Monday, October 31, 2005

Plowhaus Day of the Dead art show runs through November 27

The Nashville Scene reports that the Plowhaus Artists Cooperative is celebrating the Mexican Halloween holiday el Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) with an art show that runs through November 27:

"Plowhaus is showing Dia de los Muertos-inspired work by a group of artists (several of whom gravitate toward altars and shrines year round), including boys from the Bellewood Home for Children. The show opens with a reception 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 and runs through Nov. 27."

This Plowhaus web site has more information:

"Throughout the month of October, families and villages across Mexico prepare for Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. On these days at the cusp of October and November, those who have died are remembered and their spirits are welcomed back for a yearly visit. Handmade altars, special food and drink, parades and plays, skull-shaped confections and toys, gravesite visits and vigils celebrate the lives of the deceased."

"Plowhaus is pleased to announce the participation of the Bowling Green Bellewood Home for Children, a home for boys aged 12-17 which is committed to providing help and healing to abused and neglected children. The Bellewood boys will be exhibiting twelve three feet tall individual pieces, each of which represents and celebrates the life of a deceased person who has had a strong influence on their life. Andee Rudloff, who has served as the artist-in-residence at Bellewood's Bowling Green campus for four years, states that exhibiting with the Plowhaus is an honor for the students at Bellewood. The boys have constructed a box for comments, prayers and support to be placed with their work, and look forward to receiving feedback from the community."

Tennessean interviews Cunza

The Tennessean published an interview of Yuri Cunza, President of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce*. Here is an excerpt:

"What does Nashville not understand about the Hispanic community that you think it should?"

"I'm sure there are a lot of things that are not known to Nashville. I don't know about all the population myself."

"It's such a challenge to bring communities together when there are differences that are cultural and also language. It's going to take the ones that were able to become bilingual to help, to create opportunities for that interaction to occur."

"I would not wish our population of Hispanics to be respected and considered just because we can buy."

Full interview with Yuri Cunza

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

Friday, October 28, 2005

Virginians attribute accident trend to tomato pickers and Tennessee license plates

The Virginian-Pilot reports that accidents are on the rise along Virginia's Eastern Shore and attributes the dangerous trend to out-of-state Hispanic workers employed in the area's seasonal tomato industry.

The article states that 25% of the area's fatalities involve Hispanic drivers, often without drivers licenses and without insurance, in cars registered in other states, which the article calls "rogue" vehicles:

"Since 2002, more than 90 people have been injured and 18 killed on the Eastern Shore in accidents involving Hispanic workers driving rogue vehicles."

"The fatalities represent about one-fourth of the 71 highway deaths on the Eastern Shore in that period, even though the year-round Hispanic population makes up only 5 percent of the region’s 51,000 residents. Those numbers swell [to about 7,000] during tomato-picking season, from July through early November, when most of the fatalities occurred."

"In all but three of the fatal accidents in which Hispanics were at the wheel, the drivers had no insurance. In most cases, the vehicles had no inspection stickers, the drivers carried no license and alcohol was a factor. The vast majority of the victims in the fatalities were Hispanic."

The focus of the article then shifts to the fact that Tennessee plates are common in the area, making some suspect whether there is a mail-order license plate operation funneling the plates to Virginia, with others attributing their popularity to the difference between Virginia's requirement that drivers present identification and insurance to obtain a license plate:

"Up and down the Eastern Shore, in the work camps and housing complexes where migrants and year-round laborers live, Tennessee plates abound. Eastern Shore law enforcers suspect there is a flourishing black market for Tennessee tags."

"Several migrants interviewed recently said they got Tennessee tags because they were turned down by Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles."

"Tennessee does not require identification or proof of insurance when a vehicle is titled and plates are issued, as long as the motorist pays cash. Most states require identification or proof of insurance; Virginia requires both."

An article in the Nashville City Paper reported that Tennessee State Senator Bill Ketron is pushing for different, immigration-related requirements for Tennessee license plates, and also for English-only drivers license tests, according to this article in the Nashville City Paper.

