Tuesday, March 31, 2009

LP Field hosts its first World Cup qualifier tomorrow night with U.S. v. Trinidad & Tobago; crowd draw appears strong

The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team will play tomorrow night, April 1, in the first World Cup qualifier game ever to be played at LP Field. The U.S. team faces Trinidad & Tobago at the official game time of 6:45pm, with the televised kickoff (after 12 minutes of introductions and anthems, perhaps) at 6:57pm on ESPN2 and Galavision. The forecast is for mostly sunny/party cloudy weather.

"We are very excited to be playing such an important World Cup qualifying match in Nashville"

"We look forward to tremendous support from the fans"

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley is optimistic about tomorrow night's game: "We are very excited to be playing such an important World Cup qualifying match in Nashville. We have had very good experiences there, both in 2006 before the World Cup and during qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games. LP Field is an excellent facility, and we look forward to tremendous support from the fans."

Ticket sales are building. A story yesterday in the Tennessean reported that sales were at 15,000; a Washington Post reporter had it at 17,000 yesterday, and the Tennessean is reporting 18,000 as of today, with "[r]oughly 55 percent of the tickets ... sold to people outside of metro Nashville."

Young soccer fans "geeked up about it"

The Tennessean story yesterday reported that youth soccer is fueling interest in the game:
[A] strong youth presence is expected.
According to the Tennessee State Soccer Association, there are more than 45,000 youth soccer players in the state. By comparison, there are about 38,000 Little League baseball and softball players in the state, according to Little League baseball officials.
"The kids are very geeked up about it," said Mike McCabe, president of the Tennessee Futbol Club, a youth soccer association based in Franklin. "The older kids are looking very forward to being able to see the U.S. national team playing the sport that they play, and it's in Tennessee."

Record walk-up crowd possible

The Washington Post's Steven Goff reported here the good sales numbers may get even better than the current tallies, considering the walk-up potential:
More than 17,000 tickets have been sold -- not bad for a mid-week match against a secondary opponent in a secondary soccer market -- and, with good weather, organizers are hoping for a nice walk-up crowd.
It wouldn't be the first time this venue saw a big walk-up for a soccer game, according to the Tennessean here:
In 2006, when the U.S. team played Morocco in a send-off match prior to the World Cup, nearly 6,000 of the more than 26,000 fans bought tickets at the gate, marking the largest walk-up crowd in the stadium's history, MacLachlan said.
The 2006 Morocco game at LP Field was after the U.S. team had already qualified for the World Cup in Germany (Hispanic Nashville Notebook story here).

U.S. has formidable record but weak showing in last game

This game will be the second of five home qualifiers for the U.S. team on the road to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, which would be the team's sixth straight World Cup appearance. The U.S. has never lost to Trinidad & Tobago on home soil, but Los Angeles soccer columnist Nick Green warns against getting ahead of ourselves:
Name the national team that sits in sole possession of first place in its group in World Cup qualifying, has just one loss in 10 qualifiers and is undefeated at home in its region over an astonishing 50-game span.

Now name the national team that eked out a tie in its last game against an opponent that sits 89 places below it in the FIFA rankings and that before this weekend hadn't even managed to score a goal against that nation in a dozen years.

If you answered the U.S. to both questions you're not only right, you've also illustrated the is-the-cup-half-full- or-half-empty question in the wake of the 2-2 tie with El Salvador Saturday and ahead of the next World Cup qualifier Wednesday against Trinidad & Tobago in Nashville.
Tickets for tomorrow night's game in Nashville range from $20 to $70 and are available at Ticketmaster.com, ussoccer.com, in person at Ticketmaster outlets like Kroger, at LP Field, and by phone (1-800-745-3000). Parking at LP Field is $15.

Photo by Chris "Mojo" Denbow. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Not everyone can get away with "mis amigas mexicanos" blunder; bilingual marketing preference demands relevance

Humor helps, too; see the four funny commercials below

"Reaching Latino consumers can successfully be done in both English and Spanish, not either or"

Sentimental, bilingual Toyota Camry ad

Bilingual in the Boonies' Carrie Ferguson Weir recently published this article about Marketing to Latinos, in which she mentions a recent Nashville seminar on the importance of ethnic media and marketing (see also this Hispanic Nashville Notebook story about the economy's impact on ethnic media in Music City).

