Valle de Sol Honoree: Ed Pastor

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Congressman Ed Pastor receives recognition, making a difference in our community.

Welcome to Horizonte. Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas. I am here with Horizonte. The largest Latino soccer tournament kicks into gear this weekend, and Congressman Ed Pastor receives recognition, making a difference in our community. All these stories are up next on Horizonte.

>> Jose Cardenas:
According to the east valley tribune, one in four mesa residents are Hispanic compared to one in 10 back in 1990. The newspaper just finished a series called Mesa en Transition, that makes that transition. The article is focused on the perspectives of the community in mesa. With us tonight from the east valley tribune newspaper to talk about the series is Chris Coppola, Kristina Davis, and photographer Leigh Shelle Hunt. Welcome to Horizonte. Chris, in the intro, we talked about the differences in mesa from 1990 to the present, and in 1990, it was just about when you showed up.

>> Chris Coppola:
That's right, I started the tribune that year.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Have you noticed the changes that were selected in the series of articles?

>> Chris Coppola:
It, it was gradual, but, but really, in a about, in about the past 10 years of that time is when it's been most, most profound. Particularly, in the local schools there, the mesa school district, the largest in the state. Some schools that -- 1992, 1993 were, were maybe 20% of the children were from families that, that spoke Spanish as their primary language at home. And today, it's reversed. It's like 80% to 90%.

>> Jose Cardenas:
So a pretty ambitious project. We have got the series of articles, different titles, lessons, and opportunity, rising influence. Why this series now? What, what was going on? What's the genesis of this project?

>> Chris Coppola:
We felt that this actually was received about a year ago at this time. We felt that, that at that time, like it is today, much of the debate, and speaking about, about what's happening with the Hispanics in Arizona, is framed around this illegal immigration issue, which, of course, is, is a very relevant issue. We did touch on it in the series. You can't go around that. But, what we were seeing happening before our eyes in terms of every day life in our community, it was apparent that, that debate aside, um, this community is changing, particularly in the areas of west and central mesa. It's changing in the schools, as I mentioned. It's changing in the business community, the businesses you see opening up there. You know, one of the most obvious indicators of a change in a neighborhood is the businesses that, that close, and the new ones that open. We have seen a whole new type of economic activity, Latino-owned businesses and businesses that are out serving the Latino community.

>> Jose Cardenas:
As I mentioned, this is this is an ambitious project. How difficult was it for the reporters to get out into the community and develop the stories?

>> Chris Coppola:
Well, it was quite a challenge. We knew that, that, that -- we had a team of about, about eight to 10 reporters and photographers who, who worked on this, and, and, um, one of our challenges we knew was, was we had to have, to have several Spanish-speaking members of our team who worked on that, and, and Leigh Shelle Hunt and Kristina were two of those. They had to work with various sources to find ways to earn the trust of every day people. Families, business owners, who aren't used to talking to the stream media, to get them to talk to us, and, and, and I think Kristina and Leigh Shelle Hunt, they were out on the edge there in terms of connecting with people and earning their trust and, and actually imbedding themselves with, with a couple of families and, and some business people, but it took time.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Kristina, tell us about that experience and how you prepared for it and, and what the process was.

>> Kristina Davis:
Well, a lot of it was just driving around some of the neighborhoods in mesa at first to get a real feel about the predominantly Hispanic areas now. We call it the Broadway corridor. And, and --

>> Jose Cardenas:
Can you describe it a bit more?

>> Kristina Davis:
That would be from, from about, about Gilbert road to, to what, Stapley --

>> Chris Coppola:
Even farther west.

>> Chris Coppola:
Country Club --

>> Jose Cardenas:
How many people are we talking about in this area?

>> Kristina Davis:
I don't know. I couldn't say. It's an area that has already, already changed, made that transition from predominantly white to predominantly Hispanic.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Chris talked about you imbedding yourself in that community. How did you do that?

>> Kristina Davis:
I found two families who were willing to, to -- it was through, through, um, a Latino activist, Carmen guerrilla, and she helped me find some, some families who were willing to kind. Let me into their homes, and it was hard at first. I did a lot of just sitting down and talking with them, hanging out with them, talking to their kids and, and I made tortillas with the ladies, and I learned how to make tortillas from scratch.

>> Jose Cardenas:
It is not easy.

>> Kristina Davis:
It is not easy. A lot harder than I thought it would be.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Tell us about the two families, the profile.

>> Kristina Davis:
One family, the husband and wife, and they are from Mexico and have nine kids.

