Joy Diaz

Producer, Texas Standard

Joy Diaz has been a reporter with KUT on and off since 2005. Since joining KUT, Joy has covered education, healthcare and immigration. She is now a Senior Reporter covering the city beat.

Originally from Mexico, Joy moved to the U.S. in 1998 when her husband Luis was transferred from his job in Mexico City to train workers in a telecommunications plant in Virginia. While there, Joy worked for Roanoke's 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

Mark Goebel/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In recent weeks there have been reports of the crumbling infrastructure of the state’s Child Protective Services – an agency responsible for the well-being of 12,000 of the most neglected and abused kids in Texas.

Hady Mawajdeh/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Former news anchor for the CBS Evening News and journalism great Dan Rather stepped into the Texas Standard studio this week, along with his grandson Martin Rather, to announce the inaugural winner of the Rather Prize. We asked them about the prize and spoke to Dan Rather about the future of journalism, presidential campaigns and more.

William Welch and Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story contains language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

In Texas, the law is pretty clear when it comes to who's responsible for reporting abuse or neglect – pretty much anyone who thinks abuse or neglect is happening. Often, that person is a delivery nurse or a doctor.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

If you're a regular listener to the Standard, you may remember Courtney Meeks. She's homeless and pregnant. When we met her in January, Meeks was standing at the corner of a busy intersection in Austin asking drivers for money. Back then, she thought she was really close to giving birth.

Flickr/Jin (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Maybe you’ve heard Texas Rep. Pete Sessions wants magic to be recognized as an official national treasure – the proposal made headlines, many of them a little snarky. But how could magic solve some of the state’s most pressing needs?

Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

It's been a turbulent year for the state's Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). First there was the December court order by a federal judge in Corpus Christi – a sweeping and scathing order condemning what she called a "broken" foster care system, declaring it in violation of the Constitution and demanding a complete overhaul with a special master to be appointed to recommend fixes.

Via Albizu's Facebook

From Texas Standard:

Applications for citizenship are surging right now. According to the Texas Tribune, not only is the number of naturalization applications from Texas on the rise – jumping 14 percent, according to the latest numbers – but also thousands of legal permanent residents, those with green cards, are lining up for help at citizenship workshops. Thousands more are holding up their right hands and repeating the naturalization oath at citizenship ceremonies.

Courtesy Kristopher Sharp

From Texas Standard:

As a child, Kristopher Sharp never knew what love was.

"I can tell you about the first time I felt I was loved," Sharp says. "This is after I aged out of the foster care system."

Sharp was 18 when he aged out. He was living in Houston. With no job and no skills, he soon became homeless.

 


Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard: 

I'm the child of an addict. However, it is a life I only know anecdotally. My father was cured before I was born. But the man in front of me is in the thick of it.

"It is a horrible life – look at me – I'm homeless, I squeegee windows at the red light. I spend between $80 to $150 a day (on heroin)," the man tells me.

He says he’s ashamed, and that's why he won't tell me his name. He says he's in his 30s but his parched skin and sunken cheeks make him look decades older.

 


Shaine Mata/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

If you were to ask me how much I pay for car insurance, I wouldn't be able to answer that. It's one of those things where once I set it, I forget it. 

But that's not so for Cristobal Garcia of Mission, Texas. He says to me in Spanish that his insurance costs $170 per month. Multiply that by 12 months and it comes out to $2,042 per year.

 


Flickr/Luis Romero (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

People in the U.S. sent $56 billion to their families back home. Yes, billion. Among the five countries that most benefit from these remittances is Mexico. But how does that work, with more Mexicans leaving the U.S. than coming in?

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

There's a new acronym Texans may want to memorize – PEI, or Prevention and Early Intervention. Instead of sending kids into foster care, the state is now aiming to prevent abuse and neglect altogether.

All the parents listening in: have you ever felt like you're not doing a good job?

Image credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Few things translate into all cultures and backgrounds. Homelessness is one of them. No matter the country, there are people living in the streets. What varies is how communities try to deal with the issue.

In Austin, Alan Graham has spent decades feeding and housing the destitute with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, the organization he founded. Today Graham will be named Citizen of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce. And while you may not have heard his name, chances are you've heard one of his most well-known prescriptions for homelessness – building communities of tiny houses for the disabled and chronically homeless.

Image courtesy David Pilgreen

From Texas Standard:

The company that prints new voter registration cards is probably busy this time of year. There are tons of new eligible voters in 2016. Data from the 2010 Census tells us 7 million Texans were under 18 six years ago. Many of those people are now eligible to vote this time around.

Image courtesy Angelos Angelou

From Texas Standard:

Every January for the past three decades, state and local officials have gathered in Austin to hear economist Angelos Angelou give his annual economic forecast. Some say he's conservative in his forecasts, yet lawmakers follow his words carefully because he's been proven to be on the money in the past.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

What's the most indulgent thing you've ever done for your birthday? Checked something off your bucket list? Or bought yourself something really expensive? This week, Austinite Taylor Thompson turns 17 and he’s decided to go all out on a spending spree. Normally, birthdays at the Thompsons' are low-key celebrations. The family doesn't even blow up balloons.

This year, however, Taylor Thompson will be spending $170,000 dollars to celebrate his birthday. He announced his plans over the weekend in Austin.


Image via Pexels (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

The federal government is turning off of some broadcast TV stations forever to free up space for the broadcast signals needed by smartphone users to play videos, run apps, and make calls.

One of the big beneficiaries of this re-allocation of the airwaves will be Texas billionaire Michael Dell.

 


Image via malloreigh/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Eighteen-year-old Suraiya, a student from Dallas tweeted a selfie back in December.

It pictured her lying on her side in her underwear and a striped T-shirt. She was showing off her body because she was proud of it. The exposure showed her true skin color, her hip-to-waist ratio and her belly, covered in fine dark hairs. The image isn’t sexual. 

Image via Flickr/Kim Davies (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address this week – and yet still there are those in this country who would argue he was never eligible to be president. These so-called "birther" arguments are now haunting GOP Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Cruz says it's a non-issue, but one particularly outspoken opponent disagrees.

 


Image via Texas Department of Public Safety 2014 Report

From Texas Standard:

This story involves sensitive material that may upset some readers.

On Thursday Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will publicly announce the state's new human trafficking unit, with Kirsta Melton at the helm. Melton has been working on human trafficking cases since 2009.

She says she’ll never forget her first case, which involved a 13-year-old girl.

 


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