Weir expresses a preference for relevant, bilingual advertising (probably not surprising, considering the title of her blog):
[A] few days ago I read a story online that basically said reaching Latino consumers can successfully be done in both English and Spanish, not either or.
What language are Latinos speaking most? What language do we want to be addressed in by media and marketers?
For me -- a bicultural, bilingual consumer -- as long as the message is culturally relevant, it doesn't really matter what language is used. Just don't show me a stereotype or I shut you out. But, I do prefer English ads, marketing and web sites; it is the language of the academic side of my brain. Spanish is the language of my spirit. Reach them both and you win me.
Many of the comments below Weir's article echo the same preference:
Latin Grammys? Am all over it. I like the ads they play during it - the bit of spanish in them & people that look like me - totally wins me over.
I think we need a "Chicana" channel that caters to those of us who are bi-cultural. It could run shows/ads in either/both languages and be very effective.
I prefer my ads in English with a hint of Spanish.
(The sentimental Toyota Camry ad above is bilingual, but doesn't it sound like the "Mira" part of the ad is a voiceover? I wonder if it's as noticeable as I think, and if that impairs its impact.)

Since humor is a frequent element in successful advertising, I've included below a few funny commercials targeting Hispanic consumers, except these are primarily in Spanish. The first one (which I dub "Mis Amigas Mexicanos") has a high "relevant" quotient, playing on the U.S. stereotype that everyone south of the Rio Grande is Mexican; the fourth one gets extra points for its Titans/Jaguars highlights:

Finally, to round out the humor, The Onion had this funny take on how "empowering" ads can be if they celebrate Latino culture.

If you want to comment on the commercials above (are they relevant?) or if you want to suggest a different one (maybe another primarily English commercial peppered with Spanish), let me know what you think in the comments below, via the contact link above, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New mobile version of Hispanic Nashville Notebook available

Update the bookmark on your mobile device: m.hispanicnashville.com

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook has been updated with a mobile-friendly version.

You iPhone users - while you're there, add Hispanic Nashville Mobile to your home screen (here's how - just remember to do this from the mobile site and not the regular site).

Any other cell phone or mobile browser can use the mobile site, too.

Let us know what you think by using the contact link above, or touch base via our Facebook page or Twitter.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spanish promo for Nashville's Earth Hour

Marcela Gomez sent in this Spanish-language promo for Nashville's Earth Hour, which is tonight:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook is on Facebook

Click here to become a fan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cafe con Leche dance event at Vanderbilt will feature 150 students, nine Hispanic dances

Theme: "El Wiz"

The Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students is putting on its annual dance event called "Cafe Con Leche" this Saturday, March 28.

From the Office of Leadership Development and Cultural Affairs:
Description: Cafe con Leche is an annual exhibition of Hispanic culture consisting of traditional and modern Hispanic dances and other performances and is the Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students' largest annual event.

Event's Purpose: To celebrate and increase awareness of Hispanic culture through dances, music and other means.
From the Vanderbilt Hustler:
A celebration of Hispanic dance and culture, Cafe con Leche 2009 will take a trip down the yellow brick road Saturday night with the theme of "El Wiz."
Vanderbilt students choreographed each dance, and over 150 students from all cultural backgrounds are participating in nine different Hispanic dances. The event attracts hundreds in the community every year.
The event starts at 7 p.m. in Langford Auditorium and tickets are $7 at the Sarratt Ticket Office or at the door.
The Nashville Latino Professionals Meetup Group will be attending (their event page is here).

Photo: 2008 Cafe Con Leche

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All indicted MS-13 gang members are convicted, sentenced

Group gone from Nashville, maybe not the suburbs?

The Tennessean reports here that all 14 defendants in a RICO criminal prosecution against local members of the MS-13 gang have been convicted and sentenced after entering guilty pleas. The racketeering (RICO) convictions bring longer criminal sentences than the individual acts of violence, which included "murder, attempted murder, and witness tampering." The original indictments were brought in 2007 (story here).

These 14 people constituted only "one percent of one percent of the Latino community in Nashville," according to a statement made by Jim Cavanaugh of the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to the Nashville City Paper (story here).

It had been hoped that these efforts eliminated MS-13's presence in Nashville. At the time of the indictments, Sgt. Gary Kemper of the Metro Police Gang unit told the City Paper that the arrestees constituted most of the local membership of the mostly Salvadoran gang. Kemper told the City Paper, "As far as the crime within the Hispanic gangs, it’s cut down, I’d say, 80 to 90 percent" (story here). And this 2008 press release from Metro Police stated that "[t]hanks largely to the efforts to the Gang Unit, this investigation and federal prosecution may have eradicated the presence of an MS-13 cell in the Middle Tennessee district."

But this story from a week ago reported that MS-13 and Brown Pride are active in Nashville suburb LaVergne. There is no mention of how many people are involved there.

