December 16, 2015 By Lizette Alvarez and Manny Fernandez
One candidate, Marco Rubio, nurtured by the sprawling Cuban-American community here, bounces effortlessly between two cultures — fritas and hamburgers, Spanish and English — in a city so comfortably bilingual that news conferences pivot between the two languages.
The other, Ted Cruz, is partial to cowboy boots, oversize belt buckles, hard-right politics and the fire-and-brimstone style of the Baptist Church. Mr. Cruz, a rare Cuban-American outlier in a state where Hispanic usually means Mexican-American, attended overwhelmingly white Christian schools in Houston and prefers Spanglish to Spanish.
Together, Senators Rubio and Cruz, of Florida and Texas, represent a watershed moment in American politics: Two Hispanics running as top-tier candidates for president, and increasingly gunning for each other, in what one Latino conservative has dubbed “the yuca primary,” referring to the popular Cuban staple and an acronym for young urban Cuban-American. Their collisions on defense, immigration and other issues formed one of the main story lines at Tuesday’s Republican debate. The two have emerged as perhaps the leading alternatives to Donald J. Trump.
But this year’s campaign tale has not been the kind of Hispanic coming-of-age story many Latinos had expected, particularly given their growing numbers and influence in the polls.
Three years after Republicans vowed to do a better job courting Latinos in the wake of their 2012 presidential defeat, the party has done the opposite as immigrants come under repeated assault by Mr. Trump.
The harsh tone and the increasingly restrictive policies on immigration that have been floated have complicated the prospects of Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio who, as Latinos, had a head start with Hispanic voters.
“If you don’t have a positive, constructive tone, you will have a hard time getting support from Latinos,” said Alfonso Aguilar, the executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, who also said that the two men, and Mr. Cruz in particular, must do more to address Latino sensitivities. “Hispanics won’t vote for someone just because they’re Hispanic.”
This week, two liberal Hispanic groups rolled out radio and online advertisements tethering Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio to Mr. Trump and criticizing them as anti-Latino, a tactic Democrats hope will dampen Latino support for them in the general election. To win the White House, candidates probably need to capture about 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, political analysts say; in 2012, Mitt Romney stumbled with 27 percent.
Hispanics in the United States are far from monolithic, although most vote for Democrats. As conservative Republican Cuban-Americans running for the presidency, Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio, both 44, represent the diversity of Latinos in the United States and the degree to which their voters are not pledged to one party. The two, who make a point of playing down their ethnic identity, offer a departure from the more familiar Hispanic narrative of, say, a Mexican-American Democrat from Texas.
Some view the fact that they appeal to conservative voters in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, where few Latinos live, as progress.
“We’re in a new phase now — in some sense, ideology appears to be trumping ethnicity,” said Henry Cisneros, a Democrat and the former mayor of San Antonio, who served as secretary of housing and urban development in the Clinton administration.
The similarities between the two candidates are striking. Both men are first-generation Americans of Cuban descent, born five months apart. Both come from staunchly anti-Castro families that fled Cuba before the revolution. And both embrace conservative positions on issues including abortion, guns, the minimum wage and health care.
But the differences between the two candidates, shaped by geography, upbringing and community, are at least as compelling. In their style, policies on immigration and approach to their Hispanic identities — traits that can make or break their success in courting both Latino and non-Latino voters — the two sharply diverge.
Many of Senator Rubio’s formative years were spent in bicultural Miami in the 1970s and 1980s; linking arms with his Cuban-American identity came naturally to him. Miami is home to the largest Cuban-American population outside Cuba and its presence transformed the city into the unofficial capital of Latin America. A majority of Cubans here are Republican and fiercely anti-Castro — positions that are evident in the anti-engagement Cuba policies of both Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz. Tyranny, to them, is personal.
Mr. Rubio’s father and mother married in Cuba when they were young and arrived in Miami in 1956, hoping for better — better jobs, better prospects and better dreams for their children, a common immigrant sentiment. Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959 dampened plans to return home, Mr. Rubio said in his 2012 book, “An American Son.” So they stayed. His father had a career tending bar, and his mother worked as a maid.
