Angela and Jose Mojica have found sweet success in Manchester with Dulces Bakery. The couple draw from their roots in making their small business a success. Angela is Colombian and Jose is Puerto Rican.
“New Hampshire doesn’t have many Hispanic things,” Angela said in an interview with NHPR referring to Hispanic-Latino owned enterprises. She said she likes that the state is accepting of different cultures, “We can showcase a little bit of our world.” The menu is reflective of that with flan, tembleke, quesitos, pastelitos de guayaba, (Puerto Rican puffed pastry stuffed with guava), and much more.
Â But their best seller, the tres leches cake earned the Peopleâ€™s Choice at the 2016 Chocolate Loverâ€™s Fantasy competition.
Angela and Jose originally openedÂ Dulces Bakery on Manchesterâ€™s West Side in 2015, but were forced to relocate to Amherst Street in 2018. By March 2019, they had expanded to include a dining area. The bakery is now double the size of its original location, and the couple have added a dessert truck to sell their confections at festivals and events.
Running the business hasn’t been easy. Neither has the experience of moving to the U.S. as a child for Angela. As a child, she said classmates said hurtful things to her for being “different” and abused her just for not speaking English.
The once stay-at-home mom said being bullied helped her develop a thick skin. Now, she teaches her kids the value of being different, “Don’t let fear keep you from your dreams or reaching your goals. Don’t hold back and keep moving forward.
Angela originally immigrated to Staten Island, New York, with her family when she was four. Jose was born in Puerto Rico, moving to New York to live with his grandmother to pursue gymnastics when he was teenager. They moved to NH in 2002. â€œWe fell in love with the state. It felt like home. Itâ€™s family based,â€� Angela says. â€œWe love everything about it.â€�
Publisher’s Notes: This story is in part an aggregate from NHPR and Manchester Ink Link.
Coll participated in the News production sequence at the Department of Communication. She was executive producer of UPRA’s radio news programÂ â€œNotas del Saco,â€� as well as producer of the social media video news program â€œNoticias Punto a Punto.â€� Coll was the producer and on-air talent in a radio program transmitted by UPRA Web Radio, focused on LGBTQ+ community news and topics of interest. As part of her practicum, she was also involved in diverse news production angles for ABC Puerto Rico.Â Â
“I am a proud Latina puertorriqueÃ±a searching for new opportunities and experiences to keep growing,” Coll wrote in her scholarship application. She said she never saw herself as a leader, but with the help of her colleagues worked hard to become one. In 2020, she was elected president of UPRA’s NAHJ Student Chapter and collaborated in several election coverage programming. “During my time (as president), I produced two candidate forums named El Voto UPR (governorâ€™s chair candidates) and Arecibo Decide (candidates for Mayor of Arecibo.”
Coll is the eleventh Hispanic-Latino student to receive an HZF Scholarship. The fund was created in 2016 byÂ Hugo Balta,Â twice president of theÂ NAHJ and owner/publisher of New Hampshire Latino News (NHLN), one of five independent news outlets overseen by theÂ Latino News Network (LNN), as a way to help Hispanic-Latino students while honoring the legacy of his abuelita, Hortencia Zavala.
Since its inception, HZF has worked with NAHJ national and local professional chapters in identifying worthy candidates. “The NAHJ National Office is delighted to announce that former NAHJ UPRA Chapter President Kiara Coll will receive this year’s Hortencia Zavala Scholarship,” said David PeÃ±a, Jr., NAHJ Executive Director. “Kiara’s commitment to excellence and bold spirit are qualities we need in journalists who are ushering in the next era of public service journalism.”
Balta commented on the partnership with NAHJ, saying, “The NAHJ has a long and distinguished history of nurturing the future of journalism. HZF is grateful to continue to work with NAHJ in helping students like Kiara on their path of success.”
Last year, the Hortencia Zavala Foundation (HZF), a not-for-profit organization, expanded its support of young journalists to include aÂ journalism camp.
Every conversation was insightful and provided different perspectives,â€� said Daniela Sandoval, an aspiring journalist from Southern California and one of the six Fellows participating in the camp. â€œI always looked forward to our meetings and lectures, and I always left every meeting feeling inspired and energized.â€�
The Journalism Camp that returns this Fall has a curriculum that includes getting one-on-one mentoring and hands-on experience in producing stories from concept to execution focused on social justice, determinants of health, and community empowerment.
