Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Homeland Security backs NY license suspension for drivers with invalid social security numbers

"In notices from the state Department of Motor Vehicles, more than 100,000 New York motorists were notified their licenses were facing suspension due to Social Security number discrepancies in their applications. The motorists were given 15 days to comply or lose their licenses."

"The measure, enacted in February across the nation by state motor vehicle agencies, is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in an effort to track everyone through the agencies."

"The Rev. Brian Jordan, a Franciscan priest and immigrant counselor at the Church of St. Francis Assisi in Manhattan, said the regulation will cause the government to have even less information about drivers because many will not report back to the DMV."

"[Democratic Assemblyman Jose] Peralta said the measure will cause people to drive with suspended licenses, which would lead to higher insurance rates for everyone if they are involved in accidents."

New York Daily News

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Noris Binet nominated for Nashville Women's Political Caucus' ATHENA Award

"Nashville lawyer Mary Frances Lyle is this year's winner of the Nashville Women's Political Caucus' ATHENA Award, the city's top award of recognition for professional women."

"Some other nominees were Cynthia Bennett of the National Organization for Women; Brenda Gilmore of Nashville Civic and Business Leaders Enterprising (CABLE) and Noris Binet of the Luz Latina Association of Professional Hispanic Women."

The Tennessean

Monday, March 29, 2004

Drivers license bill on long list of unfinished legislative moves

"With tons of work to be done in the General Assembly, especially on workers%u2019 compensation, many lawmakers think going home at the end of April is not likely."

"Meanwhile, another passel of bills regarding abortion and gay marriage issues are once again before the General Assembly this week. Democrats are crying 'wedge issue' and 'election year.' Republicans, who are pushing the bills, are saying the issues are relevant to address ongoing developments in other states."

"The Senate and House may tie up loose ends on a charity gambling bill this week. That leaves the budget to pass, a TennCare fraud and abuse bill, nursing home sprinkler legislation, an immigrant driver license bill and more."

Nashville City Paper

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Williamson County parent: save Spanish curriculum

"At Grassland Elementary, we have a highly successful fourth- through fifth-grade county-funded Spanish program and a first- through third-grade parent organization-funded Spanish program. Our Spanish programs have proven to be an effective and essential part of Grassland curriculum."

"I say effective because each week my 9 year old comes home excited by what she has learned in Spanish class that day. I see her enthusiasm carry over in to other subjects, making her a more productive and successful student. I believe this enthusiasm sets in to motion a love of learning that I hope will continue through her life. I hear this same rewarding enthusiasm in many Grassland students."

"I say essential because in today's world, knowledge of a foreign language is a basic commodity in the job market. In fact, Spanish has now become the international second language of choice in business, academic and cultural venues. Research has proved that the earlier children learn a foreign language, the more proficient they will become in it. Additionally, in learning another language, students are exposed to the history and culture of the language, adding greatly to a fulfilling educational experience."

The Tennessean

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Tennessee Homeland Security Director: drivers license policy raises "very serious concerns" but no harm done yet

"Tennessee Homeland Security Director Jerry Humble told a Senate committee yesterday that investigations show no known terrorist cells in Tennessee."

"Humble said he has 'very serious concerns' about the state driver's license program, which issues licenses to people without requiring immigration documents.

"Under questioning by Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, Humble said none has caused harm in Tennessee. Tennessee is one of eight states where it is fairly easy to get a state identification card, Humble said."

Friday, March 26, 2004

Lipscomb cartoon tackles race, attracts national accolades

"Lipscomb University students try, in 'roundabout ways,' to determine his race or ethnicity, wondering if he is Hispanic, or maybe Middle Eastern. (For the record, he is half-white, half-black.) Absurd stereotypes abound. And students of all races struggle to slip out of their 'comfort zone' and meet members of other groups."

"'A lot of those things are funny to me,' [Nate] Creekmore said. 'So I put it in the strip.'"

