Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Warm Up with Tango Essentials Class + Dance/Social 'Milonga'

Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 7 to 9 PM ***18+ years old ONLY***

Saturday, March 8, 2008 - 8 to 10 PM ***BYOB***
30 minute Essentials Argentine Tango Lesson@ every Dance/Social ('Milonga')

Get a taste of the 'Argentine Tango' in just 30 minutes. Led by Tango Nashville's Instructor Team. Then stay on to dance and socialize with beginners, intermediate and advance dancers alike.
Please wear comfortable clothing and shoes that slide easily (no rubber soles) with a closed heel (strap or full heel).


Thursday, February 28, 2008 ***18+ years old ONLY***
7:00 to 7:30 PM - Tango Essentials Lesson
7:30 to 9:00 PM - Dance/Social ('Milonga')
Ibiza Night Club
15128 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville, TN 37211
(almost corner with Nolensville Pike, in the Hickory Trace Village strip mall where the Sherwin Williams store is).

Saturday, March 8, 2008 ***BYOB***
8:00 to 8:30 PM - Tango Essentials Lesson
8:30 to 10:00 PM - Dance/Social ('Milonga')
Global Education Center, 4822 Charlotte Pike, Nashville, TN 37209

Tickets (per day):
$12 per person for non-Tango Nashville members
$8 per person for Tango Nashville members
50% OFF for Students (w/VALID ID) and Seniors 65+ years old

For more information, please click on this link:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Noose and negativity exposed at Franklin school once described as least diverse

"hang [expletive] high"

2004: "We have drawn lines between 'our children' and 'their children'"

Williamson County's Poplar Grove Middle School, described in 2004 as the least diverse school in its district, is now the subject of community concern because of racist graffiti on a bathroom wall, according to this WSMV story. Before it was removed by school officials (some say too slowly), the graffiti depicted a noose next to these words:
hang [expletive] high
According to, in 2006 Poplar Grove had 328 caucasian, 36 African-American, 21 Hispanic, 8 Asian, and 2 American Indian students.

From February 2004:
"Poplar Grove's diversity task force hit the ground running last week in an attempt to get minority families to apply to the open-zoned, year-round school beginning today."

"The Franklin Special School District Board of Education decided earlier this month not to zone the K-8 school as it rezoned the rest of its elementary schools to even out the percentage of students from minority and low-income backgrounds. The board also required that Poplar Grove recruit at least 50 minority students in the next two years to its kindergarten class or face possible zoning. That meant that the task force needed to work fast because today is the first day the school is accepting applications for next fall. The deadline for applications is March 5."
From March 2004:
"In recent weeks, it has become evident to us as a community that lines are drawn here too. There are lines between rich and poor and still others between white, black and Hispanic. We have drawn lines between 'our children' and 'their children.' At times, such as when the Franklin Special School District board expressed its commitment to equality, it seemed we would reach for the higher plane. Then at other times, the cry of 'my child' reached such deafening proportions we could no longer hear the cry of the child down the street, or the child across town."

"Moments of bitter disappointment followed those of shining hope. In the end, not much changed. Although a few neighborhoods have been rezoned, Liberty Elementary will begin next year with most of the overwhelming challenges they faced in this one. Poplar Grove remains untouched except for the monumental challenge to diversify in the next two years."

"While some parents breathed a sigh of relief, others breathed a sigh of discouragement. Perhaps the most marked difference is that now some of us realize with new awareness, and possibly for the first time, just how divided we are. As we gaze into that ugly reality, we wonder how we can possibly mend the divide."
From March 2004:
"Poplar Grove is the [Franklin Special School District]'s only open-zoned, year-round school. It is also the least diverse school in the system. Last month the board voted to rezone its other four elementary schools in an effort to spread out the diversity but left Poplar Grove open-zoned under the stipulation that it enroll at least 50 minority students in the kindergarten class over the next two years."

"If the school cannot attract that many minority students, board members have said they will zone it."

