Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We really kicked y'all's Tanton

The "Music Is the Universal Language" slogan on the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau ad above strikes me as the perfect victory rally for a city whose mayor has vetoed and whose citizenry has voted down an out-of-state campaign to make language a wedge issue.

It reminds me of the 1991 "You Are So Nashville If..." winner, a send-up of cross-cultural miscues that ends in, "We really kicked y'all's ass in that Desert Storm," except this time, the city is telling John Tanton where to stick it.

The Nashville CVB ad campaign, which in reality probably has no political angle, features Heidi Newfield under the anti-Tanton banner copy, and below, it says "Connect with Nashville on" which gets you to the main page of the CVB's web site.  There is also a separate "Connect with Music City" page, where visitors can keep up with Nashville via the CVB's Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube accounts.

Connecting people, not disconnecting people.  That's what a welcoming, hospitable city is all about.

Speaking of social media, if you follow on Twitter (@muybna) or on Facebook (, you know that the recent lull in stories here is due to the computer that runs the site being down.  It's back up now - the optical drive is fixed, but the WiFi connection is spotty now, which is weird, because the computer's WiFi alone seems to work fine, and the wireless network alone seems to work fine, but it's the combination of the two that is not working well.  I'm temporarily fixing that by just plugging my home Ethernet cable directly into the computer.  It's all about connections, one way or another.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meet at La Cocina Dominicana tonight to speak Spanish, or at French Quarter Cafe tomorrow to dance

Si te gusta el idioma español y la cultura latina, ven a nuestras reuniónes para encontrar otra gente con la misma pasión. Representamos muchos países diferentes. ¡Somos un grupo vivo!
Next Event: Dinner at La Cocina Dominicana
June 22, 2010 5:30 PM
La Cocina Dominicana
1568 Bell Rd.
Nashville, TN 37211
(973) 563-9783
(RSVP deadline: June 22, 2010 5:30 PM)
I made it 6:30pm to allow time for people to arrive. This is a new restaurant, the only Dominican one that I know of in Davidson Co. The food and service are very good, moderate prices. Unfortunately I do not know of a website so you can't check out their menu beforehand.

Want to feel spontaneous again?
We are a fun, ethnically diverse group that meets to salsa dance at various locations in Nashville.
Meet other local Salsa dancers, musicians, and lovers.
Tired of the usual bump and grind?, come meet some nice Ladies & Gentlemen.
There is nothing like Salsa Dancing!!!
Sometimes we will meet in a Club like Lime, Mad Donna's, Ibiza, BB Kings or Cielo, sometimes, we pick random parking lots, park our cars in a circle and dance.
Next Event: Alegría, Sabor y Sentimiento-Live midweek Salsa!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 7:30 PM
French Quarter Cafe
823 Woodland Street
Nashville TN 37206
Price: $5.00 per person

Monday, June 21, 2010

Oscar-winning Argentina film The Secret in Their Eyes is at the Belcourt

"This is a real movie, the kind they literally don't make very much anymore." - Roger Ebert

Oscar-winning Argentina film "The Secret in Their Eyes" is playing at The Belcourt.  It's a thriller about Argentina, a 25-year-old crime, and corruption and love in the legal system.  Who's going with me?

Click here for showtimes, which are 3:30 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. today and Thursday, and 7:00 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 4 stars and said:
[T]he Oscar means your chances of seeing this film are much increased. You won't regret it. This is a real movie, the kind they literally don't make very much anymore.
The trailer is below, and the official writeup is here:
Dir. Juan Jose Campanella, Argentina, 2009, 127min, 35mm
Official Website

With THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, Argentinean writer-director-editor Juan Jose Campanella has created a multi-layered and poignant thriller interweaving the personal lives of a state prosecution investigator and a judge, with a manhunt spanning twenty-five years. Recently retired criminal court investigator Benjamin (Ricardo Darin), decides to write a novel based on a twenty-five year old unresolved rape and murder case, which still haunts him. Sharing his plans with Irene (Soledad Villamil), the beautiful judge and former colleague he has secretly been in love with for years, Benjamin’s initial involvement with the case is shown through flashbacks, as he sets out to identify the murderer. But Benjamin’s search for the truth will put him at the center of a judicial nightmare, as the mystery of the heinous crime continues to unfold in the present, testing the limits of a man seeking justice and personal fulfillment at last.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lunchhour immigration discussion today at Scarritt Bennett

A summer discussion series at Scarritt-Bennett
Friday, June 18, "Immigration"

Scarritt-Bennett Center is hosting a community discussion series this summer called Hot Topics, in which Middle Tennesseans will share lunch and discuss current local and national issues. Elias Feghali, communications coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, will kick off this week's discussion about immigration. This issue is especially timely, after the recent approval by the Tennessee legislature of the resolution commending Arizona for SB 1070, a state bill that requires police officers to interrogate anyone who appears foreign born.

