NHLN Opinion+: Cindy Coughlin

This week we invited Cindy Coughlin, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor at Catholic Charities New Hampshire.

Coughlin works with Spanish and English-speaking populations of all ages in the areas of mental health. 

The impact of the pandemic caused people to be disconnected from socialization opportunities. “There was an increase in depression and anxiety amongst teenagers and young adults,� explained Coughlin. The immigrant community faced severe mental health issues as they faced the uncertainty of attending work and attracting unwanted illnesses to their families as well as being unable to visit extended family in their home countries. The undocumented community continues to be fearful of reaching out to services.

A significant issue that communities of color face are having access to medical professionals who can speak the same language as they do. A lack of cultural sensitivity among professionals when serving marginalized groups causes them to steer away from these resources. Inspiring more ethnic minority students to pursue medical professional roles will contribute to alleviating negative stigmas around these resources. 

As we are exiting the pandemic we have yet to see the full impact on mental health. “Younger generations, as they get older will see effects of this period of lockdown and loss of routine over time,� explained Coughlin. People are reaching out for help more frequently and are taking strides for growth with the lessons learned from the pandemic. 

Catholic Charities strives to make affordable and accessible resources available to meet the needs of all families. The organization also makes an effort to make all voices heard. Therapy is for all people and not just for those with severe illnesses. It is the responsibility of all people to be understanding of all stories and seek the resources they need to succeed. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

Young leaders need to run for office. Where are you?

Publisher’s Note: According to a 2015 report from Stateline and NCSL, the average age for a New Hampshire State legislator was 66—the highest in the country—while the average age in the state was 48. Data from the report also reveals that although millennials made up approximately 26% of New Hampshire’s 2015 population, they comprised only 1% of the state legislature. 


I had the opportunity to witness a State House Session last Thursday in Concord. Not going to lie, it is a pretty interesting event. I proceeded to find a seat in the Visitor’s Gallery. You get a powerful panoramic view of the Speaker pulpit and the members of the leadership for both parties.

Suddenly, I decided to look down and a wave of white hair from older State Representatives hit me, it was noticeable. I tried to find young Representatives, that look like me! By young I mean less than 35 years old. I counted 4 and to be honest they might be older than that. Then I thought why are college students or younger than 35 years old Granite staters not running for office? The answer is clear.

The system is not designed for young people to run for office. $200 a term? Who is paying for my rent? My gas? College expenses? It is hard.

Young Granite Staters need representation urgently. We have retirees walking all over our education. We have seniors, most likely not having more children passing legislation telling young women what to do with an unborn child.

Those halls are full of titles but empty of purpose. If you are young, ignore my feelings and run for office. It will be a sacrifice, believe me, but worth your efforts. We need urgent representation, otherwise, nothing will be left to fight for. 

Sebastian Fuentes speaks about being an immigrant in one of the “whitest” states in the country.

Cover Photo: The Chamber of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Publisher’s Note: Fuentes’ letter to the editor was first published by the Union Leader.

Hispanics-Latinos are the largest minority population in New Hampshire with 59,500 residents or 4.3 percent of the population, according to the University of NH.

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

Sebastian Fuentes is vice-chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Latino Caucus. Fuentes is an advocate for immigrant rights in the State of New Hampshire. He has spoken at multiple rallies, conferences, and panel discussions in order to raise awareness about the struggle of the Hispanic-Latino community in New Hampshire.

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.

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.

New strategies hope to build trust and reach the vaccine hesitant 

“What we noticed within the community is, honestly, people seem fatigued of hearing about Covid,� said Iliana Barreto, a community organizer with the Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP) who coordinates the group’s vaccine efforts at the Centro Latino de Hospitalidad drop-in center. Barreto told the NH Business Review, “It’s been two years, going on three years now, and they just feel like they just want to get over it. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality we’re living.�

As COVID-19 restrictions ease in New Hampshire and across the country, community and health organizations like GSOP continue to push for COVID testing and vaccinations by pounding the pavement, going where the people are to build trust.

