No12 AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Latino Lifestyle Magazine
No More Deaths delivers food, water and hope to immigrants who cross the desert
Salvadoran Pupusas, the New Comfort Food
The Dropout Crisis Among Latino Males
Narco-cultura Finds Audience in the U.S.
PASSING ON OUR CULTURE TO THE NEXT GENERATION
JOIN US IN HONORING HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH. We come from different backgrounds, with different flags and traditions. But regardless of where we live, we all share the dream of ensuring that our culture thrives. At PNC, we celebrate that effort during Hispanic Heritage Month, and honor all those who have worked to inspire our next generation. Because their future is our greatest achievement. Visit pnc.com
ÂŠ2010 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Latino Lifestyle Magazine
August | September 2010
No More Deaths provides hope to immigrants crossing the desert photo essay Stacie Freudenberg
Critics may bash narco-cultura but larger audiences are tuning in words Benjamin Ortiz
school funding woes
Many parents are picking up the slack as education budgets are cut words Randi Belisomo Hernández
A growing number of Latino men are dropping out of college words Christina Galoozis
Detail of our narco-cultura altar. Page 48 | photo alberto treviño |
No12 August | september 2010
Latino LifestyLe Magazine
No more Deaths delivers food, water and hope to immigrants who cross the desert
Salvadorian Pupusas, the New Comfort Food CAFE12_COV1.indd 1
The Dropout Crisis Among Latino Males
Narco-cultura Finds Audience in the U.S.
< Cover Me Storage trailer at the No More Deaths camp in Arizona.
| photo stacie freudenberg |
7/20/10 3:37 PM
Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Contenders > Covers that didn’t make it, but came in a strong second place. The last cover is for fun. www.flickr/groups/cafephoto
BEST BUY JUNE 2010
Argentinean Table Wine ÂŠ2010 Alamos USA, Hayward, CA. All rights reserved. 10-10766ALM-129-185890
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DEPARTMENTS 6 Editor’s Note
Contributors 8 Dear Café
Alejandro Riera Reader feedback
Café Espresso Somos ¿sabías que? The Buzz 16 sinvergüenza 18 Voices 20 exposure 22 la plaza 26 comunidad
Juan St. Mane Cultural factoids Must-see events Mexico’s bicentennial woes Juan Carlos Hernández The best images from our readers Fear and loathing beyond Arizona Placita Olvera’s new generation
Café Filter get ahead 34 familia 36 be well 38 CON GUSTO
The benefits of life coaching Disaster and emergency planning How to combat lactose intolerance Mexico: land of culinary fusion
11 12 14
Café Grande bicentennial
Mexico’s epic political history
CafÉ Blend must go African Presence in Mexico todotosÍ Happenings around Chicago DINING Pupusas, a taste of nostalgia 74 restaurant guide Our list of Latino eateries 76 Scene at Latino social scene 80 talk back The best comments from Facebook
67 70 72
No More Deaths volunteer Maeva Cooper dodges tree limbs in the bed of a pick-up as they make the journey back to the organization’s camp outside Arivaca, AZ. Page 42 | photo stacie freudenberg |
Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
TRavel the country without saying goodbye. Get a National Plan with free roaming and connect to your loved ones no matter where you are.
“Baseball has been revived by immigrants,” wrote James Traub in his review of Mark Kurlansky’s new book “The Eastern Storm: How Baseball Changed the Town of San Pedro de Macoris” published in the July 4th edition of The New York Times Book Alejandro Riera Review. You could actually say the same thing about any aspect of U.S. life. Without the hard work of mostly Latin American immigrants in the agriculture, meat packing and manufacturing industries, a lot of small and medium-sized Midwestern and Southern towns would have died a quicker death. Immigration has had a positive trickle down effect on other aspects of American life and society as well. So, why are immigrants, regardless of nationality, color and creed, all of a sudden the target of so much hatred and contempt? Three reasons: fear, anger and demagoguery. Fear of a society that will be increasingly multicultural, multilingual and multiethnic. Anger at a government that, for the last 14 years, has shied away from taking on the bigger issues while protecting the interests of a few powerful men and entities. Fear and anger eventually lead to demagoguery. Just like vampires feed on blood, demagogues feed on the fear and anger of a populace that feels adrift. They look for easy targets and deliver them on a silver platter to the rest of us. They demonize these easy targets, creating a perception that overrules reality (until reality comes to bite society in the rear). Unfortunately, these demagogues have once again made the undocumented immigrant in particular and the Latino population in general the targets of their cynical opportunism. As we go to print, the federal government was suing the state of Arizona on constitutional grounds for its passage and signing into law of SB1070, which was scheduled to go into effect on July 29. And while it’s easy to blame demagogues like Arizona governor Jan Brewer and Fox News personality Glenn Beck, let’s not forget that deportations have increased under the Obama administration. Obama himself has yet to commit to a timeline to pass immigration reform. Supporting and lobbying for the DREAM Act in Congress would be an initial first step. In this issue we join in the debate by talking to and profiling those individuals and organizations who are affected by it at the ground level, whether through community-based organizations like the Los Angeles-based Para los Niños or those who go into the desert to provide water to immigrants who have crossed the border, like Arizona’s No More Deaths. The debate is on-going and we are barely scratching the surface. There is no question it will be center-stage for many Latino communities during this year’s celebration of Mexico’s Bicentennial of its independence from Spain across the United States.
Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Carrie Ferguson Weir Carrie Ferguson Weir spent nearly 20 years as a newspaper reporter – covering everything from fires to fashion – before leaving long nights and tepid coffee for an even more demanding full-time job: Mothering. These days, she works as a freelance writer, editor and publicist from her home in Nashville, Tenn. – a long way from her Cuban-American homeland in Miami. To celebrate and stay connected to her gente, Carrie publishes two Latin culture blogs: Bilingual in the Boonies and Tiki Tiki Blog. She could live on dulce de leche.
The CONTRIBUTORS Ana Flores Born in Houston to parents from El Salvador, Ana Lilian Flores grew up in El Salvador until she headed back to the U.S. to attend college. She’s had a career as a television and entertainment producer in the U.S. and in Mexico. These days, Ana Lilian calls Los Angeles home and is constantly trying to balance her multiple identities as a mom, a freelance writer and TV producer, a social media consultant and a co-publisher of a website for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children: SpanglishBaby.com. Rafael Cardenas Born in Pihuamo, Jalisco and raised in East Los Angeles, Rafael Cardenas is in love with the creative process. He has gone from actor to band front man to writer/photographer. His images of the Day of the Dead captured the attention of a local gallery that will exhibit his photos later this year. His ongoing project photogRAFA:365 documents 2010 in daily photos and can be seen at www.EastsiderWriter.com. Adrian G. Uribarri Adrian chased news in sunny Florida and California before chasing love to snowy Chicago. He’s interviewed John McCain on the Straight Talk Express, met one of the world’s smallest Chihuahuas, and rolled through hurricane floods in a Humvee with the National Guard. More recently, he covered campaigns for U.S. senator and governor of Illinois. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Orlando Sentinel.
Publisher Julián G. Posada Café media Advisors
Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Assistant Managing Editor Copy Editors
Martin Castro, lon chow, George De Lama, david hutchinson,
Alejandro Riera marilia t. gutiérrez maura wall hernández Marie Joyce Garcia Chris MALCOLM DarHiana Mateo Proofreader Vera Napoleon Staff Writer/Cafecito Producer CHRISTINA E. RODRíGUEZ Editorial Interns arianna hermosillo rachel metea
IAN LARKIN, carlos santiago, david selby, peter wilkins EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
Access doris solomón Aztec America Martha Tovias Crowe Horwath richard cerda Global Hue maria lopez-knowles Gomez Consulting Angel Gomez Grainger katie porter U.S. Dept. of Education Andrea Saenz Home State Bank Magdalena Rivera The LDI Group Brian SOrge Lutheran Child & Family Services phillip jimenez Mesirow Financial Juan Carlos Avila Mujeres Latinas en Acción Maria Pesqueira National Louis University Ana Maria Soto UIC LARES Program Leonard Ramírez
Art Director alberto treviÑo Graphic Designers judd ortiz ernesto pérez Wendy Melgar Graphic Design Intern isabelle lyu
ADMINISTRATION john wollney chrissy koob brandy scott
Chief Operating Officer Financial Analyst Administrative Assistant
lilia alvarado, Norma Magaña, marina claudio, m.d. With gratitude
marketing MITCHell POSADA jennifer carmona david villafaña Interactive Intern Bella Sunho You VP, Marketing Gina Santana Marketing Coordinator freddie baez Marketing & PR Liaison diana ramirez gardenia rangel
VP, Interactive Interactive Coordinators
Daniel Bleier, Michael Bleier, martin cabrera, WILLIAM GRAHAM, david hutchinson, ted j. hong, michael keiser, ROBERT KING, Henry Kingwill, Pete kingwill, martin koldyke, Ian Larkin, michael locKe, William Mckenna, thomas mcdonald, SUSAN SNOWDEN Acknowledgements
Arte y Vida Chicago amor montes de oca Bottle Rockit crystal hughes Chicago Cubs Wally Hayward Diageo diana fujimura e-Hispanics.com jose jara Ford Models Monica Diaz E. & J. Gallo Winery Chuck gartland
sales isis Gonzalez GINA TINOCO roxana rivas susan willey michelle droira sramek
West Coast Sales Manager Southeast Sales Manager Northeast Sales Manager Midwest Sales Manager Chicago Sales Manager
contributing writers randi belisomo hernández, christina chavez weitman, ana LILIAN flores, kristopher fortin, Christina Galoozis , daniela garcia, juan carlos hernández, carrie ferguson weir, belia ortega, benjamin ortiz, michael puente, marla seidell, Adrian Uribarri
MARCUS RILEY PNC Bruce Lines Ratio Nation rick morales Ravinia adriana mcclintock The Socialites Network of Chicago tony menchaca Swank Society sean alvarez Track Entertainment alex frias Vocalo LLOYD KING
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Elia l. Alamillo, abel arciniega, rafael cardenas, rachel castillo, stacie freudenberg, marta garcia, robbie lee, shelley mays, jillian sipkins, mariesam sanchez, karthik sudhir, melissa valladares
Geoscape Arthur Rockwell Jenille Ramos Design jenille ramos Lopez CPA enrique lopez NBC 5 Chicago chris peÑA
STOCK.XCHNG, ISTOCKPHOTO, real Latino Images
Special Thanks neil cruz, michael Gray, andres levin, angelica mariscal, nicole rivera, DAVE TAN
Winner of the folio magazine 2009 Bronze Eddie award in the consumer category (news/commentary/general interest/full issue)
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Dear Café ...
Latinos lea ve ec o-footpr on the plaints net
As always, thank you for your comments and suggestions. We look forward to each and every one: the good, the bad and the ugly. So keep them coming. The more we hear from you, the more we’ll strive to improve your Café experience. HE MAKES ‘EM LAUGH Unlike ordinary... Mikey O is extraodinary! (“But Seriously, Folks...,” June/July 2010) Mike is very passionate about what he does and pays close attention to every detail. Hard worker, devoted father and everyone’s friend! Some of the best laughs you’ll ever experience will be at a Mikey O Comedy Show! Emily D. posted on cafemagazine.com No 11 JuNe
| July 2010
azine styLe Mag Latino Life
Being a comedian from San Antonio that has had the pleasure of working with Mikey, I have never met another promoter For nday night more than mo as professional as him. He is a person who of makes sure that once you land in Chicago Twisted minds Concerts, ns mer edia com Sum le A fema Travel s Have Food, Will Fairs and Fest Trucks you are taken care of! He made sure my The Best Food first experience was a good one and showed me around town. I got to know the promoter, the entertainer and the person. He was as genuine as they come! Cleto Rodriguez, San Antonio posted on cafemagazine.com
tbol! ¡Fú s it’s World Cup fan
A Mikey O Show is as good as it gets. He finds a way to tell a story that everyone can relate to. Taking many of the misfortunes and shortcomings that happen in life and using them to celebrate our ability to overcome adversity, while leaving you laughing so hard you can hardly bear it. I have had the pleasure of working with Mikey on some other projects as well and he represents himself, his community and his culture with professionalism and class. John J. Martinez III, East Chicago, Ind. posted on cafemagazine.com Congratulations to Mikey O for being consistent with his comedy, not giving up on his dream and bringing all us Latinos and Latinas together. Laughter is so healing for the soul and in this day and age, with so much hardship going on, we need all the laughs we can get. Lourdes S. Garcia, Chicago posted on cafemagazine.com Mike has been a very successful businessman with his comedy production company, but has always stayed rooted on his community. He has helped so many community-based organizations raise much needed funds with various shows. He is a class act. Alfredo Calixto, Chicago posted on cafemagazine.com
Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Girls’ Night Out! I have never heard of these ladies (Patti Vasquez and Ana Maria Belaval, “It’s Ladies Night,” June/July 2010). Now that I have, I’ll be sure to look for them. Their stories (and jokes) are very powerful and triumphant. Felicidades to all of them. They now have a new fan! Maria Ferrer, New York posted on cafemagazine.com
IT’S LADIES NIGHT
Patti Vasquez and Ana Maria Belaval prove stand-up comedy isn’t just a man’s world
Their sentiments, exactly You nailed the truth behind the sentiment of many Venezuelans (“Oliver Stone’s New BFF,” review of the new Oliver Stone documentary about Hugo Chavez and the new Latin American left, “South of the Border,” published on cafemagazine.com). I could not describe the story any better than this without falling into a bashful monólogo about Chavez and his regime. John Alfonzo, Chicago posted on cafemagazine.com words
Gloria Elena Alicea
Stand-up comedy may still be a man’s world, but Chicago veteran comedian Patti Vasquez and newcomer Ana Maria Belaval aren’t afraid to compete with the big boys.
52 Café JUNE | JULY2010
A Proud Lineage Most of us Latinos without a doubt have some African ancestry whether we admit it or not (“Blacktino and Proud of It,” February/ March 2010). When I travel to the Caribbean and South America, people proudly tell me of their lineage. As there are Black Hispanics, there are Jewish Hispanics that someday I’d like your magazine to do a story on as well. I have friends from Brazil, Peru and Argentina who came to Chicago for advanced university studies and stayed. They are Sephardic Jews and Jews whose forefathers came from Europe and settled in South America. Let’s highlight them as well: most are the crème of society and contribute to their Jewish and Latin cultures in Chicago. Diana Kindzred, Chicago Via mail Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them at cafemagazine.com. You can also leave your comments on any one of our five Facebook fan pages (Café Media, LLC, Café – New York, Café – Miami, Café – Los Angeles and Café – San Francisco) or write to Letters to the Editor, Café Magazine, 777 W. Chicago Ave., Suite 4000, Chicago, IL 60654. Include your full name, address and daytime phone number. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity.
Vasquez, a giggly, black-haired comic with slanted eyes and a Carol Burnettlike smile, is filling clubs across the country with her fearlessly personal act about sex, motherhood, cultural identity... and facing down people who ask, “What nationality are you?”
al media ents | soci sletter | ev e | e-new in az ag m web |
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START YOUR STORY Benedictine University, ranked as one of the 2010 Best Colleges by U.S. News and World Report, has partnered with Rasmussen College to offer students the opportunity to earn a Bachelorâ€™s degree in Business from Rasmussen College and an M.B.A. from Benedictine University completely online in as little as five years. With this unparalleled opportunity, students have the ability to benefit from two highly regarded academic institutions and to learn how to become leaders in business in only five years.
Juan St. Mane 41, Assistant Teacher, Near North Montessori, Chicago photo
Can you tell us about the box? The name of that box is the Binomial Cube. It is a piece of material that you will see in every Montessori class at the 3 to 6 age level. It is scientifically made in matters related to geometry and algebra and helps build the reasoning mind of the child. It is unique in that it’s an indirect preparation for algebra. Of course, we don’t let the child know this. To them these are unique blocks that can only be put together in one way. If you could be anything other than a teacher... I would be a professional golfer. I like to eat a hot dog, Snickers and Orange Crush when I play. That’s my favorite part! I know its terribly unhealthy, but sugary habits are hard to break. I don’t golf as much as I used to, but I always like it when I do. How has being a teacher changed your life? I’ve learned more about patience. I understand more about child development and the importance it has on changing the world we live in. What is your most memorable teaching experience? Watching a child smile after they have accomplished a goal they have been working on for so long. Do you see yourself working in education in 10 years? It’s an old cliché, but certainly fitting: we are all lifelong learners. As such, we need lifelong teachers as well. Dr. [Maria] Montessori says the child is the teacher and the adult is the learner of the child. [She says,] observe the child, watch how their interests are piqued, show them how [to do something] and then step back. Have your students ever done anything “bad”? We really don’t think of children as “bad.” More so, we acknowledge their process in development and know that some children get on a path of normalization much quicker than others. How do you take your café? Black, no sugar. I like my coffee to taste like coffee. Adding a little bit of cream brings the bitterness down, though. For more of this interview, visit cafemagazine.com
SAILING FOR INDEPENDENCE A fleet of ships from 10 countries is traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Veracruz, Mexico in honor of Latin America’s bicentennial celebrations. The “Sails South America 2010” tour will stop in 14 ports along the way.