"The problem ... has come to the attention of Virginia’s Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers Advisory Board. The Tennessee license plate matter is 'a political hot potato,' said Kenneth E. Annis of Exmore, chairman of the 15-member board."

"Other regions with significant Hispanic populations, such as Rockingham County in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and the Greensboro/Winston-Salem area of North Carolina, have not seen significant numbers of cars with Tennessee tags, say law enforcement officials there."

"But on the Eastern Shore, 'Somebody is making it very easy for these drivers to get Tennessee tags, Annis said. 'It’s all very fishy.'"

Tennessee county clerks say that Hispanic applicants are applying in person for license plates.

"Jim Houston, county clerk for Union County, said Tennessee officials are aware of the problem. Houston said his office sees 'quite a few' Hispanics registering vehicles, 'and I think the number’s increasing.'"

"When the topic of migrants titling vehicles came up at a recent meeting of Tennessee clerks, Houston said, 'One of the other clerks said, 'Lord, we’re overrun with them.''"

Virginia police are, in some cases, removing and destroying Tennessee license plates from cars pulled over for traffic violations.

"'We’ll take them back and destroy them,' [state Trooper Casey] Lewis said. 'That way they won’t get recycled on the Shore.'"

Recycling of cars themselves is one way Tennessee plates stay in Virginia. Cars that are towed for various violations may never be claimed by their owners.

"They often are sold to other farm laborers, police said, thus making their way back onto the highways – many of them sporting Tennessee plates."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cheekwood celebrates Halloween with "Day of the Dead" this Saturday

CheekwoodDia de los Muertos is back at Cheekwood this Saturday, in what is becoming a popular Nashville tradition:

El Dia de los Muertos!
Saturday, October 29, 11am –4pm

$5 for members, $10 for Non-Members.
Children two and under enter free. Free passes available for those in need. Call 353-9827.

A day of celebration where families of all cultures enjoy learning about Latin-American traditions.

Live performances:
• Mariachi Sangre Mexicana de David Garrido Rangel, Ballet Folklorico La Colmena/ Spanish Dancing, Blanca Jager Classical Spanish Dancing, Serenatta Roamntic Latin Ensemble and San Rafael Trio.

Art Activities & Games:
• Gourd Painting, paper marigolds, skeleton jewelry and more!
• Spanish Bingo
• Mexican Market Place: Pangaea, US Border Cantina, Aurora Bakery, Las Paletas: Gourmet Popsicles
• Tour of the Museum and Community Altars
• Lecture on Day of the Dead
• A play for children: A Gift for Abuelita: Celebrating the Day of the Dead
• Storytelling with Grandma Irene
• All activities in Spanish and English

More information about Cheekwood at

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sidewalk ordinance still under fire, day laborer site proposed as alternative

The Nashville City Paper reports in this article that a proposed ordinance to restrict activities on sidewalks is still opposed by community advocates as misguided and ineffective. Because the sidewalk ordinance is meant to regulate day laborers, many of whom are Hispanic, advocates are exploring the creation of a separate day laborer facility as an alternative.

"Stephen Fotopulos, policy coordinator with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said the proposed ordinance is too broad and would largely duplicate existing law that already prohibits solicitation from public streets."

"The only new part is that the prohibition would extend from the public right-of-way to sidewalks and curbs and consequently prevent school groups and other organizations from holding fundraisers such as car washes along a road."

"In essence, the ordinance would not affect day laborers in the Murfreesboro Road/Thompson Lane area, Fotopulos said."

"The coalition is also actively researching and identifying the needs to establish a worker center where day laborers could gather to find employment."

"Worker centers have already proven effective in other cities across the nation, Lubell said."

See this July 18, 2005 story for more information about day laborer centers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Halloween Tango party October 27

Tango Nashville announced a Halloween Tango party this Thursday night at the Ibiza Night Club:

"Tangolloween Milonga"
(Halloween Argentine Tango Social Gathering)
Thursday, OCTOBER 27, 2005
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Come out, celebrate and participate of this unsual 'Milonga', with costumes, 'tight connections', serious learning, wonderful music, joyful dance and yummy Tango snacks. Featuring a 30-minute essential Tango class for everyone - newcomers, beginners, intermediate and advanced dancers and students.

