Houston Latino Icons

A three-part series from Houston Public Media, in collaboration with Tony Diaz, Director of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say.

Lina Hidalgo

Lina Hidalgo

Lina Hidalgo currently serves as county judge for Harris County, the first woman elected to the position. Born in Bogota, Colombia, she moved to Houston when she was 15 years old, and later graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science. In addition to championing bail reform during her tenure as county judge, Hidalgo continues to be instrumental in ensuring safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full story here

Johnny Mata, photo by Pablo Rocha

Johnny Mata

Houston activist Johnny Mata, former head of the Civil Rights Committee for District 8 of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation’s largest Hispanic service organization, has been an advocate for Houston’s Latino community for over 40 years. Mata has been instrumental in local activism surrounding criminal just reform, police brutality, and labor conditions. He currently stands as special advisor to Houston’s police reform task force.

Read the full story here

Dr. Dorothy Caram, photo by Pablo Rocha

Dr. Dorothy Caram

As an educator, community leader, and cultural ambassador, Dr. Caram has dedicated her life to advancing Latino culture and education. She has served on numerous commissions, boards and committees, including president of the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston. Dr. Caram has been recognized as a tireless advocate for equal access to education and has been named Distinguished Hispanic Citizen of the Year by the mayor of the City of Houston. She has also been formally recognized by the governments of Mexico and Spain for her contributions.

Read the full story here

TV 8 Programming


Fruits of Labor

Monday, October 4 – 9pm

Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action.

American Masters

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It

Tuesday, October 5 – 8pm

Discover how Moreno defied her humble upbringing and racism to become one of a select group of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award winners. Explore her 70-year career with new interviews, clips of her iconic roles and scenes of the star on set today.

The short film “Lights, Camera, Acción” will premiere at the end of the documentary. Join Latinx actors, writers, producers, directors and showrunners across generations as they discuss the ever-evolving issue of Latinx representation in Hollywood. Featuring interviews with Edward James Olmos, John Leguizamo, Eva Longoria, Jimmy Smits and more. A co-presentation of AMERICAN MASTERS and VOCES.

The 34th Hispanic Heritage Awards

Friday, October 8 – 8pm

Celebrate the recipients of the annual Hispanic Heritage Awards. The evening includes performances and appearances by some of the country’s most celebrated Hispanic artists and visionaries. Honorees include Carlos Santana, Kali Uchis and more.

Great Performances

Three Divas at Versailles

Friday, October 8 – 9pm

Enjoy sopranos Ailyn Pérez, Nadine Sierra and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as they join forces at one of Europe’s cultural landmarks to perform favorite arias, including Voi che sapete from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and more.

LA FRONTERA with Pati Jinich

Fridays, October 15 & 22 – 8pm

Savor the sights, sounds and flavors of the U.S.-Mexico border alongside acclaimed chef and James Beard Award-winning host Pati Jinich as she experiences the region’s rich culture, people and cuisine.


Letters to Eloisa

Friday, October 15 – 9pm

A haunting portrait of a writer’s life and struggle for artistic freedom, this film tells the story of Cuba’s José Lezama Lima, an all but forgotten figure of the Latin American literary boom that included Gabriel García Márquez, Octavio Paz and Mario Vargas Llosa.

Please see our TV 8 Programming Guide for additional airings of select programs.

Now Streaming

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History

LATINO AMERICANS is the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape North America over the last 500-plus years and have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S. The changing and yet repeating context of American history provides a backdrop for the drama of individual lives. It is a story of immigration and redemption, of anguish and celebration, of the gradual construction of a new American identity that connects and empowers millions of people today.

Episode 1 | Foreigners In Their Own Land

Episode 2 | Empire of Dreams

Episode 3 | War and Peace

Episode 4 | The New Latinos

Episode 5 | Prejudice and Price

Episode 6 | Peril and Promise

American Masters

Jovita Idar: Mexican American Activist and Journalist

Jovita Idar (1885-1946) helped organize the first Mexican American civil rights conference in 1911 to address racism, lynching, and dismal educational opportunities for Mexican American children.

Latinos Are Essential (Playlist)

A collection of insightful short videos about Latinos serving as essential workers in a wide variety of jobs and services across the United States.

Origin of Everything

Why Do We Say Latino?

This PBS Digital Series explores the origins and intersecting histories of aspects of daily reality.

