Latino USA Founder Maria Hinojosa Named Rutgers-Newark Keynote Speaker


originally published: 04/13/2022

(NEWARK, NJ) — Acclaimed journalist Maria Hinojosa, who for decades has illuminated the immigrant experience in America, has been named the keynote speaker for Rutgers-Newark University first in-person graduation ceremony since 2019, Chancellor Nancy Cantor announced.

The launch ceremony will take place on May 16 at 9:00 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark. The Rutgers Board of Governors voted on Tuesday to award an honorary Doctor of Letters to Hinojosa when she addresses graduates.

Through her work on national television and radio platforms, Hinojosa has focused on the changing international cultural and political landscapes of America. She continues to expand her impact as the founder, presenter and executive producer of Latino USA, the premier public news radio station addressing issues related to the Latinx community.

“Maria Hinojosa embodies the talent, wisdom, generosity of spirit, commitment to community, and courage that we see in the student body at Rutgers-Newark,” Cantor said. “We believe her professional accomplishments and personal example make her the ideal candidate to receive an honorary degree from us and to be our rookie speaker.”

In addition to her work as a reporter for PBS, CNN and NPR, among others, Hinojosa, who was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States as a baby with her parents, has written insightfully about the experience. immigrants from a personal point of view.

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In his critically acclaimed memoir, once i was youshe recounts growing up Mexican-American in Chicago, offering powerful accounts of how American rhetoric on immigration has long fueled prejudice against foreigners, providing cover for willful neglect and profiteering to create the broken system that we have today.

The author of three books, she observed that she had heard little about the realities of the immigrant experience, despite growing up in a discerning American household. Countering such harmful rhetoric and narrative absence has fueled his career and won him the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

As the recipient of some of journalism’s highest honors – including four Emmys, a Peabody, the John Chancellor and Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Nieman Foundation’s Stone IF Medal for Journalistic Independence – she is a leader in line of multimedia journalism.

At the May opening ceremony, Rutgers-Newark will also award an honorary degree to Wayne Meyer, one of New Jersey’s most effective community development leaders, who served as CEO of New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) for twelve years until his retirement last summer. .

He is well known to leaders across all sectors for his clear vision and advocacy for strong, lasting investments in New Jersey communities, especially those that have been chronically underinvested for decades. It has been recognized nationally for its response to immediate crises such as disaster recovery, as well as long-term crises, such as the continuing shortage of affordable housing.

Meyer, a CPA and attorney, led the NJCC through a period of phenomenal growth, enabling the organization to create a holistic approach to revitalizing entire neighborhoods and shaping a new model of community development. As a result, the NJCC has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to support underserved communities across the state, including Newark, resulting in the creation of thousands of affordable housing units, millions of square feet of commercial development and thousands of jobs.

In 2013, he was honored by President Barack Obama as the White House “Hurricane Sandy Champion of Change” for the programs he launched in response to the storm. Most recently, he led NJCC’s efforts to partner with banks, impact investing firms and philanthropic organizations to create a $15 million working capital loan fund, the Garden State Relief. Fund, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide pandemic relief for millions. funding to underserved communities.

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