Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cultural Diversity conference starts today

conferenceThird International Conference on Cultural Diversity:
Bridging the Gaps

October 31, 2007 • Middle Tennessee State University
November 1-2, 2007 • Millennium Maxwell House Hotel

Are you a businessperson, educator, journalist, government official, or service provider? We’ll help you answer the following questions and more:

1. How do I know if I’m culturally competent?
2. How can cultural competence be used to help people value and accept each other?
3. What do I need to know to be more culturally competent in my classroom?
4. How can I best prepare employees and students for a multicultural world?
5. How do we help students and employees prepare for culturally insensitive environments?

The Third International Conference on Cultural Diversity will be held October 31 – November 2, 2007 at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, TN. The theme of the conference is “Bridging the Gaps” and will focus on developing cultural competence as we interact and communicate with people of diverse backgrounds in various environments. Pre-conference activities will be held on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the conference please contact the office via email at or by telephone at 615-898-5975.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tango with Your Heart: November 10 at Ibiza

Free event to raise awareness of Hispanic women's heart disease

Joint effort of Nashville Public Television, Tango Nashville, American Heart Association

Dance performances and lessons, food, heart screenings

On November 10, Nashville Public Television teams up with the American Heart Association and Tango Nashville to raise awareness of women's heart disease in the Latino community.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death for Hispanics. Heart disease and stroke are responsible for 32.2 percent of deaths in Hispanic females.


WHO: Nashville Public Television, together with the American Heart Association and Tango Nashville

WHAT: "Tango with Your Heart" event. An evening of dance, food and fun for your heart; free tango lessons, heart healthy food and information, free heart screenings and fun giveaways!

WHERE: Ibiza Night Club 15128 Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville. (615) 331-0382

WHEN: Saturday, November 10, 2007. 5:00-8:00 p.m.

WHY: To raise awareness of women's heart disease in the Latino community. See attached “Heart Disease and Stroke Facts for Hispanic Women.”

HOW: Free admission

“Tango With Your Heart” is made possible by a generous grant from WNET-NY and coincides with THE MYSTERIOUS HUMAN HEART, a four-part series by producer David Grubin that aired on NPT and PBS stations nationwide this Fall. “Tango with Your Heart” is sponsored by Nashville Public Television, American Heart Association, Tango Nashville, Ibiza Night Club Club, Monsal, WHEW La Ley 1380am, WKDA Latina 900am and OSHi International Flowers.

* * *

Nashville Public Television is available free and over the air to nearly 2.2 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area, and is watched by more than 600,000 households every week. The mission of NPT is to provide, through the power of traditional television and interactive telecommunications, high quality educational, cultural and civic experiences that address issues and concerns of the people of the Nashville region, and which thereby help improve the lives of those we serve.

Photo by Henrik Schröder. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Juan G. Villasenor applies for seat on Court of Appeals

Tennessean: 40 percent of applicants are minorities

Assistant Attorney General Juan G. Villasenor has applied for the Court of Appeals seat opened by the death of Judge William Bryan Cain. This is Villasenor's second application this year (story here), with the previous appointment going to Andy Bennett (story here).

Governor Bredesen, who picks from the top three applicants as chosen by a state panel, has expressed frustration in the past for the panel's failure to include a minority in the finalists presented to him (stories here and here).

Among the twenty candidates this time around, eight are minorities, according to the Tennessean (story here).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fabian Bedne elected to Executive Committee of Davidson County Democratic Party

Middle Tennessee Hispanic Democrats member Fabian Bedne has been elected to the Davidson County Democratic Party Executive Committee. Bedne, an architect and native of Argentina, was endorsed by the Tennessean in his failed bid for the Metro Council seat in District 31 earlier this year.

Bedne has appeared previously in the pages of for his membership on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity, his founding membership in the Nashville chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, his presidency of the political action committee (PAC) Tennessee Hispanic Voters Coalition, and his guest column about Cumberland Region Tomorrow, a growth planning group.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cheekwood's 8th Dia de los Muertos: October 27

Free event features art, food, music, tours

The Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art will host its Eighth Annual Dia de los Muertos celebration next Saturday, October 27:
NASHVILLE, TN – The popular Latin American family celebration, El Dia de los Muertos, will be held at Cheekwood on Saturday, October 27 with activities including live performances, a Mexican marketplace, and interactive art activities for everyone.

