La Palabra Latina, the Evansville-based Spanish language monthly newspaper, is launching a new content partnership with 14 WFIE Monday.
The partnership consists of local and regional Spanish language content that the newspaper will provide for 14wfie.com. 14 WFIE will provide promotion of the newspaper on air and online. La Palabra Latina publisher Tara Grace-Ruiz says the partnership will allow both parties to gain something they didn't have before. "Obviously, it can help get the word out about La Palabra Latina. It will give us credibility. And it gives Channel 14 information that they might not get otherwise."
Grace-Ruiz says in addition to stories from the newspaper, they will publish content on 14wfie.com that is not found in the newspaper. "We always have to turn down one or two stories that we get at the last minute." She says they get additional items each week that are more time sensitive than the monthly publication can handle. Those items will also appear on 14wfie.com.
The newspaper began publication in May of 2005, but Grace-Ruiz says as soon as the first issue was distributed, their phone was ringing off the hook. "We're just real excited about the response so far from businesses and our readers." Right now, the free publication is printed on the 15th of each month, with copies available mainly at area grocery stores and Mexican restaurants.
Grace-Ruiz says while there are other Hispanic publications in the Tri-State area, when they started La Palabra Latina , there was no local news being published. "We had a hard time finding out what was going on in our community. We saw a need for local information and news in Spanish."
The newspaper operation has moved out of the Ruiz house and into the Evansville Small Business Center. Grace-Ruiz says they currently print 3,000 copies, but plan to expand the publication to 5,000 copies and 24 pages beginning in September.
Robinsons-May in South Coast Plaza brings back sweet memories to me, and I bet many people in the Newport-Mesa area feel the same way. I used to be the cleaning guy there. (I also worked selling jewelry in Fashion Island.) I usually go to the South Coast Plaza when I have shopping needs running through my veins. Part of my heart will go away when the store finally shuts its doors.
To make the story short, Robinsons-May became the latest victim of economic globalization. A few days ago, Federated, the parent of the Macy's and Bloomingdale's chains, handed out an $11-billion check to May Department Stores Co., the operator of Robinsons-May. Officials said last month the future of the stores in Newport-Mesa -- at both South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island -- still was unclear, but the stores could be retooled as Bloomingdale's or Macy's.
I knew the business takeover was getting the finishing touch a few months ago, and I was still wishing it would never get through. It is here now, and unfortunately we have to live with it. In the era of globalization, corporations and not the labor force shape the reality of the business world.
Many people will be affected by the move. Thousands of employees will either be relocated or lose their jobs as a result of the merger. Since our economy has been stagnant, finding a different job will be an uphill battle for most job seekers.
In the meantime, I stopped by Robinsons-May in South Coast Plaza to speak with the store manager, Tom Aho, about the merger. I found him on the first floor, walking around in the men's department close to the escalator and ready to get back to his office on the third floor. He politely refused to chat with me, citing reasons coming from the corporate office. However, he was kind enough to tell me that I was free to walk around the store and talk to anybody I pleased, except sale associates. That gave me three floors to work on. Since I've been there before, it felt like running in my own backyard.
Robinsons-May stores have become one of the favorite shopping spots for middle-class Latinos recently. As far as prices, look of the clothing and quality go, the store is somewhere between Sears and the higher-end retail stores, such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's.
"It's really where I wanted it to be," said Maria Luisa Penafiel, of Laguna Beach, while she was trying on some shoes in the second floor of the store. "I find reasonable prices here, the quality isn't bad, and their sale associates usually have good manners."
To serve customers better, officials at Robinsons-May must have decided to have associates show sensitivity to ethnic and cultural issues. Many speak two or more languages, which must be an asset, especially given its diverse clientele. "We at South Coast Plaza are committed to providing you with exceptionally friendly service," reads a sign in the main entrance.
In addition, focusing on the Latino market must have been an easy choice for the corporate office. In the Orange County area, Latinos make up a large portion of the total population. About 40% of the residents in Costa Mesa have Latino backgrounds, and soon they will be the majority.