THE INITIATOR The spark of independence in Latin America was triggered in Bolivia when, on May 25, 1809, local criollos (people of Spanish ancestry born in the New World) fought in the Charcas (now Sucre) rebellion in what is now known as the first uprising in the Americas against Spain.
BICENTENNIALS GALORE Seven countries over the past two years have celebrated the bicentennial of the uprisings against Spain. Bolivia and Ecuador celebrated their bicentennials in 2009. This year Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela celebrate 200 years of independence.
FLOWERS OF DISCORD A flower pot stands as a symbol for Colombian independence. In 1810 Spanish merchant Jose Gonzales Llorente refused to lend a flower vase to a local criollo for an event in Santa Fe de Bogota. An exchange of insults ensued, which led to a full-blown riot.
LAND OF DIVERSITY Argentina truly is a land of immigrants. People from Italy, Spain, France, Russia, Poland, Germany and even Turkey, among other countries, have settled in Argentina throughout its history. These immigrants’ native tongues can still be heard around parts of the country today.
NAPOLEON, THE DYNAMITE Napoleon Bonaparte may be responsible for awakening the independence sentiment in Latin America. News of the American and French revolutions had already spread throughout the region. But when the French emperor invaded Spain in 1807, he held King Ferdinand VII captive and installed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, as monarch, the colonies decided they had had it. Not wanting to choose sides, many opted for self-government instead.
LOS LIBERTADORES Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín are considered the two greatest heroes of the South American independence movements. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 24, 1783, into a wealthy criollo family, Bolívar enjoyed a life of leisure in Europe in the early 1800s before returning to Venezuela to join the independence movement. Even without formal military training, Bolivar is said to have led revolts in six countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. San Martíßn was born on Feb. 25, 1778, in Argentina. He attended military school in Spain, and in 1812 returned to Buenos Aires, where he immediately joined the local revolutionary movement. Between 1817 and 1821, he helped lead uprisings in Argentina, Chile and Peru against the Spanish.
sources: en.mercopress.com, bogota.gov.co, yale.edu, latinamericanstudies.org, britannica.com, campus.dayton.edu, militaryheritage.com
12 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Luv D way U txt! LOL ;-) Nielsen knows that roughly two-thirds of Hispanics used text messaging services in the last 30 days.*
Nielsen listens to you because your preferences are important. As the world’s largest research company, we rely on people to voluntarily participate in our studies. Your participation: • tells us what you watch on TV, how you use your online and cell phone time, and where and how you buy your groceries • helps businesses offer the products and services you want If you’re asked to participate in a Nielsen study, please say yes.
You matter. ®
*Information is based on Nielsen estimates. To learn more about its methodologies, visit nielsen.com/latinos. © 2010 The Nielsen Company. All rights reserved.
Spanked with a chancla? We feel you. web magazine e-newsletter events social media
the Buzz THE TEA PARTY’S NO. 1 ENEMY Just in time for Mexico’s Bicentennial celebrations comes a hero who will protect the rights of all Mexicans and MexicanAmericans. A man who makes Santo look like Snoopy, and Blue Demon like Garfield. His name: MACHETE! First introduced as a fake movie trailer in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse,” “Machete” (Sept. 3) gets the full gory, cheesy, over the top big screen treatment. Danny Trejo plays the titular exFederale who is betrayed by the organization that hired him to kill a beloved conservative Texas politician. It’s payback time when he fully recovers from his wounds. www.vivamachete.com
CHASE THE OUTLAW Ugly Betty is gone, long live Ugly Betty! Alas, there is, for the moment, no Latino-themed or fully Latino-cast series that can take its place this upcoming fall season. Come to think of it, Latinos are still merely a blip on network TV’s radar. Two of those blips: Jimmy Smits and Amaury Nolasco. Smits plays Cyrus Garza, a former U.S. Supreme Court justice who quits the bench to represent the “little guy” in NBC’s “Outlaw.” Nolasco plays a U.S. Marshall in “Chase,” a series about an elite team that hunts down America’s most wanted, also on NBC. “Chase” is scheduled to air Monday night and “Outlaw” on Fridays at 10/9 p.m. CST. www.nbc.com
INTIMATE AND SELECTIVE The Mars Volta’s Omar Rodríguez López is one of the most restless and prolific musicians out there today. As a solo artist, the Puerto Rican musician has released close to 20 albums, some as free digital downloads, others as vinyl, under his own label, Rodriguez Lopez Productions. Rodríguez López is now preparing for a very, very, very small U.S. tour with his Omar Rodríguez López Group. So small that it encompasses only two venues: New York’s Highline Ballroom on Sept. 17 and Chicago’s Congress Theater Sept. 18. rodriguezlopezproductions.com
ALL MEN ARE ALIKE. MEET THE 20 EXCEPTIONS:
*happy hours include complimentary appetizers and drink specials
jbar | wednesday, july 28 | 6-8pm rockit wrigleyville | tuesday, august 10 | 6-8pm john allanâ€™s | thursday, august 19 | 6-8pm market bar | wednesday, august 25 | 6-8pm final event | harris theatre | thursday, september 2 | 7:30pm post party | hard rock hotel | 9pm Visit OneManChicago.com to vote for your favorite. Be sure to attend the big final show and see whoâ€™s the last man standing. $35 & $55 tickets available at OneManChicago.com and the Harris Theatre Box Office.
C H I C A G O
How to plan a party for a 200-year-old First step: Let’s cancel any uprisings EL GUAPO
Mexico celebrates its bicentennial in September. For nations, as birthdays go, this is the quinceañera of celebrations. It’s when a country blooms into womanhood, wears a big puffy dress and declares, “Here I stand, world; court me.” Of course, you only turn 200 once, and it’s important to make it count. However, Mexico has a history of bad birthdays, and now she’s worried about this important milestone further cementing that tradition. Poor thing. Should she worry? See for yourself.
Mexico’s quick and dirty sinvergüenza highlight reel 1810 Mexico’s birth date Some bold clergyman in some town (unbelievably, the town’s name is literally translated to “Pains”) lets out a shout calling for a revolution, eventually leading to Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule. A violent, painful birth follows. Grito de Dolores? Indeed. Mexico kicks and screams her way into the world. 1910 The first hundred – Buenos Diaz, Mexico After a presidency spanning 30 controversial, corruption-laden years, 80-yearold dictator Porfirio Diaz runs into a bit of opposition in the form of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata (and other disgruntled mustaches with guns). A bloody decade follows. Yet again, violence scars young Mexico.
16 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
1994 Déjà vu … otra vez … again With ski masks and no signs of snow, The Zapatista Army of National Liberation continues the tradition on New Year’s Day 1994, when its mostly indigenous members take control of towns in Chiapas state in objection to injustices against the indigenous people. THE SHOW MUST GO ON So it’s no surprise that today an anxious, pouting Mexico is standing in her big lavender dress, biting her unprofessionally manicured fingernails and demanding huffily that Mom and Dad make her 200th go perfectly. Bloody violence is one particular hitch they’d all like to avoid. So, equipped with perfected diva eye rolls and empty threats, Mexico begs and berates the warring drug cartels into letting her celebrate in peace, urging the bands of ruthless killers to spend the day cleaning their assault weapons and maybe (fingers crossed) take a day off from decapitations and disembowelments. Add to the complicated landscape Mexico’s neighbor, the cantankerous U.S., who normally peeks through the blinds and shouts things like, “Enough with the trumpets and accordions, some of us have to work in the morning!” If that alone wasn’t a total buzz kill, the U.S. is also suffering through unemployment, but it hasn’t softened her up any. In fact, now in addition to keeping the Frisbees that fly onto her lawn, the U.S. doesn’t want anyone setting foot on her grass unless they’ve been explicitly invited to come over and mow it. As a result, the U.S. is in no mood for any funny business and insists that Mexico keep its biggest export – Mexican people – in
You don’t have to wait two months to enjoy El Guapo’s words of wisdom. You can now feast on a weekly diet of Guapo goodness every Friday at www.cafemagazine.com.
its own backyard or the sprinklers are coming on. And by that, the U.S. means unleashing unholy draconian laws on anyone at the wrong end of the color spectrum (burnt sienna or darker in the Crayola box). Clearly this celebration’s backdrop is marred by inauspicious circumstances. But the show must go on, and our distraught Mexico has been through a tight spot or two before. So, while she has been asking Mom and Dad for a new Bentley like the one her friend got for her birthday, times are tough and she’ll be disappointed and sneer at the used Ford Taurus with a shoddy alternator and one window that won’t roll down. She wanted a new dress, but she’s wearing a patched-up hand-me-down that’s two sizes too big. Who styled Mexico’s hair for the occasion? A sought-after stylist to the stars? Nope. The guy down the block – the beauty school dropout with the patch over his eye and the dull, childsafe scissors. Mexico’s distraught parents, of course, are trying desperately to stop their daughter from alternating wildly between obscene temper tantrums and deep depression. They want her to look at the bright side: According to interpretations of the Mayan prophecy, she still has a couple of good years before doomsday. Then the guacamole really hits the fan.
Playlist Match-UP Listen to and vote for your favorite playlists from industry insiders, artists, DJs, and other taste makers
caféESpresso | Voices
Two Loves, One Heart The story of one writer’s appreciation for his Mexican roots and American education
Juan Carlos Hernández
“[My mother] hugged me as we walked to the car and said, ‘WE became americans today, but that doesn’t change who we are.’”
18 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
“¡Viva México!” resounded from the stage. The boisterous crowd responded passionately, “¡Viva!” I raised a Mexican flag and waved it, yelling too. The night was electric, magical and one of pride. I was standing on a chair next to my parents. Green, white and red waved up and down as a bell tolled. Above the flags, the cityscape glowed majestically in the night; the Sears Tower and her other companions were witnesses to this burst of Mexican pride. Not only was Chicago the place where I celebrated my first Grito, it’s also here and in East Chicago, Ind., where I learned much about being Mexican – and all about being American. In the mid ‘70s, my mother carried me and pulled my brother along into an airplane in Mexico City. Our destination? Chicago. We were joining my father, who had already gone ahead to set up an apartment and straighten out some immigration paperwork. My mother was leaving behind a teaching career, though she never stopped working. My sister, my brother and I became her students. Spanish-language teaching materials were not readily available, but my mom made her own, taking plain sheets of paper to make grammar lessons and taking what she could from old history books to teach us about Mexico. Those lessons helped us recognize our roots. I remember my first drawings of the flag. The first eagle I drew looked more like a sick turkey and I could never get the green, white and red in the proper order. I also learned correct pronunciation, spelling and writing – thus began a long struggle to understand the secret code of accents. Sometimes, they still baffle me. The lessons continued in one form or another through elementary school and included some strict ordinances: Never – and my mom meant never – speak English with her or my father, which we never did and still don’t to this day. ¡Gracias a Dios! For all my mom’s pride and teaching, she also made sure we were adapting to our new country. My parents would talk about our education and then my father would check on our grades. When my father worked the night shift, he would wake up about noon, put on a nice shirt, dress pants and his favorite maroon jacket and then go to see our teachers. In the best English he could muster, he would ask about our grades
and behavior. Fortunately, some teachers spoke Spanish and helped him understand things. Poor grades and misbehavior were met with scolds and punishment. Good grades were occasionally met with candies or a small toy, but that was rare. Getting good grades was simply what we were expected to do. My father’s mantra was, “If you want to make something of yourself, you’ll have to do well in school.” And in thinking about our future, my parents also decided to do something our education could help them with – they chose to become U.S. citizens. The naturalization test-preparation material arrived and we all got down to work. The booklets were packed with dates, presidents’ names, maps and history. Most of it was unfamiliar to my parents. They studied and asked us questions, but a lot of details got lost in the ocean of information. They failed the first citizenship test. They were disappointed, but not defeated. And then some of their friends had a great idea. Why not record the questions and answers on some cassettes? That’s what they did, and afterwards they listened to them everywhere: in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the garage, in the car, on the Walkman in the mall and at all hours. At times it was embarrassing: Friends would come over and wonder why Civil War dates were blaring on the stereo. But it worked and they passed on the second try. A short time later we went to South Bend, Ind., for the swearing-in ceremony. Years later, I moved back to Mexico to start a writing career, but more importantly to experience everyday life in my native country. I needed to breathe, taste and touch life beyond the family trips. I did, and I can say that it opened my eyes and my soul – it was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life despite all the struggle and sacrifice I had to endure. Much of that emotion culminated at the Grito in downtown Guadalajara. It was the first I would celebrate in Mexico. That night, I remembered something my mother said after the naturalization ceremony. She hugged me as we walked to the car and said, “We became Americans today, but that doesn’t change who we are.” So, as the cries of “Viva México” echoed throughout the Plaza de Armas and the revelers waved and raised their flags, I too raised my flag, and thought, “I’m Mexican and American and nothing gets lost in the translation.”
UNA IDEA BRILLANTE NECESITA PODER. Somos una máquina de poder. Entregamos una señal pura y dura. Músculo pesado. Todo para que tú la tomes. La transformes. La embellezcas. La hagas interesante. Y le des la vuelta para cambiar las reglas del juego.
submit photography to www.flickr.com/groups/cafephoto
Vertigo By Michael Kotter. www.flickr.com/cmdrcord. “These rusty stairs lead to the rooftop of an abandoned sintering plant. Once a vital part of a huge steelwork, this colossus now lies dormant on a patch of wasteland in Germany’s Ruhr area.”
Cell By Jaime Ibarra. www.ibarraphoto.com. “I have been working with Jessa Peters (the model) for years, now. Her ability to command fabric is breathtaking...I lack the words to describe her magic, but the term ‘Liquid Angel’ comes to mind.”
20 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Ruin by Richard Upshur. www.richardupshur.com. “Victorian Era man surveys the destruction of an urban warehouse.” Morocco: Essaouira By Heather Phillips. www.flickr.com/hphillips. “With the ocean, sky, blue doors and windows on white buildings, and fleets of blue boats, Essaouira is called Morocco’s Blue City.”
Sunrise at the Ranch By Fred Smith. http://www.flickr.com/photos/fredsmitht. “This photo was taken at 4:26 a.m., at a rural ranch in Priddis, Alberta. It really pays to be up early in the morning. The lighting was fantastic; we had just experienced a wicked spring storm the day before.”
Electric Morning By Chris Diers. www.flickr.com/senor_codo. “An electric sunrise takes hold as we wait for the train to go to Midway Airport.”
Marlyn Gutierrez says momentum has been lost in the effort for comprehensive immigration reform.
Michael Puente and Adrian Uribarri Rachel Castillo and Rafael Cardenas
Arizona’s new immigration law leaves Latinos across the country feeling more vulnerable to racial profiling
Beyond Arizona, fear and loathing 22 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 sent shockwaves throughout the United States and the world, and did what no march has been able to do thus far – thrust the immigration debate to the forefront of the American political landscape. For better or worse, many say, a defining moment is upon us. The nature of SB1070 and similar proposed legislation in other states, whether at the state or the municipal levels, contains a more serious reality: the element of racial profiling. And though the bill doesn’t have outright discriminatory language, many Latinos say they feel they are now the direct target of racial profiling due to the color of their skin or their last name. Often missing in the media coverage of this debate are the voices of those directly affected and people who work with those directly affected by this issue. These people, who live and breathe the debate on a daily basis, are only a small fraction of the thousands upon thousands affected economically, socially, politically and culturally by immigration. The issue goes beyond whether an individual is an undocumented immigrant. This is an issue that, in the long run, will affect not only every resident of this country and the home countries that immigrants leave behind, but also ultimately the way in which the rest of the world views the United States. Marlyn Gutierrez, Arizona
“It makes me sad. It makes me really sad,” says Marlyn Gutierrez, 42, a South Side Chicago native whose parents came to the United States legally from Coahuila, Mexico, about Arizona’s SB1070. The Maria High School and Columbia College graduate moved to a Tucson suburb two years ago. Now, she wonders if she made a bad decision in moving to Arizona. Because she is more light-skinned than the average person expects Latinos to be, Gutierrez doesn’t necessarily believe the new law will target her directly. “I think it targets many of my friends,” says Gutierrez, who works in media production and has done voice-over work for documentaries as well as companies such as McDonald’s. “I think the new law is going to lead to racial profiling.” Gutierrez says momentum has been lost in the effort for comprehensive immigration reform, especially since the large rallies that took place in Chicago and nationwide in 2006. It doesn’t help, Gutierrez says, that the Arizona legislation has allowed folks in that state to express what she believes are downright mean and racist views. Heated debates over the topic have erupted in coffee shops, grocery stores and fast-food restaurants, Gutierrez says. “People are very split over this issue, but they’re also very outspoken,” she says. “This [law] gives them the freedom to say what they want in public.” Gutierrez says she cringes to think what would happen if stopped by an Arizona law enforcement official and asked to prove her citizenship. “I wouldn’t be the most pleasant person,” she says.
Juana Watson believes that the country is taking a step backwards in its treatment of Latinos.