Now in its eighth year at Cheekwood, the day-long celebration is a premiere community event for Nashville’s Hispanic population as well as for families throughout the area. Translated as “Day of the Dead,” El Dia de los Muertos is a uniquely Latin celebration of families as they honor their ancestors.

The festivities, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, include activities for families of all cultures to learn about this noted Latin-American tradition and participate in a wide range of activities conducted in both Spanish and English. Cheekwood members are free and regular gate fees apply to non-members.

The schedule includes live performances by Mariachis Alma de Mexico, Serenatta, Danny Salazar y los Cuatro, Grupo Folklorico Hispanoamericano, and Sixto Reyes & Miguel. Art projects include making painting gourds, decorating “the family tree,” making paper marigolds, crafting family journals, making calaveras masks, a “tombstone factory,” creating paper cut-outs, and Spanish Bingo. A unique feature this year, the Alma de Mexico Mariachis will lead 2 parades throughout the grounds during the festival. Cheekwood will also have a resource room which will feature various books, materials, and movies documenting the history and culture of the El Dia de los Muertos holiday.

Available in the Mexican Marketplace will be traditional food, sweets, and arts and crafts. Community altars will be displayed in Botanic Hall and there will be bilingual tours of Cheekwood’s Museum of Art given by Belmont University Spanish students.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cuban jazz greats to burn up Murfreesboro, Nashville stages Thursday and Friday

Dalia Garcia, Richie Flores, Jesus Diaz, Lalo Davila, Glen Caruba, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez

MTSU tonight

"Cuban Fire" tomorrow: joint performance with Nashville Jazz Orchestra at Vanderbilt

Eric Moreno, president of the Hispanic Student Association at MTSU, wrote in to mention "several events going on involving a Salsa Band headed up by MTSU's own Lalo Davila, [in] which he is featuring very famous percussionists who have played with several amazing acts throughout the Latin music industry. He will be hosting a tribute to Celia Cruz and Tito Puente in a concert in Murfreesboro." The music comes to Murfreesboro tonight and to Nashville tomorrow night.

The MTSU tribute is tonight, Thursday October 18, at 9pm at Sweetwater. There is a $7 cover charge and no one under 21 will be admitted.

Details of the Nashville event are below:

The Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University will host "CUBAN FIRE", a night of explosive salsa and jazz by the NASHVILLE JAZZ ORCHESTRA in the Martha Rivers Ingram Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Oct. 19, 2007, at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Both concerts will feature the classic Latin jazz music of Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Arturo Sandoval, and others climaxed by selections from Stan Kenton's famous 1956 Latin jazz opus "Cuban Fire Suite". A special 27-piece edition of the NJO, led by Director JIM WILLIAMSON will take the stage, including vocals by DALIA GARCIA, and guest percussionists Pearl Recording Artists RICHIE FLORES, JESUS DIAZ, LALO DAVILA, GLEN CARUBA, and HORACIO “EL NEGRO” HERNANDEZ, acknowledged as the top Latin drumset player in the world today. With NJO drummer Bob Mater also being a Pearl Recording Artist, the NJO will have an all-Pearl percussion section, and Pearl Drums USA will be a co-sponsor for this event. Guest conductor for the "Cuban Fire Suite" will be ROBIN P. FOUNTAIN, Professor of Conducting at Blair School of Music where the NJO is "Artist in Residence". Admission to either concert is $20 general admission, $15 for seniors, VU faculty and staff, and $10 for students. Tickets are available from Blair or band members; or at the Ingram Center box office the night of the performance.


HORACIO HERNANDEZ, given the name “El Negro” at birth, was already a master studio and touring percussionist in his native Havana when he escaped Cuba to live in Italy in 1995. Two years later he came to the US, where top Latin jazz musicians like Paquito D’Rivera and Michel Camilo began using him. Word quickly spread of his explosive virtuosity in both Latin and jazz idioms, and he has worked non-stop since. From the Latin sounds of Santana, Los Hombres Caliente, and Tito Puente, to the pop of Paul Simon, to the progressive jazz of Dizzy Gillespie and Joanne Brackeen, Horacio’s universal percussive abilities have already made him a drum legend with dozens of videos, books, and articles published about him.

