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Reporting Across Fronteras
Updated: 6 min 2 sec ago

Las malas condiciones de los campos de fútbol en El Paso afectan la práctica del deporte

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 11:30am

Con el crecimiento de ligas amateur de fútbol en El Paso, también hay una creciente preocupación entre jugadores y entrenadores respecto a las malas condiciones de los campos en los que se practica este deporte.

“Hay muchos campos que si están en mal estado y los jugadores corren muchos riesgos, sobre todo los jugadores que trabajan, tienen su familia, chavos que juegan en la escuela”, dijo Joel García, de 36 años, entrenador y jugador de fútbol en la liga Del Valle Soccer League. “Y, sí, es muy riesgoso jugar en esos campos.”

Esta es parte de la razón por la que varias de las ligas amateur locales, requieren que sus jugadores sean mayores de edad. Estas ligas estan conformadas por 18 a 22 equipos, cada uno con un promedio de 15 jugadores.

Luis Islas, dueño y coordinador de la Del Valle Soccer League en El Paso, explicó que requieren que los jugadores tengan mas de 18 años y se les pone en su credencial que no hay “aseguranza” de que la liga sea responsable en caso de algún accidente.

Al mismo tiempo, clarificó que en caso de una emergencia la liga tiene un seguro que es exclusivamente para daños a la propiedad de la ciudad.

Se hicieron múltiples intentos por contactar a oficiales del Departamento de Parques y Recreación de El Paso para darles oportunidad de comentar sobre las condiciones de los campos de fútbol en la ciudad pero no se obtuvo respuesta.

Tierra y pasto se levantan mientras un jugador controla la pelota durante un partido de futbol dentro de la Del Valle Soccer League el domingo, 7 de octubre de 2018. Photo credit: Roberto Saenz

Agujeros, pasto demasiado crecido, y averías causadas por la lluvia son solo algunos de los factores que hacen que muchos campos se vuelvan peligrosos para la práctica sana del fútbol, según varios jugadores y entrenadores.

“En realidad nosotros tratamos de pagar nuestra inscripción a tiempo y el dueño de la liga trata de que la ciudad venga a cortar el pasto, a que se rellenen los hoyos que se hacen por la lluvia, pero hay muchos campos que si están en mal estado y los jugadores corren muchos riesgos”, agregó García, quien juega y también es entrenador.

Ali Garcia, entrendor dentro de la United Soccer League, también liga amateur, explicó que también en dicha liga, los campos se encuentran en pobres condiciones. “La verdad si necesitan mucho arreglo los campos, si estan muy jodidos”, dijo.

“Jugamos aqui en Cielo Vista, en el Stiles, en Lomaland, alla por Montwood, el mejorcito seria el de Stiles, pero lo que tiene ese es que esta muy chiquito”, dijo el mismo entrenador.

Jugadores disputan la pelota mientras tierra y polvo se levantan durante un partido de futbol dentro de la Del Valle Soccer League el domingo, 7 de octubre de 2018. Photo credit: Roberto Saenz

Los protagonistas del juego evidentemente son quienes corren los riesgos de jugar en campos en malas condiciones, y esto puede convertirse en un obstáculo para ellos, y no solo el factor de las posibles lesiones o accidentes les preocupa, sino que también se ve afectado el flujo del juego en sí.

Eduardo Pedroza, de 24 años, jugador de fútbol también dentro de la Del Valle Soccer League, explicó que el juego puede ser afectado por los campos en mal estado.“Puede que la pelota se pueda mover, que te pueda cambiar el juego, el ritmo del juego. En ocasiones, uno puede ir corriendo y si hay malas condiciones un jugador se puede caer”, dijo Pedroza.

Islas dijo que los jugadores pagan para jugar en la liga una cuota de 20 dólares que se usa para múltiples propósitos, incluyendo la coordinación de las ligas y también para mantenimiento a los campos. La ciudad asume el costo de cortar el césped, el dijo.

“Hacemos unas premiaciones muy costosas en todas las categorías, y lógicamente, lo que se paga a la ciudad, y las aseguranzas… parte de eso va al mantenimiento… y todos son gastos, pintar la canchas, todo eso lo tenemos que hacer nosotros, no lo hace la ciudad”, agregó Islas.

Usualmente las ligas toman medidas para prevenir poner en riesgo la integridad de los jugadores. En caso de eventos climatológicos como fuertes lluvias y tormentas eléctricas, las ligas locales usualmente cancelan todos sus compromisos y los desplazan para otra fecha. Estos factores hacen de la practica del deporte un poco mas riesgoso para todos, y los jugadores y entrenadores dicen que esperan un poco mas de acción por parte de la ciudad por el bien de los jugadores y de este popular deporte.

The post Las malas condiciones de los campos de fútbol en El Paso afectan la práctica del deporte appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

Vegan merchants sharing their bounty with community shelters

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 11:30am

An El Paso couple are providing homeless people and others in need with meals and educational services to promote plant-based living.

Roman and Adriana Wilcox, owners and operators of One Grub Community, are following a mission centered on giving back to their community where five percent of their sales and 100 percent of their tips go toward the purchase of healthy food for meals for people at non-federally funded shelters like Annunciation House, Villa Maria, The Opportunity Center and others.

“We needed to make sure that we are able to cook together and eat together,” Adriana Wilcox said. “I think that’s when you get the community involved and you’re able to get personal with them.”

El Paso couple Roman and Adriana Wilcox, at the Union Square Plaza Farmers’ Market, are owners of One Grub Community, which provides vegan food to the homeless. Photo credit: Jacqueline Aguirre

Through various “pay it forward” events and demonstrations of plant-based meals, the Wilcoxes keep the community involved.

Mayela Duran, housing coordinator for Rapid Rehousing for chronically homeless residents at The Opportunity Center said, last year’s holiday event featured a vegan pozole for the 25 participants who lived in the housing center.

“They were amazed that everything was fresh and that they could do that and it could taste that good,” Duran said.

Opportunity Center resident Michele Jackson was eager to try the two dishes.

“I was surprised, for vegan food- it was good,” she said.

One Grub Community’s vision is to make plant-based food accessible to everyone regardless of economic status. Homelessness in El Paso is a concern, she said.

Homelessness has increased by about 15 percent according to a recent Point-In-Time report by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Opportunity Center provides about 110,000 beds and more than 120,000 hot meals to the people who come to the shelter over the period of one year.

Of those meals One Grub Community provides, Duran is amazed by the vegan dishes brought to the event. “The participants were very happy, it just made their days so special,” she said.

One a recent weekend during the Union Square Plaza Farmers’ Market, featuring a vegan salpicon, roasted tomato soup, carrot cake with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting and their locally famous not’cho queso.

With their pay it forward jar front and center, the Wilcoxes spend most of their time handing people samples of their food and talking about the plant-based ingredients. Meanwhile, the funds in the jar collect. Averaging about 10 to 12 percent during Market hours, the Wilcoxes enjoy communicating with people who stop by.

“Someone has to taste (the food) and that’s how the conversation starts. We feed them and then we get to talk food and then our mission,” Adriana Wilcox said.

The Wilcoxes are preparing to expand on their initiative with a newly assembled team of advisory board members from the community and a commercial kitchen located on Arizona Avenue behind the Arizona Avenue Community Garden, they will open a set dining location and revamp the gardens on location to help their community.

“We’re trying to think of creative ways where we have an umbrella where everyone benefits and we’re trying to make sure that people who are underserved can partake and are included in that structure,” Adriana Wilcox said.

Following their quest in bringing the community together, Roman Wilcox said he hopes to have members of their surroundings join them as they cook, serve, dine and clean together while continuing their pay it forward initiative.

“The community should support each other, they should come together because someone who’s taking from the system will surely turn around and give back in time,” Roman Wilcox said.

The post Vegan merchants sharing their bounty with community shelters appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

El Paso e-sports scene adjusts to new reality after shooting at Florida tournament

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:28am

Repercussions from a deadly shooting in August at a Madden 2018 tournament in Jacksonville devastated the gaming community and repercussions are being felt across the nation and in the Sun City.

Gamers compete at a Super Smash Bros. tournament in El Paso

After a gamer opened fire at the Jacksonville tournament and killed three, including himself, both gamers and tournament organizers were suddenly struck by a harsh reality: the safety and well-being of attendees is not something that can be taken for granted.

Gamers have been coming together to compete against one another since the very first video games allowed head-to-head competition. What was once a hobby for enthusiasts at arcades to prove their dominance has turned into a multimillion-dollar industry, with major sponsors and dedicated E-Sports teams coming together to compete in high-stakes tournaments. To most of these gamers, whether it is a small local meet-up every weekend or a tournament in Las Vegas attended by 300,000 people, competitions are a haven where you escape from reality to practice your hobby.

Not so anymore.

“As someone who’s been playing video games and competing, and now hosts and organizes tournaments, the news hit me like a truck,” said Omar Teran, 28, a local tournament organizer in the E-Sports scene. “All of us, most of us I guess… grew up playing these games and we have friendships, all that stuff, just through our love for this,” he said.

When the shooting occurred at a gaming lounge at Jacksonville Landing Mall, the event was being live-streamed to an audience of tens of thousands of people over the internet. In a recording of the video, what appears to be a laser light is pointed at a player’s chest live on camera.

The footage then cuts to a full-screen shot of the video game before gunshots and chaos erupt. In addition to killing two gamers, the gunman, David Katz, injured 10 before committing suicide.

“Seeing that s***, I was just like ‘Aw man’,” said Caleb Gillis, 22, a local competitor in the fighting game scene who was watching the live stream.