Credit for the Nashville convictions was shared by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur and the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Middle District of Tennessee; Trial Attorney John Han and the Criminal Division's Gang Unit; the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department's Gang Suppression Unit; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and the Davidson County District Attorney General's Office.

Photo by emtboy9. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Monday, March 23, 2009

There are twenty ethnic media outlets in Nashville; some close doors in the down economy

Flashback: Tennessee Staatszeitung was the official newspaper of the Fifth Congressional District

Third in a series

New America Media reports here on the twenty ethnic media outlets in Nashville and on the struggles they face in the difficult economy:
On a Friday morning, in a small house outside downtown Nashville, La Sabrosita, a Spanish-language AM radio station, was airing its shows in full swing. Immigration was the most pressing topic.
"Many are unaware of what immigrants are facing here," said Ramón Cisneros, whose Franklin City-based publication, La Campaña, includes a section for immigrants to share their experiences and information with one another.
Abdul Farah, social adjustment director of Nashville’s Somali Community Center, lamented a local Somali television producer who gave up running a syndicated network due to budget constraints. Now he’s driving a truck for a living.
Read the entire story on New America Media here (h/t: Post Politics).

The ethnic media used to have official status in Middle Tennessee. According to Robert Donald Rogers' M.A. thesis The Tennessee Staatszeitung (1975), the German-language Tennessee Staatszeitung was the official newspaper of the Fifth Congressional District - including Davidson County - in the 1860's (p. 12). Tennessee Governor Brownlow "praised the newspaper as the organ of the loyal Germans" (p. 47). In fact, Governor Brownlow "began the practice of having his messages to the legislature printed in German and distributed throughout the state. Fifteen thousand English copies and six thousand German copies of Brownlow's 1865 address were printed, but of a later report one thousand English copies and two thousand German copies were issues" (pp. 53-54).

In the 1890's, German American Day was one of the celebrations at the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in Nashville's newly inaugurated Centennial Park, and the role of German-language newspapers as an integration tool was lauded in a speech that wound up in the New York Times (partial excerpt here).

This story is the third in a series about the history of the Staatszeitung newspaper and German history in Tennessee (click the following links for the first and second installments in the series).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Vanderbilt biomedical engineering students return from spring break service in Guatemala

Fixing electrosurgery machine was part of the job, broadens reach of operating room

Twelve biomedical engineering students, their professor, and a former dean of the engineering school recently returned from a service-focused spring break (Feb. 28-March 7) in Guatemala City. You can read about their trip at this blog and this press release.

The students are currently in Associate Professor Cynthia Paschal’s Service Learning and Leadership class. Paschal and the class also joined Ed White, dean emeritus, in Guatemala.

During the week they worked in Hospital San Juan de Dios, Manos de Amor clinic and at a local school, as well as join engineering students and faculty at Universidad del Valle for a mini-conference.

The Vanderbilt students delivered to Manos de Amor donated medical equipment secured by two students in Paschal’s previous fall semester service learning class, a three-credit hour course dedicated to working on service projects that could be completed in Nashville. The spring class, a one-credit hour course, offers the on-site international component involving travel during spring break.

Paschal visited Manos de Amor and Universidad del Valle in May 2008 before creating the fall course.

Students traveling to Guatemala City were Wade Allen, Sung Hoon Bae, Karen Baker, Jim Clear, Katherine Gray, Paul Guillod, Jessica Keener, Rosie Korman, Chris Madison, Lauren Nichols, Jessica Paulsen and Garrett Spiegel.

Here is an excerpt from the blog chronicling the trip:
We got to the hospital and as the maitenance workers were greeting us the head doctor of the ER and OR came in to test the electrosurgery machine we had fixed the day before. He brought with him a chicken leg and a hot dog. After testing both the coagulation and cutting mechanisms of the machine on the chicken leg, he started to thank us for fixing the machine. They hadn't used the machine for over 5 years and to have another one made another OR room adequate for more types of surgeries.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nashville Salsa club ¡Diablos Que Bailan! gets together whenever and wherever the mood strikes

Spur-of-the-moment as well as scheduled events, including tonight

Cindy McCain of Examiner.com profiles the Nashville Salsa Meetup (also known as ¡Diablos Que Bailan!) and its founder Carey James Balboa in this story.

Here is an excerpt:
It all began as what Balboa calls a “salsa flash mob” patterned after the European craze of spontaneous social gatherings. “We started as a salsa dancing street gang. Without knives,” he adds with his signature wry humor and wide grin. Armed with his portable sound system, a cooler of ice water, folding chairs and extra pairs of dance shoes, he summons friends via text messaging to vacant parking lots and rooftops for nights of Latin dance. “It’s an awesome vibe. People walk up and ask what we’re doing. We invite everyone to join.”
View the full story here.

