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Articles by Victoria Johnson
My vaccine worked. So did my sister’s.
I was just about to head to the gym three Saturdays ago when I received an unwelcome — and unexpected — piece of news. “Your …
Hispanic Liaison’s health fair vaccinates more than 200 people against COVID-19
SILER CITY — The Hispanic Liaison, in partnership with Greensboro-based medical provider Better Care, vaccinated more than 200 …
Siler City reopens applications for new immigrant advisory committee
After receiving too few applications for Siler City’s new immigrant advisory committee, the town has opened a second 30-day …
News + Record publishes second Spanish print edition of ‘La Voz de Chatham,’ now a quarterly publication
SILER CITY — Four months after publishing Chatham County’s first Spanish-language community paper, the News + Record’s second …
Pérez-Moreno joins News + Record’s ‘La Voz’ project team
SILER CITY — Heidi Pérez-Moreno, a senior journalism student at UNC-Chapel Hill, will join the News + Record’s La Voz de Chatham …
Chatham Community Library to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with virtual documentary screening
PITTSBORO — Chatham Community Library plans to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month beginning this month by hosting a virtual showing …
Hispanic Liaison’s COVID-19 Health Fair to offer vaccination incentives
The Hispanic Liaison’s COVID-19 Health Fair in September will now offer vaccination incentives, the Liaison’s executive director, …
Chatham Literacy helps scores of immigrants achieve citizenship
SILER CITY — After three decades in the United States, Guatemalan native Dora Interiano finally achieved last December what she’d …
Chatham’s government needs to offer Spanish-language services. Here’s why.
Even three years after my time abroad in Spain ended, I can still remember sitting inside a Pamplona brewery feeling like I’d been …
CCS launches its first Dual Language summer camp
SILER CITY — Inside Siler City Elementary School last Wednesday, teacher Shirley Rojas drizzled several drops of purple dye into one …
Hispanic Heritage Fiesta postponed until 2022
SILER CITY — COVID-19 has once again postponed the Hispanic Heritage Fiesta.  After months of planning and preparations, the …
Siler City elementary schools bring students thousands of books during summer
SILER CITY — Dozens of children lined up before a big, blue bus parked along the curb just outside Virginia Cross Elementary School. …
‘It is a priority for us’: Chatham works toward expanding services for Spanish speakers
Last year, Ramseur resident Noe Briones Licona embarked on a multistep application process to secure county permission to move his …
Pittsboro’s Cedar Grove church to host ‘summer fiesta’ Saturday
PITTSBORO — For nearly a year, Cedar Grove United Methodist Church and Mexican food truck Ta Contento have worked to provide free …
While El Futuro’s Durham office reopens to clients, Siler City office stays remote
SILER CITY — El Futuro will once again allow patients into its Durham office for in-person appointments, according to a Friday press …
San Marcos, Siler City’s newest Mexican restaurant, opens buffet section
San Marcos Taqueria y Buffet opened a buffet section last Saturday, following weeks of preparation and county approval. And according …
Mountaire's Duncan learning ropes as new community relations manager in Siler City
SILER CITY — Growing up, Raleigh native Sasha Duncan didn’t really spare too much thought for agriculture. In high school, she …
Chapel Hill nonprofit selects Hispanic Liaison’s Selina Lopez for competitive education fellowship
Chapel Hill education nonprofit LatinxEd chose the Hispanic Liaison’s Selina Lopez last week as one of 15 Hispanic leaders statewide …
Chatham’s long-term care facilities reopen ‘softly’ to visitors
PITTSBORO — Inside Cambridge Hills Assisted Living, a pair of white double doors guards the entryway to the facility’s 90-bed …
After some concerns, Siler City board clears the way for Hispanic Heritage Fiesta on Sept. 11
SILER CITY — The Siler City Board of Commissioners greenlit the 8th Hispanic Heritage Fiesta Monday night, despite initial concerns …
Former Chatham teacher traces her journey as Latina educator at community event
The year is 1991. Ecuadorian immigrant Virginia Cárdenas had been teaching Spanish at Siler City Elementary School for several years. …
Compadres Mexican Restaurant to hold meet-and-greet with Franklin Gomez Flores Tuesday
SILER CITY — The Hispanic Liaison plans to offer “Latinxs” the opportunity to meet Chatham County’s first Latino commissioner …
Siler City group launches fundraiser to install plaque, mural honoring historical Black businesses
SILER CITY — On the fringes of downtown Siler City, a group of unassuming brick buildings stand along South Birch Avenue, where they …
Neighbors to celebrate Chatham Rocky River bridge’s 100th anniversary
‘We don’t want to replace it’ Along Chatham Church Road about 12 miles south of Pittsboro, a one-lane steel truss bridge …
The Hispanic Liaison’s new deputy director brings wealth of information, heart to her role
SILER CITY — When Chatham resident Hannia Benitez was younger, her mother taught her a few principles to live by: “Learn as much …
Hispanic Liaison opens new satellite office in Sanford
SANFORD — Inside a squat building at 215 Bracken St., a small, two-desk office has turned into the Lee County base for a Siler City …
Nearly 32% of CCS students are Hispanic. How is the district serving them?