Like Penafiel, Ivonne Acosta doesn't mind driving a few miles from the city of Orange to Costa Mesa to get to her favorite store. She said she spends an average of $300 a month there, although her expenses increase dramatically this time of the year when her kids are getting ready to start school.
Another shopper, Leobardo Vera, a cook at Spoons and a Santa Ana resident, loves what he sees at Robinsons-May. He was getting a nice pair of black work shoes on the first floor, and was very sorry to find out that his favorite store might be leaving soon for good.
Since most people do their shopping around here, I was hoping to run into David Brooks, the Newport-Mesa school board member and former Costa Mesa police captain, whose name I missed by a mile in my last column. I accidentally called him Daniel.
Well, we all make mistakes. Let's hope Federated doesn't make one, and that it continues to market its products to a blossoming Latino population.
In 1980 there were about 10 million Hispanics in the US according to the US Census Bureau. In 1990 there were about 23 million, and 35.4 million in 2000. US Census Bureau estimates for July 2003 indicated that US Hispanics were about 40 million people. The explosive growth over the past 25 years has been fueled largely by immigration. Immigration to the US accelerated as economic conditions in Latin America deteriorated dramatically over the same period of time. Mexico, the key exporter of Hispanics to the US, has been the barometer of Hispanic immigration to the US. Mexicans largely define the shape, size, and profile of the US Hispanic market.
This explosive growth does not take into consideration the conservative estimate of the Pew Hispanic Center that has published estimates that there are 11 million undocumented individuals in the US in 2005, of which about 6 million are Mexican, and another 2.5 million are from other countries in Latin America. It is intuitive to those who have followed the development of the US market that these estimates should be undercounting the actual number of undocumented US Hispanics.
The US Census Bureau has engaged in an aggressive campaign to encourage undocumented residents of the US to complete census forms. Despite their good intentions and work, it is difficult to imagine that undocumented Hispanics would complete official census forms. If there are over 40 million Hispanics accounted for and a minimum of 8.5 million likely unaccounted for, it can be postulated that conservatively there should be close to 50 million Hispanics in the US without counting Puerto Rico. That makes the US the second largest Hispanic country in the world behind only Mexico. The next most populous Hispanic country after the US is Colombia with an estimated 47 million and then Spain with about 40 million.
In addition to substantive numbers the Selig Center of the University of Georgia has estimated that the buying of US Hispanics in 2005 is over 750 billion dollars. The same organization has provided projections that in 2008 the buying power of US Hispanics is likely to reach one trillion dollars. This later figure will make the US Hispanic market more affluent that the entire country of Mexico and one of the largest economies of the world. But How Do You Reach Them?
These estimates and projections have made the US Hispanic market the subject of increased marketing attention. Also, these figures have energized the debate of how to reach these consumers.
Traditionally, the majority of the Hispanic marketing and media industries have reasonably argued that the Spanish language is the best way of reaching US Hispanics. The US Census Bureau and other sources have consistently shown that about 80% of US Hispanics are identified as speaking at least some Spanish at home. The reasoning has been that if Hispanic consumers largely speak Spanish at home, then the language in which they need to be approached with commercial messages should be Spanish. The reasons for this vary. Most importantly, if consumers depend on the Spanish language for communication and comprehension, then Hispanic consumers must be reached in Spanish.
There are also more subjective but equally important reasons. It has been argued that the language of the heart is Spanish because being it the language of the home it reaches emotional cords more directly than in the English language. A further argument is that Hispanics take pride in the Spanish language in recent times because it has become increasingly “cool” to be Hispanic. Hispanic parents now encourage their children to master the Spanish language because it makes young people proud of their heritage and more employable. In sum, it is largely accurate that the Spanish language among US Hispanics is now more than a tool for communication, it a symbol of cultural pride.
It Is Not That Spanish Is Not Important The above are intuitive and logical arguments. The key problem is that new available data makes the assumption of widespread Spanish dependence less tenable. The key point to be made here is not that the Spanish language is not important, on the contrary. The point is that the assumption that Hispanics are only and primarily reached in Spanish needs to be re-addressed.
