Jan 20

Building on the Legacy of Dr. King with Tech. As seen on Kapor Center Blog

doug-menuez_mitch-kapor-e1417721435945As our country celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. King, we are reminded of the work he and his fellow organizers did to advance social justice in their time. From civil rights to poverty, Dr. King led the charge to address the inequalities that plagued our nation. Half a century later, we face our own battles for social justice. While few possess the ability to inspire as King did, many have embraced his mantle of advocacy through the use of tech.

The adoption of social media technology has changed the way communities organize.  During the 1950s and 60s, organizers like Dr. King, Bayard Rustin, Diane Nash, Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong and Caesar Chavez spent weeks and months to connect with the hundreds of thousands of activists around the country to effect change.  Today, social media tools allow organizers to reach millions of people around the world — nearly instantaneously — to deliver a uniform message of advocacy.  Moreover, this new platform allows activists to bypass traditional media outlets, which have often been accused of overlooking social justice issues for underrepresented communities.  From Troy Davis and Renisha McBride to Michael Brown and Eric Garner, we have seen the ability of social media to quickly raise awareness of an issue on a grand scale, organize communities for direct actions and influence key decision makers.

However, it is critical to note that social media is a tool to enhance social justice organizing, not a replacement for it. Social media lacks the personal influence honed by trained organizers.  Additionally, as the technology has evolved so has the bar needed to reach critical mass.  Given the relative ease of “liking” a post or retweeting, the numbers needed to influence those in power has increased exponentially.

Fortunately, organizers have become adept at using these new tools in their efforts. A decade ago, both Voto Latino and Color of Change were  founded with a focus on online organizing and activism. Additionally, the DREAMer movement has demonstrated immense success with social media. By reviving strategies and tactics of the past and merging them with tech tools, this coalition of youth immigrant activists led a movement that reshaped national immigration policy.

In addition to serving as a tool for organizing, tech has also helped to directly minimize exploitation. The app Pigeonly provides a low-cost alternative to exceptionally expensive phone calls, ensuring that low-income family members can afford to stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones. And thanks to the ubiquity of cameras on smartphones,  apps like Five-0, created by three teenagers, and the ACLU’s Stop & Frisk Watch can serve as an instant reporting tools to document potential police abuses, so that police are more accountable for their interactions with the community.

As important as the tech itself, new tech training programs for underrepresented communities have the potential to become a tool to address income and employment inequality.  Research indicates that jobs in tech are some of the best paying in the country. Unfortunately, diversity in the tech arena is minimal, leaving people from underrepresented communities out of the tech pipeline.  That is why groups like the Level Playing Field Institute and Code for Progress have created programs to teach the next generation from these communities the skills they need to succeed in the thrive in the global tech ecosystem.

Dr. King created an unshakable foundation for social justice that we all stand firmly on.  Today we honor his legacy by building on his efforts with the assistance of tech so that we can one day see his dream become a reality.

Jan 14

TechLatino Spotlight: LinkAmerica CEO Andrés Ruzo Doesn’t Know How To Quit as reported by www.LatinPost.com

RuzoRuzo is the founder and CEO of LinkAmerica, an international, warehouse logistics, IT services and solutions company based in Texas with revenues projected to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars – and the distinction of being one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

In 2012, HispanicBusiness awarded it the No. 1 spot on its Fastest-Growing 100 list. But for Ruzo, a Latino immigrant and self-made entrepreneur, business hasn’t always been booming.

In fact, the road to success for him was long and full of unexpected ups and downs, booms and busts, new starts, disappointments, reinventions and a lot of hard work.

Jack-of-All-Trades and “Serial Entrepreneur”

Born in Lima, Peru in the early 1960′s and growing up during a tumultuous period political and economic uncertainty, Ruzo came to the U.S. in 1980 to study engineering at Texas A&M. He was intent on staying in the U.S. and making it after graduation.

He quickly found that staying in the country after college would require an openness to stretching himself beyond his chosen field of study.

“I’m an industrial engineer by trade. … But I have done everything,” Ruzo told Latin Post in conversation. “You name it — from being a secretary to shipping to sales to being a trader to marketing.”

That’s not to say his degree wasn’t useful. Ruzo said skills from his engineering background were applicable in many situations, from critical thinking to figuring out systems and how to improve them, to basic problem solving.

“Part of being an industrial engineer is that you’re a jack of all trades.”

But for Ruzo as a young entrepreneur with few resources, self-reliance was also key.

“When you have no people, that’s what you need to do,” said Ruzo, whoby Fortune Magazine’s count, attempted a total of 17 start-ups before finding success in the 1990s with his ultimate venture, LinkAmerica.  

Read about Andre Ruzo and Much More visit:  http://www.latinpost.com/articles/31622/20150114/marketplace-linkamerica-ceo-andr%C3%A9s-ruzo-doesnt-know-quit.htm

Ruzo seemingly did do everything. After college, he got a short-term visa for practical training, which precluded him from working at conventional jobs. So, he sold his car and bought a partnership in Sabwor International, an oil exploration startup.

A $50 per week paycheck meant being awarded an H-1B visa and thus a pathway to stay in the U.S. for work. But Sabwor failed after a couple of years, so Ruzo became a partner in a Latin American food import startup and later began his own trading startup. Meanwhile, Ruzo got a certification and worked as a real estate agent for a stint, among other jobs, many of which he created for himself. 

“I’m a serial entrepreneur by nature,” Ruzo said. “I’m not going to work for somebody” — which sums up his professional creed since the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey. 

LinkAmerica: From Boom to (Almost) Bust

In 1994, Ruzo founded LinkAmerica, which would become his life’s work.