"The Scripps Howard Foundation recently awarded Creekmore a national award for Maintaining. He won first place in the 'college cartooning' category of the foundation's National Journalism Awards, beating students from The University of Washington, the California Institute for the Arts and other schools. He will receive $5,000 and a trophy named for the late Peanuts creator, Charles Schulz."

"A three-judge panel that included cartoonist Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, called Creekmore's strip 'the most polished work by a college cartoonist that we've seen in many years.'"

The Tennessean

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Minority admission a top consideration at Poplar Grove School

"Poplar Grove is the [Franklin Special School District]'s only open-zoned, year-round school. It is also the least diverse school in the system. Last month the board voted to rezone its other four elementary schools in an effort to spread out the diversity but left Poplar Grove open-zoned under the stipulation that it enroll at least 50 minority students in the kindergarten class over the next two years."

"If the school cannot attract that many minority students, board members have said they will zone it."

"Once [Principal Christi] Buell knows how many of her existing students are returning next year and how many of their siblings will enroll in kindergarten, she will begin admitting new students. The top consideration for admission after siblings is minority status."

The Tennessean

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Cooper honors 100-year-old Citizens Bank

"When Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta needed money to expand the sanctuary where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, Citizens Savings Bank and Trust in Nashville was one of five black-owned banks that provided the $6.5 million loan."

"The loan to Ebenezer expanded on a niche service — catering to the financial needs of local churches — that has been a foundation for Citizens Bank for a century. That record will be honored today by Rep. Jim Cooper in a resolution commemorating the bank's 100th anniversary."

"About two dozen black and Hispanic lawmakers are joining Cooper, D-Nashville, in saluting Citizens Bank's contributions in the community and its leadership nationally as the nation's oldest continuously serving black-owned bank."

The Tennessean

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Provident Label Group signs bilingual Texan to contract after nationwide talent search

"At the end of a three-day selection process in Nashville Friday, the Brentwood record label chose Ana Laura Chavez, an 18-year-old bilingual singer from Brownsville, Texas, as the newest addition to the Provident Label Group. She joins such prestigious company as Michael W. Smith, Casting Crowns, Joy Williams, Jars of Clay and Third Day."

"The untelevised Christian Music Talent Search culled talent through regional competitions in 26 cities, after Internet screenings pared down entrants to 600 acts. The 30 bands and 28 solo artists that came to Nashville for the finals Wednesday through Friday faced a panel of screeners from Provident."

"When the field was narrowed to three Friday evening, Provident made a surprise announcement that the two runners-up, High Flight Society from Atlanta and Three Minutes from Home from Montana, would be getting artist-development contracts."

"Meanwhile, Ana Laura Chavez was surprised when she was told she would get a Provident record contract."

Nashville City Paper

Monday, March 22, 2004

Boston Globe opinion: minority awards are condescending

"The ad in USA Today wasn't headlined 'For blacks and Hispanics, these kids are pretty smart' -- but it might as well have been. The full-page layout trumpeted the 32 college students selected as finalists in the American Advertising Federation's annual 'Most Promising Minority Students Program.' That program, the AAF says, 'connects the advertising industry with the nation's top minority college seniors.'"

"It doesn't seem to have occurred to the American Advertising Federation or its corporate sponsors that it is insulting to tell a group of students that, for minorities, they are hot stuff. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the students, either. No wonder: They're winning at the game of racial double standards that for years has reinforced the stereotype of black and Hispanic inferiority -- the degrading myth that members of certain racial and ethnic groups can succeed only if the bar is lowered for them."

"Fortunately, there was no affirmative action at the turn of the 20th century to give members of 'beaten races' a leg up in the competition for education and jobs. They had to rise on their own merits if they were to overcome the stigma of inferiority -- and rise and overcome they did. Black and Hispanic Americans would rise and overcome as well if only they could be liberated from the condescending mind-set that thinks it's a compliment to tell a group of college seniors that they show great promise -- for minorities."

Boston Globe

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Mt. Juliet court needs volunteer interpreters

"Mt. Juliet is in need of bilingual volunteers to serve as interpreters in City Court for Spanish-speaking members of the community."

