titled "Hermosa." Yesika and Maria start this episode with a trip to the world’s largest wholesale produce market, where they go on a quest to find the sexiest fruit. Then, they sit down to talk about how love has changed Yesika’s relationship with her body and how her literary success has shaped what she wants out of love.
February 19, 2021
Every holiday season, you can't help but sing along to the infectious melody of José Feliciano's 1970 mega single, "Feliz Navidad." But aside from the holiday hit, the Puerto Rican singer boasts an almost 60-year musical career and one of his specialties is recording covers like "California Dreamin'" and "La Copa Rota"—blending them with his own sound of blues, folk, soul and Latin. In this conversation with Maria Hinojosa, José Feliciano opens up about why he keeps the 70s alive and about one of his favorite relationships: the one he has with his guitar.
This story originally aired in February of 2020.
February 16, 2021
In this second episode of our new podcast series, Suave, Maria Hinojosa learns more about Suave’s early life in the South Bronx and the crime Suave was convicted of as a teenager in the Badlands of Philadelphia. We explore the "tough on crime" politics of the 80's and early 90's and the ruthless tactics of prosecutors that led to Pennsylvania becoming the state that sentenced the most minors in the country to life in prison without parole. Meanwhile, Suave anxiously awaits the decision from a judge that could grant him the opportunity to finally leave prison.
February 12, 2021
Suave has been serving a life sentence at a Pennsylvania maximum-security prison since he was a teenager. In 1993, he meets Maria Hinojosa when she's invited to speak at the prison and they begin a decades-long journalist-source relationship. Now nearly 50, Suave has come to terms with the fact that he will never leave the confines of Graterford prison. That is until a Supreme Court ruling in 2016 changes everything — and suddenly grants him a second chance to fight for his freedom.
February 9, 2021
Journalist Maria Garcia tells her story as she began to report on the lasting legacy of Selena Quintanilla. Maria's reporting begins not with Selena herself, but with Abraham Quintanilla: Selena's father, manager and mentor, known for guarding his daughter’s legacy with an iron fist. Maria confronts Abraham’s complicated legacy and reflects on fatherhood in Latinx cultures.
Subscribe to Anything For Selena wherever you get your podcasts.
February 5, 2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci has served as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under seven presidents stemming back to the 1980s. He is often seen as the leading voice in combating COVID-19, which has now killed more than 440,000 people and infected over 26 million across the country. A disproportionate number of those have been Black, Latino and Indigenous people. During the past administration, Dr. Fauci at times contradicted President Trump, who would often promote unscientific or unproven cures, minimize the threat of COVID-19 or underestimate the gravity of the emergency. Today, Dr. Fauci is President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor and is back at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. On this episode of Latino USA, Dr. Fauci discusses his early childhood, similarities in combating the AIDS/HIV epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, and what the Biden administration plans on doing to eliminate inequalities that have led to Black and brown communities being heavily impacted by the virus.
February 2, 2021
Omar Apollo, a rising star in the indie R&B scene, began making music on his own by teaching himself chords from YouTube videos and honing his sound in an attic in a small town in Indiana. His first breakthrough came on Spotify in 2017, with the song “Ugotme.” Four years later, Omar has amassed more than 100 million streams on the platform and has toured internationally. In this “How I Made It” segment, Omar Apollo takes us back to the days of making music on borrowed equipment, and shares how he explored everything from funk music to corridos to make his debut album, “Apolonio.”
January 29, 2021
In the summer of 1971, President Nixon declared a “War on Drugs.” Today, with over 2 million people behind bars, the U.S. is the world's most carceral nation. Many of those serving time are there for crimes related to drugs. Meanwhile, more than 70,000 people died last year as a result of drug overdoses. Nearly 50 years later, the so-called War on Drugs is failing. And advocates for reform have long argued that punitive policies have not reduced the flow of drugs across the country but have actually strengthened illicit drug markets, creating risky and unhealthy conditions for drug users by focusing on the criminal element of drug use instead of seeing it through a lens of healthcare access and social justice. In this episode of Latino USA, Maritza Perez from the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, DC breaks down the racial history behind the War on Drugs and why decriminalization may be the only way to end the persecution of people of color under the guise of drug enforcement.
January 26, 2021
Since January 2019, nearly 68,000 asylum seekers have been ordered to wait in Mexico as their cases make their way through the U.S. courts system. The wait can take years, and it can often be deadly. After Mexico boasted its highest number of deportations ever in 2019, a group of local researchers and advocates set out to document just how extensive the cooperation has become between the U.S. and Mexico. The study concluded that Mexico violated its guaranteed constitutional protections when, under the Trump administration, the country mirrored its immigration policies after those of the U.S. In this episode of Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa talks to Alicia Moncada and Gretchen Kuhner about their findings and why President Biden should prioritize reform of the U.S. asylum in his first 100 days of office.
January 22, 2021
Goya Foods was has been on the spotlight after its CEO Robert Unanue expressed his support for former president Donald Trump. Calls for boycotts flooded social media over the summer. But that wasn’t the first time the food giant got caught in political turmoil. From labor disputes with its Latino workers trying to unionize in Miami to the Puerto Rican community in New York, three boycotts tell a “not-so-rosy” story about Goya. In this episode of Latino USA, we look into how Goya became a badge of identity for Latinos in the US, and why these boycotts were about much more than a can of beans.
