Monday, May 31, 2010

In memory of Carlos Santos-Silva, 1977-2010

Sergeant 1st Class Carlos Santos-Silva, 1977-2010
Carlos Santos-Silva was born on Nov. 4, 1977, in Wiesbaden, Germany, the son of Francisco and Monika Santos-Silva.  In 1996, when he and his family were living in Clarksville, Tennessee, Carlos joined the United States Army in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

On March 22, 2010, Sergeant 1st Class Carlos Santos-Silva died from a roadside bomb attack while on patrol in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.  He was laid to his final Hero's rest on the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery on April 12, 2010.

Carlos Santos-Silva is survived by his wife, the former Kristen J. Anderson, whom he married at Ft. Campbell, his 11-year-old son Cameron Santos-Silva, his parents Francisco and Monika, and his brother Dominik.

According to
Santos-Silva was born on an Army base in Germany and moved around the country as a boy, following his father's postings at various bases. He joined the Army in August 1996, in time to serve with his father and brother at Fort Campbell, Ky.
"All three of us served there at the same time for three years," the father said. "We were together there until 2000, when I retired and moved to Knoxville."
Santos-Silva's military career started out in in the 101st Airborne as a medical supply specialist, and then he moved to the 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, New York, as an infantryman, and from there he joined the 82nd as a paratrooper.  His final role was as platoon sergeant with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.

His tours of duty included Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.  The awards he earned along the way were numerous:
the Bronze Star with an oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (3), the Army Good Conduct Medal (4), the National Defense Service Medal, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Iraqi Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Basic Parachutist Badge
Those who knew Carlos Santos-Silva described him this way:
  • "a wonderful man"
  • "an amazing leader, teacher, and mentor.  Everything I learned from him was valuable to me in Iraq"
  • "a best friend to my brother and I. We all went to Prom and graduation together in TN."
  • "a great man and great leader ... he was tough but he was right he made men and soldiers out of us ... I owe everything to that man."
  • "My son...looked up to Carlos as his leader and friend, and Carlos was there for him in his time of need."
  • "My husband...always talked very highly of SFC Carlos Santos-Silva."
  • "the epitome of a noncommissioned officer, a true standard bearer ...  He cared deeply about his paratroopers, and they cared deeply about him. His men routinely looked to him for leadership guidance, which he readily gave. He was loved by all in the battalion and made you proud to serve."
  • "I'll always remember him as a better soldier than I was," said his father, a retired command sergeant major. "I looked forward to seeing him finish his career and achieve levels higher than I did."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bilingual jobs available at First Steps and Volunteer State

Bilingual Outreach Teacher Job Posting 
Early Intervention Teacher requirements
  • Bachelor’s Degree in early childhood education, special education or related field.
  • Knowledge and experience working with young children with disabilities, and their families, in natural environments.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and Internet needed.
Key Functions and Expected Performances
  • Early intervention teachers will be required to provide special instruction and family training to children with disabilities or delays and their families, in their natural environment.
  • Maintain accurate and up to date documentation of each child’s progress.
  • Inform families about community resources
  • Work in collaboration with therapists and service coordinators from Tennessee Early Intervention System(TEIS)
  • Participate in public awareness activities in the community: fairs, screening clinics, training; and others as needed.
  • Demonstrate flexibility in serving families outside of Davidson County
  • Demonstrate flexibility in serving families during the times and days requested by the family
  • First Steps serves families from different cultural backgrounds and languages. Teachers with oral and written skills in non-English languages ( Spanish, Burmese, Arabic) are welcome to apply for this position.  
  • Flexible schedule
  • Mileage reimbursement
  • Agency pays $30 towards employee cell phone bill
  • Medical and Life insurance
  • Paid vacation, sick days and some holidays
  • Salary is dependent upon education and experience.
Background screens will be performed and education and past employment will be verified prior to employment. Please be prepared to provide required information and/or documentation.
Email or fax your resume to:
Rosario Langlois
Outreach Programs’ Director   
Fax: 615-690-3095

Volunteer State Community College has a new full-time advisor/counselor position open. It is a bilingual Spanish-English position that will include work with the College Hispanic Outreach efforts. Here is the posting. To apply candidates can visit the Vol State website or click on the link below.