Dance Instructor: MariaPia De Pasquale
Ibiza Night Club
15128 Old Hickory Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37211
(almost corner with Nolensville Pike, in the Hickory Trace Village strip mall, where the Sherwin Williams store is).
$12 per person for non-Tango Nashville members.
$8 per person for Tango Nashville members.
**Cash or check only**
For more information, please call 615-889-3390 or email

Clarksville hosts second Hispanic festival

The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle reports in this story that the city's second Hispanic Festival drew thousands:

"More than 300 people attended the noon worship service with a total of 4,000 to 5,000 people expected to participate in the colorful extravaganza Saturday that extended well into the autumn evening."

"Mariachi dancers of all ages, dressed in colorful native costumes, and talented musicians thrilled the enthusiastic, yet relaxed crowd."

"Angel D. Natal, an officer with Bruno Natal Milinas — a growing local organization seeking to bring all of Clarksville's Hispanic cultures together, said the hard work must continue."

"BNM, a nonprofit organization, produced and sponsored the Hispanic Festival."

Natal said that the Clarksville Hispanic community is trying to unite for political strength as well, citing the upcoming 2006 elections, according to the Leaf-Chronicle.

"There are 12,000 registered Hispanic voters in Clarksville, and that number could exceed 18,000 by next year's election cycle, he said."

Among the supporters were members of the Clarksville Police Department.

"'We just can't say how often the Clarksville Police Department has helped us,' Natal said."

"Dressed in his dignified, well-pressed CPD Honor Guard uniform, Detective Eric Green Jr., a native of Panama, strolled among the food and craft vendors at the Wilma Rudolph Pavilion."

"'This festival is quite authentic. I feel like I'm back home,' Green said."

"Clarksville Police Officer Raymond Colon, a native of Haiti, was on duty for the event."

"'There have been no problems at all, and I don't expect any. This is a fun, important day,' Colon said."

Monday, October 24, 2005

New Hispanic non-profit "GALA" hosts Hurricane benefit Wednesday

The recently formed community group "GALA" announced a party this Wednesday to benefit hurricane victims:

GALA (Grupo de Acción Lationoamericano de Nashville) or (Latin America Action Group-Nashville) invites you to the Best Party of Latin Music with Danny Zalazar y Los Kuatro y la Orquesta Conexión Latina.

Profits will be donated to GALA, a non-profit organization, to benefit hurricanes victims.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: 615-506-9238 O AL 615-589-1588



Friday, October 21, 2005

Cunza withdraws name from charter commission nomination

The Nashville City Paper reports that Yuri Cunza has withdrawn his name from consideration from the Nashville Metro Council commission in charge of suggesting revisions to the Metro charter. Cunza is a Nashville resident and Peruvian citizen, and some council members had opposed Cunza's placement on the commission on the basis that he is not a U.S. citizen. It is not clear that U.S. citizenship is required to sit on the commission.

"Yuri Cunza, a prominent member of Nashville’s Hispanic community, has declined Mayor Bill Purcell’s nomination to the city commission that makes suggestions for revising the Metro Charter."

"Several Metro Council members had opposed the nomination, given that Cunza isn’t a U.S. citizen."

"A native of Peru, Cunza is the president of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and founder of local Hispanic newspaper La Noticia. He moved to Nashville in 1996 and has sat on several other Metro government boards."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Martha" Apprentice Leslie Sanchez to speak in Manchester October 22

Leslie SanchezThe Chattanoogan reports that Leslie Sanchez, former Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, and current contestant on the reality show "The Apprentice" with Martha Stewart, will speak in Manchester as the keynote speaker for the Franklin County Republican Club’s Reagan Day Dinner on Saturday, October 22.

"In addition to her career in the White House, Ms. Sanchez also owns her own company, Impacto Group, which specializes in assisting businesses and associations target the Hispanic and the Women’s markets."

"On a whim (and from friendly pressure from her mentor Anna Cabral, current Treasurer of the United States), Ms. Sanchez auditioned and won a position as a cast member on the Martha Stewart Apprentice Program, where she is currently exhibiting her skills and talents to the entire nation."

