El Paso is dominated by residents of Mexican descent, so other Latino groups aren’t always reflected in the mainstream culture of the city. In this video, Borderzine reporter Michelle Rosado breaks down the differences and similarities of Mexican and Puerto Rican cultures in the borderland. https://youtu.be/mZSwbETnghQ
Life in a border city can be like a relationship status on social media. It’s complicated. More than 1 million people live in the El Paso-southern New Mexico region. Another 1.3 million live across the border in Juarez, Mexico. We are separated by an international boundary set along the path of a formerly meandering river.
I didn’t start to question my identity until my first year of college. Before that I thought I was an American citizen attending kindergarten in Ciudad Juarez. Then in third grade I realized that I was Mexican when I crossed the border to attend Houston Elementary School in El Paso. The first day of school a classmate asked me in Spanish – not English – why I was wearing black polished shoes. I remember I looked around and saw that all the other boys and girls were wearing sporty tennis shoes.
I don’t consider myself a social person, especially while I’m in college. I get too focused on school work, and usually meet new people if they are the first ones to come up and talk to me. I was also was self-conscious about people judging me for my English skills. Even though I was born in El Paso, I lived in Juarez, Mexico until fifth grade. And like a lot of others who live on the border, I sometimes felt like I was in an awkward limbo between cultures.
When Chris Steven entered the halls of the Austin High School as a student in 2008, little did he know that in his heart he would never leave. “I grew up around Austin. It’s my second home. A lot of my early memories were of going to the football games. I just remember how happy I was to come to Austin and I get excited to see all these people very prideful chanting and cheering for the football teams and singing the (Austin) fight song.
Bilanki Andang seems like any other student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He stays home and watches TV shows on Netflix on weekends and enjoys the same things many other millennials like. However, his childhood was far from traditional. His father, Staff Sgt. Theophilus Andang, worked in the Army for 15 years as an S1 before he decided to retire in El Paso.
El Paso, TX – Carlos Guzmán opened his first bar while he was stationed in Iraq. Well, it was sort of a bar. And it sort of just happened. Guzmán was having a hard time buying liquor in Iraq, so he asked his friends and family to stash some little bottles in their care packages. “Little did I know that within a month we’d have over 50 bottles,” said Guzmán who was in the U.S. Army.
Weeds grow high around the empty buildings on the land where many say El Paso got its start. The spot where Don Juan de Oñate is believed to have led a Spanish expedition in 1598 after discovering the Pass to the North is marked by little more than an abandoned fountain. Generations later in 1850, El Paso pioneer Simeon Hart established Hart’s Mill in the same area of Paisano Drive on the edge of the Rio Grande. Now there is just La Hacienda, a restaurant that closed down decades ago. The officers quarters from Old Fort Bliss, built between 1873 and 1893 still stand nearby – also empty and forgotten.
Sarahi Moyers remembers the day she told her mother she did not believe in God. She was a nervous 13-year old, who was about to feel slightly guilty, and at the same time very liberated by what she was going to say. “I don’t believe in God,” Moyers said. Her mother, Luz Ofelia Burundi – a devout Catholic – was devastated. Another child damned, another child she would have to repent for, another child that lost their way.
EL PASO — In a region where the majority of the population is Catholic, news of Pope Francis’ visit to Cd. Juarez on Wednesday has brought a lot of excitement since it was announced back in December. But among non-Catholics it is still just Wednesday. Jehovah Witnesses Claudia A. Bernal and her mother, also named Claudia, said they don’t have plans to follow any of the pope-related events since they don’t share the same beliefs, but they also don’t feel any opposition to the celebration. “We are respectful about the pope’s visit,” said the elder Claudia Bernal.
