Joy Diaz

Producer, Texas Standard

Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
Originally from Mexico, Joy moved to the U.S. in 1998 when her husband Luis was transferred from his job in Mexico City to Virginia. While there, Joy worked for Roanoke NPR station WVTF.

Joy speaks English and Spanish (which is a plus in a state like Texas). She graduated from Universidad de Cuautitlán Izcalli in Mexico City with a degree in Journalism. In 2008 she took a break to devote herself to her two young children, before returning to the KUT studios. She loves reading, painting and spending time engaging with the community.

Ways to Connect

Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Two people can be in the same situation, but their perceptions of that situation can be very different. And that can affect their experience. Such is the case in a new novel where a woman born into slavery on a tobacco farm is taught to see herself not as a slave who is there because she is less-than human, but as a captive who deserves better, because there is royal blood in her background.

The book is “Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen,” by Austinite Sarah Bird. The novel is based on the true story of Cathy Williams, a slave who was freed after the Civil War and served as a buffalo soldier.

Bill Jacobus/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

If you were to walk south on Congress Avenue in Austin, you'd notice at least six construction cranes. You can see a similar scene in cities all across the Lone Star State. Day and night, construction crews are busy at work, and business is good –  or it would be if there were enough workers to get the jobs done.  

This week, the Associated General Contractors of America released a report with data from 2,500 contractors. It confirms what we've been hearing: There is a labor shortage.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard.

When the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired opened in 1856, there were only three students. So in order to pay the bills, students were expected to make brooms and other goods to sell. Nowadays, students are able to focus on academics, life skills and enrichment opportunities, such as learning to play classical guitar. A new app is helping people learn through Braille.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

Construction is a booming business in Texas. The latest numbers from 2016 show it’s a $75 billion industry in the state. There’s more demand for construction workers than there are people willing to do the jobs, and that means it’s gotten hard for contractors like Denis Phocas to hold onto qualified workers.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard.

You’ve heard the saying – the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Of the two, taxes are arguably less painful. Death, on the other hand, is a reality so serious that most of us don’t expose our children to the concept, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Joy Diaz

From Texas Standard.

China said on Friday that it plans to impose tariffs on American fruit, pork and wine among other products. The announcement comes a day after President Trump signed a memo proposing $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese-made products.

Image via Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard.

It’s been two days since a young gunman opened fire on a Florida high school, taking many lives and forever altering many more. As outsiders to this event, it’s probably about the time when we begin to move on. It’s harder, though, to resist the hurt for those who relate directly to the victims – parents of high schoolers in this case. And it’s harder for those who work in schools, which have so often been the target of horrific mass shootings.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

It’s Valentine’s Day and so we put together a story for you about hearts – not candy hearts or even those filled with chocolate, but human hearts. These days, we know quite a bit about them. It’s been 50 years since the first successful transplant. But, in a way, hearts are also still full of mystery – and I’m not trying to get romantic on you. A doctor in Dallas is trying to solve those mysteries of the heart by studying the organs that no one wants anymore.

F. Carter Smith

From Texas Standard.

Candidates all over the Lone Star State are pouring their hearts, souls and resources into their campaigns. The primaries in Texas are only three weeks away.

While resources are a major challenge for every candidate, that’s particularly true for those with little name recognition. Some organizations like Emily’s List and Annie’s List are making money available to the record number of female candidates running this year. but the money is not available to everyone.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

According to the latest numbers from 2016., construction is a $75 billion industry in Texas. It’s an industry we’ve reported on before on the Standard. Including a big story last year. While our reporter was on the ground in Houston, she came across something pretty rare; a female construction worker.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

If the latest catalyst for states going their own way was the Paris Climate Agreement, in Texas it was SB4. That’s the law banning sanctuary cities – also known as “show-me-your-papers.”

While demonstrations erupted in several parts of the state and opposition to the bill came from many sectors of the population, they didn’t dissuade Texas Gov. Greg Abbott from signing SB4 into law last May. But then, local governments sprang into action and decided to fight the new law. Tiny El Cenizo was the first city to file a lawsuit. Then came Austin.

Jude Matsalla/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Many folks will be watching the State of the Union to hear what President Trump might say about immigration. The latest White House proposal has two key numbers – 1.8 million is how many so-called Dreamers could be put on a path to citizenship, and 25 billion is how much funding the Trump Administration wants for border security, including building a wall.

Socorro ISD

From Texas Standard.

Remember the 1988 inspirational movie Stand and Deliver? It was about school teacher Jaime Escalante who encouraged students at risk of dropping out to instead learn calculus. Well, a national group called Best in Schools created an award inspired by Escalante called Best in Education, and that award for 2017 just went to Jose Espinoza, the superintendent of Socorro ISD in El Paso.

NOAA Photo Library/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

A musician and a scientist fall in love and then move to the South Pole. It’s not the intro to a joke – it’s the story of Jennifer McCallum and John Bird, the authors and protagonists of a new book called “One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole.”

