WBEZ | Latinos http://www.wbez.org/tags/latinos Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sandra Cisneros crosses borders and boundaries in 'A House of My Own' http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2015-10-06/sandra-cisneros-crosses-borders-and-boundaries-house-my <p><p>For many students, Sandra Cisneros is required reading. She tells stories of working-class Latino life in America, particularly Chicago, where she grew up, and where she set her well-known book,&nbsp;<em>The House on Mango Street.</em></p><p>The meaning of home has been a central theme in Cisneros&#39; life and work. And in her new memoir,<em>&nbsp;A House of My Own</em>, she writes about leaving home, her parents&#39; house &mdash; without getting married, which was a shock to her father.</p><p>&quot;Unless you&#39;re exiled from your father&#39;s house for some transgression, you really are expected to live there,&quot; she tells NPR&#39;s Ari Shapiro. &quot;And if you don&#39;t marry, you&#39;re expected to stay there and take care of your parents. I&#39;m an only daughter in the middle of six brothers. And I think I did things that were rather shocking if I had been a man.&quot;</p><hr /><p><span style="font-size:20px;"><strong>Interview Highlights</strong></span></p><p><strong>On her father, an upholsterer</strong></p><p>My father was a craftsman, and I&#39;m a craftsperson, too. And I have the same standards of making things, putting them together and ripping the seams apart if they don&#39;t match. I think my father, as a&nbsp;tapiceros,&nbsp;an upholsterer, taught me a lot about mastering craft and taking the time to make something well if your name was going to be put on it. And, you know, I always admired that my father had this little business card that said &quot;Cisneros Upholstery: Custom Quality Furniture.&quot; And my dream was to have a card that said: &quot;Sandra Cisneros, Writer. Custom Quality Work.&quot; And I finally did it ... I showed it to my dad. And he was so &mdash; he looked like he was going to cry when he saw it.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cisneroscover.jpg" style="float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; height: 414px; width: 280px;" title="Cover of 'A House of My Own.The much-loved author of The House on Mango Street presents a collection of true stories and nonfiction pieces, spanning nearly three decades, that, read together, paint an intimate portrait of a literary legend's life and career." /></p><p><strong>On her mother, whom she describes as a &quot;prisoner-of-war mother&quot;</strong></p><div id="con446352246" previewtitle="Related NPR Stories"><div id="res446352245">&nbsp;</div></div><p>She was an unhappy camper. My mom really wanted my life and didn&#39;t realize that she was opening the path for me to follow my dream. And then at the end of her life, I think she felt so unhappy that she had wasted her life, that she hadn&#39;t achieved what she had aspired to as a young person. And that dissatisfaction and that person that used to exist before she became a mother &mdash; you know, I understood her better at the end of her life. I could understand who she wanted to be and how we came into the picture and kind of thwarted her plans. She didn&#39;t realize what she&#39;d done. She could only see what she had not done.</p><p><strong>On writing about women&#39;s lives and stories</strong></p><p>You know, when I was a child, I always felt that I wanted to rescue my mom from the slights of her mother-in-law. She had a lot of pain that she opened up to me about as a little girl. And I always wanted to come to her rescue and, as I became a writer, to tell her story. But I felt always that my mother knew so little about her own mother and her own grandmother, and all of the women in the family just got erased, that I wanted to honor them as much as I could. Write about them, think about them, even though I didn&#39;t know their names, to somehow imagine their lives.</p><p><strong>On crossing borders and boundaries</strong></p><p>I guess I didn&#39;t realize I was gonna be crossing borders my whole life. Even in Chicago when I grew up &mdash; because I lived in the border zone between black and white communities. Usually in Chicago, it&#39;s so segregated, you have a brown corridor, to create a wall. And I didn&#39;t realize that growing up in Chicago, even then, I was living on the borderlands.</p><p>Maybe my job is to be an amphibian so that the water people and land people can understand each other. And I think, especially in this time, climate of fear, who better to travel between these two worlds than those of us who are mixed race, or&nbsp;<em>mestizos</em>.&nbsp;We&#39;re the diplomats, the ambassadors, so to speak, during the age of <em>susto&nbsp;</em>[fear].</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/06/446301433/sandra-cisneros-crosses-borders-and-boundaries-in-a-house-of-my-own" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2015-10-06/sandra-cisneros-crosses-borders-and-boundaries-house-my Where are Chicago's poor white neighborhoods? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/where-are-chicagos-poor-white-neighborhoods-112639 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/whitepovertythumb3.png" alt="" /><p><div><em>Editor&#39;s note: We&#39;re considering additional coverage for this story and we&#39;d like to know which follow-up questions about concentrated white poverty most interest you. Examples: How does Chicago compare to other Midwestern cities? How does this apply to the suburbs? What additional implications does this have for life in our region? If you like one of these or have your own, please place it in the comment section below. Thanks for considering it!</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Martha Victoria Diaz, a lawyer who grew up in Lake View during the late &lsquo;70s and &lsquo;80s, remembers the Chicago neighborhood as being fairly integrated. She remembers many Latino families like her own living on the block, as well as white households. But once the neighborhood began to gentrify, working class people of all races were displaced.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Martha says that got her thinking: It was easy to identify areas of Chicago where low-income Latinos live and, for that matter, where low-income African-Americans live, too. But where had all the white people gone? She followed up by asking:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><em>Where are all the poor white neighborhoods?</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Diaz was especially curious because she knows that nationally, most beneficiaries of some poverty programs are white. (We&rsquo;re talking <a href="http://kff.org/medicaid/state-indicator/distribution-by-raceethnicity-4/">Medicaid</a> and the <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/ops/Characteristics2013.pdf">Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program</a>, aka food stamps.)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So in Chicago, where are all those people living? We found answers in the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, which reveal striking differences in concentrated poverty between Chicago&rsquo;s three largest racial/ethnic groups. We then called experts to explain how the disparate pictures of poverty in Chicago came to be. They also offered some big takeaways about how our attitudes about poverty and race may be shaped by housing patterns &mdash; and what that means for public policy.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><span style="font-size:24px;">First, the data. Where are Chicago&rsquo;s poor white neighborhoods?</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We began with U.S. Census data, which allowed us to drill down to individual census tracts across Chicago. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/where-are-chicagos-poor-white-neighborhoods-112639#data">After deciding on a methodology</a>, we generated a map showing areas of high-poverty for each of the races.</div><div><a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/curiouscity/poverty/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/mapstillFORWEB4.png" style="width: 620px; height: 395px;" /></a></div><div><div><a name="graph"></a>The data are striking. While it&rsquo;s easy to identify swaths of African-American poverty, and to a lesser extent Latino poverty, Chicago has just two isolated census tracts of white poverty, both of which are tucked away near the lake in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Looking closer, you might notice that those two tracts are in the area adjoining Loyola University&rsquo;s lakeshore campus. We might expect to see this in an area populated by college and graduate students!</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p data-pym-src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/white-poverty/child.html">&nbsp;</p><script src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/white-poverty/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script>This is not to say there&rsquo;s no white poverty in Chicago. Indeed, Census Bureau data from the 2009-2013 American Community Survey show 90,328 white Chicagoans living at or below the federal poverty level. But Martha&rsquo;s question is about concentrated white poverty. Our conclusion is that &mdash; those two North Side census tracts notwithstanding &mdash; there really is no concentrated white poverty in Chicago.<p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Why doesn&rsquo;t Chicago have concentrated white poverty?