Arizona PBS Honors Hispanic Heritage Month with New Programming Lineup

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Jean Rodriguez performing on the Arizona PBS special “Unity – The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson.”Photo credit: Ciprian Lacob.

PHOENIX – (Sept. 16)

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Arizona PBS will feature an on-air lineup commemorating the experiences and culture of Hispanic Americans that have shaped history in the U.S. and beyond.

With a wide range of documentaries, musical performances and arts features, Arizona PBS’ programs offer viewers an in-depth look at the stories and issues that continue to impact and influence Latino history and culture. The lineup includes seven new programs as well as the “28th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards” to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which starts Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15.

“Arizona PBS takes pride in acknowledging and celebrating the impacts many cultures have had on American history,” said Nancy Southgate, Arizona PBS associate general manager. “We’re proud to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month with a wide selection of programs that emphasize the diverse and important contributions Latinos have made to American society, such as the artistic masterworks of Mexican-American photographer Pedro E. Guerrero in the ‘American Masters’ special ‘Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey,’ the sacrifices made by Latinos during the Vietnam War in the documentary ‘On Two Fronts: Latinos and Vietnam,’ and the musical talents of legendary Latino performers in the PBS Fall Arts Festival, among many other exciting new programs this year.”

“Arizona PBS takes pride in acknowledging and celebrating the impacts many cultures have had on American history,” said Nancy Southgate, Arizona PBS associate general manager. “We’re proud to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month with a wide selection of programs that emphasize the diverse and important contributions Latinos have made to American society, such as the artistic masterworks of Mexican-American photographer Pedro E. Guerrero in the ‘American Masters’ special ‘Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey,’ the sacrifices made by Latinos during the Vietnam War in the documentary ‘On Two Fronts: Latinos and Vietnam,’ and the musical talents of legendary Latino performers in the PBS Fall Arts Festival, among many other exciting new programs this year.”

The fifth season of the PBS Arts Fall Festival hosted by Grammy Award-winning performer Gloria Estefan, features two vibrant Latin shows. The festival launches Oct. 9 with the high-energy “Unity – The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson,” featuring Latin-infused arrangements of iconic songs such as “Smooth Criminal,” “I Want You Back” and “Billie Jean” in this concert special hosted by Sheila E, featuring award-winning Latin artists. On Nov. 9, celebrated Broadway star Chita Rivera, fresh off of her recent Tony-nominated Broadway run, is featured in “Great Performances: ‘Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do.’”

Immediately following “Unity – The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson”on Oct. 9 will be the “28th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards” at 9 p.m. Hollywood legend Rita Moreno hosts this special evening, which is the country’s highest award paying tribute to Latinos by Latinos. The evening includes live performances and appearances by some of the country’s most celebrated Hispanic artists. The Hispanic Heritage Awards were created by the White House in 1987. 

Arizona PBS also presents new documentaries focusing on the history and lives of Hispanic Americans. “On Two Fronts: Latinos and Vietnam,” airing Sept. 22, examines the Latino experience during the Vietnam War from the point of view of two siblings, Everett and Delia Alvarez, who stood on opposite sides of the war, one as a prisoner of war and the other protesting at home. On Sept. 18, in a special co-presentation with “VOCES,” “American Masters: Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey” depicts the life and work of Mesa, Arizona native and internationally recognized Mexican-American architectural photographer Pedro E. Guerrero; and on Sept. 21, award-winning series “POV” presents “Don’t Tell Anyone” (“No Le Digas a Nadie”), which profiles immigrant activist Angy Rivera as she shares her experiences of being undocumented and sexually abused. 

In addition, Arizona PBS’ World channel will feature encore broadcasts of “Rebel: A VOCES Special Presentation,” which tells the story of Loreta Velasquez, a Cuban immigrant who secretly fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War; “The State of Arizona,” a provocative “Independent Lens” film about Arizona’s controversial “papers please law"; and the landmark series “Latino Americans,” hosted by Peruvian-American actor Benjamin Bratt.

The Hispanic Heritage Month Online Collection includes features to connect viewers to new programs premiering this fall and to the additional films and digital features that remain on the site year-round, highlighting the stories, people, history and culture of Hispanic Americans.

PBS LearningMedia, a free on-demand library for educators and students, with more than 1.6 million registered users, will feature a variety of digital resources from “VOCES: Children of ‘Giant,’” “VOCES: El Poeta,” “American Masters: Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey” and “On Two Fronts: Latinos and Vietnam” for classroom use. The service currently offers more than 1,300 Spanish-language videos, available for anytime access, that span a wide range of subjects, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). A special video about the importance of Hispanic Heritage month is also available. For more information please visit www.pbslearningmedia.org

The full Hispanic Heritage Month programming lineup is listed below:

AMERICAN MASTERS: “Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey”
Discover the life and work of Mexican-American photographer and Mesa, Arizona native Pedro E. Guerrero, who collaborated with Frank Lloyd Wright and sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. This film is a special presentation of “American Masters” and “VOCES.” — Friday, Sept. 18, 8–9 p.m.

POV: “Don’t Tell Anyone” (“No Le Digas a Nadie”)
Meet immigrant activist Angy Rivera, the country’s only advice columnist for undocumented youth. In a community where silence is often seen as necessary for survival, she steps out of the shadows to share her own parallel experiences of being undocumented and sexually abused. — Monday, Sept. 21, 11–12:30 p.m.