Position Information
Posting Number:
Position Title:
Position Type:
Student Services - Advising Center  
Job Summary:
To serve students in an advising and counseling role, to provide information concerning academic advising and career counseling as well as other retention-related topics in order to assist students with academic success. Additionally, the Advisor/Counselor provides guidance in setting career, life, and educational goals. The bilingual Advisor/Counselor works extensively with the College's Hispanic Outreach efforts.  
Minimum Job Requirements:
Masters degree required

Bilingual (English and Spanish)

One (1) year of academic advising experience

Working knowledge of Word, Excel, Outlook, and presentation software

Exceptional customer relations skills

Strong written and oral communication and group presentation skills.  
Essential Job Functions:
Academic advising

Career counseling

Crisis intervention

Referral for personal counseling

Providing registration information through class presentations, etc.

Supporting student success initiatives

Working with the College's Hispanic Outreach Efforts.  
Posting Date:
Application Deadline:
Special Instructions to Applicants:
Pending Budget Approval  
Employment Type:
Full Time  
Required Applicant Documents:
Cover Letter
Letter of Reference 1
Letter of Reference 2
Letter of Reference 3
Resume/Curriculum Vitae  
Initial Review of Applications:

Eric Melcher
Coordinator of Communications and Public Relations
Volunteer State Community College
1480 Nashville Pike
Gallatin, TN 37066
Office: 615-230-3570
Cell: 615-483-8994

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mario Cardiel is McGavock High School valedictorian

Photo by Akash Kataruka.  Licensed via Creative Commons.
Mario Cardiel is the valedictorian of McGavock High School's 2010 graduating class, according to this story in the Tennessean.

The story reports that Mario came to the U.S. from Juarez, Mexico in the eighth grade. Speaking almost no English, he entered English Language Learner classes at DuPont Tyler Middle School before heading to McGavock. Dupont Tyler ELL teacher Carmen Rivera encouraged Cardiel to take honors and AP classes at McGavock, where he received straight A's his four years there.

Teachers described Cardiel to the Tennessean with high praise:
He’s one I remember because how fast he learned...He was a perfect gentleman. No behavior problems. He came to this country willing to learn.

He has extraordinary work ethic. He appreciates the opportunity and takes advantage of those opportunities.

When you see someone that dedicated, you want to fall over trying to help them...If I ever suggested a novel, he would read it. He was always giving and willing to help someone else. It wasn’t about competition. It’s not just about Mario to him. He wants to be responsible and change the world.
Cardiel plans to attend Lipscomb University and become a surgeon.

Congratulations, Mario!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

TNHCC's rescheduled Cinco de Mayo lunch June 3 at Chappy's

The TNHCC and Reliant Bank
Invite you to celebrate
Cinco de Mayo and join us for the
Business Networking Lunch

June 3rd
from 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
At Chappy's Restaurant
1721 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37203

Come Join Us for a Whole Lot of Networking Fun, Trivia Game and Door Prizes!

Click here to R.S.V.P.Before June 1st.

NOTE: If you RSVP'd for this event for May 5th, we need you to RSVP again if you are attending on June 3rd. If you already paid for this lunch and can't attend please contact Lauren Cooley.

Members: Free / Non-Members: $15.00

Sponsored by:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TN GOP unity in praise of Arizona immigration bill contrasts with national party split

There is and has long been a split in the Republican party in this country on how to approach to immigrants and immigration law. In the Tennessee State Capitol, however, the GOP is of a like mind. On Monday, every State House representative with an "R" next to his or her name voted to commend Arizona on its controversial new immigration law. With all House Republicans and 18 House Democrats voting in favor of the resolution, it passed by a wide margin. There were 27 House Democrats who voted "no." (Just curious - if your representative voted the right way from your perspective, was this issue so important to you as a Republican or Democratic constituent that you sent a thank-you note or even a campaign donation to your representative? Let me know in the comments.)

The resolution now goes to the Senate, and its passage there is likely, according to

I haven't seen any media quote Raul Lopez, president of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee ("RNHA-TN") and executive committee member of the Davidson County Republican Party, on this issue. Lopez sees one of his roles to be engaging conservative voices so that they don't create Hispanic backlash, but that does not necessarily mean that he has any concerns about the Arizona law or the Tennessee resolution.

And my understanding is that even though Lt. Gov. and Senate Speaker Rom Ramsey, and also Deputy Speaker Ketron and others, have been attending RNHA-TN events and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce events, their votes in the Senate will be in favor of the Arizona resolution.