For Mr. Rubio, assimilation meant embracing his American and Cuban sides with equal gusto. Celebrating Noche Buena with lechon asado — Christmas Eve with marinated pork — and then watching the Miami Dolphins on New Year’s Day. Speaking Spanish on Univision, English on Fox. Riffing on rap and dancing to Cuban music.
Papá, his grandfather, who tended to Mr. Rubio’s Cuban side during the family’s six years in Las Vegas, made an endless stream of cafecitos, or Cuban coffee, told him about Cuban history and had Mr. Rubio read a Spanish-language newspaper aloud so “I would learn to speak his native language correctly,” Mr. Rubio wrote.
Nelson Diaz, a former aide to Mr. Rubio and now the chairman of the Republican Party in Miami-Dade County, said of Mr. Rubio: “He is American 100 percent, but he is very in touch with his Cuban background.”
In West Miami, where Mr. Rubio began his political career and lives surrounded by Hispanic immigrants, he showed his cultural dexterity at a recent rally by joking that he would bring a Cuban pork roasting box to Washington. “Vamos a llevar una Caja China a la Casa Blanca,” Mr. Rubio said. His wife, Jeanette, who is Colombian-American, stood nearby.
It is this version of Mr. Rubio that has drawn Latinos to his corner, even as his tap dance on immigration continues to dampen enthusiasm. “He clearly understands and has lived the story of the immigrant,” said Javier Palomarez, the president of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Marco gets it.”
With so many here touched by the vagaries of immigration policy, most in Miami want to improve the law. Recognizing this, Mr. Rubio joined Democrats in writing an immigration reform bill in 2013 that created a path to citizenship and fortified border security. For this, Mr. Rubio earned widespread praise.
After fierce backlash from conservatives and Tea Party supporters, though, Mr. Rubio quickly distanced himself from the bill and moved to emphasize border security and enforcement as a priority. This angered Hispanics who viewed it as an attempt to placate the conservative base. They also have criticized Mr. Rubio for failing to defend Latinos more robustly from Mr. Trump’s attacks.
Mr. Cruz, who unlike Mr. Rubio won his Senate seat with relatively tepid Latino support, faces an even more arduous task wooing Latino voters. His positions on immigration and his reluctance to embrace his Latino roots have hurt him among Hispanics from both parties, political experts said. Mr. Cruz supports squeezing out undocumented immigrants by tightening enforcement, temporarily freezing immigration levels and changing the 14th Amendment to end birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants.
Even Latino Republicans have been unsparing in their criticism of Mr. Cruz.
“I don’t think that Latinos in Texas think that he identifies strongly enough as a Latino himself, even though he is,” said Lionel Sosa, a Texas media consultant and an influential Hispanic Republican who said he would not vote for Mr. Cruz. “I’m not sure that Hispanic Republicans really believe that Ted Cruz represents them and their values and their issues.”
Mr. Cruz grew up in the 1970s and 1980s in Houston, where he attended schools and lived in a county with scarcely any Cuban-Americans. A self-described “geeky kid,” Mr. Cruz changed his Spanish-sounding name, Rafael Edward Cruz, as a teenager.
In his autobiography, “A Time for Truth,” published in 2015, Mr. Cruz described how, growing up, Rafael turned into Rafaelito and then Felito. “The problem with that name was that it seemed to rhyme with every major corn chip on the market,” Mr. Cruz wrote. “Fritos, Cheetos, Doritos and Tostitos — a fact that other young children were quite happy to point out.”
His preference for Ted, a suggestion from Mr. Cruz’s Irish-American mother, infuriated his father, Rafael, who in 1957 fled Cuba for Texas after being arrested and beaten by agents for Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban dictator. “He viewed it as a rejection of him and his heritage, which was not my intention,” Mr. Cruz wrote. For two years, his father refused to call him Ted. Today, Mr. Cruz serves as his son’s Spanish-speaking surrogate.
The name change is but one example of how Mr. Cruz has de-emphasized his Latino identity. Unlike Mr. Rubio, Mr. Cruz had only his father and a few relatives to connect him to the island, its language and traditions. Once his father became a born-again Christian, religion, not ethnicity, appeared to dominate the Cruz household.