Guest speakers also shared insights on networking with a purpose, strategies for managing oneâ€™s career, and the experience of often being the only person of color in the newsroom.
As part of her award, Coll has the opportunity to be one of the attendees in this year’s journalism camp and have her work published on LNN.
If you’re interested in applying for the Journalism Camp, please send your resume and letter of interest to info@LatinoNewsNetwork.com.
Please support the HZFâ€™s mission by making a donation viaÂ PayPal,Â GoFundMe,Â or Zelle (the account is under HZScholarship17@gmail.com)
Michael Vazquez didnâ€™t know why a New Hampshire state trooper was pulling him over one afternoon in August 2018. Heâ€™d been driving his BMW on Interstate 93 in Salem, doing the speed limit.
Trooper Michael Arteaga told Vazquez he was tailgating another vehicle. But he had other reasons for the stop.
Arteaga was a member of a specialized unit whose chief mission isnâ€™t traffic safety, but looking for drug traffickers on New Hampshireâ€™s highways. He made whatâ€™s called a pretextual traffic stop because he thought the car might be involved in criminal activity.
A pretextual traffic stop occurs when a police officer stops a vehicle in order to conduct a speculative criminal investigation unrelated to the motorist’s driving, and not for the purpose of enforcing the traffic code.
Itâ€™s a workaround because state and federal constitutions bar police officers from stopping and investigating civilians on nothing more than a hunch. But motor-vehicle violations are so common that an officer can usually find a legal reason to pull over just about any car, then probe unrelated suspicions.
State officials have celebrated the Mobile Enforcement Teamâ€™s many arrests and drug seizures, dismissing criticsâ€™ concerns as based on a handful of cases that have spilled into public view. At times, they have denied troopers were trained to use pretextual stops.
In 2020, advocates like the ACLU, brought the issue before the Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency (LEACT) â€” formed by Gov. Chris Sununu after George Floydâ€™s murder to consider changes to policing â€” raising concerns about civil liberties and disproportionate impacts on drivers of color.
â€œIn 2019, the Division of State Police issued its Fair and Impartial Policing policy, which aims to prevent and prohibit the practice of biased policing and other discriminatory practices in any law enforcement-related activity involving a member of the Division,â€� Tyler Dumont, a department spokesperson, said in the statement. â€œAdditionally, all new recruit troopers now attend a multi-day implicit bias and procedural justice training at the police academy.â€�
Police in the United States have used pretextual stops since at least the 1980s, when the DEA began training state and local officers to spot cars that fit supposed â€œdrug courierâ€� profiles. At times, officers were taught to look for explicitly racialized characteristics, like someone with dreadlocks or two Latino men in a car.
The reason he gave in his report: Vazquez was tapping on the brakes to stay in his lane rather than speeding up to pass.
Publisherâ€™s Notes: this is an aggregate story from:
The Garcia brothers are back, and the timing couldnâ€™t be better.Â Fans of the award-winning Nickelodeon teen comedy series, â€œThe Brothers GarcÃa,â€� will remember Larry, Carlos, and George Garcia, who along with their sister Lorena and parents Ray and Sonia, made history as the beloved characters of the first U.S. English-language TV sitcom featuring an all-Latino cast and creative team. Now, more than 20 years after the showâ€™s debut, the fictional San Antonio, Texas, family is making history againâ€“this time as â€œThe Garcias,â€� premiering on HBO Max, on April 14.
â€œWe wanted to bring it back because there hadnâ€™t been another show like it since,â€� said showrunner Jeff Valdez, the co-creator of â€œThe Brothers GarcÃa,â€� and who, along with global communications executive Sol Trujillo, is executive producer of â€œThe Garcias.â€� The two are also co-founders of New Cadence Productions, which produced the new series.
