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Venezuelan UCF Grad Starts Podcast to Empower Immigrants

Plus: California farmworkers face water shortages, and a Day of the Dead altar remembers undocumented migrants who died

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A University of Central Florida graduate started a podcast called ‘Hablamos Spanglish’ to empower immigrants and Hispanic communities. Ana Carolina Salazar, the UCF grad, came to the United States from Venezuela when she was 15 years old. She uses her podcast to spread stories from individuals who came to the United States without being able to speak English, but still took a chance on their dreams and succeeded, like she did. “Just like maybe there was a time I did not take, I did not dare to apply to a job I wanted because I had an accent,” Salazar said. “Maybe right now there are other Hispanics that feel the same way. And if I can, through my story and my guests’ stories, change this and inspire others to dare, that is what I want to transmit and achieve with this project.” Orlando Sentinel 

In other national immigration news…

California Farmworkers Dealing with Polluted Water — and a Shortage of it

In Teviston, a town in California’s San Joaquin Valley, there are only two wells. One went dry and the other is contaminated. At the beginning of the summer, when the well failed, the town was left without water for weeks even as temperatures regularly went above 90°F. Since then, Teviston residents have been receiving bottled water. But for years before, the water coming from the town’s taps has been laced with a carcinogen and legacy of pesticides. For residents like Esperanza Guerrero, a Mexican immigrant and homemaker whose husband works at a dairy farm, the poor water quality makes her concerned for her daughter, who has a gastrointestinal ailment. “It’s very stressful as a mother to know that if for any reason she should wash a piece of fruit (with tap water) and eat it, she’s going down,” Guerrero said. Reuters

Day of the Dead Altar in Northern California Honors Undocumented Immigrants

An altar commemorating undocumented immigrants who have died of COVID-19 was placed outside of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors’ Chambers in California on Tuesday morning. The altar was part of an ongoing effort to “pressure the county board to advocate for a federal path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” among other demands. More than 30 people came to the event, which was hosted by local immigrant and worker rights groups, including the domestic worker committee ALMAS and the Graton Day Labor Center. Also among those remembered were family members in other countries who died without being able to see undocumented relatives in the U.S., since their families could not travel out of the country due to their legal status. The Press Democrat

How a Mexican Immigrant Became Mayor in Illinois’ Trump Country

Jesus Garza left Mexico 28 years ago to work in a broom factory in the small city of Arcola, Illinois. Now, he’s been the mayor of Arcola — a city full of supporters of former President Donald Trump — since May. Garza’s election in a predominantly white and conservative Midwestern town “illustrates a level of disconnect between local attitudes on immigration and the national political narrative on the divisive issue,” the Chicago Tribune reported. “From the day I got here, my dad’s friends, on the American side, they wanted to talk to me every day even though I didn’t speak any English. They invited me to be part of the community, to work on their cars,” Garza said. “To go from that to everyone cheering me today is just very special. I love this town.” Chicago Tribune

One Immigrant’s Story Inspired his Law Practice. Now He’s Teaching Immigration Law.

Terrence Green, an immigration attorney in Salem, Massachusetts, had to wait years to become a naturalized citizen after coming to the United States from Jamaica. In 2011, he graduated from Willamette University’s College of Law. Now, he has returned to teach a course on immigration law. Jeffrey Dobbins, the dean of Willamette’s College of Law, said that it was the first time, to his knowledge, that an immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen has taught this course. Green has had a law practice in Salem for a decade now. “You know what it’s like to be fearful of the system,” Green said of his experience. “You know what it’s like to be somebody who’s trying to navigate the system, trying to get somebody to help them and be mistrustful.” Salem Reporter

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