Future discussion topics will cover what it means to be a Muslim woman in Nashville, health care, and more. TO REGISTER: visit, call (615) 340-7557, or e-mail

Hot Topics Discussion Series
Featuring Elias Feghali, communications coordinator, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
Topic: “Immigration”

Friday, June 18, 2010
12 - 1 p.m. (participants may arrive starting at 11:15 a.m. for lunch)

Scarritt-Bennett Center, The Dialogue House
1007 18th Ave. S.

$10 per person for program and lunch
Pre-registration required for each session; Space limited to the first 15 people; Call (615) 340-7557, e-mail, or visit to register. Free parking available in Parking Lot B, accessible from 18th Ave. S. between Grand and Edgehill Avenues.

Upcoming Hot Topics Calendar:
7/16 – Kasar Abdulla, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, on what it means to be a Muslim woman in Nashville
7/23 – Tony Garr, Tennessee Health Care Campaign, on what the new health care law means for Tennesseans
7/30 – TBA

Thursday, June 17, 2010

$75,000 price tag on unconstitutional detention of and seizure of cash from Carmina Perez on I-40

On July 22, 2008, the same day this story about Juana Villegas ran on, Carmina Perez and her ten year old son Raphael Adame were driving from Nashville to visit Perez's sick mother in Texas and her father-in-law in Mexico, who was also ill.  Perez is a native of Mexico and permanent resident of the United States, having lived in this country over thirty years.  She and her husband own Tex-Mex Cleaning Service, a business that cleans homes and offices.

While Perez and her son were still driving down I-40 in Tennessee, barely outside of Nashville, they were pulled over for allegedly following too closely to another vehicle.  The traffic stop lasted three-and-a-half hours.

The person who pulled Perez over was Deputy Ricky Wade of the Henry County Sheriff's Department, which is where Paris is.  Wade happened to be a member of a regional drug task force, so he asked Perez if he could search the vehicle.  Perez consented.  Wade asked Perez if she was carrying drugs.  Perez said no, and Wade ran his drug dog around the car, finding no drugs, drug paraphernalia, or weapons.  Wade asked Perez if she was carrying currency, and Perez said yes - about $14,000 to pay for her mother's and father-in-law's medical care.

Wade says he became suspicious of the source and destination of the money when he learned that Perez had been accused of and cleared of a drug crime at one point; that her paper trail identified her alternately by her maiden name and also her second surname, which Wade considered to be aliases; and that she had changed her social security number once, which Perez said was because she had been a victim of identity theft.  He didn't believe her that the money was from her cleaning business and was going to her parents' health care.

So, even though he didn't charge her with any crime, Wade took the $14,869.00 from Perez.

Perez got legal representation (Brentwood's Craft & Sheppard, P.L.C.) and sued in September 2008.  The justice system took less than two years to provide Perez with legal vindication, the return of her money, plus an additional $75,000 in damages.

On March 3, 2009, an administrative judge ruled in Perez's favor, and ordered the return of her money.  Then, on May 14, 2010, federal jurors in Jackson said that Wade violated Perez's constitutional right to be free from unlawful detention (on the side of the road for over three hours) following the conclusion of the traffic stop, and that the seizure of the money was a violation of her constitutional right to be free from unlawful seizure of money from her vehicle.

The jury awarded Perez and her son $75,000 for these violations of their constitutional rights.

Noteworthy is that Perez won on her Fourth Amendment claim, which is based on
 [t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures
Perez's Fourteenth Amendment selective enforcement claim, that "her money was seized and she was detained for a long period of time because she was Hispanic," was dismissed before it got to the jury because of a lack of evidence that "similarly situated persons outside her category were not prosecuted."

Perez's request that Wade be taken off duty was also denied, because she could not show that she herself would be affected by Wade's continued performance of his duties as-is.

