Latin American restaurants that go beyond Mexican in the Borderland

In the neighboring cities of El Paso and Juarez, a border region where Mexican and U.S. cultures intertwine, divided and connected by the Rio Grande, you can find a great number of authentic cuisines, from the typical U.S. burger and fries to homestyle Mexican tacos and enchiladas. Although this variety is satisfying for Borderlanders, it often leaves me craving “pupusas” and “tamales de hoja de platano,” two dishes common to one-half of my ethnic background which is Mexican and Salvadoran. This means I usually need to wait for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to satisfy my Salvadoran taste buds, when my Mexican-born mom cooks up traditional Salvadoran dishes she’s mastered since she married my Salvadoran dad 25 years ago. Hopefully, one day someone will open a Salvadoran restaurant on the East side close to home. Related story: Popular Latin American foods show common characteristics, diverse accents

I know I am not alone.

Spanglish works against preserving cultural heritage by degrading language

In the early morning, I usually listen to the news as I drive to school. This route takes 20 minutes, and I stay fixed to the radio listening to bad news mixed with humor in order to start the day with a laugh. But then, my program goes into a break and the first thing that comes out is an advertisement for Tecate Light using Spanglish. We are exposed to this dialect in advertisements, music, television, and radio and in our bicultural communities it is not uncommon to hear Spanglish and that is how some companies aim their campaigns at young Hispanic consumers. The problem with Spanglish

Spanglish is a linguistic phenomenon that occurs by taking parts of English words and mixing them with parts of Spanish words.

8 examples of the problem Hollywood has portraying Mexico and Mexicans

He lives in the desert or in a dangerous place, wears a big hat, sports a mustache, and sleeps under a cactus bush. She cleans fancy houses, takes care of Anglo children and lives in a drug-infested neighborhood. These are just some of the portrayals of Mexicans and Mexico in several popular Hollywood movies. Other stereotypes of our neighbors south of the border: vicious criminals, heartless drug dealers, poor, uneducated undocumented immigrants. But that’s only one side of the story.

Programs aim to help Latinos get into medical schools

EL PASO — As the need for more Hispanic doctors grows in the U.S., medical organizations have realized that special programs at educational institutions are needed to prepare more Latino pre-med students to enter the profession. “The minority populations are growing, and we don’t have many minority doctors,” says Mary C.D. Wells, director of the University of Texas at El Paso Medical Professions Institute. “In the last couple of decades, the American Medical Association, the American Association of American Colleges, all of these groups that look over medical training in this country have seen that.” According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of accepted Latino medical school applicants is low because of socioeconomic issues including low levels of education, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, discrimination and poor or dangerous neighborhood settings that influence career choices. The Medical Professions Institute (MPI) is a program that was established in 2002 to provide support for students aspiring to become professionals in the medical field and ultimately prepare for medical school.

Mexican filmmakers erasing borders with their talent

“Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” said Sean Penn handing an Oscar for best picture to Mexican-born Film Director Alejandro González Iñárritu at the recent film Academy Awards. Talent. His talent gave him a green card. What was meant as an inside joke sparked outrage in immigrants all over the country.

Cal State LA celebrates the life of the martyred border journalist Rubén Salazar

California State University, Los Angeles, celebrated the 87th birthday of the late Mexican-American journalist Rubén Salazar with the inauguration of an exhibit entitled “Legacy of Rubén Salazar: A Man of His Words, a Man of His Time” that will be on display at the University’s John F. Kennedy Memorial Library until March 26. Salazar was a Mexican-American journalist who was struck and killed by a tear gas canister fired by a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputy during the National Chicano Moratorium March on August 29, 1970. He was 42. “Rubén Salazar was with our people by reporting accurately, fairly and perceptively about our people when he was working as a reporter. Today Latinos become larger in numbers, but not necessarily better understood by the media or our society,” said Dr. Felix Gutierrez noted Chicano and Mexican-American history and journalism scholar.

Borderzine multimedia experience leads to journalism career opportunities

It’s been five years since my wife Danya and I first walked into the Cotton Memorial building for our introduction to journalism class at the University of Texas at El Paso. This is where we met our mentors David Smith Soto, Zita Arocha, and Lourdes Cueva Chacon. And where we learned the countless lessons we referenced every day at our internships and now at our jobs working for a daily newspaper. I was a creative writer at heart and felt comfortable with my storytelling abilities. Danya was an artistic photographer and felt comfortable telling visual stories.

