Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bedne endorses Bob Tuke for U.S. Senate

Fabian Bedne announced his support for Bob Tuke for U.S. Senate:
I hope you don't mind me wanting to help my friend Bob. I meet him when he was the Chairman of the TN Democratic party, I wanted to ask him for help in finding avenues to integrate Latinos into the political process. He was ready to go, he came up with great ideas and immediately offered his help to make it happen. He helped create the Middle TN Hispanic Democrats, and has been a member ever since.

Bob is a good man, he has served our country and community, and now I am asking for your help to elect him in the coming Democratic Primaries.

I want to keep this e-mail brief, so to learn more of why Bob Tuke will be great at the US Senate, please check his web site at

Early voting is going on now.

Thanks for your consideration.
Fabian Bedne has been featured various times on as a board member of Habitat for Humanity, founding member of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, president of the Tennessee Hispanic Voters Coalition PAC, founding member and president of the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Democrats, candidate for Metro Council, and member of the executive committee of the Davidson County Democratic Party.

Nissan grants another $50,000 to Harding YMCA Hispanic Achievers

"Our part to help ensure the success of the next generation of Latino leaders"

Automaker's local YMCA support reaches six figures in two years

From a Nissan North America press release:
Nissan North America, Inc. announced July 30 that it has contributed $50,000 to the Hispanic Achievers -- a program of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee. This will mark the second year Nissan has partnered with the local non-profit contributing a total of $100,000 to date.

"Nissan is proud to support the Hispanic Achievers Program in its efforts to help the Hispanic community reach educational success," said Stephanie Valdez Streaty, senior manager, Philanthropy and Diversity Communications, Nissan North America, Inc. "It provides us an opportunity do our part to help ensure the success of the next generation of Latino leaders who will positively impact and improve our communities."

The Y-Hispanic Achievers Programs help children, youth, and adults in the Hispanic community achieve their educational goals and better their lives. The program has achieved much success with its high school program, which has a 100% graduation rate with half of its participants moving on to college.

"Receiving support from a company of Nissan's stature speaks volumes about its commitment to the community. Nissan's generous contribution will help the Y-Hispanic Achievers Program make a greater impact on Hispanics' lives," said Jessie Van de Griek, Harding Place YMCA Community & Volunteer Development Coordinator. "We're thrilled that Nissan shares our commitment to education, and this partnership will have a lasting impact in Hispanic communities across Nashville. We deeply value the support that the Nissan family has provided our efforts."

The Y-Hispanic Achievers Program also seeks to direct families on the right path, looking for ways to develop strong academic and educational foundations, to discover their cultural identity, and to establish leadership roles among its participants. Nissan recognizes the numerous strides that the Y-Hispanic Achievers Program has made since its inception in 1992.

Nissan has long been a major contributor of other Hispanic organizations across the country including the National Hispana Institute, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and is a proud long-time sponsor of the Copa Nissan Sudamerica.

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and

The Hispanic Achievers Program is part of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, YMCA of Middle Tennessee, a not-for-profit, worldwide charitable fellowship united by a common loyalty to Jesus Christ for the purpose of helping persons grow in spirit, mind and body. With 30 centers and 253 program locations, the YMCA reaches 278,328 lives-1 of every 6 people in the 12-county area it serves-through membership, program participation, volunteerism and philanthropy. The YMCA builds strong kids, strong families, and strong communities.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Eaton: citizenship for ordinary immigrants; won't sign "worthless" English-only laws

Former Nashville mayoral candidate and current U.S. Senate candidate Kenneth Eaton was interviewed by The Greeneville Sun, speaking about a variety of topics including immigrants and the laws that relate to them. While mostly aligning himself with the more statesmanlike politicians in this field, Eaton does use insensitive language in the interview:


[T]hose whose only crime is illegal immigration that are productive workers should be allowed citizenship.
I support English as the official language of the United States, but I will not sign my name to worthless legislation that actually would infringe upon the rights of those who speak English as a second language.


Eaton used the word "illegal" as a noun, a usage which has been widely condemned (see story here).

When Eaton was a mayoral candidate, the Hispanic Nashville Notebook judged his performance at a immigrant-focused forum as "Best Use of Humor" (story here).

(Eagle-eyed RSS subscribers will have noticed that this post was originally bestowed with a more simplistic draft title, "Eaton good on immigration." Hitting "publish" when you are just drafting will do that to you.)

Hispanic kids who fled Robertson County schools in January returned in time for federal tests

Border Guard Bear

Officials needed everyone to be prepared

89% of Hispanic students never left

The Tennessean reports here that most of the 90 Hispanic students (both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) who fled Robertson County schools in the wake of January immigration raids are back and have taken federally mandated No Child Left Behind tests:
When at least 90 Hispanic students disappeared from Robertson County classrooms last winter, school administrators worried.

If the children, about 11 percent of the total Hispanic student body, didn't come back right away, they'd be too far behind to succeed on spring achievement tests. School leaders didn't know if they would turn up the day before the tests, unprepared but counting toward countywide performance anyway.

In the high-stakes world of the federal No Child Left Behind law, every group of students needs to pass.

The fears weren't realized. Most of the students, who left over fears of immigration raids, came back in time to get ready.
The improvement in scores over last year's performance was enough to earn the county "improving" status

The original story about the disappearance of the students, who represented about 11% of the overall Hispanic student body in the county, is here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gabe Garcia advances to final episode of Nashville Star (anyone have extra tickets?)

Gabe Garcia made it into the top 3 of Nashville Star in last night's elimination episode. Next week's season finale will determine the winner.

A video featured Gabe returning to his hometown of Lytle, Texas, where a crowd including a mariachi band met him at the airport, an extravagant-for-Lytle parade culminated in the mayor awarding Gabe the key to the city, and a crowd of 10,000 came out for an evening concert.

All the judges had good things to say about Garcia. Judge John Rich pointed out how Garcia could be - or already is - something special for country music: a bridge to Hispanic fans.

No matter what the results are next week, Garcia will be on the Nashville Star tour this fall.

(Anyone wanting to send me tickets to next week's taping at Opryland can contact me here.)

Image: NBC

Monday, July 28, 2008

Voice talent, teacher, help desk among July jobs

Metro job description may be in jeopardy

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook hosts a job site called the Workbook, but it is not the only Hispanic or bilingual employment listing in Middle Tennessee.

Franklin's Latin Market Communications circulates a monthly job listing in the bilingual paper Que Pasa and also makes the list available by e-mail. The July 2008 Que Pasa jobs are below, including a Metro job requiring Spanish (if this job's use of Spanish is discretionary and considered "official" communications, would a proposed Metro charter amendment* outlaw the bilingual part of the job description?).

Two other jobs that have come to my attention lately are the voice talent opening below, and the next job for a bilingual teacher at First Steps.

Freelance voice talent:
Recording studio in Nashville specializing in audio for corporate phone systems is looking for Spanish-speaking professionals to expand our freelance voice talent roster. Experience helpful but not a requirement. Prefer neutral accents if possible, and fluent English is always a plus. E-mail for more information.
Teacher position:
First Steps’ Ayudando Niños Program Is Searching for a Bilingual Teacher

Early Intervention Teacher requirements

* BS in Early childhood education, Special education or related field.
* Have written and oral presentation skills in English and Spanish.
* Work permit
* Knowledgeable about working with children from 0 to 3 years old and families in natural environments.
* Knowledge of Microsoft word-excel and the internet need it.

