Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Nashville preschoolers are learning Spanish

Parents are pushing preschools to include Spanish in the curriculum, and many are responding. A dozen or so Metro preschools offer Spanish, but the cost of hiring foreign language teachers keeps Spanish out of most Nashville public elementary schools, according to Beckie Gibson, foreign language coordinator for Metro schools. Venezuela native Ana Pasarella is in high demand in schools and homes across town for Spanish instruction to children.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Young teen birth rate is higher for Hispanics than whites, Tennessee has one of highest birth rates

Tennessee's birthrate for teenage mothers age 10-14 has declined in the last decade, but Tennessee's rate is still among the nation's highest. Hispanic and black teenages have "significantly" higher birthrate than whites.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Hispanic higher education enrollment at record high in Tennessee

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission reports record-high Hispanic enrollment at Tennessee's public higher education institutions. Overall enrollment is also at an all-time high.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Latest edition of Spanish-language telephone directory is released

75,000 copies of Enlace Latino have been distributed to businesses and households. The directory also includes "survival" how-to guides for new residents.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Domestic Violence Unit is recruiting Spanish-speaking counselors, officers

The Domestic Violence Unit of the Metro Nashville Police Department is recruiting Spanish-speaking counselors and police officers in an effort to reach the Hispanic population. At a Vanderbilt University domestic violence forum, Dr. Yoli Redero, visiting assistant clinical professor of law, noted the decreased likelihood of Hispanic women to report domestic violence, and the decreased likelihood that those who do report domestic violence will pursue the incarceration of their husband.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Statewide immigrant rights conference convenes Saturday

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) hosts its Annual Convention on Saturday, November 20th, from 10am to 5pm at Scarritt-Bennett Center, in Nashville, TN, to give immigrant and refugee leaders the opportunity to meet and develop a policy agenda on issues that affect their communities. Last year's Convention was the largest gathering of immigrant and refugee leaders in Tennessee history, and this year's convention promises to be almost twice as big.

TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are viewed as positive contributors to the state.

Keynote speaker--Omar Jadwat, staff counsel at the National ACLU Immigrants Rights Project based in New York, will discuss "The Rights of Immigrants and Refugees in a Post-September 11th World." Mr. Jadwat is the son of immigrants from Korea and South Africa, graduating from NYU Law School and serving as law clerk to U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl. His practice at the Immigrants' Rights Project includes litigation relating to recent changes in immigration enforcement.

Cultural Celebration--From 6-9 in the evening, the TIRRC will host a Cultural Celebration at Belmont University's Massey Dining Hall, open to the public. We expect over 200 guests, who will enjoy a multicultural entertainment program, a silent auction, and exciting food from around the globe. $15 at the door ($10 in advance, children 10 & under free). Entertainers include Serenatta (Romantic Latin Ensemble), El Grupo Hispano America (Latin American Dance), Bara Jawad (Middle Eastern Oud Music), Kala Nivendanam (Bharatanatyam South Indian Dance), and Djembefole (West African Percussion). Food will be provided from Siete Mares, House of Kabab, Gold Star Farmer's Market, International Market, and Gye-Nyame Restaurant.

More information at TIRRC's website

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Aurora Bakery adds cafe, international menu

Popular Aurora Bakery adds cafe, wider international menu to already popular Mexican and Central American bread and pastry selection.

3725 Nolensville Pk. 837-1933

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Hispanic economic power continues to rise

The Conference Board says that there were 6 million Hispanic families in the U.S. in 1990, more than 10 million today, and there will be 13.5 million Hispanic families in the U.S. in 2010, with $670 billion in purchasing power. Camilo Cruz, founder of Latino Institute for Development, Education & Responsibility, says the Hispanic market's current purchasing power is $200 billion. Cruz was the speaker at the recent launch of Conexion Americas' "Avance" small business program.