Gillis has attended tournaments in Arizona, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua to compete and play against other fans of fighting games. “All of us who are gamers here were just instantly set off by it. We pretty much all agreed that the last place we’d expect a mass shooting is a tournament.”

Moving forward, Teran, who is also a high school teacher, said that he and other tournament organizers have discussed having bag checks and private security hired to keep order and ensure safety at events.

“The El Paso gaming community is pretty chill but we’re definitely looking into instituting bag checks to make sure we’re all safe out there.” Gillis said that he doesn’t plan on letting this stop him and most of his colleagues from attending events, though it has made him more hesitant about attending gaming events.

The post El Paso e-sports scene adjusts to new reality after shooting at Florida tournament appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

Junt@s Vamos aims to help Juarenses with cancer

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:21am

For cancer patients living in the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez metroplex, treatment is not just expensive, costing thousands of dollars for the uninsured, but also difficult to find. Although El Paso has two oncology centers and a few independent oncologists, according to the non profit cancer support group Junt@s Vamos, services such as Pet scans, radiation treatment and chemotherapy are not easily available in neighboring Ciudad Juarez, a border city of almost 1.5 million residents.

Anthropology professor and Junt@s Vamos core collaborator in Las Cruces Mary Alice Scott takes questions from students at an opioids conference at New Mexico State University on Sept. 27, 2018.

Launched in 2013 by Juarez resident Cristina Coronado, Junt@s Vamos aims to provide a safe space for people with cancer to talk about their illness and receive emotional support. The group also aims to inform patients of their rights and treatments they can seek elsewhere.

There are four core members of the group, but the community involvement extends beyond them. Every fundraiser event consistently draws about 15 volunteers. Aside from the core members, Junt@s Vamos also has eight permanent volunteers.

The health information sessions they hold in Ciudad Juarez throughout the year usually draw 200 people suffering from cancer. The sessions cover health screenings and nutrition plans that can help patients recover quickly from medical treatment. The group also provides alternative therapies for women who have cancer in the form of massage and physical therapy.

Junt@s Vamos’ next step is developing a small business network, group members said. They have started working with women cancer survivors to develop their artisan skills so that they can have a source of income.

“We are working on developing a small business model so women can work to generate their own income. We have been engaged to get them to work artistry work to generate income,” Mary Alice Scott, a coordinator for Junt@s Vamos in Las Cruces.

Years before Coronado’s own cancer experience, the idea for Junt@os Vamos arose when she and another woman named Cynthia met at Juarez clinic where they were both volunteers. Cynthia had struggled with cervical cancer for several years. Due to her dire economic situation, she had not been able to access appropriate and timely treatment for her disease in her hometown of Juarez. Her desperate situation inspired Coronado to gather an informal group of friends in support of Cynthia, who died 20 days after the group’s first meeting.

After Cynthia’s death, the volunteers decided to form a group to help other cancer patients in similar situations. Over the last five years, the group of women and men have dedicated their time to help cancer sufferers from Juarez travel to Chihuahua city, Mexico and Mexico City for treatment not readily available in the three-state El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces border region.

Scott, who works with the group closely, is also the graduate director of the NMSU Department of Anthropology and has helped organize fundraisers in Las Cruces to support cancer patients from Juarez.

“I have wanted to make sure that I am supporting my new community in any way that I can. I consider this whole border region part of my community, so Junt@s Vamos fits very well into that,” Scott said.

She said her family’s own history of receiving cancer treatment in the United States compared with the lack of access for uninsured El Pasoans and residents of Juarez influenced her involvement with Junt@s Vamos.

“While not everyone in my family has survived cancer, each person has been able to receive appropriate cancer treatments and has had access to clinical trials of new cancer drugs here in the United States,” Scott said. “In my first conversation with Cristina, I was just really struck by the injustice of that difference and wanted to support Junt@s Vamos in their work to address that injustice.”

During her time working with Junt@s Vamos, Scott has seen the group evolve in its outreach to cancer patients and now also provides support for survivors.

“The project changes according to needs and issues that arise for members of the group. There has been an increasing emphasis on health fairs and other outreach to communities in and around Juarez that go beyond just a focus on cancer to consider health more broadly,” she said.

The group is also completing construction of a recovery house where people who (return) to Juarez following cancer treatment can have “a quiet, peaceful place to stay as they recover from their treatment and their travel,” she added.

The binational nature of the border has presented a challenge, Scott said, because some Juarez volunteers and patients don’t have permission to cross into the U.S. for meetings and fundraisers.

Scott also sees her relationship with the other group volunteers and patients as reciprocal. While she has worked to help cancer patients obtain treatment and have a safe space in which to express themselves, they have also taught her life lessons.

“One of the things I have learned about health justice work is to change the language around survivorship,” Scott said. “Sometimes talking about people as survivors really narrows the view and understanding of a person’s whole life. Cancer is just one part of life. So the group’s focus on living rather than surviving has been an important lesson for me.”

The post Junt@s Vamos aims to help Juarenses with cancer appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

Borderzine turns 10, and the beat goes on

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 6:46pm

This year is marked by a major NewsMatch fundraising campaign to expand student journalist training, launch of a cross-border community engagement project; and expanded reporting about the borderlands. A 10th anniversary celebration showcase of student photography Nov. 19, 5:30-7 p.m. at UTEP’s Centennial Museum. Please join us.

Dear friends, queridos amigos,

As this year of polarizing, fear-mongering political discourse about the border comes to a close, I bring you good news about Borderzine, the online magazine we launched a decade ago to prepare new generations of bicultural news professionals and ramp up coverage of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

The news lab experiment that began in a basement computer lab of the UTEP Communication building – just a stone’s throw from the colonias of Ciudad Juarez – Borderzine is poised to make even greater contributions to the national effort to create diverse newsrooms that reflect who we are as a nation.

Here’s our promise to you as we look to the future: another decade of hard work to increase the pipeline of journalists of color working in news media by training one student journalist at a time and sharing the untold stories of the border region with the rest of the world.

It’s alarming that after several decades of news industry efforts to boost diversity in newsrooms, less than 4 percent of news media professionals at national media outlets are of Hispanic/Latino background. Even more distressing is that less than half of that tiny percent hold news management positions where they can affect future hiring and news coverage. The most recent issue of the Columbia Journalism Review focuses on the diversity challenge and can be found here.

It’s clear that queda mucho por hacer – there’s still much to do – until newsrooms accurately reflect the growing diversity and changing demographics of our communities. 

In the meantime, allow me to brag a little about our achievements in journalism on the border. Since our launch in December 2008, Borderzine has helped place dozens of bicultural journalism grads in major newsrooms such as CNN, the Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Al Dia, Univision, Telemundo, the Associatee Press among many others.  One has reported for the AP in Mexico, Brazil and now Miami; another is currently on assignment to cover the refugee crisis in Central America; several are producing or reporting on sports for ESPN; one now sits on the CNN digital news desk in Atlanta.

Most of these young journalists were born or raised on the U.S.-Mexico border, many speak two languages, and they all possess the binational, bicultural sensitivity so necessary to accurately report on issues in our interconnected world, where global and local more often than not converge. We are proud that their career development began in our newsroom-classroom where they honed their reporting, writing and multimedia skills.

Over the past 10 years, more than 400 Borderzine student reporters have published hundreds of multimedia stories in English and Spanish about the border region’s unique life and culture. Starting in January we will work with journalism students and professors in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez to develop news media products to dispel negative stereotypes of the border region and tell the real story of fronterizos, what we call those of us who live and work here.

In the meantime, below are a few of my favorite Borderzine stories. Please read and share them on your social media. Please click on the headline to go to the story:

Mexicano, Chicano or pocho: Who am I?

Los colores de Juarez

Push to speed up immigration courts undercuts justice

Joven terapeuta apoya a victimas de crimen en Ciudad Juarez

Sticks and stones can break your bones but cyber bullying can kill you

If you like what you read, I urge you to contribute to this exciting and ongoing work through the national NewsMatch campaign. Each individual dollar donation is matched dollar-for-dollar through Dec. 31. 

 Our hope is to raise at least $25,000 in individual donations to provide more real world training and experiences to students through internships, professional development opportunities and study abroad. And please sign up for our weekly newsletter here

Adelante! Zita

The post Borderzine turns 10, and the beat goes on appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

UTEP legends honored as women’s basketball team celebrates 45th anniversary

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 5:59pm

Sporting a Miners long-sleeve navy T-shirt and a matching cap, Gloria Estrada – a member of the first UTEP women’s basketball team – stepped foot on the court in Memorial Gym where she once stood more than four decades ago.

“It brings back so many memories,” Estrada said as she looked around the gym.

Gloria Estrada stepped foot on the court of Memorial Gym, where she once played more than 40 years ago. On Nov. 17, UTEP will honor her and the other members of the inaugural women’s basketball team .

Estrada – now a member of the UTEP and El Paso Sports Halls of Fame – was one of the founding members of the UTEP women’s basketball team. Little did she know, that as a young woman from the farming community of Fabens, Texas, she would leave her mark in UTEP history and pave the way for young women just like her.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the founding of the women’s basketball team.

In 1973, UTEP students Wayne Thornton and Don Lewis believed it was necessary for women to have the chance to step on the court and represent the university. “The men’s basketball team was really hot at the time and we thought, why not have the women play just like the men,” Thornton said.