â€œThe Garciasâ€� came to life after Valdezâ€™s seven-year quest to obtain the rights to the original show from Nickelodeon. â€œThe Brothers GarcÃa,â€� had been highly popular, airing from 2000 to 2004 in more than 40 countries. A breakthrough finally came three years ago when there was a change in studio management. â€œI went to Viacom and said, â€˜This is crazy,â€™â€� Valdez recalled. â€œItâ€™s sitting on the shelf, and we have no shows for Latinos. Itâ€™s not just for Latinosâ€“itâ€™s universal. Itâ€™s a family show.â€�
For creator, Jeff Valdez, â€œThe Garciasâ€� is more than just about entertaining an audience. The show represents his deeply personal mission to portray Latinos as â€œregularâ€� people. The goal is to counter the largely negative image of Latinos in mainstream media. â€œWeâ€™re people just like anybody else, and weâ€™re fun,â€� Valdez explained. â€œThereâ€™s no crime in this show. There are no border walls. Thereâ€™s not even the mention of immigration,â€� he continued. â€œWe are not making programming. We are making deprogramming. Thatâ€™s really important to understand. Because if we did programming, there would be nothing normal on this show.â€�
Now the episodes have all been produced with the original cast members reprising their roles in â€œThe Garcias.â€�
â€œIt feels amazing,â€� said Bobby Gonzalez, who plays George Garcia. â€œYouâ€™d think that a twenty-year gap would have made a big difference. But as soon as the original cast was back together, it just felt like homeâ€“immediately.â€�
â€œTo be able to work on something you really love is a blessing,â€� said Ada Maris, who plays family matriarch, Sonia Garcia.
In the reboot, the family has expanded greatly. Viewers get to follow the lives of the now-grown Garcia siblings, their spouses, children, and parents as they vacation for two months at a beach house in an upscale part of Mexico. â€œBy having a U.S. Latino family in Mexico, we are showing that we are American,â€� Valdez said.
â€œTo renew my relationships with the original kids who were 12 and 13 and are now in their thirties, was great,â€� said Carlos LacÃ¡mara, who portrays Ray Garcia, the father and grandfather of the family. â€œFor me it was like we had a long weekend, and we just got back together, doing the shows again.â€�
In the idyllic resort-like setting, three generations of the Garcias enjoy adventure and discovery while learning what it takes to be a family. They come face-to-face with their cultural identities as they laugh, cry, and squabble good-naturedly, all the while never forgetting the family motto: Everything for the familyâ€“Todo para la familia.
â€œWeâ€™ll go through rough times. Weâ€™ll get into fights,â€� said Gonzalez. â€œBut at the end of the day, weâ€™ll always love each other.â€�
â€œTodo para la familia,â€� said Vaneza Pitynski, who plays Lorena Garcia, the sister in the family. â€œThat is what the show is about: who has your back when youâ€™re down. In the end, it is about a successful, hard-working Latino family that really cares,â€� she said.
Cast members say the family-centric values found in â€œThe Garcias,â€� storyline were also evident in their work environment. This, they say, was in stark contrast to what they had experienced on some other productions.
â€œIt is such a relief to be able to just be a human being, and not have to play the stereotype of a Latino written by someone else,â€� said LacÃ¡mara. â€œFor me, being part of this was liberating.â€�
“We just get to be ourselves. Itâ€™s just wonderful,â€� added Maris.
â€œIn the end, the show is authentic. Itâ€™s not a non-Latino trying to tell a Latino how to do things, and we are very proud of that.â€�
â€œThe Garciasâ€� is also groundbreaking for introducing cultural diversity to the series. Carlos Garciaâ€™s wife is Korean American, and the couple has two daughters.
â€œHonestly, I think it is really great that the show includes the Asian and Pacific Islander community,â€� said Elsha Kim, who plays Yunjin Huh Garcia. â€œIâ€™ve had multiple people approach me and say, â€˜You know, 20 years ago, it might have been a Latina.â€™ (But) there are so many mixed families now. If you look around, this is what families look like. Families arenâ€™t all just one color,â€� Kim said.
Valdez predicts that the show will resonate with viewers because he and his creative team had complete artistic control. â€œIn the end, the show is authentic. Itâ€™s not a non-Latino trying to tell a Latino how to do things, and we are very proud of that,â€� Valdez said. â€œI would challenge anybody in town to show a credit roll with more Latino names on it than ours. Weâ€™re 92%.â€�
Valdez has high hopes for â€œThe Garcias,â€� and believes it could pave the way for other Latino-themed programs. In fact, he says he has at least five spin-offs in mind that his production company plans to market. But as Jeff Valdez will tell you, it all starts with the success of this new series. â€œWatch the show because the Garcias are coming.â€�
palabra. continues its conversation with Jeff Valdez, who is credited with pioneering the English-language Latino market in American television. The award-winning Colorado native has been producing, directing, and writing in TV and film for more than 25 years.