National GOP split seen as opportunity for Democrats

Memphis attorney Greg Siskind has pointed out that at the national level, Democrats are considering using immigration as a wedge issue against Republicans. The immigration issue is already causing conservatives with Latino heritage to leave the party, describing the Arizona bill as "a direct slap in the face to Hispanic-Americans," according to the Wall Street Journal. Other prominent national conservatives have also expressed serious doubts about the Arizona law.

Even the loss of the late Richard Nadler's voice for a GOP reboot on immigration has been supplanted by conservative evangelicals' call for balanced reform, led in part by Nashville's Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Miss Tennessee Latina Lilibeth Leon competes for national title Saturday night

Miss Tennessee Latina Lilibeth Leon

The finals & coronation of Miss Latina US 2010 will take place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic this Saturday, May 29 at 8:30 p.m. Central Time. Miss Tennessee Latina Lilibeth Leon, a 2010 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, will be representing the Volunteer State.

Leon, who grew up in Jackson, Tennessee, was crowed Miss Tennessee Latina on November 22, 2008. The lag time between then and her appearance in this national pageant is due to the cancellation of the 2009 national pageant due to the recession and the H1N1 epidemic. In the interim, statewide pageant coordinator Marjorie Weller stepped down, leaving the spot vacant in Tennessee.

Leon told me that the turmoil in pageant administration put into question whether she would be able to appear at the national competition:
I was pretty discouraged, and I wasn't sure what my next step was. However, after a talk with the national coordinator and help from my parents I concluded that I would be able to go represent the state in the national pageant after all. Regardless of the few setbacks I've had, I'm super excited to go and give it my best.
Tennessee will also be represented at the pageant by special guests Saints of Havana, a Cuban-American modern pop country band based in Nashville.

The pageant will be webcast via on Saturday, May 29 at 8:30 p.m. Central Time. The winner advances to the worldwide competition for Miss Latin America.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Somos Nashville t-shirt supports flood relief

Cool People Care has created a Somos Nashville Spanish-language t-shirt as part of their We Are Nashville fundraising campaign for the Community Foundation efforts toward flood relief.  According to Cool People Care, the Somos Nashville t-shirt acknowledges Nashville's "vibrant and caring Hispanic community," and all profits from the purchase of the shirt will go toward the flood relief efforts of the Community Foundation and Conexion Americas.

"Somos Nashville" means "We Are Nashville" in Spanish. You can buy the shirt for $20 here.

On May 11, the City Paper reported that the campaign had raised $35,000 and had been mentioned on-screen by CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Here is the story about the Somos Nashville shirt at
[T]he key phrase ["We Are Nashville"] has ignited volunteers and supporters throughout the state and beyond, all of whom stand up to identify with people who were "handling it on our own.” Included in that group of people is Nashville's vibrant and caring Hispanic community.

And here it is. The T-shirt that you can proudly wear knowing it did two things:

1) Supported the Community Foundation’s Flood Relief Fund and Conexión Américas (100% of the profits from this shirt will be split between these organizations) which means all money stays local in the affected areas to assist nonprofits who are helping victims of this disaster.
2) Makes a statement about the kind of community you live in that is quick to help a neighbor and rebuild a great city, including areas of people who call Nashville home, no matter where they were born.

The shirt is 100% organic cotton and printed by Friendly Arctic Printing and Design in the heart of East Nashville with non-toxic inks.

The design was donated by Rob Williams.

Shirts are currently in pre-production and will ship beginning on May 24.
Buy the shirt for $20 here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Isabella Nunez is Doodle4Google national finalist, get your vote in by Tuesday

"My daughter is a proud Latina-Nashvillian with a southern accent and all"

Last Tuesday, officials from Google visited Overbrook School to announce that third-grader Isabella Nunez is one of the top 40 regional finalists for the Doodle4Google design contest.  Nunez is the daughter of Jose "Pepe" Nunez, board member of Conexion Americas, whoasks his fellow Nashvillians to vote for Isabella by clicking on Region 7 of the K-3 category and then clicking on "Vote for this Doodle."

