Dual language education system expanding in border schools seeking to close learning gap

EL PASO — Martha Briseño and Bella, her five-year-old daughter, sit only a few inches apart from each other, but a set of words, letters and sounds hover like a wall between them. “Look what I can do mommy,” Bella said. Briseño responds to her in Spanish. Somehow, despite the differences, two languages clash and unite simultaneously. “Yo quiero que sea una niña bilingüe, que hable los dos lenguajes con fluidez (I want her to be bilingual, to speak both languages fluently),” Briseño said.

PiktoChart graphic by Maria Esquinca showing countries in the TPP

New U.S. international trade deal raises concerns about shadowy negotiations

EL PASO — Clouded in secrecy, the United States is negotiating a trade agreement with 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including Mexico, known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP). TPP has been compared to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trade agreement between Mexico, the U.S, and Canada that was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and came into effect in 1994. Critics of TPP have referred to it as NAFTA on steroids. The other countries involved in the agreement are Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia and Japan. Negotiations for the treaty have been conducted behind closed doors with no public or congressional input.

Smith-Soto’s street photography – the human condition, one frame at a time

With one quick motion of his finger on the camera shutter release, David Smith-Soto erases the boundaries of time and eternalizes an intimate instant as two lovers stare into each other’s eyes. “It’s a glimpse of intimacy,” said David Flores, photographer and special collections archivist at the University of Texas at El Paso. “This is life one frame at a time.”

The black and white photograph taken in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2000 entitled “Lovers” is one of 26 prints in David Smith-Soto’s street photography exhibit in the Glass Gallery at the University of Texas at El Paso,

Photo Gallery: The Street Photography of David Smith-Soto

Smith-Soto said he was pleased to show some of his 60 years of photography to a large audience, but that the purpose of the show was to raise funds for journalism student internships. “We need to send out more students into the world, so that means we need more funding for that,” said Zita Arocha director of Borderzine, UTEP’s online bilingual magazine. Arocha said it costs approximately $3000 to send one student on an internship.

Abortion law reduces access to health care for El Paso women

While most people might not remember the date October 21, 2011, it is eternally engraved into Mimi’s mind. She was 18, scared, and pregnant. She was lying down in a room inside one of El Paso’s abortion clinics, her heart beating through her skin. Two nurses entered the room and poured a cold blue gel on her stomach to do a sonogram. After the nurses left, the room seemed to enlarge.