Thornton and Lewis, who also coached the women’s intramural flag football team, asked the the university administration and then-President Arleigh B. Templeton to form the team. Templeton was persuaded and gave the Thornton and Lewis $1,000 to start the program.

“We played with the least amount of money,” Estrada said. “We struggled financially.” The team, made up mostly of area players, started out as an intramural team. Teams from Fort Bliss, Ciudad Juarez, and UTEP’s biggest rival, New Mexico State, became the team’s first opponents.

At the end of that first season, Carol Ammerman, a former basketball player for the Amateur Athletic Union, was hired to direct women’s athletics and coach the women’s basketball team. Ammerman was the first woman coach on the UTEP campus.

Shortly afterward, the team became a part of the Intermountain Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (IAIAW). The new affiliation led the team to play tougher opponents like Brigham Young University, Wyoming, Northern Arizona, Utah State and others.

“Once we started playing intramurals the interest peaked here at UTEP, so that’s when I think the department decided to push for it and (Thornton) was probably the most instrumental in doing that,” Estrada said.

Wayne Thornton co-founded the women’s basketball team while he was a UTEP student. Thornton was head coach of the team during the 1978-1979 season.

Thornton praised then-Athletic Director Jim Bowden for believing in the potential that the women’s team would have on campus. He described him as generous and would help the team in as many ways as he could.

Another supporter of the women’s basketball team was men’s basketball coach Don Haskins. Thornton said that Haskins inspired the women’s team members and him. He would even visit the team during practice and run plays with them.

“We were like in awe when he walked in. I remember you could hear his booming voice,” Estrada said. Haskins taught the women how to play defense and that year they were one of the highest-ranking defensive teams in the conference, she said.

The women’s team became one of the first teams to play inside the Don Haskins Center, formerly known as the Special Events Center.

The founding and success of the women’s team and women’s sports on campus would likely not have been possible on a college campus without the passing of Title IX as part of Education Amendments Act of 1972. The law states that no one can be excluded on the basis of sex from participating in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

“We were very fortunate that we were around that same time that Title IX came into existence,” Thornton said. “It opened the door for more funding for the girls, more respect, and more understanding of who they are and what they represented.”

Estrada who was an educator, volleyball and basketball coach for more than 30 years said she didn’t notice the benefits of Title IX until she became a coach for athletic teams in Canutillo, Texas.

“I was able to fight for my program and make the girls aware — we are just as entitled as the men in athletes.”

The women’s basketball team has come a long way since its founding. In 2008 and 2012, the team was named Conference USA champions and made their way to the NCAA tournament under the programs’ longest running head coach, Keitha Adams.

“No one thought the women’s team was going to last more than five or six years,” Thornton said.

While sexism still plays a factor throughout the world of women’s sports, Thornton, who has always been an advocate for women’s sports, wants young girls to keep playing and keep dreaming big.

“Whether its basketball volleyball or some other activity, (women should) always think of the fact that they can change the world. That’s what I feel these young ladies did, the very first team, they changed the world,” he said.

Thornton said he hoped one day the inaugural team would be recognized for its contributions to the UTEP athletics program and receive their very own letterman’s jacket.

And that wish might actually come true. UTEP announced that the plan to honor the inaugural team on Saturday, November 17 at the Don Haskins Center as UTEP plays the NMSU Aggies during the First Light Federal Credit Union Battle of Interstate 10 game.

For Estrada, a woman who would practice playing basketball outside her home in Fabens day in and day out, her time as a UTEP Miner is an honor she said she cherishes.

“We started the program and for me I will I always treasure that. I was a part of that — for me it’s just a great honor.”

The post UTEP legends honored as women’s basketball team celebrates 45th anniversary appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

Loot boxes and gacha games dubbed newest forms of gambling

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 10:00am

Loot boxes and gacha games where players purchase virtual items have become a topic of debate within the online gaming community according to aficionados and regulators who consider them just another form of gambling.

In these online games, it’s not unusual for a player to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy options to customize their favorite character or to purchase weapons and armor. In one published report, a Japanese player spent $70,000 to participate in the gacha game Fate/Grand Order, also known as FGO.

The release of Electronic Art’s (EA) online game Overwatch in 2016 and Sony’s mobile game Fate/Grand Order in 2015 have contributed to the international debate.

Loot boxes, also called loot crate or prize crate, are an in-game purchase item that contain implements for the players to use. In Overwatch, the loot boxes contain character skins, voice lines, and sprays. While some loot boxes offer items that can be obtained by completing certain requirements and missions within the game, players can purchase more through micro transactions that allow players to purchase the virtual goods with a credit card.

While “free-to-play” games such as Fate Grand Order can be downloaded for free at the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store, in order to play someone has to purchase the game’s currency, Saint Quartz, in the game’s shop. The cost of purchasing a Quartz ranges from 99 cents for one, to $80 for 140 Quartz.

With games like Overwatch, loot boxes are obtained in-game by completing certain missions, but are also offered as a purchase item to the player. According to Overwatch’s official site, two loot boxes cost $1.99; five loot boxes cost $4.99; 11 loot boxes are $9.99; 24 loot boxes are $19.99; and 50 loot boxes cost $39.99.

Earlier this year, the Belgium Gaming Commission published a research report on Loot Boxes that concluded: “The purchase of loot boxes by players… is highly problematic, both in terms of the purchase as well in terms of the techniques used to allow players to bet using loot boxes.” Loot boxes were then disabled for Belgian Overwatch players in late August, but are still available in the U.S.

In an official post on the Gaming Commission’s website, Peter Naessens, the director at Gaming Commission, said: “Players are tempted and misled by them and none of the protective measures for games of chance are applied. Now that it has become clear that children and vulnerable persons in particular are being exposed to this without any protection, the game producers, and also the parties involved, are called upon to put a stop to this practice.”

In the U.S., Hawaii Reps. Chris Lee and Sean Quinlan held a news conference in November 2017 that assailed loot boxes, namely in EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2, just days after its release.

Ruben Morales, 27, a long-time Overwatch player who has organized tournaments at El Paso’s Glitch Gaming Center, agrees there should be some regulation on betting on loot boxes. “As long as it’s just cosmetic stuff, I think it’s okay. If you have the option to just outright buy the skin, then that’s fine too.”

Earlier this month, the Belgium news outlet Metro reported that EA, publisher of Overwatch, as well as the FIFA series, and Star Wars Battlefront, is currently being investigated by the Brussels public prosecutor’s office after continuing to offer loot boxes in their games despite the ban enforced by the Belgium Gaming Commission and Minister of Justice Koen Geens.

Similar to loot boxes, gacha games, known for their ‘gacha’ (capsule toy) mechanism, have also come under fire. These free-to-play games are prevalent in Japan and in some other countries. In the gacha game, Fate/Grand Order, FGO, players spend in-game currency to ‘pull’ for their favorite characters as well as make micro transactions to gain more currency. A 10-character pull, for example, requires 30 Saint Quartz.

Released in Japan in 2015, FGO has gained traction in the United States since it was translated into English in 2017.

“I’m invested in it, but I also really hate it,” says digital artist Jennifer Chaides, 22. “I’ve been playing for about a year now, so I think I’ve spent a little over $100. But I’m not nearly as invested or gutsy enough to whale on anything.”

“Whales” are players that spend an excessive amount of money for in-game currency to pull for their favorite characters. In FGO, some characters are available for a limited time, inducing players to spend big to obtain them before the end of the draw banner, which increase the drop rate of certain characters or classes (of characters) over a set period of time.

At the same time, Chaides says she does not regret her decision to spend her money on the game.

In a video interview published by The Wall Street Journal, a Japanese FGO player named Daigo said he spends most of his time and $70,000 of his money to play the game. “I just want to make the characters stronger,” he said in the interview. “I paid $500 getting one character but I wanted it to be level 5. So I ended up paying $2,500.”

FGO also created a tutorial manga titled Understanding With Manga! for new players to understand the game’s mechanics. The protagonist of the comic is a young woman named Gudako (which translates to boring girl) who is a gacha addict. The Gudako character is essentially a jab at over-enthusiastic players and their desire to obtain their favorite characters at any cost.

FGO remains Sony’s most profitable game due to devotees like Daigo. According to a release from the Japanese government’s Official Gazette, the company made $1.8 billion in revenue in the fiscal year that ended March 31, and had a net profit of $312 million. For the previous 2017 fiscal year, Sony had sales of $934 million and earned a net profit of $220 million, according to the publicaion.

While there are ongoing efforts to place regulations and bans on loot boxes both in the U.S. and abroad, there aren’t any for gacha games.

Morales said gacha “is definitely like gambling. I think that it should be regulated in some way, like increasing the drop rates [for the characters]or giving players more in-game currency.”

Chaides suggests that game companies, “at least put a cap on how much you can spend, maybe weekly or something. I feel like spending over a thousand dollars on a mobile game is a little too much.”

The post Loot boxes and gacha games dubbed newest forms of gambling appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

In El Paso, young Latinos are flexing their voting muscle

Sat, 11/10/2018 - 3:04pm

Voters under age 30 are playing an increasingly crucial role in El Paso County elections, a sign that younger Latinos are becoming more engaged in the political process in the Donald Trump era.

Voters under age 30 accounted for almost 17 percent of El Paso voters in the 2018 midterm election, up from 8 percent in the 2014 midterm. Put another way, more than one in every six voters in El Paso this year was under age 30, compared to one in 13 in 2014.

