Thursday, June 30, 2005

Nolensville Road businesses contemplate marketing collaboration

The Nashville City Paper reports that Nolensville Road businesses are meeting to form a neighborhood development group.

"A broad-based group of business people met Thursday at the Aurora Bakery, 3725-A Nolensville Road, to form a new business association discuss local issues."

"They asked each other how, they can they reduce the segmentation of the street's ethnic businesses to help launch a unified marketing effort to bring outsiders to the street."

"[O]ne Nolensville Road business owner, Juan Casillas - who imports Brazilian, Columbian and Californian clothes to sell at his California Fashion store - was trying to organize Hispanic business owners."

"Casillas said his store was robbed at gunpoint in February, so he called other Hispanic businesses to warn them, and many replied that they had already been robbed. He said he wished they had communicated beforehand.Casillas and some other Hispanic business owners then met with the police and made the acquaintance of officer Juan Borges - who knew Hodge and so linked the two groups together."

"Now, the group's challenge is to figure out how to enable a fluent flow of communication among the ethnic groups, the older white and black neighborhoods that have existed around the road for decades, and the younger people moving in who have been lured by the less-expensive housing and eclectic population."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ayudando Ninos loses funding, Nashville Hispanic Chamber waives tomorrow's Mixer admission to raise funds

The Nashville City Paper reports that Ayundando Ninos (Helping Children), a "program created to help families of children with disabilities between the ages of 6 weeks and 3 years of age," has experienced extraordinary demand and is in need of funds, and a fund-raising task force has been formed.
"The program was developed to seek out Hispanic infants and young children at risk for disabilities and provide them with developmental testing. Ayudando Ninos currently serves over 40 children," and demand is expected to double.

Yuri Cunza, President of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC)*, stated that an expected $30,000 grant fell through, forcing Ayudando Ninos to lose one of their intructors and suspend the treatment of a dozen children under their care. Responding to the task force's call for funds, the NAHCC will waive the regular admission to its June 30th mixer, and Fiesta Azteca will donate 15% percent of all purchases during the mixer to Ayudando Ninos.

*There are two Hispanic chambers of commerce in Nashville: the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hispanic Marketing Group edges out Ibis for piece of $1.5 million NES contract

The Nashville City Paper reports that Hispanic Marketing Group has teamed up to win a Nashville Electric Service contract of up to $1.5 million:

"A joint venture between McNeely Pigott & Fox and Hispanic Marketing Group has won a maximum $1.5 million contract to provide advertising and related services to Nashville Electric Service."

"'We have a greatly expanded our communication and our outreach to the Hispanic customers because there's such a growing base. We have so many Hispanic customers in our service area now,'" said NES spokeswoman Teresa Corlew.

"One of the bidders was Ibis Communications, which had held the NES contract for the past 10 years."

Monday, June 27, 2005

Metro fills gap in hospitality to expatriates

The Nashville City Paper reports that Metro Social Services is ramping up its attention to immigrants. The new focus is part of a restructuring that will see the total number of public social services employees decrease:

"Social Services Board of Commissioners approved a new business model in January, which in effect transfers most direct services to other Metro agencies or nonprofit organizations."

"'We accepted all of the recommendations of the audit, but then the caveat within the audit was that we get out of the direct services business unless we could identify an area where there is definitely a gap in services,' Social Services Director Gerri Robinson said. 'And we've identified those areas as working with immigrants, the homeless and the expansion of our senior citizen program by working with seniors who are parenting for the second time around.'"

"The department is creating new coordinator positions to oversee Adult/Senior Services, Children/Youth Services, Homeless Services, Immigrant Services, and Integrated Services and Research."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Nazi vandalism at Hispanic grocery store rocks Maryville

WBIR-TV, Knoxville reports on the vandalism at a Hispanic grocery store in Maryville that included swastikas amidst the destruction, and Knoxville's WATE has documented the ripple effect it has had in the community:

"When the owners of La Lupita Mexican Store arrived at their store on Sunday morning, they found swastikas and broken glass surrounding the building. The Blount County Sheriff's Office is investigating."

