Fall 2013 - Vol.15 No1 Utah, Las Americas

Troubling pattern regarding diversity at U

As we look to the future, it is important to recognize our roots and to honor the individuals upon whose shoulders we are standing today,” said President Pershing in his inaugural address on October 25, 2012. In November 2013, he did just that—honored the legacy and roots of racism and institutional disadvantages students and faculty of color face and upon which the state of Utah and its universities stand. Through the attempt to quietly oust yet another high ranking, successful diversity officer at this institution, President Pershing and his administration undermined any inroads the institution has made over the past decade towards increasing the representation of students, faculty, and staff of color on this campus. Read more...

The crisis crazed government shutdownTerrorism through the eyes of privilege

Because of the government shutdown this past October, workers were temporarily suspended and some laid-off due to uncertainty and job insecurities. Republicans and Democrats disputed over the country’s financial issues and could not compromise. Politicians would rather see the government shutdown and eventually run out of money, than allow the Affordable Health Care Act to become law (which it did the morning of the shutdown Oct.1st. Read more...

Restrictive immigration policies are implemented across the globe

Every year, more than 700,000 undocumented workers enter the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that there are approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants residing here today. Working primarily in low-level jobs in areas such as maintenance, construction, and agriculture, this population is the center of enormous controversy. On one side, Americans argue that these immigrants fail to contribute to society: they don’t pay taxes or serve jury duty, take jobs from 11 million unemployed Americans, and cost the government about 100 billion dollars in prevention and maintenance each year. Read more...

Will Obamacare help Latinas/os?
Affordable healthcare costs are attractive to lower income families

With the legislatures approval, Obama Care is successfully making it’s way into the lives of many. There is a varied opinion among people on whether this new Insurance Program will actually deliver what it’s promising. The new insurance system is attempting to provide health care coverage to seven million new people by the spring of 2014. It is also expecting to insure single adults up to 26 years of age. For many college students, this idea will mean that there will be one less financial burden on their shoulders. President Obama also promised in a recent speech that those individuals that liked their current primary care provider would be able to stay with them. The Obama Care policies have been praised and criticized. Read more...

U of U law school provides legal resources for immigrant & low-income communities

With the high cost of obtaining legal counsel, low-income communities are finding it difficult to access the legal system across the nation. Here in Utah, the Pro Bono Initiative (“PBI”) at the S.J. Quinney College of Law has strived to change this through it’s programming and clinical opportunities to train future and current attorneys on the importance of providing free legal services to those who otherwise could not afford it. One of the points of the mission statement is, “to demonstrate the professional responsibility of those in the legal profession to provide pro bono legal services to the underserved in the community who otherwise would not have access to the justice system.” Read more...

The pearls of our culture
The true value of folkloric dancing in our communities

The stage is set up with figures crowned in regalia from Latin America, each one dancing to songs from a turntable, entertaining an audience that seems to enjoy their palitos de dulce more than what’s being performed on stage: key word, performance. Have our dances arrived at this simple point? Mere entertainment? Read more...

Shining Souls Sonic Smash: Native American & Chicano Hip Hop and activism

Hip Hop is the love of my life, but as a conscious female sometimes that love is strained. Shining Soul makes my love of Hip Hop easy because these cats have taken it back to where it all began with dope beats, dope rhymes, and crisp social commentary. They are Hip Hop in the purest form. They have not bowed to patriarchy by selling out their hermanas in the struggle with sexualized and degrading lyrics. They have not changed their ideals to cater to a capitalistic agenda by rapping about cars and clothes. They keep it real, and their love for Hip Hop AND the people shine through in their music. Read more...

Harmless fun or sustained racism?

Recently, I was encouraged to get out of my adult college life ritual and watch a mainstream children’s film, “Despicable Me 2”. You can imagine my excitement at the opportunity to take a break from studying and treat myself to an animated flick, unleashing the part of my persona identified as being utterly childish. The only thing however, is that I cannot say I was impressed. Read more...

Students protest Pride Week keynote speaker

Pride Week at the University of Utah is a time to give voice to those who have been silenced by the heteronormative, hegemonic narrative. This year, the Pride Committee invited Dan Savage as a keynote speaker. Savage is largely known for his sex-positive column. He is lesser known for his transphobic, asexual-phobic, and biphobic comments, as well as comments shaming a rape victim. University students protested his keynote address but were ridiculed for thier critique. Read more...

Cultural appropriation & white supremacy erode hip hop music

All genres of music, especially hip-hop, reflect changes that society has gone through. Nothing is ever static, and hip-hop is the root to a variety of artistic forms that have since branched out and evolved over the years. Although I wouldn’t call myself an expert on hip hop and the culture behind it, even I can see how appropriation of hip hop and its many artistic forms by white artists has racial and gender implications. Having originated on the streets of South Bronx in New York, hip-hop was birthed out of the realities of violence and poverty that black and some brown marginalized communities experienced on a daily basis. From the 1960’s to the present, hip-hop has gone from being a cultural response to the systematic oppression of disenfranchised youth to being commercialized for profit. Much of current commercial rap and hip-hop music lacks social and political consciousness, and has been repackaged using white supremacist ideas about black culture. Read more...

Utah Pride Center:
Where fear ends and pride begins

The Utah Pride Center is a non-profit organization that provides information and resources to the LGBTQ community in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Utah Pride Center opened its doors to the public in 1992 as the “Utah Stonewall Center” in order to provide a safe space for LGBTQ people living in our state. The center’s mission is to be a catalyst for building and celebrating the strength, equality, dignity and self-determination of the LGBTQ community throughout Utah. We value and support individuals, families and allies and building partnerships across communities.” Read more...