New York Documentaries

FULL EPISODE

Latino Americans of NY & NJ

Rafael Pi Roman hosts this program that explores the diverse culture Latinos have brought to the New York City metropolitan area. More than four million Latino Americans call the New York and New Jersey region home. Latino Americans of NY & NJ highlights this large community’s rich culture and influence, drawing from personal stories and experts in Latino history and culture.

AIRED: September 17, 2013 | 0:26:46
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

♪♪

>>> I'M A FIRST-GENERATION

DOMINICAN AMERICA.

>> I'M MEXICAN AMERICA

>> I AM FROM COLOMBIA.

>> I WAS BORN IN NEW YORK.

>> I WAS BORN IN PUERTO RICO AND

I'M AN AMERICAN.

>>"LATINO AMERICANS OF NY & NJ

WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY GENEROU

SUPPORT OF MR. AND MRS. OSCAR DE

LA RENTA AND THIRTEEN.

>> I'M RAPHAEL PI.

THERE'S SO MUCH DIVERSITY.

WE LATINOS DO HAVE A LOT I

COMMON

WE RECENTLY ASKED LATINOS TO ASK

THEIR PERSONAL STORIES THROUGH

OUR WEBSITE.

IN THIS NEXT HALF HOUR YOU'L

HEAR ABOUT THE RICH DIVERSITY OF

LOCA

LATINOS, THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS AN

FOOD

LIKE MANY AMERICANS WE CAME TO

FIND A BETTER LIFE

WE STRUGGLED HARD TO ACHIEVE IT,

IF NOT FOR OURSELVES, BUT FO

OUR CHILDREN

FOR MY FELLOW HYPHENATED

AMERICANS, THAT INCLUDES MOST OF

US

♪♪

>> NEW YORK CITY, LONG ISLAND,

NEW JERSEY, THESE ARE REAL

MELTING POT OF SOMETHING CALLE

LATINO THAT, WHICH I

DISTINCTIVE TO THIS REGION O

THE COUNTRY.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE HER

FROM VARIOUS COLONIAL MOVEMENTS,

1890s, SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR,

COLONIAL REVOLTS AGAINST SPAIN

>> THE SPANISH POPULATION IN NEW

YORK IS CHANGING TREMENDOUSLY,

OF COURSE.

TREMENDOUS INFLUX OF MEXICANS.

SINCE '80s TREMENDOUS INFLUX O

HISPANIC LIFE IN NEW YORK AN

ALSO IN NEW JERSEY

YOU SEE DOMINICANS AND PUERT

RICANS IN PARTICULAR MOVING OU

OF THE CITY AND MOVING TO PLACES

IN NEW JERSEY EVEN AS FAR AFIELD

AS PENNSYLVANIA.

>> NOW IT'S LIKE THERE'S BEEN AN

EXPLOSION AND BLOSSOMING BECAUSE

WE HAVE MEXICAN-AMERICANS AN

CENTRAL AMERICANS AND SOUT

AMERICANS, ECUADORIANS

BOLIVIANS, THIS WASN'T AROUND IN

THE '60s AND '70s.

YOU WERE EITHER PUERTO RICAN

DOMINICAN OR CUBAN EARLY IN TH

'70s

>> YOU CAN GO TO PLACES LIKE

VINELAND IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY,

MORRISTOWN, AND YOU WILL FIN

VERY LARGE, VIBRANT POCKETS OF

THE LATINO COMMUNITY

>> LATINOS HAVE NOT ONLY MOVED

OUT OF THE CITIES BUT ALSO

MIGRATED DIRECTLY INTO SUBURBS

OR INTO RURAL AREAS.

>> MY MOM IS FROM SPAIN AND MY

DAD IS FROM NORTH MEXICO

HER FAMILY, THEY WERE UNIO

ORGANIZERS UNDER FRANCO, WHICH

IS NOT OKAY AT THE TIME.

SHE CAME TO THE U.S. WITH LIKE

$30 IN HER POCKET, ONE-WAY

TICKET AND STARTED WORKING AT

GLASS FACTORY IN THE BRONX AND

SHE MADE HER WAY AFTER THAT.

