Thursday, April 30, 2009

Middle-school blogger SuperMousey responds to "I don’t like Mexicans"

"I am Hispanic, even if I don’t look the part. My dad is Mexican, and my mom is White"

SuperMousey, middle-school blogger and daughter of Coyote Chronicles' Mack, has written about a lunchroom encounter with a classmate who told her, "I don't like Mexicans" and "I don't like Blacks."

SuperMousey prefaces the story by describing the environment at her school, saying that
There aren’t that many non-caucasion children that attend school here, but the ones that do just don’t stand up for themselves.

I did last Thursday. I am Hispanic, even if I don’t look the part. My dad is Mexican, and my mom is White.
Read SuperMousey's complete description here of the event, which at one point she calls "drama" but which centers around the emotional impact of the negativity she experienced:
I seriously felt close to tears. I did end up crying pretty hard in the hallway afterwards. He came up to me and started to apologize and stuff, but I knew he didn’t mean it. He only said he was sorry so that he wouldn’t get in trouble. I think he figured that I was gonna keep crying.

I don’t know why, but it seriously got to me. I think that I’ve been dealing with people not liking me or my family just because we have some Hispanic blood in us. Some other kids at school think we (we being Hispanics and Mexicans) are out to kill them. Yes, I’ve had people say that to me.
Despite the negativity, SuperMousey finds something positive came of it:
People stood up for me, and I stood up for my heritage.
Both the tears and also the rebuffing of negativity in SuperMousey's story remind me of this episode of John Quinones' ABC series, "What Would You Do?" - especially this Part 2 video, in which people stand up for their neighbors.

SuperMousey is one of the local Hispanic bloggers listed in the left-hand column of, under "Local Bloggers."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kingsport Hispanics get local, national press

State Representative John Litz: "Every Hispanic that you see out here on the street is not an illegal alien. We’ve got to get past that."

75% of Hispanic Tennesseans are either U.S. citizens or legal immigrants

The Kingsport Times-News reported here on a TV appearance of their state Representative John Litz, and his defense of local Hispanics*.

Representative Litz commented that "Every Hispanic that you see out here on the street is not an illegal alien. We’ve got to get past that. If we don’t, we’re breeding racism."

Litz is right. Roughly 75% of Hispanic Tennesseans are either U.S. citizens or legal immigrants. (About half of Tennessee's Hispanic population was born in the U.S., and among Hispanics in America who are foreign-born, about half have valid visas.)

The Times-News article points to a recent New York Times feature on the economy's impact on immigrant and non-immigrant workers in Hamblen County:
The faithful stand and hold their hands high, raising a crescendo of prayer for abundance and grace. In the evangelical church where they are gathered, the folding chairs are filled with immigrants from Latin America.
The 1960 census did not record a single immigrant in Hamblen County, of which Morristown is the seat. By 2007, Hispanic immigrants and their families made up almost 10 percent of the county population of 61,829, having nearly doubled their numbers since 2000, census data show.
Read the article in its entirety, complete with graphs and an audio slideshow, here.

*Aunt B. questions the Times-News' use of the word "local" in a way that doesn't include Hamblen County's local Hispanic residents.

Photo by Rakka. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ELL students to get more time with native speakers

Parents, experts both see benefit

At Glencliff, goal is to increase immersion time from 50% to 80%

The Tennessean reports here that Metro schools' English-language learning (ELL) students are going to spend more of their schoolday with fluent English speakers. At Glencliff High School, native English speakers and English learners currently spend about half of their schooldays together, but the goal is to up that proportion up to 80%:
For part of the day, they [ELL students] are pulled out into special classes where they learn basic vocabulary and skills. They spend the other portion in "sheltered" classes, where they receive traditional instruction with help from a teacher trained to deal with students learning the language.

The problem is that in some schools, the roster in sheltered classes is full of English Language Learners rather than a balance of those and native English speakers. And parents and experts agree that robs students of one more opportunity to practice their new tongue.
[Glencliff High School Principal Tony] Majors estimates that English Language Learners spend 40 percent to 60 percent of their day with other non-English speakers. He wants to see that drop to 20 percent.
Statistics included in the story:
  • ELL students in Metro: 6,900
  • ELL teachers in Metro: 317 (126 of whom are not fully certified for ELL)
  • Metro schools offering ELL programs: 63
  • Glencliff High School student body: 34% black, 34% white, 26% Hispanic, 5% Asian
Photo by Thomas Hawk. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cinco de Mayo 2009: upcoming events

Conexion Americas, the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Belmont University, and various Williamson County organizations are throwing Cinco de Mayo parties this year. Details below, in chronological order:

May 2: Celebration of Cultures at Pinkerton Park

Franklin Celebration of Cultures

May 5: Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Cinco de Mayo Lunch and Speed Networking Event at The Bound'ry

It's that Time Again!!!!
Come Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with us!

The Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Reliant Bank

Invite you to the
Cinco de Mayo Lunch and
Speed Networking Event

Tuesday, May 5th
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
@ The Bound'ry
911 20th Ave South
Tel: (615) 321-3043

Valet Parking is Complimentary.

R.S.V.P. by May 2nd

Members Click here

Non-Members Click here
($15.00 per person for non-members)

May 5: Cinco de Mayo con Conexion Americas at Limelight Nightclub

Cinco de Mayo

201 Woodland Street
Tuesday, May 5 ♦ Martes 5 de mayo
6 pm

Click here
to reserve your ticket. Haz click aquí para reservar tu boleto.

CINCO things to remember! ♦ CINCO detalles qué recordar!