Sanchez's profile on the NBC web site states that she "was named one of Hispanic Business magazine's '100 Most Influential Hispanic Americans'" and that as a "former aide to U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla, Leslie spearheaded the Republican Party's first multimillion-dollar advertising campaign targeting Hispanic voters. Leslie - who once sold encyclopedias door-to-door - earned her M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and her undergraduate degree from George Washington University."

"The event will be held at the Coffee County Conference Center in Manchester, Tenn., and includes a reception, full dinner, and an evening of enlightening and entertaining discourse beginning at 6 p.m. For tickets, reservations, and additional information, call (931) 649-3995."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Nashville's Ricardo Santiago one of five finalists in national small business contest

El VisionarioNashville's Ricardo Santiago, owner of Mexico Depot, is one of five finalists in a national small business contest sponsored by Ford Motor Company and AOL Latino:

Ford Motor Company and AOL Latino revealed the Top 5 finalists for El Visionario (“The Visionary”), the online Spanish language contest for small business owners. The five entrepreneurs were recognized by Ford and AOL Latino executives, celebrities, business and community leaders at the event, and will now rely on the public’s online votes to determine the grand prize winner.

Ford launched the online contest powered by AOL Latino in July 2005 to discover the next Hispanic business visionary. The visionary should embody the entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrate that Hispanics are leaders in successful small business ownership. From September 28th to October 5th thousands of votes were received electronically at the Ford Mi Negocio website for the Top 50 semi-finalists. The five contestants who received the highest number of votes were named finalists.

The Top 5 finalists are: Luis Baron, owner of TV Net Productions in Sarasota, FL; Carlos Vassallo, owner of Latin Vision Media Inc. in New York, NY; Ricardo Santiago, owner of Mexico Depot in Nashville, TN; Sandra Escobar, owner of Highland Food Resources Inc. in Sunrise, FL; and Carlos Devis, owner of Bosa Systems Corp. in Potomac, MD.

“The five El Visionario finalists possess leadership skills and determination required to succeed as a business visionary for the Hispanic community,” said Armando Ojeda, director of Supplier Diversity Development, Ford Motor Company. “They are a prime example of why Ford is committed to supporting Hispanic entrepreneurs and we wish each of them the best of luck in the future.

From October 18th until November 11th, the general public is invited to vote for their favorite El Visionario finalist by visiting the Ford Mi Negocio website, The contestant that receives the highest number of votes will be named El Visionario during the week of November 14th. Online voters are eligible to win prizes such as digital cameras, subscriptions to business magazines and gift cards during this phase.

The Top 5 finalists are competing for a grand prize that includes a $25,000 cash award towards his/her small business, a brand new 2006 Mercury Mountaineer, $25,000 in business services (legal, finance, and/or marketing) and a business profile in Hispanic Business and Hispanic Magazine, for a total estimated value of $100,000.

“My dreams of growing my business are closer to becoming a reality and I thank Ford for making it possible,” said Mr. Baron, Top 5 finalist and owner of TV Net Productions, Inc.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Senator Alexander introduces law to promote integration of prospective citizens

Senator Lamar AlexanderThe Chattanoogan published this editorial written by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander about the Strengthening American Citizenship Act of 2005, which he introduced in the Senate to promote the integration of prospective U.S. citizens into society as Americans:

"Over the coming weeks, the Senate will engage in a debate on comprehensive immigration reform. I believe real immigration reform must encompass three important steps. First, we must secure our borders. Second, we need to create a legal status for foreign workers and students who come here. Several senators have introduced legislation with these goals in mind, and I intend to introduce legislation to ensure that our immigration system welcomes foreign students to study at our universities."

"The third step is indispensable to immigration reform: to help prospective citizens become American. Just recently there was a report in Florida of a 27-year-old Guatemalan man who posed as an 18-year-old so that he could attend public high school and learn English there. So we know that immigrants are eager to learn."