CD. JUAREZ — Pese a que la religión católica sigue siendo la que más se profesa aquí, el número de católicos ha disminuido considerablemente en los últimos años. Esta ciudad fronteriza cuenta con una población de 1.3 millones y el 69 por ciento se consideran católicos, pero de acuerdo con el Instituto Nacional de Estadística Geográfica e Informática (INEGI), la religión católica ha decaído en Juárez. Hace apenas 10 años, un 82 por ciento de la población profesaba ser católica. Según María Olivares quien lleva abrazando la religión católica desde hace 50 años, esto se debe a los escándalos por los cuales ha pasado la iglesia católica.
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Arturo Avalos grew up in area of town known as Segundo Barrio, one of the oldest immigrant neighborhoods in the city. As a first generation Mexican American, Avalos said the discrimination he experienced as a child growing up has had a deep impact on his art and life. In elementary school he discovered his passion for drawing and was often scolded by teachers to complete his classwork instead of doodling. At the age of 12 he became a young activist after the mostly Mexican-American workers at Farah, a garment manufacturing company where his sister and neighbors worked, went on strike because of low wages, no medical benefits, work quotas and better working conditions at the company. “I volunteered and did what they needed, handing out flyers, explaining our position,” said Avalos.
For bilingual, bicultural border cities like El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, the story of two lovers whose miscommunication leads to their tragic death does not sound far fetched. Although Shakespeare’s plays were originally written in English, many, like Romeo and Juliet and Othello, have been performed all over the world in bilingual fashion to attract a broader audience. For this year’s 27th season of the local acting company, “Shakespeare on the Rocks,” Artistic Director Hector Serrano directed for the second time a bilingual version of Romeo and Juliet at the binational Chamizal National Park near downtown El Paso. The bilingual Romeo and Julieta play embodies the mission of The Chamizal, which commemorates the diplomatic negotiation between the United States and Mexico through the Chamizal Treaty. This new treaty, which ended a border dispute over land in 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the Río Grande River as the international boundary, negotiated the borderline because the river had naturally moved leaving Mexico with less land than was originally granted in the 1848 Treaty.
EL PASO — For a while now, UTEP’s Speech and Debate team has faced a lack of literary diversity and its inaccessibility for use in competitive speeches and interpretive events. With a minimal amount of dramatic literature that focuses on people of color, specifically Hispanics, the team has had to deal with a deficiency of available texts by and about people of color for student speeches and competitions. Despite the lack of diverse materials, the University of Texas at El Paso team has traveled the nation for forensic competitions from Portland, Oregon, to Gainesville, Florida, presenting speeches on a variety of topics important to college students: from new medical technologies, race, LGBTQ and identity issues, among many others. In its more than 30 year history, the UTEP team has won hundreds of speech awards nationwide. “The first thing that we really start with is figuring out an event and a topic,” said Carlos Tarin, associate director of the Speech and Debate program in the Department of Communication.
The screams of teenage girls filled the air during the Ed Sullivan Show on the cold winter February day in 1964. John Sequeiros, age 10, remembers sitting three feet away from his black and white television, his eyes glued to the screen as four young British musicians made history. His fingers start to twitch as he follows every note he hears. Within moments, he knows exactly why he was put on this earth. “When I saw The Beatles play on The Ed Sullivan Show, I was mesmerized by the guitar players,” said Siqueiros.
EL PASO — In one photograph an old baby doll lays crippled on the harsh gray street, one eye-socket empty, one leg missing. In another photo a shoeshine man works fevershly on a cowboy’s boots. The reality of border life seen through the lenses of 12 El Paso area photographers is on exhibit at Fotos Septiembre: Through the Eyes of Borderland Photographers (originally titled Foto Septiembre – Visual Stills Along La Frontera) through October 23 at the La Fe Culture and Technology Center’s Galería Aztlan. All the works show and represent Chicano heritage. This is the exhibition’s second year showcasing professional and amateur photographers.
