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Daughter of Salvadoran immigrants cultivates inclusive space in rural white community

Borderzine - Thu, 06/10/2021 - 6:38am

As the oldest daughter of immigrants from El Salvador, Karina Ramos-Villalobos’ job as a child was to translate and guide her parents through the language barrier they faced in their adopted country.

“I had to fill out paperwork. I had no idea what it was for. I had to send out text messages to my parents’ boss in English because my parents didn’t know English.”

Now, Ramos-Villalobos is a first-generation college student at Humboldt State University, studying journalism

“I knew college was always on the table because I know I had to make my parents proud since they immigrated from El Salvador,” she said. 

She has a passion for social equity and community building and is determined to create spaces where Queer+ and BIPOC students, community, and art enthusiasts can come together and support one another in Humboldt County, where 83% of the population is non-Hispanic white.

Ramos-Villalobos founded a student-led event series called Humboldt Homies after seeing representation in many community arts events was predominately white. 

“Through the space that I have created I have made new friends, and people want to see more of it. Right now, I am in the works of creating another event, because Arcata and Humboldt County really needs something like this,” Ramos-Villalobos said. 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Photojournalist has unique view of border life as a non-Spanish-speaking child of immigrants

Borderzine - Thu, 06/10/2021 - 6:21am

Briana Sanchez frowns at the images on her computer screen. 

“I need to add some happier photos in here,” she says.

Sanchez, lead photojournalist at the El Paso Times, knows better than anyone the difficult times that the border has been through in the last two years. After spending eight years away, first in college in Georgia and Arizona and then working at newspapers in the Midwest, Sanchez returned home to El Paso in the spring of 2019. 

“As soon as I moved back here, we had those patriots at the border, protecting the border on their own volition,” she says. “And then we had the ‘We Build the Wall’ people. And then we had the mass shooting. And then we had a global pandemic, and then we had an anniversary of that mass shooting.” 

Not all of the challenges Sanchez faces in El Paso come from the events she covers. As a child of Mexican immigrants who themselves came to the United States at a young age, Sanchez never learned to speak Spanish even though she closely identifies with her Mexican heritage. 

“When I took the job in El Paso, some people were like, ‘Oh, I just assumed you spoke Spanish,’ Sanchez says. “It’s literally the underlining theme of my entire life. I do think it is an identity that I put on myself. I truly want to be able to communicate with people who have a similar background to me. But at the same time, it’s just been kind of rooted in my siblings and I (that) we’re American.” 

Sitting in front of her digital gallery of images, Sanchez finally stops scrolling and points at a little girl on the screen. The picture is from February of 2020.

“She was just dancing her heart out. It was so cool. Just the smoke and the colors and everything,” she smiles. “That was fun.”

Categories: Local Blogs

How the immigrant founder of a preschool builds community in Northern California through dance, diversity and determination

Borderzine - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 10:40pm

Mi Escuelita Maya is in a working class neighborhood at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Chico, California. A mural on the building depicts children from diverse backgrounds flying kites in open spaces. One of the founders, Maria Trenda, helped build the preschool in 2007, just before the Great Recession, on a corner lot just blocks from her home. Her first estudiantes are now entering college. 

Trenda’s school is an homage to her past. For 30 years, her mother ran a preschool in Mexico. After immigrating to the U.S. from Puebla, Mexico, Trenda worked as a nanny and a Spanish middle school teacher. Mi Escuelita Maya is her prayer for a brighter future. Students from all walks of life learn together, dance together, and cook together. They hear music from all over the world for the first time. Teachers speak in both Spanish and English. 

“It is really important to know where you come from for you to be able to know where you’re going,” Trenda says. 

Roughly 100 students, from ages 3 to 5, are served organic lunches five days a week. They share a pet guinea pig named Sunshine and a tiny restroom with miniature toilets. They play in a sandbox that wraps around a much-needed shade tree. The kiddos and peques, as Trenda calls them, seem to love it. The school combines sophisticated early childhood education and open-classroom philosophies; imagine a Montessori approach mixed with Waldorf methods all residing together in a bilingual bookbag.

 As essential workers, Trenda and her staff of 11 worked in-person and online throughout the pandemic.

