Texas struggles to diversify its mental health workforce to reflect changing community demographics

In Texas, more than 40% of the state’s more than 30 million residents are Hispanic, but its mental health provider population is more than 80% white, according to 2023 data. Also, less than 20% of the state’s 10,440 mental health providers who responded to the 2023 workforce survey said they offer mental health services in a language other than English.

People of color and white people have similar rates of mental health disorders; however, people of color are less likely to receive treatment for their mental health issues. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2020, 52% of white people with a mental illness received treatment, but only 37.1% of Black, 35% of Hispanic, and 25.4% of Asian people received treatment.

Judge blocks Ken Paxton’s efforts to subpoena El Paso migrant shelter Annunciation House

By Uriel J. García, The Texas Tribune

A state judge on Monday blocked Attorney General Ken Paxton’s attempts to investigate an El Paso migrant shelter and questioned the state’s intentions behind demanding documents from the non-governmental organization. In an order essentially blocking Paxton’s subpoena of Annunciation House, state district court Judge Francisco Dominguez suggested the attorney general may want to shut down the network of migrant shelters for political reasons. That’s something the judge told Ryan Baasch, an assistant attorney general, during a court hearing last week. “The Attorney General’s efforts to run roughshod over Annunciation House, without regard to due process or fair play, call into question the true motivation for the Attorney General’s attempt to prevent Annunciation House from providing the humanitarian and social services that it provides,” Dominguez wrote in Monday’s order. “There is a real and credible concern that the attempt to prevent Annunciation House from conducting business in Texas was predetermined.”

Annunciation House had asked Dominguez to determine if it was obligated to release the documents Paxton’s office requested.

NAACP president: El Paso Chapter continues to grow, adapt with city challenges

By Frances Gunn, El Paso High School —

For over a century, El Paso’s Chapter of NAACP has been advocating for the rights of its citizens. But it’s far from staying in the past, as it’s been evolving with the city. “I think just being in El Paso is unique. We’re on the border. We have other issues here that kind of make our job a little bit more interesting,” Jackeline Biddle Richard, president of El Paso NAACP Chapter said.

Historic churches continue community work

By Emilio Escarcega, Parkland High School —

In over a century of work, El Paso’s Shiloh Baptist Church, located on 3201 Frutas Avenue, has led numerous efforts for the well-being of the community. Pastor White, leader of the church attacks the conditions in which various individuals persist. He sought to accomplish this goal by donating, sheltering, and alleviating the homeless towards better living conditions.  “We try to make sure we do things in that community to help those who are definitely in need”, White said. 

 According to White, his objective is to maintain the community unified and to “show them that we care about them because they are our neighbor.”

In this community, this sometimes looks like small gestures. “So doing simple things such as cutting lawns for our neighbors, seeing what they need and being there for them, is very important,” White said.

McCall Center manager reflects on tenure

By Lucia Haugh, El Paso High School —

She came to play cards, and over a decade later, Barbara Byrd is the first to tell you that the McCall center isn’t just fun and games.  

Byrd, referred to lovingly as Ms. Byrd, is the McCall Center manager and has been for over 10 years. She has commissioned countless renovations to this center, “from the outside in”.  

However, replacing windows and doors for the center is not why she became the manager. Ms. Byrd wanted to carry on the McCall center legacy. “There was a great need. I could see it.

Students make friends, history at journalism camp

By Frances Gunn, El Paso High School

On Monday, October 9th, nine El Paso teens filed into the McCall center, located on 3231 Wyoming Ave, ready to learn about journalism and black history. However, this camp turned out to be much more than they could have imagined. Along with meeting new people from different schools, these teens learned valuable lessons regarding teamwork and what it takes to create a newspaper, from the ground up. 

Loryam Soto Aguilar, a freshman at Parkland High school said, “I wanted to know what it felt like working in something journalism related, especially since before this, I didn’t know much about it or what people did in journalism. It always interested me in some way, and I just wanted to learn more about it.” 

She wasn’t the only one who had a unique experience. A newspaper is a major publication for high school students, a thought that’s reflected widely across the camp. 

“My experience in this camp, while working with students from other districts and schools has been great.

