Born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., with family roots in Mexico, Mary Sanchez brings an uncommon perspective to the issues that tend to divide Americans into "us" and "them." A reporter foremost, Sanchez has spent years covering immigration, schools and other volatile beats for The Kansas City Star.
Now an editorial columnist for the Star, Sanchez understands that Latinos in the U.S. -- now the largest minority group, with more than 40 million people -- make up a number of diverse and complex communities. Commentary on immigration, culture and politics needs to reflect that fact -- the one-size-fits-all approach no longer works.
Across the United States, some Latinos are prospering and gaining political power, while others, particularly new immigrants, are running up against a changing mood in the American public. Making sense of all these currents requires a reporter's instinct for discovering how issues play out on the street, at work and in the lives of ordinary people.
That's what Mary Sanchez strives for in her writing -- an understanding of the issues from all sides, and an incisive, compelling voice to illuminate these issues in new ways.