Friday, September 29, 2006

Marshall County stands firm on multilingual library collection

Officials support trilingual librarian, but Hispanic Heritage Month display cancelled

The Marshall County Memorial Library in Lewisburg will continue to carry books in languages other than English and will have even more books in an outpouring of support and donations from the community. After a trilingual librarian was hired and a handful of county residents expressed opposition to public funds being spent on books and story times in languages other than English, the library Board of Directors stood up to the language ban concept and said that library policy would not change.

WKRN has filed a series of reports on this story. According to this early report, librarian Nely Rivera is new both to the job and to Lewisburg, and she has support all the way from her boss to the mayor. This WKRN story reports that the library’s director, Jan Allen, "is disappointed in the community's comments and said her heart goes out to her employee. 'I was flabbergasted, I was insulted. I felt very bad for her. And I felt bad for the library in general, for the patrons that we serve,' she said." Nonetheless, in the same story we learn that "the library had to cancel a planned display in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, because they didn't want to draw retaliation from angry residents. The controversy has drawn the attention of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, which is going to be keeping an eye on the situation."

This WKRN report and this one describe donations "pouring in" from residents for the purchase of more books in other languages, to add to the current collection that includes books in Japanese, Russian, Polish, and French.

Apart from the WKRN stories, the most comprehensive accounting online is reported in this post on the Coyote Chronicles blog. NewsChannel5 also filed this brief report.

The mayor, library director, and library board in Lewisburg stand out when compared to officials in other parts of the state who speak and act with disrespect for Hispanics and immigrants, as reported previously (latest story here) in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook.

Focus: Education

Amigos de la Comunidad to volunteer with Hands on Nashville

Amigos de la Comunidad announced its participation in Hands on Nashville Day:


Amigos de la Comunidad

Community Development Org.

Reminder to to our Amigos Team Members

Our next area of support for our community is this Saturday Morning, Sept. 30th. We will be represented on this Nashville’s annual event called "Hands On Nashville Day", Organized by our Sister Organization with the same name and where 1500 volunteers will paint, clean, fix and landscape our worst off community schools, saving over $75,000 on maintenance dollars to our education system plus beautifying our children’s education centers. We will be represented with a team of 50 volunteers, our assigned school is CAMEREON Middle School on Murfreesboro close to downtown, and the working hours will be 7AM to 12 Noon.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Congratulations to new U.S. citizens

Local Hispanic immigrants beat the odds; many Latin Americans are ineligible

The Tennessean, the
Nashville City Paper
, and WTVF NewsChannel 5 all covered the recent naturalization ceremony at The Hermitage, the Historic Home of Andrew Jackson. Ninety-nine people from 40 countries took the oath of U.S. citizenship, formalizing their new identity and allegiance.

Among the new citizens were Ana Rivera of El Salvador, featured in a picture in the Tennessean, and Yuri Cunza of Peru. Cunza is the President of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce*.

The City Paper reports that 1,400 immigrants have been naturalized as U.S. citizens in Nashville so far this year. It also reports that only 10 percent of the 99 participating in the recent ceremony were from Central or South America, and only 3 were from Mexico, despite the fact that Latin Americans make up half of Nashville's foreign-born.

Cunza told the City Paper that many Latin American immigrants cannot become citizens because they cannot first get visas, which require education and financial independence.

*Hispanic Chamber 101: There are four Hispanic chambers of commerce in Middle Tennessee: the first three are the Franklin Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The Tennessean profiled these three chambers in this article in June 2006. A fourth chamber was incorporated this year (the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) but no activities have been announced.

Focus: Business, Chamber

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nashville's Salvador Guzman elected to board of U.S. Hispanic Chamber

The Tennessean reports in this article that Salvador Guzman, a founding member of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce*, has been elected to the board of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a national organization of 150 local Hispanic chambers.

Guzman is the owner of a local Spanish-language radio station and also launched restaurants under the "La Hacienda" banner.

*Hispanic Chamber 101: There are four Hispanic chambers of commerce in Middle Tennessee: the first three are the Franklin Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The Tennessean profiled these three chambers in this article in June 2006. A fourth chamber was incorporated this year (the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) but no activities have been announced.

Focus: Business, Chamber

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

MTSU students found local chapter of Hispanic sorority Lambda Theta Alpha

Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. has founded a local chapter at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). According to this MTSU web site, five sisters officially founded the Delta Iota Chapter on MTSU's campus on on April 30, 2006. The group is officially oriented to women of all ethnicities.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Paul Rusesabagina to be honored at Vanderbilt tonight; inspired "Hotel Rwanda"

Vanderbilt Hillel will honor Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who saved more than 1,200 lives during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda, by designating a tree in his name at a ceremony Monday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m. The ceremony will be held on the grounds of the Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life at Vanderbilt University. Rusesabagina will attend the ceremony before delivering a 7 p.m. lecture at Vanderbilt’s Student Life Center. Vanderbilt Hillel, an organization representing the university’s Jewish community, is honoring Rusesabagina for his “work towards advancing the well-being of humanity as a whole.” Often dubbed as the “Oscar Schindler of Africa,” he sheltered more than 1,200 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the Rwandan genocide.

WHAT: Vanderbilt Hillel will honor Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who saved more than 1,200 lives during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda, by designating a tree in his name. Rusesabagina will be present for the ceremony.

WHERE: Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life at Vanderbilt University, located at the corner of 25th Avenue S. and Vanderbilt Place – across from Memorial Gym.

WHEN: Monday, Sept. 25, 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Peruvian president Fujimori is subject of first movie in Latin film series at Vanderbilt

Director and producer Ellen Perry to attend

The Vanderbilt News Service issued this press release announcing the screening of the movie The Fall of Fujimori, which follows the man who led Peru from 1990 through 2000. The movie will be shown at September 27 at 7:00 p.m.:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Fall of Fujimori, the complex story of a former Peruvian president who is fighting extradition from Chile on charges of corruption, murder and human rights abuses, will be screened Sept. 27 at Vanderbilt University. Ellen Perry, director and producer of this award-winning documentary, will attend the screening, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Room 103.

Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants, had remained virtually silent after leaving Peru in disgrace in 2000, but he did talk extensively with Perry while he was hiding out in Tokyo as a fugitive ex-president. During the interview, he describes his meteoric rise to power through a grassroots campaign that built a strong connection to Peru’s poor citizens. He said that he took strong action to avoid a violent revolution and save democracy in Peru – even though he had to suspend democracy to seize dictatorial powers in his “self-coup.” He blames his lieutenants for the instances of corruption.