Latin party with DJ and live music to benefit Conexión Américas
Fiesta latina con DJ y música en vivo en beneficio de Conexión Américas

Minimum $12 cover/donation
$12 de entrada/donación mínima

Pay at the door with cash or check
Paga en la puerta el día del evento con efectivo o cheque

Food and drinks not included in cover charge
Comida y bebidas no se incluyen en el precio de la entrada

Please let us know you are coming!
Por favor déjanos saber si vienes!

Click here to reserve your ticket. Haz click aquí para reservar tu boleto.

May 9: Fiesta Belmont at Belmont University

Fiesta Belmont:
Nashville's Latin Music Street Fair:
A Celebration of Food, Music & Culture
Una Celebración de Música y Comida
Saturday May 9, 2009--12PM-7PM
Location: Center of Belmont University Campus--17th Ave South & Wedgewood Blvd.

Música en vivo & Mas de 30 exhibiciones de comida latina & Danza folklórica
Live music & Over 30 Latin Food Vendors & Performers- Folkloric Dance Exhibitions

Bigger and Better this year. More events!
Kid's Inflatables- Face Painting-Pinatas

Sponsored and presented by Belmont University

Photo of Cinco de Mayo Modelo especial poster by Springsun. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Comparison for the sake of balance

By Cesar Muedas
The entry of last Monday (4/20) includes factual information about an upcoming event organized by a local Hispanic Republican organization.  Some statements included there as descriptive vignettes, however, may call for a broader context before reaching conclusions or judgments.  How about, then, a quick comparison where the reader can contrast the local Hispanic Republican organization in question (TNRNHA = with its local Hispanic Democrat counterpart (MTNHD =

May 20 text: "TNRNHA's web site is primarily in English, but it is not in English only - see the bilingual I Am a Republican Because page. There is also a a link to the RNC's Spanish-language site."
Context for comparison: MTNHD's web site is in English only.

May 20 text: "The TNRNHA Issues/Advocacy page focuses exclusively on one issue: free trade. The web site does not contain the words "immigrant" or "immigration"."
Context for comparison: The MTNHD main navigation page provides 3 links: to calendar, voter registration and mailing list subscription. It exclusively highlights the election of Mr. Obama as President (with link to photographs) and does not contain the words "immigrant" or "immigration" either.

The readers of this blog, when gathering information about local Hispanic political organizations (i.e., TNRNHA vs. MTNHD), may consider the similarity with the instances of Hispanic chambers of commerce (TNHCC vis-a-vis NAHCC):  There are 2 of each; all 4 with virtues and weaknesses, and all 4 working tirelessly to recruit members and lead them towards the vision of success that each of their agendas may define.

Feel Good Friday - Frank Sinatra's The House I Live In

Thursday, April 23, 2009

450 Latino students will graduate from Metro high schools in 2009; up from 250 in 2008

A record number of Latino students will graduate from Nashville's public high schools this year, according to Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Latino Parent Advisory Council (El Comité de Padres Latinos - COPLA).

The number of Latino graduates will be 450, which is 80% higher than last year's total of 250 (originally reported to be "more than 200").

In February, it was announced that Tennessee's Hispanic high schoolers are taking Advanced Placement exams in greater numbers.

Photo by Dave Herholz. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez brings Family Unity Tour to Nashville church this Sunday, April 26

Family Unity Tour

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez will visit Nashville on Sunday, April 26, at 4pm as part of his ever-expanding Family Unity Tour, which consists of "community meetings, prayer vigils and town halls for thousands of U.S. citizens whose families have been or risk being torn apart by a broken immigration system."

For details, click on the poster above. describes Gutierrez's tour stop in Philadelphia in this story:
Several local residents told their stories of families pushed apart by the immigration laws. Jill Flores, a former ESL teacher at Nationalities Service Center (my employer), talked about her fears for the future as her husband Felix prepares to travel down to Ciudad Juarez to request permission to live in the U.S. with his wife and children. If his request is denied, she will face a terrible choice: her husband or her home.
The highlight of the day for me was Rep. Gutiérrez's call to arms. "We have to stop deciding which families are important and which families aren't so important."
He ridiculed the government's standard response: "It's fine, we're not breaking up your family--you can just go with him."
Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Manuel launches everyday consumer apparel for Opry's new downtown store

Manny Cuevas in-store appearance 1-2pm tomorrow

Doors opened last Thursday at Opry Originals: The Shop On Broadway

"Indelible mark on country music fashion for more than four decades"

"They're not going to let me go wild"

Nashville's legendary clothier Manuel was at the launch of a new Opry retail store in downtown Nashville yesterday. Not only did Manuel introduce a new clothing line designed exclusively for the Opry, but Channel 5 reports here that he also designed the ribbon that was cut at the ceremony, "complete with rhinestones."

Manuel told NewsChannel5 that his Opry designs are toned down from what he regularly produces (maybe because what he regular produces are museum quality):
"You will find similar things, but not exactly the other, the classic Manuel garb. ... We're doing it with the Grand Ole Opry, and we have to adjust to that. Yes. They're not gonna let me go wild, I'm telling you."
Nonetheless, the Opry folks are calling the new line "exciting." Here is the press release from
Opry Originals: The Shop On Broadway opened in the heart of downtown Nashville’s famed Lower Broadway area at 300 Broadway Thursday, April 16. An official rhinestone-studded ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Monday, April 20 (video here) and is being followed by a week of grand opening events.

Inspired by a design concept the designers deem “Country Archeology,” the free-standing, 5,000 square-foot store brings together the iconic roots of the Grand Ole Opry and country music’s contemporary culture in an eclectic collection of old and new, brought to life through media, graphic imagery, and re-claimed materials and finishes. Reminiscent of a market, the space encourages hands-on interaction and invite guests to discover and take home their own piece of the Opry lifestyle.

