Joy Diaz

City Reporter

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 the station’s city reporter.

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.  

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Texas
12:36 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Unlike Other Coming-of-Age Celebrations, Quinceañeras Remain Mostly Offline

Jennifer Santillan was born in the year 2000, meaning that this year she celebrated her Quinceañera.
Joy Diaz/KUT News

A lot was going on in the year 2000: Computer experts were trying to fix Y2K, and it was the first time a Latino artist topped the charts: Ricky Martin with the song "Livin' La Vida Loca."

It was also a big year for births: Nearly 400,000 girls were born to Hispanic parents that year. This year those girls are turning 15, and they'll be celebrating their Quinceañeras.

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Texas
1:10 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

International Group Aims to Help Children of Incarcerated Parents

Texas has one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

More than half of U.S. prison inmates are parents of children under 18 years old, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics from 2007. A new international group is looking to help the children of those incarcerated parents in the U.S. and abroad.

No matter the crime, children of those sent to jail are affected in big ways — often sharing the attitudes and behaviors of their imprisoned parents.

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Texas
11:41 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Why SCOTUS' Hearing on Midazolam May Affect Texas Executions

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering today whether the lethal injection drug Midazolam, which is not currently used in Texas, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The drug has not been proven to deliver a pain-free execution experience.
Calif. Dep. of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the three-drug combination used in Oklahoma executions.

At issue is whether the use of one of the drugs, Midazolam, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, since it is not proven to prevent the person being executed from feeling pain.

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Austin
4:59 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Can City Officials Create a Level Playing Field for Cab, Uber and Lyft Drivers?

Raido Kalma/flickr

Many things have changed in the five years since the Austin City Council last approved a contract with taxi franchises.

For one, ride service companies like Uber and Lyft have become more of a norm than an anomaly. Still, cab companies say their drivers are not operating on a level playing field when it comes to regulations.

Now, the Austin City Council, for the first time, says it's going to do an analysis of exactly how level the field is.

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Austin
10:59 am
Wed April 22, 2015

Why Your Speeding Ticket Doesn’t Pay For What You Think it Does

When Austinites pay traffic tickets and fines, where does that money end up?
Sarah Jasmine Montgomery/KUT

Travis County and the City of Austin take part in a regular fiscal dance with the State of Texas over who pays the costs of government. Over the next three days, KUT News and the Austin Monitor will look at key examples of that interaction in our series, “The Buck Starts Here.” Today, we take on Austin’s Municipal Courts. 

When Austin residents are handed traffic tickets or other Municipal Court fees and fines, they likely assume that the city is profiting handsomely from those often colorful sheets of paper. If they could see where those revenues go, however, they might come to a different conclusion.

In fact, the city’s current budget projects that the court will face a roughly $3.7 million shortfall in the fiscal year that started in October by incurring about $19.7 million in general expenses and pulling in about $16 million in general revenue. On top of that, it projects that the court will fall short in three of its special revenue funds and break even on the fourth.

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Texas
12:33 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Immigration Attorneys Prepare to Represent Detained Women in Asylum Cases

Immigration attorneys take notes in a mock courtroom. The attorneys are undergoing training to represent women and children in asylum cases.
Joy Diaz/KUT News

For the mothers and children detained at an immigrant facility in Karnes County, about 100 miles south of Austin, their best chance for release is to find attorneys willing to represent them pro bono.

And in turn, the lawyers willing to take on these cases need specific training. So this week at the University of Texas School of Law, a group of immigration attorneys attended a training session to brush up on the type of asylum cases faced by the women and children housed at Karnes County Residential Center.

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Austin
3:26 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Update: Immigrant Affairs Commission Appointee Steps Down

Rebecca Forest speaks at a 2011 anti-immigration rally.
Screenshot from Youtube.

Update Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 3:30 p.m. Council member Don Zimmerman confirmed that Rebecca Forest has stepped down from her appointment to the Immigrant Affairs Commission.

Of Forest's remarks, made at the 2011 rally (see the youtube video below), Zimmerman said, "I don't judge Rebecca Forest by a clumsy remark. I judge her based on ten years of knowing her, and she's not a bigoted person."

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Texas
11:02 am
Wed April 15, 2015

How One Family is Preparing for the Closure of Austin's State Supported Living Center

Judi Stonedale visits her daughter Julie last year.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Almost 100 years after the day it opened, the Austin State Supported Living Center (SSLC), a home for adults with severe developmental disabilities, is scheduled to close in 2017.

The Legislature's Sunset Commission ordered its closure during the last legislative session. But the order still needed legislative approval.

That approval came from the Senate this week, in the form of Senate Bill 204. And the House is expected to follow suit.

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Austin City Council
11:39 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Adler's First State of the City Breaks With the Past in More Ways Than One

Mayor Steve Adler delivered his first State of the City address last night.
Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

It's been 100 days since the new Austin City Council and Mayor Steve Adler took office, and last night Adler delivered his first State of the City address.

It was a packed and very diverse event — with nearly a thousand in attendance — which was a change of pace from the typically subdued addresses of the past.

While the event was free and open to the public, it wasn't free for the Mayor. As he told reporters afterwards, he and his wife paid to rent AISD's Performing Arts Center for the occasion. While he didn't say how much it cost, he did say he also footed the bill for a set from Austin musician Max Frost, who performed "White Lies," perhaps a curious choice for a political event.