"Once [Principal Christi] Buell knows how many of her existing students are returning next year and how many of their siblings will enroll in kindergarten, she will begin admitting new students. The top consideration for admission after siblings is minority status."
From July 2004:
"The incoming kindergarten class at Poplar Grove - which registered for classes Friday - will be the most diverse in the history of the Franklin Special School District's only year-round school."

"This year, the kindergarten class has 28% minorities, said Principal Christi Buell. That is out of a class of 100 students. Eleven percent of those students are African American, 11% are Hispanic, 3% are Asian, 3% classify themselves as other types of minorities and 72% are white."

"Last year, instead of drawing up an attendance zone for the for-choice school to get it more in line with the rest of the district's minority numbers, the school board decided to give the school two years to recruit at least 25 minority students to kindergarten. This year's numbers show that goal has been reached ahead of the deadline.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tennessee New American Day on the Hill is March 19

Participants to speak directly with legislators

Record sixty-five immigrant-targeting bills in play, including Oklahoma clone and "English Prevention Act"

Tennessee lawmakers are considering a record 65 bills targeting immigrants (the bills are described in detail here), and ordinary people who want to have a say for immigrants and against those bills can attend the March 19 "New Americans Day on the Hill," organized by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition ("TIRRC").

The bills put forward include a proposal to deny adult education - even English classes - based on immigration status, and a verbatim copy of the recently passed and controversial Oklahoma law (stories here).

The last day to register for New American Day on the Hill is today, February 25:
Be the change you want to see in Tennessee!


Click here to REGISTER NOW

Join us as we advocate on the important state issues impacting the lives of Tennessee's growing immigrant and refugee community.

New American Day on the Hill!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

(Registration required due to limited space)

We will be visiting Tennessee legislators in two sessions.

Morning Session: 8am-12:30pm (Please be there 7:45am)
Afternoon Session: 12:00pm-4:30pm (Please be there 11:45am)
We will meet at the Tennessee Bar Association, and will walk together to the legislature following a brief orientation.
The Tennessee Bar Association address is:
221 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 400,
Nashville, TN 37219

There are currently a record 65 ACTIVE ANTI-IMMIGRANT BILLS pending in the state legislature! For a list of bills click here. Please help us stop these misguided proposals, while at the same time advocating for policies that will help Tennessee immigrants and refugees integrate more effectively into their new society.

The Registration deadline is Monday, February 25, 2008 and is required in order to meet with your local representative.
Please register for the morning or afternoon session.
This event is FREE and open to anyone who supports the rights of immigrants & refugees.
(Parents, Children and Students are welcome)

Please help keep Tennessee moving forward by joining us at this extremely important event!

If your group promises to turn out five or more attendees, or if you would like to donate in-kind, your organization will be listed on the invitation as a community sponsor. This is a great way to support the efforts of TIRRC while benefiting your organization and its work around the state! For more details, please contact
Kasar Abdulla at 615.833.0384 x11 or

Friday, February 22, 2008

Two groups of city employees learn Spanish, but Hendersonville offers $5,000 bonus

Murfreesboro to give all PD employees "survival Spanish" by end of year

The Tennessean reported here about a program for Hendersonville employees that "gives them the chance to earn $2,500 if they get credentialed as Spanish court interpreters and an additional $2,500 if they stay with the city for two years."

The article also said that half of Murfreesboro's 271-employee police department was trained in "survival Spanish" last year, and "the rest are expected to train this year." There is no mention of any financial compensation for the Murfreesboro employees.

Photo by TW Collins. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cuba is still waiting for its big day, says Ferguson Weir

Cuban-American Nashville blogger Carrie Ferguson Weir of Bilingual in the Boonies reacted to Fidel Castro's resignation here and here. Some excerpts:
When the arch enemy of your people just kinda resigns it's a little bit of a let down.
For those of you with kind of a passing or romanticized idea of bearded dictators, know this:
Bearded Dictator: Bad
Bearded Dictator Brother: Badder
Growing up, I imagined the Any Day Now really could be Any Day Now. I imagined taking to the streets, like we did when the Dolphins won in '72, honking horns, causing traffic jams, waving flags. I imagined the pachanga of a lifetime. A party to last for days, a party to end all parties. The tears of joy, the boats leaving for Havana Harbor and coming from Havana Harbor, just like during the 1980 Mariel Boat Lift.