♪♪

>> MY GRANDPARENTS ARE FRO

MEXICO

MY GRANDMOTHER IS FROM MATZALAN.

WE FOUND OUT SHE DIDN'

NATURALIZE IN 1950

SHE WAS HERE ILLEGALLY FOR 2

SOME YEARS

>> THERE WAS A STORY M

GRANDFATHER HAD COME FRO

COLOMBIA AND JUMPED SHIP

LIKE ERROL FLYNN, JUMPING SHIP

A FEW YEARS AGO I WAS DOIN

RESEARCH ON MY FAMILY AND

ACTUALLY FOUND THE DOCUMENT THAT

INDISPUTELY SHOWS THAT HE STAYED

ILLEGALLY IN NEW YORK.

A LOT OF US HAVE ILLEGAL ORIGINS

IN THIS COUNTRY.

IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT ILLEGAL

OR UNDOCUMENTED.

>> MY GRANDPARENTS CAME HERE I

THE 1970s AND WORKED REALL

HARD

I DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO BELIEVE

OH, THESE IMMIGRANTS AREN'

WORKING, AREN'T PROGRESSING.

THEY'RE LOOKING FOR THE AMERICAN

DREAM AND LOOKING TO BE BETTER

>> TODAY THAT IMMIGRATIO

QUESTION IS SQUARELY IN TH

MINDS OF MANY HISPANICS,

INCLUDING THOSE WHO ALREADY,

LIKE MYSELF, WERE BORN HERE AN

BECAME CITIZEN BY BIRTH.

OR WHO HAVE NATURALIZED AND WH

HAVE BEEN HERE FOR MANY, MAN

YEARS.

>> IN GRADE SCHOOL WE WERE

CHECKING OUT THE BOXES, WHAT ARE

YOU.

I WAS LIKE THERE WASN'T A BO

FOR MEXICAN.

YOU'RE WHITE, PACIFIC ISLANDER

ASIAN OR BLACK, LATINO

MY MOM WAS, YOU'RE MIXED, YOU'RE

BLACK, LATINO.

>> NOW TALKING ABOUT LATINOS I

NATURAL.

IT SEEMS LIKE WE'VE ALWAYS DON

THAT BUT THERE IS A FAIRLY

RECENT EMERGENCE

LATINOS THEMSELVES ARE FACED

WITH NOT KNOWING HOW TO FILL OUT

THE FORM

IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT THE CENSUS

LOOKED LIKE 20 YEARS AGO AND

WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE TODAY,

POPULATIONS ARE CATEGORIZE

DIFFERENTLY.

WE'VE GONE FROM BEING SPANIS

SPEAKING TO BECOMING HISPANIC.

THERE ARE QUESTIONS IF WE'LL

CALL LATINOS A RACE.

>> DESPITE THE TERM LATINO I

MEANS HIDING THE DIFFERENCES

>> I NOTICED THAT SHE PUT WHIT

IN MY INFORMATION.

I SAID, HEY, I'M NOT WHITE

SHE SAID, ARE YOU NOT PUERTO

RICAN?

>> SHE SAID, YOU'RE BLACK.

AND YOU SPEAK SPANISH?

>> HE SAID, HEY, YOU, GET WITH

THE PUERTO RICAN KID

HE SAID, HEY, HE'S BLACK LIK

YOU.

>> OBVIOUSLY, THE FORCED

IMPORTATION THROUGH SLAVERY OF

MILLIONS OF AFRICANS TO LATI

AMERICA CREATED THIS AMAZING MIX

THAT WE SEE TODAY IN

TREMENDOUSLY VIBRANT CULTURE

RELIGIOUSLY, LINGUISTICALLY,

ETHNICALLY, MUSICALLY.

ANTHROPOLOGISTS KNOW THE WHOLE

CONCEPT OF PURITY IS FICTION

>> IF YOU SAY SOMEONE IS LATINO,

WE DON'T KNOW IF THAT PERSON I

FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED

FOURTH GENERATION, MONOLINGUAL

SPANISH SPEAKER, GAY, LESBIAN,

STRAIGHT, COLLEGE EDUCATED

POOR

>> WE WENT FROM THE LIGHTEST

PART OF THE SPECTRUM FROM TH

DARKEST PART

IT'S BEAUTIFUL TO UNDERSTAND S

MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

>> WE'RE SO MIXED AND WE EMBRACE

EVERYTHING, EVERY CULTURE AN

NATIONALITY.

