Jessica Diaz-Hurtado

Jessica Diaz Hurtado is a Kroc Fellow at NPR. With roots in Latin America, her work focuses on immigration, race, conflict and culture. She received her B.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was awarded the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Scholarship. She also received her M.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. In 2014 she directed and produced her award-winning documentary series, Ta Ligado: Rodas e Hip Hop no Rio, on Rio de Janeiro's youth hip hop culture. After graduating, she was a freelance multimedia journalist in South America. She is currently a 2016-17 Kroc Fellow.

In an attempt to reach a younger and more diverse audience, the largest and most well-known Latino advocacy group in the U.S., the National Council of La Raza, renamed itself this month. The new name, UnidosUS, was announced at the group's 2017 conference in Phoenix. This has caused a rift in the U.S. Latino community — some see it as shedding a dated name, but others see it as leaving a legacy behind.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Whenever Esteban Castillo visited his grandparents in Colima, Mexico, he'd sit by his grandfather's taco stand and watch him cook. He'd also see his grandmother carry her homemade cheeses on her back and go door to door, selling them in different neighborhoods. To this day, his grandparents still make a living off of food.

"They basically transform their living room into a restaurant during the weekends to make ends meet," says Castillo.

Editor's note: This is one of three segments in this week's episode of Alt.Latino. Listen to the full show.


On her days off, Claudia Saenz scours used record shops, thrift stores and yard sales, keeping her eyes peeled for records her parents grew up on. They remind her of her childhood.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Marvin Lemus hated the skin he was in when, as a child, he didn't see himself represented on TV or in the movies. So when he was 8 years old, he decided to become a filmmaker.

For Brazilian vocalist Liniker Barros, it's almost impossible to avoid politics. As a trans black woman fronting one of Brazil's most compelling soul bands, Liniker E Os Caramelows, she says her mere presence is a statement.

Looking to the future is the right way to start off a new year. In the video for the electronica-tinged Latin American folk song "Futuro," Café Tacvba looks beyond binaries to see time and the universe through an optimistic lens.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


From the land between Colombia's Caribbean coast and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Systema Solar is a collective with a strong visual sensibility and a heavy new Afro-Caribbean sound. Mixing sounds like champeta, bullerengue, hip-hop and electronic beats, Systema Solar is set to kick 2017 off right.

Mariachi Flor de Toloache is a diverse, bilingual, all-woman band that fuses traditional mariachi music with jazz, blues and other forms of Latin American music. (For the non-Spanish-speaking crowd, flor de toloache means "toloache flower," a Mexican medicinal plant often associated with magic and brujeria, or healing. It's known to have high toxicity levels, but ancestral indigenous communities actually used it for therapeutic purposes.)