UP alum Walter Thompson-Hernandez to talk at Latinx heritage month occasion Oct. 8
Shortly after Walter Thompson-Hernández was invited to work for the New York Times, he broke down and cried with great joy because he knew how this could change their lives forever, but he did not know what would save him in the future.
“For me to be hired as a New York Times, I know it will change my life forever, and it has,” Hernández said. “It has given me a lot of opportunities and great experiences that I can’t imagine, because, at the end of the day, I’m still a Southeast LA kid who lives on a cruise line and I watch the planes fly in my house and land in the nearest LAX. I’m still that child. The reason why it seems impossible. ”
Hernández, 2009 University of Portland Alum, presented a Zoom show sponsored by Diversity and Inclusion by Portland Magazine on October 8 from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm PST in honor of Latinx Heritage Month. There, Hernández answers questions from well-known students between LGBTQ + and / or BIPOC (black, cultural, and ethnic) and answers questions from attendees.
While working at NYT, Hernández’s ideas were primarily to obtain ideas from cultures that are often unknown in the media. A story that began as a piece of NYT about a group of African-American men and women who founded a horse farm in Compton and a strong relationship with the legacy of black American boys, was later published as a book by The Compton Notes.
In his book, Hernández focuses on Compton’s mythology rather than on the media. Being able to share these stories makes her happy because she is able to understand how other groups understand their genre and is able to spread the story in a positive way.
Walter Thompson-Hernández is a New York Times reporter, writer, and journalist. She graduated from the University of Portland in 2009 with a Political Science Degree.
Photo courtesy of Walter Thompson-Hernandez
Along with the success of his book, Hernández has his own NPR podcast called California Love (available on Spotify and Apple Podcast), where he invites his audience into his life and shows his love for Los Angeles and guides you on the streets in your area.
Hernández has recently left the media and has begun exploring other ways of directing such things as directing and producing in radio and television, after his book found a film deal.
When Hernández began to realize that he was happy the people were enjoying what he was telling them about their community.
“It was really fun because I grew up five minutes away from Compton and most of my relatives are still in the same area,” Hernández said. “I’m writing an article about people who look like me, who are the people I grew up with. Therefore, it was very special for all of us to do this at once. And for me, to write an article about the Compton Cowboys, who led the book collaboration, which led to filming was an exciting event that changed our lives forever. ”
While studying at UP, Hernández became well-known in the political sciences and was much more than just a writer. He was in the men’s basketball team and eventually played professionally for a team in Latin America for a number of years, and even got injured when he began to focus too much on writing.
“I’ve been reading since I was a child,” Hernández said. “That’s why I think my first words came from reading, and my mother was in a Ph.D. writing program at UCLA, so I grew up there.”
After graduating from college, Hernández became more interested in topics that affect how we view other people, and he began to write about what he saw walking around or asking people in the communities he associated with.
Hernández began to question local people as they began to write, or talk to his relatives.
“I was very impressed with the questions about our culture as well as questions about race and identity,” Hernández said. “That’s why I started exploring this by reading and writing and through pictures.”
Assistant Provost for International Education and Diversity and Inclusion, Eduardo Contreras, was very pleased to have Hernández as the speaker, as he recognized the importance of having lectures from the LGBTQ + and / or BIPOC group that he shared and listened to, being part of the Latinx group himself. .
“This is a unique opportunity to bring in someone who is not only a member of our team, but also a well-known writer,” Contreras said. “Her articles in the New York Times are interesting and thought-provoking, and what I appreciate about her articles, as well as her few articles in Portland Magazine, is that she wants to connect with other cultures. She is also a Mexican, half African American, but wants to connect and other cultures in non-violent ways, but which are described in its articles. ”
Hernández strives to be as polite as possible in learning a new culture and tries to ask questions that may affect the people involved.
“I think we have to have respect for each other, and it comes before we become a writer, which comes before we become a journalist.” Hernández said.
Co-ordinator for Multi-Coordination and Integration, Yuri Hernández-Osorio, and Portland Magazine Editor Jessica Murphy Moo saw the potential in Hernández, in telling his stories and personality, as he approached the event.
Hernández, being a prolific writer, wants students to realize that he is a real person and that this cannot be compared to what you are learning. He wants the talks to be informal and is happy to connect with students and share his stories and experiences at UP.
“I don’t like teaching people, I think that’s amazing,” Hernández said. “I don’t think I know better than anyone else, we are all very smart and we all have a lot to share. For me, what is always interesting is the answers to the questions we can speak honestly. “
Thompson-Hernandez has traveled around the world, writing and photographing almost every contract in the United States. He focuses more on representing “words that were not yet chosen.”
Photo courtesy of Walter Thompson-Hernandez
Moo wants students to come to the event and start reading more about his work. He describes him as a first listener and a second journalist and appreciates this.
“I think one of my hopes is that people will want to read his work and talk to him,” Moo said. “I agree, because he is a talented writer. I read his book, and his interest in his writing and style can be heard in his words as well as his in-depth presentation of what you also hear in his podcast. “
Osorio was also enthusiastic about being able to open up cultural and informal discussions, and worked with students in the summer to bring Hernández. He asked student leaders of LGBQT + and / or BIPOC-related clubs to identify the questions Hernández had answered in his response.
“With students, there are a lot of legitimate questions,” Osorio said. “Just to show you a little bit, there are a lot of questions about what happened to him at UP, like ‘How does he think UP can do better?’ He is an Afro Latino, and (students) want to know more about what happened, as well as how he can get involved in the industry. ”
With experiences and speakers like Hernández, Osorio is trying to help remind students that they are in a large group outside the UP school.
“We don’t just become bubbles, we become part of the North Portland, and historically we have been black people,” Osorio said. “So how do we make sure our school doesn’t feel like a high place that I (anyone) can’t go to?”
Cultural themes and identification should be discussed during the ceremony. Contreras encourages students to see this as a good learning opportunity.
“One of the great things about college is that you have to learn about others, not just because you take advantage of them, or because you take away their culture, but because you understand them, because they are just trying to understand what they want. “Contreras said,” And for me, this is a very special opportunity that the event will bring to you. ”
Brienna Haro is a reporter for The Beacon. You can reach [email protected]