Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flood relief system can be hard to navigate; Spanish-language conference call today aims to help

Tom Starling, Ed.D., President/CEO of the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee sent in this announcement of a Spanish-language conference call for Nashville flood victims today at 2:30 p.m.:
A free, Spanish-only conference call for Nashville flood victims will be held today at 2:30 p.m. This opportunity is perfect for people who need clarity on navigating the system before deadlines expire, immigrants and refugees who speak Spanish, people who are skeptical of approaching government services in person, and people who lack access to help because of language barriers, cultural barriers, or lack of transportation. Valuable information for renters and home owners will be made available from the convenience of a caller's cell phone, home phone, or pay phone. It is a toll-free call: 1-866-776-2058 (please give conference number 89217111).
Please encourage your clients, friends, and congregation to call-in and join Luz Binns of Metro Social Services and Luisa Hough of the Mental Health Association on July 27 at 2:30pm. If missed, this conference call information will be posted on the www.ichope.com website.

Monday, July 26, 2010

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, like mosque today, was opposed by Murfreesboro residents

The first Catholic person in the Americas to become a saint, Saint Rose of Lima, was born in the capital city of Peru. A church in nearby Murfreesboro bears her name. And like a local mosque that faces vocal opposition for a recently announced building project, the history of Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church of Murfreesboro also reveals local opposition to one of its planned houses of worship, according to the Daily News-Journal:
A New York couple, Mr. and Mrs. Francis Hoffman, stopped in Murfreesboro on a train trip in 1925. During the layover, they searched in vain for a Catholic church and mass. "Some months later Bishop A. J. Smith in Nashville received a gift to build a chapel" in Murfreesboro. Mrs. Hoffman requested that the new place of worship be named for her patron saint, Saint Rose of Lima.
A lot on the northeast corner of University and Lytle was purchased for the new church from Helen C. Earthman on April 25, 1929, for $2,500.
This plan to construct the county's first Catholic Church was the target of a local KKK protest march.
The Daily News-Journal article quotes 93-year-old Murfreesboro historian C.B. Arnette, 93, who witnessed the march protesting the new building for the Saint Rose of Lima congregation.  Arnette said you could recognize marchers by their shoes: one marcher was a local physician, and another was a Church of Christ preacher.

What was the reason for the opposition to Catholics?  The Tennessean points out the history of the 20th century KKK as an organization created in opposition to (mostly Catholic) immigration, preaching "racism, anti-Catholicism, nativism (favoring of native inhabitants over immigrants) and anti-Semitism."  A commenter points out that Catholics were described as national security threats:
In the 1920s, Hiram Evans, the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan rose to prominence with a populist, nativistic, and anti-intellectual message to the American public. Klan members identified the Irish and Italian members of Anarchists, IWW, and WFM organizations as national threats that sought to overthrow the government through force. The Klan’s job was to protect Americans from these corrosive elements. They labeled Individuals such as Carlo Tresca, Mother Jones, and Nicola Sacco as “bomb-throwing lunatics.” The Catholics also came under close scrutiny because the pope was a “monarchist” and the Catholics subverted the nation. The Catholic “monarchists” would never assimilate because their religious structure conflicted with the republican ideas of Protestants who had decentralized church hierarchies.
Construction of Saint Rose of Lima's new building continued anyway, and the building was dedicated just six months after the property was purchased.  The congregation of Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church of Murfreesboro thrives to this day.

Modern parallels to Saint Rose of Lima history

In modern-day Murfreesboro, the announcement of the construction of a new mosque building, where Muslim faith would be practiced, has also faced opposition.  As reported locally and nationally - including by ABC News - much of the opposition to the mosque has come from local Christians and been in general opposition to Islam:
"We have a duty to investigate anyone under the banner of Islam," Allen Jackson, the pastor of World Outreach Church, said at the meeting.
Others were quoted by the Tennessean with similar remarks:
"Everybody knows they are trying to kill us." -Karen Harrell
"Islam is a system of government. Islam is a system of justice. … "I'm afraid we'll have a training facility in Rutherford County." -George Erdel
"It's an ideology. It's not a religion." -Bob Hayes
But some Christians and others, including Mike Williams of Smyrna (quoted in another Tennessean article), have gathered and spoken out in favor of the mosque's construction project:
[Mike] Williams, who attends All Saints Episcopal Church in Smyrna, said he believes "very strongly that all of us are the children of a God.
"We are entitled to an equal inheritance. In America, our inheritance is freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the color of skin. In short, the Constitution of the United States belongs to all of us."
Williams is one of a number of politicians who have sided with the Constitution on this controversy.  Another is Ben Leming:
I made a stand to protect the rights of every American, not just those that form the majority.  ... Unfortunately, there are many people that disagree strongly with or don't understand this basic American principle and how it should protect the rights of others. ... Right now they are lining up to deny other Americans their Constitutional rights and discredit our mission to put the people of Middle Tennessee first in Washington.
Words of wisdom for Christians and Muslims alike, as quoted by the Tennessean, came from MTSU professor Rabbi Rami Shapiro:
"I think people should listen very carefully to their clergy and what they teach. If they teach violence and hatred (of other religions), I think it is incumbent upon the parishioner to get up and walk out."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Peruvians in Nashville will celebrate nation's independence at Cuzco Latin Cuisine tomorrow