Juana O. Watson, Indiana
Juana O. Watson’s life could be considered that quintessential American dream. She was born in a small village nestled high in the middle of the Sierra Madre mountains in the state of Hidalgo, in central Mexico. “Life there has not changed much since my birth. Women are still dying giving birth and children die before they get to be five years old because there is no infrastructure,” says Watson. “The people in the village drink water from the river, and there are no clinics or doctors in town. Life is hard and many young men and women are being forced to leave the village to look for a better life.” Watson, 53, arrived in Indiana in 1978 with the equivalent of a junior high education and didn’t speak English very well. “I became a student by accident, out of need to help my children with their homework,” Watson says. Fast forward several decades: Watson overcame immense socioeconomic challenges to become an internationally recognized expert and speaker on Latino and multicultural affairs. Today, she holds a doctorate in education, earned at the Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Ind., which is associated with Oxford University. Watson, like Gutierrez, worries the new Arizona law could result in racial profiling. “Many of us that have experienced discrimination understand this issue,” Watson says. Now there are rumblings that Indiana also could pass legislation similar to Arizona’s. Watson, who now lives in Indianapolis, says it seems the country’s ways of dealing with Latinos as a group have receded. “With laws like [that of] Arizona, we are going backwards. It seems to me that many people think that the word Latino is a bad word and equals undocumented. The Arizona law would bring more discrimination against anyone that looks Latino,” Watson says. “My perception is that our community has been singled out and targeted. All of these issues limit our young people chances to get ahead.”
TAKE QUOTE Jose Gonzalez, Florida
Gisselle Acevedo, California
Jose Gonzalez remembers witnessing his share of injustices as a young Cuban boy in 1960s Miami. But what’s fresh in his memory is not a slight against immigrants. It’s a recent episode he perceived as an insult to a U.S. citizen. Gonzalez, 48, a South Florida nurse, says a homeless immigrant from Haiti came into his hospital’s emergency room in poor health and received an expensive round of tests. The man had neither money nor health insurance, but he needed emergency care, so he received treatment despite his inability to pay. During the same week, Gonzalez says, a colleague worried frantically as her own health condition worsened and an insurance company denied her request for a CAT scan. “How could a mother of three, a U.S. citizen who pays her taxes, be denied approval, and this bum up the street gets three free exams?” he asks. “Little things like that hit hard on the hardworking American.” Gonzalez, now a U.S. citizen, says he empathizes with law-abiding immigrants who are abused in “the land of opportunity.” He remembers how his father, also a health care worker, pleaded with his boss, a medical doctor, to pay him minimum wage after the family arrived from Cuba. The doctor callously told him, “You don’t need more money. You need more money management.” Yet Gonzalez doesn’t view the Arizona law as an abuse of immigrants. While he would prefer officials would allow nonviolent offenders to apply for legal residence before they’re separated from family, he says the law is otherwise fair. “I’m all for immigration,” Gonzalez added, “pero legal immigration. There are people who are burdens on the system.”
Gisselle Acevedo read the child’s words with dismay. They were scribbled in cursive, with tiny bubbles dotting each lowercase “i.” “When we learned about the Arizona law, I was sad,” wrote one of Acevedo’s fourth-graders. “It’s not fair when police and other people deport families or friends.” Acevedo, 53, is president and CEO of Para Los Niños, a Los Angeles not-forprofit organization that provides child care, education and other services to at-risk children and families. Many are immigrants, and nearly all are from some of California’s most impoverished urban neighborhoods. “The funny thing about this law is that children feel so exposed as it is,” Acevedo says. “They’re piecing this together. They’re not quite sure what it all means. What they hear are the words, ‘brown skin,’ ‘police,’ ‘separation of family.’ They think, ‘What will happen to me if the person who takes care of me is taken away?’” Acevedo says she knows what it’s like to feel vulnerable. In the late 1960s, her mother came to the U.S. with a 12-yearold Gisselle in tow, carrying little more than the jewelry she would eventually sell to pay the family’s bills. The single mother struggled to make more than $12,000 to $13,000 a year cleaning homes and working at a bank, even as she raised Acevedo and another daughter she later picked up from their native Costa Rica. Now, as Acevedo raises her own daughter, she is concerned about the law of her adoptive land. “The last I heard, I live in the United States,” Acevedo says. “We said that we were not going to tolerate discrimination of any kind. It’s unfortunate that this is what it took to push us into this conversation.”
Gisselle Acevedo has seen first hand the impact the debate surrounding the signing into law of SB1070 has over the children of immigrants.
24 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Comments from the Café Media Facebook page (www.facebook. com/cafemedia).
how would you feel if your state adopted a law similar to arizona’s SB1070?
Doug McNair (Minneapolis, Minn.) “I’d do the ‘I Am Spartacus’ thing. I’d wear a button saying ‘Sin Papeles’ and then wait for the cops to stop and question the white guy about his immigration status (yeah, right).” Manny Agosto, Sr. (Miami, Fla.) “I would be outraged…’cause this country has been built by immigrants from all corners of the world with no exceptions. Having gone through what I have gone through, I’ve realized the Latino community needs to stand as one. Enough is enough.” Daniel Sogamoso (Los Angeles, Calif.) “I’d do much like my mother who was a bilingual pre-school teacher when they passed Proposition 187 in California to turn in illegal immigrant families: she didn’t care, didn’t pay attention and wasn’t going to deprive a child already here that chance to receive an education instead of incarceration...It’s called civil disobedience, practice it.” Mariano Polanco (Miami, Fla.) “Rick Scott [Republican candidate for governor] wants the Arizona law in Florida if he is elected governor. He has the wrong ideas when it comes to immigration laws. Fruits and vegetables do not pick themselves, immigrants do it when no one else wants to.”
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The Future of Tradition The next generation of Olvera Street merchants wants to keep the oldest pueblo authentic and relevant for the future words photos
Kristopher Fortin Melissa Valladares
Placita Olvera remains a burgeoning place for new business owners and a population loyal to its continued vitality.
26 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Christina Mariscal has lived at Olvera Street literally from womb to adulthood.
Mariscal was first taken to her parents’ store, My Rosa, two months after she was born. At 18 months, she was the baby Jesus in the nine-day Christmas Posadas celebration. Her babysitters were their fellow Olvera Street merchants, and her friends were other merchants’ children, like Marisol Hernandez, daughter of Jesús “Lalo” Hernández; Gregory Berber, whose parents owned La Luz del Dia restaurant, or Diana Guerrero Robertson, whose parents owned Cielito Lindo. Such is life on Olvera Street, a historical marketplace located in the oldest street of Los Angeles and part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, the birthplace of the City of Angels. The merchants are a tight-knit community committed to the preservation of long-standing Mexican and Latino traditions. Mariscal, 26, has been involved in the issues affecting Olvera Street merchants from a young age. As a 9-year-old, she started to gather petitions outside her parents’ shop in an effort to legitimize Olvera Street’s merchants’ leases. She gathered the most petitions out of everyone on the street, recalls Vivian Bonzo, president of the Olvera Street Merchants Association. And in a heated argument between the audience and the city councilmen, Mariscal, dressed in a rain-drenched school uniform, silenced the chamber. “We’re not going to take this shit anymore,” Mariscal remembers telling the city council. Mariscal recalls she was worried because she had said a bad word. The merchants defended her and the negotiations ended with a temporary solution. But this year, the lease battle reignited when the city expressed its intentions to increase the merchants’ rent yet again.
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ABOVE: Rosa (left) and Mike Mariscal have cautioned their daughter Christina (right) about the time commitment involved in running their business. BELOW: Marisoul Hernandez, from La Santa Cecilia, makes it a point to play weekends at her father’s restaurant no matter how busy she may be with her band.
“I’ve never been ashamed [of my roots],” Mariscal says. “That’s how people identified me, as a daughter of shop owners.” There have been families dating back five generations that have either continued businesses at Olvera Street or expanded outside the two-block Mexican marketplace. Though the politics that surround the historic block have traditionally placed a bleak outlook on the marketplace, it remains a burgeoning place for new business owners and a population loyal to its continued vitality. “It seems like [the lease issue] comes up every 10 years. So now the younger generation is trying to get involved and learn because, the way we see it, this is probably going to happen in another 10 years. We have to make sure that this doesn’t keep happening,” said Gregory Berber, 26, manager and heir of La Luz del Día restaurant and third-generation Olvera Street merchant. Olvera Street has provided a venue for merchants with families and new business owners for more than a century. Though some have shown interest in accepting the torch from their parents, many of the street’s youth have gone on to careers outside the merchant block. The four children of 50-year-old Jess Gomez, owner of Rudy’s Mexican Candy, do not have any interest in taking over the familyrun candy shop that opened in 1951. Gomez was brought into the shop when he was an infant and started to work at the tienda as soon as he could make change, he says. Gomez did the same with his children and started to bring them when they were around four to five years old, but the role of shopkeeper never stuck with them. Most are either headed to or have finished some form of higher education, while his youngest daughter is still in high school. “Each of them found their own path,” Gomez says. The new generation of Olvera Street merchants have at times achieved higher education or pursued careers in music, yet their roots 28 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
at Olvera Street are so strong that they still want to help craft the marketplace’s future. Mariscal, for example, earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and history from Loyola Marymount University and a master’s degree in education from Stanford University. Wanting to pursue a career in politics, she worked at the offices of Los Angeles councilman Ed P. Reyes and of Gloria Molina, member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from 2004 to 2006. Mariscal wants to keep the business within the family, but says she would hope to hire a manager so she could pursue her career. Her parents, Mike and Rosa Mariscal, have a different point of view when it comes to her involvement with the family-owned shop. Her father, Mike, cautions their daughter from taking over the business because of the time commitment involved. “We work 60 to 70 hours a week,” he says. “I personally don’t want my daughter to do that.” The children that have decided to stay are extremely active. Mariscal and Guerrero Robertson have led the organization of such events as the annual Blessing of the Animals, the nine-day Christmas Posadas and the Dia de Los Muertos festival. Mariscal and Berber attend lease negotiation meetings when they have the time, and Mariscal also does public relations work for Olvera Street. Marisoul Hernandez has sung on weekends in front of La Luz del Día restaurant at the north edge of Olvera Street since she was a child. Some days fellow Santa Cecilia bandmate Miguel “Oso” Ramirez plays his cajón with her and sometimes she is joined by other musicians from various regions of Mexico. Hernandez, 30, makes it a point to play on weekends, regardless how busy she is with her up-and-coming band. “I want to go out and see the world, and share music and travel and learn, but this is my home,” says Hernandez. “If my father ever needs me to help with the business, then I’m going to take on that responsibility to keep the family here.”
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Life coaches and executive coaches can help you fully exploit your potential
Life coach Sandra Bibiana Adames has worked with clients on goals ranging from completing educational specializations to weight loss.
Belia Ortega photos Marta García
Life coach Sandra Bibiana Adames (above) meets with a client in her Chicago office.
32 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Getting an MBA. Buying a home. Starting a business. All are major life decisions that can overwhelm the most ambitious people. How do they do it? Some definitely have the drive, organization, and patience to get through it on their own and others might need a little guidance. Whether it’s a significant career move or a life change, life and executive coaches can ease the overwhelming feeling of taking it on. Coaching is a series of conversations that take place between a professional adviser and client to help achieve that person’s full potential, says Angel Gomez, an executive coach from Naperville, Ill. Gomez started his human resources consulting practice, AG Gomez Consulting, two years ago – shortly after he went through an executive coaching program with a former employer where he was the vice president of human resources. “I probably had the most growth with an executive coach than I did my whole career,” says Gomez, 41. “Leadership is an innate quality. You’re born with leadership qualities. You just have to hone them over time.” His clientele comes from a range of Fortune 500 companies, whom he has assisted by grooming their management and director-level leadership for executive positions. It’s the difference between leading and not managing, he says. “I’m improving performance,” Gomez says. “I take them from doing a good job to doing a great job.” The International Coach Federation, which certifies coaches throughout the world, stresses the importance of finding the right coach with adequate experience to meet your needs. Important factors include the specific training the coach has received, types of situations the coach has had experience with, whether they are accredited, their specialties and skill set, and their approach and philosophy to coaching. There are a variety of coaches and coaching styles. Coaching areas can include business,
career, finances, health and relationships. The decided to go to a life coach to help get orgaMore info cost depends on the type of service and period nized. Her theory was that there were trainers Find or become a coach of time, and begins from just under $100 to and coaches in all industries, so why not go to www.coachfederation.org several thousand dollars. a life coach to help guide her through her exam Chicago clinical psychologist and life coach preparation. Kress needed someone to help her Dr. Sandra Bibiana Adames, 35, began focusing on coaching stay on task. They set up a weekly study schedule, and in the end, while she was working on her doctorate at the University of Kress received the certification. Illinois at Chicago. Many of the undergraduate students who Adames says to achieve goals one must be a good taskmasassisted with her research were Latinos – and the first in their ter. A life coach holds a person accountable to those goals. “You family to attend college. have to be very explicit about what it is you want. You have to Occasionally she’d ask them what their plans were after they be aware of the things that you cannot change,” she said about graduated, she says, and their responses were usually along the accepting new challenges and completing goals. lines of, “I’m going to work.” It wasn’t that the students didn’t How does a coaching session work? The following is have the ambition to look beyond working; it was that they a skeleton of a typical life coaching session from Adames. didn’t know where to begin, which sparked Adames’ interest. Step one: Clearly and specifically define the larger goal. “I was just surprised. I felt that they were settling for [a bachFor example, if you want to tackle weight loss, define how elor’s degree],” says Adames. “It was about their perception of much weight and the time frame, says Adames. themselves. It was limited to a bachelor’s degree. What I wanted Step two: Work your larger goal down to smaller, very specific to do is work with Latinos to say ... ‘You have potential. You’re and manageable goals. more than a B.A.’” Say you want to lose 10 pounds in six months, what will Since 2006, Adames has worked with clients on goals from that look like from week to week? How will you approach your completing educational specializations and certifications to weight loss daily? advance their careers to clients who are tackling weight loss. Step three: Consider the other factors in your life that are Tina Kress, 33, of Chicago worked with Adames to focus on going to make it harder or easier for you to reach your goals. preparing and studying for an architecture industry certification. Be honest with yourself and recognize the obstacles that will Kress was overwhelmed with preparing for the exam and at times make it hard for you to reach those goals and set up a plan for how would over-study or put it off and not study for weeks. She then you plan to approach those obstacles, says Adames.
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Crash course on readiness words
Carrie Ferguson Weir
Having a family disaster plan helps alleviate some stress in the midst of a crisis When the flood waters rose May 1 in Nashville, Tenn., turning a landlocked city into a chain of islands, Edna Garcia was downtown with her 9-year-old daughter. Her two other children, ages 7 and 2, were with a friend a few miles away and a county over. Her husband, Raul, was out of town. “The interstate was flooded and the road I needed to get to was flooded too,” Garcia says. “That was the scariest moment.” She was able to maneuver the car through back roads to finally reach them. Reflecting on the historic devastation that occurred in her region, Garcia says she will be creating a disaster plan that includes preparation for floods. “I have a plan for tornadoes, but I realize we need something beyond that, a bigger plan,” says Garcia. “We need to have something written down.” Her plan for tornadoes, which twist through middle Tennessee regularly, was created when she took control of a walk-in closet and made a shelter – fully stocked with bike helmets (to protect heads from flying or falling debris), blankets, flashlights, snacks, toys and extra diapers for her toddler son.
34 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
“When we hear the sirens, we know what to do,” says Garcia, an accountant who was raised in Texas. “The kids get it. They know it is serious because they have drills at school.” Having a family disaster plan helps alleviate some stress in the midst of a crisis. A plan may be as simple as having a discussion and deciding where you will meet your partner during a disaster, but there are worksheets available online to help you prepare a formal, living document that provides a guide you can count on. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s ready.gov (FEMA), provides free emergency plan kits for families and worksheets, games and information specifically for young children. These last days of summer break offer a good time to get the kids involved in creating the family’s disaster plan and having real talks about the what ifs. “Having a plan gives you a sense of comfort. It is almost like insurance,” says Darryl Madden, director of the federal Ready campaign. “You don’t want to have to use it, but it gives you peace of mind if something occurs.” Madden says his own family plan includes using text messaging
Edna Garcia’s preparedness plans in case of tornadoes include stocks of blankets, water bottles, flashlights, snacks and extra diapers for her toddler son.
Edna Garcia, with daughters Paola and Christina and son Oliver, of Nashville, Tenn., created a shelter in a closet where the family can take refuge during a tornado.
to communicate if he is separated from his family. They also agreed to keep cell phones powered down to maintain battery life, turning them back on at the top and bottom of every hour until communication is reached. “We think the time to prepare for confronting a disaster is now,” Madden says. “If cell towers go down, what is your back-up plan? Are you aware of what your child’s daycare or school plan is?“ Garcia agrees. “We lived through Hurricane Georges when we lived in the Dominican Republic, but we didn’t have children then. With kids, you think a little more [about] what you should be doing,” Garcia said. “I have been sharing what I have done with other moms and telling them they need to prepare too. You do feel better knowing you have a plan.” To get your own emergency preparedness plan started consider these top tips from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Ready campaign: • Pick a place to meet after a disaster and designate two meeting spots: one outside your home and a second outside your neighborhood. • Ask someone outside of your area to serve as your family’s emergency contact. Give your contact’s phone number to everyone in your family. • Be sure your family members have emergency contact cards and pre-paid telephone cards. • Stock your First Aid kit. Have over-the-counter and prescription medications easily accessible, too. • Stock up on food and water to last at least 72 hours. • Do you have enough infant formula, baby food, diapers and toys? • Add your emergency contact as ICE (in case of emergency) in your cell phone address book. • Commit a weekend to updating telephone contacts, buying and preparing supplies. • Talk to your neighbors, find out what special equipment you can share and who will check on elderly or disabled neighbors. • Review your plan regularly and talk to everyone in your family about it.