Once a year during the outdoor Dia de San Antonio fest on June 13, at the Tigua tribe’s Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, dozens of women and men don colorful costumes, a red sash around their waist, brown moccasins and headbands to celebrate their culture through authentic Native American dance and food. From sunup to sundown, the dancers perform ritual dances outside the Tigua Cultural Center, 305 Yaya Lane. Hundreds of people, both Indian and non-Indian, watch the dancers and taste traditional food like meatballs, chile colorado, sopa de pan or bread soup, and albondigas, meatballs. The traditional celebration is one of several indigenous holidays during the year that the 8,000-plus-member tribe organizes to teach their children Tigua history and culture and keep the old traditions alive. In addition to the most sacred feast of Dia de San Antonio, the tribe also opens up the reservation to the public for: Dia de San Juan, June 24; Dia de San Pedro y Pablo, June 29; Dia de Santa Kateri Tekakwitha, July 14; Dia de Santiago, July 25; Dia De Santa Ana, July 26; and Pueblo Reunion Day, October 12.
A weekend long series of women-focused writing workshops, art events, films and prominent local and national Latina speakers, kicks into gear today and tomorrow in the Downtown Art District and El Paso Museum of Art. Organized by the national non profit group Wise Latina International, the two-day summit kicked off earlier this week with an eye-popping study that found El Paso area Latinas earn between 44 to 47 cent on the dollar or 30 cents less than what white women earn nationally and 10 cents less than Latinas earn nationally. The study was done in conjunction with the group MerKadoTeknia Research and Consulting with participation by faculty from UTEP and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The study also notes that the female poverty rate in Texas is higher than it is for the entire state of Texas and that 71 percent of jobs in El Paso pay less than $36,000 per year, “which cannot sustain a single mom with one child,” according to a press release. Wise Latina Founder and President Liz Chavez said the purpose of the study and summit, which focuses this year on the theme of “strength, power and influence in media,” is to “educate, raise awareness and empower our women.” The organization, she said, seeks to “promote and encourage economic, educational, health and socio/political emplowerment for the betterment of Latinas, women, family and community by utilizing and developing leaders while encouraging professional and personal development.”
In addition to events geared toward young Latinas, the summit includes writing workshops by local Latina authors Josefina Lopez, Maria M. Maloney and Denise Chavez.
Wise Latina International was established in 2010 and is a non-profit organization serving the international border area of the City of El Paso, the State of Texas, New Mexico and our international neighbors of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. It has a 15-member board of local and national Latinas. Here is a slide show about the founding, mission and makeup of the organization.
EL PASO, Texas — El Paso recently celebrated its growing ethnic diversity with a jam-packed afternoon celebration and showcase of Indian art, dance and food at the El Paso Museum of History. The event, held March 21 after the City Council declared that day Indian Heritage Day, drew about 100 Indian and non Indian visitors. “The museum is trying to show that the border region is not just Hispanic or Anglo, but in fact the borderland is made up of a lot of different cultures,” Event Coordinator Asha Shetty said. Shetty was born in the South Indian city of Karnataka. The exhibit recognized Indian culture through dance portrayals, art and a little taste of food.
EL PASO, TX – Following in the footsteps of other cities with large immigrant populations, El Paso advocacy organizations are pushing city officials to consider issuing municipal IDs to residents who lack documents. “No one wants to have the feeling of being without identification,” said Guillermina Gina Núñez-Mchiri, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso, raising her right arm and waving her Texas driver’s license. “Or the feeling of not being able to say ‘this is me, this is who I am.’”
Supporters of the pro-ID movement say that the city-issued IDs would help between 40,000 to 50,000 local residents who lack legal documents such as driver’s licenses or birth certificates. Immigrant advocates said the Municipal ID Program will help local law enforcement and emergency services personnel quickly respond and identify people who lack legal identification. The program is designed to help those who face challenges when trying to obtain identifiable documents such as the homeless, transgender individuals.