The Any Day Now of my making would have meant these TV reporters could barely have heard themselves above the total Cuban racket, the kind only Cubans know how to make. But it was so damned calm.
According to her bio, Weir is a former newspaper reporter who now sells a line of Spanish children's T-shirts. She lives on the outskirts of Nashville, "far from the Cuban-American homeland that is Miami."

Photo by Carol Crisosto Cadiz. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spanish-TV brings local Spanish-language programming to Nashville airwaves

Giancarlo Guerrero, Jose Feliciano, international "lucha libre" champion, Metro Schools among 2008 interviews

Airs on Telemundo Nashville

Episodes also available online

Nashville-based Spanish-language television show "Spanish-TV" announced its second season in this press release:
Second season of Spanish-TV

2008 brings exciting changes to Spanish-TV

Expanded segments on governments issues regarding the hispanic community, new sports segments including Spanish wrestling along with more entertainment and news segment. Airing weekly on Telemundo Nashville, Spanish-TV has become a hit in the Hispanic community.

Advertisers have been enthusiastic about the show's unique reach into our community and have committed to support our show in 2008.

The show’s Eye on Nashville segment continue its man-on-the-street interviews that feature a detailed look at our Hispanic heritage.
Episodes of Spanish-TV are thirty minutes long and are broadcast Saturday mornings at 10am via Comcast Cable Channels 246 and 611, on Charter Channel 24, or on the program's web site, under the link for "See the Show."

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook had previously reported here on a different locally-based Spanish-language TV show, Noticias Locales, aired on Telefutura and in conjunction with WTVF-Channel 5. At the time, Telemundo was looking for local content, which it appears to have found with Spanish-TV.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Middle TN gets new anti-DUI campaign for Spanish-speaking men

Partnership between MADD, Governor’s Highway Safety Office, and Conexión Américas

Story-based ads appeal to identity as provider

MADD held a press conference last Friday to announce a new campaign to educate Spanish-speaking men in Middle Tennessee about the dangers of drunk driving. Funded by federal money administered through a grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Office ("GHSO"), the campaign furthers the GHSO's bottom-line goal of saving lives by closing a gap in messaging, according to Kendell Poole, GHSO Director.

Some materials for the new initiative are borrowed from a similar effort by El Pueblo of North Carolina, which has images of the print ads on its web site here.

The press release is as follows:
MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is pleased to announce the launch of the 2008 Spanish Language Drunk driving prevention campaign funded by the Governor's Highway Safety Office and conducted with the aid of Conexión Américas. The slogan for this campaign is:

¿Manejar Borracho? !No seas tonto Muchacho!

Roughly translated this means, "Drive Drunk? Don’t be crazy man!" The campaign is geared toward providing Spanish language, culturally relevant education about the dangers and consequences of driving drunk with a goal of preventing drunk driving in the Hispanic community. The campaign will include television, radio and newspaper public service announcements along with educational booklets, posters, and key chains.

As our population of Spanish-speaking individuals grows throughout our state, we must provide education and awareness programming that addresses the seriousness of driving drunk. The goal of this campaign is to reduce the incidence of drunk driving in the Hispanic community throughout Middle Tennessee.
MADD and Conexion Americas conducted a smaller campaign in Middle Tennessee during the holiday season of 2006 (story here).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Vigil unites Hispanics, immigrants, city leaders in face of white supremacist crime in Columbia

"Right-wing terrorist group" members destroyed mosque by fire

Earned promotion for attack

"We run the world," "White Power," swastikas

Vigil response stresses welcome to all

Donations solicited for rebuilding fund

NewsChannel reports here that more than 100 people gathered in a vigil Saturday in support of the recently firebombed Islamic Center of Columbia. WKRN reports here that graffiti from the attack included three swastikas and the words "We run the world" and "White Power." The Tennessean reports here that two of the three perpetrators of the attack have identified themselves as part of the Christian Identity Movement, which the FBI describes here and in this 1989 memo as "a right-wing terrorist group" of fewer than 2,000 followers. The Tennessean says here that followers nationwide now number 50,000, that there are two known chapters of the group in East Tennessee, and that they view non-whites as animals.

