Undocumented women exploited in the shadows

Griselda Reyna, never imagined she would be fleeing a group of armed men who had just kidnapped and murdered her two sons. 
She knew she would be killed if she stayed in Ciudad Juarez. And that would leave her three young daughters without a mother. 
Reyna, 42, grabbed her daughters, a trash bag full of clothes, and never looked back.  She has lived in the United States since July 2013. She worries every day about being deported, separated from her children, and if she would survive a return to Mexico. Reyna is among millions of Mexican and Central American women who’ve fled to the United States, seeking refuge from deadly violence or economic insecurity.

Lundy Elementary Proudly Speaks Both English and Spanish

EL PASO, Texas — As El Paso continues to grow in population, so does the dual culture and bilingual language of the region. Because the U.S. is quickly becoming a bilingual country, many El Pasoans now realize the importance of teaching their children both English and Spanish, regardless of their ethnicity. Lundy Elementary School was one of seven new schools that started the implementation of the Dual Language Program this past 2009-2010 scholarly year. Even in that short amount of time, the program has blossomed, attracting parents and their children from both the Spanish dominant and English dominant speaking spectrums.

“In my school, and most of the schools in the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD), we have two different classes, one is English, and the other one is in Spanish,” said Ina Lachmann, principal of Lundy Elementary. “We populate it with half of the children who have a dominant language in Spanish, and the other half who have a dominant language in English.”

By putting both groups of children together, they learn to read, write, and speak 50 percent of the time in both languages through the Dual Language Program.

Raised in Two Cultures, But Uncomfortable in Both

EL PASO, Texas — “Can I have the rosa-pink sticker instead?” I would ask Miss Pat, my teacher at St. Mark’s when I was three years old. “I don’t like the amarillo-yellow one,” I would say. Growing up as a three year old, I distinctively remember my obsession with “rosa-pink.” I wanted everything —from my Barbie’s dress to the color of my room— to be “rosa-pink.” My aunts and uncles knew me as “rosa-pink” because everything I owned was “rosa-pink.”

Strangely enough, I never really thought of the term “rosa-pink” to be an odd way to refer to the color pink. It was just the way my mother taught me how to say pink in both Spanish and English.

Roses and Thorns — Painter Gaspar Enriquez’ Students Are His Inspiration

EL PASO, Texas — Seeing no future in art, legendary El Paso artist Gaspar Enriquez abandoned the idea of pursuing an artistic career during his high school years. Little did he know where the potential of his talent would take him. “I liked art since I was a kid, but knew there was little or no pay in the field,” said Enriquez. Having grown up in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Segundo Barrio, Enriquez found himself growing up at a faster rate than most teenage kids. Moving to East Los Angeles right after graduating from Bowie High School, Enriquez began working as a dishwasher, then at a defense plant lab, and eventually as a machinist as he continued working his way up until he graduated in 1970 from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with a degree in Art Education.

Juárez Terror Etched in La Loteria de la Muerte

EL PASO, Texas — Student artist Yvianna Hernandez uses cards from a popular borderland bingo game known as “La Loteria” to depict the tragedy of a drug war that has claimed some 5,000 lives in Ciudad Juárez in the last two-and-a-half years. The popular Mexican game of chance has long been a staple in the border sister cities of El Paso and Juárez. Now Hernandez, a senior drawing major at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is calling attention to the violence by using the traditional folk-art icons as backgrounds for her drawings. “It was actually a silly idea to me that I really didn’t want to do because ‘La Loteria’ has been overdone so many times,” said Hernandez. “You even see loteria art on the walls of Wal-Mart bathrooms, so I really wasn’t too inclined to do it.”

Having started with the idea of “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore of the weeping woman, Hernandez decided to depict a portrait of a woman crying over her dead son, killed in the Juárez bloodshed.