Photo by Miguel Vera.  Licensed via Creative Commons.
The United Peruvian Association of Nashville (UPAN) will be celebrating the 189th anniversary of Peruvian independence tomorrow, Saturday, July 24, at Cuzco Latin Cuisine, 2805 Old Fort Pkwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37128 (Tel.: 615-895-8898), from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Reviews of Cuzco Latin Cuisine can be found on Yelp and Urbanspoon.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Miss Tennessee Latina misses top spot at Miss US Latina pageant, future of state pageant up in the air

Delegates to the 2010 Miss U.S. Latina national pageant.
Miss Tennessee Latina Lilibeth Leon is in the first row, far right.
Miss Tennessee Latina Lilibeth Leon returned from the 2010 Miss U.S. Latina national pageant without the top crown, which was won by Elizabeth Robaina of McAllen, Texas.

The national competition was held in the Dominican Republic in May, and here is what Leon told HispanicNashville.com about the experience:
Lilibeth Leon
The pageant was definitely an experience I'll never forget. The Dominican Republic is absolutely beautiful, and the Dominican people were so welcoming and accommodating. It was certainly a tough week. There was little time between long rehearsal hours, interviews, and preliminary competition, but I knew going into the national pageant was going to be hard work. For me, the most rewarding part was the amazingly talented women I got to meet from all over the country and of so many different heritages. I know it seems cliche to say, but in reality, we never felt we were competing against each other. The camaraderie was incredible. The competition was tough, and there wasn't a single woman there that wasn't qualified to take the title of Miss U.S. Latina. Being on that stage and seeing everyone who had traveled all the way to Punta Cana to see us and support us and knowing we were being watched live via internet around the world was surreal! I thank the organization, the delegates, and Tennessee for having given me this opportunity.
Leon also added that she hopes she can pass on her crown, since the state pageant is currently up in the air due to the vacancy in the state-level administrator position.

More photos from the 2010 national pageant are below.  All photos are used with permission of Miss US Latina.

Miss Tennessee Latina Lilibeth Leon, far right
2010 delegates with Nashville-based band Saints of Havana
Miss Tennessee Latina Lilibeth Leon is in the front row, far right

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cultural Symbols and Me

I enjoyed this post by Carrie Ferguson-Weir over at her blog Bilingual in the Boonies:
Mojito in a Bag!
Mojito in a Bag, $1.99!
I am not sure why I am surprised to find Spanish language goods in local stores. Maybe because when I was growing up, the Spanish seemed insulated to the Miami and North Jersey zips where I lived out a bilingual life.
I think it was two years ago that I got all sentimental in the Wal-Mart Hispanic foods section when I found the squeeze bottle of leche condensada. Maybe I am so shocked because this is Nashville, after all, and a thousand years ago when I landed here, none of the Spanish I see and hear around me was even remotely possible.
So, when I see something in Spanish that surprises me, I snap a picture. (It goes with that wholeretroacculturation post I wrote recently, I guess.)
That door mat up there with “Casa” on it was in a local Lowe’s hardware store. I did a double take and cared not that people saw me taking a picture of a door mat.
I was amazed yesterday by this sign. It was at the Mall of Green Hills, an upscale mall with a Tiffany, a Betsey Johnson, a Louis Vuitton, and other places where my credit card is not allowed. A sign in Spanish — advertising a federal emergency preparedness web site — is just not what one expects in 37205. (I was there looking for a dress for my high school reunion y nada! Everything I tried on said “Trying Too Hard” or “Cougar.” But, that’s another post…)
Cultural Connections
Best Buy Gift Cards in Spanish
Cultural Connections
Cultural Connections
Best Buy Spanish Thank You Gift Card.
I guess people can continue to get angry over “Press 2 for English” but by the looks of it, the gente who sell stuff are pretty damned happy that we know what “Oprima el Uno” means.
Have you noticed all the Spanish/Latino/Hispanic stuff multiplying?

This post by Nashville's own Carrie Ferguson-Weir was originally published over at Bilingual in the Boonies. It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee to hold fundraiser August 7

Here's the invitation:

Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee

"Our Values Are Your Values"

You Are Invited To Share A Special Evening With

J.C Watts

And U.S. Congressman

Marsha Blackburn

Saturday, August 7th, 2010
5:30 - 6:30 pm - Private Meet & Greet/Photo Reception
6:30 - 8:00 pm - Main Reception

At the Houstons' home Cancello Del Cielo
2508 Iron Gate Court, Franklin TN 37069

Main Reception tickets are $250.00 each or $400.00 a couple

To RSVP or to find out how you can become a sponsor and attend our
Private Meet & Greet/Photo Reception
Please contact Diane di Stasio at 615-364-0422 or dianedistasio@comcast.net

Monday, July 19, 2010

Avancemos Juntos connects Hispanic students and parents to college

Tennessee college and university information in Spanish and English

Avancemos Juntos is the name of a new web site designed to help Hispanic families in Tennessee get information about going to college. The web site is written in Spanish and English. The creators hope that it will be used by students and parents.

