Recently, editorial cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz was awarded the Herblock Prize for his work on La Cucaracha and his syndicated editorial cartoons. Lalo has been a finalist for a Pulitzer twice, with the last nom not being awarded to any of the nominees for some reason that even ended with the category being cancelled. The Herblock is huge nonetheless, considering Lalo is the first “nonwhite” to earn it.
The judges stated “Powerful versatility. That is one way to describe the work of cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz. Alcaraz is equally as comfortable creating a faux woodblock print to address our country’s history of racism and xenophobia as he is mocking up a blueprint to satirize a rich white billionaire with a space rocket. From a stark dripping red MAGA hat that could be the corporate logo for the bloody January 6th insurrection, to a complex movie poster parody ridiculing right-wing conspiracies, Alcaraz’s cartoons always hit their mark.
Alcaraz is active in using cartoons and animation to battle vaccine hesitancy and Covid misinformation in the Latino community with the organization CovidLatino.org and the California Department of Public Health. He is currently Virtual Artist In Residence for the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. He is a graduate of San Diego State University (BA in Art) and UC Berkeley (Master’s in Architecture).
The New Yorker’s Graciela Mochkofsky penned a feature on Lalo describing his long journey to “mainstream acceptance.” Is it really acceptance? Well, that’s a question whose answer continues to develop, but the road to get this far hasn’t been easy.
Now he has finally been accepted. Or has he? “I get a lot of hate mail,” Alcaraz said in his acceptance speech. A few days later, during a Zoom call from Los Angeles, he told me, “There is still this American societal attitude that we are foreign.”
It’s a great read, particularly the reminder that at one point the local fish wrap (The Chron) buckled to their right-wing readers’ offended sensibilities and banned La Cucaracha. A low-point for the Pulitzer winning operation, huh? (I guess that category wasn’t cancelled.) That impromptu protest against the Chron at the Latino Book and Family Festival was fun!
Anyway, read the New Yorker piece about Lalo Alcaraz. Learn something.