For this Chicanisima blog I cover themes of Latino politics, culture and immigration. So I've come up with a list of 11 winners and losers for 2011 related to my blog topics. Let me know what you think and who you would add to the list.
1. Daniel Hernandez - This Latino student was an intern for Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. When she was shot, Hernandez rushed towards the bullets and was credited with helping to save her life. Hernandez was later elected this fall to his first political office. He is now a member of the Tucson-area Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board. For his bravery and dedication, Hernandez is a winner for 2011.
2. Jose Antonio Vargas - The Filipino-American journalist published an essay in the June in the New York Times magazine revealing that he is undocumented and was sent to the United States at the age of 12. He was previously a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter at The Washington Post. Since coming out as undocumented, Vargas has created a organization, Define American, to create awareness about the DREAM Act and the need for immigration reform. For his courage and commitment to community, Vargas is a winner for 2011.
3. Sen. Dick Durbin - The U.S. senator from Illinois has been a champion of the DREAM Act that would grant legal status to immigrant youth brought here as minors and complete two years of college or military service. The legislation has stalled but we need politicians like Durbin to continue to fight for its passage. For his leadership, Durbin is a winner for 2011.
4. Maria Hinojosa - The Latina journalist, former NPR and CNN reporter, and the current host and managing editor of Latino USA made a PBS Frontline documentary released this fall called "Lost in Detention." It documented the Obama Administration's immigration policies that have resulted in more than one million immigrants deported. For her in-depth and comprehensive reporting, Hinojosa is a winner for 2011.
5. Javier Sicilia - Mexico - This poet suffered a terrible loss when his son was killed in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in March, an innocent victim of the drug war. He vowed never to write another poem. But he has become an activist for peace and has led marches across Mexico against the drug war and has brought his message to the United States. For his activism and bravery, Sicilia is a winner for 2011.
6. DREAMers - There are an estimated 1.2 million undocumented youth who were brought to the United States as minor children. Many go on to college and even graduate school despite the odds against them. Some youth with groups like the Immigrant Youth Justice League have protested across the United States facing arrest and risking deportation to call attention to immigration policies in the United States. For not giving up their dreams, they are winners in 2011.
7. Herman Cain - The former presidential candidate suggested we electrify the border. No joke. He also thought "Cuban" was a language. He lost his bid to be president for many reasons. For his ignorance and insensitivity, Cain is a loser for 2011.
8. Susana Martinez - The New Mexico woman became the first Latina governor elected in the United States in late 2010. You'd think this would make her a winner. But in her first year in office she tried to repeal a law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. There was a controversy when Martinez said after the election that her grandparents may have been undocumented. But at the time they crossed the border in the early 20th century, one did not need a green card or visa to cross the border from Mexico. For her cold heart, Martinez is a loser for 2011.
9. Joe Arpaio - He is not the toughest sheriff in America but the scariest. He was stripped of his immigration enforcement powers by the U.S. Justice Department for violating the civil rights of Latinos in immigration roundups. He has failed to investigate sexual abuse of women and faces charges of corruption. For his flagrant violation of civil rights, Arpaio is a loser for 2011.
10. Virgil Peck - The Kansas lawmaker suggested that the immigration problem could be solved the same way as the hog problem in his state. Shoot 'em down with rifles from helicopters. He was forced to apologize and was even criticized by the Republican governor of his state. For suggesting we kill undocumented immigrants, Peck is a loser for 2011.
11. Alabama lawmakers - The state legislature passed what is considered the strictest immigration law in the state. The result? Parents were afraid to send their children to school. Some immigrants fled the state leaving fields to rot. Police detained foreign businessmen from Japan and Germany because they didn't have the right documents. For passing a law that hurts the economy and creates fear, Alabama is a loser for 2011.