“We thought that teenagers could sit down and discuss college with their Spanish speaking parents,” said organizer Eric Melcher, communications coordinator with Volunteer State Community College. “We have tips on applying to college, financial aid and the different types of colleges and universities in Tennessee.”

The web site is part of a grant program funded by the Tennessee Board of Regents. The purpose of the program is to provide college information to Hispanic families in the state, with much of that information specific to Tennessee.

“There can be confusion about how the American higher education system works and what types of schools are in Tennessee. We think this web site can help students and families get ready for college.”

The web site can be viewed at www.avancemosjuntos.org

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Talk about undocumented

This is the signature block of the alleged complaint filed by Rep. Mike Turner
The Nashville Business Journal and the Tennessean each link to what they say is a copy of the complaint that Rep. Mike Turner filed against a construction company for allegedly hiring people unauthorized to work.  The document that purports to be Turner's complaint, however has an empty signature block, which is pictured above.

This means either that
  1. the document the newspapers have is not the complaint that Turner filed, or
  2. Turner did not sign the complaint he filed.
I wouldn't blame Turner if he didn't sign it.  The instructions on the complaint form require details, and none are offered - just hearsay and prior newspaper articles about other jobs.  Furthermore, the Spanish-speaking workers whom Turner told the Tennessean he saw are left out of this document.

Is the State even required to process an unsigned complaint?

Read more about Turner's complaint from Aunt B., Sean Braisted, Mack, and T. Sharp.
Read my opinion about the law that made these complaints possible here.

Update: The State called off the investigation.  Turner's anonymous sources did not come forward, according to In Session. (H/T: TCP)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Remembering Tim Chavez

Surfing across Facebook this week, I ran across Tim Chavez's old page, which led me to look up how long it's been since we lost him to cancer. It was a little more than a year ago, on June 18, 2009.

You can read stories related to Tim that were published on HispanicNashville.com here.

The photo above is from 2001, following Tim's interview with President George W. Bush for Hispanic magazine.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dolores Gresham

Tennessee Senator Dolores Gresham
Today is the birthday of San Antonio native and Tennessee State Senator Dolores R. Gresham (R).  Gresham is 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 came 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.
The Noguera children offered a glimpse into their family scrapbook with this Christmas 2007 video:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jaci Velasquez, Nic Gonzales, Destino join guest lineup for Musico a Musico Nashville Congreso of Worshiping Arts August 4-7

Wayne Hilton, director, Músico a Músico, announced that Jaci Velasquez, Nic Gonzales, lead vocalist for “Salvador” and Nashville’s own Destino Band are joining the MaM (Músico a Músico) Band at this year's music & arts training Congreso. All are confirmed to participate. Jaci & Nic will appear Friday, August 6th, and Destino Thursday, August 5th. These are free events, open to the public and start at 7:00pm each evening. Músico a Músico is a teaching outreach ministry to musicians and artists throughout middle Tennessee and beyond. Locally they have established Instituto Allegro, a full service music school. Internationally, they have presented over 30 of these Congresos in 9 Latin American countries utilizing some 200 musicians and artists as instructors from Nashville and many other parts of the USA and the world. Hilton says:
Our passion is to train, mentor and inspire excellance and we have been effective in impacting thousands of Hispanic worship musicians, and these special guests will help us to accomplish this goal here in Nashville.

Jaci Velasquez
Jaci Velasquez is one of the world’s most successful and beloved Christian/Latin/pop singers. For Proof, look no further than her 2 Latin Grammy nominations, 3 English Grammy nominations, 5 Latin Billboard Award nominations, her Latin Billboard Female Pop Album of the Year award, 6 Dove Awards, El Primiro Lo Nuestro Award for New Artist of the Year, Soul to Soul Honors and an American Music Award nomination. Jaci has sold over 3.5 million albums, garnered 3 RIAA certified Platinum recordings, 3 RIAA certified Gold recordings, 16 #1 radio hits and has graced more than 50 magazine covers. Her resume includes ad campaigns for Pepsi, Doritos, Target, Frizz-Ease and Helzburg Diamonds. Raised in the church, Jaci has never strayed far from these roots and has always been willing to support Músico a Músico appearing on its initial promotional DVD in 2005.