Key Functions and Expected Performances

* Early intervention teachers will be required to visit children with disabilities or delay and their families in their homes to provide them with specialized instruction.
* Provide interpretation and translation services for families
* Keep documentation of the children progress
* Inform families about community resources
* Work in collaboration with therapists and service coordinators from Tennessee Early Intervention System(TEIS)
* Give training to parents and daycares about different topics


* Flexible schedule
* Mileage Reimbursement
* Agency pays $25 of the phone Bill
* Medical, Dental and Life insurance
* Pay Vacation and sick days
* Salary is dependent upon education and experience.

Background screens will be performed and education will be verified prior to employment. Please be prepared to provide required information and/or documentation.

Email or fax your resume to Rosario Langlois, Outreach and Ayudando Niños Program Director,, Fax: 463-7949
Que Pasa July 2008 list:
We're going to be posting an opening for a clerical position that will help us with medical interpreting scheduling and tracking which interpreters are where at any given time. This person will need to be available to answer a phone line at all times during the work day so won't have other duties like answering client lines, filing, copying, etc. The person will have a desk in the front lobby. If you know of someone who might be a fit for our organization and is very good at organizing, phone etiquette, and keeping track of folks, please have them send in a resume to Dranda Whaley (fax 615-313-9242).

Candidates need to be strategic and team-oriented, and capable of building and motivating a strong group of volunteers. For a full job description, go to Email a Cover Letter and Resume to Tyler:

United Way of Metropolitan Nashville has opening for A.A. to provide technical and administrative support. HS diploma with five years' admn. experience or vocational training and 3 years exp. Ability to take meeting minutes, and pass Word/Excel skills assessment. Send resume, cover letter and job history to: or fax to: 615 780-2424. EOE

Telemundo Nashville is seeking a self-driven account executive with an inner motivation to succeed by helping to create custom solutions for advertisers trying to reach the Hispanic community. This individual must be bilingual and have established ties to the Hispanic community of Middle Tennessee. Prior sales experience is preferred but not required. While we will teach them everything they need to know about media sales, this person must be able to prospect and present. If interested please contact:

Looking for a few P-T bilingual sales associates for growing Hispanic marketing and PR agency and bilingual paper. Must be completely bilingual in addition to having a very outgoing personality. Responsibilities include acquiring new prospects for the business, making presentations, meeting with leads, sending out company information, following up. Must be a self-starter, be able to work without supervision and stay focused, proven ability to network and build rapport, good understanding of the Hispanic market, negotiation and closing skills, solid sales presentation and communications skills. You must have your own computer and telephone. If you are a shy and sensitive person this position is not for you. Only serious inquiries please. Send resume and 3 references which do not include family to or call 615- 599-0045.

The City of Franklin Solid Waste Department has a vacancy for Administrative Secretary, Responsibilities, generally, include answering multi-line telephone; greeting and assisting visitors; providing assistance and information related to department services, procedures, forms, fees, or other issues; compiling/organizing department work orders or service requests; dispatching solid waste pickup routes, monitoring two-way radio and assisting in scheduling service, etc. HS diploma or GED required, supplemented by vocational/technical training in personal computer operations, with minimum of three years previous experience and/or training involving secretarial work in assigned area; or any equivalent. $14.41/hour, plus excellent benefits. Obtain application online at or from HR Department, City of Franklin, PO Box 305, 109 3rd Avenue South, Franklin, TN 37065, tel. 615/791-3216, e-mail

position available. Contact Genia,

Get paid for helping families solve financial problems. High earnings potential. Set your own hours. No experience required. For more information, call Raphael Molina @ 533-1471 or 865-6725..

Tractor Supply Company, the country's largest farm and ranch retailer, is seeking a Bilingual Help Desk Team Member for the Store Support Center in Brentwood, TN who will provide support to all Tractor Supply Company Store Associates. This support includes assistance with issues pertaining to IT software and hardware issues and any store operational or procedural questions. In addition, the team member will provide service over the phone to store team members who require assistance communicating with Spanish-speaking customers. This team member should have a high school diploma and demonstrate strong problem solving and organizational skills. Approximately 3% of the team member's communication will occur as Spanish-speaking interactions. Candidates should be fully proficient in English and Spanish. Please send resumes via email to and list "Bilingual Help Desk" as the heading for the email.

Franklin, TN; Salary: $40K-$45K Prior experience in business development, proposal generation, or financial modeling or analyses; Gathering technical data and assembling data into well-written, sophisticated proposals ; Training or experience with business modeling for forecasts, budgets, and overall operational performance analysis. Apply online at or send resume to

ServiceSource in our Nashville office. Call Jon Julian at SERVICESOURCE, cell 415.987.3252,

Construction Company here in Nashville specializing in Gutters & Siding. hiring a bi-lingual sales person that has 1-2 years experience in sales and customer service, preferably to also be familiar with the basic construction field. We offer 401k, health insurance, company phone & vehicle and starting salary ranges $35-$45k (+ or -) based on performance and experience. Must be fluent in Portuguese, College degree, BA/BS required. Candidate must have basic experience in Microsoft packages (Word, Excel) and email Databases Contact David Rodriguez, 615-533-0089 - cell or e-mail

bilingual position - SUNTRUST
looking for bilingual candidate to work at Suntrust in Murfreesboro. Contact

The City of Franklin, TN is accepting applications for Police Officer. Must have HS diploma or GED. Prefer 60 semester hours at accredited college or university with at least 2.0 GPA on 4.0 system. Applicants must be: eligible to become P.O.S.T. certified, at least 21 years old at time of selection, eligible to become licensed & qualified to operate firearm, eligible to possess TN drivers license, & free from felony convictions & misdemeanors involving honesty, moral turpitude & habitual use of drugs/alcohol. . $16.20/hr, plus excellent benefits. Obtain application online at or from HR Dept, City of Franklin, PO Box 305, 109 3rd Ave S, Franklin, TN 37065, tel. 615/791-3216, fax 615/791-3297, e-mail

The City of Franklin has a vacancy for Custodian. Responsibilities, generally, include a variety of housekeeping and custodial tasks, such as cleaning City Hall Administrative offices, restrooms and kitchens; watering plants inside and outside City Hall; running errands and maintaining stocks of housekeeping. Minimum Qualifications: Junior High School diploma required. $12.03/hr, plus excellent benefits. Obtain application online at or from HR Dept, City of Franklin, PO Box 305, 109 3rd Ave S, Franklin, TN 37065, phone 615/791-3216, fax 615/791-3297, e-mail tracyh@franklin-

The Metropolitan Action Commission are currently looking to hire bi-lingual, Spanish speaking, family service specialists. $30,476.23 Plus medical, dental, pension and insurance benefits. Duties include: Insure maximum enrollment by utilization of all conceivable means of recruitment; Work with individual families to encourage, to motivate and to assist the family in its own effort to improve the conditions and quality of family life; Assist families in carrying out health referrals and other social service recommendations; Maintain a concise up-to-date family service record on each assigned Head Start student; Make home visits; Serve as a liaison between the Head Start family and the Head Start Center; Promote parent involvement in ALL facets of the Head Start program; Attend meetings and complete required training; etc. Requirements: Fluent in Spanish, responsive listener, valid TN DL, basic knowledge of medical and health terms. Please send your resume to or fax 862-8881

We would like to find someone that is a licensed insurance agent, or has an interest in becoming an insurance agent. We would like for them to be an inside employee that would handle the insurance needs for our growing Hispanic customers base. We would want someone with a good work ethic that likes working with people and wants to establish themselves in a career as a professional. Contact John A. "Jack" Spann, Cell: (615) 351-5225, or

Local Tower Company looking for a Lead Tower Tech. Driver License and experience required. The Lead Tower Tech will be responsible for a crew. For more details or to apply for the job contact Compensation: Hourly rate depends upon experience. Plus a weekly payment of $500.00 per Diem.