Barreto said much of the GSOP’s work continues to revolve around debunking misinformation.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in December, nearly 50 percent of unvaccinated adults said they were concerned about possible side effects. The survey showed that about 28 percent of unvaccinated adults also wanted to wait and see if it was safe. About 42 percent said they don’t trust the vaccine.

Sarah Jane Knoy, executive director of the GSOP, said many people are still worried about the false claim that the vaccine impacts fertility.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is currently no evidence that any of the COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems in women or men.


SUGGESTION: NHLN Opinion+: Sarah Jane Knoy


Knoy said the group employs volunteers and community outreach workers, who speak the native languages of the people they are trying to reach.

It’s about connecting people with similar lived experiences with each other.

Last month about 49 percent of Hispanic-Latino residents have at least one shot in New Hampshire, compared to about 56 percevt of white residents, according to state data. 

About 58 percent of Granite State residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, compared to roughly 65 percent of the country.


Publisher’s Note: The story is an aggregate from NH healthcare organizations try new strategies to reach the vaccine-hesitant.

New Hampshire Latino News amplifies the work of others serving the Hispanic-Latino community.

NHLN Opinion+: Hershey Hirschkop

Welcome to this week’s episode of NHLN Opinion+, a monthly program that is dedicated to discussing the concerns and opinions of New Hampshire’s Hispanic-Latino community.

Executive Director Hershey Hirschkop of Seacoast Outright returned to the program this week to share the work the organization has done in the past year in providing LGBTQ youth a safe space to explore gender and sexuality in a welcoming and understanding environment.

As a heterosexual man, and parent of a bisexual teenager, I discussed with Hirschkop resources Seacoast Outright also affords familial networks in supporting LGBTQ youth. “Helping parents get through this is important to kids feeling supported,” said Hirschkop. “We see parents, like you, trying to figure out, “How do I best support, my kid.”


SUGGESTION: All You Need Is LOVE

Isabella Balta poses on the day of her Quinceañera, March of 2018

We also spoke about conscious consumerism beyond rainbow-washing. One Finance, a financial institution with banking services in Illinois has an initiative that displays someone’s chosen name on their bank card, in their account, and during all communication. The bank does not require legal documentation of a name change, does not ask customers for their gender, and only uses gender-neutral language both internally and externally.

“Naming, and how you identify and the pronouns you want to use are very personal,” she said in response to how important it is to help ease the burden on trans and nonbinary people from their dead name to their affirmed name. “When you erase that you erase the very being of who a person is.”

And for the benefit of members of our audience who are not familiar with the term dead name…dead name means the birth name of a transgender person who has changed their name as part of their gender transition.

Within a matter of months, One FInance was able to make it easy for customers to change their first name, no doctor’s forms, no driver’s license change required, just the opportunity to change their first name through a simple three-question form.

Seacoast Outright was founded in 1993 as an outcome of the “Respect for all Youthâ€� conference spearheaded by PFLAG—watch our interview with PFLAG-NH Executive Director here. Hirschkop said the volunteer-based organization has stayed true to its mission of serving, advocating for, and supporting LGBTQ youth within the Seacoast area and across New Hampshire since then. She explained that the nonprofit offers direct services to local youths but also heavily focuses on outreach and education within the greater community. Although the organization focuses on serving younger residents, it also offers groups and resources for parents, families, and older residents in general. Within the past year, the organization moved its support groups and events online to continue serving the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

Check out all the different support groups the organization currently offers here:

Access available resources through the link below. This list is continuously updated. 

Learn how you can support Seacoast Outright at:  

Read their BLM statement: 

MEDIA

Latino News Network Chosen To Participate In Democracy SOS

“We are thrilled to welcome the inaugural cohort,â€� reads the announcement by Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) and Hearken, sponsors of Democracy SOS. â€�Together, they will experiment with new ways to strengthen democracy by working with and for the communities they serve.â€�

The nine-month Democracy SOS fellowship will support reporters and editors in significantly strengthening journalism’s role in advancing our democracy through innovative approaches that build civic engagement, equity, and healthy discourse.

