Monday, January 31, 2005

Hispanic students in Tennessee public schools taking AP exams in record numbers

The College Board reports that Hispanic students at Tennessee public schools represented 1.8% of Advanced Placement examinees statewide in 2004, up from 1.4% in 2000. In 2004 and in 2000, the percentage of examinees who were Hispanic was higher than the percentage of the student population who was Hispanic - in 2004, 1% of the student population was Hispanic, and in 2000, 0.6% of the student population was Hispanic.

With the percentage of examinees exceeding the student population percentage, Tennessee is considered to have eliminated the "equity gap" that exists when a minority population is under-represented among examinees, as compared to its percentage of the population.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Metros hire Hispanic coach

The Nashville City Paper reports that the Nashville Metros soccer team has hired Oben Compean as its new head coach.

"Compean, who was born to Mexican parents, lived in Dallas and Modesto, Calif., before moving to Nashville a few years ago. He has played soccer for 20 years and has coached youth teams in the Nashville area for the past seven years, including the Harpeth Futbol Club in Bellevue, the Stones River Futbol Club in Smyrna and the Cobra Soccer Club in Mt. Juliet."

Compean was also goalkeeper and goalkeeper coach for the Metros franchise in 2000.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

ASE charter school gets support of Tennessee Hispanic Chamber

The Nashville City Paper reports that the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has expressed its support for the creation of the proposed charter school called the Academy of Science and Engineering of Nashville. Members of the Chamber have also joined ASE's board.

"'The charter school, to us, I think, it gives the Hispanic community and all communities an option to what’s out there right now,' Tennessee Hispanic Chamber President Greg Rodriguez said. 'It’s not that we don’t think the school district is not doing a good job. It’s just that in some cases families need an option.'"

Metro's charter schools review committee decides today whether to allow the school to open in the fall. The committee had previously denied the school's application due to curriculum and financial concerns.

UPDATE: Denied again.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Nashville role in national integration initiative has lessons for state, federal policy

Nashville was one of three cities involved in the ground-breaking Building the New American Community (BNAC) Initiative, led by the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures and conducted from 2001 to 2004. The final report was completed in December 2004 and is available in full here or as an executive summary here.

"According to the report, 'The BNAC Initiative highlights the range of social and economic conditions that influence integration opportunities across the country. If the federal government is to embark on a broad integration program, one of the most salient lessons to be drawn from the BNAC experiment is how the 'uneven geography' of refugee and immigrant settlement, as well as the availability and quality of resources within each city, requires innovation in integration policy development and delivery.'"

"Nashville addressed challenges facing foreign-trained professionals in gaining U.S. certification both through a taskforce that catalogued barriers and by bringing the issue to the attention of state legislators and governor's staff. ... A 'Board Bank' initiative [in Nashville] prepared refugee and immigrant leaders to become full and effective participants on boards and commissions of local government institutions and non-profit organizations."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

YMCA Hispanic Achievers in urgent need of volunteers

The YMCA Hispanic Achievers is in urgent need of one or more volunteers for its career-focused program for Hispanic youth. The volunteer will be asked to informally discuss his or her career path and offer program participants insight into the volunteer's profession.

The four classes begin January 29 and end in March. To volunteer, contact Josias Arteaga, Program Director, at 834-1300, extension 227.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Republican split lessens likelihood of immigrant employment legislation

The Nashville Business Journal reports that some Republican congressmen are proposing new measures to punish employers of illegal immigrants. Their regular allies in the business community and President Bush, however, have expressed a preference for immigration law reform and expanded legal employment opportunities, such as a "guest worker" program.

"Geoff Burr, [Associated Builders and Contractors] director of legislative affairs, says a guest worker program and increased enforcement of immigration laws are 'not mutually exclusive,' but he doubts Congress will pass any immigration reform bill this year. 'People are so far apart on this one right now,' Burr says. 'There's a very real chance we won't see any action.'"