Editor’s note: In this second of a series of reports, the News + Record is examining school equity in Chatham, looking specifically …
Chapel in the Pines hosts first COVID-19 vaccination clinic, sees low turnout
CHAPEL HILL — Throughout much of Chatham County’s vaccine rollout, resident Dionicio Hernández didn’t ask himself whether he …
It’s coming back: Hispanic Heritage Fiesta returns in September
SILER CITY — Last year, COVID-19 forced organizers to cancel Siler City’s Hispanic Heritage Fiesta. The year before that, its …
Chapel in the Pines to host bilingual vaccination clinic Sunday
CHAPEL HILL — The Hispanic Liaison and Better Care, a Greensboro-based medical provider, will hold a bilingual vaccination clinic at …
El Futuro launches program to improve mental health among Northeast Florida’s Hispanic community
DURHAM — El Futuro launched an initiative to improve mental health outcomes and develop tailored services for Latino families …
Chatham Health Alliance, others to distribute free resources next week in Washington Avenue Park
SILER CITY — The Chatham Health Alliance will bring its Community Resource Hub to Washington Avenue Park on May 18 to distribute …
The Hispanic Liaison hires a COVID-19 Project Manager to direct relief efforts
For more than 10 years, Chapel Hill consultant Will Mendoza helped businesses and organizations come up with strategies to better …
‘Day of the Books’ drive-thru celebration delivers hundreds of bilingual books to Siler City children
SILER CITY — The Chatham County Partnership for Children’s annual Day of the Books celebration distributed about 200 new and used …
Chatham HS students collect over $14,000 worth of donated hygiene products
When four high school juniors first launched their donation drive for menstrual and hygiene products in Chatham County, they didn’t …
'We need the community': Siler City murder suspect still on the run
SILER CITY — More than four months after the killing of Ramon Hernandez, Chatham County police have made little progress in locating …
Here's how to talk with your child about sexual abuse
Child sex abuse is more common than many think — and it’s also a lot closer than many realize. Just weeks ago, the Siler City …
Day of the Books celebration to return as a drive-thru event May 1
SILER CITY — Last year, COVID-19 restrictions turned the Chatham County Partnership for Children’s interactive, walk-through Day …
Siler City nonprofit hosts ‘smooth’ vaccination clinic — but with lower turnout than expected
SILER CITY — Inside Vidas de Esperanza Clinic last Saturday, Siler City resident María Blanca E. López López sat on the …
A quarter of Chatham’s Hispanic population partially vaccinated, but rates trail other racial, ethnic groups
Nearly four months into Chatham’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, just under a quarter of Chatham’s Hispanic population has been …
Siler City clinic to hold COVID-19 vaccination drive Saturday
SILER CITY — Vidas de Esperanza, a Siler City clinic, will host a COVID-19 vaccination drive from 8:20 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for …
'This is my chance:' Chatham HS students get vaccinated
Shortly before 10 a.m. last Thursday, Jordan-Matthews senior Jacquelinne Marroquin Tobar drove to Piedmont Health’s Siler City …
Chatham Health Alliance expands outreach directly to Spanish-speaking neighborhoods
The Chatham Health Alliance has been connecting hundreds of Chatham residents to resources since the COVID-19 pandemic’s early …
Chatham health dept. vaccinates hundreds of Hispanic residents at St. Julia’s
SILER CITY — Just off U.S Hwy. 64 on Harold Hart Road last Saturday, a line of cars began to wrap around St. Julia’s Catholic …
Some Chatham vaccine providers hope to receive J&J doses in April
As vaccine eligibility widens in North Carolina, some Chatham vaccine providers say they hope to receive the single-shot J&J vaccines …
Chatham students start donation drive for products to fight ‘period poverty’
For Annika Lowe, the idea to fight local “period poverty” all began with TikTok. While scrolling through the social media …
Under new management, Carolina Cravings combines the best of both worlds
PITTSBORO — Less than a block away from Pittsboro’s historic courthouse, two young Mexican immigrants have baked something new out …
Traffic circle project hurts some downtown business owners, encourages hope in others
PITTSBORO — The trucks arrived in January: dozers, backhoes, compactors. Soon, they’d stripped the pavement and gutted the …
Chatham works to combat education disparities, provide equal chance for success