In a quote published by the Paris Post-Intelligencer, Wade's boss, Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew, seemed to say both that Wade did make a mistake and that Wade didn't make a mistake:
"We apologize for this and will try not to make the same mistake twice," Belew said. "We do respect the court's decision, however we do not agree with it. This department stands behind Deputy Wade 110 percent and do support him."
I contacted Belew, who initially indicated that he would be available to clarify, but then he failed to further respond.

The AP reported on this story, but the local journalist who gave it the most air time was WSMV's Demetria Kalodimos, in her stories here, here, and here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Poetry readings in Spanish this Saturday at gallery F.

"Nuestras Poesias" (Our Poetry), Se Habla Español (Spanish Spoken)
Saturday, June 19, 7p
Free and open to the public

Join gallery F. and the Foreign Language Acting Group (FLAG) for an evening of poetry and songs in Spanish. It's a wonderful opportunity to learn about different cultures through literature and music!

FEATURING WORKS BY Cuban poet José Martí, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges, Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca and Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni.

by Alan Ayala & Robert E. "Bob" Teague

THE READERS include individuals with a variety of connections to Latin American countries and extensive knowledge of the featured poets. Omaira Rivera-Stinson (originally from the Republic of Panama), Frances Rivera (from Puerto Rico), Sheyla Paz Hicks (born in Cuba), Alan Ayala (born in the U.S. to Panamanian and Mexican parents), Dr. Jamie Carroll Cutler (a native of Philadelphia), Jaz Dorsey (a native of Atlanta)

This is the first in a series of foreign language literary and music events at gallery F. Subsequent events in the series will feature different languages and cultures.

Here's the press release:

gallery F. @ Scarritt-Bennett and the Foreign Language Acting Group will host the first in a series of foreign language literary and music events at gallery F. on June 19. The event, “Nuestras Poesias” (Our Poetry), will feature staged Spanish poetry readings and live music. Subsequent events in the series will feature different languages and cultures. The event is free and open to the public.

WHAT: “Nuestras Poesias” (Our Poetry), Se Habla Español (Spanish Spoken)

A cabaret evening of poems and songs in Spanish 

Staged Spanish poetry readings with live music by Alan Ayala. Featuring works by Cuban poet José Martí, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges, Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca and Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni.

WHEN: Saturday, June 19, 7 p.m.

WHERE: gallery F. @ Scarritt-Bennett

1000 19th Ave. S. (corner of Grand Ave. and 19th Ave. S.)

The series aims to encourage people of all backgrounds to learn about foreign cultures through literature and music. The event’s poetry readers include individuals with a variety of connections to Latin American countries, and who have extensive knowledge of the featured poets:
Omaira Rivera-Stinson (originally from the Republic of Panama) – Stinson has been an educator for most of her professional life. She was involved in theater during her college years and loves languages and cultures. Stinson has been living in the U.S. for ten years.
Frances Rivera (from Puerto Rico) – Currently works for a publishing company and is responsible for marketing the Spanish related products as well as children’s products. Rivera is passionate about keeping her Hispanic heritage alive and embraces other people’s culture with open arms.
Sheyla Paz Hicks (born in Cuba) – Owns a production company called Paz Communications and is the host and executive producer of SPANISH-TV (a Spanish news and entertainment TV show). Hicks has been working as a performer, model and actor since 2005. She moved to the U.S. nine years ago.
Alan Ayala (born in the U.S. to Panamanian and Mexican parents) – Ayala has visited Spanish speaking countries multiple times and has developed a love and appreciation for the language and cultures. Due to his drive and passion for music, Alan moved to Nashville in 2008. He is a vocal coach and teaches his own vocal method known as Voces Orgánicas.
Dr. Jamie Carroll Cutler (a native of Philadelphia) – Received a Ph.D. in theatre & film from NYU. In 1978 she began teaching at the University of Miami, Florida International University and the Ruth Forman Theatre. She is an award winning songwriter / poet whose works have been translated into Spanish.
Jaz Dorsey (a native of Atlanta) – Earned an undergraduate degree in International Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill. From 1990 to 1997 he served as production manager in the New York offices of Biggs Rosati Productions, producing national tours of bilingual Spanish classics for high schools. While holding this position, he wrote a number of songs in Spanish for the company’s shows.