Nearly five years after leaving Peru for Japan, Fujimori suddenly appeared in Chile on a tourist visa in 2005, vowing to return to Peru and run for president again. Peru’s National Election Board rejected his bid in January of this year, and he faces extradition to Peru for charges that include authorizing a paramilitary death squad accused of 25 murders.

Also interviewed in the documentary are Peruvian journalists, Fujimori’s oldest child, the former head of Peruvian National Intelligence, a former U.S. ambassador to Peru and others. The Fall of Fujimori, which has been screened in more than 40 film festivals with its world premiere at Sundance in 2005. It received a documentary screenplay nomination from the Writers Guild of America this year.

Edward Wright-Rios, assistant professor of history, was instrumental in bringing Perry to campus. “We wanted to show The Fall of Fujimori because it is a very accessible entrée into complex problems in Latin American Studies,” he said. “On the deepest level we have a society that is still riven by ethnic and class divisions largely rooted in the colonial period, and these have been carried over into powerful leftist revolutionary movements employing terrorist tactics.”

He noted that until Fujimori was in power, the Peruvian political establishment was not capable of coping with the spread of these movements. “To tame these revolutionary movements and bring economic stability, Fujimori turned his back on democracy and adopted harsh authoritarian measures. Moreover, the corruption and human rights abuses carried out behind the veil of anti-democratic politics undid his presidency and threatened to undo his achievements. In short, it forces us to think hard about what shelving democracy in the name of security produces.”

The screening of The Fall of Fujimori is the first in a series presented by Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies. Co-sponsors of the series, which is free and open to the public, include the Department of Political Science, Center for the Americas, Film Studies Program and University Lectures Committee. All films are in English or subtitled in English. For more information, call 615-322-2527.

Other movies in the series will include The Motorcycle Diaries (2004, Walter Salles) (October 11), Fidel: The Untold Story (2003, Estela Bravo) (October 25), and The Panama Deception (1992, Barbara Trent) (November 8)

Hispanic Nashville Datebook

If you know of an event that should be listed in the Datebook, or if you are computer-savvy and want to help keep the Datebook current, pleas contact the editor.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Nashville Airport Authority considers dropping minority contract program

The Tennessean reports in this article that the Nashville Airport Authority may suspend a program that encourages minority contract work at the facility, for fear of legal challenges. The airport is on the verge of a multi-million dollar renovation project.

"The authority will consider temporarily suspending a program that has set annual goals for small, minority-owned and female-owned businesses to get a share of airport business. Last year, the goal was 6.29 percent of contracts awarded, and airport officials said the final numbers came in closer to 20 percent."

"Last year, that program resulted in $1.5 million of $7.9 million in airport contracts funded locally going to the targeted categories. Airport officials said female-owned firms saw the biggest gains."

"Under the airport's program, contractors on local projects have been encouraged — though not required — to use small, female- and minority-owned firms to help them complete portions of construction, renovation or service contracts. Small, minority- and female-owned firms also have been encouraged to bid directly."

"But such initiatives have been under attack from the white, male-dominated construction industry in the courts for the better part of two decades, and airport officials say they have been worried about being caught up in similar legal challenges here since at least last summer."

Marco Barrientos in concert Saturday September 23

Bilingual Spanish/English worship singer Marco Barrientos will perform at the Cornerstone Church, 726 West Old Hickory Blvd., in Madison, Tennessee on Saturday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 615-397-2973 or 615-586-8437.

Hispanic Nashville Datebook

If you know of an event that should be listed in the Datebook, or if you are computer-savvy and want to help keep the Datebook current, pleas contact the editor.

Language ban moves forward - but no longer "only" English

The City Paper reports in this article that the "English-only" bill proposed by a Metro Councilman was approved at first reading, with two more readings necessary for passage, and that the key "English only" provision was amended out of the bill. The bill's sponsor, however, insisted that the "English only" effect of the bill remained, despite the amendment.

According to the Tennessean, the bill's sponsor said that "the new version definitely demands English, and only English, be used in any city communications the bill does not specifically exclude from its providence."

Bill opponent Gregg Ramos disagreed, telling the City Paper that "the new bill, as technically written, only requires Metro to produce its communications in English but does not prohibit the city from producing the same communications in other languages."

The Tennessean published this article on the Council meeting, including links to the text of the amended bill, the positions of various Council members, and e-mails to the Tennessean on both sides of the issue.

Focus: Justice

Friday, September 15, 2006

English-only proposal hits Nashville as Hispanic Heritage Month begins; first reading Tuesday September 19

Supporters of translations call for strong turnout, yellow attire at Metro Courthouse

The Tennessean reports in this article that a Metro Councilman has drafted an English-only ordinance so "all city communications would have to be in English, and only in English." The full text of the proposed non-English language ban is here.

The article does not say whether the councilman has made a practical analysis of the impact of his proposal or the opinions of those who would have to implement it. The Tennessean says only, "It is unclear how a variety of city agencies now offering bilingual services — police, schools and Health Department, among others — would be affected." The Hispanic Nashville Notebook reported in 2004 that the greatest barriers to health care for Hispanics in the South are limited English skills and the lack of Spanish-speaking health care workers. (story here). Presumably, upon implementation of an English-only policy, many Hispanics who are not yet fluent in English would be immediately cut off from, among other things, a multitude of Metro government communications about important subjects. Metro currently implements a variety of multi-lingual communication strategies on topics including legal rights, a child's first day of school, domestic violence, recycling, rape victim resources, financial counseling, Homework Hotline, recidivism-reducing DUI education, pet ownership tips, access to health care, and tornado siren instructions - and none of the agencies responsible for those communications have been quoted in any of the articles on the proposed language ban.

Here are excerpts from publications of Nashville governmental agencies who might have something to say about the bill, if asked:

Nashville General Hospital
"And at Nashville General, we speak your language. To serve our community's diverse population, we're proud to have one of the top interpreting programsin the community that uses both Spanish-speaking staff interpreters as well as specialists in other languages, such as Kurdish or American Sign Language for the deaf."

