Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lib Theo, Guatemalan Dinner, Afro Cuban All Stars, Brazil business, and Caribbean literature: check out the CLAS calendar

Afro Cuban All Stars, playing this Friday

From Vanderbilt's Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS):

Thursday, March 31
"Liberation Theology and Feminist Liberation Theology in Latin America Today"; a lecture by CLAS Visiting Resource Professor Ivone Gebara; 4pm; School of Divinity Room 122; Reception to follow in Tillett Lounge.

Guatemalan Dinner at the Commons; Taste Guatemalan food, watch a weaving demonstration, build traditional kites, and learn about Vanderbilt's programs in Guatemala; 5:30pm; Peabody Commons.

Friday, April 1
Afro Cuban All-Stars; 8pm; Langford Auditorium.
Presented by Great Performances with support from CLAS.

Tuesday, April 12
"Brazil: Possibilities and Pitfalls for Business and Development"; a Roundtable w Marcos Pinto, Kevin McDonald and Kamal Sagg; 4pm; Buttrick 123. A Reception will follow.

Friday, April 15
"La Gran Bonanza de las Antillas: el Caribe y la Literatura"; Lecture by Mayra Montero, Cuban- Puerto Rican author; 3pm; Furman 217. Sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and CLAS.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Deportation to Venezuela looms for MTSU grad and his 20-year American family

(L-R) Vicent Lim and Manolo Lim

MTSU alum Manolo Lem is scheduled to be deported to Venezuela tomorrow, along with his parents Bing and Lin. Manolo was born in Venezuela and lived there for the first two years of his life; Bing and Lin were born in China. Manolo's little brother Vicent was born here in the U.S. The family has been in the U.S. since the Tianamen Square crackdown in 1989 over 20 years ago, and they built up the family restaurant into one of the two largest Chinese restaurants in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

National groups like America's Voice and United We Dream, as well as our own Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, are coordinating petitions and a letter-writing campaign to suspend the Lem family deportation order. America's Voice tells the Lems' story this way:
In just a few days Manolo Lem, a DREAMer, and his family will be deported unless we stop it from happening.

Manolo was born in Venezuela after his parents fled China. He came to U.S. when he was just two years old, graduated from high school with honors and earned a BA from Middle Tennessee State.

Now he and his parents are facing imminent deportation to a country that Manolo doesn’t even know.

Back in 2008, immigration officials told Manolo’s family that they had to sign some paperwork, sell their thriving restaurant business and leave the country. None of that was true – it was a classic example of a law-abiding family being railroaded and not advised of their rights.

Now, Manolo may be sent to Venezuela and his parents to China while his brother remains in the United States.

President Obama said just last week that his job was to run an immigration system that keeps families together – apparently the officials who work for him haven’t gotten the memo.

Let’s make sure they get the message loud and clear, and keep this family together.
America's Voice has set up a page that will let you send a fax to DHS and to ICE; United We Dream and TIRRC have set up pages where you can sign the petition and also Tweet and Facebook the link for further circulation.

I haven't seen any news coverage of the family's scheduled deportation.

A legislative fix for this tragedy would be for the U.S. to create an immigration bankruptcy system, but for now the best we can do is letters and faxes.

Lem family

Monday, March 28, 2011

A lot going on this week; let's get started

Photo by Jorge Garcia.  Licensed via Creative Commons.

In no particular order:

Brown Bag Lunch "Political Violence and Cocaine Production in Southern Colombia" with Oscar Jansson is Tuesday, March 29 at 12:15pm; Vanderbilt University, Buttrick Hall Room 123. RSVP to Norma Antillon or at 615-322-2527

Scarritt Bennett's Diversity in Dialogue series on immigration starts soon; registration deadine is March 29

Understanding the Nashville Hispanic Community - a seminar for non-profits. April 1, 2011; 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM at Center for Nonprofit Management. Improve your cultural competency through Hispanic diversity training. Participants will look at changing demographics of the Latino community in Nashville; the complexity of the social, economic, cultural, legal, and political issues, which locally impact the Latino experience; and how the nonprofit sector can best serve this growing population. Instructor(s): Maitane Tidwell, President of Inclusive Communications, LLC. Fee: $60.00 for CNM Members; $125.00 for nonmembers; $25.00 for students

Avancemos Juntos Hispanic higher education conference is April 8.

