Sandy puts Day of the Dead celebrations on hold
Calaveritas -- sugar skulls -- would be a typical part of New York and New Jersey Day of the Dead celebrations.
November 1st, 2012
04:17 PM ET

Sandy puts Day of the Dead celebrations on hold

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - Sugar skulls, specially adorned altars and fresh pan de muertos have to take a rain check around New York and New Jersey today because of Superstorm Sandy.

Just as many places in the Northeast put Halloween trick-or-treating on hold, the same is happening for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos. The traditionally Mexican holiday is typically celebrated the first two days in November to honor family and friends who have passed away.

Although celebrations are happening in other places with large Latino populations - Chicago, Miami, and many cities in California and Texas - it's a blow to New York and New Jersey. About 18% of the populations of New York and New Jersey are Hispanic, according to the Pew Hispanic Center's 2010 state demographic profiles. In both states, 14% of Hispanics are of Mexican origin, the profiles reported.

“There is no power in the Lower East Side and we cannot have any activities until power is restored due to safety reasons,” New York nonprofit Mano a Mano’s Facebook page and Twitter updates said in English and Spanish.


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Disney producer 'misspoke': Sofia isn't 'first Latina princess'
Disney recently clarified that "Sofia the First" is a "fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world."
October 25th, 2012
02:43 PM ET

Disney producer 'misspoke': Sofia isn't 'first Latina princess'

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - After unveiling its "first Latina" princess last week, Disney now says Jamie Mitchell, the producer of the TV show "Sofia the First," "misspoke" during a press tour and that the title character is not a Latina.

The word comes after questions arose about what made "Sofia the First" culturally relevant and why the media wasn't informed when the show was first announced in 2011.

Backlash for Disney's first Latina princess

The National Hispanic Media Coalition, a Latino media advocacy organization, met with Nancy Kanter, Disney Junior Worldwide's senior vice president of original programming a general manager, to discuss the impact of "Sofia the First" in the Latino community.

"She shared that Sofia the First is in fact not a Latina character and that the producer of the television program misspoke," NHMC president and CEO Alex Nogales said in a statement. "We accept the clarification and celebrate the good news that Disney Junior has an exciting project in early development that does have a Latina as the heroine of the show."

Read the full story

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Filed under: Girls • How we live • Latino in America • Pop culture
Where was Latin America in foreign policy debate?
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama hardly discussed Latin America during Monday's debate.
October 23rd, 2012
11:59 AM ET

Where was Latin America in foreign policy debate?

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - During last night's foreign policy debate, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney argued over the war in Afghanistan, nuclear crisis with Iran, tension with Israel, the rise of China and America’s role in the world.

But Latin America hardly came up and Twitter users, especially the Latino community, were not pleased.

[tweet https://twitter.com/joseiswriting/status/260568789740027904%5D

Romney mentioned Latin America during talk about a plan to increase trade.

“We can do better than that, particularly in Latin America," he said. "The opportunities for us in Latin America we have just not taken advantage of fully. Latin America's economy is almost as big as the economy of China. We're all focused on China. Latin America is a huge opportunity for us — time zone, language opportunities."

Obama did not respond to Romney's comment on Latin America.


October 22nd, 2012
04:15 AM ET

Backlash for Disney's first Latina princess

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - Move over Pocahontas and Mulan. Sofia está aquí.

Disney's first Latina princess, featured in the movie "Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess," has received backlash as well as support from media outlets, especially the Latino community. Is Disney's new princess a milestone for Latinos or a culturally irrelevant character?

Disney's spokeswoman provided a recent statement to CNN to help clarify what exactly makes "Princess Sofia" Latina:

"The range of characters in 'Sofia the First' - and the actors who play them - are a reflection of Disney's commitment to diverse, multicultural and inclusive storytelling, and the wonderful early reaction to 'Sofia' affirms that commitment. In the story, Sofia's mother, Queen Miranda, was born in a fictitious land, Galdiz, a place with Latin influences. Miranda met Sofia's father, Birk Balthazar, who hailed from the kingdom of Freezenberg, and together they moved to Enchancia, where Sofia was born."

"Sofia the First" is a television movie and series set to debut November 18 on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior, aimed at children ages 2-7.

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Filed under: How we live • Latino in America • Women
October 17th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Nominees tackle immigration at presidential debate

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - The presidential candidates discussed immigration at the Univision forum a month ago, but Tuesday night’s debate gave the hot button issues a major prime-time stage, and it wasn't pretty.

Five things we learned from the debate

In one of the most tweeted moments, the candidates addressed audience member Lorraine Osorio's question: "Mr. Romney, what do you plan on doing with immigrants without their green cards (who) are currently living here as productive members of society?"

The candidates had trouble with Osorio's name, and people went wild on social media.

[tweet https://twitter.com/Lyngay/status/258387194677448704%5D

“This is a nation of immigrants," GOP nominee Mitt Romney said. "We welcome people coming to this country as immigrants. My dad was born in Mexico of American parents. Ann's dad was born in Wales and is a first-generation American. We welcome legal immigrants into this country.”

Romney said he would implement an employment verification system and punish employers who hire people who have entered the country illegally.
"So for instance, I would not give driver's licenses to those that have come here illegally, as the president would," he said. "The kids of those that came here illegally, those kids, I think, should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the United States, and military service, for instance, is one way they would have that kind of pathway to become a permanent resident."


