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From being an ‘add on’ to ‘the story,’ one Latina journalist is elevating the voices in her community
Growing up along the South Texas border, Nancy Flores, the daughter of two Mexican immigrants, made it her mission to uplift the voices of Latinos "a long time ago."
As a journalist for 17 years, most recently writing for The Austin American-Statesman, she says she'd try to always represent Latinos in her coverage. This year, her mission takes a new step with the relaunch of Austin Vida.
Austin Vida, a former music site that catered to Latinos in Austin, is coming back with a brand new team behind it and Flores at the helm as editor and publisher. The organization had previously been running since 2009 before ending online publishing five years ago. In the organization's resurgence, the digital newsletter relaunched last month, while the website relaunch will take place later this year on an unannounced date.
Between movements against racial injustice and Latinos disproportionately affected by COVID-19, Flores said this is exactly the right time to bring the publication back.
"Publications like Austin Vida need to exist, especially during this time," Flores said. "It was the perfect time to reimagine what (Austin Vida) could be for the future; and what it could be moving forward for another generation of Latinos in Austin, making sure they are seen and they feel heard."
In a growing city where Hispanics make up 34% of the population, there is a lack of English publications currently operating that directly speaks to the Latino experience. Flores says she hopes to fill the gap for Latinos who aren't seeing themselves in the mainstream media, who may not speak Spanish, who are second and third generation and various other circumstances because each Latino experience is different.
After almost three years living in Austin, Eli Rodriguez says he sometimes feels alienated in the city. Rodriguez lived in Puerto Rico for 26 years before moving to Detroit and then Austin.
"It feels like some Latino subcultures here in Austin are underrepresented," Rodriguez said. "Whenever I read or hear the news, a lot of us can't relate to it. I think I'd like to see or read a publication that sounds like us."
In its heyday, Austin Vida was that publication for Flores. She remembers reading Austin Vida as a young Latina and feeling like she was seen, so it was important for her to do this relaunch.
Flores said, "I don't ever want Latinos in Austin to feel like they don't belong because not only do they absolutely belong, but our stories are a big part of what makes Austin special."
Until the relaunch of first the site, the new organization is focusing on feedback from the community. Since November, it has been publishing event guides, promoting cultural awareness in the community as a start.
The organization has already received community support from the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It started spreading the word about the organization on social media and its newsletter when it learned about the project late last year.
Stephanie Bazan, communications director for GAHCC, has known Flores since college and is excited for her to elevate Latino voices further. She says she thinks Austin Vida is going to add a missing layer to the Austin digital media landscape by celebrating the everyday contributions and wins of Latinos.
"I think it's important for us to hear stories from our point of view," Bazan said. "Oftentimes our stories are told from other voices or they're just a small piece of a story, so I think it's critical for this to be the story and not just be an add on."
Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.
The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.
Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.
The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.
No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.
According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.
Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be
The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.
Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.
Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."
"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."
Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.
This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.
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Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.
APD is working a suspicious death near the 1900 block of W Rundberg Ln. PIO is en route and will update with media staging location. PIO6
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) June 12, 2021
Police originally responded to Ironhorse Flats Apartments, 1900 block of W. Rundberg Lane, at 3:20 p.m. when they found the woman with multiple gunshot wounds. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 4:07 p.m.
No one is in custody as of yet but police are speaking with potential witnesses. Officials said they believe this was an isolated incident with no danger to the public but said possible relation to the downtown shooting has not been specifically ruled out.
Officers could not provide a suspect description and the relationship to the victim is still unknown.
This is a developing story that will be updated as details become available.
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