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June 20, 2013

Host: José Cárdenas

Phoenix Talkback Radio Show

  |   Video
  • Phoenix Talkback calls itself "The World's First Ever Jewish-Chicano Radio Show." The hour-long show airs on KFNX 1100 AM and hopes to strengthen ties between the Mexican-American and Jewish community. Co-host and producer Lou Show and Co-host Viva Samuel Ramirez talk about the show.
  • Lou Show - Co-host and Producer, KFNX 1100 AM "Phoenix Talkback"
  • Viva Samuel Ramirez - Co-Host, KFNX 1100 AM "Phoenix Talkback"
Category: Culture   |   Keywords: community, culture,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: Phoenix Talkback is being called the first ever Jewish Chicano radio show. It airs at 10:00 Sunday mornings and is available on the internet. Let's listen to the first show that aired in March of this year.

Radio Announcer: This is Phoenix Talkback, the world's first Jewish-Chicano radio show. [applause] Alright! Alright. Welcome to Phoenix Talkback. This is Phoenix Talkback, America's first Jewish-Chicano radio show. We are independent liberals in Arizona. We are America's first Jewish-Chicano radio show. Both Jews and Chicanos have numerous similarities. There are many Jewish people in Mexico, both stress the importance of family, both groups possess a language unique to their culture, and both groups have a history of facing oppression and rising above it. It's not unreasonable to view what is currently happening to Mexicans in the United States as similar to what has happened to the Jewish people throughout history. We have seen exclusionary laws passed in this nation that have targeted Jews, Catholics, Irish, Chinese and others and we feel the best medicine against discrimination, hatred and indifference is sunlight and attention. This is the goal of this radio show.

Jose Cardenas: Joining me to talk about Phoenix Talkback radio is one of the co-hosts Viva Samuel Ramirez and Lou Show, the founder of the program. Tell us how this came to be.

Lou Show: It's an extension of a show I did on the internet called the Lou Show. I was away from radio for a while, and I looked at politics and looked around and it came to me that there is a -- there's a need to show a matter of solidarity between all peoples here in Arizona. I'm a Jewish person. I thought it was important for everyone to know that because it is a part of my being. Arizona is composed mainly of Mexican Americans, in other words Chicanos. This is the world's first Jewish-Chicano radio show.

Jose Cardenas: Did you have a sense there was a perception of a rift between the Jewish and Hispanic Chicano communities? Were you trying to remedy a particular issue?

Lou Show: No, I don't see a rift. As a matter of fact the whole purpose of formulating this show is as a matter of solidarity, that Jews are all over the world.

Jose Cardenas: You pointed out there are a lot of Jews in Mexico.

Lou Show: In Mexico. Lots of everybody in Mexico. I think that it's important to highlight any kind of combination of solidarity that we can see. Whether it's in Mexico, we also see it here in America. Here's one example. By the mere fact that we are together, we're discussing the society, politics, the culture, and here's one example. This is the world's first combination of Jewish-Chicano radio show.

Jose Cardenas: Now, Viva, you weren't on the show originally but you decided to become a regular co-host. What attracted you to it?

Viva Samuel Ramirez: Well, when I was invited by one of the founders of the show, Deedee Place, told me about the show, and we happen to share an idea about --

Jose Cardneas: With Native American connections?

Viva Samuel Ramirez: No, the founders of the tequila party.

Jose Cardenas: Oh, yes.

Viva Samuel Ramirez: Who has been a big supporter of Lou and the show. She knows where my stance is about being Chicano, which is looking for a voice that might have contributed in exact the -- exactly the way Lou was saying, she invited me to come on. It was a good experience, so we decided to do it again. I found that I have something to say and I really enjoy saying Chicano. I really enjoy introducing myself as a Chicano representing that voice at least for myself.

Jose Cardenas: And did you have a sense that you were fulfilling a need by providing that voice on the show?

Viva Samuel Ramirez: I do. I do feel there's a need. We're on the brink of what is not just Hispanic or Latino movement but a Chicano movement. This is about the beginning of an independence in Chicano identity. Resurgence of a Chicano idea. By doing this, by being present casually among people who talk about politics, people who are residents here, my neighbor as Lou is here in the state, and being proudly Chicano as I am, understanding that everything I say comes from that angle, and it being okay demonstrating that it's okay on the show is where we do need to go. It's that step where people need to become familiar with Chicano, with what Chicanos have to say, and where they come from.

Jose Cardenas: How much of your own contribution to the show is the result or based on the fact that your father was very active in the community?

