Joy Diaz | KERA News

Joy Diaz

Joy Diaz has been a reporter with KUT on and off since 2005. Since joining KUT, Joy has covered education, healthcare and immigration. She is now a Senior Reporter covering the city beat.

Originally from Mexico, Joy moved to the U.S. in 1998 when her husband Luis was transferred from his job in Mexico City to train workers in a telecommunications plant in Virginia. While there, Joy worked for Roanoke's NPR station WVTF.

Joy speaks English and Spanish, which is a plus in a state like Texas. She graduated from Universidad de Cuautitlán Izcalli in Mexico City with a degree in journalism. In 2008 she took a break to devote herself to her two young children, before returning to the KUT studios. She loves reading, painting and spending time engaging with the community.  

From Texas Standard.

It’s Valentine’s Day and so we put together a story for you about hearts – not candy hearts or even those filled with chocolate, but human hearts. These days, we know quite a bit about them. It’s been 50 years since the first successful transplant. But, in a way, hearts are also still full of mystery – and I’m not trying to get romantic on you. A doctor in Dallas is trying to solve those mysteries of the heart by studying the organs that no one wants anymore.

From Texas Standard.

Candidates all over the Lone Star State are pouring their hearts, souls and resources into their campaigns. The primaries in Texas are only three weeks away.

While resources are a major challenge for every candidate, that’s particularly true for those with little name recognition. Some organizations like Emily’s List and Annie’s List are making money available to the record number of female candidates running this year. but the money is not available to everyone.

From Texas Standard.

Scouting has long been considered a path for young people to learn life skills, but a program along the United States-Mexico border goes a lot further than how to start a campfire or care for a park. It's run under the auspices of the U.S. Border Patrol, and it’s not so much camping in the wilderness but rather something much more intense, closer to bona fide basic military training.

From Texas Standard:

Warning: this story contains descriptions that are disturbing.

Authorities in Mexico this weekend arrested two people they say were involved in a human trafficking operation. They rescued 24 young women who are from Colombia and Venezuela. This incident underscores how most of us understand human trafficking – as an international crime. But authorities in Texas are deepening their understanding of human trafficking as a local crime.

From Texas Standard.

The streets in front of the State Capitol building will be blocked off this weekend to make room for white tents and long tables piled high with books. Think of that new book smell – that’s the smell of the upcoming Texas Book Festival.

Some of the most celebrated authors in the world will be descending on Austin. The whole event is free, from browsing books to attending author signings.

Lois Kim, the festival’s executive director, says over 300 authors are coming to the event – including Tom Hanks, the Bush sisters, Dan Rather, and celebrity chef Mark Bittman. She says they’re also expecting literary stars like Walter Isaacson and Jennifer Egan.

From Texas Standard:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested almost 500 people in just four days of immigration raids last month alone. While that operation did not target Texas, the crackdown has many of the estimated 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants in the state feeling worried.

From Texas Standard:

About 2 million American girls were born in 2002. That means they’re turning 15 this year. And many are celebrating with a quinceañera. It’s the rite of passage party usually celebrated by Hispanic girls. It’s similar to a “Sweet 16,” but celebrations are often much more extravagant.

From Texas Standard:

Thousands of people are finding their way to dry blankets and warm socks in shelters all across Texas. Dallas expects to host as many as 10,000 people fleeing Harvey; in Austin, as many as 7,000. Donations keep trickling in.

From Texas Standard:

The first few days of the school year are an anxious time for most kids. But there’s a group whose levels of stress and anxiety are so high that they can only be compared to those who have experienced trauma.

Silvia Zuvieta Rodriguez is one of them.

“Since I was little I always had anxiety when it came to my parents not coming home at a certain time,” she says.

From Texas Standard:

Senate Bill 4, known as the “show me your papers” law to its opponents, currently faces a challenge in a San Antonio federal court. If the law takes effect, police in Texas will be able to ask people they stop about their immigration status.

From Texas Standard:

The 85th legislative session focused so much on measures like the "sanctuary cities" bill and the "bathroom" bill that it’s easy to forget that much of the initial focus was supposed to be on something else.

From Texas Standard:

In late March, Cesar Duarte, the former governor of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, fled to El Paso to escape corruption allegations. Duarte is now the subject of an international arrest warrant, which was filed by his successor, current Governor Javier Corral.

From Texas Standard:

Pain is one of those things that is hard to wrap your head around - it's hard to measure, it varies according to your age and health condition. And pain and what we know about pain – particularly chronic pain – also varies by race.