The high cost of yet another deportation approach at the state level - two articles from the Knoxville and Memphis dailies

More reporting on the recently released 2010 Census numbers: the majority of Nashville kids are not white (now who's a "minority"?); how growth brings jobs; and how Middle Tennessee leads the state in growth.  All from the Tennessean.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

John Lamb and featured in Columbia Journalism Review profile

On Thursday, the Columbia Journalism Review profiled and editor John Lamb (me) for its News Frontier Database. Author Dylan DePice interviewed me a few weeks ago and did a great job summarizing my approach to this site.

To read the five-paragraph story, click here, and then, after the first paragraph, click on "Read more about")

The Columbia Journalism Review was founded in 1961 under the auspices of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. CJR's News Frontier Database, where this profile was published, is "a searchable, living, and ongoing documentation of digital news outlets across the country" via "originally reported profiles and extensive data sets on each outlet."

This profile puts in good company, according to the "About Us" section of the News Frontier Database:
We’re launching with profiles of fifty prominent digital news sites. The makeup of this list is by no means comprehensive, but there’s ambitious journalism (and philanthropy, and capitalism) represented throughout, and we hope that each entry helps to give a clearer understanding of the outlet in question—but also, more broadly, a clearer picture of web journalism as a whole. Featured in this initial package are household names like Politico and The Huffington Post, but you’ll also encounter sites that are lesser known outside of niche markets—like IGN, the Internet’s definitive video game press; or Streetsblog, a journalism/advocacy hybrid covering transportation issues; or DoD Buzz, a one-man show reporting on the Pentagon. Though most of the sites included so far cater to a national audience, we’ve also profiled some better-established examples of regional operations, from NJ Spotlight to the Alaska Dispatch, MinnPost to

Thursday, March 24, 2011


From Wikipedia:
March 24, 1942: Public Proclamation No. 3 declares an 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew for "all enemy aliens and all persons of Japanese ancestry" within the military areas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vanderbilt's Cafe con Leche music & dance show takes stage this Saturday

Cafe con Leche is this Saturday at Vanderbilt at 6pm at Langford Auditorium. We went with some friends last year, and it was a blast (see InsideVandy's photos here). Quite a number of students (and even faculty) perform in the show, and it is standing-room-only in a large venue. If you haven't been, it's worth checking out.

The official description is below:
Cafe con Leche is an annual exhibition of Hispanic culture consisting of traditional and modern Hispanic dances and other performances and is the Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students' largest annual event.

Let us provide you with a night of splendor and awe as we celebrate the beauty of Spanish America. Come meet Los Padres with ‘gringo’ Niki and be welcomed into a rambunctious Latino family who will take you on a cultural tour of music and dance showcases by our very own Vanderbilt community – from undergraduates, graduates, and even faculty.

Join the adventure, sharing with us the richness and passion of a unique culture in this year’s grand Café con Leche.

Co-sponsored by Dean of Commons, VSG, Vanderbilt History Department, Quebec and Canadian Studies, Women and Gender Studies, VIDA, and APO

Langford Auditorium
Saturday, March 26th, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"In the Heights" Latin-themed Broadway hit makes TPAC appearance tonight through Sunday

The multiple Tony- and Grammy-Award-winning musical "In the Heights" begins its Nashville run tonight at TPAC, with nightly performances through this Sunday. Discounted tickets ($15 off the top two price levels) are available through the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce here, for tonight and tomorrow only.

The promo materials of "In the Heights" describe a "corner bodega" in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood, where the coffee "is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It's a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind."

A story about the production in today's Tennessean carries the headline, "In the Heights celebrates immigrant cultures."

