The Hispanic Link archives project: Four decades of Latino political and news history worth preserving online for the future

Before alternative news media outlets like the Huffington Post provided an outlet for communities to tell their stories to a national audience, Hispanic Link News Service acted on behalf of the Latinos nationwide by covering political news through a Latino lens. Started in February 1980 in the basement of a Washington, DC apartment building by veteran journalist and editor Charlie Ericksen, the Link provided over 30 years more than 5,500 columns and broke the national op/ed-page barrier of nationally syndicated newspapers. While Ericksen edited and mentored dozens of talented young Latino journalists in his downstairs newsroom, his wife, companion and Link cofounder, Sebastiana, provided emotional and physical sustenance to scores of “Linkies,” until her unexpected death several years ago. Until it stopped publishing in 2015 when Ericksen, in his 80’s, retired and moved to Southern California to be close to his children, the scrappy sometimes irreverent but always fact-filled and insightful newsletter often took to task the politically well-connected and powerful, including mainstream news media leaders, for ignoring this growing group’s issues, interests and contributions. Now his sons, Carlos and Hector Ericksen-Mendoza, are intent on preserving and making available online all of the Link’s work, including columns, newsletters, taped interviews and photographs.

ETSU Hispanics share cultures, educate fellow students

Yesenia Cruz Pascual only knew about three other Hispanics on campus before joining the Hispanic American Student Community Alliance. She felt that not being able to interact with other Latino students was affecting her ability to keep in touch with her Spanish heritage. “Since I only get to go home every three months or so, and I call my mom like once a week, I didn’t get to practice my Spanish very often,” said Pascual, president of HASCA at East Tennessee State University. Anai Saucedo experienced the same lack of diversity. She said that before joining HASCA, she only knew one other person who spoke Spanish.

Documental vuelve a encender debate sobre la muerte de Rubén Salazar

By Kay Bárbaro

Read this story in English

WASHINGTON — A pesar de la convicción declarada del productor de Hollywood, Phillip Rodríguez, con respecto a que el homicidio de Rubén Salazar, director de noticias de KMEX TV (Los Ángeles), cometido hace 44 años, fue un accidente, dos públicos independientes —uno en Washington, D.C., y otro en Long Beach, California— que vieron el preestreno del documental de 54 minutos, no concuerdan con él. Algunos dijeron, además, que aunque trató de hacer un caldo de cultivo para exponer un mal, solamente logró un refrito para la televisión. El programa, Rubén Salazar: Man in the Middle, saldrá a nivel nacional el 29 de abril por la red pública de televisión, PBS. Respondiendo a la invitación de PBS, 125 personas valientes —incluyendo las del equipo del Hispanic Link, el reportero Aaron Montes y el editor Charlie Ericksen, acompañados por Peter Copeland, quien formó parte de la fundación de periodismo de Scripps-Howard—, se aventuraron la noche del 27 de febrero, con temperaturas bajo cero, a ver el documental en el auditorio del Museo de Arte Americano, del Instituto Smithsoniano, en el noroeste de Washington, D.C.

En la otra costa, con temperaturas más cálidas, el profesor y activista Armando Vásquez Ramos invitó a un grupo de 350 jóvenes universitarios al teatro de la California State University, Long Beach, el 10 de marzo, y poco después 100 invitados asistieron a la recepción y discusión que siguió. Al productor del documental, Rodríguez, se le unió Phil Móntez, gran amigo de Salazar, jubilado recientemente de su cargo de director regional de la costa oeste para la U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Documentary revives debate over Rubén Salazar’s death

By Kay Bárbaro

Lea esta historia en español

WASHINGTON — In spite of independent Hollywood producer Phillip Rodríguez’s stated belief that the killing of KMEX-TV (Los Angeles) news director Rubén Salazar 44 years ago was accidental,  two separate audiences – in Washington, D.C., and Long Beach, Calif. — that previewed his 54-minute television documentary, beg to differ. Where there was grist for an exposé, a TV rehash resulted, some say. The program — Rubén Salazar: Man in the Middle — is scheduled to run nationally April 29 on the Public Broadcasting Service network. Responding to PBS invitations, 125 brave souls, including Hispanic Link’s reporter/editor team Aaron Montes/Charlie Ericksen along with Scripps-Howard Journalism Foundation member Peter Copeland ventured into the sub-freezing night of Feb.

The film Man in the Middle on the life of journalist Rubén Salazar premieres in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — Phillip Rodriguez’s documentary Man in the Middle on the life of slain journalist Rubén Salazar has great meaning for the U.S. Latino community and Hispanic media in this country, according to many attending its first showing. The 54-minute documentary, which premiered here Feb. 27 at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, describes the controversy that gripped an entire culture and the racial and social issues of the 1960s and 1970s. The crowd of 125 heard a brief statement from U.S. Representative Xavier Beccera  (D-Calif.) who said it was beneficial for the Hispanic community to bring to the public eye the life of the martyred Latino journalist. Salazar’s grandson Jackson Cook, son of his daughter Stephanie, who makes a couple of appearances in the film, drove the five-hour trip with his girlfriend Melissa Millen from his home in New York to attend the event.

El Paso County building, one of the emblematic buildings in the commercial area of downtown El Paso. (Cheryl Howard/

Barbies and Barrios

Teaching and Learning and Caring Blog

EL PASO – Years ago, even in small towns across America, there were “good” neighborhoods and “bad” neighborhoods. Living “across the tracks” always meant you lived on the poor side of town. In reality, everyone lives across the tracks; it just depends on your reference point, and people in power seem to be able to make the rules and the reference points. Sociologists know this as residential segregation. Banks knew it (and may still) as “redlining.” Cops know it as where trouble is likely to happen.

President Barack Obama speaks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Award Gala on Wednesday. He focused on issues important to the Hispanic community, such as job creation and immigration. (Danya P Hernandez/SHFWire)

Obama tells Hispanic audience he will fight for their issues

WASHINGTON – Hundreds of spectators cheered and applauded as President Barack Obama promised to work to pass the Dream Act, which would allow some young immigrants to become U.S. citizens. “I will do everything in my power to make the Dream Act a reality,” he said. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 34th Annual Awards Gala on Wednesday to kick off his administration’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. “I don’t have to tell you these are tough times. You know how hard this recession has hit families, especially Latino families,” Obama said.