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SaturdayJune 25, 2011

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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DREAM ACT Call to Action by Jose Antonio Vargas garners Mentoring Challenge

DREAM ACT Call to Action by Jose Antonio Vargas garners Mentoring Challenge

Photo: Jose Antonio Vargas

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Urgent, national challenge to address Latino educational attainment deficit ties directly to need for passage of the DREAM Act; call to action for an educated America to return to number one spot by 2020 requires DREAMers to become college graduates too; Olga Milan-Howells, real-estate developer of San Francisco heeds call

After hearing the shocking news of Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas’ coming out about his immigration status, California author and entrepreneur Graciela Tiscareño-Sato decided to push her call for the “Two by 2020 Mentoring Challenge” harder than ever.  The challenge asks college-educated Americans to commit to mentoring two young people for the next nine years, with a special focus on Latino youth. This includes assisting a high school or college dropout you may know to complete their education.

Why the urgency? By 2020, America needs 36 million new college graduates to become the most educated nation on Earth; because of rapid population growth, 5.5 million of those degrees must come from the Latino community—611,000 per year. This means America needs Latino high school students, including those that are DREAMers, to also graduate from college.  “Active, intentional, long-term mentoring is the only way that a kid like me, the first in my family to graduate from college, can have a success story today,” states Graciela. “What America needs now is a wake-up call and a mentoring acceleration program, with a place to share success stories that will be produced as a direct result of the Two by 2020 Mentoring Challenge.”

Olga Milan-Howells heard Tiscareño-Sato, Founder of Gracefully Global Group, speak at the recent Silicon Valley Latino Leadership Summit at Stanford University the day she released her book, Latinnovating:  Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them.

Immediately after hearing the numbers and fully understanding the gravity and urgency of the situation, Ms. Milan-Howells, a real estate developer in San Francisco, decided to devote her community service time to take the challenge. “Given the enormity of the situation facing not only the Latino community but also the country, I decided to focus my energy on addressing this issue and form a Latino Parents Club to help Latino parents navigate the education system,” said Ms. Milan-Howells. “I’ve asked Graciela to partner with me to raise awareness of the need for mentors for the Latino children of San Francisco.” In California, over half the children in K-12 schools are Latinos. 

“Truly the status quo educational attainment numbers for the Latino community are an impending train wreck for America,” says Graciela.  Join us to avoid that wreck; take the “Two by 2020 Mentoring Challenge.” Visit our blog for all the details.  Get involved. Be a part of the solution.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Logging & Drug Threats Put Rainforests on UN Heritage Danger List

Logging & Drug Threats Put Rainforests on UN Heritage Danger List

Photo: A view of Río Plátano Biosphere reserve (Honduras)

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Illegal logging, poaching, and other intrusions have led rainforests in Honduras and Indonesia to be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported today.


In the Honduran case, the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve was ( Read story Here) put back on the endangered list four years after having the protective status lifted because of the Government’s previous success in controlling incursions.

“The Government of Honduras requested the World Heritage Committee to place the property on the List in Danger in view of the combined threats of illegal logging, fishing and land occupation, poaching and the reduced capacity of the State to manage the site, notably due to the deterioration of law and to the presence of drug traffickers,” UNESCO said in a press release.

The agency also said the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, located in Indonesia, “has been placed on the Danger List to help overcome threats posed by poaching, illegal logging, agricultural encroachment, and plans to build roads through the site.” (Read the story here)

The danger list helps “focus the efforts of government departments, civil society and international cooperation” on the threatened areas, UNESCO said.

The 2.5-million hectare Sumatran forest was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004 for its biodiversity. The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, home to an indigenous population that has preserved its traditional way of life in the rainforest, was inscribed in 1979. It was previously inscribed on the Danger List between 1996 and 2007.

The decisions were taken by the World Heritage Committee, which is holding its 35th session at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Narco Blog: Gunman Threaten Journalist and Newspaper in Guerrero (WARNING EXPLICIT PHOTO)

Narco Blog: Gunman Threaten Journalist and Newspaper in Guerrero (WARNING EXPLICIT PHOTO)

Photo: Charred head

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This week, an armed group violently stormed into El Sol de Chilpancingo. Threatening by gunpoint, they pointed a gun at the head of the newspaper editor. They insisted that workers suspend the printing of the evening edition, which had begun.

In broad daylight, the criminals entered the journal located on the busy Avenida Vicente Guerrero.  The gunmen demanded that the newspaper owned by Pedro Julio Valdez Vilchis, Director of Communications Social Guerrero State Government does not publish a Narco message signed by La Familia Michoacana. The story showed a man who was dismembered, skinned and roasted, a few meters from the Municipal Transit facility on Monday. The gunmen threatened that if they did not suspend the publishing of the article that they would harm the director of the newspaper as well as all the reporters in the team, saying they knew the addresses of all, and their families. They also threatened the delivery boys who were expecting the newspaper to be ready to begin delivery. The journalists were left with no option and suspended the circulation of the newspaper. No one filed a complaint for assault.

Read in Spanish Here

Read more by HS News Staff →

Statement of Support for the Central American Security Strategy Against Drugs

Statement of Support for the Central American Security Strategy Against Drugs

Photo: Map of Central America

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Following is a joint statement of Canada, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, European Union, South Korea, Spain, Mexico, Norway, and the United States.

We, the Group of Friends of the International Conference in Support of the Central American Security Strategy, meeting on June 22, 2011, in Guatemala City, express our strong support and recognition to the Member States of the Central American Integration System (SICA) in their fight against organized crime and drug trafficking in the region.