"In the Heights" opened off-Broadway in 2007, had a Broadway run from 2008 to January 2011, with an overlapping national tour that started in 2009. The national tour ends in April.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why the slow Hispanic growth in Nashville MSA, asks 2010 Census researcher

Tennessean editorial page editor Dwight Lewis is asking his readers a question about the 2010 Census and Hispanic numbers in Middle Tennessee. The question is not, why did the Hispanic population in Nashville grow to 10%; the question is, why was the Hispanic growth in the broader metropolitan area relatively low, when compared to other cities?

Lewis recently spoke with Director John R. Logan of the US2010 Census Project, an academic research program on modern changes in American society. Even though Lewis was doing the interview, Logan asked Lewis a striking question:
"Why isn't the Nashville area more appealing to Hispanics and Asians?"
I'm not sure I'm reading Logan's numbers correctly or understanding his question. The Census numbers show that the Nashville MSA* was 6.6% Hispanic in 2010, up from 3.1% in 2000 - a jump of over 100%. Is Logan simply comparing the 10% Nashville number to the 6.6% Nashville MSA number? Or is a 100% jump small?

What do you think about Logan's question, and how would you answer it? Respond in the comments here, in the comments over at Lewis' column, or by e-mail to Lewis at

*In this study, the Nashville MSA is defined as the Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all or portions of these counties: Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nashville/Davidson County is 10% Hispanic: top headline on St. Patrick's Day

The Tennessean reported yesterday and today on the numbers from the 2010 U.S. Census that show that Nashville/Davidson County is 10% Hispanic.

On the front page of the print edition, this above-the-fold declaration about the growth in the Hispanic population is accompanied by news about the mayor's outreach to Japan and a teaser for a story about the city's St. Patrick's Day celebrations. This three-way combination is appropriate, because history buffs can open a window into how the Japanese were viewed by Americans seven decades ago, and how the Irish were viewed by Americans a century and a half ago, by reading some of the comments to yesterday's Tennessean story.

But let's not dwell on the rabble-rousers.  Today is March 17, a day for celebration, St. Patrick's Day!  We Irish, Japanese, Hispanics, and others are all in the same boat, and I'll raise a glass to that.

FYI, mark your calendars for the March 26 Cherry Blossom Japan Relief Event in downtown Nashville. More information at the Japan-America Society of Tennessee.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dimas Espinoza is new director of Instituto Allegro

(L-R) Wayne Hilton, Rachel Vasquez and Dimas Espinoza
I've been meaning to publish this news for a while - it's from Instituto Allegro, a Nashville-based, international, Christian worship music school.

In December 2010, Instituto Allegro / Músico a Músico of Nashville introduced students and teachers to their new director Dimas Espinoza.  Espinoza, a dynamic educator and musician, brings to the position his extensive pastoral and music ministry experience. "We want Allegro to be pertinent and relevant within the Kingdom of God," affirmed Dimas as he spoke to students and teachers shortly after the announcement. Wayne Hilton, director of Músico a Músico, the sponsoring agency of Instituto Allegro in Nashville, expressed his satisfaction in finding the right person for this new stage of the Institute. Espinoza has 5 years of history within the Músico a Músico / Allegro family of ministries where he has taught Ministry Class, Theory, Music Reading, Drums, and Keyboard.

Instituto Allegro has been in operation for the past two years under the leadership of Rachel Vásquez, whose service has allowed the Institute to achieve its wide recognition in the community thus far. Vásquez shared the decision to turn over the leadership position due to a response to a call to serve the Lord in Bolivia with her husband, Ramiro Vásquez, also a teacher in the Allegro family. "We know that God will continue using you in a great way during this new chapter," added Hilton. During this trimester Rachel will continue to be active in the institute to assist the new director in having as smooth a transition as possible.

Instituto Allegro hopes to continue fulfilling and expanding the vision to equip all those called to serve within the music ministry. Instituto Allegro offers general music theory classes as well as instrumental classes for guitar, keyboard, bass, drums, and voice. Classes meet each Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Christ Church located at 15354 Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville, TN 37211. The most recent trimester started February 26, 2011. For more information contact phone: (615) 768-9422, or visit the school's web site at:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

These "IN" children are in Nashville Scene's 2011 People Issue

Along with Nicole Kidman, these two children are featured in this year's People Issue of the Nashville Scene.

