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Los Americans: Episode 1

Happy Birthday

posted on August 18, 2014

Leandro Valenzuela’s idyllic suburban world is shaken as he deals with losing his job, his mother’s alcoholism and three new houseguests – his homeboy cousin Memo, who he hasn’t seen in thirty years, Memo’s undocumented wife and their overweight son.

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Top 10 Latino Films

Posted on August 1st, 2011 by Alejandra Okie 9 Comments

Latinos are now the largest minority group in the United States. Nowadays it’s more common to see Latino actors and characters in popular TV shows. But how are Latinos represented in film? We put together a starter list of the best Latino films made in the U.S. over the past 30 years.


Unemployment and depression

Posted on July 25th, 2011 by Alejandra Okie 2 Comments

Unlike in some countries around the world, in the U.S. our jobs tend to define who we are. Paid work can represent our role, our purpose, our social life and our structured time each day. Yet , nine percent of the population in the U.S. is unemployed. So what happens to a person’s mental state when they lose a job or have trouble finding one? Feelings of anxiety, sadness or depression:


Harvest of Dignity: New Documentary About Farmworkers

Posted on July 18th, 2011 by Alejandra Okie No Comments

Harvest of Dignity, a new original documentary about farmworkers in the U.S. recently premiered on the Public Internet Channel ( The Harvest of Dignity film comes on the 50 year anniversary of the acclaimed 1960 film Harvest of Shame, the last televised documentary by journalist Edward R. Murrow that led to permanent changes in the laws protecting workers’ rights.


Five Myths About Immigration in the U.S.

Posted on July 11th, 2011 by Alejandra Okie 5 Comments

We are a nation of immigrants. In 1990, the U.S. Census asked one out of six households what their ancestry or ethnic origin was. Here’s what they said: German: 15.2 percent, Irish: 10.8 percent, African-American: 8.8 percent, English: 8.7 percent, Mexican: 6.5 percent, Italian: 5.6 percent. Although many of us have an abuela or nonna who came to the United States as an immigrant, in general most of us know very little about the current immigration policy in the U.S. and the impact immigrants have in our society.


Undocumented Immigrants and the Definition of Being an “American”

Posted on July 4th, 2011 by Alejandra Okie 3 Comments

You may have heard about Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who revealed to the world that he is an undocumented immigrant. When he was 12, his mother sent him to live in the U.S. with his grandparents so he could have a better life. From an early age his hope was that by working hard, making a positive contribution and loving his country he would be able to get U.S. citizenship and be recognized as an “American.”


Alcohol Use Among Latinos

Posted on June 27th, 2011 by Alejandra Okie 1 Comment

True or false? Latinos are more likely to have a drinking problem than other ethnic or racial groups. The answer is false. About 9.5 percent of Latinos have a drinking problem at some point in their lives, compared to 14 percent of non-Hispanic Whites (NIH). Although Latinos are less likely to drink alcohol at all (abstain) than non-Hispanic Whites, alcohol abuse is a serious concern for Latinos for several reasons:


Being Bilingual in the U.S.: Benefits and Tips

Posted on June 19th, 2011 by Alejandra Okie 9 Comments

Helping me be fluent in two languages is one of the greatest gifts that my motherever gave me. After we moved to the U.S. from Mexico, she kept speaking to me only in Spanish. Being bilingual allowed me to continue to have a connection with my family, ancestors and culture. It has given me access to job opportunities as a writer, translator and community educator. It allows me to travel and to be able to communicate with over 3 million people whose first language is Spanish (SIL). Latino immigrants and language:


Pepe or Joe?: The Transformation in Latino Names in the U.S.

Posted on June 13th, 2011 by Alejandra Okie 3 Comments

Although the Latino population grew by 43 percent in the last decade, for the first time since the 1970’s the name “José” did not make the list of the 50 most popular baby names for 2010 compiled by the Social Security Administration. Other names losing in popularity include Guillermo, Juan, Juanita and Angelica. What’s making Latinos choose nontraditional names for our children? Take my own story as an example.


Job Outlook for Latinos

Posted on June 6th, 2011 by Alejandra Okie No Comments

What will it take for the job outlook for Latinos to improve? In April 2011, the unemployment rate for Latinos was 11.8 percent, compared to 9 percent for the general population (NCLR). A recent poll found that one out of three working Latinos, more than any other group, felt insecure in their jobs. And, one in three had lost their health insurance or other benefits. The poll also found that Latinos were the most likely to be underemployed– looking for more work or better jobs