Viva Samuel Ramirez: Well, I would say I would have to attribute everything to him. I wouldn't have any clue if it wasn't for him. For the way that he subtly introduced these ideas to me just by being himself. By being -- by having this word in our household, by being everything that he was which was okay to everybody else, he was an educator, a businessman, he worked for the state. He never had to overtly be Chicano but he was a resident and cared about the community, and he never lost his identity. What it was. So to me that was what made it okay. To be Chicano. I want to share that with everybody else.

Jose Cardenas: Lou, how do you decide what topics you're going to address from one show to the next?

Lou Show: It all depends on the week's news. As the week progresses and events occur in the community, it builds up towards the end of the week. You'll notice a lot of news stories break on Friday. And I think that's because something controversial will break on a Friday to not give the opportunity for anyone to react to it. So in the two days between Friday and when the show airs on Sunday, that's when I'm most busiest.

Jose Cardenas: Try to be busy identifying the topic and lining up co-hosts.

Lou Show: A lot of different things. Gathering materials, talking to a variety of people, certainly I have a point of view on what I see, but I still need the perspective of other people. I talk to a great -- I talk with Viva. Did you hear about this? What do you think of this? I'm sort of a conduit of all this information.

Jose Cardenas: Some of the shows I have listened to you have had more than one co-host or other voices are participating. How do you decide uh many people you'll have on?

Lou Show: Depends who is going to be on the show. There's a possibility I could have more than one co-host. I start the show and after I start the show and broach the topics I'm very content to sit back to see how the synergy of everyone getting together and lending their point of view on an event -- sort of like the ring master if it goes out of bounds, but I do want to try to redirect everyone toward on the actual event whatever we're talking about. Depends upon the week. You're asking how I determine the content for the show, some things are pre-planned, maybe weeks or so in advance. But the fact is it all depends on how things happen in the news.

Jose Cardenas: When you talk about things getting out of bounds do you mean off topic or some inappropriate statement?

Lou Show: Nothing is in-- no one who has been on the show has been inappropriate although one time that we talked about I believe it was Jason Richwine dissertation, you remember the guy from Harvard, he was hired by the heritage foundation and it was discovered near the end of the week his dissertation was based on the idea that Latinos are genetically inferior.

Viva Samuel Ramirez: Lower I.Q.

Lou Show: We talk about this on the show. Someone from the tea party called up to basically --

Jose Cardenas: You take phone calls?

Lou Show: We do. The show airs on KFNX, Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. We hope everyone tunes in. You can also find us on Facebook if you look for Phoenix talk back radio show.

Jose Cardenas: Has anything come up that made you feel uncomfortable?

Viva Samuel Ramirez: No. I can't say that's true. I'm there purposely comfortable in my perspective. I will say I don't agree wholeheartedly with everything everyone says.

Jose Cardenas: Is that expressed?

Viva Samuel Ramirez: Of course. It's an atmosphere where we are encouraged to add in different opinions. The demonstration there is that this is sort of a sampling of what Arizona we want Arizona to be like. We accept that we have different opinions and that we come from different places and we can actually have different identities, but in order to live here in peace, in order to have prosperity and things we want for our state that we have to be able to figure it out together. The show is that discussion happening. It could be an example for the way we want the community to behave in the public.

Jose Cardenas: Lou, we're almost out of time. The show you just did this last Sunday, I would venture to wager perhaps one of your more controversial ones. It focused on Randy and the money he got in the campaign against Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Pretty negative all around.

Lou Show: When the recall ended, people had Joe. The name of the series is where is my recall.

Jose Cardenas: The part of the concern is the effort failed.

Lou Show: The effort did fail.

Jose Cardenas: We only have about 20 seconds left.

Lou Show: I understand that. No one is above accountability. No one is above transparency.

Jose Cardenas: Have you gotten any negative feedback?

Lou Show: No we got a lot of positive feedback they had no idea what we reported was in existence. America and every human being has a hero worship thing and we cannot let this get in the way of our politics.

Jose Cardenas: Sounds like a very interesting show. Sunday mornings at 10:00. Thank you both for joining us. That is our show for tonight from all of us here at Horizonte I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good evening.

The New American Leaders Project

  |   Video
  • The New American Leaders Project (NALP) recruits people with a track record of civic involvement and trains them in the key skills needed for leadership. Executive Director for Promise Arizona, Petra Falcon and Pedro Lopez, NALP participant and member of the Cartwright School District Governing Board, talk about the project.
  • Petra Falon - Executive Director, Promise Arizona
  • Pedro Lopez - Participant, NALP and Member, Cartwright School District Governing Board, member
Category: Culture   |   Keywords: leadership, skills, NALP,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: Good evening. I'm Jose Cardenas. Find out about a project recruiting and training people for skills needed for civic leadership. A radio talk show hopes to strengthen ties between the Mexican American and the Jewish communities. The American leaders project, NALP, is a nonpartisan group encouraging immigrants to run for office across the country. First, here's what the project is all about.

