These are challenging times for our Mexican American Immigrant communities, said Dr. Jorge Partida, psychologist and author of the book “The Promise of the Fifth Sun.” The impact of the economic downturn is devastating lives nationwide, but especially in these communities.
Hopes of achieving the American dream are dwindling in the reality of immense job loss and home foreclosures, due to the sub-prime lending crisis. Disheartened and defeated by the uncertainty of the future, many have retreated to Mexico. Yet, despite the despair, inspiring stories of hope, resilience and survival are rising out of the suffering.
Arlette Gutierrez, 19:
“I was born in Mexico City. In 1991 I moved here when I was three years old. We came here and my grandfather filed all our paperwork and we’ve been waiting for everything to happen. We were told when we came here, we would have to wait 10 or 11 years, I believe, and we’ve been waiting, I think, 16 about to be 17 years.”
Arlette Gutierrez came to the United States nearly 17 years ago. Still undocumented, Gutierrez is ineligible for a driver’s license, state identification card and scholarships needed to pursue her career in commercial advertising. After delaying her education for one year, so she could help her parents pay for her sister’s tuition at the University of Illinois, Gutierrez has started her first semester at a local community college.
“It does get hard sometimes because all my friends, they’re American, they’re born here so but I mean other than that, I try to stick through it and stay strong and wait for whatever comes,” she said.
Jessica Orneles, 13:
“I want to become a professional swimmer. Being a swimmer, because I need to study hard for that. I think it’s going to be difficult, because if I become a swimmer I have to have papers for [so] I can go to different places like go to the Olympics.”
Jessica’s family migrated to the United States from Mexico 12 years ago. Swindled by an immigration lawyer who took $3,000 from them and disappeared without filing paperwork for their legal residency, the family remains undocumented. Jessica has two brothers, both of whom dream of attending college, their parents said. One son is an artist, another is a musician, they added.
Jessica’s father earns minimum wage at a company that makes wires and her mother is employed as a babysitter. The family of five lives in the basement of a house that recently flooded.
Dr. Partida’s book tells the story of his own journey from a childhood living with his “curandera” folk healer grandmother in a grass hut in the Mexican rainforest, to education and success in the United States. Immigrants struggle through harder times now than when he came here in the 1970’s, he noted.
“I think we as a nation we have a tough time really dealing with these tough discussions about immigration and about integration of people. And so we leave it up to politicians and…[with] the political arena being much more severe, an example is what’s happening in Arizona, that the dialogue is much more hateful,” he said.
Father Nestor Saenz of Our Lady of Fatima Church said many immigrants are driven by strong religious faith and the belief that better times are ahead. Sunday masses at his church are standing room only.
Rosa Perez, the food pantry coordinator who works with Father Nestor, said more people than ever need help. Perez also runs the church’s food bank. Through tearful eyes, she speaks about those willing to help others in spite of their own troubles.
“I don’t know where it comes from but the money comes in. We have a poor box located in the vestibule, people just donate. You know, I have a lady, I guess she owns the company, in December she donates 100 turkeys, 100 hams plus all the extras. And I told Father, ‘Father, you’re not going to believe it!’ But we never lack food,” she said.
The number of people coming to the food bank has more than doubled in the last three years, according to Perez.
Dr. Partida said the human spirit has an incredible will to survive.
“I think that the resiliency comes from hunger…[and] you get exposed to all of the challenges and…all the barriers and at some point somebody in that family dynamic, somebody in that family system is going to take it upon themselves to push it and push it and push it. And I think it’s these cases of resilient kids that sort of open the door for everybody,” he said.
In the summer of 2009, a series of muggings occurred in Lincoln Park, Chicago, from July 30 to Aug. 3. Five men, in their mid-20s, were robbed and savagely beaten in the head and face by at least four attackers who were also in their 20s. Two of the victims were hospitalized.
Up to the moment, a man was identified as a suspected but he was later released because of lack of evidence. According to the Chicago police, the four attacks are linked. However, additional 3 attacks occurred during the same period of time and the police are investigating their relation with the other assaults.
As of September 1, 2010 no arrests have been made.
Alex Morales, Resource Development Project Manager, who visited DePaul University, to talk to about The Resurrection Project, a organization that has helped the residents of Pilsen neighborhood thorough housing programs improving their quality of life.