Despite all the common sense arguments, Hispanics, even those whose first language is Spanish say they watch about half their dose of weekly TV in English and half in Spanish (Yankelovich Multicultural Monitor 2003 in collaboration with Cheskin and Images USA). The US Census Bureau provides data that shows that over 70% of those who are designated as speaking Spanish at home also understand English well or very well. In Sum, a conservative estimate is that over 56% of Hispanics who speak at least some Spanish at home in the US may be reached in English. And there is the 20% that do not speak Spanish, thus close to 76% of all US Hispanics may be reachable in English.
While reaching specific groups of Hispanics in Spanish will continue to be important for a long time to come, media strategists need to start thinking differently. It is not just Spanish language media that reaches Hispanics. It would be illogical to think that despite overwhelming access to English language media and messages Hispanics just ignore them. Even in small markets there are many times more TV, radio, and print offering than Spanish language ones. While Hispanics are likely to have a strong affinity for their language, they look at what English language media has to offer. Thinking that Hispanics only look at Spanish language media would be unrealistic even in the case of those who depend on the Spanish language.
A Complex Media Planning Environment In a complex media environment, the complexity of the media planning needs to correspond to consumer behavior. Hispanics “flip” channels and are curious about what is available in their media market. Many Spanish dependent Hispanics may watch English language media if for nothing else to learn English.
Talking about complexity, the Hispanic family will continue to increase in diversity of its internal language and other behavioral orientations. While the mother may be Spanish dependent, the father may be Spanish dominant but proficient in English. The grandmother may be totally Spanish dependent, and the two or three young children may speak Spanish at home but fluent English outside of the home. If this family is exposed to different messages depending on what they watch on traditional Spanish or English media they may have seen very different approaches and brand characterizations. If this family makes product decisions they talk to each other and each family member may come from a somewhat different perspective.
New and realistic approaches to the Hispanic market will need to consider the reality of the media environment of US Hispanics. Media planners will have to start thinking about cross-language strategies. Some may place Spanish language messages in English language media. Some may place English language messages in Spanish language media. Others may find it more relevant to place English language messages in English media when targeting specific groups of Hispanics. Many may combine their approaches and should have consistent and culturally relevant messages in both Spanish and English language media, in their respective languages. This latter approach is geared to providing positioning consistency for Hispanics who are exposed to both media.
The communication strategist should not be bound by dogma but by pragmatism. The strategist has the mission of reaching Hispanics with the complete palette of alternative and complementary media. The Spanish language will continue to be very important for US Hispanics and US society in general. Still marketing communications need to acknowledge the duality of life of US Hispanics. Media outlets will need to diversify their offerings to serve Hispanics, and advertisers, in both languages. Mun2 is an example of how a media group understands the diversity of the market and the need to reach different segments with different approaches and different languages. Challenges For Market Research
Market research focusing on Hispanics will have to account for linguistic and media exposure diversity. This is a very difficult task because consumers typically have a hard time remembering where they have seen ads and promotions. Still, this is a challenge that the research industry needs to raise to. The key question is: What is the media and cultural environment where different Hispanic segments obtain their information and consumer guidance? Other research issues that need to be addressed include:
a. For those Hispanics exposed to both, Spanish and English language media, what is the relative emotional weight of the messages received in each medium?
b. What is the impact of the influence of different family members, with different linguistic abilities and preferences, on the ultimate decision to buy cars, homes, financial products, etc.
c. How do consumers process discrepancies between messages for the same brand when the product is differently communicated in Spanish and in English?
Market strategy that addresses these issues will have important implications for Hispanic marketing in the US, and for cross-cultural marketing everywhere where marketing must operate in multicultural environments.
Some of the ideas in this article are further elaborated in the book Hispanic Marketing: A Cultural Perspective by Felipe Korzenny, Ph.D. and Betty Ann Korzenny, Ph.D. published by Butterworth Heinemann/Elsevier in August 2005.
Home entertainment marketers... are stepping up efforts to reach deeper into the black and Latino communities. Universal Studios Home Entertainment and WHV have even opened multicultural marketing departments during the past year.