The store showcases an extensive line of lifestyle products including Opry-branded jeans, tops, and boots; gifts; local artisan merchandise; a new Opry Country Kitchen line of food products; dinnerware and home furnishings. The store also features entertainment including artist appearances and book/record signings as well as listening stations, photo opportunities, and a select food and beverage offering.

Included among the store’s apparel offerings is an “Opry by Manuel” collection of jackets, shirts, and jeans designed exclusively for the Opry by legendary clothier Manuel, who has made an indelible mark on country music fashion for more than four decades.

“Opry Originals allows us to fully celebrate the country lifestyle,” said Steve Buchanan, Gaylord Entertainment senior vice president of media and entertainment. “We will be able to offer a wide range of apparel including the exciting new ‘Opry by Manuel’ line and introduce new merchandise categories for the Opry including artisan/craft products and home décor items.”

“We expect the new store, with its one-of-kind merchandise offerings and uniquely-Nashville experiences to become one of downtown Nashville’s premier destinations,” Buchanan said. More than half a million guests visited the Opry’s store located within the Grand Ole Opry House in 2008.

“Opry Originals is the ultimate marriage of heritage and hip-factor, a celebration of both the history and future of country music in a style we call ‘Country Cool,’” said Paul Lechleiter, Chief Creative Officer of FRCH Design Worldwide, Cincinnati, Ohio, designer of the new store.

The 300 Broadway structure was built circa 1911 as the home of the Broadway National Bank. It housed banking institutions until 1987 and has been occupied by R.C. Mathews and The Mathews Co. since 1991.

Grand Opening Week Celebration Schedule for the remainder of the week

Grand Opening Week Hours:
Tuesday – Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 21
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Point of Grace In-Store Appearance
Dove Award-nominees Point of Grace celebrate GMA Music Week by signing copies of the group’s CD How Do You Live (Deluxe Edition) at Opry Originals before an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry’s Songs Of Faith Signature Show at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

Wednesday, April 22
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Manny Cuevas In-Store Appearance
Manny Cuevas, designer of Opry Originals’ new Opry by Manuel clothing line, will be in store signing items from the collection.

Thursday, April 23
9:00 p.m. Lorrie Morgan In-Store Appearance
Opry Originals extends it regular Thursday night hours to welcome Lorrie Morgan signing copies of her latest CD I Walk Alone following her appearance at Opry Country Classics at the Ryman Auditorium.

Friday, April 24
10:00 a.m. Opry Originals welcomes Country Music Marathon participants to town with a free headband to the first 200 persons who race in showing their marathon registration.
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 650 WSM Live Broadcast

Monday, April 20, 2009

Local Hispanic Republican group schedules April 30 fundraiser, attracts politicians and Davidson County GOP promo

Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee event to feature 2010 gubernatorial candidate and current Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

The Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee (TNRNHA) will hold a $100/ticket fundraiser April 30 at La Hacienda restaurant in Franklin. The scheduled topics are recruitment of Hispanics into the Republican Party, the Latino vote, and the 2010 elections.

For more background on TNRNHA, see these earlier stories about the group's formation and its (discontinued) YouTube series.

TNRNHA's web site is primarily in English, but it is not in English only - see the bilingual I Am a Republican Because page. There is also a a link to the RNC's Spanish-language site.

The TNRNHA Issues/Advocacy page focuses exclusively on one issue: free trade. The web site does not contain the words "immigrant" or "immigration".

Here is the April 30 event announcement on the Davidson County GOP web site:
You Are Cordially Invited to Attend A Special Private Event to Benefit the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of TN

Join Us and
Special Guest Speaker
Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey

Host Committee
Owner of La Hacienda Salvador Guzman
State Representative Glen Casada
State Senator Jack Johnson
Dr. David and Vicky Watts
Owner of Ambrose Printing John Ambrose
State Executive Committee Member Nathan R. James

As we discuss strategies to recruit Hispanics into the Republican Party and the importance of the Latino votes in TN

As we look to the Future for many Victories in 2010

Thursday, April 30, 2009
La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant
509 Hillsboro Rd
Franklin, TN. 37064
$100.00 per person/per couple

Space is Limited – Please RSVP via email to Mr. Juan Borges
H/T: In Session, via Post Politics

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Slavery puts Nashville on the map builds on the information we already had about this Nashville case.

Would you like a receipt?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Listen to Lightning 100 for Danny Salazar, request "Here I Go Again" at lunch hour

Former Local Lightning Spotlight artist Danny Salazar is asking his fans to listen to Lightning 100 (at 100.1FM or online).

Salazar is hoping his "Here I Go Again" will be featured on the city's longest running independently owned adult alternative radio station, recently voted "Best Rock/Pop Station" in the Nashville Scene's Readers' Poll for the 12th year in a row.

If you are listening to Lightning 100 and don't hear "Here I Go Again", Salazar asks that you call or email the station during the weekday lunch request hour from noon to 1pm:
Lunch hour request is Monday – Friday -- 12-1pm
Please call the station and request 'Here I Go Again' by Danny Salazar and Rose Falcon
At: (615) 777-5100

Lightning 100 Radio Station - 100.1FM

When you call, all you have to do is be honest and polite. If you haven't heard the song yet, please visit my page:
More about Danny Salazar from CD Baby:
Danny Salazar grew up to be a crossover, multifaceted, talented musician, after spending his formative years in the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas. In Eagle Pass, Danny could walk to the Río Grande (Río Bravo) and look across the river to the Mexican town of Piedras Negras. At the age of 14, he began teaching himself to sing and play the guitar, drawing musical influences and styles from the wide range of music that his father listened to on the radio, including; cumbia, tejano, country, and pop. His diverse musical influences melded into songwriting at that same age. Raised by parents who spoke Spanish at home, Danny speaks and writes in both English and Spanish. Although most of his songs are written in Spanish, he manages to merge the simple and intensively affective resonance of both languages, appealing to the senses of people of all backgrounds and all ages while solemnly expressing his whole being and passionate humanity.

