Filmmaker Galán honors Willie Velasquez’s Legacy in Latest PBS documentary in run up to Election 2016

Chicano filmmaker, Hector Galán documents the legacy of Willie Velasquez, the Mexican-American activist, who launched a grassroots movement that forever changed the political landscape in the United States in his Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary, Willie Velasquez: Your Vote is Your Voice.” The film breaks cultural barriers highlighting the importance of the Latino vote and was recently presented at The University of Texas at El Paso’s Union Cinema and was accompanied by a voter registration effort to honor Velasquez’s legacy. A production of Galan Incorporated and Latino Public Broadcasting, “Willie Velasquez: Your Vote Is Your Voice,” showcases the life of the man who led the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project and launched 1,000 voter registration drives in 200 cities. Velasquez paved the way for Latinos to have a voice in government and underscored the growing power of the Latino vote. Chicano independent filmmaker, Hector Galan directed the documentary shedding light on the Latino voting revolution.

Immigration debate boosts voter registration on U.S. border

EL PASO – This border city has seen an increase in nearly 50,000 eligible voters during this season’s contentious U.S. presidential campaign. Some political observers say the increase in local residents who have registered to vote in November’s election between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton may be a reaction to Trump’s harsh rhetoric on illegal immigration as well as negative statements he’s made in public about people of color. Trump has called for building an impenetrable border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and having Mexico pay for it. During one primary campaign speech, he referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” “This is the first time time I will actually vote, so at 29 I actually had to learn what the registering process is,” said Jose Zubiate, an English major at UT El Paso.

Guns and showmanship – Seeing a Texas GOP debate watch party through the eyes of a study-abroad student

EL PASO, Texas – CNN reported that more than 80 million people tuned in to watch the Clinton-Trump debate on September 26, making it the most-watched presidential debate in history. It will also remain a day which will live long in my memory as my first real taste of a U.S. presidential debate watch. When I first arrived at the El Paso County Republican Party offices I was greeted with a man carrying a 12 gauge shotgun and a .44. Magnum marching Hilary Clinton around the offices. No, not the real Hillary, a masked version of the candidate.

Campus-carry opponents have their say at UTEP rally

EL PASO — With the cameras rolling from every news station in the city, journalism Professor David Smith-Soto and State Sen. Jose Rodriguez used a megaphone to make their case against allowing the concealed carry of guns on the UT El Paso campus. “From one thing the presence of a gun in a classroom destroys the classroom, the environment of the classroom, being able to have discussions, that type of thing, but the most important thing is we don’t know who is carrying this gun and through our campus, all the gun massacres that have occurred on campuses have been done with legal weapons,” Smith-Soto said. He and Rodriguez addressed a small crowd of protesters who gathered at Leech Grove at UTEP Oct. 19 to show their opposition to the newly approved Texas law that will allow concealed guns on campus starting in the fall of 2016,

“I think it’s great that the students at UTEP are coming together and are expressing themselves – that guns on campus promote more violence; expose more people to harm,” Rodriguez said. Many faculty and staff members said they came out sign a petition and show support the movement for repealing the law.

Candy makers call for cheap sugar fix on U.S. side of the border

By Rebecca Anzel,

WASHINGTON – The U.S. candy industry has a problem. The sugar it needs to produce sweet treats is protected by the government through tariffs and trade restrictions, which drive up the price, industry officials say. This has forced some companies to move  production to places where sugar is cheaper, including Mexico or Brazil. Atkinson Candy Co. is one of those companies.

El Pasoans with Cuban roots skeptical about business opportunities as U.S. renews ties

Every Friday, Helio Gonzalez and his wife Sunny Sapien load their yellow food truck with homemade Cuban empanadas and ‘cafe Cubano’. They park on Remcon and Mesa in West El Paso. Their truck, emblazoned with a the sign, “Sunny’s Cuba Rican Empanadas,” does brisk business all weekend, especially during the lunch hour. Gonzalez, 28, a law enforcement officer in El Paso, was born in Miami of Cuban parents. As a child, he traveled to Cuba twice to visit his grandparents and extended family in the east side of Santiago.

Reies López Tijerina celebrated as a dedicated leader for Chicano rights

EL PASO — Shouts of “Viva Tijerina!” rang out in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, reverberating over the crowd gathered to honor the tiger of the Chicano movement, echoing over the mourners huddled around the casket. During a Mass for Chicano civil-rights leader Reies López Tijerina, his widow, Esperanza placed a wood cross on her husband’s casket and sat with family toward the front of the church.  The Mass was one of various memorial observances held here this weekend for Tijerina, who died of natural causes at a local hospital, January 19. He was 88. The Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe hosted the services on behalf of the family. According to La Fe, Tijerina’s internment will be a private event at a later date.

Latinos join March for Life but also face other issues

By Jose Soto,
WASHINGTON – Priscilla Trastaway and Jair Vergara, both 20, from Paterson, N.J., are a young couple who have decided that chastity is the best way to prevent difficult situations, including a possible abortion. “We decided that we were going to be pro-life,” Trastaway said. “It’s a difficult decision to make as a young couple, but we did.” Vergara said that being pro-life is like a ratio of one to a hundred. “There is a lot of opposition,” Vergara said. “Especially with being the age we are.

Republicans start year with challenge to Obama’s immigration plan

The Republican dominated House opened the year with votes to fund the Department of Homeland Security and attack President Obama’s executive action granting legal status to “dreamers,” and an estimated 4 million undocumented immigrants. The House voted 236-191,on January 14 in favor of funding the Department of Homeland Security with a budget of $39.7 billion, but added amendments which would overturn President Obama’s latest executive order to grant an estimated 4 million undocumented immigrants lawful permanent residency in the United States. Also, it aims to strike down Obama’s 2012 policy that granted work and lawful residency in the U.S. to another 600,000 persons. Cecilia Muñoz, the White House Domestic Policy Director, speaking in an on-the-record press call January 14 with R. Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that among the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., those that were brought as children to the United States and who do not know any other country are equally subject to deportation as those who have been convicted of serious crimes under this bill. The bill, according to Democratic leadership and a few conservatives, may not pass through the Senate, which may jeopardize DHS’s chance of receiving funding before the Feb.