Public Defender's Office
"[T]he Spanish speaking staff saves the state and local government money since they provide out of court translations for the Assistant Public Defenders in cases with Spanish speaking defendants or witnesses. The Public Defender's Office receives frequent requests from probation officers, court officers, and judges for assistance by the Spanish-speaking attorneys and staff. It is apparent that the various agencies of the Davidson County criminal justice system are benefiting from the availability of attorneys and other staff who are able to not only represent Spanish speakers, but who can also assist the courts to understand the many cultural issues unique to Hispanic defendants."

MDHA Fair Housing Office
"It is a wonderful feeling to have friends of all creeds and nationalities. Think of all the different foods you will eat and all the different languages you will begin to learn, and all of the American ways of life you can make your new friends familiar with. Think of the ways you would want to be treated and treat others the same."

Gregg RamosNashville attorney Gregg Ramos* has invited members of the community to show opposition to the bill by wearing yellow and attending the bill's first reading before the Metro Council on Tuesday, September 19:

"We need a lot of people there to show our strong opposition to this unnecessarily divisive bill. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. [corrected from earlier reported time of 6:00 p.m.] and will be the 1st meeting back in the refurbished Metro Courthouse (not the City Hall Building where the Council meetings have been held the last 2 years). It would be great if everyone could start arriving as close to 6:00 p.m. as possible so we can show our strong opposition to everyone in Metropolitan Government."

"There will be complimentary parking at the Metro Courthouse (in the adjacent Courthouse Garage). Clerk's Office staff will disseminate parking validation coupons just outside the Council Chamber (second floor of the Courthouse) to citizens needing such. The public entrance to the Courthouse is only through the James Robertson Parkway entrance on the north side of the building at this time."

"Also, please try to wear something yellow so we can clearly identify ourselves to the Council Members as opponents of the English-only proposed bill. This could include yellow shirts, blouses, scarves, etc."

The Tennessean has published this editorial opposing the bill:

"[The councilman] cannot claim that the effort is aimed only at illegal immigrants. Many of the non-English speaking individuals in Nashville are here legally. Many of them are trying to learn English."

"[His] ordinance would not reduce the number of immigrants in Nashville. It would not deny them jobs. What it would do is create chaos that need not exist."

"Instead of stymieing communication in Nashville, the Metro Council should look for ways to foster more English-language instruction. Short of that, Crafton's ordinance should be chalked up to political posturing at the expense of the public's well-being."

The Nashville City Paper reports in this article that an electronic billboard is calling for passage of the bill:

"'Metro Council, welcome to America, we speak English here, pass the bill, immigrants, no habla Ingles?, no freeo stuffo, from el governmento, comprende por favor?' the electronic billboard (about 50 feet tall and 48 feet wide) has read since Wednesday morning."

The billboard illustrates that the various subjects of gripes about immigrants - legal status, language fluency, and economic contribution or impact - are often intertwined. Without explanation, the "no freeo stuffo" phrase betrays the author's fusion (or confusion) of language fluency with economic dependence. Considering the non-exhaustive list above of communications currently translated by Metro into languages other than English, one has to hope the author does not truly wish to withhold communications such rape victim resources and tornado siren instructions from those who are currently receiving them.

Kudos to Metro Councilman Mike Jameson, who is also a law partner of Gregg Ramos, for publicly stating his opposition to the bill. He told the Nashville City Paper that the proposed language ban is "unnecessary and potentially dangerous."

"'No one is suggesting that anything other than English be recognized as the official language of the country or of the state or the city,' Jameson said. 'We already have a state statue that spells that out and has spelled that out for years.'"

"'If what you’re telling me to do is to tell the guy who can’t speak English who calls 911 to report that he’s having a heart attack, 'I’m sorry, call back when you learn English,' I’m not going to be a part of anything as vicious and as backward-sided as that,' Jameson said."

"'It’s just beyond me how much more hostile we can be to people when we need to be a welcoming city,' he added."

The City Paper also interviewed Yuri Cunza, president of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce**, who "said the sign could be extraordinarily unwelcoming to legal immigrants new to Nashville."

"'If I’m a newcomer here, I would say that I would feel targeted. I wouldn’t think it’s friendly. It’s actually rather hostile,' Cunza said."

"'I was under the impression that Metro already spoke English,' he said. 'But I expect city leaders to be wise enough to understand the importance of tolerance and diversity as we grow our city.'"

Read more about English-only proposals in materials prepared by the Tennessee Immigrants and Refugee Rights Coalition ("English-only laws are about the way we treat immigrants in transition") and Wikipedia.

*Gregg Ramos is the former President of the Nashville Bar Association. He is no relation to Nashville attorney Mario Ramos.

**Hispanic Chamber 101: There are four Hispanic chambers of commerce in Middle Tennessee: the first three are the Franklin Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The Tennessean profiled these three chambers in this article in June 2006. A fourth chamber was incorporated this year (the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) but no activities have been announced.

Memphis says no to Hispanics as minority business owners

Excluded from municipal selection on projects like FedEx Forum

Business TN reports in this article that Memphis does not recognize Hispanics as a minority when it solicits bids for contracts from minority-owned businesses.

"The municipality’s minority and women business enterprise (MWBE) procurement program keeps Hispanic businessmen out of the running for government incentives by narrowly defining a minority as 'those persons, citizens of the United States and lawfully admitted resident aliens, who are African American (persons whose origins are in one of the Black regional groups of Africa).' The MWBE ordinance was rewritten a few years ago to include women of any ethnicity. As a result, Hispanic-owned businesses are ineligible to bid as a minority-owned business on municipal projects like public schools, parking garages or the FedExForum. Members of the Hispanic business community are concerned that such a narrow definition could disenfranchise much of its entrepreneurial class."

"'Hispanics provide the labor, but they don’t get to management level,' says corporate and immigration attorney Charles Blatteis, former president of Memphis' Hispanic Business Alliance. Blatteis notes the ordinance isn’t unique. Shelby County had a similar policy that was thrown out after Mayor A C Wharton Jr. took office four years ago. Atlanta had a similar view of minorities until the Chamber of Commerce—with the help of Jesse Jackson—lobbied to change the wording to include Latinos."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Burning cross in KY: Hispanic family targeted

NewsChannel5 and the Knoxville News-Sentinel both report that a Hispanic family in Rockfield, Kentucky found a burning cross on their lawn last weekend, only one day after a burglary and break-in at their home. Notes left with the cross said, "My country, maybe. My neighborhood. No way." and "If you can't read this... Oddy-ouss." The Rockfield residents who were targeted, Nelson Espinoza and his wife Morena, have moved out of the house temporarily as they consider whether they should remain in the neighborhood.