Danny began traveling when he came to Nashville in 2000, and continued his travels in México, visiting extended family in the state of Coahuila and seeking out the local variations of Latin music there as well as in other places, such as Yucatán, Veracruz, Morelia, Michoacán, and in other parts of México. Danny returned to Nashville in 2003 and began performing original music with his cousins, Eli Garcia, Isaias Garcia, and Isai Garcia, forming the band 'Los Kuatro'. His traveling days were not over, so he returned to Texas for a year before the lure of the Nashville music scene called him back.

Upon his return to Music City, Danny started a new band called, ‘Trova Urbana’. The music Danny writes and performs with his band combines distinctive elements of Latin music, derived from the variety of rhythms found in México, South America, and the Caribbean countries. Danny's goal is to make a positive impact through his music and to remain active in projects of social change for the betterment of the local community.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nashville Film Festival turns 40; see one of these three movies

A documentary screening of A Class Apart tonight at Vanderbilt Law School just happens to take place on the first day of the 40th Nashville Film Festival.

The Festival has too many movies to review here, many of them tied to Hispanic subjects or filmmakers in one way or another, so I recommend you avoid the stress by skipping the Festival tonight and checking out A Cass Apart (5:30 pm, Vanderbilt Law School), about a historic Supreme Court case and Latino discrimination in the Southwest.

As for the Festival, support them fully the entire rest of the weekend, and see at least one of these two movies: No Boundaries (7pm Monday April 20), about a South American illegal immigrant in Philadelphia (and featuring former Nashvillian Mark McGraw), and I'm Gonna Explode (7:30 pm Tuesday April 21), from Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo.

Jim Ridley of the Scene uses the words "coolest movie ever" in his review of I'm Gonna Explode. No Boundaries is reviewed on the Scene's massive movie recap page here.

The screening of A Class Apart will be in the Renaissance Room of the Vanderbilt Law School tonight at 5:30pm and will feature a post-screening discussion featuring Gregg Ramos and Renata Soto. The event is free. The following synopsis was provided:
In the tiny town of Edna, Texas, in 1951, field hand Pete Hernandez murdered tenant farmer Joe Espinosa after exchanging words in a gritty cantina. From this unremarkable small-town murder emerged a landmark civil rights case that would forever change the lives and legal standing of tens of millions of Americans. "A Class Apart" tells the little-known story of a band of underdog Mexican-American lawyers who took their case, Hernandez v. Texas, all the way to the Supreme Court, where they successfully challenged Jim Crow-style discrimination against Mexican-Americans.

In the landmark case, defense lawyers forged a daring legal strategy, arguing that Mexican-Americans were "a class apart" and did not neatly fit into a legal structure that recognized only blacks and whites. As legal skirmishes unfolded, the lawyers emerged as brilliant, dedicated, humorous and at times terribly flawed men. This film dramatically interweaves the story of its central characters -- activists and lawyers, returning veterans and ordinary citizens, murderer, and victim -- within the broader history of Latinos in America during a time of extraordinary change.
The A Class Apart screening is presented by the Nashville Chapter and the Vanderbilt University Law School Student Chapter of the American Constitution Society, Active Voice, the American GI Forum of the United States, Equal Justice Society, Conexion Americas, the Hispanic National Bar Foundation, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, Latino Public Broadcasting, Public Broadcasting System and the Vanderbilt University Law School Chapter of the Latin American Law Students Association.

No Boundaries is summarized in this press release:
No Boundaries, LLC is thrilled to announce its official selection in the Nashville Film Festival which will take place from April 16th to the 23rd 2009, for its independent feature film, No Boundaries), directed by Jake Willing and Violet Mendoza. Nashville Film Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. With over 22,000 people attending the 2008 festival, it is one of the best-known arts events in Tennessee and is the biggest, most international film festival in the mid-South. “This is a festival built on 40 years of dedication to both the craft of filmmaking and the diverse interests of this community,” says Artistic Director, Brian Owens. No Boundaries, filmed in the beautifully diverse locations of the Greater Philadelphia Region, contains edgy and original cinematography. The film has an original score and features music from various talented independent musicians from the Philadelphia area. No Boundaries showcases the talent of former Nashville resident, Mark McGraw, who plays the male lead role of “Christopher Fox”, an immigration agent, who falls in love with “Isabel Moreno”, played by Dani Garza, who makes her feature film debut. Isabel makes a treacherous journey from her home in South America to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a desperate attempt to save her ailing mother. In one magical moment, Christopher’s eyes meet those of Isabel’s, changing their lives forever. Christopher’s unlikely love affair with Isabel puts them both at great risk. Isabel is forced to choose between true love and survival in her new country.

McGraw states, “I’m so excited. Nashville has been a special place for me to visit and live over the years. And now, I’m happy that the film No Boundaries will have the opportunity to visit Nashville as an official selection of the Nashville Film Festival. This city has always been full of such talented artists and I’m just thrilled to be invited to the party!”

Mendoza adds, “What an honor to be accepted into one of the top film showcases in the world, a dream come true! It is a great tribute to the cast and crew as well as the unseen heroes of this film: the musicians. ‘Music City’ here we come!”

Bilingual event for children's health April 23

Free Health Screenings and More at Whitsitt Elementary School

From Catholic Charities of Tennessee:
Nashville families with young children are invited to “Building Futures for All Children / Construyendo un Futuro Mejor Para Nuestros Niños” on Thursday, April 23, a festival at Whitsitt Elementary School sponsored jointly by Nashville non-profit and government agencies. The event, from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., will feature free health screenings, information booths on children’s development and health, the opportunity to register to vote and apply for a library card, and games and activities for children and their families.

