New York Times, 6/8/2009
Filemón López, the host of the show, listened and nodded. He had heard such heartache before. The woman spoke first in Spanish and then repeated her plea — breaking down in sobs — in Triqui, one of Oaxaca’s indigenous languages.
On this recent Sunday, there were certainly happier moments on “La Hora Mixteca” (The Mixtec Hour), Mr. López’s show, which is aimed primarily at Mixtec Indians but draws listeners from other groups in the United States and, via satellite link, in Oaxaca, too.
The Mixtecs — there are an estimated 150,000 of them in California — occupy the lowest rungs on the Latino immigrant pecking order, mocked for their rural ways, their heavily accented Spanish or inability to speak it, and their low level of education. They snare the most back-breaking jobs here in the agriculture-rich Central Valley — picking fruit and vegetables — and often have difficulty moving up.
For more information on the integration and political participation of Latino migrants in the U.S., see the Latino Migrant Civic and Political Participation page on the Mexico Institute’s main website. The project seeks to document the ways in which Latino and Latin American immigrants are expressing themselves politically and civically in new communities of settlement in the United States and as transnational actors.
For more information on the Fresno Latino community, read the background paper by Edward Kissam, The Context and Dynamics of Civic and Political Participation Among Latino Immigrants in Fresno County. A full city report on migrants in Fresno, including an interview with Filemon Lopez and other participants, is forthcoming.