RICHIE FLORES was born in Brooklyn but raised in Puerto Rico, and began playing congas at the age of 5. In a few years he was playing with top groups like El Gran Combo and Batacumbele. Moving back to New York, he joined Eddie Palmieri at the age of 17. He also works with David Sanchez, Dave Samuels, and a host of Latin Jazz greats.

JESUS DIAZ arrived in the San Francisco bay area from Cuba in 1980. His talent as percussionist, arranger, and vocalist have kept him working with top artists like Carlos Santana, Dizzy Gillespie, Pete Escovedo & Sheila E, and the Caribbean Jazz Project ever since. As an educator, he does numerous clinics and workshops, and has several instructional videos and books as a member of "Talking Drums".

From Nashville, Pearl Recording Artists LALO DAVILA and GLEN CARUBA will complete the expanded percussion section. Davila is co-leader and vocalist of Music City's popular Latin jazz band, "Orkesta Eme Pe", Director of Percussion Studies at MTSU, and leader of the MTSU Salsa Band and Percussion Ensemble. Caruba is a percussionist and teacher, author of several books and DVDs, and has worked with Jimmy Buffet, Barry Manilow, the Mavericks, and "Orkesta Eme Pe".

DALIA GARCIA, from Madrid, Spain, is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress. After being crowned Miss South Carolina, she toured for 8 years with Julio Iglesias, performing in 8 of his videos, and appeared in the movie "Lycanthrope". Her singing and songwriting has dominated several charts on, and she appears across the US with Al Delory & Salsa En Nashville, and others.


STAN KENTON led one of the most famous jazz big bands from 1941 to 1979. One of its seminal works was the 1956 "Cuban Fire Suite" by composer Johnny Richards. At the time, the marriage of American swing music and traditional Afro-Cuban music into a form called Latin jazz was little more than a decade old. Richards was of Latin heritage (born John Cascales), his work encouraged more use of Latin idioms in big bands, and musicians in the Latin jazz movement continue to site the Cuban Fire album as an influence and inspiration.

TITO PUENTE, master percussionist and arranger, was the most popular and influential of the "Mambo Kings", the great bandleaders who created Latin jazz in the 40's. "El Rey" (The King) worked from 1937 to 2000, recording well over 100 albums. His fame skyrocketed in the 50's dance craze for mambo and cha-cha, and his "Oye Como Va" was a huge hit. He won 5 Grammys, is in the Hispanic Hall of Fame and the Jazz Hall of Fame, has a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement Award.

CELIA CRUZ is the best-known and most influential female figure in Cuban music, with 23 gold albums and the title "La guarachera de Cuba". Joining Cuba's renowned Sonora Matancera orchestra, she became a star all over Latin America in the early 50's. In 1960 she moved to the US to pursue a solo career. Two decades of work with Tito Puente and the Fania All-Stars made her even more famous, and she continued touring the world in the 80's and 90's, winning a Grammy in 1990.

ARTURO SANDOVAL, composer and bandleader, was a virtuoso trumpeter in his native Cuba in the 70's and 80's. A master of Afro-Cuban music and influenced by bop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, he became a leading exponent of modern Latin jazz upon his defection from Cuba in 1990. His band and bravura trumpet style were featured with the Nashville Symphony in 2001.

The Oct. 19 “Cuban Fire” concert is the first event in the NJO's 2007/2008 concert season as "Artist in Residence" at Blair School of Music. Founded in 1996 by Director Jim Williamson, the NJO is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to perpetuating big band jazz. With 17 of Nashville's top session and jazz players, they play clubs and jazz festivals, often with guest artists like Randy Brecker, Lou Marini, Donald Brown, Bob Kurnow, Annie Sellick, and Connye Florance. Later concerts in the series include Dec. 1 - NJO presents David "Fathead" Newman in association with the Country Music Hall of Fame's Ray Charles Exhibit, Feb. 29 - NJO presents Wycliff Gordon, and April 17 – NJO's Third Annual Jazz Writer's Night. Their current CDs are Live at B.B. King's featuring Annie Sellick, and Legacy – First Annual Jazz Writer's Night.

The Martha Rivers Ingram Center for the Performing Arts is on the Blair campus at 2400 Blakemore Ave. For tickets, call 615-322-7651.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New COPLA leadership featured in today's Tennessean

Contribution by Cesar A. Muedas
The Tennessean online reports today the recent election of the new leadership team of the Council of Hispanic Parents with children in Metro schools (COPLA). Ernestina Gonzalez (President), Adelina Winston (Vice President) and Luz Belleza-Binns (Secretary) will lead COPLA during its second year of existence. They are depicted in the adjacent photographs, respectively from left to right.