Pilsen is located at Lower West Side of Chicago. This historical neighborhood has been at the epicenter of many cultures and the home of immigrants who came to United States. Initially, people from Czechoslovakia, Russia and Poland settled there and began to raise their families. Then Italians, Germans and Hispanics came.
Unfortunately, the violence and the lack of organization hit this community by bringing difficulties such as the lack of infrastructure and peaceful environment.
“One of those problems in Pilsen was not having enough police around the neighborhood,” Morales affirmed, while recalled all the issues due to disinvestment in the neighborhood.
A tragedy in the 70’s turned things around. A family died after their house burned in a Christmas day, as Morales recalled. That tragedy woke up the community; it got the attention of authorities, churches and the national media. In an era where the confusion, despair, uncertainty reigned; a project changed the face of the neighborhood. Pilsen did rise from the ashes of disbelief and the lack of belonging with the help of ‘’Resurrection Project.’
TRP was found 20 years ago with the help of six community parish which united efforts. Each one donated $5,000 to start addressing the problems were affecting Pilsen. It relieved it; organized people and offered services that helped to integrate the neighborhood.
The three pillars of the TPR’s mission have been: community organizer, education, development which helped to improve the quality of life of Pilsen. And after so many years of hard work, TRP still helps to build affordable and save houses for ownership, rental housing. In addition, it runs programs like: ‘Elev8′, focus in integrate parents ans children or “Mujer Avanzando” which helps singles mother through education programs, wealth creation, and childcare services.
The Resurrection Project will keep working to help the community to have a better future by improving the quality of life, therefore, Pilsen will be the Phoenix bird of Chicago.
In Chicago, when some people hear the term “gapers block,” they are not thinking about the traffic jam due to rubbernecking drivers slow to watch an accident. Instead, they are thinking about Gapers Block, one of the most prominent city blogs.
Andrew Huff, the editor and publisher of GapersBlock, told DePaul University on Monday about his experiences as blogger, entrepreneur and journalist.
Gapers Block’s name frames a successful purpose: “Ee are trying to get people to slow down and check out all things is going on in the city,” explained Huff.
Huff, along with designer Naz Hamid, founded and launched Gapers Block in April 2003. It started with 12 original staff members and now has about100 volunteer writers.
The blog is divided by special sections. Merge has different topics and it is constantly updating. Rearview features photos. Slowdown contains the calendar of events. Fuel post a simple questions to start a conversation.
“When we launched, we were the only game in the town,” said Huff.
Today, in the market there are blogs that competes with Gapers Block for the Chicagoans readers such as Chicagoist or Mouthpiecesports, Huff has his own formula of success: “responding to the readers (…) finding out what people are interesting in,” he said.
William Wright has been coming to see Kent Young, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who practices in Chicago’s Chinatown, off and on for nine years. Wright was originally referred to Young by his Tai-Chi instructor after suffering a knee injury.
Wright said he had been taking the prescription drug Celebrex for over two years before coming to see Young for acupuncture. After one session with Young, Wright was able to stop taking the drug, and hasn’t needed it since. He also has dislocated both shoulders, the right one was treated with Western medicine and the left one with Eastern medicine. Wright says his right shoulder still gives him trouble sometimes, but his left shoulder is “back to normal.”
Wright is so pleased with the treatment he received here that he has brought all his family and many friends to see Young. One of those friends was Elizabeth Rodriquez, who had severe back pains after giving birth to two babies back to back.
When Wright asks her how she feels, Rodriquez doesn’t hesitate, “I feel, like, brand new.”
Not everyone is as thrilled about acupuncture as Wright and Rodriquez. Carolyn Deming received acupuncture when she was a little once for an injured shoulder and once for sinus pressure.
“While I see the benefits and I appreciate it […] if it was free I would get it all the time, but I don’t think I necessary am willing pay for it. If my insurance covers it I would too. “
According to the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, acupuncture “has been used to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness for over 2,000 years” and is proven to treat “acute and chronic ailments” and strengthen the immune system.
“We treat the whole body, not just the problem,” said Kent Young, at his practice, Kent Young Health Products Center & Co. Young has been practicing acupuncture for thirty years, though he has only been practicing in the U.S. for ten years. His current practice is located in the heart of Chicago’s Chinatown. The practice itself is combined with a Chinese pharmacy.