January 19, 2021
This past November, Latino voters helped Joe Biden win the Presidency. He had made a long list of commitments to Latinx communities, from investing in healthcare and education and creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants to cleaning up pollution in communities of color. Now, on the eve of Biden’s inauguration, Latino USA speaks with young Latinxs across the country whose lives would be directly impacted by these commitments.
January 15, 2021
Maria Garcia can still remember the first time she saw Selena Quintanilla on TV: red lips, brown skin, big hoops. Maria was just 7 years old, new to the United States, and figuring out how to belong. For her and so many others, it was nothing short of a revolution, to see a Mexican-American woman, with working class roots, take pride in who she was, and have the world love her for it. And then, suddenly, on March 31st of 1995, Selena was gone.
A quarter century later, Journalist Maria Garcia investigates Selena’s legacy and what Selena can tell us about race, class, body politics, and Latinx identity. This is the first episode of a new podcast called Anything For Selena — a collaboration between WBUR and Futuro Studios, available wherever you can find podcasts.
January 12, 2021
When Gabby Rivera wrote her coming-of-age novel “Juliet Takes a Breath” in 2016, she didn't know that it would get her attention from an unusual place: Marvel Comics. They asked her to write for America Chavez, their first queer Latina superhero. Gabby said yes. But as she was writing for their superhero, she found herself swept up in #comicsgate, an online harassment campaign against the comic book industry’s efforts to include more women, people of color and LGBTQ characters. In this "Portrait Of," Maria sits talked to Gabby about her beginnings as a writer, her difficult experience with #comicsgate and about returning to comic book writing.
January 8, 2021
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 19-year-old who’s working to shut down the oil industry, one well at a time.
This story originally aired in June of 2019.
January 5, 2021
Jessie Reyez sings sad songs, but it's those songs along with her soulful voice and brutally honest lyrics that have garnered her fans around the world. In this "How I Made It" segment, Jessie Reyez talks about the role of music in her childhood, how she writes through her own emotional pain, and how even when her fans sing along to her saddest songs—she feels more connected to them than ever.
This story originally aired in January of 2020.
January 1, 2021
In 2005, a duo of Puerto Rican artists released their eponymously titled debut album "Calle 13." Their mix of reggaeton and rap took the Latinx music scene by storm and got them three Latin Grammy awards. In 2017, one half of that duo, René Juan Pérez Joglar—better known as Residente—released his first solo album. To find inspiration, he took a genealogical DNA test and traveled to every part of the world that showed up in the test, where he collaborated with local musicians. Now, Residente is working on his second solo album, which involves the brainwaves of worms. Maria Hinojosa sits down with Residente to dig into the mind of the man who has experimented with so many musical genres.
This story originally aired in March of 2020.
December 29, 2020
In 1998, JJ Velazquez was sentenced to life for the murder of a police officer in Harlem, New York. The twenty-one-year-old father had an alibi that day, yet was placed in a lineup and identified as the shooter. Since then, identifying witnesses have recanted their testimony that JJ was the shooter and there is no evidence placing JJ at the scene. In fact, new evidence points away from JJ. The real killer is still out there and JJ has been in prison for over 20 years.
December 25, 2020
Christmas and the holiday season are usually a time for Latinos and Latinas to gather together and celebrate, but COVID-19 has turned those holiday celebrations upside down. Yet for many people in the Latino community, spending the holidays away from family is not new. In this episode of Latino USA we hear from Latinos and Latinas who are used to not being able to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones, and we learn some tips on how to cope with these socially distant holidays.
December 22, 2020
George Gascón was recently elected as Los Angeles County’s District Attorney, and his victory was hailed as a big win for a movement of progressive prosecutors aiming to end mass incarceration. Gascón immigrated from Cuba to Cudahy, a suburb of Los Angeles, as a teenager. He spent more than thirty years as a police officer before becoming District Attorney for San Francisco in 2011. On this episode of Latino USA, Gascón talks with Maria Hinojosa about getting harassed by the cops as a teenager, how his years as a cop shaped his philosophy of law enforcement, and his vision for his new job.
December 18, 2020
When historian Kelly Lytle Hernandez was denied access to Los Angeles Police Department’s arrest records for her research on mass incarceration, she decided that she would not go down without a fight. Kelly sued the LAPD for access to this data and used the information gathered to create Million Dollar Hoods, a project that maps the fiscal and human cost of mass incarceration in Los Angeles. We speak with Kelly and her students about how they are using this data to create equations for reparations and liberation.
December 15, 2020
It was only a few years ago that Erik Rodriguez was attending medical school in his native Cuba, following his family of careerists’ footsteps. But then, when he heard James Brown’s "I feel good," he realized that he was meant for a different path. In this segment of “How I Made It,” Erik takes us through his transformation into Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk—a Billboard’s “Top 10 Latin Artists to Watch”—and explains how someone who had never studied music before found the confidence to listen to himself and be listened to by others.