When Universal tapped Jeff Herrera as vp multicultural marketing in May, division president Craig Kornblau said he was motivated by research that shows minorities are even more-rabid DVD consumers than is the general U.S. population. In an internal study cited by Kornblau, 66% of black consumers and 54% of Latino consumers said they typically purchase two DVDs at a time, while only 42% of other consumers doubled up.
Ho notes that Buena Vista has marketed family titles aggressively to Spanish-speaking consumers for more than a decade through its Disney en Espanol brand. He says many retailers "have concerted Hispanic and African-American programs" that ghettoize customers into special store locations and through Spanish-language circulars, but "our goal is to work with these retailers so they have the appropriate product mix to leverage any ethnic opportunities they may have."
Arkin notes that Paramount's director of ethnic marketing "is charged with developing campaigns that speak to these ethnic groups in a meaningful way."
Ventura is one of the biggest champions of the Latino DVD market, distributing a large slate of films from Spain, Mexico and other nations to retailers throughout the U.S. Concepcion Lara, the company's senior vp business development and marketing and head of its Studio Latino division, sees marketing to Latinos as an investment.
"The effort to win over this market has to be sustained, consistent and long-term," she says. "Besides using mass media, which in this market is essential, it is important to undertake grass-roots and community-based activities."
Such concentration on ethnic audiences does not surprise Lara.
"As the general DVD market begins to reach its peak, niche markets such as the Hispanic market become increasingly important as a source of new customers," she says. "The challenge is that to win over this audience, you need to know the market intimately. It requires a dedicated staff of people who do nothing but eat, sleep and drink Latino -- and that's what we do."
Who we are Happy Faces Foundation is a 501(C)3 non profit organization from the State of Florida, chartered in 1999 to provide educational materials, clothing, toys and other essential supplies to orphanages across the world.
Our mission Raising awareness and provide support for the orphanages, foster, abused and homeless children across the world. The Foundation physically delivers educational materials, clothing, toys and other needed supplies to thousands of children and uses the impact of the media to encourage people to get in contact with the orphanages and help them in any possible way, and allow these children the opportunities for a better way of life.
History In 1997 one man and one Jeep began what today has the potential to revolutionize the western world of non-profits. The Happy Faces Foundation originated from a life long dream that its founder, Fernando Sola, knew he would one day transform into reality: To travel the entire Americas from top to bottom, in one car and in just one year. Sola began his trip at the northern most point of North America, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and concluded it at the southernmost tip of South America, Ushuaia, Argentina. What began a simply as a life long journey, quickly transformed into a media mega story, with over 100 domestic and international media outlets sharing the adventure with their respective constituencies. Fernando’s voyage was changing day by day and it finally fully transformed when he realized that this trip was no longer a personal accomplishment, but an international crusade.
Our beginnings His adventure roused the interest of many parties and sparked the curiosity of most spectators, but most important it drew Fernando’s attention to a dire cause that continues to infect our nations, children without a home. Today we have created a Foundation that supports the efforts of trip maker Fernando Sola in his quest to embark once again on a journey that will touch the lives of millions of less fortunate children that reside all across the Americas. With the support of our community leaders, corporations, foundations and the people who care, the Happy Faces will serve as the catalyst to a better life for the less fortunate children in the Americas.
Happy Faces Tour of the Americas The 2006 Happy Faces Tour of the Americas, has very specific measurable goals designed to bring smiles to thousands of children across the Americas.
Beginning on May 2006 we will embark on a 5 months journey. Starting in Miami, Florida we will drive to the northernmost point of Alaska, Prudhoe Bay, from there we will cross North, Central and South America, all the way to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, and back to Miami, covering the largest landmass on Earth.
Two high profile vehicles, the official 4x4 and the “Happy Bus” will be the star of the 5 months tour.
Delivering more than 10,000 lbs of educational materials, clothing, toys and other essential supplies to poor children in orphanages in 19 countries across North, Central and South America.
Document the journey through multiple broadcast, both internally produced and via local, national and international media exposure so that millions of concerned people worldwide can add their support to the effort.
A commemorative book, “Wishes for a better future” with photos and messages from children along the route, will be published.
A professional video and camera crew will accompany the tour, documenting event and institution visited resulting footage will be edited for television broadcast.