His answers have been edited for clarity and space.
palabra.: What are the reasons you brought the Garcia family back?
Valdez: â€œItâ€™s really about family dynamics. Every episode has a universal theme. Every episode has a lesson learned in it. Thereâ€™s this richness to the show that people can re-embrace. After coming out of two years of Covid, God knows they can use a little love right now.â€�
palabra.: Considering that a lot of Latino-themed shows have been canceled, what is the significance of â€œThe Garciasâ€� coming along at this point in time?
Valdez: â€œExecutives have said that Latinos donâ€™t support their own shows. But there are so few. The solution is to have more than one a year. The business part of it is that it isnâ€™t social justice. You shouldnâ€™t do this because we are victims and we are owed this. You should do it because this is smart business. Weâ€™re 2.8 trillion dollars as a GDP. If your company doesnâ€™t embrace the U.S. Latino market, you wonâ€™t be in business in 10 years.â€�
palabra.: Why is it important to normalize the portrayal of Latinos in the media?
Valdez: â€œThe sad part is that when you look at U.S. Latinos, everything we see on TV is (that) we are crossing a border. And when we see Mexico, itâ€™s always got this really grainy, yellow filter on it. The Mexico I know has got amazing museums. (My family and I) were in Mexico City just two weeks ago. The food blows anything in L.A. away.â€�
â€œBut the best way to answer your question is that when we first screened â€œThe Brothers GarcÃa,â€� a young Latina said afterward, â€˜Thank God thereâ€™s a show that confirms my normalcy.â€™ Iâ€˜ve never lost track of that and I dedicate everything to that young girl.â€�
Cover Photo: The Garcias continue their journey of self-discovery and family bonding while on a long summer vacation. Photo Courtesy HBO Max.
Saida Pagan is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the recipient of a first-place award for entertainment reporting in the 2022 National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards competition. In 2021, she also received two first-place awards from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors for a documentary on the history of Los Angeles. PagÃ¡n was born and raised in New York City, and is of Puerto Rican heritage. She has worked as a newscaster for television stations across the United States, and has appeared in nearly 100 primetime television programs, major motion pictures and other media projects. Her TV news series on the challenges of ethnic actors titled, â€œThe Color of Movies,â€� won a Golden Mic Award and was placed in the archives of SAG-AFTRA following a special ceremony honoring her work. PagÃ¡n holds a masterâ€™s degree with distinction in Strategic Communication and frequently conducts webinars on various aspects of media and communication.
The Democratic National Committee wants to ensure a nominating process that is more reflective of the party’s values and New Hampshire might not be it.
Last month, the Rules and Bylaws Committee designed an application process by which all states wanting to be the caucus and primary openers of the presidential campaign season must make their case based on â€œracial, ethnic, geographic and economic diversity and labor representation,â€� according to the New York Times.
That doesnâ€™t bode well for the Granite State thatâ€™s 89.8 percent white (not Hispanic-Latino); 4 percent are Hispanic-Latino; 3 percent Asian American; and 1.8 percent Black, according to the U.S. census.
â€œA lot of people will say, â€˜Oh, New Hampshire is a very white state,â€™â€� said Rep. Manny Espitia of Nashua. â€�In a way, whenever they say, â€˜Oh, thereâ€™s no people of color who live there,â€™ it kind of makes us feel like the people who do live here are erased.â€�
The House Democratic floor leader told the New Hampshire Bulletin that while he understands the concerns about diversity, New Hampshire should remain first, citing the organization and efficiency of the stateâ€™s processes and the challenges presented to candidates.
Espitia argued presidential primary candidates shouldnâ€™t sideline marginalized communities like Hispanics-Latinos, no matter how small the size.
â€œIf people try to ignore the diverse populations in this state, then come primary day, theyâ€™ll see what happens,â€� he said. â€œI think one of the reasons Bernie (Sanders) did really well here in 2020 (is) he won a lot of the Latino districts, and he ended up doing really well in Nevada.â€�
Presentations explaining and defending an interest in being among the top five early nominating states, must be received by June 3. The subcommittee will make its recommendation on the calendar order by July 15. The DNC will later vote on it.
Meanwhile, diversity considerations were not a concern for the Republican National Committee, that on April 14 approved New Hampshire among the first four states to vote.