LinkAmerica began as basically a telecommunications technology resale company, specializing in refurbishing network hardware purchased from large telecommunications firms and reselling it to small phone companies.

With the fast pace of technological change in the 90s and large profit margins, business was good.

“I characterize the first seven years of business from 1994 to 2001 was my ‘fat cows,’” Ruzo said, referencing the biblical proverb. Within a few short years of its founding, LinkAmerica was making millions.

But things were about to change drastically after one of his biggest investments happened to coincide with a monumental downshift in the economy. In other words, the lean years were on the way.

“In 2001, I bought a company from Siemens,” Ruzo said, “which had [telecommunications] switches and channel banks and cabinets,” emphasizing the size of the investment. “So I buy all the intellectual property and all the manufacturing rights with all the inventory.

“Then the market takes a dive.”

That dive was the dot-com bust, and with 9/11 and the shaky economics of the early 2000s following shortly behind, Ruzo’s investment and a shrinking market began dragging the company down.

During the following years, LinkAmerica eventually went from having 100 people on the payroll to five. By 2007, finances were stretched so thin Ruzo took a six-month pay break to keep his struggling company running and out of bankruptcy.

Reinventing LinkAmerica for the 21st Century

Bad luck and an economic downturn may have put LinkAmerica in trouble, but paying attention to where technology was going at the time helped Ruzo find a way to reinvent and save his company.

“Things start to change, and it was really complicated, that change.” Most of his clients were going bankrupt or being acquired, as the burgeoning Internet began to make more and more 1990s-era physical telecommunications systems obsolete.

And with manufacturing moving overseas to China and other countries, Ruzo sold the entire lot of his Siemens purchase to a telecom engineering company called CDTI. Meanwhile (around the time the “Web 2.0″ was emerging) Ruzo saw growing potential in the nonphysical side of technology — product management, services and support.

So Ruzo decided to rebuild LinkAmerica into a full-service company for the telecommunications industry, and when he showed CTDI his new business plan, the company invested $1 million in cash plus more in credit in LinkAmerica in 2008.

“I went from manufacturing and a lot of physical stuff to services. Now we’re a 100 percent service company. We manufacture nothing,” Ruzo said.

The rebirth worked. Within two years, LinkAmerica was back, building a new client base around services, and ready for expansion into the 21st century software, services and support market.

The New Mantra: Connecting and Serving

LinkAmerica now works in several non-hardware IT domains, including providing support for first responder radio networks, warehouse management solutions and network engineering, and managing service and software solutions for big telecoms.

The future in the cloud — beyond hardware — is bright, according to Ruzo, whose company has grown from those lean years into making over $200 million annually.

“Look at the value of the companies that are non-atomic,” Ruzo said, referring to some of the tech giants of today that deal entirely in software, services and innovation. “Look at Facebook — humongous — Twitter, Instagram … companies that have really no physical assets, but are valued at billions of dollars.

“LinkAmerica had to transform. That’s why I sold my assets on manufacturing and devoted 100 percent to services–because I was following the money,” he continued.

That money is in services, according to Ruzo, and not so much in the physical in part because the hardware side is already so developed. The majority of the valuable work still needed to be done — the big problems and systemic inefficiencies just waiting for an entrepreneur with an engineer’s disposition to solve — involve software, services and other less physically tangible aspects of modern technology.

“If you don’t reinvent yourself to drive customer experience effectively … you don’t have a very good model,” for your business in the modern software experience-driven marketplace, according to Ruzo.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about the network. … When you use an application on your phone, you don’t care about the system delivering it. You just want it to work!”

Linking the Americas

As the nonphysical part of the modern technology economy continues to expand, Ruzo sees Latin America as one the next big places for innovation and development — and LinkAmerica’s expansion.

“It’s not ‘LinkChina’ or ‘LinkIndia.’ … It’s LinkAmerica,” he said, chuckling. “My vision is to connect the Americas from [the] North to the South. … Innovation is happening in the U.S., and it’s trickling down to Latin America … sometimes not fast enough.”

For Ruzo, the main development he hopes will accelerate in Latin America is more connectivity with the U.S., more innovation and service-driven economies and a shift away from the domination of “factor-driven” economies — those based on agriculture, natural resources, cheap labor and other 20th century physical goods that have less sustainable growth potential in the long run.

From his own experience, Ruzo’s point mirrors the difference between the short-lived “seven years of fat cows” for LinkAmerica in an economic niche based on physical products and the greater, long-term growth it has achieved based on innovation, services and other nonphysical assets.

“Part of my goal as an entrepreneur and a leader in the global economy is to raise awareness in the Latin American countries that there’s more than being a factor-driven economy,” Ruzo said. Latin America needs to start preparing the next generation, he said, to thrive in the networked, bilingual, technology and service-driven 21st century. He said he believes they can make that shift as soon as the next 10 years.

“How?” he said. “By providing services North/South — instead of East/West.”

For an example, it’s the difference between U.S. companies sourcing software support and management through cheap, distant centers (think technical support call centers in India) and instead using cost-effective “nearshore” hubs in Latin America. For example, LinkAmerica provides device support, application monitoring and other IT services through centers in locations like Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia.

Besides having the advantage of being in the same time zones as the U.S., it’s more fiscally sustainable in the long run, according to Ruzo, who cited lower attrition rates and shorter training times among some of the practical advantages.

Plus, Latin America already shares a strong cultural, religious and historic background with the U.S., so the empowering economic relationship for Latin America works both ways and translates to more business for U.S. companies.