Related story:  Here’s what the young voter surge looked like at UT El Paso

The 2018 election featured an El Pasoan, Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, at the top of a statewide ticket for the first time in Texas history. O’Rourke’s presence, combined with President Trump’s deep unpopularity among Latino voters, led to El Paso more than doubling its turnout between midterm elections, going from 82,000 in 2014 to 203,000 in 2018.

El Pasoan Beto O’Rourke’s run for the U.S. Senate and anti-Trump sentiment among Latinos helped drive El Paso to more than doubling its turnout between midterm elections. Photo courtesy Robert Moore

The number of voters under 30 grew fivefold between those elections, going from 6,500 in 2014 to 34,000 in the recent election, an analysis of county elections records shows.

This year marked the second consecutive general election where younger El Paso voters increased their influence.

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 In the 2016 presidential election between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump, voters under 30 accounted for almost 17 percent of El Paso voters, up from 14 percent in the 2012 race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. The number of under-30 voters jumped from just over 25,000 in 2012 to more than 36,000 in 2016.

El Paso County elections data doesn’t include reliable information on voter ethnicity, so it’s difficult to determine precisely how much of the vote is coming from Latinos. But census data shows that 82 percent of El Pasoans 18-29 are Latino, so it is safe to assume that Latinos are driving the surge in younger voters.

Photo by Maria Gutierrez via Twitter for Borderzine.com

These younger voters are helping to turn El Paso, long a Democratic stronghold, an even deeper shade of blue. O’Rourke won 74 percent of his hometown vote this year and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Lupe Valdez won 67 percent in El Paso. In the 2014, the Democratic Senate and governor candidates won 54 percent and 60 percent, respectively, of the El Paso vote.

Clinton won 68 percent of the vote in El Paso in 2016, up from Obama’s 65 percent in 2012.

Even as a Democratic stronghold, El Paso has regularly elected Republicans to offices like state representative, county commissioner and justice of the peace. But after this year’s election, El Paso has no Republicans in any partisan elected office in the county. (Republican U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, who represents a small part of El Paso County in a district that stretches to San Antonio, had a slight lead in his race against Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones. Hurd received 19 percent of the El Paso vote.)

 
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Despite the huge gains in the numbers of younger voters, more growth is possible because voters under 30 continue to turn out at rates far below other age groups. That’s true nationally and has been true for generations. Just over 44 percent of all El Paso County registered voters cast ballots in the 2018; 31 percent of registered voters under 30 came out to vote. That was up from 7 percent turnout for under-30 voters in 2014.

In the 2016 presidential election, 35 percent of under-30 registered voters in El Paso County cast ballots, up from 31 percent in 2012.

First time voters waiting in line for more than an hour at the UTEP mobile voting station. Photo by Maria Gutierrez, Borderzine.com

In covering the election for El Paso’s ABC-7, the Washington Post and Texas Monthly, I interviewed a number of younger voters, many casting their first ballot ever. Two common themes emerged in those interviews: excitement about O’Rourke’s candidacy, and concern about the status of Latinos in the age of Trump. Those concerns often overlapped, with younger voters seeing O’Rourke as the antidote to Trumpism. Here is some of what I heard:

Alexandria Urbina,18, freshman at the University of Texas at El Paso: “This election is Texas’ chance to vote out incumbents who’ve done little to progress our great state and have in fact pushed for legislation which is retrogressive in the way of women’s health, transgender rights, and gun control to name a few. These hot issues, which are expressly meaningful to millennials and Gen X, makes it all the more critical for young voters to take action by getting to the polls and making informed votes for the future of Texas.”

Brianna Moreno, 23, graduate student at New Mexico State University: “I am motivated to vote in this election because there is a candidate, Beto O’Rourke, who I have met personally and I feel greatly represents mine and my family’s ideals. I will always back the candidate that prioritizes human rights and I believe his effort is genuine. I vote any time I can because voting locally will hopefully influence who our future leaders are. I voted in the 2016 election for the first time. It was my first experience being more politically involved and unfortunately, my presidential candidate choice lost the election.”

Diego Gomez, 18, a senior at Americas High School: “I just want my young views, especially with immigration and things that apply to my family as a Mexican-American, to be embraced. I think a lot of us feel very unheard.”

Garrett Cunningham, 21, a student at Washington University in St. Louis who voted by mail:  “This year, voting is especially important because our core values, norms, and pillars of democracy have been continually threatened by the current administration. More specifically, I am choosing to vote in my hometown instead of my college town because El Paso and Texas have an extraordinary opportunity in Beto O’Rourke’s candidacy. For too long El Paso has been neglected in state and national politics. Having a prominent, national voice for El Paso would be great for our community.”

Ilse Adame, 19, a student student at the University of San Diego who flew back to El Paso to cast a ballot during early voting because she had missed the deadline to do a mail ballot. “This was really important to me and dear to my heart because it’s my first time voting and I felt that this election is one of the most important Senate races in America and I really wanted to make my voice heard. People can protest and rally all they want, and that’s great, but your voice doesn’t really make a change unless you vote.”

Gilberto Manuel Seañez Hernandez, 18, an El Paso High School senior:  “As a Mexican-American it’s important for me to vote because I don’t want future generations to think that Donald Trump was a good person for our country, that a Mexican-American or Mexican could not have any opportunity in the United States. My family lives in Mexico, I live alone in the United States, in El Paso, and I hope that one day we will be together as a family in the States. I don’t want to see them behind the wall.”

The post In El Paso, young Latinos are flexing their voting muscle appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

Es importante reconocer la diversidad entre identidades Latinas cuando se celebra la herencia hispana

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 3:09pm

Existen diferentes términos que identifican a la comunidad hispana aquí en los Estados Unidos, términos que dictan un margen entre personas de diferentes ascendencias. El hecho de que se conmemora la herencia hispana hace que salgan a flote todas esas identidades.

Expertos en el tema interpretan que hace falta un sentido de unidad entre la comunidad hispana en este país, ya que no se sostienen precisamente las mejores relaciones entre ellas.

“Yo creo que nos falta mucha unidad….Existen relaciones como de amor/odio entre los mexicanos y mexicoamericanos, en este caso. Lo mismo sucede con mexicanos y puertorriqueños, colombianos y salvadoreños, con toda esta gama de latinoamericanos que habitamos en este país”, dijo María Socorro Tabuenca, profesora de español y de estudios chicanos en la Universidad de Texas en El Paso.

La banda de guerra mexicana saluda a la bandera durante la ceremonia del Grito de Independencia en la Universidad de Texas en El Paso el 14 de septiembre de 2018. Photo credit: Roberto Saenz

“Somos la primera minoría en los Estados Unidos, poblacional, con más de 55 millones de habitantes en el país, pero desafortunadamente, no todo mundo vota, ni todo mundo está unido por una misma causa, no importa a qué partido político pertenezca”, dijo Tabuenca.

Frank Pérez, profesor de estudios chicanos y comunicaciones también en UTEP, explicó que las distintas identidades entre los hispanohablantes cuentan con diferencias más técnicas o académicas, dependiendo del punto de vista de la persona que se identifica. “Dentro de la academia, un mexicano es alguien que nació en México y que es ciudadano mexicano, alguien que es chicano o mexicoamericano, son dos diferentes cosas”, dijo.

“Un chicano es alguien que vive en los Estados Unidos… pero que se identifica con las dos culturas, que reconoce que la descendencia mexicana es importante, la cultura, la música, el idioma, y a la misma vez es alguien que reconoce que los hispanohablantes en este país, pero principalmente los de descendencia mexicana, hemos luchado ya por generaciones por que nos trate bien el sistema, por que nos den las oportunidades que otros grupos tienen…más enfocado en la política y en causas de justicia social”, dijo Pérez.

Tres jóvenes ondean sus banderas mientras posan una fotografía durante la ceremonia de Grito de Independencia en la Universidad de Texas en El Paso el 14 de septiembre de 2018. Foto por Roberto Saenz, Borderzine.com

“Yo pienso que estas identidades pueden ser cambiantes y se pueden transformar en el sentido de que podemos pertenecer a diferentes lugares a la vez…hablando (los hispanos) de que no son de un lado ni del otro”, explicó Tabuenca.

Incluso para algunos, el término “hispano” tiene una connotación negativa, ya que implica que existe una especie de conformismo ante las formas en que los europeos colonizaron a los antecedentes nativos de los latinos.

“El término es algo problemático, porque de acuerdo a las experiencias de la gente latina o latinex dentro de los Estados Unidos, reconocemos que España es un poder que colonizó a las Américas, pero, entonces como que esa descendencia nos trae un desarrollo muy negativo de explotación, de diferentes cosas que le pasó a la gente indígena”, dijo Pérez.

La conmemoración de la herencia hispana cuenta ya con su propia historia aquí en los Estados Unidos, la que va atrás varias décadas. “Se establece como tal (celebración) en 1968 por el presidente Lyndon B. Johnson, que antes era ‘Hispanic Heritage Week’…Después en el 88, el presidente Nixon lo convierte ya en ley y lo fundan como el Hispanic Heritage Month que empieza, oficialmente digamos, el 15 de septiembre y termina el 15 de octubre”, explicó Tabuenca.

Sin importar que afiliacion haya, el hispanohablante ha contribuido mucho en la historia de este país, en el que poco a poco va haciéndose más presente, y una celebración como la de la Herencia Hispana, sirve para reconocer todas esas contribuciones que ha hecho la gente que pertenece a todos estos grupos.

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Categories: Local Blogs

Con sus narices rojas ‘a la orden,’ Doctores de la Risa ofrecen apoyo a niños y ancianos de Juarez

Sun, 11/04/2018 - 11:15am

En Cd. Juárez Chihuahua, el grupo de “Doctores de la Risa Nariz a la Orden” se caracteriza por brindar sonrisas y ratos agradables a personas vulnerables como niños y ancianos.