“I remember seeing some of the parents come in and saying, ‘You’re not closing, right?’” Trenda recalls. “And we’re like, no, we’re not gonna close. … Because we knew that, you know, people needed us.”

Categories: Local Blogs

From borderlands of Brownsville and Tucson, Chicanx artist explores themes of barriers, belonging

Borderzine - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 10:16pm

Artist Alejandro Macias was born, raised and lived for more than three decades in Brownsville, Texas, communicating the borderlands experience through visual art as a second-generation Mexican American. 

In 2019, he moved hundreds of miles west to the borderlands city, Tucson, in Arizona, to continue working on his art and to teach at The University of Arizona in the School of Art.

His work, which in part is inspired by Chicanx activist work, draws on artists who transformed the human figure, artistically.  His art reflects his and others’ lived experience, striving to find a sense of belonging in the borderlands region. His work also reflects social-political climates of the times. 

Macias’ paintings focus on identity, the Mexican American experience within U.S. society, migration, his own family history and the many other families struggling and who have witnessed barriers in the borderlands. He uses images of himself in some work as representative of others with visuals often related to physical and metaphorical barriers in the Mexico-U.S. borderland region, which embodies two nations, two cultures with different identities that often merge together. 

Categories: Local Blogs

Artist Marcos Rey’s Spiritual Work

El Paso News - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 9:56pm
by Miguel Juarez In June 2020 El Paso News celebrated Pride month by focusing on local LGBTQ artists. We published ten articles devoted to Pride last year. This year, we will continue to explore how creatives dealt with the pandemic and how they and their art making was affected? To gauge how artists fared during… Read More Artist Marcos Rey’s Spiritual Work
Categories: Local Blogs

Danza cultural helps build important life skills in rural California community

Borderzine - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 9:16pm

Children wearing masks stomp their feet on concrete as they watch the new baile folklórico teacher nod her head and gesture the beats: right, left, right, left. The students are gathered on this Sunday evening in June at the local park in Humboldt County, California and show their excitement with this fun, social activity. 

The person leading this effort is Lucy Salazar, the president of Cumbre Humboldt — a local nonprofit celebrating its 2-year anniversary.

“Music. Dancing. It’s math. It’s rhythm. It’s teamwork. It’s being able to focus,” Salazar says.

After Salazar retired from a 20-year career in the sciences as a fuels management specialist, she founded Cumbre after volunteering at the elementary local school where her daughters went.  

“Since I am bilingual, I volunteered to help with the Spanish-speaking kids, the English-learners,” she says. “It became pretty obvious right away that they were falling through the cracks.”

As a result, she started Cumbre Humboldt, which promotes educational and enriching opportunities for Latinos and Spanish speakers, especially education opportunities for the children of immigrants. 

Humboldt County is a small, rural community five hours north of San Franciso where the Redwoods reach high in the sky and Latinos make up only 12% of the population and few resources and activities are geared toward them. Statewide, Latinos make up nearly 40% of California’s population.

Cumbre is an acronym and it stands for: confidence, unity, motivation, balance, respect, and empathy. 

“That ‘c’ for confidence is really important to me,” Salazar says. “If you can perform in front of a large group of strangers, then in class you can ask your questions. … It all kind of comes together for that well-rounded person: It’s the education and enrichment and confianza — that confidence — that’s so important.”

Categories: Local Blogs

El Paso Times and Ordaz

Max Powers - Sun, 06/06/2021 - 8:54am
I am not sure what to make of it, but I do find the way the El Paso Times covers State Representative Claudia Ordaz kinda interesting. Last week, she got front page treatment. And she's just a freshman. And you know that had to annoy the more experienced, accomplished legislators.... Max Powers
Categories: Local Blogs

El Paso About To Achieve Herd Immunity?