"'We know there's more of a good community than a bad community. It may hurt us today, but tomorrow, we'll be O.K.,' said [owner Yurisan] Cornejo."

WATE's reports can be found here:

Initial news of the vandalism (May 8)
Gathering at La Lupita denounces racism on behalf of Blount County community (May 13)
Gathering at Blount County library calls for action against racism(May 16)
Five young men charged with vandalism at La Lupita (May 18)
Teen apologizes, denies racism at heart of vandalism (May 19)
Judge sends vandalism suspects to grand jury (May 27)

Rufo named Chairman of the Board, Chavez named President of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber

The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle reports that Ed Rufo has been named the new Chairman of the Board of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce*, and Robert Chavez has been named President. It appears to be the first time that the roles have been held by two different people:

"Clarksville businessman Ed Rufo has been appointed chairman of the board for the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce."

"He succeeds Greg Rodriguez, founder and president of the organization, who died last week at age 51. Rufo, who is also president of the Clarksville Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is general manager of James Corlew Chevrolet-Cadillac in Clarksville."

Rufo is a native of Argentina.

The Chamber's web site shows other leadership changes at the Chamber: Robert Chavez has been named President, and Mario Ramos has been named Vice-President. Previously, Rodriguez was listed as President, Chavez as Vice-President, Ramos as Chairman of the Immigration Law Committee, and Rufo as a board member and major sponsor. There was no previous mention of a Chairman of the Board.

*There are two Hispanic chambers of commerce in Nashville: the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hispanic R&B artist Frankie J. headlines Latium tour in Nashville tonight

The Nashville City Paper reports that Frankie J., formerly of the Mexican-American group the Kumbia Kings, will headline the Latium World Tour's visit in Nashville tonight at Dancin' in the District. The Latium World Tour features English-Spanish bilingual artists with mainstream followings.

"'I had plenty of friends telling me I was crazy, and the guys in the band were saying wait another year or two and let's keep riding this thing out,' he said. 'But I always loved R&B and wanted to make a dent in that market. There were many people saying, 'There's no way that a Latino will be accepted by the urban audience, and you're making a huge mistake.''"

"But Frankie J.'s immediate and sustained success has proven the detractors quite wrong. He's now headlining the Latium World Tour along with Baby Bash and Natalie, which comes to town today at part of the Bridgestone Dancin' In The District concert series. The Latium Tour is noteworthy in that it's not only a full spectrum concert event featuring each performer backed by a large band, high-tech video production and dancers, but it's also a show featuring Latino performers that have large audiences among English and Spanish-speaking audiences. There's a marketing agreement in place with Si TV, the only English-language Latino television network, that provides cross-promotional events and online marketing."

"Getting there
What: Dancin' in the District presents The Latium World Tour featuring Frankie J., Baby Bash and Natalie
When: 5:30 tonight
Where: Riverfront Park, 100 First Ave. N.
Cost: $5 in advance, $8 at the gate
Info: 255-3588"

Nashville Hispanic Chamber holds "Monthly Mixer" June 30

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce* sent out this notice regarding its "Monthly Mixer":

Please mark your calendars for our next Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours on Thursday, June 30th at Fiesta Azteca (2212 Elliston Pl., Nashville, 37203 - (615) 340-0787) from 5:30 pm to 8 pm.

Let us know if you have company news to share with our members or if you are interested in becoming a sponsor of our monthly mixers or programs. Remember that you can now become a sponsor of our webpage and/or newsletters and include your logo and company info. For more info please e-mail us at

Our apologies to members who have received an earlier notice indicating that our June mixer would take place on June 23rd. We look forward to seeing you on June 30th.

*There are two Hispanic chambers of commerce in Nashville: the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Cracker Barrel offers English classes to Spanish-speaking employees

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports on an educational effort by the Lebanon-based restaurant chain Cracker Barrel:

"Fifteen years after the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain was first accused of mistreating minorities, the stigma lingers, belying the welcoming facade created by rocking chair-filled porches at its restaurants."