December 11, 2020
The arrival of the novel coronavirus in Munduruku territory, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, has threatened the lives of the group, and its entire culture. COVID-19 took the life of an important Munduruku leader, bringing both sadness to an embattled people and hampering language revitalization efforts. But the Munduruku are a warrior people defined by their fierceness and tenacity. They have approached this struggle as they have all their battles, whether against miners, loggers, and invaders of a different stripe: without reservations.
December 8, 2020
Pregnancy comes with all kinds of questions, but the journey to pregnancy and the mishaps along the way are often overlooked or taboo in the Latino community. How can we as a community help break the silences surrounding some of the more difficult aspects of pregnancy? Maria Hinojosa sits down with producer Jeanne Montalvo – who is currently pregnant – and certified birth doula Elizabeth Perez to discuss all things pregnancy: the highs, the lows, the miscarriages, the triumphs, and having babies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
December 4, 2020
Ilia Calderón was still a little girl when she first experienced racism. But being rejected by part of her native Colombia's society would not deter her from following her dreams. She became the anchor of a national news network in Colombia and, after joining Univision in Miami, the first Afro-Latina to host a national newscast in the U.S. Listen to Ilia as she tells us about her debut book, her journey to becoming a prominent journalist, and what it's like to raise a mixed-race child.
December 1, 2020
Cecilia Peña-Govea who calls herself La Doña, grew up in the Mission District in San Francisco. She started playing music in her family's band at just seven years old. Now, she's blazing her own musical path and keeping the city she grew up in at the heart of her work. In her debut EP “Algo Nuevo” she touches on love, heartbreak, and rising rent. In this edition of our “How I Made It” series La Doña breaks down one of her new songs “Cuando Se Van” and talks about taking her fears and turning them into a powerful anthem for a gentrifying city.
November 27, 2020
On Thanksgiving Day, hundreds of people gather on Alcatraz Island, the famous former prison and one of the largest tourist attractions in San Francisco, for a sunrise ceremony to honor Indigenous culture and history. In 1969, an intertribal group of students and activists took over the island for over 16 months in an act of political resistance. Richard Oakes, a young Mohawk from New York, was one of the leaders in this movement dubbed the "Red Power Movement." Latino USA tells the story of Richard Oakes' life, from his first involvement in activism to his untimely death at the age of 30.
This episode originally aired on November, 2018.
November 24, 2020
The summer of 2020 was filled with uncertainty as more than 20 million people in the U.S. were left unemployed — including Kate Bustamante’s parents. Bustamante is a 20-year-old student at Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, California. She’s always worked part-time and attended school as long as she can remember. But this summer was different. Overnight, Bustamante dropped out of classes and became her family’s breadwinner. In this personal piece Bustamante, through diary recordings and personal reflections, takes us into her world and what she went through over the summer.
November 20, 2020
Gloria Maria Milagrosa Fajardo Garcia was a shy, quiet young woman who joined a band named the Miami Latin Boys. Although she had no plans of international fame, and intended to continue her studies, life had different plans for her. The Miami Latin Boys became The Miami Sound Machine, Emilio and Gloria married, and the newlywed, Gloria Estefan began to take over the spotlight. The rest, is music history. In this Portrait Of: Gloria Estefan, Latino USA sits down with the icon to discuss her life, her relationships, how she overcame trauma, and how she manages to be excited about everything she does.
November 17, 2020
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 system and made her way to the Oregon Circuit Court.
This story originally aired in March of 2019.
November 13, 2020
A major lesson from the 2020 election is one that Latinos already know: The idea of a single “Latino vote” is a myth. Latinos and Latinas throughout the United States draw from different histories that have shaped their different policy interests, ideologies, and personal experiences—and that all inform how they ultimately cast their ballots. President Trump won Florida, including nearly half of all Latinx-identifying voters in the state. But across the country in Arizona, grassroots groups led a wave of younger Latinx voters to flip the state blue for President-elect Joe Biden. In this episode of Latino USA, we take a closer look at the Latino and Latina voters that made it out to the polls in these states and how they decided who to cast their critical votes for.
November 10, 2020
Las Cafeteras are a band out of East LA that met while doing community organizing. They began playing at the Eastside Cafe, where they discovered Son Jarocho, traditional Afro-Mexican music from Veracruz. They quickly began to adapt the music to their realities fusing it with hip hop, rock, ska, and spoken word. They are known for their politically charged lyrics, speaking out against injustices within the immigrant community and their experiences as chicanos in East LA. On today’s “How I Made It”, we sat down with members of the group to discuss how they got started, and their work to tell and preserve brown stories.
November 6, 2020
On March 14th of 2020, Martha Escudero and her two daughters became the first of a dozen unhoused families to occupy one of over a hundred vacant houses in El Sereno, Los Angeles. Some call them squatters, but they call themselves the Reclaimers. The houses the Reclaimers are occupying actually belong to a state agency that purchased the houses in the 1960’s in order to demolish them and build a freeway through this largely Latinx and immigrant neighborhood. This is the story of one of these houses, and its residents, past and present, who have fought to make it their home.