MY MOM SAYS PUERTO RICANS AR

LIKE LIFE, COME IN EVERY

DIFFERENT FLAVOR

>> I CONSIDER MYSELF LATINA AN

WITH THOSE WHO ARE SPANISH

SPEAKING, WHETHER IN CARIBBEAN

OR SOUTH AMERICA

>> I'M AN AUTHOR AND I'M A

PERFORMER.

I'M A NATIVE NEW YORKER, A NEW

YORIKIAN AND NATURAL REDHEAD AND

LIVED IN FOUR OF THE FIV

BOROUGHS OF NEW YORK CITY.

>> I STARTED IN UNION CITY

I RESIDED THERE MOST OF MY

ADOLESCENT LIFE.

I SERVE NOW AS UNITED STATES

DISTRICT JUDGE AND I SERVE WIT

GREAT PRIDE ON BEING THE FIRST

LATINA TO SERVE IN THAT POSITION

FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

>> I WAS BORN AND RAISED I

LOWER EAST SIDE.

I GREW UP WITH THE -- WHERE TH

GUNSHOTS WERE COMMON

IT WAS KIND OF ROUGH

YOU KNOW, WE LEARNED TO DEAL

WITH THAT.

YOU KNOW, I DID THAT UNTIL I GOT

OLD ENOUGH TO DECIDE THAT

WANTED TO LEAVE.

AND THEN BROOKLYN BECAME M

SECOND HOME.

>> I CURRENTLY TRAIN TWO WORLD

CHAMPIONS, TWO SISTERS

>> BOTH OF US WERE BOTH IN

CAROLINA, PUERTO RICO.

>> WE WERE BORN IN A TOUGH

NEIGHBORHOOD OF BROOKLYN

KNOWING WE CAME FROM THERE

PROBABLY IN THE RING WE ACT

LITTLE MORE TOUGH.

YEAH, YOU DEAL WITH THAT

>> I CURRENTLY LIVE IN

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS

BOTH MY PARENTS ARE DOMINICAN.

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, THAT'S YOU

MINI DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.

YOU GO UP THERE AND YOU FEEL THE

CULTURE.

YOU PASS BY RESTAURANTS AND YO

SMELL THE FOOD

>> MOM AND DAD ARE FROM PUERTO

RICO BUT I WAS BORN AND RAISED

IN THE CONCRETE JUNGLE, ALSO

KNOWN AS NEW YORK CITY

THE NEIGHBORHOOD I LIVE IN I

INWOOD

>> I'M PROUD TO SAY I'M MEXICAN,

BUT SOMETIMES WHEN YOU'RE IN A

PLACE LIKE NEW YORK CITY, LIKE

OKAY, SO YOU'RE MEXICAN BUT I'

A LATINA FROM NEW YORK CITY,

HARLEM

>> I WAS CAMDEN, AND STATE O

NEW JERSEY RECRUITED ME TO B

COMMERCE OF STATE.

>> UNION CITY.

I'VE ALWAYS BEEN IN THE SAME

AREA

A LOT OF CUBAN FOOD, A LOT O

CUBAN PEOPLE, CUBAN MUSIC.

>> I NOW LIVE IN THE SOUTH

BRONX.

WHEN I MOVED TO NEW YORK I MOVED

TO EAST HARLEM

I MET WRITERS, PEOPLE IN THE

PUBLISHING WORLD, BOOK LOVERS.

EVERYONE SAID, THIS IS A BOO

THAT NEEDS TO EXIST.

WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT OUR STORE

IS WE FOCUS SPECIFICALLY O

BOOKS THAT TALK ABOUT THE LATINO

EXPERIENCE

THAT ENTIRE WALL IS OUR DONO

WALL

THIS BOOKSTORE WAS ESTABLISHED

BY THE COMMUNITY

>> I LIVE IN JACKSON HEIGHTS

NEW YORK, IN QUEENS, BUT I'M

ORIGINALLY FROM ARGENTINA.