</span></p><p>This follow-up question is a logical one, given that <a href="https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf">whites represent the largest group of poor people in the United States</a>. For answers, we first spoke with Janet Smith, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Illinois Chicago and co-director of the Natalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement.</p><p><strong>Janet Smith:&nbsp;</strong><em>If I look back 40 years ago, I might have turned to a few communities that I can think of where you had more working poor people. But even then ... Hegwisch for example, you think of the far South Side of Chicago, close to the steel mills. Those were actually good-paying jobs. Even then you had white working class people ... but they weren&#39;t poor necessarily.&nbsp;I don&rsquo;t know if we ever really had concentrated white poverty in Chicago, and part of that is because whites, as opposed to blacks and Latinos, have been able to live just about anywhere. And so part of it is more of a diffusion of poverty among white folks, compared to blacks and Latinos.</em></p><p><em>What we&rsquo;ve seen since the 1970s ... is a shrinking of the white middle-income and lower-income families in the city of Chicago. So where we think they&rsquo;ve gone &mdash; and this is based on data that we get from the U.S. Census &mdash; is that they&rsquo;ve relocated probably outside the city and are living more in suburban areas.</em></p><p><em>I think that part of [why Chicago doesn&#39;t have concentrated white poverty] has to get back to a larger history of structural racism in the United States. And what I mean by that is the ability for different races to move to different places. So whites have long had an ability to move around the country and to move to different places. African-Americans have historically just not had as many choices. And Chicago &mdash; and I can think of a couple other Midwestern cities &mdash; has had a really strong history of race relations that have not been positive for African-Americans. So staying in these neighborhoods is probably a result of having limited opportunities to move elsewhere.</em></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Why does Chicago have so much concentrated black poverty?</span></p><p>It&rsquo;s clear from the data that different factors are at play within the black and Latino communities. To unpack some of the reasons that have contributed to Chicago&rsquo;s extensive areas of concentrated black poverty, we spoke with Mary Pattillo, the Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Northwestern University.</p><p><strong>Mary Pattillo:</strong><em> So the answer to the question of why there isn&rsquo;t concentrated white poverty in Chicago &mdash; and many other cities, Chicago is not alone in this &mdash; rests on two big points. One is racial residential segregation, and the other is the different poverty rates in the various race/ethnic groups. So when you combine those two together, you get concentrated black and Latino poverty, and pretty much no concentrated white poverty.</em></p><p><em>Racial residential segregation ... Let&rsquo;s begin with the fact that Chicago is an old city, much of which was built before the Fair Housing Act of 1968 [and] a lot of which [was] built during a time when we had what were called racial restrictive covenants. [These] were agreements ... that white homeowners entered amongst each other to exclude mostly blacks, but in some cities and in some times they also excluded Jewish people. They also excluded Chinese people, depending on what city and what was the marginalized group at the time.</em></p><p><em>The federal government is not at all innocent in this. The federal government very much underwrote the suburbanization of whites and the concentration of blacks in the city. So the building of the suburbs was very much supported by the federal government&rsquo;s insuring of mortgages, and that allowed the banks to give a lot more mortgages, but they only insured those mortgages in neighborhoods that, as they said, didn&rsquo;t house &ldquo;inharmonious racial groups&rdquo; ... which basically meant if there were any prospect of black people moving in, they wouldn&rsquo;t support the mortgage. So this very much created residential racial segregation, not just in the city of Chicago but also in the metropolitan area, by supporting the suburbanization of whites and the concentration of blacks in the city in &mdash; what the federal government also built &mdash; which were public housing projects.</em></p><p><strong>WBEZ: Do any of these factors still play out today, or have new ones crept in?</strong></p><p><strong>Mary Pattillo: </strong><em>The research today still finds housing discrimination. Sometimes it&rsquo;s the blatant discrimination: A black person calls and the realtor says that apartment&rsquo;s been rented. ... So black folks have to work extra hard to see the same number of units as whites. ... But there is something to preferences and knowledge. What neighborhoods do people know about? And, how do you know about neighborhoods? You know about the neighborhoods where your friends live. And if our friendship patterns are racially segregated, then we know about the neighborhoods where other black people live if we&rsquo;re black, or the neighborhoods where other Latinos live if we&rsquo;re Latino. So there&rsquo;s knowledge, and there&rsquo;s preferences and comfort.</em></p><p><strong>WBEZ: Are we seeing higher-income blacks mix up the incomes in some of these high-poverty neighborhoods?</strong></p><p><strong>Mary Pattillo:</strong> <em>That&rsquo;s an excellent question. Let&rsquo;s say you had complete racial residential segregation &mdash; which we don&rsquo;t have, but in Chicago, we almost do &mdash; so that if the black poverty rate is 30 percent, that means all black neighborhoods should have a 30 percent poverty rate, if everybody is kind of shuffled around. But that&rsquo;s not the case. You have class segregation within race. Class segregation among blacks is higher than among both whites and Latinos. So when you measure, as you mentioned, the evenness of the classes within the predominantly black, Latino or white neighborhoods, you find that there is greater pull-away between poor blacks and upper income blacks than there is between poor whites and upper income whites and poor Latinos and upper income Latinos.</em></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/where-are-chicagos-poor-white-neighborhoods-112639#graph"><strong><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Chart: Comparison of Chicago residents living in poverty, by race</span></strong></a></em></p><p><strong>WBEZ: Can we account for the psychology, in any way, behind that high level of class segregation among blacks?</strong></p><p><strong>Mary Pattillo:</strong> <em>It is both that many populations don&rsquo;t want to live around poor people (it&rsquo;s a reflection on them, they think) and because what goes along with neighborhoods that have high poverty rates are things like fewer services, schools that are less well invested. ... I think for many reasons people see high-poverty neighborhoods as lacking in the kind of resources and amenities that they want for themselves and for their kids.</em></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Why is there concentrated Latino poverty in Chicago?</span></p><p>Our experts told us that some of the factors behind concentrated black poverty in Chicago also apply to the question of why we see some areas of concentrated Latino poverty. Researchers have conducted studies where &ldquo;testers&rdquo; of different races and ethnic backgrounds are deployed to inquire about available housing in cities across the U.S. These studies have exposed disparate treatment of Latinos and whites, just as they have found disparate treatment between African-Americans and whites.</p><p>However, many Latino neighborhoods are also landing spots for new immigrants, so we spoke with Sylvia Puente, Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum. We asked her how immigration, and other unique explanations, might lie behind the data.</p><p><strong>Sylvia Puente: </strong><em>So Latino poverty, to a large extent, you&rsquo;re really going to see families, you&rsquo;re going to see two-parent households &mdash; a married mom and dad with kids &mdash; but they&rsquo;re only able to earn a wage which doesn&rsquo;t take them past the poverty level.</em></p><p><em>A significant number of adults are working in low-wage labor markets. ... That&rsquo;s among all Latinos, but especially for those who are undocumented or unauthorized in this country. They&rsquo;re living in a shadow economy that sometimes doesn&rsquo;t even pay minimum wage. ... A significant number of Latinos are low-wage workers for a variety of reasons, and then people choose to live where they have friends and family. Where they go to church and Mass is in the language that they&rsquo;re most comfortable in, and they can go grocery shopping and know people from their home communities.</em></p><p><em>It&rsquo;s always, I think, an interesting question to say, &ldquo;Are these ethnic enclaves, or are they ghettos?&rdquo; And I think that a community can be both, and I don&rsquo;t mean ghetto in a negative way. But [with ghettos], we see large concentrations of poverty. We don&rsquo;t see a lot of economic activity. We see large concentrations of people in the same ethnic group living there who don&rsquo;t have a way out. [Whereas] ethnic enclaves have, maybe, a lot of those same characteristics. ... Ethnic enclaves are [where] people are choosing to live in these communities, because certainly with Latinos, they can go to the store in Spanish. They can go to the grocery store and find products from their home country, they can cook meals that are familiar to them. A lot of what we&rsquo;ve seen in terms of Latino concentration are people literally coming from the same village in Mexico or in another country, so you go where you know people. And ethnic enclaves also [are] people choosing to live with people who are like them because it&rsquo;s home, it&rsquo;s familiar. There&rsquo;s a certain comfort in that.