"That is why I recently introduced the Strengthening American Citizenship Act with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). The Strengthening American Citizenship Act helps and encourages legal immigrants who are prospective American citizens to learn our common language, history, and way of government by:"

"Providing $500 grants for English courses;
Allowing prospective citizens who become fluent in English to apply for citizenship one year early;
Providing grants to organizations to offer courses in American history and civics;
Authorizing the creation of a new foundation to assist in these efforts;
Codifying the Oath of Allegiance to which new citizens swear when they are naturalized, and;
Asking the Department of Homeland Security to carry out a strategy to highlight the ceremonies where immigrants become American citizens."

A press release issued by Alexander's office is here, and the text of the Act is here.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Carreño brings Hispanic-Afro art to Vanderbilt

This week Vanderbilt University announced the "Consecrated Places" art exhibition of works by Afro-Dominican painter Antonio Carreño:

Antonio CarrenoAfro-Dominican painter Antonio Carreño's exhibition opened earlier this week at Vanderbilt's Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, marking the first time that the artist's paintings have been shown in Nashville. The opening of Carreño's exhibit entitled "Consecrated Places" coincides with El Día de la Raza, honoring the merging of the Old and New Worlds with Columbus's voyage in 1492.

Carreño, widely lauded by New York's artistic community for merging a traditional fresco technique with contemporary images, is a national leader in the Latino art community. His abstract-surrealist style has been compared to master painters such as Joan Miró and Paul Klee, and his work has garnered praise from galleries in New York, Miami, and Boston.

"Consecrated Places" showcases some of the artist's strongest work to date. As Carreño explains, his paintings have a strong spiritual component that emanates from the canvases: "For me, a 'consecrated place' is any place where you feel strongly invested. It can be a river where you go to meditate, a relative's home, or the place where a soldier died...a place where human dignity seems to find a transcendence of spirituality is to me a 'consecrated place.'"

Given the historical weight of the day of Columbus's arrival to Carreño's native Dominican Republic, the exhibition is particularly important. As Professor William Luis explains, "Bringing an Afro-Dominican artist of Carreño's caliber to Vanderbilt honors the spirit of El Día de la Raza, demonstrating the syncretism of African, American, and European cultural

Carreño, born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, studied at the National School of Fine Arts. His art work has been on exhibit in collections throughout the world including the Latin American Museum of Modern Art in Washington, D.C. and the National Museum of Art in Santo Domingo.

The exhibition will remain until December 3, 2005. This landmark event, open to the public, was made possible by Vanderbilt University's Black Cultural Center, with the support of the Provost's office, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and the Center for the Americas.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

October 15: Latino AIDS Awareness Day

To coincide with Latino AIDS Awareness Day on October 15, Dan Kuninsky of the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program at the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for AIDS Research sent this article reviewing the disease's disproportionate impact among Hispanics. The Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program is also accepting volunteers to participate in vaccine studies (see below).

How is HIV/AIDS affecting Hispanic communities?

The AIDS crisis is not over and HIV/AIDS continues to disproportionately affect minority communities, including Hispanics. While Hispanics represent 14% of the United States population, they accounted for approximately 21% of HIV infections reported in 2003. Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and injection drug users continue to be at a high risk for HIV. However, the heterosexual transmission of HIV is increasingly becoming a major source of HIV infection among minority groups in the United States, including the Hispanic community. In 2001, HIV was the third leading cause of death among Hispanic men between the ages of 35 and 44 and the fourth leading cause of death for Hispanic women in the same age group. An estimated 92,000 Hispanics with AIDS in the United States have died. Underlying conditions such as language or cultural barriers, higher rates of poverty and substance abuse, and limited access to, or use of, health care may lead to delays in seeking treatment which may contribute to the high numbers of AIDS-related deaths. Studies have also shown that Hispanics are more likely to be tested for HIV late in their illness, and that by the time Hispanics test for HIV, they are more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS.


Why do we need a HIV preventive vaccine?
· There is NO cure for AIDS. While the availability of anti-retroviral therapy has had a dramatic impact on decreasing AIDS-related deaths in this country, these treatment regimens are complex, costly and in many cases can cause serious side effects. In addition, the development of drug resistance is common.

