Maira Mendez's parents work at a massive pork processing plant in Nebraska. Last March, as meatpacking plants across the nation quickly became invisible hotspots for the coronavirus, it became clear to her that the plant, owned by Smithfield Foods, wasn't able to ensure social distancing or provide enough protective equipment. Maira was alarmed at the conditions—and that workers found it difficult to speak up. So she became part of a group called the "The Children of Smithfield," joining other family members of meatpacking workers, to begin calling for action from the plant and the state.
August 7th, 2019 was the day that tore apart an unlikely community of Guatemalan immigrants in central Mississippi. A year ago, hundreds of ICE agents arrived at seven chicken processing plants and arrested 680 workers. Many of them were fathers and mothers whose kids were left behind for days, weeks, or even months. Today, many families are still dealing with the consequences of those arrests, many remain unable to work, as they grapple with the traumatic psychological repercussions. Latino USA traveled to the heart of Mississippi to hear about the long term effects of the largest single-state immigration raid in U.S. history.
For Alice Bag, punk is much more than just a genre, it is an attitude and a way to challenge the expectations and limitations placed on her due to her race, gender, or age. Alice Bag was the lead singer and co-founder of "The Bags," one of the first bands in LA's punk scene in the 1970's. In 2019 Alice performed at "Quinceañera Reimagined," a party that brought together women of color artists across disciplines to challenge the patriarchal history of the quinceañera tradition, and celebrate milestones of growth beyond age and beauty. In this episode of our How I Made It series, Alice Bag looks back at her own growth as an artist, reflecting on how she came to be the fearless musician and feminist she is today.
In this segment of our "How I Made It" series, Charlie Uruchima shares his journey with his ancestral language and tells us how he created "Kichwa Hatari," the first Kichwa-language radio station in the U.S. From a bedroom-turned-radio studio, to building an entire community of radio hosts and language activists, Charlie tells us how he discovered the power of radio to build solidarity that defies borders.
When Anthony Ramos discovered theater in high school, it changed his life. As a teenager, he had his sights set on baseball, but an injury led him down a very different path. Ramos first burst onto the scene in the 2015 smash Broadway hit "Hamilton," but since then he's had roles in major Hollywood films and television. In October of 2019, Ramos released his debut album 'The Good and the Bad', a personal journey set to funky bass lines and R&B vocals. Latino USA sits down with Ramos to discuss growing up in Brooklyn, how mentorship has played an important role in his career, and finding himself in "the room where it happens."
The nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd have started a firestorm of activism. Crowds of people have taken to the streets to support Black Lives Matter, many of whom are non-black. YR Media and Latino USA bring you a discussion with four young adults from different racial backgrounds to discuss what it means to be an effective ally in the fight to end anti-Blackness, the role young people are playing in this new wave of activism, and the importance of "unlearning" long-held perspectives rooted in our communities.