From Texas Standard:

Remember the Takata airbag scandal? The company’s actions – though they took lives – were not criminal; Takata’s offenses were civil. Nobody went to jail. But the company was fined $1 billion.

 

From Texas Standard:

Undocumented immigrants in the United States are paying close attention to the deportation policies of the Trump administration. More and more it appears that those who have committed crimes are not the only ones who are a priority for removal.

From Texas Standard:

Mexico’s election season is right around the corner and two candidates are already leading in the polls. It looks likely that leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico’s MORENA party and conservative candidate Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo of PAN will face off in July 2018.

A Spanish-language version of this post is available on Texas Standard:

In his inaugural address last month, President Trump called for Americans to focus inwardly – his “America First" movement. But in response, Mexico has come up with its own cry: "Hecho en Mexico” (Made in Mexico).

Public radio stations from across the state collaborated on this series looking at the death penalty in Texas – its history, how it’s changed, whom it affects and its future. From Texas Standard:

Death row inmates often spend decades between the day they're sentenced and the day they're executed. That can be due to many factors – from lengthy appeals to the state being unable to get the drugs it needs to carry out executions.

From Texas Standard:

Texas leads the nation in payday lending and car title loan businesses with more than 3,000 storefronts across the state. Payday lenders are both a blessing and a curse: on one hand, they meet a need; on the other, they do so through sky-high interest rates.

That's why communities of faith are getting involved in the effort to better regulate them. But should faith leaders get involved in money matters?

 


From Texas Standard:

When a major publisher taps you on the shoulder, that's a big step for an author. When a school district adopts your books as recommended reading, that's big too. But when kids start asking for your books by name, you're onto something.

From Texas Standard:

Texas began a strategic plan to reform the foster care system in 2014, but the overhaul is still in the early stages of rollout. The plan has been moving forward without much fanfare, at a time when Child Protective Services is taking a lot of heat for some high-profile tragedies.

The biggest change is a shift away from investigation efforts – the CPS worker who comes knocking on the door asking questions – to a public heath approach aimed at strengthening families and reducing the number of serious injuries and fatalities.

The plan puts a heavy emphasis on the staggering cost of child abuse and the need to be smarter about resources – to use big data as never before. 

 


From Texas Standard:

The Texas foster care system is not perfect. We’ve all heard stories about children bouncing around from one foster placement to another, or kids who are in and out of the system – as if going through a revolving door.

But that’s not the intent. Marissa Gonzalez is a spokesperson for Child Protective Services.

"When a child first comes into foster care, it is temporary,” she says. “The whole idea is for them to be safely reunited with their parents."

 


From Texas Standard:

When Sam Espinosa was a kid, it took a while for Austin Independent School District to learn he was homeless.

"My mom is a fairly private person – she was never one to let anyone else into,  you know, what we were going through," Espinosa says.

So, Sam and his five siblings became fairly good at pretending they had a place to live.

 


Daria Vera has never forgotten that brutally hot summer in 1966.

She goes to the back room of her tiny Texas home and comes back holding a box of pictures.

"This is my daughter," Vera says in Spanish, pointing to a girl in one photograph. "She was so little — probably 2 years old — always with us, even during the strike."

In 1966, Vera was only 20. Both she and her husband picked onions and cantaloupes for a living, with their child by their side.

From Texas Standard:

This is part one of a three-part series looking at farm workers in Texas.

Fifty years ago, farm workers in Texas walked off their jobs to protest their low pay and terrible working conditions. And in the searing summer heat of 1966, they staged a historic march across the state. Many were beaten and arrested, but most history books have overlooked it. Now, some of those original marchers are telling their stories.

Daria Vera has never forgotten that brutally hot summer back in 1966.


From Texas Standard:

The Standard has been following Courtney Meeks and William Welch since January. We’ve reported on their pregnancy, Baby Eve's birth, and search for housing.  

From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story contains language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

In Texas, the law is pretty clear when it comes to who's responsible for reporting abuse or neglect – pretty much anyone who thinks abuse or neglect is happening. Often, that person is a delivery nurse or a doctor.

From Texas Standard:

If you're a regular listener to the Standard, you may remember Courtney Meeks. She's homeless and pregnant. When we met her in January, Meeks was standing at the corner of a busy intersection in Austin asking drivers for money. Back then, she thought she was really close to giving birth.

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