“His approach to all the people with whom we interacted was who they were, not what they were,” said David K. Panton, Mr. Cruz’s former roommate at Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
On the stump, Mr. Cruz has embraced his Cuban father’s story, more for what it says about America than what it says about immigrants. His father fled Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear and worked as a dishwasher to help pay tuition at the University of Texas at Austin. “America, quite simply, saved my father,” Mr. Cruz wrote.
The story is a poignant one, but many Latinos have said it falls flat for one reason: The pride Mr. Cruz feels for his father is not one he extends to the larger immigrant community.
“He doesn’t do anything to suggest to people that he is a Latino senator from Texas and that he is representing the Latino constituency, the majority of which is Mexican-American,” said State Senator Jose Rodríguez, Democrat of Texas. “He doesn’t identify with the Mexican-American community. The Mexican-American community doesn’t identify with him.”
Relationship marketing, the pursuit of long-term engagement rather than short-term sales, has been called a game-changing marketing trend for 2016. Credit union leaders may find that a bit amusing, given “relationship marketing” is less of a trend, more a way of life, within the movement.
What more credit unions are learning, however, is this deeply rooted competency for relationship building is better suited to some consumer segments than to others. As certain financial products become commodities for some individuals, they remain coveted, potentially life-changing, services for others.
Take Kenia Calderon, for example. The 21-year-old El Salvador native has been in the U.S. for nearly 10 years. After what she describes as a bad experience with a major U.S. bank, she watched her parents pull out of the U.S. financial system altogether. Today, the double-major university student and president of her school’s Latino student group manages her entire family’s finances with the help of Village Credit Union in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Serving the Latino community is hot these days,” said Calderon. “But for most big companies, that’s because they see dollar signs. My credit union put humanity ahead of profit. By helping me and my family better our lives, they have impacted generations to come. It’s a domino effect. In my family alone, we will have three college graduates leaving school debt-free thanks to the help of Village Credit Union.”
Earning the business of more Millennials like Calderon – the second largest Hispanic demographic in the country – may require a new way of thinking for U.S. industry. For credit unions, though, it’s about getting back to the basics of building mutually beneficial relationships, albeit with a twist.
Young Hispanic consumers have some unique, and somewhat conflicting, tastes. For instance:
While face-to-face is important, digital access is critical. While they speak Spanish, they also speak English. While savings and loans are huge, everyday services are just as vital.
The American Heart Association tagline answers the question, "Why should I care about my health?" The answer? Life is why.
Like many, if not all others, Latinos love life and living a good life. A good life is made more possible with good health and the AHA has defined ideal cardiovascular health, which increases the likelihood, the chance, of a good life based on Life's Simple 7.
The path to ideal cardiovascular health includes improving on Life's Simple 7. You can determine your "cardiovascular health" score by going to mylifecheck.org and answering a few questions. One component of the score is based on cholesterol level.
A study published this summer suggests that, regarding Hispanics and cholesterol, the glass is half full. Half of Hispanics in the study were unaware that they had high cholesterol. Of those who were aware, fewer than one out of three were receiving treatment.
The take-home message? Hispanics are under treated for high cholesterol. In that study of 16,415 U.S. Hispanic/Latino adults, investigators found that only one out of 10 of the study population were receiving cholesterol-lowering statin medications even though, as many as one in three to one in two were eligible for statin treatment.
Knowing about and addressing cholesterol is very important to achieve ideal cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of future heart attacks or strokes. Cholesterol is a major controllable risk factor for heart disease, and high cholesterol, particularly LDL cholesterol, often called "bad," cholesterol, can contribute to narrowing, stiffening, and blocking blood flow through the arteries that carry blood to the heart and to the brain.
The most current AHA guidelines for managing blood cholesterol recommend that doctors use an approach that is based on determining a patient's risk for heart disease and stroke. If the risk is high -- based on a "risk calculator" developed by AHA -- then use of medications, usually statin drugs that lower cholesterol, will be part of the management plan.
