Race and culture to motivate Latinos to vote

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With the Hispanic-Latino population in the United States rising, there is a growing concern that systemic barriers prevent the community from engaging in active democratic participation.

Some thought leaders believe that better representation of political candidates who are from the marginalized group will inspire Hispanics-Latinos to vote.

Maritza Bond Credit: Paul Bass / New Haven Independent

“It is not about having English and Spanish on platforms and (in) content. You got to think about the culture”, said Maritza Bond, health director for the City of New Haven, seeking the office of Connecticut Secretary of the State in the upcoming November election.

“I want this exploratory committee to be an inspiration for all young girls, all Latinos and Latinas, and all young people across the state to never hold back from your dreams and aspirations,” she said.

Bond, who has Puerto Rican roots, believes it is critical for representatives in government to reflect the diverse Hispanic-Latino communities in Connecticut.

A lack of rapport with politicians is an issue abetting the notable lower voter turnout of Hispanics-Latinos, according to liberal activists.

Whether or not Hispanic-Latino voters are motivated to vote based on candidates’ race and ethnicity (racial voting) is an idea that has merit and is being tested.


CTLatinoNews.com (CTLN) s participating in Advancing Democracy: Connecticut Solutions Journalism Initiative as part of eight reporting projects in 10 newsrooms across the United States. The six-month program is sponsored by the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN); its mission is to spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting on responses to social problems.

CTLN is exploring solutions to why Hispanics-Latinos don’t vote by engaging with thought leaders in Connecticut and drawing from the best practices and lessons learned in communities across the country.

Solutions Journalism Network logo - The CT Mirror

Historically, the Hispanic-Latino voter turnout has been relatively low. The group reached a milestone in the 2020 presidential election with a record 32 million eligible voters, the largest minority voting group, and the country’s second-largest voter bloc by ethnicity.

While Hispanic-Latino voters going to the polls grew to 54 percent nationally compared to 48 percent in 2016, the number fell short of its potential.

Hispanics-Latinos make up nearly 20 percent of the country’s population. Still, about 67-hundred elected officials are Hispanic-Latino, according to a 2018 analysis by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, NALEO. That amounts to a political representation rate of just over 1-percent in local, state, and federal elected offices.

No Hispanic-Latino has ever held one of Connecticut’s six constitutional statewide offices. The same goes for the five Congressional seats. And except for 2001 to 2015 in Hartford, Hispanics-Latinos have not been visible in mayor’s offices.

Approximately 48 percent of Hispanics-Latinos nationwide consider themselves Democrats, according to the pollster, Integrated Communications and Research (ICR). Still, party leaders fear support may be waning as Republicans double down on gains following the 2020 election.

“If you are not at the table, you are on the menu,” said former democratic Connecticut legislator Chris Soto. “Until our federal and state delegations reflect our communities, we can always do better.”

Soto and fellow liberals support mentoring programs like “Representation Matters: Are You Ready to Run for State Office?” co-hosted by The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM). The nonpartisan organization of municipal leaders representing towns and cities aims to help people from diverse groups break into politics.

Groton Town Councilor Aundré Bumgardner, a Democrat and formerly a member of the Republican party, talked about the importance of mentoring Hispanic-Latino candidates at the March event. “When there’s no track record or precedent of somebody like you serving in an elected capacity as significant as state representative, you don’t know who to turn to when you have a question, or you’re struggling with issues unique to your role,” he said. “I was fortunate and blessed to have members offer their mentorship in my first term, and that made a world of difference in my ability to get things done.”

Studies point to increased voting among Hispanic-Latinos when competitive Hispanic-Latino candidates run for office. In Metropolitan Latino Political Behavior: Voter Turnout and Candidate Preference in Los Angeles, political scientist Matt Barreto and colleagues argued that, given the appropriate circumstances, the number of Hispanic-Latino voters would increase because of a preference for a co-ethnic candidate.

Political analyst Eli Valentin used an analysis like Barreto’s to investigate Hispanic-Latino voting patterns in New York and found that the electorate’s voting participation increased when a viable Hispanic-Latino had been at the top of the ballot.

When observing Fernando Ferrer’s candidacy for mayor of New York City in 2001, Valentin noted an increase in voter participation within the New York precincts with the highest Hispanic-Latino populations compared to other mayoral primaries when a viable Hispanic-Latino was not on the ballot. For example, voter participation in heavily Latino precincts increased 30-40 percent in 2005, when Ferrer became the first Hispanic-Latino to win a Democratic mayoral primary, compared to years with no Hispanic-Latino candidate at the top of the ballot.