COPLA has also formalized the creation of an ad-hoc Support Group (Grupo de Apoyo) composed of parents, teachers and community volunteers (nine in total) that will team up with the elected officials to coordinate upcoming initiatives and activities aimed at increasing participation and involvement of Hispanic parents.

eSpanglish magazine to launch

The Nashville City Paper reports here that a free bilingual magazine called "eSpanglish" will appear soon in Middle Tennessee businesses like Kroger supermarkets. The City Paper does not mention Que Pasa, another bilingual magazine that was to be distributed in Kroger stores (story here).

Excerpts from the City Paper article:
A new magazine eSpanglish will be launched this month by recently formed company eSpanglish Magazine LLC.

The partners include Gloria Bishop and Lynne Caples, who will serve the magazine as editor and co-editor, respectively, as well as Elisa Hinger and Huey Newberry. Investments from two silent partners contributed to initial funding. All articles will be printed in English and in Spanish.

eSpanglish will start out as a free publication, Bishop said, with the printing of 15,000 issues to be distributed at outlets including Kroger grocery stores and public libraries. It will initially be printed every other month, though Bishop said intentions are to scale up to a monthly.


In addition to local stalwart La Noticia — that is edited and published by Hispanic Area Chamber of Commerce head Yuri Cunza and distributes 7,000 to 10,000 issues bi-weekly — at least six newspapers currently exist in Middle Tennessee. At least one more paper and one magazine are in development, according to Bishop, though the eSpanglish team says their publication is the area’s only bilingual magazine.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spanish to join German on list of languages used by Tennessee tourism department

The Columbia Daily Herald published this AP story about the Tennessee Department of Tourism's decision to advertise in Spanish-language newspapers and translate its web site into Spanish. A German version of the site already exists. An incomplete draft of the Spanish version is here.

According to the story:
“The idea is to be all inclusive,” said Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, a spokeswoman for the department. “We have multiple cultures — the census tells us that — and we know (Hispanic) culture is part of our potential market.” ...

The department is advertising in four Spanish-language newspapers that have a combined circulation of about 85,500 in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville.

But the ads, which feature a Hispanic family on an outing to an aquarium, will also run in rotation with other ads in national magazines that are not part of the ethnic press, Qualls-Brooks said.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Jaime Escalante to speak at Austin Peay October 24

The Austin Peay State University Hispanic Cultural Center will host famed mathematics teacher Jaime Escalante, who inspired the popular 1980s movie, “Stand and Deliver.”

The three-day event begins with a showing of the film at 11 a.m., Monday, Oct. 22 in the Morgan University Center, Room 308. The film will be shown again at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23 in the same location. Escalante will speak at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the Morgan University Center, Room 303. All events are free and open to the public.

Escalante’s talk Wednesday, titled “Ganas: Creating a Desire to Learn,” will highlight the ways in which Escalante has succeeded in educating students for decades. As a high school teacher, his underprivileged and Hispanic students have set academic records that remain unequaled in American education.

Apart from being the inspiration behind “Stand and Deliver,” one of the most acclaimed films of the 1980s, he is also the subject of the book “Escalante: The Best Teacher in America.”

An immigrant from Bolivia, Escalante continues to garner more awards within the teaching profession. In 1999, he was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

For more information about these events, contact the Hispanic Cultural Center by telephone at (931) 221-6645

Photo by Cathy Cole. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Los Pollitos Dicen available at

Cuban-American entrepreneurs Carrie Ferguson Weir and Oscar Alonso land distribution deal

The Tennessean reported here that locally-owned children's clothing line Los Pollitos Dicen is being sold on the web site of national retail giant Target (here):
Kingston Springs-based baby and toddler clothing retailer Los Pollitos Dicen has had a good run of initial sales of its Hispanic heritage clothing items on the Web site of Target, the huge national retailer.