The smell of strong, bitter herbs wafts out the door as one enters, the smells of a traditional Chinese herbalist. The scents are just a hint of the many different products offered here. Walking in the door patients see a drink cooler filled with a combination of Diet Cokes and a “supplement drink” called Joint Juice. Along the back wall, next to even more shelves of goods, is a floor to ceiling wall of drawers. Each drawer is filled with a different fresh herb. In front of the casement is a tiny scale as well as a mortar and pestle for mashing up the herbs.
Patients walk past aisles overflowing with a variety of supplements, herbs, and teas to treat almost every ailment. Squeezed in amongst the various supplements is a shelf filled with cookies, candies and other treats. There are even a few packets of stickers for sale. There are so many different products they can’t all fit on the shelves and many are contained in cardboard boxes that line along the shelves.
At the very end of the aisles patients almost stumble into the clinical side of the company. Four folding chairs, a desk and some certificates on the wall are the only thing suggesting this is not part of the store anymore. It could just as easily be the store’s back office as a medical clinic.
The acupuncture procedure takes place in a small room partitioned off from the rest of the building by a small bamboo screen, which is decorated with anatomical posters depicting the different pressure centers used in acupuncture.
Behind the screen are two small beds, covered in sanitary paper, a shelf overflowing with needles, cotton swabs, containers for disposing of used needles, and other supplies. There are so many supplies back here that Young has to store things under the beds, and often places items on the bed next to the patients while prepping them.
After emerging from the treatment area Rodriquez stretches a bit and says “It’s amazing. I didn’t expect to feel this good” Rodriquez received acupuncture and cupping on her back to help relieve the pressure.
“I think acupuncture has its application in a lot of chronic pain issues, it‘s also been shown to be effective for treating some folks with like smoking and things like that,” said Dr. Matthew Stauffer, a recent graduate of Loyola University.
“We are trained usually to deal with pain through medication and if there is a surgical procedure that can be done to help relieve pain.”
“Acupuncture can be very complimentary, if you will, to a lot of what of what Western medicine has to offer,” said Doug Stoulsfuz, a retired family practitioner and supporter of acupuncture who receives acupuncture treatments himself. “ I don’t believe necessarily any one form of treatment is the answer to everything.”
When Stoulsfuz was a practicing physician, he “would still caution my patients if they were approaching some of these things, be careful in keeping both an opening mind but a questioning mind as well.
“We tend to focus on a disease process in Western medicine, whereas a lot of Eastern medicine focuses on symptom complexes as opposed to a disease. They look at symptoms as representing an imbalance in one form or another of your body’s chi, your vital energy.”
Stoulsfuz started receiving acupuncture in 2000, after developing central vertigo, when Western medicine was unable to adequately treat his symptoms. Since his original visit Stoulsfuz has repeatedly received treatments for a variety of other ailments, including recovering from a mental trauma and releasing pressure on a sore shoulder.
Like Rodriquez, Stoulsfuz received acupuncture and cupping treatments to help relieve the pain on his shoulder. Cupping (Check out Slideshow on Cupping) is a technique used to stimulate blood flow and draw toxins out of the body. Cupping involves using a glass or plastic cup to create suction on the skin and first layer of muscle. There are many different techniques involved with cupping, one such technique involves puncturing the skin to help increase blood flow. To create suction the practitioner will either suck the air out of the cup, or placing a heated cup on the skin.
“Cupping was one of the things he used to relive some of the tension in my muscles both the acupuncture and the cupping is very useful for getting rid of tension,” said Stoulsfuz.
Herbal supplements are another popular form of alternative treatment. Stauffer cautions patients to be careful when taking supplements.
“For some of the vitamins and herbal supplements there is no one actually regulating what actually is that pill or capsule,” Stauffer said. “So you can put anything you want in there. You can have more of the herb, lets say, ginkgo biloba, it can be five times what it says in the package; and there is no one regulating them. And that’s when I think some herbal supplements can be dangerous for patients because they are thinking they are taking certain amount and they are actually taking five times they thought they were taking.”
“I think that herbs can have a role, but are they the answer to everything, as a physician I would have to say no,” Stoulsfuz said.
He also cautioned that “you want to make sure your supplier of herbs is a reputable one that’s not going to have contaminated supplies.”
