Luz Garcini: Helping Latino Immigrants Heal from Grief


Luz Garcini

Luz Garcini wants to help Latinos heal from the loss of a loved one. “One of the biggest needs that we see in the community right now is that there has been a lot of loss and grief, particularly associated to the loss of loved ones over the current [COVID-19] pandemic, that has not been addressed,” Garcini said. Garcini is a clinical psychologist and epidemiologist. She works as an assistant professor at the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at UT Health San Antonio. To further the study of loss and grief among Latino immigrants, Garcini and her team at ReACH created a monthly webinar series, “Paths: Building Strength in the Face of Loss,” to help Latinos understand grief and build coping skills and strength. She hopes the series will help Latinos ...

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Survey: Latinos Want Major Changes to Immigration System


Latino immigrant survey

Latinos widely agree that the immigration system in the United States needs a large overhaul, according to a new survey by PEW Research. “A majority of Latino immigrants and those born in the U.S. share the view that the country’s immigration system needs fixing, and this sentiment extends across all ages and education levels,” according to researchers Jens Manuel Krogstad and Mark Hugo Lopez. While most Latinos agree changes are needed in immigration policy, priorities differ depending on political party and legal status. This survey of Latinos on immigration comes four months into the Biden presidency, which has promised to enact various changes that would help Latino immigrants. These include defunding the U.S. and Mexico border wall, ending family separation at the ...

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Patricia Chalela: A Team Player Involving Technology into Latino Health Promotion Research


Patricia Chalela latino health promotion research at ihpr san antonio ut health

Patricia Chalela has always loved working in public health and being a valuable member of a team. Chalela is an associate professor at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio. Here she is an integral part of a team that studies how texting helps people quit smoking, trains students in research methods, and is learning the ins and outs of Latino cancer. Whatever the task, she is happy to help find ways to promote health in the Latino community, which suffers high rates of several diseases and cancer types. “I love what I do and I love to work with this team to make a difference for Latinos. It has been an amazing ride, really very rewarding,” Chalela said. A Colombian Immigrant Who Came to Texas Chalela was born in Colombia to a Lebanese ...

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What Biden’s New Immigration Plan Means for Latinos



President Joe Biden has vowed to completely reform how the U.S. handles immigration. In the first two weeks of his presidency, Biden has begun taking action to stop the border wall, family separation, support DACA recipients, reverse the public charge rule, and is planning further legislation to create an easier path to citizenship for immigrants. How does Biden’s immigration reform affect Latino immigrants? Let’s take a look at the different immigration policies Biden has in store. Defunding the U.S. and Mexico Border Wall One of former President Trump’s largest and most controversial campaigns was the U.S./Mexico border wall, which critics opposed for divisiveness and cost. The wall was never complete. In his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order to ...

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Cheryl Aguilar: Providing Mental Health Support to Families with Immigration Trauma



Immigration is difficult and often traumatic. People who immigrate to the U.S. often face a dangerous journey only to be met with aggression and xenophobia at the border. It can lead to loss of hope, anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Cheryl Aguilar wants to help families experiencing the trauma of immigration and adjusting to new life in the U.S. Aguilar immigrated from Honduras as a teenager, an experience that helped guide her to give back to immigrant communities. Aguilar is a clinical social worker and founding director and therapist at the Hope Center for Wellness. “As a therapist, one of the things that I do is help individuals, families, and communities heal from whatever distress, trauma, or experiences they might have encountered. I believe in holistic healing, ...

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President-Elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet Boasts Diversity, Minority Representation


biden diverse cabinet

When Joe Biden takes the presidential office on Jan. 20, 2021, he’ll bring cabinet members from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life. Biden’s cabinet is the most diverse presidential cabinet in history. There are more people of color and women than any previous cabinet and also has LGBTQ and Native American representation. Why does this matter? Having diverse government leaders can lead to more inclusive and equitable policies. Let’s take a look at who is joining Biden’s diverse cabinet. Who are the Latinos in Biden’s Cabinet? Biden will have several Latinos in cabinet positions, bringing representation to an area in government that has historically been predominately white. Some of the Latino politicians joining Biden’s cabinet are Alejandro ...

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Héctor Rodríguez: Bringing Latino Representation to the Comic Book World


hector rodriguez

To his students, he’s Mr. Rodríguez. To his fans, he’s the creator and author of the comic book and graphic novel series El Peso Hero. When he noticed a need for more Latino representation in comic books and literature, Héctor Rodríguez launched his long-time project as a web series in 2011. El Peso Hero is a Latino superhero who fights corruption, drug trafficking, immigration, and other real-life social and racial justice issues happening on the Texas/Mexico border. Now almost 10 years later, Rodríguez has printed several comic books, produced a radio novella and short film, and is working on developing El Peso Hero into a Hollywood production. Rodríguez first found inspiration for El Peso Hero during his childhood on the Texas/Mexico border. Inspiration on the ...

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Jennifer Morris Brings Hispanic Heritage Month to her English Language Learners


Jennifer Morris teaching

You probably haven’t heard of Jennifer Morris. She’s an English Language Learner teacher at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School in Philadelphia. But to her students from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Honduras, and Colombia, she is a hero. When Morris noticed that some of her immigrant students weren’t as engaged, she felt a need to add more Latino culture to her classroom. That’s why she helped bring Hispanic Heritage Month to her school in 2019. Becoming an ELL Teacher Morris has always wanted to make a difference in her classroom. Her aspirations to become a teacher began early. “From as long as I can remember, I was always playing school at home. I would beg my mom to go out to buy my sister prizes so I could teach her how to do certain math lessons,” Morris ...

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Report: ICE Allegedly Gives Detained Immigrants Hysterectomies Without Full Consent


ICE Detained Immigrants Hysterectomies

Among the horrific forms of treatment undocumented individuals face, a new report claims that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) performs hysterectomies on immigrant women. The shocking details, obtained through a complaint filed by Project South, assert that a gynecologist at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia performed these procedures — without providing a full understanding of the operation. Sometimes, they didn't even give these details in their native language, according to the report. Dawn Wooten, a former nurse at the detention center and the whistleblower of this complaint provided insight into the alleged practice. "Everybody [that the accused gynecologist] sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody," Wooten said in the complaint. ...

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