The Hortencia Zavala Foundation (HZF) is pleased to sponsor, once again, the Journalism Camp: Covering Race, Ethnicity, and Culture, a first-in-class 12-week program providing practical guidelines for fair and accurate storytelling.
Six young journalists from across the country participated in the inaugural class. “I have nothing but good things to say about the camp,” said Stephania Rodriguez, a student at Depaul University in Chicago, Illinois. “It exceeded my expectations by feeding my knowledge, allowing me to network and connect with others, and publishing my work.”
Boris Qâ€™va had this to say about his experience, “I felt heard when I needed it the most.” Qâ€™va is enrolled in the New Media Journalism Master of Arts degree at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. “All of the lectures were equally important to me, but I found myself thinking about Solutions Journalism, and how it builds trust with the public through transparency.”
As part of the program, all of the stories produced by the fellows were published on one or all of the Latino News Network news outlets. Balta is the owner and publisher of theÂ Latino News Network.
“It is imperative that students get real work experiences and mentoring to navigate a newsroom that more often than not is not diverse and inclusive,” said Balta.
Due to a lack of equitable representation in newsrooms, there is an urgent need toÂ train journalists to be transparent in newsÂ gatheringÂ and reporting onÂ the complexity of racial identity,Â social constructs relating to ethnicÂ terms, and cultural competence.
Covering race, ethnicity, and culture: a guideline for fair and accurate storytellingÂ is a course designed to go beyond the inverted pyramid of basic news writing in examining the terminology, usage, and word choice of storiesÂ providing greater visibility and understanding of deep-rooted inequities in all aspects of society.
Guest speakers also share insights on networking with a purpose, strategies for managing oneâ€™s career, and the experience of often being the only person of color in the newsroom.
The Journalism Camp is open to all students (undergrad, graduate) in good standing.
The application process runs from May 1 to 29. The weekly class will begin on September 7.
For more information about HZFâ€™s Journalism Camp curriculum, how to apply, and ask questions â€“ please email us atÂ hortenciazavalafoundation
The Hortencia Zavala Foundation (HZF) was founded in 2016 in honor of Hugo Baltaâ€™s maternal grandmother.
HZF is a not-for-profit organization that helps students offset the costs of higher education with scholarships. In 2021, the organization expanded its support of students to include the Journalism Camp.
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.Â
The impact of the pandemic caused people to be disconnected from socialization opportunities. â€œThere was an increase in depression and anxiety amongst teenagers and young adults,â€� 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. â€œYounger generations, as they get older will see effects of this period of lockdown and loss of routine over time,â€� explained Coughlin. People are reaching out for help more frequently and are taking strides for growth with the lessons learned from the pandemic.Â
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.Â
Publisher’s Note:According to a 2015 report from Stateline and NCSL, the average age for a New Hampshire State legislator was 66â€”the highest in the countryâ€”while the average age in the state was 48. Data from the report also reveals that although millennials made up approximately 26% of New Hampshireâ€™s 2015 population, they comprised only 1% of the state legislature.Â
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.
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? Weâ€™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.
Iâ€™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 othersâ€™ perspectives. I want to showcase what it is to be a hard worker with integrity, experience, and a smile.
School wasnâ€™t an essential part of growing up when I was young. I mean, if I got â€œCâ€™sâ€� and passed, my mother wasnâ€™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.
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 thereâ€™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.
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 â€“ Andres Guardado â€“ 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 couldnâ€™t reflect it on the scoreline. A lone goal by Miles Robinson in extra-time silenced Mexicoâ€™s fans at the new Allegiant stadium at Las Vegas and gave team USA their seventh Gold Cup, one behind Mexico.
If the final matches had been even, the match at Cincinnati for the World Cup was everything but. The US wasnâ€™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, Juventusâ€™ midfielder Weston McKennie, who broke his foot last February against Villareal in the Champions League. Another important player who will surely be missed is SergiÃ±o Dest. Barcelonaâ€™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.
Mexicoâ€™s situation is not too different. They wonâ€™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, â€˜Cataâ€™ Dominguez and goalie Jonathan Orozco are also missing the game because of injury. The silver lining for Mexico is that Orozcoâ€™s injury has opened the chance for Santosâ€™ 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 â€“Â the youngest team to win since Brazil did it at Mexico averaging 25Â â€“ 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.