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May 30, 2013

Host: José Cárdenas

ASU Future Sun Devil Families

  |   Video
  • Arizona State University Future Sun Devil Families is a new program to help high school students and their families prepare for success at the University. Beatriz Rendon, Associate Vice President of Educational Outreach and Student Services at ASU and CEO of ASU Preparatory Academy discusses details of the program.
  • Beatriz Rendon - Associate Vice President, Educational Outreach, ASU, and CEO, ASU Preparatory Academy
Category: Education   |   Keywords: ASU, sundevils, students,

View Transcript
José Cardenas: ASU future Sun Devil families is a new program to help high school students and their families prepare for success at the university. Although the program is open to families of all Arizona high school students, it is aimed at families with first-generation college-bound students. We will talk a guest about the program in a moment, but first here is a short video promoting the upcoming program. Joining me to talk more about this program is Beatriz Rendón, associate vice president of educational outreach and student services at ASU. Beatriz, welcome to "Horizonte."

Beatriz Rendon: Thank you.

José Cardenas: Quite a snappy video. This is a first year that you are doing this. Give us a kind of an overview of the program.

Beatriz Rendon: Sure. So future Sun Devil families is part of the access programming efforts out of the office of educational outreach and student services and we are primarily targeting high school students and specifically this fall it will be high school ninth graders and some target districts that have traditionally been underrepresented at Arizona State University. What we plan on doing about these students and their families is basically giving them, through a series of seven workshops that they will attend throughout the course of the year, lots of information on college preparedness, on financial aid, on -- effectively making sure they are on course to not just be eligible to attend our University, but also be accepted and successful once there.

José Cardenas: And can you give us a little sense of the demographics of your target districts.

Beatriz Rendon: Sure. Our target districts include Tolleson Union School District, Phoenix union school district, Glendale, Tempe, and Mesa unified school district.

José Cardenas: As I understand it, the pilot program is being conducted in Tolleson that started this year. How's it going?

Beatriz Rendon: So far it's been very well received. It's been a great pilot. We have about 250 families that are currently participating. And the family unit is consists of the one student and a parent that have been receiving the curriculum and the workshops. And they have found it to be extremely beneficial.

José Cardenas: How do kids get involved?

Beatriz Rendon: Simply go to your counselor or, I think we are going to show some information here later about how to get more information but so long as you have an average of 2.5 GPA in your English, math, science, and you attend one of the schools in these participating districts, along with actually our ASU preparatory academy so ASU has its own charter schools, you can participate in the program.

José Cardenas: And do they self-select or are you actively making efforts to solicit participation?

Beatriz Rendon: We are actively working with our district partners. And so we have worked with these districts with some of these districts for a while now on a variety of other programming efforts like the American Dream Academy, which works with immigration -- recent immigrant families, as well as the Hispanic mother-daughter program which works with some of our Hispanic female students and their mothers. And so we have worked with these districts already on some of these efforts and Future Sun Devil Families is a way to really broaden the scope and the service that is family-centered and addresses both students and their parents to ensure that they are going to make it to our universities.

José Cardenas: Give us a sense of what someone new to the program would be doing in this first year.

Beatriz Rendon: Sure.

José Cardenas: As I understand it they can come back for their other years in high school.

Beatriz Rendon: That's correct. Initially we are starting with ninth grade and we will be growing a grade every year. The ultimate goal is to have approximately about 7,000 students participating in any -- students and their family participating in any number of the schools that were involved in. But effectively some of college preparedness workshops include, for example, what courses to take in high school, what you should be doing relative to community service, what you should be doing with your summers, how to be engaged so that you are a strong college applicant to our University. Also the test that you need to take, whether it be the SAT or the ACT as well as how to write, how to write a personal essay. There's any number of sort of college preparedness type of workshops and levels of information that they will be receiving. So that he ensure their strong right out the gate.

José Cardenas: So let's say I am in the program. I am a freshman and I get all that information my first year. What do I get the second year?

Beatriz Rendon: We are currently still developing the curriculum. Sole continue to augment that. Some of the content will, there's only so much you can cover in a workshop series so we might go more in depth in some of those areas. I imagine at the point that students start applying for financial aid, it's something we have talked about for a long time but maybe we start to migrate more to helping them actually complete some of that information. Or also giving them any other information on other scholarship opportunities that might exist outside of just Federal assistance.