Another very important part of the plan is lifestyle modification: eating a heart healthy diet; regular exercise or physical activity; not smoking; and getting to and maintaining a healthy weight -- four of Life's Simple 7.
What a person eats and portion sizes may contribute to high cholesterol and a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Eating more fruits and vegetables -- perhaps from our countries of origin or background -- in place of fatty, calorie dense foods is one approach to improve the heart healthfulness of our diets.
Finding ways to use healthy cultural practices and to address factors like access to and affordability of healthy food, might also make it possible for more families to prepare healthy, affordable, home-cooked meals.
Regular physical activity must also be part of a plan to improve heart health. Only 43 percent of Hispanics are getting the recommended amount of weekly physical activity - 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week.
A study published this year in the AHA's journal Circulation found that Hispanics' lower levels of physical activity and higher levels of sedentary lifestyles increases the chances of having more heart disease and diabetes. The study included more than 12,000 U.S. adults with Mexican, South American, Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican or Central American backgrounds.
Healthy weight is another important aspect of a plan to improve health and reduce the chance of heart attack or stroke. Among the participants of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, 40 percent were obese.
The highlighted research seems to point to untreated cholesterol in Hispanics as a factor for poor heart health, but the real take home message is that healthy eating, regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight are every day ways that Latinos and all Americans can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the likelihood of heart disease, heart attacks , and strokes.
Life's Simple 7 is a good starting place to understand heart health and to start living healthy, but a conversation with your personal doctor is also very important to assess the risk and the need to be on medication to lower cholesterol.
The bottom line is that good health is part of a good life -- una vida Buena. Ideal cardiovascular health is important for good health.
Fill your glass with the elixir of life and a toast (un brindis) -- Life is why!
HERITAGE: "Venezuelan by birth, Charlottean by choice"
HOMETOWN: Charlotte, NC
OCCUPATION/TITLE: Community connector
Astrid Chirinos is the Chief Development Executive of the Latin American Economic Development Corporation and was the President of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte, an organization that she helped establish. Throughout her time in her adopted city, Astrid has dedicated herself to developing and managing programs, events and opportunities focused on the economic development, growth, sustainability and success of the Latino Business community in the Charlotte Region.
As a child, did you know that you wanted to move 1,900 miles away from home to become a business builder in America?
I am not sure if I "knew" but, you know, you believe more in what you do than what you say. So just to give you an example, at my childhood home there was a big tree at the bottom of the steps of my house. This big tree, it kind of created a sort of an umbrella, and every week I would have a big tea party with all my toys and my friends underneath that tree. I would gather my cousins under the tree and we'd have raffles of my toys and to me that was a natural thing have an event every week, adding new toys and whatever.
I realize now that I had a desire or a tendency to gather people and connect them. I had no idea I wanted to go into business development as I grew up but I knew that when there were more than 3 people together, ooooooh there was energy there. You could create such a dynamic if there were 10 or more. Then when I was in high school I would be the one organizing events and dances and it was clearly about communicating to the groups and connecting them and that has been the pattern: building relationships, connecting the dots, bringing people together.
Some people would say that it's hard to become a leader even under the best of circumstances, much less being a Latina and an immigrant to the South. What helped you break through barriers?
I came here from Venezuela in 1979 at the age of 17. My whole family moved to North Carolina because my dad wanted for us to study in the U.S. and I'll always be grateful to my parents for having opened up our horizons, awareness and opportunities by bringing us here and getting us beyond our limitations. The U.S. really expands you, it pushes you to grow and I'm grateful for the fact that once I came to the U.S., I was able to become me. Part of it was that because I spoke the most English, I was the spokesperson so I was pushed much faster to understand the dynamics of my surroundings. I was pushed to be strong and to do the best for my family and myself.
Early on - even though we were from the middle-upper class and didn't have the experience of not having - we were in survival mode, still acculturating. I got engaged to and married an American and that's when I realized I needed to find my identity or else I would be defined what people in North Carolina, or his family, or his work, thought of me. Part of my husband's family decided I was Italian, not Latina, because they had experience with educated Italians and wanted to think of me that way, not as one of the people that took care of their yards or cleaned their homes.
Were there other things about being Latina in the South that you had to work through to be taken seriously?