About gallery F.
gallery F. @ Scarritt-Bennett is a contemporary and outsider art gallery. The gallery is located on Scarritt-Bennett’s campus in the same building as The Front Porch, a small shop for gifts, books and coffee.

Visit for more information.

Monday, June 14, 2010

400 Hispanic students graduate from Nashville's public high schools in 2010

Brenna Gonzalez and Mario Cardiel
Salutatorian and Valedictorian,  McGavock High School Class of 2010
Photo from Metro Nashville Public Schools
On Friday, June 11, Metro School’s Comité de Padres Latinos (COPLA) hosted ¡Lo Logramos! (We Made It!), its 3rd Annual Hispanic High School Student Graduation Celebration and Parents’ Recognition Day of the Class of 2010.

The ceremony, held at the Boone Business Building of Trevecca Nazarene University, recognized approximately 400 MNPS Hispanic graduates, including Brenna Gonzalez and Mario Cardiel, salutatorian and valedictorian, respectively, from McGavock High School (pictured above).

The Tennessean published photos of the valedictorians and salutatorians of various high schools in Davidson County and Williamson County, and among them I noted Claudia Calvillo, valedictorian of Stratford High School. In 2008, Claudia was also named a "Princess" representing Guatemalan heritage in an event at a local church, the "Fiesta Cultural 'Clamor'".

Claudia Calvillo
Valedictorian, Stratford High School
Photo from "Fiesta Cultural 'Clamor' 2008"

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup starts today; the globe is watching, including these Nashville venues

The World Cup starts today. Yeah, it's kind of a big deal.

The U.S. is playing, as are Latin American countries Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, and Honduras. Mexico and Uruguay play in separate games today. Argentina and the U.S. play in separate games tomorrow.

The full TV schedule is here (U.S. English-language networks) and here (U.S. Spanish-language networks).

The Nashville Scene reported that the following Nashville venues will be showing the World Cup games:
Corner Pub Midtown (2000 Broadway, 327-9250), Sportsman's Grille (1601 21st Ave. S., 320-1633) and Sam's Sports Bar & Grill (1803 21st Ave. S., 383-3601) — and then there's our personal favorite, Savarino's Cucina (2121 Belcourt Ave., 460-9878)
I think I've also seen ads saying that all the World Cup games would be broadcast in the 12 South Tap Room - perhaps owner/operator Alex Torres has something to do with that (I think those ads were in the Scene, too.)

I'm sure you readers know other places in Nashville where we can all watch the World Cup on the big screen - let us know in the comments, below.

And for all of us rooting for the U.S. team - or heck, if your team is an underdog, this is for you, too - here's a bonus video:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Musico a Musico to hold Worshiping Arts Congress August 4-7 at Christ Church

Nashville-based Músico a Músico, which puts on four-day worship seminars for musicians and other artists in locations across North and South America, will be conducting its second Nashville Congress on August 4-7, 2010 at Christ Church. More details are at Músico a Músico's web site here, and at its Facebook page here.

The mission of is Músico a Músico is
to train and inspire Latino worship musicians and artists to excel at their craft and to aid them to achieve a lifestyle of worship.
Here is the May announcement from Músico a Músico, which is already a little out of date - I've been told that a new roster is soon to be announced, with additional guest artists - but here is what we know so far:
Músico a Músico is a teaching ministry! It’s who we are and what we do! And, we’re again going to be in Nashville, our home city, this summer for the 2010 Congreso of Worshiping Arts. The dates are August 4 – 7 and the location is Christ Church. Check out the Official Congreso web site at

Christ Church is where our music and arts school is located, Instituto Allegro Nashville. We’re grateful for the “open doors” from Pastor Dan Scott and Christ Church. As you may have guessed, one of our main goals for these Nashville Congresos is to continue to raise awareness of the school and even give the students a place to use their talents. A few years ago MaM began to partner with Francis Castañeda from Lima, Peru. First of all to support his school in Lima, but later, as Francis joined MaM and now serves on our board of directors, we began to help him establish other “Instituto Allegro’s” in several countries in South America. A part of MaM’s vision has been to start a school of music and arts here in Nashville and almost two years ago that became a reality. So this year’s Congreso will start our third year of classes for this school. Contact Rachel Vasquez at for more information.