The HFF team will meet with government officials in each country, presenting them with a Commemorative Plate to mark the Foundation’s support of its children.
The HFF website will be updated daily, allowing people worldwide to track the tour’s progress.
HFF Certificates of Gratitude will be given to individuals and organizations along the route in appreciation for their support of the tour and/or its beneficiaries.
HFF website provides access to 250+ orphanages for supporters help even more children.
This is a great opportunity for people, companies, organizations and other institutions that would like to make a difference in the life of thousand of children, and at the same time to be recognized for the meaning of this humanitarian project.
At the present time we are looking for people that would like to be part of the “Adventure Team“ that would deliver the supplies to the orphanages and we are also looking for sponsorship for the financial part of the project, in exchange for the unbelievable local, national and international media exposure that will generate this Fantastic, Mega “ Ultimate Charity Adventure event “.
Jealousy was in the air at the sixth annual Latin Alternative Music Conference, a four-day convention that brought more than 1,000 participants to the Puck Building in NoLIta and staged concerts from Brooklyn to Spanish Harlem. Conferencegoers have been working for years to make inroads for multicultural hybrids from across the Americas and Europe. But last year, mainstream Latin media were suddenly smitten with a different alternative: reggaetón, the Puerto Rican twist on hip-hop and Jamaican dancehall.
When the Colombian band Aterciopelados headlined a Central Park SummerStage concert of Latin alternative rock on Saturday afternoon, its singer, Andrea Echeverri, introduced one of her songs, "Lactochampeta," by explaining it was based on a Colombian genre called champeta that is similar to reggaetón. She added that she didn't like reggaetón much.
Since it began in 2000, the conference has been rallying the musicians and business people seeking to promote innovative music - rock, pop, electronica and hip-hop merged with local traditions. It has placed its hopes on the quality of the music, in the mainstream acceptance of Latin hybrids by hitmakers like Shakira, and in the inevitability of demographic changes that are creating a young, bilingual audience. (The most recent census figures, from 2002, estimate that one in eight Americans is Hispanic.)
Latin alternative music has been gaining exposure on noncommercial radio, on programs like the Los Angeles television show LATV (online at www.latv.com) and on tour. "The Red Zone," a popular Los Angles radio program featuring Latin rock, is going into nationwide syndication. Yet while commercial Latin media have occasionally embraced a rocker - like Juanes from Colombia, who has won Latin Grammy awards - as a pop star, until reggaetón arrived they had largely clung to longstanding genres like pop, salsa and Mexican regional music.
The temperature was well into the 90s on a Sunday afternoon at a dusty ball field on Madison's east side when Teri Munoz had seen enough of the ball being kicked around on the infield.
From her standing position in one of the few shady spots around, Munoz, sporting a blue Los Angeles Dodgers hat that shares a common color with the K.W. Realty baseball team she supports, called out to the field.
After K.W. Realty closed out a victory over a team called Nicaragua a short time later, Munoz pulled a wooden noisemaker called a matraca out of a bag and let loose with a celebratory twirl.
Heat and a lack of park amenities couldn't dissuade Munoz, a self-described cheerleader, from her duties.
That's part of the charm of the Liga Latina de Baseball, Inc., Madison's 6-year old Hispanic baseball league. It's based around the game between the lines, but a major component has to do with everyone outside of them.
When league games are played on Saturdays or Sundays, it's often a gathering spot for family and friends.
"That's pretty much the whole point," said Francisco Sanchez, the second baseman and manager for K.W. Realty. "You work so hard during the week, you don't get to see these people at all. You don't get to talk to them maybe, you don't get to say hi to them. And when you do, it's a party going on."
It might be a party, but that doesn't mean the game itself isn't important, too.
Teams play an 18-game regular-season schedule, two games each against the nine other teams in the league. Rosters range from 18-to-26 players, with a $50 participation fee that organizers said they're trying to reduce for coming seasons by finding sponsorships.
Some might play for fun, but tempers have occasionally grown hot during games.
"When you go to play a sport, you always want to win, don't you?" asked Fidel Mendez, the manager of Los Diablos Rojos (the Red Devils).
