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María (de Lourdes) Hinojosa: 1961—: Journalist

Found New Challenge In Motherhood

In 1995 Hinojosa delivered another award-winning story on NPR about the disproportionate number of young men of color who have spent time or have contact with the criminal justice system in the United States; "Manhood Behind Bars" was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Coverage of the Disadvantaged. She departed NPR as a correspondent in 1996, but kept the post at Latino USA. Married by then, Hinojosa decided to have a child, but found the experience one of the first true challenges of her life. After being a first-generation Hispanic immigrant who graduated from an Ivy League university and then went on to forge an impressive media career, as she wrote in Raising Raúl: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son, she took her own "can-do" attitude for granted—but conceiving a child was an entirely different matter. She suffered two miscarriages, and then after giving birth to her son found herself contemplating an entirely new set of issues about her abilities. Recalling her own background and the strong maternal figures in her family, Hinojosa hoped to become a good parent, but realized that the examples in her own family history usually involved heartbreaking sacrifice. She had always considered herself to be independent and ambitious, and was somewhat surprised by her relatively sudden desire to become a parent. "Even though I grew up seeing myself as different from everyone around me," she wrote, "I suddenly realized that I wanted what everyone else had. I wanted to be a full, well-rounded, accomplished woman. And though I had achieved a lot in my life, I couldn't get away from the Mexican yardstick for measuring womanhood—becoming a mother."

Raising Raúl charts the growth of both Hinojosa's young son and her own coming-of-age. She hoped that its readership would be "American moms, no matter what their race or cultural background," she told Houston Chronicle writer Fritz Lanham, who called it "a high-energy sprint across sometimes rocky personal and cultural ground." In 1999, the same year that it was published, Hinojosa won the Ruben Salazar Award from the National Council of La Raza in recognition of her outstanding body of work as a journalist.

Hinojosa's spouse is a painter from the Dominican Republic, German Perez, with whom she creates altar projects, in the fashion of Mexico's Day of the Dead homages to departed ancestors. Theirs often highlight issues of importance in the Latin American community, such as undocumented aliens and AIDS, and have been exhibited at the Bronx Museum of Art and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, both in New York City. The couple live near Harlem and have a daughter, Yurema, in addition to son Raúl.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: James Heneghan (1930-) Biography - Personal to Rick Jacobson Biography - PersonalMaría (de Lourdes) Hinojosa: 1961—: Journalist Biography - Award-winning Journalist, Author, Found New Challenge In Motherhood, Pushed For Hispanic Reporting At Cnn