November 3, 2020
On paper, author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio is the poster child for the American Dream. She’s a Harvard graduate, a Yale Ph.D. candidate, and, now, a 2020 National Book Award finalist for her debut book, “The Undocumented Americans.” As a child, Villavicencio’s parents left her in their native Ecuador while they worked in the U.S., a period that continues to shape her and her work today. From parent-child separation to the stigma of mental health among the Latinx community, Villavicencio sits down to talk about the painful, tragicomic, and warm moments that come with being a child of immigrants.
October 30, 2020
Why do Latinos support Trump? Many people have asked this question since 2016, when, after launching his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists, Trump still won almost a third of the Latino vote. Polls indicate that Trump could do it again—or even increase his support among Latino voters in 2020. In this episode, we talk to historian Geraldo Cadava and to longtime Latino Republicans to understand why roughly a third of Latino voters have supported Republican presidential candidates ever since the 1970s.
October 27, 2020
The United States runs on migrant labor. That’s been the case for most of this country’s history, and the demand for cheap workers over the past two centuries led to waves of immigration from China, Japan, Europe, and Latin America, especially Mexico. This trend also led to the creation of the deportation machine. That’s how Adam Goodman, a professor of Latin American and Latino/a Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, describes the U.S.’s systemic efforts to expel noncitizens. In his recent book, "The Deportation Machine: America’s Long History of Expelling Immigrants", Goodman explores how today’s “country of immigrants” is built on a long history of deportation.
October 23, 2020
Thirty two million Latinos are eligible to vote this election – a record. But research suggests that, in battleground states, 57% of them are not going to cast ballots. Historically, Latino turnout has been lower than that of whites, Blacks and Asians. Many hoped things would be different this time around. Instead, traditional political strategies plus the challenges presented by COVID-19 made Latino voters a low priority again. Reporter Gisele Regatāo reports on how that is playing out in two key swing states, Florida and Pennsylvania.
October 20, 2020
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.
This story originally aired in April of 2019.
October 16, 2020
It's a common sight in Puerto Rico—men in bright yellow T-shirts going door-to door-selling cakes. They're residents at Hogares CREA, Puerto Rico's biggest drug treatment program. Since CREA’s founding 1968, they've grown to a sprawling network of about 150 centers in Puerto Rico, the U.S. mainland and elsewhere in Latin America. But since the 1990s, the organization has been under fire for their methods. Latino USA takes a look at how this rehab empire built by a former heroin addict continues to be funded by millions of tax dollars, despite dozens of reported cases of physical and sexual abuse.
This story originally aired in December of 2018.
October 13, 2020
Buscabulla is a Puerto Rican indie duo formed by wife and husband Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo del Valle. Around 2018, Buscabulla was one of the most beloved Latinx bands in New York City. Raquel and Luis had just released their second EP and confirmed a performance in that year’s Coachella music festival. Around this time of success, Raquel and Luis decided to move back to Puerto Rico. It was a significant life change, but one they were certain they wanted to make... as artists, and as new parents. In this segment of our "How I Made It" series, Raquel and Luis join us from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and they tell us about their debut album "Regresa."
October 9, 2020
In 2018, a young Guatemalan man named Reynaldo Castro Tum was ordered deported even though no one in the U.S. government knew where he was, or how to find him. Now, more than two years later, his unusual journey through the United States' immigration system has sucked another man back into a legal quagmire he thought that he'd escaped. This episode follows both of their stories and the fateful moment they collided.
October 6, 2020
When cities across the country began going on lockdown in March, parents all over the U.S. had to scramble to balance taking care of their children, helping them with remote learning, while also working. Essential workers had to figure out who would watch their kids, and many of those same parents had to make difficult decisions. Seven months in, the mental load on parents continues to take its toll. Latino USA sits down with a group of mothers and fathers across the country to discuss how it has been going for them, how they’ve coped, and how they have found a silver lining parenting during the pandemic.
October 2, 2020
Back in March, Lili Ruiz moved out of New York City to reunite with her family in Chicago. As the first months of quarantine passed by, Lili’s family remained safe and kept in communication with their indigenous community in Oaxaca, Mexico. At the beginning of June, however, things would take a turn. Through intimate calls and memory descriptions, Lili takes us through a tumultuous summer with her family – from fighting bureaucracy to finding peace in the midst of grief.
September 29, 2020
Chicano Batman is out with their newest album "Invisible People," which celebrates diversity. The band from Southern California has been on an upward climb since forming in 2008, fusing a kind of vintage psychedelic rock with more traditional Latin American rhythms. With this album, the band explores something new as they play around with R&B, funky bass lines, and prog-rock. While the sound of Chicano Batman keeps evolving, their music has managed to stay true to what got them noticed in the first place. On this week's "How I Made It" segment, the band talks about their rise to the top, playing with beats, and how they were never pigeon-holed as a Latinx/alternative band.
September 25, 2020
In February of 2017, ICE agents arrested Estrella, an undocumented trans woman, inside an El Paso courthouse. Estrella was there after filing for a protective order, testifying in a domestic abuse hearing against her U.S. citizen ex-boyfriend. Her case became national news — it was the first time that federal immigration agents had ever arrested someone at court. Estrella was later sentenced to serve nine years behind bars for a non-violent crime that she has always maintained her abuser forced her to participate in. In this episode of Latino USA Estrella takes us into the maximum-security Texas men's prison where she is serving out her sentence. Through intimate phone conversation with Maria Hinojosa, we follow Estrella through her first years of incarceration — through the joys of transitioning and finally feeling at home in her body, to the dangers that come from being a woman in one of Texas' most infamous men's prisons. We also learn about a surprising accusation that puts Estrella's relationship with Maria at risk.