RESOURCES Prepare your home and family for an emergency using these online resources. The American Red Cross: Find a complete guide on how to prepare for emergencies and disasters, download checklists or use an interactive module containing pictures, audio and video. redcross.org U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Find detailed tips for emergency preparedness and video on how to prepare an emergency kit. dhs.gov The Federal Emergency Management Agency: fema.gov FEMA’s Ready Campaign: Create a personalized Family Emergency Action Plan. Create a plan for your children, too. ready.gov and ready.gov/kids. Visit cafemagazine.com for more tips and resources.
or Foe? Simple dietary changes can prevent milk consumption from becoming an explosive experience words
Marla Seidell illustrations Judd Ortiz
As a child, Francisca Fernandez avoided ice cream and chocolate milk – her favorites – because these milk products gave her stomach pains, gas and a bloated feeling. “I realized I didn’t feel quite right after drinking milk,” she says. For this CubanAmerican, the symptoms started in adolescence and continued through adulthood. “Some can eat cheese to satiety, while others do not bear it well,” noted Greek physician Hippocrates. In modern language: Some can eat milk products without a hitch, and others run the risk of pooping their pants. Fernandez and Hippocrates may have something in common. The symptoms they describe suggest a gastrointestinal ailment known as lactose intolerance. Lactose is a form of sugar found in milk and milk products. In order for your digestive system to 36 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
“Hispanics consume much less than the recommended amount of dairy...”
- Cecelia Pozo Fileti break down lactose, you need the enzyme lactase. If you don’t produce enough lactase to break down the lactose, you might experience symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain or diarrhea. All babies, regardless of race, produce the enzyme lactase, but for some, lactase starts declining between the ages of three and five. According to the National Dairy Council, ethnic minorities have a higher tendency toward lactose intolerance. Selfreported statistics claim that of the 12 percent of Americans that suffer from lactose intolerance, 10 percent are Hispanics, 19 percent African-Americans and 7.7 percent people of European descent. Does this mean dairy products are bad and should be avoided? Not necessarily, says Dr. Flavia Mercado, a pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “[Milk] is considered a nutrientrich food, and with a serving [of it] you get so much more than if you just took a calcium pill,” she says. In addition to calcium, dairy products contain essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, magnesium and potassium. But what if dairy products make you sick? Mercado advises patients who believe they are lactose intolerant to first find out, based on their symptoms, if they can still take milk in smaller quantities. Daily servings of low-lactose milk products were the best remedy for Fernandez, who finally found relief in her 40s. Help came via dietitian Cecelia Pozo Fileti, who is also a fellow of the American Dietetic Association and president of the Ann Arbor, Mich., consulting firm Latino Health Communications. Like Mercado, Fileti recommends three to four servings of dairy products per day, and for her lactose-intolerant patients, she advises dairy products with lower levels of lactose, such as yogurt and cheese. Other milk products with low levels of lactose include goat’s milk, ice cream, milkshakes, lactose-free milk and milk products. (In the case of lactose intolerance, consult a registered dietitian for recommended dairy allowances.) Perhaps the reason for a higher prevalence of lactose intolerance among
minorities stems from a lack of adequate consumption. “We know from the evidence that Hispanics consume much less than the recommended amount of dairy they need,” Fileti says. According to her, between the ages of 28 and 48, most Hispanics consume less than one serving of milk products a day. And MexicanAmerican adolescents and children average 2.1 servings a day. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products a day. Mercado concurs with this, especially the low-fat suggestion. “Hispanics should be [drinking] skim milk, due to obesity and hypertension,” she says. And for Hispanics who have symptoms of lactose intolerance? “If you have bloating or abdominal discomfort, don’t ditch dairy [products],” advises Fileti. “Find out what you are dealing with.” A study on lactose intolerance conducted by the National Institutes of Health in February concluded that there’s no reason to cut out dairy products completely. “The bottom line is: Ditching dairy [products] can lead to major nutri-
ent problems, such as calcium or vitamin D deficiency, which leads to osteoporosis,” says Fileti. In addition, dairy products contain the elements necessary to fight other chronic diseases – such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and colon and rectal cancer – that run high in Hispanic and Africanand Asian-American communities. In short, milk can still do a lactoseintolerant body good. Through dietitian Fileti, Fernandez discovered products such as lactose-free ice cream and cottage cheese, and is feeling better than ever. Fernandez’s diet now includes granola and fruit with lactose-free milk or yogurt, and cheese – topped on a pizza, shredded in a sandwich or sprinkled on vegetables. And she eats smaller portions of milk products at one sitting, such as a quartercup of yogurt or cheese. “I know what products affect me and I minimize them or combine them with something else,” Fernandez says. “It takes a load off your mind to be a Latina with a healthy diet and [healthy] bones as you get older,” she says. “It gave me peace of mind to know I was getting what I needed.”
Lactose intolerance or a milk allergy? Lactose intolerance is often confused with an allergy to one or more proteins in cow’s milk.
Diagnosis For babies the diagnosis is easy. If symptoms start soon after a child begins drinking formula, a milk allergy can be easily detected. For older children and adults, a diagnosis is While lactose intolerance is the inability to more complicated because milk is usually fully digest lactose, milk allergy refers to a consumed with other foods. The diagnosis malfunction in the immune system that causes typically involves evaluation of the patient’s adverse reactions to one or more proteins of medical history, family history and food history, milk, most likely casein and whey. supported by blood tests. Milk allergy is not exclusive to any race or age, Treatment although the National Dairy Council reports Medication is ineffective for milk allergy, it is present in about 2.5 percent of infants and experts urge avoidance of milk and and children younger than 3 years of age and tends to be outgrown by age 5. It is also milk products under the supervision of a possible for adults with no history of allergies registered dietitian. It is estimated that the majority of young children diagnosed with milk to develop milk allergy. allergy will outgrow it after avoiding milk for Reactions to milk allergy can be immediate 12 to 18 months. Reactions to milk should be or start several hours or days after milk is reported to a doctor and dietitian. consumed. They include eczema, hives, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood), coughing or wheezing, and anaphylaxis (a rare but severe, and sometimes fatal, reaction). Other symptoms include chronic runny nose, ear infections, failure to thrive, irritability, nasal stuffiness, recurrent colds or bronchitis, recurrent diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Fusion at Its Finest Mexico’s cuisine is a vibrant mix from around the globe words
Chris Chavez Weitman photos alBerto Treviño
To much of the U.S., Mexican food fits an all-too-easy stereotype: tacos, tamales and chimichangas. The truth is so much richer – this food is about honest flavor and the march of world history. This is Mexican food: the original fusion. The country’s cuisine is a mestizo mashup of every country that ever tried to remake Mexico in its own image, and every foreigner who was ever forced to work her land. Invaders brought not only the animals, fruits and vegetables native to their homelands, but also those native to the countries they had pillaged en route to New Spain, as Mexico was called.
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Slaves and other laborers arrived, bringing with them flavors from lands across the ocean, fusing those ingredients with what they found locally to create dishes that still fire up the culinary world five centuries later. International fusion guided New Spain’s culinary development from the beginning of colonization. The Islamic influence on the cuisine arrived with the Spanish, who had adopted many of the flavors, dishes and cooking methods used during the centuries of Moorish rule on the Iberian Peninsula. But even those who arrived involuntarily in New Spain had a tremendous influence. “The African influence is best seen along
the Gulf of Mexico and the Costa Chica area,” says food writer and historian Jeffrey Pilcher, referring to the Atlantic coastal area around Veracruz and the Pacific coastal region of Guerrero and Oaxaca. “There were extensive sugar and coffee plantations, and a lot of African slaves were brought in to work these areas. The indigenous African food and culture that was carried over by them had an impact.” Pilcher, the author of “Que Vivan Los Tamales: Food and the Making of Mexican Identity,” says rice is the most prominent example of Africa’s influence on New Spain’s cuisine.
A Mexican twist on a French classic: crepes (or crepas) filled with puerco asado (roasted pork), salsa verde and queso fresco.
“The rice came from Senegal and along the Niger River, where a particular form of African rice was grown. This is very different from Asian rice,” Pilcher adds. “It is true that rice was in Spain and probably was also carried to Mexico by the Spanish, but it was a different kind of rice, probably more like the Asian rice.” Some of the ingredients that influenced the cuisine had to travel around the world and back again before becoming part of the country’s legendary cuisine. The peanut, for example, was indigenous to South America and brought to Europe and Africa by Portuguese explorers. African slaves brought the peanut back with them. In their homeland, Africans used ground peanuts, onions and spices to create thick sauces. These African recipes, when combined with the Islamic-inspired Spanish dishes that used ground cinnamon, cloves, cumin, garlic and chiles, may have created some of the first moles. “Another great example of the African influence are the enormous number of plátano macho dishes in the southeastern part of Mexico, particularly Veracruz,” says Rachel Laudan, a food writer and historian. “They were masters at cooking with plátanos.” The French and Austrians kept the fusion wheel spinning when they briefly ruled the country in the 1860s. It’s widely believed that the French are the reason there are so many bakeries in Mexico, but that’s not completely accurate. The Spanish were the first to plant wheat in New Spain because it was the only grain accepted by the
Roman Catholic Church for communion wafers and because, well, the Spanish loved bread. They viewed maize – corn – as something for the lower classes. The French influence can be found in the more sophisticated, richer pastries in Mexican bakeries, like cuernos and pastel de tres leches, a direct descendant of the rum syrup-soaked French Savarin cake. French-inspired dishes didn’t stop at the bakery door, influences on Mexican cuisine either. Chiles en nogada, bolovanes, queso fundido and, of course, crepas Other countries and cultures contributing to Mexico’s culinary were all inspired by French cuisine. fusion: Even Asia got in on the fusion Ecuador and Peru: fun – not once, but twice. For 250 • Ceviche years, the Manila-Acapulco galleons Germany: operated between the Philippines • Lager beer and Mexico beginning in the 1500s. • Rye grains The ships brought exotic cargo, such • Blutwurst g Morcilla (blood sausage) as palm trees and mangos. Tamarind Greece: may have arrived this way. The second • Feta cheese g Panela cheese wave of Asian influence came in the early 1900s along the Pacific coast, Italy: where descendants of the Chinese • Mozzarella cheese g Oaxaca cheese • Parmesan cheese g Añejo cheese who came to work on the rail• Spaghetti and tomato sauce g roads or in the silver mines still live. Fideos In Baja California, the town of Mexicali has been dubbed Mexico’s Mennonites: • Mennonite cheese g Chihuahua Chinese food capital because it claims cheese to have more Chinese restaurants United States: than any other Mexican city. Stir-fried • Fajitas g Tacos al carbón dishes are made with more oil than • Cream cheese traditional Chinese stir-fry because • Coca-Cola some Mexicans usually fry their rice before cooking it. But perhaps the ultimate fusion food born in this area is the chimale: masa stuffed with barbecued pork or kung pao chicken. Air travel and the Internet now puts everything at our fingertips. The next big thing in the culinary world can ping around the globe in seconds. But Mexico’s cuisine has been flavored over the centuries by many cultures and countries. Its dishes ultimately became mestizo Mexicano because of the subtle fusion of ingredients that the land made its own.
Jewel-OSCO Farmstand Operations Sales Specialist
Tradition, always from scratch Fifteen years ago, it was next to impossible to procure poblano peppers or jalapeños at your neighborhood grocery store. But, in the past decade, Latino flavors have become all the rage and the sabor of Mexico is everywhere – including just around the corner at your neighborhood JEWEL-OSCO. Dan Uribe, FARMSTAND Operations Sales Specialist at JEWEL-OSCO says that consumers now more than ever understand the nuances of Latino produce and the flavor it brings to everyday meals. “As our cultures blend together it is wonderful to see how these flavors are coming together, too. As our customers become more knowledgeable, they have a yearning to understand how to use these products.” Uribe, who has been in the produce business for 27 years, says there are certain items, like cilantro, that skyrocketed in popularity overnight and notes that “it is used not just by the Latinos, but by the mainstream market.” Just as suddenly, it is cool for the mainstream market to “buy local” — even though Latinos have been seasonal buyers for years, making produce purchases based on whatever looked fresh. Now it is easier than ever to get produce that is just off the farm, especially at JEWEL-OSCO. Watermelon, sweet corn and plum tomatoes are the biggest local seasonal sellers in the Chicago market, especially among Latinos. Strawberries, cherries and peaches are also locally grown seasonal favorites. As we move into late summer and early fall, cucumbers, green beans and all types of melons flood the market. Sounds like the perfect recipe for what you should be stocking the fridge with and eating anyway, right? “As consumers become focused on healthy eating, our produce section has become a destination for our shoppers,” Uribe says. “The Latino community has always cooked
from scratch, but now, even they see it as a health investment.” “We show them that you can use fresh thyme and rosemary to add flavor, you don’t have to use salt,” Uribe says. “It changes their buying patterns so it becomes an every week add-to-theshopping-list kind of thing.” But what about fruits and vegetables that can’t be locally grown but are so important to the Latino palate? Not to worry because JEWEL-OSCO has those zesty citrus items from the southern states and California while bringing in fresh items, like limes and mangos from Mexico. In fact, importing fruits and vegetables from other parts of the world can actually be a good thing because their seasons are opposite of ours so certain items are always available. While most JEWEL-OSCO stores carry more than 500 fruits and vegetables on an everyday basis, their Produce Pros welcome requests for more eclectic items like nopales. Uribe says that JEWEL-OSCO is committed to the Hispanic community and stays in touch with shifting ethnic trends and needs. “This gives us a leg up on our competitors,” he says. “It is amazing to see all of this coming together. People understand Latino products now. Twenty-seven years ago I couldn’t sell jalapeños to save my life. Now I have them in my store every day. It is very exciting.”
©2010 SUPERVALU INC. All rights reserved. JEWEL-OSCO/FARMSTAND/GOOD THINGS ARE JUST AROUND THE CORNER are trademarks owned by SUPERVALU INC. or its subsidiaries.
under the desert sky
A not-for-profit organization makes life bearable to those undocumented immigrants who brave the Sonoran Desert
A group of volunteers carry gallons of water deep into the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. photos
Stacie Freudenberg introduction Rachel Metea
he road to the American dream sometimes isn’t even a road. For some, it’s an open, blazing hot desert where more than one hundred people die each year trying to get within reach of that American dream. Some Americans are traveling deep into remote areas of the Sonoran Desert in an effort to save lives.
TOP AND ABOVE: Volunteers Maureen Marx, Jim Marx and Charlie Rooney (left) gather gallons of water before venturing out to remote areas of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
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These people are volunteers with No More Deaths, a not-forprofit organization that delivers food, water and medical attention to immigrants crossing the border. Founded in 2003, the organization originally operated as a coalition of mostly church groups with a unifying goal to bring a humanitarian presence to the desert. Now as a not-for-profit organization, No More Deaths operates with an average of 50 volunteers and as many as 200 during the dog days of summer. Along with the bodies recovered from the desert every year, there are also many remains that are never discovered or are not discovered for months, says Geoffrey Boyce of No More Deaths. “It’s a real humanitarian emergency that has happened in the last decade,” he says. “Nobody should lose their life trying to cross the border.” While Geoffrey urges the need for immigration reform, he says that “until that happens we are going to continue to see the kind of tragedy that has been unfolding here in the desert.” But in the meantime he continues to bring aid and a little buena suerte to those under the desert rays.
LEFT AND ABOVE: Undocumented immigrants often do not receive all their personal effects, such as IDs, money and jewelry, back from law enforcement agents when theyâ€™re detained and deported. When people cross the border on foot, they often bring only their most prized possessions that can be easily carried. No More Deaths has stepped in as middleman advocate to boost the return rate of personal items to 50 percent.
No More Deaths volunteer Margaret Lordon packs confiscated migrant belongings into a storage shed in Tucson.
Volunteer Jennifer Khoemstadt takes a nap between shifts at the No More Deaths Camp outside Arivaca, Ariz.
ABOVE LEFT: Sherrie Kossoudji, left, washes the lunch dishes in the open air at the No More Deaths Camp. BELOW LEFT: In preparation for the day’s second water drop, volunteers Sebastian Rodriguez, from left, Kevin Riley and Jennifer Khoemstadt look over a trail map. RIGHT: Libby Luxton hauls gallons of water to leave along known trails during the day’s second water drop.