Nic Gonzales
Nic Gonzales is founder and leader of the band “Salvador”, the world’s “Premier Latin Jam Band”. He is largely responsable for the sound and success of this band as a writer, lead vocalist and guitarist. Here’s just an example of Salvadors’ accomplishments:

Shine was ASCAP song of the year in 2006
2006 Nominated 2 Billboard Latin Awards Christian Album Of The Year for Qué Tan Lejos Está El Cielo/So Natural
2004 Dove Award for Spanish Language Album of the Year (Con Poder)
2004 Dove Award nomination for P&W Album of the Year (Worship Live)
2004 Billboard Latin Music Award nomination for Christian/Gospel Album of the Year (Con Poder)
2003 Billboard Latin Music Award nomination for Christian/Gospel Album of the Year (Into Motion)
Into Motion peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and No. 10 on its Top Christian Albums chart
2001 Dove Award nomination for Short Form Music Video (“Lord I Come Before You”)
Cover of media publications CCM Magazine, Christian Single and Enfoque

Nic Gonzales and Jaci Velasquez are married and have two young children. Together Jaci & Nic will participate by singing, sharing and ministering through their gifts but will also spend time during the class sessions in front of the students giving their testimony together and even taking questions for a real intimate time for all the students.

Nic and Jaci



Destino is a rising- star band based in Nashville with a heart for ministry and a sound meant to be embraced. As such, they’re a Band for everyone. Destino’s first album project, “Belleza del Cielo” is schedule for release this fall. They have a great following of faithful fans and they’ll light up the evening for all.

Músico a Músico opens this event on Wednesday evening with the MaM Band leading and mentoring in worship at Christ Church’s “Wallace Chapel”, 15354 Old Hickory Blvd. Nashville, Tn. 37211. Over 100 classes taught by over 20 instructors, featuring some of the best musicians and artists ever assembled for an event such as this. Classes will begin at 9am through 5pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday. With free concerts open to everyone each evening at 7:00pm.

Those students who successfully attend required classes will qualify to receive the Músico a Músico “Certificate of Recognition” presented during the closing ceremony on Saturday evening, August 7th.

To register for classes visit www.artesadorando.org or call 615.592.5060 also you’ll find a complete list of classes to be presented and bios on each instructor. The cost for all three days of classes in advance is just $50.00!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

David Esquivel tapped for Leadership Nashville

David Esquivel
The Tennessean reports that David Esquivel was named to the new Leadership Nashville class:
[O]ut of 230 applications just 44 were chosen for the competitive program run by a local non-profit that exposes local leaders to a broad and in-depth view of their communities...[T]he group will hear from about 125 speakers and make on-site visits to business, non-profit and government offices while addressing issues such as crime, affordable housing, school finances, racial tensions, transportation and arts funding.
Read the full story in the Tennessean here.

David Esquivel is a partner at the large Nashville law firm Bass, Berry & Sims. The son of Cuban immigrants, Esquivel is a past recipient of the Tennessee Bar Association's Harris A. Gilbert Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award for trying a torture case against an ex-military official from El Salvador for the commission of crimes against humanity almost thirty years ago, leading to a civil judgment in favor of the victims.

Esquivel also spoke against Nashville's 287(g) program when it came up for renewal last October.  Speaking to the Metro Council, he spoke of his concern that his own relatives would be impacted by the program:
I am the child of Cuban immigrants. My first language was Spanish, and all of my older relatives, including my father, speak English with a heavy Spanish accent. I don’t want those kinds of characteristics – skin color, national origin, and English proficiency – to be the difference between one of us driving home with a ticket, and spending a night in jail.
Esquivel's full remarks to the Metro Council are below.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Irma Paz shares home cooking secrets before Las Paletas return to Food Network July 19

Las Paletas, Irma Paz, and Norma Paz will be featured on new show Kid in a Candy Store

The Tennessean video above follows Irma Paz of Las Paletas through her approach toward home cooking, and we see her whipping up corn quiche, avocado-yogurt dressing, and seared white fish as she describes her philosophy of food prep for the family. The Tennessean those three recipes here, and Jennifer Justus' article accompanying the video is here. Excerpts from the interview:
Paz, who opened Las Paletas with her sister, Norma, about eight years ago, puts a fresh, healthy dinner on the table in under an hour most nights — often less than 30 minutes. For our Nashville Cooks series, she shows us how she does it.
Growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico, Paz spent time with her mother as she cooked, but she didn't necessarily learn to prepare certain dishes from her. Rather, she watched and listened.
"I think we're all capable. You don't have to come from my culture. You don't have to have a degree in culinary foods. You don't have to have a refrigerator full of things."
The Nashville Scene's Bites blog reported last Friday that Las Paletas and the Paz sisters
will be featured July 19 in the second week of a new Food Network show titled Kid in a Candy Store. Hosted by Adam Gertler, a former contestant on The Next Food Network Star, the show documents Gertler's trips across the country to find sweet things to eat. "He has a lot of energy," says Irma Paz Bernstein, who's coming up on nine years at Las Paletas. She says the segment was shot a couple of months ago, and it sounds something like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with a focus on desserts.
Here are a few more stories about Irma and Norma Paz through the years...

