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Academy Award Nominated Actress Called Role Model By Immigrant Community On Central, South Coasts

Actress Yalitza Aparicio is being called a role model by the Central and South Coast's little known Mixteco community, because she is of Mixteco origin

It’s one of the highlights of this year’s Academy Awards.  A school teacher  in Mexico who tried out for a role in a new movie on a whim is one of the nominees for “Best Actress” at this weekend awards show.

Yalitza Aparicio’s role as a housekeeper in director Alfonzo Curaron’s acclaimed movie “Roma” has special meaning to thousands of immigrants on the Central and South Coasts.  She is Mixteco, and is giving a face to Mexico’s often overlooked and stereotyped indigenous community.

Arcenio Lopez is Executive Director of  the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project, better known as MICOP.  The Oxnard based non-profit represents this little known community in the region.  He says there are thousands of Mixtecos, and other indigenous immigrants in the region who came here because of the opportunities in the agricultural industry.

He says it gets complicated, because they have their own native languages, and often don’t speak English or Spanish.

MICOP helps these families connected with important services.  Patricia Frausto, who is MICOP’s Development Director, says they help connect the immigrants with services like education and health care.

Having a member of their community, actress Yalitza Aparicio, getting so much positive attention has created a lot of excitement in the Mixteco community.

They say in Mexico, they are sometimes the target of discrimination because they have dark skin, and don’t speak Spanish.   But, they think it’s heartening to have someone from their background in the spotlight, and receiving positive attention and acclaim.  They’re hoping Aparicio will win the Oscar, but say even if she doesn’t, she has done much more than just playing a character in a movie. 

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.