For the planners among us not prone to "flash mob" spontaneity, there are scheduled events listed on the group's Meetup page, including one tonight at Ibiza. To give you an idea of how seriously interested in salsa this group is, check out the number of events peppered throughout the rest of just this month: they are getting together on March 18, 20, 21 (two events that night), 26, and 28.

Author McCain has been publishing a steady stream of articles about Latin dancing in Nashville, including this story about local "Salsa Master" Gaston Vidarte, this story about Nashville's first "Salsa Blaze," this story about Salsa for Beginners instructor Alethea Kelly, and this story about Latin dance instructor lovebirds Martin Barrientos and Raven Hilton.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Danny Salazar at Mercy Lounge tonight

From Danny Salazar:
Just want to let you know I'm playing with the whole band (accordion, 4 percussionists, horns, etc.) at the Mercy Lounge on Wednesday, March 11. We'll be playing music from the new CD and we'll also be trying out some brand new songs.

Damien Horne will be starting the night @ 9pm with an acoustic set. Also joining us, will be Rose Falcon and Jon Nicholson. It's going to be an amazing show! Attached is a copy of the poster. Please help me spread the word and forward the poster to friends. Hope to see you there!

Danny Salazar

Please call Lightning 100 @ 615.777.5100 and request 'Here I Go Again'. It's a song I co-wrote with Rose Falcon. They have a lunch hour request every day. You may email them, too @ studio@lightning100.com.

Free Hispanic Nashville Notebook t-shirt up for grabs

Looking for the archives' most interesting quotes, headlines, statistics, excerpts

E-mail entries to the editor

Deadline: Saturday, March 14

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook has a new t-shirt! Well, almost. The front design is above, but the back of the t-shirt hasn't been completed yet, and that's where you come in. The back will feature one or more of the best quotes, headlines, statistics, and other excerpts from over five years of the Hispanic Nashville Notebook. I am holding a contest to finalize that side of the shirt, and the winner gets a free t-shirt. Deadline is this Saturday, March 14.

The contest is simple: e-mail me at least one - and no more than ten - of your favorite quotes, headlines, statistics, and excerpts from the Hispanic Nashville Notebook archives. I will review the contest entries and come up with my own list. The person whose list comes closest to my final list wins the free t-shirt. No overlap means no winner, but I know you guys can pull this off.

The secret to this contest will be finding the stories that you think best tell the story of both Nashville and also the Hispanic Nashville Notebook, because I think I'll be leaning towards those stories to include on the back of the shirt (no guaranties, though - I could decide to go only with stories that start with "Z" - that's my call). If I choose just one quote/excerpt, I'll choose randomly from among the submissions that have it.

The two free spaces in the middle of this Bingo card are the following stories, which have a high likelihood of making it in:I'll just tack those two stories onto everyone's submissions, so you don't need to include them.

What else would be good for the top ten to go on the back of the shirt? Capitol Nashville: country music needs a Hispanic star? Argentine Tango Society forms in Nashville? Or maybe an excerpt from Tamale Treasure:
She warned that it was “hot.” I though she meant “stove hot,” but no, as my friend soon discovered, she meant hot in the way that hot can hit your stomach, then work its way back up through your lungs and ultimately engulfs you in a perfect capsicum laden cloud, causing your metabolism to accelerate, sets your heart to racing, and ends with you wiping your brow on your shirtsleeve. That kind of hot. Perfect.
The contest deadline is this Saturday, March 14, so get cracking and e-mail me your list!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mayor Karl Dean, Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance and Council of the Americas To Address Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Newly Elected Board of Directors To Be Announced At NAHCC's 9th Annual Membership Meeting
March 11th, 2009 - 5:00 P.M.
Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLPSuite 2700 - Conference Center - Nashville City Center

NASHVILLE, TN, March 10, 2009 - The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC) announced today that it will hold its annual membership meeting on March 11, 2009 at 5:00 P.M. at the offices of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP Suite 2700 - Conference Center Nashville City Center - 511 Union Street (Downtown) Nashville, TN 37219.

The NAHCC annual members meeting will begin with a brief address by Mayor Karl Dean about the importance of minority business participation and procurement opportunities with metro government. Representatives from Metro's Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance, the Minority Business Advisory Council and the Americas Society and Council of the Americas will present a report to members.

The meeting will include announcements regarding new member benefits, new partnerships, the 2009-10 agenda which includes a wide range of chamber initiatives in order to bring business owners and leaders together to match Hispanic-owned businesses with companies or agencies at the state, local, or private level to facilitate and increase procurement opportunities and access to capital. The 2007-09 Board will introduce the newly elected Board of Directors.