Siloam Family Health Center, a faith-based, Christ-centered health clinic, has an immediate opening for an experienced ambulatory care nurse. Candidate must have strong primary care nursing skills and computer skills. Plus, the candidate must have current state of Tennessee RN License, and CPR Certification. Preference is given to candidates who are bilingual (Spanish and English), have a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree or have experience in the social services field. please submit a copy of your resume and a cover letter to: Fax: 615-577-4010,

Kellermeyer needs to immediately hire retail store cleaners in Macy's stores in the Nashville malls - Rivergate , Cool Springs , Bellevue. We have morning 6 am to 10 / 11 am and 4 pm to 9 pm times available to work 6 days a week in a great environment . Wages will range from $7.75 and up based on experience (average is $8.00) Available are (4 ) in COOL SPRINGS, (2) in RIVERGATE , and (1) Supervisor (this one $9.00) in BELLEVUE. In the future we will have Green Hills and Hickory Hollow . Basic English is preferred for your safety and training - please let us judge your communication . These should be long term positions based on attendance and performance . To apply please call 615 509 5371 OR email to AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to complete an application - bring your ID and Social Security cards . We try to rotate Sundays between employees.

The City of Franklin has a vacancy for Enterprise Applications Manager. Responsibilities, generally, include having extensive knowledge of, & sharing expertise with designated departments on, the following Enterprise applications: Hansen, Cashiering, Utility Billing, Property Tax, Business Licensing, Water Miscellaneous Applications & Wastewater Miscellaneous Applications; guides & assists users on issues related to design, development & deployment of mission critical systems; communicates procedures within the functional application areas; maximizes capabilities & functionality of the system business units; etc. Minimum of three to five years of systems experience in Microsoft Applications. Associate's degree in Computer Science, Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, or Professional Certification. Obtain application online at or from HR Dept, City of Franklin, PO Box 305, 109 3rd Ave S, Franklin, TN 37065, phone 615/791-3216, fax 615/791-3297, e-mail

The City of Franklin is currently accepting applications for full-time firefighter positions with the Franklin Fire Department. Must work a 24 hours-on/48 hours-off shift (average 56 hours week), & live within 45-minute drive of Fire Department Headquarters within 6 months of employment. May be subject to call-back 24 hours a day. HS Diploma (or GED), 21 years of age, the ability to work under stressful & dangerous conditions, active EMT Basic (minimum) license required, active Paramedic license preferred, a valid TN driver's license, & a record free from habitual use of drugs or intoxicants, felony convictions, etc. Beginning salary $34,361.60/year, plus benefits. Obtain application online at or from HR Dept, City of Franklin, 109 3rd Ave S, PO Box 305, Franklin, TN 37065, tel. (615) 791-3216, fax 615) 791-3297, e-mail

The City of Franklin, TN is accepting applications for the position of Staff Engineer I. Responsibilities, generally, include performing engineering support to the city engineer in collecting & analyzing civil engineering data, reviewing engineering criteria for various types of plans & administrative work involved in departmental activities, as well as producing & maintaining maps & related files, & acting as technical resource for various departments, agencies & other groups. Bachelor's degree in civil engineering with two years experience in civil engineering. Engineer Intern (E.I.) registration preferred. Obtain application online at or from HR Dept, P.O. Box 305, 109 3rd Ave S, Franklin, TN 37065, phone 615-791-3216, fax 615- 791-3297, e-mail:

BILINGUAL SALES/MARKETING REP - The Hadden Group You must be fluent in English and Spanish and have 1 year sales or marketing experience. Call 615.292.2455 · fax 615.292.2838 ,

Labor Ready. Assist new applicants with the employment process, answer questions and qualify potential temporary employees for eligibility to work. Must have valid Drivers License and a car . One year of college or technical training preferred. Strong computer skills, bilingual skills a plus. Excellent benefits package with company matching 401K, tuition reimbursement, college savings fund, medical/dental/vision and prescription assistance. $11/hr. Full time. visit the Employment page on

Express Employment Professionals. Must be fluent in Spanish/English. Processing reimbursement requests for local drivers. Looking for someone who is self- motivated, has reliable work history, and has at least 2 years general business experience. Temp to hire opportunity. Contact Beth Stumbaugh

The CSI Companies. This positions requires being on the phone 95 percent of the day calling on past due accounts. This position collects on property owners that have delinquent credit balances. Must have a great sense of urgency, be self motivated and have thick skin at times. One year of collections experience, bilingual in Spanish is a huge plus. $12-14/hr. Call 904-338-9515.

Nashville. George S. May International Company- Management Service. 65K-85K a year. Bilingual French and Spanish individuals encouraged to apply. Developing, recommending and implementing business improvements and organizational change for owners, presidents and senior managers of small and medium size businesses in all types of industries. MBA Degree or 10+ years of business and management consulting experience required. Accounting systems (Quickbooks, Peachtree) knowledge required. Proficiency in Excel. Travel required.

Lend Lease Retail and Communities. Implementation and administration of on site project Environmental Health and Safety programs for the design and construction group. BS in Safety Management, Civil Engineering or related degree or the experience to a 4 year degree. 5-8 years of field experience in the role of Safety Engineer or 8-10 years of construction related experience. Bilingual skills a plus. Tel: 615.324.8800 , Fax: 615.963.2686

LATIN MARKET COMMUNICATIONS is not responsible for the accuracy of information provided.

Eva Melo
Latin Market Communications

*The relevant language in the proposed charter amendment is, "[A]ll official government communications and publications shall be published only in English." Who decides what "official" means? Who decides what "communications and publications" means - i.e. is a verbal communication in another language forbidden if the verbal communication is not "published"?