The members of the Group of Friends recognize that confronting the threat of organized crime is a shared responsibility, and commend the leadership and responsibility shown by the Central American governments in formulating and implementing policies to promote security, and urge them to continue their efforts to implement the new Central American Security Strategy, mainly through the regional integration mechanisms, by ensuring adequate financing based on timely fiscal and budgetary policy decisions.

Moreover, the members of the Group of Friends stand willing to fully maximize the effectiveness and sustainability of our contributions, reducing duplication of efforts, generating a more effective impact in support of the Strategy and national efforts by the countries of Central America, and taking steps domestically which help enhance security in Central America.

The members of the Group of Friends will pay special attention to, and collaborate on, programs aimed at increasing Central American countries’ capacity in the fight against transnational organized crime; strengthening rule of law institutions, including prosecutors, the judiciary, police, penitentiary, and border security institutions; combating corruption; as well as building SICA’s capacity as a key institution for achieving regional security objectives.

Moreover, we recognize the need to act on the underlying causes of crime and insecurity, including poverty and the lack of access to jobs and education by the most vulnerable segments of society.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Baby in Brazil Born with Deceased Fathers Sperm

Baby in Brazil Born with Deceased Fathers Sperm

Photo: Brazil Baby

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Brazilian media reports the healthy delivery of a baby girl concieved through artificial insemination using her dead father’s frozen sperm. The mother, Katia Lernerneier, and baby are both doing fine and have been discharged from the hospital this week.

The couple froze the father’s sperm after being unsuccessful in conceiving naturally. Once her husband died from skin cancer, Katia went to court to retrieve his sperm to conceive their child.

Since her husband had not left written authorization allowing his wife to continue treatment after his death, she had to go to court in order to get permission to use the frozen sperm.

Read more at Fox News Latino →

Two Indicted in Kentucky on Conspiracy and Harboring of Undocumented Bolivian National for Gain

Javier Arce, 58,( a cardiologist)  and Cristina Mier Arce, 55, were indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy and harboring of an undocumented Bolivian national for their financial gain, the Justice Department announced this week.


According to the indictment, the defendants, who were formerly married to one another, recruited an undocumented Bolivian woman to work as their domestic servant and harbored her unlawfully for a total of nearly 15 years.  The indictment alleges that beginning in 1994, the defendants recruited the woman to travel to the United States, and then conspired to harbor her and derive financial benefit from her labor as a full-time domestic servant from 1994 to 2006.


The indictment, filed in the Western District of Kentucky, also alleges that the defendants confiscated the woman’s passport, threatened that she would be arrested and deported if she left their home, and falsely assured her that her wages were being deposited into a bank account maintained on her behalf, while actually failing to pay her as promised for her service.  The indictment further alleges that Javier Arce harbored the woman for financial gain from 2006-2009. 


At arraignment today, both defendants entered not guilty pleas and were released on $100,000 bonds.  A trial date has been scheduled in U.S. District Court in Louisville, Ky., on Aug. 30, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. before Judge John G. Heyburn II.  If convicted, Javier Arce faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, $750,000 fine and three years supervised release.  Christina Mier Arce faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, $500,000 fine and three years supervised release.


The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted jointly by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Judd and Trial Attorney Daniel Weiss of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Standouts Sahaydak and Hamilton Travel to Brazil

Former U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Standouts Sahaydak and Hamilton Travel to Brazil

Photo: Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak (center)

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Former U.S. Women’s National Team players Linda Hamilton and Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak will travel to Brazil from June 27-July 1 to help lead a soccer camp as part of the U.S. State Department’s Sports Envoy Program.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today that former Women’s National Soccer Team players Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and Linda Hamilton will travel to Brazil June 27 through July 1, 2011. While in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, they will conduct soccer clinics, meet with students participating in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ English Access Microscholarship Program, and participate in community events in underserved areas. Sahaydak and Hamilton will also conduct a clinic for 60 boys and girls from Cidade de Deus who met with President Obama during his visit to Brazil in March.

On June 6th, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the Women’s World Cup Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through Sports initiative, with an event at the Department of State for members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, female youth soccer players from around the world, Olympic medalists, professional athletes, and other leaders from the world of sports.

Sports exchanges build on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy, which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools to bring people together and foster greater understanding among people and cultures.

SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ premier sports exchange program at the U.S. Department of State. Athletes and coaches in various sports are chosen to conduct clinics, visit schools, and engage youth overseas in a dialogue on the importance of an education, positive health practices, and respect for diversity. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 700 athletes from 51 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sports Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent more than 131 U.S. athletes to 42 countries to participate in Sports Envoy programs.

Read more at U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs →

Texas Border Patrol Agents Seize Nearly $9M in Narcotics

Texas Border Patrol Agents Seize Nearly $9M in Narcotics

Photo: drug bust

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U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Rio Grande city station confiscated more than $7.2 million worth of cocaine and more than $1.7 million worth of marijuana in multiple seizures Thursday night and early this morning.


On Thursday evening, agents saw several people cross the Rio Grande from Mexico and walk through a wooded area toward Escobares, Texas. When the agents approached the group and identified themselves, the smugglers fled into the thick brush, leaving behind nearly 230 pounds of cocaine.


The largest marijuana seizure occurred that same night when agents working near Rio Grande City followed fresh footprints to an abandoned trailer. As agents approached the trailer they detected a strong odor of marijuana. Inside the trailer agents found more than 1,100 pounds of marijuana.