Patients buying their supplies from Young’s pharmacy needn’t worry about contaminated products Young frequently replaces his herbs, and when they are expired he throws them out.
When asked about his herbs Young said patients need to be sure to measure the right amount when boiling tea. Americans may not have the scales or traditional knowledge many Chinese families have, when it comes to creating home brews.
While many people swear by the benefits of Eastern medicine, it will be a while until American health insurance companies recognize, and pay for alternative treatments. Some insurance will cover a portion of acupuncture treatments, but that is few and far between, and only with select PPOs.
On its website, the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine said that many insurance companies do cover acupuncture but they are also working to educate the insurance companies.
For now though, it is probably best to look at Eastern and Western medicine not so much competing with each other as complementing each other. To use an Eastern image, think of Eastern and Western medicine as the Yin and the Yang, two seemingly contrary forces combining together to form a complete whole.
Western medicine may have stronger and more precise treatments for complicated diseases such as cancer, but Eastern medicine focuses on the whole person.
“There is a whole focus on balance, I think we’re missing in Western medicine,“ Stoulsfuz said
Chapter 12 ‘Principles of Convergent Journalism’
The practice of journalism is transforming. The new media is changing ways journalists can tell stories. Also, it is creating a revolution in the news market. For instance, it is closing newspapers and magazines jobs but opening Web jobs.
This can sound scary but it should not, if journalists understand and adapt to the change of the news media market. Nowadays, reporters need more skills to be competitive, especially when the audience claims news 24/7.
Journalist should be able to gather information and report it across multiple media; without forgetting that each medium shares the same principles of good reporting: accuracy, attention to detail, compelling information, appropriate and solid attribution, proper grammar, word usage, spelling and punctuation. Mistakes can happen!
In addition, having the knowledge sometimes is not enough. Knowing what field you want to work for and what are you goals, it will help you to be successful. As Nido Qubein said: “winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with those of other people.” Set up short and long term objective and plan how you want to achieve them.
Build a strong portfolio with examples of your work and an error-free resume. Keep in mind that any work you do or post on the Web (including personal pictures, comments, etc.) can be accessible to a prospective employer and that could be a benefit or a disadvantage.
Interview is an important step to land a job. It gives the organization the opportunity to look at somebody enthusiastic, bright, and it gives you the opportunity to know more about the company values and offer.
You will find obstacles in the path of building a career as journalist; but remember what Henry Hartman, famous photographer, said: “success always comes when preparation meets opportunity.”
 Principles of Convergent Journalism, Wilkinson, Grant and Fisher, 2009 edition, Oxford Press
Chapter 11: ‘Principles of Convergent Journalism’
In today’s newsrooms, radio, television and newspaper are not the only mediums to transmit news. In a convergent newsroom, there are new technologies that expand the possibilities of gathering news and reporting the latest updates of current events to the audience; for instance: RSS, e-mail notifications, text messaging, and billboards.
RSS – also called “Atom” or “really simple syndication”- is an Internet tool to deliver content to user who has decided to receive that information (pag, 188). Generally, a RSS must be downloaded of the Internet. In general, the versions of this software are free. RSS users subscribe to receive specific information and they control if they want to read it or not.
E-Mail Notification can be use to deliver videos, pictures and graphics as it is used to delivery content on the Web and people who subscribe can receive the breaking news or content. Since repetitive e-mails may be seen as spam, some news organizations abstain from sending them often or they use e-mail notification only when needed.
However, that e-mail alerts can drag people to the Web site, if they want to know more about a specific story.
Text Messaging is becoming one of the most important mediums to delivery content. Although cell phones are broadly distributed across population, younger people are the mainly users. Since a text message can interrupt meetings, class, conversation, and the like, it has to be limited to breaking news.
Text messaging can be important to receive alerts about weather, sports, stocks market. People only need to subscribe to any server.
One of the most known places to display billboards is the Time Square in New York. Billboards are used to delivery short messages to individuals as they are driving (Pag., 197) However, those messages should be precise, not longer than 10 words and easy to read. And although, billboards are a great opportunity to transmit news, they can be dangerous if the content or images distract the drivers.
In the next few years, new ways of delivering content are going to be available for newsrooms. So journalist better be prepared!
 Principles of Convergent Journalism, Wilkinson, Grant and Fisher, 2009 edition, Oxford Press