Photo by Louis du Mont. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

In support of 287(g) AND the rights of American newborns

Commentary by Cesar A. Muedas
Last Sunday July 20, the New York Times reported in detail the ordeal of an illegal immigrant who was stopped for “careless driving” in the Berry Hill section of Nashville last July 3. It was then the decision of the Berry Hill police officer (not an MNPD officer) to immediately arrest the illegal immigrant. The saga of the arrest is what makes the story in part unique, in part inexplicable, in part deplorable. I invite you to read the original July 20 NYT article, as well as the piece that the Nashville City Paper published on July 22. In fact, a separate July 22 posting on this blog also highlighted the story and its aftermath.
As indicated above, I support the use of 287(g) and consider it an effective law. My views, for example, coincide with those expressed in the Nashville City Paper editorial of March 25, 2008:
“Though there could be — and likely has been — some pain involved with enforcing U.S. immigration laws with 287(g), the program has proven a success.
Certainly, national leaders have worked past the idea that simply removing the nation’s 12 million-plus illegal immigrants is a feasible or even good idea.
Our country allowed them to enter through a combination of decades of our own remarkably poor border security and simply ignoring our own immigration laws.
Although philosophically serious leaders in both of the nation’s political parties no longer believe in mass deportations, we are still first and foremost a nation of laws. Using 287(g) honors that concept by taking our immigration law and putting it in the hands of the local authorities most likely to run afoul of criminal illegal immigrants.
Local leaders are simply empowered through 287(g) to perform the job federal agents should do but strategically cannot execute.
It has been an effective law and a well done program in Nashville addressing a true problem.”
Also in March 2008, commemorating a year of enforcement, the Mayor of Nashville [1] and the Chief of Police [2] made public statements in support of 287(g), with which I strongly agree, too:
[1] “I applaud Sheriff Hall on the success of 287(g) that has resulted from his hard work and cooperation with Metro Police. It is my goal that Nashville continues to be a welcoming and friendly city, and at the same time, a safe city. This program helps us accomplish that goal."
[2] "It is very important to remember that the 287(g) investigation begins after an arrestee is behind the jail door, and that the persons detained by immigration deputies are those suspected illegal aliens who chose to violate one or more Tennessee laws."
The arrest of July 3, however, is unique because the illegal immigrant in question was pregnant and gave birth three days later under the custody of the Sheriff’s office. What is inexplicable is that the pregnant mother did not receive the minimally humane, compassionate or Christian treatment to alleviate the hardships of the arrest at least during the last few hours before the delivery. Most deplorable was what the NYT reports:
“[when she] went into labor on the night of July 5, she was handcuffed and accompanied by a deputy as she was taken by ambulance to Nashville General Hospital at Meharry. Cuffs chaining her foot to the hospital bed were opened when she reached the final stages of labor […]”
The day the pregnant mother was taken into custody, regardless of her immigration status, the arresting officer as well as the Sheriff’s office should have stretched their IQ to the maximum to come to the realization that that woman was about to give birth to an American citizen. The enforcement of any law, no matter how draconian some may think it is, does not exonerate any party from exercising sound judgment and fundamental common sense. I ask the reader to reflect on how you would feel if your own mother had been shackled to the bed in the delivery room at the moment of your birth. How would your identity and worth as an American citizen be affected by such trauma? What kind of patriotism would you be inclined to cultivate if born through an experience so abhorrent and demeaning?
Every American newborn deserves the best care, nourishment and education that our country can offer its citizens. And if it is obvious and imminent that a pregnant woman is going to give birth to an American citizen, I want that American newborn to enjoy the same rights and privileges of any other citizen of this great country.
This sad episode is, in my opinion, as much connected to 287(g) enforcement as it is to the failure to offer equitable treatment to all Americans born in this country. Shouldn’t we all voice our outrage on behalf of the American citizen involved in this story? I am sure I am one of many willing to go out to march or demonstrate in support of all children born in this country as American citizens, regardless of the immigration status of their parents.
Finally, a word of caution: American newborns are not “illegals” in the midst of persecution, cannot cast votes for any candidate and cannot give attention-grabbing sound bites to the media. Since they are not necessarily polarizing or sensational, then, will they get the same attention from the media and politicians as the polarizing or sensational items do? It is up to each of us to make sure they do.

Friday, July 25, 2008

AVANCE seminar offers comprehensive integration orientation for Spanish-speakers at Belmont tomorrow

Conexion Americas will host its annual AVANCE Spanish-language seminar at Belmont University tomorrow, July 26, from 9:30am to 3:30pm. The seminar will cover topics designed with Conexion Americas' mission in mind - "Promoting the social, economic and civic integration of Latino families in Middle Tennessee" - and will specifically include personal finances, insurance, homeownership, and consumer protection, as well as "creating a family plan in case of deportation or detention, and rights and responsibilities in the United States," according to this announcement:
Dear Community Organizations,

Attached you will find an invitation and information about a free educational conference for the Latino community this Saturday, July 26 from 9:30am-3:30pm at Belmont University.

“Avance 2008: Infórmate Hoy para Lograr un Mejor Mañana!” - Information Today for a Better Tomorrow – is a seminar on topics such as immigration, legal education, creating a family plan in case of deportation or detention, and rights and responsibilities in the United States. The event will also include a motivational keynote speaker with information about how to be successful in the United States. AVANCE is completely free of charge. We will provide breakfast, lunch and childcare. Interested participants can register for the event by calling (615) 269-6900.

Please inform any Spanish-speaking clients which your organization serves about this event. Feel free to print the attached invitation to distribute or let us know if you need additional information!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gabe Garcia in Top 4 of Nashville Star

Texans dominate remaining field

Country music's new Hispanic voice?

Gabe Garcia grabbed a Top 4 spot Monday night on Nashville Star, according to
The last automatic finalist of the night was Gabe Garcia, who is singing a song called “Lost Weekend.” The song is extremely nostalgic, sentimental, about a couple trying to relive their past, reignite the spark they used to have. It's either poignant or horribly shlock-y – I can't decide. It's got a funky little vibe, and the chorus is somewhat catchy. Sounds exactly like something you'd hear on country radio. The judges enjoy it, but Rich tells Gabe to really improve his connection with the audience.
The other three remaining finalists are Coffey Anderson (Bangs, TX), Melissa Lawson (Arlington, TX), and Shawn Mayer (May City, IA). Garcia is from Lytle, Texas.

For more stories about the buzz in the country music industry about the potential of Hispanic artists and fans, read the new country music page on

Image source: Nashville Star

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nissan Americas: Nashville's newest Hispanic neighbor

Nissan Americas opened its new headquarters south of Nashville yesterday, cementing the company's already significant role in the Hispanic identity of Music City.

Hispanic employees in the news

The Tennessean's photo gallery of the new building included this picture of Jaime Ortiz working on the fourth floor, just a small reminder to Nashville that our newest corporate neighbor employs a number of new Hispanic Nashvillians. Other Nissan employees in the news recently are Pedro Quiterio, engineer, who attended the Committee of Latino Parents' sendoff of former Metro schools director Pedro Garcia (story here), and Stephanie Valdez Streaty, originally from Colorado, who was recognized in the "Corporate Executive" category of the Nashville Business Journal's 2008 Women of Influence Awards (story here)

Other examples of Nissan's Hispanic identity in Nashville:

Importance of diversity

When the Japanese automaker announced its relocation to Middle Tennessee from California in 2005, Nashville city promoters found out that diversity in Tennessee was a top concern among employees considering whether to relocate (story here). In June 2006, Nissan announced that it was "committed to pursuing and encouraging minority, women-owned, and local businesses to participate in the project" and invited a local Hispanic chamber of commerce to attend a Diversity Subcontractor and Vendor Project Informational Meeting (story here).

History of Hispanic marketing

In November 2006, Nissan launched a marketing campaign called Shift_musica, which was designed to attract Hispanic customers through music (story here). In March 2007, Nissan announced its newest Hispanic PR partner (story here), and in May 2006, Nissan launched a pan-regional Latin America media campaign with Fox Sports (story here).