From TN Connections, Summer 2010:
“Every day we have different flavors,” says Irma Paz-Bernstein, who owns the shop near downtown with her sister Norma Paz-Curtis. “There’s no menu, because what if there are no pineapples in Nashville? This way, whatever’s ripe, whatever’s in season, that’s what we make.”
In the sisters’ native Mexico, “paletas” refers to popsicles made with fresh ingredients.
From United Airlines' Hemisphere magazine, October 2009:
“I chose to attend this convention solely to try these paletas,” notes Bunny, who discovered the popsicle shop, Las Paletas, and its proprietors, the Paz Sisters, on a foodie website. “My favorite so far is avocado, but they’re all sublime.”...The sisters were raised on paletas, as they’re known in Mexico. “They’re part of the daily diet, part of the culture,” says Irma Paz-Bernstein, a former news producer for Telemundo and Univision, who grew up in Guadalajara and shares blending, squeezing, chopping and pureeing duties with big sister Norma Paz-Curtis.
From the Nashville Scene's Best of Nashville 2008:
Best Advertisement for Nashville...the frozen-treat face-off between the Paz sisters of Las Paletas and superstar chef Bobby Flay on his popular Food Network series Throwdown with Bobby Flay...Nothing made Nashville look cooler—no pun intended—than a pair of vivacious Latina hotties making gourmet ice pops that stopped even the unflappable Flay in his tracks, while a hometown audience cheered
From the Nashville City Paper, June 9, 2008:
Nashville’s best frozen treats for keeping summer cool...Sisters Norma and Irma Paz started the business six years ago after a visit to Mexico convinced them that there might be a market here for the refreshing treats...Las Paletas’ reputation reaches far beyond Music City. Chef Bobby Flay recently challenged the Paz sisters to a “Throw Down,” which will be featured on Food Network later this summer.
From the Nashville Business Journal, May 30, 2003:
The journey to what has become Las Paletas on 12th Avenue began when Norma Paz was looking for an opportunity to raise her children at home instead of sending them to day care.
She approached Irma, a television producer who globetrotted for Spanish language television stations Telemundo and Univision, with an offer to start a business.
See photos of the Paz sisters here (August 2008) and here (May 2003), and see photos of Las Paletas itself here.

Las Paletas recently moved a block or so north on 12 South, into the same building that houses Burger Up.

Monday, July 12, 2010

154 years ago today, a 32-year-old Nashvillian named William Walker was inaugurated as President of Nicaragua

"Playbill for theatrical presentation of Walker’s exploits in Nicaragua.
Many Americans welcomed the conquest as evidence of God’s will."
John P. Heiss Papers, Tennessee Historical Society Collections,
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Today is the anniversary of Nashville's own William Walker taking office as 6th President of the Republic of Nicaragua, on July 12, 1856. Walker was one of the most famous figures of mid-19th century America, and certainly one of the most famous men who was ever called a filibuster (the term meant an "invader of other countries on one's own" before it meant "legislative obstructionist"). In 1857, the New York Times wrote:
The name of William Walker is, by this time, as widely known as that of any other living man in the Old World or in the New.
Though his notoriety has long since faded here in his home town (despite this downtown historical marker), the young, Nashville-born, one-time president is the subject of legend in Central America. One of Costa Rica's main national heroes is a boy who died in a battle against Walker, named Juan Santamaría. The main airport in San José is named after Santamaría, as is a Costa Rican national holiday.

So it was interesting to see that the Tennessean did recently mark Walker's long-ago July 12 inauguration, even if the mention came in a single paragraph in the history column "Skits and Bits."

Last July, the storyteller-of-history podcast The Memory Palace told the story of Walker in the episode "Presidente Walker," which still can be heard online at that link.

In 1987, there was a feature film called "Walker," in which Ed Harris played William Walker, and Everybody Loves Raymond's Peter Boyle played Cornelius Vanderbilt. Ebert & Roeper gave dismal reviews to the film, and I think they got it wrong when they said Vanderbilt hired Walker to take control of Nicaragua. Read Bill Carey's article in the Vanderbilt Register for the local historian's take on their intertwined fates. There is also the book Tycoon's War, about both Walker and Vanderbilt, but you might want to hit the library and not the bookstore for that one. Bookslut was not impressed, and the Wall Street Journal wondered aloud about its historical accuracy, saying the author "gets enough small stuff wrong to make you wonder what else is amiss".

Michael Glasgow's 2008 book The Bridge mentions William Walker 23 times. The Bridge tells the internationally renowed story of Eric Volz, who graduated from high school in Nashville and who was tried and convicted and later acquitted for murder in Nicaragua - the same country where Nashville-born Walker became President on July 12, 1856.

