The Ñ Beat: Oct. 6, 2019

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Monday, October 7, 2019

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Ñ Beat is an Emmy award-winning half-hour show that turns the spotlight on Chicago's vibrant Latino community! ABC7 Chicago brings you another episode of The Ñ Beat on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 11 p.m.

On this episode, go behind-the-scenes of a trailblazing Chicago theater company that stages all of its productions in Spanish! Also, see how the second generation behind an iconic Mexican cheese and chorizo company is proudly carrying on the family tradition. Meet a Chicago couple who opened a small shelter 25 years ago and now, they help 5,000 homeless people each year! Then, meet another local activist who heads up the Midwest's largest organization providing services to the LGBTQ community. See how a group of women is breaking down barriers in the world of mariachi music here in Chicago, and tour a gleaming new clinic delivering much-needed medical care to the city's Southwest Side.

ABC7's Stacey Baca hosts the show from Open Center for the Arts in Little Village. Correspondents include Roz Varon, Tanja Babich, John Garcia, Rob Elgas, Michelle Gallardo and Mark Rivera.

Aguijon Theater

Chicago is a theater town. We have more than 200 theater companies, ranging from small community theater troops to the big production houses. But it wasn't until 1989 that Chicago could boast a theater that staged all its productions in Spanish. The mother and daughter duo of Marcela Munoz and Rosario Vargas oversee this Logan Square theater company that is now celebrating its 30th year!

Vargas began her acting career in her native Colombia. Aguijon means 'stinger' and has become the guiding mission of this small company, to stimulate and prick the conscience of the audience. Non-Spanish speakers can still understand the productions, since Aguijon offers simultaneous translation.

Aguijon Theater

2707 N Laramie Ave

Chicago, IL 60639

(773) 637-5899

V & V Supremo Foods

If you've enjoyed a great quesadilla or enchiladas at a restaurant in the Windy City, chances are you've enjoyed the specialty of a well-known Chicago company. V and V Supremo got its start in the Back of the Yards neighborhood more than 50 years ago. Now, after two proud Mexican immigrants launched the business, a second generation is proudly carrying on that tradition. Gilberto Villasenor and Phillip Villasenor followed in their fathers' footsteps and continue to produce the highest-quality Mexican cheeses and chorizos. In fact, their shredded cheeses in their iconic red and green bags are now available in groceries across the U.S.!

V & V Supremo Foods

2141 S Throop St

Chicago, IL 60608


Neli Vazquez Rowland/A Safe Haven

Neli Vazquez Rowland and her husband Brian Rowland both had successful business careers here in Chicago. After Brian Rowland overcame addiction, they set out to try and help others. They began by launching a small shelter in a condo building in Logan Square 25 years ago. Now, their passion project, called A Safe Haven, has grown exponentially, serving 5,000 people each year! A Safe Haven does it by offering drug and alcohol treatment programs and a variety of housing options, including a homeless shelter, a free meal program, GED programs, job training and placement programs. In fact, their impressive work has been recognized nationally, garnering the 'White House Champions of Change' award back in 2014. In a testament to the passion the Rowlands feel for their work, both of their adult sons have followed in their footsteps, making careers out of continuing to build and grow A Safe Haven.

A Safe Haven

2750 Roosevelt Rd

Chicago, IL 60608

(773) 435-8300

Modesto Valle/The Center on Halsted

In another impressive story of community organizing, Modesto or 'Tico' Valle may have set out on a path to the Seminary at the University of Notre Dame, but this Chicago native was so moved by the AIDS epidemic back in the '80's that he changed course. Now, he heads up the Midwest's largest organization providing services to the LGBTQ community. The Center on Halsted in the Lakeview neighborhood offers programs that range from volleyball, dance performances and cooking classes to rapid HIV testing, group therapy and vocational training. More than 1,000 community members visit the center every day.

The Center on Halsted

3656 N Halsted St

Chicago, IL 60613

(773) 472-6469

Mariachi Sirenas

We've all heard the festive mariachi music at street festivals or restaurants. It originated hundreds of years ago in Mexico, but a group right here in Chicago is blazing a trail in the world of mariachi music. Mariachi Sirenas is the first all-female mariachi group in the Windy City! The group made its debut at the Pilsen Taco Festival two years ago and they haven't looked back since.

Esperanza Health Center/Brighton Park

Along with the affordability of health care, many Chicagoans struggle to find quality health care in their own neighborhood. Esperanza has been working to change that for 15 years now! They opened up their first health center in Chicago with three doctors and nurses. Now, with the doors open to their fourth location, Esperanza is poised to help 40,000 patients a year! We take a tour of this gleaming new facility that boasts 30 exam rooms, a community kitchen and even free fitness classes. The new Brighton Park Esperanza represents the largest concentration of health care services on the city's Southwest Side.

Esperanza Brighton Park

4700 S California Ave

Chicago, IL 60632

(773) 584-6200

Open Center for the Arts

Open Center for the Arts is a hidden gem in Little Village that opened up its doors five years ago. It began as a grassroots effort to create a space where all artists can come together to share and showcase their work. It also aims to bridge the gap between different cultures. A prime example of that is their current exhibit: The Journey to Korea experience. The center is the brainchild and a "dream come true" for Chicago sculptor Omar Magana.

Open Center for the Arts

2214 S Sacramento Ave

Chicago, IL 60623

(773) 993-6882