Democracy SOS Fellowship

The Latino News Network (LNN) is one of 20 news outlets accepted to participate in the initiative. “Journalism plays a critical role in preserving democracy,â€� said Hugo Balta, Owner and Publisher of LNN. â€�I am grateful that our newsroom will have the support to continue producing coverage that builds understanding, trust and engagement.â€�

Connecticut Latino News (CTLN) is producing the Advancing Democracy: Connecticut Solutions Journalism, a special series 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. The six-month program is sponsored by the SJN.

CTLN is one of the five independent news and information digital outlets that LNN oversees in New England and the Midwest.


SUGGESTION: Removing Language Barriers In Voting

Advancing Democracy: Connecticut Solutions Journalism

“The Democracy SOS fellowship will not only help us expand the solutions journalism, Advancing Democracy initiative to our other markets, but also provide our news team with invaluable training,â€� said Balta.

Newsrooms will participate in a curriculum that includes training in the Citizens Agenda approach, solutions journalism, asset framing, ethics, solutions journalism, and building trust in news alongside timely elective workshops.


Illinois Latino News (ILLN) is one of five independent statewide coverage, Hispanic-Latino editorial focus, English language news, and information websites under the ownership and leadership of nationally recognized journalist and media advocate, Hugo Balta. 

ILLN’s mission is to provide greater visibility and voice to Hispanics-Latinos in Illinois – an underrepresented community in mainstream newsrooms and news coverage.

Solutions Journalism Network (SJN): While journalists focus most of their coverage on what’s gone wrong, SJN seeks to rebalance the news by equipping journalists to investigate and explain, in a critical and clear-eyed way, how people are trying to solve social problems. Since its founding in 2013, SJN has worked with more than 600 news organizations and 25,000 journalists worldwide through in-person workshops and online resources and webinars.

Hearken helps organizations embed stakeholder listening into their growth and operations to build more resilient companies and communities. Hearken has shown that listening leads to stronger relationships, deeper engagement, and better decisions, and enables individuals to make an outsize positive impact in the world. In 2020, Hearken worked in collaboration with more than two dozen civic organizations (including SJN) to stand up and deliver Election SOS, which supported journalists in responding to critical election information needs.

Analysis: Little Change In Access To Housing Financing For Latinos

After reviewing all home loan data for 2013, 2015 analysis by attorney Christine Wellington of Derry concluded that ethnicity was the only variable besides household income that was consistently a significant predictor of loan denial.

“In short, in 2013, if you were Latino you were significantly less likely to have access to housing financing,� the report states. “This is true controlling for applicant gender; type of loan (origination v. refinancing); conventional v. government-backed; loan amount; race; denial reason; and geography.�

A report by the Concord Monitor finds that when the study was updated in 2020, Wellington and her associates noted that little had changed: “Our 2020 analysis echoes the findings of the 2015 assessment: People of color concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods still face the same obstacles outlined in 2015. By every measure, those neighborhoods faced conditions and access to opportunity far below the state average.�


According to the 2020 Census, Hispanics-Latinos comprise 7.6 percent of the population statewide, 21 percent in Manchester, and 23 percent in Nashua.


The Granite State News Collaborative used the HMDA database to analyze the lending patterns of the state’s top 20 mortgage lenders from 2018 to 2020 and found wide variation in denial rates.

CMG Mortgage, Freedom Mortgage, CrossCountry Mortgage, and Fairway Independent Mortgage all denied Hispanics-Latinos at more than twice the rates they deny whites, while Quicken Loans, HarborOne Mortgage, and Digital FCU had denial rates that were identical or within a few percentage points of each other. 

GSBC reached out to lenders with high denial rates for Hispanics-Latinos and heard back from several (see sidebar). Fairway spokesperson Alyson Austin offered an answer that was similar to what many others said.