The federal government's complaint against the attackers includes a confession that "stripes or promotions are earned for committing acts of violence against ‘enemies,'" according to this story in the Tennessean.

Among those who stood in solidarity with the Center in Saturday's vigil were city leaders as well as immigrant and Hispanic groups:
Organizations such as the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, the Islamic Center of Nashville, the Maury Alliance Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Organization for Progress and Education among others were present for the vigil.

Residents and city leaders in Columbia also stressed the importance of making people of all faiths and races feel welcome in the community.
At a time when hate groups are fueling the "vibrant" national rhetoric about immigrants (see for more info), the local struggles of immigrants and Hispanics in the face of racism, xenophobia, isolation, and hate crimes have been documented in these and other stories in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook:
Growing list of negative comments about Hispanics by Tennessee public officials, November 2007
Resist negativity towards immigrants, November 2007
Words and worlds of Minuteman, November 2007
Too much hate in immigration bureaucracy debate?, July 2007
Tennessee 6th from top of list of states with most hate groups, May 2007
Struggle after September 11: Hispanic citizens and immigrants, September 2006
The Nation finds nativism in Nashville, August 2006
Exclusionists amplify anger; weaponized immigration prophecy fulfilled, May 2006
"Shoot him" - Nashville radio cited in rise of violent rhetoric, May 2006
Tennessee man planned bombings of Hispanics, August 2005
Scene contest gets record number of "xenophobic redneck" entries, July 2005
Cries of Minuteman heard in Hamblen County, July 2005
Members of the public can put their American values of brotherly love and neighborhood into action by donating to the Islamic Center of Columbia for the rebuilding of the mosque. A fundrasing account has been established at the following bank:
Islamic Center of Columbia Rebuilding Fund

Community First Bank and Trust
501 S James Campbell Blvd.
Columbia, TN 38401

WSMV reports here that area churches have already stepped up, including one that has collected $10,000.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mid TN Hispanic Democrats elect Bedne, Castillo, Valadez, and Ramos

The Middle Tennessee Hispanic Democrats announced the results of that group's 2008 elections, with Fabian Bedne as President, Miah Castillo as Vice President, Rene Valadez as Secretary and Gregg Ramos as Spokesperson.

Bilingual, bicultural facilitators needed for "STARS" Hispanic family outreach

Bilingual facilitators are needed for a Hispanic educational program to be conducted by Students Taking a Right Stand (STARS). According to Vanderbilt grad student and STARS intern Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe, STARS plans to expand its Strengthening Families Program (SFP) to the Hispanic population in Nashville, and bilingual and bicultural facilitators are needed.

SFP is an evidence- and video-based curriculum that has been shown to reduce adolescent at-risk behavior and to increase family cohesion. The 7- to 10-week series deals with family issues that may arise in relationship to discipline, drug and alcohol use, peer pressure, and related issues. To conduct the Hispanic outreach, STARS is looking for 3 to 5 bilingual facilitators who would be willing to work with the families one evening a week at Cameron Middle School and administer the Spanish-language curriculum materials.

The families who will be participating will have at least one middle-school aged child that attends Cameron. Outside of the one evening a week, STARS would like for the facilitators to call and contact the families to encourage them to return to the program. A more detailed job description will be made available for those who request it.