Borderzine redesign reaches out to Border Life readers across all platforms

The 6-year-old online Border Life magazine, Borderzine, crosses another milestone this month with a redesign, enhanced digital features and visuals to better reflect its mission to publish rich relevant content about the borderlands by multicultural student journalists. A few of the exciting changes include a responsive design that allows readers to easily navigate across computer platforms and mobile devices, an updated logo, new story categories covering “Immigration and Fronteras” and “Diversity and Ideas” as well as a snazzier portfolio page to showcase the multimedia journalism of our student reporters. Here are some highlights of what we’ve added:

 At the core of the new is the responsive web design, which makes the site look good across computer platforms and on mobile devices.  We’ve updated our look with a fresh, new logo inspired by the sunrise over a Southwest landscape – the vibrant glow of a new dawn in multicultural America.  New category sections on the home page showcase our unique and varied content.

President Obama arrives at Fort Bliss. (Raymundo Aguirre/

Hispanic leaders, experts weigh in on ‘Obamacare’

By Elizabeth de Armas & Luis Carlos López

Now that the Supreme Court has validated President Obama’s hallmark Affordable Care Act, the states must grapple with interpreting and implementing its 2,801 pages. As the cliché goes, the devil is in the detail. When the verdict was announced June 28, many Hispanic experts and organizational leaders hailed its passage as a victory. A follow-up survey by Hispanic Link News Service has found others are raising strong objections about some of its substantive provisions. Senior research analyst for the health policy project at the National Council of La Raza, Kara Ryan, called it a “major breakthrough.”

Some six million Latinos would gain a pathway to coverage should the law be fully implemented in 2014, she asserted saying that this would translate to the highest single gain by any ethnic group.

“I grew up with a family that had dreams of their own" said Nino. (Jorge Castanon/

Hispanic actor loves living a double life – His own and the one he portrays on stage

EL PASO  – Ivan Niño may be able to portray someone else every day in the career path he has chosen, but at the end of the day he is just himself – a gay Hispanic struggling to become a successful actor. Niño, 20, has already been featured in a few films, is teaching an acting class for other aspiring actors and is currently filming a pilot for a children’s TV show. “I’ve done everything, a lot more than just acting. I’ve done the ‘dirty jobs.’ The people that I’ve met or have worked with are often of different ethnicities, but are usually more often than not Caucasian. It can be a little intimidating,” he said.

Juan Velasquez, 24, came to the U.S. when he was 14 years old and recently graduated from Georgetown University. He, along with fellow members of LCLAA, will participate in the Selma to Montgomery March this week. (Salvador Guerrero/SHFWire)

Latino group joins re-enactment of Selma to Montgomery March

WASHINGTON – Thousands of people gather in Alabama each year to re-enact the Selma to Montgomery March that took place 47 years ago. This year protesters will have not just a memory but a new cause as they march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge. Representatives from the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Hispanic Federation, League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Council of La Raza held a rally here Wednesday to announce they would join the re-enactment of the civil rights march. They left after the rally for the 14-hour bus ride to Selma, Ala., to take part in the final two days of the Selma to Montgomery March re-enactment that started Sunday. The 1965 march for voting rights ended in violence when peaceful protesters were attacked by local law enforcement using tear gas and clubs.

Bordering on Acceptance: Growing Up Gay on the Border

EL PASO, Texas — To live in a border city is to live between contrasting jurisdictions and beliefs. It is to delicately walk the line that divides cultures – never falling to either side – balanced by an ability to sustain contradictions. For the Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Bisexual community of El Paso, the city they call home is riddled both in tradition and progressive thought. The line the GLBT community walks is an interminable border that hovers between acceptance and condemnation. “People from both sides of the border … all we’re doing is just tolerating each other, coping with each other, instead of mastering our differences,” said Rosio De Leon, student at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Mario Obledo leaves a heartfelt legacy of victories for Latinos

EL PASO, Texas — Dr. Mario G. Obledo’s heart went out to those who had no voice. He fought for decades for the rights of Latinos through civil unrest and through the creation of powerful institutions. On August 18, his heart fought its last battle. The man known by many as the godfather of the Latino movement in the U.S. died at his home in Sacramento, California, of an apparent heart attack. He was 78.

Chicanos march again against war and racism

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — “The workingman gives up his dreams and slaves for all his life,” the impassioned marcher shouted, her voice blaring Chicanoism out of a bullhorn that echoed down the streets of East Los Angeles. Hundreds of sign-wielding activists marched in the streets to mark the 40th anniversary of the National Chicano Moratorium of the Vietnam War August 27. The Moratorium, which was implemented by the Chicano movement back in 1970, protested the exploitation of minorities, especially Latinos in the Vietnam War. The march followed the original 1970 route, in East L.A., down Whittier Boulevard, passing the Silver Dollar, the bar where Ruben Salazar, a Juarez-El Paso native and acclaimed war and human rights journalist was killed 40 years ago during the first moratorium march.