Dina Boyer is transgender, college-educated and currently lives in San Francisco. She is homeless, she has a son she's never met and says being transgender has caused tensions with her family. She also believes that is one of the reasons she is unemployed.
Dina says she has yet to achieve the American dream, but despite the adversities she has endured she says she's happy about who she is and she is not giving up.
What makes you American?
Check out Dina's story and see other "I Am America" posts on iReport.
By Stephanie Goldberg, CNN
(CNN) - The public has been shaking its collective head since rumors of a Rihanna-Chris Brown collaboration began circulating on the Internet last week.
Once the artists' respective remixes, "Birthday Cake" and "Turn Up the Music," featuring each other, hit the Web on Monday, that head-shaking turned into full-blown opposition.
Some have questioned why Rihanna would musically reunite with her ex and whether their working together was a straight career move or a byproduct of her feelings for Brown. But based on the way the "We Found Love" singer markets herself, industry experts agree, her decision to collaborate with Brown is actually quite characteristic.
CNN's Black in America 2: 'Today’s Pioneers' featured a program called Project Brotherhood, ran by six African American doctors dedicated to helping other black men stay healthy.
The program provides a free clinic and since the documentary aired in 2009 the number of patients and volunteers has doubled, but with the change in the economy came major cuts for the program.
Watch to learn the fate of Project Brotherhood.
Editor's note: The next Latino in America documentary focuses on Latino voters and airs in October 2012. Follow @cnnlia for more updates on other Latino in America stories.
By Nick Valencia, CNN
(CNN) – It’s a Thursday in early February, and Fernando Romero, the Godfather of Latino politics in Nevada, is stressed out. Two days ago, Ruben Kihuen, the Democrat who was trying to become the state’s first ever Latino congressman announced he was dropping out of the race.
“It’s a big let down for the community,” Romero says of Kihuen’s decision. “The [Latino] voters were inspired to come out to vote, but right now we’re finding it difficult to burn a fire under their butts.”
Nevada’s Latino population grew 81 percent from 2000 to 2010, and many here thought this candidate and this race would be their chance to flex some new political muscle and be represented by one of their own. “We were hanging our coats on him,” Romero says of Kihuen.
Turns out a lot of people were “hanging their coats” on this little-known newcomer who went from 9-year old immigrant from Mexico to invited guest at the president’s most recent State of the Union address. Democratic strategists hoped the excitement surrounding his race would lead to big Latino voter turnout that would in turn help President Obama’s bid for a second term.
Latino voters across the country, not just in Nevada, are this presidential election’s “Florida Florida Florida.” Both parties—and the national media—are focusing on this group, waiting to see how or if they will vote in November. This week’s cover story in Time Magazine, “Why Latino Voters Will Swing the 2012 Election” says it’s a numbers game.
By Stephanie Siek, CNN
(CNN) – Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are self-deprecating and triumphantly nerdy, and in the first season of their Comedy Central show, they're proving there's not just one way to be black and funny.
"Key & Peele," which airs at 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Comedy Central, combines elements of stand-up, sketch comedy and improvisation. It was just picked up for a second season on the cable channel.
Peele, whose father is black, was raised by his white mother in New York City. Key is also biracial, and was adopted by a black man and his white wife and raised in Detroit. And being biracial has definitely influenced their comedy.
Although Peele remembers growing up in a cosmopolitan, multicultural environment, Key grew up in one marked by segregation and white flight; a black city that had been a white city not so long before. He was sometimes ostracized by black classmates when they learned that his mother was white.
"For me it was very hard and rough. When you're a child, the most important thing is to be able to live a life of comfort. You want to be sure that the moon goes up at night and the sun comes up in the morning and dad comes home from work. At school it was not comfortable," Key remembers. "My mom would come by my school to bring me lunch – my mom is a cute, ruddy little white woman, and there's no category for that – the kids don't know how to respond, and so they tease: 'That ain't your mama!' 'Why you talk white?' It's not to say that every child in grade school talked to me that way, but that's what I remember.”
Their comedic work stretches and tests the limits and definitions of what it is to be black, to be white, to be both - and to be neither.
Editor's note: Charles Garcia is the CEO of Garcia Trujillo, a business focused on the Hispanic market, and the author of "Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows." A native of Panama, he now lives in Florida. Watch Garcia on Friday in the 9 a.m. hour on CNN Newsroom. Lea este artículo en español/Read this article in Spanish.