September 22, 2020
In the 1950s, singer and diva Yma Sumac took over the North American airwaves with her mystical voice. The Queen of Exotica and Inca Princess was said to cast a spell on anyone who came across her with her exotic look and nearly five-octave range. But while Yma Sumac rose to prominence across the globe, the Peruvian public in her home country, was not seduced by her song—or her representation of indigenous Peruvians. Today, Latino USA breaks down the phenomena behind one of the original divas, her conflicts and criticisms, and the impact of her legacy.
This story originally aired in September of 2019.
September 18, 2020
Maria Hinojosa talks with reporter Jean Guerrero about her new book, "Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda," which chronicles the rise of one of President Trump's most influential advisors. Guerrero discusses Miller's California roots, the right-wing figures who mentored him as a young man, and how he's transformed the United States' immigration system.
September 15, 2020
Today, September 15th, marks the launch of Maria Hinojosa's new book, "Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America." So we are bringing you an extended version of the conversation Maria had with Lulu Garcia-Navarro for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday.
An edited version of this interview first aired on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday on September 13th.
September 11, 2020
Latino USA and Black Public Media bring you Alzheimer's In Color. It's the story of Ramona Latty, a Dominican immigrant, told by her daughter Yvonne, and it mirrors countless other families of color navigating a disease that is ravaging the Latino community. It's been four years now since Ramona was diagnosed. Four years of the lonely journey, which in the end her daughter walks alone, because her mom has no idea what day it is, how old she is or where she is. Ramona lives in a nursing home and COVID-19, and months of separation have accelerated the disease, and Yvonne's despair.
September 8, 2020
Can you tell us how to get to Sesame Street? Rosita can! In this installment of our How I Made It series, we visit the friendliest block on television to speak with the first full-time bilingual muppet on Sesame Street: Rosita, la Monstrua de las Cuevas. The fuzzy, turquoise-colored 5-year-old first appeared on the show nearly 30 years ago with muppeteer Carmen Osbahr, who helped create the muppet's bright look and personality. Rosita and Carmen talk about their journeys moving from Mexico to Sesame Street and revisit their greatest adventures after nearly 30 years on the show.
September 4, 2020
Colombian-Canadian singer-songwriter Lido Pimienta tells us how her experience of migration led to her love of Afro-Colombian music, how a beauty pageant and its underlying anti-blackness inspired her new album, and how she came to collaborate with the legendary Afro-Colombian ensemble, Sexteto Tabalá, in her track "Pelo Cucú."
September 1, 2020
In part two of our two-part special, we continue our investigation into the death of a man in a U.S. immigration detention center in 2015. José de Jesús turned himself into Border Patrol saying somebody was after him. Three days later, he died by suicide after stuffing a sock down his throat. In part two of this story, surveillance video reveals clues about what happened inside his cell, and an internal investigation from Immigration and Customs Enforcement answers many of our questions about what happened to José in the days leading up to his death.
This story originally aired in July of 2016.
August 28, 2020
A man dies in a U.S. immigration detention center, under unusual circumstances. He is found unresponsive in his cell, with a sock stuffed down his throat. His death is ruled a suicide, but little information is put out about what happened, and the family wants answers. In this first part of a special two-part series, Latino USA investigates why José de Jesús died in the custody of the U.S. government, and what his death tells us about conditions—especially mental health services—inside the immigration detention system.
This story originally aired in July of 2016.
August 21, 2020
José Ralat is the Taco Editor at Texas Monthly Magazine and consequently the only taco editor in the United States. In his book, "American Tacos: A History and Guide," Ralat dives into the evolution of tacos in the United States and its history in the borderlands. According to Ralat, tacos were introduced into the U.S. in the late 1800s. Since then, tacos have evolved into fusions —like Korean and Cajun tacos— as cultures blended with one another and chefs across the country experimented with different flavors. In this episode, Ralat gives us a brief history of the American taco and why eventually, all foods will make its way into a tortilla.
August 18, 2020
Over 300,000 students in the U.S. migrate every year to work in agriculture, from spring to fall. At a high school in South Texas, when these students return, they gather at the Migrant Student Club to discuss their experiences and get support from a migrant student counselor. At a special gathering of the club we met Reyes, who started picking asparagus in Michigan to help support his family when he was 9 years old. And over the course of his last semester of school, we follow him as he works to graduate, financially support his family, and deal with an unexpected twist: the pandemic.
August 14, 2020
The Puerto Rican population living in the United States is largely concentrated in New York, New Jersey, and Florida — all of which are regions hit hard by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. An investigation by the Puerto Rico-based Center for Investigative Journalism (or CPI in Spanish) found that stateside Puerto Rican communities live in areas that are at the highest risk of infection and death by COVID-19, a vulnerable position only compounded by factors such as poverty, high unemployment rates, English-language barriers, and lack of health care and insurance. On this episode of Latino USA, CPI reporters Vanessa Colón Almenas and Coral Murphy break down their findings.