“South American guys love Polo shirts and Levi’s jeans and Nike tennis shoes and American movies,” Ruzo said. “The value proposition is to export their minds to serve the U.S. and drive success that way,” creating a virtuous cycle for both sides of the marketplace.

“Technology levels the playing field. … It transcends boarders seamlessly.”

Andrés Ruzo: Linking Immigrant and Entrepreneurial Ethics

Ruzo’s passion for connecting Latin America and the U.S. comes from a deep affection for both cultures and a professional and personal life that embodies linking the two.

“Even though I’ve been a U.S. citizen for the last 25 years, I still consider myself an immigrant in the way I think, I act and I work,” Ruzo said. “Immigrants don’t take anything for granted. Nothing.”

Ruzo emphasized, even now after all his success, he will never lose that drive he holds in common with other first-generation Latinos: “We come here to work. … I don’t know any of the 12 million immigrants in the U.S. that are not working their a****s off every day.”

After 17 start-ups, huge success followed by a devastating setback, a complete reinvention and finally a new path toward stunning growth, it’s not hard to see how Ruzo’s unremitting immigrant ethic and belief in the American Dream translated into his “never say die” entrepreneurial tenacity.

And for young entrepreneurs looking to blaze their own path in the complex, technologically driven, fast-changing modern marketplace, Ruzo offered some advice from his years of experience.

“The first is never, never, never give up,” Ruzo said. “You stay in the game. If you give up the game? You’re done. … You’d better find a job.

“The second thing is that entrepreneurship – emprendimiento, like they call it in Latin America — is not for everybody.”

He likened it to piloting a boat in open water: Clear skies and a party-cruise atmosphere with all of your friends aboard never guarantees the waters won’t suddenly turn against you. In those turbulent times, you might lose some friends overboard. But in business, of course, you’re the one that decides who goes.

“It’s hard,” he said. “Entrepreneurship is making the hard decisions at the right time.”

Finally, for Ruzo, he connects his success and the values he holds that lead to it with a solid foundation for which he thanked his Latino background.

“It’s my faith,” he said. “Working hard, taking nothing for granted, turning over every stone I find, and at the same time praying for guidance — because it comes together.

“When you put purpose with passion, you get your vocation,” Ruzo added. “And my vocation is to leave this world a better world.” 

Found this article interesting there is more where this came from.

Read more on http://www.latinpost.com/tech

By Robert Schoon r.schoon@latinpost.com

Jan 14

Are Latinos Tech’s Next Tycoons?

Cesar_11-300x199There comes a time when the word “minority” loses its context, where one group surpasses its status in population and influence, crossing over into a new mainstream community of Americans. When I first arrived in Silicon Valley to work for Apple in the 1980s, I felt like a minority. I entered a world with circles of influence that looked and felt foreign to me. When it came time to start my own technology company, I didn’t choose Silicon Valley. I chose Miami, because of its rich Hispanic heritage and opportunity for growing a Hispanic-owned business. But I don’t feel that way anymore. America is changing rapidly, and so is our technology community. So while Hispanic Americans have been a minority in the U.S. technology inner circle — as low as 3% of top executives, according to some — that time is changing rapidly. I believe that Latinos can comprise a new type of technology entrepreneur; one that can leverage this rising tide of national Hispanic influence and create a number of great new American technology brands. Here’s why:


Latinos are profoundly shaping the changing demographic of America. At 56 million, they currently comprise 18% of the total U.S. population, including the largest ethnic group in the state of California. More importantly, they’re enrolling in school at a higher rate than other ethnicities. Starting last year, racial and ethnic minorities now make up the majority of enrollees in public schools. In 2013, a higher percentage of Hispanic high school graduates enrolled in college than non-Hispanic whites. This is a population that’s growing, educated and active — the future impact will be felt in fields that require a high level of education.


Because of their relative youth and higher education rates, Latinos are our country’s most tech-savvy and digitally connected group of consumers. According to Nielsen, Latinos are native second-screen viewers, watching 62% more digital video than non-Latinos. Latinos are 24% more likely than other ethnicities to purchase a smartphone, 8% more likely to be the first to purchase tablets and 6% more likely to purchase 3D televisions. This means that behaviors and technologies shaping consumers can transcend to the business community as well. It’s natural to enter an industry that aligns with your interests. And if a greater portion of Latinos are interested in technology, this will manifest itself in the careers they choose to pursue.

Entrepreneurial culture

Latinos are also more likely than other ethnicity to start and grow their own businesses. Last year, we projected that the total number of Hispanic-owned businesses to reach 3.22 million in 2014, an increase of 43% since 2007. This total is more than twice the rate of all U.S. businesses, which increased 18% during the same period. Latinos have shown that they’re willing to work to make their own opportunities, a trait that aligns well with technological innovation. When I look at my peers in the technology community, I’m beginning to see a growing number of faces like my own. I look at business leaders such as Marcelo Claure, who took over as CEO of Sprint last year or my friend and mentor Sol Trujillo, former CEO of US West, Orange and Telstra. I see the progress we’re making with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce providing mentoring programs to Latinos in business, and providing aspiring entrepreneurs with better access to growth capital. One of the main reasons that I went into technology was to help improve the world with systems and principles that I strongly believe in. And I now see a point in American history where this dream can take a huge step forward. I see a confluence of education, culture and connectivity that opens the door for Latinos to have a greater impact in our U.S. technology industry. As more Latino youths see themselves as participants in our innovation future, their contributions will be enjoyed by larger numbers of Americans and global citizens. Their contributions to technology and innovation are bound to change all of our lives for the better. This article was written by Cesar Melgoza and published by USA Today on January 12, 2015. César M. Melgoza is founder and chief executive officer of Geoscape, a business intelligence company that creates automated systems, data, analytics and research focused on high-growth consumer segments in North America and Europe.