José Cardenas: And as I understand it, some of the workshops which involve both the students and the parent at same time, others you would separate them?

Beatriz Rendon: Yes.

José Cardenas: What would you be telling the parents?

Beatriz Rendon: Well, to the parents, I think it's most important to really help build their level of awareness on how to best advocate for your child, how to know that your child is on track to attend a four-year University. We are working with our partner districts and in partnership with quite frankly our high schools in Arizona are really quite large. And there aren't sufficient counselors to really go in depth with every single student on the campus. You sometimes have a situation where you have 1,000 students assigned to one counselor. So we like to think we are partners with our districts and ensuring that students are getting the information. And in their ninth grade year and every year thereafter so they will be on track when they get going to. If you get behind in that ninth grade year it's really hard to catch up throughout the rest of your high school program. Our requirement to get into the University includes, for example, two years of a foreign language. Well, many students don't necessarily always take that. They might think they have taken it one year and that's it. And if they find that out in their senior year it might be too late.

José Cardenas: Too late… Thanks for joining us on "Horizonte" to talk about future Sun Devil families.

Beatriz Rendon: Absolutely. My pleasure.

Landfill Harmonic

  |   Video
  • Landfill Harmonic is a documentary about an orchestra from a remote village in Paraguay, where its young musicians play with instruments made from trash. Executive Producer Rodolfo Madero discusses the film.
  • Rodolfo Madero - Executive Producer, Landfill Harmonic
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: documentary, musicians, film, trash, instruments,

View Transcript
José Cardenas: Land philharmonic is an upcoming documentary about an orchestra from a remote village in Paraguay, where its young musicians play with instruments made from trash. We will talk to the executive producer in a moment but first, here is what the land philharmonic is about. Joining me to talk about the documentary is executive producer Rodolfo Madero. Welcome to "Horizonte." That's amazing. Kind music that the union manning was getting out of that cello was just fantastic. And you have got one of the instruments here with you.

Rodolfo Madero: This is a Viola. A violin. And this is one of the instruments that these kids played at the recycle orchestra.

José Cardenas: Let's talk about how the program got started. I think the piece of the video we saw featured the two people most responsible for this program.

Rodolfo Madero: Yeah. One of them is Favio. Favio is a music teacher and he wanted to bring music to underprivileged kids. And he picked Catera as the place. It's the land fill or the dump of dumpster of Asuncion, Paraguay. People live there from trash.

José Cardenas: They are actually living in the land fill area.

Rodolfo Madero: They live in the land fill area and they go every day to pick up recycled materials or material that they recycle and they sell. And that's where the story born.

José Cardenas: He decided there must be some way to make instruments out of these materials?

Rodolfo Madero: It happened by accident. He wanted to bring music to this barrios and he invited the parents to bring their kids. And so they could learn music. And they were expecting a few kids the first day. And suddenly, 50,60 kids show up and there were not instruments to teach all these kids music. So they, one of the people living in the barrio came up with the idea of building instruments out of the materials that they had available there. I mean, oil tin cans and pieces of wood and forks, and they came up with, they created one violin and that lead to a full set of instruments that now it's part of the orchestra.

José Cardenas: As I understand it, as beautiful as the music was that we heard from that one instrument, there actually harder to play than the original instruments that they are patterned after.

Rodolfo Madero: They are. They are. I have a friend who is a violinist and he thought it was going to be fun to play with one of these instruments. And he almost didn't get a sound out of it and he is a concert violinist. He is a professional. But he did. He eventually he did. And they are hard to play. So these kids are doing a phenomenal job of playing these instruments. They are hard to play than a real violin. But once they get their way around the, they start playing the instruments, it sounds beautiful.

José Cardenas: And these kids, their instruments, their music are subject now of a documentary you are working on with some colleagues. Item us how that all got started.

Rodolfo Madero: Alejandra Maria Nash, she is the founder and executive producer of the project. She and Juliana went to Paraguay and --

José Cardenas: They are both originally from there?

Rodolfo Madero: Alejandra is originally from Paraguay and Juliana is from Colombia. And Alejandra wanted to bring to life stories of their people. And hopefully -- and sort of helping those communities.

José Cardenas: And they found this story and they came to you to talk with it.