According to Overbrook, being chosen as a finalist earned her a trip to New York and a space on the wall of the Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, with a scholarship on the line for the winner:
The ultimate prize in the school art contest is to have your artwork chosen as the Google logo for one day and to be placed on the homepage on May 27, 2010. A win for Isabella could also mean a $15,000 college scholarship for Isabella and a $25,000 technology grant for the local Catholic school. As a regional winner, she is already guaranteed a trip to New York with her mother to attend the final awards ceremony at the Google New York office. She will also have her artwork exhibited in the Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, from May 27 to July 5, 2010.
Here's the message sent out by Pepe Nunez:
I am very proud to share with you that Isabella Nunez (my daughter) is one of the 40 finalists (out of 33,000 contestants!) for the Doodle 4 Google national contest! But I also want to ask for your support and vote. Voting is so easy, just click on this link and vote for Region 7. Now, your support is most important...I would really appreciate if you could please forward this message to all your friends that you find appropriate to do so.

I particularly like the comment made by the StyleBluePrint blog to close this message "It seems we have a doodle rock star or perhaps our own up and coming Frida Kahlo, living in Nashville" ...Believe me, my daughter is a proud Latina-Nashvillian with a southern accent and all!
Read more about Isabella Nunez's entry at WSMV, the TennesseanStyleBluePrint, and Overbrook.

And vote here at (Isabella's entry is in K-3, Region 7).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flood relief for Spanish-speakers still needed; benefit for El Shaddai raises $60,000

If you follow my Twitter feed, you know that Fellowship Bible Church held a benefit concert on Tuesday for the El Shaddai Christian Church, a Spanish-speaking congregation whose building was devastated by the Nashville flood. Fellowship Bible and El Shaddai each anchor Concord Road, with Fellowship Bible at the Franklin Road end, and El Shaddai at Nolensville Road end. This was Fellowship Bible's 3rd Annual "Love Your Neighbor" concert, and according to this article, the event raised over $60,000 for El Shaddai. The above video has scenes from the flooding of El Shaddai and also the aftermath.

There are still needs around the city for Spanish-speaking volunteers. Here are two of the calls that have been made:

Conexión Américas:
Conexión Américas is helping to recruit bilingual volunteers to staff a housing clinic for flood victims on this Saturday, May 22 from 8:45am-5:00pm. The clinic will be held at Antioch United Methodist Church (41 Tusculum Road, Antioch, TN 37013).

We are hoping to have 4 Spanish-speakers at the clinic at all times. We’re breaking up the volunteer slots into a couple of shifts (8:45am-1:00pm or 1:00pm-5:00pm), but if you are able to volunteer and a different time slot works better for you, feel free to let me know that as well. We’re flexible!

Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to volunteer!


Tara Lentz
Conexión Américas
Helping Latino Families Realize their Aspirations for Social, Economic and Civic Advancement

(615) 320-5152 ext. 226
Siloam Health Center:
Almost half of the patients at the Siloam Health Center speak Spanish and in 2009 the center served 18,000 patients. Siloam Health Center is a nonprofit primary care facility.

They need bilingual (English/Spanish) volunteers. If you are interested or know someone who can help please contact:

Kate Tanis:
or Blair McLeod:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Manuel fiesta this Saturday night takes 50% off showroom, 15% goes to flood relief

From Lauren Wray, on the Manuel blog:
view from Lauren Wray's office
On May 22, from 6 pm to 10 pm we are having a "OUT WITH THE OLD/IN WITH THE NEW" fiesta at our store - with music, a sale, models, door prizes, and cocktails... We'll have a few select pieces strutting around the store. In accord WITH this event, all existing showroom items are 50% off (excludes new items and custom orders). Yeah, you heard me. Come on and get it... 15% of the evening's proceeds will go to the Community Foundation Flood Relief.
Find more stories about Manuel in the archives - just click on the Manuel label below.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Richard Land and other prominent conservatives call for GOP immigration reboot