Narrator 1: I was born in El Salvador but I grew up in Los Angeles, California.

Narrator 2: My family immigrated.

Narrator 3: My parents migrated from El Salvador.

Narrator 2: I am a new American.

Narrator 3: I am a new American.

Narrator 1: Growing up I was told that I didn't belong, that L.A. was not my home. But I see myself as -- see myself as part of the larger immigrant story.

Narrator 3: My biggest fear in the 80s was to come home from school and learn my mother had been deported. You realize the only way to help the marginalized and oppressed is to become a leader in your community yourself.

Narrator 2: It gives us tools to position ourselves as emerging leaders.

Narrator 1: The new American leaders project is not only a network but also like a family, a family I can go to when I need help in my professional development goals.

Narrator 3: As an immigrant woman the experiences you bring to the table are not always considered. We see things differently. That allows you to develop that conversation we all need to have.

Narrator 2: We're empowering communities to speak for themselves and using technology to break down traditional barriers.

Narrator 1: It gave me the campaign fund-raising tools that I needed.

Narrator 2: it has a national network that no matter where you go you connect with someone whether D.C., New York, Arizona or California.

Narrator 3: The new American leaders project taught me to embrace my American story, not to run away from it.

Narrator 2: I am a new American leader.

Narrator 3: I am a new American leader.

Narrator 1: We need leaders to believe ordinary people can do anything.

Jose Cardenas: Joining me is Petra Falcon, executive director for promise Arizona, and Pedro Lopez, a member of the Cartwright school district governing board. Petra, you have been on many times before with a focus on community engagement but this is a little different than we talked about before. Describe the program for me.

Petra Falcon: Well, the New American Leaders project is a new national project, and it's focus is to invest in the future leaders of our communities and it is focused on first and second generation immigrants with the notion that our new Americans are here with a purpose to live the American dream, but also to bring their values into political public life. The very first thing they have to offer is their story of coming to this country and just being able to have this hope and this drive and connecting to the future of their community. It's just a wonderful, wonderful partnership that we have joined with the national American leaders project. It's three years old. Its founder is Asian. We have connected in the last couple of years to bring this training to Arizona.

Jose Cardenas: Petra, why the focus on relatively new immigrants who may not have the same establishment ties to the community, the same resources that people who have been here for a while?

Petra Falcon: For that reason alone. An immigrant has that story that has come to struggle, perhaps, that has been framed around the importance of family, the importance of community, and these are the kinds of leaders that I think we need to have in elected office that will also transfer those values into the decision making.

Jose Cardenas: Pedro, you were born in the United States but grew up in Mexico.

Pedro Lopez: Yes.

Jose Cardenas: You have that experience. Do you think your approach to running for office and other things you've done would have been different if you had been born and raised entirely in the United States?

Pedro Lopez: I think -- I came from Mexico seven years ago, so I come from a different culture. I was fortunate to be born in the U.S. but the values my parents gave me when I was growing up, education, the community helped me achieve a successful campaign.

Jose Cardenas: How do you think your immigrant background plays into that? Why does that make you a better school board member?

Pedro Lopez: My district is 94% Latino. I know my neighbors, my students, my teachers. I have been growing up in that area for the past seven years, so one, I know the struggle, and secondly, I know what the community needs. That's why I decided to run for the school board especially in my district because again I feel that I can better represent my students, my constituents, because we have the same background.

Jose Cardenas: Petra, you're very proud of Pedro. He's one of your shining stars. How did you come to find him and the others who participated in what is now two sessions of the program?

Petra Falcon: Well, number one Pedro we found in the streets at the state capitol when SB 1070 hit our state.

Jose Cardenas: Campaigning or demonstrating.

Petra Falcon: He came marching to the state capitol. He was at his high school and they did a walk out and showed up at the capital and signed a volunteer card that said I want to join the movement. We brought him into the family and we have leadership training all time.

Jose Cardenas: We're showing pictures as you're talking of some of the leadership sessions on the screen what. Does the training Connecticut of?

Petra Falcon: It consists of what Pedro has described. How does he take what his energy and his you transfer them into being able to put a campaign together.

Jose Cardenas: Meaning desires.