· Developing safe, effective and affordable vaccines that can prevent HIV infection in uninfected people is the best hope for controlling and/or ending the AIDS epidemic.

· The long-term goal is to develop a vaccine that is 100 percent effective and protects everyone from getting infected with HIV. However, even if a vaccine only protects some people, it could still have a major impact on the rates of transmission and help in controlling the epidemic. A partially effective vaccine could decrease the number of people who get infected with HIV, further reducing the number of people who can pass the virus on to others.

· Like smallpox and polio vaccines, a HIV preventive vaccine could help save millions of lives.

· An HIV vaccine may also be beneficial for HIV-infected individuals by helping to delay the onset of AIDS or slowing disease progression. These types of vaccines are referred to as "therapeutic" vaccines. It is not known if a HIV preventive vaccine will have a therapeutic benefit in HIV-infected individuals. This would require additional clinical trials in those populations.

The Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program is looking for healthy, uninfected people, aged 18-50, of both sexes, including all ethnic and racial backgrounds and from all walks of life, to become study participants. Before a person enters a study, it is thoroughly explained and all their questions are answered. Participating in a study is completely voluntary.

If you would like to receive more information, call (615) 322-HOPE (4673), 1-888-559-HOPE (4673), or e-mail Josh Barnes at

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mexican mother back before court in review of visitation and custody rights

The Tennessean reports that Felipa Barrera, the Mexican mother whose visitation and custody rights of her daughter have been in flux ever since she was ordered to learn English by Wilson County Juvenile Court Judge Barry Tatum, went back before Wilson County Judge Clara Byrd on Monday for a review of those rights.

"An immigrant Mexican mother who once had been ordered to learn English or risk losing custody of her child is expected back in court today in a case that has put a spotlight on how Latin American immigrants are treated by the legal system."

"Wilson County Judge Clara Byrd is set to review an order she issued in June granting visitation rights, but not full custody to Felipa Barrera. Under the order, Barrera's daughter Linda Cano moved in with her father Antonio Cano in late July."

"Byrd said she wanted to re-evaluate the situation in October because Linda had not spent a lot of time with her father, who lives in Lebanon and is married with six children in addition to Linda."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

President Bush honors Nashville firefighter in Hispanic Heritage ceremony

Manuel FonsecaThe Tennessean reports that Nashville firefighter Captain Manuel Fonseca received the President's Volunteer Service Award from President George W. Bush on October 7 as part of the White House celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

"President Bush honored Nashville Fire Department Capt. Manuel Fonseca at the White House yesterday, praising him for a Metro schools fire-safety program as part of a reception for Hispanic Heritage Month."

"Fonseca, a 20-year veteran of the department, worked with the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters to help bring the 'Learn Not to Burn' program to Metro Nashville schools in both English and Spanish."

"The 'Learn Not to Burn' program teaches schoolchildren fire-safety techniques, including how to prevent fires and how to escape from them. Fonseca helped bring the program to Metro schools last year and spent more than 1,200 hours on community service in 2004, the White House said."

The White House reported that Bush thanked the six honorees as well as the broader Hispanic community for its service to the nation:

"The President's Volunteer Service Award that I'm about to give to six citizens is the highest level of commendation a President can give in recognition of those who have contributed their time and energy to helping others."

"Their efforts are helping children to learn to read, improving fire safety in schools and communities, and helping more Hispanics achieve the dream of a college education. In the wake of the hurricanes, they've helped set up emergency clinics, provided spiritual counseling to the displaced, just simple acts, such as reading stories to children whose families had lost their homes. Today, we're here to honor your service, and we appreciate so very much what you have done to help lift the spirit of the country."

"As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we thank the Hispanic community that has helped build and shape our country in so many ways. America is a better place because of your contributions. I join all Americans in celebrating the accomplishments and wishing our Hispanic communities all across the country continued success."

Image source:

Monday, October 10, 2005

Nashville Hispanic Chamber to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month October 12

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce announced its October 12 meeting will be a celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month:

Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will dedicate its traditional monthly “Business After Hours” to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. First instituted in 1968 by the US Congress, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed a week in September to be recognized as National Hispanic Heritage Week. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a month long celebration (Sept. 15-Oct. 15).

