Help Save Romo's Caffe

Romo’s Caffe from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

Laura Hernandez from Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico, crossed the border by walking at the age of 12. She is a hard working woman who with the help of her girlfriend Allison Downs, and her two sons, Adan and Mario Jimenez has established a coffee stand, Romo’s Caffe, at the Laney College Flea Market in Oakland, Calif. On Sunday, March 30, 2014, their trailer with all of their supplies and materials was stolen outside of their apartment building. This is Laura’s story.

For more information on how you can help Laura and her family save Romo’s Caffe visit:

CultureStrike to Host Event on Central American Migration

Mexico Migrants

Migrants ride on top of a northern bound train toward the US-Mexico border in Juchitan, southern Mexico, Monday, April 29, 2013. Migrants crossing Mexico to get to the U.S. have increasingly become targets of criminal gangs who kidnap them to obtain ransom money. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

The pro-immigration magazine CultureStrike in collaboration with Verso Books and Impact Hub Oakland will be hosting “Before the Destination: Migrations from Central America to the United States,” in an effort to shed light on the dangers that Central American immigrants face on their journey to the United states. The multidisciplinary event scheduled for Saturday, December 7, 2013 will feature the work of award winning journalist Óscar Martínez, photographer Edu Ponces and artist Favianna Rodriguez.

Martínez, author of “The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail,” will be doing a reading from his book. In October 2013 he was featured in NPR’s Alt.Latino show for his work in documenting the story of Central American’s who travel through Mexico to the U.S. border on freight trains known as La Bestia.

Ponces is an award winning, Spanish, photojournalist whose work has centered largely on the topic of migration. He co-authored the book “En el Camino: Mexico, la Ruta de los Migrantes Que no Importan (On the Way: Mexico, The Route of the Migrants Who do Not Matter).” Ponce’s exhibit will focus on the experiences of women on the Train, who face additional risk factors.

Favianna Rodriguez

Artist Favianna Rodriguez at the pro-immigration event “Face to Face: Action. Healing. Solidarity” in collaboration with French artist JR and his project Inside Out, on Thursday, July 25, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. (Photograph by: Natalie Rodriguez)

Rodriguez is an interdisciplinary artist and activist. She is an international lecturer, coordinator of CultureStrike and co-founder of the national organization, Her work will be present via an art installation.

Despite the many dangers of making the trip from Central America to the U.S. through Mexico via freight train, according to The New York Times, the number of American arrests of undocumented immigrants from Central American countries increased from 46, 997 in 2011 to 94,532 in 2012.

The event will take place at The Hub Oakland located at 1423 Broadway Ave., Oakland, Calif.; from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Admission will be free. Register for the event via the Facebook Event page or through Eventbrite.

Mexico Migrants Attacked

A group of Central American migrants read the news of their ordeal from a local newspaper outside of a shelter after they were attacked on the freight train they were riding through Mexico, in Acayucan, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2013. The United States-bound migrants had hopped on the train in southern Mexico and were traveling through the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz when attackers shot and cut them with machetes. Some jumped from the train to escape and others were thrown off, said migrants’ rights activist Tomas Gonzalez Castillo. At least 10 Honduran migrants are recovering from wounds suffered in the attack. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

Tu Tienda Azteca: Giving the Fruitvale Community More than Art


Tu Tienda Azteca is located at 3104 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, Calif. 94602. Art work as seen on Sunday, November 3, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. (Photograph by: Natalie Rodriguez).

Tu Tienda Azteca is located at 3104 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, Calif. 94602. Art work as seen on Sunday, November 3, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. (Photograph by: Natalie Rodriguez)

Tu Tienda Azteca, a Mexican Folk Art store opened in Hayward in 2007 as a collaboration between Oscar Cisneros and his mother, Rosario Cisneros. Oscar is a self-proclaimed, self-taught artist who was born and raised in Oakland. In 2013 the shop relocated to the Fruitvale District in Oakland and along with art, brought a desire to work together with the community.

The Cisneros family not only bring traditional Mexican artwork to the communities they work in, they also share their knowledge with them. When they were located in Hayward they collaborated with Tennyson High School on their Día de los Muertos event. This year, they have collaborated with La Clinica de la Raza’s, Casa Che department’s Youth Brigade in creating traditional nichos, or shadow boxes for their altar.

In addition Tu Tienda Azteca has also been busy with Día de los Muertos celebrations such as The Unity Council’s yearly community

Tu Tienda Azteca at the Dia De Los Muertos Fruitvale Festival

Oscar Cisneros of Tu Tienda Azteca and his assistant’s work at the Unity Council’s yearly Día de los Muertos Festival in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, November 2, 2013. (Photograph by: Natalie Rodriguez)

celebration and hosting workshops at the store. On Sunday, October 13th, they hosted Miguel Quintana, a sugar skull artist from Puebla, Mexico who had a live demonstration and sale. Local artist Leanne “Elrod” Rodriguez also recently hosted a “Glitter 101 Día de los Muertos Edition” workshop. Workshops are open to the community.

By making a purchase at Tu Tienda Azteca you are not only supporting local artist and merchants, you are also supporting community enrichment for the youth.


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From Undocumented to DACAmented

From Undocumented to DACAmented from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

Mario Espinoza, twenty five, arrived in the United States with his mother and older siblings from Guatemala City after crossing the US/Mexico border with what he was told was a little girl’s visa at the approximate age of three. Being undocumented made him realize that he would not have the same educational or employment opportunities as his peers while he was in high school. As a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Espinoza explains how DACA has not completely changed his life.

Artist Max Kauffman on Oakland and Beauty

Artist Max Kauffman on Oakland and Beauty from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

Artist, Max Kauffman, premiered his solo show, “Your Vulnerability Makes You Beautiful,” at Loakal Gallery & Boutique on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The opening was a part of Oakland’s First Fridays Festival of Art and Culture. Nastia Voynovskaya curated the show. Born in Chicago, Kauffman believes that the Bay Area is a “hub of artic culture,” and that there is beauty in Oakland’s “toughness.”