El encargado del grupo Fernando Guijarro, 43, conocido como el Dr. Maromas, quien dice que encontró el grupo por casualidad, lleva más de ocho años formando parte de esta labor y al mismo tiempo ejerciendo la profesión de contaduría.

“Cuando uno no está buscando algo y se lo encuentra pues piensa uno que es algo divino. Yo encontré este grupo después de pasar por muchos momentos difíciles de inseguridad aquí en Cd. Juárez y esto me vino a reconfortar… de que podía hacer yo por la comunidad”, mencionó Guijarro.

Nariz a la Orden recientemente capacitó a 17 nuevos integrantes, siendo un total de 67 doctores de la risa en Cd. Juarez. Éstos visitan el Hospital Infantil de Especialidades, varias clínicas del Seguro Social, y dos asilos de ancianos. El grupo de doctores de la risa se fundó en Cd. Juarez en 2003, bajo la idea de la risoterapia, con el enfoque de brindar alegría a los demás.

Janeth Gomez, 33, conocida como la Dra. Shanell, vivió un momento muy difícil en su vida cuando tuvo que pasar meses internada en un hospital. “Yo veía que en los hospitales había mucha soledad y mucha tristeza. Decidí que yo tenía que hacer una actividad para los hospitales y las personas que estaban en estado vulnerable como yo estuve”, afirmó Gómez.

El grupo se sostiene de lo que aportan los mismos miembros para las actividades; ya sean globos, burbujas, crayolas o libros para colorear. Hace dos meses se constituyeron como asociación civil con el fin de crecer por medio de más capacitaciones, y poder ayudar a personas que conocen durante sus visitas en situaciones difíciles.

Guijarro comentó que formar parte del grupo y ayudar a los demás se vuelve parte de uno mismo. En los ocho años que pertenece al grupo, no ha faltado ni una semana a una visita, sea navidad, año nuevo, o cualquier otro día festivo.

“La risa crea historia, crea convivencia, y crea hermandad”, dijo Guijarro. “En todos lados dicen que Cd. Juárez y El Paso son las ciudades hermanas… estamos unidas pero que mejor la unión que es la risa, la risa siempre va a ser ese vínculo para poder tener paz”, dijo Guijarro.

El grupo busca poder extender su ayuda en El Paso y Las Cruces a pesar de que están conscientes de que existen barreras físicas y culturales. Sin embargo para la risa y las ganas de servir y ayudar no hay impedimento. “En primer lugar una de las barreras es el lenguaje, no?… sin embargo hay muchos métodos por medio de mímicas, de juegos lúdicos que no se necesita lenguaje”, afirmó Guijarro.

“A mi me gustaría que Las Cruces, El Paso y Juárez formarán ese triangulo de risa, de felicidad, de la nariz roja… Quizás yo no lo puedo hacer, quizás va a pasar dentro de quince años, pero la verdad es que esa siempre ha sido mi visión, siempre se lo he dicho a mi grupo”, dijo Guijarro.

Guijarro recalcó la diferencia entre un payaso común y los Doctores de la Risa Nariz a la Orden, explicando que ellos son “payasos humanitarios”, con el fin de buscar empatía hacia los niños, pacientes y ancianos que más lo necesitan.

“Tiene que tener empatía con esa persona y sentir eso que esa persona puede estar con un grito ahogado y con solo abrazarte con eso la hiciste feliz y no necesariamente la tienes que hacer reír”, afirmó Guijarro.

Entre música, baile y carcajadas en el asilo Anciano Desamparado, los doctores de la risa demuestran la calidez, dedicación y entrega en servir a los demás. Sin buscar nada más que una sonrisa a cambio.

“Y eso es lo que llevamos en el corazón, y el corazón lo tenemos en la nariz, y la nariz va por delante y cuando te ven si tu tienes el corazón en la nariz la gente abre las puertas y la gente te abre su corazón, te sonríe, eso es lo más bonito que nos puede pasar a los doctores de la risa, se abren contigo”, afirmó Guijarro.

The post Con sus narices rojas ‘a la orden,’ Doctores de la Risa ofrecen apoyo a niños y ancianos de Juarez appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

Here’s what the young voter surge in Texas looked like at UT El Paso

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 12:51pm

Turnout by younger voters in El Paso is skyrocketing, driving a voting surge that continues to lead the state. This was evident at the mobile early voting station at UT El Paso Thursday, Oct. 25.

 

 

In all, 1,267 votes were cast on that Thursday, the first of two mobile voting days on campus. Early voting was also available on campus Friday, Nov. 2.

Through the first seven days of early voting, the number of voters age 18 to 29 was already 58 percent higher than the turnout for that age group in the last midterm election, which had 12 days of early voting plus election day, according to an analysis of county election data for ABC-7.

At UTEP, voters said they were there for a variety of reasons. Student and veteran Fred Matney sought to lead by example.

 

Student Kaelin Walker had stronger words for what drove her to wait up to an hour to have her say in the election.

Walker was also proud of her role in Tweeting to get the attention of Pizza to the Polls, a non-profit organization that sends pizza to polling places with long lines. In the end, 25 pizzas were delivered to campus.

Nearly 10,800 people age 18-29 had cast ballots as of Sunday’s seventh day of early voting, accounting for almost one in every eight people who voted by that point. At UTEP, most didn’t seem to mind the long line, but were determined to get their vote in.

In 2014, young voters accounted for only about one in 12 voters in El Paso; during early voting that year only one in 20 voters was under age 30.

And younger voters can continue to grow their influence on the 2018 El Paso election.

The percentage of voters age 18-29 has increased during each day of early voting, and that age group makes up 24 percent of all El Paso registered voters.

Young women in particular are showing huge voting gains, already up 67 percent over the 2014 vote total for women 18-29.  More than 55 percent of voters 18-29 so far have been women.

UTEP student Ashley Soto said she wanted to use her vote in order to be heard.

 

For more information on the young voter turnout and day-to-day election analysis, go to KVIA.com. https://www.kvia.com/november-2018-election

Borderzine reporters covered early voting on the UT El Paso campus Thursday, Oct. 25 using Twitter and Instagram. Ch. 7 KVIA Election Analyst Robert Moore contributed to this story

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Categories: Local Blogs

Borderzine bilingual online magazine launches funding campaign

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 5:55pm

Borderzine, The University of Texas at El Paso’s bilingual online magazine, will kick off a major dollar-match funding campaign Nov. 1 to raise more than $100,000 for training and placement of job-ready bilingual student journalists who report on the life and culture of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Donations will increase internship and professional training opportunities for student journalists, support new border-focused reporting projects and provide a major equipment revamp of Borderzine’s newsroom-classroom on the UTEP campus.

Borderzine is the capstone class of the Communication Department’s Multimedia Journalism major that has trained more than 500 students and published more than 2,000 stories over the last decade. 

The online publication won a major award from the Online News Association in 2014 for a student reporting project, “Mexodus,” which detailed how nearly 100,000 Mexican middle-class families and professionals fled the violence in Ciudad Juárez and relocated to El Paso and other parts of the United States.

“UTEP’s recent investment in upgrading computers in the Department of Communication’s media lab will now serve as a launching pad for a fundraising campaign to support Borderzine, UTEP’s innovative online publishing platform that prepares young bilingual journalists for jobs in 21st century news media,” UTEP President Diana Natalicio said.

“This campaign will be greatly enhanced by a dollar-for-dollar matching grant program sponsored by NewsMatch, an organization committed to helping nonprofit newsrooms thrive as they continue to produce high-quality content for local, national and global audiences,” Natalicio said.

“This is a huge boost for UTEP’s growing journalism program and for the El Paso community because it benefits from our students’ solid and informed reporting about the border,” said Borderzine Director and Founder Zita Arocha. “I tell them that having two or three real world newsroom experiences under their belt before they graduate will almost certainly guarantee them a job in news when they leave college.”

After Borderzine joined the national Independent Non Profit News (INN) organization this year, it was invited to participate, along with over 100 other independent newsrooms throughout the U.S., in NewsMatch, a major fundraising initiative by INN to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support and strengthen reporting and support student journalism. NewsMatch will match dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000 in donations to Borderzine between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.

Donations will help expand the existing pipeline of job-ready multimedia journalists of color for entry-level jobs in the English- and Spanish-news industry. A lack of diversity in the nation’s newsrooms is considered a serious impediment to accurately reporting on and portraying the nation’s racial and ethnic diversity. Borderzine addresses the lack of diversity in the nation’s newsroom by preparing students to work in the changing digital news environment. The most recent census numbers of U.S. news professionals show that just 4 percent of the nation’s journalists are Latino/Hispanic. At the same time, Borderzine’s student journalists provide border residents with more contextual, nuanced and accurate reporting about the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

Over the past decade, UTEP journalism graduates have become part of a successful direct classroom-to-newsroom pipeline for news media recruiters, with some alumni now working for news powerhouses like Univision, Telemundo, CNN, ESPN, the Associated Press and the Washington Post, among others. The NewsMatch campaign will help prepare and place more students like alums Adriana Gomez Licon (Associated Press), Alejandra Matos (Houston Chronicle), Cristian Hernandez (Center for Public Integrity) and Susana Flores (ESPN). Last summer, UTEP student journalists completed internships at the San Antonio Express-News, Telemundo, KVIA-TV, Starfish Media Group and other media outlets, and three students attended the National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference and career fair in Miami.