But as schools begin reopening, education experts warn that long-standing educational disparities have only deepened during remote …
After three years, Rojo Canela in Siler City closes for good
After nearly three years of serving Siler City with “calidez humana,” or human warmth, Rojo Canela has shut down — permanently. …
El Futuro weighs telehealth as tool to expand mental health services and reach
SILER CITY — In early 2020, El Futuro’s mental health clinics offered primarily in-person services, save for a telehealth program …
Here’s what you need to know about getting vaccinated in Chatham
Editor’s note: As more COVID-19 vaccine doses become available and other information about access changes, it’s hard to stay …
Chatham vaccine providers work to ensure vaccine equity for Hispanic residents
Chatham vaccine providers haven't vaccinated as many Latino residents as hoped, despite making equity a key piece of their vaccination …
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle launches food distribution and health program for Chatham’s minority seniors
This year, like every year, February was designated in Chatham as “We Love Seniors” Month — and though the Inter-Faith Food …
Delayed shipments arrive, allowing Chatham providers to resume vaccinations
Last week’s severe weather delayed vaccine shipments across the country and forced Chatham vaccine providers to reschedule …
'The sooner, the better:' School staff to begin accessing vaccines in Chatham
Last Friday, the Chatham County Public Health Department announced that school staff and childcare workers ages 50 and older will …
Most Chatham residents get vaccinated outside the county, health dept. finds
When North Carolina first began rolling out vaccinations, Chatham resident Linda Smith thought it would be easy to get an …
Some vaccine providers' no-ID rule might allow some to ‘skip in line.’ But Chatham providers say it’s worth it.
Many Chatham vaccine providers don’t require ID to ensure that it’s not a barrier to vaccination — a decision which could allow …
J-M’s Vicky Tobar provides interpretation, support to Siler City’s Spanish-speaking families
SILER CITY — Growing up, Virginia “Vicky” Tobar had always wanted to be a school nurse. She’d even started studying to be one …
Chatham CIS’ Perla Ayala set to take dream job
SILER CITY — When Siler City resident Perla Ayala was younger, her family often encouraged her to consider three specific careers. …
Vaccine questions answered: No cost, no ID required, and more
You asked; we found answers. Last week, the News + Record fielded questions and concerns from Chatham’s Hispanic community members …
Chatham 250 to offer soccer tournament, create dedicated Latino history archive
Chatham County’s 250th anniversary celebration is set to kick off in early spring, and for its planners, it’s not just a birthday …
Hispanic nonprofit offers free business seminar in Spanish to N.C.’s Hispanic business owners
Prospera, a Florida-based Hispanic nonprofit, will offer a free, Spanish-language seminar about several grant programs to North …
Siler City churches restart weekly food bank
SILER CITY — After a month-long break, three Siler City churches’ weekly food bank started back up Tuesday morning in First …
Chatham’s Latino residents share hopes, fears for Biden’s term
Twenty-year-old Siler City resident Ruben Ocelot wants to see the federal government pass immigration reform more than any other …
'Pay what you can': Pittsboro church supports the community with subsidized meals, front porch food pantry
PITTSBORO — Just off Jones Ferry Road along the outskirts of Pittsboro, a Mexican food truck served dinner right outside Cedar Grove …
For some Chatham students, remote learning’s not a disaster — it’s an opportunity
SILER CITY — If she’s honest, Jordan-Matthews senior Jacquelinne Marroquin Tobar isn’t the biggest fan of remote …
The Hispanic Liaison raises thousands of dollars to help DACA applicants pay fees
SILER CITY — The Hispanic Liaison has raised nearly $13,000 in just two weeks to help first-time and returning DACA applicants …
'He was friends with all of us': Community mourns Ramon Hernandez, calls for justice
SILER CITY — Traffic nearly stood still along U.S. Hwy. 64 in front of Chatham Memorial Park the day after Christmas, with dozens of …
La Voz de Chatham's Top 10 Moments of 2020
So ends another year — but one unlike any other. 2020 has been full of isolation, economic hardship and loss. The COVID-19 …
Feeding the hungry, one box at a time
‘These boxes will not last’ SILER CITY — A crate of boxes sits under the mid-morning sun on the edge of First Missionary …
It certainly was a tough 2020. Blame it on COVID-19.