>> Jose Cardenas:
How recently from Mexico?

>> Kristina Davis:
14 years, I think. They have nine kids, live in a very small but very cute and very warm, you know, Mexican family house. And, and it was a little surprising that this woman, she'd been here for 14 years, and she had not really made that transition to, to speaking English. I found that kind of interesting and, and a trend --

>> Jose Cardenas:
She had a preference for speaking Spanish?

>> Kristina Davis:
She was not very fluent in English.

>> Jose Cardenas:
What about her kids?

>> Kristina Davis:
They are all American, I believe -- yes. They are, they are very bilingual and they would help out sometimes, but all the interviews were in Spanish. The other family --

>> Jose Cardenas:
You conducted all the interviews in Spanish?

>> Kristina Davis:
Yeah, I did. And the other family is a smaller family, husband and wife. They lived in Texas for, for quite a bit longer before they moved to Mesa, so they were pretty Americanized, but she knew a lot more English, and she was able to use it with her kids' schools, teachers, doctors --

>> Jose Cardenas:
And they were originally from Mexico?

>> Kristina Davis:
From Mexico, yeah. And she has four daughters.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Tell us about your experiences in trying to do this, the people you were dealing with.

>> Kristina Davis:
At first it was just namely trying to build relationships, and like Kristina said, we were driving around or walking around in neighborhoods and, and people are very guarded at first and, and, in fact, I approached someone, a vendor, who is, you know, filling ice cream, and he promptly ran away --

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
We wanted to talk to the salesman.

>> Kristina Davis:
No one wanted to talk to us.

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
Right. [laughter]

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
But carrying a camera also makes people nervous. They are not really sure if you are with an official agency or what, but after trying all of that on the street, I then went to, to other avenues, via churches, via different organizations, such as that, and they helped me find families who were very willing to, to spend time with me and talk with me, and from there, we kind of embedded ourselves with these people and met other people, and it snowballed from there.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Over what time are we talking about?

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
Four months.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Of meeting with families, getting to know them?

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
Mm-hmm.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And then expanding the, the range of contact?

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
The coverage, yes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And, and did you come to be send in a way that people trusted you, and you felt that they were, they were really opening themselves up to you?

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
Yes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Anything, anything in particular surprising to you?

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
I think, I think it was just incredible to feel the hospitality from these families, and even taking, taking, um, going around and bringing them some, some of the newspapers inch their pictures are published, they are so pleased about it, and they are happy to have the coverage. I am happy to -- I'm privileged to, to have been a part of it.

>> Jose Cardenas:
You took some, some really remarkable pictures, and we want to chat a bit about some of them. One of them was, was a group of children that, that, um, you took a picture of them -- it's, it looks like a mix of, of Anglo, African Americans, Hispanic, of course, pretty diverse group.

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
Yes, the switch in demographics is especially evident in the schools. In this classroom, it's a kindergarten classroom, and the teacher has been here for 25 years. Her first year she had maybe two Hispanic children in her classroom. Of her 25 children this year, 21 are Hispanic. So, it's, it's -- and she mentions how, how, um, sitting in her rocking chair, she used to see all these green eyes, blue eyes, and there are these beautiful black shiny eyes looking up at her now. That's really, really kind of showing, um, of how this, this area is really changing.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Now, the truth is that mesa has had a significant Hispanic population for some time, and in fact, the person you mentioned, guerrero, married into one of those all-time mesa families. Did you spend any time with, with the people who have been here for generations and, and any discussion of, of whether there's, there's clashes that have been reported at times?

>> Kristina Davis:
We didn't do that. We felt like a lot of those long-time lies nick families, such as the Bashas, near chandler, and the Guerrero's, and we reported on them a lot, and this is kind of a new, a new group of people coming in and changing the face of mesa, and, and there are, there are -- there are some clashes. Just because you are Hispanic doesn't mean that, that, you know, you, you go to this one viewpoint, and I think we found that there are lots of different, different, obviously --

>> Jose Cardenas:
Do the people -- Chris?

>> Chris Coppola:
What I was going to say is that -- excuse me, there were other members of our team who did address that, that point that you brought up, of the long-time group, Latino families. We did profile one man who had been here for, I believe, 60 years, was a child, and he talked about some of the challenges he faced decades ago.

>> Jose Cardenas:
So some of the tension is, is just, you know, people have been here longer than the more recent ones?

>> Chris Coppola:
That is another aspect of this, of the latest influx that we have seen in the past 10 to 15 years, is how, how, how they are melding with the more established generations of Latino residents.