"Numerous lawsuits and a federal inquiry later, the company has taken steps to rebuild its folksy image. Some measures were required by a settlement with the Justice Department after it investigated Cracker Barrel's treatment of minority customers. But the company also has launched outreach to minorities on its own...."

"The company has ... joined two other restaurant chains to test Sed de Saber (Thirst for Learning), an interactive learning program to teach English to Spanish-speaking employees."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Brentwood-Mexico drug connection exposed

NewsChannel 5 reports that "Brentwood and Metro police ... found 105 pounds of marijuana, as well as cash and guns, ... [and] say six people were working together to bring the drugs out of Mexico and to street-level dealers here in Nashville and Brentwood."

Meharry will help study solutions for health care disparities

The Nashville Business Journal reports that

"Meharry Medical College is sending a delegation of experts to a national symposium on health care disparities to be held June 11."

"The symposium, 'Building Alliances for the Elimination of Health Care Disparities' ... will focus on the concepts of collaboration, research, community outreach, management of health care partnerships and cultural diversity."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Titans hire more minority coaches than other NFL teams; NFL has only four Hispanic coaches

WBIR-TV, Knoxville reports that in the NFL, only four Hispanic coaches or assistant coaches can be found. Tennessee's team boasts 40 percent minorities, compared to the NFL average of 30 percent.

"[Tennessee Titans Head Coach] Fisher filled two recent openings created by the departure of white assistants with minorities."

"Ray Sherman, who is black, took over for Steve Walters as wide receivers coach. Norm Chow, who is Asian, replaced Mike Heimerdinger as offensive coordinator."

"Chow rates as one of the most high-profile, non-black minority coaches in the NFL, which has just four Hispanics, three Asian-Americans and one Samoan among its coaches."

Visitation granted to indigenous Mexican mother

The Associated Press reported, in a story widely picked up across the nation, that the Mexican mother whose daughter was taken by the State has been granted visitation rights after over a year of legal disputes. The visitation is only temporary pending further court review.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Radio DJ convenes rally against hospitality to underground expatriates

NewsChannel 5 reported on the immigration-related rally organized by a local shock talk DJ, whose spoke against hospitality to underground expatriates and hinted that exclusion would be cheaper to society than hospitality:

“It's time for us to crack down on this problem and let these people go somewhere else, so that we can get back to spending money on people who are supposed to be here."

The same DJ was involved in a previous gathering to reduce immigration in general, but the focus of that meeting was national security. The NewsChannel 5 article does not mention whether this later rally included a security-related message.

Tennessee Republicans announce immigration task force

The Chattanoogan reports that the House Republican Caucus is continuing its emphasis on immigration-related policies in Tennessee and has formed a "task force" to study those issues.

"The House Republican Caucus announced today the formation of a task force to study immigration and citizenship policies in Tennessee."

"The task force will be chaired by Rep. Beth Harwell (R-Nashville). Additional members of the task force will be announced at a later date."

"Caucus Chairman Charles Sargent (R-Franklin), said, 'Although immigration is largely a federal issue, states have much authority regarding a number of state-related services such as driving privileges. With this task force, we will be looking at proactive measures taken by other states on a number of immigration issues.'"

"Meetings will be scheduled throughout the summer and fall months in preparation for presenting comprehensive proposals to the legislature during the second half of the 104th General Assembly."

Friday, June 17, 2005

Nashville contractor authors Spanish-English construction phrasebook

The Nashville City Paper reports that E.G. "Ed" White, a Nashville construction contractor, has developed a bilingual phrasebook to bridge communication gaps in the construction industry.

"The growing number of Spanish-speaking workers on his crew has required White to communicate the best he can with hand gestures and slow, deliberate speech, which can waste precious time when there's a job to be done."

"White parlayed his frustration with the language barrier into a business opportunity. He's self-published a book that helps contractors translate common construction commands and phrases into Spanish - with a Spanish-to-English version included as well."