Any prospective facilitators should contact Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe at (615) 969-7966 or . DeSelms-Wolfe says that STARS would like to start the program within 2-3 weeks.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gabriel Alegria Sextet: Afro-Peruvian Jazz at USN February 19

Benefit concert follows jazz master class

Steve Smail, Web Site Manager and Geology and Film/Digital Video teacher at University School of Nashville, announced the upcoming performance of and jazz master class performance by the Gabriel Alegria Sextet:
Afro-Peruvian Jazz
with the Gabriel Alegria Sextet
at the University School of Nashville Auditorium

Tuesday, February 19th

Jazz Master Class: 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Learn about Afro-Peruvian styles, instruments, and history with the band
Tickets $20/person (purchase in advance online, space is limited)

Benefit Concert: 7:30pm; Doors open at 6:30, food and drink available for purchase
Final performance of the US/Canadian Nuevo Mundo Tour
Tickets $5/person (purchase in advance online or at the door)

Both events are appropriate for all ages and open to the public. Proceeds fully benefit relief efforts for those affected by the August, 2007 Peruvian earthquake.

Online and Phone-in advance ticketing for both events:
USN Evening Classes - or 321.8019

"Smoldering jazz is kicked up with the intoxicating polyrhythms of coastal Peru as trumpeter and composer Gabriel Alegria continues to chart a fresh new idiom. Combining his own distinctive approach to the jazz trumpet with the rich heritage of Afro-Peruvian music, Alegria is joined by saxophonist Laurandrea Leguia, guitarist Yuri Juárez, bassist Joscha Oetz, drummer Hugo Alcazar and master percussionist Freddy “Huevito” Lobaton - who plays traditional instruments such as the cajón (box drum) and quijada (jaw bone) and adds spectacular passages of zapateo dancing."

University School of Nashville 2000 Edgehill Avenue 37212
Free parking available in the USN 19th Avenue parking lot
The sextet also performs at the Nashville Jazz Workshop on February 8th

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lime: Midtown's upscale Latin cuisine

Last week's Nashville Scene included this review of Lime, an upscale "Latin fusion" restaurant at 1904 Broadway. Raving about the food, the Scene noted rumblings of poor service that have been repeated elsewhere:
After two consistently excellent meals in the newly opened Lime, we’re looking forward to the summer months, when the garage doors rise and the sleek cocktail crowd pours onto the patios. But it’s worth noting that while our experiences were flawless, we have heard several complaints of inattentive or indifferent waitstaff. With pricey entrées as high as $44 and cocktails clocking in as steep as $13, it’s not unreasonable to insist on flawless service. When the fair-weather crowds storm Lime’s high-visibility patios and tequila bars, it will become even more challenging to deliver a top-quality experience to diners. Then again, Hyndman, who presides over the dining room with the sangfroid of Terry Benedict in Ocean’s Eleven, knows that better than anyone.
The Tennessean reported here that "[t]he menu draws from a multitude of Latin cuisines, including Mexican, Spanish, Cuban and Colombian."

Inside Vandy gave it this favorable review, including props to the wait staff and the attractiveness of the clientele.

Photo by Paul Takamoto. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

iPhone and iPod touch users: HNN webclip icon available

Add Hispanic Nashville Notebook ("HNN") to your Home Screen

Here's an explanation of how it works, courtesy of The Unofficial Apple Weblog:
If you're using version 1.1.3 of the iPhone or iPod touch-with-January-Upgrade, you'll probably encountered Web Clips. Web Clips add home screen icons that lead to your favorite sites. It's easy enough to make Web Clips, just tap the "+" button at the bottom of any MobileSafari webpage and choose Add to Home Screen from the pop-up menu...
Before this weekend, if you added to your Home Screen, you would have created an illegibly tiny screenshot of the site as your icon. Now, you will see a variation of the logo that was originally designed for the Hispanic Nashville Noteworthy awards, featuring two white stars forming an "N" in the middle (for "Nashville") on a field of red. Both the stars and the field of red are intended to be reminiscent of the Tennessee flag.

Speaking of the Noteworthy awards, I need to get those out. The nominations were all in by December.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tennessee employer lobby preserves imbalance in immigration enforcement

Citizens can't file complaints against companies

The Nashville City Paper reports here that the business lobby neutered Tennessee's new immigration enforcement bill, under which a business can lose its license for hiring foreign employees without a visa. Under an early draft of the bill, average citizens could file a complaint against such employers, but in the final version, only government officials can do so.

A similar effort last year on a different bill killed a $1000 fine for employers who didn't check a federal database designed to determine whether an employee has authorization to work.