Angélica Ruiz estaba en la escuela secundaria cuando fue al salón de belleza de su barrio y con mucha decisión le entregó a su estilista una imagen impresa de cómo ella quería verse una vez que saliera del salón. La imagen en cuestión era de la cantante Ashlee Simpson, a quien Ruiz admiraba por su cabello negro, cortado en capas mostrando un flequillo. En lugar de dejar el salón con el look de la estrella de rock, Ruiz se fue con una lección aprendida. “Cariño, tu cabello no se va a ver así”, le dijo la estilista. Ella le explicó que debido a sus raíces naturales, con su cabello rizado y voluminoso producto de su herencia mexicana, negra e italiana, nunca iba a parecerse al estilo de Simpson.
ELPASO – Two days after Rabbi Stephen Leon moved to El Paso from New Jersey in 1986, he received an urgent phone call from a Roman Catholic man wanting to speak with him about a family mystery. “He told me that his entire family were religious Catholics living in Juarez, but he remembers ever since he was a little boy, 3 or 4 years old, his grandmother would take him into a room on Friday night, light two candles, and say a prayer in a language he didn’t understand.” Years after his grandmother died, the man asked a priest what the tradition actually meant. The priest suggested he contact a rabbi. The man told Rabbi Leon about his grandmother’s ritual and was surprised when Leon told him the tradition was of Hebrew origin.
EL PASO – After seven years, tribal culture still serves as the core of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo’s Empowerment Program to improve its schools, enrich its community and encourage higher education. Ysleta del Sur Pueblo introduced the program in 2007 to focus on the education and employment needs of the Tigua community. The program concentrates on teaching the Tigua people how education can improve their lives and their community. According to the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo’s website, the Empowerment Program is a “consolidation of the Tigua Indian Training and Employment Program funded by the Department of Labor WIA and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Education Department funded by various sources such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs.” Tribal Empowerment Director Christopher Gomez said that when Ysleta del Sur Pueblo received a grant from U.S. Board of Education they decided to incorporate their culture into the curriculum in their pre-k program.
American comic books have traditionally been dominated by white male characters that are wealthy and powerful and reflect the dreams of a once-mainstream audience of white boys. Women and minorities have been hugely underrepresented in comics or, if there were characters from a minority background, they would be presented in a racially stereotypical way, often with their race or ethnicity shaping their super power such as the Zorro-like swordsman El Aguila or the Chinese-American girl Jubilee who shoots fireworks from her hands. But times are changing as awareness grows that the high proportion of white men working in the comics industry is not reflective of the greater population and the potential readership market. The data crunching website FiveThirtyEight.com recently ran the numbers and found that while attendance at comic book conventions split fairly evenly between genders, only one in four comic book characters is female. Now, as the comics industry is trying to better reflect the market’s demographics, Latinos are slowly growing in influence.
EL PASO – Dressed in a bright orange jacket adorned with a necklace and a crucifix pendant, Rosa Guerrero flashes a warm smile, projecting the trademark youthful spirit and upbeat stamina that belie her approaching 80th birthday. “Age is just a matter of the mind,” Guerrero said as she sipped her cranberry and orange juice drink, a mix she concocted herself. “If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.”
Guerrero’s long resume in the professional dance world has not weighed her down. An avid dancer in all types of genres, a dance teacher of students that range in age from two-year- olds to 100-year-olds, and an ambassador for Mexican folkloric dance, her love for dance is evident in the rhythm of her hand gestures and expressive nature. “I started dancing in my mother’s womb,” Guerrero exclaimed as she sculpted a simple dance move with her hands.
EL PASO— The Mexican experience in America, presented with verve as a celebration of the culture and and as a bulwark against negative stereotypes in popular art and media was dubbed Mextasy by Dr. William Anthony Nericcio. “This anti-Mexican fervor needs to be met with a kind of invocation of mexicanidad that needs to be equally strong,” Nericcio says. “You got to attack it with the same power with the same fervor, with the same dynamic focus.”