Well, one thing that I tell people is that we all have accents - just like how it's always 5 o'clock somewhere, people from all over this country have accents just like the people who come here from all over the world. And just because we may speak with an accent does not mean that we think with an accent.
As Latinos we come better prepared - many times even better than those who had the benefit of growing up in U.S. - but we don't realize it because we don't have the self-esteem or the self-confidence to realize it. We really have to work to define our value and our contributions beyond the stereotypes others might have.
Why did you identify such a pressing need to do targeted business development for Latino small businesses?
Not very many Latinos understand, or realize, that as newcomers immigrants have the tendency to move from survival mode to safety mode. Latino immigrants don't easily jump to stages of belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization - we end up missing out on achieving those higher needs, like belonging, because we are totally focused on working. We're working to take care of our families, working on meeting basic needs.
Even as entrepreneurs, instead of creating a whole enterprise we're thinking about creating a few jobs. But striving for the American Dream takes more that just working. In the U.S., the model of engagement is very different than in Latin American countries. Here you find professional and intellectual growth through community - in our country we tend to do that in the church.
In the U.S. it's hands-on; you have to get out there, build trust and we need to be conscious of that fact. If we're in this country we have to take advantage of the culture and other opportunities, we didn't just come here to work.
This is why needed to create organizations that could encourage Latino business owners to reach their full potential, to reach for "being" rather than just "doing" - and that's what creates that belonging. Latinos tend to be isolated, they stay in their group, they bond but don't bridge. We have to be comfortable bridging, relationship-building and asset-building, because it's that isolation that keeps us in survival and safety mode.
What do you tell new small business owners, and others, looking to get to the next level?
Know that when you realize that you have reached a plateau and don't know how to move forward and you get restless and anxious - you are in the right place.
The fact that you are at a stage seeking new answers is exciting because that is when the growth is going to come. So just be willing and open to new things and don't give up - this is the normal discomfort of growth. Have faith that you will find your purpose. Remember, if you're feeling discomfort, feeling anxious, this is the best time for you stay the course - the best is yet to come.
As Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuts nationwide, everyone is gearing up for the return of the mega franchise by paying homage to some of its most classic characters. While Joseph Gordon-Levitt's DIY Yoda is a great cosplay, the Star Wars phenomenon among one community can be summed up with a simple T-shirt:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens actress and Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong'o, who is Mexican-born, has been seen all over Twitter and Instagram wearing this "Estar Guars" shirt.
Latinos have also been showing their love for Star Wars with the #EstarGuars hashtag on Twitter, including memes and pictures of them in cosplay that show, when it comes to Star Wars, that galaxy far far away is big enough for us all.
ling Latino today bolstered its Spanish-language movie selection, becoming the only over-the-top provider to offer Sony Pictures Television’s (SPT) Cine Sony Television. Sling Latino customers now have access to Hollywood movies and entertainment on Cine Sony Television, available in “Paquete Total.” Cine Sony Television is also included in the “Best of Spanish TV” and “Películas & Novelas” packs, available as add-ons to Sling TV’s “Best of Live TV.”
“While other traditional pay-TV providers have abandoned their Latino-focused OTT services, Sling Latino will continue to expand our Spanish-language programming and develop a personalized TV viewing experience for our customers,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV. “The addition of Cine Sony Television is a testament to our commitment of giving customers choice in their entertainment options.”
“Cine Sony Television is a leader in providing access to top quality entertainment in Spanish via the platforms viewers most prefer,” said Tom Troy, senior vice president, distribution, networks, U.S., SPT. “The channel programs popular Hollywood content for multi-platform viewing.”
The addition of Cine Sony Television brings a wide array of live modern Hollywood hits in Spanish and popular film favorites, from top genres such as action-adventure, comedy, and horror/suspense, with on-demand content coming soon. Customers can sign up for Sling Latino at www.slinglatino.com.
Sling Latino Lineup Sling Latino provides programming to satisfy the needs of the U.S. Hispanic community. With Sling Latino, subscribers can watch programming from beIN Sports en Español, Pasiones, Univision, and Azteca America, among others. Sling Latino customers also have access to an extensive library of on-demand entertainment.