"City Court is held at City Hall, 2425 N. Mt. Juliet Road, 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anyone interested may contact police detective Rick Risner, police Chief Kenneth Martin or police Sgt. Greg Barlow at 754-2550."

The Tennessean

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Winstead Elementary: 1% Hispanic

The Tennessean

Friday, March 19, 2004

Mark Cook: With a free and diverse people keeping nationalism in check, American democracy puts others to shame

"France, you may remember, recently banned the wearing of Muslim headscarves and other religious attire — including large Christian crosses and Jewish skullcaps — in public schools. It was clear in the debate that crosses and skullcaps were just thrown in for reasons of 'egalite.' Muslim immigrants, and fear of Islamic fundamentalism, clearly were the target of the legislation. French nationalism was at its root."

"The nationalism inherent in this action by France and others in the past also diminishes the country in the face of the American democracy that the French helped birth."

"This country continues to undergo rapid demographic changes from immigration even as it is near the top of the terrorists' target list. That we can change so much and so fast without reacting like France speaks well of the power of our system."

The Tennessean

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Tennessee Attorney General sues legal forms company

"Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers has filed suit against a California-based company that promises do-it-yourself legal work and its Nashville franchise, accusing the businesses of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law."

"The complaint accuses We the People Forms and Service Centers USA and the operators of its Nashville office of advertising to provide legal services, giving legal advice and preparing legal documents."

"A spokesman for the company emphatically denied the attorney general's allegations."

"State officials do not know how many people have used the local We the People office. They are urging anyone with complaints to contact the attorney general's office at 615-741-1671."

The Tennessean

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Nashvillian sets up U.S.-Colombia dating service

"Forest White of Nashville recently began searching for love in South America and hopes to persuade others to go on similar trips."

"To that end, White created Love Without Borders in January to be an international dating service, where both parties pay him a fee for introductions."

"White sets up meetings, in coordination with a Columbia hotel, between women in Columbia’s capital Bogota and his male clients from the U.S."

Nashville City Paper

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Tennessee Hispanic Chamber honors Salvador Guzman, Julia Lopez, and Francisco Martinez

"Three area Hispanic businesspeople were recognized for their contributions to the Volunteer State's economy at the 2004 Tennessee Latino Awards Gala."

"Winners named at last night's event at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel were restauranteur and business investor Salvador Guzman, Mary Kay cosmetics marketer Julia Lopez and contractor Francisco Martinez."

"The third annual awards are sponsored by the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce."

"More than 400 attended this year's gala."

The Tennessean Story 1, The Tennessean Story 2

Monday, March 15, 2004

Sherri Gragg: Franklin school board diversity push reveals community divide

"In recent weeks, it has become evident to us as a community that lines are drawn here too. There are lines between rich and poor and still others between white, black and Hispanic. We have drawn lines between 'our children' and 'their children.' At times, such as when the Franklin Special School District board expressed its commitment to equality, it seemed we would reach for the higher plane. Then at other times, the cry of 'my child' reached such deafening proportions we could no longer hear the cry of the child down the street, or the child across town."

"Moments of bitter disappointment followed those of shining hope. In the end, not much changed. Although a few neighborhoods have been rezoned, Liberty Elementary will begin next year with most of the overwhelming challenges they faced in this one. Poplar Grove remains untouched except for the monumental challenge to diversify in the next two years."

"While some parents breathed a sigh of relief, others breathed a sigh of discouragement. Perhaps the most marked difference is that now some of us realize with new awareness, and possibly for the first time, just how divided we are. As we gaze into that ugly reality, we wonder how we can possibly mend the divide."

The Tennessean

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Hamilton Elementary: 5.9% Hispanic

Crieve Hall Elementary: 12.3% Hispanic

Apollo Middle: 16.4% Hispanic

McMurray Middle: 10.6% Hispanic

The Tennessean

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Julia Lopez brings Mary Kay to Hispanic women

"Julia Lopez is building her own Nashville cosmetics empire based mostly on sales to Hispanic women. For the past nine years, Lopez has served as a consultant for the company best known for the pink Cadillac DeVilles driven by its most successful saleswomen."