Richard Land
Nashville's own Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and a conservative Christian talk show host, has joined other prominent national conservatives in calling for a balanced reform of the U.S. immigration bureaucracy. Their loose coalition is called Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which kicked off a media blitz with a conference call on April 29.  Other members of the Coalition include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Carlos Gutierrez, secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush; Rev. Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals; Rev. Marcos Witt of the Lakewood Church in Houston; and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Land told The Hill that he was calling for Southern Baptists to contact their representatives in Washington to put aside partisan gamesmanship:
We’re encouraging Southern Baptists to reach out to senators and congressmen to encourage Democrats and Republicans to quit playing politics and deal with immigration reform in a fair way.
Land doesn't back away from trying to deprogram popular conservative frames, like equating immigration violations with moral depravity...
It should be remembered that most of these undocumented workers who have broken the law (and thus should be penalized) came here in order to work whereas most of our home-grown criminals break the law in order to avoid work. (Source:
...and the loose use of the word "amnesty"...
Those who say that making someone pay a fine, get to the back of the line, learn English and take a civics class in order to get legal status is 'amnesty' need to take a remedial English class. (Source:
That having been said, Land roundly denounces what he deems to be an accurate definition of amnesty: forgiveness without penalty. Land says - at minute 22:20 of this broadcast - that he wants there to be penalty or punishment on the path to legal status, and it is just a matter of deciding on the penalty or punishment.  He also says in the same broadcast that he wants punishment of employers.

Land is certainly a member of the conservative Christian political movement - check out his defense on Phil Valentine's show of the Christian chops of his fellow Tennessean and former Presidential candidate Fred Thompson - and tune in to his Richard Land Live show for more audio evidence of his politically conservative credentials. Land certainly wants to keep the conservative movement strong. He told CNN that he didn't want to lose Hispanics on the immigration issue, because otherwise they have a lot in common:
Hispanics are hard-wired to be like us on sanctity of life, marriage and issues of faith...I'm concerned about being perceived as being unwelcoming to them.
As part of the Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform effort, Land has participated in the conference call, posted a full-length essay on finding balance in the law, and signed the National Association of Evangelicals' full-page ad in Roll Call urging Congress to pass bipartisan immigration reform.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel conducts the L.A. Philharmonic at TPAC Saturday

Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel will be conducting a performance of the Los Angeles Philharmonic tomorrow night at TPAC instead of at the flooded Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which the Tennessean reports suffered more damage than previous estimates let on.

Here is the e-mail announcement from the Nashville Symphony:
Gustavo Dudamel leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic at TPAC's Jackson Hall
  • "Simply the hottest thing to hit classical music since Leonard Bernstein" – CBS
  • "One of the hottest — and youngest — conducting properties around" – The New York Times
  • "Absolutely revelatory" – Los Angeles Times
  • "Officially the most exciting thing in classical music" – The Boston Globe
Led by their exciting young Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, one of the world's leading orchestras performs for one night only at TPAC's Jackson Hall. Experience firsthand Dudamel's infectious energy and exceptional artistry as the Los Angeles Philharmonic performs two major works: Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 "The Age of Anxiety" and Mahler's riveting Symphony No. 1 in D major, "Titan." As a special highlight, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will return to Nashville as a soloist with the Philharmonic.

Click here for a video preview of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Purchase your tickets today!

Tickets start at just $24.75. They may be purchased online at TPAC's website, by calling 615.782.4040 or by visiting the TPAC Box Office. Box office hours and directions can be found by clicking here. Symphony subscribers, please call 615.687.6400 to receive your subscriber discount.

Buy Tickets

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flood's immigrant victims suffered in silence until volunteers mounted rescue

Photo of flood victim thank-you sign by Tabitha Kaylee Hawk.  Licensed via Creative Commons.
An article by the Tennessean's Chris Echegaray reports that Egyptian immigrants in the Millwood apartment complex in Nashville were being told that they could not break their leases without losing their deposits, despite flood damage to their units. As a result, these recent arrivals were staying in their homes despite the danger to their personal safety.