By most accounts, looking at 2020 through COVID-tinted glasses bears out a pretty miserable year — one of missed opportunities, …
Pandemic dials back Christmas for some Latino families in Chatham — but not all will change
SILER CITY — A white Christmas tree stands inside Vielka Gonzalez’s house in Siler City, right next to a window. It’s not just …
Chatham HS seniors apply for college, remotely
For aspiring first-generation college student Jamia Walden, this year’s college application process was missing an essential …
St. Julia celebrates Our Lady of Guadalupe by bringing her to the people
SILER CITY — Outside one Siler City home, Father Julio Martinez of St. Julia Catholic Church stood on the back of a pickup truck …
Hispanic Liaison co-hosts virtual workshop on resources for Spanish-speaking families
The Hispanic Liaison and N.C. Justice Center hosted a virtual workshop Monday night to outline financial assistance programs available …
Jordan-Matthews senior starts small, aims for United Nations
Jordan-Matthews senior Jacquelinne Marroquin Tobar created the school’s first Water Bottle Recycling Program in 9th grade — and …
Chatham ESL teachers struggle to overcome remote, hybrid learning challenges
Last year, ESL teacher Diana Ciro watched with pride as her shy students presented a Day of the Dead altar to their entire school. But …
'The ultimate goal': How one Siler City immigrant family’s sacrifices put three kids in college
SILER CITY — Mexican immigrants Margarito Parroquin and Leonila Herrera underwent 25 years of blood, sweat and tears to put three …
'Eat first and then party': Latino families in Chatham share their Thanksgiving traditions
SILER CITY — For Janet Pulido and her extended family, Thanksgiving Day is normally one big party with food, dancing and — of …
'What do you need?': Two Hispanic-owned businesses open in Chatham despite COVID-19
Editor’s note: All interviews for this story were conducted in Spanish. Few would dare to risk a career change during a pandemic …
'Take that leap of faith': Franklin Gomez Flores could make history as Chatham’s first Latino commissioner
SILER CITY — Franklin Gomez Flores has been climbing over obstacles and breaking barriers since he was 5 years old. Now 26, …
Wake educators share remote learning tips for N.C. Latino parents, parent engagement tips for schools
Several Wake educators offered free remote learning advice and resources to struggling Spanish-speaking parents last Wednesday during …
Some Hispanic voters in Chatham face language barrier, lack of information
SILER CITY — When it came time to vote this year, Siler City resident Natalia Franco López didn’t go to Paul Braxton Gym. She …
First-time Hispanic voters in Siler City share voting experiences, hopes for 2020 election
SILER CITY — Siler City resident Kimberly Lara has been sending letters to her congressional representatives and political leaders …
'A missed opportunity': Siler City’s Hispanic Heritage Month ends without Fiesta
SILER CITY — Rhythmic drum beats reverberate throughout Siler City. Flags, banners, big tents and throngs of people swarm two blocks …
N.C. nonprofit to host free virtual learning conference for parents, teachers next week
RALEIGH — Chatham parents and teachers looking to get a leg up on virtual learning can attend a free, half-day conference offering …
Hispanic Liaison's youth group empowers, supports Siler City’s Latinx youth
SILER CITY — Jordan-Matthews graduate David Gonzalez Hernandez received a “full ride” to attend UNC Greensboro — an …
'Where do I click?': Many Hispanic families work to overcome remote learning challenges
SILER CITY — Evelin Karina Barrera, 35, remembers the first three months of remote learning as one giant stress headache. She has …
'Don't give up': Siler City immigrant carves out his own success story
SILER CITY — Twelve-year-old Octavio Hernandez walked for five days and nights, crossing into the U.S. with 17 strangers, a jug of …
Hispanic Liaison, others urge state to issue workplace protections for essential agricultural workers
The Hispanic Liaison joined over 120 North Carolina advocacy groups last week in signing an open letter that urged the state to issue …
Remote learning brings some Latinx students stress, more responsibility
For Jordan-Matthews senior Daisey Gaspar Samayoa, school wasn’t just a place of learning or a ticket to a good future — it was a …