El Paso Politics - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 7:29am
The Texas Health and Human Services COVID-19 dashboard shows that 43.21% of the Texas population is now fully vaccinated against Covid, as of this morning. To be considered fully vaccinated, an individual […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Texas Attorney General “Looking Into” Children’s Hospital

El Paso Politics - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 7:43am
On May 28, 2021, El Paso Politics received the following message from the Texas Attorney General’s Office about our quest to force the El Paso Children’s Hospital to comply with the Texas […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Remember The Immigrant Soldiers This Memorial Day

EPN - Border Analysis - Fri, 05/28/2021 - 7:49am

Memorial Day is an America day honoring the men and women who died while serving in the United States military. Memorial Day this year is on Monday, May 31. Memorial Day, which began after the Civil War, became an official holiday in 1971. Before then, the day was commemorated as Decoration Day. Decoration Day was created by General John Logan, leader of the Northern Civil War veterans organization, on May 5, 1868. Logan wanted a day for Americans to visit the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers. Decoration Day originally remembered the Civil War dead, but after World War I, it evolved into remembering American soldiers who died serving their country.

Often overlooked in the remembrance celebrations are the many immigrants who have died serving in the American military.

Foreign born American soldiers have fought alongside U.S.-born soldiers in every major war since the American Revolution. It is estimated that around 5,000 immigrants enlist each year into the U.S. armed forces. Over 700,000 immigrants have served in the U.S. military in the last 100 years, according to the U.S. government. Twenty percent of the Union Army during the Civil War were immigrants.

Today, about three percent of America’s veterans are foreign born. About eight percent of today’s American armed forces members are immigrants.

Died While Not Citizens

Many of the immigrants who have died serving in the United States were not citizens when they died for America.

Two recent examples are:

On May 12, 2015, U.S. Marine Corporal Sara A. Medina, who was born in México, died at the age of 23 in a helicopter accident while serving her adopted country.

Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, an immigrant from Guatemala, was killed in Iraq on March 21, 2003. Gutierrez was granted U.S. citizenship after his death. Gutierrez is one of about 100 immigrants granted citizenship posthumously after dying during combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the highest award the United States can bestow on any soldier for bravery in the face of battle. Latinos outpace all others as recipients of the Medal of Honor. Almost 60 of the approximately 3,400 Medal of Honor awarded have been to Hispanics.

Of those, seven Mexican citizens have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

Among the Mexican-born Medal of Honor recipients are Pedro Cano, Jesus S. Duran, Marcario García, Silvestre S. Herrera, José F. Jimenez and Issac Payne.

On February 8, 2000, Mexican citizen Alfredo V. Rascon was also awarded the Medal of Honor. Rascon retired as a lieutenant colonel. He was born in Chihuahua.

World War II Mexicans

Large numbers of Hispanics served during World War II. However, in addition to Latinos, many of Mexican descent fighting under the American flag, there was also the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force Squadron 201 that was deployed to the Philippines to fight the Japanese alongside their American counter parts. The Mexican squadron was one of only two Latin American countries to deploy forces during World War II. Brazil was the other country.

Hispanics, especially Mexican, and immigrants have contributed to America’s national defense since the founding of the country. Their contributions and bravery have made America safer today.

As Americans remember their fallen soldiers this Memorial Day, the immigrants who fought and died alongside citizens should also be remembered because their sacrifice was for a country, they adopted instead of being born into.

Categories: Local Blogs

Remember The Immigrant Soldiers This Memorial Day

EPN - Border Analysis - Fri, 05/28/2021 - 7:49am
Memorial Day is an America day honoring the men and women who died while serving in the United States military. Memorial Day this year is on Monday, May 31. Memorial Day, which began after the Civil War, became an official holiday in 1971. Before then, the day was commemorated as Decoration Day. Decoration Day was… Read More Remember The Immigrant Soldiers This Memorial Day
Categories: Local Blogs

Meet the author of “Duarte, the Corrupter: Testimonials of a Business Leader in Mexico” local businessman Carlos Chavira

El Paso News - Wed, 05/26/2021 - 9:56am
With David Marcus, CPA and Jim Darnell, Criminal Attorney  The intriguing new book exposes the corrupt (former) Governor of the State of Chihuahua, Mexico that involves the Mexican Federal government, the Mexican consulate in El Paso, the US State Department in Washington and the FBI along with President Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the… Read More Meet the author of “Duarte, the Corrupter: Testimonials of a Business Leader in Mexico” local businessman Carlos Chavira 
Categories: Local Blogs