October 11th, 2012
05:24 PM ET

What you don't know about Latinos in America

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez and Sophia Dengo, CNN

The faces of America are changing, and now, so are the numbers. You may know that Hispanics are the "fastest growing minority in the United States," but here are some other facts about Latinos you probably didn't know. (Click on the graphic or here to see a larger version)

October 8th, 2012
05:09 PM ET

César Chávez an inspiration to president's campaign slogan and movements

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

“¡Si se puede!”

Many people may not realize that the origin of “Yes We Can!” President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, was a direct translation of rallying cries of the farm workers movement led by César E. Chávez, founder of the United Farm Workers, an organization devoted to defending the rights of farmhands and field workers across the country.

Opinion: Obama hits a foul by honoring Cesar Chavez

Chavez fought for fair wages, humane treatment and safer working conditions for California's farm workers through nonviolent marches, boycotts and fasts.

The UFW motto has been widely adopted by labor unions and civil rights movements, like the Service Employees International Union Justice For Janitors program, and immigration reform protests in 2006.

The slogan was coined during Chavez’s 24-day fast in 1972 for social justice in Phoenix, with the help of Dolores Huerta, co-founder of UFW.

In the 1972 film“¡Si se puede!", filmmakers Rick Tejada-Flores and Gayanne Fietinghoff document the fast that inspired the phrase. In May 1972, the Arizona Legislature passed a bill that limited collective bargaining and outlawed boycotts and strikes at harvest time.

After Gov. Jack Williams signed the bill into law, Chavez began a fast. According to the film’s site, supporters discouraged the fast, arguing with him:“Cesar, no se puede, no se puede.” Chavez would reply. “Si, si se puede.” Yes, it can be done.


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The year of the political Latino celebrity, starring Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
October 5th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

The year of the political Latino celebrity, starring Eva Longoria

Editor’s note: In America follows the fight to win an essential voting bloc in Nevada, a battleground state with one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the nation. Soledad O’Brien reports in “Latino in America: Courting Their Vote” on CNN TV at 8 p.m. ET Sunday.

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - Eva Longoria is considered one of the most politically involved celebrities in this election cycle. But it's not a new role for her. She has been politically active for 20 years now, and it all started in high school.

“My government and economics teacher gave us a project where we all had to volunteer during the election. We could choose whatever party, but we had to volunteer and help register people to vote. It was part of our grade,” Longoria said. ”So I caught the political bug from there.”

That was when the "Desperate Housewives" star was a 17-year-old student at Roy Miller High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, during the first Clinton presidential campaign.

Years later, she was quite vocal during President Barack Obama’s 2008 bid, and this year she is co-chairwoman on his re-election campaign.

Beyond Longoria, it seems like 2012 has become the ultimate year of the politically active Latino celebrity, with the likes of Rosario Dawson working very closely with Voto Latino, a nonpartisan organization aimed at bringing diverse voices in the political process to promote positive change. FULL POST

Ted Williams paved the way for Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown history
Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers won baseball's Triple Crown this season.
October 4th, 2012
04:55 PM ET

Ted Williams paved the way for Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown history

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - Miguel Cabrera of Venezuela, the Detroit Tigers' third baseman, is the first player since 1967 to win baseball's Triple Crown. But is he the first Latino to do so?

Detroit's Miguel Cabrera claims Triple Crown

Media outlets report that Cabrera is the first Latino to end a season leading the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. But many argue that Ted Williams, considered one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball, was actually the first Hispanic to grab a Triple Crown.

The legendary Boston Red Sox left fielder won the Triple Crown - twice, in 1942 and 1947 - and was the first inductee in the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in February 2002.

In his 1969 autobiography, “My Turn At Bat,” Williams said his heritage was part Mexican via his mother, May Venzor, though he rarely acknowledged it in public.

"(If) I had had my mother's name, there is no doubt I would have run into problems in those days, the prejudices people had in southern California," Williams wrote. FULL POST

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October 3rd, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Latino immigrants empowered by vote

Editor’s note: In America follows the fight to win an essential voting bloc in Nevada, a battleground state with one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the nation. Soledad O’Brien reports in “Latino in America: Courting Their Vote” at 8 p.m. ET Sunday.

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - Forty years ago, Balbino and Rosario Guevara didn’t vote. It had nothing to do with Nixon’s landslide or the electoral implosion of the Democratic Party; they were living in El Salvador. And they were simply afraid.

“I had two businesses: a restaurant and store. But then, the politics took a turn for the worse. ... People, even teachers, were being kidnapped. It was terrible,” Balbino Guevara said. “I told my wife, 'I don’t like this. We need to leave.' ”

The Guevaras watched helplessly as the country hurtled toward a brutal civil war. They fled to the United States in the early '70s, and suddenly, the ballot box became a key part of their identity.

It's immigration, stupid, say Latino voters in Nevada

“The first thing we did after we became U.S. citizens was go to the town hall and register to vote,” Rosario Guevara said proudly in her native Spanish. “And we have voted at every single election since.”

The Guevaras became naturalized citizens and embraced voting in a way that was denied their countrymen in El Salvador, hit by electoral violence and fraud and a coup amid the bloody civil war.

“It’s very important to vote. Very, very important,” Rosario said. “I always tell my two daughters to vote, but they don’t listen to me.”

She has been voting since 1992, and her husband cast his first ballot in the following presidential election in 1996. “We even vote in our local town elections,” said Rosario Guevara, who now lives in West New York, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan.

But that passion isn’t always shared by other Latinos. Balbino Guevara believes that one reason why Latinos vote in smaller proportions to other population groups is the lingering memories of fellow immigrants of what went on in the old country. FULL POST

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