Some estimates put the Hispanic population in Nashville at 200,000.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Low-income and ESL students fall short of federal education goals

Testing of Middle Tennessee students reveals low income and ESL students fall short of No Child Left Behind benchmarks. Ed Gray, assistant superintendent for instruction at Bedford County, points to an increase there in the Hispanic population from 1% to 12% of the student body in the last nine years.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Mexican restaurants are caught violating overtime laws

The U.S. Labor Department has cracked down on Mexican restaurants in Tennessee, according to its district director Carol Merchant. Las Palmas in Nashville failed to pay overtime to 85 employees from March to October 2002, and has since paid over $130,000 in back wages. Las Palmas accountant Dennis Greeno said that the tradition in Mexico is to pay restaurant workers a flat rate for six days' work, and that even without time-and-a-half pay for overtime, all workers were paid more than minimum wage. The Las Palmas restaurant business started in 1990 with one location and has since grown to 12 locations with more than 400 employees. Las Palmas is not the only Mexican restaurant in the state under investigation.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Hispanics at 3.2% of statewide public school population; ESL students at 2.1%

There were 911,735 public school students in Tennessee last year, according to the 2004 Tennessee Report Card. Hispanic students made up 3.2% of that total. English as a Second Language students made up 2.1%, up from 1.4% in 2001.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

2004 election increased Hispanic political clout

The U.S. Senate will have its first Hispanics since the mid-1970s: Colorado Democrat Ken Salazar and Florida Republican Mel Martinez. The House of Representatives also gained two Hispanic members. John Ashcroft's resignation on election day left the Attorney General position open for the nomination of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Is Tennessee bad for Hispanic infants?

Tennessee infant mortality and fetal-infant mortality rates are among the worst in the nation. In 2001 and 2002, Tennessee's infant mortality rates were 8.7 and 9.4 per 1,000 live births, when the national rates were 6.8 and 7.0. Using data from the three years since numbers for Hispanics have been kept, Dr. Theodora Pinnock, director for Maternal and Child Health for the Tennessee Department of Health, believes that first-generation Hispanic immigrant infants do better, with the mortality rate getting worse for later generation Hispanic infants.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Rage reviews Salvadoran restaurant Las Americas

Las Americas 4715 Nolensville Road 315-8888 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Review describes affordable Salvadoran specialties: pupusas, chile colorado, carne deshebrada, ceviche tostada, mojarra, sopa de mariscos, and pozole.

Monday, November 8, 2004

Mexican consulate attracts hundreds for latest I.D. drive

Mexico's Atlanta consulate came to Nashville and processed approximately 900 applications for the matricula consular, a form of identification developed by Mexico for its citizens living abroad.

Matricula Consular fact sheet

Friday, November 5, 2004

Salsa En Nashville plays the Frist tonight

Salsa En Nashville, led by Al DeLory since 1998, has recently earned high praise as a world-class Latin band from New York music critic Max Salazar and French music journalist Luc DeLanoy. Salsa En Nashville plays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. tonight at Frist Fridays, at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Tennessee Aquarium and Chattanooga Police are learning Spanish

Kathleen Meehan Coop, the Tennessee Aquarium's grant coordinator, says the purpose of teaching employees Spanish is to provide Hispanic visitors the same experience as the facility's English-speaking visitors. Captain Mike Williams of the Chattanooga Police Department said that officers need basic, or "street level" Spanish.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

United Methodist panel finds "institutional racism" at School of Theology

Retirement of former Iliff School of Theology president David Maldonado Junior was due to "institutional racism," according to a review panel of the United Methodist Church. Maldonado was the Denver school's first Hispanic president and served for four years in that capacity.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Hispanic vote has yet to realize its purported power

Hispanics are fastest-growing minority in the nation; Hispanics have the fastest growth rate of new voter registrations and total votes cast; but Hispanic still have the lowest voter turnout.

Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, a Hispanic thinktank, says that only 1/6 of Hispanic population in U.S. is registered to vote (1/3 are below voting age, 1/3 are not citizens, and only half of remaining 1/3 are registered to vote).

Monday, November 1, 2004

Conexion Americas launches Spanish-language business education series

Conexion Americas' new Spanish-language "Avance" program targets Spanish-speaking business owners with a year-round education and networking series, building on existing entrepreneur classes held at Belmont University.

Free launch event is November 4, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Jack C. Massey building at Belmont University.

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