Finally, smugglers abandoned a pickup truck and more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana early this morning when they were confronted by agents near Fronton, Texas. The smugglers were in the process of loading the truck with marijuana when they were approached by agents, at which time they fled and crossed the river into Mexico.


The narcotics from the three seizures will be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cholera Cases Increasing in Haiti and Dominican Republic- UN Reports

Cholera Cases Increasing in Haiti and Dominican Republic- UN Reports

Photo: Deaths in Cholera

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Cases of cholera are on the rise in Haiti and neighboring Dominican Republic, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today, saying more than 18,000 new cases in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, have been recorded recently.

“This increase may be partly due to the beginning of the rainy season and the flooding that hit the capital,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva.

“Data from the Ministry of Public Health of Haiti showed that since the beginning of the outbreak til 12 June, there had been 344,623 cases of cholera and 5,397 deaths,” he added. The cholera epidemic in Haiti first erupted last October.

In the Dominican Republic, the health ministry reported that since the first cases were reported in the country late last year, there have been 1,727 confirmed cases, including 46 deaths. The ministry is continuing its epidemiological research and response, which included improving water quality and sanitation services, and public awareness campaigns on prevention.

Mr. Jasarevic said that the occupancy rate of the 2,300 beds in cholera treatment centres in Haiti and the cholera treatment units in the Port-au-Prince Metropolitan area was about 72 per cent.

Access to clean water and proper sanitation in Haiti remains the main challenge in fighting the epidemic, according to WHO.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rep Raul Labrador Offers New Immigration Policy To GOP

Rep Raul Labrador Offers New Immigration Policy To GOP

Photo: Representative Raul Labrador

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Representative Raul Labrador, a Tea Party forerunner and former immigration lawyer from Puerto Rico, has been getting together with Republicans to design what he calls a “conservative consensus” for immigration policy. Like Obama he advocates border enforcement and harsh punishments for the employers that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. His policy ideas seem pretty run-of-the-mill, with one difference: he doesn’t believe in providing a way to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already living in the United States.

Despite his Hispanic origins, he doesn’t respond to ties with immigration rights groups, nor does he plan to stick to the same old conservative agenda. “The left claims that Republicans hate Hispanics, which is just the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard, and the right just claims all we need to do is close the borders and do nothing else, which is also ridiculous,” he said last week.

Tea Party Boise president Russ Smerz pointed out that Labrador’s former practice in immigration law makes him an ideal candidate to put together a GOP immigration plan. “His background and professional knowledge being an immigration attorney provides him with the credibility to make him as expert in this area.” Idaho’s Community Action Network immigration policy director Leo Morales said in agreement with Smerz, “The fact that he is an immigration attorney means that he understands it better than other members of Congress, and he’s able to take a more practical approach to the immigration issue.”


Labrador was criticized for the manner in which he voted while serving his term in the House. On a bill to make English the state’s official language, he voted yes. In a bill to deny state benefits to illegal immigrants, unlike most of the state Republicans, he voted no. When commenting on his often talked-about policy decisions, he explained, “My job was to represent people, who, for the most part, had done bad things. In immigration, my job was to help them get straight, to go through the legal immigration system.” He also says that as an attorney, he had sent “hundreds” of illegal immigrant clients back to their home countries from where they could reapply the right way, adding “I have never shied away from that. I have represented some bad people.” But when asked whether or not his former occupation would stunt his effectiveness in conservative immigration policy, the representative answered, “Everybody knows that I’m to the right of everybody on most issues. That’s something people are learning here. They could come to Washington and say, ‘Oh, he’s liberal because he’s an immigration lawyer.’ Well that didn’t work because they’d seen me work in state Legislature for four years; they’d seen my forceful advocacy for conservative values in all issues.”


His guest worker program is not a conservative favorite. But then again, his refusal to offer citizenship provisions for illegal immigrants already in the country fits right up the GOP alley. Why the dichotomy?

“We can’t just give people a pathway. That’s just out of question. But then some people want to do only enforcement. We have to do the enforcement and the guest worker program; that’s the only way it’s going to pass Congress and be accepted by the American people.” While some, including Morales, question the likelihood that millions would actually self-deport, Labrador argues that when it’s the only option, it’s the best option. “There is some fear that that’s not likely, but if you have a carrot-and-stick approach, it will work. You say: Those of you that come out of the shadows and apply for this system and go back home will be able to apply for this. If we have to come find you, you’re done; there will be no opportunity for you to apply.”

Read more at us election news →

Feasts of Hispanic Saints to be Included in New US Missal

Feasts of Hispanic Saints to be Included in New US Missal

Photo: Mexican Folk Art Patron Saints

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The Catholic Bishops Conference of the United States (USCCB) has approved the translation into Spanish of a series of additions to the Roman Missal to include the feasts of Hispanic and Spanish Saints. The news was given by the Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, Mgr.Octavio Cisneros, who pointed out that this decision reflects a “true pastoral need” for the growing number of Hispanic residents in the United States.

The Holy See has recently approved a new English translation of the Roman Missal, now the attachments will also have to be approved. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that they are referred to prayers, liturgical feasts and celebrations specific to each country in Latin America, and which were not part of the joint text of the Missal in English.

This decision was approved by the U.S. Bishops’ Plenary, held from June 15 to 17 in Washington, and is the result of a year’s work of the Committee on Divine Worship of the USCCB, which managed to collect a series of texts for the celebration of the most significant feast of the Patron Saints in Latin America and Spain. The new Missal text will be used from November 27, 2011, the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the new liturgical year.