Jan 07

Intel Pledges Diversity by 2020, Invests $300 million.

intelIntel has set an aggressive goal of dramatically increasing the diversity of its U.S. workforce by 2020.

It’s also pledging $300 million to fund the hiring and retention of women and underrepresented minorities, the largest investment yet in diversity by a technology company.

Intel  made the announcement during his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.

He said he was addressing the one word that could change the technology industry for the better: inclusion.

“It’s time to step up and do more. It’s not good enough to say we value diversity,” Krzanich said.

Intel will aim for its U.S. workforce at all levels to mirror the talent available in America in the next five years, and Krzanich said the compensation of Intel leaders would be directly tied to the progress they make in reaching that diversity goal.

“This isn’t just good business. This is the right thing to do,” he said.

Krzanich is one of the few technology company CEOs to stake his leadership on increasing diversity.

In an interview, Jackson said Intel is taking bold action to close the racial gap. “It’s a huge first step,” Jackson said.

Intel’s announcement comes as Silicon Valley wrestles with its diversity problem. Companies here are staffed largely by white and Asian men, yet they are trying to appeal to diverse users. Whites are expected to become a minority in the USA by 2044, and Latino and African-American buying power is on the rise.

Intel’s CEO One of the best Presentations at CES 2015

In 2014, leading technology companies released data showing they vastly underemploy African Americans and Hispanics, trailing Corporate America.Those groups make up 5% of the companies’ workforces, compared with 4% nationally.

Intel said it’s aiming for its U.S. workforce to represent the talent available in America, including a greater representation of women and minorities in senior leadership positions.

Intel said it will tap a $300 million fund to help build a pipeline of female and under-represented engineers and computer scientists. The company will also support hiring and retaining more women and underrepresented minorities and will fund programs to promote more positive representation of women and minorities in the technology and gaming industries.

Dec 29

2014 Defined the Challenge for Latinos and The Digital Economy.


Two issues defined the technology economy in 2014:

  1. Policymakers’ inability to keep up with technology-driven innovation; and
  2. The embarrassing lack of diversity among employees in the technology sector. 2014 made it clear that for Latinos, digital equity — closing the tech employment gap, and securing a place in the digital economy — are the top priorities.

We end the year with the Internet economy at another zenith, worrying some that another tech bubble burst is ahead. Companies like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft are leading an economic, social, and cultural revolution in the way that we share — and monetize — otherwise fallow assets, coming to trust our fellow man with access to our homes, vehicles, and very personal spaces along the way.

All the while, lawmakers are challenged to keep up, rather ineptly, with the pace of innovation.

The year that just zipped by was marked by a number of online events and events that happened in real life that we experienced online. This was the year that the Internet of things became a thing. And it was the year that Apple proved its virulence with the iphone 6 and 6 Plus. Cyber attack became the norm this year. No one flinches at another few million credit card numbers hacked, celebrity photos released, or a country hacking an entertainment company in response to an embarrassing movie. America is also more social; but the adults have taken over Facebook, while young people retreat to Kik, Instagram and Snapchat. Everyone is finally on Twitter.

The innovation economy is revving into 2015, creating opportunity, connections and convenience — but in the midst of the ongoing economic revolution, it was the revelation of abysmal diversity employment data across Silicon Valley’s top companies, including Apple, Google, Linkedin, Twitter and others that confirmed that some of America’s best-capitalized, fastest-growing companies have been doing a terrible job of cultivating workforces that reflect the diversity of their users.

The situation is so bad, that none of the top companies report more than 3% Latino participation in their workforce. Worse, while Silicon Valley leaders have repeatedly complained that there aren’t enough STEM-qualified Hispanics to hire, the numbers actually show that even those with the degrees, don’t get hired.

These facts make it no surprise that Latino-serving organizations and national civil rights leaders, remain unsympathetic to an Internet policy agenda driven by silicon valley elites, that ignores the issues of inclusion and equity in advancement of a business-driven agenda to treat the Internet as a utility under a 1934 law. That agenda is good for some of Silicon Valley’s most elite companies, but is bad for jobs, and could cost Internet consumersmore money in taxes and fees on their Internet connections.

Data is power. We will look back at 2014 as the bellwether year for Latinos and the tech economy. It will be the year the challenge was defined. It will be the year the community started the work of cracking the code toward equity.

Follow Jason Llorenz on twitter @llorenzesq

Dec 16

Title II Sounded Great Then Jane Saw Her Bill.

imageOne of the most immediate and significant consequences of reclassifying broadband as a Title II telecommunications service is that it provides a new opening for governments wanting to impose a variety of new taxes and fees on Internet services. In recent weeks NCTA has identified potential concerns about the impact of Universal Service Fund contributions and state and local taxes and fees that would result from reclassification. A recent study from the Progressive Policy Institute confirms these concerns and suggests that the additional burden on broadband consumers could be as much as $15 billion annually.

Title II unquestionably is worse for broadband consumers from a tax perspective. In fact, no party advocating for reclassification under Title II has argued that such a policy would not lead to any new taxes and fees on broadband. But some of these advocates, led by Free Press, have suggested that the magnitude of these changes is not significant and that the FCC can easily avoid these consequences altogether through a mix of forbearance and preemption and jurisdictional rulings.