"Since the first 500 copies of Lingo Guide for Builders came off the presses a couple of weeks ago, many of White's acquaintances in the industry have been very receptive to the book, said his publicist, Brenna Davenport-Leigh, owner of Hellbender Marketing."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Memphis' new seminarians allow greater Hispanic focus in diocese; all new priests must learn Spanish

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that the West Tennessee Catholic diocese has more seminarians than is typical nationally, and the increase will allow a greater focus on Hispanics:

"Despite a 25 percent decline in the number of priests nationally since 1965, the number of local men enrolled in the Catholic seminaries has tripled in the last three years."

"And while the number isn't huge -- there will be at least 15 seminarians this August -- the impact is undeniable."

"'This will enable the diocese to meet personnel needs, build churches and staff them,' said Father Keith Stewart, diocesan vocations director. 'We'll also be able to offer broader ministries to the Hispanic community, since three of our seminarians are Hispanic and all new seminarians must learn Spanish.'"

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Nashville is 6% Hispanic; Tennessee is 2%

The Tennessean reports on recent U.S. Census data which found that 1 out of every 7 people in the United States is Hispanic, and noted the numbers for Tennessee:

"In Tennessee, roughly one out of every 50 people is Hispanic - or 135,669 from a 2003 Census estimate placing the state's population at 5,689,261. In the greater Nashville area, the ratio is more like three out of every 50."

"The Hispanic growth rate for the 12 months starting July 2003 was 3.6%, compared with the overall population growth of 1%."

"The growth rate was 3.4% for Asians, 1.7% for native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, 1.3% for blacks, 1% for American Indians and Alaska natives, and 0.8% for whites."

"'Looking toward the future, we see a different face of the U.S. population,' said Audrey Singer, an immigration and census specialist at the Brookings Institution. 'But I don't think that's necessarily new. It's a confirmation that this hasn't stopped or changed much.'"

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

LifeWay reports spike in U.S. Spanish-language sales

The Baptist Press reports that for LifeWay, the Nashville-based publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, Spanish-language printed products "are [among] the fastest-growing materials in the United States."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Lawyer impersonators prey on Hispanic consumers

The Nashville Scene reports on Nashville's problem with notarios, who offer legal services under a title that implies that they are lawyers:

"The stories all sound alike. A Hispanic immigrant who doesn't speak any English wants to apply for temporary protected immigration status in the U.S. She can't afford the $200 consultation fee many lawyers charge to determine which forms and schedules need to be filled out and sent to which office of which branch of the federal government. So she seeks out a Spanish-speaking notario, who promises to help her file the proper government paperwork. In the process, something gets screwed up, and before long she is arrested and deported."

"In Latin American countries, a notario is a type of civil attorney who has the authority of the government to verify legal documents. In the U.S., though, a notary is just a professional witness - someone with a stamp who certifies that you personally signed a form. It's a big difference - and a source of confusion that businesses who prey on immigrants mine for cash. Basically, they make legal judgments without legal training."

"That scenario plays out every day across the country, according to local immigration lawyers and national advocacy groups, and among Nashville's growing Spanish-speaking population it's increasingly common. Last month, a Department of Justice attorney sent Nolensville Road business Ceja Enterprises a 'cease and desist' letter, warning it that 'any further attempts to represent individuals' in front of the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the Department of Homeland Security 'will be a violation of federal regulations.'"

"Jennifer J. Rosenbaum, a staff attorney with Southern Migrant Legal Services, says one of the root causes of unauthorized immigration law practice is the lack of cheap legal services for immigrants. 'Until there are other kinds of options for people, enforcement's only going to go so far,' she says, citing the need for collaborative efforts among bar associations, private granting agencies and the government. 'I think right now there's growing recognition of the problem, but we still need to find some solutions.'"

Wednesday memorial scheduled to honor Greg Rodriguez

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce announced a Wednesday memorial celebration for Greg Rodriguez, founder and President of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who died last week of a heart attack. The invitation is open to the public:

Join us in the Memorial Celebration of the Life and Dreams of Greg Rodriguez on June 15, 2005

3:30 pm to 5:00 pm on the 2nd Floor, Music City Ballroom, Renaissance Hotel, 611 Commerce Street, Nashville TN 37203

Greg Rodriguez, the President of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, died on June 8, 2005.