El Paso Border Patrol Chief Turns Blind Eye To Abuse

El Paso Politics - Tue, 05/25/2021 - 7:31am
Author note’s: some content in this story is graphic in nature and may be offensive to some readers. In July 2019, Border Patrol Agent Gustavo Zamora was indicted in Tucson on three […]
Categories: Local Blogs

The Criminal Minds of Border Patrol Agents

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 05/20/2021 - 8:01am

On May 4, 2021, John Daly III was arrested on charges of being the East Valley Rapist. According to Mesa police, Daly has been tied to “eight cases” of sexual assault between July 1999 and October 2001. Three of the eight cases were linked together by DNA evidence, according to the court records.

Daly had been stationed at the Douglas Border Patrol station from November 1999 until December 2019, when he retired.

Daly is not the only Arizona-based Border Patrol agent arrested on sexual assault charges. In May 2019, Steven Charles Holmes was arrested on charges of assaulting various women. The investigation into Holmes uncovered multiple victims assaulted between January 2012 and January 2019. Homes was charged with three counts on May 21, 2019.

In October 2019, Gloria Chavez was appointed as interim chief of the El Paso Border Patrol sector after the controversy of Trump’s migrant zero tolerance testing done in El Paso was exposed. At the same time, her husband, Gus Zamora, also a Border Patrol Agent, was arrested on charges of assaulting a junior female Border Patrol agent.

Although Zamora had been arrested on the sexual assault charge, Border Patrol officials allowed him to quietly retire even though Zamora was under indictment.

The Dana Ray Thornhill Case

Dana Ray Thornhill was first arrested at the age of 13 for the sexual assault of a younger child. Even with his arrest record, Thornhill was hired by the Border Patrol. Thornhill worked for the Border Patrol for almost 20 years, all while molesting two children, ages 8 to 12. In late 2020, Thornhill pleaded guilty to repeatedly molesting the two children between 1995 and 2007. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Serial Killer Juan David Ortiz

Following his arrest on September 15, 2018, Border Patrol Agent Juan David Ortiz confessed to killing four women over a 12-day period. The women were sex workers according to court filings. Ortiz told the police he was “doing a service” for the community by killing the women. According to court documents, Ortiz used “a government issued pistol with government issued ammunition” to kill the women.

The Border Patrol Child Molester Couple

On December 11, 2019, the Arizona Daily Independent reported on Border Patrol Agent Paul Douglas Adams confession to his Mormon confessors that he was molesting his young daughter. Rather than report him to authorities, the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered him counseling.

When Adams was arrested in February 2017, he graphically told investigators of the difficulty he had with his recently-born infant daughter in committing his criminal acts. Adams was implicated in abusing his three children for years. The children were between six weeks and 12 years-old when they were abused by their father over a seven-year period.

But Adams didn’t just confess to his church leaders, he also confessed to his wife, Leizza Adams. Leizza Adams was also a Border Patrol agent. In August 2018, Leizza Adams pleaded no contest to child abuse and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Her husband, Paul Adams committed suicide in December 2017 while awaiting trial on the child molestation charges.

Among the church leaders who knew about the abuse for years included the family’s physician, John Herrod and his wife, both of whom belonged to the church and counseled Paul Adams and his children about the abuse, according to the civil complaint filed against the church filed on December 2020 in Arizona.

Under Donald Trump, the Border Patrol publicly became the enforcement arm of the Trump administration with its controversial deployment during the national riots. A former Border Patrol agent, Jenn Budd, has documented the racist culture within the agency.

Numerous other cases of Board Patrol criminality have been documented over the years. (link)

The prevalence of the culture of racism and the criminality within the ranks of the Border Patrol demonstrates that criminality drives the United States Border Patrol from within.