August 11, 2020
Maira Mendez's parents work at a massive pork processing plant in Nebraska. Last March, as meatpacking plants across the nation quickly became invisible hotspots for the coronavirus, it became clear to her that the plant, owned by Smithfield Foods, wasn't able to ensure social distancing or provide enough protective equipment. Maira was alarmed at the conditions—and that workers found it difficult to speak up. So she became part of a group called the "The Children of Smithfield," joining other family members of meatpacking workers, to begin calling for action from the plant and the state.
August 7, 2020
August 7th, 2019 was the day that tore apart an unlikely community of Guatemalan immigrants in central Mississippi. A year ago, hundreds of ICE agents arrived at seven chicken processing plants and arrested 680 workers. Many of them were fathers and mothers whose kids were left behind for days, weeks, or even months. Today, many families are still dealing with the consequences of those arrests, many remain unable to work, as they grapple with the traumatic psychological repercussions. Latino USA traveled to the heart of Mississippi to hear about the long term effects of the largest single-state immigration raid in U.S. history.
August 4, 2020
For Alice Bag, punk is much more than just a genre, it is an attitude and a way to challenge the expectations and limitations placed on her due to her race, gender, or age. Alice Bag was the lead singer and co-founder of "The Bags," one of the first bands in LA's punk scene in the 1970's. In 2019 Alice performed at "Quinceañera Reimagined," a party that brought together women of color artists across disciplines to challenge the patriarchal history of the quinceañera tradition, and celebrate milestones of growth beyond age and beauty. In this episode of our How I Made It series, Alice Bag looks back at her own growth as an artist, reflecting on how she came to be the fearless musician and feminist she is today.
July 31, 2020
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 town erupted in protest and if almost 70 years later, anyone still remembers.
July 28, 2020
In this segment of our "How I Made It" series, Charlie Uruchima shares his journey with his ancestral language and tells us how he created "Kichwa Hatari," the first Kichwa-language radio station in the U.S. From a bedroom-turned-radio studio, to building an entire community of radio hosts and language activists, Charlie tells us how he discovered the power of radio to build solidarity that defies borders.
July 24, 2020
When Anthony Ramos discovered theater in high school, it changed his life. As a teenager, he had his sights set on baseball, but an injury led him down a very different path. Ramos first burst onto the scene in the 2015 smash Broadway hit "Hamilton," but since then he's had roles in major Hollywood films and television. In October of 2019, Ramos released his debut album 'The Good and the Bad', a personal journey set to funky bass lines and R&B vocals. Latino USA sits down with Ramos to discuss growing up in Brooklyn, how mentorship has played an important role in his career, and finding himself in "the room where it happens."
July 21, 2020
The nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd have started a firestorm of activism. Crowds of people have taken to the streets to support Black Lives Matter, many of whom are non-black. YR Media and Latino USA bring you a discussion with four young adults from different racial backgrounds to discuss what it means to be an effective ally in the fight to end anti-Blackness, the role young people are playing in this new wave of activism, and the importance of "unlearning" long-held perspectives rooted in our communities.
July 17, 2020
In late June, Ritchie Torres made history when he took the lead in the Democratic primary to represent New York's 15th Congressional District, which is in the Bronx. While absentee ballots are still being counted, Torres is now poised to become the first openly LGBTQ Afro-Latino member of Congress. Torres was one of 12 candidates, among them a Pentecostal minister who opposes gay marriage and a political newcomer endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In this episode, Latino USA digs into this wild election and talks with Torres about what being progressive means to him.
July 14, 2020
In an interview from before the pandemic, Latino USA visits the home of tattoo artist, entrepreneur, reality star, and goth icon Kat Von D. She first became famous in the early aughts as the first female tattooer on the hit reality television show 'Miami Ink'. Beloved for her artistry and straight shooting banter, she would soon get her own spinoff, 'LA Ink.' She gives us a tour of her baroque home, talks about scaring her Catholic mother, and the backlash she has gotten for her previous relationships and how it has raised accusations that she is a Nazi.
July 10, 2020
While covering the protests sparked after George Floyd's murder in May, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez was arrested by the Minnesota State Patrol. He was reporting live on the air at the time, and the video of that moment would go viral, as a symbol of racist comportment by the police. Omar Jimenez, who is Afro-Latino, reflects on that moment and talks about the role of his identity in his reporting.
July 7, 2020
Alejandra Ghersi, the experimental musician from Venezuela known as Arca, has been at the forefront of a movement that has pushed the boundaries of the pop music landscape. Since dropping her first mixtapes in 2011, she has produced album after album of boundary-defying music, and has been tapped as a producer for Kanye West, Bjork and FKA twigs. In this episode Arca talks with Maria Hinojosa about growing up in Venezuela, her philosophies around music, and about finding herself as a trans woman.
July 3, 2020
Growing up as a Nuyorican kid in the Bronx, Bobby Sanabria first watched "West Side Story" in the movie theaters, on the 10th anniversary of the film's release. "I was mesmerized," said the Latin Jazz drummer and composer. In 2017, the Broadway classic celebrated its 60th anniversary and to honor this milestone, Sanabria re-envisioned what Latino New York City actually sounds like. The result was his album, "West Side Story Reimagined." Maria Hinojosa talks to the drummer and composer about what the iconic musical means to him and how he paid tribute to its legacy.