IT WAS FOUNDED IN 1969

WE ARE THE DEMOGRAPHIC IN TH

NEIGHBORHOOD, WHERE IT'S RAPIDLY

CHANGING

THERE WAS A NEED TO EXPAND OUR

MISSION.

NOT JUST REPRESENT THE PUERT

RICAN CULTURE BUT THE CULTURE OF

THOSE LATINOS THAT WERE COMING

TO OUR CITY AND TO OUR COUNTRY

WE CREATED A SHOW THAT WE PU

TOGETHER EVERY TWO YEARS I

WHICH WE SHOW EMERGING LATIN

ARTISTS.

>> THIS BODY OF WORK IS SOMEWHAT

DIFFERENT THAN OTHER PIECES THAT

I DO THAT ARE MORE

SIGHT-DEPENDENT THAT TAKE TH

FORM OF PAINTING

I'M INTERESTED IN THE HISTOR

THE MATERIALS BRING WITH THEM.

>> IT'S HIP-HOP AND R&B STATION.

I REBROADCAST LATE NIGHT

DEDICATIONS FROM WOMEN

DEDICATING SONGS TO INCARCERATED

PARTNERS

>> IN MY PRACTICE IN GENERAL I

TRY TO LOCATE ALL THE NARRATIVES

THAT POP UP WITHIN THE CONTEXT

OF NEW YORK AND DOMINICA

REPUBLIC

IT'S THIS IDEA OF AN IDENTITY OF

TRYING TO PUSH ITSELF THROUG

THE PAINTING

I FEEL LIKE A LOT OF DOMINICAN

IDENTITY IN GENERAL IS KIND OF

EVASIVE.

>> WE STILL HAVE TO THIS DAY

HAVE KIDS THAT COME INTO THI

MUSEUM, THEY SEE THE WORK OF

PUERTO RICAN ARTISTS AND THE

SAY I DIDN'T KNOW LATINOS DI

ANYTHING GOOD.

THAT'S BECAUSE WE DON'T SEE

LOT OF LATINOS IN THE MAINSTREAM

ART INDUSTRY

>> WE NEED TO REACH OUT TO OUR

CHILDREN AT A VERY TENDER AN

YOUNG AGE TO LET THEM KNOW

THERE'S SUCCESS OUTSIDE INNE

CITIES AND THERE'S SUCCESS FOR

EVERYONE

>> I'M AN ARTIST, PHOTOGRAPHER

I LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE CREATED AN ORGANIZATION O

PUERTO RICAN ARTISTS CALLED PR

ARTISTS.

>> I'M VERY GRATEFUL TO NE

YORK, TO THE CITY, TO TH

SITUATION BECAUSE IT HAS GIVEN

ME THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE SPACE

TO CREATE MY CULTURAL PROJECTS

>> I WAS THE FIRST OF MY FAMIL

TO GO TO COLLEGE

AND MY PARENTS BOTH VALUED

EDUCATION ENORMOUSLY

>> MY MOM WOULD WALK LIKE TWO TO

THREE MILES TO AND FROM SCHOOL

EVERY DAY.

WORKING AT HOME AND TAKING CAR

OF HER YOUNGER SIBLINGS, SHE

STILL CONTINUED TO GO TO SCHOO

TO THE POINT WHERE IN DOMINICA

REPUBLIC SHE GOT HER DOCTORATE

IN LAW

SHE'S MY BIGGEST INFLUENCE

>> MY PARENTS ENFORCED EDUCATION

FROM THE GET-GO.

I'M THE ELDEST OF THREE GIRLS.

I WAS THE FIRST TO GRADUAT

COLLEGE IN MY FAMILY

MY SISTERS WANT TO FOLLOW IN M

FOOT STEPS

THANK GOD ALL THREE HAVE

GRADUATED COLLEGE AND I FEEL M

PARENTS HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THEI

GOALS.

>> I'M THE FIRST TO HAVE

GRADUATED COLLEGE FROM A

BACHELOR'S

BOTH MY PARENTS GRADUATE

COLLEGE BUT ONLY GOT THEIR

ASSOCIATES

NOW I'M IN GRADUATE SCHOOL

THAT SHOWS ONLY WE'RE HERE FOR A

SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME, WE'R

TRYING TO PROGRESS

>> I WAS THE FIRST IN MY

IMMEDIATE FAMILY TO GO TO LA

SCHOOL

MY MOM MANAGED TO DO A PRETT

GOOD JOB, IN MY OPINION.