The Nashville Congreso Team is almost complete but we do need qualified and passionate teacher/players for these spots: bass guitar, second keyboard and percussion. In addition, we would love to have a mime teacher as well for this Congreso. So if you or someone you know are available for any of these positions, please prayerfully consider this opportunity. Then contact me right away to discuss. The entire team is listed below.

Read the report on our most recent Aruba Congreso from early April 2010 that I hope you’ll enjoy and that the Lord may speak to you through it about possibly participating with us in Nashville or in the near future. Here too is the photo link from Aruba.

Músico a Músico Nashville Congreso 2010
(a/o 5.03.10)

The band and visual artists……
Jamie Wigginton - Keyboard, vocals
??????????? – Keyboard #2,
JR Hilton – Acoustic guitar, vocals
Giovanni Quiñonez – Acoustic guitar
Phil Yochum - (Thursday & Friday only) – Drums
???????????? – Bass guitar
???????????? – Percussion
Jessica French - Vocals
Rachel Vasquez – Vocals, violin, keyboard, theory
Marina Perez – Vocals, vocal technique and care of your voice
Roger Brunlinger - Audio (Not yet confirmed)
Steve Krenz - Electric guitar
????????????? – Mime
Carolina Coulon – Drama, theater
Danitza Gonzalez - Dance
Ester Leiva – Dance

Marisol Hartog
Cindy Benitez
Nelly Perez
Francisco Giovanni Perez
Esdras Santiago
Dirk Weibezahn
Luis Mendoza
Angela Mendoza
Stefanie Harris
Tiffany Leiva
Nancy Hawthorne
Patti Nelson
Martha Espinoza
Dimas Espinoza
Omar Lagudali
Ginette Hermoso
Ester Santos do Nascimento

Myrna Enamorado – Song and info projection with Media Shout
David Winkler – Number Charts and the Nashville Number System, Music Theory

Administrative Team
Tiffany Leiva - Translators
Danny Garcia - General
Wayne Hilton

Bonnaroo starts today, has Latino Alternativo tent

From Bonnaroo (H/T Dave Paulson):
Building on the success of last year’s hugely successful “Africa!” tent, Bonnaroo has joined forces with guest curators Tomas Cookman and Amy Blackman-Romero of Cookman International / Nacional Records, to create the “Latino Alternativo” tent at Bonnaroo. All day long on Saturday, this tent will feature some of the most exciting alternative acts in Latin music today, along with top DJs, cutting edge video and visual art and more.

Los Angeles-based Ozomatli will headline the tent and serve as guest MCs during the day. Also featured will be Los Amigos Invisibles (USA/Venezuela), the Nortec Collective present: Bostich + Fussible (Mexico), Aterciopelados (Colombia), Mexican Institute of Sound (Mexico), and Bomba Estereo (Colombia). DJs from each of the groups will perform between sets creating a seamless musical experience throughout the day.

There will be special food vendors and more.

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a four-day, multi-stage camping festival held on a beautiful 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee every June, with this year's events to be held June 10-13.

Bonnaroo brings together some of the best performers in rock and roll, along with dozens of artists in complementary styles such as jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica, and just about any contemporary music you can think of. In addition to dozens of epic performances, the festival's 100-acre entertainment village buzzes around the clock with attractions and activities including a classic arcade, on-site cinema, silent disco, comedy club, theater performers, a beer festival, and a music technology village. For its peaceful vibe, near-flawless logistics, and unrivaled entertainment options, Rolling Stone magazine named this revolutionary entertainment experience one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Richard Land to appear at press conference today for evangelical group Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Photo source: Texas GOP Vote
Last month, I posted about the participation of Nashville's Richard Land in the evangelical-centric Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Yesterday, the Tennessean ran a Chris Echegaray cover story on Land and his role in the reform effort. Pastor Rafael Blanco of the Hispanic Baptist Church of Hendersonville was also quoted in that article, as being uncomfortable with preaching politics from the pulpit:
"I pray to God to change the hearts of our leaders when it comes to reform," Blanco said. "We should participate in politics, like any good citizen. And we have the right to identify with a party, but it shouldn't be done in church. If I'm wrong about that, may God forgive me."
Today, Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform will hold an in-person press conference in Washington, D.C., but with call-in capability for the press in other locations.