"Her home visits net about $1,200 per month in direct sales, along with heftier commissions from the cosmetics sales of the 45 Spanish-speaking women locally whom she has recruited to her sales team."

"'Mary Kay is not just about selling,' said Lopez, from El Salvador, of the $1.8 billion company. 'I really think the only option for a woman who doesn't speak English is to go to a hotel and clean rooms or maybe work in a restaurant where they speak Spanish.' Lopez herself is a fluent English speaker."

''I tell people they have another choice. They can be like a chairperson of their own company.''

"Tonight, Lopez, the first Hispanic Mary Kay saleswoman in the state, will receive a Hispanic Businesswoman of the Year award from the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at a black-tie affair at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel."

The Tennessean

Hispanics twice as likely as whites to get higher mortgage interest rate

"[In 2002, local] Latinos were 1.8 times more likely than white homeowners to receive a sub-prime loan."

"Sub-prime loans are most often made to lower-creditworthy buyers, and they carry higher interest rates and fees. They can sometimes charge rates twice as high as conventional mortgage loans."

"ACORN researcher Valerie Coffin attributed the disparity to factors such as abusive lenders targeting minorities and less access to credit from prime lenders for low-income people and minorities."

"Scott Ractliffe, a senior vice president at NBC Mortgage in Nashville, said the gap doesn't necessarily reflect racial discrimination by lenders. Ractliffe is past president of the Nashville Mortgage Bankers Association."

"'It's not necessarily by race, but probably by income range — and consumers in the lower-income range tend to use those sub-prime products more,' he said."

The Tennessean, Nashville Business Journal

Friday, March 12, 2004

Walnut Grove Elementary: 1% Hispanic

Enrollment: 577

Hispanic students: 5

The Tennessean

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Tennessee Racial Justice Project targets unjust treatment of immigrants in criminal justice system

"A coalition of immigrant advocacy groups in Tennessee wants to study if and how immigrants are being ill treated by the criminal justice system."

"The new coalition, called The Tennessee Racial Justice Project (TRJP), has applied for $100,000 from a national funding consortium, The National Racial Justice Collaborative (NRJC). Representatives from NRJC will make a site visit to the Somali Community Center in Nashville on March 25 to talk with coalition representatives."

"TRJP has four major partners: Latinos Undoes in East Tennessee, Furze Latino Unhide in West Tennessee, The Somali Community Center in Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, a state-wide organization. Fisk University Race Relations Institute, the University of Tennessee School of Law, the Tennessee Justice Center, among other organizations, will act as supporting partners."

"'We would spend a year researching differences in treatment and discrimination against immigrants and refugees in the criminal justice system,' Carter Moody, development director of the Somali Community Center, said. 'The second year, if not earlier, we will move on various actions to take to try and redress the differences in treatment.'"

Nashville City Paper

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Mexico and Major League Soccer plan exhibition game at Nashville's Coliseum

"In the presence of Mayor Bill Purcell Tuesday, Soccer World co-owner Chip Hellman announced the Soccer World Super Clasico, an exhibition soccer match pitting Pacheco’s UAG (Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara) Tecos vs. the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. The Super Clasico will be the first time an international team from Mexico or an MLS team has played in Nashville."

"The LA Galaxy is the most successful team in the nine-year history of the MLS and features a roster dotted with international soccer stars like Carloz Ruiz of Guatamala and America’s own Cobi Jones. The Tecos (translation: Owls) compete in the Mexican Premier League. Their home is Jalisco, a Mexican state which has a strong immigrant presence in Middle Tennessee."

"'We’ve seen firsthand how sports can unify a city through our Titans, Predators, Sounds and, most recently, the three college basketball tournaments here last weekend,' Purcell said. 'I feel that international soccer is another opportunity along those same lines for families to come out to the Coliseum and enjoy world-class entertainment.'"

Nashville City Paper, The Tennessean

MTSU poll reports local opinions about immigrants

"Respondents are again divided in their perceptions of whether immigrants take desirable jobs away from Americans, with 47% on both sides. For those with high school diplomas or less, 65% feel that immigrants take desirable jobs, compared to only 36% with higher education levels."