Both articles report that the Warren County (KY) Sheriff's department is investigating the act as a hate crime. The Knoxville News-Sentinel article says that the FBI is also aware of the incident but has not yet opened a formal investigation.

The anger-mongering by some members of the exclusionist ("illegal immigration") political movement is the subject of this recent story here in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook, as well as this story about violent rhetoric. The convictions of Hispanic-targeting Nazi vandalists and a KKK bomber in Tennessee last year reveal that the Kentucky cross-burnings are an indictment not of our neighbor state to the north but of an American culture that has permitted the demonization of Hispanics as a group. The demonizers' defense, always some variation of, "but what if they're ILLEGAL," holds no water and instead fuels the flames of rage by giving exclusionism the illusion of legal legitimacy. This recent NPR story reported that the tone of the immigration debate is emboldening white supremacists and making Hispanics their primary enemy. Local governments are part of the problem as well, responding with disrespectful statements and isolationist proposals (story here). Some Hispanics trace the seeds of this sentiment to patriotism gone amok in the wake of 9/11 (story here).

Cross-burning is a tool of intimidation and exclusion that is often associated with whites' attempts to exclude blacks from integration in the 1960's but dates back a century (read more here). It is in disfavor in modern society and illegal when used as a tool of intimidation and expression of hate. It is unfortunately obvious, however, that the practice, and the sentiments which accompany it, have not died out. This PBS article describes a 2004 cross-burning in Anderson, California, and the community's response.

The Espinozas are natives of El Salvador. They have been in the United States for five years and moved to their neighborhood in Rockfield only two months ago. Rockfield is near the Kentucky/Tennessee border, close to Bowling Green, Kentucky and Portland, Tennessee. As I hope and pray that many of their neighbors in Rockfield have already told them, they are not alone, and our best hope is for the Espinozas' safety and for the refusal of any one group of people to isolate another. The Hispanic Nashville Notebook offers its condolences to the Espinoza family but also a warm embrace, and we hope we can offer you a hospitable welcome should you ever choose to visit Tennessee.

Image source: Dallas Morning News photo, Texas cross-burning

Mexican Independence Day Festival at Nashville Fairgrounds September 17

Grand event to celebrate the

Date : Sunday, September 17th
Place : Nashville Fairgrounds
Time : From 3:00pm to midnight

What’s taking place?
· Six or more musical groups, local as well as national
· Dancing
· Karaoke contest
· Giveaways for attendees
· Pageant and crowning of the queen
· Clowns
· Balloons and inflatable moonwalks
· Food
· And much more!!!

Hispanic Nashville Datebook

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First Hispanic United Methodist Church celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month October 1

Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida Hispana (First Hispanic United Methodist Church) will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a bi-lingual service on the October 1 at 10 a.m. followed by an international food fair serving dishes from accross the Americas. This event is FREE and all are welcome.

Bi-lingual Service is at 10:00 a.m.
Food will be served 11:30 a.m.

Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida Hispana
First Hispanic United Methodist Church
2621 Nolensville Pike
Nashville, TN 37211
(Next to La Hacienda Restaurant)

Hispanic Nashville Datebook

If you know of an event that should be listed in the Datebook, or if you are computer-savvy and want to help keep the Datebook current, pleas contact the editor.

Franklin Hispanic Chamber meeting/mixer September 19

Franklin Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Invites you...

to a Chamber meeting/mixer on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 at 5:30PM at New York Drive Life, 840 Crescent Center #500, Franklin, TN 37067. 65, go west on exit 68A Cool Springs Blvd, Right on Carothers Pkwy, right on Crescent Center Drive, 1st building on the left. Bring your business cards and be prepared to mix and mingle. All meetings are in English. Everyone welcome regardless of whether you are a member or not. $5 for members (and students) $10 non-members.

Hispanic Nashville Datebook

If you know of an event that should be listed in the Datebook, or if you are computer-savvy and want to help keep the Datebook current, pleas contact the editor.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Vanderbilt Nursing School selected by WHO for health care partnership in Latin America

The Nashville City Paper reports in this story that the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has entered into a partnership with a regional arm of the World Health Organization to improve care in Latin America through education and telemedicine.

"The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) — the regional arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) — has selected the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing as its newest collaborating center in the United States."

“'The parties will carry out [health care] activities in Latin America and the Caribbean with the possibility of adding additional areas in the future,' said Betsy Weiner, associate director, International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education (INCMCE) at the VU School of Nursing."

"Focal points of the collaboration will include emergency preparedness; disaster relief in areas such as training, assessment, education; and health workforce shortage especially in nursing, bioethics, e-health and telemedicine."

"Another issue Garcia highlighted is the growing occurrences of obesity and diabetes in Latin American countries and the resulting diabetic retinopathy. In other words, more and more people are suffering partial or complete blindness as a result of being overweight, along with heightened levels of blood sugar."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

City Club hosts Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber September 13

The Nashville City Club will host the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce* on Wednesday, September 13, to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. In this piece, Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr hails the event as a sign that the city is growing up, and she quotes Chamber President Yuri Cunza on its significance:

"'We are open to the possibility of trusting each other,' said Yuri Cunza, president of this Hispanic chamber. 'There is symbolism to eating together, to share a meal.'"

Information from the official announcement of the event:

September 13th, 2006
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Nashville City Club
20th Floor, 201 Fourth Avenues North, Nashville, TN 37219

"Recognizing the contributions of the more than 42 million Hispanics living in the U.S.A"

Join us to celebrate Fiesta style! Enjoy margaritas, live music and incredible food
from South of the Border.

RSVP to Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (615) 216-5737

*Hispanic Chamber 101: There are four Hispanic chambers of commerce in Middle Tennessee: the first three are the Franklin Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The Tennessean profiled these three chambers in this article in June 2006. A fourth chamber was incorporated this year (the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) but no activities have been announced.