At the same time, some employers were encouraging workers to get fake papers and were caught in the act by WSMV cameramen (story here).

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook has lamented the imbalance of immigration enforcement on employees more than on employers, including this post on the number of illegalized residents of Tennessee:
Workers are usually the only ones sanctioned for immigration violations - if not by deportation, by simple civic exclusion. It remains to be seen whether any real setbacks will be suffered by Tennessee employers under these new laws, but it seems as if governmental inaction will continue to have a negative effect on employees and no detrimental effect on employers.
When the WSMV expose aired, the Hispanic Nashville Notebook asked here about the fairness of skewed enforcement in favor of employers:
Are we comfortable with punishing only the outsider for his business deal with an insider? If both sides were pursued and punished equally and to the full extent of the law, would the law continue to exist in its current form?
Some Tennessee employers have even been accused of denying basic rights to both their visaed as well as their unvisaed employees (story here).

The good news is that both the executive branch and the judicial branch have at times refused to go along with tilting the scales completely in favor of employers of the unvisaed, recognizing protections that should not be visa-dependent (stories here and here).

And some credit may be due the Tennessee legislature, as well. In 2006 and 2007, our state lawmakers repelled a tide of misguided bills on the immigration issue, and in each session, the one law they passed was designed to increase enforcement against employers. Not that the laws themselves were necessarily good for the state, or that the absence of any pro-immigrant legislation was not a glaring omission, but the point here is that the imbalance of enforcement against employees was not horribly worsened, at least on the books.

Of course, stepped-up enforcement against employers also hurts employees. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses its raids of Springfield's Electrolux as a success story (NYT article here), but a January 6 story in the Tennessean (available here) documented the widespread concern among business, local government, and immigrant advocates about the short- and long-term impact of ICE raids that appear to have led to the departure of 1,000 residents from the city and the possible future departure of Electrolux itself.

One would hope that American businesses feeling the sting of immigration enforcement for the first time will lobby the U.S. Congress for an overhaul of the federal immigration bureaucracy and unhinge the bear trap not just from the legs of employers, but from the legs of their employees who have been in that painful position for a much longer time.

Photo by Alice. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

In open-borders America*, Colored Citizens warn immigrants about getting taken advantage of in Tennessee

At Nashville in 1871, the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Tennessee tucks a message to newcomers inside a memo to Congress and the Presidents

"Decoyed to do faithful labor"

"If they come and voluntarily sink down deeper in oppression... we will gladly... extend a brother hand"

The Memorial to Congress and the President of the United States, Adopted at the State Convention of Colored Men



As the colored citizens in Middle and West Tennessee, are largely the majority of every other class, of laborers more especially in agriculture without some means to secure to them their earnings, a sadder state of affairs awaits us. With but few exceptions this class of laborers are decoyed to do faithful labor in the rural districts, some on the promise of a share of the crop and some for wages, but so soon as the crop is made the employer frames some excuse and falls out with the laborer and he is forced to leave his crop, and abandon his wages, by the terror of Kuklux, who in all cases, sympathies with the white employers. The courts of justice yield no redress in the State. The rebel press are constantly misrepresenting the facts, and that we are cheated. While we thus have no protection, we will warn all imigrants, German, Irish and Chinese, that we are unjustly delt by and tell them promptly of our treatment and if they come and voluntarily sink down deeper in oppression, so mote it be. But we will gladly hail all voluntary free labor to elevate the laborer, whether from Europe, Asia, Africa or the West Indies, and extend a brother hand to secure him in his liberty the right to his toil and to uphold this government upon equality....

*At the time of the Colored Citizens convention in 1871, the U.S. immigration policy was still "open borders," as it had been since the country's founding. As of 1862, American vessels were prohibited from carrying Chinese immigrants to U.S. soil, but otherwise the borders were wide open, and there was no such thing as an "illegal immigrant." Only in 1875 did Congress start denying admission to people wanting to come to America - and even then, it was just the criminals and prostitutes who were blacklisted.

