Because CTLatinoNews.com launched on July 9th, we can’t do a “year” in review but we can look back at the Top 10 stories that have appeared on our pages since we began publishing.
Here are the Top 10 CTLatinoNews.com stories for 2012.
A lot of the top stories come from the arena of government and politics with the biggest story being the election of the first two Latinos in history to the Connecticut State Senate. Latino political power has finally come to the upper chamber of the General Assembly.
Andres Ayala. left in photo, had an overwhelming win in the 23rd Senate District. That means come Jan. 9 he will be the first Latino Democrat to be elected to the State Senate.
In the 33rd Senate District, for an open seat, Republican Latino Art Linares defeated his Democrat and Green Party challengers by a comfortable margin. It may have been the strong showing by the Green Party at approximately 9 percent that helped Linares to victory, which is somewhat ironic because Linares runs a solar business that he started at the age of 19.
CTLatinoNews.com opinion columnist Bessy Reyna brought national attention to the fact Connecticut’s largest newspaper relied on Google Translation for its Spanish-language news page at www.courant.com. Her op-ed piece, “Courant En Español – Have Fun, Get Angry” said, “It’s hard to imagine that the Courant, the oldest continuously-published newspaper in the country, would think so little of its readers as to publish a poorly worded computer generated translation, without anyone verifying that the versions are grammatically correct. Or does the paper think that Latinos are going to be ever so grateful to have to guess the meaning of the news in Spanish?”
After FoxLatinoNews.com and Poynter.org started raising questions (as well as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists), the Courant took down its Google translation page and replaced it with Noticias, a combination of Reuters stories and local coverage translated into Spanish.
As Latino voters are increasingly courted by political parties and their candidates, CTLatinoNews.com researched the Latino employment records of the state’s congressional delegation to provide a snapshot of how campaign speeches and promises translate into their congressional hiring practices once they are elected to office. Among the state’s seven Democrat members of Congress, if current staffing levels in their offices were to reflect the percentage of the population, overall most appear to have staffs that fall short in representing this growing segment of the labor force.
The question seemed to be a sensitive topic for some. Two of the state’s U.S. representatives preferred not respond to our inquiry on this subject, nor did the offices of the state’s two U.S. Senators where the numbers are just as bleak. One appears not to have any Latino employees; the other senator has two Latinos in a staff of 50, which translates to a current employment record of Latinos at about 4%.
Latinos in the New Haven parish of St. Rose of Lima breathed a sigh of relief that their long struggle against the East Haven Police Department finally paid off in the form of a settlement between the town and the U.S. Justice Department over abusive treatment of parishioners on an extended basis.
The investigation arose after the Rev. James Manship was falsely arrested by East Haven police for videotaping police officers harassing one of his parishioners at a store he owned. More than 200 parishioners came forth with stories of their own recalling abuse by the police.
Connecticut set all kinds of records for campaign spending in 2012 thanks to the deep pockets of Linda McMahon in her U.S. Senate race but media spending was not flowing to Latino media outlets in the state.
It was difficult to tune into a news program, listen to radio talk shows or pick up a newspaper without reading about the crucial Latino vote. That is exactly what has many of those who run Connecticut’s Hispanic media outlets perplexed. Not much of the millions of political advertising dollars being spent in the state in the two high profile media campaigns – the U.S. Senate and 5th District Congressional races – is making its way to Latino media outlets. Turns out Republicans were more willing to spend money there but it didn’t make a difference. Both lost.
Three Latino GOP state senate candidates in Connecticut were part of a national GOP effort to appeal to Latino voters by recruiting Latino candidates for elected office. They faced tough races but received support as they sought to win in districts that have long elected Democrats.
The GOP initiative was called the “Future Majority Project” which hopes to elect 100 Republicans to office in November across the country. In Connecticut, the candidates that have been chosen were Malvi Garcia-Lennon who ran unsuccessfully for Windsor’s Senate District 2 against African-American veteran legislator Eric Coleman; Hector Reveron, who unsuccessfully ran in East Hartford Senate District 3 against longtime state Sen. Gary LeBeau who is white; and Art Linares who successfully ran for Westbrook’s open seat in Senate District 33 against Democrat state Rep. Jim Crawford, a one-term white legislator.
Some Latino business owners are convinced that the system the state uses to steer contract work to minority-owned business is broken and needs an overhaul. They say that the current set-aside quotas are meaninglessly small and structured in a way that doesn’t help minority-owned businesses win government contracts. Members of a trade organization called the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council have been leading the latest round of criticism.
“The system is fundamentally flawed,” said member Ed Rodriguez, president of Penmar Industries in Norwalk, a manufacturer of tape, labels and other packaging products. Rodriguez has tried and failed to secure state contracts through the existing certification process, and he says of his prospects: “I never have, and I never will. The hurdle is extraordinarily high.”
Dr. Nancy Horn, a New Haven psychologist, like other healthcare professionals, is coming to the realization that cultural sensitivity is becoming an integral part of a patient’s treatment. It’s a growing movement that is being shepherded by the nursing profession.
Lois Daniels, a member of the nursing faculty at Goodwin College in Hartford and a nurse-midwife at St. Raphael’s Hospital in New Haven, says that her approach to cultural sensitivity is “first to ask.” This way, she avoids taking any action that would conflict with cultural traditions. She ensures the family is allowed to celebrate the birth of a child, no matter how different their way of observing this milestone might be from her expectations.
According to Dr. Lois Sadler, Yale School of Nursing Professor and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, “All nursing schools must interweave teaching about diversity in all classes at all levels, or they risk losing their accreditation.” For Sadler, this means “sensitivity to racial and ethnic diversity, and a plethora of differences” found in patients and families.
More than one-third of children treated for mental health problems in Connecticut are Latino, a percentage rate that’s disproportionate to their population size, according to state child welfare representatives.
Last year, 33,349 children were treated by the state Department of Children and Families, with 11,996 children, or 36 percent, identifying as Hispanic or Latino, according to Marilyn E. Cloud, the Behavioral Health Program manager at DCF. “This is probably an underestimate, as it is self-reported – and there are a number of cases where race or ethnicity is not reported or is unavailable,” she said via email.
Three of Connecticut’s largest cities are among the Top 20 most segregated when it comes to housing discrimination, with Latinos being the largest affected minority group.
Latinos are discriminated against in the housing market more often than any other group, according to statistics published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Based on data collected by the agency from 2000-2011, 61 percent of housing discrimination complaints involve Latinos.
The evidence that housing discrimination has affected Latinos in Connecticut is the stark segregation that exists from town to town and neighborhood to neighborhood. According to Erin Kemple of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Bridgeport is the sixth most segregated metropolitan area in the country, while Hartford ranks seventh and New Haven stands at 14th.