Tag Archives: Latina

Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Eva Longoria projects part of NBC’s slate

Stevie Wonder is on board for an NBC miniseries set against the 19th-century Underground Railroad that helped escaped slaves find freedom.

Wonder, who will serve as executive producer for the project, also may be involved in a musical adaptation of the miniseries that is aimed at Broadway, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said.

“The hope is that Stevie will write the score” for the musical that’s in development and which would be staged after the miniseries airs, Greenblatt said.

NBC is in business with another famed musician, Dolly Parton. The network has closed a deal for a series of TV movies based on her songs, stories and “inspired life,” he said.

“To know Dolly is to love her, and the movies will be infused with genuine hopefulness, not to mention her music,” Greenblatt said.

The network, which scored big ratings with a live 2013 production of “The Sound of Music” but less so with the more recent “Peter Pan,” remains committed to musicals, Greenblatt said.

Next up will be either “The Wiz,” the 1970s stage reinvention of “The Wizard of Oz,” or “The Music Man,” which the network had previously said it had optioned. The network has time to decide since the musical that’s chosen is 11 months away from broadcast, Greenblatt said.

On the series side, NBC has ordered 13 episodes of the half-hour comedy “Telenovela,” with Eva Longoria as the star and executive producer. The series is a behind-the-scenes look at the “craziness” of making such a serialized drama, with Longoria playing the “beautiful and overly dramatic” lead actress of a hit Latin America TV show.

NBC, which plans a police drama titled “Shades of Blue” with another Latina star, Jennifer Lopez, recognizes the growing importance of the Latino audience, Greenblatt said.

“We get the diversity angle,” he said.

Air dates for the various projects were not announced.

Obama nominates lesbian Latina for federal court

President Barack Obama on Nov. 27 nominated openly lesbian Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. If confirmed, she would become the first openly gay Hispanic federal judge.

The president also nominated Judges Luis Felipe Restrepo and Jeffrey L. Schmehl for U.S. District Court judgeships.

In a statement, Obama said, “These men and women have had distinguished legal careers and I am honored to ask them to continue their work as judges on the federal bench. They will serve the American people with integrity and an unwavering commitment to justice.”

Quiñones currently serves as a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, where she has presided over both civil and criminal matters.

Prior to joining the bench in 1991, Quiñones worked as a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from 1979 to 1991 and as an attorney advisor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1977 to 1979.

She began her legal career as a staff attorney for Community Legal Services, Inc. in Philadelphia from 1975 to 1977. 

Quiñones received her law degree in 1975 from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law and her bachelor’s in 1972 from the University of Puerto Rico.

Restrepo, a nominee for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, has served as a U.S. magistrate judge in the district since 2006, where he has presided over a variety of criminal and civil matters.

Prior to taking the bench, Restrepo was a named partner at the law firm of Krasner & Restrepo from 1993 to 2006.

Previously, he served as an assistant federal defender in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1990 to 1993 and as an assistant defender with the Defender Association of Philadelphia from 1987 to 1990.

Restrepo began his legal career as a law clerk at the National Prison Project. 

Schmehl also is a nominee for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He has served as president judge of the Berks County Court of Common Pleas since 2008, having joined the court as a judge in 1998.

Previously, Schmehl was a partner at the law firm of Rhoda, Stoudt & Bradley from 1988 to 1997 and an associate at the same firm from 1986 to 1987. For much of that time, Schmehl also served as the Berks County solicitor.

From 1981 to 1986, he was a sole practitioner in West Reading, Pennsylvania. Schmehl also served as an assistant district Attorney in Berks County from 1981 until 1986 and as an assistant public defender in the same jurisdiction from 1980 until 1981.

Latina lesbians win Texas primaries

Mary E. Gonzalez on May 29 won a decisive Democratic primary to represent District 75 in the Texas House of Representatives.

The openly lesbian candidate, who was endorsed by the national Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, faces no Republican opponent in November. So she will win the El Paso seat and become the state’s only openly LGBT lawmaker.

“This is a big victory for Mary, for El Paso and for Texas,” said Chuck Wolfe, Victory Fund president. “The people of El Paso will be represented by a talented and committed fighter who knows how to get things done in Austin. And LGBT Texans will be represented by an authentic voice in the Capitol, standing up and speaking out for fairness and freedom for all.”

Gonzalez will become just the second openly LGBT individual to serve in the Texas Legislature. The first, former state Rep. Glen Maxey, served from 1991 to 2003.

Other Victory Fund-backed candidates winning their primary elections in Texas on May 29 include Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

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Latina lesbian joins Colorado Supreme Court

Telling her colleagues that her allegiance is to the law, not any special interest group, Colorado Deputy Attorney General Monica Marquez was sworn in Dec. 10 as the state’s newest Supreme Court justice.

Marquez is the first Latina and the first openly gay jurist on the state’s high court.

“On the bench, of course, my allegiance is to the law, not to any particular constituency,” she said after she was sworn in by her father, retired Judge Jose D.L. Marquez, who was the first Latino appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Marquez, 41, is a Grand Junction native who attended Stanford and Yale universities.

Gov. Bill Ritter told the justices that he interviewed Marquez and determined she has a “deep respect for the rule of law.” He said he was reassured she would not show preference.

“It’s important not to do that for any interest group,” he told the court.

At present, there are no major gay rights issues pending before the court, but there could be a court challenge if Colorado Republican lawmakers go ahead with their plan to introduce an Arizona-style immigration law.

Republicans are considering a long list of new immigration requirements, including controversial ones that would require that authorities verify the immigration status of all arrested people before they are released from jail and allow for warrantless arrests.

Damian Arguello, president of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, said Marquez has resigned as a board member. Arguello said he believes Marquez will be objective.

Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, a conservative think tank, said he is more worried about her opinions on Colorado’s constitutional tax and spending limits after she won a state Supreme Court ruling that fees are not taxes requiring voter approval.

Caldara said gay rights are not a legal issue at this time.

Heather Draper, spokeswoman for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center said Colorado lawmakers have passed five laws in recent years improving gay rights, including laws that allow same sex couples to designate beneficiaries, adopt children and bar discrimination in housing. None of those issues are involved in pending litigation.