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This Indigenous Radio Station Is Keeping Immigrants From Mexico & Central America Informed

Arcenio Lopez / MICOP

In the 2010 census, more than 685 thousand Latinxs in the US identified themselves as American Indian, a number that experts believe could actually be much higher. With Latin media predominantly in Spanish and English, this population has long lacked much-needed news and culture in their language. Enter Radio Indígena, a radio station hoping to serve indigenous communities from Mexico and Central America.

The radio station is one of the first to cater to indigenous Mexicans in the United States. Every week, it boasts 40 hours of original programming, from newscasts to educational talk shows to music. While content is primarily in Mixeco, there are also programs in Zapoteco, Triqui,  Nahuatl, Spanish and more.

Radio Indígena is hosted and run by the Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), a nonprofit organization providing health outreach, humanitarian support and language interpretation to indigenous communities in California.

“There are very few ways for us to receive information in our own language,” Arcenio Lopez, executive director of MICOP and Radio Indígena, told NBC News.

He and his team started Radio Indígena in 2014. At the time, the community station was only available online. However, after three years of fundraising, the station made it to the FM airwaves in 2017.

In California, where thousands of indigenous migrants from southern Mexico have moved to in search of work after the soil erosion of ancestral farmlands in the Mixteca region, one-third of farm workers speak indigenous languages. Many of them don’t understand English or Spanish. For them, Radio Indígena is a lifeline, keeping them connected to life back home, informed of important immigration news in the US and entertained with music and cultural programs.

“Listening to it is a point of pride,” Josefino Alvarado, a California farm worker who grew up speaking Mixteco before moving to the US in 1997, told the news site. While the man is familiar with Spanish and English, the station helps him preserve his first language while giving him the opportunity to learn other indigenous languages.

According to UNESCO, almost half of Mixteco’s 50 dialects are either severely endangered or at risk of endangerment. Experts believe that migration and economic pressures, including finding paid work, has led to the extinction of indigenous languages in Mexico and Central America as well as when migrants from both regions are in the US.

One of the most popular programs on Radio Indígena is “Al Ritmo De Chilena,” an educational show that shares the history of a new indigenous culture each episode. The program, hosted by Delfina Santiago and Carmen Vasquez, airs every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The women, who work at Ventura County flower farms and as a teacher’s assistant, respectively, do the unpaid show as a labor of love.

For them, researching history, keeping their language alive and connecting listeners to their roots offer them the most value. They say it’s empowering and instills much-needed pride in a community that has long been taught to feel ashamed of their language, culture and experiences.

“We’ve kept our languages hidden out of fear,” Santiago said, “but no longer.”

Read: Mixe Author Yásnaya Aguilar Says Mexican Government Killed Off Indigenous Languages In Powerful Speech

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The Remains Of A Woman From The Umatilla Indian Reservation Have Been Found In A Freezer

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The Remains Of A Woman From The Umatilla Indian Reservation Have Been Found In A Freezer

In the United States, violence against Indigenous women has climbed at a staggeringly higher rate than the ones acted out on women who are non-Indigenous. According to reports, 84% of Indigenous women will report having experienced some act of violence within their lifetime. Within this number, 56% of women will experience sexual violence and 55% will be violated by a romantic or sexual partner. In 2016, the National Crime Information Center revealed 5,712 reports of Native American women who had gone missing. And yet, according to advocates, tracking the number of missing indigenous women cases is nearly impossible. Primarily because many of the databases keep track of these women are outdated.

In other words, thousands of Indigenous women go missing and forgotten each year due to a lack of diligence and training by law enforcement.  Last year, Cissy Strong Reyes’s sister Rosenda Strong went missing. Her fight to ensure her sister did not become a part of these statistics ended this week when the body of Rosenda was found in a freezer. 

Rosenda Strong, a 31-year-old, went missing in October of last year. 

The mother of four went missing in October of 2018 in Toppenish, WA after last being seen leaving the Legends Casino in the area.  Strong, who is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and a descendant of the Yakama Nation, had been declared missing ever since.

Last Friday, after nearly a year-long fight to find her sister and bring her home, Rosenda’s sister Cissy learned of her sister’s brutal murder 

At this HEARTACHE time please no questions to my family…. But MY BABY SISTER Rosenda Strong REMAINS FOUND IN A…

Posted by Cissy L. Reyes on Friday, July 12, 2019

“My baby sister Rosenda Strong’s remains found in a freezer. Yes, it has been confirmed to me this morning from the FBI agent working on my sister’s case,” she posted to Facebook. “We have her back, not the way we wanted, but we can after 275 days of looking, wondering, our baby sister, mother, aunt, cousin, friend is coming home to our mother….Now we can finally lay my sister to rest.”

Rosenda’s death has been ruled as a homicide, with the cause of death still under investigation. 