“We specifically have planned to welcome Hispanic families,” said Eileen Beehan, Catholic Charities of Tennessee, one of the sponsoring agencies. “The event will be well staffed by Spanish-speaking healthcare providers, social workers and others. All the materials to be distributed will be available in Spanish.”

Complete physicals and dental screenings for children will be offered on April 23. If needed and requested, referrals will be made to community resources for additional screenings and testing. The April 23 “Building Futures for All Children / Construyendo un Futuro Mejor Para Nuestros Niños” festival is sponsored by Catholic Charities of Tennessee, TENNder Care, Metro Public Health Department, Whitsitt Elementary School, Baptist Hospital, Meharry Medical College, and AmeriChoice.

“Building Futures for All Children / Construyendo un Futuro Mejor Para Nuestros Niños” will be held during the Week of the Young Child, a national observance. The Week of the Young Child is a time to recognize that children's opportunities are the responsibility of the community and adults, and to ensure that each and every child experiences the type of early environment--at home, at child care, at school, and in the community--that will promote their early learning and well-being.

Whitsitt Elementary School is located at 110 Whitsett Road in the Woodbine community. For additional information, contact Hispanic Family Services at 615-445-8310, ext. 222
Photo of Dr. Viviana Lavin by Susan Adcock for the Hispanic Nashville Notebook.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Skanska USA Building hosts diversity networking event today

Skanska sent this in about a diversity networking event today:
What: Skanska USA Building Inc. Diversity Networking Event

Skanska is pursuing construction management services for the Museum of African American Music, Art & Culture project and is inviting contractors in the area to network.

Who: Interested local minority- and women-owned companies

When: Wednesday, April 15 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Where: Skanska USA Building – Ryman Room
30 Burton Hills Blvd., Suite 400
Nashville, TN 37215

R.S.V.P.: Please R.S.V.P. to Maritza Burgos at (615) 238-6754 or e-mail her at

About Skanska:

Skanska USA Building Inc. is a leading national and local provider of construction, pre-construction consulting, general contracting and design-build services to a broad range of U.S. industries including science and technology, healthcare, education, high-tech, aviation, transportation and sports and entertainment. Skanska USA Building also provides pharmaceutical validation services to clients. The company, part of the Skanska AB global group of companies, is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, and has approximately 4,700 employees.

Skanska is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups with expertise in construction, development of commercial and residential projects and public-private partnerships. The Group currently has 60,000 employees in selected home markets in Europe, in the US and Latin America. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden and listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, Skanska's sales in 2007 totaled SEK 139 billion.

Forget Hispaniels; follow the yellow man

State Rep. Eric Watson may have said españols, but "yellow" tale is more interesting

There was a brouhaha yesterday about a recent comment by State Rep. Eric Watson, who supposedly used the word "Hispaniels" to describe Hispanics while expressing his opposition to a bill which would express regret to African-Americans for the wrongs of slavery. See posts and comments at the blogs: Pith in the Wind, Tiny Cat Pants, and Post Politics.

I think Rep. Watson said españols, that it wasn't a slur against Hispanics, and that it isn't even the most interesting part of this story.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Latin food, singers, song, and dance at Clarksville's Rivers & Spires Festival this weekend

2Divine, Ballet Folklorico Viva Panama, Little Mexico & Latin Folklore, Mariachi Band Zelaya


Friday, April 17

6:00 pm Courthouse Stage
Ballet Folklorico Viva Panama

Panamanian performers dancing to folkloric music from Panama. Children ages 5 and up to adults.

7:30 pm Courthouse Stage
Little Mexico & Latin Folklore

Performances of International Folklore Dances from Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the U.S.

8:00 pm Courthouse Stage
Mariachi Band Zelaya

Saturday, April 18

12:30 pm Courthouse Stage
Ballet Folklorico Viva Panama

Panamanian performers dancing to folkloric music from Panama. Children ages 5 and up to adults.

2:00 pm International Streetfest Cooking Show
El Toro Mexican Restaurant

El Toro Mexican Restaurant will be cooking a Mexican dish.

4:00 pm International Streetfest Cooking Show
Torero's Fine Mexican Restaurant

Torero's Fine Mexican Restaurant will be cooking a Mexican dish.

5:15 pm Courthouse Stage

2Divine's existing members portray the diverse countries; as well as their music. Their names are Yaneiry 18, Anabell 16, Steffy 20, Mayra 17, Estefany 16, and Marcy 16, which are part of this singular musical group. The countries Dominican Republic, Columbia, and Ecuador represent these young girls that are already causing a sensation in the music industry. All of these girls grew up and developed in the city of New York. Their music is a mixture of hip pop, reggaeton, pop balada, merengue, cumbia and rock. Although their first language is English for they grew up in the United States they still sing and speak Spanish perfectly. And this they demonstrate in their first musical Production "Canto a La Vida". On their first press kit 2Divine includes the songs "Canto a La Vida" and "Mentiras". Both composed by Ezequiel Saldana and musically arranged by the well known Dominican arranger Josias Pina. Next song "Confundido" was composed by Yaneiry Saldana and Anabell Garcia with musical arranged by DJ CHUCKY, a famous producer in New York City. Never the less "Quien va a Responder?" which was composed by Carlos Garcia an outstanding Puerto Rican singer/writer and musically arranged by G4L (Yan & Yon). 2Divine was created in the summer of 2005. Shortly before hand Yaneiry, Marcy, Anabell, and Mayra had to leave the kids group "Adonai Kids" (for age reasons). This was where they met and sang together since the year 1998 recording three musical productions for kids. The name 2Divine (which translated in Spanish means "Dos Divinas") is brought out of the fact that only two (Yaneiry and Anabell) play the lead role on stage. This group is meant to transfer their music to the youth's hearts with an elated and pleasant message. As well as give positive advices which will sink into their hearts and spirits; and help them enjoy life with no harm. This is the motivation of this project. 2Divine is the new image in the youth of the city that never sleeps, a youth that smiles, that fights and triumph, this is New York.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Laura Blackwell Clark to lawmakers: don't withhold college