Here's a first-hand account of one angle of the volunteer response, from Avi Poster:
All of the first floor apartments in a huge, multi-building complex had been submerged under six feet of water ... and while the water subsided, living in these units was absolutely impossible. They remained soaked, mildewed, unsanitary. What we saw in the aftermath of the flooding were large courtyards in which everything family's owned ... furniture, clothing, personal possessions ... was out on the lawn. None of the damaged apartments were fit for sleeping in ... so some folks went to friends or neighbors to sleep, others slept outdoors on their mattresses. There were tons of displaced kids all over the place, many seriously ill from the conditions, including an infant on a respirator. These kids were Amelia's and Remziya's top priority. What was most upsetting was the sense of despair and worry ... not about where they would sleep last night, but where they will live in the days ahead, how they will move, how they will get to work if they move, especially when so many of their cars were totally flood destroyed. They worried about where their kids would go to school and how they would get there. The despair and worry in their eyes was enough to bring any of us to our knees.
Avi then goes on to tell about the resources channeled into the community by these volunteers, concluding with this:
Last night was about saving lives and giving people hope. I felt privileged to witness just one instance of wonderful people doing it. Remziya Suleyman, Amelia Post, and certainly Tom Negri saved lives and gave countless others hope. I was there as a friend and support ... and did try to comfort people ... and certainly dispensed my fair share of back-seat advice ... but Amelia, Remziya, and Tom truly saved many people and I got to see them do this. While TIRRC and Connexion and Red Cross and others continue to spread themselves around the community ... I got to see one night of a true team effort make a difference in people's lives. Am sure you have witnessed similar things ... and would value hearing about them.
Volunteers reached out to Spanish-speaking immigrant communities who were also hesitant to seek help, as reported here on and also in the Tennessean article:
Donna Perry-Flores, a pastor with Iglesia Apostolica on Smith Springs Road in Nashville, is volunteering her time in immigrant communities. Some are overcoming their fears after being convinced that asking for help out of necessity is not wrong.

"I've let them know that immigration status is not an issue at this point," she said. Perry-Flores went on Spanish-language radio, telling immigrants where to get help. She has traveled to apartment complexes, including Millwood, to help residents.

"Immigrants are being left behind," Perry-Flores said. "Not just Hispanics. Look at Millwood. It was literally push, push and push until something was done."
Another Tennessean article, this one by Brian Haas and Nate Rau, points out that immigrants are not the only flood victims slipping through the cracks:
Officials with the volunteer nonprofit group Hands On Nashville and the Nashville Area Red Cross said there are pockets that have not been served, but they are trying to find and help everyone who needs it.
Joel Sullivan, chief executive officer of the Red Cross' Nashville chapter, said they rely on citizens to report trouble spots. His organization also sends out volunteers to search overlooked communities.
Anyone in need or who knows someone in need can call 211, the county's flood hotline at 615-862-8574 or the Red Cross at 866-GET-INFO for assistance.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Doris Palomino and Conexion Americas celebrate one year of involving parents at Cole Elementary School

Doris Palomino, Family Resource Coordinator at Cole Elementary School
Today is the annual “A Cup of Coffee for Conexión Américas” breakfast, which celebrates the resilience that comes from connecting with your community, "whether it is in a new country or picking up the pieces after a natural disaster," in the words of Conexión Américas Executive Director Renata Soto.

One of the projects of Conexión Américas is management of the Family Resource Center at Cole Elementary School in Antioch, which is concluding its first academic year in operation. The Center-in-a-school concept was created by United Way of Metropolitan Nashville and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and is designed to be a one-stop shop for health and human services needs. A total of thirteen such sites, including seven that are not school-based, serve approximately 28,000 Nashville residents every year.

“Conexión Américas is committed to bringing programs and services that address the needs and aspirations of the families of Cole Elementary,” Soto said in an October press release circulated by the United Way. “We are most excited about the opportunity to help increase parent involvement through our Parents as Partners program and to develop parent leaders who are engaged in their children’s education and work in partnership with the school."

Doris Palomino of Conexión is the Family Resource Coordinator at Cole. Palomino graduated from the Catholic University of Peru with a degree in Social Psychology in 1997. She is receiving her Master's of Education in Organizational Leadership from Vanderbilt this year, with a focus on "how trust is built in educational institutions and the role technology plays in this process," which explains her leadership role on the crew of BarCamp 2009.

More information about the Family Resource Center at Cole is available in this February newsletter, which describes the kinds of conversations parents are having in their English classes, Palomino's goals for the program, and announcements for taxpayer outreach in English and Spanish.  More information about Family Resource Centers in general is available here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Audience members needed for first "Paz Financiera" DVD filming this weekend at Dave Ramsey HQ

The Nashville-based and nationally distributed Dave Ramsey DVD series "Financial Peace" will be recorded in Spanish for the first time this weekend, and a live audience will get to take the course for free in a crash-course two-day session.  Andres Gutierrez, Dave Ramsey's Spanish-language protégé, headlines the event:
For the last 10 years Andres Gutierrez has been helping people one on one as a financial advisor. Now he has teamed up with Dave Ramsey to take the message of hope to the Hispanic community across the nation. Coming up is an exciting opportunity to take his 6-week course, Paz Financiera, in two days for FREE. This class teaches you how to take control of your money for good! Andres will film Paz Financiera in Nashville Friday and Saturday May 14 and 15 at Financial Peace Plaza.