According to reports, the Yakima County Coroner’s Office identified Rosenda’s remains which were found in a freezer in the Toppenish area on July 4.  The Seattle Times reported that two homeless men found Rosenda’s remains in an unplugged freezer. Yakama Nation tribal police and the FBI responded to the discovery of the body because the remains were found in the Yakama Nation.

According to the local KIMA-TV station, Rosenda’s family and friends gathered with her community for a candlelight vigil in her memory on Sunday evening.

According to KIMA-TV, many used the vigil as an opportunity to honor Rosenda and raise awareness of missing native women. During the vigil, Rosenda’s sister Cissy recalled “She’d always make me look in her eyes and she said, ‘I love you. I’ll be back, okay?’ And I said okay, love you. And she walked out the door. That was my last memory of her.”

Should you have any information on the Rosenda Strong case, please call the Yakama Nation Police Department at 509-865-2933 or the FBI at 509-990-0857, citing case number 18-010803.

Kamala Harris Proposes Ambitious $100 Billion Grant Program To Close Racial Gap In Homeownership

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Kamala Harris Proposes Ambitious $100 Billion Grant Program To Close Racial Gap In Homeownership

kamalaharris / Instagram

Democratic Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a California Senator, has recently proposed a $100 billion federal grant solution to help address the racial wealth gap for Black Americans. The crux of the solution is centered in homeownership. She wants to help pay for down payments and closing costs for families of color that are still affected by redline segregation-era practices. She announced her plan Saturday at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, which aims to lift up Black women.

“That not only lifts up black America, that lifts up all of America,” she told the crowd.

The plan would help at least 4 million families that are living in those areas that were redlined. Redlining is the term used to describe Jim Crow laws that limited black families’ abilities to take out loans to buy homes. Redlining effectively set boundaries on where those families could live, and, generations later, those families continue to suffer.

The plan also includes a crucial policy change that would raise credit scores for many minority families.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

Her plan is to change federal policy that would count rent payments and utility bill payments toward credit scores, effectively raising credit scores for POC. The plan would give families of color assistance with buying homes in neighborhoods they had been racially biased from living it by offering grants up to $25,000.

The plan would increase the average wealth of Latino households by $29,000.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

It would also increase the average wealth of Black households by about $32,000, according to The New York Times. By aiding with down payments and closing costs, it allows families to buy homes that they could pay off with their existing monthly income, rather than requiring tens of thousands of dollars in savings before ownership.

Of course, Fox News is already screaming their heads off about reverse racism.

Credit: @Bakari_Sellers / Twitter

Unlike offering home loans that families can’t afford, which caused the 2008 housing crisis, this plan seeks to make true reparations for Black families that were prevented from owning homes due to Jim Crow laws.

Thankfully, folks are clapping back at the #whitesplaining.

Credit: @L82twatmytweet / Twitter

Instead of discussing the issue at hand–reparations for redlining–Tucker Carlson and his gang talked about how it would be racist to white people by not including them in the conversation. If white folks were included in the conversation, it would be as perpetrators of racist systemic oppression, but Kamala Harris is focusing on justice for black folks, not punishing white folks.

Some people are generally concerned over “race-baiting” policies.

Credit: @raynen15 / Twitter

We see you Pan Dulce. There are over 40 million Black folks in the United States, and several responded to Harris’ tweet with concern that this only helps 10 percent of the population. Of course, the 4 million that would be helped are a diverse group of POC that are descendants of those that were racially segregated. That’s several generations of POC paying rent to a landlord instead of owning a home they could pass onto the next generation, to give them a leg up in the world. When reparations aren’t made, families remain static, instead of progressing.

Just one example of a certified Doctorate in Reverse Racism.

Credit: @EddieDonovan / Twitter

We don’t know what your Ph.D. is in, Mr. Eddie Donovan, but it certainly isn’t in systemic injustice or empathy. Hope you had fun leaving that little winky face at the end of a tone-deaf comment, though. Harris’s plan aims to undo generations of unfair and racist practices that hurt Black and brown communities. The same plans being proposed were once used exclusively for white communities so it is just a way to even the playing field.

Harris is tackling systemic injustice alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in other ways, too.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

Just this week, the duo introduced a bill that would reduce recidivism through housing after incarcerated individuals leave the system. America has the highest percentage of our population behind bars than any other country in the world. Many of the laws that place folks in jail started out as Jim Crow laws and have simply evolved to become more insidiously racist.

Regardless of those offended by the proposal, people are coming out in droves to support the effort.

Credit: @ArtMarius2 / Twitter

Keep it going, Harris. #BlackWomenMagic

A Univision poll showed that Kamala Harris support by Latinos more than doubled from 6 percent to 22 percent after the debates.

@KamalaHarris / Twitter

The poll only included 411 Latino voters and showed Kamala Harris in the lead with 22 percent. Castro was behind her with 18 percent, and Biden and Sanders were tied at 16 percent.

READ: Don. Jr. Said Kamala Harris Wasn’t Black Enough And Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Not Having It

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