"However, when respondents were asked whether they personally had lost a job to an immigrant, a small 5% said yes, and 91% said no. Nearly one in ten (9%) with high school educations or less said they had lost such a job, compared to only 2% of those with more education."

"A firm majority (56%) opposes President Bushs plan to provide work permits to allow illegal immigrants to work in the United States legally. Men (61%), in particular, opposed the plan, compared with 51% of women."

"Unexpectedly, Bush's work permit proposal fared worse among a random half of respondents who were asked about permits for undocumented immigrants than among the other half, who were asked instead about illegal immigrants. Fully 71% opposed permits for undocumented immigrants. The phrase undocumented tends to be preferred by immigrant-advocacy groups. Further research will be necessary to see just why undocumented generated a more negative response from Tennesseans."

"A heavy majority (61%) of Tennesseans believes that the president proposed the work-permit plan to aid his re-election bid. This opinion is particularly pronounced among Democrats (80%) and Independents (55%), though 41% of Republicans and others agree."

"Asked whether Bush proposed the plan to aid the economy - which some say benefits from less-inexpensive immigrant labor - Tennesseans were split 42% yes and 42% no. Republicans and Independents (47%) opted for the economic-benefit explanation, while 35% of Democrats and others agreed."

"Fully 59% of Tennesseans oppose giving health care to undocumented workers, with whites (63%) leading blacks (40%) in opposition. Regarding access to education, the split is close, with 46% favoring and 49% opposing. Fully 75% say it is easier to get into the United States than other countries."

"More than two-thirds (65%) say they know immigrants personally, with those with at least some college more likely (75%) to answer yes than those with a high school education or less (51%). And 57% say they have immigrant friends. A majority (53%) says they would approve of a family members marrying an immigrant."

The Tennessean

Monday, March 8, 2004

Spanish-language mediation on budget chopping block

"One alternative to a trial is the mediation program offered by the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC)."

"But that option might be lost to budget cuts."

"'Unless we can raise the funds elsewhere, we'll have to shut our doors,' said De'An Bass of NCRC. The service is sponsored by the Nashville Bar Association and funded in part by Metro government."

"Bass and other experts on mediation said it helps average citizens navigate the court system. For example, the NCRC program has mediators who speak Spanish to help immigrants, mediator Maria Valentin-Pridgen said. She is also program director of the Multicultural Resolutions Program."

"In mediation, a neutral third person helps warring parties resolve a dispute without going to court."

The Tennessean

Immigration applications down, waiting time up

"There has been a 21% decrease in the number of new immigration applications but a nearly 60% increase in the application backlog in the past year, according to the General Accounting Office."

"Citing the Nashville area's rapid growth in immigrant populations, local advocates also want a full-service immigration office here. Now, Memphis has the only office."

"There are no plans to open a Nashville office, said Temple Black, an agency spokesman. However, staff in U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper's office said recently that immigration authorities would hire at least eight new citizenship processors for the state — four in Nashville."

The Tennessean

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Argentine Tango Society forms in Nashville

"If MariaPia de Pasquale and Diana Holland have anything to say about it, Nashville will soon be a happening spot for tango dancers - right up there with cities such as Boston, Chicago and New York."

"Holland, a native of Argentina, and de Pasquale, an Italian who works at Vanderbilt University as an assistant professor and AIDS researcher, recently founded the Argentine Tango Society."

"There will be an Argentine tango performance at the third annual Tennessee Latino Awards Gala hosted by the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at the Renaissance Hotel."

"The awards gala is from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. March 13."

"There will be an Argentine tango workshop on March 27 and 28 at the Global Education Center, 4822 Charlotte Pike."

"An evening 'milonga' (Argentine tango dance party) will follow the workshops. The location times will be announced."