For more information about William Walker, read this page at the Tennessee State Library & Archives, this Wikipedia article on Walker, and these stories on HispanicNashville.com

Friday, July 9, 2010

Watch the World Cup Final at LP Field on Sunday

Nashville is one of 18 cities still in the running to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup if the U.S.A. is selected as the host country, and in conjunction with that effort, Nashville's LP Field will be the site of a free, official World Cup Final watch party this Sunday, July 11.  Details about the watch party are here and below.  Details about Nashville's bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup are here.

Come to the Official World Cup Final Watch Party
Netherlands vs. Spain!
LP Field
Sunday, July 11, 2010
12:30pm Festivities
1:30pm Broadcast
FREE admission FREE parking Live music Kids games and giveaways Discounted concessions FREE Sounds tickets to the first 1,000 through the gate Enter to WIN a trip to Bud Light Port Paradise or a Suite at the Titans v. Saints game

Bring the whole team and wear your jerseys.
Show your support for Music City soccer!

Bring the World Cup to the US. Bring the World Cup to Nashville!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Part 2 of Tera Vazquez interview: The Road to Guy Brown

Tera Vazquez

"Things are a lot more difficult now than they were in the past"

"I decided to become a U.S. citizen when I became a mother"

"I've always wanted to have my own business, be my own boss"

This is the second segment of a multi-part interview with Maria Teresa "Tera" Vazquez, co-founder and President of Guy Brown Products, a $200 million ink toner cartridge supplier in Brentwood. Vazquez is also the first elected woman president of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The first segment of the interview is here.

At what point did you decide that you would stay in the U.S. and not return to Peru?

After I came back to go to American University and I started working at Pelikan, Inc., here in Franklin, Tennessee, that's when I decided I really want to stay - I can make it on my own.

After your transfer to Franklin, or before your transfer to Franklin?

Before I transferred to Franklin. When I was going to graduate school, that's when I decided I wanted to stay.

How did you arrange the visa immigration transition from student to permanent resident?

The company that I used to work for was sponsoring my visa as a temporary worker, and then I got married, and became a citizen a couple of years after that. You have to remember that the time when I immigrated to the United States, you have a completely different time than today. Today things are a lot more difficult. The U.S. doesn't look at immigration as it used to in the past. In the past, they were a lot more open to it. Now there is somewhat of a discrimination if you speak Spanish. Things are a lot more difficult now than they were in the past.

And you made the transition from permanent resident to U.S. citizen in the context of your marriage?

Yes. I decided to become a U.S. citizen when I became a mother. I wanted to be from the same country as my daughter.

How long had you been in the U.S. when you became a U.S. citizen?

Eight or nine years.

Pelikan was your Dad's company, but it's also a German company?

My father was an owner of a company that licensed the Pelikan technology and the Pelikan name in South America. If you go to Argentina, Chile, there used to be, 20 or 30 years ago, there were Pelikans in every country. My father happened to be one of the owners of Pelikan in Peru. It was a licensed name in technology. Originally, Pelikan is an old German company.

Was Pelikan in Franklin before you got here, or did you bring it here?

No, no - it was in Franklin a long time before I came here. I don't know how they ended up here. The U.S. headquarters were in Franklin.

And then you left Pelikan for a job to be Director of Product Marketing at NuKote, and then later Director of Sales and Marketing for Latin America, is that right?

No, I did not leave Pelikan. Pelikan U.S. was acquired by a company named NuKote International, and NuKote International decided to keep me as a product manager, because I was a product manager under Pelikan, and they decided that I did a pretty decent job, so they decided to keep me. And then over time, I got promoted to the director of Latin American sales since I spoke Spanish, and I did that for six or seven years for them.

What led you to start Guy Brown?

I've always wanted to have my own business, be my own boss, and a mutual friend of one of my partners and mine put us in contact. He was the COO of NuKote International, and one of my partners and this gentleman were neighbors. So we got together. My partners have a mindset of investors, and they knew they wanted to get into something, and I happened to know the technology of remanufactured cartridges, so it was the perfect partnership.

Was that the same kind of technology that you were working with at Pelikan? How did you know about that?

I learned that at Pelikan and NuKote, by being the product manager. I learned that there.

By the way, where did the name Guy Brown come from?

My two partners are from India, and they call themselves "brown guys." So "Guy Brown," "Brown Guy."

You're president now, and you own one third of the company, is that right?

Yes. We started the company one third each, and we still have the same ownership.

Sometimes among business partners, the dynamic changes over time as the business develops, has that happened with Guy Brown?

It has, but for the positive side. We've all grown through these years. Everybody brings something to the table.

to be continued in a future post...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Carolina Coulon brings theater, dance to Nashville churches

Carolina Coulon
Photo by Constanza Zurita
I first met Carolina Coulon at a Belmont United Methodist Church benefit concert for victims of the Nashville flood and victims of the Chile earthquake. Carolina was manning the Musico a Musico table, where she was explaining the theater work she does with that arts & worship group. Musico a Musico's Nashville Congress in coming up in August.

Carolina is a theater professor, director, actress, and missionary from Chile. Below is the first part of my interview with her:

HispanicNashville.com: Are you in the United States exclusively for Musico a Musico?