Read more at agenzia fides →

Guatemala: UN Envoy Against Sexual Violence Hails Arrest of Former Top Military Figure

Guatemala: UN Envoy Against Sexual Violence Hails Arrest of Former Top Military Figure

Photo: Margot Wallström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence and Conflict

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A United Nations envoy welcomed the arrest of a former top Guatemalan military figure accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, saying the arrest sends a strong signal that justice can prevail in the Central American country.

General Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes, who served as chief of staff of his country’s armed forces between March 1982 and October 1983, was arrested last week, according to media reports.

General Lopez Fuentes faces accusations that he directed a policy of wide-scale military attacks against civilians, particularly indigenous Mayans, during which entire villages were destroyed and countless women and girls were raped.

Margot Wallström, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, issued a statement in which she stressed that ending impunity is essential if a country or society is to come to terms with past abuses against civilians.

Numerous Guatemalans were the victims of human rights violations during the country’s protracted civil war, and the UN helped the Government set up the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in an effort to tackle the problem.

“The apprehension of General Lopez Fuentes sends a strong signal to all perpetrators that conflict-related sexual violence is not acceptable, and that justice will ultimately prevail,” Ms. Wallström said.

“Sexual violence thrives on silence and impunity,” she added. “Women have no rights if those who violate their rights go unpunished.”

The envoy urged Guatemalan authorities to ensure the protection of victims, witnesses, human rights defenders and others throughout any legal action they may take to uphold their rights.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Research Targeting Latino’s Ages 14-34 Reveals Nearly 50% Seek More Bilingual/Bicultural Content

Research Targeting Latino’s Ages 14-34 Reveals Nearly 50% Seek More Bilingual/Bicultural Content

Photo: tR3s MTV

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Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más, the bilingual/bicultural network for U.S. Latinos, unveils research findings from The Maximo Report, a new study co-sponsored by Tr3s, and conducted by Motivo Insights, LLC and the New Generation Latino Consortium (NGLC) that uncovers key insights into the growing young, bicultural Latino. The report is the first-of-its-kind conducted with this demographic, combining both quantitative and qualitative methodologies with 14-34 year old Latinos, both U.S. and foreign-borns that have lived in the U.S. for 15 years or more.  Key findings will be unveiled in the coming weeks to reveal the role of media, entertainment, digital media and marketing & advertising in their US Latino lives.  Additional areas explored in the research include the content this group consumes as well as language preferences based on their acculturation.

The Maximo Report reveals nearly 50% of NGLs seek more bilingual/bicultural programming and over 30% look for ‘mainstream’ English-only content. NGLs hunger for more bi-lingual, bi-cultural programming, specifically content where “they are the star”, “their lives, entertainment interests and issues are authentically represented” and “their American and Latino sides meet”. The results also indicate Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más as the only Hispanic channel that all NGL age segments 14-34 agree “most speaks to the Latino heart & soul”. Joining Tr3s with the 14-17 segment is SiTv, Mun2 and Azteca, with 18-24s is Univision, Telemundo and Discovery en Español, with 25-34s is Univision, Telemundo, Fox Sports en Español and ESPN Deportes.

“As a brand that lives and breathes this bilingual/bi-cultural space, it’s our mission to generate knowledge capital that educates Hispanic marketers on the various segments of our HP12-34 viewer demographic. The Maximo Report is a valuable tool that specifically delivers key insights on the growing bilingual, bicultural segment that crosses generations on U.S. soil, ranging from the more acculturated foreign-born to the newer US born 2nd and 3rd gens.” commented Nancy Tellet, Senior Vice President of Research & Consumer Insights for Viacom International Media Networks Latina America, Canada & US Hispanic.  “As bilingual/bicultural Hispanics begin to dominate the younger portion of the adult Hispanic segment in addition to their current dominance in the teen segment, deepening our knowledge on how they express their Latinicity beyond language, and understanding their unique habits and interests will be crucial for the Tr3s brand and Hispanic marketers.” She added.

KEY FINDINGS

·    NGLs are language neutral regarding TV content, but do want to see themselves and their dual culture lifestyle in the U.S. represented.


·    NGLs are mashing up aspects of different cultures to fuel the growth of the “Urban Latino” movement. They organically mix traditional Latino values with those of today’s hip-hop influenced urban culture to create new urban Latino expressions. This makes for a more dynamic and complex New Generation Latino consumer.


·    The U.S. recession affects today’s consumers, regardless of race or ethnicity. However, many NGLs feel they are better equipped to deal with today’s recession compared to Caucasians. This is mostly due to culturally based realities that give NGLs a slightly different perspective on finances.


·    Word-of-mouth is a vital tool that NGLs use to discover new brands and products. Factor in their intense social media consumption, it’s no wonder the majority of them have learned of a new brand or product via social media.


·    For NGLs, peer-to-peer recommendations are highly valued and sought after.  Whether it be in-person or virtual, NGLs are leveraging their vast social networks to spread the word (positive or negative) about brands. In fact, NGLs are more likely to forward opinions and info about a brand compared to their Caucasian counterparts.


·    NGLs are blending the Latino and “mainstream” American aspects of their identity routinely and frequently. Not only are they doing this themselves, but they expect their media and marketing to reflect this as well. In fact, more than 7 of 10 NGLs think that seeing an English language commercial on Spanish language TV is a good thing.


·    Cultural representation in ads is very important to today’s NGL. They want to see themselves reflected in marketing that targets them, but it’s not an “all Latino or nothing” solution. In fact, there are more important elements to marketing for NGLs than having an “all Latino” cast.