Expected guests from the State of Tennessee are Governor Phil Bredesen, Deputy Governor Dave Cooley, Commissioner Fred Phillips and others. Expected guests from the city of Nashville are Mayor Bill Purcell, Vice Mayor Howard Gentry and others.

This invitation is open to the community and there is no admission. The host of the event is the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The chamber extends its thanks to John Fleming and the Renaissance Hotel and staff for hosting this Celebration.

For more information contact:

Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Phone: 615-332-9777


Mario Ramos, Attorney
phone: (615) 329-4588

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Hispanic Chamber leader Greg Rodriguez dies at 51

Greg RodriguezGreg Rodriguez, Jr., President of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, died of a heart attack Wednesday, according to the Chamber.

"Nashville lost a great friend on Wednesday evening, a well-known figure, recognized by friends everywhere he went. Greg Rodriguez, 51, born and raised in McAllen, TX, moved here in 1994, has passed away from a heart attack at his home on June 08, 2005 and subsequently passed away at the Summit Hospital, in Hermitage TN."

"Greg founded the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 1997 and has served as the President of the Chamber ever since. He has been a pioneer in the changing of the local landscape, and his efforts have touched the lives of Nashvillians on all levels."

"He always said that the most important thing for people living here is to have a good life and to simply be happy. Greg will always be known for his sense of humor and as a champion throughout Tennessee for uniting the Hispanic Community. His greatest wish was to bring his community together with a sense of respect and pride, and often asked of all Hispanics in Tennessee to work together and have pride in their community. He was also a strong advocate of more education for the Hispanic Community, and was often quoted as citing it as the most important factor for their future."

The Chamber is collecting thoughts and sentiments for Greg's family and friends at this e-mail address:

Visitation will be held at Phillips-Robinson Funeral Home, 2707 Gallatin Rd, 262-3312 on Friday, June 10 (10am-4pm, 5-8pm) and Saturday, June 11 (8am-12pm). A service will be held Saturday, June 11, 1:00 pm, in the Chapel of the funeral home.

Greg Rodriguez and Governor Phil Bredesen in 2002

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition cancelled two planned events today in response to the news and issued this statement: "Greg was one of the Nashville Hispanic community's most valued leaders, and one of its most ardent supporters and defenders. He played many important roles in the community, including president of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We will greatly miss Greg, and he will remain in our hearts forever. His tremendous presence in the greater Nashville community is now felt as a terrible absence."

Diana Holland, Owner of Hispanic Link Consulting, shared this story: "I was introduced to Greg in November of 2003, and I was offered the opportunity to volunteer to plan the 2004 Latino Awards Gala for the [Tennessee Hispanic] Chamber. I jumped on board and, for five months, worked very closely with Greg toward what ended up being a very successful event with over 450 attendees. We had many challenges along the way, especially as I sit on the Board of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and was then their Treasurer. I recall Greg saying to me, 'You have guts woman,' to which I responded: 'Well, now you know it is two of us,' and he responded with his characteristic simultaneous smile and nodding of his head. Greg always advocated for working together, and we discussed from time to time what it entailed to weave communities together. Greg: thanks for having guts and inspiring others to have them too! Hasta siempre!"

Yuri Cunza, President of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said, "We join the Hispanic Community in mourning the loss of Greg Rodriguez, founder and president of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We will remember his leadership and advocacy for Nashville's Hispanic community." Commenting on the perceived rivalry between Nashville's two Hispanic chambers, Cunza downplayed the groups' differences and noted that Rodriguez's powerful presence fueled interest in Hispanic advocacy not only among the members of his group but also those in other organizations, including the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Cunza also noted the opportunity for unity among the Hispanic community: "This is the point at which any line that once divided us now becomes very thin; this is a time in which we should be looking at our similarities and what we are truly trying to achieve. All the other things are insignificant at this point."

