mexican-americans | KCUR

mexican-americans

Fidencio Fifield-Perez

As a second grader growing up in North Carolina, Fidencio Fifield-Perez was the school cartoonist. He won a few awards and certificates, and a local newspaper wrote an article about him. He’d newly immigrated to the United States from Mexico.

Years later, when he needed proof that he’d grown up in the United States in order to gain DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status, his early art skills came in handy because those awards and the newspaper story provided documentation of his childhood.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

After the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia denied his appeal on May 3, Crecensio Mendez Ramirez was deported to his native Mexico. Mendez, who had lived with his partner and four children in the Kansas City area for more than a decade, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in February during his yearly check-in.

Amber Deery

At a factory in Kansas City's East Bottoms, a conveyor belt spits out roughly 2,500 warm tortillas an hour. They're made from yellow, blue and red corn.

The yellow corn tortilla is so flavorful, says Marissa Gencarelli, it’s like, “corn punching you in the face.”

Marissa and her husband, Mark Gencarelli, launched their Yoli Tortilleria business about eight months ago. Marissa, who is originally from Mexico, wanted corn tortillas that were close to what she grew up eating.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How a redrawn border influences modern Mexican-American identity

When the U.S.-Mexico border moved at the end of the Mexican-American War, more than 100,000 Mexicans suddenly found themselves living on U.S. territory. Today, we considered how this history, more than 100 years in the making, impacts modern race relations.

InAweofGod'sCreation / Flickr -- CC

Coco, the latest movie from Disney's Pixar Studios, has been praised for its portrayal of Mexican folklore. Meet the local children's book author who has been tapped to turn the screenplay into a book.

Plus: From the frigid temps over the holidays to today's sleet, you're probably tempted to stay in and hunker down until spring. But some people are choosing to go and do things outside. We find out why.

Guests:

Hear the stories behind this year's Day of the Dead altars at the Mattie Rhodes Gallery, then meet a local spoken word poet/minister.

Guests:

Tensions have been rising on college campuses over freedom of speech issues. From pressure to cancel controversial speakers to debates about safe spaces, what does free speech mean on campus?

Plus, a city planner shares the story of when his dad, a migrant farmworker, lost his job, and the KCK social worker who changed their lives.

Guests:

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Julián Zugazagoitia runs a classic Kansas City institution, but his own story is international. His grandparents fled fascism in Europe, and he grew up in Mexico as the son of a renowned actress. Hear more of his story.

Guest:

Lexi Churchill / KCUR 89.3

There’s a relatively well-known corridor of Southwest Boulevard on Kansas City’s Westside — it’s a strip of Latin American restaurants and shops. Sandwiched in between a beauty salon and a late night Mexican eatery is a small bakery: Panaderia de las Americas.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

When Tim Lona was a teenager, he pestered his dad for a car.

“He was like ‘Hey, I'm not going to buy you one. You have to build your own. There's a '64 Impala in back that I'll give you,’” Lona said.So, with help from his family, he rebuilt the car from the ground up.

Since then, Lona has restored and rebuilt hundreds of cars at his family’s shop on Southwest Boulevard. He comes from a three-generation family of mechanics, and the shop has been in its location in Kansas City’s Westside neighborhood since 1912.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The art of lowriding in Kansas City, then local high school students share how they covered politics and the presidential election in their yearbooks.

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Public Schools and the Mexican Consulate have partnered to offer educational opportunities to Latinos in the district.

The partnership comes at a time when many are worried about raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The partnership is housed at East High School, where the ribbon was cut Thursday.

With the new administration's immigration orders and the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, tensions have been on the rise. To get a sense of how Kansas City's Mexican immigrant communities are feeling right now, we check in with a DACA student, the head consul of Mexico in Kansas City, and an immigration lawyer.

Guests:

Courtesy Maria The Mexican

Maria The Mexican
South of the Border Moonlight

Ask a Latina about her ethnicity and you’re likely to get a complicated answer. Products of colonialism, most of us are mestizas, combinations of indigenous and European origin. It’s a culture with two feet planted firmly in each world. After all, there was no great diaspora — the border just changed on us. Many good things happened as a result: Spanglish, the guayabera and green chile cheeseburgers to name a few.

mariathemexican.com

Maria Elena Cuevas calls her sound "roots music." In her case, roots have special significance. Her grandmother founded one of the first all-female mariachi bands in the country. That's where Cuevas and her sister/bandmate, Tess, got an early start. Hear songs from Maria the Mexican's new album, including a live in-studio performance.

  • Maria Elena Cuevas, frontwoman, Maria the Mexican, out with a new album called South of the Border Moonlight

A graduating high school senior without US citizenship reflects on her journey so far. With several college options to choose from, how does this accomplished student's immigration status influence the decision about where to go?

Guest:

Adolfo Gustavo Martinez

When Kansas City artist Adolfo Gustavo Martinez lived in Edinburg, Texas, in the 1980s, he spent most Sundays at bars in the border towns listening to live Tex-Mex music.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Mariachi musician and founder of a groundbreaking all-female mariachi band, Teresa Cuevas, died late last year at the age of 93.

Cuevas founded Mariachi Estrella with seven other women from her church choir in 1980. They became a regional phenomenon, trading the mariachis' traditional black pants for long maroon shirts. The band played shows all over Kansas.

Courtesy / The Gonzalez family

An exhibit opens this weekend at the Kansas City Museum about Lupe Gonzalez, a local musician who became an icon in the Latino community. His name may not be recognizable, and that’s likely because Gonzalez never received national recognition.

Zack Lewandowski

Mexican-American fast-pitch softball is a tradition that runs deep in Kansas and Missouri. For decades, families have passed on the tradition of playing baseball or softball, but the legacy has been poorly documented.

The game was originally introduced to Mexican immigrants in Kansas and Missouri in an attempt to shed them of their cultural identity. But, that didn’t happen. The sport did nothing but help define and unite a new community. 

The experience

Low Rider Culture on Display

Apr 17, 2013

Low rider cars aren’t the type of vehicles that drive by unnoticed. The low chrome rims, killer paint jobs, normally accompanied with a bumpin' sound system to go with it, sub woofers and hydraulics all grab attention of those it passes. These cars are often stigmatized as being related to gangsters, but on this Central Standard we learn about research that disputes that common misconception.