·    The bi-cultural experience that NGLs encounter helps shape how they view their role in U.S. society. They have a different “value set” than their Caucasian counterparts that gives them unique attitudes and opinions on education, their career, finances, and much more.


·    NGLs are seeking out “in-culture.” Just like they live much of their daily lives, NGLs want to have media and programming options that reflect the various aspects of their identity, regardless of language. In fact, when asked which type of content they want more of, “in-culture” content was #1.


METHODOLOGY

In order to reflect the multi-faceted identity of today’s NGLs, Motivo Insights employed a comprehensive, hybrid approach to the methodology that included traditional, non-traditional, and social media techniques.  The qualitative research was a result of focus groups in traditional facilities, discussion sessions in non-traditional locations (Latino restaurant, hotel, etc), and webcam video diaries from over 100 respondents in Los Angeles, New York and Houston. The quantitative results were generated through online surveys and national representative samples, reaching nearly 850 Hispanics and 300 general market groups between 14-34 year olds, for a total of 1,150 surveyed respondents.


Source: NGLC & Motivo Insights, “The Maximo Report” 2011, NGLs: 14-34 US Born or Foreign-born in the US 15+ years. * Base (chart): Channels with the highest % of a 1-3 ranking out of 12-point scale on what channel “most speaks to your Latino heart & soul”.

Read more by HS News Staff →

OUTLAW: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant by Jose Antonio Vargas (VIDEO)

OUTLAW: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant by Jose Antonio Vargas (VIDEO)

Photo: Jose Antonio Vargas

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Mountain View High School Class of 2000 graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas described his life growing up as an undocumented immigrant.


One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and put me in a cab. She handed me a jacket. ‘‘Baka malamig doon’’ were among the few words she said. (‘‘It might be cold there.’’) When I arrived at the Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport with her, my aunt and a family friend, I was introduced to a man I’d never seen. They told me he was my uncle. He held my hand as I boarded an airplane for the first time. It was 1993, and I was 12.


My mother wanted to give me a better life, so she sent me thousands of miles away to live with her parents in America — my grandfather (Lolo in Tagalog) and grandmother (Lola). After I arrived in Mountain View, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, I entered sixth grade and quickly grew to love my new home, family and culture. I discovered a passion for language, though it was hard to learn the difference between formal English and American slang. One of my early memories is of a freckled kid in middle school asking me, ‘‘What’s up?’’ I replied, ‘‘The sky,’’ and he and a couple of other kids laughed. I won the eighth-grade spelling bee by memorizing words I couldn’t properly pronounce. (The winning word was ‘‘indefatigable.’’)

One day when I was 16, I rode my bike to the nearby D.M.V. office to get my driver’s permit. Some of my friends already had their licenses, so I figured it was time. But when I handed the clerk my green card as proof of U.S. residency, she flipped it around, examining it. ‘‘This is fake,’’ she whispered. ‘‘Don’t come back here again.’’

Confused and scared, I pedaled home and confronted Lolo. I remember him sitting in the garage, cutting coupons. I dropped my bike and ran over to him, showing him the green card. ‘‘Peke ba ito?’’ I asked in Tagalog. (‘‘Is this fake?’’) My grandparents were naturalized American citizens — he worked as a security guard, she as a food server — and they had begun supporting my mother and me financially when I was 3, after my father’s wandering eye and inability to properly provide for us led to my parents’ separation. Lolo was a proud man, and I saw the shame on his face as he told me he purchased the card, along with other fake documents, for me. ‘‘Don’t show it to other people,’’ he warned.

I decided then that I could never give anyone reason to doubt I was an American. I convinced myself that if I worked enough, if I achieved enough, I would be rewarded with citizenship. I felt I could earn it.

I’ve tried. Over the past 14 years, I’ve graduated from high school and college and built a career as a journalist, interviewing some of the most famous people in the country. On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American dream.

But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out. It means rarely trusting people, even those closest to me, with who I really am. It means keeping my family photos in a shoebox rather than displaying them on shelves in my home, so friends don’t ask about them. It means reluctantly, even painfully, doing things I know are wrong and unlawful. And it has meant relying on a sort of 21st-century underground railroad of supporters, people who took an interest in my future and took risks for me.

Last year I read about four students who walked from Miami to Washington to lobby for the Dream Act, a nearly decade-old immigration bill that would provide a path to legal permanent residency for young people who have been educated in this country. At the risk of deportation — the Obama administration has deported almost 800,000 people in the last two years — they are speaking out. Their courage has inspired me.

There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.

My first challenge was the language. Though I learned English in the Philippines, I wanted to lose my accent. During high school, I spent hours at a time watching television (especially ‘‘Frasier,’’ ‘‘Home Improvement’’ and reruns of ‘‘The Golden Girls’’) and movies (from ‘‘Goodfellas’’ to ‘‘Anne of Green Gables’’), pausing the VHS to try to copy how various characters enunciated their words. At the local library, I read magazines, books and newspapers — anything to learn how to write better. Kathy Dewar, my high-school English teacher, introduced me to journalism. From the moment I wrote my first article for the student paper, I convinced myself that having my name in print — writing in English, interviewing Americans — validated my presence here.

The debates over ‘‘illegal aliens’’ intensified my anxieties. In 1994, only a year after my flight from the Philippines, Gov. Pete Wilson was re-elected in part because of his support for Proposition 187, which prohibited undocumented immigrants from attending public school and accessing other services. (A federal court later found the law unconstitutional.) After my encounter at the D.M.V. in 1997, I grew more aware of anti-immigrant sentiments and stereotypes: they don’t want to assimilate, they are a drain on society. They’re not talking about me, I would tell myself. I have something to contribute.

