Latino USA offers insight into the lived experiences of Latino communities and is a window on the current and merging cultural, political and social ideas impacting Latinos and the nation.
I'm A Cholo
In the United States, the word “cholo” invokes images of gang members, lowriders, and tattoos. But in South America, cholo or “cholito” can either be a term of endearment or a racial slur used against people of indigenous ancestry. How come one word is used to describe two very different groups of people on opposite sides of the world? We take a journey, from the streets of California to the Andes of Peru, to find the roots of an ancient and harmful term that some people are, nonetheless, reclaiming as an element of pride and identity.
How I Made It: Maná
The rock en español group, Maná, is one of the most successful Spanish-language rock bands of this generation. They've sold over 40 million records worldwide. But the band didn’t start out playing stadiums. It all began when one member started an English-speaking band three decades ago in Guadalajara, Mexico. Latino USA sits down with drummer Alex Gonzalez, who tells us how they got their start and became Maná.
Shrimp Who Falls Asleep
Writer Yesica Balderrama immigrated from Morelos, Mexico to New York City with her family over two decades ago. Since then, they’ve been living in Queens as undocumented immigrants. While Yesica eventually was able to become a DACA-recipient, her mother and uncle are still undocumented. She has since moved out, gone to college and become a writer. But as she’s drifted away and created her own independent life, Yesica has started to become increasingly worried about how little her family has changed. In this intimate story, Yesica decides to confront her relatives with tough questions about their lack of progress, and how they try to stay afloat in this country.
Crossing The Border For More Affordable Insulin
From KPBS and PRX, “Port of Entry” tells personal stories, stories of love, hope, struggle and survival, from fronterizas and fronterizos and other people whose lives are shaped by the wall. Despite the pandemic and travel restrictions, people are still crossing into Tijuana for medical procedures and medications. They’re looking to save money on everything from discount dental work and weight-loss surgery to more affordable insulin. People like Liz Salcido, who has Type 2 diabetes. She needs insulin daily, just to survive. But sometimes, when money is tight, she’s had to ration the life-saving drug. In this episode of “Port of Entry,” we follow Salcido and another San Diego woman who went on a journey to find more affordable insulin across the border in Tijuana.
When pioneering trans activist Lorena Borjas first arrived in the U.S. in late May of 1981, she found both community and an epidemic. Through her experiences on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, NY, Lorena developed a personal approach to connect trans Latinas and trans sex workers to critical medical and legal resources. Decades later, it would be another massive health crisis — COVID-19 — that would take the life of this beloved community leader, putting into stark relief her vast legacy. Now, her closest friends paint an intergenerational portrait of Lorena, as a trailblazer, a mentor, and a mother.
How I Made It: Kali Uchis
Artist and singer Kali Uchis is known for genre-defying music inspired by the wide range of songs she loved as a child, from doo-wop and soul to latin pop and reggaetón. In this How I Made It segment, Kali Uchis talks about growing up between Colombia and Virginia, how she broke into the music industry, and why, after years of singing primarily in English, she decided to drop a Spanish-language Latin album in late 2020.