Cross-cultural business

In December 2006, Dominique Thormann, Nissan senior vice president, discussed "Working Across Cultures in a Global Company" at Vanderbilt (story here).

Philanthropic support of Hispanic non-profits

In July 2007, Nissan made a $35,000 contribution to the civil rights efforts of the National Council of La Raza (story here), and in September 2007 Stephanie Valdez Streaty, Sr. Manager of Philanthropy and Diversity Communications, announced a $50,000 donation to the Harding Place YMCA's Hispanic Achievers program (story here). In May 2008, it was reported that Nissan joined the League of Latin American Citizens with a $25,000 donation and would also be supporting a scholarship program with Nashville-based Conexion Americas. (story here).


To Nashville's newest "Hispanic neighbor" (even though you've been in your temporary HQ in downtown Nashville for a while now, so you're not so "new" anymore), we say welcome!

Image source: Nissan

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Visaless pregnancy, two Nashville law enforcement agencies put city under national scrutiny

Berry Hill officer, Davidson County Sheriff's department draw questions, ire over arrest, jail stay, and entry into 287(g) system of Juana Villegas

Tim Chávez files Amnesty International complaint, warns against visits to Music City

Backlash over restraints

The New York Times reported Sunday on the Berry Hill arrest and Davidson County incarceration of a visaless, pregnant Juana Villegas*, who gave birth while in custody. Villegas is a current resident of Nashville who has lived in the U.S. as far back as 1996** and is originally from Las Cajones, Guerrero, Mexico.

Tim Chávez, the former Tennessean columnist who started his own blog Political Salsa in May of this year, brought local and national attention to the story of Villegas' arrest and, particularly, the restrictions over her and her baby during her incarceration. Chávez filed a complaint with Amnesty International and has promised to warn everyone he encounters outside the city not to visit Nashville, until state lawmakers step in (original post here).

Most of the voices crying foul in and outside Nashville are calling into question the restrictions over Villegas' movements while in the late stages of labor and delivery, as well as her ability to be with her child - which have all been defended by the Sheriff's department as standard procedures regarding a pregnant woman in custody. The practice and the policy are being described by the growing list of critics as a human rights violation that far exceeds the boundaries of humane and reasonable conduct.

Metro policy: citation, not arrest, with I.D.

The fact that Villegas was arrested at all is one that has dismayed local immigration advocates, including Gregg Ramos, who is trying to keep ordinary immigrants out of the local crackdown on illegal immigration and has been quoted in a few stories including the New York Times piece. The general understanding among advocates like Ramos is that an officer's decision to arrest a person turns on whether that person can be identified. In May, Metro police chief Ronal Serpas confirmed this to the Tennessean:
[I]t has long been our policy, as provided by Tennessee law, to issue arrest citations whenever possible. Officers have no choice but to make physical arrests in cases where the defendants cannot or will not offer satisfactory evidence of identification. Unlicensed persons who choose to drive without proof of identification will be arrested regardless of race or ethnicity.
In Villegas' case, she had on her person a photo I.D. with her name on it, issued by her country's consulate. According to the New York Times piece, her immigration status was neither checked nor confirmed until after she was arrested:
After Mrs. Villegas was taken to the Davidson County jail, a federal immigration agent working there as part of the cooperation agreement conducted a background check. It showed that Mrs. Villegas was an illegal immigrant who had been deported once from the United States in March 1996, Karla Weikal, a spokeswoman for the county sheriff, said. She had no other criminal record.
If Berry Hill officers are arresting people instead of giving them citations in the hope that their immigration status will be checked by the Davidson County Sheriff once in custody, that could be driven by racial profiling, which is illegal by statute in Tennessee as of this year. Reporting on this story has been too light to draw any real conclusions. One would want to know what the standards are for arrests in Berry Hill (a different police department from Serpas' department, even though both are inside the shared boundaries of Metro Nashville/Davidson County), and what information is available to Berry Hill officers on the street at the time the arrest-or-citation decision is made, and how that analysis was made in this case in particular.

287(g) designed with dangerous criminals in mind, but 80% of charges are for misdemeanors

The reason advocates want ordinary immigrants to stay out of the Davidson County jail, and therefore out of the 287(g) system, is that they say the program was promoted as a weapon against violent criminals. One of the sources listed below has a more recent quote from Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), but when asked about a similar case in 2006 in which a Nashville woman was thrown into jail after a minor traffic offense, ICE spokeswomen Temple Black told the Tennessean here that the result was puzzling:
Temple Black, spokesman for ICE [formerly known as INS] in the Southeast, seems puzzled that Metro law enforcement would expend resources on busting undocumented workers who aren’t dangerous criminals. "What we are focused on is aggravated felons…. We don’t go down to the Shell Station and pick up [undocumented workers]."
Differentiating between ordinary immigrants and dangerous criminals was a point made by Rick Casares, in an interview here with
To my knowledge, we do not routinely jail those who jaywalk, litter, or trespass. At this time, mere presence without documents is not a crime, but is equivalent to a civil infraction like those listed above.
Casares also raised the possibility of human rights abuses:
Once we single out a portion of our population and determine that they are unworthy of basic human rights, it becomes easier and easier to justify.
When asked about the program before its implementation in this interview with, Sheriff Hall advised that even misdemeanors offenders who are only issued a citation would be run through the system, but he could not predict the numbers of ordinary immigrants vs. dangerous criminals who would be processed as part of 287(g).

The number turned out to be 80% misdemeanors, 20% more serious violations (story here).

Roundup of coverage

Here is a sampling of the local coverage of Villegas' story:
Political Salsa: "Go to and read about the embarrassment brought to Metro Nashville by its sheriff, mayor and congressman"

Tiny Cat Pants: "One Last Things about Juana Villegas DeLaPaz"

GingerSnaps: "Outraged"

Women's Health News: "New York Times Covers Treatment of Juana Villegas DeLaPaz"

NewsChannel5: "Police Claim Legitimate Arrest; Woman Clams Racial Profiling"

WKRN: "Hispanic woman claims racial discrimination"

Nashville Post: "Eager To Hit That 287(g) Pinata"

Nashville Post & Nashville City Paper: "School board candidate arresting officer in controversial 287(g) case"
Here is some of the national coverage:
Associated Press by former Tennessean reporter Travis Loller

Beyond Chron: "Out of Public Limelight, U.S. War on Immigrants Intensifies "

Blue Collar Muse: "Tim Chavez on Nashville’s 287g-estapo"

The Curvature: "Immigrant Woman Abused By Government While Giving Birth"

Daily Kos: "Woman Gives Birth Under Torture: Homeland Security Hell"

Dream Act Texas: "Juana Villegas Part IV"

Delaware Libertarian: "Is this where the debate over immigration has taken us--to complete dehumanization?"

Latino Político: "Shackled Like An Animal During Labor"

National Immigrant Justice Center: "Detained immigrant woman shackled during labor"

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health: "The Inhumane Treatment Towards Juana Villegas DeLaPaz (Nashville, TN)"

Our Bodies Ourselves: "Appalling Treatment of Jailed Pregnant Immigrant"

Standing FIRM: "Shackled While Giving Birth - Police Abuse 287(g)"

Vivir Latino: "Human Rights Abuses Against Pregnant Undocumented Workers"
*Due to the different rules for Latin American surnames and U.S. surnames, Villegas has also been identified by her mother's surname, de la Paz, so you will also see her identified as "Juana Villegas de la Paz" or "Juana Delapaz," depending on the U.S. source.