Spanish-preferred customers can choose to customize their entertainment experience by subscribing to “Paquete Total” for $12 per month (Spanish) or choose from country-specific packages for $7 per month. Additionally, English-preferred customers who subscribe to Sling TV’s “Best of Live TV” can add Spanish-language packs, such as “Deportes Extras,” “Películas & Novelas Extra,” or “Best of Spanish TV,” each for $5 per month. Other English-language add-ons to Sling TV’s “Best of Live TV” include “Sports Extra,” “Hollywood Extra,” “Kids Extra,” “Lifestyle Extra,” and “World News Extra,” each for $5 per month, as well as HBO® for $15 per month.
Sling Latino is currently available on Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablets, Android TV platforms including Google’s Nexus Player, Google’s Chromecast, current-generation Roku players and Roku TV models, Xbox One, Android and iOS devices, Macs and PCs.
Whether you’re Latino or not, if you enjoy Tex-Mex music, you’ve probably heard of Little Joe Y La Familia, the Grammy Award winning band that fused traditional Mexican, salsa, rock and roll, jazz and country western music to create a new revolutionary sound. Initially established as Little Joe and the Latinaires in the early 1960s, the band’s image and sound changed over the years, leading to a name change as well to Little Joe Y La Familia. Fronted by Jose Maria (Little Joe) Hernandez and his younger brother Juan (Johnny) Hernandez, the band offered a powerful sound with lead vocals and harmonics that resulted in a string of hits. The combined musical and business talents of the brothers catapulted them from the cotton fields of Texas to international music stages where tens of thousands of fans cheered their performances. Having reached a success of legendary status, what happened that split this musical dynamic duo?
Many have said that Little Joe Y La Familia reached their musical peek in the late 1970s with their international mega hit “Las Nubes,” when rumors started about the band breaking up. Some believed it was jealousy among siblings that led to the band’s fall, while others thought it was excessive use of illicit drugs. Now, through the autobiography “The Cotton Picker – An Odyssey” by Johnny Hernandez, the myths and rumors of the Band’s breakup are told.
This well written book takes the reader through several decades from the hardship of being born and raised in central Texas where many Mexican American families followed the cotton-picking season, through the pressures and excesses of being a musical star. Johnny’s depiction of growing up in Temple, Texas, as a cotton-picker, will resonate with many former farmworkers whose working days usually started with the smell of fresh made flour tortillas. Others will quickly relate to the experience of going to public school and facing a combination of discrimination and bullying, forcing Mexican Americans to band together for protection and survival. However, perhaps it's Johnny’s telling of the respect and love he had for his family and friends as a preteen, a teenager and as an adult that makes his story extra unique.
As he tells it, singing is what kept Johnny going when working the cotton fields during Texas’ hot and humid summers. He often daydreamed that someday he would be performing on a stage in front of hundreds of cheering fans. That dream almost did not become a reality because of Johnny's rebellious tendencies, which got him into legal trouble, had him drop out of school, and marry by age 16. It was after getting married that Johnny began to learn the hard lessons of life, taking on various jobs to earn a living for him and his wife.
There were many people who entered Johnny’s life that slowly helped turn him around from his rebellious ways. However, none was more influential than his brother Jesse, who had convinced Little Joe to make Johnny a part of Little Joe and the Latinaires. It was brilliant move by Jesse, who was convinced the group was headed to stardom. After recording their first major hit, “Por Un Amor,” Little Joe, Johnny and the Latinaires also hit the road for performances across Texas. Unfortunately, Jesse was killed in a car accident before he could see his brothers reach the heights of their musical success.
After releasing a string of hit songs, Little Joe moved the band to California where they discovered new musical sounds and performed with popular acts like MALO and Tower of Power. During the late 60s and early 70s, the look and feel of the band fit in with the sounds and styles being created by Bay Area bands, winning over thousands of new fans, especially when they broke out with Tex-Mex music. Johnny was also getting more solo singing opportunities, not only recording, but writing as well. During this time, he also met and became friends with many Chicano music legends like Rick Stevens and Richard Bean.
