Huntington Park fans react to Mexico’s World Cup loss + New York’s “Ghetto Film School” comes to South LA


NBC: Fans of Mexico’s soccer team gather, watch, and commiserate in Huntington Park after Sunday’s World Cup loss.

LA Times: New York’s “Ghetto Film School” brings its unique approach to teaching filmmaking to South L.A.

KTLA: A shooting in Inglewood lead to one death and a wounded police officer.

CurbedLA: The upcoming Crenshaw line project has another stop established, this one with bells and whistles.

South LA tribute to Gabriel García Márquez

El coronel necesitó setenta y cinco años — los setenta y cinco años de su vida, minuto a minuto –para llegar a ese instante. Se sintió puro, explicito, invencible, en el momento de responder.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez at | Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara

Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 2009 | Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara

I laughed out loud to myself as I finished reading “El coronel no tiene quien le escriba.”


This is the answer that took the colonel seventy-five years of his life to provide in response to his wife as she pestered him about what they were going to eat.

“No One Writes to the Colonel” is the second novel I read by Gabriel García Márquez. It is one of my favorite books written by him, with one of the best endings that I have ever read. It is sad that Latin America has lost one of its most prized writers. But to me, he lives on in his stories and in the love of people who want change.

I discovered Márquez — also called El Gabo, a diminutive of affection among his friends and fans — in my first English class in community college two years ago when I read the “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World.” In this short story Márquez transforms the life of an isolated village when its residents become enamored of a dead man who washes up on their shore. Gabo gives life to a drowned man with his magical realism in stunning, straightforward prose. Instantly, I added him to my list of must-read authors, venturing to learn still more about El Gabo and his art. [Read more…]

Dia de los Muertos outgrowing its Mexican cultural roots

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

imageDia de los Muertos fills Los Angeles with altars, sugar skulls and yellow marigolds on the first two days of November each year. But recently, the Mexican holiday has become increasingly popular.

The Day of the Dead is at least a two-day affair. According to the holiday’s tradition, souls of deceased children returned to earth today, and they’ll be joined by families’ other ancestors overnight.

But at the South LA marketplace Mercado la Paloma, this year’s festival is much bigger than its Mexican roots.

Celebrations, art and food are bringing people from all kinds of backgrounds together, said Gilberto Cetina. He owns Chichen Itza, a restaurant within in the Mercado.

“White people, Asian people, Indian people, Latin people… it’s really a multicultural event. it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or if you sing in English or Spanish.”

This year, Gilberto is serving a special tamale pie called Mucbil Pollo. It’s what families in the Yucatan region of Mexico used to leave with their ancestors’ bodies while their souls waited for the afterlife. They still leave it on their altars. And people love it.

“The Mayans had a tradition to leave a corn on the mouth of the body, to feed the body. And now that corn dog is a little bit more sophisticated, and it’s a tamale pie.”

Visitors have plenty to see, too. Altars for families’ ancestors line the walls, and each one uses different fabric, pictures and relics based on what their ancestors loved.

Damon Turner is the Mercado’s Arts and Cultural Program Director. He helped set up the altars and a festival this past weekend. As a kid, his family didn’t even celebrate Halloween.

But Dia de los Muertos is special, he thinks, because it recognizes such common ground: family and death.

“I think the idea of Dia de los Muertos is really like celebrating that which is taboo, typically, in America, which is death. It’s looking at death as a place of strength, a place where we can build community with each other – and, yeah, have some good food while we’re doing it.”

Dia de los Muertos ends tomorrow – but Gilberto’s tamale pie will be back at the Mercado la Paloma next year.

Former braceros fight for wage compensation

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News:


image Miguel Bermudez, who is in his 70s, is one of hundreds of thousands of people who were part of the Bracero Program that allowed Mexicans to work in the United States. As part of that arrangement, a portion of the pay was withheld and was to be returned later.

That didn’t happen for all braceros.

Workers are supposed to return to Mexico to get their earnings. But many of the former braceros or their descendants can’t make the trip.

Juan Jose Gutierrez, president of the immigration group Vamos Unidos, says it is up to the Mexican government to make good on their promise.

“I mean, if someone takes your money, they have to give it back,” Gutierrez said. “That’s just the right thing to do. This was outrageous theft.”

But things are finally beginning to change.

Now, Mexican consulates all over America will be able to pass out $3,500 to braceros or their families because of a decision made earlier this month by the Mexican government. Bermudez was the first in line to get his check at the Los Angeles Mexican Consulate Monday, clutching the paperwork he filled out all of those years ago close to his chest.

He was able to get his check because he had registered during a now closed registration period.

But there are many more braceros or descendants all over America who aren’t yet registered to collect their checks in the United States. So immigration activists met with members of the Mexican consulate, urging them to allow another registration period. They also hope to use the American media to get the word out about the decision.

“We have asked members of the media to publish this phone number that ex-braceros can call to get assistance, and that [number] is (213) 746-6264,” Gutierrez said.

But Sergio Bermudez, Miguel’s son, says that this check doesn’t make up for the years of neglect from the Mexican government.

“Being his son, there is a lot of frustration after years of empty promises and watching him get the run around,” Sergio said.

Both he and Miguel hope all the former braceros and their families will finally get the retribution they deserve.

Pushing the barriers, the children of immigrants in South LA’s schools

Yesenia Zamarripas is about to enter her sophomore year at Crenshaw High School. Her Mexican parents speak very little English, and so it’s been hard for Yesenia to keep up with her peers. Now, the pressure is mounting, and there’s no time to fall behind. But resources are slim in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and there are very few options for getting extra help. Getting through high school is going to be tough.

This story is part of a series produced for the Carnegie-Knight Foundation’s News21 project, "Breaking Through: The Children of Immigrants in California"