Racial or Spatial Voting? The Effects of Candidate Ethnicity and Ethnic Group Endorsements in Local Elections also finds a strong relationship between voters’ race/ethnicity and the candidates they choose, even if their ideological positions are different. That is to say, a Hispanic-Latino will vote for another Hispanic-Latino candidate regardless of fundamental differences.

State Rep. Hilda E. Santiago, D-Meriden

“I am a Latina. I am a woman,â€� State Rep. Hilda E. Santiago, D-Meriden, said. â€‹â€œI’ve been fighting in the trenches. I have the experience.â€�

In 2005, Santiago became the first Puerto Rican woman to win an open seat on Meriden’s City Council, she said highlighting her ethnicity. “I am proud to say that I am the first Latina to be named Assistant Deputy Speaker Pro-Tempore — a high-ranking leadership post in the House of Representatives.â€�

Vowing to fight for voting rights and help her party attract the state’s growing Hispanic-Latino population, Santiago officially announced her candidacy for secretary of the state in December.

Whether featuring a candidate’s common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background is enough to inspire Hispanics-Latinos to vote this year is uncertain.

What is certain is that Democrats and Republicans cannot afford the growing electorate to sit this one out. Unfortunately, that’s not an easy task, as midterm elections typically result in lower turnout rates across all voting groups.


Cover Photo by Edmond Dantès

Publisher’s Note: This story was done in collaboration with Nicole Zappone and Hugo Balta.

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Reform Racist Permit Process In OrderTo Build A Healthier Southeast Side

City officials made the right decision by denying General Iron’s permit, but something is clearly wrong when it takes four excruciating years â€“ for everyone involved â€“ to settle a permit dispute. The fight was so intense that it even led to an intervention from federal agencies. Ultimately, it demonstrated the glaring flaws and systemic racism embedded in the permitting process for industry and the urgent need to reform zoning and land-use laws in Chicago. 

From the first day that we heard about the proposed move of General Iron from Lincoln Park to our neighborhood, Southeast Siders didn’t want a facility with a history of fires, explosions, and all the other problems that made residents of Lincoln Park call for it to be shut down for years. We knew that if this facility received a permit, it would be shredding entire cars down the street from George Washington High School for years to come.

As a lifelong Southeast Sider, I’ve lost count of the toxic industries that are allowed to open up shop near me. Every time a new one piles into the neighborhood, there is little transparency, community participation or accountability in the process. 

It seems that we are a sacrifice zone to polluters and that the city’s zoning laws are designed to keep us buried in industry. To Southeast Siders, these laws are not all that different from the redlining that cut deep race divisions between Chicago’s neighborhoods that maintained inequities for communities of color. 

The city’s history of segregation and racism has forced communities of color to suffer a lesser quality of life than wealthy white residents for decades. 

According to the CDPH’s Health Impact Assessment of RMG-General Iron, life expectancy for Southeast Side neighborhoods is two to nearly seven years shorter than in Lincoln Park. All three Southeast Side community areas rank in the bottom half of all Chicago’s community areas for life expectancy, cardiac and respiratory disease, and self-rated health, among other metrics. The CDPH has also identified these areas as having among the lowest child opportunities in the city, based on educational, health and environmental, and social and economic data. 

You can still see those divisions in the way that the city allows polluters to accumulate in communities of color while pouring resources into Whiter more affluent areas for different types of development. Similar clashes over industry amassing in communities of color are playing out in La Villita, Pilsen and McKinley Park. 

The solution is to make clear guidelines to the permitting process that are equitable, transparent, and leave plenty of room for genuine community participation. The health of residents should be the deciding factor, and the city must prevent industry from amassing in communities of color. 

No community should have to worry about breathing neurotoxins or being covered in dust saturated with heavy metals like lead and arsenic from the industries that brush up against houses and parks. The first line of defense for our health should be in the permitting process for new industries. 

If we had an equitable permitting process, the General Iron decision would not have taken as long as it did. The city could have taken into consideration the almost 250 industrial facilities that line the South Branch of the Chicago River and the existing monitors that register some of the highest levels of toxic metals like lead in the entire state. The city would have listened to the neighbors and heard our long list of concerns which would have led to the inevitable denial of this permit. 