Reports of Greg's death appeared in the Tennessean, Nashville City Paper, Nashville Post, Nashville Business Journal, and on NewsChannel 5.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

CANCELLED TO HONOR FALLEN HISPANIC LEADER - Two Thursday events: one to hail new immigration proposal, other to reject shock talk sentiment

Death of Greg Rodriguez, Chairman of Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, prompts cancellation
updated 6/09/05
more later on Greg Rodriguez
original story below

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition will hold two Thursday events to promote progress in the national approach toward expatriates and immigrants. The first event will promote a bipartisan immigration proposal in the U.S. Congress, and the second event is a diversity-themed rally to reject immigration shock talk:

The Nashville Real Immigration Solutions Press Conference

When: Thursday, June 9th at 1:30pm

Where: Woodbine Community Center, 222 Oriel Avenue

Why: Representatives from the academic, religious, labor, and immigrant communities will be present to applaud the introduction of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005, a bipartisan legislative proposal in the U.S. Congress that would provide the foundation for a saner and more enforceable immigration system.

Speakers will discuss how Tennessee is currently benefiting from its immigrant population, and how current U.S. immigration laws make it virtually impossible for low-skilled immigrant workers to obtain legal entry into the U.S.

Participants will also discuss why immigration policy can only be effectively legislated at the federal level, and how some current state proposals would have negative and potentially harmful consequences for all Tennesseans.

The Coalition's analysis of the McCain-Kennedy proposal is here

The Nashville "Unity in Diversity" Rally

When: Thursday, June 9th at 5:30pm

Where: Coleman Park, 384 Thompson Lane (on the corner of Thompson Lane and Nolensville Pike)

At least 400 Nashvillians are expected to turn out at this historic event to:
Celebrate Nashville's growing ethnic diversity
Express concern that some public figures are exploiting people's fear of change to foster hatred against Tennessee's newest residents.

A Nashville radio talk show host is holding a large-scale "anti-illegal immigration rally" in Nashville. This individual routinely cites statistics about all foreign-born people in America to explain overcrowded prisons, high unemployment, excessive public education costs, and the reintroduction of diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy. Please join immigrant community members and supporters in the Nashville "Unity in Diversity" event to help demonstrate that Nashville embraces its new diversity, not division or hate.

The Coalition exposes the talk show host's statements here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Hispanic job seekers series starts Saturday

A training series for Hispanic job seekers kicks off this Saturday, according to this press release:

Nashville, TN - Learning the ropes of how to apply for a job, and get
hired, is a matter "that matters" worldwide. This will be the first
topic addressed by HispanEduca during its kick-off series of four
sessions that will be launched on Saturday, June 11, 2005, from 11:00 am
to 12:30 pm, at Aurora Bakery, 3725 Nolensville Road, Nashville, TN

The first session (on June 11) is free and will include an orientation
as well as a description of the program. The fee for the following three
sessions, to take place the following three Saturdays (June 18, 25 &
July 2), will be of $5 per person per Saturday, including materials.

English managed and owned businesses and organizations are in dire need
of Hispanic bilingual employees that have specific skills besides
language. Their structure allows them to get so far, but not close
enough to their target candidates. Hispanics with a GED or High School
diploma, who are bilingual and have some work experience, need a basic
"adaptation" training on how to apply for a job in the US and get hired.

HispanEduca's goal is to build this bridge and help pave the way for
both employers and job hunters to connect and maximize their resources
and talents.

This program is supported by Aurora Bakery, ERA Pacesetters, Metro Human
Relations Commission and St. Thomas Health Services.

For more information and to register, please contact Diana Holland,

Monday, June 6, 2005

Housing "fiesta," complete with rodeo, scheduled for June 19

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals of Middle Tennessee, and the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Partnership are producing an education event to promote home ownership among Hispanics:

Fiesta del Hogar expected to draw thousands at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium

NASHVILLE – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Nashville Field Office will team with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals of Middle Tennessee (NAHREPMT) and the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Partnership to present Fiesta del Hogar de Centro Tennessee - Housing Festival of Middle Tennessee on Sunday, June 19, 2005 beginning at 2:00 pm at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium which will also be spotlighting a Mexican rodeo.