Focus: Business, Chamber

Hispanic Nashville Datebook

Monday, September 11, 2006

Struggle after September 11: Hispanic citizens and immigrants in 2002

On September 11, 2006, the Hispanic Nashville Notebook reflects on the tragedies that occured after 9/11, as heard in these stories which aired on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. From KQED, a northern California public radio station, we focus on the following two stories, excerpts of which are printed in green below:

Latin American Laborers in the Wake of 9/11 7 minutes 37 seconds
August 16, 2002
Store clerk Yolanda Robles immigrated to California from Mexico fifteen years ago and recently became a U.S. citizen. Robles says rumors of immigration busts have been swirling since September 11. ... She says the stepped-up immigration enforcement is misdirected. "They are taking it out on Latinos, and even moreso the fieldworkers, and they don't even know what a terrorist is." ... Although she has been a legal citizen for several years now, Robles says many people in authority treat her like she isn't welcome. "It has always been like this, but now it seems there are more racists. There has always been racism, but it was hidden. After September 11, it has come back more."

Latino USA Remembers 9/11 59 minutes 0 seconds
September 8, 2002
As the rubble at Ground Zero has cleared, we have all tried to make sense of our life again, but for New York Latinos, it hasn't been easy. The numbers bear it out: of the estimated 2,825 victims of the terrorist attacks, the City of New York identifed 247 as Latino. ... Firefighters saved [William Rodriguez] from the rubble, and Rodriguez spent the next few days on the bucket brigade, trying in vain to rescue others. The experience transformed his life. He spent the past year as an activist, organizing and advocating for Latino survivors and victims' families. Rodriguez is now President of the September 11 Hispanic Victims' Group. "There was a need for it and I was filling up that need right away, and not because I wanted, but because I needed to do it - that was my therapy. And I owed that to the memory of the people that I lost; I lost 200 friends that day." ... Without the proper documents, many immigrant workers and their families have been unable or too fearful to prove they worked in or around the World Trade Center, but this summer, Rodriguez was able to secure from the Justice Department an amnesty for the undocumented, meaning they are now eligible for federal aid. Officials from the 9/11 Fund are assuring them that they will not be deported or reported to immigration officials. ... Another thing the tragedy has done is to reveal the complications of many immigrants' lives. Julia Hernandez says that when she asked for relief money, she was told point blank she wouldn't get it because she is undocumented and she wasn't legally married to her husband... When he heard of her story, Kenneth Feinberg, who heads the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund, made this promise: "She will be compensated for her loss. ... She needn't be concerned that she will be prosecuted. ... There is a guarantee from the INS that there will be no adverse consequences to her filing." ... It took days, weeks, months for the dirt, dust, fires and smoke to clear from Ground Zero. But people had to get back to work. They had to get home. Everyone was telling us to get back to normal, and quickly. In the days following the attacks, hundreds of immigrant day laborers, the majority Latino, were hired to clean apartment buildings and offices surrounding the site. ... The air inhaled by workers during the cleanup efforts was indeed toxic.

(The New York Times reported in this recent article that despite granting victim compensation to all 9/11 widows as promised, the federal government did not alter or improve at least three widows' immigration status, leaving them much wealthier but constrained by their vulnerability to deportation. A separate report recently revealed that 70 percent of rescue workers "have developed serious and persistent respiratory illnesses from exposure to toxic dust.")

Friday, September 8, 2006

Hispanic Nashville Datebook: four big entertainment options this weekend

At least four entertainment options with a Hispanic twist are happening in and around Nashville this weekend. For more information, see the previously published stories here on and also keep an eye on the Hispanic Nashville Datebook (link at left or embedded calendar below).

If you know of an event that should be listed in the Datebook, or if you are computer-savvy and want to help keep the Datebook current, pleas contact the editor.

Hispanic Nashville Datebook

Nashville's Kathy Gilbert profiles Mississippi ministry to Hispanics

Kathy Gilbert, a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, filed this article published by Spero News about the Rev. Sally Bevill, pastor of Beauvoir United Methodist Church and coordinator of Hispanic Ministries for the Katrina Response Team of the Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference. Here are some excerpts:

"The Hispanic/Latino population on the Gulf Coast has increased by 25 percent since Hurricane Katrina hit the coast Aug. 29, 2005."

"'They were the ones who came in and did a tremendous amount of the cleanup work,' Bevill says. 'They were the ones pulling out the dead bodies.'"

"Recently she found a group of immigrants living in 'awful' condition in a trailer park. They had no water and the children had no shoes, she says."

"'I encountered a man who had been mugged. They had burned the bottom of his feet with cigarettes until he gave up his money,' she says. 'We had suspected our Hispanics were a target because of getting paid on Fridays and walking around with a lot of cash because they can't get checking accounts. That just affirmed what our suspicions were anyway.'"

"'It is a most exciting time to be here,' says Bevill. 'It is overwhelming, but it is very exciting. God will lead. My being here is very much a God thing.'"

Image: from this article by Ashley Wilkerson, Indiana University

Focus: Faith

Tennessean columnist Dwight Lewis decries lack of mercy, cites KKK anti-immigration rally

Dwight Lewis wrote in his column in the Tennessean about three recent incidents in which seemingly inconceivable acts of inhumanity have been in the news, including a recent anti-immigration rally held by the KKK in which "the Mexicans" were the target of jeers:

"The summer issue of the Intelligence Report, published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held an anti-immigration rally in Russellville, Ala., that drew more than 300 Klansmen and Klan supporters."

"'Let's get rid of the Mexicans,' robed Klansmen are said to have yelled as they burned a 22-foot-high cross."

"Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!"

Nashville Scene reviews Quinceanera

The Nashville Scene published this review of the new movie Quinceanera, about the coming-of-age party thrown for 15-year-old girls in Hispanic families. Here is an excerpt:

"There are no drug dealers, racist cops, or street gangs waving guns, no neglectful parents - only loving mothers and excitable fathers who want the best for their kids, and kids like Carlos and Magdalena trying to grow up both Mexican and American. Perhaps it's inevitable that these two are destined to pull together in self-defence and self-definition, but I wouldn't call Quinceanera a sentimental journey. Old Tomas may be a sage and as close as this movie gets to cute, but his fate also points to the dark side of what is happening to traditional working class neighborhoods under siege from the predatory hubris of the rich. 'You live in a whole 'nother world, don't you?' says one of the white landlords who's been dallying with Carlos behind his partner's back. 'No,' says Carlos. 'You do.'"

Focus: Entertainment

Espi Ralston of Jackson recruits medical interpreters

The Jackson Sun reports in this article that Jackson resident Espi Ralston is recruiting health care interpreters:

"Espi Ralston wants to help the growing Hispanic community in Madison County by training health-care interpreters."

"Ralston was born in Seville, Spain, and moved to the United States in the 1970s."