Elected by the membership, the new members of the NAHCC Board will serve a two year term.

The members reception will begin at 5:00 P.M. New memberships and renewal information will be available at the NAHCC member registration desk. Parking at the Nashville City Center building will be availble at $2 dollars. Please mention you are attending the Nashville Hispanic Chamber event to receive the discount for parking.

Click HERE for directions

For more information about NAHCC Annual Membership Meeting and to register to attend please contact Loraine Segovia at NAHCC member services (615) 216-5737 or email: membership@nashvillehispanicchamber.com

About the NAHCC:
The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was founded in the year 2000 and has been active in promoting the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs while representing the interests of more than 200 businesses in the greater Nashville area.

Spanish-language paperbacks and magazines needed for incarcerated immigrants

New library privileges in Davidson County jails

Vanderbilt University graduate student Amada Armenta is collecting Spanish-language paperbacks and magazines for immigrant inmates in Davidson County jails:
As we all know, there are hundreds of immigrants who are currently incarcerated and awaiting removal in Davidson County jails. Up until several months ago, immigrants in custody did not have library privileges. Now they do, but the collection of available books in Spanish is tiny. I am working to change that by collecting Spanish language paperbacks and magazines to donate to the jail.

You can help! If you have any Spanish language paperbacks or magazines that you would like to donate, please let me know. I will come and pick them up.
Armenta can be contacted via e-mail at amada.armentavanderbilt.edu

Photo by Rafael Alvez. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Association of Hispanic Educators launches with Overton meeting Tuesday

Goals include student success, employee support, and sensitivity training

Metro lacks Hispanic principals and assistant principals despite 14% student body representation

First meeting 4pm Tuesday at Overton

Overton High School Small Learning Community Site Coach Gini Pupo-Walker has formed the Association of Hispanic Educators, according to The Tennessean:
There are no Hispanic principals or assistant principals in Metro Nashville Public Schools, where Hispanic students make up 14 percent of the enrollment — with much higher percentages in some schools.
Gini Pupo-Walker, who oversees Small Learning Communities at Overton High School, recognized the transformation in some schools and formed the association, which meets for the first time at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Overton to hash out membership and other issues.
"We have many Hispanic professionals in the community that we can draw upon and they can share their expertise," she said. "This is a large student population and we want to help them, make kids successful, and we can do it with one voice."
The other impetus to forming the association is to help Hispanics who work in the 75,000-student school district, plus provide sensitivity training to the school district's staff.
Two other Hispanic educators mentioned in the story are Ruben DePeña, Metro schools' communities outreach manager, and Overton Spanish teacher Sonia Ruiz. Lillian Machado, a mother involved in Committee of Latino Parents ("COPLA"), is also mentioned.

The full story is at the Tennessean here.

Overton High School has also been mentioned in these previous Hispanic Nashville Notebook stories:
  • Advanced Placement exam increase among Tennessee's Hispanic high schoolers (February 2009)
  • Conexion Americas' clients pay it forward with new parenting program at Overton High (October 2008)
  • Hispanic graduates of Nashville high schools celebrate against the odds (June 2008)
  • Overton High conducts seventh annual diversity workshop (November 2003)
For more stories about education in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook, click here.

Photo by Clever Cupcakes. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nashvillians rally around famous local "illegal"; police practice denounced

Comments on Post Politics:
  • "Oh, I know. He did it to himself, by breaking the law. I know that. But this approach of public humiliation of people for this kind of crime — while the much more serious and more violent real criminals I just mentioned are given anything close to comparable treatment — is just flat out wrong."
  • "The practice of public shame as punishment for legal violation that is not significantly criminally sanctioned is puritanical and disgusting."
  • "This is a violation of personal privacy for something that arguably shouldn’t even be a crime..."
  • Unfortunately, this incident has the potential to overshadow a lifetime of contributions to civility and robust discourse in politics. I would urge all of us to remember Teddy’s legacy as the details of this situation unfold.
  • I wish him well. He has done important work. It is always good to try to see the whole person.
The day before the story above broke, HispanicNashville.com ran (this story) on the proper role of law enforcement discretion in Nashville and the need for the punishment to be tailored to the severity of the offense.

Metro Police should be commended for this reminder on their arrest web site:
These individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
That could be one reason (among others) to refrain from using the word "illegal" as a noun when identifying this particular person.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Award-winning Silent Light, set in Mexico, showing at Belcourt through Monday

The Nashville Scene points us to a Belcourt run of Silent Light (Stellet Licht), a movie set in Mexico about adultery in a Mennonite community. The language of the film is "the medieval German dialect Plautdietsch."