Being apart for lengths of time from his family, put a tremendous strain on Johnny’s marriage, resulting in his first divorce. It was also around this time that Johnny met Pat, a beautiful Mexican American girl from Modesto, California, who became his second wife, and as Johnny declares, the true love of his life. When the band moved back to Texas, Johnny took Pat with him and started a life together, but not everything was honey and roses. Suddenly, Johnny began to feel anger directed at him by Little Joe, an anger that would determine the fate of Johnny's musical future and the Band's direction.
“The Cotton Picker – An Odyssey” is a series of well-told stories by Johnny Hernandez who presents them in the form of a diary or journal, sharing the hardships and successes he achieved, as well as missed opportunities. This book captures the realities of growing up poor in Texas where unfairness and discrimination are as common as compassion and equality, and where life is learned in the streets. Johnny’s detailed description of his adventures, including a sudden trip to Veracruz Mexico, gives the reader the sense of being in the rider’s seat on a very unique, spur of the moment trip. This book is easy, fun and interesting to read, but it’s the story telling of musical historical events that makes Johnny Hernandez’ “The Cotton Picker – An Odyssey” a must-have book.
December 6, 2015 Source: Media Life Magazine Miss Universe has a new Spanish-language TV home in the U.S.
Broadcast network Azteca America has picked up the Spanish-language rights to the annual pageant, which airs on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Vanessa Claudio and Poncho de Anda will host the Spanish-language telecast, while Steve Harvey is host the English-language broadcast.
The move comes after Univision cut ties with the Miss Universe Organization, which was then owned by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Univision and NBC both dropped the pageants following Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants.
In September Trump sold the Miss Universe Organization to talent agency WME-IMG.
The move could generate solid viewership for Azteca, which says that Miss Universe is an important cultural brand in the Latino community, with five of the seven most recent winners hailing from Latin American countries.
The 2014 Miss Universe pageant, which aired on Jan. 25 of this year, averaged 2.20 million total viewers on Telemundo
That made it the No. 22 program that week on Spanish-language broadcast, and the top rated non-telenovela.
It was also Telemundo’s top program of the week, with Univision claiming all of the top 21 spots.
While the great majority of public housing residents in Chicago are African-American, Latino leaders are looking to public and subsidized housing to alleviate displacement and gentrification pressures in neighborhoods with a strong Latino presence, like Pilsen and Logan Square.
With increasing attention on the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), there are more calls for subsidized housing options for Latinos and even threats of legal action should they be ignored.
The Pilsen Alliance community organization recently crafted a housing affordability plan for the neighborhood, with the help of urban development and planning professors at DePaul University and the University of Illinois Chicago. Much of the proposal focuses on lobbying and partnering with the CHA.
“It’s a big shock for families in a neighborhood that’s been low-income for so long,” said Byron Sigcho, a member of the community activist group Pilsen Alliance and former aldermanic candidate for the 25th Ward, which includes Pilsen. The group hopes that more CHA housing will ensure affordable options remain for Latinos in their long-standing community.
Latinos and Hispanics accounted for almost 30 percent of Chicago’s population in 2014, according to the American Community Survey. And, almost a quarter of the community is income-eligible for CHA’s public housing or Housing Choice Voucher Program, based on an analysis by the Latino Policy Forum.
There is often stigma around public housing among Latinos, however, according to Sigcho. At a recent housing committee meeting at the Pilsen Alliance headquarters, a member expressed concern over the idea of bringing housing projects into the neighborhood.
Sigcho pointed out that the CHA already has a presence in Pilsen, including the Casa Maravilla, a 73-unit apartment complex for seniors developed by the Pilsen-based organization Resurrection Project.
That development is not associated with the stereotypes of crime and violence that are often associated with public housing, however.
“It’s important to stop pathologizing public housing,” Sigcho said.
Stigma is often used as an explanation for Latinos’ low participation rates in public housing. But surveys have suggested that a lack of knowledge about the CHA is more to blame, according to Savannah Clement, the housing manager at the Latino Policy Forum. “It’s not that they don’t want to live in public housing, but that they don’t know” about the services, she said. “It speaks to CHA’s poor outreach strategy.”