</em></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">What does it mean if, when we talk about concentrated poverty in Chicago, we really are only talking about communities of color?</span></p><p><strong>Sylvia Puente:</strong> <em>One of the concerns that I have around it is that we have two Chicagos. We have a thriving white middle class Chicago who largely lives along the lakefront and on the Northwest Side of the city, and Chicago is big enough that you don&rsquo;t have to go into a South Side neighborhood ever in your whole life. And I&rsquo;m certainly of the belief that to have compassion, to really address all the social challenges that we have in our state, you&rsquo;ve got to get out of your comfort zone and understand how people live.</em></p><p><strong>Mary Pattillo:</strong> &nbsp;<em>I think that that contributes to our misunderstanding of poverty in general, our misunderstanding of welfare and social services, and I think it contributes to a kind of political conservatism because we can point to those &ldquo;other people.&rdquo; If we&rsquo;re white, we can point to those other people (and think) &ldquo;Something&rsquo;s wrong with black people, something&rsquo;s wrong with Latinos. White people &mdash; look, you don&rsquo;t see any poor white neighborhoods.&rdquo; But there are poor white people, there are lots of poor white people. But because they&rsquo;re not visibly located in a single place, it doesn&rsquo;t lend itself to our stigmatizing them.</em></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Martha&rsquo;s conclusions</span></p><p><a name="data"></a>After hearing input from our three experts, we asked our questioner, Martha Diaz, to reflect on what resonated with her, as a Latina who grew up in a working-class background but attained a college education and lives in today&rsquo;s gentrified Lake View neighborhood.</p><p><strong>Martha Diaz:</strong> <em>Well, I suppose much of the outcome of your life depends on circumstances that are really beyond your control. My parents bought the three-flat that we have in Lake View not because they were speculating, not because they thought that Lake View was going to be the next big thing, but because it was cheaper than the house near the brickyard mall that they had originally been scoping out. And as a result of that, they put themselves and our family in the middle of a community that was about to gentrify. And, as a result of that, my brothers and I had access to better schools probably than our peers did in other parts of the city. And it was serendipitous and wonderful in the example of our family because it made everything for us possible, it made my life possible. But that&rsquo;s obviously not the case for a lot of people in this city.</em></p><hr /><p><strong>How we worked with data</strong></p><p>To get to the bottom of Martha Diaz&rsquo;s question, we had to decide whether a geographic area can be associated with a single, predominant race. We also had to define &ldquo;concentrated poverty.&rdquo; There are lots of ways that one could slice and dice the data, and we took just one approach.</p><p>We started with the 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, and examined racial breakdowns within each census tract in Chicago. We decided on a generous definition, characterizing a census tract as predominantly of a single race &mdash; Latino, African-American or white &mdash; if a plurality of people in the tract were of that race.</p><p>Next, we looked at incomes of the predominant races in those census tracts. We used the commonly-accepted definition of &ldquo;high-poverty areas,&rdquo; which are census tracts where the poverty rate (the percentage of people living at or below the federal poverty level) is at or exceeds 40 percent. To find tracts of concentrated white poverty, for example, we looked at the &ldquo;white tracts&rdquo; and asked whether more than 40 percent of those whites are living in poverty. We also disqualified tracts with population counts low enough to raise concerns about statistical confidence. (See &quot;Coefficient of variation&quot; and related listings in the Census Bureau&#39;s <a href="http://www.census.gov/about/policies/quality/standards/glossary.html#c" target="_blank">Glossary of Statistical Quality Standards</a>). &nbsp;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>. Chris Hagan analyzed Census data and generated maps for this story.</em></p><p><em>Chris Hagan is a data reporter for WBEZ. Follow him&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/chrishagan">@chrishagan</a>.</em></p><div><em>CORRECTION: A previous version of this story used a graphic that displayed incorrect figures regarding national poverty rates relative to those of Chicago&#39;s. The graphic has been corrected, suggesting a closer alignment between national poverty rates within white, black and Latino communities and their Chicago counterparts.</em></div></div><script src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/white-poverty/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script></p> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 17:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/where-are-chicagos-poor-white-neighborhoods-112639 Latinos worry after losing longtime seat in the Indiana Statehouse http://www.wbez.org/news/latinos-worry-after-losing-longtime-seat-indiana-statehouse-111079 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Reardon loses .jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the wake of this week&rsquo;s sweeping GOP victories, some Latinos say they&rsquo;ve lost an important voice in the Indiana Statehouse.</p><p>Indiana&rsquo;s longest serving Latino state legislator, Democrat Mara Candelaria Reardon of Munster, was first elected to the Indiana House in 2006.</p><p>For years, she was the state&rsquo;s only Latino lawmaker, but on Tuesday she lost a close election to her Republican opponent Bill Fine.</p><p>Reardon&rsquo;s district, which once included heavily Hispanic areas like Hammond and East Chicago, shrunk over the last 8 years due to GOP-led redistricting.</p><p>Her seat had been held by a Latino for the last 32 years going back to when Jesse Villalpando Jr. was first elected to the seat.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s changed drastically. It&rsquo;s certainly gotten less and less Democratic and less and less Hispanic,&rdquo; Reardon said. &ldquo;It makes me sad that it&rsquo;s not a Latina seat anymore.&rdquo;</p><p>Reardon&rsquo;s defeat leaves State Rep. Christina Hale, a Democrat from Indianapolis who is part-Cuban, as Indiana&rsquo;s only Latino legislator.</p><p>At 5 percent, Indiana&rsquo;s Latino population has steadily grown over the last decade, including areas like Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.</p><p>In Lake County, Indiana, which includes Reardon&rsquo;s district, the Latino population is 12 percent. The history of the Hispanic community in Northwest Indiana dates back to the early 1900s when Mexicans began arriving in large numbers to work in the factories in East Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it does help to have someone of a Latino background,&quot; Hale said. &quot;And, I&rsquo;m a firm believer that our state legislature and our government should reflect our community and right now it doesn&rsquo;t.&rdquo;</p><p>Hale entered the Indiana House in 2012, and on Tuesday won re-election in a Republican-leaning district.</p><p>She views Reardon as a mentor and someone who championed issues important to Latinos, such as education. She also points to Reardon&rsquo;s fight against state laws that some viewed as being anti-immigrant.</p><p>&ldquo;We do need more people of Latino descent, and more women, different age groups, different perspectives being reflected in our legislature,&rdquo; Hale said. &ldquo;Right now, it&rsquo;s fairly homogeneous.&rdquo;</p><p>Representative-elect Fine beat Reardon by 422 votes to win the seat. He lost to Reardon two years ago.</p><p>Fine says he&rsquo;s aware of issues that may be important to Latinos, although the new district boundaries don&rsquo;t include the predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods it once did.</p><p>Fine, who is a lawyer, says his son-in-law is Mexican-American, and he has several friends who are also Latino.</p><p>&ldquo;There are all kinds of issues that are important to Hispanics,&rdquo; Fine said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think of it as a single-minded perspective, or single-minded issues. &hellip; And, not all Hispanics are in line with Democrats.&rdquo;</p><p>Before the 12th House district was redrawn, it encompassed a wide area from the shores of Lake Michigan in Whiting to the town of Dyer about 15 miles south.</p><p>&ldquo;Democrats benefited from the sense that it made it nearly impossible for a Republican to win,&rdquo; Fine said.</p><p>The new boundaries for the 12th District include parts of Munster, Highland and Griffith, wealthier areas with few minorities.</p><p>Fine noted that the areas with large Hispanic populations, Hammond, East Chicago and Whiting, are represented by non-Latino, white or black Democrats, most of whom have been in office for years.</p><p>John Aguilera, who represented the 12th District for eight years and succeeded Villalpando, wasn&rsquo;t surprised by Reardon&rsquo;s loss to Fine.