**The New York Times reported that Villegas has lived in the U.S. since 1996. Various sources have reported that Villegas was deported in 1996. It is not clear how long Villegas had been living in the U.S. before her 1996 deportation and how soon after her removal she returned.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Neither 3rd nor 47th: Education and personal accountability can lead us to a happy medium

Commentary by Cesar A. Muedas

Friday's Tennessean reported that our state is the third most obese. Today, the Jackson Sun picks up the AP story that ranks Tennessee as 47th in the nation for library funding.
Three quarters of my household are Tennessean by birth; I am a proud Nashvillean by choice. How do these types of stats rub us? Not a pretty picture, indeed. But if we are really tired of this curse of being top of the worst or bottom of the best, we must start taking personal responsibility, voice opinions, and trigger meaningful actions.
What happens in the privacy of our homes is each family's business. What happens in the confines of our public schools is highly regulated and subject to unavoidable bureaucracy. But unquestionably, a lot of educating must be going on in both places. Let's ramp up the quantity and quality of that education. Let's inject more discipline and clean fun to the positive activities that occur at both (home and school). And let's exercise (pun intended) our civic duty of voting knowledgeably for those who, once in office, will listen, care and act in favor of changes beyond fads.
I am glad I am not on cholesterol medication, and now publicly will make a commitment for more walking and less driving. Many friends have heard my complaints about some junk I occasionally spot on shelves at the downtown library, so now will be time for me to put some observations in black and white and email them to the powers that be. But enough soap box rhetoric and let's also be practical. Later today, I will walk my bike to the gas station to inflate the tires; and tomorrow morning I will pay the $12.60 I have accrued in late fees at the library ... So, I invite you first to read the two articles linked above and then do what your conscience and common sense dictate, not just for ourselves but also for the sake of those who will not be of voting age for a good decade or more.

Cesar Muedas and his family of four live in Davidson County, for now have a collective weight under 400 lb. and habitually maintain the limit of 25 items checked out from our public library.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ramon Cisneros and Marcela Gomez: board members of Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

The Tennessean published this list of the board members of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and among the names are Ramon Cisneros and Marcela Gomez.

Cisneros is the publisher of the Spanish-language La Campana newspaper and is also the President of the Board of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce*.

Gomez is the President of Diversity Brands and the Hispanic Marketing Group.

According to the article, Cisneros and Gomez are returning members of the board. The changes, the Tennessean says, are as follows:
Bank executive Ron Samuels has been named the new chairman of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, the organization said Wednesday.

Samuels, the president and chief executive of Avenue Bank, replaces Darrell S. Freeman Sr., the chairman and chief executive of Zycron Inc., an information technology company.

Bert Mathews, president of The Mathews Co., a real estate firm, was named vice chairman, and Bob Grimes, marketing manager for Turner Universal Construction Co., will be secretary.

Ralph Schulz remains president, and Freeman becomes the group's immediate past chairman.

The chamber also announced seven new board members for the 2008-2009 term: Dennis Alpert, senior manager of public affairs/government relations for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; David Fox, a partner in the public relations firm McNeely Pigott & Fox; Kate Herman, president and publisher of Nashville Business Journal; Dr. Melvin N. Johnson, president of Tennessee State University; Larry Kloess, president of HCA Tri-Star Health Systems; Tom Oreck, executive chairman of Oreck Corp., a vacuum cleaner manufacturer; and Nick Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University.

how many Hispanic chambers are there in Nashville?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Joseline Vasquez saved from head-sized tumor, thanks to surgery at Vanderbilt and Shalom Foundation

Joseline Vasquez, a 2-year-old child from Guatemala, is at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital recovering from surgery to remove a large tumor that had grown to the same size as her head. The surgery was funded by Brentwood-based Shalom Foundation, which has a video on its site featuring Dr. Stephen Goudy, who conducted the surgery. As discussed by Dr. Goudy, the Shalom Foundation is currently focusing its donations on Guatemala.

Vanderbilt Children's Hospital International Services is blogging Joseline's visit here with both stories and a slide show.

WKRN and NewsChannel5 have text and video reports here and here.

From NewsChannel5:
A 2-year-old Guatemalan girl is recovering from surgery to remove a neck tumor at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Joseline Vasquez had a lymphatic malformation on her neck since birth. The mass has grown as much as she has as lymph fluid created a cyst on her neck.

"Obviously these things are big water balloons or cysts and if she gets a cold the cyst can swell which could compress her breathing tube and swallowing tube, which could be life threatening," said Dr. Steven Goudy.
Her surgery was funded by the Brentwood-based Shalom Foundation, which provides financial support and physical assistance for children and their families. A team of doctors perform surgeries such as this on two to three foreign children each year.
Image source: Vanderbilt Children's Hospital International Services

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TN and VW illustrate how foreign language can be a gesture of hospitality, respect

Yesterday, the State of Tennessee welcomed Volkswagen to the growing list of major automobile manufacturers located here (Saturn and Nissan also have major operations in the state), as the German automaker announced that it will locate one of its manufacturing operations in Chattanooga (story here).

To communicate the cementing of the bond between Tennessee and the German company, a backdrop offering a welcome in the German language appeared behind Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee and Stefan Jacoby of Volkswagen Group of America.

As said here by Nashvillian elderj in 2006:
To greet Koreans in Korean as a non-Korean is always a sure fire way to elicit surprise and a bit of cultural cool points. It doesn’t matter how much I mangle the pronunciation or use the improper honorific or fail to conjugate the verb, it never fails to please at some level.

Trying to speak someone’s language is a sign of respect... It indicates that you value them, or at least care enough to recognize that they are not altogether like you, and that this is a good thing.
Photo by Chattanooga Times Free Press

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Learning English takes years, volunteers

100 volunteers needed for Nashville Adult Literacy Council alone

Somali student: four years to speak English proficiently, even more to read and write

"They say almost universally if I knew English other doors would open"

Janell Ross of the Tennessean reported here on the time it takes for a student to learn English, and on the need for teachers:
LaWanna Shelton, the director of Metro schools' English as a Second Language programs, said people don't learn languages simply because they are surrounded by them.

"How many people studied a foreign language in high school, or high school and college?" Shelton said. "How many have been on those Spanish immersion trips to Mexico for two weeks? How many can speak that language, I mean, really speak that language, read it, write it? Well, that should give people some idea how difficult, how individual, how much of a process it really is."
Fadumo Siyke, a native of Somalia ... said it took four years to speak proficient English in most settings, but she still couldn't read or write the language. When she took her citizenship exam for the first time in January, she passed the oral section but failed the written test.
When [Renata] Soto's agency [Conexion Americas] surveys Latinos in the Nashville area, one answer appears repeatedly.