German and Mexico and Nashville last intersected in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook when we were discussing how German immigrants changed both country music in the U.S. and norteño music in Mexico:
Polka, which originated from Bohemia, has also had a significant influence on norteño. Compared side-by-side, some styles of American polka may bear striking resemblance to norteño music. The polka beat is characteristic of norteño. At the turn of the 20th century, Bohemian immigrants flowed into Sinaloa, Mexico to farm the land and mine coal. German immigrants had also settled in large numbers in the cities of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon and Mazatlan, Sinaloa as early as the late 19th century. These German immigrants fueled the demand for a local brewing industry, and they also influenced the music scene by bringing the accordion and the polka rhythm, which were part of the popular music of their homeland.
According to this Wikipedia article, Silent Light won a number of film festival awards and also appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008:
  • 2nd - A. O. Scott, The New York Times
  • 4th - Scott Foundas, LA Weekly
  • 5th - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
  • 6th - David Ansen, Newsweek
  • 6th - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
From the Belcourt's description of the film and its subjects:
During the sixteenth century, a Protestant group called the Anabaptists (or re-baptizers, because of their belief that their followers must chose baptism as consenting adults) was formed in Switzerland. Menno Simons (1496-1561), a Dutchman from Friseland, codified their doctrine by introducing radical pacifism. His followers were persecuted mercilessly for their anti-militarist stance. They fled from Holland to Prussia, and later to the Russian Empire, ruled by Catherine the Great. Europe’s relentless thirst for war drove most Mennonites to Canada, where they settled in 1873, and to the United States, where Amish and Mennonite communities had been living since 1683. After the First World War, a wave of anti-German feelings spread throughout Canada and it became increasingly difficult to teach Germanic languages. Many Mennonites emigrated to the north of Mexico in 1922. Today, almost 100,000 Mennonites live there in communities that have their own education system and unique regime of civil liberties. Those who are not content with progress and development emigrate to Bolivia, Belize, or other areas of Mexico, where they establish farming communities without electricity, modern medicine, telephone, internal combustion engines, mass media, etc., and live distant from the local population.

Some moderate groups do not reject progress, but those who are more conservative than our protagonists choose to live according to the standards of the sixteenth century. The Mennonite community depicted in the movie is an intermediate one, to the extent that they have slowly begun to modernise and have come to accept cars and the advances of scientific medicine, among other things, but still refusing modern communication channels such as telephone or the Internet Among them, Mennonites speak Plautdietsch, a German dialect that comes from Friesland and is strongly related to medieval Dutch and Flemish. With the population of Mexico they speak Spanish.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sheriff said in 2007 he wouldn't detain non-threatening immigrants in 287(g); immigrant advocates said "put it in writing"; new GAO report is déjà vu

ICE says Nashville implements 287(g) in a manner "contrary to the objective of the program"

Sheriff originally agreed that only threats to the public would be detained and deported

Reality: misdemeanors were a whopping 80% of deportations

After conducting a performance audit from September 2007 to January 2009, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report about the so-called 287(g) program, which establishes local-federal partnerships for immigration law enforcement. This report relates to Nashville in that we are a participant in 287(g), and the report calls into question the fact that 287(g) is used to process minor crimes, which is what happens in Nashville and not in the great majority of jurisdictions reviewed for the report. The most recent statistic for Nashville is that 80% of people processed for deportation under our 287(g) program were originally arrested for mere misdemeanors (story here).

According to today's Tennessean, Sheriff Daron Hall says he wasn't told that the program should be limited to more serious crimes:
When the law was written, surely it didn't say you can only process violent criminal offenders once they're convicted," said Sheriff Daron Hall, who initiated the 287g program locally in April 2007. "If that's part of their mission, it surely isn't something that's articulated."
Hall's right that the narrow focus of 287(g) wasn't on paper, but his quote above doesn't reflect his past statements in which he acknowledged and even agreed with the focus on serious criminals.

Two years ago, Hall told the Nashville City Paper here that his office would not detain people under 287(g) unless they posed a threat to the public:
In an interview Wednesday, Hall said he understands exactly what the program's purpose is. "The purpose of this is not to automatically deport people. It's to avoid ignoring them," Hall said. And Hall said he agrees with the group that his officers should not be detaining suspected illegal immigrants who pose no threat to the public.
The "group" referred to in the quote above is the advisory group Hall set up in regard to 287(g). At the time, this group raised the concern that what Hall said about using public threat level as a detention criteria should have been included in the document proscribing his 287(g) authority:
[T]hat concession [Hall's statement about not detaining suspected illegal immigrants if they pose no threat to the public] may still not be good enough for many area immigration rights activists who believe thousands of illegal immigrants will either be deported or required to prove their legal status just for minor infractions such as driving without a license.