Nericcio captivated a room of faculty members and students when he came to the University of Texas at El Paso recently to discuss and present his travelling art show,
TheMextasypop-up exposition contains objects that Nericcio has collected over the years, Ranging from dolls to posters that harken back to the 1950’s representing and satirizing the Mexican experience in the United States, representing an analysis of Hollywood’s contribution to perceptions of Mexican ethnic identities. Nericcio gets serious when addressing how consumers should fight the negative commentary on Mexicans that some commentators in media like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter advocate. Ectasy healing
For Nericcio, Mextasy can be seen as a form of defense and cure against those Mexican stereotypes and tropes.
By Vanessa Hornedo, Hispanic Link News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 8 –The Supreme Court’s recent decision to not hear five states’ appeals that challenge same-sex marriage, coinciding with the majority of states now accepting the rapid social change, leaves the nation’s 54-million Hispanics trying to determine where their cultural heritage fits in. “Hispanics have been lagging a couple of steps behind and this will move our community to be more embracing,” Armando Vázquez-Ramos, professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at California State University, tells Hispanic Link News Service. “We have to go beyond the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church relative to same-sex marriage and gay and lesbian communities in Latino families because it’s not typically accepted.”
According to a 2013 Pew Research Center National Survey, 55 percent of Latinos identify as Catholic – a faith which denounces marriage between two people of the same gender. Bishop Richard Malone, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, responded in a joint statement released Oct.
The UTEP Department of Communication and the Chicano Studies program presents a lecture and exhibit by Dr. William Anthony Nericcio that examines American visual culture reflecting images and stereotypes of Latinas/os. The event, Mextasy: Seductive Hallucinations of Latina/o Mannequins Prowling the American Unconscious , will be at 5:30 pm, Wednesday, Oct. 15 in Quinn Hall Room 212 at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Mextasy is a traveling art show/exhibit based on the work of William “Memo” Nericcio and Guillermo Nericcio García. The show, originally curated by Rachel Freyman Brown, South Texas College, McAllen, Texas, had its last exhibition at Boise State University, for the Third Cinema Research Group and El Consulado de México en Boise, Idaho on April 11, 2014.
Mextasy both reflects and expands upon Nericcio’s 2007 book with UT Press, Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the Mexican in America.
The almighty dollars wait to be scooped up from the floors of Dreams… Jaguars, Tequila Sunrise or any strip club The bills are usually wet from the sweaty hands of the men, eager to touch the women. Up on the poles, the women hang on a fine line that moves from humility to humiliation, from objectification to empowerment. In the instant it takes to kneel down and pick up the bill, an array of emotions and thoughts web through the stripper’s mind. Having once been employed by local strip clubs, I know that feeling and I recall the stigmas that are born from such a life. I decided to dive back into the world of strip clubs for a class project and look again into the tangled universe of a stripper’s thoughts.
SAN ANTONIO – The celebration of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ 30th anniversary was brought to a sobering pause last week when Hispanic Link News Service publisher Charlie Ericksen voiced his dissatisfaction with the progress mainstream media have made in diversifying the staffs of their newsrooms.
Hispanic journalists from all corners of the country made their way here to the NAHJ convention to celebrate its three decades of advocating for more minority participation in news media. Much of the talk at the four-day NAHJ convention was on the diversification of newsrooms throughout the United States and that conversation became a strident argument. During the convention’s final event – the Gala and Awards banquet – the association recognized news organizations that had “increased the visibility and accurate representation of Latinos in cable news,” including CNN, PBS, Buzzfeed and Fox News Latino. Ericksen, 84, a founding member of NAHJ, was given a chance to speak when he was recognized for his lifetime of work in newsroom diversity. He told the gathering that celebrating increased visibility and accurate representation of Latinos in the media by honoring a network such as Fox News was a “kind of a farce.” He also said that despite the organization’s 30 years of work on increasing newsroom diversity the number of Latinos in mainstream newsrooms has actually declined.