"For more information, call Diana Holland at 889-3390, or e-mail her at"

The Tennessean

Saturday, March 6, 2004

Dualtone Records' John Arthur Martinez wraps up first album

"John Arthur Martinez, last season's runner-up and the kindly husband and father who wanted to build his wife a Home Made of Stone, scored a deal with Dualtone Records in Nashville. That's a favorite singer-songwriter indie label that's home to Jim Lauderdale, David Ball, June Carter Cash's recent Grammy-winning Wildwood Flower album and others."

"He is just finishing his first album, and Martinez, who still lives in Texas, has written 11 of 12 songs, with the 12th being a bilingual cover of Amarillo by Morning, a song he has been performing in Lone Star State clubs for years."

The Tennessean

Friday, March 5, 2004

California-sponsored bill would take highway funds away from states that issue drivers licenses without proof of legal immigration status

"A bill currently being considered in Congress would cut 25 percent of the transportation funds to Tennessee and other states that permit undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses."

"Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Cal.), the sponsor of the 'Responsible and Secure ID Act,' said the issue is homeland security. The bill is currently in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure."

"The license issue has recently been a hot button topic for Tennessee's immigrant community, as two pieces of legislation are being considered during this General Assembly. One would overturn the current law and another would pare it down by 'certifying' drivers as capable instead of issuing them a driver's license."

Nashville City Paper

Bank of Tennessee will spend $75,000 to encourage Hispanic homeownership

"Bank of Tennessee received a $50,000 grant from the American Dream Homeownership Challenge, a Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati Program, to provide first-time homeownership opportunities to Hispanic families in Sullivan and Unicoi Counties. Bank of Tennessee has committed to matching an additional $25,000 increasing the total amount available to $75,000."

"'We are committed to Northeast Tennessee. We want to provide home ownership opportunities to everyone in our community so that we can make this area a better place to work and live,' commented Kenneth Maloy, President / CEO of Bank of Tennessee. Bank of Tennessee is a locally owned and operated financial institution serving Sullivan, Washington and Unicoi Counties with a nine-branch network for more than 29 years."

The Business Journal of Tri-Cities TN/VA, Bank of Tennessee

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Survey: Hispanics more likely than African-Americans, whites to have legal problems, Washington cuts funding for legal aid

"The working poor appear more likely than the nonworking poor to need civil legal services. African-Americans were more likely than white residents to have legal trouble, and Hispanics were more likely than African-Americans to have such problems."

"Meanwhile, the federal government last year cut its annual stipend for the state's 75 legal aid attorneys, who provide their services either for nominal fees or for free. For example, the Nashville legal aid office — the largest in the state — lost $400,000 in funding last year. Instead of five attorneys devoted to domestic violence cases a few years ago, there are now two."

The Tennessean

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Jaci Velasquez launches record label

"Velasquez, 24, joins a growing roster of Christian music artists forming their own labels, a list that includes Michael W. Smith's Rocketown Records. The move is bold one, though, at a time when the recorded music industry is struggling. The Gospel Music Association reported Christian music sales totaled 47.1 million albums in 2003, down about 5 percent from the year before, though sales began a rebound in the second half of the year."

"Velasquez has made a name for herself in Christian music and Latin music genres. She's completed nine albums, three of which were RIAA-certified platinum recordings, including her record-breaking debut, 'Heavenly Place,' and her Latin debut, 'Llegar a Ti.' Her resume includes eight Dove Awards - the major awards in the Christian music industry - five Billboard Award nominations and a Premio Lo Nuestro Award."

Nashville Business Journal

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Fall shift of minority students has Moore Elementary teachers looking to Liberty Elementary for advice

"When Franklin Special School District sealed the deal on its rezoning efforts last month, it rezoned six neighborhoods in a push to create more evenly distributed minority and socioeconomic populations at the schools on a traditional calendar."

"The changes sent Liberty Elementary students living in the Heritage Place subdivision — a heavily Hispanic neighborhood — to Moore. Students who have been bused from the Natchez area in downtown Franklin to Moore since 1994 will go to school at nearby Johnson Elementary next fall."

"The moves boosted Moore's minority makeup from 24.5% to 26%, but concerned some parents who fear resources will be stretched if teachers are working with more Spanish-speaking students in their classrooms."