"'My older two daughters were born in Nashville, and at that time, I only spoke Spanish,' she said. During the birth of her first daughter, Ralston didn't have an interpreter. For the second daughter, she had two bilingual friends who were studying nursing with her. 'There was a major difference,' she said."

"In an effort to increase the number of medical interpreters and the quality of medical interpretation, Ralston is offering a health-care interpreter certificate program in Jackson."

"The classes, to be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 14 through Nov. 16 at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, will train existing medical interpreters or bilingual people who would like to become health-care interpreters. The registration deadline is Sept. 7."

"Ralston and partner Martha Kantor 'are initiating collaborative efforts with other local hospitals, such as Regional Hospital, to offer cultural competence seminars, Spanish for health-care professionals, translations, implementation of language access services, and meeting Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and National Committee for Quality Assurance federal mandates for limited English proficient patients,' Ralston said in an e-mail."

Sandra Atherton, the director of volunteer and pastoral care at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, supported the efforts by providing this example of the importance of the service: "How would you like to sign a consent form in a foreign country and not understand what you are signing?" she told the Sun.

"For more information or questions about the course, call Ralston at (901) 763-2045 or (901) 218-4691 or by e-mail at"

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Nashville's Glendale Baptist among churches with politically dangerous Cuban sisterhood

People's Weekly World reports in this article, and the Associated Baptist Press reports in this article, that the federal government is cracking down on religious groups with ties to Cuba at the same time it allows travel there. Glendale Baptist Church of Nashville is mentioned in one of the articles.

"In a related development, in Birmingham, Ala., members of the Baptist Church of the Covenant and several other churches recently hoped to build a sister-church relationship with the Baptist Church of Boca de Muriel in Cuba, having sent a delegation to Cuba in 2005. Instead they were slapped with a $34,000 fine from the U.S. Department of the Treasury."

"The Treasury Department claims that the church delegation violated a U.S. ban on tourism to Cuba."

"The Church of the Covenant is part of the Alliance of Baptists, a moderate group representing 117 congregations that broke with the Southern Baptist Convention in the late ’80s when it elected ultra-conservative leaders. Alliance Executive Director Stan Hastey said the group will appeal the fine, which is about 10 percent of its annual budget."

"Other congregations involved in the Cuban sister-church project are the First Baptist Churches of Washington, D.C., Savannah, Ga., Greenville, S.C.; and the Glendale Baptist Church of Nashville."

Glendale Baptist has Cuba news on the missions page of its web site.

Focus: Faith, Justice

Reminder: 5th Tango by Moonlight, Friday September 8

Parthenon5th. 'Tango by Moonlight'
Friday, September 8, 2006
7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Event Shelter, Centennial Park
West End Ave. and 25th. Ave. N
Nashville, TN 37204

Come out and enjoy a MAGICAL night with Tango Nashville, featuring Latin and Tango live music by Serenatta Romantic Latin Ensemble, live dance performances by Tango Nashville's Troupe and an Argentine Tango lesson by Tango Nashville's own Artistic Director MariaPia De Pasquale. Bring your packed dinner and relax under a full lit moon with friends and family. Door prizes and latin music too!

For more information, contact Diana Holland at, or visit

Festival of the Americas Saturday September 9

Eva Melo of the Franklin Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce sent this announcement of a Festival of the Americas to be held Saturday, September 9 from 12pm-4pm at the Bethel World Outreach Center in Brentwood. Click on the poster at right for more information.

Two Tennessee banks adopt Federal Reserve's Directo a Mexico program

The Tennessean reports in this article that two Tennessee banks have adopted a Federal Reserve Bank program called "Directo a Mexico," which is designed to help banking customers in the U.S. transfer money internationally without being overcharged:

"Every other month, Mercedes Suarez sends $500 to $1,000 to her brother in Mexico by paying a fee of $15 to $30 to the Western Union agent next door to her Nolensville Road dry-cleaning business."

"The Bank of America branch a mile away charges customers a flat fee of $8 to send the same amounts of money."

"Suarez's preference reflects the challenge U.S. banks face in capturing a larger share of the remittance business, which for Mexico involves people working in the United States sending $20 billion a year back home."

"For some undocumented immigrants with knowledge about banking, there's a perception that any dealings with banks may result in an even better paper trail for immigration authorities."

"But the U.S. government through the Federal Reserve Bank is seeking to reduce costs of immigrants sending money home."

"Last month, at a workshop in Nashville, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta pitched bankers on a program called Directo a Mexico that has been picked up by two Tennessee banks."

"Kingsport-based Bank of Tennessee charges a $6 fee; Bank of Bartlett near Memphis in a test is charging from $5 to $11."

"Under the arrangement between the Fed and a Mexican bank, immigrants can help relatives in Mexico get a bank account to which money can be sent through the automated clearinghouse network for pickup by the next business day."

Focus: Business

Diet doc attracting Hispanic patients is sex addict, says Scene

The Nashville Scene reports in this article that Hispanic women looking for weight-loss solutions are being taken in, but not in the way that they had intended:

"On a recent weekday afternoon, the place reeks with a humid funk reminiscent of sweaty children or unwashed dogs. About a dozen patients sit on standard-issue waiting-room chairs. The people are large, listless. Almost all are women, mostly black and Hispanic. There is one man with his wife and baby."

"With nine diet clinics across Tennessee, one in Los Angeles his own line of herbal supplements, and services that include Botox and other nonsurgical cosmetic treatments, Dr. Feldman has built quite a business. His ads claim that his Doctors Diet Program is 'Tennessee’s No. 1 physician-supervised weight loss clinic.' His website——makes the McDonald’s-like boast, 'Over 40,000 patients served.' Dr. Feldman’s diet empire is so big that he needs a private plane, which he pilots, to keep tabs on his various offices."

"But what many of Dr. Feldman’s patients probably don’t know is that he is a diagnosed sex addict. According to the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners—which licenses and polices doctors—Feldman has a history of molesting patients and making sexually inappropriate remarks to—and about—his staff. Those who have worked with him say that he hits on minors and employees. In the late 1990s, he settled a sexual harassment suit with a former employee for $10,000, according to court documents."