WHEN I LOOK BACK AT EVERYTHING

SHE HAD TO ENDURE, TO ME, THAT

IS A HERO.

YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY MY MOTHER IS

MY HERO.

I GET EMOTIONAL.

>> I AM CONSTANTLY INSPIRED IN

MY WORK, BY THE, IF YOU WILL

UNSUNG HEROES OF THE LATIN

COMMUNITY.

WOMEN WHO ARE WORKING INCREDIBLY

HARD, OFTENTIMES INVISIBLE, TO

MAKE SURE THAT THEIR FAMILY,

THAT THEIR CHILDREN, SUCCEED

>> I HAVE ALSO A LOT OF KIND O

ADOPTED KIDS, KIDS I MENTOR.

I'M HOPING TO EMPOWER THEM

BECAUSE I WANT THEM TO REALIZE

THERE'S NOTHING IN THE WORLD

THAT CAN STOP THEM

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE IT, YOU WILL

MAKE IT.

>> I LOVE WE'RE SO

FAMILY-ORIENTED.

I COME FROM A HUGE FAMILY.

IN FACT, MY FAMILY IS SO BIG

RENT OUT A HALL.

>> WHEN PEOPLE ASK, WHAT IS IT

LIKE, I SAY TOGETHERNESS

THAT HOLIDAY FEELING, PEOPLE

FEEL ON CHRISTMAS OR WE FEEL I

EVERY WEEKEND, RIGHT

♪♪

>> MY DAD IS A PEOPLE PLEASER.

IT'S HARD FOR MY DAD TO SAY NO

TO ANYBODY

HE'S SO OPEN-HEARTED AND ALWAY

HELPING.

MY MOTHER A HOMEBODY

SHE LOVES DOING, YOU KNOW,

COOKING AND ALL THAT

I GIVE HER SO MUCH CREDIT.

SHE WOULD WORK FULL TIME AND

COME HOME AND COOK A FRESH MEA

EVERY SINGLE DAY

NOW THAT I'M GROWN, I THIN

ABOUT HER, HOW DID THEY DO IT?

I CAN'T.

>> ONE OF MY STRONGEST

INFLUENCES WERE MY MOTHER AND MY

AUNT

WHEN SHE DECIDED THE FIV

SISTERS WANTED TO LIVE TOGETHER,

THE HUSBANDS OBEDIENTL

FOLLOWED

I WAS RAISED WHEN MEN GO OUT AND

WORK AND PROVIDES.

I PAY THE FINANCES, EVERYTHING

I BUY THE FOOD, AND THE WOMA

COOKS IT

IT'S NOT A MACHISMO TYPE O

THING BUT A TRADITIONAL THING.

THAT'S HOW I SAW MY MOTHER D

IT, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING

MY MOTHER WOULD STAY HOME AN

COOK AND MY FATHER WOULD GO OU

AND, YOU KNOW, KILL THE CHICKE

AND BRING IT HOME.

>> I HAD A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM

MY FAMILY.

YOU KNOW, AS PUERTO RICANS

WE'RE ALL TOGETHER

THERE'S A LOT OF US ALWAYS

MY PARENTS SUPPORTED ME.

MY MOTHER NOT TOO MUCH BECAUSE

I'M HER LITTLE GIRL AND SH

DIDN'T WANT MY BEAUTIFUL FACE TO

GET MESSED UP AND STUFF.

>> WOULD THEY FIGHT EACH OTHER

HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONS WHO REFUSE

TO FIGHT EACH OTHER.

>> I HAVE SOME FANS WHO AR

LIKE, OH, NO, IT'S A DISGRACE.

YOU DON'T DO THAT.

BEING HISPANIC, THEY LOVE THEI

FAMILY

LIKE YOU NEVER GO AGAINST YOUR

FAMILY

>> I'M RANKED NUMBER ONE AND SHE

RANKED NUMBER TWO.

IT HAS TO BE DONE TO MAK

HISTORY.