In September, Borderzine received a $35,000 grant from the Online News Association to fund a binational journalism multimedia project between the communities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. The plan is to launch this project in collaboration with news media in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, as well as the journalism programs at El Paso Community College and Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. 

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Categories: Local Blogs

El Pasoans rush to respond with compassion as ICE leaves migrants in the streets

Sun, 10/28/2018 - 9:24pm

EL PASO – Chaos loomed when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents dropped about 100 Central American migrants at the Greyhound station of this border city without notice Friday night. The families were in a strange city, many with little money and limited ability to contact loved ones for help.

Then they were helped by angels.

Ruben Garcia, the founder and director of the Annunciation House program that has housed and fed migrants for more than 40 years, knew since Wednesday that ICE planned to begin a new policy of essentially dumping migrants on border city streets. The migrants had been detained for several days in what are supposed to be short-term holding cells along the border in El Paso, and border authorities are struggling to cope with a fresh surge of Central American families coming to the United States to flee poverty, violence and corruption in their home countries.

Related video: Faith-based shelter Annunciation House gives migrants ‘hospitality, some semblence of humanity’

Garcia got word shortly before 7 p.m. that several ICE buses had dropped dozens of people at the Greyhound station, and headed that way. As he arrived, another bus came and disgorged more migrants.

Faced with a crowd swarming its parking lot, Greyhound officials called police for help, and six to eight bicycle officers soon arrived, Garcia said. “This was really a bright moment for the police, who were taken in by the humanity of the moment,” he said in an interview Sunday.

Garcia was able to arrange to use a former Catholic school adjacent to Holy Family Catholic Church in Sunset Heights, about a mile from the bus station, to house the families. He sent texts to several people in El Paso alerting them to the situation and asking for help to care for the families that night. Many who received the texts quickly shared the plea for help on social media. (Full disclosure: the author was one of the text recipients, and posted Garcia’s text message on Facebook.)

Garcia decided that the group should walk to Holy Family, a plan that concerned the police officers. They offered to try to get buses to move the group of migrants. “I told them that by the time they got the permissions they needed it would be tomorrow morning. So I said let’s walk,” he said.

The officers called Emergency Medical Services, who found that several of the migrants needed immediate medical care. The officers then rode along with the group, offering protection on the walk.

“As we were walking, I was fighting just to not break down crying,” Garcia said. “This is my country, where all people are created equal. Those are powerful words. The strength of our country does not come through fighter jets or M-16s, it comes from those words. And we’re not living up to those words right now.”

By the time the migrants reached Holy Family, the former school was filling with volunteers seeking to help after being alerted by texts, phone calls and social media posts. Garcia and the migrants were overwhelmed by the response. “Many of them began breaking down out of gratitude,” he said.

Throughout the night, dozens of El Pasoans came by Holy Family to drop off food, blankets, towels, clothing, toiletry items, toys – life’s basics for parents and children who carried little but the clothes they were wearing.

The families slept on the floor. Garcia – who attended elementary school in the building decades ago – said he approached one father and asked how he was doing. “He said, ‘you can’t believe what it means to me that you guys have done all of this for us. God is truly here,’” Garcia recalled.

Since 2014, migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have made up the bulk of people apprehended for illegal entry into the United States. Border agencies have struggled with how to deal with them because the migratory flow is made up predominantly of families or children traveling without a parent or guardian.

Much of the U.S. immigration enforcement system – including the border holding cells – is still based largely on stopping and quickly deporting single Mexican men trying to enter the United States to find work.  The numbers of such border crossers have plunged dramatically in recent years and the total number of border apprehensions is at a 40-year low. But the numbers of families arriving together at the border has swelled in recent months.

A Guatemalan woman named Miriam broke into tears as she described her separation from her 5-year-old son, who was taken from her by Border Patrol agents on June 16. She was one of several parents to speak at an El Paso press conference this summer when the government’s “zero tolerance” policy separated undocumented immigrant parents and children at the border. Annunciation House director Ruben Garcia is at right. Photo by Robert Moore.

More than 16,000 members of what the Border Patrol calls family units were apprehended in September, the highest monthly total in history. The Trump administration is calling this surge in family arrivals a crisis. As the Nov. 6 midterm election approaches, Trump and other Republican leaders have increasingly focused on immigration, particularly a caravan of several thousand Central American migrants that is currently in southern Mexico with plans to come to the U.S. border.

Garcia and other critics of Trump administration policies have said the president is provoking a fake crisis to rally the Republican base ahead of the election.

Since the first wave of Central American families overwhelmed the immigration-enforcement system, ICE has used an orderly process to release people while they await a ruling on their asylum and deportation cases. In El Paso, they have worked closely with Annunciation House, coordinating the release of migrants who are housed for a night or two at one of a number of church-based shelters in El Paso and southern New Mexico. Annunciation House helps them connect with families in the interior of the United States, and helps arrange transportation to reunite with those family members.

The numbers received by Annunciation House through this organized release process have risen sharply in recent weeks, from about 700 a week in early September to almost 1,600 a week now. Annunciation House recently rented out two motels – at a cost of about $38,000 a week – to house the growing number of migrants released by ICE. All the costs are paid by Annunciation House donors; the agency receives no money from the government.

But on Tuesday, ICE notified local leaders along the border that it would begin simply releasing migrants into the streets, without coordination with nonprofits like Annunciation House. Garcia was notified the next day, after community leaders began contacting him for an explanation of what the change meant.

ICE officials have declined to comment about the change beyond a prepared statement issued by Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Rodriguez: “After decades of inaction by Congress, the government remains severely constrained in its ability to detain and promptly remove families with no legal basis to remain in the U.S. As a result, family units continue to cross the border at high volumes and are likely to continue to do so, as they face no consequence for their actions. To mitigate the risk of holding family units past the time frame allotted to the government, ICE began curtailing all reviews of post-release plans from families apprehended along the southwest border starting on Tuesday, October 23. Family units that are released will be enrolled in a form of ICE’s Alternatives to Detention or released on another form of supervision.  Aliens will be issued a Notice to Appear in immigration court, as appropriate. ICE continues to work with local and state officials and NGO partners in the area so they are prepared to provide assistance with transportation or other services.”

Ann Branan Horak reached out to her book club, friends and members of the YWCA board of directors to help assemble more than 200 hygiene and food kits for Central American refugees dropped off in El Paso over the weekend. Photo courtesy Charles Horak.

Garcia said after ICE was criticized on social media Friday and Saturday for releasing the families at the Greyhound station, the agency has agreed to let him know when it plans to release more migrants and deliver them to a location he specifies. The agency released another 61 on Saturday and 121 on Sunday, and they were taken to the Holy Family location.

“One of the things that concerns me is that one of these days they’ll call and say we have 500,” Garcia said.

ICE also has continued with the organized releases to Annunciation House. Garcia said he doesn’t know how ICE determines which migrants are released through the traditional formal process, and which are released under the new policy.

Garcia said Annunciation House has received enough donations of food, clothing and other necessities to care for the people now being released. The agency’s biggest need right now is money to pay the $38,000 weekly hotel bill.

He said he was overwhelmed by El Paso’s immediate reaction to the crisis. “It was truly amazing.” 

How you can help

Annunciation House is in need of volunteers to help feed and care for a large number of Central American migrants, including driving them to the bus station or airport. If you would like to volunteer, email refugees@annunciationhouse.org.

The nonprofit also needs cash donations to pay for rising costs of housing and feeding migrants. Donate online through the Annunciation House website.

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Categories: Local Blogs

Young people, East Siders lead surge in El Paso voter registration numbers

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 12:22am

A record 457,141 El Paso County residents are registered to vote for the Nov. 6 election, according to data from the County Elections Department. That’s up from 427,850 in the 2016 presidential election and 404,580 in 2014, the last midterm election.

Click here to see mobile friendly version of map 

El Paso’s voter registration grew by 6.8 percent since 2016, faster than the state’s 4.6 percent growth rate. Preliminary figures from the Secretary of State’s Office show that only 18 of Texas’ 254 counties have had a higher percentage growth of registered voters than El Paso between 2016 and 2018.

The registration growth is driven largely by younger voters and those living on the eastern edges of the city and nearby unincorporated areas, according to preliminary data from the El Paso County Election’s Office.

For more complete coverage, see the full report on KVIA ABC 7.

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Categories: Local Blogs

Wise Latina summit showcases services available to women after leaving abusive relationships

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 12:05pm

Several El Paso women’s groups are helping victims of domestic abuse by providing them with resources to resume a healthy, productive lives after leaving abusive relationships, speakers at a recent conference said.

Univision anchor Karina Yapoor was among the speakers at the Wise Latina summit at El Paso Community College to raise awareness about services available to women.

Among the services provided for domestic violence victims are rental assistance, replacement of damaged property, medical bills, counseling, and protective orders from the County Attorney’s Office are available for victims of violent crimes, but shelter is the most need resource, said Jessica Ugarte, a certified crime victim compensation services provider.

“They’re used to receiving financial support from their abuser, so when they leave they’re not sure where they can go or how can they support themselves,” Ugarte said during the annual summit called “Enough is Enough. Ya Basta” on Oct. 6 at the El Paso Community College.

Abuse “was just something that was accepted and women dealt with. No one in my family has had to use this, everyone just kind of dealt with it, but now, I think it’s awesome that we’re breaking that norm and moving forward,” said Stacy Arrieta, a case manager at El Paso First Health Plans.