Mayor Lightfoot promised to introduce an ordinance that would address cumulative impacts and make the permitting process more equitable. Environmental justice communities will hold the mayor to her promise for a long-overdue legislative fix to a system that isn’t working for anyone.

The Southeast Side was essential in making Chicago and the region what it is today, and it’s still an essential part of the city where the people who live here can decide what our community should look like. We can be an important part of planning and building a healthier Southeast Side whose prosperity will open up new possibilities for our city. 


Gina Ramirez works to further sustainable land use and zoning rules that can provide crucial protections to areas of Chicago, like the Southeast Side, that are burdened with cumulative industrial pollution. Ramirez is an active member of the Coalition to Ban Petcoke and the Southeast Environmental Taskforce. She has a MA focused in sociology from Roosevelt University and BA in communications from DePaul University.

Publisher’s Note: Do you have something to say? We’re interested. Submit ideas for Opinion-Editorial essays and/or finished work to Info@LatinoNewsNetwork.com

The post Reform Racist Permit Process In OrderTo Build A Healthier Southeast Side appeared first on ILLN.

Invest in young journalists

My name is Cristal Miranda.

I’m a first-generation Mexican American Chicana, a mom, a wife, and I love hiking.

I graduated from San Diego City College with an Associate in Sciene (AS) in Radio and completed two certificates, one in News Production and the other in Performance.

I had a dream about working in radio, and that dream came true. I worked for iHeart radio as a board operator for about two years and loved every minute of it. My confidence grew, and I learned A LOT about myself during this discovery process.

The picture above was taken right before I went live for the first time on my college radio show. I was shaky and nervous and had so much support! I loved that the Meet the Artist podcast connected artists with other people through conversation with the audience.

In my spare time, I book, host, produce, interview, edit, and post my own podcast called MC3_SD. I interview San Diego locals- artists, and creatives and search out community stories that make San Diego the eclectic city it is! There are MANY stories to tell, so much love to shine on people by giving them an opportunity to open up and flourish.

I recently was hired at Fox 5 San Diego as a Studio Technician, and this Fall, I will study at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) under the Media Communications-Production program.

My hope in my new role at Fox is to bring diversity, demonstrate Latino/a strength (perseverance), knowledge, and culture. I want to bring ideas that will hopefully change others’ perspectives. I want to showcase what it is to be a hard worker with integrity, experience, and a smile.

School wasn’t an essential part of growing up when I was young. I mean, if I got “C’s� and passed, my mother wasn’t too worried about the state of my educated health. Before I knew it, here it was senior year. When I passed Creative Writing with my first A, I genuinely started to cry. Channeling my creative side became my strong suit.

When entering City College, I met many mentors who helped me tremendously, above and beyond. One of those essential people who guided me was Laura Castaneda.

Hugo Balta presents Cristal with the HZF Scholarship

Laura encouraged me to seek out scholarships that would help me financially on my path to completing schooling. To that end, she introduced me to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). The organization is a strong platform for networking with many professionals who are willing to answer the questions of aspiring journalists coming into the field. It felt like home to me.

Through the NAHJ San Diego/Tijuana professional chapter, I became aware of the Hortencia Zavala Foundation scholarship. And thanks to the award I received in 2018, I was able to purchase a laptop and complete online schooling. Winning the HZF scholarship gave me a boost to keep going! Even to the point of being accepted to my dream University. Scholarships like HZF provide young people like me, with the start we need to succeed.

I know there’s much more to learn, and I am humbled by the opportunities already given to me. I encourage others to invest in young journalists like myself by supporting organizations like HZF.


The Hortencia Zavala Foundation (HZF), established in 2016, is in honor of Hugo Balta’s maternal grandmother. A non-profit organization, HZF has collaborated with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) in awarding scholarships to 10 students.

Please consider making an investment in the future of journalism by making a donation to HZF via PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/HortenciaZavala, GoFundMe: https://gofund.me/5d6b2e07, or Zelle under HZScholarship17@gmail.com

Hugo Balta is the founder of HZF, twice national president of NAHJ, and owner/publisher of New Hampsire Latino News, part of the Latino News Network.

Boosting Latino entrepreneurship in Rhode Island

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), and Entrepreneurs Forever (eforever), will be launching free small-business support programs focusing on people of color in Rhode Island in May.

The nonprofit organizations will work to provide Hispanic-Latinos and other under-represented groups with the training and support needed to start, grow and sustain their businesses.