Target sells clothes printed with endearing phrases in Spanish made by the local company. There are T-shirts with "Pio, Pio, Pio" — the sound of baby chicks chirping in Spanish — printed on the front. Or sleepers with terms of endearment for mother and child such as "gordito," which means chubby, usually spoken as the mother kisses a baby's cheeks.
Co-owners Carrie Ferguson Weir and Oscar Alonso are Cuban-Americans who knew each other through their work for the Tennessean - Ferguson Weir as a reporter, and Alonso as a graphic designer.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Award-winning authors Lorraine Lopez and Judith Ortiz Cofer to speak at Southern Festival of Books

Lopez is assistant professor at Vanderbilt, author of Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories

Ortiz Cofer teaches at Georgia, most recently authored A Love Story Beginning in Spanish: Poems

This weekend's Southern Festival of Books will feature Vanderbilt assistant professor Lorraine Lopez on Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Senate Chambers of the Tennessee State Capitol; and also Judith Ortiz Cofer, professor at the University of Georgia, from 4:30-5:30pm on Saturday in the Old Supreme Court Room.

According to her bio, "Latina poet and fiction writer Lorraine López is the winner of the first Miguel Mármol Prize (2002). Her stories have appeared in numerous publications, including New Letters, The Crab Orchard Review, The U.S. Latino Review, and The Watershed Anthology. She is Co-Founder and Education Programs Director for the Institute for Violence Prevention in Athens, Georgia, and she is Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She is author of the critically received Soy la Avon Lady And Other Stories, a stunning debut collection of 11 short stories that articulates the spectrum of the Latino community. She completed her undergraduate degree at California State University, Northridge, and earned her M.A. and PhD at the University of Georgia."

As for Ortiz Cofer, the Scene has an extensive interview with her in this week's cover story (here).

This bio appears on Ortiz Cofer's web site:

Judith Ortiz Cofer is the author of A Love Story Beginning in Spanish: Poems; Call Me Maria, a young adult novel; The Meaning of Consuelo, a novel; Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer, a collection of essays; The Line of the Sun, a novel; Silent Dancing, a collection of essays and poetry; two books of poetry, Terms of Survival and Reaching for the Mainland; and The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry. Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Southern Review, Glamour and other journals. Her work has been included in numerous textbooks and anthologies including: Best American Essays 1991, The Norton Book of Women's Lives, The Norton Introduction to Literature, The Norton Introduction to Poetry, The Heath Anthology of American Literature, The Pushcart Prize, and the O. Henry Prize Stories.

Professor Cofer has received numerous awards and honors for her writing. Most recently, The Latin Deli was selected for the 2005 Georgia Top 25 Reading List, a project of the Georgia Center for the Book made up of books set in Georgia or written by a resident or former resident of the state. Also in 2005, Call Me Maria was selected as one of two texts to receive Honorable Mention for the Americas Award, sponsored by the National Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, for U.S. published titles that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. The Meaning of Consuelo was selected as one of two winners of the 2003 Americas Award. The novel was also included on the New York Public Library's "Books for the Teen Age 2004 List." In addition, Professor Cofer has received over 30 fellowships and grants, including awards from the University of Georgia Research Foundation, the University of Georgia Center for the Humanities and Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Changes in Mayor's office and airport policies offer increased access to minority-owned businesses

The Tennessean reports here that Nashville Mayor Karl Dean unveiled three initiatives to increase the number of city contracts awarded to minority-owned businesses. The article also mentions the Nashville International Airport's separate efforts, announced earlier this year.

Last year, Memphis declared that Hispanics are not "minorities" for the purpose of minority contract consideration (story here). Which would be fine, according to Tennessean columnist Dwight Lewis, if neither Hispanics nor African-Americans were called "minorities" anymore, in light of their combined majority status in many states (story here).

From the Tennessean:
Dean's first three steps toward leveling contract distribution:

• He appointed Nashville businesswoman Pam Martin to lead a new Mayor's Minority Business Advisory Council. The group will be charged with creating other measures to help small and minority-owned businesses in Nashville to develop.

• He promoted Michelle Lane from overseeing small and minority business participation in local and federal contracts to special assistant to the mayor. She will advise him directly on small and minority business development.

• He hired the Atlanta-based consulting firm that examined contract awards and business conditions in the Nashville area to help the city's legal department develop new contracting and procurement policies.
Photo by Simon Pais-Thomas

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tennessee universities roll out welcome mat in struggle to attract Hispanic students

Vandy: 5.7% of undergrads

TSU: 1% of student body

UT-Knoxville: 1.7% of incoming class

update 11/25/07: Colby Sledge points out Austin Peay State University's on-campus Hispanic Cultural Center, "which offers help for Spanish majors and Hispanic students and organizes events like Spanish-language movie nights. " Austin Peay has 413 Hispanic students, which comes to 4.7% of the student body of 8,600.