Just as the reason for playing varies, so does the level of baseball experience around the league.
"Everybody works Monday to Saturday and after that they've got to have a little fun," league president Freddy Lopez said. "Some guys, they're working two jobs and they want to do something for exercise. That's why they do it. They want to try professional baseball.
"We've got a couple guys that are good ones. Some guys, they don't know anything about baseball but they're just starting and learning and they're doing better."
A big draw is the familiarity around the league, especially in language. Most of the league meetings were conducted in Spanish, and the Spanish-speaking players are able to communicate on the field mostly in their native language.
There's also enough English being tossed around to keep those without Spanish knowledge in the loop. But for those who prefer Spanish, the league provides a chance to feel comfortable.
"They definitely enjoy playing the game, but this was an opportunity to play among their peer groups," said Miguel Rosales, the manager of Los Tejones, a team mostly made up of students and faculty from the University of Wisconsin. Tejones translates to Badgers in English.
The team names come from various sources. There are Toros (Bulls), Tigres (Tigers) and Cardenales (Cardinals) from the animal kingdom. There are references to Mexican states - Zacatecas and Chiapas. And there are nicknames - for one, Pinoleros (a nickname for someone from Nicaragua).
Lopez, however, is quick to point out that, despite the names of the teams and the league, the group isn't exclusively Hispanic.
"No matter if he's a white guy, if he's from Puerto Rico, if he's from Mexico, wherever he comes from, if he wants to participate he's welcome to," Lopez said.
Next year, league organizers are aiming to have a youth league, as well. The obstacle they must overcome with that endeavor is the same they face for the adult games - a shortage of usable facilities.
The league plays games all over the Madison area and as far away as Waterloo - basically, wherever it can reserve a diamond that isn't already being used by one of the many baseball leagues in the Madison area. Lopez said the ideal situation is to schedule games on Sundays because that's when most of the players are free, but some games have to be played on Saturdays because of availability.
A common complaint from fans about Kelliher Field, the baseball complex adjacent to Madison East High School where K.W. Realty played Nicaragua recently, was the lack of restrooms.
But that probably wouldn't keep Munoz and everyone else who attends games away from the diamond. Rosales said the crowds sometimes resemble those at soccer games, with air horns, rattles and other noisemakers.
At one recent game, players and fans sat together outside the fence, listening to a Spanish-language radio station. On the other side of the spectator area, an infant splashed around in a kiddie pool.
Lopez said he has been to other local leagues' games and noticed the lack of crowd involvement. "The Latino people are not like that," he said.
Munoz, then, is a perfect example. Sanchez said she once received a trophy for her cheerleading.
With two sons playing on the team, Munoz has a natural rooting interest. But she's there for the whole team.
"The best thing," she said through an interpreter, "is that I'm here cheering on the boys."
A group of prominent business leaders that includes former Weyerhaeuser Co. President Jack Creighton and salon-chain owner Gene Juarez is preparing to start a bank focusing on the state's growing Latino market.
Intended to be named Plaza Bank, the venture has attracted 14 founders who are investing a total of $900,000, according to one of the bank's founders.
Plaza Bank plans to capitalize on the increasing market power of local Hispanics, who are the fastest growing minority group in the Puget Sound area. In Seattle, the Hispanic population increased 62 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to the 2000 Census.
Plaza Bank has not yet filed for approval with the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, but state Banking Director Dave Kroeger said the department is planning to meet with the group next week. Once an application is complete, a field examiner determines if the bank can be profitable within three years and examines the board of directors and management team.
"We're very optimistic," Kroeger said. "They've attracted a very competent group of founders."
If Plaza Bank is approved by the state DFI, the bank plans to raise $20 million in startup capital in February 2006. In order to establish itself as a minority-owned bank, and thus gain access to special loans and grants through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., over half of the company must be owned by minorities.
The initial capital investment would make Plaza Bank among the largest new banks in the Puget Sound region in the past year.
Creighton said he invested in the bank because he expects a good return and has always supported diversity.
"This will give Hispanics a bank they can connect with and that can serve their needs," Creighton said.