According to the Small Business Association, over half of the Ocean State’s private workforce is employed by small businesses, 10.5 percent of those are owned by Hispanics-Latinos. With a 40 percent increase in the Hispanic-Latino population in Rhode Island over the past decade, many of them Spanish language dominant, EforAll programming will also be available in Spanish through its EparaTodos offering.

“I am so excited to join this organization that already exists in over a dozen communities across the U.S.,� said Laura M. Guillén, Executive Director, EforAll. “There are many aspiring entrepreneurs in Rhode Island that just need the guidance and advice from mentors and experts, like the ones offered in our Business Accelerator program, to get their businesses off the ground and revitalize their communities. I look forward to contributing to their success.� Guillén oversees English and Spanish languages programs.

EforAll and its Spanish language program, EparaTodos, are one-year programs, which use a unique combination of practical business training, dedicated mentorship from local business and community leaders, and access to a large professional network. They will be available twice a year.

Since January 2020, 38.1 percent of the state’s small businesses have closed. EforAll and eforever say they hope to help Rhode Island’s entrepreneurs in recovering from the impact of the pandemic, and getting small business owners back on their feet.

Founded in 2010, EforAll has dozens of accelerator programs across the country including Massachusetts.

To learn more about these organizations and their programs, or to donate to these initiatives, visit: eforall.org and entrepreneursforever.org.


Cover Photo: EforAll NWA Launches Inaugural Business Accelerator Program

Yvette Modestin: “Racism within the Latino community is such a painful thing”

Not enough Hispanic-Latino, and not enough Black. Afro-Latinos are often made to feel like outsiders by the biases of communities who force them to choose one identity over the other.

In the past ten years, the number of people across the country who identify as Black and Hispanic-Latino has increased 11.6 percent, according to a CNN analysis of census data.

â€�It hasn’t been easier for me to say that I am Afro-Latino because Latinos themselves don’t accept the term Afro-Latino. Because we do not accept that we are Afro-descendants,â€� said Yvette Modestin, founder and director of Encuentro Diaspora Afro in an interview with NHPR.

Modestin was born in Colon, Panama. A writer and activist who focuses on the Afro-descendant experience in Latin America, Modestin came to Boston as a student.

“Afro-Latinos� is a term barely known in the Hispanic-Latino community because of its rejection of Blackness. Modestin said Hispanic-Latinos often forget this population is a part of the community.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, many people of African origin were brought to the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese. Those who were directly from West Africa mostly arrived in Latin America as part of the Atlantic slave trade, as agricultural, domestic, and menial laborers and as mineworkers. The Caribbean and South America received 95 percent of the Africans arriving in the Americas with only 5 percent going to Northern America.

“Immigrant Latinos are walking in this country free and with rights [because] of the African American civil movement,� Modesin said. But the exclusion is not only from Hispanic-Latinos. Some African Americans also see Afro-Latino people as not belonging. Modestin says during the Black Lives Matter protests, Afro-Latinos felt displaced from the cause. Some didn’t embrace it because they didn’t recognize their own Black life.

The term Afro-Latino traces to the 1970s, when Black activists in Brazil sparked a social political movement to fight for recognition in the country’s census because Brazil — at the time — did not recognize its Black citizens in the census, said Solsiree Del Moral, a professor at Amherst College who studies Latin America and the Caribbean modern history told CNN.

Created in 2004, Encuentro Diaspora Afro provides a space for Afro-Latinos and all people of African descent to explore and embrace their complex and multiple socio-political identities across the U.S. and throughout the world.

Some of the young people Modestin works with are from families who tell them to not present themselves as Black so people don’t mistreat them.

Ultimately, defining what it means to be Afro-Latino is personal. “I have stood in front of Latinos, and they are the ones who question me the most,� Modestin said. “Racism within the Latino community is such a painful thing,�


Publisher’s Note: This story is an aggregate from NHPR and CNN.

Cover Photo Credit: AMPLIFY LATINXtggt c c

Hispanic children continue to have higher rates of lead poisoning

More than 1,000 Connecticut children under age 6 were reported poisoned by lead in 2020, according to a report released this month by the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

Of the children tested that year, 649 were new cases.

As has been the case for many years, nearly half of the 1,024 lead-poisoned children lived in the state’s cities. New Haven had the highest number of lead-poisoned children, with 171, followed by Bridgeport, 148; Waterbury, 81; Hartford, 71; and Meriden, 35. These five cities had 49% of all lead-poisoned children in Connecticut in 2020.