Rodolfo Madero: Yeah. And they started filming. They went a couple times to Paraguay. And they brought it to me last year. And I became part of the team. And since then, we have gone to two times to Paraguay, one to Brazil, and when we filmed the first time that the kids were living in the country. Some of them didn't even have not passports but birth certificates. They didn't have birth certificates. So there was the whole process of them getting their passports and their birth certificates.

José Cardenas: And that's important because some rather wonderful things have happened since you first started bringing their story to the world in the form of a trailer for the as-yet unfinished documentary. Tell us about that.

Rodolfo Madero: We launch our promotional video hoping to get a few thousand like comments in Facebook in November. For our surprise, we started getting not a couple thousands but tens of thousands. And in the period of a month, month and a half. And from November 30th to February, the middle of February, we had got over 130,000 likes on our Facebook page. And over 3 million people.

José Cardenas: And among those people are, and I want to make sure we cover this because we are almost out of time. Are professional musicians with national orchestras who are now playing with these kids?

Rodolfo Madero: Well, yes and no. They haven't been invited to play to places all over the world. But we have had requests from so many people, artists that want to compose for the orchestra, people in the film industry that want to participate somehow in the film, collaborating with sound editing, all sort of things.

José Cardenas: We only have less than a minute left. Tell us what's happening now with the documentary, when it's going to come out and what the process is.

Rodolfo Madero: Well, we are wishing to end the documentary film in November or December, just in time to submit for the Sundance film festival. We are still filming. We have filming in process. We are going to follow the orchestra to Europe and we are going to have them come here in August to play for the first time in the United States, in Phoenix. There's a permanent exhibition of the museum, musical instruments museum of these instruments that you can go and see now.

José Cardenas: We are talking about here in Phoenix?

Rodolfo Madero: It's here in Phoenix, in Scottsdale. And they are going to come and perform a series of concerts here with kids from schools, local schools that are musicians as well.

José Cardenas: This is a terrific, wonderful story. And I am sure we will have you back and maybe talk some more about this. Thanks for sharing this with us on "Horizonte."

Rodolfo Madero: Thank you very much.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Racial Profiling Ruling

  |   Video
  • A federal judge ruled that the Maricopa County Sheriff's office engaged in racial profiling. He also ordered the MCSO to racial profiling when making law enforcement decisions. ACLU of Arizona's Legal Director, Daniel Pochoda, talks about the ruling.
  • Daniel Pochoda - Arizona Legal Director, ACLU
Category: Law   |   Keywords: legal, maricopa, sheriff, profiling, law,

View Transcript
José Cardenas: Thank you for joining us. Last week, a Federal judge found that the Maricopa County sheriff's office engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling against Latinos. The judge ordered the MCSO to stop targeting Latinos when making law enforcement decisions. The lead attorney representing sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to appeal the finding that the agency engaged in racial profiling. Joining me to talk about the ruling is Daniel Pochoda, legal director for the ACLU of Arizona. Dan, welcome to "Horizonte." You have been on the show before. We have talked about some of these issues before. 142 pages?

Daniel Pochoda: Indeed. Indeed.

José Cardenas: What's your best summary?

Daniel Pochoda: The judge ruled in the favor of the plaintiffs in a very comprehensive and detailed opinion, which supported all of our allegations. The plaintiffs' allegations, allegations that have been made by the community for the past five or six years about the massive abuses and unconstitutional actions by this sheriff and his entire department. And the judge found in a very carefully worded opinion, it will be an appeal-proof decision in the ninth circuit will not overturn it given the careful consideration and the well-documented findings. Court found there was a systematic practice and policy in the MCSO from the sheriff on down starting with the sheriff to violate the basic constitutional rights of Latinos in Maricopa County. The action was on behalf of all Latinos in the County who were stopped by the sheriff's office and the vehicle, passengers and drivers and the court, this is the first and most important step, in stopping those practices.

José Cardenas: The court in terms of the time line of events, drew a distinction between the point in time when sheriff's deputy were authorized under 287 G to assist in immigration enforcement, and after when the Department of Homeland Security took away that authority. Were they doing any different before and after? And if so, if they weren't, what was the impact of that in terms of the legality?