From the story:
Ademir was 3 when he and his mother crossed over from Mexico to reunite with his father and find a better life; Adriana was 5 when she came here; Nicole was 10 months old. "I don't remember much of it," says Adriana, an energetic, literature-loving high school junior, when she thinks back on crossing the border with her mother. "No one told me if it was bad or not, just that we'd have a better future." Since she was only an infant, Nicole, a poetry-writing, soccer-playing sixth-grader who volunteers at her local hospital, has no memory at all of coming to America. But she's sure of one thing: "I'm very glad that I'm here," she says.
Read more here.

About the reference to "IN" children in the headline: People on either side of the Prohibition debate were called "wet" and "dry." In the immigration context, the word that I have settled on to describe what I am fighting for is "indivisibility," as in the pledge of allegiance to be one nation, indivisible. If you are here, you are us. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., from his Letter from Birmingham Jail:
Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
Describing the two sides of the immigration debate as "in" and "out" is as simple as the Prohibition-era "wet" and "dry." Those who favor indivisibility are in, and those who generate outsiders out of those who live among us are out. A recent poll showed that over 60% of Tennesseans are "in" - just like these students.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thursday: Bilingual Latino & Diversity Career Expo

Photo by Vincent. Licensed via Creative Commons. in partnership with is hosting a Bilingual Latino & Diversity Career Expo at the DoubleTree Nashville Airport, 2424 Atrium Way, 37214, next Thursday, March 10, from 11am to 2pm.

Participants will be interviewed at the event.

To schedule interviews, applicants must register online at and upload a resume. Recruiters will contact you to go over the companies you wish to interview with.

Dress Code: Professional
Job Opportunities: Sales, Customer Service, Clerical, Administrative, Engineering, Finance/Accounting,Government Opportunities, Marketing & Advertising, Business Administration/Management, etc.

The career fair is at no charge to career seekers, and parking is also free. Bring plenty of resumes.

Job seekers: remember to regularly check the Hispanic Nashville Workbook in the far right-hand column of this site, where the top job listings are from employers specifically looking for readers of (right now, the top listing is for Account Executive - Key Accounts at BMI).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Leon Berrios named fellow by National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders

Leon Berrios

Leon Berrios, Information and Referral Specialist and Advocate and local community leader for Nashville's Conexion Americas, recently participated as one of 11 fellows in the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) fellowship program in Kansas City, Missouri. The fellowship offered up-and-coming leaders the opportunity to meet with experts and scholars from across the country to learn about their challenges and successes in the community development field.

Leon traveled to Kansas City from February 23-25 to attend NALCAB’s fellowship workshop on “Understanding How to Make Community Development Happen,” focusing on the role of Latino leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sector. This workshop featured local Kansas City leaders speaking on entrepreneurship as a tool to ensure the economic integration of Latinos into the U.S. mainstream economy.

Said Berrios:
“I am really excited and honored that NALCAB has launched this fellowship program and given me the opportunity to be part of a great group of community leaders working towards building sustainable communities across the U.S.”
The fundamental fellowship requirement for Berrios: to complete a comprehensive program or project analysis for Conexion Americas and the local Middle Tennessee community, offering new and innovative methods to meet the increasing range of needs facing the community.

In his existing role at Conexion, Berrios primarily helps immigrants who are facing problems navigating the U.S., specifically regarding judicial matters. In addition, he is a meeting organizer, presenter, and educator; having served in this capacity to promote social justice for numerous groups and nonprofit organizations.

Berrios is a multi-lingual leader skilled in jurisprudence procedures including analysis, investigation, mediation and conciliation both nationally and internationally. Prior to Conexion Americas, he worked for Meeting Points, a Nicaraguan non-governmental organization dedicated to raising consciousness about the human rights issues women and youth face through education and communication. There, Leon participated in a project sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICIF), which resulted in a major body of work titled “Some are Different – Some are Equal” which evaluated the human rights issues associated with the consistency of access to resources and use of methods for prevention of HIV/AIDS in individuals.