HB0808 would close universities' doors to Tennessee students

Students without visas flourish with the responsibilities they can control

Hearing tomorrow in Higher Education Subcommittee (h/t Post Politics) reports that MTSU professor Laura Blackwell Clark has told state lawmakers that a bill to withhold college from good but unvisaed students is bad for the community at large:
"We allow (non-citizen) people to go to public institutions if they pay out-of-state tuition," Laura Blackwell Clark, assistant professor of Educational Leadership at Middle Tennessee State University, told the subcommittee. "This bill is seeking to close the door to the opportunity for a person who is undocumented to attend a public institution of higher learning. … I’m asking you to think about this and to not support this bill. My belief is when we block educational access to any of the residents, any citizens, any non-citizens, any people who are part of our American community, we do our community a disservice in the long term."
The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights position on the bill is here. The bill, HB0808, will be on the calendar of the House Higher Education Subcommittee on Tuesday.

Students without visas flourish with the responsibilities they can control

Tennessee's visaless high schoolers are still achieving success, despite the barriers set up against employment after graduation (see this story). As I've said before, any proposal to blockade high performers from college altogether echoes of the doomsday clock and the misery strategy. Even if one fully considers both concepts and embraces them as "sticks" to use against parents, supporting HB0808 and opposing legal status for good students requires being comfortable offering no "carrot" to the kids for their good behavior here.

Students who have gone on to college without visas - a population that exists in many places including Tennessee, at least currently - are interviewed in the video below. We have the choice of designing a system that moves them backward in society (the misery strategy) or one that recognizes that through their success they should earn something better than a dead end:

Click here to act

If you would like to take action on this issue, try one of the following:One final word on the DREAM Act - President Obama's statement about it during the campaign:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

April 11 is Juan Santamaría Day, Costa Rican national holiday marking retreat of Nashville's William Walker

Every April 11, the entire country of Costa Rica has reason to think of Nashville: the national holiday of Juan Santamaría Day. (This year, the holiday's falling during Holy Week has pushed back the marching bands, parades, concerts, and dances to Monday, but the official day is today.)

Juan Santamaría Day stems from events on April 11, 1856, when the Nashville-born pirate/filibuster/mercenary William Walker was turned back from that Central American country due in part to the effort of a 19-year-old drummer named Juan Santamaría. Santamaría famously volunteered for a fatal mission to burn down the building from which Walker's men were fighting - a story told in greater detail here.

In 1856, the New York Times said Walker was "as widely known as that of any other living man in the Old World or in the New." Now, however, Walker is all but forgotten in his native city, except for one historical marker.

Santamaría, on the other hand, is a Costa Rican national hero. He is remembered in the Juan Santamaría Historical and Cultural Museum dedicated to the military campaign leading up to Walker's ouster, various parks and statues, the main airport in San José, Costa Rica - Juan Santamaría International, and by national holiday, Juan Santamaría Day, April 11. Costa Rican folklore prominently features Santamaría - in 2006, the BBC reported a Costa Rican girl's off-the-cuff biography of Santamaria: "He's the drummer boy who expelled the filibusters."

Walker's story is not completely forgotten in the U.S., having been featured in numerous American books - most recently, in the 2008 work Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer. Walker memorabilia was featured in a Nashville estate auction covered by the local press in 2008. Nashville historian Bill Carey published a piece on Walker in the Vanderbilt Register in 2002. Walker was even the subject of a major motion picture in 1987 - the oddball movie Walker, starring Ed Harris and featuring Peter Boyle as Cornelius Vanderbilt.

But it's no wonder Walker isn't more widely known in Nashville. As the New York Times put it in 1860:
If he be a brigand, and an enemy of the human race, as most civilized people now consider him, he has merited the gallows a dozen times over for divers[e] robberies, murders and piracies; and if he be a hero and philanthropist, he ought to be hanged for making so many attempts, causing so much bloodshed and never succeeding.
Two prominent Nashvillians who grew up in Costa Rica are Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor of the Nashville Symphony, and Renata Soto, Executive Director of Conexion Americas. Should Nashville schoolchildren learn at least as much about Walker as Guerrero and Soto likely did? Walker certainly won't get a national holiday in the U.S. - but I find it strange that native Nashvillians like me don't know more about him.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Finally they shouted him down

Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go, and so spoke out again.

But they kept shouting back, "Crucify! Crucify him!"

He tried a third time. "But for what crime? I've found nothing in him deserving death. I'm going to warn him to watch his step and let him go."

But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally they shouted him down. Pilate caved in and gave them what they wanted. He released the man thrown in prison for rioting and murder, and gave them Jesus to do whatever they wanted.
Luke 23:20-25, The Message

Photo by upturnedface. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Peru consular services available in Nashville on Saturday, April 18

Consulate General will issue passports and birth, marriage and death certificates

Set appointment by April 13

From the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce*:
Representatives from the Atlanta office of the Consulate General of Perú will be at the offices of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce located at 530 Third Ave. South (conference room) on Saturday April 18th 2009 from 10:00 AM to 3 PM to process legal Peruvian government issued passports, birth, marriage and death certificates for Nashville's growing Peruvian population.