Here are the details:
**Press Conference and Conference Call: Wednesday, June 9th at 11:00 AM EDT***
**Call-in number: 888-765-5547, Passcode: 1450977 **

Conservative Evangelical Leaders Gathering in Washington, DC,
Urging Action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Washington, DC - On Wednesday, June 9th at 11:00 AM EDT (10am CT, 8am PCT), Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform will have an in-person press conference in Washington, DC with some of the country’s most influential evangelical leaders to discuss strategies for breaking the stalemate in Congress on immigration reform and pray for a solution to the moral, economic and political crisis that our broken immigration system is causing for millions of families around the nation. This in-press conference with call-in capability will feature speakers like Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. with over 16 million members, Rich Nathan, Senior Pastor of The Vineyard Church of Columbus, OH, a church with a weekly church attendance of 8,500, and Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 45,000 churches from over 40 different denominations. These leaders will be united in calling for action on immigration reform this year and meeting with Members of Congress, Congressional staffers, and the White House throughout the day.

This event will be open to all interested parties and press with a question and answer session at the end. Questions will also be taken from the telephone audience.

WHO: Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
Carlos Campo, President-elect, Regent University
Richard Land, President, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church and President, World Hope International
Rich Nathan, Senior Pastor, The Vineyard Church of Columbus
Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel and Dean, Liberty University School of Law
Jim Tolle, Senior Pastor, The Church on the Way
Juan Hernandez, Founder, Conservatives for CIR

WHEN: Wednesday, June 9th, 11:00am EDT, (10am CT, 8am PCT)

CALL IN: 913-312-1487, Passcode: 1683544

For Information:
Dr. Juan Hernandez
4750 Bryant Irvin Rd., Ste 808
Fort Worth, TX 76132

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dolores Gresham: first Latina in the Tennessee State Senate

Tennessee Senator Dolores Gresham
Republican State Senator Dolores R. Gresham is a San Antonio native, the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants to the U.S., and the first Latina State Senator in Tennessee history.

Known as Dolores Noguera Gresham to her fellow alumns of the University of the Incarnate Word (BA '64), she was first elected to the House as Representative of Tennessee's 94th District in 2002, and then in 2008 she was elected to the represent District 26 in the State Senate, becoming the first Latina in the Tennessee State Senate.

Gresham was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marines. She worked at Quantico, Virginia in 1978 and was an inspiration to other Latinas in service.

Gresham's Mexican-American heritage has come up in the news recently in the context of her sponsorship of a law to bring immigration checks to every local jail in Tennessee. She told Joe White of WPLN:
I’m proud to be an American of Mexican descent. I am the granddaughter of immigrants who fled the violence of the revolution in Mexico, just after the turn of the 20th Century. My father was a member of the greatest generation. He served in the United States Army in World War Two. My parents had seven children, and five of them wore the uniform of the U.S. armed forces.
And to counter arguments that her bill would lead to racial profiling, she told Travis Loller of the Associated Press:
If there's racial profiling going on, since I'm Mexican-American, then I would be in jail.
Interestingly enough, the WPLN piece revealed two instances of stereotype profiling: Gresham assumed Nashville attorney Gregg Ramos was an immigration attorney because he's a pro-migrant Mexican-American lawyer (Ramos tells me he's the person whose phone call Gresham describes in the piece), and Ramos assumed that because Gresham is a Mexican-American and a Catholic that she might be reluctant to sponsor such a bill. Both were wrong.

Ramos and Gresham are both natives of the Southwest, of Mexican heritage, with roots in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The Noguera children offered a glimpse into their family scrapbook with this Christmas 2007 video:

"Fun" crash course in Spanish at MTSU 2010 Summer Language Institute

TPRS method

From the Daily News Journal:
The University School of Nashville is hosting MTSU's 2010 Summer Language Institute, which allows students to learn Spanish in a fun, low-stress environment.

The methods employed are Total Physical Response and Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. These methods mimic the way you learned your first language. Movement, games, songs and storytelling are all part of the instruction.

Brian Roberts will teach Spanish I for ages 16 and up from July 19-23 at the University School and from Aug. 2-6 at the O'More School of Design in Franklin. Jason Fritze will teach Spanish II for ages 16 and up from July 19-23 at the University School.

The cost for all language classes is $350 with a $20 materials fee due on the first day of class. Contact Shelley Thomas at 615-898-5757, or for more information.
Get more details at MTSU's Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition.