Sources: Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Nashville, Family Research Group, Google Answers

Friday, February 8, 2008

Nashville Hispanic Chamber: annual meeting February 21

Debuts Spanish-language commercial

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce* sent out this invitation to its 2008 Annual Membership Meeting:
Annual Membership Meeting
Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
DATE: Thursday February 21st, 2008
TIME: 5:30 P.M to 7:00 P.M


Our 'Annual Membership Meeting" is held every beginning of the year as mandated by NAHCC bylaws. At this meeting our members will be presented with a report about our work during 2007 and upcoming events for 2008 and programs for members of our growing business community. Start the year with new business ideas while supporting Nashville's leading Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Your input if very important, please join us!

We will reply to your RSVP with additional details including location, parking information and agenda.

View our "TOGETHER WE CAN" television commercial:

how many Hispanic chambers are there in Nashville?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Diana Holland, Miguel Otero get "lust" taps from Scene

In this year's "Lust List," the Nashville Scene profiles Puerto Rico-born Miguel Otero of NPT and Argentina native Diana Holland of Hispanic Link Consulting and Tango Nashville. The Lust List is an annual cover story featuring locals who attracted the attention and affection of Music City's alt-weekly paper. There are 15 lustworthy honorees in 2008.

From the profile of Holland:
Her physical charms are well-matched by a sharp intellect and an even sharper tongue, both of which are put to good use at Hispanic Link Consulting, the private business she founded. But Holland is probably best known as the founder of Tango Nashville...

From the profile of Otero:
Sign us up! We’ll answer phones, we’ll scrub floors—hell, we’ll watch Bill Moyers if it means spending some time with NPT volunteer coordinator Miguel Otero.

Read the full profiles here.

Lips photo by Dario Sarmadi. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Portrait photos copyright Nashville Scene. Reproduced with permission.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tennessee Hispanic Chamber hosts pre-Valentine's networking Wednesday February 13

The Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce* announced a Valentine's-themed networking event to be held on Wednesday, February 13 at 5:30pm at Ibiza:

how many Hispanic chambers are there in Nashville?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Nobel winner Rigoberta Menchu speaks at Vanderbilt Thursday

Survivor of Guatemalan civil war

Coincides with art exhibit featuring late Ecuadorian activist Oswaldo Guayasamín

The Tennessean reports here that Rigoberta Menchu, winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, will be speaking Thursday night at 7pm at Benton Chapel at Vanderbilt University on the subject of "Healing Communities Torn by Racism and Violence." Menchu is a pioneer in bringing the plight of indigenous people to the international stage, having suffered through atrocities in her native country of Guatemala during that country's civil war.

From the Tennessean:
Now living in Guatemala City, Menchú was invited to speak at Vanderbilt in conjunction with an exhibit opening devoted to the late Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamín. Like Menchú, Guayasamín was an outspoken champion of social justice, and the two became friends before he died in 1999. She remains committed to keeping his legacy alive.
For Nashville's Latino community, Menchú's appearance is of special significance, said Renata Soto, executive director of the local nonprofit agency Conexión Américas.

"It's very timely that she comes to Nashville as someone who has been speaking on behalf of the voiceless."
"Menchú's message is clear about the consequences of racism and injustice, and it brings attention to the fact that right here in our own community, we have a ways to go to achieve some of those ideals."
Over the past few days, at least two Nashville blogs have covered the 1999 controversy over Menchu's autobiography (here and here).

Photo: The Nobel Foundation

Monday, February 4, 2008

Nashville has 25% of all new-to-English students in Tennessee public schools

Same number as June 2006

English learners are 2.1% of public school students statewide

Language acquisition in Metro is twice as fast as in other districts

This article in the Tennessean reports that "a quarter of the entire state's non-English-speaking students are in Metro," which is the same number reported here by the Nashville City Paper in 2006. The latest figures reported on the Hispanic Nashville Notebook are that 2.1% of Tennesssee public school students are new to English. Hispanic students, not all of whom are immigrants or English-learners, make up 3.2% of the student body state-wide.