Following suit, health disparities also continued. Black and Hispanic-Latino children continued to have higher rates of lead poisoning than non-Hispanic white children. Non-Hispanic Black children were 2.6 times more likely to be poisoned than white children, according to a report on the 2020 lead poisoning numbers on the state’s Open Data website.

DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, M.D., said, “Protecting the youngest residents of our state from lead poisoning is a priority for DPH. And even though the numbers show that we are heading in the right direction, our work — including linking families to vital resources and building awareness in our inner cities — is far from done.�

But these latest numbers are based on a calculation that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state have used since 2012. That calculation defines lead poisoning as 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood in a child’s body.

In October, the CDC lowered its definition of lead poisoning to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter.

If the state had used the CDC’s new measurement, or “reference value,� the number of Connecticut children considered lead poisoned would triple, to 3,000.

Even without the CDC’s adjustment, the pandemic complicates how to compare the numbers released to those from earlier years.

The DPH says in its report that “there was a sharp decline in screeningâ€� in April 2020, a month after the country started shutting down. A total of 61,700 children in Connecticut received lead blood tests in 2020, compared with 72,000 in 2019 and 73,000 in 2018.  In addition, less than 60% of the state’s children under 3 years old were tested twice, as required by state law.

Although lead poisoning is notoriously linked to the water crisis in Flint, Mich., in 2014, lead poisoning in the Northeast and in other older parts of the country is usually the result of deteriorating interior and exterior house paint.

For close to a century, before the federal government finally banned its use in 1978, lead was added to paint to increase its durability. Although walls may be painted over, chips from the degrading paint can be leaded. Of particular concern is leaded paint dust, created as paint breaks down and is left behind when doors and windows of older homes are opened and shut.

Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to deteriorating paint because they are close to the ground and their breathing rates are higher than that of adults. And, as any parent knows, young children typically explore their new worlds, quite literally, through hand-to-mouth activities, turning a floor with leaded paint chips and leaded dust into dangerous terrain.

Exposure to the heavy metal, particularly during these early years when children’s brains are developing, can cause permanent cognitive damage, including an irreversible loss in IQ points. The toxin is also linked to speech and developmental delays, hearing loss and hyperactivity.

In addition to the 2020 numbers, DPH this week issued the numbers of lead-poisoned children in 2019 – 1,188; and 2018 — 1,333.

To view the 2018 and 2019 childhood lead reports go here.

To read the 2020 childhood lead poisoning report, please click here: DPH Report: More Than 1,000 Children Were Poisoned By Lead In 2020, and then scroll down.


Cover Photo: In October 2020, Charles Tate, a Bridgeport lead inspector, scanned the peeling side of a second-floor porch and found high levels of lead in the paint. (Melanie Stengel photo)

Publisher’s Note: CTLN and c-hit.org collaborate to best serve the Connecticut Hispanic, Latino communities.

Community Conversation: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

It has been a very difficult two years for so many; nearly 8,000 Chicagoans and more than 33,000 Illinoisans have died from COVID-related causes.

The pandemic revealed inequities in healthcare, and other determinants of health among Hispanics-Latinos.

While government leaders celebrate dropping masking requirements and other mitigations, many of the most vulnerable say that for them, the emergency continues.

“I have had students tell me, ‘I’m not gonna get vaccinated now and I never will.’ … I’m really concerned that they could be hospitalized or end up dying,� Dr. Jesu Estrada told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Estrada is the mother of two Chicago Public Schools students, ages 6 and 12. She works at Harold Washington College and serves as chapter chair for Local 1600 of the Cook County College Teachers Union.

Estrada argued a majority of the unvaccinated are the Black and Brown students that she serves. “Our communities, our families deserve nothing less. Keep the masks. Keep the vaccines. Nothing short of that,� she said.

Join Illinois Latino News (ILLN) and WBEZ this Wednesday, March 30 for a virtual town hall to discuss the impact of the pandemic on Hispanics-Latinos on the city’s Northwest Side.

Hugo Balta, Owner/Publisher of ILLN will be the moderator of the discussion between community and health leaders. From broad issues of health equity to the latest guidance on masking and vaccines, this conversation will serve as a gathering place where you can ask questions and find the information you need.