The Tennessean published this article about the efforts of Tennessee universities to attract Hispanic college students, who are not flocking to the state in large numbers:

Universities across the state are beginning to recruit Hispanics in an attempt to diversify their student bodies. Hispanic college students in Tennessee consistently number fewer than their African-American classmates — and often Asian students, as well — even though Hispanics are the most numerous minority in the nation. ...

Vanderbilt saw its Hispanic undergraduate enrollment rise from 339 students last year to 362 this semester [out of a total of 6400 undergraduates].

Tennessee State University recruiter Jose Vazquez arrived at the school about a year ago partially to attract Hispanics, including adult nontraditional students.

Hispanics make up about 1 percent of students at the historically black university. Nearly twice as many Asian/ Pacific Islander students attend the school. ...

Belmont University officials also have increased recruitment efforts in the Nashville Hispanic community though hosting events with the YMCA's Hispanic Achievers program, as well as an annual Latin street festival on campus. ...

At the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, officials are planning recruitment programs targeting Hispanics, including campus visits geared exclusively to Hispanics, spokeswoman Amy Blakely said.

This year, UT's freshman class included 73 Hispanics, or 1.7 percent of the school's incoming class.
Photo by Paul Chenoweth

Monday, October 8, 2007

Nashville Hispanic Chamber celebration and awards at Country Music Hall of Fame October 9

From the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce*:
NAHCC 2007 Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration and Awards Ceremony
Tuesday October 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm Country Music Hall of Fame
~ 222 Fifth Ave. S. Nashville, TN 37203 ~

We cordially invite you to participate of our Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration and Awards Ceremony to take place Tuesday October 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th-October 15th) recognizes and celebrates the rich cultural, economic, artistic, political, scientific, social and educational influences and contributions of Hispanics throughout the United States. This celebration was sanctioned by a U.S Congress joint resolution on September 17th, 1968. Twenty years later, on August 17th, 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended it to a month long celebration from September 15th to October 15th.

This year our event will take place at the Country Music Hall of Fame on October 9th and will have outstanding guests and other Hispanic business and community leaders as well as the recipients of our 2007 Hispanic Recognition Awards for outstanding work and achievements in business, education, art, cultures and community.

Please celebrate together with us as a united community in Nashville. Your support is very important.

Live music, silent auction, h'orderves, cocktails and more!

For more information about this upcoming event and to reserve your tickets please contact Alejandra Peña Rodriguez at :

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a 501 6 non-profit business organization. The NAHCC keeps the highest level of accountability on sponsorship funds received or other corporate contributions. The mission of the NAHCC is to help Nashville become a better place to live, work and visit by creating positive environments conducive to business growth, education, integration, and cultural appreciation. Partnerships with corporate members wishing to fund NAHCC programs and events are subjected to Board of Director's approval and are primarily to support educational causes and/or empower entrepreneurship opportunities as well as mainstream business member initiatives not restricted to the Hispanic entrepreneur or market.
*Hispanic Chamber 101: There are two active Hispanic chambers of commerce in Middle Tennessee: the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Chris Wage

Friday, October 5, 2007

Celebration of Cultures this weekend

The Celebration of Cultures will be held this Saturday and Sunday at Centennial Park in Nashville. In association with the Celebration, a Walk As One will take place at 9am Saturday (check-in at 8am near the park's plane and train), and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center will have an open house with free musical performances (Saturday only), including Serenatta and the MTSU Salsa Band. Free shuttles will run between Centennial Park and the Schermerhorn.

Latin influence will abound, including the following demonstrations highlighted by this article in the Tennessean, "Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art will have a project pertaining to the upcoming Latin American holiday El Dia de los Muertos ... American Roots Music Education will perform American traditional music such as ... Tejano, [and] ... Grow Nashville will demonstrate for children how to make salsa from organic vegetables."

Centennial Park returns to its original roots with this event. The original Centennial Exposition on the site included "villages" from around the world, including a Cuban Village with Spanish Sen Sen Dancing Girls (see photo here and description here).