"The way forward has to be that they say we're going after people with criminal records," [Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Director David] Lubell said. "If someone comes into the jail with a criminal record, fine, those are the people we should be dealing with, not people who have no other record and are simply in for traffic violations."

Lubell suggested including in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - the document written by the Sheriff's Office and DHS that governs local implementation of the program - a written policy spelling out that traffic violators would not be targeted. "That would start the conversation," Lubell said.
The gap in documentation that Lubell and other advocates called attention to at the time is the same gap that the GAO identifies as a problem in this year's report:
According to ICE senior program officials, the main objective of the 287(g) program is to enhance the safety and security of communities by addressing serious criminal activity such as violent crimes, human smuggling, gang/organized crime activity, sexual-related offenses, narcotics smuggling and money laundering committed by removable aliens.

However, program-related documents, including the MOAs and program case files for the initial 29 participating agencies, the 287(g) brochure, training materials provided to state and local officers, and a “frequently asked questions” document do not identify this as the objective...
Out of 29 agencies reviewed by the GAO, Nashville is one of only 4 that is acting outside ICE's intent for the program by detaining and deporting for minor offenses:
[O]f 29 program participants reviewed by GAO, 4 used 287(g) authority to process individuals for minor crimes, such as speeding, contrary to the objective of the program.
So is this disconnect between ICE's vision of 287(g) and Nashville's implementation of it Sheriff Hall's problem or ICE's? Hall seemed to imply on the front end that he would follow the letter of 287(g) - he told the Hispanic Nashville Notebook in January 2007 that "ICE regulations will determine how it is implemented" and that "if you are illegal and committing crimes, and arrested by the police department, you will be processed through this program and could face deportation" (interview here). The government is now saying that ICE should have controlled the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) better - that is the finding of the GAO - but could Hall have influenced what went into the MOU? This story doesn't have that answer.

But what is clear is that Hall is running one of only four 287(g) programs - out of 29 reviewed - that chooses to throw a wide net, as opposed to focusing on dangerous criminals. Whether Hall wants to be acknowledge now that he knew ICE's intentions for the program at the time it was first put into place here, it appears to be his call now as to whether he is going to implement the program in the way that ICE intends. ICE certainly isn't forcing him to throw the wide net.

If ICE rewrites the MOU, however, Hall would be forced to target dangerous criminals. Maybe we citizens can ask our government to get started on this GAO recommendation and tighten up the MOU.

For the various instances in which this concern has been raised before in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook, you can consult these stories:
  • There is an opportunity here for our sheriffs, mayors, senators, presidential candidates and voters to recognize the difference between workers and real criminals and support enforcement measures which put the violent criminals at the front of the line. (October 2008)
  • The controversies are usually over the bear traps carelessly set for not only dangerous criminals but also for ordinary unvisaed workers and sometimes even legal immigrants and citizens. (October 2008)
  • [M]ost Hispanic and immigrant advocates believe that dangerous criminals should be the focus of immigration enforcement efforts, and not ordinary immigrants without visas, the vast majority of whom are in violation of a law only due to their having a job and not by causing public safety problems. (June 2008)
  • Davidson County public defender Ivan Lopez was quoted in this front-page article in the Tennessean on Sunday as saying that a Nashville-ICE partnership program called 287(g) "was sold to the public as a way to take dangerous criminals off the street" but that "[i]n reality, what's happening is you are breaking up families." (April 2008)
  • Catalina Nieto, public awareness coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said that she commends any program that removes dangerous criminals from the streets but that the screening program is a "clumsy tool" to do that. (March 2008)
  • HNN: Is the primary purpose of 287(g) to enhance your ability to protect the population from dangerous criminals who also happen to have no valid immigration status, or is it something else? How does your office attempt to accomplish this now in the absence of 287(g)? Has there been any success on this front without 287(g)? Sheriff Daron Hall: "The ultimate goal is to increase public safety by detaining and removing those who pose a risk to the Nashville community." (January 2007)
  • We need to be prudent and conscientious when drafting the Memorandum of Understanding. (January 2007)
  • I believe you would be hard pressed to find a single immigrant or immigrant advocate that doesn’t believe in incarcerating or deporting criminals. The people living along Nolensville Road want the same things for their community that those living along West End Avenue want. (January 2007)
  • One concern about the program is that it will not distinguish between dangerous criminals and ordinary people. For example, Tennessee has stripped driving privileges (and motor vehicle insurance) from many noncriminal legal and illegal immigrants, which makes it more likely that they will be processed by law enforcement for driving without a license, even though they have not committed any violent crimes. In one recent instance, even without 287(g) in place, a local mother named Claudia Nunez was scheduled for deportation when she showed up to traffic court. (January 2007)
  • Federal officials disagree with the way Nashville is treating people like Ms. Nunez. "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].'” By seizing Ms. Nunez and people like her, Nashville implements a policy that stands in contrast to ICE's view that resources should be prioritized in a manner to best address the greatest threats to the community. (October 2006)
For more stories in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook about 287(g), click here: http://www.hispanicnashville.com/labels/287g