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC) will host the event in an effort to provide Nashville's Peruvian residents with acceptable identification. Peruvian passports are one of the very few documents accepted by government and private institutions as a form of ID and may be used by these residents to open bank accounts, travel, and make other important lifestyles changes.

The Peruvian Consulate's Office visit to Nashville represents a significant step in reaching out to Nashville's increasing number of Hispanic residents, who are in need of proper identification but are not always able to travel to Atlanta to obtain such documents. The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hopes to host this event at least twice a year and will continue its efforts to support the growing Hispanic community in Nashville. Providing these residents with a legal form of ID is just one of the many steps to supporting this continuing effort.

Inquires could be directed to or to make an appointment please e-mail or send faxes to 678-990-1920.
The consulate's web site indicates that appointments should be set up in advance - by Monday, April 13.

how many Hispanic chambers are there in Nashville?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Model airplanes, peak oil, and business diversity development: interview with Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority President & CEO Raul Regalado

"We will be flying on commercial airlines in 100 years, but they will be much different"

"Nearly 27 percent of supervisors at the Authority are female, and more than 20 percent are non-Caucasian"

Raul Regalado is President & CEO of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority. The Hispanic Nashville Notebook interviewed Regalado about a variety of topics including his background, challenges facing the aviation industry, and the diversity of the Authority's workforce:

Q: Before you moved to Nashville, you had studied in Florida and worked in California, Texas, and Oregon. Was your family from one of those coastal states? Where else have you spent significant time?

What convinced you that Nashville was the right move for you?

A: I’m originally from California. I have also lived in Florida, Alabama, Washington, and Germany. Middle Tennessee offers a good quality of life and a reasonable cost of living. It’s a great place to live.

I have also consulted on airports in Mexico, Costa Rica and Jamaica.

The Airport Authority structure was attractive to me. I found the objectives outlined by the Board of Commissioners to be challenging, yet reasonable and attainable.

Q: In your more than 40 years in aviation, you have amassed quite a record in both flight experience and in airport management. To what do you attribute your passion for aviation?

A: I started flying and building powered model airplanes as a young boy. I also started reading about flying and about some of the early aviation pioneers. Tony LaVier, a test pilot for Lockheed, was my idol. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet him later in my career.

Q: Tell us about the new tax-exempt bond offering made possible by the Obama stimulus package, by which Nashville became the first airport authority in the country to take advantage of the new rules exempting your investors from the federal AMT. Was that driven by your office, and would you have been unable to do certain work at the airport without it?

A: To clarify, the bond offering was “enhanced” by the stimulus bill. These bonds will help reduce the cost of the next phase of our ongoing terminal renovation project, which is part of our board-approved capital plan. We could have proceeded anyway, but it would have been at a higher cost.

Q: The Nashville International Airport just won honors from Airport Revenue News including Best Concessions Management, Airport with the Best Customer Service, and Airport with the Most Unique Services. Was it all due to the recently added local and national-brand eateries, like Tootsie’s and La Hacienda? If there was more to it than that, what else earned you those honors, and what was the genesis of those efforts?

A: Yes our concessions program can be used as a model for a local concessions program. The selection of highly regarded and experienced concessionaires and the placement of top-notch management staff at the airport also contributed to earning these honors.

Q: In 2007, a CMT column suggested renaming the airport the Johnny Cash Nashville International Airport. Did that suggestion ever reach you? What do you think about the general idea of naming the airport after a famous local icon, and in what circumstance would that be appropriate? If it was your pick, whose name would it be?

A: No, the Johnny Cash renaming suggestion never reached me. A number of years ago, a proposal to consider renaming the airport to Music City Airport was submitted to the Board of Commissioners. The board considered it, but felt that it was important to keep the city name in the title. This is Nashville’s airport.

Q: How international is Nashville International Airport? If I recall correctly, the renaming came in 1988 when one flight to Europe was added, and that flight was eventually dropped. How much more “international” is our airport today than in 1988?

A: BNA offers flights to Canada and Mexico. The term “international” really means we have full federal inspection services (FIS) available at the airport for both commercial airline and general aviation passengers. The Airport is a designated port of entry.

Q: Changing gears for a second, do you mind telling us where you were on September 11, 2001 and describing some of the challenges you faced - both on that same day and in the immediate aftermath?

A: I was in Montreal attending the Airports Council International Conference with my counterparts from around the world. The challenges that day included attempting to get back to Nashville and trying to monitor the situation at BNA and communicate with staff until I was able to return. BNA was one of the very first airports to re-open after September 11. I did manage to return within 2 days after 9/11.

After that, the challenge was to recover from the economic effects facing the air transportation industry, which we did.

Aviation continues to be an economically challenged industry and environment because of the continuing security concerns, and other factors, including high fuel costs, which have contributed to this situation. We’ve had to adjust accordingly to remain financially solvent and to maintain a high level of customer service.

Q: Aside from security issues, how different is your job now than the same job before 9/11?

A: The down cycles between business recovery and growth periods are much more compressed. Therefore, there is much more focus on the bottom line every day. Our planning horizon has been and continues to be 20 years. Our major strategic partners, the airlines, are focused on a much shorter timeframe.

Q: The airlines have had struggles in spurts for a long time, most recently with the 2008 spike in oil prices and the sharp downturn in the economy in 2009. Are the airlines on the ropes again? When headlines report that only one or two airlines are making money on a regular basis over the course of several years, is there a sustainability problem in the industry?

A: Airlines are still facing a challenging environment, some more so than others. The airline and airport industries have changed in response to those challenges and will continue to do so until we have a stronger and more stable airline industry to face the continuing challenges that will certainly occur in the future.

Q: Speaking of oil prices, what does the theory of "peak oil" mean to you and to others in your industry? Will we be flying on commercial airliners in 100 years, when the oil supply won't last that long by some estimates?