Title 2

So as the debate bizarrely continues over whether Title II will cause consumers serious harm or mere moderate discomfort, perhaps we should ask: why do harm at all? Perhaps it would help for Free Press to visit its own archives. When the question of imposing USF contribution requirements on broadband service (i.e., “a new broadband tax”) was separate from the question of open Internet regulations, Free Press consistently (and correctly) was opposed to such a policy:

“If the Commission decides to modify the current system of USF contributions, it should take special care to avoid stunting the growth in consumer adoption of broadband by placing a USF assessment on residential broadband connections.” Letter from Free Press to the FCC (October 13, 2008)

“Because broadband is a developing market, any USF assessment, no matter how small, would likely result in a net decrease in total broadband subscribership nationwide.” Dismantling Digital Deregulation: Toward a National Broadband Strategy (May 11, 2009)

Assessing the USF contribution requirement on broadband connections “would result in a net loss of nearly 2 million broadband subscribers.” Letter from Free Press to the FCC (August 10, 2010)

“Our policymakers should think carefully before creating a new broadband tax. The big concern is that because consumer demand is more sensitive to price increases on emerging services like broadband than established ones like telephone service, a broadband tax could actually undermine adoption in low-income and senior populations, the very people most likely to be disconnected.” Op-ed by S. Derek Turner, Research Director at Free Press (August 30, 2012)

While there are many divisive issues associated with broadband regulation, there should be universal agreement among regulators, ISPs, and advocates that our nation’s policies should strive to promote broadband adoption, not discourage it. And whether new fees show up as new USF line items, new taxes, or some other governmental charge, it’s broadband consumers that foot the bill. In its zeal to burden the Internet with Title II, even Free Press can’t run away from its previous advocacy that consumers have the most to lose.

Dec 15

The Real Cost of Regulating the Internet.

imageThe open Internet debate has long focused on protecting content developers from discriminatory treatment by Internet service providers (ISPs). Those who advocate in favor of strong network neutrality rules typically argue that “the next Facebook” or “the next Google” will never see the light of day in a world where ISPs can arbitrarily block or slow down access to new sites. Consumer benefits are decidedly secondary in this line of argument – consumers will benefit only if content companies benefit. With talk of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) looking to impose sweeping net neutrality rules, which would entail regulating broadband Internet connections as something akin to the rotary telephone, the question of consumer impacts necessarily arises. Will consumers benefit from this approach? According to one recent study, the answer is a resounding “no.”
Left unaddressed in the advocacy in favor of such stringent rules is the actual cost of the rules for consumers. The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a liberal think-tank in D.C., set out to explore how the implementation of so-called Title II open Internet rules would impact Internet customers’ bills. The conclusion? Internet bills will rise significantly if the FCC goes down the Title II path. More specifically, those with a wireline connection at home – cable, DSL, or fiber – will see their bills increase by an average of $67 per year, while the bills of those with mobile broadband will increase by $72. These increases would stem from a range of new taxes and fees levied on Internet connections by local, state, and federal government. In short, the very act of opening the door to Title II would unleash dozens, if not hundreds, of levies that were originally meant for more basic communications services.

The application of these taxes and fees to broadband connections would be a rational response by state and local policymakers, who are always looking to bolster revenues, especially at a time when government finances remain volatile. But these new fees would be on top of already high tax rates for mobile communications services, which are among the most heavily taxed services in the country. According to MyWireless.org, consumers in every state must pay a wireless tax in addition to federal fees associated with supporting the Universal Service Fund (which currently stand at 5.82%) and sales tax. Taken together, these wireless-specific taxes can add as much as 25% to monthly bills. By applying Title II to mobile broadband, the FCC would open the floodgates to further taxation of these already burdened services.

Although all consumers would feel the pain of higher bills, minority and low-income consumers would feel the brunt of it. Blacks and Hispanics rely on mobile broadband to access the Internet more than most other groups. Their use of smartphones and wireless data networks has long been understood as a critical on-ramp for participating in our digital society, especially since adoption rates of wireline broadband connections in their homes have long lagged rates in most other households. Applying Title II to their wireless connections would thus encumber these communities more than most. Similarly, for low-income households that are already struggling to pay their mobile bill, higher prices resulting from the application of Title II would operate as a regressive tax increase.

These are more than hypotheticals. These are likely outcomes that can be avoided. The FCC does not have to use Title II to achieve what it wants to achieve. It can protect the open Internet by developing rules that rely on a different part of federal law – section 706 of the Telecommunications Act. Doing so would allow the FCC to move forward with new rules without opening the door to a slew of new taxes. This approach would also avoid having to treat broadband, the most dynamic communications technology in history, to rules that were developed during an age dominated by basic telephone service. For these many reasons, the FCC should embrace section 706 and explicitly reject Title II. Such an approach will put consumers first, which is how it should be.

Dec 05

LISTA Georgia Technology Council Announces the 2014 Latina of Excellence Awardees