>> Jose Cardenas:
We have got another picture that we want to talk about. One of the vendors is selling hotdogs. Tell us about that one.

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
At night, on Broadway road, it seems to kind of change, and the environment just comes alive in a lot -- a lot of the vendors set up their hot dog stands, and you hear Spanish music. It's just really kind of, kind of like being in Sonora, Mexico, really, and just an incredible, cultural aspect to how it's changing.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The tribune got negative reactions to the articles, and some of the comments seemed to focus on that, just the, the vendors and the greater activity. Tell us a bit more about that.

>> Chris Coppola:
Yeah, we did receive, receive -- maybe a half dozen to a dozen in there of negative emails and calls from people about what we were reporting. Most of them trying to, to go back to the assumption that all these people are illegal and, and are you losing sight of that fact. We don't know that all these people are. A fair number of them may well be, and, and I think that, that some of them were, were, were racist and hateful.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Very hateful.

>> Chris Coppola:
Very hateful.

>> Jose Cardenas:
One suggesting a rape.

>> Chris Coppola:
There was one that made some, some suggestion about, about a terrible suggestion, that maybe one of these will rape one of your daughters some day, or something as awful as that. But, I think that we got a fair number of positive responses. The responses -- the positive responses were maybe a little slower coming as people, it sunk into people what we were doing. We were taking the time and the space in the newspaper to really present what, what really is a snapshot of, of what is the changing community.

>> Jose Cardenas:
One of those snapshots was another picture that you took of the, of the church and, and, and, you know, mesa is considered to be, to be a, a, a little larger in population, but now you have, I assume, a growing catholic population and, and that's what you are trying to capture in this picture?

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
Many of the catholic churches are now, are now having, having several Spanish masses. In fact, the king church went to, to a Spanish mass just this last winter, and, and the chumps are doing an incredible job of reaching out to the unity, as well, and providing services, E.S.L. classes and things that are necessary.

>> Jose Cardenas:
It's not just the Catholic Church. The Mormon Church has been very welcoming, as I understand it.

>> Kristina Davis:
Right, and I think that, actually, the Mormons do a lot of outreach in Latin American countries in their missions there, so it only makes sense that they would be doing that in their own backyard in Mesa.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Chris, is that your experience, too? There's a bit of a contrast. You have some, some people closely identified with the Mormon church like representative pierce, who has made some rather strong and, and anti-immigrant statements, and then, and then my sense is, though, that the church position is different?

>> Chris Coppola:
One of our stories did bring that out. It was one of the revealing stories where we did focus on how the Mormon church reached out to the Hispanic community, and how, how mr. Pierce and others feel that well, you know, as a Mormon, I'm also bound to uphold the laws of our land. We had a state president who said, well, we are not, not really hung up on the legal status of these folks. We just know that the folks want to be part of something bigger, and we don't question that. And so it reveals that, that there is that, that rift, if you will.

>> Jose Cardenas:
One of the pictures that you took, I guess in Spanish, and is that another example of the changing look of, at least this part of the community?

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt:
Definitely with the businesses. And that business, in particular, has been incredibly successful. They also have a business site in phoenix, and when they moved to mesa, the volume of what they were selling was, was the same in one month as it was in six months in phoenix. So, the buying power in mesa is, is -- there's incredible potential there.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And that was one of the points of the series of articles, right, the entrepreneurial spirit you get from, from a lot of the immigrants?

>> Kristina Davis:
Right. I forget the statistic, but, I mean, the, the amount of businesses within the Hispanic population is just, just going to be growing so fast within the next few years they are predicting.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And another example, perhaps, of the different culture aspects is, is the picture you took of the pinietta, which in Latin tradition is the celebration of a girl's 15th birthday. Is that, is that the kind of thing that at least some Mesa citizens, Chris, talk about a culture clash? They are saying that, that recently Mexicans aren't as simulating?

>> Chris Coppola:
Well, I think where we really found some, some problems with culture clash is within the neighborhoods where, where you are seeing, you know, an increase in the Hispanic population. It would have been traditionally a black neighborhood. So, these folks will see the different aspects of a culture that they are not used to, you know. People talk about things, like maybe the music playing louder outside on the weekend evenings and maybe larger gatherings outdoors, you know, things like that. And it's just -- things that people weren't used to. A lot of folks went out of their way to say, I don't feel that what I am saying here is racist. I don't mean to be racist, it's just different. It's not what I have known.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And it's disturbing.

