Joe Cardona, 2019 winner
The mission of OCB is to inform and give voices to those in Cuba who are not able to express publicly or have access to the mainstream media. When I review all programming in all platforms, I realized that there was an important sector of the Cuban society who did not have a space or were able to express their issues to Cuba and the world. That sector is the LGBT community in Cuba and the LGBT community in the Cuban diaspora.
I decided to create a space for this segment of the society. This is why my first hire was Joe Cardona, a national award-winning documentalist, columnist for the Miami Herald and organizer for many years of the Latin gay and lesbian festival in Little Havana.
I tasked him with producing and hosting a radio show “Arcoiris” (Rainbow). This was supposed to give the LGBT community in Cuba a voice to express their goals and concerns and connect them with the Cuban-American and LGBT communities in the U.S. and the world.
Joe Cradona rose to national prominence when he was awarded the National Emmy for his 2014 historic documentary “The day it snowed in Miami”, a film that he wrote, produced and directed for PBS national network and today it’s on it’s seventh run in PBS network.
The documentary examined what happened on January 18, 1977, the only day in history that snowed in Miami and the day that actress Anita Bryant walked into the County commission in Miami to announce a public campaign to abolish the human rights ordinance approved earlier to give rights to gay and lesbian residents. That campaign ignited a national debate and because of that the LGBT community began an organization campaign to fight for their rights.
Joe Cardona began the radio show “Arcoiris” in July (he was first hire as OCB director) and since then it has surpassed expectations. For the LGBT community in Cuba the Saturday and Sunday show is a must listen. There are groups that meet to discuss the program and dozens of leaders of the LGBT community have been on the air talking to Cuban-American LGBT leaders in the studio.
Joe has created a group of leaders in the U.S. and Europe that participate in the program to talk about the rights the community has been able to obtain not only in the U.S. but in the world.
The national gay and lesbian newspaper “The Blade”, late last year, did a long story about “Arcoiris”, the program.
This is the first and only program in Radio Martí’s history to address the LGBT issues. “Arcoiris” first aired on Radio Martí July 28, 2018.
Joe Cardona, a music historian, also does a weekly show that I assigned to him called “Post-Modern” , all the songs from the U.S. and and the world that have been prohibited in Cuban radio for the last 60 years.
For this reason Joe Cardona is the OCB nominee for the David Burke award.