Cristina-Saralegui-mainLISTA Announces Top 15 Latinas of Excellence Award in Tech and Business in Georgia Recognizing Latinas in Business Who Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
Atlanta, Ga Dec 5,  2014,  In celebration of the achievements and accomplishments of our nation’s most inspiring Latina Tech and Business women, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) Georgia Tech Council today announced we will conduct our “Latinos/as Tech Forum and the Latina Tech and Leader Luncheon on December 10th 2014 at the Georgia Tech Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia.  This Annual Tech Leaders Forum and Luncheon is the region’s premier gathering for Latino tech professionals and businesses leaders.  Each year LISTA honors the accomplishments of Latino and Latinas in the tech business community.  In particular, this year LISTA will recognize the many contributions Latinas have made to drive our country’s economic recovery and prosperity. 
LISTA Latina Tech and Business Leaders Power Luncheon will be hosted by WSBTV’s Anchor Wendy Corona with welcoming remarks by Marlem Rios Nuclear at Georgia Powers and honored guest speakers including, Nina Vaca, Chairwoman and CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources and the 1st Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Maria Cardona, Principal at Dewey Square and 1st Latina CNN Presidential Political Analyst and Lifetime Achiever Award recipient Cristina Saralegui, Journalist, 1st Latina Talk Show Host.
The year’s event is brought to you by presenting sponsors, Georgia Power and Aetna. LISTA Sponsors also include Coca Cola, AT&T, OVNLatino Networks, Macy’s Systems and Technology, Univision, Comcast Universal,  Negocios Now, Verizon, Nuevo Georgia and Lanza Group.
It is people like our awardees who represents the very best that Georgia and America has to offer. They are the manifestation of dedication, integrity and intellect said Jose A Marquez-Leon, National President and CEO of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association. It is precisely with the achievements of these winners in mind, that our commitment to the Latino community of Georgia and Techno Centro - The Institute for Socio-Economic Empowerment, remains as strong as ever stressed Marquez-Leon. They are role models in the best possible sense of the word for our next generation of leaders.
Recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony at the Georgia Tech Research Center in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday December 10th  at 11:00 am. This will also kick off LISTA 2015 Season.
The LISTA Latinas  Excellence Awards acknowledges Latinas that have given time and resources to make LISTA grow in the State of Georgia and who are the unsung heroes of our community. Winners are selected by LISTA’s local Board of Directors in an online vote. Selection of these awardees was based on individual business and community contributions to advance the Latino community in 2013.
Georgia Latinas of Excellence Class of 2014
1.   Accounting - Grace Williams, Grace Williams CPA
2.   Architect- Marie Guerra-Stoll, GSB Architects
3.   Small Business Accelerator - Veronica Maldonado,  GMSDC
4.   Legal - Zulma Lopez, Lopez Immigration LLC
5.   Cultural- Gabriela Gonzalez-Lambert, Instituto de Mexico.
6.   Business- Barbarella Diaz, Diaz Foods
7.   BroadCast- Mariela Romero, Univision
8.   Georgia Lifetime Achiever,  Del Clark
9.   Technology- Blanca Rodriguez, HomeDepot
10. Technology- Marline Santiago-CookVentyx Corporation
11. Government Beacon - Anna Torres, City of Atlanta 
13.  Health - Rocio Woody,  The Road to Recovery 
14. Rising Star -Angela Ximena Araya Hurtado, Hispanic Organization Promoting Education (HOPE)
15. National Lifetime Achiever 2014 Cristina Saralegui
Thanks to our corporate partner LISTA will realize the Latino/as Tech Forum  and Latinas Leaders Power Luncheon, saidChris Rodriguez, COO /Co-founder, National Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association’s. “It is through the commitment of corporation like Aetna, AT&T, NCTA, Coca Cola, Comcast, Lockheed Martin, and Verizon, that LISTA’s Techno Centro in Norcross, Ga. is able to continue our mission to educate, motivate and empower the Latino community with technology and showcase the best of the Latino community in Georgia. I can think of no better way to kick off LISTA 2015 season.
                                                               # # #
About Latino in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA)
LISTA ( www.a-lista.org and www.technocentro.org) promotes the utilization of the technology sectors for the empowerment of the Latino community. We are an organization that is committed to bringing various elements of Technology under one central hub to facilitate our partners, members and the community with the leverage and education they need to succeed in a highly advanced technologically driven society. LISTA Mission is to educate, motivate and encourage the use of technology in the Latino community and empowering them to bridge the digital divide. @lista1 Hashtag: #techlatino
LISTA:  America’s 21st Century Information Sciences and Technology Workforce.
Press Contact
Yvette Moise – LISTA
770- 765-3479


Dec 02

At Fox News Latino, Immigrants Go From Target to Target Audience

max_600_400_nilp_logo_2.0_largRoger Ailes’ attempt to capitalize on a “tremendous business opportunity”–and win votes for the Republican Party. By Aldo GuerreroFAIR (December 1, 2014)

The anti-immigrant reporting of Fox News Channel (FNC) comes as no surprise, considering that its viewership is similar to the base of the Republican Party-older white conservatives. The growing Latino share of the population, however, spurred the creation of the website Fox News Latino (FNL) to try to capture this audience.

 Fox News president Roger Ailes (New Republic2/11/13), who oversees both outlets, describes the Latino demographic as both a “tremendous business opportunity” and a potentially capturable segment of the electorate: “The fact is, we have a lot-Republicans have a lot more opportunity for them.” Though he corrected himself-changing “we” to “Republicans”-for the long-time Republican operative Ailes, the political interests of the network and the party are interchangeable.

There have been various instances where both FNC and FNL covered the same story with different headlines catering to different audiences. For example, the liberal Media Matters (8/8/14) compared the two outlets’ use of different headlines to describe an unauthorized immigrant student receiving a scholarship for his immigration activism: The FNL headline (8/6/14) read: “In Rare Move, University Grants $22k Scholarship to Undocumented Student.”FNC went with the blunt slur of “Money for Illegals.”

But the differences between FNC and FNL go beyond headlines. Coverage of the child refugee crisis, where thousands of unaccompanied minors attempted to cross the southern border from Central American countries, provides a good case study.

 Like other corporate media outlets, FNC largely avoided meaningful context by downplaying the violent conditions of the three Central American countries-Guate-mala, El Salvador and Honduras-that provided the bulk of the refugees (Extra!, 9/14). FNC consistently blamed the Obama administration’s supposedly lax immigration policies-particularly the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program-for encouraging young refugees to come.