>> Chris Coppola:
Yes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
We have got about a minute and a half left. I want to get your reactions to this and what's coming up next for the Tribune. Chris, what can we expect to see?

>> Chris Coppola:
I think one of the things that we learned from this effort was that our coverage of this topic has to be treated like we would cover anything else in our community, at the local newspaper. This is now a big part of our community. We're still figuring it out, but we know that, that our coverage has to go beyond just those obvious things, that we will continue to write about illegal immigration, the activist groups. We really have to pay attention to, to what's happening in those communities.

>> Jose Cardenas: Quickly, the two of you, what do you see to be changes in the next five to 10 years in terms of the perception of Latinos? Is it based upon your work or the change in demographics, Kristina?

>> Kristina Davis: I think the perception will be changing hopefully, and it will be more accepting. It will be more accepting of the change. It will be more mainstream. Not a big deal.

>> Jose Cardenas: You get the last word. We have got about 20 seconds.

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt: I think that they are an incredible group, and I am excited to see where it goes.

>> Jose Cardenas: I thank all three of you for joining us, and look forward to more work and more pictures.

>> Leigh Shelle Hunt: Thank you.

>> Jose Cardenas: Meet the last honoree, a person recognized for their contribution to the Latino community. We have had the opportunity to interview him in the past. A champion for human rights, civil rights, and respect for all people. 12 news anchor Lin Sue Cooney introduces you to Ed Pastor.

>> Lin Sue Cooney: If you ask congressman Ed Pastor if he has an ego, he wouldn't exactly deny it.

>> Ed Pastor: I tell people that you have to have an, you have to have an ego to do some of those things.

>> Lin Sue Cooney: He jokes, of course, but his drive is no laughing matter. First to graduate in his family from college, first Latino elected to Congress in Arizona.

>> Ed Pastor: And also a great honor because you made history, and people, again, my family and my friends and my community helped me achieve that.

>> Lin Sue Cooney: And pastor takes his duties seriously, whether it's empowering the Hispanic voter, championing immigration reform, or securing funding so Spanish-speaking Arizonans have more access to hospital and court interpreters, and he hopes it will make a difference.

>> Ed Pastor: No matter how small or how big, that change is very important.

>> Lin Sue Cooney: An example he hopes will encourage community action, despite the challenges one may confront.

>> Ed Pastor: I mean, I may not be responsible for being down, but I am responsible for getting up, and so, and so with that attitude, we can accomplish many things.

>> Lin Sue Cooney: That motto is never far from his mind when tackling important issues in office.

>> Ed Pastor: Even though that, that we have worked very hard at it, there is still a lot of kids who, who aren't, you know, so I would hope that we would concentrate more in educating our children and providing decent health care to them.

>> Lin Sue Cooney: In addition to funding schools, pastor also invests in organizations like the boys and girls club and the YMCA. He was also the president of Valle del Sol twice.

>> Ed Pastor: It's something that I have an obligation to do, and I am able to do it.

>> Lin Sue Cooney: And the congressman is grateful he's in a position to help his community crediting his achievements to those around him.

>> Ed Pastor: I have always enjoyed great support from, from my family, number one, and, and my friends and, and the community. I attributed that to my parents, who instilled it in me the idea that, that I could go onto college and, and, and educate myself and become somebody.

>> Jose Cardenas: Pastor has become synonymous with education personally raising millions of dollars for scholarships that assist Latino students. He also is a frequent guest speaker at many schools. There's even an elementary school named after him.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Food City will host its Copa Food City soccer tournament where teams will compete this weekend. Here to talk about the tournament is Robert Ortiz. He's vice president of sales and merchandising for food city. Robert, good to have you on Horizonte.

>> Robert Ortiz:
Thank you for having me.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Tell us about your background with Bashas and food city.

>> Robert Ortiz:
I've been with Bashas 26 years, and back in 1993, we acquired the, the original food city store down on Mohave in south phoenix. Since that time, we have taken the, the good city format to, to 61 stores and we'll have 62 in November 16, we're opening another store in Tucson.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Where did the idea first come from?

>> Robert Ortiz:
Our president back then, he wanted to find a way to, to get into the Hispanic market at that time. I think that we were head of the curve, and we were able to, able to grow with the format significantly over the past 11 years.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Your involvement?

>> Robert Ortiz:
I was in from the beginning. My involvement was, was to work with the original store and to, and to, at that time, we kept the, the, the food city -- the logo, food city and Bashas, we kept them separate and transparency to the customer, but really my job was to try to, try to stay the same direction that the original food city had gone for years and years.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Why sponsor a soccer tournament as opposed to baseball, which is also very popular in the community?

