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Jockey Mario Gutierrez will be attempting to win the first Triple Crown since 1978, after winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness with horse I’ll Have Another.  They’ll be racing on June 9th at Belmont Park.

The Hispanic Access Foundation has recently learned about the men and women who work behind the scenes at Belmont Park.  Through a partnership with the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York, we’ve been working to bring these workers tax information through our “Preparate Para un Futuro Mejor,” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future).

Learn more about these workers with scenes from the backside of the tracks:

Stand and Deliver – the Movie

January 28, 2011 by  

In the predominately Chicano area of East Los Angeles, California, in 1982, in an environment that values a quick fix over education and learning, Jaime A. Escalante (Edward James Olmos) is a new teacher at Garfield High School in Los Angeles County, California determined to change the system and challenge the students to a higher level of achievement.

Leaving a steady job for a position as a math teacher in a school where rebellion runs high and teachers are more focused on discipline than academics, Escalante is at first not well liked by students, receiving numerous taunts and threats. As the year progresses, he is able to win over the attention of the students by implementing innovative teaching techniques, using props and humor to illustrate abstract concepts of math and convey the necessity of math in everyday lives. He is able to transform even the most troublesome teens to dedicated students.

While Escalante teaches math 1A, basic arithmetic, he realizes that his students have far more potential so he decides to teach them calculus. To do so, he holds a summer course of what is implied in the movie as pre-calculus material, such as advanced algebra, math analysis, and trigonometry. Calculus starts in the students’ senior year.

Despite concerns and skepticism of other teachers, who feel that “you can’t teach logarithms to illiterates”, Escalante nonetheless develops a program in which his students can eventually take AP Calculus by their senior year, which will give them credit toward college. This intense math program requires that students take summer classes, including Saturdays from 7:00 AM to noon, taxing for even the most devoted among them. While other students spend their summers working or becoming teenage parents, Escalante’s students learn complex theorems and formulas.

The vast contrast between home life and school life, however, begins to show as these teens struggle to find the balance between what other adults and especially their parents expect of them and the goals and ambitions they hold for themselves. Several students must confront issues at home.  With Escalante to help them, they soon find the courage to separate from society’s expectations for failure and rise to the standard to which Escalante had set for them.

Taking the AP Calculus exam in the spring of their senior year, these students are relieved and overjoyed to be finished with a strenuous year. After receiving their scores, they are overwhelmed with emotion to find that they have all passed, a feat done by few in the state.

Later that summer a shocking accusation is made: the Educational Testing Service calls into question the validity of their scores when it is discovered that similarities between errors is too high for pure chance. Outraged by the implications of cheating, Escalante feels that the racial and economic status of the students has caused the ETS to doubt their intelligence. In order to prove their mathematical abilities and worth to the school, to the ETS, and to the nation, the students agree to retake the test at the end of the summer, months after their last class.

The students are given only one day to prepare and Escalante gravely tells them that the test will be harder than the first. The students all pass and Escalante tells the school principal that he wants his students’ original scores reinstated.

Source: Wikipedia

Raul Midon Exceptional Guitarist and Singer

October 4, 2010 by  

Raul Midon is into beating the odds, shattering stereotypes, and making category-defying music. “I was told as a child, ‘You’re blind; you can’t do this,’” Midon told an interviewer in 2005. “I was told when I moved to New York, ‘You can’t do that, you’re not going to make it.’” At 40, however, Midon has clearly made it.

After singing backup vocals for stars like Shakira, Julio Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, Midon released his major-label solo debut, State of Mind, with help from guest artist Jason Mraz. Midon’s innovative songwriting incorporates his lyrics, guitar handiwork (jazz, classical, flamenco, R&B) and “vocal trumpet” improvisation. Though he draws comparisons to Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Richie Havens, Midon is the rare original in an industry of few.

His latest album is A World Within a World.

Video of Raul Midon performing at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference:


“There are times when you’re reminded of a sweet-voiced Ray Charles, or Nat ‘King’ Cole, but everything about Midon reveals a strong, individual and totally musical mind at work.”

The Guardian UK

Voces Inocentes- A Film depicting El Salvador’s Civil War from a Child’s Experience

December 4, 2009 by  

Multi Award Winner – Based on the true story of screenwiter Oscar Torres’s embattled childhood, Luis Mandoki’s Innocent Voices is the poignant tale of Chava (Carlos Padilla), an eleven-year-old boy who suddenly becomes the ‘man of the house’ after his father abandons the family in the middle of a civil war. In El Salvador in the 1980s, the government armed forces are already recruiting twelve year olds, rousting them out of their classes at the local middle school. If he is lucky, Chava has just one year of innocence left, one year before he too, will be conscripted to fight the government’s battle against the peasant rebels of the FMLN. Chava’s life becomes a game of survival, not only from the bullets of the escalating war, but also from the dispiriting effects of daily violence. As he hustles to find work to help his mother pay the bills, and experiences the pangs of first love for a beautiful classmate, Chava’s tiny home village becomes both playground and battlefield. Armed ony with the love of his mother (Leonor Varela) and a small radio that broadcasts a forbidden anthem of love and peace, and faced with in imoossible choice of joining either the army or the rebels, Chava finds the courage to keep his heart open, and his spirit alive, in his race against time.

To see the trailer click here.

LA-Artist Project Highlights Work of LA’s Chicano Artists

November 2, 2009 by  

The newly launched LA-Artist Documentary Project is dedicated to people working creatively in and around Los Angeles. This ongoing, collaborative project aims to document LA’s artistic diversity by producing a range of informative films alongside an online archive of ArtCards that bring voice to the city’s varied and eclectic creative framework.

LA-Artist Executive Producer Sofia Rose Smith has made a unique point to cover Chicano artists working in greater Los Angeles.

Read her portrait of painter Raphael Matias, pictured left, by clicking here.

Also, make sure to check out Director Oliver Shipley’s film that inspired the initiation of the LA-Artist project. “Murals of Boyle Heights”, below, chronicles community members’ perspectives of what murals mean to the past, present, and future of the historic East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights.

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