</p><p>&ldquo;The way the district was lined up, I could see that coming,&rdquo; Aguilera, of East Chicago, said.</p><p>But Aguilera does put some of the blame of Reardon&rsquo;s loss on her fellow House Democrats.</p><p>&ldquo;I was a little disturbed that other Democratic legislators didn&rsquo;t accommodate her somewhat,&rdquo; Aguilera said. &ldquo;In Indiana, you can&rsquo;t create a district for one particular nationality or race but you can create a district based on communities of interest. But the Hispanic community is an afterthought. They pay it lip service.&rdquo;</p><p>For a time, Democrats Reardon and Hale found an ally in State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, a Republican of Mexican descent, whose district included the City of Elkhart. But earlier this year Kubacki lost in the primary and won&rsquo;t serve a second two-year term.</p><p>&ldquo;It breaks my heart to think that this coming year that I will be the only one left,&rdquo; Hale said. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t seem right and doesn&rsquo;t seem appropriate.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 12:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/latinos-worry-after-losing-longtime-seat-indiana-statehouse-111079 Swept from their homes, Chicago's Latinos built new community http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/45010154&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Chicago is famous for its ethnic neighborhoods. And there&rsquo;s a funny thing about them. A neighborhood&rsquo;s identity can seem like it has been in place <em>forever</em>, even when big ethnic shifts took place just one or two generations ago. This is how many Chicagoans see Pilsen and Little Village, a corridor with the biggest concentration of Latinos in the Midwest. These neighborhoods have so much vitality &mdash; dense housing, bustling commercial strips, packed playgrounds &mdash; that it seems like Latinos must have been there for ages. A curious citizen named <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#CM">CM! Winters-Palacio</a> was wondering how long, so she asked us:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Why are Latinos concentrated in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods? When did it happen?</em></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LUCY%20FINAL.jpg" style="float: right; height: 328px; width: 400px;" title="Near West Side resident Rosie Valtierra holds her goddaughter there on the day of her baptism in the mid-1950s. City Hall has embarked on massive construction projects that will raze much of the area. Valtierra and many other displaced Latinos will end up in Pilsen. (Photo courtesy of Rosemarie Sierra)" />We answered the <em>when</em> part of the question just by looking at census numbers: Pilsen did not become mostly Latino until the 1960s; Little Village didn&rsquo;t until the 1970s. Answering <em>why</em> those changes happened took a little more work. We interviewed experts, searched newspaper archives, pounded Pilsen&rsquo;s pavement and tracked down some of the neighborhood&rsquo;s first Latino residents. In our audio story (above), Lucy Gutiérrez, 87, tells us about bringing her family to Pilsen when the place was still populated mainly by Central and Eastern European descendants &mdash; including the Bohemians whose forebears named it after Plzeň, a city in what is now the Czech Republic. Our research also led to some text snapshots from the history. The snapshots begin on Chicago&rsquo;s Near West Side, which included the city&rsquo;s largest Latino enclave just a few decades ago.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">In old neighborhood, the beginning of the end</span></strong></p><p><strong>FEBRUARY 15, 1949</strong>: A Chicago housing official complains about residents refusing to leave a 14-block stretch from Desplaines to Paulina streets to make way for a new superhighway along Chicago&rsquo;s Congress Street. The official, Detlef E. Mackelmann, says some would not go &ldquo;until the buildings next door were being torn down.&rdquo; The highway&rsquo;s first section, completed in 1955, will displace thousands of people. It will be among several massive construction projects that will raze much of the Near West Side, including a Mexican neighborhood that dates back to the 1920s. The projects will include three expressways, a university campus and public-housing developments. Some of those Mexicans will move to Pilsen, a neighborhood just south. They will form the nucleus of what will become a much bigger Latino community. The Congress highway, for its part, will eventually be named the Eisenhower Expressway.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">1</a></strong></span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1%20TAYLOR%20STREET%20FINAL.jpg" style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1%20TAYLOR%20STREET%20PIES%20FINAL.jpg" style="margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px;" title="(WBEZ illustrations by Erik Nelson Rodriguez)" /></div></div><p><br /><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">White exodus from Pilsen makes room for newcomers</span></strong></p><p><strong>OCTOBER 18, 1953</strong>: St. Procopius, a 72-year-old Czech parish in Pilsen, rededicates its school with a Sunday dinner. The meal includes turkey, dumplings, sauerkraut, rye bread and kolacky. The music includes the Czech anthem &quot;Kde domov můj?&quot; and an Antonín Dvořák composition. Although the school has begun to enroll some of Pilsen&rsquo;s first Latino children, today&rsquo;s program includes no hint of their cultures. And Rev. Peter Mizera, the St. Procopius priest, has been complaining to the archdiocese about &ldquo;the recent infiltration of the Mexicans.&rdquo; But Pilsen&rsquo;s white population is declining and growing older as young families head to suburbs. St. Procopius and other parishes will have to open their doors to Latinos. By 1955, six Pilsen parochial schools will be enrolling Mexican children. Over the next two decades, several Pilsen parishes will retool themselves, sending priests to learn Spanish in Mexico, building altars and shrines to the Virgin of Guadalupe, even bringing mariachi music into masses. Some other parishes, slow to adapt, will close.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">2</a></strong></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Campus construction pushes more Latinos into Pilsen</span></strong></p><p><strong>MARCH 19, 1961</strong>: Led by a mariachi band, hundreds of Mexican protesters march from St. Francis of Assisi Church and tie up Near West Side traffic. The protesters slam a City Hall plan to replace their neighborhood with a University of Illinois campus. They blame Mayor Richard J. Daley and shout, &ldquo;Down with Daley,&rdquo; &ldquo;Daley sold us out&rdquo; and &ldquo;Respeten nuestros hogares&rdquo; (Respect our homes). The protest is part of a much larger effort to derail the university plan. Italians, the area&rsquo;s biggest ethnic group, are leading the resistance but Mexicans are also visible. Roughly 4,800 of them live in the census tracts the city wants the university to take over. The resistance will fail. On May 10, the City Council will designate 106 acres for the campus. Some of the Mexicans will move a few blocks west, but campus expansions will displace them again. Many will end up in Pilsen. The University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus, meanwhile, will open in 1965.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">3</a></strong></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Chicano movement builds neighborhood&rsquo;s new identity</span></strong></p><p><strong>APRIL 24, 1969</strong>: More than 100 residents of Chicago&rsquo;s Pilsen neighborhood gather for a public meeting of the Latin American Alliance for Social Advancement, known by its Spanish acronym, ALAS. The meeting occurs at Howell House, a community center focused for decades on Czech immigrants. At the meeting, ALAS endorses Arthur Vázquez to lead Howell House; he will be its first Mexican-American director. The meeting also develops strategies to improve Pilsen schools, expose police brutality and publicize a national grape boycott. The organizing reflects two major changes in Pilsen. First, Mexicans have been pouring into the neighborhood for two decades. Along with the arrivals from the Near West Side, many have come from South Texas or various parts of Mexico. A smaller Latino group in Pilsen has roots in Puerto Rico. The 1970 census will record the neighborhood&rsquo;s first Latino majority. The other big change is the rise of the Chicano civil-rights movement. Reflecting that change, Howell House will get a new name: Casa Aztlán. <span style="font-size: 11px;"><b><u>4</u></b></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2%20MEETING%20TONIGHT%20FINAL.jpg" title="" /></p><p><strong style="font-size: 22px;">Latino community expands west to Little Village</strong></p><p><strong>OCTOBER 30, 1979</strong>: At the urging of Latinos and veterans, the Chicago Park District board agrees to a proposed memorial plaza honoring Manuel Pérez Jr., a World War II hero killed by enemy fire at age 22 and posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Pérez grew up on the city&rsquo;s Near West Side long before his neighborhood was razed and before many of its Mexican residents moved to Pilsen. The city will build the plaza in 1980 in Little Village, a Southwest Side neighborhood known as the &ldquo;Mexican suburb&rdquo; because of its proximity to Pilsen, its larger homes, and its fast-growing Latino population. Next year&rsquo;s census will show that Latinos constitute the majority of Little Village residents. The Pilsen and Little Village corridor now has the largest concentration of Latinos in the Midwest.