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No More Deaths volunteers write encouraging notes on the gallons of fresh drinking water placed on the trails outside Arivaca, Ariz.
A memorial erected by No More Deaths volunteers to pay homage to immigrants who have passed away during their journey sits at the organizationâ€™s camp.
No More Deaths volunteer Maeva Cooper reads by flashlight after a busy day at the camp.
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The only tent with light after dark at the No More Deaths camp outside Arivaca, Ariz.
At the end of the day, volunteers cozy up by a fire to process thoughts and feelings about their experiences at the camp.
Glorified 48 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Sex, drugs & video
Narco-cultura’s lusty allure attracts growing audiences words
Benjamin Ortiz photo alBerto Treviño
The buxom bombshell named Sabrina Solano stops her man Chuy drop-dead cold with impeccably arched eyebrows and a sizzling, point-blank glare as piercing as an actual bullet. “Even the worst of men has someone who would cry for him if he died,” she gasps. Sabrina’s words prove prophetic when Chuy and his partner Mauricio, brutally execute their rich kingpin rival, the ruthless Oscar Solano – Sabrina’s father. But Chuy makes the mistake of falling for her. In a reckless blaze of pistol fire and automatic blasts that fill the streets with shells and gore, the partners dodge ambushes and out-drive the Federales, even faking their own deaths to fool the cops. “From here,” Chuy says philosophically, “you end up either dead or in jail.” But right when it looks like they’ve escaped, Sabrina guns down Mauricio and mortally wounds Chuy in a double-cross they didn’t see coming. As Sabrina walks away with all the cash, the credits roll while a ballad kicks in, retelling the story of Chuy and Mauricio. Their exploits now live forever in song and on screen, in the movie “El Chrysler 300” (2009) by Mexican director Enrique Murillo. Welcome to narco-cinema, an endless chain of B-movies that has come out of Mexico for decades, from “La Banda del Carro Rojo” (1978) that featured Los Tigres del Norte singing “Contrabando y Traición,” to the parody of straight-to-video, on-the-fly, cheap, absurdist shootouts in Robert Rodriguez’s “El Mariachi” (1992). Offering home video for the large portion of Mexico that can’t afford to go to a movie theater, these high-octane action flicks have long been considered disposable fodder for the masses. But with the consolidation of the Mexican drug trade in the last century and its more recent up-tick of violence, corruption and a grisly body count, narco-trafficking has become a subject for mainstream treatment on both sides of the border. From its influence in American movies (“Traffic,” “No Country for Old Men”) and TV shows (“Breaking Bad,” “Weeds”), to big-budget television series that are breaking viewing records in Latin America and the U.S. – and now to award-winning narco-novels – narco-cultura is reaching global audiences, reflecting the reality of the trade, its villains and consumers who just can’t get enough. It all started, really, with the creation of the border, the forging of modern Mexico and the United States in a dialectic relationship of power and domination. In consolidating its boundaries and commerce, the U.S. found it necessary to guard the border against fugitives from the law, deserters, revolutionists and those trading without sanction. By the early 20th cen-
tury, folk minstrels began singing about smuggling, banditry and illegal crossings in the Mexican corrido ballad tradition whose roots stretch back to medieval Europe and the legend of Robin Hood. RIGHT FROM THE HEADLINES Reflecting on the current state of the drug trade, musician and corrido expert Elijah Wald thinks narco-trafficking and its culture are here to stay. “I don’t see any possibility that Mexico can solve its drug problems,” Wald says. “As long as the United States is next door with the kind of money that’s over here and the kind of demand that there is for drugs.” Wald, author of “Narcocorrido: A Journey Into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas” (Rayo, 2002), first heard of this ballad tradition as a peace observer with the Zapatistas in 1995. He points to Los Tigres del Norte’s 1997 double-CD, “Jefe de Jefes,” that included songs about politics, drugs and the plight of Mexican immigrants in the United States as an example of how the corridos rip stories right from newspaper headlines. “I was listening to [‘Jefe de jefes’] over and over,” said Wald, “and just got to thinking that it really was, I thought, the most complex and interesting literary document of present-day Mexico, and nobody was treating it as serious literature. It just began to strike me that when anyone talked about modern Mexican literature or poetry, they talked about Carlos Fuentes and people like him, who, frankly, a tiny, tiny proportion of Mexicans are even aware of his work, and they never talked about people like [corrido composer] Paulino Vargas, whose songs everyone in Mexico knows, whether you like them or not.” Regardless, the Mexican government has succeeded in banning many of these songs from radio play. Even though narcotraffickers themselves sometimes commission corridos and even fund some of the B-movies that end up adapting songs to the big screen, Wald says blaming the drug problem on art is simply posturing. Despite censorship, narco-corridos still sell, and with YouTube the ballads now go viral, as artists are using electronics and hip-hop beats to fiddle with the centuries-old minstrel tradition. A similar backlash is happening with the adaptation of narcoculture to major Latin American network television, as politicians decry what they consider glorification of the violent, materialistic, drug-peddling cartels. Coming out of a long heritage of soap operas depicting melodramatic domestic intrigue, the new narco-telenovelas are lavish, heavily budgeted series flush with expensive sets and costumes, plantationsize landscapes, military-grade props and seductive cumbia rhythms.
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Telefutura’s “Las Muñecas de la Mafia” focused on the women behind two drug cartels and their lust for a designer-label lifestyle fueled by drugs.
Created by FOXTelecolombia and picked up by Telefutura, the series “El Capo” depicts a drug-trafficking kingpin who will make Colombia forget about Pablo Escobar, as the promotional material puts it. With a sprawling cast of characters in a labyrinthine plot of double-crosses, bloody gun melee, torture and cartel treachery, “El Capo” hit a fevered pitch with its grand finale (the highest rated in the network’s history) in June, pulling in 2 million viewers and helping the network beat NBC Universal’s Telemundo in primetime demographics.
trade and paired up with famed Mexican writer Elmer Mendoza, whose narco-themed work is also being adapted to screens both small and large.
THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG But there’s more. Telefutura’s “Asuntos Internos” portrays the travails of an internal affairs police unit in Rio de Janeiro trying to root out corruption while taking drugs off streets ablaze with cartel competition, depicted with fast-cutting panache and the violent grit of bloodletting. Gunfire likewise counterpoints cumbias and high-heeled opulence in “Las Muñecas de la Mafia,” another Colombian show on Telefutura that focuses on the women behind two narco-clans – wives, daughters, girlfriends and mistresses – and their tangled web of affairs, murder, betrayal and lust for a designer-label lifestyle fueled by drugs.
Alex Nogales of the National Hispanic Media Coalition met with Telemundo president Don Browne before the series began airing to urge them to reconsider the show’s original title, “Sin Tetas No Hay Paraíso” (“Without Tits There Is No Paradise”), the name of the novel by investigative journalist Gustavo Bolívar. The coalition, a media watchdog group based in Pasadena, Calif., that advocates positive representation of Latinos in the media, objected to the title saying it was crude and appealed to the most vulgar aspects of machismo in Latino culture. “I object to the content as well,” Nogales says, “but it’s being presented in a way that is not glorifying the narco-trade.”
And this is just the tip of an iceberg that includes “Rosario Tijeras,” “El Cartel de los Sapos” and the upcoming Telemundo adaptation of “La Reina del Sur,” a novel by Spanish writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte, who lived in Sinaloa to study the drug
The show’s main character, Catalina, is a young woman who falls into prostitution to pull herself out of poverty. After becoming a pre-paid call girl managed by her best friend, Yésica, Catalina learns the women with large breasts are the most
50 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Likewise, the adaptation of a Colombian novel and telenovela into the series “Sin Senos No Hay Paraíso” in 2008 drew big numbers – 1.9 million viewers at its peak – for Telemundo. The show became Telemundo’s highest-rated novela in network history at the time.
LA SANTA MUERTE
drug trade with the actual incidence of violence and incarceration of Latinos, as well as the recent increase in hate crimes against Latinos in the United States. “The reality is that Latinos are being accused now of everything that is wrong in America,” he says. “This is not the time for us to show our worst garbage [in pop culture].”
| photo courtesy of telefutura |
successful and have better chances of leaving the business for a life of luxury as girlfriends or wives of wealthy drug kingpins. She yearns for breast implants and wins the affections of a rich and seemingly successful drug lord who will pay for her surgery and help her to achieve her dreams of fame and fortune. But the road is often difficult and takes her into very dark places, and her dreams fall apart when she realizes she’s been used as a drug mule and her implants have to be removed. In the end – feeling angry, betrayed and alone – Catalina plans Yésica’s assassination, but changes her mind at the last minute and steps in dressed as her friend so that she receives the fatal bullet instead. “When you look at it from that point of view,” says Nogales, “there’s a redeeming heart to it … What I object to is when they glorify criminals versus basing it on that culture, the drug culture, and coming out with a moral point to it.” Nogales connects these images of the
Despite the outcry, these shows have always been big business, prompting Fordham University anthropology professor O. Hugo Benavides to ask why so many people are watching them if they are so terrible and trashy, as some have argued. His book, “Drugs, Thugs, and Divas: Telenovelas and Narco-Dramas in Latin America” (University of Texas Press, 2008), contends these programs and movies depict the human pursuit of dignity in life despite an undignified and inhuman social reality. “I think narco-dramas are expressing a problem,” Benavides says. “And the problem is us, so if we turn that around and actually make the narco-dramas the problem, we’re really not doing anything, because the problem’s going to remain, and there will be another cultural form that’s going to express the same kind of violence.” Benavides says that the important thing is that these works are very close to the reality many know and have grown up with. “There is something very close and comfortable [culturally speaking] about these images that is immediately understandable,” he says. “I keep arguing, however, that it’s this ambiguity that is the big seducer for the soaps, and the narco-dramas as well … And I do believe it is that eerie, uncanny feeling that sells the shows even more.” Besides, says Benavides, “once you see a couple of episodes, you get really hooked.”
Beyond the videos and literature, narco-cultura has its own patron saints and spiritual realm. The hybrid religion of the Americas developed its unique spin on Catholicism long ago, and the process of syncretism – or fusion of beliefs – continues with saints bubbling up from folk practices that the official church has neither canonized nor sanctioned. For example, the figures known as Jesus Malverde and Juan Soldado have been venerated in Mexico as the patron saints of banditry and border-crossing, respectively. But the ultimate saint of Mexico’s dark social reality and narco-violence has become the figure of Death herself, La Santa Muerte. In his book “Santa Muerte: Mexico’s Mysterious Saint of Death” (Fringe Research Press, 2010), folk-religion documentarian and law-enforcement consultant Tony Kail describes the movement throughout Mexico and U.S. Latino communities to venerate the representation of Death in icons, shrines, amulets, tattoos, prayer cards and votive candles with variations on the skeletal figure typically recognized as the Grim Reaper. “While there are many that are using the image as a form of protection for criminal activities, there are far more that follow her as a source of spiritual comfort,” Kail says. His work charts the transformation of Death from her role as a symbol of comfort to that of the patron saint of crime. “The cartels seem to be embracing her as sort of a rallying symbol for power,” Kail argues. Santa Muerte worship, he says, constitutes “an evolving religion that … is manifesting in front of our very eyes” – even if this image now appears on tennis shoes and in rap songs.
cafégrande Grito de Dolores, The Cry of Independence
Battle of the Alamo
(September 16, 1810) Before midnight on September 15th, Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest from Guanajuato, rang the church bells and gathered up his followers, encouraging them to rebel against Spanish rule.
(February 23 to March 6, 1836) This battle between Mexico’s military forces, made up of over 2,000 men and led by Santa Anna, and Texas settlers is considered the most memorable of the Texas Revolution.
Declaration of Independence
(November 6, 1813) Members of the Congress of Anáhauc created and signed the first legal document in Mexico’s history in an attempt to establish the country’s freedom from Spain.
(1846-1848) Mexico refused to give up Texas. The Texas Annexation in 1845, which allowed the territory to become a part of the United States, caused Mexico to declare war. Mexico surrendered when U.S. troops took control of Mexico City and other large cities.
Mexico's independence from Spain (August 24, 1821) When Spanish conservative Colonel Agustín de Iturbide switched allegiances, it became apparent that the revolutionary forces would win the war. As a result, the Spanish Crown recognized Mexico’s independence by signing the Treaty of Cordoba.
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
First Mexican Empire
between Texas and Mexico, and offered U.S. citizenship to Mexicans who had remained in the territories.
(1821-1823) Mexico’s short-lived monarchy had one emperor, Agustin I, but the people of Mexico soon became discontent with his policies. Generals Antonio López de Santa Anna and Guadalupe Victoria (3) rose up and created the Plan of Casa Mata, an agreement to recognize Mexico as a republic. The emperor fled the country in 1823.
Guadalupe Victoria, the first president of Mexico (1824 to 1829) Born José Miguel Fernéndez, president Guadalupe Victoria worked to end slavery and create treaties with major powers.
Siete Leyes (The Seven Laws) (December 15, 1835) The Siete Leyes turned states into “departments” and centralized power to Mexico City. This led to rebellions and the creation of three republics: Texas, Yucatan and Rio Grande.
(February 2, 1848) The signing of this peace treaty marked the end of the MexicanAmerican War. The United States was sold the territory it wanted from Mexico. It also established the Rio Grande as the boundary
The Battle of Puebla (May 5, 1862) After interim President Benito Juárez refused to pay back the debt Mexico owed to European powers, France sent troops to invade Mexico and collect payment. The Mexican forces fought against twice as many French soldiers and managed to win.
Second Mexican Empire (1864-1867) The French intervention led to the monarchy of Maximillian I. The liberal faction led by Benito Juárez sought to regain the republic with financial help from the United States. France withdrew its troops a few years later, and Maximillian was captured and executed.
September 16, 2010 will mark Mexico's bicentennial anniversary of its declaration of independence from Spain. In commemoration, we look back on some of the most important people and political events that have helped shape the country's history over the last 200 years.
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Daniela García DESIGN Ernesto Pérez
bicentennial The Mexican The Mexican Revolution Revolution
Bracero Bracero Program Program
(1910)(1910) Francisco Francisco Madero Madero (6) , who (6) ,challenged who challenged Porfirio Porfirio Díaz for Díaz thefor the presidency, presidency, managed managed to gaintosupport gain support and spurred and spurred a revolutionary a revolutionary movement movement amongamong the poor theand poorrural andnatives. rural natives. Madero, Madero, along with along with successors successors Victoriano Victoriano HuertaHuerta and Venustiano and Venustiano Carranza Carranza (7) , had (7) , had a shorta presidency short presidency as the as rebels the rebels remained remained discontent discontent over the over lack the lack of proper of proper reform. reform.
(1942-64) (1942-64) WhenWhen the demand the demand for manual for manual labor grew laborduring grew during WorldWorld War II,War II, the United the United States States and Mexico and Mexico createdcreated an agreement an agreement that would that would allow Mexican allow Mexican workers workers to be hired to be as hired contract as contract laborers laborers in in California. California. The program The program spreadspread nationwide nationwide and also andincluded also included railroad railroad work and workagriculture. and agriculture.
The Zapatista The Zapatista Movement Movement
(October (October 2, 1968) 2, 1968) Thousands Thousands of students of students gathered gathered for a protest for a protest in the in Plaza the de Plaza las de las Tres Culturas Tres Culturas in Mexico in Mexico City, the City, culmination the culmination of several of several months months of student of student unrest.unrest. President President Gustavo Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Díaz Ordaz, with awith history a history of using of military using military intimidation intimidation to suppress to suppress dissenters, dissenters, ordered ordered troopstroops to the to plaza theto plaza disperse to disperse the crowd. the crowd. Who fired Whothe fired first theshot first shot and how andmany how many were killed were killed are stillare debated still debated to thistoday. this day.
(1910-1919) (1910-1919) An armed An armed group group of rebels of led rebels by led Emiliano by Emiliano ZapataZapatacreatedcreated the the Liberation Liberation Army Army of the of South the South in the in state theofstate Morelos. of Morelos. The Zapatista The Zapatista guerrilla guerrilla movement movement was made was up made mainly up mainly of peasants, of peasants, but also butofalso of wealthy wealthy intellectuals intellectuals and women and women working working towardtoward land reform. land reform.
Political Political Constitution Constitution of theofUnited the United Mexican Mexican StatesStates
Tlatelolco Tlatelolco Massacre Massacre
(February (February 5, 1917) 5, 1917)
With the With Revolution the Revolution came the came repeal the repeal of the of 1857 the Constitution 1857 Constitution and the and need thefor need new forlaws. newDrafted laws. Drafted and implemented and implemented duringduring the the presidency presidency of Venustiano of Venustiano Carranza, Carranza, this Constitution this Constitution is the is the versionversion currently currently being being used inused Mexico. in Mexico.
Growing Growing PainsPains (1940s(1940s to 1970s) to 1970s) For several For several decades, decades, Mexico Mexico experienced experienced economic economic growthgrowth and and development. development. The employees The employees that entered that entered the work the force workin force the in the 1940s1940s were extremely were extremely productive productive thanksthanks to an increased to an increased commitment commitment to public to public education. education. The government The government invested invested in in energy,energy, agriculture agriculture and transportation, and transportation, causing causing cities to cities grow. to grow.