Petra Falcon: Meaning desires. He has a commitment to his community and how do you transfer them so that he learns how to put together a campaign. One of the skills you need, how do you raise money and how can you be successful. It starts with Pedro telling his story and going from there. Describe how he knows his community. If he’s going to run for public office and be successful he has to start with the people who are going to vote for him because his biggest asset are his voters.

Jose Cardenas: You have cohorts around 20 people.

Petra Falcon: The best learning environment is a cohort of about 20. Our first year we had 19 trainees. Pedro was one of those. Nine of those came out of basic -- a lot of them come from campaign life or civic engagement. They have learned to do voter registration, how to knock on doors. They say I can do this but more importantly they come to civic public engagement or political public life when they are 17 because they are angry about what they see if their communities. There was a lot of anger around SB 1070, so this energy the last three years has come out of that. Can we move that energy so that they can become decision makers in their own communities? This training really is about immigrant experience but now can we transfer that into the political experience with all of their energy that they have.

Jose Cardenas: I want to come back to the topic of this happening now in light of some very interesting recent decisions. Before that, what do you teach them and who does the teaching? What do you teach that they don't already know?

Petra Falcon: Well, the founder is Asian, and the curriculum begins with telling their narrative. Are they -- what's their story. But they also talk about what is their stump speech going to be like because we all know politicians are great at giving stump speeches but you have to remember these young people have never run for public office. Probably have never been in front of the camera. The first thing is for them to tell their story or tell somebody why they want to run for public office in 90 seconds or in three minutes so that that's some of the pieces they learn. The other things is how do you put a campaign budget together. The first thing they teach is the majority of the time they are talking to voters and raising money, so then who is it that they need around them? What do they build around them so they can have a successful campaign?

Jose Cardenas: Pedro, what was the most valuable thing you learned?

Pedro Lopez: It was the stump speech. It's 90 seconds. Why should they vote for you? That was one of the key things for me. Secondly raising money. I was raised to never ask for money. In this training I was able to feel comfortable and make the phone calls and have the discipline to spend a whole day campaigning not just doing one thing but talking to voters and secondly talking to people to your friends, people that can actually give you some money to run the campaign.

Jose Cardenas: You ran in a crowded field, five other candidates.

Pedro Lopez: Yes. Three positions.

Jose Cardenas: You were the top vote getter?

Pedro Lopez: Yes. I was fortunate to receive 6,000 votes. The past elections had been four or 5,000. We were the only campaign that was, one, calling voters, door knocking every day, have literature and campaign signs.

Jose Cardenas: You think that made a difference?

Pedro Lopez: That made a huge difference.

Jose Cardenas: What about now that you're on the board. How much did this prepare you for that experience?

Pedro Lopez: It repaired me in a way now I'm an elected official, a public person. That got me ready for. That now that I'm on the board there's so much policy we need to learn. There's a lot of things that come to the school board. When I ran they told me my job is to approve the budget, create policy and fire and hire the superintendent. I have learned in the past six months that that's not the job.

Jose Cardenas: More complicated than that.

Pedro Lopez: More complicated than that.

Jose Cardenas: Petra, is your organization at the stage that old Robert Redford movie the candidate where he wins and they say, what do but dough now?

Petra Falcon: Well, I'm going to also say that why school board elections are important to promise Arizona in 2011 after the big push with SB 1070 our listen to what was important to the families and we elected as an organization two issues for our working agenda. Our organizing agenda was education and immigration. We have integrated those issues within the last couple of years. That's why school boards are so important to us. When you're talking about governance we have to teach our community or they have to be there side by side with our school board members. Too many times people have little interest in running for school boards because they are not as exciting as perhaps running for Congress or for state office but school boards are important to our families and our communities and the future of Arizona. That's why we have made a commitment to working with NALP, with the Pedros of the world so they are not learning by themselves. Long term we're working with NALP develop ago curriculum for school board candidates and what they have to do beyond running for office. We have about 250 alumni across the country and a second phase will bring people together who are interested in school boards and providing that support.

Jose Cardenas: You alluded to this earlier, the passion that issues like SB 1070 and other matters evoked and the stimulus that provided. Since then it's largely been gutted by the courts. A decision this week on voter registration that went against the state of Arizona. There's a pretty good chance immigration reform will pass this year in Congress. Where does that leave you? Do you think you'll see a waning of interest in programs like this?

Petra Falcon: Nope. I think there will be increased need in us continuing to organize because you're just going to have many more theirs we have to address, everything from adult education to how do we get people ready for jobs, so the need for organizing in our community is greater and more importantly people who are ready to lead is going to be much, much greater.

Jose Cardenas: Thank you both for joining us tonight to talk about this. Much appreciated.

Petra Falcon: Thank you.

Pedro Lopez: Thank you.