It’s going to fun and exciting with meals provided and giveaways throughout the day, including a grand prize giveaway valued at $500! If you are available Friday May 14 from 6 pm to 9 pm and Saturday May 15 from 9 am to 5 pm contact Jorge Hoyos to secure a spot at the shoot. You must be able to make a two-day commitment to participate. You can reach Jorge at 1.800.781.8897 or

We hope you will be able to join us for this exciting event!
Read more about Andres Gutierrez, and how he came to be the "Hispanic Dave Ramsey," here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lisa Torres appearance at Center Stage tonight benefits flood victims

Lisa Torres will be performing tonight at Center Stage in a "Race to Radio - Helping at Home" concert to benefit the victims of the Nashville flood. There is no cover; donations will go to the Second Harvest Food Bank and the American Red Cross. Torres will be going on first, so get there early.

Torres' song "Alive" recently finished second in the Country division of the 2010 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

2nd "Do I Look 'Illegal'" photo shoot today

Leslie Rodriguez
From Leslie Rodriguez:
Hey folks! Just wanted to remind everyone to come out on this beautiful day to Centennial Park between 5 and 7 to get your picture for the "Do I Look 'Illegal'?" photo shoot! It only takes a few minutes and it's fun! Bring your friends and family! We'll be at the front entrance to the Parthenon (up the steps) and we'll have signs, but not huge signs, so keep an eye out. I'll try to be obvious.

If you want to bring your own signs that say "Do I Look 'Illegal'?" feel free! We have a few but if you want to make your own that would be great. See you then!
 The photos from last week's "Do I Look 'Illegal'" photo shoot are here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hispanic Nashvillians launch bilingual donation drive

Photo by library_chic. Licensed via Creative Commons.

I received this from Sheyla Paz-Hicks and also the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Democrats:
The media and Nashville Hispanic community leaders met yesterday at Las Cazuelas Mexican Grill Restaurant to organize a way to help our city and the state of Tennessee. During the meeting, we came up with the name of "UNITED FOR TENNESSEE": a support group for those affected by the disaster caused by the recent flooding on April 30 to May 2.

During the meeting we agreed:
* There will be a Radio-Telethon (LATINTON) on Thursday, May 6 from 8:00 am to 8:00 p.m. on the premises of the Nashville Red Cross located at 2201 Charlotte Pike, Nashville, TN. Donations will be received by credit card, debit card, personal checks and cash. Donations by credit or debit card may be given by telephone. Donations in cash or personal checks must be taken personally to the offices of the Red Cross in Nashville at the address provided above.
* The goals for this event is to obtain the following donations:
- Monetary donations: $20,000
- Water Donations: 500 boxes (cases of 24 or 32 bottles)
- Donations of diapers: 50 boxes
- Donations of personal care items: 1000
- Blood donations: 50
- Bilingual Volunteers: 200
- Volunteers sparingly: 400
For information about who can donate blood, please visit this website:
Non-perishable food donations and clothing, can be taken to Supermercado La Reyna 2, located at 3755 Nolensville Pike Nashville, TN. 37211

Today more collection centers around the city will be added to the list.

All donations will be delivered to the Hispanic Salvation Army (Salvation Army) for them to distribute it efficiently to the needy. Salvation Army have great experience in the distribution of donations and this will support us during this enduring work.

This is a call to all the media and the community to UNITED FOR TENNESSEE, we can rebuild our beautiful city.