MEXICO’S MEXICO’S POLITICAL POLITICAL PARTIES PARTIES
NAFTA NAFTA is enacted is enacted (January (January 1, 1994) 1, 1994) This trade This agreement trade agreement between between Mexico, Mexico, the U.S. theand U.S.Canada and Canada soughtsought to eliminate to eliminate barriersbarriers on trade on and tradeinvestments, and investments, but is but bestis best knownknown throughout throughout NorthNorth America America for its for negative its negative effects.effects.
The 2nd Therising 2nd rising of theofZapatista the Zapatista Movement Movement (January (January 1, 1994) 1, 1994) The Zapatista The Zapatista Army Army of National of National Liberation Liberation (EZLN) (EZLN) was launched was launched the same theday same that dayNAFTA that NAFTA came into cameeffect. into effect. At constant At constant odds with odds with the Mexican the Mexican government government and military, and military, the EZLN the EZLN worksworks towards towards social and socialeconomic and economic equality equality for thefor poor theinpoor Chiapas. in Chiapas. Partido Partido Acción Acción Nacional Nacional (National (National ActionAction Party, Party, PAN) PAN) RomanRoman Catholics Catholics and other and political other political conservatives conservatives came together came together to create to create PAN inPAN 1939. in 1939. Considered Considered by its party by itsmembers party members to be atoright be aofright center of center party, party, PAN has PAN won hasboth wonpresidential both presidential elections elections since since 2000. 2000.
Partido Partido Revolucionario Revolucionario Institucional Institucional (Institutional (Institutional Revolutionary Revolutionary Party, Party, PRI) PRI) PRI was PRIcreated was created in 1929 in after 1929political after political unrestunrest and and militarymilitary uprisings uprisings resulted resulted in President in President Álvaro Álvaro Obregón’s Obregón’s assassination. assassination. It originally It originally beganbegan as a as a socialist socialist party under party under the name the Partido name Partido Nacional Nacional Partido de la Revolución de la Revolución Democrática Democrática Revolucionario Revolucionario (National (National Revolutionary Revolutionary Party),Party), later changed later changed to Partido to Partido Partido of the of Democratic the Democratic Revolution, Revolution, PRD) PRD) de la Revolución de la Revolución Mexicana Mexicana (Party (Party of the of Mexican the Mexican Revolution) Revolution) in 1934, in 1934, (Party (Party Founded Founded in 1989 in by 1989 former by former prominent prominent members members of of beforebefore adopting adopting its current its current name in name 1946. in 1946. PRI was PRIinwas power in power for more for more the PRI the (including PRI (including Cuauhtémoc Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, Cárdenas, son of son of than 70 than years 70 and years became and became associated associated with corruption with corruption and fraud. and fraud. formerformer President President LázaroLázaro Cárdenas) Cárdenas) and leftist and leftist politicians, politicians, the PRD thehas PRD since has become since become the third the third major political major political party inparty the country. in the country. cafemagazine.com 53
cafégrande The election of President Vicente Fox (July 2, 2000) Vicente Fox was the candidate for the Alliance for Change, composed of the PAN (National Action Party) and the Green Party. Fox won the presidential election with 43 percent of the popular vote, versus the PRI’s (Institutional Revolutionary Party) Francisco Labastida’s 36 percent.
PAN vs. PRD (July 2, 2006) Runner-up and PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador contested the presidential election results and led a series of protests in Mexico City. A partial recount led to the annulment of 230,000 votes, with Felipe Calderón still declared the winner.
War on drugs (December 2006 to present) President Felipe Calderón sent more than 6,000 troops to the state of Michoacan in an attempt to end drug-related violence. This was the first major attempt by any president to battle the drug cartels.
REVOLUTIONARY FIGURES Father José María Morelos Morelos assumed leadership during the War of Independence after the death of Father Hidalgo in 1811. While he was only active for five years, he proved to be a talented military leader and won several battles against Spanish forces. In 1813, Morelos and Congress drafted a document known as Sentimientos de la Nación, a more official declaration of freedom from Spain. By his fourth campaign, he began to suffer massive losses and after a defeat in Tezmalaca, he was taken prisoner and executed. Pancho Villa Born José Doroteo Arango Arámbula, Villa was an iconic rebel leader and commander of the Division of the North. He found various unconventional ways to recruit and financially support the rebellion. While leading his followers to a series of victories, Villa also seized land from hacienda owners to give to the poor. He eventually became the provisional governor of Chihuahua from 1913 to 1914. Villa retired after the revolution but re-entered the political arena in 1932, which resulted in his assassination at the hands of unknown forces. Emiliano Zapata A revolutionary and general of the Liberation Army of the South, Zapata also played an integral role throughout the revolution. He drafted the Plan of Ayala, which was first proclaimed in 1911. In it, he denounced President Madero’s vision of land reform for the poor. He continued to fight for his ideals until his assassination in 1919 at the hands of General Pablo González and his men.
NOTABLE PRESIDENTS Benito Juárez (January 19, 1858 to July 18, 1872) The first president of indigenous roots (Zapotec Indian) and with no military background, Juárez served as president before and after the 2nd monarchy for five consecutive terms, spanning from 1858 to 1872. His progressive policies included equal rights for indigenous people and the separation of church and state. Lázaro Cárdenas (Dec. 1, 1934 to Dec. 1, 1940) Cárdenas is remembered as one of the most honest and popular presidents of Mexico. He was determined to follow through on his party’s six-year plan for reform, but also surprised the PRI by refusing to live in Chapultepec Castle and cutting his own salary in half. His presidency saw to the redistribution of land to peasants, created welfare programs and built new transportation and schools. He expropriated the national oil wealth from American and British interests, cementing a path to economic growth.
Carlos Salinas de Gortari (Dec. 1, 1988 to Dec. 1, 1994) Salinas was well-liked at the beginning of his presidency and managed to implement notable economic and political reforms. But after his term ended, his presidency quickly became marred by investigations that unveiled corruption and scandal. When the economy crashed in late 1994, Salinas’ excessive spending and disregard for the country’s problems were brought to light by the new government regime, then tasked with fixing the mess he created. Public opinion of Salinas continued to decline as the reality of the repercussions of NAFTA began to unfold. In addition, he was rumored to be connected to a number of deaths, cementing his fall from grace – including the assassination of his hand-picked successor, Luis Donaldo Colosio. SOURCES: Mexconnect.com, History.com, Mexonline.com
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HISPANIDAD The signature Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Friday, October 8, 2010 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm Galleria Marchetti
Advance Tickets: $75 before September 24, $100 thereafter. Ticket price includes all cocktails, food and entertainment.
Buy your ticket today Call 312-346-3343 or visit www.latinoculturalcenter.org Proudly sponsored by:
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The Rising Cost of Cultural Immersion words
Randi Belisomo Hernández photos Elia Alamillo
Margot Gordon, the departing president of FELE, believes that the notion of a free education is going by the wayside.
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Parents are beginning to take a hands-on attitude with their children’s education as school budgets are being cut left and right Margot Gordon doesn’t speak Spanish. But to her, it’s imperative that her sons Lucas and Aaron do. That’s why she enrolled them in Inter-American Magnet School on Chicago’s North Side. It’s a dual-language, or two-way immersion program, that so far is unrivaled in the city. Gordon is the departing president of FELE, or Familias En La Escuela, Inter-American’s version of a PTA, and her husband, Luis Vera, is the current president of the Local School Council. “I feel it’s really important as a parent to be involved in school and know what’s going on,” Gordon says of their hands-on roles at Inter-American. But lately, that involvement is costing them financially as well: The school’s curriculum is so tailored, it’s become more expensive than a public school’s budget can support. “Realistically, this notion of a free education is going by the wayside,” she says matter-of-factly. More and more, the lack of school funding is requiring parents to raise money on their own; money once provided by the state isn’t there anymore, and parents – whether prepared or not – are banding together to collect the cash needed to continue the programs they believe in. Inter-American begins its language education at the pre-kindergarten level, in which 80 percent of instruction is conducted in Spanish for both Latino and nonLatino students. Non-Hispanics make up about a third of the school’s population. As students progress, the Spanish is scaled back and English instruction is weighted more heavily. By the time students graduate, their classes are a 50-50 mix and the children are completely bilingual. Coupled with that is Inter-American’s “Curriculum of the Americas” program, a cross-discipline study of the indigenous peoples of Latin America. It’s a curriculum teachers must craft themselves, and it involves art, music and social studies. Each grade level focuses on different cultures; for example, in second grade, children are taught about the Tainos (people indigenous to the Caribbean islands), thirdgraders learn about the Incas and fourth-graders master the Mayas. “You can’t go out and buy a book called the ‘Curriculum of the Americas,’” Gordon says. Teachers must develop their own materials and copy them for their classes, in both English and Spanish. And it takes serious cash. This year, parents raised the $20,000 required to pay for the curriculum through what they call a “Fiesta Cultural,” a springtime celebration of the twelve Latin cultures represented at Inter-American. Inter-American parent Mateo Mulcahy, a professional event organizer, planned
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Fiesta Cultural commitee member Jill Wohl says she will work to raise all the money it takes to maintain the Curriculum of the Americas program alive at InterAmerican School, a dual-language public school in Chicago.
Fiesta Cultural for the school. “We’re just trying to make sure we cover what might not be covered by Chicago Public Schools,” Mulcahy says. “We fill in the gaps.” Live entertainment, food, dancing and a raffle drew a crowd, at $10 a person and $20 per Inter-American family. Organizers say they wanted to keep the price high enough to profit, but low enough so everyone could be involved. Guilibaldo Criollo and his wife, Naysan, provided the food for Fiesta Cultural’s Colombian table. Empanadas, bocadillos and arepas, Criollo says, are a small sacrifice for the education his 13 year-old Ana is enjoying at Inter-American. “We see there is a need, and people are very glad to help,” he says. “In order to keep the school dual-language, we fundraise.” Gordon’s two boys attended Fiesta Cultural in guayabera shirts that matched their father’s. “Fiesta Cultural is a dual purpose event,” she explains. “It also is an opportunity for students to celebrate their heritage.” Fiesta Cultural committee member Jill Wohl says planning the event takes a lot of work, but the alternative is unacceptable. “It’s been challenging,” Wohl sighs. “But it’s a testament to how powerful the program is and that people care about it so much they wouldn’t let it go.” Wohl’s daughter, Audrey, is going into the fifth grade, and she says the dual-language program has not only been an “amazing benefit to her brain,” but that the Curriculum of the Americas program makes her developing Spanish-language
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skills relevant. “Kids aren’t just empty vessels we pour knowledge into,” Wohl says, “They want context too.” For that reason, Wohl says she’ll work to raise all the money it takes. “Inter-American parents have always dug in and gotten their hands dirty to fight for the long-term betterment of the entire community.” A MODEL TO BE IMITATED That willingness to work is what experts say makes InterAmerican exceptional. “That model of parental involvement is definitely a model that needs to go across the country,” says Wanda Hopkins, the assistant director of Parents United for Responsible Education, or PURE, a public school advocacy group based in Chicago. Illinois ranks 49th out of 50 in the amount of money it gets from the state, so a surge of support is often needed to sustain such programs, Hopkins says. That support can equate to a teacher’s salary or material costs to cover art instruction for the entire school. In short, thousands and thousands of dollars in fundraising are often necessary. Mary Fergus, a spokeswoman with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), says she’s heard of districts across the state where parents are doing their own fundraising, especially in Chicago’s less affluent south suburbs. With $1.4 billion worth of unpaid ISBE vouchers sitting backlogged at the state comptroller’s office due to state
SCHOOLFUNDING budget constraints, Fergus says every district is feeling the pinch. Without those vouchers, school bills can’t get paid, and special programs such as bilingual and dual-language education have been hit particularly hard. General state aid towards those purposes was cut by 10 percent for this past school year. The problem is, not all parents know how to raise thousands to make up the difference, have a professional planner like Mulcahy in their parent organization to lead the effort, or even have any semblance of a PTA at all. At Amistad Dual Language School in New York City, parents don’t have quite as deep pockets. Seventy percent of students are low income, but their needs are still the same. Miriam Pedraja
So far, principal Miriam Pedraja says, parents haven’t had to raise funds for actual curriculum needs – but all the extras are starting to fall on their limited support. A yearly gift-wrap fundraiser brings in about $2,000; this year parents directed the money to replace classroom printers. Pedraja fears the school’s annual eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C. will be canceled next spring because the funding just isn’t there. The transportation costs $2,000 alone, and she’s afraid Amistad parents can’t raise that kind of cash. “It doesn’t look that way,” Pedraja says with a sigh. “It’s sad, it’s very sad.” This trip is often the first time many students have left the confines of New York City. So far, Pedraja says, New York state funding has fully supported Amistad’s academics, but she’s not sure how much longer that will last. “If we want to conserve the kind of quality of programs we have, we will need fundraising or those will go to the wayside,” she says. Hopkins, of PURE, believes school systems should be directing more efforts and finances toward training parents to get involved. “They have the model. They see the best practices. They know what works, but they don’t do it,” Hopkins says. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist.” Where she says the school system falls short, PURE steps in. Hopkins worked with Inter-American parents to teach them how to reach a budget and pick the right principal. But there are easy, basic fundraising methods that parents can follow on their own, says Tim Sullivan of PTO Today, a media group that caters to parent-teacher organizations. Sullivan says parents starting to fundraise should not fall into a cycle of “crying wolf,” or else others will tune them out. “The most important thing to remember is not fundraise parents to death,” he says. “It’s a self-defeating cycle some schools get into, and
Mateo Mulcahy, an Inter-American School parent and professional event organizer in Chicago, helps put together Fiesta Cultural for the school.
they end up raising less and turning parents off.” Hopkins says parents, particularly those in the Latino community, are hungry for the kind of training that organizations like hers facilitate. “I provide a workshop in the Latino community, and I have hundreds of people there,” she explains. “Grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, because they are hungry for information. I do the same workshop in the black community and maybe twelve mothers show up.” She’s holding such weekend workshops throughout the city of Chicago and is very optimistic about the promise of parents in predominately Latino schools in particular, she says. “Latinos know how to make things happen,” says Hopkins. “They just need the information.” cafemagazine.com 59
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College aspirations compete with cultural and economic pressures among Latino students
Although he wanted to start a career, Pablo Rejas had to drop out of Richard J. Daley College to help provide for his mother and siblings.
Christina Galoozis photo Abel Arciniega
The men that do make it to college have to still worry about money. —Rosamaria Ponciado, Caring About Latino Student Achievement
Dropping out or nudged out?
Like many other children of immigrant parents, Pablo Rejas was the first in his family to graduate from high school. His mother, a native of Mexico, encouraged him to do well in school and eventually go to college. When he first signed up for classes at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago in 2006, just after graduating from high school, Rejas was undecided about his major. But he knew one thing for sure. “I didn’t want to go through the same things my parents went through,” says the 22-year-old from Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood. “I wanted to start a career. I wanted to do something with my life.” A half-semester in, however, Rejas dropped out. He felt compelled to provide for his mother and three younger brothers, which meant getting a job – and putting school on hold. Rejas represents a growing number of Latino men in the United States who are dropping out of college or deciding not to go at all. According to a study released earlier this year by the American Council on Education, the number of male Hispanic undergraduates declined from 45 percent to 42 percent between 2000 and 2008. In other words, the gender gap among Hispanic college students is widening. And it’s not representative of an overall trend – the gender gap for undergraduates from other racial groups didn’t change during the same period, according to the study, titled “Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2010.” So why are fewer Hispanic males succeeding in college? Rejas’ case is not uncommon. Nearly three-quarters of Latinos age 16 to 25 cut their education short because they have to support their family, according to “Latinos in Education: Explaining the Attainment Gap,” a Pew Research Center survey. That burden, the Pew study indicates, is more likely to fall on the men.
62 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Such burdens can drive even the most encouraged students out of college, says Rosamaria Ponciado, a Guatemalan-American and senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Ponciado regularly counsels fellow students through Caring About Latino Student Achievement, a campus program she helped create in 2008 to boost the university’s Hispanic retention and enrollment. That enrollment now sits at 4 percent. “It has been put in [Latinos’] minds that they need to work in order to provide,” she says. “The men that do make it to college have to still worry about money. They may feel guilty being in school while their family is struggling to make ends meet, so they drop out and decide to help.” The freshmen males Ponciado tutors and mentors mostly start out majoring in pre-med or business because they “feel the need to do something big,” she says. But when these majors turn out to be pure ambition, not their passion, these freshmen tend to fall behind academically. Instead of majoring in another subject, they drop out or get kicked out. Self-confidence is another obstacle. Not only do Latino men know their chances of graduating from college are slim – only 13 percent of Hispanics in the United States hold a bachelor’s degree, according to U.S. Census figures – but “so do the others around them,” says Ponciado. Latina students, on the other hand, seem to be more self-assured and focused on their goals, she says. They also have a better idea about what they want to study. But, Latina graduates who want to marry in-culture must accept that they could make more money than their future husband; this goes against traditional roles in a Hispanic marriage. “When a woman decides to marry, she often wants a partner who can understand her on many different levels,” Ponciano says. “This trend is making it difficult for Latinas to find that partner.”
