The Latino/Hispanic community represents a significant portion of the U.S. population and continues to grow. Its diverse members hail from a wide variety of countries of origin where the Spanish language is spoken. Whether community members identify as Latino, Latina, Latinx, Hispanic, Chicano, by nationality, by ethnicity, or otherwise, their stories are part of the American story. This audio story collection highlights the voices and experiences of Hispanic people in the U.S., including documented and undocumented immigrants, as well as people whose families have been U.S. citizens for generations. They capture cultural traditions like celebrating a quinceañera, accomplishments like working on the Mars rover or winning a prestigious scholarship, and emotions surrounding separation from or reunification with family members during the course of immigration. Listen to these stories for a sampling of Latino culture, history, and perspectives on identity and the American experience.
Children born in the U.S. to poor, undocumented immigrants face many problems. The children are American citizens, but their parents are not. Without a passport or proof of residency, those parents can’t apply for benefits for their children, and those children go without food, shelter, and other necessities. Listen to learn about the challenges facing the children of immigrants today.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed to America and claimed the land for Spain. This event became an American holiday 400 years later, but some people think it shouldn’t be a holiday at all. To some, Columbus represents the beginning of European colonization. Today, Columbus Day is a time for celebration and protest across Latin America. In countries spanning Central and South America, people commemorate the holiday by celebrating both their Spanish and indigenous heritages. In addition, leftist leaders have used Columbus Day as an opportunity to show support for native people and customs. Listen to learn more about the many different meanings of this holiday outside the United States.
After two decades in the major leagues, Red Sox legend David Ortiz has retired, and now he is releasing a memoir about his life and career. Throughout his career, David Ortiz, or “Big Papi”, hit 541 home runs and won three World Series championships with the Boston Red Sox. Listen to learn more about David Ortiz’s journey from his childhood in the Dominican Republic to major league baseball in the United States.
One University professor is combining scholarship with an exploration of the Latino culture using the rich history of tacos. He uses food to connect his students to Mexican people and their narratives. Students travel to a taqueria to explore the food of Mexico, discussing history and culture to create understanding along with identifying misconceptions. Listen to hear this professor discuss questions of cultural appropriation and relationships to power as he teaches his students about Mexican culture using food.
The Trump administration designated March 5, 2018 as the last day that recipients of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, could apply to renew their status. But the fate of these young people is still uncertain as Congress hasn’t reached a compromise on this issue. One DACA recipient is a woman who graduated from college and is supporting her family on her teacher’s salary. But her younger sister is not protected by DACA. Listen to this story to learn more about the effects of the government’s decision not to accept new DACA applications.
Selective colleges and universities are using a new strategy to diversify their student bodies; they are recruiting transfer students from community colleges. There are many reasons that high-achieving students may choose to start at community colleges, but now many private four-year colleges are inviting those students to transfer after they have completed an associate’s degree. Listen to this story to hear from one such student about her dreams, her challenges, and her experiences as a transfer student at an elite school.
The comic strip Baldo has been published in newspapers across the United States for 20 years. It was the first ever to feature a Latino family as the main characters. Hector Cantu, the author of Baldo was inspired to create the comic strip after noticing how few Latino characters were represented in comics. Baldo features fictional characters who deal with real life issues. Listen to this story to hear from the author of Baldo about the creation of this ground-breaking work.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans with origins in countries once under Spanish influence. The term “Hispanic” was added to the U.S. census to identify members of a diverse group of people with common interests. However, some people feel the term is problematic because of its connection to Spanish colonialism. Many prefer the term “Latino,” while others like to be identified by their national heritage. Listen to hear a journalist explain various preferences for naming ethnic identity and what they mean to people.
A new study finds that Latino youth face higher rates of depression than their black and white peers. The results reflect a range of problems Latinos in America are facing, including discrimination, violence, and for some, fear of deportation. Listen to hear a Latina teen explain how hateful words affect her and what she is doing to combat her sadness and anger.
An interactive art installation with giant lights and booming loudspeakers is helping people communicate across the U.S.-Mexico border. Visitors to the exhibit on both sides of the border are invited to send searchlights into the sky and when they intersect, a conversation can begin. Americans and Mexicans are using the opportunity to chat, sing, and even celebrate birthdays together. Listen to hear visitors describe the effect of speaking to neighbors across a border wall and why the artist calls his creation a “bridge.”
The Supreme Court announced that DACA recipients, sometimes called Dreamers, can stay in the U.S. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program enacted in 2012 to protect children brought to the U.S. illegally at a young age from being deported. President Trump canceled the program, but the Supreme Court rejected his action and kept protections for Dreamers in place. Listen to hear how DACA recipients are responding to the high court’s decision and why their battle to stay in the U.S. is not yet over.
A prestigious Rhodes Scholarship was recently awarded to the first Latino DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient. The Rhodes Scholarship offers college graduates an opportunity to study at Oxford University in England. Rhodes Scholarships are among the most competitive and respected awards in the world. The winner, Santiago Potes, was brought to the U.S. from Colombia at age four by his parents, who entered the country illegally. Listen to learn about the influences in Santiago’s life that helped him succeed, and hear how he reacted when he got the good news.
One of the NASA engineers responsible for sending the Perseverance rover to Mars is a young Latina woman. In this interview, Christina Hernandez recounts what made the mission exciting for her both personally and professionally. She credits her upbringing and her family’s immigrant past, in particular, for her present success. Listen to hear a Latina scientist explain what she loves about her work and why she believes Latinas are well equipped to take on the toughest challenges.
The term “Hispanic” refers to a broad array of Spanish-speaking people from various countries, backgrounds, and ethnicities. Many Americans associate the word primarily with Mexicans or Spaniards, though, and do not fully appreciate the diversity it represents. A narrow understanding of “Hispanic” can lead to stereotyping and historical narratives that exclude certain groups. Listen to Hispanic Americans discuss the assumptions people make about them based on the Hispanic label and why it’s important for people to appreciate the complexities of their identities.
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