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

Charlotte Carpenter/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Department of Public Safety – the agency that issues driver's licenses and patrols state highways – will start battling white supremacy as part of its duties. This comes after the mass shooting in El Paso on Aug. 3 when 22 people died. But how equipped are state police agencies to deal with so-called domestic terrorism?

Jeff Gruenewald is an associate professor at the University of Arkansas' Sociology and Criminology Department, and director of the Terrorism Research Center there. He says calling shooters like the one in El Paso “domestic terrorists” is a newer phenomenon in law enforcement, but terrorism researchers like himself have been using that phrase for longer.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Three named plaintiffs launched a class action lawsuit last year against the City of Austin, Travis County and several local officials, claiming they failed to adequately investigate and prosecute their sexual assault cases.

Stephanie Tacy/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Texas news outlets often report on death penalty stories, given that the state leads the nation in prisoner executions. But rarely do reports tell the stories of women on death row. Those women are housed in a prison in Gatesville, and as I wait for the guards to bring over inmate Linda Carty, I notice the room is very different from the crammed spaces where I’ve interviewed men on death row. There’s still glass separating us, but this room is spacious and well-lit.

BBC World Service/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Pew Research Center recently published a report showing how a majority of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. live in one of 20 metropolitan areas. But there was another statistic within the report that was important in its own right: The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has gone down over the last decade. As of 2016, Pew estimates there were about 10.7 million, compared to about 12.2 million in 2007.

Mark Hugo Lopez is director of global migration and demography at Pew Research, and says there's been a large decline in unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, in particular. At the same time, there's been an increase of unauthorized immigrants from other countries, whom Lopez says have most likely overstayed their visas.

Ida Ten Eyck O'Keeffe, Creation, date unknown, oil on canvas, Gerald Peters Gallery

From Texas Standard:

The name Georgia O'Keeffe probably brings to mind images of giant, brightly-colored flowers, or the artist's famous skulls, sunsets or the Southwest. Many people don't realize that Georgia's sister was also an artist in her own right. But that's changing, thanks to an exhibition of Ida O'Keeffe's work at the Dallas Museum of Art It's called "Ida O'Keeffe: Escaping Georgia's Shadow."

ec-jpr/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Over the last two decades, the U.S. has recalled 26,700 medical devices, according to Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad - a team of journalists in Mexico City working in association with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The reason these Mexican journalists are on the case is because these recalled or defective medical devices usually end up back in Mexico.

Reporter Miriam Castillo is one of the reporters on that team, and says Mexicans most likely won't know that these devices – which include pacemakers and orthopedic implants for people with damaged bones or joints – could be harmful because the Mexican equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rarely recalls products.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard:

At first glance, Jews and Latinos may appear to have very little in common. That impression may begin to change somewhat on Tuesday with the launch of a new organization that brings the two groups together. It's called the Texas Latino-Jewish Leadership Council, and it's modeled after a fairly new national group by a similar name. Southern Methodist University professor Luisa del Rosal is a founding member of the group, and says members of the Jewish and Latino communities have a lot in common.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Today, more Texans live in urban areas than ever before. In fact, 8 in 10 of us do. That’s an overwhelming majority.

Julia Reihs/KUT

Texas has a thing about being number one. But when it comes to the state of Texans' health, it ranks below the middle of the pack, and it's falling. The United Health Foundation ranked Texas 34th in the country in its 2017 annual report. But there's something that could help: this year's Healthier Texas Summit kicks off in Austin on Oct. 25; it's a conference about how everyday people can achieve healthier outcomes in their own community.

Dr. David Lakey is vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Texas System, and is also an organizer of the event. Lakey says while the overall focus of the summit is how to improve health within our communities, there's also a focus on health policy in the upcoming legislative session.

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.

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