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The Right Place

Por Mariel Fiori
June 2024
The Right Place

Imagine this… Imagine visiting a country where you don’t speak the language, and the culture is entirely foreign to you. How would you meet your basic needs? Luckily, you’re just a tourist, with enough money to spend a few weeks visiting places, eating, and sleeping.

Here in the Hudson Valley, there are tens of thousands of people who don’t speak English very well. They don’t have enough money to survive. They are here to work, often doing the hardest jobs that nobody else wants to do, for very low wages.

Now imagine this… Imagine opening any English-language newspaper, local or national, and not seeing a single line written about you or your people. Your struggles and victories are equally ignored. If you do find something about immigration, it’s usually portrayed negatively or with stereotypically biased opinions. Unfortunately, this is also a reality in the Hudson Valley. Newsrooms are often filled with well-meaning people, but they lack diversity and don’t fully represent the communities they aim to cover. Yes, there have been some changes in the past 20 years, but not quickly enough. As many already know, the status quo can be very hard to break.

As the only Spanish-language print magazine in the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions, La Voz is an essential source of information for the more than 170,000 Latinos living in these areas. We, Latinos, are here to stay and need tools to help us navigate the educational, health, business, and political systems of this country and state.

Now imagine a place to think, a place where you can critically consider various topics and have the opportunity to act on them, no matter how big or small. For me and Emily Schmall, co-founder of La Voz, that place has been the Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) program at Bard College. I am grateful to Paul Marienthal, director of the TLS program, for believing in us when La Voz was just a student-run project printing 500 copies of an eight-page publication four times a year. I also thank Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, for trusting my vision to strengthen a publication for the Spanish-speaking communities of the Hudson Valley and beyond, and for hiring me as the editor-in-chief of La Voz in September 2005.
Twenty years later, La Voz is a full-color monthly publication distributed in ten counties: Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, Columbia, Sullivan, Rockland, Putnam, Greene, Albany, and Rensselaer. Our student drivers are paid to distribute La Voz in five of these counties, and we have partnered with three local library systems, reaching over 100 libraries in the other five counties.

Thanks to advertisers, the Novo Foundation, donations, and Bard College, we currently have three professionals on staff, including myself, six student editorial assistants working in the La Voz office each semester, and several local monthly contributors. We attend many events, help organize some, and you can learn more on our website
With empathy and love, La Voz serves one of the most misunderstood and underrepresented populations in our region: the Spanish-speaking communities. In La Voz, Spanish speakers can find a source of inspiration and hope. This free magazine has become an award-winning and highly respected local publication. We are responsible for keeping our readers well-informed and for creating media for the common good.

I am excited to talk about the work of La Voz. I am also excited to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this publication. If you’re in the area, come join us on June 22nd at the Spiegeltent at the Fisher Center. We’ll be celebrating with a live band, Alex Torres and His Latin Orchestra, and we’ll review some dance steps with the Dojo Dance Company. There will be food included in the ticket price, a silent auction, and five honorees from our community chosen from over fifty nominees sent in by our readers. It will be fun and also an important fundraiser. La Voz is free to read, but it’s not free to produce, print, and distribute. I hope you can come. June 22nd, from 6 to 10 pm, tickets on sale at the Spiegeltent page,
Everything begins in the mind, in the power of our imagination. I am grateful to be in a place for thinking, Bard College, the home of La Voz.

The impossible just takes time to achieve. Thank you very much for your support.

Mariel Fiori

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La Voz, Cultura y noticias hispanas del Valle de Hudson



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