HMDA data is “an appropriate first step in this type of inquiry,� she wrote in an email, but added, “additional analysis is needed to determine whether factors unrelated to race explain disparities observed in raw HMDA data.�

To read more about the analysis, reaction to the findings, read Discriminatory home lending persists in New Hampshire.


Cover Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Support strengthening to give  undocumented immigrants the right to drive legally 

“My kids were terrified to see the police,â€� testified Nadia Gonzales, a resident of Nashua who immigrated from Mexico. Gonzalez joined advocates in support of H.B. 1463 at a public meeting earlier this month hosted by the Transportation Committee of New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Local immigrants’ rights organizations in favor of three bills primarily sponsored Rep. George Sykes from Lebanon (D) say H.B. 1463, 1666, and 1093 would make roads safer for all motorists.

“A person can be in New Hampshire 100 percent legally but can be waiting for their papers for over a year because of bureaucratic delays,â€� said Sarah Knoy, American Friends Service Committee. â€œA warning became a nightmare for this family. Those children still today are terrified when they see a police officer. She’s back at home now, but the trauma lingers,â€� Knoy testified about an immigrant woman detained by ICE after a speeding ticket.



H.B. 1463 proposes a Real ID type of driver’s license allowing people to travel inside the U.S without a passport.

If approved, H.B. 1666 would prohibit the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles from sharing personal information with immigration enforcement agencies.

H.B. 1093 would permit nonresidents living in New Hampshire to obtain a 180-day temporary driver’s license while waiting on their asylum status application. 

The committee doesn’t have a date to vote yet.

In Massachusetts, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

“This is a public safety bill,” said State Rep. Andy Vargas of H.B. 4461. “It’s about making sure we keep all of our communities safe, that we have drivers that are licensed that go through the right process.”

The bill requires individuals provide documentation to obtain a license including proof of their identity, residency in the state and date of birth. The new rules would apply to those who do not have proof they are in the country legally, including those not eligible for a Social Security number.

The House voted 120-36 in favor of the measure on February 16. The bill still requires approval by the Massachusetts Senate, before heading to Governor Baker. 

Undocumented immigrants in 16 other states, including Connecticut and Vermont, are already able to get a driver’s license.


Cover Photo: Ron Lach from Pexels

Publisher’s Note: this story is an aggregate from reports by NHPR and NBC Boston.

Language Barriers Overwhelm Children of Immigrants

Iliana Barreto, Coordinator at Centro Latino in Manchester knows firsthand what it’s like for people who are not native English language speakers to be shamed. “Some feel a sense of embarrassment and some people are made to feel less than. You can get frustrated,â€� Barreto said in a recent episode of NHPR’s Visibles.

Barreto originally moved to Boston from Puerto Rico with her family and was the first to learn English. She grew up translating and interpreting for her parents. It’s a reality many children of immigrants in the U.S. live through.

The COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges for immigrants and refugees in New Hampshire seeking assistance to manage their health. Many rely on their children to navigate what can often be a frustrating process in getting information by phone or websites.

However well-intentioned, children who have to translate for their non-English speaking parents often face mental health struggles, according to a recent study. Children in these situations can typically feel like the roles are reversed. Kids are placed in a parenting role and have to make sure to “careâ€� for their parents. To ensure that they have what they need and that they can get by in a society where they don’t speak the language.

The same language barrier exists in telemedicine; a convenient and safer way to treat patients during COVID-19.

State Representative Manny Espitia (D) from Nashua, is one of the sponsors of H.B. 1390, a bill that would address language translation services in telemedicine.

Espitia told the Concord Monitor that coming from a Hispanic-Latino family where he had to serve as a translator for his parents when he was a kid, he knows the burden of not having an official interpreter.

“We want to make sure that every medical professional has access to translation service so that a patient can get the right information,� he said.

French is the leading foreign language, after

Spanish is the second most popular language spoken in New Hampshire, after English. 2.1 percent of state residents speak Spanish.