Coulon: No. I visited the U.S. for the first time for Musico a Musico. but last year when I was in another Musico a Musico congress, the Pastor of the church Ministerios Casa del Banquete Olivier Leiva invited me to be here for six months working with Hispanic churches, to teach theater to various different churches. I visited Casa del Banquete here and in Atlanta, and I was also in a number of different churches in Nashville - Jesus el Buen Pastor, El Shaddai, Una Esperanza Viva, Christ Church-Latina, and Iglesia Metodista Unida West Nashville.

HispanicNashville.com: What type of theater work are you doing?

Coulon: What I'm teaching is pretty basic so that a church can form its theater group - corporal expression, vocal expression, the technical differences between theater, drama, mime, and dance.  Generally, churches are somewhat casual in their theater, and little by little the churches are requiring something a little more professional, so I give them that technical vocabulary.

In June I was working with Instituto Allegro, which is affiliated with Musico a Musico, where I did one theater workshop and one dance workshop, every Monday from 7-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Christ Church.

The other thing I'm doing is working with women in Bible studies in Latin churches.

HispanicNashville.com: How long will you be in the United States this time?

Coulon: I arrived on February 9, and I'll leave in August.

HispanicNashville.com: Will your students in Nashville be displaying what they've learned in a public performance?

Coulon: The Instituto Allegro workshops in June ended with a show that was open to the public, and the next event that is open to the public will be the Musico a Musico Congress the first week of August.

The second part of this interview with Carolina Coulon will be published soon at HispanicNashville.com.  In the meantime, you can learn more about Coulon at her web page.

Photos of the Instituto Allegro final performance in June are below.  All photos are by Constanza Zurita.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Raul Regalado plays key role in Nashville business development and air industry's future

Today's Nashville City Paper highlights the importance of air service to business development in Music City, and Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority ("MNAA") President and CEO Raul Regalado is prominently featured. The article features the work Regalado does with businesses directly as they consider Nashville, and it also mentions the airport renovations and improvements that Regalado has spearheaded during the economic downturn.

Regalado is quoted early in the article as saying:
If we didn't have an adequate airport, and if we had terrible air service, Nashville would not be doing as well as it is in the economic development business.
Read the full article by Erin Lawley here.

Furthermore, in May, Regalado was named as the only Tennessean and one of only three airport representatives on the President's new 18-member Future Of Aviation Advisory Committee. Here is Regalado's response to the nomination:
It’s an honor to be selected by Secretary LaHood to serve on this committee. The MNAA has had many successes in the time that I have been here, and I have learned many lessons here and throughout my 38-year airport career. I look forward to bringing our best practices to the table as I join other industry leaders in this important dialogue.
Last year in an interview with HispanicNashville.com, Regalado spoke on the future of technology in the aviation industry:
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.
For more on Regalado, read the full HispanicNashville.com interview here.  For more information on Nashville's airport, visit its web site at flynashville.com.

For more information on the Future Of Aviation Advisory Committee, including the mission of the committee and dates for upcoming committee meetings, visit the Committee’s website at http://www.dot.gov/faac/. The next meeting is July 14 in Atlanta and is open to the public.

Monday, July 5, 2010

No 287(g) for Williamson County due to low volume

Harriet Vaughan reports in the Tennessean that Williamson County's application for more authority to enforce immigration law, through a program known as 287(g), has been turned down by Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"). The reason for the denial is low volume:
"Since 2007, the sheriff's office has tracked the number of people they arrest who do not have a Social Security number, were not born in the United States, and do not have a drivers license. Each time the office encounters a person that fits in that category, it immediately notifies ICE.

The numbers have dwindled since the economy turned sour, said Dobbins, who oversees the chart. The number of inmates that fit the criteria peaked at 101 in August 2007 and have been as low as 13 in June 2009.

[Sheriff Jeff] Long believes that low illegal immigration activity in the county also led to them being denied 287(g) status."
The report states that since 2007, Williamson County has participated in the Criminal Alien Program, by which the county can notify ICE of the people identified by lack of SSN, U.S. birth, and drivers' license. ICE can then conduct its own investigation of the individual's immigration status.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

Photo by andrew dean photography. Licensed via Creative Commons.

A Chinese View of the Statue of Liberty
from The American Missionary, January 1885:

SIR: A paper was presented to me yesterday for inspection, and I found it to be specially drawn up for subscription among my countrymen toward the Pedestal Fund of the Bartholdi Statue of Liberty. Seeing that the heading is an appeal to American citizens, to their love of country and liberty, I feel that my countrymen and myself are honored in being thus appealed to as citizens in the cause of liberty. But the word liberty makes me think of the fact that this country is the land of liberty for men of all nations except the Chinese. I consider it as an insult to us Chinese to call on us to contribute toward building in this land a pedestal for a statue of Liberty. That statue represents Liberty holding a torch which lights the passage of those of all nations who come Into this country. But are the Chinese allowed to come? As for the Chinese who are here, are they allowed to enjoy liberty as men of all other nationalities enjoy it? Are they allowed to go about everywhere free from the insults, abuse, assaults, wrongs and injuries from which men of other nationalities are free?