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hospitals' use of interpreters is on the rise

The Tennessean reports that Nashville hospitals are increasingly using interpreters and interpreting services to assist patients who have limited English proficiency.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has three full-time interpreters and plans to hire three more, said Johannie Resto, bilingual program director of interpreter services. VUMC also uses free-lancers and telephone interpreters.

HCA TriStar Centennial Medical Center offers Spanish classes to all its employees and can call on 16 multilingual employees when interpreting is needed. Telephone interpreters are also used at Centennial, growing from less than an hour of use in 2001 to over 24 hours of use in 2004.

The Saint Thomas hospitals use community volunteer interpreters and a telephone interpreting service.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Nashville homeless: 4% Hispanic

The Nashville City Paper reports that Nashville's homeless is 53% African-American, 42% Caucasian, 4% Hispanic, and 1% Asian, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Sodexho USA Hunger and Homelessness Survey 2004.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

In Metro's most diverse police academy class ever, seven candidates speak Spanish

The Tennessean reports that the incoming class at the Metro Police Academy is the most diverse in its history. The class of 57 is 46% minority and 35% female. The present police force is approximately 15% minority and 10% female. Seven students in this class speak Spanish.

"For some of the candidates in the incoming class, such as Juan Carlos Cuesta-Galarce, becoming a police officer would be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. ... He said he looks forward to becoming a bridge between the Hispanic and non-Hispanic communities of Nashville."

Monday, January 17, 2005

Martin Luther King, Jr.: 1929-1968

"Martin Luther King rectified unspeakable flaws tarnishing America, an America different from the one we see today ... Not only African Americans needed him, but all America needed him. He provided a road map so all Americans could find freedom."

- Peter Chu

"He [Dr. King] says, 'You are as good as anyone' - that makes me feel like I'm important ... I don't care about what other people think about me. I don't care if they say, 'You don't know English.' I know Spanish is my first language and I know that I'm important."

- Student, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Arlington, Virginia

"In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action. ... At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement."


Certificate of Driving leaves bearers without identification, insurance

The Tennessean reports on the difficulties encounters by bearers of Tennessee's new Certificate of Driving, which is not meant to be used as identification. The certificate's limits in relation to a driver's license are evident in grocery stores, where a certificate-bearer can't use it to buy alcohol; and some insurance companies refuse to issue policies to certificate-bearing drivers.

"Elivic Gomez, 19, a student at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, said the certificates are worthless if the driver can't buy legally required auto insurance. ... Gomez will be required to get a certificate when her license expires in 2007 and fears the limitations and stigma of using the driving certificate. ... 'I'm in college and it's embarrassing to have to show a driving certificate,' she said. 'You pay the same money and go through the same process and then get a certificate. It's not fair when people do the same things and only get a certificate.'"

Friday, January 14, 2005

Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber sets annual meeting

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce announced its annual membership meeting, to be held January 20, 2005. The invitation is below.

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

invites you to join us for our


Stay informed about our programming and upcoming special

events such as:

Lunch and Learn Series

Upcoming Job Fair


Community outreach and

Programs for the business community

Start the year with new business ideas while supporting

Nashville's premier Hispanic Chamber.

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

6 – 8 pm

La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant

3668 Bell Road (Stewarts Ferry)

(I-40 East, right at Stewarts Ferry, 1/4 mile on your right

in the Food Lion plaza)

Free appetizers, music and GREAT door prizes!

FREE for all NAHCC Members, non-members $10

(Membership renewals available at the door)

Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

4050 Nolesnville Rd. Suite 211

Nashville, TN 37211

Phone: 615-332-9777

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Nashville Metros soccer plays U.S. Air Force in Saturday benefit

According to a press release from the Nashville Metros soccer team, "[t]he Nashville Metros and the U.S. Air Force Men’s Soccer Team will face off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 15 at Ezell Park in a friendly match to raise money to help armed forces families in Tennessee who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan and Iraq."