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Austin
10:13 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Shorter Library Hours Pose a Problem for Voters on Election Days

Austin voters sometimes face 'irregular' hours at polling places, especially since libraries have cut back their hours. Pictured here: Voters head into the Pan American Center in November.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

This is normally a busy time of year for anyone involved with city elections in Austin. Some school districts and local governments in the area have things on the ballot.

But it's the first time Austinites will not be voting for city council in May, and this new timing may help solve a city-wide voting challenge: finding an open polling place.

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Texas
12:04 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Texas Lawmakers Make Push to Raise Minimum Wage

Seven bills propose raising the state's minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 an hour.
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

This legislative session, Texas lawmakers are considering seven bills dealing with raising the state's minimum wage.

One of the bills would bring it up from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for an estimated 2.4 million Texans. But there are pros and cons to raising the state's minimum wage.

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Austin
12:20 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

To 'Speak with One Voice,' Austin Manufactured Home Residents Get Organized

Stonegate neighbors vote on their demands. They want copies of their lease agreements and copies of their bylaws. But, above all, they say they want to live free of fear of retaliation.
Joy Diaz/KUT News

There are more than 100 registered neighborhood associations in Austin. Sometimes there are even multiple associations in the same neighborhood. In mobile home communities, however, they're rare — not just in Austin, but nationwide.

But after the neighbors at Stonegate Mobile Home Park in North Central Austin started feeling pressured by fees from management, they decided to organize their own.

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Health
8:30 am
Tue March 31, 2015

How an Austin Company's Using 3D Printing to Shape the Future of Breast Reconstruction

The lab at TeVido, a company in Austin that's working on producing nipples and breasts for reconstructions.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

In 1998, the federal government mandated that breast reconstructions after a mastectomy be covered by health insurance. That was the last time anything really big happened in the field of breast reconstruction, and while it was a huge development, it wasn't an improvement to the procedure itself.

But an Austin company is aiming to transform outcomes for breast reconstruction patients through the use of 3D printing technology.

Warning: This story contains some frank discussions and revealing images of human anatomy.

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Austin
10:10 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Boot Camp Helps Small Business Owners Build Entrepreneurial Strength

PCW, a small construction business in Austin, Tex.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Hispanics are twice as likely to start a small business as any other group in the United States, according to a report commissioned by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

But the failure rate for small businesses is high – nearly 50 percent don't make it. An organization in Austin hopes it can train small business owners the skills to succeed.

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Crime & Justice
10:26 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Can Texans Help Find the 43 Missing Students From Southwest Mexico?

Omar Garcia Velazquez, 24, a student survivor, gives an interview with Mexico's W Radio.
sopitas.com

Next week will be six months since 43 students from a rural teaching school disappeared in Southwest Mexico.

The government of Mexico says the students are dead.

But family members believe the government is misleading them. That's why some came to Texas hoping to keep their case alive.

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Austin
9:37 am
Fri March 20, 2015

In East Austin, A Shared Worship Space Brings Quakers and Muslims Together

Annie Holleman, 27, and Kathy Stanton, 29, sit with other parishioners before a Quaker service in Austin.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Churches are among the most segregated places in the country, according to a study by religious scholar Curtiss Paul DeYoung. He found that only five percent of churches in the U.S. are racially integrated.

But it happens that there's at least one integrated house of worship here in Austin: Muslims and Quakers have been sharing the same space on MLK Boulevard for a couple of years.

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Crime & Justice
1:08 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

In Wake of Last Month's Uprising, Bureau of Prisons Cuts Willacy Facility's Contract

Kate Ter Haar/flickr

The company that runs an immigrant prison in Raymondville, Tex., has lost its contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The facility was nicknamed "Ritmo" – like Guantanamo Bay's Gitmo. But, the reported abuses that earned it its Gitmo-like reputation are not the reason why it lost its contract. The contract was revoked after a two-day riot broke out there last month.

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Texas
11:28 am
Wed March 18, 2015

To Prevent the Next Crisis, CPS Seeks 'Upstream' Solution

Joseph B/flickr

The challenges facing Child Protective Services in Texas are well known. The agency is underfunded and never seems to have enough personnel to adequately care for the thousands of children in its system.

But, this year, the agency did something different: CPS is looking for ways to prevent crises from happening in the first place.

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SXSW
3:56 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

One Year After the SXSW Crash, A Survivor Returns to the Hospital to Say 'Thank You'

A little less than a year ago, Mason Endres (pictured here with her parents Dan and May) was undergoing therapy after being hit by an intoxicated driver at last year's SXSW.
Jon Shapley/KUT News

Mason Endres still needs a knee brace to walk. She's one of the 23 survivors of the car crash that killed four people at South by Southwest last year. Endres set aside this morning to visit St. David's Hospital and thank the staff for her recovery.

May Endres, Mason's mom, corralled a big group of doctors and nurses for a photo. 

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Border & Immigration
8:10 am
Mon March 16, 2015

After Suicide Attempts, Advocates Draft Petition to End Immigrant Detention

A view of the Karnes County Detention Center shortly after its opening in July 2014.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

There's a new petition making the rounds through Texas and the United States.

Its goal is to end the incarceration of immigrant mothers and children. A catalyst for the petition was a recent wave of suicide attempts by some of the women in detention in facilities in Texas.

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