Panelists for this event include:

  • Dr. Geraldine Luna, Medical Director, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Dr. Anuj Shah, Integrative Family Physician, Heartland Health Centers
  • Dr. Archana Chatterjee, Dean of Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University
  • Sylvia Puente, President and CEO, Latino Policy Forum
  • Margarita Klein, Director of Member Organizing, Arise Chicago
  • Dr. Marina Del Rios, First person in Chicago to receive the vaccine

Click on this link to register: Community Conversation: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

This virtual event will be available in both English and Spanish. You can let us know what issues matter most to you and your neighbors by completing our survey.


Cover Photo Credit: Dr. Marina Del Rios, the first person in Chicago to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Dec. 15, 2020 (Photo: Ashlee Rezin)

This edition of the Community Conversation series is presented with abundant help from our partners: Belmont-Cragin United, Communities United, Esperanza Health Centers, Heartland Health Centers, Illinois Unidos and Northwest Center.

This is the first event in the new Community Conversation series, a partnership between WBEZ and Illinois Latino News that seeks to elevate Latino voices from around Chicagoland through journalism and public programming. In future editions, we’ll explore new topics in different communities as we strive to center the information needs of all Chicagoans.

The post Community Conversation: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic  appeared first on ILLN.

Remembering Lauro Cavazos, First Latino Cabinet Member

“I don’t like politics,� Dr. Cavazos told Texas Tech Today in 2015. “I went there really to try and improve education, and I think we did a pretty good job.

Lauro F. Cavazos Jr., a Texas ranch foreman’s son who rose to become the first Latino to serve in a presidential Cabinet as U.S. Secretary of Education during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, died this month at his Concord, Massachusetts home.

Dr. Cavazos was a sixth-generation Mexican American, born on Jan. 4, 1927, the oldest of five children of Lauro Sr. and Tomasa (Quintanilla) Cavazos, whose ancestors settled in Texas long before it became a state in 1845. Lauro and his siblings were born on the King Ranch, the state’s largest spread, near Kingsville. It is now a National Historic Landmark.

On Aug. 9, 1988, President Ronald Reagan announced that he would nominate Dr. Cavazos to be Secretary of Education, a position he would hold until his resignation in 1990. On his first day as a Cabinet secretary, Dr. Cavazos conducted a news conference in both English and Spanish.

Dr. Cavazos aimed to improve dropout rates among minority students and to make bilingual education a federal priority. But he angered Hispanic leaders and onetime educational allies by saying in a 1990 speech in Texas, “If that child cannot speak English the first day of school, that child is not ready to learn.�

Dr. Cavazos was president of Texas Tech University from 1980-1988. As president of the university, he was the first alumnus and Hispanic-Latino to serve in the role. 

Dr. Cavazos was 95.


Cover Photo: Legacy.com

Publisher’s Note: This story is an aggregate from Associated Press, NY Times, The Hill, and The Washington Post.

MEXICO VS USA PREVIEW

The Azteca stadium will witness another edition of the Concacaf Clasico, Mexico vs USA today. It will be the twelfth time the two CONCACAF giants will clash at the historic stadium in a World Cup qualifier, with the US having a dismal record of 6 losses, 3 draws, and zero victories.

US RECENT DOMINANCE

Despite these numbers, the trend for the US is clearly positive. During their last two visits, they tied 0-0 in 2013 and 1-1 in 2017. There is also the Annus horribilis Mexico had this past 2021. They lost three times in a single year, the Nations League final in June, the Gold Cup final just two months later, and the World Cup qualifier in Ohio back in November.

The first two games were two contested matches with Mexico playing better football. The Nations League final was the novel tournament that had little at stake other than the pride of beating the archrival. The match was a back and forth game that went into extra-time after each team scored twice. Christian Pulisic was awarded a penalty kick, which he converted, just moments before the end of the first added half. Mexico got themselves their chance to tie the game, also with a penalty kick, but where the American captain succeeded, the Mexican captain – Andres Guardado – failed and thus, the first Concacaf Nations League trophy went to the US.

The Gold Cup final was tense and full of chances for both sides, ultimately Mexico played better but couldn’t reflect it on the scoreline. A lone goal by Miles Robinson in extra-time silenced Mexico’s fans at the new Allegiant stadium at Las Vegas and gave team USA their seventh Gold Cup, one behind Mexico.