Nashville Parent mentions the MTSU program and other local Spanish-learning options in ¿Usted habla español?, an article by Ashley Driggs.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lipscomb University, not silent in welcoming all applicants regardless of immigration status, creates scholarships specifically for Hispanic students and makes them immigration neutral

Lipscomb University President L. Randolph Lowry
Photo by Kristi Jones, copyright Lipscomb University, all rights reserved.
Not for reproduction or free use by the public.
"We seek to be Christian intentionally, courageously and graciously … and it's not very courageous if everybody always agrees with everything you are doing"

Large institutions sometimes hide the fact that many of their activities are immigration-neutral, but Lipscomb University in Nashville is not one of them. As Janell Ross of the Tennessean reports, President L. Randolph Lowry believes one role of the Christian university is to educate some of Nashville's children who excel in high school despite a lack of immigration credentials:
"It would be fine with me if our government took the lead in this immigration conversation," Lowry said. "But as the federal government is doing whatever it is or is not doing, we are graduating Hispanic students from Nashville's high schools. Taxpayers are paying for that whether they are documented or not. … So the question becomes, 'What's next?'"
Some of the background and context is included in the full article here, including these details:
For the past five years, Lipscomb University has recruited, admitted and provided private financial aid to students without regard to their immigration status.
This month, Lipscomb University President L. Randolph Lowry announced plans to create one full scholarship for a Hispanic student sponsored by SunTrust bank. He's soliciting support from other local corporations for 12 to 15 additional scholarships, and all of them will be open to American-born Hispanic students, along with legal and possibly illegal Hispanic immigrants.
"We seek to be Christian intentionally, courageously and graciously … and it's not very courageous if everybody always agrees with everything you are doing," he [Lipscomb University President L. Randolph Lowry] said.

Lowry is hoping the business community will feel a sense of obligation to contribute to that school's new scholarship program.

"I think it's appropriate for businesses that want to make money off the Hispanic community, the Latino community, to invest in that community in some way other than putting up a billboard on Nolensville Road," he said.
Read the full article here, in which Ross also reports that over half of American institutions of higher education have immigration-neutral admissions.  In Nashville, that group includes Lipscomb, Vanderbilt, Belmont, and (as of this year) Trevecca Nazarene.

Racist graffiti mars Hispanic and African-American families' homes in Madison

Brian Haas of the Tennessean reports here on the race-tinged trespass and property damage:

Carla Gordon always felt welcome in her Madison neighborhood. That is, until Wednesday morning, when she walked outside to find "KKK" and a Nazi swastika painted on her driveway.

"Honestly, it's really, really scary," said Gordon, 49, who is black and works for the Tennessee Department of Labor. "I remember telling people that in all of my 49 years I've never experienced outright racism, let alone hate. This is my first experience with that."

Metro police are investigating two possible hate crimes in the neighborhood, one at Gordon's house and more graffiti at a Hispanic neighbor's home two houses down, which had identical messages painted on a car.
Haas also reports that there were only 16 hate crimes in all of Davidson County in 2009.

Read the full article here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cuba business funded Grassmere; Castro revolution turned it into Nashville Zoo

Croft House at Grassmere
Photo by Jeffrey Peeden.  Licensed via Creative Commons.
Jenny Upchurch of the Tennessean reports here on the bicentennial celebration of the Grassmere house at the Nashville Zoo, including its ties to Cuba. The Zoo would likely not be at the Grassmere property if it were not for Cuba.

According to the article, the Crofts were the fifth family to live at Grassmere, and the patriarch of the Croft family had a sugar plantation in Cuba.  Sisters Elise and Margaret spent most of the year in Cuba, returning to Grassmere only in the summers.  Part of the reason the Croft sisters could hold onto Grassmere for so long was income from the plantation in Cuba:
The sisters moved back to Grassmere permanently in 1931, living comfortably on the income from the farm and Cuba holdings.
The income from Cuba ended when Fidel Castro took over the island nation:
The sisters’ income from Cuba vanished with Fidel Castro’s revolution [in 1959], and they struggled to pay property taxes on the increasingly valuable land.
With income dwindling, Elise and Margaret Croft needed an exit strategy, and they decided to donate the land on the condition that they could live there until their death.  That donation led to Grassmere becoming the Nashville Zoo.

