International Artists Show the faces of Migrants


International Artist Show The Faces of Migrants Through Face to Face: Action. Healing. Solidarity from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

On Thursday, July 25, 2013 artist Favianna Rodriguez and CultureStrike hosted Face to Face: Action. Healing. Solidarity in collaboration with Ted Prize winning, photographer JR and his project Inside Out and HUB Oakland. The goal of the project is to show the faces of migrants and their allies in “dignified ways.” Black and white poster-sized portraits were taken in a mobile photo booth, printed and put together to cover a large white wall at 2323 Broadway Ave. in Oakland, Calif.

Rodriguez is an internationally recognized artist who has become involved in the pro-reform debate on immigration at a national level. She is also the coordinator of CultureStrike.  According to Rodriguez, CultureStrike is a national organization that organizes “artist and musicians and filmmakers around migrant rights.”

Julio Salgado, CultureStrike network coordinator says that the event is meant to “put a face to the migrant and people of color community.”

Rodriguez says that the project is “about honoring our beauty and our resiliency as a community.” She says, “There’s many Trayvon Martin’s, there’s many Oscar Grants, and there’s also people being deported every single day, over a thousand deportations a day.” Rodriguez explains the excitement about JR’s participation in the project and at the fact that “we’re able to really send a message to the entire country that black and Latino communities can come together.”

JR is a French artist who exhibits his black and white portraits around the world. His project Inside Out began in 2011. Portraits that are a part of the project have been exhibited in countries like Brazil, Mexico, Haiti, Italy, Thailand and Pakistan.

More than 10 volunteers helped with the project throughout the day. By approximately 2 p.m., more than 50 people had already participated by having their pictures taken. The wall on which the portraits were placed belongs to HUB Oakland, which according to their website, is a “physical space where community leaders and social entrepreneurs can join together, cross pollinate, bloom and thrive.”

According to The Pew Research Hispanic Center, there are currently an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The Senate passed the immigration reform bill in June.




The influence of Samuel Martinez in the Fruitvale District


Samuel Martinez Discusses History and Traditional Healing from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

Samuel Martinez is a part of the history Oakland’s Fruitvale district as a therapist, healer, social justice worker, activist, writer and traditional dancer. During the Urban Relocation program of the 1950s, he and his mother were relocated to the Oakland housing projects where they faced racial inequality and discrimination, which he says have “made him stronger.”

After refusing to join the Vietnam War, at 18 years old he became an anti-war activist and joined the Chicano Moratorium. As a parent and organizer he helped create El Centro Infantil de La Raza and served on the board of directors.

Martinez is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who contributed to the creation of a mental health department at La Clinica de La Raza. He refers to himself as a “Social Justice Healer offering a Traditional Healing Praxis.” His praxis began with his mother’s traditional teachings of healing and in 1977 he incorporated the theories of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. In 1971 La Clinica de La Raza was established in the Fruitvale district in order to provide accessible health care for the neighborhood’s Latino population. La Clinica opened its first mental health site named Casa del Sol in 1978.

In his backyard, Martinez leads community TemesCalli’s or Sweat Lodges for family and extended family alike. Martinez says that the meaning of TemesCalli stems from “Calli” which means home and “Teme or tema is in a prayerful way.” He says that the prayer lodge is “the creation story in our five senses because we are beings of the five senses.”

As an author he has published several books including The Indian Dream: Surviving the American Holocaustand AmeriCaCa—The Sounds of Silenced Survivors: Surviving America’s Campaign to “Kill the Indian, Save the Child.”




Cihuatl Tlatocan Fundraiser Honors Frida Kahlo


8th Annual Frida Kahlo Fundraiser from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

The San Jose, Calif., women’s group, Cihuatl Tlatocan, of the grassroots organization, Alianza de Maiz, held the 8th Annual Frida Kahlo Fundraiser, which took place on Friday, July 12, 2013 at the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. The money raised at the event is designated to aid the Ni Una Más Scholarship, for Latina victims of violence, and women’s wellness workshops and leadership events, such as the Mujer Indigenous Gathering. Tamara Mozahuani Alvarado, executive director of the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza, hosted the evening.

8th Annual Frida Kahlo Fundraiser Auction Item

Silent art auction item at the 8th Annual Frida Kahlo Fundraiser, which took place on Friday, July 12, 2013 at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. (Photo by: Natalie Rodriguez/Full Sail University)

The event raises money by accepting donations at the entrance, a Frida Kahlo themed silent art auction, raffles and food and beverages. This year there was also a photo booth, and Kahlo t-shirts and tot-bag sale. The art for the silent auction and items for the raffle are donations. Alvarado who is a major supporter of the event also donated a gift certificate for the School of Arts and Culture for the raffle. Every year, the fundraiser includes a look-a-like contest of the famous couple of Mexican artist, Kahlo and Diego Rivera, with prizes for the winners. This year a Leon Trotsky was added to the look-a-like contest tradition.