PBS Short Film Festival


Teenage Latina sisters break their grandmother out of her assisted living facility for one last joyride.

PBS Short Film Festival


Luciela is about a fiercely independent Latina who is determined to celebrate the 4th of July with a bang.

Now Streaming on Houston PBS Passport

Stream more of your favorite PBS shows with a Houston Public Media membership. Activate your Passport here!

The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

This collection of fiction and nonfiction short films explores a broad variety of experiences, perspectives, and points of view to highlight the diversity of the Latino/a/x community.

Roots of Latin Jazz

Great Performances

Roots of Latin Jazz

Hosted by Sheila E, celebrate the rhythms of Latin music with the Raices Jazz Orchestra and performances by GRAMMY-winning artists, including Richard Bona and Anaadi.

The Pushouts


The Pushouts

Meet an ex-gang member who works with young people who have been “pushed out” of school.

Adios Amor - The Search for Maria Moreno


Adios Amor – The Search for Maria Moreno

The discovery of forgotten photographs prompts a search for an unsung labor organizer heroine.

Porvenir, Texas

Porvenir, Texas

Porvenir, Texas

Discover the true story behind the 1918 massacre of 15 Mexican men in this tiny border town.

Weekend in Havana

Weekend in Havana

Join Geoffrey Baer in Havana to experience the color, culture, and history of the seductive city.

Cocaine Prison

Doc World

Cocaine Prison

Follow the lives of indigenous Bolivians who work at the lowest levels of the cocaine trade. The film bridges the widening gap between the North & South and offers a new perspective to the War on Drugs being waged.

Learning Resources

Houston Public Media and PBS have curated free, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and more for students, parents and teachers. Below are just a selection from many of these online learning resources.

Who Are Latinos?

Lesson Plan, Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Who are Latinos? What does the term Latino American reference? In this quick, introductory activity, students consider their own preconceptions of Latinos, view a trailer for the documentary series Latino Americans and identify new topics questions to investigate further.

Voter Mobilization in Texas

Video, Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez set new precedents as a state legislator and later a member of Congress. He fought off a segregation backlash and held big dreams for his community. But for a new generation of Chicano activists, like José Luis Gutierrez, this approach was too slow. South Texas becomes home to the newly formed La Raza Unida party. By focusing on voter registration and correcting gerrymandering, Willie Velasquez finds a third way between the gradualism of Gonzalez and the radicalism of Gutierrez.

Rita Moreno & West Side Story

Video, Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the smash hit West Side Story sets the story of Romeo & Juliet in the contemporary context of street gang turf wars. It’s a double-edged sword that reinforces stereotypes about Puerto Rican youth but also catapults a young Rita Moreno toward the highest honors in Hollywood.

Houston Matters with Craig Cohen

Houston Matters with Craig Cohen is the region’s essential daily guide to the people, places, issues, and ideas that define Greater Houston.

The celebrated actress, singer, and dancer, Rita Moreno, is famous for a lot of things. Among them is her role as Anita in West Side Story.

Then there’s her pioneering work in public television on The Electric Company, her appearances through the years on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, and her dramatic turn on the HBO series Oz.

On the October 5 episode of Houston Matters, Craig revisits a conversation with the legendary actress as she discusses her career and work advocating for the arts.

The PBS series, American Masters, also featured a special episode profiling the actresses career on Houston Public Media TV 8. You can watch it here!


Town Square with Ernie Manouse

Town Square with Ernie Manouse is a gathering space for the community to come together and discuss the day’s most important and pressing issues.

Stereotypes of Latinos created a century ago still paint how entertainment media depicts Latinos today. While smaller publishing houses are avenues for Latino creatives, major film and book publishers still hold up walls.

The Latino population makes about 18 percent of the United States with over 60 million Latino residents throughout the country.

On the July 22 episode of Town Square, Ernie talked with experts in the arts discussing Latino representation in the media, their impact on stereotypes, and our perception of their roles in the United States.


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Since the 1980s, Sandra Cisneros work has been a touchstone of Latina representation in literature. She has been given many awards and titles throughout her career, including being called “the Godmother of Chicana literature,” by the Los Angeles Times.

On the September 27 episode of Town Square, guest host, Brenda Valdivia, speaks with the author herself about her latest work and how her travels, fashion, and self-reflection lead her to create some of the most iconic American fiction of the last century.


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