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

VU prof Thatamanil: whiteness and American identity are too closely aligned

John J. Thatamanil, assistant professor of theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School, penned this editorial reflecting on his father's advice to him as a child about being an "American," in the context of Senator George Allen's "macaca" comment. Here are excerpts:
"From adolescence on, I heard a constant refrain from my Indian father: 'Don't ever believe that you're really American.' I found his advice peculiar, especially as I had been living in America since age 8 and had largely forgotten my time in India. To him, it didn't matter that the only language in which I could think a complex thought was English. It didn't matter that the only music I listened to was Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees and Billy Joel."
"My father's dictum infuriated me, in part because I took his comment to be racist. Did he mean that only white people count as real Americans? What about African-Americans, let alone Indian-Americans? I have insisted ever since that in America, what makes someone an American is citizenship, not race or ethnicity."
"Last month — after hearing Sen. George Allen call an Indian-American, born in this country, 'macaca' — I better appreciated my father's sober wisdom. What he meant to say is now apparent: 'You will never be accepted as truly American.'"
"Indian-Americans and other affluent immigrant groups would do well to remember the civil rights struggles of African-Americans and others without whom a racially inclusive American nation would have been impossible."
"Only by making common cause with African-Americans, only by joining with other immigrant groups that have not been as fortunate, can South Asian immigrants resist America's troubled racial history and embrace its best aspirations for a truly democratic and inclusive future."
"In the near term, what this means is that Americans of color should work together to ensure that politicians who can see the many shades and hues of American life only as exotic, foreign or even un-American have no role in shaping our common future."
Focus: Justice

Southern Baptists launch Spanish-language news

The Nashville-Based Baptist Press announced in this article the publication of a Spanish-language version of Baptist Press content, called BP en Espanol. Baptist Press is part of the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention.

“'The theme for all of our materials in BP en Español will be evangelistic, edifying and informative,' said Will Hall, executive editor of Baptist Press and vice president for news services with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee."

"He added that BP en Español will seek 'to serve Hispanic evangelicals looking for equipping resources and to attract Hispanic seekers wanting to know more about the Christian faith.'"

Nashville's ProLingua charts "new industry" consulting to employers of foreign-born

The Nashville Business Journal published this profile of Ellen O'Bryant, President of Nashville-based ProLingua. Here are some excerpts:

"Describe your core business: We are a business partner to employers who strive to attract, retain, and grow foreign-born workers."

"How do you market your company and develop customers? Co-owner and CEO Ann Gillespie and I both speak at conferences locally, regionally and nationally to educate companies on the potential costs of language barriers in the workplace and strategies to address them. We began working primarily in Middle Tennessee, but now have clients across the Southeast and are starting to attract national clients."

"How do you try to differentiate yourself from competition? Our 7 Elements process is unique in that it manages risk and improves business performance in measurable ways, such as increased productivity or decreased safety violations. Our results-based approach and our capacity to work with multiple cultures and languages within a workforce leave us little direct competition. Other firms specialize in Hispanic issues, or provide a la carte services such as training, translation or interpretation."

"What is the biggest challenge facing your industry? A challenge for us has been starting not just a new company but a new industry. Especially in Middle Tennessee, the population growth of immigrants and refugees increased so drastically in such a short period of time that many employers were caught off guard and were unaware of possible solutions. We've seen quite a change in the employers' mindset, from refusing to hire people who don't speak English to wanting to become an employer of choice for all workers. The effort to educate employers is an ongoing challenge as the immigrant population continues to grow and change."

Focus: Business

Volunteer State adviser aims for students' success with a welcome

The Tennessean reports in this article on the various factors that make back-to-school season a challenge, including knowing English as a second language, or not at all:

"At Volunteer State Community College, adviser and counselor Terry Bubb added one more group of first-time students that may have a tough time adjusting to college."

"'For freshmen that don't speak English, things can be especially intimidating,' said Bubb, who has an English and Spanish welcome on his office voice-mail greeting. 'It's an issue we deal with more each year. We encourage non-English-speaking students to get involved in clubs and groups with English-speaking students and not hang out only with people who speak their language.'"

Focus: Education

Nashville builders talk about expatriate workers

The Nashville Business Journal reports in this article on the viewpoints of Nashville builders about immigration and workers from other countries:

"'Go to any job site and you'll see, if not the majority, there's a large number of Hispanic workers on the job,' says Pete Dickson, the new president of the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. ABC is a national organization that last fall adopted a statement calling for a temporary guest worker program that could include undocumented workers already in the country. While calling for stricter border enforcement, ABC's position paper said the immigrant work force meets a need."

"'Elimination of this workforce is not an option,' the group said. 'Construction, among many U.S. industries, would come to a halt without the existence of this workforce in the current numbers.'"

"A 2005 report by the non-partisan Pew Hispanic Center said 17 percent of unauthorized migrants in the American labor force work in the construction industry, and that 10 percent of the total construction employees in the United States are unauthorized migrants. Tennessee, the report said, was one of 17 states where unauthorized migrants make up 40 percent or more of the total foreign-born population."

Focus: Business

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

State Fair to feature "Latin Music Spectacular" Sunday September 10

MCM-Nashville and Activa sent this press release to announce the 2006 Latin Music Spectacular at the Tennessee State Fair:

Radio Station "Activa" 1240AM and MCM-Nashville will present the "Latin Music Spectacular" at the Tennessee State Fair on September 10, 2006. The event will feature some of the hottest and brightest stars in Latino music.

The event, will be presented on Sunday, September 10, 2006 at the main stage of the Music City Motorplex at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. The scheduled 4 hour program will feature an all star line-up of Latino artists including Afinke Orchestra, Citlaly, Danny Salazar, and Johnny Vasquez and other special guest.

According to MCM-Nashville Vice President of Marketing, Nick Baird, we have created a an exciting, world class, family style event for Hispanics Middle Tennessee area. We invite them to bring the family out for a day at the fair and enjoy some world class entertainment" The program will also include "The Parade Of Flags" The Parade of Flags is a ceremony where Hispanic children will carry flags of the various Hispanic Nations in parade before the expected huge audience.

This will be a ticketed event once inside the State Fair. Ticket prices will be $14.00 for Adults and $5.00 for children 12 and under.

64,600 Hispanics in Nashville area, says Census Bureau reports in this article that there are almost 1.4 million people living in the 13-county Nashville area, and 64,600 of them are Hispanic. The story cites the 2005 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau.

"The authorities say there are 1,384,347 of us, give or take 4,681 souls (the margin of error), living in the 13-county Nashville metropolitan statistical area. The bureau defines the area as encompassing Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson and Wilson Counties. The total figure is about 109,000 more than last year's sum, representing a population increase of 8.6 percent."

