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By PRI | Stories of a Changing America from PRI

How dim sum cooks in California fought wage theft — and won

Minimum wages are moving up in parts of the country. While that's celebrated, wage theft remains a big worry for many workers and labor advocates. It's what makes the successful fight for lost wages at the Yank Sing restaurant in San Francisco a rare case — and one that shows just what it takes for …


A Boston community is divided over the Dominican Republic's citizenship policy

Dennis Benzan is the vice mayor of the Massachusetts city of Cambridge.

He was born in Cambridge, but much of his family is from the Dominican Republic.

In recent weeks he, and a number of other members of Boston's Dominican community, including Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Diaz, have been …


Each year in New York, Gottscheers celebrate the culture of a city that no longer exists

The Gottscheers come from a place that no longer exists.

Thousands of them now live in New York City. But until World War II, their home was a mountainous patch of Yugoslavia called Gottschee.

Gottscheers didn't speak Slavic languages like their central European neighbors. Instead, they spoke an …

New York City

To this Ethiopian American singer, 'home is always in flux'

Like a lot of immigrants in the United States, Meklit Hadero’s family arrived to a place unknown, with a single connection drawing them. For Hadero, that place was Iowa, where her dad knew a professor.

It was the early ‘80s, and Ethiopia was still feeling the aftermath of the 1974 revolution.

“There …

East Africa

When you think Kazakhstan think Timur, not Borat

The story of how Timur Bekbosunov became a glam-rock opera singer in the US actually begins in 1958, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, then part of the Soviet Union. Timur says his father developed a strange idea — he wanted to go the US “to see what it’s all about.”

His dad even wrote a letter to Soviet …

Public Broadcasters

What it's like to grow up a lesbian in Saudi Arabia

AJ is sitting in a restaurant in Northern Virginia, drinking a beer and showing off her ink. One of the tattoos is a yellow equals sign in a blue square — the symbol of LGBT equality.

There’s nothing all that remarkable about this scene, except that AJ grew up in Saudi Arabia, where all of this — …


Fresh from Burundi to America — this man is watching war break out from afar

Ever since the unrest in Burundi erupted, Raphael Nzirubusa has anxiously followed the news from New York. This is not the first time he’s forced to watch from afar while turbulent events unfold in his home country.

The last time Burundi went into civil war was 1993. Nzirubusa has just arrived in …


Despite deaths and drugs, asylum in the US remains a dream for most Mexicans

In June's midterm elections in Mexico, voter turnout was higher than expected. Surveys showed that voters were voicing frustrations with drug cartel violence and corruption. But an increasing number of Mexicans cannot wait for electoral changes to improve their situation. They see leaving as the …

Public Broadcasters

Korean adoptees are using DNA kits to get a glimpse of their ancestry

I don’t know the actual day I was born. I also don’t know anything about the woman who gave birth to me. Was she married? Was she single? Was she young? Was she pretty? Was she happy? I know I was born in South Korea, but the circumstances of my birth, including the exact location, are unknown.

In …


Has Donald Trump become 'the great Latino unifier?'

These days, it seems like everyone has an opinion on Donald Trump — and his controversial Twitter account. And his latest online sparring partner? None other than someone purporting to be Joaquín Guzmán — aka, El Chapo, the legendary Mexican drug lord who recently escaped from prison.

El Chapo had …

Donald Trump

Wanted: Bilingual teachers. And here's how one school is filling the gap

Sergio Gon sits in the corner of his kindergarten classroom in Giddings, Texas, reading a book to his students entirely in Spanish. He’s a bilingual teacher at the elementary school there, a town of about 5,000 people halfway between Austin and Houston. Most of his students don’t speak English.

Down …


Criminals? Immigrants are more law-abiding than native-born Americans

By now we’ve heard what Donald Trump, the billionaire Republican presidential candidate, has said about immigrants from Mexico — that they’re “bringing drugs … crime. They’re rapists.”

And, he added: “Some, I assume, are good people.”

But with the killing of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco, we have …


Latino soccer fans in L.A. finally have a Mexican hero to root for

A new player is coming to Major League Soccer, and I’m excited to see him.

He is Giovani dos Santos, a star on the Mexican men’s national soccer team for years and someone the Los Angeles Galaxy have long tried to lure to California. Now the team has succeeded.

Dos Santos is an attacking midfielder …


#GoodMuslimBadMuslim host ponders Washington's pact with Tehran and asks: When can we go home?

For many Iranian Americans, news of the nuclear deal hammered out in Vienna doesn't end the waiting, or the longing.