Team USA wins the 2021 Gold Cup

If the final matches had been even, the match at Cincinnati for the World Cup was everything but. The US wasn’t overwhelming but never felt under distress. They controlled the game from A to Z and with two goals from their stars Pulisic and McKennie, they sealed yet another 2-0 at Ohio.

INJURIES BUG BOTH TEAMS

Both teams come to this match touched by injuries, however the US will play without perhaps the best player of these qualifiers, Juventus’ midfielder Weston McKennie, who broke his foot last February against Villareal in the Champions League. Another important player who will surely be missed is Sergiño Dest. Barcelona’s defender injured his hamstring last Thursday against Galatasaray in the Europa League. Chris Richards, Matt Turner and Brenden Aaronson are also to miss the match due to injury. 

The good news for the US is that Giovanni Reyna is back after battling with a hamstring injury he sustained during a World Cup qualifier game against El Salvador last September.

Mexico’s situation is not too different. They won’t be able to play with their captain Andres Guardado, who also sustained a hamstring injury playing against Atletico Madrid earlier in the month. Rodolfo Pizarro, Rogelio Funes Mori, ‘Cata’ Dominguez and goalie Jonathan Orozco are also missing the game because of injury. The silver lining for Mexico is that Orozco’s injury has opened the chance for Santos’ keeper and fan favourite Carlos Acevedo to be in the roster. 

YOUTH VS EXPERIENCE

Perhaps the most striking difference is in the age of the players that form these two teams. During their last match at Cincinnati, the US averaged 23.5 years whereas Mexico averaged a whopping 29. If we consider that France won the last world cup with 26 years on average – the youngest team to win since Brazil did it at Mexico averaging 25 – it seems that the future belongs to the Americans. But nothing is said for the immediate future and this Thursday, just like in any other deeply rooted rivalry, everything is set aside and winning is all that matters. May the best team win.


Publisher’s Note: New Hampshire Latino News and El Tri Online are partners in best serving Mexican soccer fans in the Granite State.

Marta V. Martinez on putting the spotlight on Latinos through art

The Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA), a nonprofit organization in Central Falls promoting Hispanic-Latino artists; providing them with a space to showcase and perform their work, is the house that Executive Director Marta V. Martínez built.

“ I found that the main things you miss about your culture are the things that the general population considers art, but to us Latinos, it’s our culture, our way of life,� Martinez told Rhode Island Monthly in an interview.

She recalled what she missed about her hometown of El Paso, Texas when she moved to Rhode Island, first for higher education and later to call home.� I was surrounded by the arts; my mom and three of my four sisters are artists,� she said.

In 1988, Martínez obtained a small grant from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts started the Hispanic Heritage Committee and RILA in 2013.

Tour of the Rhode Island Latino Arts gallery

Since then, RILA has sought to raise awareness of the art, culture, and history of Rhode Island’s Hispanic-Latino community through classes, workshops, events, festivals, and plays.

“It’s like a blank slate for ideas, and it’s exciting to see them develop,� she told WUN about the artists enjoying RILA’s space. “I love being in the room for those moments when things come out.�

Martinez shared how in her pursuit of connecting with others in the Hispanic-Latino community, she came to the realization that Rhode Island was made up of every single country in South America and the Caribbean. “And I wanted us to celebrate that together as a group, but also individually,� she said. �We’re similar, but we’re very different. Rhode Island Latino Arts celebrates the diverse cultures, we celebrate together as Latinos. But we also celebrate and teach that diversity of who we are,� she told YurView.

Much of Martínez’s work has centered around advocacy for and documenting the history of, the Hispanic-Latino community in Rhode Island. She was the first director of the Hispanic Social Services Association (HSSA) which, during her tenure, became the Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy CHisPA), one of two non-profit organizations in Rhode Island in the 1980s and 1990s.

Martínez also founded Nuestras Raíces, Rhode Island’s longest-running oral history project capturing and celebrating stories from Colombia to Cuba to the Dominican Republic.

An author, Martínez’s book, Latino History in Rhode Island, was published in 2014.

“What first started as a volunteer effort on my part, more of something that came out of my heart, from mi corazon, that I wanted to connect with the Latino community and have them connect with each other,� she said. “It symbolizes a home, finally, because the artists to me are the life force of the organization wouldn’t exist without them.�


Publisher’s Note: This story is an aggregate from Rhode Island Monthly, WUN, and YurView.

Rhode Island Latino News amplifies the work of others in providing Hispanic-Latinos greater visibility and voice.