General Edward Greer shares life experiences, lessons

By Nevaeh Vasquez, Silva High School —

A man with great stories and incredible accomplishments, Major General Edward Greer is still commanding attention after being retired from the U.S. Army since 1976.  In the small rooms of the McCall community center, Greer offsets his larger-than-life persona with light conversationa and jokes. 

Born on March 8, 1924, Greer grew up in West Virginia and like most people of color at the time, he was a target for racism and discrimination. While he was growing up, he was segregated and treated poorly. According to him, this treatment did not stop when he came to El Paso to attend the school at Fort Bliss. “Lots of discrimination, lots of segregation,”   Greer said when he came to school for the military in El Paso. 

Although the post was not segregated, Greer said when he opened the doors and went outside, everything else was segregated. He had to go to the back door to get a simple hot dog while white people got to enter the building through the front door.

Black El Pasoans who made history

This list was produced as part of the 2023 High School Journalism Camp at the McCall Center. The center hosted a one-week journalism camp where El Paso high school students publlished a special edition of The Good Neighbor Interpreter, a regional newspaper that McCall Center founder Leona Ford Washington once published with news about the Black community. The El Paso History museum sponsored the camp as part of the city’s 150th anniversary this year. Henry O. Flipper – first Black graduate of West Point
Andrew Morelock – organized the first school for African Americans in this part of the country (later became the Douglass School)
Mary Webb – organized the first recreation center for African Americans in El Paso
Marshall McCall – first African-American United States Postal worker in El Paso
Olalee McCall – first African-American Principal, El Paso Independent School District
Texas Western 1966 Basketball Team – first all-Black starting line-up to win the NCAA basketball final
Jethro Hills – first African American city representative in El Paso. Donald Williams – El Paso’s first African-American Judge
Dr. Maceo C. Dailey – first director of the African American studies department at UTEP
Ouisa Davis – first Black female judge
Greg Allen – first African American police chief of the El Paso Police Department
Charles Brown – first African American student athlete to attend Texas Western College (now UTEP)
NAACP Branch #6175 – first branch of the NAACP in Texas

Texas journalist, activist Jovita Idár honored on U.S. quarter

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Mint began circulating a quarter honoring Texas Mexican-American journalist Jovita Idár, on Aug. 14. It is the fourth coin in the 2023 American Women Quarters Program on August 14th. Jovita Idár, was a Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist. She made it her mission to pursue civil rights for Mexican Americans and believed education was the foundation for a better future.

Para muchos, Amazon se escribe con A de adicción 

Por Óscar Márquez

Hoy en día hacer compras es mucho más accesible a través del internet. No hay necesidad de ir a la tienda en persona. Puedes comprar lo que necesitas en cualquier momento y desde cualquier lugar, ya sea a bordo del tren camino al trabajo o esperando por tu sandwich a la hora del almuerzo. Pero muchas veces terminamos gastando más dinero en cosas que realmente no necesitamos. Ese es mi caso.

Poet Rubí Orozco Santos, director of storytelling and development at La Semilla Food Center, holds a freshly picked beet from the center’s community farm in Anthony, New Mexico, on June 5, 2023. Photo by Rachele Kanigel/Borderzine.com

Food as art in the social justice movement

Since its founding in 2010, the non-profit La Semilla Food Center in Anthony, New Mexico, has been creating a vibrant food system that prioritizes community connections, equitable economic practices and environmental health over profits.

El Paso’s untold stories emerge in new murals

Christin Apodaca believes she and other local artists have much in common.
“We all make things for our community and create spaces where you have something really fun to look at and think about,” she says. “And, you know, a lot of history is on the wall.”
It’s this multilayered history that seems to boost El Paso’s growing reputation as a city of murals.

El aumento de los costos de la carne causado por la inflación en los Estados Unidos ha afectado el precio del humilde taco

Por Lizeth Medina , Special to Borderzine

CHICAGO –  Este viernes se celebra Cinco de Mayo en los Estados Unidos, y los tacos serán bocaditos obligados. Con o sin celebración, el taco es uno de los platos favoritos, para latinos y no latinos por igual. Existe el Taco Tuesday, donde se ofrecen tacos a precios especiales, y cada 4 de octubre se celebra el Día Nacional del Taco. Dentro de la variedad de tacos existentes, la carne es uno de sus principales ingredientes. La inflación en el país ha provocado un incremento de precios en los insumos alimenticios y salir a comer fuera ha afectado el bolsillo de muchos.