Visit this website for daily information on events and development of our campaign:

For more information or questions please call Nereida Vargas
(615) 710-6718
And Sheyla Paz-Hicks added these follow-up details:
For the May 6 event:

*Please arrive at 7:40 a.m. to set up.
*Victor Quintero has red cross t-shirts for all of us
*Bring a cell phone you are willing to use to answer phone calls
*Bring a laptop to enter volunteer data if you have one
*I will be bringing an extension and multi-plug for connecting laptops
*Make sure to bring your cell phone charger... if your phone died then we are dead! :-)
*Remember that the number that people will be calling in is (615) 823-2775. When you hear the operator, please select the number 1 to answer the call.
*Not sure yet who will be providing us some food... in any case bring your own...
*The red cross will have a partner there to help pick up the donations.
*At this location (red cross): Will be only collection of water, diapers, bathe & cleaning products, blood donations and most importantly monetary donations. All other donations must be taken to Supermercado La Reyna 2.
*All donations collected at La Reyna will be taken to Salvation Army for its proper distribution.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eric Volz at Davis Kidd tonight

I haven't been able to read it yet, but Gringo Nightmare is the autobiographical story of Hillwood High School graduate Eric Volz and the whirlwind of events in Nicaragua following the tragic murder of his ex-girlfriend, Doris Jiménez.

Volz will be at Davis-Kidd tonight at 7:00 p.m. to discuss and sign the book.

This story made international headlines.  The victim's mother, some of the Nicaraguan press and at least one of the Nicaraguan newspaper's online polls think Volz is guilty of the murder.  Volz was convicted of the crime in a Nicaraguan trial court, spent time in jail on a lengthy sentence, and then was freed when the conviction was overturned.  Volz made it out of the country, and now Nicaragua wants to re-try him in absentia.

Volz's response to his critics is the Gringo Nightmare book, along with a companion web site featuring an evidentiary record replete with photography, audio, and video.

Eric Volz was born in 1979 and arrived in Nashville at the age of thirteen, following his parents' separation and his father's moving here from California to be closer to the music business.  Eric's mother was the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and she spoke Spanish to Eric at home, even though she grew up speaking English and identified with American culture.

Volz attended Hillwood High School in Nashville and also spent time at The Farm, in Summertown, Tennessee, where Volz says in the book that he "fell in love with a girl who opened up another huge door for me" with descriptions of travels to Central America and her fluency in the Spanish language he had heard in his youth but not sought out.  According to Volz:
knowing her triggered my desire to connect with my own heritage, to understand the experience of my mother and her, with a new desire to know my roots, I began to learn to speak the Spanish language for the first time.
Volz eventually moved to Nicaragua, settled in, and started a magazine.  It was there that he met the woman whose murder is the subject of Gringo Nightmare.

My review of the book will be posted here soon.  Meanwhile, meet Volz at Davis-Kidd tonight, and catch up on old stories about the dramatic story of Eric Volz.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Service de Mayo: historic flood prompts calls for volunteers the week of May 5

Fabian Bedne, Conexion Americas, Marcela Gomez, and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have circulated the following information and calls for volunteers, along with changes of plans for Cinco de Mayo events.

From Fabian Bedne:
  • Hands On Nashville needs bilingual volunteers to help in South Nash where many immigrants and refugees live. Sign up at
  • By now you have heard that at the request of the Mayor and Vice-Mayor water conservation is important in the wake of the weekend's floods. Please use water only for cooking and drinking for the next couple of days to ensure that our safe water supply is not depleted. The public water supply provided by Metro Water Services continues to be safe. If customers lose water pressure or encounter discolored water, they are asked to contact Metro Water Services at (615) 860-4600.
  • If you would like to make a financial contribution to help fellow Nashvillians in need, this can be done through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at All proceeds benefit Middle Tennessee flood victims.
  • Elections have been postponed for two weeks, we'll send updated information as it arises.
From Conexion Americas and and also Marcela Gomez:
Bilingual Volunteers Needed to Help with Flood Relief
Click here to volunteer!
South Nashville, home to many immigrants, has been greatly affected by the flood. WE NEED BILINGUAL VOLUNTEERS to help out at upcoming disaster relief center. Location to be determined by Metro and FEMA later today, but please go ahead and sign up at Hands on Nashville's website TODAY.
Please indicate what other languages you speak. We especially encourage those who speak SPANISH, ARABIC and KURDISH to sign up.
Click here to sign up as a volunteer to help with the flood relief efforts. Please note on the registration form that you are bilingual.
From Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:
Due to the gravity of the situation in our city, the TNHCC is postponing the Cinco de Mayo lunch, scheduled for May 5th. We are concerned about our members and friends.
We will send out information from the Red Cross and Hands on Nashville to let our members and friends know how to help people in need.
We will re-schedule our Networking Lunch and inform everyone as soon as possible.
Thank you for understanding.
Tera Vazquez
TNHCC Board President
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