IT'S THE ONLY WAY --

>> YOU KNOW I'M GOING TO WIN, SO

I'LL SAY YES

WE LOVE EACH OTHER

UNCONDITIONALLY I LOVE HER MOR

THAN ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD AN

VICE VERSA

>> OH, I LOVE HER.

>> I HAVE A LITTLE GIRL WHO'S 12

OF MY OWN.

SHE'S AFRAID OF BOXING

SHE DOESN'T WANT TO DO IT OR

PURSUE IT BUT I BRING HER TO THE

GYM AND TEACH HER GOOD THINGS OF

BOXING, WHICH IS

SELF-DISCIPLINE, PARTICULARL

COMING FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD

WE'RE IN

>> WHEN YOU MOVE TO NEW YORK

YOU ARE KIND OF IN IMAGINARY

SPACE.

BETWEEN YOUR COUNTRY AND HERE.

THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY TO HELP YO

ARRIVE TO A CITY

RUN A PROGRAM OF PHOTOGRAPHY,

STUDIED WITH LATINO IMMIGRANTS

MOST ARE STUDENTS AND ALSO LEARN

ENGLISH.

>> THINK ABOUT ALL THE HISPANICS

THAT COME THAT DON'T MASTE

ENGLISH.

YOU SAY, DON'T SPEAK SPANISH T

YOUR CHILDREN.

YOU'RE BREAKING THOSE TIES AND

IT HURTS EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT.

>> I DON'T SPEAK SPANISH

I WISH I DID

I THINK IT'S SUPER IMPORTANT

I HAVE A 4-YEAR-OLD AND I'

REALLY ENCOURAGING HER TO LEAR

SPANISH BECAUSE I THINK GROWIN

UP FOR MY MOM, LIKE IN THE '60

IN THE BRONX, IT WASN'

ENCOURAGED AS MUCH AS IT I

TODAY, SO SHE DIDN'T TEACH IT TO

ME BECAUSE SHE FELT LIKE SHE

COULDN'T TEACH ME PROPER

SPANISH.

SO, THERE WAS A LOT SPANGLIS

SPOKEN

>> SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE I

INVENTED IT.

>> WHY ARE YOU BEING A PAPA --

>> SPANGLISH ALLOWS THEM TO BE

WHO THEY ARE AND TO DISTINGUIS

THEMSELVES FROM THEIR PARENTS.

>> NOW, MY DAD HAS A BIG ISSUE

WITH SPANGLISH

HE SAYS IT'S VERY DISRESPECTFU

BECAUSE IT -- WHOEVER YOU'RE

SPEAKING TO, HAVE YOU TO SPEAK

TO WHATEVER LANGUAGE YOU'R

SPEAKING TO THEM IN.

>> I DON'T LIKE SPEAKING

SPANGLISH.

IT WATERS IT DOWN.

>> I DON'T THINK IF YOU SPEECH

SPANGLISH, THEY DON'T TEASE YOU.

MY MOM DIDN'T WANT TO SPEA

ANYTHING

SHE DIDN'T WANT TO SPEAK SPANISH

BECAUSE PEOPLE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND

HER AND WHEN SHE WOULD SPEAK

ENGLISH, THE SPANISH WOULD COM

OUT SO SHE WAS MUTE FOR A LITTLE

WHILE.

>> IN HIGH SCHOOL PEOPLE WOULD

ASK ME WHY I SPOKE THE WAY YOU

SPOKE.

THEY WOULD SAY, WHY DO YOU SPEAK

LIKE A WHITE GIRL?

I SHOULD SPEAK LIKE A LATINO

PERSON

THERE'S SO MANY DIFFEREN

CULTURES, SO MANY DIFFEREN

PEOPLE

THIS IS ME

THIS IS THE WAY I SPEAK.

THIS IS WHO I AM

>> I GREW UP READING A LOT O

THE "THREE VALLEY HIGH" SERIES

TWO BLOND, BLUE EYED TWINS THA

LIVED IN THE VALLEY.

I HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THAT

COULD RELATE TO IN TERMS O

WHERE THEY LIVED OR HOW THEY

LIVED.

>> WHEN I WAS GROWING UP,

NEVER SAW ANYONE LIKE ME ON AN

KIND OF MEDIA.