The impact of life in Cuba on Elise and Margaret Croft was a subject of differing opinions.  Their mother seems to have had the opinion that it was unrefined:
“Their mother felt Cuba was not the most marvelous place to bring up two young ladies, so each summer she brought them back here or (took them) to London or Paris to go to galleries and cafés,” Joe Thompson Jr., a distant relative of the two, recalled in a 1986 interview.
But the sisters' friend, Ruth Warner, thinks living in Cuba expanded their horizons:
“They were refined Southern gentle ladies. But with their time in Cuba, I think they were a little bit exotic. They were very connected to the land, very literate, and had some more international perspectives.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nashville International Cup soccer tournament runs today through Saturday

From Facebook:
The second Nashville International Cup is scheduled for June 3-5, 2010 at the Christ Presbyterian Stadium. The Cup is a competitive soccer tournament showcasing the rich diversity of people who call Nashville home. Local churches and sponsors are teaming up to make this a remarkable and relationship building event. Mark your calendar to come and cheer for your favorite team (Kurdish, Bantu, Congo, Sudanese, Sub Sahara, Asia, Hispanic...) on June 3-5 at Nashville's International Cup.
Details, including hours for each day's events, are in this video by Rob Vaughn and Rusty Goodsell.

Vaughn was also interviewed about this same event in 2009, here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ray Stevens dons sombrero in sloppy immigrant law commentary

Nashville's own legendary musical humorist Ray Stevens used to write songs about the "First Self-Righteous Church" and how "We shouldn't care about the length of his hair, or the color of his skin."

Now Stevens is writing "Come to the U.S.A.," a music video where he dresses in ethnic garb and makes sloppy arguments about my brothers, sisters and neighbors who don't have an American visa or passport.  He's getting a lot of attention for it, including softball interviews from Fox News.

Ray Stevens, welcome to that shameful pantheon of prominent Nashvillians circulating negativity against Hispanics, many of whom are making Mexican caricature the Bible Belt's new insult.  Please get your head on straight by talking to two people:
Raul Lopez, of the National Republican Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee, who has given a microphone to and has also tried to clear the names of fellow conservatives who go a little too negative in the immigration debate - namely,
the 'conservatives voices' that might generate ill-will to Americans, that happen to be Hispanic, as a by-product of their popular commentary on illegal immigration.
and Mack, of Coyote Chronicles, who shares fewer of your political views, but whose parents were Americans before the federal government ever recognized them as such.  Yes, he is a child of parents who didn't have a visa or U.S. citizenship when they arrived, and you need to hear about them.
The people who truly need amnesty are the ones who are making fun of and circulating lies about the poor, the disenfranchised, and the powerless.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chambers host two networking opportunities this week; RSVP deadlines are today

Photo by Susan.  License via Creative Commons.
Both Hispanic chambers of commerce in Nashville are having networking events this week.

Wednesday afternoon, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC) is combining its "Business After Hours" series with the Nashville City Club's international "Extravaganza" series, with Mexico being the theme.

Thursday during the lunch hour, the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (TNHCC) is hosting a rescheduled Cinco de Mayo Business Networking Lunch at Chappy's.

R.S.V.P.'s are due today, June 1.

Details below, for both events.

From the NAHCC:

NAHCC Business After Hours Event
You are cordially invited to enjoy an evening of networking with our Board of Directors, fellow NAHCC members and guests.
Enjoy Delicious Chef prepared Tacos, Shrimp Shooters, Margaritas and Chips With Homemade Salsa. Music, Tequila Tasting and More!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
RSVP required by Tuesday, June 1, 2010 HERE
Before the networking event, from 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM, NAHCC BOD and members will meet with SBA representatives and visiting business leaders from the Knoxville, Murfreesboro and Clarksville area prior to the networking event. RSVP required.
Don't miss a special offer from event host, Nashville City Club exclusive for NAHCC members. Click HERE to learn more.
The Nashville City Club began hosting its Extravaganzas! in February 2010. A special networking event for current and prospective members, the party has "travelled" to Italy and Southeast Asia.
Join us June 2nd as we visit Mexico! Members and their guests will enjoy chef prepared tacos, fajitas, chips and homemade salsa bar, shrimp shooters, tequila tastings, ice cold beer, margaritas, and more!
This is an AMAZING networking event. The opportunity to meet 200+ people, visit vendor booths, and show off your Club cannot be missed.
PLEASE RSVP in advance. Those who have RSVPed will have an expidited check-in line at registration.
From the TNHCC:
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
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