If there be a Chinaman who came to this country when a lad, who has passed through an American institution of learning of the highest grade, who has so fallen in love with American manners and ideas that he desires to make his home in this land, and who, seeing that his countrymen demand one of their own number to be their legal adviser, representative, advocate and protector, desires to study law, can he be a lawyer? By the law of this nation, he, being a Chinaman, cannot become a citizen, and consequently cannot be a lawyer.

And this statue of Liberty is a gift to a people from another people who do not love or value liberty for the Chinese. Are not the Annamese and Tonquinese Chinese, to whom liberty is as dear as to the French? What right have the French to deprive them of their liberty?

Whether this statute against the Chinese or the statue to Liberty will be the more lasting monument to tell future ages of the liberty and greatness of this country, will be known only to future generations.

Liberty, we Chinese do love and adore thee; but let not those who deny thee to us, make of thee a graven image and invite us to bow down to it.

Saum Song Bo

New York Sun

Thursday, July 1, 2010

MTV channel for Latino audience is hiring in Nashville

MTV Tr3s, a cable/satellite channel producing programming for the Latino culture, is looking to staff a part time administrative assistant to the Vice President, Broadcast Affiliates. The position is located in Nashville and will work from 15 - 20 hour per week. Must have strong experience using Microsoft PowerPoint. This employee will create numerous presentations and must be able to translate their supervisor's ideas into layman's terms. Candidates should have some prior experience with accounting/bookkeeping principles. Strong understanding and experience with Microsoft Excel. Must be a self-starter and able to work independently with little supervision. Will need to have prior administrative assistant experience, great communication skills (written and oral), great phone skills and be able to speak/write/understand numerous Hispanic dialects. Position does offer some benefits, after the employee has successfully completed 30 days in the role. This is not a staff position, rather is considered a PT freelance position. Position will pay a minimum of $15.00. The schedule is flexible, based on the candidate's needs and the needs of the Vice President the position reports to.

MTV Tr3s is a channel within MTV Networks, a company of the Viacom Corporation.
Qualified candidates should send their resume (in English) and references to:
Shannon Kendrick
Director, Human Resources
MTV Networks
330 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN 37201
Or send it to: Shannon.kendrick@cmt.com

And you thought Senator Douglas Henry's recent gaffe was bad

State Senator Douglas Henry
A recent gaffe by State Senator Douglas Henry that started as a defense of Hispanic Nashvillians - and Arizonans - reminds me of a historic Tennessee anecdote from a governor's race fifty-nine years before Henry was born.

First, about Henry's gaffe.  It occurred on June 4, 2010, in the chamber of the Tennessee State Senate, when Henry simultaneously stood up for his Hispanic constituents while stumbling over those of Middle Eastern descent.  Henry was voicing his opposition to the legislature's resolution commending Arizona on its recent immigration law, and he started out by pointing out how Phoenix is one of the top five safest cities in the U.S.  He then turned to describing the hard-working Hispanics in his Nashville district, but at the same time, Henry also implied that the Arizona law might have made more sense if it had targeted Middle Eastern immigrants - who "people might say well they're going to throw bombs and blow people up."  For Henry's exact words, go to Pith in the Wind, or view the video on the legislature's web site.
Tennessee Governor William G. Brownlow, 1805-1877
The historic echo of Henry's gaffe comes from immigration politics in the 1867 Tennessee gubernatorial campaign.  Opposition against incumbent William Gannaway "Parson" Brownlow was brewing in the German immigrant community, based on Brownlow's loud nativism, frequently expressed in his family's newspaper, the Knoxville Whig.  An opinion in Brownlow's defense, published in the German-language Nashville newspaper the Tennessee Staatszeitung (the "Tennessee State Gazette"), pointed out that Brownlow in fact opposed immigrants, but not of the German kind:
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 [gubernatorial challenger Henry Emerson] 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.
I wonder whether the writer intended for his German audience to be comforted or horrified.  Ironic wit, perhaps?

Henry isn't Brownlow, and his comment can't be equated to the description of Brownlow's views.  Furthermore, Henry said what he said in the context of standing up against the "Praising Arizona" resolution, and earlier this session he stood up for translations of the written drivers' license exam (my wife took the Spanish-language written test way back when, so I appreciate that).  Henry was also the only Senate vote against an immigration enforcement law that passed in 2007 but has so far proven to be so useless to the state that it has boasted only one formal charge after more than two years in effect.

But Henry's gaffe was a gaffe nonetheless, and one that was at the expense of Tennesseans and Arizonans of Middle Eastern descent - unless, perhaps, Henry was using irony in the style of the Staatszeitung writer.

Henry faces challenger Jeff Yarbro in the upcoming elections.
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