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><b><u>5</u></b></span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3%20PLAZA%20FINAL.jpg" title="" /></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>Neighborhoods help put Latino in Congress</strong></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/web%20PilsenFoundGutierrez1crop_0.jpg" style="height: 242px; width: 190px; float: left;" title="" /><strong>MARCH 17, 1992</strong>: In a Democratic primary election for U.S. House, Chicago Ald. Luis V. Gutiérrez (26th Ward) easily defeats his strongest challenger, Juan Soliz. A 1990 court order required a Chicago district with a Latino majority. Shaped like an earmuff, the district covers the Pilsen-Little Village corridor and Puerto Rican neighborhoods on the Northwest Side. Gutiérrez, who was an ally of the late Mayor Harold Washington, has Mayor Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s backing in the Congressional race. After the general election, Gutiérrez will become the first Midwest Latino in the House. Although his family is from Puerto Rico, whose residents are born with U.S. citizenship, Gutiérrez will champion immigrant political causes and maintain strong support in Pilsen and Little Village. <span style="font-size: 11px;"><b><u>6</u></b></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Pilsen remains Latino, but for how long?</span></strong></p><p><strong>MAY 20, 1997</strong>: In the name of job creation, Ald. Danny Solis (25th) leads a rally for a plan that would extend the University of Illinois at Chicago southward to the edge of Pilsen. The Daley administration, meanwhile, is planning a tax-increment financing district to boost industry in Pilsen. Some residents are linking those efforts to gentrification on the neighborhood&rsquo;s east end. Those residents say the changes are threatening Pilsen&rsquo;s Mexican-American character and pushing rents and property taxes too high. This summer, artists led by Hector Duarte (<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">7</a></strong></span>) will transform an outdoor wall at 1805 S. Bishop St. into a colorful mural called &ldquo;Stop Gentrification in Pilsen.&rdquo;&nbsp;The mural will depict United Farm Workers co-founder César Chávez and Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata flanking a multigenerational Pilsen family, a pushcart vendor and anti-gentrification protesters. Such efforts will not stop affluent newcomers from moving into Pilsen but, for years to come, the neighborhood will remain the cultural heart of the Chicago area&rsquo;s Mexican-American community. <span style="font-size:11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">8</a></strong></span></p><p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="color:red"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4%20MURAL%20FINAL.jpg" title="" /></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;"><a name="CM"></a>Our question comes from: CM! Winters-Palacio</span></strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cm winters FINAL.jpg" style="height: 194px; width: 185px; float: left;" title="" />African-Americans in Chicago cannot help but look at the city&rsquo;s most heavily Latino neighborhoods with some envy, according to WBEZ listener CM! Winters-Palacio, who lives in Auburn Gresham, a South Side neighborhood. &ldquo;If you drive through Little Village or Pilsen, they&rsquo;re thriving with little local stores,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;When you go on the South Side, it&rsquo;s a totally different experience.&rdquo;</p><p>Winters-Palacio chairs Malcolm X College&rsquo;s library department and tells us her interests include community development and racial segregation. So what does she think of our answer to her question? Pilsen&rsquo;s Latino identity is &ldquo;relatively new,&rdquo; Winters-Palacio says. &ldquo;It helps dispel one of the myths.&rdquo; Namely, that a strong community must have long historical roots.<a id="sources"> </a>Winters-Palacio says Pilsen and Little Village provide hope for her part of town.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Notes</span></strong></p><p><strong>1.</strong> Lilia Fernández, <em>Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago</em> (University of Chicago Press, 2012). &ldquo;City&rsquo;s &lsquo;DPs&rsquo; sit tight in path of big projects: Evacuation notices just a &lsquo;wolf cry&rsquo; to them,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (February 16, 1949). <strong>2.</strong> Deborah Kanter, &ldquo;Making Mexican Parishes: Ethnic Succession in Chicago Churches, 1947-1977,&rdquo; <em>U.S. Catholic Historian, Volume 301:1</em> (Catholic University of America Press, 2012).&nbsp;<strong>3.</strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;Protest rally today against U. of I. campus,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (March 20, 1961). &ldquo;Council OKs W. Side U. of I. site, 41 to 3: Crowd in gallery boos action, vows fight,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (May 11, 1961). Fernández, op. cit. <strong>4.</strong>&nbsp;Fernández, op. cit. Administrative History, Bethlehem Howell Neighborhood Center collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago. <strong>5.</strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;New post of Legion honors Mexican-American hero slain on Luzon,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (June 30, 1946). &ldquo;Slain vet who killed 75 Japs is honored in memorial service,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (February 14, 1949). &ldquo;Ordinance requesting the City of Chicago to convey the Manuel Pérez Jr. Plaza to the Chicago Park District,&rdquo; <em>Journal of the Proceedings of the Board of Commissioners of the Chicago Park District, </em>1979-1980. <strong>6.</strong> John Kass, &ldquo;Gutiérrez picks up Daley&rsquo;s backing for Congress,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Tribune</em> (December 10, 1991). Lou Ortiz, &ldquo;Gutiérrez coasts toward big win in Hispanic district race,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> (March 18, 1992). <strong>7.</strong>&nbsp;Editor&#39;s Note: Duarte is married to WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton. <strong>8.</strong> Gary Marx, &ldquo;Opposition brewing to UIC expansion; proposal may drive out the poor, foes say,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Tribune</em> (March 12, 1997). Ernest Tucker, &ldquo;Latinos urge UIC to move forward with expansion,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> (May 21, 1997). Teresa Puente, &ldquo;Pilsen fears upscale push may shove many out,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Tribune</em> (November 4, 1997).</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a>&nbsp;is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1" target="_blank">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">@WBEZoutloud</a>. <a href="http://twitter.com/ero_nel" target="_blank">Erik Nelson Rodrigue</a><a href="http://twitter.com/ero_nel" target="_blank">z</a>&nbsp;is an&nbsp;illustrator and graphic designer in Chicago.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538 Study finds high-achieving minorities shun teaching http://www.wbez.org/news/study-finds-high-achieving-minorities-shun-teaching-108963 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Teacher diversity_131018_oy.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A <a href="http://www.siue.edu/ierc/">decade-long study of more than 225,000 Illinois public high school graduates</a> finds many reasons that minorities are not becoming teachers. The Illinois Education Research Council at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville&nbsp;tracked the classes of 2002 and 2003 as they moved beyond high school and into their careers. The study sheds light on where students, including African-American and Latino graduates, drop out of that pipeline.</p><p>Illinois education officials have been wrestling with a significant mismatch between the number of minority teachers and the number of minority students in the state&rsquo;s public schools. While almost half of students are non-white, more than 80 percent of their teachers are Caucasian. A <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/push-teacher-quality-illinois-takes-toll-minority-candidates-108601">recent push to increase teacher quality standards </a>threatens to exacerbate the difference.</p><p>The Illinois Education Research Council study, meanwhile, finds that while roughly one-third of Illinois public high school graduates earned a Bachelor&rsquo;s degree, only 3 percent became teachers. Within the pool of 4-year college degree earners, minorities went on to become teachers in Illinois public schools at a noticeably lower rate than their white counterparts.</p><p>&ldquo;The minority numbers were actually surprising to me,&rdquo; said Brad White, lead researcher on the study. &ldquo;I sort of went into the study thinking that a lot of that story could be told simply by looking at different rates of enrollment and graduation from college. And that wasn&rsquo;t the case at all.&rdquo;</p><p>White said minority graduates with Bachelor&rsquo;s degrees, and particularly those who fell into the top third of ACT scores, opted to earn teaching certificates at lower rates than similarly qualified white students. And beyond that, African-Americans who did receive teaching certificates were less likely to get teaching positions in Illinois public schools.