Daniel Pochoda: Well, it had some impact in terms of aspects of legality. The court found at every point the sheriff's office was operating unconstitutionally in that it was using race as a factor impermissibly in its law enforcement decisions that was true even when they had the 287 G authority which was basically being sort of the given authority by Federal, the agency, ice, to assist them. They were deputized, if you will. There were certain things that go along with that. They could stop people, if you were one of the deputies in the sheriff's deputy that had that status they were able to stop solely on reasonable suspicion the person was in this country unlawfully, unauthorized. Once they lost that authority they could not use that finding and the court is very clear about that. Either for enforcing Federal immigration law or the state laws of human smuggling or the employment sanctions law could not be based on the reasonable suspicion that any Sherriff’s office that persons are in the country unlawfully. The court found they were doing that regularly. It's not a crime to be in the country unlawfully. It's basically a civil violation and requires criminal activity to form the basis of reasonable suspicion. Those have been enjoined. So it did give them some greater leeway in the reasonable suspicion equation when they were deputized, if you will, by the Federal government. Even at that point they were acting unconstitutionally in other ways. And they maintained their authority, they claimed that they could still exercise this authority even after they lost the sheriff lost his 287 G but still continued to base reasonable suspicion on the fact they thought someone was here unlawfully.

José Cardenas: The sheriff and the witnesses have testified for the sheriff all insisted they had probable cause to make the initial stop.

Daniel Pochoda: They had probable cause in the sense they found some other violation, generally a traffic violation. They also testified these officers that they could find a traffic violation if they watched any car on the street for a period of two minutes, they would find a traffic or vehicle violation, tail light out, driving over the white line. It was also clearly documented and found by this court that they, their selection as to who to stop was based on race. Because there were too many cars, they couldn't stop all of them who, in fact, committed such a violation or that's all they would be doing and the statistics were so clear when 90%, 85%, 80%, over 90% of the passengers who were stopped were Latino, it was clear that they weren't using a race-neutral criteria for decide which cars to stop. And the court found that at every stage of the process, where, in fact, to have raids and operations, who to stop, in terms of after they observed the passengers and drivers in a car, and who to investigate after the stop, the court found that race was a factor that is impermissible, has long been unconstitutional and has been enjoined by this court.

José Cardenas: Speaking of statistics, last time we covered this topic on our show, we had counsel for both sides on the program. And certainly the sheriff's lawyer was making a point that your expert witness had been discredited and that there were other plausible explanations for the numbers he was coming up with.

Daniel Pochoda: The court disagreed, and we certainly disagree with that. The court found that Ralph Taylor, the expert for the plaintiffs, recognized expert in statistics and in the field, did very careful studies demonstrating there was a disproportional number of Latinos that were stopped particularly on these operations, these are called crimes of suspicion sweeps that were let's get people who look like they are here illegally meaning people of color and he found experts for the defendants, if fellow named Steve Camarata, associated with the anti-immigrant movement and as well as being a statistician, had not in any way refuted the claims and indeed in many ways he acknowledged that the findings of Mr. Taylor were accurate and based on good information.

José Cardenas: Dan, one of the strategies that seemed to be employed by the defense was to draw a distinction between the sheriff's public statements and the actual training and conduct of the deputies, in essence, while the sheriff may say what he says but that's for public consumption. We follow the law, we were trained in the proper approach and they cite ice as a basis for what they did. How did that play out in the court's opinion?

Daniel Pochoda: Not very well. As one can imagine, the CEO of an organization cannot suddenly say, after running the place for the last five or six years, hey, it wasn't my job. It was, in fact, stipulated in between the parties that the sheriff is the head of the agency, that his word is the law, full, of that agency, and that they all followed his word. So that just didn't carry any weight as it shouldn't, with the court that, no, it wasn't my job. I am the head of the agency, the buck stops with him. And I should also add that none of the officers involved also exhibited proper or constitutional conduct. The leaders of these outfits and units in the sheriff's department that oversaw these raids acknowledged that they made stops based on race, that they had no ability to check if anyone was racially profiling any of their officers, they didn't believe anyone racially profiled because, I know those guys and I trust them and the, their own expert from the for the sheriff's department said that was below the standard of care of any professional law enforcement organization, to not, in fact, look into whether racial profiling was going on. Particularly given the very skewed statistics of 80, 90% of the stops being Latinos. So that it's not as if the officers themselves, the line people, in fact, were acting properly and the sheriff alone was acting improperly. It was equally the blame of all, starting with the top.

José Cardenas: Dan, I know there's a lot more to talk about in this opinion. And there's a lot more to come. So we will probably be having you back to talk about that because we are of time right now.

Daniel Pochoda: You are quite welcome. Happy to be back.