The NAHCC joins the nation in celebrating the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

“We celebrate the contributions of Hispanics to this country, but also in a very profound way, we acknowledge and reaffirm our loyalty to the meaningful values and foundations that have made the United States of America our new home” said Yuri Cunza, president of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “A new chapter in our history begins here, with every new brick placed, every degree earned, every new life created and every life saved. Our values, are not so different after all, we also believe in justice, in freedom and respect for one another. If we are here, it is because we believe those values are at the heart of your nation. As you would also do, we want the best for our families and in many ways we are placing our lives and our futures in your hands. I was glad to read president’s Bush proclamation that reflects how important it is to the country: our presence, our efforts and our contributions”.

Recent Census data released for Hispanic Heritage Month indicates that the population of Hispanics in the US has reached over 41 million. According to Cunza, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002, grew up to 1.6 million, that equals to 31 percent more from 1997. Their receipts were $226.5 billion, up 22 percent from 1997. A total of 199,725 such firms had paid employees, with receipts of $184 billion, or about $921,090 per firm.

The celebrations will start at 5:30 pm on October 12th at the new La Hacienda Restaurant,
1100 Hillsboro Rd. Franklin, TN 37064 (Hillsboro Rd & Mack Hatcher)
For more information please call 615-332-9777 or e-mail us at:

The NAHCC represents the interests of near 200 businesses and other organizations with interest in Nashville’s Hispanic market. The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce promotes actively the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs. Our interest and ongoing participation in the State legislative agenda helps promote legislation and policies that positively affect the Hispanic business community. For more information visit us online at:

Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 40541 Nashville, TN 37204
Phone: 615-332-9777 / 615-582-3757

Friday, October 7, 2005

In Mexico, American immigrants fuel housing boom

The New York Times reports on the American influx into San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where real estate prices are rising and American immigrants are moving beyond their traditional enclaves:

"Ever since the 1950's San Miguel has been a haven for Americans drawn to its art schools, architecture or just the company of compatriots in a distinctively Mexican ambience. An American enclave is entrenched in the picturesque centro, or downtown, where adobe walls enclose patios lush with jacaranda trees and bougainvillea, and in manicured residential areas to the east and south. But now with home prices rising, Americans have been pushing into peripheral and sometimes edgy colonias, or neighborhoods, that were relatively American-free, including San Rafael, Independencia and San Antonio."

"[P]rices are rising highest at the low end of the market, including in these marginal neighborhoods, where a three-bedroom home now runs as much as $700,000, a price that would have been unheard of a few years ago. Any increase hits hard in this cash-only market; mortgages through American lenders are generally unavailable. But foreigners can hold legal title in San Miguel, in contrast to areas of Mexico near the border or beaches, where property must be held by a Mexican bank trust."

"Joel Nichols, 50, moved here a year and a half ago with his partner, Rogers Adams, 57. They live next door to a building that could pass for a bed-and-breakfast but is actually a rehab clinic known for treating prominent Mexicans, and their garden looks out on a hulking castle, built for a Mexican neighbor. But more Americans have been moving in. 'There's been a housing boom here in the last six months,' Mr. Nichols said."

"Mr. Nichols smiled as he gave a visitor a ride downtown on his motorcycle, past developments rising along the Celaya highway. 'Every day we talk about how we love it here,' he said."

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Cesar Muedas featured on C-SPAN this Saturday

Cesar Muedas, a resident of Brentwood and originally from Peru, will be featured on C-SPAN this Saturday in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the network's viewer call-in programs. Muedas was one of 25 winners nationwide of a short essay contest on the impact of C-SPAN's call-in programs, and his was the only winning essay from Tennessee.

"'We wanted to hear from viewers about why they watch or participate in call-ins on C-SPAN,' said Brian Lamb, CEO of C-SPAN. 'Viewers of all ages and walks of life wrote to us, including actresses, stand-up comics, parents and students. What's clear after reading the entries is the impact that call-ins have had on the network and in shaping the political debate.'"