"The Nashville-area Hispanic population grew by about 6,000 from 2004 to 2005, according to the figures, to reach about 64,600. In 2002, the first year that ACS published localized data on Nashville, the survey counted 47,300 Hispanic residents. The African-American population, meanwhile, grew from 204,000 in 2004 to 212,000 in 2005."

Family karaoke in LaVergne eyes Hispanic crooners

The Daily News Journal reports in this article that the recently-opened Nikki's Family Karaoke will add Latin songs to its list in an effort to invite Hispanic singers to join in the fun:

"Visitors will have more than 4,000 songs to choose from, including country and light rock classics, blues and a few hip-hop songs, he said. He's also working on getting some Latin songs added to the mix, so the city's Hispanic population can come in and have some fun."

"Located at 521 Old Nashville Highway near Driggers Auto Sales, Nikki's Family Karaoke is housed in a 5,200-square-foot building. The spot isn't just for singing, but dancing, too, as there is a hardwood dance floor."

"A buffet from The Chatterbox in Smyrna is included in the $6.50 cover charge. Candy bars and drinks are also sold on site. Hours are 7-11 p.m. on Thursdays and 7p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays."

Spanish-language safety courses propel Nashville-based PureSafety

The Nashville Business Journal reports in this article that Nashville-based workplace safety training company PureSafety is making big business gains with Spanish-language courses:

"PureSafety habla Espanol, and the result has been a rapidly growing market for the workplace safety training company."

"Nashville-based PureSafety offers online safety training courses aimed at preventing injuries while boosting compliance with the regulatory requirements of agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In the last four years, the company has seen its number of Spanish-language courses jump from around 30 to more than 100 and it's adding more every month. The company has about 360 English-language course offerings."

Focus: Business

Local lawmen petition feds for more immigration data, cooperation

The Tennessean and the Nashville City Paper report today that local law enforcement officials have proposed a partnership with the federal government to identify and hold underground expatriates* who are in local custody for criminal activity. If the proposal is accepted, the federal government would provide information and additional manpower, and in some cases, handle deportation.

The Tennessean story reports that "[b]y installing a federal immigration computer system in the Metro Jail and placing an immigration officer in the lockup full time, local authorities would be able to quickly identify criminal suspects who are in the country illegally and keep them from being released."

"[Davidson County Sheriff Daron] Hall is scheduled to hold a news conference today along with Metro police Chief Ronal Serpas and District Attorney General Torry Johnson to announce the initiative. Local officials are awaiting approval from federal immigration authorities and are trying to enlist the help of Tennessee's congressional delegation."

"The initiative comes as the number of foreign-born people booked into Metro Jail each year continues to soar. The 4,173 foreign-born prisoners who moved through the Nashville lockup during the past fiscal year are nearly double the number booked five years ago, county figures show."

The City Paper article states that "the federal government placed immigration holds on only 151 — 3.6 percent — of them, according to Hall’s office."

Both the Tennessean article and the City Paper article mention a similar program's implementation in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In August, FOXNews reported in this article that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would make immigration data more available to local governments. The announcement was made at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which was held in Nashville in August.

*"Underground expatriates" is a neologism and one of many phrases, including the phrase "illegal immigrants," that are used on this site to identify citizens of other countries who have not been told by the U.S. government that they can legally visit, work or live here. This proposed guideline on Wikipedia is an interesting resource on how different groups support the usage of different terms to identify these foreign citizens. The current policy of the Hispanic Nashville Notebook is not to settle on any one term.

Focus: Justice

Nashville Latino Health Coalition meeting September 7

The Hispanic Community Group of Tennessee sent this announcement of a Nashville Latino Health Coalition meeting on September 8

September 7 - Nashville Latino Health Coalition meeting

The Hispanic Community Group of Tennessee is part of this coalition focused on Latino health, which sponsored a community health event on June 10th. In this meeting, we will present results of the questionnaire and evaluations from this event. We will also plan future activities for the coalition. All interested people are welcome to be part of this coalition and attend the meeting. Please RSVP if you will attend, or for more information: or

Thursday, September 7, 2006
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Antioch Community Center
5023 Blue Hole Road
Antioch, TN
Phone: (615) 587-0365

Friday, September 1, 2006

Cuban-born Smithville police chief resigns, cites slurs by officials

Smithville joins growing roster of TN city governments whose officials show disrespect to Hispanics and immigrants

The Tennessean reports in this story that Cuban-born Smithville police chief Agustin Clemente Jr. resigned on August 23, citing prejudicial behavior by city officials as one of the reasons for his departure after only a few months on the job (story here). Clemente was the first Hispanic police chief in Middle Tennessee.

One of the comments cited in Clemente's resignation letter was, "I am going to buy that Cuban a boat and send him back to where he came from." The Tennessean has the full text of his resignation letter here.

Smithville officials are not the only members of local governments to speak and act with disrespect for Hispanics and immigrants. The mayor of Coopertown, Tennessee is said to have ordered officers to target Hispanic drivers for tickets, on the theory that they would not complain (story here). One Nashville councilman recently described immigrants as belonging to a "foreign race" (story here). And two Springfield, Tennessee officials recently suggested that Hispanics do not belong in city parks and other public spaces (story here).

Catholics Bishops: welcome immigrants, honor Labor Day values

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a Labor Day call for a welcoming environment for immigrants in the U.S.

"With immigrants accounting for 15 percent of U.S. workers, the challenge for Labor Day is to 'consider who we are as a nation, how our economy treats all workers, how we welcome the 'strangers' among us,' said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Policy in an annual Labor Day statement."

"In his powerful encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that Jesus calls us to expand who we see as our neighbor. The Holy Father, citing the parable of the Good Samaritan, says that 'neighbor' can no longer be limited to the closely-knit community of a single country or people. This limit is now abolished. Anyone who needs me, and whom I can help, is my neighbor. ... ‘As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’ (Mt 25:40). Love of God and love of neighbor have become one: in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God. (para. 15)."

"Immigrants come seeking to provide a decent living for their families, dreaming of a better life for their children, hoping to make a contribution. These are the deeply held American values we celebrate on Labor Day. The principles of our faith and the traditions of our nation call us to welcome those who share these values and hopes. They add vitality and energy, diversity and hope to our communities and our country. Together, we can build a better nation, a stronger economy and a more faithful Church."

Read the full statement here.

Focus: Justice

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