To do that, I had to work — and for that, I needed a Social Security number. Fortunately, my grandfather had already managed to get one for me. Lolo had always taken care of everyone in the family. He and my grandmother emigrated legally in 1984 from Zambales, a province in the Philippines of rice fields and bamboo houses, following Lolo’s sister, who married a Filipino-American serving in the American military. She petitioned for her brother and his wife to join her. When they got here, Lolo petitioned for his two children — my mother and her younger brother — to follow them. But instead of mentioning that my mother was a married woman, he listed her as single. Legal residents can’t petition for their married children. Besides, Lolo didn’t care for my father. He didn’t want him coming here too.

But soon Lolo grew nervous that the immigration authorities reviewing the petition would discover my mother was married, thus derailing not only her chances of coming here but those of my uncle as well. So he withdrew her petition. After my uncle came to America legally in 1991, Lolo tried to get my mother here through a tourist visa, but she wasn’t able to obtain one. That’s when she decided to send me. My mother told me later that she figured she would follow me soon. She never did.

The ‘‘uncle’’ who brought me here turned out to be a coyote, not a relative, my grandfather later explained. Lolo scraped together enough money — I eventually learned it was $4,500, a huge sum for him — to pay him to smuggle me here under a fake name and fake passport. (I never saw the passport again after the flight and have always assumed that the coyote kept it.) After I arrived in America, Lolo obtained a new fake Filipino passport, in my real name this time, adorned with a fake student visa, in addition to the fraudulent green card.

Using the fake passport, we went to the local Social Security Administration office and applied for a Social Security number and card. It was, I remember, a quick visit. When the card came in the mail, it had my full, real name, but it also clearly stated: ‘‘Valid for work only with I.N.S. authorization.’’

When I began looking for work, a short time after the D.M.V. incident, my grandfather and I took the Social Security card to Kinko’s, where he covered the ‘‘I.N.S. authorization’’ text with a sliver of white tape. We then made photocopies of the card. At a glance, at least, the copies would look like copies of a regular, unrestricted Social Security card.

Lolo always imagined I would work the kind of low-paying jobs that undocumented people often take. (Once I married an American, he said, I would get my real papers, and everything would be fine.) But even menial jobs require documents, so he and I hoped the doctored card would work for now. The more documents I had, he said, the better.

While in high school, I worked part time at Subway, then at the front desk of the local Y.M.C.A., then at a tennis club, until I landed an unpaid internship at The Mountain View Voice, my hometown newspaper. First I brought coffee and helped around the office; eventually I began covering city-hall meetings and other assignments for pay.

For more than a decade of getting part-time and full-time jobs, employers have rarely asked to check my original Social Security card. When they did, I showed the photocopied version, which they accepted. Over time, I also began checking the citizenship box on my fed- eral I-9 employment eligibility forms. (Claiming full citizenship was actually easier than declaring permanent resident ‘‘green card’’ status, which would have required me to provide an alien registration number.)

This deceit never got easier. The more I did it, the more I felt like an impostor, the more guilt I carried — and the more I worried that I would get caught. But I kept doing it. I needed to live and survive on my own, and I decided this was the way.

Mountain View High School became my second home. I was elected to represent my school at school-board meetings, which gave me the chance to meet and befriend Rich Fischer, the superintendent for our school district. I joined the speech and debate team, acted in school plays and eventually became co-editor of The Oracle, the student newspaper. That drew the attention of my principal, Pat Hyland. ‘‘You’re at school just as much as I am,’’ she told me. Pat and Rich would soon become mentors, and over time, almost surrogate parents for me.

After a choir rehearsal during my junior year, Jill Denny, the choir director, told me she was considering a Japan trip for our singing group. I told her I couldn’t afford it, but she said we’d figure out a way. I hesitated, and then decided to tell her the truth. ‘‘It’s not really the money,’’ I remember saying. ‘‘I don’t have the right passport.’’ When she assured me we’d get the proper documents, I finally told her. ‘‘I can’t get the right passport,’’ I said. ‘‘I’m not supposed to be here.’’

She understood. So the choir toured Hawaii instead, with me in tow. (Mrs. Denny and I spoke a couple of months ago, and she told me she hadn’t wanted to leave any student behind.)

Later that school year, my history class watched a documentary on Harvey Milk, the openly gay San Francisco city official who was assassinated. This was 1999, just six months after Matthew Shepard’s body was found tied to a fence in Wyoming. During the discussion, I raised my hand and said something like: ‘‘I’m sorry Harvey Milk got killed for being gay. . . . I’ve been meaning to say this. . . . I’m gay.’’

I hadn’t planned on coming out that morning, though I had known that I was gay for several years. With that announcement, I became the only openly gay student at school, and it caused turmoil with my grandparents. Lolo kicked me out of the house for a few weeks. Though we eventually reconciled, I had disappointed him on two fronts. First, as a Catholic, he considered homosexuality a sin and was embarrassed about having ‘‘ang apo na bakla’’ (‘‘a grandson who is gay’’). Even worse, I was making matters more difficult for myself, he said. I needed to marry an American woman in order to gain a green card.

Tough as it was, coming out about being gay seemed less daunting than coming out about my legal status. I kept my other secret mostly hidden.

While my classmates awaited their college acceptance letters, I hoped to get a full-time job at The Mountain View Voice after graduation. It’s not that I didn’t want to go to college, but I couldn’t apply for state and federal financial aid. Without that, my family couldn’t afford to send me.