Photo by Matt Blaze. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Immigrants are not among MTSU's 2009 polling topics

Unless I missed it, immigrants are not mentioned in either the local or national issue polling of Middle Tennessee State University this year (poll page here). (H/T: Tennessean)

Immigrant-related issues were mentioned in MTSU's 2003 (story here), 2004 (story here), and 2006 (story here) polls.

The most recent Nashville poll related to immigrants was in the form of a city-wide election on January 22, 2009. (See Nashville for All of Us.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Anti-corruption message is one part of award-winning bilingual police outreach to Spanish-speaking residents

Chief Ronal Serpas: "Our police department views the El Protector Program as a critical service"

On February 27, NewsChannel5 reported here that the Metro Nashville Police Department has won national recognition for its El Protector program, which engages the Hispanic/Latino community with communications in both English and Spanish. The Vera Institute of Justice recently recognized the Nashville program in this report of "best practices" by law enforcement officers addressing language-related challenges.

On the same day of that local story, NewsChannel5 also reported here that Vanderbilt students are canceling spring break trips to Monterrey, Mexico due to violence there. A Reuters report describing the Monterrey incidents mentioned by the Vanderbilt students is here. The report says that "[a]bout 300 protesters carried signs complaining about army operations in the northern city of Monterrey," and indicates that the protests were funded by drug cartels. It further says that "the army is disrupting drug gang operations, but is failing to cleanse Mexico's corrupt police forces that are working for the cartels."

The corruption of police in some Latin American countries is one reason for Nashville's El Protector program, according to one of the local officers interviewed by NewsChannel5. In the video accompanying the story, Officer Gilbert Ramirez said that one of the goals of the program is to communicate to natives of Spanish-speaking countries who are living in Nashville that they can trust the police here. The program's ability to effectively communicate by bridging language barriers is part of the reason it won recognition by the Vera Institute.

“Our police department views the El Protector Program as a critical service that reaches out to a segment of our community who may not be familiar with American, and particularly Nashville, law enforcement practices,” Chief Ronal Serpas said in a press release. “I am grateful that the Vera Institute of Justice believes that our program is one that can be considered for replication by other law enforcement agencies in the United States.”

Officer Rafael Fernandez and Officer Gilbert Ramirez are the current face of El Protector. Both appear on the program's bilingual home page on the MNPD web site.

Monday, March 2, 2009

International Career Expo March 19

Job opportunities remain amid challenging economic environment

I got this from a few sources, including Jonathan CamCam, Marcela Gomez, and Sheyla Paz-Hicks:
NEW YORK LIFE SPONSORS NASHVILLE INTERNATIONAL CAREER EXPO March 19, 2009 from 4-8 PM at the Bethel World Outreach Center

In an effort to connect area employers with Nashville's global professionals, area organizations have united to sponsor the first annual job fair and networking event.

The International Career Expo is presented by the Festival of the Nations and ProLingua Inc. in partnership with the TN Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, WSFK 88.1 FM, Nashville Association of Asian-American Professionals, SPANISH-TV and the Imagen Latina Show on Radio Activa. The event is sponsored by New York Life.

The event gives employers a chance to connect with jobseekers and also to build relationships with Nashville's many international community organizations.

"This unprecedented event brings together the area's global talent and top employers to build relationships, which is the key not only to job-hunting but also to becoming an employer of choice in multicultural communities. Effective branding is all about grassroots events like this one," says Jonathan Camcam, executive Director of the Festival of the Nations.

The event is open and free to the public. Jobseekers, whether currently looking for a job or those just interested in learning about career opportunities, are encouraged to dress professionally and to bring their resumes.

For more information, visit the website at www.internationalcareerexpo.com. Join us March 19 from 4-8 PM at the Bethel World Outreach Center.

What: International Career Expo
When: Thursday, March 19, 2009 from 4-8 PM
Where: Bethel World Outreach Center (5670 Granny White Pike, Brentwood, TN 37027)
Food Vendors available

We are still accepting Employer Applications. Please see web site for more info.
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