The fundraiser that has been taking place for eight years helps sustain programs in favor of migrant and worker’s rights, women’s, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues and culture and art in the city of San Jose through Alianza de Maiz. Co-founder, Adriana Garcia, says that although the fundraiser has had both good and bad years, “people just want to see it and they expect it every year.”

Garcia says that Kahlo inspired the event due to the admiration that event organizers have for her “Because of her strength” and “how she over came different situations, really hard situations in her life.” The event is meant to “honor Frida of course and to honor the women of San Jose and to show them that we can do this.”

Correction: The name of the location of the event is the School of the Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza, not the Mexican Heritage Plaza School of the Arts and Culture, as was previously stated.




Charito Martinez, local radio personality says, “use your ethics” when it comes to anonymous sources


Anonymous Sources

Jana Winter, and Lydia Cacho are only two examples of journalist who are whiling to assume any consequences in order to protect the identities of their sources that they promised confidentiality to. (Photograph by: Natalie Rodriguez/Full Sail University)

Earlier this month, Jana Winter, a FoxNews.com reporter was taken to court and may be forced to reveal who the source that gave her information on James Holmes, the Aurora Colo. shooter in the theater massacre, was. Maria del Rosario Martinez, known as Charito Martinez, a journalist with a license in Mexico as a radio announcer and radio host at local regional Mexican radio station KRZZ, 93.3 FM La Raza talks about reporters, anonymous sources and whether or not she would take an anonymous source in order to get an exclusive. Martinez tells an anecdote of being offered money in exchange for speaking to “an anonymous source” and how she thinks twice before accepting an anonymous source because “you have to know if the information is going to be true.”

 Confidentiality and the truth:

For now, the decision on whether Jana Winter will be called to testify or not has been postponed until August, which means that there is still a possibility that she may have to testify and either reveal the name of her source or face time in jail. Martinez remembers the case of Mexican reporter, Lydia Cacho, who has since left her country. “She was a national reporter and she went through the same process with the government and sources in Yucatan,” says Martinez. In response to these cases Martinez believes that “if you work for a corporation, you have to follow their rules” and that in doing so you could end up compromising your sources because “sometimes they pressure you to do certain things with your sources.”

Having to disclose your source is not the only way in which you could compromise your integrity as a journalist, knowing when a source is telling the truth and double checking facts is also essential to Martinez. Personally, Martinez will not easily accept an anonymous source because she takes her promise to confidentiality very seriously, as well as her promise to the truth. When she does accept an anonymous source she needs to “double check my sources, so always, always double check your sources” because you want to make sure that “they’re going to say the truth.”

The regional Mexican scene: 

Narco Corrido Fashion

The culture of Narco corridos in the regional Mexican format goes beyond music to include fashion trends as well. (Photography by: Natalie Rodriguez/Full Sail University)

Currently the regional Mexican music industry has made headlines due to the Narco Corrido, or drug trafficking ballads, and its artist who have been murdered. Martinez has had the opportunity to personally work with a few of the artist on the list due to her line of work. Last Thursday, Jesus “Chuy” Quintanilla, a narco corridor singer was found shot dead in Texas. While his death has yet to be declared a murder, his name is now on that list of singers of that genre who have died a tragic death. Martinez remembers an occasion in which she was offered a large amount of money to speak to an anonymous source. “Someone offered me $10,000 to do something. But no, I mean, use your ethics.” This is one particular case in which Martinez decided to say “Thank you, but no thank you.” As advice to other journalist she says you should always question, “Who are you devoted to? The truth? To be loyal to the public, to the general public?”

In California journalist are protected from disclosing their sources by:

California Shield Law Protected

The California Shield Law would protect you from having to disclose published or unpublished information such as recordings, photographs or notes. (Photograph by: Natalie Rodriguez/Full Sail University)

The California Shield Law

  • Who is protected?
    • Online publishers are protected through this shield law.
    • It Protects people who are “connected with or employed upon a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication.”
    • It is unclear whether or not “bloggers” are protected, and what the definition of “news” is considered to be.
  • What does it protected?
    • Protects published and unpublished information such as notes, photographs, videos, and recordings.
    • Protects the source and any information that “might lead to their identity.”
  • If you are a third party in a civil case the shield will protect you.
  • In a Criminal case the shield will protect you if the prosecution is the one looking for information, however a defendant could possibly overcome the shield.

The United States Constitution

  • The constitution may protect reporters based on the Freedom of Speech granted by the first amendment.

The Federal Privacy Protection Act (PPA)

  • This may protect you from search warrants. If a search does take place and you feel that it has violated the PPA, this protection lets you file a civil lawsuit. If it applies to you, it protects you in all states.
  • Who is protected?
    • At the moment the specifics are not very clear.
    • This federal protection covers “a person in connection with a purpose to disseminate to the public a newspaper, book, broadcast, or other similar form of public communication.”
  • Exceptions
    • Government officials can conduct a legal search if they have “probable cause” to believe that the reporter has evidence that links them to a crime.
    • The search may also be legal if the authorities believe that putting off the search will result in “death or serious injury.”

For more information on legal protection for journalists, visit the Digital Media Law Project.