"People don't talk about a better-paying job, sometimes they don't even talk about papers," she said. "They say almost universally if I knew English other doors would open."
[T]he Nashville Adult Literacy Council, which also works with U.S.-born adults who cannot read, is in need of nearly 100 volunteers willing to work one-on-one with foreign-language speakers or adults who want to learn to read.
Photo by Pete Zivkov. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Miss Tennessee Latina pageant postponed to October

The 2008 Miss Tennessee Latina pageant has been postponed until October. Interested contestants and sponsors should contact Marjorie Weller, Tennessee State Director, at (615) 506-1279 or

The reigning 2007-2008 Miss Tennessee Latina is Mariela Flores. She was crowned at last year's pageant on August 11, 2007.

Photo of Mariela Flores courtesy of Miss Tennessee Latina.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

In support of the school rezoning plan

Commentary by Cesar A. Muedas

I am glad that the school board approved the new rezoning plan for Nashville public schools with a 5:4 vote. I am afraid, however, that most news reports have gone for the sensational angles in the story. I was present at the board meeting last Tuesday and was very impressed by the candor, common sense and professionalism of the five members that voted in favor of the rezoning. I feel confident that the current political will to change for the better is real.

My two children attend public school in Nashville, and I have been involved with MNPS since 2005 as a parent and volunteer. I have had the opportunity to visit 26 schools in the system, and to speak with 17 principals and with – I estimate - three times as many teachers. I have attended at least 10 school board meetings and one regular membership meeting of MNEA. I have served as member of the PTO board of my children's school and have made a personal commitment to devote as much time as possible to make their school better every year.
My simple conclusion is that the sooner rational change is introduced in the public school system, the more meaningful the improvements will be regardless of racial and socio-economical differences. I share the opinion that public education in Nashville is at a crossroads today; the status quo must be challenged every single day by every stakeholder. I want to believe that I am not the only parent that expects to see and hear courageous leaders that separate themselves from cosmetic or incremental changes and are willing to imagine, propose and execute radical solutions that transform our schools in the very short term. In exchange for that kind of leadership, many parents like me are willing to roll up our sleeves and walk the walk with plenty of trust in those who take the lead, even if plowing a new path is not 100% risk-free or 100% popular.

What about the foul-crying about re-segregation?
I took the time to read the proposal of the student re-assignment task force. I spoke with three of its members and with two members of the school board. Like any proposal for change, nobody was expecting the miracle of unquestioned support of it. Unanimity is not a condition for democracy, nor victimology of a group the justification for opposition and distrust. We should respect the outcome of the vote by the board and decry the collateral politicking, posturing and litigiousness, all three responses simply counterproductive.
My other simple conclusion is that we live in a Nashville that not only is different than the one of 50 years ago, but is also populated by a new generation of adults that will never go back to a time of racism or corruption.

I feel optimistic because a growing number of parents is realizing that change begins at home, continues at our children's schools and requires our civic participation in every election. Not two households are the same, not two schools are identical, and we have very different candidates running for school board posts next month. Let's continue our engagement at all three levels and demand equitable conditions throughout MNPS independently from how we may understand or perceive this or any future rezoning plan.

Cesar Muedas served as first president of COPLA, the Committee of Hispanic parents (Sep.2006-Sep.2007) and was the only Hispanic member of Mayor Dean's workgroup for the Project for Student Success (Dec.2007-Jun.2008).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Over 500 attend American Dream banquet

Over 500 people attended last night's "American Dream Banquet" hosted by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition ("TIRRC") at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. Sean Braisted noted here the movers and shakers in attendance. Here are some of the salient announcements about TIRRC's recent achievements:Congratulations to David Lubell, the outgoing executive director of TIRRC, and Stephen Fotopulos, the incoming executive director. Congratulations also to honorees Bill Purcell and Johnny Hayes. All were recognized for their significant contributions to TIRRC and for helping ensure that Tennessee is a place where newcomers are welcome.

Tim Chávez also posts about the event here. Chávez repeats Charles Bone's comment from the podium that among the 500+ present, around 200 were hearing about TIRRC for the first time, having come specifically to support honoree Johnny Hayes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bilingual in the Boonies joins

Nashville-based Carrie Ferguson Weir, author of the Bilingual in the Boonies blog, has been named as one of four "Parenting Post Bloggers" on, according to the site and Weir's announcement here. Weir is prominently featured on the home page.

You can follow all of Weir's posts on here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Former schools director Pedro Garcia finds "racial code" in Nashville; compares board member treatment to Cuban dictatorship

"Refusal to Resegregate Nashville"

"Racial code ... permeates the culture of our community"

Former Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Pedro Garcia authored a document titled "Refusal to Resegregate Nashville" that has surfaced only now in the context of the city's school rezoning plan. In it, Garcia covers a wide variety of topics related to segregation and his history in the top job at MNPS, and he compares his working conditions under the Nashville school board to the dictatorships of his native Cuba.

From the Nashville City Paper:
According to the document, Garcia believed racial politics permeated life in Nashville.

“I had never lived in the south before I came to Nashville,” the document says. “This is a great city and we have many friends here. But, I have also had to adjust to many racial issues. There is some sort of racial code or expectation that permeates the culture of our community. Sometimes it is like having an elephant in the living room of your house but refusing to recognize it is there.”

The document compares the behavior of some school board members with life under dictatorships in Cuba.

“I spent the first fifteen years of my life in Cuba living under two dictatorships, Batista and Castro,” the document reads. “I saw and experienced hate, violence and abuse. I expected such behavior from tyrants and oppressive regimes. However, I never expected board members and community leaders would become acrimonious and demeaning.”

“I believe in parental choice and in freedom of expression. I fought against Castro for these rights from the age of thirteen. And yet, here in America, I was the target of behind the scenes manipulations and fear tactics. My tenure at MNPS should not have ended this way,” the document states.
Copies of the documents can be found here on the Tennessean's web site or here on the Nashville City Paper's web site.

The complete story about school rezoning and Garcia's document can be found in either this article in the Tennessean or this article in the Nashville City Paper.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gabe Garcia scoots to top half of Nashville Star

Last night's episode of Nashville Star Season 6 saw contestant Gabe Garcia survive another week, putting him among the top 6 of 12 finalists. By making it this far, Garcia has passed Melanie Torres' seventh-place finish in Season Four.

Jeff Sampson of said that Garcia's performance for the night lacked "stage charisma," but that the judges and audience loved him:
Gabe Garcia is safe and will be singing Keith Urban's “Somebody Like You.” He apparently took dance lessons so that he could loosen up more on stage. He sings well but still lacks stage charisma, in my opinion. The audience and judges loved him though.
Also, Gabe has created this new Facebook page for his fans.

Photo source:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Immigrant identity is patriotic ingredient of Covenant Pres celebration

Irish-American song "Harrigan" among tributes to USA

The Sunday before July 4, Covenant Presbyterian put on a 2-hour choral and orchestral Independence Day celebration, including some typical patriotic songs (1812 Overture, Lee Greenwood, etc.) and some atypical ones, as well, including "Sound of Music" and "Harrigan." The latter, by George M. Cohan, is an Irish-and-proud-of-it theme that reminds us, in the words of Schoolhouse Rock's "Great American Melting Pot,"

How great to be American
And something else as well.

The Covenant Pres concert doubled as a final performance for retiring choir director Tom Ashcraft, who can be forgiven for not including my generation's Saturday morning cartoon ballad in the program. That, and the theme from Superman. If you're going to include snippets from the Sound of Music in an Independence Day medley, you might as well throw in the triumphant procession of the Man of Steel's soundtrack.

