The city of El Paso is divided over a new public statue of a conquistador that evokes pride in Hispanics, and outrage among Native Americans.
In Texas after World War II, a funeral home refuses to care for a dead Mexican American soldier’s body “because the whites wouldn’t like it.”
John Valadez has been producing and directing award-winning documentaries for PBS and CNN for the past 14 years. His credits include the critically acclaimed Passin' It On, which aired on P.O.V. in 1994 and The Last Conquistador, which aired on P.O.V. in 2008. He also was… a producer for three PBS series: Making Peace; Matters of Race; and Visiones: Latino Arts & Culture. He was a producer of Beyond Brown for PBS, and he produced "High Stakes Testing" for CNN Presents. He wrote, directed, and produced The Chicano Wave segment of Latin Music USA, which will be rebroadcast by PBS in September 2010.
Valadez is a founding member of the New York City chapter of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP). He is a Rockefeller Fellow and a PBS/CPB Producers Academy Fellow. He has twice been a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow and is a graduate of the film program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Valadez lives in Warwick, New York.
The Longoria Affair tells the story of one key injustice – the refusal, by a small-town funeral home in Texas after World War II, to care for a dead Mexican American soldier’s body “because the whites wouldn’t like it” – and shows how the incident sparked outrage nationwide. Two stubborn and savvy leaders, newly-elected Senator Lyndon Johnson and veteran/activist Dr. Hector Garcia, formed an alliance over the incident. Over the next 15 years, their complex, sometimes contentious relationship would help Latinos become a national political force for the first time in American history, carry John Kennedy to the White House, and ultimately lead to Johnson’s signature on the Voting Rights Act of 1965.