The press release below highlights other Latin highlights of this year's Celebration of Cultures, like the San Rafael Band and "Villages" of Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru:
You don’t have to travel the world for exotic food, music, and art. It’s all right here in Nashville at the 11th annual Celebration of Cultures Festival on October 6th and 7th in Centennial Park.

Presented by Metro Parks and Scarritt-Bennett Center, this FREE event will showcase the diversity and highlight the multi-cultural fabric of Nashville. “This festival has proven to be a wonderful opportunity for Nashvillians to learn about the rich mix of cultures we have here,” says Jose Ochoa, Superintendent of Cultural Arts and celebration co-chair for Metro Parks. “It’s also simply a wonderful two days of incredible entertainment, art, and food for everyone to enjoy.”

The festival began over a decade ago by a group that works continually to bring cultures together in Nashville: Scarritt-Bennett. “It’s very important to understand and celebrate the diversity of Nashville‚ to learn about other cultures and to get to know other people’s traditions‚” says Cindy Politte‚ director of marketing for Scarritt-Bennett Center‚ which started the Celebration of Cultures in 1995. “It’s a true potpourri of everything that is Nashville.”

Times are Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. The event will feature over forty ethnic dance and musical performances on multiple stages. Entertainers like the San Rafael Band (Latin Jazz), African Drummers (Ghana), Chinese Culture Club (China), Cripple Creek Cloggers (USA), Gary Cady (Native American), Ketsana (Laos), Pega Kadivar (Azerbaijan), and much, much more.

Enter “The Villages” and be transported around the world! New this year, The Villages offers an authentic look at the customs and traditions of Burundi, Ethiopia, Laos, the Philippines, and the Latin American countries of Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru. As you walk through, you will hear traditional music in the background as the native language of each area is spoken, and you will see colorful clothing and decorations that are customary for each country.

Original art and imported hand-crafted items will be available for purchase in “The World Market”. A special exhibit called “Nashville’s Internationals” will also be on display at the Centennial Art Center October 5-26, and will be featuring fifteen artists from around the world that now call Nashville home. Plus, a children’s area will include free interactive music and dance programs, storytelling, nature activities, and arts projects.

Celebration of Cultures provides an opportunity for the community to gather, honor, and explore the diversities and ethnicities that make Nashville so unique and culturally enriched.

Parking is free in Centennial Park and in the HCA parking lots off Park Plaza behind the park. Shuttles will run throughout the event to transport people to and from parking in Centennial and at HCA. Plus, Saturday, there will be free shuttles between Centennial Park and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Photo by Beth Kindig, courtesy of Celebration of Cultures.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Laura Fuentes & Calicanto in free concert at MTSU Thursday October 4

Co-sponsored by the Office of Student Unions and Programming and the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Laura Fuentes y Calicanto will bring their Latin urban and roots stylings to MTSU with a performance at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building. The concert is free and open to the public.

Earlier in the day, Fuentes will be at a brown bag lunch at 12 noon in the SunTrust Room of the Business and Aerospace Building. MTSU students, staff, faculty and administrators are welcome to attend. Reservations can be made by calling the June Anderson Women’s Center at 615-898-2193 or sending an e-mail to

Fuentes, who was born to North American parents in Santiago, Chile, is a classically trained guitarist and vocalist. She lived in Chile until 1973, the year Army Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet overthrew President Salvador Allende in a coup d’etat. The coup and its aftereffects had a great impact on Fuentes’ social consciousness

According to the Web site, “Calicanto is a bridge of warmth and song between musicians from Latin America and audiences from all over the world. Founded by Laura Fuentes in 1996, the Calicanto project gets its name from the historic landmark that once united the shores of the Mapocho River in Santiago, Chile. The core duo of Laura Fuentes and Pedro Villagra join together to light a new fire, celebrating the rich diversity of Latin American music from Chile, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.”

Calicanto is: Fuentes on lead vocals, guitar, cuatro and percussion; Villegra on quena, quenacho, sikus, flute, charango, saxophones and vocals; Patricio Acevedo on guitar, vocals and percussion; Orlando Cabrera, percussion; Raquel Gonzalez Paraiso, violin, mandolin, sikus and vocals; and Robert Schoville, percussion and drum set.

The concert is co-sponsored by the Office of Student Unions and Programming and the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. For more information, contact Intercultural and Diversity Affairs at 615-898-2987.
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