</p><p>White suggested that the state could increase its pool of minority teachers by recruiting promising students into the profession as early as high school. He said the state could also focus on improving educational opportunities for minority students before they get to college.</p><p>&ldquo;We might be able to see changes in the number of those students that are interested in pursuing teaching as a career if the career is perceived as more prestigious and more difficult to enter,&rdquo; White added. This is an approach state officials say they are trying to take, by increasing testing standards required to enter the profession.</p><p>A spokesperson for the Illinois State Board of Education noted that the state encourages colleges and universities to partner with local school districts to recruit diverse students into the teaching profession, and that the state has expanded funding for Teach for America recruitment. The study found that alternative certification programs such as TFA appear to be good pathways for academically gifted minorities into the teaching profession.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a>.</em></p><p>Note: This article incorrectly stated that the Illinois Education Research Council is at Southeastern Illinois University in Edwardsville. It is at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.</p></p> Fri, 18 Oct 2013 10:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/study-finds-high-achieving-minorities-shun-teaching-108963 Immigration reform advocates look for votes in conservative Indiana http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration-reform-advocates-look-votes-conservative-indiana-108241 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/335310324_7c3f4ded1a_z.jpg" title="Despite having some of the toughest laws in the country, reform advocates are looking to Indiana's GOP Congressional delegation to help tip the balance in this year’s immigration fight. (Flickr/Editor B)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F103365168" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">After passing in the U.S. Senate in June, comprehensive immigration reform has come to a screeching halt in the House of Representatives. Now reform advocates are looking for votes from GOP lawmakers from states like Indiana to help push it through.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You come to Indiana, and it&rsquo;s totally different (than in Illinois). Our political landscape is more Republican than it is Democrat and so we face a different sort of challenge,&rdquo; said immigrant rights activist Jesusa Rivera of South Bend.</p><p dir="ltr">Much of Indiana thinks of itself almost as a border state fighting a tide of immigrants who came here illegally. That notion was evident two years ago when Hoosier lawmakers passed Senate bill 590 which was modeled after the Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigrants.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immg1.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Immigrant rights activist Jesusa Rivera, right, stands with U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican from Indiana. Walorski is feeling pressure from both sides of the immigration reform debate. (Photo provided by Jesusa Rivera) " />Portions of Indiana&rsquo;s law has been struck down by the courts, and the debate over immigration has now moved from the states to the national level. The U.S. Senate passed a much ballyhooed bipartisan bill last month, but its fate is far from certain in the GOP-controlled House.</p><p dir="ltr">And that&rsquo;s where Indiana comes in. If even one of the state&rsquo;s seven Republican representatives was open to reform, it could signal a gradual shift within the party and provide a crucial vote in the House.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">But it won&rsquo;t be easy.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s absolutely insane to give amnesty to 11 million illegals at a time when we have over 20 million who are under and unemployed, said Cheree Calabro, an anti-reform advocate. &ldquo;I think we need to take care of our own people first and granting amnesty is not going to help anyone.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Calabro lives in Valparaiso, Ind., about an hour east of Chicago, and is a member of the <a href="http://www.ifire.org/">Indiana Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement</a>. She and other conservative activists are watching the immigration debate closely.</p><p dir="ltr">But so is Rivera, who worked on farms as a migrant worker, even as a child. She says this issue is personal.</p><p>&ldquo;This isn&rsquo;t really about politics, it&rsquo;s about people, it&rsquo;s about human beings, it&rsquo;s about us. The politics just happens to play in the game but it&rsquo;s about human lives,&rdquo; Rivera said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what really at stake.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Many of those people who Rivera assists are immigrants who attend church at St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church on South Bend&rsquo;s predominately Latino West Side.</p><p>On a recent Sunday hundreds of undocumented immigrants worshiped with prayers and songs in their native Spanish, without worry of arrest. Teresa (who asked us not to use her last name) prays for a pathway to citizenship for her and her teenage son Jorge. They&rsquo;ve lived in Indiana for years.</p><p>&ldquo;Reform is very important so that me and others like me can come out of the shadows,&rdquo; Teresa said in Spanish.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immg4.jpg" style="float: right; height: 425px; width: 300px;" title="Crista, back left, attends Mass with her three American born siblings. They pray for immigration reform for their parents who are undocumented. (WBEZ/Michael Puente) " />Also attending Mass was 18-year-old Crista and her three American born siblings &mdash; Crista says her parents are here illegally.</p><p>&ldquo;My dad has to be extra cautious when driving. My mom has to be extra cautious when looking for jobs and things like that. That&rsquo;s a big deal. It&rsquo;s a struggle for us,&rdquo; said Crista, who also asked that her last name not be used.</p><p dir="ltr">Crista worries that the bill in Congress may never get across the finish line.</p><p>&ldquo;We try to keep up to date, my dad, my mom. We were still hoping for reform but the ways things are going, we&rsquo;re doubting,&rdquo; Crista said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just been years and years of waiting.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">This year was supposed to be different. After President Obama won reelection with a majority of the Hispanic vote, Republican leaders like Marco Rubio said the party had to get behind immigration reform. So did traditional GOP backers like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.</p><p dir="ltr">Kevin Brinegar is executive director of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This issue has stagnated for far too long. The status quo, the current situation, has been harmful to our economy,&rdquo; Brinegar said. &ldquo;They want very strongly for Congress to address immigration reform.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Brinegar points to a <a href="http://www.nwitimes.com/results-of-indiana-immigration-survey-by-harper-polling/pdf_5a4a1f1a-0a8b-536a-a0b7-429c5a43fdf6.html">recent poll</a> that showed 60 percent of Hoosiers support some type of reform.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think in some circles (immigration reform) is divisive,&rdquo; Brinegar said. &ldquo;But I think a strong majority of Hoosiers want Congress to enact immigration reform and get some of these issues resolved so that in part we can move on to more pressing issues.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But the question remains: where will they get the votes?</p><p dir="ltr">One might come from U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican from near Elkhart who represents Indiana&rsquo;s 2nd Congressional District.</p><p>In recent talks with Walorski, Rivera says the freshman congresswoman has been surprisingly open to talking about reform.</p><p dir="ltr">According to Rivera, Walorski is sensitive to the plight of immigrants from her years as a Christian missionary overseas.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;[She is familiar with] the challenge of coming back home and meeting with families from Romania who overstayed their visa and were trying to get back on track,&rdquo; Rivera said. &ldquo;So the challenge there was the actual system, the process. So, she understood that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Walorski declined to be interviewed, but in a statement to WBEZ, the Congresswoman said the nation&rsquo;s immigration system is broken but needs a thoughtful approach to fixing it. The statement called for tighter security along the U.S.-Mexican border, along with an enhanced Visa program.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immg2.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Many of South Bend’s undocumented community attend Mass at St. Adalbert Church. There they pray for immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship. (WBEZ/Michael Puente) " />Earlier this year on FOX News, Walorski spoke about the need for some kind of reform.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I believe if there&rsquo;s ever a time to actually have an honest conversation about immigration, it&rsquo;s now,&rdquo;Walorski told FOX News. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to be between now and early summer. If that window passes, then it&rsquo;s probably going to be a long time before we have open ears on both sides.