El Paso tortilla maker, N.M. farmer team up to cultivate appreciation for heirloom maiz in the borderland diet

by Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, El Paso Matters
Mateo Herrera makes each tortilla with methodical care. The West El Paso restaurant where he works is closed on Mondays, so he has the kitchen to himself and his metal tray of bolitas – balls of masa awaiting their turn on the manual tortilla press. The corn tortillas gently puff up on the comal, where Herrera flips and pats them with his deft fingertips. Once cooked, they go into a terracotta container to stay warm. He finds this kind of work relaxing – serenity in the repetition.

Problems remain for private border wall builders after founder’s guilty plea in fraud

by Jeremy Schwartz and Perla Trevizo, ProPublica

Brian Kolfage arrived in Texas three years ago pledging to help fulfill President Donald Trump’s promise of a “big, beautiful” wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. After pleading guilty to federal fraud charges last month, Kolfage leaves behind two small stretches of fencing that are mired in legal, environmental and permitting fights.

Journalism internship endowment honors former UTEP student Annette Rainville

Editors note: This article was originally published on September 14, 2014 in the special Centennial Issue of The Prospector. Annette Rainville, who was a reporter and editor at The Prospector, graduated from UTEP with a bachelor’s degree in print media in spring 2004. During her long process of going to school and working to raise her twin boys, Anthony and Ryan, and daughter Audrey, Rainville was also fighting her initial battle with leukemia. She was in remission and went to work as an intern with the Scripps Howard News Bureau in Washington, D.C. in fall 2004. She worked alongside reporter Lisa Hoffman, who was the bureau’s main reporter on the war in Iraq.

Better paying job opportunities await more El Paso women going into construction work

Roger De Moor has presented his students with an emergency scenario many of them know well: Your 3-year-old has locked themselves in the bathroom. They’re panicking. In a room that looks like a high school shop class, nine women walked up to a makeshift door and slid a small pick into the doorknob, searching for the groove that would open the lock. “My teenager, she takes the keys,” said Kathy Chavez, whose daughter went through “the terrible teens” and used to lock the door to her room. Chavez’s cousin, Terri Garcia, held up the pick and grinned: “Not anymore.”

The cousins are single moms eager to rely less on Garcia’s aging father for help with home improvement tasks — and to save money.

The Asian Indian community finds a welcoming home in El Paso

by Maria Ramos Pacheco, El Paso Matters

Remove your shoes, open the door, ring the bell three times and walk toward the altar to pray. That’s what Hindu devotees do every time they enter the Southwest Hindu Temple on El Paso’s West Side. Colorful lights hang on the altar. India’s flag is on the right side and the U.S flag on the left. In the center of the temple is a brass tray “puja thali” with rice, turmeric, chandan and incense.

Visa delays stress international students attending U.S. colleges as school begins

Story by Corrie Boudreaux and Angela Kocherga for El Paso Matters

CIUDAD JUAREZ – As the first day of classes neared, violinist Rodrigo Cardona Cabrera was filled with anticipation. After years of hard work and an impressive resume of performances across Mexico and the United States, the 19-year-old Ciudad Juárez native earned a scholarship to study music at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. “Of course, I’m very nervous because it’s a new experience for me,” Cardona said. “It’s like a new life. But I know that it’s going to be an amazing experience.

Why a truck driver keeps rolling despite pandemic challenges

By Exodis Ward, NMIndepth

As my Dad packed his bag for his next trip, we talked about how coronavirus had affected his work. A truck driver that keeps food on tables, toilet paper in bathrooms, and medicine on shelves, he has a crucial role in an economy battered by the coronavirus. When the pandemic first hit and panic buying cleared grocery shelves, there was a moment when the value of those who drive through the night to deliver important goods across the country came into national focus. But largely, it’s an unseen role. My pandemic experience has been vastly different than his as city ordinances advised me to stay home and only go out when necessary.