Categories: Local Blogs

The Criminal Minds of Border Patrol Agents

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 05/20/2021 - 8:01am
On May 4, 2021, John Daly III was arrested on charges of being the East Valley Rapist. According to Mesa police, Daly has been tied to “eight cases” of sexual assault between July 1999 and October 2001. Three of the eight cases were linked together by DNA evidence, according to the court records. Daly had… Read More The Criminal Minds of Border Patrol Agents
Categories: Local Blogs

New book about the Gulf War Syndrome

Diana Washington Valdez - Tue, 05/18/2021 - 7:09pm

 Book explores the Gulf War Syndrome controversies

Book coverNew release of the book "Shadow of Death: Gulf War Syndrome" by author-journalist Diana Washington Valdez. Available on Amazon.
"The book is timely in light of the current pandemic we are experiencing," Diana Washington Valdez said. "Concerns about weaponized viruses and bacteria surfaced 20 years ago."
"Today's conspiracy theory is tomorrow's truth."
 Shadow of Death: Gulf War Syndrome: Washington Valdez, Diana: 9798505228715: Amazon.com: Books
Categories: Local Blogs

Texas Attorney General Gives Children’s Ten Days To Respond

El Paso Politics - Mon, 05/17/2021 - 7:03am
As readers may remember, last month El Paso Politics filed a request with the El Paso County Attorney asking them to request an opinion from Texas Attorney General on whether the El […]
Categories: Local Blogs

El Paso couples happy after finding their pandemic wedding styles

Borderzine - Fri, 05/14/2021 - 4:29pm

Elaine Gordon Wilson and her fiance Kevin opted for a church ceremony with a virtual audience. Angel Iturbe and his fiance chose an outdoor event  with safety rules for guests. Both tell the stories of how their plans to get married survived all the challenges the pandemic threw at them.

 

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

The Alamo Was About Slavery

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 05/13/2021 - 12:24pm

The Washington Post had an article on May 8, 2021 discussing the renovations the Alamo requires. Although most everyone agrees that the Alamo needs a makeover, what it teaches about history is controversial. The United States has taught a distorted history minimizing or ignoring the part that slavery had on the country’s economic prowess. In the case of the Texas Revolution, the slavery question has been largely absent in the history books in Texas schools.

Many Texas school children never hear that the Texas Revolution was about slavery.

As I discussed in 2020 slavery is the most important issue that led to the Texans to rebel from México. Most Texans are not taught this inconvenient fact and many Texans will argue today that slavery wasn’t the issue.

They are wrong.

The Alamo renovation “has devolved into a five-year brawl over whether to focus narrowly on the 1836 battle or present a fuller view that delves into the site’s indigenous history and the role of slavery in the Texas Revolution,” according to the Washington Post.

William Travis and Davy Crockett, as well as James Bowie were slave owners. El Paso’s showcase school for the Latino majority of the city is Bowie Highschool. It is named after James Bowie a defender of the Alamo and a slave trader.

Many El Paso Latinos had no inkling about this inconvenient fact.

Likewise, the slave ownership of Crockett and Travis are also obscured, ignored or minimized in Texas schools today.

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until 2018 that the Texas Board of Education changed the way Texas students are taught the Civil War. Beginning in 2019, Texas students are now taught that slavery is the “central role” of the Civil War.

Although groups, including Republicans, insist that the Texas Revolution was not about slavery, historians “argue that support for slavery was indeed a motivating factor of the Texas Revolution,” according to the Washington Post article.

The Big Lie

Today, many Republicans believe in The Big Lie that Joe Biden lost the election to Donald Trump. Many ask themselves how The Big Lie can be perpetuated across America and believed by many.

The reason is America’s penchant for revisionist history. Americans refuse to face the facts and instead believe what is taught to them or they hear without taking a moment to ask the simple question, is this true?

The fact is that México lost almost half of its territory simply because some Americans wanted to enslave other people to Make America Great.

The Civil War and the Texas Revolution were about slavery. To argue otherwise shows a clear lack of wanting to know facts over lies.

Categories: Local Blogs

The Alamo Was About Slavery

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 05/13/2021 - 12:24pm
The Washington Post had an article on May 8, 2021 discussing the renovations the Alamo requires. Although most everyone agrees that the Alamo needs a makeover, what it teaches about history is controversial. The United States has taught a distorted history minimizing or ignoring the part that slavery had on the country’s economic prowess. In… Read More The Alamo Was About Slavery
Categories: Local Blogs
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by Dr. Radut