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">That has conservative activists like Cheree Calabro worried. Calabro says she&rsquo;ll keep close tabs on Walorski and other Hoosier lawmakers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The amnesty bill is so bad that anyone who votes for it is going to have a problem come re-election time include Ms. Walorski,&rdquo; Calabro said. &ldquo;Jackie Walorski was very much against illegal immigration when she was in the General Assembly. And, I&rsquo;m getting a sense from her that something has changed.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">One thing that&rsquo;s changed is the voter demographics of Walorski&rsquo;s 2nd District.</p><p>In 2012 Walorski won her race by just a single percentage point. This, in a district that&rsquo;s 8 percent Latino and growing.</p><p><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Follow WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana reporter Michael Puente on Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(102, 193, 186); background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">@</span><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 153, 140); background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MikePuenteNews</span></a><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">.</span></p></p> Wed, 31 Jul 2013 09:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration-reform-advocates-look-votes-conservative-indiana-108241 Legislators warn residents of compromises on immigration reform http://www.wbez.org/news/legislators-warn-residents-compromises-immigration-reform-106512 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/DurbinGutierrez_130405_acm(1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Luis Gutierrez Thursday warned that a senate immigration reform bill in the works might not address all of the problems facing residents living illegally in the United States.</p><p>They spoke to residents of the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Little Village in Chicago. They shared their optimism about a proposal from the team of bipartisan senators scheduled to come out next week. It offers a path to citizenship.</p><p>Senator Durbin said his ideal comprehensive package will be trimmed during negotiations at the nation&#39;s capital. The fundamentals, however, aren&#39;t up for debate.</p><p>&ldquo;We said to everybody, every senator walking into that room, before you sit down, you have to commit,&rdquo; Durbin said. &ldquo;That when this is over, these people will have the opportunity to become legal and then become citizens, and they say &lsquo;yes.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>But in a recent New York Times editorial co-authored with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gutierrez also expressed concern about farm workers and the possibility of a guest-worker program.</p><p>According to news reports, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce&nbsp; and the AFL-CIO have agreed on a work visa program that requires companies to pay immigrant workers fair wages.&nbsp;</p><p>Gutierrez hinted during a small gathering with constituents on Thursday that any proposal written by members in his chamber needs to addresses those issues.</p><p>The gathering took place at Enlace Chicago, a local community organization. Students and their parents shared their stories and asked both Durbin and Gutierrez to keep their concerns in mind.</p><p>Karen Canales is a current senior at Social Justice High School. She said President Obama&rsquo;s recent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program does not really give her the opportunities she needs to move forward in her career.</p><p>&ldquo;The derefer action doesn&rsquo;t guarantee any FAFSA, any government loans for me to continue my education,&rdquo; Canales said.</p><p>Justina Alfaro is also a senior from Farragut Career Academy. She said eight years ago her dad was deported back to Mexico for not having a driver&rsquo;s license. She said she hopes the new immigration proposals will focus on reuniting families.</p><p>&ldquo; I was 11 years old when I saw that my dad was being arrested,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been difficult for my family&nbsp; and for me because he was the support of the house.&rdquo;</p><p>Senator Durbin said if an agreement on immigration reform is reached, the bill will go to the Judiciary committee to start an amendment process.&nbsp; Meanwhile, Gutierrez said a House bill could be coming soon after the Senate&rsquo;s proposal.</p></p> Fri, 05 Apr 2013 10:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/legislators-warn-residents-compromises-immigration-reform-106512 Some undocumented immigrants fear applying for Illinois licenses http://www.wbez.org/news/some-undocumented-immigrants-fear-applying-illinois-licenses-104617 <p><p>When Illinois&#39; top political leaders touted a proposal to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver&#39;s licenses, it was painted as public safety measure and had the backing of immigrant rights advocates, who deemed it a positive step in the fight for immigration reform.</p><p>But the idea has run into some resistance among illegal immigrants themselves.</p><p>For many of Illinois&#39; estimated 250,000 undocumented residents of driving age, volunteering an address, photograph and birth certificate to a state database seems like a risk, possibly more than driving without a license.</p><p>&quot;They will have my record, maybe one day they (authorities) will just stop me,&quot; said 19-year-old Faviola Villagomez, who was brought illegally to the U.S. from Mexico as a child. The Chicago college student said she&#39;d be hesitant to apply because it could make her and her six siblings &mdash; none of whom are citizens &mdash; more easily identifiable for deportation.</p><p>Mistrust of authorities in immigrant circles is not a new phenomenon, but the proposal expected to come up for a vote before lawmakers next month has reignited concerns and could potentially affect how many would apply if it becomes law.</p><p>Immigrant rights advocates acknowledge the problem, even as they support the measure and gear up for community outreach.</p><p>&quot;There is a distrust,&quot; said Cristobal Cavazos a leader of Immigrant Solidarity DuPage. &quot;People are concerned.&quot;</p><p>The proposal sailed through the state Senate with little opposition and could be called for a vote in the House as early as Jan. 7. Gov. Pat Quinn has already said that he&#39;ll sign it if it gets to his desk.</p><p>A key sponsor, state Rep. Edward Acevedo, dismissed the concerns of some illegal immigrants, saying their fears were unfounded. The Chicago Democrat said the bill is a matter of public safety, not immigration reform. Making sure drivers know the rules of the road and are insured would reduce accidents and keep insurance costs from rising.</p><p>&quot;This is not about helping illegal immigrants here in this country,&quot; he said. &quot;This is about helping protect our citizens here in Illinois.&quot;</p><p>If it becomes law, Illinois would join New Mexico and Washington in allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver&#39;s licenses. Utah issues permits and a handful of other states are considering proposals.</p><p>Under the Illinois proposal, the licenses would be modeled after the state&#39;s temporary visitor driver&#39;s licenses. They&#39;re granted to non-citizens with legal status, such as foreign-born college students. The licenses are granted for three years instead of four, require a photograph and cost the applicant $30.</p><p>Anyone who applies would have to take the driver&#39;s exam &mdash; which requires an insured vehicle &mdash; and the written exam, and supply identification documents such as a birth certificate. The cards couldn&#39;t be used as identification and would look different than a regular license.</p><p>That worries the Rev. Jose Landaverde, one of Chicago&#39;s most vocal immigrant rights activists, who cautiously supports the legislation. He said the distinction could make immigrants a target, particularly in suburban and rural areas. Chicago is a sanctuary city where police aren&#39;t allowed to ask about immigration status.</p><p>&quot;We will see what happens,&quot; he said.</p><p>Backers of the legislation disagree, saying that licenses aren&#39;t a way to help federal immigration authorities. For one, the licenses would look like those of other groups in the country legally.</p><p>The state&#39;s largest immigrant advocacy group, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said they&#39;d do community outreach to encourage applying. The group has called the proposal a step forward for immigration reform.</p><p>While similar proposals have been floated in Illinois before, this plan gained momentum last month at a high-profile news conference just days after Republicans suffered devastating Election Day losses. Gov. Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and two Republicans, former Gov. Jim Edgar and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, were among those who came out in favor.</p><p>The GOP blamed its defeats partially on failing to reach out to minorities and a lack of leadership on immigration reform, something ICIRR groups capitalized on. They say any legislation that addresses illegal immigrants resonates with minorities and immigrants who are citizens, both growing voting blocs.</p><p>&quot;Members of both parties have seen this is a practical common sense approach of dealing with the reality of undocumented living in our state,&quot; said Lawrence Benito, head of IICIRR. &quot;There isn&#39;t political will or enough money to deport 11 million people who are undocumented in this country. We need to address immigration laws at the federal level.