Mr. Miguel Torres, Director of Affordable Housing Resources Hispanic Homeownership Center and President of NAHREPMT and William Dirl, HUD Nashville Field Office Director, announce the launching of the biggest Latino educational housing event in Tennessee’s history. The event is designed to promote homeownership to the Latin community and all potential homebuyers in Middle Tennessee.

“This is going to be a wonderful event. Our partners are committed to bringing homeownership information to Middle Tennessee’s growing Latino community. And the fact that we have been able to partner with the Mexican rodeo, which is taking place simultaneously at the municipal auditorium means that we will be able to reach an expected audience of over 8,000 people,” said Miguel Torres.

Information and registration information is available on HUD and this event on Tennessee’s website and calendar of events seen at or Officials from across Middle Tennessee are expected to attend, including local, state and federal representatives and elected officials.

An opening ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. to show attendees that Middle Tennessee’s Hispanic Partnership, a group composed of banks, lenders, housing agencies, housing counselors, non profits and government officials, are serious about promoting homeownership to anyone who is interested. Agencies that provide down payment assistance or have creative mortgage financing strategies will attend and provide needed on the spot Spanish translation. The event will provide food, fun, festivities, children zones, and live music. Please come and join us on a Sunday afternoon in Nashville.

Mexican pro soccer teams schedule July 15 match in Nashville

The Nashville Business Journal reports that two professional Mexican soccer teams will play in the Coliseum in Nashville and expect to draw a crowd of 25,000.

"Top-ranked Mexican soccer teams Tecos and Atlas will play at the Coliseum in downtown Nashville on July 15 and are expected to attract nearly 25,000 fans."

"Azul Deportes in Louisville, Ky., is organizing the event in Nashville and a second game to be played in Charlotte, N.C., at the Bank of America Stadium on July 17. The games are named Clasico Zapopan 2005."

Young Miami volunteer headed to Vanderbilt's Class of '09 profiles a volunteer-spirited Miami high school graduate headed to Vanderbilt in the fall of 2005:

"Standing on the Epcot Center stage after receiving his Disney Dreamers and Doers award, Walter Menjivar showed why he was worthy of it."

"The Mount Dora High senior used the opportunity to put in a pitch with Disney executives for free theme-park passes for homeless kids with whom he works at Anthony House, a Zellwood shelter."

"Walter has been volunteering steadily since he was in eighth grade. He is bilingual, so he often teaches English to Spanish-speaking children. He has helped win a grant for two vans at Anthony House, appealed to local officials for support and attendance at homeless-shelter functions and asked businesses for contributions."

"Walter's family is from El Salvador. His mother, Maria Shenk, moved to Florida from El Salvador the year before Walter was born."

"In addition to winning the Disney award, Walter has won many scholarships because of his volunteer work. They will cover the cost of his undergraduate college years. He plans to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, majoring in human organization and development."

Southern Baptists are headed to Nashville for Hispanic crusade in June

The Baptist Press sent out this press release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) - The 18th Annual Reunion of the National Fellowship of Hispanic Southern Baptist Churches, encompassing various meetings and events prior to the SBC annual meeting in Nashville, will begin with a simultaneous evangelistic crusade across Tennessee.

Organizers report that nearly all of Tennessee’s Hispanic Baptist churches have committed to participate in the June 12-19 campaign under the banner of “There Is Life in Jesus.”

Saturday, June 18, hundreds of volunteers from Hispanic churches across the country will join in the Crossover Nashville evangelistic thrust.

That evening, Hispanic fellowship participants will begin gathering at six at Tulip Grove Baptist Church, 563 Shute Lane in Old Hickory, northeast of Nashville, for registration, fellowship, music, worship and praise, and time for participants to view exhibits from different ministries and sponsors.

A mega-concert and worship celebration, with the theme “I Will Seek Your Face,” will follow from 7-9 p.m.