This story originally aired in September of 2018.
June 30, 2020
In the early 70s, Miguel Angel Villavicencio was focused on making his most ambitious dream possible: to become a famous singer in Bolivia and across the world. And he was halfway there—his love songs were on the radio and he was appearing on TV. But to take his singing career truly international, he needed money. So he decided to work for Bolivia's most powerful drug cartel in the 80s—a major supplier for Pablo Escobar. Choosing this path would lead him on a journey of self-destruction, unexpected betrayal and finally, redemption.
This story originally aired in January of 2019.
June 26, 2020
Brazil recorded its first death from COVID-19 on March 17th and by mid-June the country was the world leader in daily deaths. Overall, Brazil is only behind the United States both in the number of cases and deaths due to coronavirus. But Jair Bolsonaro, the country's right-wing nationalist president, continues to be dismissive about the threat posed by the virus. In this episode, we find out why Brazil, one of the largest economies in the world and a nation often in the forefront of innovative public health treatments, has failed to combat the pandemic.
June 24, 2020
On Thursday, June 18th, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. This comes over two years after the Trump administration moved to eliminate the program. About 700,000 people are currently enrolled in DACA, which grants temporary stays of deportation to undocumented immigrants who moved to the U.S. as children. As DACA recipients and supporters celebrate this win, they're also looking to the future. DACA could still be challenged by this administration. Meanwhile, many are calling for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for both DACA recipients and the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. today.
June 19, 2020
According to Haitian American author Edwidge Danticat, stories are a way of finding inspiration and comfort during the times we're living through. Her award-winning writing portrays the immigrant experience, Haitian American identity, and loss. In conversation with Maria Hinojosa, Danticat dives into the history of resistance to the police violence that was all around her as a young adult in New York City, the loss of her own uncle who died at the hands of immigration authorities, and how she's making sense of the current moment.
June 17, 2020
In 1919, an intrepid Texas state representative, José Tomás Canales, decided to lead an investigation into the abuse of power by the Texas Rangers. For several years, residents of South Texas had been reporting that members of the law enforcement agency were going rogue: beating, torturing, and even killing people, in the name of protecting Anglo settlers. The subsequent investigation into these abuses would illustrate the difficulties of reforming and creating oversight over policing on the border—and would leave behind a narrative about justified violence against the Mexican-American community, that lingers to this day.
June 12, 2020
The killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked worldwide protests against racism and police brutality. To many, this moment seems inevitable — and for the Latinx community, it's bringing up complex conversations on identity, race, and allyship with the Black community. In the first of several conversations we will be having on Latino USA, we're joined by Afro-Puerto Rican activist, organizer, and scholar Rosa Clemente to understand how we got to this crucial moment. We talk about what useful allyship looks like and where the next generation of Black and Latinx activist leaders go from here.
June 9, 2020
In late February, the government of Puerto Rico was in denial over COVID-19. Top health officials were saying that the coronavirus would not reach the island—but the pandemic did arrive in early March. With hospitals that are still recovering from hurricanes and earthquakes, there was concern that the spread of COVID-19 would overwhelm a fragile health system. To prevent that from happening, a group of Puerto Rican scientists banded together to ramp up testing. In this episode, two scientists show us how Puerto Rico went from one of the U.S. jurisdictions with the least testing to over 100,000 COVID tests.
June 5, 2020
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 latest 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 newest work.
This story originally aired in July of 2019.
June 3, 2020
It's been over a week since the death of George Floyd – a black man in handcuffs who died after being suffocated under the knee of a white officer in Minneapolis. Since Floyd's death, protests have erupted all over the country, calling for an end to police brutality on black citizens. One of the cities where residents have taken to the streets is Atlanta. The hometown of Martin Luther King, Jr. the city has a long history of protesting and was pivotal in the Civil Rights movement. Julieta Martinelli, one of Latino USA's producers, has been covering the protests for our website, latinousa.org. On today's episode, she brings us a reporter's notebook.
June 2, 2020
Today we're bringing you an episode from our vault — a love story of student activism. We're taking you back to 1968, when thousands of students participated in a series of protests that helped spark the Chicano Movement, historically known as the East L.A. Walkouts. It's also when high school sweethearts and student organizers Bobby Verdugo and Yoli Ríos danced to a Thee Midniters song and fell in love.
This story originally aired in February of 2019.
May 29, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is a moment in which our broader food supply chains have been challenged—dairy farmers dumping unused milk, farmers plowing over produce, meatpacking plants closing, and grocery store shelves running empty. In some communities, that means people are now turning to smaller, local farms for their produce. One of those farms is run by the Hernández family in Edinburg, Texas. Amid COVID-19, 26-year-old daughter Civia Hernández has been working to adapt and bring the farm online, to survive in this new world. In this dispatch, Civia brings us on the ground to her family's farm, which has become a place of peaceful sanctuary for her in these difficult times.