AT ALL

AND SO I THOUGHT THAT MY STORY

WAS INVISIBLE.

>> ONE DAY I PICKED UP "TH

HOUSE ON MONGO STREET" WHERE

THERE WERE WORDS IN SPANISH,

CHARACTERS I FELT I KNEW AND I

CHANGED ME IN A WAY THAT I

STARTED TO LOOK FOR BOOKS THAT

REFLECTED MORE OF MY IDENTITY.

>> AS A RESULT OF NOT SEEING

MYSELF REFLECTED, I NEVE

THOUGHT I COULD BECOME A

JOURNALIST

EVER IN MY WILDEST DREAMS.

>> I WROTE A MEMOIR.

WHEN MY FAMILY MOVED INTO TH

APARTMENT BUILDING WHERE I GRE

UP IN THE MID-'60s WE WERE THE

FIRST AND ONLY PUERTO RICA

FAMILY TO LIVE IN THAT BUILDIN

AT THAT TIME

MY DAD WOULD SAY, YES, WE CAME

FROM THE ITALIAN PART OF PUERT

RICO

I THOUGHT THIS WAS TRUE UNTIL

WAS A TEENAGER

I WOULD GO AROUND SAYING I WAS

HALF ITALIAN

THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION

WOULD LIKE TO SEE BLOWN OUT OF

THE WATER IS YOU THINK YOU KNO

WHO SOMEONE IS BECAUSE OF WHAT

THEY LOOK LIKE ON THE OUTSIDE.

>> I DON'T BELIEVER THAT I A

I FEEL FOR MANY THINGS I DO IN

MY LIFE.

>> PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO COOK

LATINO FOOD HEALTHIER, GRADE T

GO FROM THERE AND APPLAUD AN

CELEBRATE BOTH SIDES

AND THAT NO MATTER WHAT TH

OPPOSITION MAY BE, BOYFRIENDS OR

FAMILY, IT'S CRAZY

I THOUGHT I HAD ENOUGH COURAGE

AND STRENGTH TO BELIEVE IN M

VISION CREATIVELY AND MY MESSAGE

OF NUTRITION AND FABULOUSNESS IN

THIS CHARACTER

♪♪

>> EVERY SATURDAY DURING THE

SUMMER, I WALK INTO FROM AROUN

THE BLOCK AND FOCUSES ON THI

IDEA THAT IT'S ONE OF THE LAST

NEIGHBORHOOD THAT HAS A VERY

UNIQUE PERSONALITY

>> THERE'S THIS.

I JUST THINK THESE ARE SO COOL

BECAUSE THEY'RE LIKE THIS SORT

OF SPONTANEOUS EXPRESSIONS O

SOMEBODY'S CREATIVITY.

YOU KNOW, WITH LIKE WHATEVER

MATERIALS ARE AROUND

YOU KNOW WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT THIS

STUFF, TOO, BECAUSE IT'S NOT A

MUSEUM, CAN YOU TOUCH IT

>> A LITTLE BIT ON THIS IDEA

THAT ART FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

>> AGAIN, CHANGE OF TH

REFLECTING CHANGE OF THE

NEIGHBORHOOD

>> ART AS A TOOL TO EMPOWE

PEOPLE

ART AS A TOOL TO BRING PEOPL

TOGETHER

TO CREATE A SPACE FOR THOSE THAT

DIDN'T HAVE A SPACE.

BEING A PLATFORM FOR THOSE THA

DIDN'T HAVE A VOICE.

WE SAY WE ARE THE FIRS

CONNECTION MANY ART LOVERS HAV

WITH THE LATINO CULTURE AS THE

ENTER OUR MUSEUM

WE LIKE TO PUSH THEM INTO TH

NEIGHBORHOOD AND SAY, THERE'S SO

MUCH MORE YOU CAN ENJOY.