By Charles Garcia, Special to CNN
(CNN) - TIME magazine's cover story, which hit the newsstand Thursday, argues that Latino voters will cast the deciding vote in the upcoming election.
After watching the Republican candidates lock the kryptonite that is the immigration issue around their necks during the Arizona debate, my bet is that President Barack Obama could win another term - even if he loses key swing states such as Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin - but he must make sure he accomplishes one thing first: Connect with Latinos.
By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN
(CNN) - For the very serious business of making serious laws for states with legitimately serious problems, there’s an unexpected streak of comedic wackiness running through governmental chambers.
Consider a sample of legislative work since the start of 2012:
Alaska Rep. Kyle Johansen, R-Alaska, proposed the federal government take over New York’s Central Park and make it a development-free wilderness area as a way to blast back at those he says are in the way of drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Wyoming legislators followed up with a bill in support of Alaska's measure.
In Mississippi, Democratic lawmaker Stephen Holland introduced a bill to change the name of the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of America. It's a swipe at Republicans who he says want to push everything having to do with Mexico out of the state.
To get more – ahem – personal, Democratic Oklahoma Sen. Constance Johnson wrote a provision for an anti-abortion bill that said men can ejaculate only into women’s vaginas, lest lives be wasted. Virginia Democrat Janet Howell amended an anti-abortion bill to require rectal exams for men before they could get erectile dysfunction medications.
This week Rep. Yasmin Neal, D-Georgia, tired of an anti-abortion debate she says ignored women’s points of view, introduced a bill that would block men from having vasectomies unless the procedure would prevent death or serious injury.
Nevermind filibusters, lobbyists and legislative majorities; when lawmakers really want the world to know their opinions, they crack a joke, keep a straight face and wait for the tweets to start.
Editor's note: In America will continue to follow Marlen Esparza’s journey to the Olympic games of London 2012. Esparza was the focus of the CNN documentary, "Latino In America: In Her Corner," which aired in September. The next Latino in America documentary focuses on Latino voters and airs in October 2012.
Follow @cnnlia for more updates on Marlen and Latino in America stories.
By Elizabeth M. Nunez, CNN
(CNN) - Marlen Esparza punched her name into history books with a decisive victory at the U.S. Olympic team trials for women’s boxing on Saturday night. The win makes her part of the first female squad hoping to represent the U.S. in boxing at the Olympic Games. Female boxing is making its debut at the Olympics this year.
“I’m really happy to get my foot in the door to the Olympics… I feel good that there were no bumps in the road,” 22 year-old Esparza told CNN in a phone interview.
Mexican-American Esparza from Houston defeated Tyriesha Douglas from Baltimore in the final round of the tournament with a score of 32 to 17. In amateur boxing women use protective headgear and score points by delivering clean hits to the face or chest.
“I think it’s huge for everybody and for all Hispanics in general because we love boxing. I’m glad I am the Hispanic name in the team and I’d rather it be that way. I’m honored” she said.
Marlen Esparza’s quest to become part of the U.S. Olympic team was the focus of CNN’s documentary, Latino in America: In her Corner. “I think people will start noticing [the sport] more. Hispanics just love boxing already,” she added.
Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.
Opinion: There's enough "female funny" for range of comedic portrayals of women -NewYorker
Stereotypes of Asian-American, Latino characters still linger in prime time television -National Public Radio
Hearing impaired UCLA running back defies expectations -Los Angeles Times Magazine
Study: Extreme poverty doubled in last fifteen years - USA Today
Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN.com contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist.
By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor
San Diego (CNN) - In a popular fable, a scorpion asks a frog to carry him across a river. The frog resists at first, afraid that the scorpion will sting him. The scorpion points out that - as a practical matter - if he stings the frog, they both die. The frog gives in. Halfway across, the scorpion does in fact sting the frog and they both drown. Why would the scorpion do that, the frog asks. The scorpion responds that he can't help it, that this is his nature.
The moral: Some creatures can't control their natural impulses, even if it would lead to their own demise.
It's the same way with Republicans when they discuss immigration, as the four remaining GOP presidential hopefuls did Wednesday night during the CNN debate in Mesa, Arizona.