"Moore Principal Tricia Green has a plan."

"She and her staff plan to head to Liberty to learn what strategies, techniques and resources the staff there has used to handle a large minority population."

The Tennessean

Dwight Lewis: nation still suffers from 'separate and unequal' educational dichotomy

"'… The bleak record of public education for ghetto children is growing worse. In the critical skills — verbal and reading ability — Negro students are falling further behind whites with each year of school completed. The high unemployment and underemployment rate for Negro youth is evidence, in part, of the growing educational crisis.'"

"That was 36 years ago, and one would hope that by now, this nation's schools, indeed, do know how to equip its children to develop their potential and to participate fully in American life."

"Unfortunately, that appears not to be the case."

"'Half or more of black, Hispanic and Native American youths in the United States are getting left behind before high school graduation in a 'hidden crisis' obscured by the U.S. Department of Education regulations issued under the 'No Child Left Behind' Act that allow schools, districts and states to all but eliminate graduation rate accountability for minority subgroups,' a report released Wednesday by two non-partisan groups, the Civil Rights Project at Harvard and the Urban Institute, said."

"The report went on to say that while 75% of white students graduated from high school in 2001, only 50% of all black students, 51% of Native American students and 53% of all Hispanic students got a high school diploma in the same year."

"The problem was even worse for black, Native American and Hispanic young men at 43%, 47% and 48%, respectively, the study found."

"Twenty years after issuing its first report, there was a call for a second Kerner Commission because while 'the nation was no longer as divided by race as it was in the 1960s, great gaps remained.'"

"Now, 36 years later, look at the gaps not only in education but elsewhere. Isn't it a shame to grow older and not wiser, even as a nation?"

The Tennessean

Monday, March 1, 2004

Federal immigration office will open in Nashville for first time, Memphis staff will get more help

"Nashville will soon have its first federal workers devoted to helping immigrants become citizens, according to staff in U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper's office."

"At least four new 'citizenship interviewers' will begin working out of Nashville, said Greg Hinote, Cooper's chief of staff. At least four others will beef up the staff in the Memphis office, the only existing immigration service office in the state."

"The effort to establish a federal immigration office in Nashville has been going on for more than a decade, according to congressional staff members and immigration lawyers."

The Tennessean

Backlog at former INS aggravates immigrants

''The complaints we've heard about immigration processing have only gone up since the creation of USCIS,'' said David Lubell of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refuge Rights Coalition. Lubell was referring to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the arm of Homeland Security that is devoted to immigrants seeking benefits such as citizenship or legal permanent residence."

"Lubell said the USCIS had inherited many of its problems from the former INS and has made them worse. The problems include longer waits for processing citizenship requests and plans to increase fees for services, Lubell said."

"The backlog in applications are 'good indicators right here that we're taking in more legal immigrants than we can possibly keep up with,' said Donna Locke of Tennesseans for Immigration Control and Reform."

"The number of applications waiting for approval by the USCIS have jumped about 60% in the past year, according to a report by the General Accounting Office released last month."

"There were 6.2 million applications for people wanting to become citizens, permanent residents, or seeking some other immigration status by the end of September, compared with 3.9 million two years earlier, according to the report."

The Tennessean

Madison County Community Corrections hires fluent Spanish speaker

"The department serves the 25th, 26th and 28th judicial districts, including Madison, Crockett, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Lauderdale, McNairy and Tipton counties."

"Director Bob Anderson began his career as clerk with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Then in 1986, the 59-year-old became the director of Community Corrections."

"'It's good when you can help people, see someone get their GED and stay off drugs,' said Anderson. 'Our success is based on a lot of things. Part of it is the case workers, the system, the good Lord and the criminal justice system. It's all a craps shoot.'"

"Certified as a trainer on the topics on domestic violence and hate or bias crimes, Anderson writes grant proposals that keep the program running."

"'What we're doing is trying to promote awareness,' he said."

"Anderson is excited by the training opportunities for his case workers and his department's new hire, a fluent Spanish-speaking employee."

The Jackson Sun News
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