THE MUSIC, THE ART, THE PEOPLE

>> FOOD IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT

FACTOR

MY CULTURE

I LOVE THE ROAST PORK SHOULDER

PART

THE SKIN GETS NICE AND CRUNCHY

I'VE BROKEN TEETH BECAUSE OF

THAT

>> MY FAVORITE THING TO COOK

WOULD PROBABLY BE MODO, RICE AND

PEAS

>> NEW YEAR IS A TIME WHEN

FAMILY AND FRIENDS COME OVER T

MY HOUSE

WE HAVE EVERYTHING

LASAGNA, EMPANADAS

>> FOOD IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT.

WHENEVER WE HAD GUESTS IT WA

ALWAYS A MEXICAN MEAL.

>> HISPANICS TEND TO B

CONNECTED WITH A NONPHYSICAL

FORCE.

THERE'S A SPIRITUALITY THAT HA

MADE OUR COMMUNITY PARTICULARL

RESILIENT.

>> MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT M

MUSIC AND MY CULTURE IS TH

SPIRITUALITY

IT'S VERY PURE AND VERY -- I

GREW UP WITH THAT.

I PLAY A LOT OF RELIGIOU

CEREMONIES

>> I FEEL LIKE WE'RE CONNECTED

TO MUSIC AND TO MOVING OUR

BODIES IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN

OTHER GROUPS

>> I LOVE DANCING.

I'VE BEEN DANCING SINCE I WA

LIKE 5

SOMETHING I REALLY ENJOY

>> I'M NOT A GOOD DANCER, BU

WHEN I TELL PEOPLE THAT, THEY'RE

AMAZED I CAN'T DANCE

>> WE LOVE MUSIC

WE LOVE FOOD

WE LOVE DANCING.

WE JUST LOVE TO HAVE A GOOD TIME

AND BE AROUND EACH OTHER

>> THIS IS WHAT MAKES NEW YORK

CITY UNIQUE.

WE BRING THE BEST FROM OUR HOM

COUNTRIES AND WE WANT TO SHARE

THAT

>> EVERYTHING I DO IS LATI

BECAUSE THAT'S MY HERITAGE AND

THAT'S MY EXPERIENCE

EVERYTHING I WRITE IS GOING TO

BE LATINO AMERICA, PUERTO RICAN,

NEW RICAN.

OF COURSE IT IS.

YOU CAN'T HIDE WHO YOU ARE

>> LATINOS IN THE NEW YORK ARE

ARE ONLY GROWING AND ONL

BECOMING MORE DIVERSE.

I WOULD VENTURE TO SAY THAT THEY

HAVE A LOVE OF NEW YORK CITY AND

OF THE REGION, AS GREAT AS

ANYONE

>> THIS IS WHERE MOM AND DAD

BROUGHT ME TO LIVE A BETTE

LIFE

AND LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, I

WON'T TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING ELSE

IN THIS WORLD.

>> THERE IS A VERY IMPORTANT

ROLE FOR OUR PEOPLE IN THI

COUNTRY.

WE HAVE MADE MANY, MAN

CONTRIBUTIONS BUT I THINK TH

GREATEST CONTRIBUTIONS ARE YET

TO COME.

>> THE LATINO COMMUNITY IS GROW,

AND THE RATE LATINO COMMUNITY IS

TAKING LEADERSHIP ROLES WE WON'T

BE SURPRISED IF VERY SOON WE'L

HAVE A LATINO PRESIDENT.

>> BEING LATINO IS NOT JUST

BOX.

IT'S MULTILAYERED, IT'

MULTILEVELED

IF WE TELL THOSE STORIES S

EVERYONE CAN LEARN FROM THEM

IT'S SOMETHING TO MAKE U

BETTER

IT'S GOING TO MAKE US A BETTER

CITY

IT'S GOING TO MAKE US A BETTER

COUNTRY.

>> IT'S ALREADY MAKING US A MORE

VIBRANT SOCIETY RIGHT HERE I

NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY.

TO HEAR MORE STORIES AND PERHAPS

TO SHARE YOUR OWN, PLEASE VISI

OUR WEBSITE AT

THIRTEEN.ORG/SHARE OR VISIT US

ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER

THANK YOU FOR WATCHING "LATINO

AMERICANS OF NY & NJ."

>> "LATINO AMERICANS OF NY & NJ"

WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE

GENEROUS SUPPORT OF MR. AN

MRS. OSCAR DE LA RENTA AND

MEMBERS OF THIRTEEN.

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