“There is a lot of ignorance and also a language barrier,” says Giselle, describing what it’s like to be a young lesbian in the Latino community. “There’s not a lot of information out there for them that’s in Spanish. We get lost in translation. And I think that’s why there’s so much lack of acceptance and ignorance toward the subject.”
Giselle’s story is seen in a new video campaign called “An Honest Conversation,” which focuses exclusively on LGBTQ issues in the Latino community. It was produced by the website Cuéntame to create a direct, sober, honest and often painful portrayal of stories from LGBTQ Latino youth, their friends, families and the community in general. From bullying to abuse, struggle to triumph, this ground-breaking series aims to break taboos within the Latino community while changing paradigms within this fast-shifting demographic.
Cultural and religious factors often make discussing LGBTQ issues a daunting task within the Latino community. To be completely open and honest can be even harder. However Cuéntame’s founder and producer, Axel Caballero, believes that “with more information available for Latinos to read and share, we can provide youth with support systems that help prevent tragedies, bullying and intolerance. Through such powerful, direct stories we are opening a nationwide honest conversation to prompt discussions at the holiday or Sunday dinner table, and into the lives of many Latinos in America.”
Cuéntame is releasing five videos targeting particular LGBTQ/Latino issues from a variety of perspectives. The first two have just comes out, and we’ll be showing them all on Gay.net over the coming weeks. The first features Giselle, who encountered harsh bullying and gay bashing, which prompted her family to move her to Lubbock, TX to become “straight and safe.”
Check out this powerful video, then share it with your friends.
In her YouTube testimony, Giselle says growing-up she was bullied because of her sexual orientation referring to a specific incident where she was physically assaulted by two other girls in a school bus. Her video appeared on CUENTAME, a non-profit organization which seeks to create a community by bringing a voice for latinos through short videos, documentaries and interviews.
She says in the video that “being a queer latino is harder. There is a lot ignorance and also a language barrier. My parents are only spanish speakers and there is not a lot of information out there for them that’s in Spanish. We get lost in translation and I think thats why there’s so much lack of acceptance and ignorance towards the subject.”
Brave New Foundation recently launched WhoAreTheOnePercent.com, and the voting process for determining the top one-percenters is now live. Robert Greenwald and Thom Hartmann discuss the latest with this campaign.
For inmates at one Georgia prison, a one minute phone call could cost them five times more than they earn for a day of work.
The Correction Corporation Of America’s Stewart facility, a private prison in Lumpkin, Georgia, is forcing prisoners to pay five dollars per minute to use the phone, Alternet reports (h/t ThinkProgress). The exorbitant rate would break most people’s budget, but it’s especially costly for inmates that the prison who make just one dollar per day to work at the facility.
Faced with huge budget shortfalls, states are increasingly relying on privatized prisons to house criminals in their state and the for-profit corporations behind those prisons are coming up with various ways to maximize revenue. The money the Stewart prison is collecting from its 2,000 prisoners to use the phone helped the prison net profits of $35 to $50 million a year, ThinkProgress reports.
Compared to the total earnings of CCA that sum may seem small, however. Last year, the private prison company raked in $1.7 billion in revenues, according to FOX Business. GEO Group, another for-profit prison corporation headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, saw $1.3 billion in revenues in 2010.
An even more controversial private prison source of income is the what federal prosecutors are calling “Kids for Cash,” — owners of private juvenile detention giving kickbacks to judges to sentence minors for benign offenses in an effort to boost revenue – FOX Business reports. In Pennsylvania, two judges were recently sentenced to over 40 years in prison combined for accepting kickbacks from the owner of a juvenile detention center.
The judges sentenced minors for offenses that included a 10-year-old girl accidentally lighting her room on fire and a 13-year-old boy throwing food at his mother’s boyfriend, according to Fox Business.
Meanwhile, government-run prisons face dire budget constraints forcing them to take unprecedented measures. A prison in Riverside, California announced that it will start charging prisoners $142.42 a day to save an estimated $3 to $5 milllion, CNNMoney reports. The Texas, thousands of prisoners aretwo meals a day on weekends, after the prison system made cuts to deal with budget constraints.
Yesterday the “national day of action” took place where demonstrators marched in retaliation against Occupy movement crackdowns nationwide. From the East Coast to the West Coast, demonstrators marched in solidarity to show the world the movement isn’t going anywhere. On the two month anniversary, mainstream media couldn’t ignore the thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets. Axel Caballero, founder of Cuentame, gives his take on the OWS coverage.
Last year the Corrections Corporation of America(CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Their largest facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.
Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA charges detainees here $5 per minute to make phone calls. Yet the prison only pays inmates who work at the facility $1 a day. At that rate, it would take five days to pay for just one minute.
Watch this report on the conditions Stewart detainees face:
CCA’s abuse doesn’t stop at outrageously priced phone services. One woman reported that her diabetic husband does not receive enough food, so she has to deposit money for him to buy more. Occupy Nashville recently protested outside of the company by holding a “human auction” to illustrate how CCA profits off of human suffering.
As Alternet points out, in the past few years, CCA has spent $14.8 million “lobbying for anti-immigration laws to ensure they have continuous access to fresh inmates and keep their money racket going.” Recent anti-immigration laws in Alabama and Georgia keep their facilities full and CCA profits high.
Since more prisoners translate into more profit, private prisons like CCA continually push lawmakers to enact harsher policies and longer sentences, according to a report by Justice Policy Institute (JPI).
According to Campaign Manager, Jesse Lava, of Brave New Foundation.org’s campaign, ‘Who Are The One Percent?’ inequality in the US has ballooned over the last three decades as some of the wealthiest Americans have enriched themselves at the expense of everyone else. Here KGNU’s Claudia Cragg talks to Lava to learn more.
All submissions will then be compiled and a vote will be held to decide which will be exposed on the Brave New Foundation site. The campaign revolves around just two criteria: one, nominees have to come from the wealthiest 1 percent, meaning they must have a net worth of over US$9 million, and they have to be seen to be using their wealth and power to keep down the other 99%.