The Dropout Crisis
The disproportionate high school dropout rate is also a culprit. The percentage of Hispanic high school dropouts has been cut in half since 1980, but remains twice as high as the national average, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. And boys are more likely to drop out than girls. The language barrier certainly plays a role for immigrant youths, but one in four first-generation Latinos are also dropping out of high school. And it’s not just an urban problem. University of Idaho professor Mary Gardiner chronicles the stories of nine Latino students in “Latino Dropouts in Rural America: Realities and Possibilities” (State University of New York Press, 2008). Those students dropped out of high school – not because they didn’t learn well in English, but because they felt unappreciated and unwanted in their rural communities. Gardiner places much of the blame on anti-immigrant sentiment. “When you’re liked, you’re more likely to be motivated,” she says. “If you’re nervous or not feeling accepted, then another part of your brain overrides your competence.” The language barrier doesn’t exist for high school dropouts going on to get their GED (sometimes referred to as a “second-chance diploma”), as the tests are also offered in Spanish. Yet Latino dropouts are far less likely than their white or black counterparts to obtain their GED, according to a recent Pew Hispanic Center study, titled “Hispanics, High School Dropouts and the GED.”
Richard Fry of the Pew Hispanic Center and head researcher for the study, blames the low awareness of educational opportunities among immigrants. The longer foreignborn Latino dropouts have been in the United States, the more likely they are to have a GED. Some Latinos don’t see a GED as the solution to their problems. Charity Mendoza, a first-generation Mexican-American who dropped out of high school at age 16, worked in low-paying jobs at fast-food restaurants and factories for four years until she decided to get her GED. She says she only pursued the degree to get into college. “If I didn’t plan on going to college, there was no point in getting a GED,” says Mendoza, now a 34-year-old undergraduate at Illinois State University. “That alone wouldn’t have improved my situation or job opportunities.” Mendoza’s life tells another story behind the statistics – one of cultural differences. When her family first moved from Danville, Ill., to nearby Saybrook – population 746, according to U.S. Census data – they were the only nonwhite residents for miles. By the time Mendoza turned 16, she was married with two children. “My husband and I had our own house, so it was difficult to keep up with the laundry, meals and everything else,” she says. “I had to make a decision: family above education.” For many Latinos, that’s a widespread feeling that usually stems from circumstances. “Not knowing anyone in my family who had gone to college – that’s what I read into,” Mendoza says. “Hard work was just emphasized more.”
There is also a fear of the unknown surrounding college: Many Hispanic parents don’t know how to help their children plan for higher education. From taking the SATs to finding financial aid – it’s all uncharted territory for many Hispanic families. That’s why Maureen Tillman, a pre-college counselor and consultant from Morristown, N.J., traveled to Brownsville, Texas, last year to offer a workshop for first-generation, college-bound Mexican-Americans. Tillman’s daughter, an education reporter for the Brownsville Herald newspaper, tipped her off to the struggles of local Hispanic teens. For one day, the students of IDEA Frontier Academy and College Preparatory High School poured their hearts out to Tillman. IDEA Frontier is a charter school founded in 2006 that rigorously prepares its 97 percent Latino student population for college. “Girls were crying their eyes out to me because they were scared to leave their families and they didn’t know how to broach the subject of college with their parents,” she says. For Tillman, whose typical clients are wealthy East Coast families, the workshop was an “amazing experience” that made her feel like she made a difference. Tillman, Mendoza and Ponciano all agree that Latino
64 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
youths need more mentors. Tillman hopes to return to Brownsville for a follow-up workshop. Mendoza hopes to use her new bachelor’s degree to open a non-profit in downstate Illinois to improve education for Latinos. And Ponciano’s program in Pennsylvania now includes outreach to high schoolers and their parents. But back in Chicago, Pablo Rejas is working hard in a West Loop convenience store, as he is now his family’s sole provider. “Right now I can’t really think about school,” he says. “I hope in the future I get to go back.” By the numbers The percentage of Latinos age 16 to 25 who cut their education short because they have to support their family (Pew. Latinos and Education: Explaining the Attainment Gap)
The number of Hispanic high school dropouts, out of 10, who go on to get a GED (Pew. Hispanics, High School Dropouts and the GED)
Percentage of Hispanics in the United States that has earned a bachelor’s degree (U.S. Census)
vs. $48,621 - Mean annual salary of Hispanics who did not complete high school or a GED vs. salary of those with some college or more (Pew. Hispanics, High School Dropouts and the GED)
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Sophie Albsmeyer SophieCasey Albsmeyer Allen Casey Allen Casey Allen Allison Baccich Allison Baccich Allison Baccich Jennifer Bauer Jennifer Jennifer Bauer StevenBauer Bauer Steven StevenBauer Bauer Kathleen Belden Kathleen Belden Kathleen Belden Heather Bollinger Heather Bollinger Heather Bollinger 2430 North Cannon Drive, Chicago Cora Bryan 2430North NorthCannon CannonDrive, Drive, Chicago Chicago 2430 Cora Bryan Cora Bryan Paula Calzolari Paula PaulaCalzolari Calzolari Kim Davis Join the auxiliary board of Kim KimDavis Davis Alex Demers Jointhe themembers membersof ofSociety Society for for Urban Urban Nature Join the members of Society for Urban Nature (SUN), (SUN), the the auxiliary auxiliary board boardof of Alex Demers Alex Demers Claire Sorenson Devlin the Claire Devlin ClaireSorenson Sorenson Devlin theNature NatureMuseum, Museum,for for the Nature Museum, for Lisa Elkins Lisa LisaElkins Julia Elkins Failey Julia JuliaFailey Failey Lynn Fosbener The evening features local, sustainable cuisine Lynn Fosbener Lynn Fosbener The evening features The features local, local, sustainable sustainablecuisine cuisine Erik Gebhardt Erik ErikGebhardt Gebhardt from signature cocktail; DJ; and David Giebenhain fromLimelight; Limelight;an anopen openbar bar with with beer, beer, wine, from Limelight; an open bar with beer, wine, and and aa signature signature cocktail; cocktail;aaaDJ; DJ;and andaaa David DavidGiebenhain Giebenhain Grahame Harlow Grahame GrahameHarlow Harlow fabulous nature and science fabuloussilent silentauction auctionand and raffle. raffle. All All proceeds proceeds benefit fabulous silent auction and raffle. All proceeds benefit nature nature and and science science Chase Heitman Chase ChaseHeitman Heitman Sarah Hydorn education Sarah SarahHydorn Hydorn educationin Chicago. education ininChicago. Chicago. Raleigh McClayton Raleigh RaleighMcClayton McClayton Melanie Mudarth Melanie MelanieMudarth Mudarth BrianNovelline Novelline Reservations can be made at www.naturemuseum.org/sun Brian Brian Novelline Reservationscan canbe bemade madeat at www.naturemuseum.org/sun www.naturemuseum.org/sun Reservations Alex Penning Alex AlexPenning Penning All information, call 773-755-5148. Allreservations reservationswill willbe beheld held at at the the door. door. For All reservations will be held at the door. For more more information, information, call call 773-755-5148. 773-755-5148. Chelsea Richer Chelsea ChelseaRicher Richer Rebecca Seibel Rebecca RebeccaSeibel Seibel Jenna Szkatulski Jenna JennaSzkatulski Szkatulski Allison Williams Allison AllisonWilliams Williams Tony Williams Tony TonyWilliams Williams Mike MikeWinand Winand
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Mario Guzmán Oliveres (b. 1975) Gathering of Black Towns / Encuentro de Pueblos Negros, 2004 | PHOTOS COURTESY NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MEXICAN ART
Oceans of Time
Art exhibit’s return to Chicago sheds light on Mexico’s deep and overlooked African roots words
Juan Carlos Hernández
Art can change you. Be it a painting, a sculpture, a print or one of the myriad of other artistic expressions, its impact is undeniable. For the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, art has also been about changing attitudes and connecting people to the past, to forgotten ancestors and the truth about their roots. Such was the thinking when the institution organized and presented its “African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present” exhibition four years ago. Mexico’s indigenous and European roots cafemagazine.com 67
Aydeé Rodriguez Lopez (b.1955), Dance of the Straw Bull / Danza de Toro de Petate, 2005
already are well-known; the idea of the exhibition was to honor Mexico’s third and seldom discussed root: Africa. The exhibition covers Mexican history from the arrival of Africans to Mexico during the colonial period through today. At first, the exhibition was simply a dream, but then it became a project that involved frequent trips to Mexico and lengthy discussions on both sides of the border. “It was an exhibition we had to do,” says Cesáreo Moreno, the NMMA’s visual arts director and curator, “and we wanted to do it right.” After showing at the NMMA for most of 2006, the exhibition traveled to Mexico and across the United States. The first stop was the Museo de Historia in Monterrey, Mexico; from there it traveled to New Mexico’s National Hispanic Cultural Center. Its latest stop, at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, ended July 4, and now it returns home. Sort of. The exhibition returns to Chicago, but not to the NMMA. Instead, it goes down to Washington Park, to the DuSable Museum of African American History, where it will close the tour. The exhibition formally opens the weekend of Aug. 28 with a number of public programs and activities scheduled to begin then, too. 68 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
Curated by Moreno and Sagrario Cruz-Carretero of the University of Veracruz, the exhibition focuses on the impact of Africans on Mexico’s cultural expressions from the display arts to the culinary and musical. It took several years of research and collection to finally put it together. The exhibit’s first installation was the largest; it has become more compact as it has traveled. Collectors and institutions loaning their artwork simply
Manuel Gonzalez de la Parra (b. 1954), Bull in the Center, Carnaval, Coyolillo, Veracruz / Toro al centro, Carnaval, Coyolillo, Veracruz, 1992
mustgo don’t want to lend them for a long time. Also, the logistics of transferring pieces between venues is almost as complicated as getting a visa for international travel. Some pieces can be replaced, others cannot, and although this does change the face of the exhibition, it does not change the essential message: Africa helped shape Mexico. For its final installation, the exhibit will feature many pieces from the permanent collections of both the DuSable Museum and the NMMA – a point of pride, as both Chicago institutions have been working to collect and preserve art from their communities for many years. One of the exhibition’s aims has been to create an opportunity for the nation’s two largest minorities to recognize common ground, work past tensions and help them embrace their common roots. Another aim: to promote Mexico’s diverse history and help Mexicans see the rich heritage of Africa and its people in Mexico. “These types of exhibitions help blur the lines between all of us,” said Charles Bethea, the DuSable’s chief operating office and curator. He said it is not only an exhibition for African Americans or Mexicans. “It is an exhibition for all of Chicago’s communities.” Art can transform individuals, but it can also be a language and a tool that can bring seemingly disparate communities together. The exhibition’s focus is on Africa and Mexico, but it is also the retelling of the ancient human story of cultural blending. It is a tale that Chicago’s diverse communities can connect with and should see at the DuSable Museum.
Celia Calderón, Morelos,1960
What: “African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present” When: Aug. 14 to Nov. 14 Where: DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago, 60637 Info: www.dusablemuseum.org
Chicago Cultural Pillars
Created in 1961 by Margaret and Charles Burroughs, the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art started out very humbly – it was on the ground floor of the Burroughs’ home on South Michigan Avenue. Later that decade, the museum was renamed for Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable, a Haitian fur trader and the first non-native settler of Chicago. It moved to its current home in 1973. The DuSable Museum of African American History is dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation and dissemination of the history and culture of Africans and Americans of African descent. For more, visit www.dusablemuseum.org.
Founded by educators in 1982, the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum steadily grew and moved into its current home in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood in 1987. In December 2006, it changed its name to the National Museum of Mexican Art. It has been an integral part of Chicago’s Mexican community and by extension the city’s arts community. Its mission has been to promote and preserve knowledge and appreciation of Mexican culture and arts through events and exhibitions. For more, visit www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org.
Jim Henson with one of his most famous creations, Kermit the Frog.
Lollapalooza 2010 When: Aug. 6-8 What: Lady Gaga, Devo, Soundgarden, Green Day, Mexican Institute of Sound, Los Amigos Invisibles, Erykah Badu, Arcade Fire, Jimmy Cliff and Cypress Hill are among the more than 100 performers who will hit the stage during this three-day event. Where: Grant Park, Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway, Chicago Admission: Three-day pass, $215; single day pass, $90 Info: www.lollapalooza.com An Evening with Seu Jorge and Almaz When: Aug. 8, 8 p.m. What: Best known in this country for his appearance in the film “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” where he performed bossa nova versions of David Bowie’s songs, Seu Jorge will present his latest project, product of a collaboration with members of the Brazilian Mangue Beat band Naçao Zumbi. Where: Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago Admission: $25 Info: www.congresschicago.com Macy’s Passport Presents Glamorama 2010 When: Aug. 13, 8 p.m. What: The best, the flashiest and the wildest trends in fashion will walk down the runway in this annual event benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Macy Gray will headline this event, which will feature designs by Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs, Sonia Rykiel and – for the first time ever – Issey Miyake. Where: The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago
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Jim Henson’s Fantastic World When: Sept. 24-Jan. 23 What: He was responsible for such fantastic creations as Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Ernie and Bert and Miss Piggy. Now, kids of all ages can see for themselves how these creatures came to be. This new exhibit features more than 100 drawings, cartoons and storyboards, as well as the iconic puppets created by Henson and his team, photos, and experimental films from Henson’s early career. Where: Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Info: (773) 684-1413, www.msichicago.org
Admission: Show, $50-$75; show and postparty at Macy’s, $175; premier show seating and post-party, $285 Info: (630) 623-5300, www.ticketmaster.com Chicago Air and Water Show When: Aug. 14-15 What: The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights will headline this year’s show. Where: North Avenue Beach, Chicago Admission: Free Hours: Water show starts at 9 a.m., air show at 11 a.m. Info: (312) 744-3315, www.chicagoairandwatershow.us Panteón Rococó When: August 14, 8 p.m. What: Panteón Rococó has one goal: to raise awareness about the most important social, economic and political issues facing Mexico and the world right now while making you dance to its wild fusion of ska, punk, reggae, rock and cumbia. Where: Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago Admission: $20 Info: www.congresschicago.com Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz Presents Latin Inferno When: Aug. 26, 6:30 p.m. What: A who’s who of Chicago’s Latin jazz scene joins the James Sanders Conjunto and the Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater for a fiery evening of music and dance. Where: Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago Admission: Free Info: www.millenniumpark.org/parkevents
Delfos Danza Contemporánea When: Aug. 27-29 What: The Mexican dance company founded by Claudia Lavista and Víctor Manuel Ruiz makes its Ravinia debut as part of the celebration of Mexico’s bicentennial and the 100th anniversary of its revolution. Where: Bennett Gordon Hall, Ravinia Festival, 200-231 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park Admission: $40 Showtimes: Friday, Aug. 27 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. (kids’ show) and 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 29 at 1 p.m. (Pavilion) Info: (847) 266-5100, www.ravinia.org Rodrigo y Gabriela When: Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. What: The Mexican duo that has given classical guitar a punkish attitude with their fusion of heavy metal, flamenco and jazz makes their Ravinia debut. Where: Ravinia Festival, 200-231 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park Admission: Pavilion, $45; lawn, $16 Info: (847) 266-5100, www.ravinia.org 32nd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival When: Sept. 2-5 What: Brad Mehldau, Henry Threadgill, Kurt Elling and Nicole Mitchell headline this year’s showcase of the best and brightest local, national and international jazz musicians. Where: Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue (Sept. 2-3) and Grant Park, Jackson Boulevard and Columbus Drive (Sept. 4-5) Hours: Thursday, 12-4 p.m.; Friday, 4-9:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Admission: Free Info: www.chicagojazzfestival.us
Sonar Chicago When: Sept. 9-11 What: Barcelona’s prestigious electronic music festival lands in the heart of the Midwest. Produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in association with AC Entertainment and the Spanish Institut Ramon Llull, the event will feature free daytime activities like workshops, conferences and films, and nighttime concerts from the best international electronica acts in venues across the city. Info: www.cityofchicago.org/CulturalAffairs/, 2010.sonar.es/en/ Festival de la Villita/Mexican Independence Day Parade When: Sept. 10-12 What: The Little Village Chamber of Commerce is planning a mindblowing bicentennial celebration of Mexico’s independence. Enjoy the best Mexico has to offer: from local and international bands to arts and crafts, as well as food and recreational activities. The neighborhood’s annual Mexican Independence Day Parade will anchor this vast celebration. The parade will take place Sept. 12 and begin at noon at the Little Village Arch on 26th Street at Kostner Avenue. Where: 26th Street and Kostner Avenue, Chicago Info: www.lavillitachamber.org Mexico: Festival of Toys When: Sept. 13-March 2011 What: Organized by the Papalote Children’s Museum in Mexico City, and the Mexican Cultural Institute, this exhibit of more than 600C objects explores the history and craft of Mexican toys and their uses.M Where: Chicago Children’s Museum (inside Navy Pier), 700 E. Grand Y Ave., Chicago Admission: Children and adults, $10; seniors, $9; members and CM children under 1, free. Free admission Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. MY Hours: Friday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m. CY Info: www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org CMY
Traditions Retold: Mexican Nativity Scenes K When: Sept. 15, 2010 – Sept. 18, 2011 What: They’re more than decorative items that we place underneath our Christmas trees or on a tabletop somewhere in our living room. The nacimientos are a cultural expression of our religious beliefs, and in this exhibit organized by the Field Museum, visitors will be able to experience the evolution of the Mexican nacimiento since colonial times and how Mexican-Americans in Chicago have adopted this tradition. Where: Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Info: (312) 922-9410, www.fieldmuseum.org 12th Annual World Music Festival: Chicago When: Sept. 24-30 What: More than 50 events, including live radio broadcasts and a combination of free and ticketed concerts, will take place during this one-week, multi-venue festival. A great opportunity to discover new artists and new sounds from around the world. Where: Various locations Info: egov.cityofchicago.org/WorldMusic/neighborhood
caféXXXXX | XXXXXXX caféblend
Pupusas bring a touch of home to Salvadorans, a new taste of comfort to American cities Delmy Sandoval (right) and Gloria Calderon prepare dozens of pupusas for a long line of customers at their stand at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market in Los Angeles.