Though the bank remains several months away from opening its doors, founders have already identified a president: Carlos Guangorena, who left his former position as Wells Fargo senior loan officer and executive vice president several weeks ago. Guangorena will use the $900,000 already raised to hire a staff and open a temporary office in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. The first bank branch open to customers is expected to be located in Seattle, with a branch planned for Auburn sometime next year.
The search for Plaza Bank management and investors has been led by a Latino-owned, Seattle-based investment group. The same group is developing La Plaza, a planned 100,000 to 200,000-square-feet meeting and business center for Hispanics. The development group is currently eying Seattle's South Lake Union and SoDo areas as possible sites for the project.
Provided that La Plaza does, in fact, become reality, Plaza Bank's founders said they expect the bank's Seattle location ultimately to be located within the center.
Plaza Bank organizers include Ernest Aguilar, founder of the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Mike Sotelo, president of Approach Management Services and vice president of field operations for W.G. Clark Construction Co.; and Cristobal Guillen, executive director of the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Sotelo, an active participant in the local Hispanic business community and chairman of the King County Republican Hispanic Assembly, said the idea for the Plaza Bank arose as he became aware of the hurdles Mexican immigrants must overcome to bank in the United States. Latinos with improper documentation face difficulty cashing checks and many pay exorbitant fees to wire money back to Mexico. At Plaza Bank, Latinos will need to provide only the identification given to them by the Mexican Consulate, Aguilar said.
Plaza Bank also aims to overcome the misunderstandings and language barriers that prevent Latinos from using banks -- leaving them unable to build credit for home loans. Aguilar believes a Hispanic bank will ease common fears among Mexican immigrants.
"The trust will be there because they're coming to su casa," Aguilar said.
Plaza Bank's founders are largely, though not exclusively, Hispanic.
Plaza Bank's Latino investors include Juarez, Sotelo, Guillen, Tacos Guaymas owner Salvador Sahagun, Mayas Restaurant owner Exequiel Soltero, and Microsoft software architect and chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly Pedro Celis.
Among the non-Hispanics are Steve Johnson, a principal at real estate firm Raskin Partners, and Creighton, the former Weyerhaeuser president and former United Airlines CEO.
Bank officials declined to release the complete list of founders.
Salsa music, tango lessons, Latin American movies and poetry filled the first few days of the 11th annual Vermont Latino Festival, but the schedule would not have been complete without the festival's last event. That came Sunday afternoon, a full-fledged game of soccer -- or futbol.
That, after all, is a common way for Latinos to spend an afternoon -- sprinting down the field, deftly dodging defenders, firing shots on goal, shouts of Spanish filling the air.
"There is a misconception about Latino culture that it is all about salsa or that it's all about food," said Luis Tijerina, a Mexican-American who lives in Burlington and organized Sunday's match.
"Soccer for us is like a religion," said Sergio Fernandez, a construction worker who moved to Burlington about a month ago. "Soccer is the number-one passion."
Tijerina organized Sunday's game in hopes of bringing a variety of Latino soccer players together to celebrate Latino-style soccer. He would like to establish a team of Latino players for a local adult soccer league, an opportunity that he said would allow the players to hold onto their culture.
Players in Sunday's game came from Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and other Latin American countries. Spanish was the most common, but not the only language in play, as natives of Morrocco, Bosnia, Congo, India and other countries joined in. Anybody who could play soccer was welcome.
Fernandez, a former professional soccer player from El Salvador, scored two goals for the white-shirted team in a 9-5 losing effort against the blue team at Calahan Park in Burlington's South End.
Fernandez said he could tell where a player was from by the style of game he played. "There's a big difference," he said.
Europeans are more apt to take to the air, while Latinos keep the ball down. There's no mistaking which style he favors. "They don't play with the ball," he said of Latinos. "They make magic with the ball."
Tijerina would like to see more North Americans adopt the spread-out, controlled South American style of soccer, which he said has made him something of an outsider in Vermont coaching circles.
The shirts he designed for Sunday's game depict a soccer ball inside a Mayan pyramid placed in the center of a map of Vermont.
"I wanted to show that Latin culture could be part of Vermont," he said.