Berrios also worked for the National Government of Nicaragua where he served as an Investigation Analyst in the Special Investigation Unit for Children’s Rights and as a Consultant for the Human Rights Division of the Attorney General’s Office. As an Investigation Analyst, Berrios coordinated efforts with the Organization of American States (OEA) to analyze human rights claims, develop rural volunteers to monitor human rights abuses, and train community leaders on laws concerning family violence against children and adolescents. As a Consultant, he managed the first ever traveling investigation team that assisted local residents with investigation, negotiation and resolution of human rights complaints.

Leon has volunteered his time with various organizations, including Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Right Coalition (TIRRC), Nashville Conflict Resolution Center, Vanderbilt University Center for Latin American Studies, and the Metro Action Commission’s Board within the mayor’s office. Additionally, he has received Congressional recognition for his participation as a Tax Consultant in the VITA program, where he has helped hundreds of low income families complete their taxes. Leon graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2001 with a Law Degree from the Centroamericana University in Managua, Nicaragua.

The mission of Conexion Americas is to help Latino families realize their aspirations for social and economic advancement by promoting their integration into the Middle Tennessee community. The need Conexión Américas is addressing in our community is best understood in the context of the remarkable demographic changes taking place in Nashville. The 2000 Census showed a 446 percent growth of the Hispanic population in Nashville from 1990. By 2000, public agencies and nonprofit organizations were dramatically challenged by this wave of newcomers. Although a few programs in large nonprofit organizations were addressing particular and isolated areas of these newcomers’ needs by 2000, no organization was fully focused on Latino families in a comprehensive way. Furthermore, no organization had full cultural competence to work effectively with our community’s newest neighbors coming from Mexico and other Latin American countries.

The National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) represents and serves a geographically and ethnically diverse group of non-profit community development and asset building organizations that are anchor institutions in our nation’s Latino communities.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Exclusion, internment of Americans and immigrants made possible by March 2 order

From Wikipedia:
March 2, 1942: General John L. DeWitt issued Public Proclamation No. 1, declaring that "such person or classes of persons as the situation may require" would, at some later point, be subject to exclusion orders from "Military Area No. 1" (essentially, the entire Pacific coast to about 100 miles (160.9 km) inland), and requiring anyone who had "enemy" ancestry to file a Change of Residence Notice if they planned to move.
The Change of Residence section of the order was applicable to "any Japanese, German, or Italian alien, or any person of Japanese Ancestry," including U.S. citizens.

The exclusion orders were to come later.

The photo below is of a large sign reading "I AM AN AMERICAN," placed in the window of a San Francisco grocery store, at 13th and Franklin streets, on December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. The photograph was taken in March, 1942, shortly before the store was closed pursuant to exclusion orders made possible by Public Proclamation No. 1.  At first, the exclusion orders directed persons of Japanese descent to evacuate from certain West Coast areas. Ultimately, the owner of this store, a University of California graduate, was detained along with hundreds of evacuees in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration of World War II.

Photo by Dorothea Lange.  Description above includes verbatim text from Library of Congress.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March events

Image by Emily Balsley. Licensed via Creative Commons.

Well, shoot.  Today I had put together a long post compiling March events, complete with their descriptions, and Blogger ate it.

My quickie redo of the post is below, but you'll need to click through the links to get the descriptions.

March 1, 5:30pm: Latin dancing

March 1, 6pm: Spanish meetup

March 1, 7:30pm: Salsa dancing

March 3, 8:00am: Conexion Americas Common Grounds Casual Cafecito & Conversation

March 3, 6:30pm: Salsa and Cha Cha class

March 3, 7:30pm: El Movimiento at the Listening Room

March 5, 5pm: Salsa lessons

March 5, 9pm: Salsa dancing

March 5, 9pm: Carnaval dancing

March 6, 3pm: Spanish Karaoke

March 8, 6pm: Salsa Classes

Now through March 12: Jorge Yances' "Cartagena Memories" at Fisk

March 15, 6:15pm: Tango Violin Master Class with Alejandro Drago (RSVP by March 8).

March 15-18: Mobile Mexican consulate

March 18, 9:30pm: Salsa dancing

March 23, 8:30am: Nashville Chamber Networking Coffee - Nolensville Road planning
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