Middle Tennessee has had great success with its transitional English classes for students, with a graduation rate to mainstream classes that is double what is found in other school districts, according to this 2006 report in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook.

Photo by Judy Baxter. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Why I support Barack Obama

I participated in a discussion last night about Barack Obama and his prospects for support among Hispanic voters. When I came home and took off my coat, my three-year-old daughter noticed something new on my shirt that hadn't been there before: an Obama '08 button.

She asked me a question that exposed the core of my politics these days, and in a few short seconds, I revealed that I am a values voter.

Before I get to her question and my answer, I want to hit a couple of caveats.

The first is that a "values voter" would ideally look for a candidate to the U.S. presidency who also has some intellectual heft in his toolbox. Obama has that; he not only graduated from Harvard Law, but he was President of the Harvard Law Review, which is one of the top achievements that can be accomplished in U.S. legal education. He is also on leave as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, which is known for its law and economics discipline. This post is not about the value of a good education, but that factor should not be ignored.

Second, focusing on values should not crowd out God himself. Only God can save the country and the world. If we are on the wrong track in any or multiple ways, we first need to turn to God. But God does not work alone. He uses men and women in high places to do great good. That's what is on my mind today and what was on my mind last night when my daughter asked me a simple question.

My little angel asked, "Daddy, why do you have that on your shirt?"

I said, "Because Obama loves Tía Regina and Tío Mario."

It was the simplest expression of my political views in a long time.

"Aunt" Regina and "Uncle" Mario are two friends of our family from the Hispanic church we attended for over two years, and my daughter loves and knows them well. As with most of our relationships at that church, we first got to know Regina and Mario as our brothers and sisters in Christ, and only later, through conversations about their lives both past and present, did their visa status (or lack thereof) come up. Their status would not change our fraternal relationship with them. We all saw each others as equals. If we found out that someone we knew could not get a visa (and most who do not have visas in the church could never get one legally, primarily because of poverty), that lack of opportunity was a tragedy but not a basis for approaching them differently. Looking around at the God-loving, otherwise law-abiding congregation, it was nonsensical to me that my government, and many of my fellow citizens, would deem approximately half my fellow churchgoers as unworthy of living among us.

So in the context of the current presidential campaign, what drew me to Barack Obama was that his life experience, his statements, and his positions indicate that he sees people in this same way we saw each other in that Hispanic church. Senator Obama isn't the only politician with a perspective that values all immigrants, of course. George W. Bush said in his May 2006 address to the nation on immigration reform that even unvisaed immigrants are "a part of American life," and people of all political stripes have stood up for the common humanity of everyone touched by the immigration bureaucracy. But it is nonetheless true that following the failed legislative proposals of the past couple of years, you will find fewer elected officials taking the endangered stand of principle these days. Few urge us to see immigrants as people first - as neighbors, fellow churchmembers, and fellow residents of this great country. It can be risky for a politician to widen instead of narrow the definition of "neighbor," which was Jesus' charge in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

From what I have read of Obama, he has adopted the high ground and has not wavered.

Still, when speaking to my daughter, it may have been a stretch for me to vouch for whether a politician "loves" our friends in that church. But on the spur of the moment it was the simplest expression of the quality I find most attractive in him.

Over time, Barack Obama has confirmed this impression I have. In his stirring remarks at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s church in Atlanta earlier this month, he called America to see all immigrants not as enemies but as "companions in the fight for opportunity" (video and transcript here). He marched arm in arm with hundreds of thousands of citizens and immigrants in 2006, saying that "we saw in those marches is the face of a new America" (audio and transcript here). A Nashville business leader who met at length with Obama in 2007 tells anyone who listens that the one federal official in this country who most understands the immigration issue as a human rights and civil rights issue is Barack Obama. You start to get the impression that this man with roots in Kenya and Kansas will never try to define our neighbors away.

Martin Luther King, Jr., in his acceptance speech for the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, called for "an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men." That kind of love is the value that will inform my vote on Tuesday, and it is why I support Barack Obama.

Photo by Cindy of Bella Rua Photography. Licensed under Creative Commons.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...