Stuff of Nostalgia words
Ana Lilian Flores
Growing up in El Salvador, pupusas were what Sundays were all about for me. After a lazy day at the beach, we would engage in our ritual of venturing to our favorite pupusería and stand in the longest lines waiting our turn to order our choice of pupusas de queso, chicharrón or revueltas; always accompanied by horchata or steaming, water-based hot chocolate. The image in my head is of a handful of pupuseras in front of a large, rectangular comal (a sheet-metal griddle) with balls of dough clapped into round discs and slapped onto the heated surface until the cheese oozed out of them. I would stand there in anticipation until one of those delicacies hit my plate. Again and again, I would dig into a piping hot pupusa, risking third-degree burns to my fingers and mouth, only to savor that fresh-off-the-comal bite. Pupusas have been part of the typical Salvadoran meal since the beginning of recorded history. The earliest traces of these handmade stuffed corn tortillas date back to the indigenous people known as Pipils who populated the Central American country in Pre-Columbian times. In fact, cooking utensils used to prepare pupusas were found 72 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
in the ruins of Joya del Cerén, a native Pipil village on the Pacific coast that was buried in ash after a volcanic explosion almost 2,000 years ago. Since then, pupusas have become a staple in El Salvador and have also made their way into neighboring Guatemala and Honduras, nations that also sprang from maize-sustained cultures. Ask any Salvadoran why this simple and affordable food is so revered and they will most likely tell you it’s the ultimate comfort food. A typical pupusa is made with corn flour, or masa harina, and hand-pressed into a thick tortilla. Often compared to the Mexican gordita and the Venezuelan and Colombian arepas, the pupusa is distinguished by how it’s made: Before the dough is thrown on the hot comal, it is stuffed with either a flavorful cheese, chicharrón (shredded fried pork) or refried beans. If you can’t choose, you can always go for the revuelta – a combination of all three in one hearty pupusa. Once served, tradition dictates you sprinkle on a good serving of curtido, a pickled salad made with cabbage and carrots, and eat it with your hands. It’s the ultimate
dining connection to the roots of an ancestral food. El Salvador has a rich culinary tradition with dishes based on seafood, plantains, yucca and corn. But the pupusa alone has come to represent a small nation’s identity and become an answer to cravings well beyond its borders. Since the 1980s, when the United States granted amnesty to political refugees from El Salvador’s deadly civil war, pupuserías started popping up in cities with a large number of Salvadoran nationals, such as Washington, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles. Like most immigrants, Salvadorans brought with them a nostalgia for the comfort foods that make up the threads of their culture. Los Angeles is particularly crowded with restaurants and street vendors that serve them. It’s easy to satisfy your pupusa craving on a whim in this city. And being the City of Angels, nothing goes without some kind of alteration or upgrade. One of the most well-known and raved-about pupusa stands in Los Angeles is Delmy’s. Every Sunday for the past 15 years, Delmy’s has become an iconic presence at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Families, hipsters, Hollywood scenesters, foodies and your average Joe stand patiently in the longest line of all the market’s food stands just to get their pupusa fix. These are no ordinary pupusas, though. In fact, as a traditional pupusa-eating Salvadoran, the first time I glanced at owner Delmy Sandoval’s menu I was appalled that she had more than the three regular fillings to choose from. I figured only Hollywood could convert a 2,000-year-old tradition into a dionysian feast with choices of shrimp, chicken, vegetarian, shredded beef and the like. As it turned out, Sandoval is a true Salvadoran who immigrated to the United States 28 years ago, leaving behind her children until she could bring them here legally. She would make pupusas for her family’s meals, since Salvadorans have them for breakfast all the time. Sandoval figured she could sell her pupusas, but wanted to prepare them in a way no one else had. “I invented them my way and I added ingredients that are not commonly used to serve pupusas,” she says proudly. Her creative upgrade of the ultimate comfort food has allowed the pupusa to be introduced to a wider audience that can now say it’s had a taste of El Salvador – and the taste is of rich soul food that carries the flavor of nostalgia.
Gloria Calderon puts some fresh pupusas on the griddle at Delmy’s Pupusas, in Los Angeles.
WHERE TO GO FOR PUPUSAS IN LOS ANGELES: Atlacatl 301 N. Berendo St. Los Angeles, CA 90004 (323) 663-1404 La Caravana 1306 N. Lake Ave. Pasadena, CA 91104 (626) 791-7378 Delmy’s Pupusas Ivar and Selma Avenues, between Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards Los Angeles, CA 90028 La Pupusa Loca 5716 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90038 (323) 957-2967 Los Chorros 4693 W. Century Blvd. Inglewood, CA 90304 (310) 671-5147
IN CHICAGO: El Guanaco 3802 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 394-5470 Pupusería Café Frida 7109 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60626 (773) 465-9338 Pupusería El Salvador 3557 E. 106th St., Chicago, IL 60617 (773) 374-0490 Pupusería Las Delicias 3300 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL 60625 (773) 267-5346 Pupusería Restaurant Cuscatleco 3125 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL 60625 (773) 539-0977
Café Bolero 2252 N. Western Ave., Chicago (773) 227-900 www.cafebolero.net A longtime favorite among Cuban cuisine fans, this lively restaurant features such traditional dishes as the picadillo criollo (Cubanstyle ground beef) and the boliche (roasted beef stuffed with ham and sausage). The menu offers a decent number of vegetarian dishes, as well as smaller Caribbean tapas, such as Puerto Rican pasteles, papa rellena (potato ball stuffed with ground beef) and tortilla española.
Dig in! BYOB
CENTRAL AMERICAN Irazú 1865 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (773) 252-5687, www.irazuchicago.com Try the chicken casado, served with gallo pinto (rice and beans), sweet plantains, an over-easy egg and a cabbage salad. Big and delicious burritos and sandwiches also served. People swear by the oatmeal shakes. Mayan Sol Latin Grill 3830 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago (773) 539-4398 Marinated grilled beef and chicken served with rice, beans, plátano maduro (sweet fried plantain), yucca, potato and guacamole. CUBAN 90 Miles Cuban Café 3101 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago (773) 248-2822 www.90milescubancafe.com This is Cuban sandwich heaven; from the medianoche, the traditional Cuban sandwich or
Credit cards accepted
even the timba (guava and Swiss cheese) and the restaurants own sandwich de lechón, your cravings will be fully satisfied. There are also more substantial plates on the menu like the ropa vieja.
Cafe 28 1800 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago (773) 528-2883, www.cafe28.org Go for the “Taste of Cuba” appetizer. Leave some room for the ropa vieja, the arroz con pollo, the grilled shrimp quesadillas or the chipotle grilled chicken and green tamales. Wash it all down with the traditional café cubano. Cafecito 26 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago (312) 922-2233 A restaurant for people who work downtown or are visiting one of its many museums and attractions and suddenly develop an urgent craving for a sandwich cubano. Try the sandwich
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de palomilla or the choripán (Spanish chorizo with grilled onions and chimichurri). MEXICAN Guanajuato 73 Green Bay Road, Glencoe (847) 242-0909 So long Wholly Guacamole, hello Guanajuato. Still serving such core dishes as the enchiladas San Miguel (choice of cheese, chicken or steak lightly sautéed in a rich red sauce), the restaurant will also add some new touches to its menu, including exotic desserts such as homemade avocado ice cream.
La Fonda del Gusto 1408 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (773) 278-6100 What once used to be a popular taquería is now a full-grown restaurant. You will find such traditional fare as tacos, tortas and burritos as well as more seasonal food, such as the Albóndigas de Jalisco
(meatballs in a rich herb/tomato broth) and seared red snapper with Veracruz sauce.
Mom’s Old Recipe Mexican Restaurant 5760 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (773) 467-1009 You’ve heard the phrase “as good as Mom’s” in describing a specific dish. Well, the dishes at this Mexican restaurant were actually created by a mom – in this case, Malena Basave’s and Ana Arriaga’s. Highlights include molletes (slices of bolillo bread layered with beans and pico de gallo), garlic shrimp, huarachitos and assorted moles to go along with your enchiladas.
Taco Chino 4712 N. Kimball Ave., Chicago (773) 866-1530 Korea meets Mexico in this Albany Park restaurant. While you could still go for the more traditional tortas, quesadillas and tacos, you should really order the pork and kimchi (fermented vegetables) taco, as well as the spicy seafood noodles.
RESTAURANTGUIDE PUERTO RICAN Borinquen 1720 N. California Ave., Chicago (773) 227-6038 Home of the original jibarito sandwich (fried green plantains with meat, lettuce and tomato). Vegetarian options available. All the classic frituras (fried treats) are also included in the menu. Coco 2723 W. Division St., Chicago (773) 384-4811 www.cocochicago.com This upscale Puerto Rican restaurant is the kind of place where you can meet new friends and stay, after a good meal, to dance those extra calories away. Start your meal with one of two bandejas de Coco, samplers of Coco’s extensive appetizer menu. Follow it up with such Puerto Rican classics like mofongo (with your choice of fillings) or the asopao. Or, if you’re feeling more
adventurous, try the escudo boricua (lamb chops served in a zesty papaya sauce).
SOUTH AMERICAN Aripo’s Venezuelan Arepa House 118 N. Marion St., Oak Park (708) 386-1313 aripos.com If you are a big fan of the Venezuelan arepa (corn cake), Aripo’s Venezuelan Arepa House will most definitely satisfy your craving. Go for the stuffed arepas: La Sifrina (slice of ham or turkey with cheddar cheese), La Nuestra (shredded beef, black beans, fried plantains and crumbled white cheese), and the choriapera (sautéed chorizo with diced potatoes) are among the 19 varieties.
Al Primo Canto 5414 W. Devon Ave., Chicago 749 N. Clark St., Chicago (773) 631-0100 (Devon Ave.) (312) 280-9090 (Clark St.) www.alprimocanto.com The galeto al primo canto is this restaurant’s specialty: young chickens marinated in white wine, garlic, rosemary and sage. The all-you-can-eat menu is only $29.95 per person and the food is delivered to your table nonstop like in the best churrasquerias. Side dishes include: parmesantopped polenta, spaghetti with mushrooms and roasted eggplant.
La Fonda Latino Grille 5350 N. Broadway, Chicago (773) 271-3935 Colombia rules in this Andersonville restaurant, although there are some significant nods to Argentinean and Mexican cuisine. Start
your dinner with a traditional Colombian empanada (made with corn) or an Argentinean one. Then follow it with either the churrasco, the milanesa de cerdo or their carne asada. The arroz con pollo is also highly recommended. SPANISH Mercat a la Planxa 638 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago (312) 765-0524, www.mercatchicago.com Enjoy Spanish tapas Barcelonastyle in this restaurant located within the Loop’s Blackstone Hotel. Try the more traditional fare like gambas al ajillo or a la planxa (items grilled to order) such as the meats. Have a nice leisurely dinner upstairs or relax at their downstairs lounge with a nice glass of Spanish wine.
San Pascualito Rey
Mr. Furia from Los Pinker Tones
La Bien Querida
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Robbie Lee and Christina E. Rodríguez
Up-and-coming and established musicians, music promoters and executives took New York by storm during the 11th annual Latin Alternative Music Conference, held July 7-10. Bands like Locos por Juana, Moderatto, Maldita Vecindad, Nortec Collective and The Pinker Tones performed at various outdoor stages, night clubs and arts institutions throughout the city. Café Media officially launched its new Café con Musica page (cafemagazine.com/musica) at the conference.
Andrea Echeverri from Aterciopelados
Los Amigos Invisibles
Two brave Cafeteros packed up their backpacks and sleeping bags and drove 521 miles to Manchester, Tennessee to cover the 9th annual Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival. More than 75,000 people attended and more than 150 artists performed across eight stages at the festival, held June 10-13. For the first time, Bonnaroo dedicated a whole program to Latin Alternative Music, featuring the likes of Ozomatli, Bomba EstĂŠreo and Aterciopelados.
Liliana Saumet from Bomba EstĂŠreo
The Café Media Team: (back row) Raquel Curiel, Rachel Metea, Susan Willey, Mitch Posada, Gina Santana; (front row) Diana Ramirez, Daniela Garcia, Connie Alvarez, Arianna Hermosillo and Maura Wall Hernandez.
The whole world converged on South Africa to root for their respective national teams at the World Cup. To celebrate this milestone in African history, the South African Consulate in Chicago and Chicago World Cup hosted a series of events throughout the city, including a viewing party for the opening game between South Africa and Mexico at Daley Plaza on June 11 and another for the final match between Spain and the Netherlands at Soldier Field, July 11.
78 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
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Welcome to Talk Back, a page dedicated to highlighting the best comments from our Facebook Fan pages. The World Cup (and, more specifically, the referees’ poor performance during the same) dominated our Facebook activity, but our fans found the time and space to discuss other subjects such as Obama’s speech on immigration reform and the need to pass the Dream Act.
“This guy [FIFA referee Koman Coulibaly] put in his entire life into being the best African referee and just because he made a mistake FIFA drops him. Referees are not God! They make mistakes!” - Cesar Ibarra on the World Cup referee controversy
“Validation of instant replay is needed in soccer”. - Carmen Guerrero on whether FIFA should embrace technology
“Technology should be implemented to be able to change calls that are pivotal to the outcome of a match!!!” - Joel Sanchez on the World Cup referee controversy
“Technology ruined football. Keep the human error factor as part of the game and it will gain popularity because of its uniqueness and nostalgia.” - V. Lazaro Zamora on whether FIFA should embrace technology
“I hope it does happen [passage of the DREAM Act], and that it applies to [undocumented immigrants] who have graduated from college as well.” - Romi Portillo Anderfuren on the DREAM Act
“Many of us are brought to the States for a better future but some are not lucky enough to get legalized. We are good citizens with goals in life to benefit not only this country but the people around us.”
“There is only so much that a human body is capable of doing (like not being able to see through the -America Leyva on the DREAM Act body of a footballer to see if a goal was actually made. Duh!), FIFA needs to take the blame for their “[Obama’s speech] was merely incapability of moving into the a recap of what we already know. future.” The system is broken, it needs to - Rose Kaja Bougamil on the World Cup referee controversy be fixed. We need SOLUTIONS and ACTIONS.” - Yesenia Carrillo on Obama’s July speech on immigration reform
We invite you to join in by “liking” (we prefer becoming a fan, but that’s us) one of our Facebook pages: Café Media, LLC, Café – Miami, Café – San Francisco, Café – New York and Café – Los Angeles. 80 Café AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2010
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*Prices per person based on double occupancy (unless otherwise stated) including round-trip charter air from O’Hare on USA300 Airlines, fuel surcharges, non-stop round-trip airport/hotel transfers, all meals, drinks, non-motorized watersports and more. Prices based on the lowest fare class available. Prices apply to select departure dates within a specific range. Restrictions, blackout dates and surcharges may apply. Prices do not include $2.50 (per segment) September 11 security fee, other governmental taxes and fees ($100.95-$148). For bookings within 14 days of departure, add $10 per person. Prices are subject to availability and change. †For group bookings, see your travel agent or call our Groups Specialists at 1-800-315-7871. First checked bag free on USA3000 Airlines. See the Fair Trade Contract on applevacations.com. CST2036061-40 AD5623 6/10
The ﬁrst exhibition to explore Calder’s signiﬁcance for a new generation of artists
lead corporate sponsor
Major support for the exhibition is generously provided by The Kenneth and Anne Gri;n Foundation. Additional generous support is provided by Margot and George Greig, Anne and Burt Kaplan, Ruth Horwich, The Broad Art Foundation, Gagosian Gallery, Lindy Bergman, Helyn Goldenberg, Sara Szold, and The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation. Aaron Curry. Danny Skullface Sky Boat (Reclining) (detail), 2009. Painted anodized aluminum. 108 ¼ × 101½ × 41 in. (275 × 257.8 × 104.1 cm). Hall Collection. Photo by Fredrik Nilsen