“I didn’t even realize how many groups are available for people in domestic violence,” Arrieta said.

Ugarte and other speakers addressed about 150 people at the annual summit with the goal of improving awareness and empowering women to deal with sexual harassment, assault and domestic violence. The organization serves women in El Paso, Las Cruces and Ciudad Juarez.

Liz Chavez, president and founder of Wise Latina International, welcomes participants with a speech at the 2018 summit “Enough is Enough! Ya Basta!” at El Paso Community College.

Speakers and attendees noted the irony of hosting their event on the same day the Senate voted to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kavanaugh was accused by more than one woman of drunken behavior and attempted sexual assault.

Among the accusers was Christine Blasey Ford, a Palo Alto University professor, who said Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her while they were teens in Bethesda, Md. Kavanaugh denied the accusation.

“The fact that the (Ford) story was kind of brushed aside and not given the attention that was necessary was a slap in the face for so many women,” said Liz Chavez president and founder of Wise Latina International.

“We know that we’re in a very critical time in our society and we need to be able to raise awareness, educate, and empower our women to deal with sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic violence,” Chavez said.

“I really believe that we have to make our voice count now than ever,” Chavez said. “Its really important that not only we register to vote, but show up and vote whether it is at the local level, whether it is at the state level, whether it is at the national level.”

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Categories: Local Blogs

Penguins chilling in the desert? El Paso zoo creating $3 million home for threatened species

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 4:56pm

The El Paso Zoo will soon become home to a colony of Magellanic penguins – a species listed as threatened by an international organization – in a new multi-million dollar exhibit as part of the city’s 2012 Quality of Life bond issue.

Magellanic penguins, which reside along the coasts of South America and reach as far north as Brazil, are small – about two feet tall – with black and white feathers and banding on their necks. They are commonly found in Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands.

“The more people learn and read about them, the greater their passion will before wanting to help,” said Rick LoBello, education curation for the El Paso Zoo. “We want people to be emotionally invested and passionate about the animals here.”

The penguin exhibit will house at least 12 penguins in a natural environment. Artist rendering provided by City of El Paso. Photo credit: City of El Paso

A dozen penguins will be part of a South American exhibit, set to open in 2020, officials said. The penguin exhibit is expected to cost about $3.7 million, with construction expected to start in fall 2019, said Lili Gutierrez, the Capital Improvement Plan administrator for the El Paso Zoo.

The South American exhibit is part of a $50-million capital improvement program approved by voters as part of the 2012 Quality of Life bond that includes other improvements.

Director Steve Marshall points to where the penguin exhibit will be built at the El Paso Zoo and open in 2020. Photo credit: Summer Masoud

The zoo is getting an almost complete overhaul. The current Americas region will be split into a North Americas region, featuring the new Chihuahuan Desert exhibit and the sea lion exhibit, while Magellanic penguins will be brought into the South American exhibit.

Zoo officials chose Magellanic penguins for a number of reasons, among them because the penguins have been declared threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The penguins are threatened by climate change and oil spills, which severely damage natural habitats and reduce food supplies, said John Kiseda, the zoo’s animal curator.

The initial 12 penguins might grow to a larger number through a breeding program, possibly calling for an increase in the exhibit’s size, Kiseda said.

The penguin habitat will consist of an indoor-outdoor exhibit with naturalistic landscaping featuring a rocky bank, a snow-making machine, a wave-making machine and other water features. There will also be a nesting area for potential breeding and penguin chick-raising.

Life-support systems will include chilled salt and fresh ware, ozone or nickel treatment and purification, separate animal holding areas, freezers and food preparation areas.

“Any time we’re thinking about a new exhibit for a species we always look at their natural husbandry and then we try to bring that into the area as much as possible,” said Misty Garcia, the zoo’s associate veterinarian. “So if we have animals that require chilled water you know we make sure we have a pool that we can keep chilled with life support equipment that is appropriate for the species.”

The El Paso Zoo is among the Top 10 percent of the zoos nationwide as accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Photo credit: Summer Masoud

The El Paso Zoo also is constructing a $14 million Chihuahuan Desert exhibit, set to open next fall. The construction of these exhibits will not effect exhibit access.

The exhibit will replace the grey wolf exhibit. The wolf and other fellow Chihuahuan desert animals will be moved into the new Chihuahuan Desert exhibit when it is completed. The old exhibits will be demolished in order to accommodate the new penguin exhibit. Care will be taken in order to preserve as many of the existing foliage in the proposed exhibit area.

In addition to Magellanic penguins, the zoo is looking to bring other animals including squirrel monkeys, flamingos, otters, red pandas, Komodo dragons, and giant anteaters. “We try to look at animals that need the conservation space and the messages are really compelling,” said zoo Director Steve Marshall.

Magellanic penguins were chosen for their ecological disposition toward higher temperature weather in drier and more arid climates, Kiseda said.

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Categories: Local Blogs

2018 Borderzine Photo Contest Sin Fronteras Without Borders Official Rules

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 8:27am
Sponsor

Sponsor is The University of Texas at El Paso on behalf of its College of Liberal Arts, Department of Communication Borderzine publication (“Sponsor”).

Entry Submission

The submission term for the 2018 Borderzine Photo Contest: Sin Fronteras – Without Borders (the “Contest”) begins August 29, 2018, at 12:00:00 p.m. U.S. Mountain Standard Time (“MST”) and ends November 1, 2018, at 12:00:00 p.m. MST (“Entry Deadline”). ONLY entries received by the Entry Deadline will be considered.

By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Official Rules as established herein and warrants that his or her entry complies with all requirements set out in the Official Rules. This is a skill-based contest and chance plays no part in the determination of winners.

Who may enter

Contest is open to college students located within the continental United States and enrolled in a United States accredited institution of higher education (“Entrant’s University”). Employees of Borderzine and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) or persons living in the same households of such employees, whether or not related are not eligible.

How to enter

Each entry consists of an entry form, a single photograph, and the applicable entry fee. The entry fee is $15 U.S. per entry. To enter, visit https://givingto.utep.edu/donation-pages/without-borders-photo-contest complete an entry form with the required information, including your name, address, telephone number, your college or university email address and photo caption; and submit along with your photograph and fee in accordance with the following requirements.

Photograph requirements:

1.      Photographs must be submitted in digital format. Only online entries thru the https://givingto.utep.edu/donation-pages/without-borders-photo-contest will be accepted. No print or film submissions will be accepted for entry into this Contest. The photograph need not be taken with a digital camera; scans of negatives, transparencies, or photographic prints are acceptable. Do not submit original negatives, prints, or slides as they will not be returned.

2.     All digital files must be at least 5 megabytes at a minimum of 300 dpi, must be in JPEG or .jpg format, and must be at least 1,600 pixels wide (if a horizontal image) or 1,600 pixels tall (if a vertical image).

3.     Photographs must have been taken within one year before the date of entry and may not have previously won any awards in a national contest.

4.     Only minor burning, dodging and/or color correction is acceptable, as is minor cropping. Any changes to the original photograph not authorized under these rules are unacceptable and will render the photograph ineligible for a prize.

5.     Photographs that include sculptures, statues, paintings, and other works of art will be accepted as long as they do not constitute copyright infringement or fraud; entrants must be prepared to provide a release form as described below in “Release.” When photographing the work of others, it must be as an object in its environment and not a full-frame close-up of another person’s art.

6.     The photograph, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material taken by the Contest entrant. By entering the Contest, entrant represents, acknowledges, and warrants that the submitted photograph is an original work created solely by the entrant, that the photograph does not infringe on the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy/publicity, or any other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; and that no other party has any right, title, claim, or interest in the photograph.

7.     The photograph must not, in the sole and unfettered discretion of the Sponsor, contain obscene, provocative, defamatory, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content.

8.     The caption must be complete and accurate, sufficient to convey the circumstances in which the photograph was taken.

9.     Watermarks are unacceptable. Unless Sponsor receives a non-watermarked version of the entry within ten (10) days following its request, the entry will be disqualified.

10.     Proof of submission is not proof of receipt. Entries properly submitted will receive an email confirming receipt of submission. Confirmation email will be the only acceptable proof of submission.

11.     Entries must be made by the person identified by the Entrant’s University as the authorized account holder of the university issued e-mail address. “Authorized Account Holder” is hereby defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by the Entrant’s University.

12.     Entries are void if Sponsor determines the photograph to not be an original, or if the entries are incomplete, inaccessible or blocked, corrupted, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft.

JUDGING

The panel of judges (“Panel”) consists of two (2) judges (each individually “Judge”), each of which shall be considered a photographic expert in their field. One (1) judge will be a member of the Sponsoring Institution’s faculty, and one (1) judge will be considered a photographic expert independent of and without employment relation to the Sponsor.

Judging consists of two (2) rounds. In round one, each Judge will select ten (10) entries from among all eligible entries which will advance to the second round as finalists. In the second round, the Panel will jointly select from within the first round finalists the First Place and Second Place Winners. Finalists and Winner selections will be based on the following judging criteria:

Judging Criteria:

Panel shall take into account the following as judging criteria for each entry: (a) Creativity (34%); (b) Photographic quality (34%); and (c) Genuineness and authenticity of the content (32%).

Winners will be chosen and information posted on Boderzine no later than November 15, 2018 and will be notified via e-mail. Decisions of the Panel are final and binding. No additional appeals and/or reconsideration process will be granted.

Releases

If the photograph contains any material, elements, copyrights or trademarks, that are not owned by the entrant and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the photograph, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all applicable and necessary releases and consents necessary to permit the copyright, exhibition and use of the photograph.