In 1996 CHA settled a class-action lawsuit, filed by the non-profit organization Latinos United, alleging unequal access for Latinos to public housing services. The resulting federal consent decree required the CHA to increase its Latino tenancy significantly, although it did not set quotas and the decree expired in 2005.
Latino participation rates in CHA plateaued or declined after the consent decree expired, Clement said. Although 25 percent of Chicago’s Latinos in 2014 were eligible for public housing based on their income, they made up only 10 percent of the population living in such units, according to the Latino Policy Forum’s analysis. Similarly, Latinos accounted for only 9 percent of CHA’s voucher program despite the 23 percent eligibility rate in their community. Vouchers allow people to live in private apartments and pay 30 percent of their income toward rent; the government pays the rest of the amount.
“Latinos are participating at less than half the rate they should be based on income,” Clement said. “Without the consent decree there is no accountability.”
Today, there are whispers of yet another potential lawsuit. The Pilsen Alliance has mentioned legal action as a possibility if the CHA isn’t responsive to their housing proposal.
And the Pilsen Alliance isn’t the only group to mention legal action. The CHA dropped its long-standing development contract with Hispanic Housing Development Corporation (HHDC) in August. CHA contracted HHDC as a private property development manager of affordable housing for 26 years.
“We were flabbergasted,” said Hipolito (Paul) Roldan, the company’s president and chief executive officer. He called it a “huge mistake on the part of the city and the CHA.”
As the only Latino property manager contracted with the CHA, the company was the main entry point for Latinos into public housing, Clement said. “CHA is lacking that trust in the Latino community. When you take away the contracts with Latino vendors, that causes a gap and a barrier.”
Roldan has little faith in the leadership at CHA and city hall.
“We need something that will transcend the authority of these people. That’s why we need a legal mandate to come down on this institution,” Roldan said. “Latinos aren’t participating – not as developers, not in their neighborhoods … So for the next 50 years, we will be out in the cold.”
Sigcho and others say the Hispanic housing corporation got complacent once they “got a piece of the pie” through their CHA contract. But, “if they are on the right side of things, we can do something to fight the discrimination,” he said in reference to possible collaboration.
Matthew Aguilar, senior manager of communications and marketing at the CHA, said that the termination of HHDC’s contract will not affect Latinos’ access to CHA services.
In October, the CHA released a request for business proposals (or an RFP) “seeking community-based organizations to provide outreach and information services to the Latino community, as well as other immigrant and non-English speaking populations,” Aguilar added.
CHA was supposed to send this RFP to the Latino Policy Forum for review before its release, but they didn’t, Clement said. The agency wasn’t legally required to share, but there was no explanation or warning, and “it really erodes trust,” she said.
Yahaira Battiata works at Erie Neighborhood House, a community organization that serves primarily low-income Latinos. She is the outreach coordinator for Buen HOGAR, an existing CHA outreach initiative. The Erie Neighborhood House is contracted with the CHA to provide housing workshops, legal assistance and affordable housing opportunities to members of the Latino community.
Battiata sees progress. For a long time, many Hispanics had no access to CHA programs since the agency didn’t provide information in Spanish, she said. Now there are translations and language services available.
But the CHA has been limiting Erie Neighborhood House’s contract to three-month extensions for the last year, and it is hard to operate on a short-term scale like that, according to Clement.
While Clement sees disinvestment by the CHA, she also acknowledged progress. In recent months, the Latino Policy Forum has had unprecedented access to the administration through monthly and private meetings with the CEO, there are Latinos in leadership positions at the agency and CHA created the Office of Diversity.
It’s a paradox, she said. “That’s what’s so strange about all of this.”
The Pilsen Alliance sees the CHA as a means to curb displacement, and Sigcho thinks a partnership with the agency would be mutually beneficial. It could revamp CHA’s image among Latinos and “change the legacy of corruption,” he noted. “We can be an ally.”
With mounting pressure and scrutiny on city hall in the wake of unrest over the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, the last thing Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants is negative press, Clement said. “If there is any moment to see change, this is the one.”