By Sonya Hamasaki, CNN
(CNN) - A friend. A neighbor. A fellow countryman. This is what it means to be a paisano. But every Christmas, in the small border town of Laredo, Texas, it takes on another meaning.
In Laredo, paisanos are travelers, Mexican citizens who live in the United States and pass through Laredo on their way to visit loved ones in Mexico for the holidays. Laredo is the last stop before crossing the border - some have driven from far-away states - and the journey can be a stressful one.
That's why the city of Laredo, in partnership with the Mexican General Consulate, staffs a pop-up rest stop to ease travelers concerns. They call it the Paisano Rest Stop, and it will be open for 48 continuous hours this weekend, starting Friday.
The Paisano Rest Stop is a 14-year tradition fueled by a close-knit American community that prides itself on its proximity to Mexico. The mayor greets thousands of travelers with a handshake and a hug. They sip hot chocolate, share snacks and huddle under heaters in the cold night. Patrons are offered information on road conditions and safe places to park their cars to take a nap. They can meet with officials about the necessary documents to cross the border.
Editor's note: Soledad O'Brien chronicles the journey of eight African-American entrepreneurs in "Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley" at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on December 18.
By Stephanie Siek, CNN
(CNN) - Kimberly Bryant knows what it is to yearn and to succeed. The electrical engineer and mobile health technology entrepreneur works for pharmaceutical giant Novartis and is in the midst of launching her own company.
But she also knows what it’s like to be "the only one" - the only woman, the only African-American.
That's why Bryant started Black Girls Code, a volunteer organization in San Francisco that's dedicated to teaching young girls of color about computer programming and technology. She hopes they will be better prepared to experience that yearning and success instead of loneliness and isolation. By giving them an early intro into the world of computing, she hopes they'll see it as a potential career path.
"I want to have that exposure before they go to college so that they can have [computer science professions] as a choice when they go to college," Bryant said.
Editor’s note: Fernando Espuelas is the host and managing editor of the national talk show "Fernando Espuelas" on Univision Radio. He is also a political analyst on television, print and online. Espuelas is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute
By Fernando Espuelas, Special to CNN
The Supreme Court's decision this week to review the constitutionality of Arizona's anti-immigrant law is a seminal moment for Americans of Latino descent. This case - like other historic cases before the court at critical moments, cases that redefined America's social compact - will have repercussions beyond whether Arizona gets to keep its racist law on the books. It is a test of whether America legislates racism.
Most Latinos across this country see the immigration laws passed in Arizona, Alabama and Georgia as an attack on Latinos, both Americans and undocumented immigrants.
By Ashley Hayes, CNN
(CNN) - In his 18 years as Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio has cut a controversial figure, gaining international notoriety for making prison inmates wear pink underwear and pink handcuffs and housing them in tents.
Rather than shy away from controversy, he has embraced it, touting his nickname of "America's Toughest Sheriff" on his website and boasting that his inmate meals are the cheapest in the nation, costing between 15 and 40 cents apiece. His cutting out salt and pepper saved taxpayers $20,000 a year, according to his biography on the sheriff's website.
Another program Arpaio began posts mugshots of all those arrested - about 300 daily - on the sheriff's website as they are booked and processed into jail, according to the biography. The site gets "just under a million hits daily," it said. He has been re-elected to five four-year terms as sheriff since taking office in 1993.
On Thursday, the Justice Department said it had found cause to believe the sheriff's office "has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law." Among its findings were that the sheriff's department - under the leadership of Arpaio, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration - discriminates against Latinos through traffic stops, detentions and arrests and also punishes Latino inmates with limited English proficiency by punishing them and denying them critical services, the Justice Department said.
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Atlanta (CNN) - More than one in three women have experienced sexual assault, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey.
The same is true for more than one in four men, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. The survey, released Wednesday, was based on telephone interviews with more than 16,500 adults in 2010.
Supported by the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Defense, the survey was aimed at better describing and monitoring "the magnitude of sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence victimization in the United States," the CDC said. The report is the first of its kind to provide data on national and state levels, the agency said.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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