But when I finally told Pat and Rich about my immigration ‘‘problem’’ — as we called it from then on — they helped me look for a solution. At first, they even wondered if one of them could adopt me and fix the situation that way, but a lawyer Rich consulted told him it wouldn’t change my legal status because I was too old. Eventually they connected me to a new scholarship fund for high-potential students who were usually the first in their families to attend college. Most important, the fund was not concerned with immigration status. I was among the first recipients, with the scholarship covering tuition, lodging, books and other expenses for my studies at San Francisco State University.

As a college freshman, I found a job working part time at The San Francisco Chronicle, where I sorted mail and wrote some freelance articles. My ambition was to get a reporting job, so I embarked on a series of internships. First I landed at The Philadelphia Daily News, in the summer of 2001, where I covered a drive-by shooting and the wedding of the 76ers star Allen Iverson. Using those articles, I applied to The Seattle Times and got an internship for the following summer.

But then my lack of proper documents became a problem again. The Times’s recruiter, Pat Foote, asked all incoming interns to bring certain paperwork on their first day: a birth certificate, or a passport, or a driver’s license plus an original Social Security card. I panicked, thinking my documents wouldn’t pass muster. So before starting the job, I called Pat and told her about my legal status. After consulting with management, she called me back with the answer I feared: I couldn’t do the internship.

This was devastating. What good was college if I couldn’t then pursue the career I wanted? I decided then that if I was to succeed in a profession that is all about truth-telling, I couldn’t tell the truth about myself.

After this episode, Jim Strand, the venture capitalist who sponsored my scholarship, offered to pay for an immigration lawyer. Rich and I went to meet her in San Francisco’s financial district.

I was hopeful. This was in early 2002, shortly after Senators Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, and Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat, introduced the Dream Act — Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. It seemed like the legislative version of what I’d told myself: If I work hard and contribute, things will work out.

But the meeting left me crushed. My only solution, the lawyer said, was to go back to the Philippines and accept a 10-year ban before I could apply to return legally.

If Rich was discouraged, he hid it well. ‘‘Put this problem on a shelf,’’ he told me. ‘‘Compartmentalize it. Keep going.’’

And I did. For the summer of 2003, I applied for internships across the country. Several newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe and The Chicago Tribune, expressed interest. But when The Washington Post offered me a spot, I knew where I would go. And this time, I had no intention of acknowledging my ‘‘problem.’’

The Post internship posed a tricky obstacle: It required a driver’s license. (After my close call at the California D.M.V., I’d never gotten one.) So I spent an afternoon at The Mountain View Public Library, studying various states’ requirements. Oregon was among the most welcoming — and it was just a few hours’ drive north.

Again, my support network came through. A friend’s father lived in Portland, and he allowed me to use his address as proof of residency. Pat, Rich and Rich’s longtime assistant, Mary Moore, sent letters to me at that address. Rich taught me how to do three-point turns in a parking lot, and a friend accompanied me to Portland.

The license meant everything to me — it would let me drive, fly and work. But my grandparents worried about the Portland trip and the Washington internship. While Lola offered daily prayers so that I would not get caught, Lolo told me that I was dreaming too big, risking too much.

I was determined to pursue my ambitions. I was 22, I told them, responsible for my own actions. But this was different from Lolo’s driving a confused teenager to Kinko’s. I knew what I was doing now, and I knew it wasn’t right. But what was I supposed to do?

I was paying state and federal taxes, but I was using an invalid Social Security card and writing false information on my employment forms. But that seemed better than depending on my grandparents or on Pat, Rich and Jim — or returning to a country I barely remembered. I convinced myself all would be O.K. if I lived up to the qualities of a ‘‘citizen’’: hard work, selfreliance, love of my country.

At the D.M.V. in Portland, I arrived with my photocopied Social Security card, my college I.D., a pay stub from The San Francisco Chronicle and my proof of state residence — the letters to the Portland address that my support network had sent. It worked. My license, issued in 2003, was set to expire eight years later, on my 30th birthday, on Feb. 3, 2011. I had eight years to succeed professionally, and to hope that some sort of immigration reform would pass in the meantime and allow me to stay.

It seemed like all the time in the world.

My summer in Washington was exhilarating. I was intimidated to be in a major newsroom but was assigned a mentor — Peter Perl, a veteran magazine writer — to help me navigate it. A few weeks into the internship, he printed out one of my articles, about a guy who recovered a long-lost wallet, circled the first two paragraphs and left it on my desk. ‘‘Great eye for details — awesome!’’ he wrote. Though I didn’t know it then, Peter would become one more member of my network.

At the end of the summer, I returned to The San Francisco Chronicle. My plan was to finish school — I was now a senior — while I worked for The Chronicle as a reporter for the city desk. But when The Post beckoned again, offering me a full-time, two-year paid internship that I could start when I graduated in June 2004, it was too tempting to pass up. I moved back to Washington.

About four months into my job as a reporter for The Post, I began feeling increasingly paranoid, as if I had ‘‘illegal immigrant’’ tattooed on my forehead — and in Washington, of all places, where the debates over immigration seemed never-ending. I was so eager to prove myself that I feared I was annoying some colleagues and editors — and worried that any one of these professional journalists could discover my secret. The anxiety was nearly paralyzing. I decided I had to tell one of the higherups about my situation. I turned to Peter.

By this time, Peter, who still works at The Post, had become part of management as the paper’s director of newsroom training and professional development. One afternoon in late October, we walked a couple of blocks to Lafayette Square, across from the White House. Over some 20 minutes, sitting on a bench, I told him everything: the Social Security card, the driver’s license, Pat and Rich, my family.