A: I think we’ll have to see changes in technology like we are starting to see in the automotive industry. We will see more fuel-efficient engines,” hybrid aircraft” for taxing efficiencies, more efficient routing of aircraft and approaches, as well and the development of alternative fuels.

Yes, we will be flying on commercial airlines in 100 years, but they will be much different than they are today.

Q: You were recently elected to the Board of Directors of Airports Council International - North America. What interests you the most in the context of that group's mission "to advocate policies and provide services that strengthen the ability of airports to serve their passengers, customers and communities."? Can you tell us about any of your committee assignments and personal goals for your involvement in that group?

A: The ongoing effort to influence the legislative process for the benefit of airports and our passengers and communities is what interests me most. I currently serve on the government affairs committee and as the Board’s liaison to the Legal Committee. This is my third time to serve on the board of directors; previous roles included serving as the Board’s liaison to the Economic Committee and as a member of the Government Affairs committee. I like to serve where I can be most effective.

Q: You serve on the Technical Coordinating Committee of the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Does your role on that committee contemplate long-term travel patters by and through Nashville? What do you see as the future of transportation traffic for our city, and how does your aviation experience influence your opinion?

A: Yes. That planning agency should always have a long-term perspective of the transportation needs for this region.

I see future growth in the counties surrounding Nashville within our air service market area. We have commuters from as far away as Knoxville, Chattanooga and Jackson. A future challenge is to ensure that our customers from surrounding counties have an expectation of a reasonable commute time to and from the airport.

In addition, many are looking at other modes of transportation. We need to continue to encourage the use of other forms of transportation, such as high-speed rail and multi-occupant vehicles, as alternatives to single-passenger automobiles.

Q: You celebrated your 60th birthday in 2005; what are your hopes in the run-up to the next birthday milestone in 2010?

A: I hope the world and national economies will be settled down and headed in the right direction; and that the airport will have completed the identified additional improvements for the safety and convenience of our customers.

Q: Are you thinking you will eventually retire here, or are there more aviation career moves in your future?

A: Yes. Although I may continue to be involved in aviation, it will be from Middle Tennessee. I also plan to become more involved in the community.

Q: What else can you tell us about yourself or about the airport that would be of interest to or relate to the Hispanic members of the Nashville community?

A: The Airport Authority works very hard to ensure it maintains a diverse workforce - that the staff is representative of the composition of the community it serves. Today nearly 25 percent of the Airport Authority team is female, and nearly 22 percent are non-Caucasian. Nearly 27 percent of supervisors at the Authority are female, and more than 20 percent are non-Caucasian.

The Airport Authority is also committed to providing the maximum opportunities for large and small companies to participate in contracting with the Authority’s two airports. Implementation of Small, Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (SMWBE) participation levels for procurement projects have been implemented, and have garnered more than $6.5 million in contracted services in fiscal year 2008, nearly double the amount of money the MNAA spent with SMWBEs in 2007. More than 90 SMWBE firms were added to the MNAA register in 2008.

The Office of Business Diversity Development administers the organization’s federally mandated disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program and its voluntary local SMWBE program. To learn more about certifying small businesses and contracting opportunities with our airports, please visit us online at

Monday, April 6, 2009

Liquor laws, immigrant infighting, and favoring German newcomers

"There could hardly be two less controversial issues within the German community than the Sunday drinking law and increased immigration"

"By 'foreigners,' Brownlow meant Greeks and Arabs and the like. He never said anything against the Germans. They are his best friends."

Drivers license written exam bill up tonight in Senate

Fights about laws governing alcohol have a long history. Today, the fight is about wine sales in supermarkets. Back in the day, laws restricted drinking on Sunday, and Tennessee's German immigrant community aimed to set aside its differences to lobby for more liberal drinking laws:
German Radicals and German Conservatives had been so hostile towards one another that they had been unwilling to even temporarily lay aside their personal differences to work toward a common goal. ... Although the Staatszeitung actively supported the Republican party, [Publisher John] Ruhm still felt it was necessary for the Germans to band together to lobby for legislation that directly affected them as an ethnic minority. Ruhm believed that the proper vehicle had finally arrived with the establishment of the new German Association. As far as he was concerned, there could hardly be two less controversial issues within the German community than the Sunday drinking law and increased immigration.
Speaking of German, the Tennessee Senate is scheduled to hear a measure today that would limit the number of languages in which the state's written drivers license exam is given (h/t: Post Politics). Interestingly, at the same time as the bill would prohibit the Department of Safety from adding new languages beyond the currently used Japanese, Korean and Spanish, an amendment passed that explicitly expanded the list to include German.

This favoritism toward German is easily explained - Germany's Volkswagen just announced a major investment in a new manufacturing facility in Chattanooga. It also recalls a different differentiation among immigrants that the Tennessee Staatszeitung seemed to deem acceptable in the 19th century, referring to then-governor Brownlow:
I heard a Conservative German yesterday sharply criticize Brownlow's Knownothing past. A bystander asked, what have the Germans always got against Brownlow? Did he ever insult the Germans like Etheridge who once spoke of "a pack of dirty dutchmen," and on another occasion spoke of "d-----d dutch intruders"? No, Brownlow has never criticized the Germans. True, he has reviled foreigners, he has expressed the opinion that it would be better if they were to drown on the other side of the Atlantic, and so on. But by foreigners, Brownlow meant Greeks and Arabs and the like. He never said anything against the Germans. They are his best friends.
The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition has talking points on the Senate's drivers license bill and other proposals affecting immigrants here.

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

Photo by justin. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Today's updates are over at Twitter (follow HNashTN)

Click here to see today's updates in Twitter form.

Photo by Marloes. Licensed under Creative Commons.
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