"When am I gonna see my family, when can I go see my city again, when can I go see Iran again? When, when, when, when?" laments Zahra Noorbakhsh. She's one of the creators of the …

Middle East

Iranians are celebrating a nuclear deal, some with homemade vodka

It's a new day for Iranians, no matter what time zone they live in.

One Tehran resident woke his brother in California with news of the landmark nuclear pact struck in Vienna.

"They made a deal, man! You were asleep, and they made the deal!" an Iranian who uses the pseudonym Behzed told his …

Middle East

Why is whiteness the default in Hollywood?

Venezuelan American actor Dylan Marron was sick of being told that there wasn't enough work in Hollywood for his "type."

So, he created the Every Single Word project, where he posts re-edits of some of his favorite mainstream films — with all of the parts where white people speak edited out. What's …


In San Diego, the Barrio's answer to Comic-Con: Chicano-Con

David Favela loves Comic-Con. One catch: He's never actually attended.

“I've never been able to get tickets,” says this San Diego native. “I'm what you would call a frustrated Comic-Con fan. For many of us out there, it's very hard to get in. And it's pretty expensive if you want to take the family.”

San Diego

A Bosnian Serb in Phoenix says he's been labeled a war criminal without ever being tried or convicted

Eighteen years ago, Vitomir Spiric, his wife and young daughter arrived in Phoenix to start over. They're Bosnian Serbs who were displaced by the Balkan wars in the 1990s. The US government awarded them refugee status.

“We are started to live [a] nice life,” says Spiric, now 43, during an interview …

International Relations

In Spanish, in America, the outrage at Trump isn't going away

America is having two simultaneous conversations in reaction to Donald Trump’s offensive claims that immigrants from Mexico are criminals and “rapists.”

The first conversation we’re seeing play out on social media, in print, and across cable news as company after company ends their business …

Donald Trump

Brutal enemies 20 years ago, they're learning to get along. In Phoenix.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia, when Bosnian Serb forces killed about 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

It was a key point in the brutal ethnic conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. Two decades later, refugees from the region have built new lives in Phoenix.

Groups …

Public Broadcasters

Violent attack raises concerns about 'parachute kids' from China

What started out as a relatively simple case of high school bullying escalated quickly to what prosecutors describe as torture, kidnapping and assault.

On March 30, 18-year-old Yiran "Camellia" Liu was the victim of a violent attack in the Los Angeles suburb of Rowland Heights.

Liu testified last …


Shooting in San Francisco raises questions about 'sanctuary cities'

Undocumented immigrant Francisco Sanchez is accused of shooting and killing a woman in San Francisco last week. And Sanchez, who admitted to the shooting, has quite a criminal history. The incident has opened up a conversation about certain immigration laws.

Sanchez has prior felony convictions in …

San Francisco Politics

How Dalí and RC Cola helped a poet laureate find his way in the US

It was in October, must have been 1955,” says Alejandro Murguía, San Francisco’s poet laureate, remembering his early years back in California. He was born in the United States, but moved with his family to Mexico when he was a toddler — first Mexico City, then Tijuana.

At age 6, he returned to …

Public Broadcasters

No handout: LA’s street vendors just want to do their jobs, legally

Although you see it all over the city, sidewalk vending in Los Angeles is prohibited. That’s now under debate, considering the city’s large population of vendors — numbering between 10,000 and 50,000. Many are immigrants, hawking everything from fruit salads to tacos to bacon-wrapped hot dogs from …

Public Broadcasters

What does Independence Day mean for a new citizen?

July 4th is the day when America became independent, and July 4th is the day when I became an American citizen. It’s a big day for America. It’s a huge day for me.

I’m going to celebrate this day with a bunch of people who are from all around the globe: Colombia, Brazil, Slovakia, Mexico, Taiwan, …

Stereotypes — this Muslim punk band tries to break 'em and highlight 'em

Muslim Punk. Yeah, I know the label confuses people.

Just the word punk conjures up angry people. Then you add the word Muslim, and you get angry Muslim punks. It's a difficult stereotype to break.

But check out The Kominas. The name, by the way, means "scoundrels."

They've been around since 2005 and …

Punk music

Greeks seeking financial refuge in America watch from afar as their country suffers

At the cozy Cafe Boulis in Queens, a song by Greek singer Giorgos Sampanis blasts through the stereo. He sings, "If you don't have the strength, the relationship does not live. In all things together, otherwise get out now."

The song could be about a beautiful woman — or today, the European …

NBC to Trump: 'You're fired'

NBC gave the heave-ho on Monday to Donald Trump, sacking the businessman and Republican Party presidential candidate after ''recent derogatory comments'' about immigrants, the company said.

It's move followed that of Univision, which backed out of broadcasting the Spanish-language version of Trump's …