Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa On New Memoir, “Once I Was You”

Award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa talks about the themes of her new book, which recounts her immigration to America, growing up in Chicago and healing from sexual trauma she experienced during her teen years.

Now more than ever, many Americans are beginning to open their eyes to learn from the experiences of immigrants and the immigrant experience as a whole, despite the intense politicization of immigration over the last few years. In this conversation, Stephen Henderson speaks with a well-known Latina journalist who has built an extraordinary career in broadcast journalism over three decades.

Listen: Award-winning journalist and author Maria Hinojosa on why she’s a proud immigrant journalist and self-proclaimed “democracy junkie.” 


Maria Hinojosa is an Emmy award-winning journalist, news anchor and author of the new book, “Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America.” She’s the host of Latino USA, heard on WDET Saturdays at 7 a.m. and Wednesdays at 10 p.m. In her book, Hinojosa paints a striking picture of the ways we view “outsiders,” putting America’s contradictions and unmet ideals on full display.

Hinojosa remembers almost being taken from her mother at the border when she and her siblings first came to the United States. She says her mother, who saw family separation at the border when she was in her 80s, says, “This could have been me. This could have been you. They could have taken you.” In reflecting on her early experiences, Hinojosa found a deep well of stories she felt compelled to share in her new book. “When I started writing and you start thinking about your childhood… I really did pour my heart out because, I’m thinking, that’s what you do.”

As far as the parallels and intersectionality between the experiences of Black Americans and immigrants of color, “Latino families will be choosing to stand on the side of Black Lives Matter… and we have to uplift those stories because they are an essential part… people think (BLM) is only affecting the African American population — no, no no, the entire country is being changed by it,” says Hinojosa. 

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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.