Upon Sponsor’s request, each entrant must be prepared to provide within seven (7) calendar days of Sponsor’s request, a duly executed release from all persons, trademark or copyright holders, which appear in the photograph submitted, authorizing entrant, Sponsor, and/or their respective licensees (“Authorized Parties”) releasing of any past, present or future liability and granted an unlimited, unrestricted, irrevocable license to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entry, in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, in any media now or hereafter known. Failure to provide such releases upon request may result in disqualification at any time during the Contest.

For the purposes of this Contest the entrant will be deemed to be in receipt of Sponsor’s request or notification, (a) in the event that Sponsor sends the request by United States certified mail, five (5) business days after the request was sent by Sponsor, or (b) in the event that Sponsor sends the request via email, on the day that the email was sent by Sponsor.

Failure to provide and deliver any required documents to Sponsor within the specified terms may result in automatic disqualification from the Contest. Request of required documentation does not indicate the entrant will be, or has been, selected as a winner.

Contest prizes

The First Place Winner will receive a gift certificate from “B&H Photo and Video” (aka B & H Foto and Electronics Corp) valued at $250.00 (Two Hundred Fifty Dollars 00/100), the winning photograph will be published in Borderzine.com, and displayed in a photo gallery exhibit at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Second Place Winner will receive a a gift certificate from “B&H Photo and Video” (aka B & H Foto and Electronics Corp) valued at $100.00 (One Hundred Dollars and 00/100), the winning photograph will be published in Borderzine.com, and displayed in a photo gallery exhibit at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Winners are responsible for all taxes and fees associated with receipt of the prize and/or use thereof. Odds of winning a prize depend on the number of eligible entries received and skill of the entrant.

No prize transfer, assignment, or substitution by winners permitted. If a prize (or part of a prize) is unavailable, Sponsor, in its discretion, reserves the right to substitute the original prize (or that part of the prize) with an alternative prize of equal or greater monetary value and/or specification, unless to do so would be prohibited by law.

NONCOMPLIANCE OR RETURN OF PRIZE NOTIFICATION AS UNDELIVERABLE, WHETHER BY REGULAR MAIL OR BY E-MAIL, MAY RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION AND SELECTION OF AN ALTERNATIVE POTENTIAL WINNER.

License

By entering the Contest, all entrants grant an irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide non-exclusive license to Authorized Parties, to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the entries (along with a name credit) in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest, in any media now or hereafter known, for no additional compensation, including but not limited to: display at a potential exhibition of winners; publication of a book featuring select entries in the Contest; publication in The University of Texas at El Paso publications, Borderzine.com highlighting entries or winners of the Contest; and offering as downloadable wallpaper to users of the Borderzine website (the “License”).

Display or publication of any entry on an Authorized Party’s website does not indicate the entrant will be selected as a winner. Authorized Parties will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional license, release and/or approval in connection with such use as authorized by this License. Additionally, by entering Contest, each entrant grants to Authorized Parties the unrestricted right to use all statements made in connection with the Contest, and pictures or likenesses of Contest entrants, or choose not to do so, at their sole discretion, except where prohibited by law.

Limitation of liability

By entering this Contest, all entrants agree to release, discharge, and hold harmless Sponsor, The University of Texas System, and their respective, Regents, employees, officers, directors, partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, agents, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Contest or any Contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder.

Sponsor assumes no liability for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to Contest entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. Sponsor shall not be liable for any problems with, or technical malfunction of any telephone, network, or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrants’ or any other persons’ computers, hardware, software, etc. related to or resulting from participation, submission, uploading or downloading of any materials related to in this Contest.

THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Entrants agree that this Contest shall be subject to and governed by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas and the forum for any dispute shall be in El Paso, Texas, United States of America without regard to any conflict of laws rules and/or provisions if and to the extent such rules would apply the substantive laws of another jurisdiction. To the extent permitted by applicable law, the right to litigate, to seek injunctive relief or to make any other recourse to judicial or any other procedure in case of disputes or claims resulting from or in connection with this Contest are hereby excluded and any entrant expressly waives any and all such rights. Certain restrictions may apply. 

All federal, state, and local taxes, fees and surcharges and taxes (whether foreign or domestic, and including income, sales, and import taxes) on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winners.

In the event that the selected winner of any prize becomes ineligible, does respond within ten (10) calendar days to the winner notification, or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may choose a different entrant from the first round to award the prize.

Sponsor reserves the right to verify the validity and originality of any entry and/or entrant (including an entrant’s identity and address) and to disqualify any entrant who submits an entry that is not in accordance with these Official Rules or who tampers with the entry process. Failure by Sponsor to enforce any of its rights at any stage does not constitute a waiver of those rights.

Right to cancel or suspend contest

If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Sponsor that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. If Sponsor elects to cancel or terminate the Contest, Sponsor will not retain any rights in the submitted photographs, and will shall take all reasonable measures and efforts to return the fees submitted with each entry.

Data privacy

Entrants agree that personal data, especially name and address, may be processed, shared, and otherwise used for the purposes and within the context of the Contest and any other purposes outlined in these Official Rules. The data may also be used by Sponsor in order to verify the entrant’s identity, postal address, and telephone number or to otherwise verify the entrant’s eligibility to participate in the Contest. Personal data received as related to the Contest will be used by Sponsor exclusively for the purposes stated herein.

The post 2018 Borderzine Photo Contest Sin Fronteras Without Borders Official Rules appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

What can creatives learn from arts communities on the border?

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 7:08pm

Arizona theater professor Mary Stephens was pleasantly surprised when a recent arts tour bus ride took less than 10 minutes to get from El Paso, Texas, to Juarez, Mexico,

“This is my first time to El Paso and Juarez and I’m just so delighted by realizing how close these cities are with each other,” she said. “Families are on both sides crossing all the time, and culture is crossing all the time.

Stephens was visiting the borderland for La Frontera: Art+People+Place, a two-day convening on arts in border communities presented by the El Paso Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez. The Sept. 7-8 event was part of the fifth Transborder Biennial 2018 exhibition, which featured the work of 32 contemporary artists that live across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Art piece “Dream a Little Dream,” by artist Angel Cabrales at the Transborder Biennial 2018 exhibition at the Museo del Arte Ciudad Juarez. Photo by Claudia Flores Ramirez, Borderzine.com

Related: Unique location, culture influence border artists

What is life really like in a Texas border city?

Shannon Connelly, art historian at the El Paso Museum of Art, said that working on La Frontera and the Biennial project helped her understand border culture in a new way since moving here in January from New York.

“This is something that I didn’t grow up with, and for the museum this is just an amazing opportunity to represent what is art in the border and spreading the notion of what the border means,” she said.

Arts discussion panel at La Frontera at the El Paso Museum of Art.

La Frontera offered combination of arts tour and a series of panels with artists and community members. In addition to discussing the arts, La Frontera also was an opportunity to learn about cross-border opportunities for creatives.

“Everything that we need to learn is happening in border cities,” Stephens said. “We have a lot to learn from these places and with the way people treat each other and the amazing things that are happening. I feel like so many people can actually learn from here.”

Mary Stephens listens during the welcoming breakfast for the La Frontera convening at the El Paso Museum of Art.

Seeing the dynamics of sister cities bridging an international boundary shifts perspective past divisions and brings into focus shared values and interests, Stephens said.

“I think that for so many people that are not familiar with the border they hear the main narrative from the United States that is a very dangerous area, but when you’re able to come to places like this and eventually visit them, and cross over to see that its families and people living and economy and thriving businesses like any other place in the U.S.”

While the La Frontera art tour was eye opening for visitors new to the borderland, Juarez art student Alexandra Rodriguez found it to be a unique – but incomplete – experience of what the border really is.

“Even when they went to Juarez, they didn’t really go to visit Juarez. They took a bus they went to two museums and all in group because they’re afraid,” said Rodriguez, who studies visual arts at the UACJ (Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez).

“It’s like if we were in a bubble and that bubble lets you move, but it also avoids certain things to come inside. I feel like if people opened up that bubble we could really enrich the real border experience.”

A participant of the La Frontera experience browses an exhibit at the Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez.

Over 100 people attended the La Frontera convening. They were taken by bus from EPMA to Ciudad Juarez. The first stop was for lunch at Viva México, a restaurant in the ProNaF entertainment district. That was followed by a trip downtown to El Museo de la Revolución Mexicana (Museum of the Mexican Revolution) and the iconic Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral Cathedral. The next stop was at the Museum of Art of Ciudad Juarez, where guests enjoyed of the second part of the Biennial exhibition and panels with the artists. The second day was spent in El Paso, where participants rode bikes on a tour of downtown murals, followed by workshops and more art panels.

Carlos Palacios discusses some of the art work at the El Paso Museum of Art.

Rodriguez believes art events like this are a great start for giving insight on life on the border.

“Something that I love about living in this community is that we’re from both sides because it’s a huge cultural influence, and ‘La Frontera’ and the ‘Biennial’ share that collective sentiment of what the border is,” she said.

Still, Rodriguez regrets that since some people can’t cross from Juarez to El Paso and vice versa, they aren’t able to appreciate the experience on both sides.

For her part, Connelly said she tries to immerse herself more into border life by walking from one place to the other every time she crosses between countries.

“It reminds me a lot of walking between Brooklyn and Manhattan, except there’s a militarized border. It’s been powerful and moving and it changes my thought about border towns,” she said.

The post What can creatives learn from arts communities on the border? appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs


by Dr. Radut