Sunday morning, June 19, fellowship participants will worship in Nashville-area Hispanic churches, followed by a session at 1:30 p.m. featuring various conferences led by Hispanic leaders.

The program will continue from 3-5 p.m. with a business session. Fellowship President Heberto Becerra, pastor of First Hispanic Baptist Church in Plantation, will preside.

Sunday night from 6-8 p.m., the 8th Annual Church Planting Celebration sponsored by the North American Mission Board will be held at Haywood Hills Baptist Church, 255 Haywood Lane in Nashville.

For additional information, contact the organization’s executive director Julio Fuentes at 305-206-7575 or

Friday, June 3, 2005

L.A. Times starts immigration project

The L.A. Times says it will embark on a six-month search for a solution to the immigration issue.

"It's hard to come up with a single, coherent position on immigration because it touches on our national life and our individual lives in so many different ways. The tensions this creates and the trade-offs it requires are familiar, but that doesn't make them any easier to resolve. But these subissues can at least be classified under two large headings: (1) Of the masses already huddled here illegally or still in their home countries longing to make new lives in the United States, how many should we allow to stay and how many more should we allow to come in? And (2) what should we do - and not do - to enforce whatever answer we come to under heading No. 1?"

"[T]here are too many real-life complications for an absolutist policy at either extreme to work. And the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants assumes away most of the problem. The problem is figuring out who should be legal in the first place."

"We don't know where our journey of intellectual discovery about immigration will end. We know, or hope we know, when it will end: in about six months."

Various pieces on immigration have been written in the Times since the immigration project was announced this week, including the following:

- Employers of Illegal Immigrants Face Little Risk of Penalty and letters in response
- Immigration Activists Gather
- A Nation That Should Know Better, and
- The Borders Are Closing

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Women and race are the focus of Vanderbilt workshop next Saturday

Vanderbilt University Office of Intercultural Affairs


"A Heart-to-Heart Conversation on Culture, Race and Difference" screening of the documentary "The Way Home" written and directed by the filmmaker, Dr. Shakti Butler, in Oakland, California.

This workshop is designed to engage in conversation women who are interested in exploring issues of race and ethnicity as they intersect with gender, class and difference.

The film provides viewers the opportunity to glimpse intimate conversations within groups of women representing various cultures and ethnic groups such as Asian, Arabic, African American, Jewish, Latina, Native American, White, and those of Mixed Race, who came together to engage in a heart-to-heart talk about how their life is impacted by the racial issues of American culture. A discussion will follow the screening.

Saturday, June 11, 2005
10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt University Student Life Center

The Student Life Center is located near the corner of 25th Avenue South and Vanderbilt Place. There will be signs posted along 25th Avenue South directing workshop attendees to the complimentary parking location.

The workshop and accompanying brunch are free of charge, but it is requested that those interested in attending please contact Ms. Emmy Hubbard at (615) 322-6400 or to reserve a space at the workshop and notify her of special dietary or physical accommodation needs.

"A Heart-to-Heart Conversation" promises to bring Nashville's women together in a unique way to explore issues of race and ethnicity, and will, hopefully serve as a catalyst for building bridges.


Wednesday, June 1, 2005

LULAC helps cities welcome Hispanics reports on the work of the League of United Latin American Citizens in cities where Hispanic populations have grown.

"'Many smaller cities don't know how to cope, and they overreact,' [incoming Houstin district director Rick] Dovalina said. 'LULAC can educate cities on what to do and how to plan.'"

"In the late 1990s, when the Hispanic population in Macon, Ga., grew, LULAC helped school leaders set up a program to send teachers to Mexico to learn the culture and the language, he said."

"In Nashville, Tenn., city leaders realized they needed Spanish-speaking 911 operators. LULAC helped the city recruit bilingual workers from Texas."

"'We don't go in there and raise holy hell. We go in there to see how we can help with the growth,' Dovalina said. 'Hispanics are not going anywhere, so the sooner everyone works together, the smoother the transition.'"

The Middle Tennessee Chapter of LULAC has been headed in the past by Nashville attorney Jerry Gonzalez.
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