>> Robert Ortiz:
As many of you know, soccer is the number one sport in the world, and in Mexico, it is by far the number one sport. For us, after going out to, to a lot of the schools and, and -- in south phoenix, chandler, mesa, we found that every school and every playground in the city was taking up every -- was taken up every weekend by the Latino soccer leagues, so we invited seven league presidents into our offices and said, how can we help you? What is your idea of where we can get involved with you in the community? And they said, give us a tournament.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And you have been doing it for a number of years. In fact, I think we have some footage of last year's event. Tell us a little bit about, about Copa and the tournament, itself, and, and how it gets organized.

>> Robert Ortiz:
Well, we start with the, with the 17 presidential leagues, and we get the schedules written. They have, they have -- they have huge -- there is leagues there, 250, 300 teams in the valley. Nogales, Tucson, all over the state, and, and they have their, their inter-league playoffs to see who comes with the Copa Food City to start with. Once we get that --

>> Jose Cardenas:
They have to qualify before they can get to this level?

>> Robert Ortiz:
Absolutely. Absolutely. What we do, we break it out. There's 36 men's teams. There's 48 children's teams. There's eight women's teams, and the women's teams are very exciting. They draw the biggest crowds. This year we have four girls' teams. I think they are under 16.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Do the games all takes place in phoenix?

>> Robert Ortiz:
Yeah, they are all, actually, at the Tempe sports complex on hardy in between Warner and Elliot. Every year, we move it to a different part of the city to try to, try to get involved in different areas. But, we have, we have -- it's all sponsored through the, through the industry, if you will. Food City Bashas gets involved. We also get a lot of our vendor partners and manufacturers and everybody pitches in to help out. But, what it is we take one of the middle soccer fields and we have food, entertainment, and there's 52 vendor booths this year giving out samples and giving the vendors the opportunity to mingle with the customers.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And that's why the vendors are happy to donate their products.

>> Robert Ortiz:
Sure.

>> Jose Cardenas:
What reaction have you gotten from the community?

>> Robert Ortiz:
Oh, man, it was fantastic. First year, 2001, we started in mesa, actually, and, and we didn't know if we would have 2,500 people, 3,000, that was our target, and we had 25,000. And, and --

>> Jose Cardenas:
25,000?

>> Robert Ortiz:
25,000. Again, it brings out, out the kids. It brings out the mother, father, and when the mother plays, you have the whole family, and so they all come out, and it's three days of fun. We start, we start -- in fact, tomorrow the tournament starts at 5:00 to 10:00 tomorrow night, on Friday, all day on Saturday, and, and then on Sunday, we close at about 6:00, but, but it's soccer all day long, and, and a lot of food. A lot of festivities for the kids. There's a kids' area, and again, it's a lot of fun. One of the interesting things, let me tell you, is that we take, take volunteers from the food city stores, and it's our one time of year where we say it's one of our biggest team building days, but it's all done with food city volunteers, as far as the work.

>> Jose Cardenas:
This sounds like a tremendously complex event, and we have got about 30 seconds left, can you tell us overall what's involved in pulling it off?

>> Robert Ortiz:
Oh, my god. We have -- the store managers from eight different stores, they get together and they specialize in different areas -- food, booths and so on. But, the volunteers are a big part of it, but the main thing is we get the industry involved. We give that to the community. Every kid gets a uniform, for example, like this. And here's a Pepsi team, for example, and, and anyway, every kid gets a uniform, shorts, socks, jersey, balls.

>> Jose Cardenas:
A tremendous event.

>> Robert Ortiz:
It's all free.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Thank you for sharing the details with us.

>> Robert Ortiz:
Thank you much.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The Copa Food City soccer tournament is this weekend from November 4 to the 6 at the Tempe sport complex located at Warner and Hardy in Tempe. The event is free.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Last week we talked about the mesa Latino town hall meeting. It focused on addressing the issues affecting Latinos in Mesa. Tonight we would like to update you on the event last weekend. Hundreds of mesa residents, students, and public officials participated in the meeting and talked about various topics, which included health, politics and education. It is our commitment to keep you on top of the latest news and issues affecting Arizona's community on Horizonte. For more information on Horizonte, including upcoming shows and transcripts, go to our website at www.az-pbs.org and click on Horizonte. That's our show for tonight. I'm Jose Cardenas. For all of us here at Horizonte, good night.

Kristina Davis: Tribune newspaper;

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