Peter was shocked. ‘‘I understand you 100 times better now,’’ he said. He told me that I had done the right thing by telling him, and that it was now our shared problem. He said he didn’t want to do anything about it just yet. I had just been hired, he said, and I needed to prove myself. ‘‘When you’ve done enough,’’ he said, ‘‘we’ll tell Don and Len together.’’ (Don Graham is the chairman of The Washington Post Company; Leonard Downie Jr. was then the paper’s executive editor.) A month later, I spent my first Thanksgiving in Washington with Peter and his family.

In the five years that followed, I did my best to ‘‘do enough.’’ I was promoted to staff writer, reported on video-game culture, wrote a series on Washington’s H.I.V./AIDS epidemic and covered the role of technology and social media in the 2008 presidential race. I visited the White House, where I interviewed senior aides and covered a state dinner — and gave the Secret Service the Social Security number I obtained with false documents.

I did my best to steer clear of reporting on immigration policy but couldn’t always avoid it. On two occasions, I wrote about Hillary Clinton’s position on driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. I also wrote an article about Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, then the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who was defending his party’s stance toward Latinos after only one Republican presidential candidate — John McCain, the coauthor of a failed immigration bill — agreed to participate in a debate sponsored by Univision, the Spanish-language network.

It was an odd sort of dance: I was trying to stand out in a highly competitive newsroom, yet I was terrified that if I stood out too much, I’d invite unwanted scrutiny. I tried to compartmentalize my fears, distract myself by reporting on the lives of other people, but there was no escaping the central conflict in my life. Maintaining a deception for so long distorts your sense of self. You start wondering who you’ve become, and why.

In April 2008, I was part of a Post team that won a Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings a year earlier. Lolo died a year earlier, so it was Lola who called me the day of the announcement. The first thing she said was,

‘‘Anong mangyari kung malaman nang tao?’’

What will happen if people find out?

I couldn’t say anything. After we got off the phone, I rushed to the bathroom on the fourth floor of the newsroom, sat down on the toilet and cried.

In the summer of 2009, without ever having had that follow-up talk with top Post management, I left the paper and moved to New York to join The Huffington Post. I met Arianna Huffington at a Washington Press Club Foundation dinner I was covering for The Post two years earlier, and she later recruited me to join her news site. I wanted to learn more about Web publishing, and I thought the new job would provide a useful education.

Still, I was apprehensive about the move: many companies were already using E-Verify, a program set up by the Department of Homeland Security that checks if prospective employees are eligible to work, and I didn’t know if my new employer was among them. But I’d been able to get jobs in other newsrooms, I figured, so I filled out the paperwork as usual and succeeded in landing on the payroll.

While I worked at The Huffington Post, other opportunities emerged. My H.I.V./AIDS series became a documentary film called ‘‘The Other City,’’ which opened at the Tribeca Film Festival last year and was broadcast on Showtime. I began writing for magazines and landed a dream assignment: profiling Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker.

The more I achieved, the more scared and depressed I became. I was proud of my work, but there was always a cloud hanging over it, over me. My old eight-year deadline — the expiration of my Oregon driver’s license — was approaching.

After slightly less than a year, I decided to leave The Huffington Post. In part, this was because I wanted to promote the documentary and write a book about online culture — or so I told my friends. But the real reason was, after so many years of trying to be a part of the system, of focusing all my energy on my professional life, I learned that no amount of professional success would solve my problem or ease the sense of loss and displacement I felt. I lied to a friend about why I couldn’t take a weekend trip to Mexico. Another time I concocted an excuse for why I couldn’t go on an all-expenses-paid trip to Switzerland. I have been unwilling, for years, to be in a long-term relationship because I never wanted anyone to get too close and ask too many questions. All the while, Lola’s question was stuck in my head: What will happen if people find out?

Early this year, just two weeks before my 30th birthday, I won a small reprieve: I obtained a driver’s license in the state of Washington. The license is valid until 2016. This offered me five more years of acceptable identification — but also five more years of fear, of lying to people I respect and institutions that trusted me, of running away from who I am.

I’m done running. I’m exhausted. I don’t want that life anymore.

So I’ve decided to come forward, own up to what I’ve done, and tell my story to the best of my recollection. I’ve reached out to former bossesand employers and apologized for misleading them — a mix of humiliation and liberation coming with each disclosure. All the people mentioned in this article gave me permission to use their names. I’ve also talked to family and friends about my situation and am working with legal counsel to review my options. I don’t know what the consequences will be of telling my story.

I do know that I am grateful to my grandparents, my Lolo and Lola, for giving me the chance for a better life. I’m also grateful to my other family — the support network I found here in America — for encouraging me to pursue my dreams.

It’s been almost 18 years since I’ve seen my mother. Early on, I was mad at her for putting me in this position, and then mad at myself for being angry and ungrateful. By the time I got to college, we rarely spoke by phone. It became too painful; after a while it was easier to just send money to help support her and my two half-siblings. My sister, almost 2 years old when I left, is almost 20 now. I’ve never met my 14-year-old brother. I would love to see them.

Not long ago, I called my mother. I wanted to fill the gaps in my memory about that August morning so many years ago. We had never discussed it. Part of me wanted to shove the memory aside, but to write this article and face the facts of my life, I needed more details. Did I cry? Did she? Did we kiss goodbye?

My mother told me I was excited about meeting a stewardess, about getting on a plane. She also reminded me of the one piece of advice she gave me for blending in: If anyone asked why I was coming to America, I should say I was going to Disneyland.


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SaturdayJune 25, 2011