"There will be no admission charge for the match but the Metros are suggesting a $5 per person donation at the gate. All proceeds from the match will go to Tennessee Marine Family, a cross-service grassroots organization that supports Tennessee’s Gold Star families (those who have lost a relative in the conflicts), those who have been wounded in the conflicts and personnel still on active duty in those nations."

The Metros recently started recruiting players from Nashville's Hispanic community. Those players may figure prominently in this game, because the Metros' college players will not be available for this match.

Bill Hobbs finds Hispanic Nashville

Bill Hobbs, a Nashville journalist and blogger, sought out Nashville blogs and found the Hispanic Nashville Notebook.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Luis Pereira joins Metro Planning Department

The Nashville City Paper reports that the Metro Planning Department has brought Luis Pereira into its Land Development and Design Division. Pereira is the department's first Spanish-speaking planner. He will also help Spanish-speaking developers, builders, and the public with real estate development and planning in Davidson County.

"'The relief that you hear in someone's voice when they call is huge,' [Pereira] said. 'The customers I work with want to follow Metro's rules for development, and that's a lot easier to do when you hear the rules in your native language.'"

The planning department's Spanish-language phone line is 862-6885.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Fear of police feeds crime wave against Hispanic community

WKRN reports that 40 Hispanics have been the victims of robbery in the past six weeks, with unreported cases likely making the total higher.

"'You always take the least path of resistance,' said [Greg] Rodriguez, [Hispanic community liason for the Department of Safety.] 'Some of these folks, let's face it, are not going to report the crime. Some may be carrying large amount of cash on them, so its easy pickings. They may be hesitant to call the police and if they do they're afraid of working with the police or going to court. I think there's truth to that.'"

Monday, January 10, 2005

Hispanic World Newspaper expands to Chattanooga

The Chattanoogan reports that the statewide publication Hispanic World has opened an office and commenced semi-monthly distribution of 5,000 editions in Chattanooga. The newspaper, also known as Mundo Hispano, is also distributed in Knoxville, Nashville, Johnson City and Bristol.

Hispanic World founder and president Carlos Nicho said, "We have been actively participating in the integration process of Hispanics into the American culture publishing content that teaches and educates about the laws and lifestyles in America."

Friday, January 7, 2005

La Paz, "largest" Hispanic clinic, opens today with discount

The Nashville City Paper reports that La Paz Hispanic Clinic (467-1413) opens today at 6 p.m. The primarily family practice clinic is said to be the largest that is devoted to the Nashville Hispanic population and estimates it will have 10,000 annual patient visits. The clinic is located at 4053 Nolensville Road, and the grand opening today includes a $20 first visit discount.

The La Paz Hispanic Clinic will also host a free Spanish-language weight loss orientation on Saturday, January 22nd at 11 a.m., with free health screening at 10 a.m. For more information or to sign up for the weight loss program, contact the Weigh Down Workshop at 1-800-844-5208.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Tennessee Peace Corps volunteer returns from Guatemala

The Daily Post-Athenian features the story of Faedra Fisher, a "grassroots veterinarian" who spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala.

"Faedra said one of the villages had no egg production, so for her project she worked with seven women on a plan to raise chickens so they would have eggs for their families to eat and eggs to sell. She needed $700, so she asked her parents for help with the fundraising. Donations came in from Keith Memorial United Methodist Church and Mayfield Dairy Farms."

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Girl Scouts open bilingual program

The Tennessean reports that Hispanic girls have a new Girl Scout program called Las Hermanitas, in which bilingual and bicultural life is embraced.

"'It's just a way to accommodate them to the culture,' [Vanessa] Lazon said. 'They're getting used to being teens and getting used to being bicultural.'"

"Las Hermanitas is designed for girls in the fifth to eighth grades. To find out more about the program, call Teresa Nelson at 383-0490."
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