Created Equal: Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa On Her Memoir, “Once I Was You”

Award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa talks about immigrating to America, growing up in Chicago and the process of writing about past trauma.

Season Three of the podcast Created Equal explores “Writers on Race: From Ralph Ellison to Colson Whitehead,” and features some of the most important voices in literature as well as the national conversation on racial inequities. 

The conversations were conducted on the radio program, Detroit Today, in the WDET studios on Wayne State University’s campus throughout the pandemic and civil unrest of 2020. Each episode consists of a conversation between Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson and one writer exploring the role of their work in the conversation about race in America. 

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Courtesy of Simon & Schuster
Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Episode 12 Guest: Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa is an Emmy award-winning journalist, host of Latino USA and author of the book, “Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America.” She’s is also the founder of Futuro Media, an independent nonprofit organization that produces multimedia content from an underrepresented perspective for a diverse audience.   

Discussion Points:

On the importance of active participation in democracy: 
“As immigrants, we do in fact have this expectation about this country. I think all of us then, we buy into this ‘we are the world’s greatest democracy,’ and here’s the thing, we are as long as we are all active in it.” 
“At this point, we don’t give up. We have to tell our stories, we have to write our books, we have to be on the radio, we have to use our voices, we have to encourage people who don’t feel visible …” 

On the relationship between Black America and Latino America:   
“My school … was a predominantly Black school … and when I went to private school at the University of Chicago High School, this was one of the freak outs that I had that I am really coming to terms with now. I thought it was just a matter of class going from public school into a wealthy (school), no it was a question of race. I was around Black people all the time and suddenly I wasn’t. What does that do? So, it is everything about how I see myself. I guess it’s no surprise that live in Harlem, I work in Harlem, the nonprofit media company that I created is based in Harlem. And a lot of what I want to actually exalt in this book is this relationship between Black America and Latino America, specifically African Americans, Mexicans, and talking more about that.”  

Created Equal Season 3 is supported by the Michigan School of Psychology

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  • Detroit Today
    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.