Citing an El Paso Intelligence Center report (7/7/14Breitbart Texas,7/14/14), FNC‘s Megyn Kelly (Kelly File7/16/14) asserted that children were crossing the border only because they “believe they will get asylum, thanks to policy statements by President Obama, and are not, as was claimed, fleeing any increased violence back at home.” Violence as the primary motive for these children leaving their countries was merely, as Bill O’Reilly (O’Reilly Factor, 7/16/14) put it, a “myth that the far left is putting out.” Reducing the emphasis on violence in those countries made it easier for FNC pundits and Republican lawmakers to call for the children’s swift deportation.

Over at FNL, meanwhile, a Q&A-style article (7/20/14), neutrally headlined “A Primer on the Border Crisis-Its Causes, Politics and the Bickering Among Lawmakers,” attempted to answer why there was a sudden influx of immigrant children. Its answer:

Crime, gang violence, poverty across Central America, a desire to reunite with parents or other relatives. White House officials also say smugglers have persuaded families to pay them to bring children to the US by lying to them about their fate in this country.

The FNL report was not exactly a mirror image of the FNC‘s, being more “fair and balanced.” Although FNL acknowledged harsh conditions in those countries were central factors, Republican criticisms of Obama’s DACA program, and suggestions that ending it might solve the problem, were also mentioned.

On Fox News Channel, the “immigrant child” would more likely be IDed as “illegal alien kid.”

A starker contrast could be found two months later. FNL (9/11/14) ran an exclusive and rather affecting report about five children fleeing gang violence in El Salvador. A gang had threatened to kill the children after they witnessed the gang shoot their 21-year-old neighbor. Their hometown was described as having a “far higher murder rate than the national average.” Their mother-who fled an abusive husband in El Salvador to live in the United States-had paid smugglers “tens of thousands of dollars” for their safe passage. Clearly, violence was a central theme to this particular story-as it was for the broader refugee crisis.

One would be hard-pressed to find such empathetic coverage on FNC. Unfortunately, the FNL piece was published in early September, when media coverage of the refugee crisis had largely subsided.

 FNC, by that point, had shifted its attention to the purported negative impacts immigrant children would have on US public schools. Brenda Buttner, host of the FNC business program Bulls & Bears (8/9/14), prefaced a discussion on the surge of immigrant children: “Forget the Ebola scare. Is it really the back-to-school scare?” She briefly mentioned that some children were quarantined with chickenpox, but the panel discussion that followed focused on how much of a financial burden these children would become to local public school districts. While most states require children to be vaccinated against chickenpox anyway, telling viewers that their children are threatened by disease-carrying immigrants (who want to benefit from free public schools) is a great way to capitalize on xenophobic fears.

 FNC emphasized the word “illegal” to describe immigrant children now in school. In two articles (8/30/149/2/14) covering the “crisis in the classroom,” children were referred to as “illegal” a total of 11 times, with references to “illegal immigrant children,” “illegal minors” and “illegal alien kids” in the headlines, in quotes from Republican lawmakers and in the reporters’ own words.

When FNL (10/14/14) did its own reporting on the situation, the word “illegal” was never used to characterize the children. Instead, they opted to use alternative-and less pejorative-phrasing, such as “newly arrived migrants” and “unaccompanied minors.”

The tone of the coverage was also more sympathetic and lacking in fear-mongering. Instead of fixating on the supposed damage these children will do to US public schools, the story focused on the difficulties these children personally face in overcoming gaps in education and receiving social services. The story even mentions how violence in their home countries prevented traveling to school, which adds credence to the claim that violence is central to families’ decisions to migrate. Most of these details were absent in conservative FNCcoverage. And, once again, the story appeared on FNL only after FNC had already reported on it.

 When comparing the content of the two outlets, Associated Press reports uploaded to the channels’ websites were not included. In 2013,AP (4/2/13) announced it would drop the use of “illegal immigrant” in its stories (FAIR Blog4/4/13), having concluded that  “illegal” should only be used to describe actions, not people. (AP still accepts “illegal immigration.”)

Unsurprisingly, FNC (4/3/13) was critical of this change, given that the phrase is central to its immigration coverage. The headline for its report stressed that the changes were “under scrutiny,” although the report also quoted two supporters of the change: AP itself and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The three sources who defended the use of “illegal” were former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the conservative Media Research Center, and the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee.

ALIPAC described AP‘s changes as “totalitarian steps to make ‘illegal immigrants’ disappear with a stroke of a pen,” and announced it would now refer to immigrants as “illegal invaders.” Such ultra right-wing vitriol was sure to rev up the anti-immigrant audience that FNC caters to.

The FNL version (4/2/13) used a more straightforward and neutral headline: “‘Illegal Immigrant’ Dropped From Associated Press Stylebook.” Journalist José Antonio Vargas, the Applied Research Center and AP (again) were mentioned as supporting the changes. For opposition, the right-wing Federation for American Immigration Reform and ALIPAC were represented, but ALIPAC’s vitriolic comments on the “totalitarian” changes and its determination to use “illegal invaders” were not mentioned, presumably so as not to alienate the Latino audience.

 As long as violence and poverty exist in Latin America, they will likely be the central drivers for migration. It is politically convenient forFNC to whitewash the pervasive violence and harsh economic conditions of Central America-and ignore the contributions US policies have made to these conditions (FAIR Blog7/14/14).

The refugee crisis and the school problems that followed were stories framed as “illegals” coming to take advantage of the United States’ offerings. The repetition of this tired trope paves the way for the further antagonization of all immigrant communities. But most importantly to FNC, misrepresenting the Latino immigrant experience engages their white Republican viewership.