May 27, 2020
In Part 2 of The Moving Border, we visit Tapachula, Mexico in search of a young man whose life is in danger. And we find a new frontier where refugees trying to make it to the U.S. are increasingly stuck, thanks to an international effort to make Mexico a destination state for asylum.
The Moving Border series was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, with additional support provided by the Ford Foundation.
May 22, 2020
As the coronavirus spread in New York City and reached its peak in April, some disturbing statistics were revealed: Black and Latino patients were disproportionately affected by the disease, and they were dying at twice the rate of other patients. Even after the peak of the outbreak in New York, intensive care units in hospitals across the city are still busy caring for COVID-19 patients. In this episode of Latino USA, we go inside the frontlines in Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, part of the NYC Health + Hospitals system, where we learn about the Latino patients fighting for their lives against COVID-19.
May 20, 2020
In this two-part investigation, "The Moving Border" from Latino USA, we delve into the increasing pressure put on refugees seeking safety in the United States via its southern border. It reveals the surprising support the Trump administration has received to create an impenetrable policy wall that pushes asylum seekers south, away from the U.S. In episode one, "The North," we visit Juárez and tell the story of a mother and daughter who are mired in a web of changing policy and subjected to ongoing violence. And we find evidence of how Mexican authorities are working hand-in-hand with the U.S. at the border.
"The Moving Border" series was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.
May 14, 2020
For our latest episode of Latino USA, we partnered up with Documented, a nonprofit news site that covers immigrants in New York City, to get a behind the scenes look at the experience of trying to navigate the immigration courts as an asylum-seeker under the Trump Administration. Maria Hinojosa sat down with co-founders of Documented, Max Siegelbaum and Mazin Sidahmed, to talk about what they observed in New York's immigration courts, and how federal policy changes have impacted the people moving through them.
May 13, 2020
In this episode of Latino USA we partner up with Documented, a nonprofit news site that covers immigrants in New York City, to get a behind the scenes look at the experience of trying to navigate the immigration courts as an asylum-seeker under the Trump Administration. We follow the story of Wendy and Elvis, Guatemalan newlyweds who flee violent extortion threats only to find themselves in a maddening and punishing U.S. court system that is now the norm for immigrants seeking safety.
May 8, 2020
The COVID-19 shutdown has changed the lives of many across the country, including small business owners who are struggling to pay their rent, meet their payrolls and stay afloat. Texas has one of the highest rates of Latino-owned businesses in the country. Maria Hinojosa checks in with entrepreneurship reporter Paul Flahive of Texas Public Radio, who has been covering this story across Texas. He shares the story of two Latino-owned businesses who have been trying to access relief funds and have come up short in a very crucial moment for their businesses.
May 6, 2020
Felipe Coronel, aka Immortal Technique, is a legendary underground hip-hop artist known for his skills on the mic and his raw, highly political lyrics. Today, Immortal Technique spends his time working on philanthropic causes. Much of his work has been centered in Harlem, especially in the past two months of the coronavirus pandemic. Along with donating to various charity organizations, he is going out in the neighborhood to deliver food and run errands for those unable to go outside due to COVID-19. Between his runs, Immortal Technique is still writing music and hitting the studio, as fans hold their breath for the release of his first album in over a decade. We sit down with Immortal Technique to get a deeper sense of what it was like growing up in Harlem and how his rage has played into his successful music career.
Part of this episode originally aired in January of 2019.
May 1, 2020
Enrique Bunbury is a rock legend in Spain and Latin America, and he's been touring in the United States for years. A pioneer of the "rock en español" movement, Bunbury's eclectic solo career spans decades. During this time he has taken his loyal fans on a musical journey from cabaret to electronic music, all driven by his rock and roll ethos. In this episode Bunbury sits down with Maria Hinojosa to talk about his most recent album, titled "Posible", his self-described "impossible tour" in the U.S., and what keeps him going after all these years.
April 28, 2020
New York City continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, but the state with the third most coronavirus cases —after New York and New Jersey— is Massachusetts. And just across the river from Boston is a city that has the highest per capita rate of infection in that state. It's the city of Chelsea. For generations, its residents have been primarily Latino or newly-arrived immigrants who commute to Boston to work. Maria Hinojosa sits down with Boston-based reporter and co-host of the In The Thick podcast Julio Ricardo Varela to talk about why this outbreak began and the healthcare response to it.
April 24, 2020
The 1970s were a golden age for soccer in Peru, one that producer Janice Llamoca only heard about growing up in Los Angeles in the '90s. The Peruvian soccer team went to three World Cups in that era. But after that, the team did poorly for decades — failing to qualify for the World Cup year after year. Then, in 2017, Peru qualified for the World Cup after 36 years — giving the Llamocas the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Russia to see their team play on soccer's biggest stage.
This story originally aired in July of 2018.
April 21, 2020
In recent weeks, many of us have had to adjust to living and working remotely. It's a necessary precaution to keep yourself and your community safe during the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not always easy to do. John Paul Brammer, author of the popular advice column "Hola Papi," gets it. He's been getting lots of questions from readers about how to make it through life in self-quarantine, from navigating romantic relationships to creating your own space in a busy home. On this week's Latino USA, Brammer answers listener questions about these strange, uncertain times, and talks about how to give advice during a historic pandemic.