September 18, 1996
By Yolanda Reynolds
Last Thursday, September 12, El Teatro de los Pobres Executive Director Felix Alvarez and several other members of the group held a noontime demonstration in front of the San Jose Mercury News. Alvarez explained that they were there to, “demand that (the Mercury News) cover their story.”
The Teatro de Los Pobres is a program of the Center of Community Cultural Activism Inc. It is a group that is based in East San Jose. The Teatro, joined by a number of other organizations has begun, in earnest, to draw attention to the effects of alcohol consumption in the Latino/Chicano community.
Though more research is needed, some investigators into health conditions within the Hispanic/Latino/Chicano community have estimated “nearly a third of older Mexican Americans can be considered to be very heavy drinkers.” Some give even higher estimates.
Alvarez and others point to the deliberate targeting of the Hispanic community by alcohol and tobacco companies for their disease inducing products. A recent publication of the Center for Science in the Public Interest entitled, “Marketing Disease to Hispanics: the selling of alcohol, Tobacco and junk food,” details some alarming statistics regarding the impact of these products on the Hispanic community.
Alvarez and others have staged protests at the Coors facility near King Road in San Jose and at the GI Forum on Alum Rock Avenue. The group protested at the Alum Rock offices for what they feel is the Forum’s wrongful participation in the sale of alcohol during a major cultural event to a community that is afflicted with one of the highest rates of alcoholim and alcohol related problems.
Alvarez is scheduled to meet with Mercury News Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Jerome Ceppos in the next week. Alvarez says that he wants an explanation for the lack of coverage by the Knight Ridder papers. Alvarez explained that other English and Spanish language print media as well both English and Spanish television stations have helped to inform the community of their message. This warns them of the effects of alcohol and announces a three-day protest boycott of buying and drinking alcohol on September 13, 14 and 15 the three days before Las Fiestas Patrias, Mexico’s Independence Day celebration.
Alvarez and his group have been joined in this alcohol educational program by representatives from M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), Proyecto Primavera an Eastside Family Health Clinic program, the San Jose Catholic Diocese Ministerio Hispano, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, the Cesar Chavez Parish Group, Mujer a Mujer, CET, NHU (National Hispanic University), ESO, ARAC East San Jose Chapter and the Alum Rock School District as well as other community groups and members. © La Oferta Newspaper.