Muedas’ essay appears online (here). A taped interview with Muedas will part of the broadcast on C-SPAN TV (channel 98 , Comcast-Nashville) this Saturday, October 8, at 4pm central time.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Esteban Cortazar fashion show Thursday

The Nashville City Paper reports that the Belle Meade Country Club will host a fashion show of designer Esteban Cortazar tomorrow:

"At the age of 12, Colombian native Esteban Cortazar had already begun his career in fashion by styling vintage clothing store windows in South Beach, Fla."

"Cortazar comes to town to show his Spring 2006 collection, available locally at Gus Mayer, at the Belmont Mansion Charity Fashion Show on Thursday."

"Signaling his growing hip quotient, Cortazar even found his way onto an episode of the hit series Sex and the City, when Samantha (Kim Cattrall) wore a chartreuse-green silk-charmeuse top from his Spring 2003 collection."

"What: 26th Annual Belmont Mansion Charity Fashion Show featuring Esteban Cortazar
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: Belle Meade Country Club, 815 Belle Meade Blvd., 385-0150
Cost: $80
Info: 460-5459;"

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Immigrant Issues Forum: October 8

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition announced an immigrant issues forum to be held at Vanderbilt on Saturday, October 8:


The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) Invites You To:

An Immigrant Issues Forum
SOS! Middle Tennessee's Immigrant and Refugee Community Needs Your Help!

Saturday, October 8
Moore Room, Vanderbilt Law School
131 21st Ave. South, Nashville
** Imagine growing up in the U.S., graduating at the top of your class in high school, and not having the opportunity to go to college, or even to work legally in this country, because of your immigration status.
** Imagine moving to the U.S. and having a judge tell you must become fluent in English in six months or risk losing custody of your child.

** Imagine returning to your new home after religious services and finding the most holy book in your religion desecrated with human feces at your doorstep.

** Imagine learning of the arrest of a former Ku Klux Klan member who was preparing pipe bombs to blow up a bus you and other migrant farm workers take to work every day.

For the rapidly growing immigrant and refugee community of Tennessee, no imagination is needed. All of these incidents, and many more, have taken place in the past six months right here in our state.

Please join middle Tennessee immigrant and refugee leaders to learn first-hand about the injustices many immigrant students and workers face, and about the alarming rise in anti-immigrant actions and policies in our state. Learn how you can help counter the spread of hatred and intolerance, and build a stronger immigrant's rights movement in Tennessee that respects the rights of all human beings.

Members of all sectors of the community - academic, religious, labor, business, civic, civil rights, etc. - are strongly urged to join in this important dialogue.


For more information contact David Lubell at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). Phone: 615-846-6672. E-mail:; or go to:

Monday, October 3, 2005

People's Court Judge Marilyn Milian at TSU tomorrow

Tennessee State University announced a free lecture Tuesday by former Miami Circuit Court Judge and current People's Court Judge Marilyn Milian.

Judge Milian will talk about legal issues related to Hurricane Katrina - such as what happens to pending court cases and lawsuits, the loss of legal records and documents, where are detainees to be housed, etc. There will also be time at the end of the lecture for audience members to ask Judge Milian questions on any topic.

"WHAT: Judge Marilyn Milian speaks at Tennessee State University
WHEN: Tuesday, October 4, 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Thomas E. Poag Auditorium, Walter S. Davis Humanities Building, TSU main campus

Judge Marilyn Milian is an attorney and former Miami Circuit Court Judge who now presides over cases on the popular television program “The People’s Court.” Milian has appeared on numerous television shows including “At Large with Geraldo Rivera,” “EXTRA,” “Weekend Today,” and “Celebrity Justice.” Milian also had an outstanding academic career. She graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average from the University of Miami, and later attended Georgetown Law School, earning her law degree with cum laude honors at the age of 23.

Milian is of Cuban descent, and is fluent in Spanish. She is well-known for her dedication to the Hispanic community, and is active in working against domestic violence.

Milian’s appearance at TSU is part of the Student Development Presentation and Symposium Lecture Series. These lectures are open to the public at no charge. For more information, contact the TSU Public Relations Office at 615-963-5331."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...