Meanwhile, by focusing on Latino issues without the xenophobic spin-and
occasionally providing insightful reporting that digs deep into the plight of immigrant Latinos-FNL is able to expose a broad Latino audience to conservative ideas that might lead them into the Republican fold. During the election season, FNL featured reports that focused on individual candidates and elected officials and their relationship to the Latino community. In 10 days shortly before the midterm elections (October 21-30), a total of seven Republicans had positive stories dedicated to them, including Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Jeb Bush’s son George P. Bush, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and two congressional candidates.

Five Democrats had stories dedicated to them, with three receiving positive coverage: Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and a mayoral candidate in Rhode Island. The other two, who received more negative coverage, were Rep. Joe Garcia, who is fighting allegations of corruption, andHillary Clinton, who received flak from immigration activists-as if Republicans aren’t also criticized by immigration activists. For good measure, a Pew study (10/29/14) of “waning” Latino support for Democrats was also featured.

By fear-mongering about Latino immigrants, FNC is able to pander to xenophobic white conservatives who make up the base of the Republican Party, while FNL, with feel-good coverage of Latino conservatives, can make a bid to expand the party by bringing in Latinos. It’s a powerful strategy-so long as the two target audiences don’t compare notes.

Nov 29

Brain Food- Sites You Can Learn From.

laptop-computer-working-focus-3Rather than waste your life on Facebook and Instagram, put your daily interneting to good use.

Here’s a list of websites that will actually make you smarter:

CodeAcademy — Learn programming languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript with this free, interactive resource.

Coursera — With more than 800 free courses on topics that range from internet history to financial engineering, the education platform helps you deepen your knowledge across a range of subjects.

Digital Photography School — Read through this goldmine of articles to improve your photography skills; they’re helpful even if you’re a complete beginner. There’s also an active forum where you can find a community of other photographers to connect with.

Duolingo — Sharpen your language skills with this fun, addictive game. It’s a college-quality education without the price tag. If you’re looking for more free language-learning materials, you can also try BBC Languages.

edX — From classes like The Science of Happiness to Responsible Innovation, edX offers tons of MOOCs from many of the world’s top universities.

CodeacademyScreenshot/Harrison Jacobs

Factsie — Did you know the horned lizard can shoot blood out of its tear ducts? Keep clicking through this site to find unusual historical and scientific facts, along with links to sources. Another great site for fun facts is Today I Found Out.

Fast Company’s 30-Second MBA — In short video clips from from accomplished corporate executives, you’ll learn great business advice and life lessons, really fast.

Freerice — Expand your vocabulary while feeding the hungry. It’s the best way to feel good about yourself and learn words you can use for the rest of your life.

Gibbon — This is the ultimate playlist for learning. Users collect articles and videos to help you learn things from iOS programming to effective storytelling.gibbonScreenshot/Harrison Jacobs


Instructables — Through fun videos and simple instructions, you can learn how to make anything from a tennis ball launcher to a backyard fort. You can also submit your own creations and share what you make with the rest of the world. Still wanting to learn more? You can visit eHow and gain a wide range of skills, such as how to cook, decorate, fix, plan, garden, or even make a budget.

Investopedia — Learn everything you need to know about the world of investing, markets, and personal finance.

Khan Academy — Not only will you learn a wide variety of subjects through immensely helpful videos, but you’ll get a chance to practice them and keep track of your learning statistics, too. It’s a great way to further your understanding of subjects you’ve already taken or to learn something new.khanScreenshot/Harrison Jacobs


LearnVest — The personal finance site offers news, classes, and resources to help you learn the basics of managing your money.

Lifehacker — On this highly useful site, you’ll find an assortment of tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.

Lumosity — Train your brain with these fun, scientifically designed games. You can build your own Personalized Training Program to improve your memory and attention and track your progress.


lumosityScreenshot/Harrison Jacobs

MIT Open Courseware — Want to be as smart as an MIT student? Check out classes and course materials from the institute here.

Powersearching with Google — Learn how to find anything you ever wanted by mastering your Google search skills. Also, read this article on 100 Google tricks that will save you time in school.

Quora — Get your questions answered by other smart people, or read through the questions other people have asked. You can learn anything from productivity hacks to the best foods of all time.

Recipe Puppy — Enter in all the ingredients you can find in your kitchen, and this wonderful search engine will give you a list of all the recipes you can make with what you have. It’s a great way to learn how to cook without the hassle of buying everything beforehand. For a more extensive list of recipes, try AllRecipes.

Spreeder — This free, online speed-reading software will improve your reading speed and comprehension. Just paste the text you’d like to read, and it’ll take care of the rest.

StackOverflow — It’s a question and answer site for programmers — basically a coder’s best friend. Other great sources to learn code are Learn X in Y Minutes and W3Schools.

TED-Ed — This is a new initiative launched by TED with the idea of “lessons worth sharing.” It is meant to spark the curiosity of learners around the world by creating a library of award-winning, animated lessons created by expert educators, screenwriters, and animators. You can create your own customized lesson to distribute around the world by adding questions, discussion topics, and other supplementary materials to any educational video on YouTube.

Udemy — Feed your brain with online courses on everything from web development to playing the guitar. You can also teach your own classes through the platform.

Unplug The TV — A fun website that suggests informative videos for you to watch instead of TV. Topics range from space mining to “How Containerization Shaped the Modern World.”

VSauce — This Youtube Channel provides mind-blowing facts and the best of the internet, which will make you realize how amazing our world is. What would happen if the world stopped spinning? Why do we get bored? How many things are there? Watch the videos and find out.

his is an update of an article originally written by Maggie Zhang.

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