ON TWO FRONTS – LATINOS & VIETNAM Examine the Latino experience during a war that placed its heaviest burden on the working class. Framing the documentary are memoirs of two siblings who stood on opposite sides of the Vietnam War, one as a prisoner of war and the other a protestor at home. — Tuesday, Sept. 22, 9–10:30 p.m.

THE WOMEN’S LIST: AMERICAN MASTERS Meet 15 women who define contemporary American culture in Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ new “List” film featuring Madeleine Albright, Gloria Allred, Laurie Anderson, Sara Blakely, Margaret Cho, Edie Falco, Elizabeth Holmes, Betsey Johnson, Alicia Keys, Aimee Mullins, Nancy Pelosi, Rosie Perez, Shonda Rhimes, Wendy Williams and Nia Wordlaw. — Friday, Sept. 25, 8–9 p.m.

PBS ARTS FALL FESTIVAL: UNITY  THE LATIN TRIBUTE TO MICHAEL JACKSON   World-class drummer and percussionist Sheila E. hosts a concert special that showcases award-winning Latin artists and a 37-piece orchestra performing Latin-infused arrangements of Tony Succar’s album “Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson.” The album and concert feature 16 songs that inspired musicians from all over Latin America to come together to celebrate and reimagine hits such as “Smooth Criminal,” “I Want You Back” and “Billie Jean.” On its release in April 2015, the album topped the Amazon Latin World Music Charts, the iTunes World Music Charts and the Billboard Tropical Charts at number one. This program was produced by Unity Entertainment Corporation and Oregon Public Broadcasting in association with Universal Music Classics. — Friday, Oct. 9, 8–9 p.m.

THE HISPANIC HERITAGE AWARDS Join host Rita Moreno for a celebration of the country’s highest tribute to Latinos by Latinos. The program includes performances and appearances by celebrated Hispanic artists. — Friday, Oct. 9, 9–10 p.m.

PBS ARTS FALL FESTIVAL: GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do”
Legendary Broadway performer Chita Rivera has been lighting up international stages for more than 70 years. With starring roles in such iconic Broadway shows as “West Side Story,” “Bye Bye Birdie”and “Chicago,” Rivera returned to Broadway in 2015 to star in the final John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally musical “The Visit.” In addition to archival clips from Rivera’s many shows and TV appearances, this career retrospective also features interviews with Dick Van Dyke, Ben Vereen, Carol Lawrence and many more to tell the story of Rivera’s peerless show biz virtuosity. — Friday, Nov. 6, 8–9 p.m.

Encore Programs on World:

INDEPENDENT LENS: “The State of Arizona”
Witness the volatile emotions and complex realities behind Arizona’s struggle with illegal immigration. The vérité film tells stories of Arizonans during the year after Arizona passed its controversial “papers please” law. – Sept. 16, 8:30–10 p.m.

“VOCES” ON ARIZONA PBS “VOCES,” Arizona PBS’ signature Latino arts and culture documentary showcase, is the only ongoing national television series devoted to exploring and celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino cultural experience. 

“Children of ‘Giant’” In 1955, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean and a massive crew descended on the Texas town of Marfa to begin production on “Giant.” Now, decades later, “Children of ‘Giant,’” explores the film’s still timely examination of racial prejudice.
Sept. 24, 8-9:30 p.m.

“Now en Español” Explore the ups and downs of being a Latina actress in Hollywood through the lives of the five dynamic women who dub “Desperate Housewives” into Spanish for American audiences. Sept. 25, 8-9 p.m.

“El Poeta” Meet renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, who ignited an international movement for peace after the brutal murder of his 24 year-old son — collateral damage in a drug war that has left more than 70,000 dead since 2006. Sept. 25, 9-10 p.m.

REBEL: A VOCES SPECIAL PRESENTATION Explore the mysterious true story of Loreta Velasquez, a Cuban immigrant who was one of the estimated 1,000 women who secretly served as soldiers during the Civil War. Why has her story been erased from the history books? — Oct. 4, 11 p.m. – 12 a.m.

LATINO AMERICANS Join narrator Benjamin Bratt for a documentary series that chronicles the rich and varied history of Latinos, who have for the past 500-plus years helped shape what is today the United States and have become the country’s largest minority group.

“Foreigners in Their Own Land” and “Empire of Dreams”
Survey the history and people from 1565-1880, as the first Spanish explorers enter North America, the U.S. expands into territories in the Southwest and as the Mexican-American War strips Mexico of half its territories by 1848. Then, see how the American population is reshaped by Latino immigration starting in 1880 and continuing into the 1940s: Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans begin arriving in the U.S. and start to build communities in South Florida, Los Angeles and New York. Oct. 6, 12-2 a.m. and 2–4 p.m.

“War and Peace” and “The New Latinos” Trace the World War II years and those that follow, as Latino Americans serve their new country by the hundreds of thousands — yet still face discrimination and a fight for civil rights in the United States. Then, review the decades after World War II through the early 1960s, as swelling numbers of immigrants from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic seek economic opportunities. — Oct. 13, 12–2 a.m. and 2–4 p.m.

“Prejudice and Pride” and “Peril and Promise”

Witness the creation of the proud “Chicano” identity as labor leaders organize farm workers in California, and as activists push for better education opportunities for Latinos, the inclusion of Latino studies and empowerment in the political process. Then, examine the past 30 years, as immigration creates a debate over the undocumented that leads to calls for tightened borders and English-only laws. Simultaneously, Latino influence is booming in business, sports, media, politics and entertainment.  Oct. 20, 12–2 a.m. and 2–4 p.m.

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