When the National Archives made public thousands of documents on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy earlier this year, there was a lot of anticipation about what was in those files.

What we may learn is far from clear, but it’s possible that nothing from those files will be quite as powerful as the real-life recollections of the man who recently sat in the Texas Standard’s studios.

júbilohaku/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Lots of folks will soon be southbound, spending the holidays with family and friends in Mexico. There are the usual warnings about traveling through regions where there’s considerable cartel violence. Now the Mexican Senate has taken a big step toward deploying the army on the streets – perhaps indefinitely.  Critics are worried  that this is the start of a de facto militarization of Mexico.

Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, says Mexico is responding to the large amount of crime and violence associated with the drug cartels that operate there.

INEGI

From Texas Standard.

I don’t want to downplay how complicated issues of race are, but in a way, race in the United States is a pretty easy to understand concept. As Michael Jackson put it, it’s about whether you’re black or white.

Max Krochmal, a History, Race and Ethnic Studies professor at Texas Christian University, says, “The American understanding of race has been largely dictated along the lines of a black-white racial binary.”

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

South of the border, there’s big news with implications for Texas. The AP reports Mexico's ruling party pushed a bill through the lower house of Congress which would authorize the military to act as police in an effort to get the upper hand at long last against Mexico's drug cartels.

Sarah Blesener

From Texas Standard.

Scouting has long been considered a path for young people to learn life skills, but a program along the United States-Mexico border goes a lot further than how to start a campfire or care for a park. It's run under the auspices of the U.S. Border Patrol, and it’s not so much camping in the wilderness but rather something much more intense, closer to bona fide basic military training.

pixabay

From Texas Standard:

Warning: this story contains descriptions that are disturbing.

Authorities in Mexico this weekend arrested two people they say were involved in a human trafficking operation. They rescued 24 young women who are from Colombia and Venezuela. This incident underscores how most of us understand human trafficking – as an international crime. But authorities in Texas are deepening their understanding of human trafficking as a local crime.

Barbara Brannon/Flickr Creative Commons

From Texas Standard.

The streets in front of the State Capitol building will be blocked off this weekend to make room for white tents and long tables piled high with books. Think of that new book smell – that’s the smell of the upcoming Texas Book Festival.

Some of the most celebrated authors in the world will be descending on Austin. The whole event is free, from browsing books to attending author signings.

Lois Kim, the festival’s executive director, says over 300 authors are coming to the event – including Tom Hanks, the Bush sisters, Dan Rather, and celebrity chef Mark Bittman. She says they’re also expecting literary stars like Walter Isaacson and Jennifer Egan.

LBJ Library photo by Jay Godwin

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Austin for the opening of a new exhibit at the LBJ Presidential Library called Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection.

Albright stopped by the Texas Standard studio to talk about the collection. 

Joy Diaz

From Texas Standard:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested almost 500 people in just four days of immigration raids last month alone. While that operation did not target Texas, the crackdown has many of the estimated 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants in the state feeling worried.

Filipa Rodriques/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Most states in the U.S. use solitary confinement as a form of punishment for prisoners. A 2012 investigation by Mother Jones found 38 states use the practice. But Texas is no longer one of them.

Shelly Brisbin

From Texas Standard:

About 2 million American girls were born in 2002. That means they’re turning 15 this year. And many are celebrating with a quinceañera. It’s the rite of passage party usually celebrated by Hispanic girls. It’s similar to a “Sweet 16,” but celebrations are often much more extravagant.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The Confederate flag has sparked divisive feelings for more than 150 years. But you might peg the beginning of the most recent debate over its place in the U.S. to 2015. That’s when former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley decided to remove the flag from the state Capitol grounds. Her decision was part of a response to the killing of nine black churchgoers by a white supremacist in Charleston.

Haley’s decision unleashed protests.

Then came Charlottesville this summer, with deadly confrontations over a Confederate statute. Trying to avoid more protests, cities like Baltimore and institutions like the University of Texas at Austin decided to remove confederate symbols in the middle of the night

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Donald Trump said at the kickoff of his presidential campaign in 2015. "They're bringing drugs," he said. "They're bringing crime. They're rapists," allowing that "some, I assume, are good people."

USGS

From Texas Standard:

massive earthquake struck overnight Thursday off the southern coast of Mexico, near the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas along the Guatemalan border. At magnitude 8.1, the earthquake is the strongest to strike the country in a century, and it was felt as far away as the capital, Mexico City, some 650 miles from the epicenter. The death toll is at least 32 and may rise as the damage is assessed in some of the more remote areas affected.

Plant Industry, CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

It’s clean-up time at the home where Ron Gertson is staying. He’s taking refuge at his brother’s house because his house is uninhabitable at the moment. It is full of flood water from Hurricane Harvey.

Pages