For the curious, here are the lyrics to "Harrigan" and "Great American Melting Pot":


Who is the man who will spend or will even lend?
Harrigan, That's Me!
Who is your friend when you find that you need a friend?
Harrigan, That's Me!
For I'm just as proud of my name you see,
As an Emperor, Czar or a King, could be.
Who is the man helps a man every time he can?
Harrigan, That's Me!
H - A - double R - I - G - A - N spells Harrigan
Proud of all the Irish blood that's in me; Divil a man can say a word agin me.
H - A - double R - I - G - A - N, you see,
Is a name that a shame never has been connected with, Harrigan, That's me!
Who is the man never stood for a gad about?
Harrigan, That's Me!
Who is the man that the town's simply mad about?
Harrigan, That's Me!
The ladies and babies are fond of me,
I'm fond of them, too, in return, you see.
Who is the gent that's deserving a monument?
Harrigan, That's Me!
H - A - double R - I - G - A - N spells Harrigan
Proud of all the Irish blood that's in me; Divil a man can say a word agin me.
H - A - double R - I - G - A - N, you see,
Is a name that a shame never has been connected with, Harrigan, That's me!

Great American Melting Pot

My grandmother came from Russia
A satchel on her knee,
My grandfather had his father's cap
He brought from Italy.
They'd heard about a country
Where life might let them win,
They paid the fare to America
And there they melted in.

Lovely Lady Liberty
With her book of recipes
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American melting pot.
The great American melting pot.

America was founded by the English,
But also by the Germans, Dutch, and French.
The principle still sticks;
Our heritage is mixed.
So any kid could be the president.

You simply melt right in,
It doesn't matter what your skin.
It doesn't matter where you're from,
Or your religion, you jump right in
To the great American melting pot.
The great American melting pot.
Ooh, what a stew, red, white, and blue.

America was the New World
And Europe was the Old.
America was the land of hope,
Or so the legend told.
On steamboats by the millions,
In search of honest pay,
Those 19th-century immigrants sailed
To reach the U.S.A.

Lovely Lady Liberty
With her book of recipes
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American melting pot
The great American melting pot.
What good ingredients,
Liberty and immigrants.

They brought the country's customs,
Their language and their ways.
They filled the factories, tilled the soil,
Helped build the U.S.A.
Go on and ask your grandma,
Hear what she has to tell
How great to be an American
And something else as well.

Lovely Lady Liberty
With her book of recipes
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American melting pot
The great American melting pot.

The great American melting pot.
The great American melting pot.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New U.S. citizen Maria Pervatt describes her immigration from Costa Rica back to Gallatin

"The officer was about to send me back"

"Free to fulfill the purpose of our lives in the United States of America"

The Tennessean published this story by Maria Pervatt, a new U.S. citizen from Costa Rica, in which she describes her immigration back to Gallatin and subsequent citizenship process. A harrowing close call is tucked in there:
The officer was about to send me back to Costa Rica, but was moved by my children's words, saying "We are Americans, and she is our mother."
Months later I got to return to my home sweet home in Gallatin, a place where I lived for years and had sold before I went back to Costa Rica. From here I continue working with my nephew's ministry, arranging meetings for him to spread the gospel worldwide and whose testimony is impacting today's youth.
This fourth of July, I got my own personal gift, freedom to travel as I finally received my own beautiful American passport.

Now the next time my girls and I will make that one stop at any immigration office, we all will be proud to say we are citizens of a nation under God and proud to be free to fulfill the purpose of our lives in the United States of America.
Photo by Daniel Lobo. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

VU's Dillehay honored for Araucanian archaeology

Monuments, Empires and Resistance wins Society of American Archaeology book award

Chilean natives resisted Spanish conquest for more than 300 years

From Vanderbilt University:
Anthropologist Tom D. Dillehay's book Monuments, Empires and Resistance has received the Society of American Archaeology's highest book award for 2008.

In the book, Dillehay, who is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University, examines the methods that the Araucanian people of southern Chile used to resist Spanish dominance for more than 300 years.

In 1550, when the Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia attempted to conquer southern Chile, he ran into stiff opposition from the scattered population of the Araucanians who had successfully resisted Incan conquest. Before disease and fighting reduced their numbers, the Araucanians earned the nickname of the Apache of South America by defeating Valdivia and his followers and nearly capturing Santiago. Subsequently, the Spanish pushed the resisters into a forest region south of the Bio-Bio River, which remained the boundary between the two peoples for three centuries. It wasn't until the late 1800's that the Chilean army defeated the Araucanians and settled them on reservations farther to the south.

Dillehay's book draws on 30 years of anthropological, archaeological and archival research to investigate the manner in which the Araucanians successfully resisted the Spanish and actually flourished in the process, including their use of sacred monuments to help form widespread alliances and adoption of the use of horses in battle.
Image credit: Patricio Valenzuela. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nieto and Preciado lead Spanish-language portion of Lipscomb's Summer Celebration lecture series July 2-4

"To bring the members of Hispanic Churches of Christ in Nashville together into one community"

Classes, activities for kids, food, fireworks

From Lipscomb University:
Lipscomb University’s 2008 Summer Celebration lecture series, July 2-4, will feature a track of classes held completely in Spanish. Local Hispanic church leaders hope the July gathering can serve as a catalyst to bring the members of Hispanic Churches of Christ in Nashville together into one community.

The Spanish-language classes will follow the same theme as the overall lecture series: “Bringing Stones to Life: Nehemiah’s Call for Courage, Passion and Revival.” The keynote speakers for the event will include Jose Gregorio Nieto, minister at Brewer Road Iglesia de Cristo (Church of Christ) in Winston Salem, N.C., and Carlos Preciado, a full-time missionary for the past three and a half years.

The daily programs are not just for adults. Fun children and teen activities such as devotionals, classes, games and service projects will keep the kids busy all day, and a professional fireworks display, live entertainment and plenty of family fun and food will end the annual festival of faith and fellowship.

July 4 activities start at 4:30 p.m. with a picnic and Kid’s Zone; a community worship begins at 6:30 p.m. and fireworks are expected to begin around 9 p.m.

Nieto’s Brewer Road Iglesia de Cristo is one of the fastest growing congregations in North Carolina. He is part of a team of preachers that travels throughout the U.S. and Latin America, strengthening congregations by presenting leadership seminars, gospel meetings, and in-depth Bible studies to prepare men and women to be better equipped to serve their local congregations.

Nieto has been a full-time minister for eleven years. He graduated from the Harding School of Biblical Studies and received a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Ministry. He has been involved in mission trips to establish new congregations in Spain and Mexico.

Preciado has been a full-time missionary for the past three and a half years. They have been working with the Griffin Road Church of Christ in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.. His focus is personal evangelism, and he frequently leads Bible studies with families, young adults and teenagers during the week.

He graduated from East Tennessee State University. In 2001 he and his wife Maribel enrolled in the Atlantic International Bible Institute, a branch of Sunset International Bible Institute, where they graduated in December 2004. During that time, the couple were serving their home church in Hialeah, Fla., working with the youth, and with a new Spanish ministry in Naples, Fla.
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