&quot;</p><p>Not all illegal immigrants would be hesitant to apply. Mayra Sarabia, 37, said it would make her life easier.</p><p>She&#39;s been living in the country illegally since 1992 when she crossed the Mexican border. Her three children are U.S. citizens and she says every time she drives, it&#39;s a risk. She said she would rather rely on public transportation for her two-hour commute each way to work in the suburbs from Chicago, where she lives.</p><p>&quot;I definitely need a driver&#39;s license, it&#39;s the fear of every day getting out of the house, and wondering, &#39;Am I coming back?&#39;&quot; she said. &quot;We are all in the system. If you have a car, you&#39;re in the system. I have a bank account, I am in the system. The government knows where I live. ... If they want to deport everyone in the system, then they&#39;ll do it.&quot;</p></p> Sun, 30 Dec 2012 05:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/some-undocumented-immigrants-fear-applying-illinois-licenses-104617 Illinois Appellate Court welcomes first elected Latino Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-appellate-court-welcomes-first-elected-latino-justice-104175 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Justice Reyes.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.26012183292489943">The Illinois Appellate Court welcomed its first ever Latino elected to the bench this week.</span><br /><br />Jesse Reyes won a seat to the Illinois Appellate Court last March after serving more than a decade as a Cook County Circuit Court Judge. He was sworn in Monday afternoon in Chicago.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m so proud of the opportunity that I have been given by the voters to serve as Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court,&rdquo; Reyes said. &ldquo;And I&rsquo;m going to work my hardest to make all of them proud of me.&rdquo;<br /><br />In 2008, Reyes served as the first Latino president of the Illinois Judges Association and became the first Latino to win a county-wide judicial election in Cook County.<br /><br />Federico Rodriguez heads the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois. Rodriguez said Latinos represent 5 percent of the estimated 400 judges in Cook County.<br /><br />Rodriguez said even with Reyes&rsquo; election, the number of judges isn&rsquo;t reflective of the county&rsquo;s 24 percent Latino population.<br /><br />&ldquo;Jesse Reyes election is significant because we can see that a name like Reyes is electable where it wouldn&rsquo;t have been so before,&rdquo; Rodriguez said. &ldquo;So, it&rsquo;s a good thing, from our perspective. There&rsquo;s still a lot more work needs to be done.&rdquo;<br /><br />Reyes is proud of breaking these barriers, but said race shouldn&rsquo;t be the only focus.<br /><br />&ldquo;I was elected on my record, I was elected on my 14 years as a trial court judge with a diverse experience,&rdquo; Reyes said.<br /><br />Reyes said he hopes community outreach will inspire young people to pursue a career in the justice system.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to make sure that we bring together the Illinois Appellate court and the community,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Not only the Hispanic community, but all minority communities together.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 10:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-appellate-court-welcomes-first-elected-latino-justice-104175 Iowa Republican tries to kick Latinos off voter rolls http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/iowa-republican-tries-kick-latinos-voter-rolls-102539 <p><p>Thirty-one U.S. states currently have laws in place that <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/voter-id.aspx">require voters to show some sort of ID</a>&nbsp;at the polls &mdash; almost all passed in the last three years by GOP state legislatures and enforced by Republican secretaries of state.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP301477436988.jpg" style="height: 194px; width: 300px; float: right; " title="Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz explains his theory of illegal registrants on the state voter rolls. (AP)" />Almost to a fault, the laws are designed to disenfranchise African-American voters (I know, I know, everybody says &ldquo;minority&rdquo; but what they mean is black urban voters of all ages).<br /><br />Iowa appeared to top the list in recent months as the 32nd state with new and restrictive voting laws, but with a twist: With more than <a href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/19000.html">93 percent of the state population reported as white</a> and blacks registering only 3 percent, GOP Secretary of State Matt Schultz aimed his directive at Iowa&#39;s Latinos.<br /><br />Hispanics are only five percent of the population in Iowa but they&rsquo;re suddenly crucial. Since the 2008 elections, in which they overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama, Latino <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/growing-latino-population-could-affect-presidential-election-in-unlikely-states-like-iowa/2012/09/12/3cb7dafa-fd05-11e1-98c6-ec0a0a93f8eb_story.html">voter rolls have increased</a> from 30,000 to more than 50,000 in the state.</p><p>And with Obama and Mitt Romney in a <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/author/nate-silver/">dead heat in Iowa</a>, those votes can&#39;t be ignored.<br /><br />So what did Schultz do? Well, first he decided he had an emergency on his hands&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;<em>a real, honest to God emergency</em>. Then he compared names on voter rolls to a state transportation database and determined he had 3,582 illegal registrants. How this comparison revealed that is, so far, Schultz&#39;s secret.<br /><br />He said he feared those <a href="http://kmaland.com/09491_Voter_cross-check_fight_continues_063454.asp">3,582 non-citizens</a> would try to vote in November&#39;s election. (And in Iowa that actually means September 27, when both in-person and mail-in voting begins.)<br /><br />Then Schultz created two new voting rules using an emergency administrative process which <a href="http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/iowa-secretary-of-state-s-voter-rules-struck-down/article_6c5ec62e-feea-11e1-b8e8-001a4bcf887a.html">allowed the exclusion of public hearings</a> or community input of any kind.<br /><br />One of the rules would have challenged the voting rights of persons who appear on government databases as non-citizens. The second rule would have supposedly made it easier to report alleged voter fraud.<br /><br />Schultz armed himself with two letters to send to these individuals in order to get them to prove their citizenship. They can be found at the bottom of <a href="http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120916/NEWS09/309160060/-1/LIFE04/Schultz-blames-feds-delay-removal-ineligible-voters">this link</a> to a story in the <em>Des Moines Register</em>, and they&rsquo;re pretty special.<br /><br />The <a href="http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/433280-1st_potential_ineligibility_letter.html">first letter</a> Schultz planned to send to those 3,582 suspected non-citizens lists four types of IDs to prove citizenship, none of which are a voter ID card, a social security card, or a state ID.<br /><br />The <a href="http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/433281-2nd_potential_ineligibility_letter.html">second letter </a>is a reminder that just happens to include this sentence: <em>Please note that voter registration fraud is a Class &quot;D&quot; felony in the state of Iowa.</em> Because that&rsquo;s not <em>too</em> intimidating.<br /><br />Last Friday, District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;a <em>Republican</em> judge with a long history in Iowa GOP circles&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;responded to a suit against Schultz filed by the Iowa&#39;s ACLU and the state&rsquo;s League of United Latin American Citizens by issuing <a href="http://secretary-of-state-s-voter-rules-struck-down/article_6c5ec62e-feea-11e1-b8e8-001a4bcf887a.html">an injunction that prohibits Schultz</a> from enforcing his rules.<br /><br />Gunderson said Schultz had plenty of time to follow procedure for community input and that the emergency procedures hadn&#39;t been necessary. She didn&#39;t throw the rules out per se, but she set them aside until after the election.<br /><br />Schultz, who <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Schultz">won his post in a squeaker</a> just one year ago, is now threatening to sue to get access to a federal data base to <a href="http://kmaland.com/09491_Voter_cross-check_fight_continues_063454.asp">crosscheck</a> those 3,582 votes anyway.</p><p>With the presidential race so close, those votes could really make the difference.<br /><br /><em>This is the second in an occasional series. In the next few weeks, I&#39;ll be looking at how Latinos</em>&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;<em>the so-called swing vote in this year&#39;s presidential election</em>&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;<em>play in each of the states where the race is within a few percentage points. Read part one in the series <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/latinos-north-carolina-are-vital-obama-and-democratic-party-102153">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 20 Sep 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/iowa-republican-tries-kick-latinos-voter-rolls-102539