Monday, February 28, 2011

City Paper cover story on Hispanics in politics


The cover story of this week's Nashville City Paper explores the political potential of many of Nashville's Hispanic leaders.  It starts and ends with a very nice description of Fabian Bedne, who is running for a seat on the Metro Council, to represent District 31.  (Bedne was not photographed for the article to avoid giving the impression of an endorsement by the paper. I don't know how much sense that makes, but I may be biased - I'm helping Bedne with his campaign web site.)

The City Paper story (here) points out that 8.7% of Nashville is Latino, but no Latino has ever been on the Metro Council, the city's governing body.

I am quoted in the article as identifying one barrier to proportionate Latino representation:
John Lamb, editor of the website Hispanic Nashville, said eight out of every 10 Latinos in Tennessee are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants.

“So right off the bat, the other two out of 10 are not going to be serving on local boards or in office due to immigration status,” said Lamb, who is not Hispanic but has lived in South America and attended Spanish-speaking churches in Nashville. “Immigration and citizenship status decreases the available pool of prospective candidates for civic involvement.”
It's not necessary, and even harmful sometimes, to insert the subject of immigration to a story about Latinos, but when the story is about political underrepresentation, and there is an automatic exclusion of 20% of the governed, it just comes to mind.

I'm going to have to come back and update this post with a list of every Nashvillian named in the story - it's a long list.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Best reporting ever on 287(g) in Nashville


Federal and local cooperation on immigration enforcement in Nashville is governed by section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The most comprehensive overview ever published about the implementation of 287(g) in Nashville was written a few weeks ago by Brantley Hargrove of the Nashville Scene. The focus of Hargrove's story is a legal challenge to 287(g), but the context given is encyclopedic. Read it here.

The Tennessean followed up with its own article, here.

Hargrove's response/follow-up to the Tennessean piece compliments his original story with excerpts from the documents governing 287(g). That follow-up is here.

If you've ever heard about "287(g)" but want a deep dive, read Hargrove's work.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Comic

Mike Luckovich

Thursday, February 24, 2011

AMIGOS at Vanderbilt hosts panel Monday on meaning of "Nashvillian"

On Monday, February 28, 2011, AMIGOS at Vanderbilt University will be hosting Will Pedigo, director of the television series Next Door Neighbors. The documentary focuses on the changing cultural landscape of Nashville and what is means to be a “Nashvillian.” Pedigo will show one section of his series, entitled Hablamos EspaƱol, and will be leading a panel discussion centered around the Latino community in Nashville schools. The documentary even features some of the schools to which AMIGOS sends volunteers.

AMIGOS, a service organization dedicated to serving Nashville’s Latino community through tutoring and ESL courses, invites the Nashville community to join in this discussion. It is free to students and to the public, and there will be complimentary snacks and drinks. The documentary viewing will begin at 7pm, followed immediately by the panel discussion, at the Sarratt Cinema Student Life Center, Meeting Rooms 1&2, on the Vanderbilt University campus.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thursday: NAHCC holds 11th Annual Membership Meeting and New Board Installation

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will hold its 11th Annual Membership Meeting and New Board Installation tomorrow, Thursday, February 24, 2011, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM, at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, Melody Room, 2100 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203.

Featured Guest Speaker is the Honorable Karl Dean, Mayor of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.

Remarks by Rhea Kinnard, CULTURE Magazine: "How Hispanics are rising to become a force in Music City"

Light hors d'oeuvres and beverages

Contact: Yuri Cunza 615-216-5737
president@nashvillehispanicchamber.com

Saturday, February 19, 2011

69 years ago today, FDR authorized "exclusion zones" (formal regret later expressed by Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush)


From Wikipedia:
Executive Order 9066, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, allowed authorized military commanders to designate "military areas" at their discretion, "from which any or all persons may be excluded." These "exclusion zones," unlike the "alien enemy" roundups, were applicable to anyone that an authorized military commander might choose, whether citizen or non-citizen. Eventually such zones would include parts of both the East and West Coasts, totaling about 1/3 of the country by area. Unlike the subsequent detainment and internment programs that would come to be applied to large numbers of Japanese Americans, detentions and restrictions directly under this Individual Exclusion Program were placed primarily on individuals of German or Italian ancestry, including American citizens.
Subsequent edicts in March and May of 1942 led to internment camps on American soil.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford issued a proclamation terminating EO 9066, calling it a "tragedy" to learn from:
I call upon the American people to affirm with me this American Promise -- that we have learned from the tragedy of that long-ago experience forever to treasure liberty and justice for each individual American, and resolve that this kind of action shall never again be repeated.
In December 1982, President Jimmy Carter's Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) concluded that EO 9066 was based in part on "a failure of political leadership." (I highly recommend the book The Principled Politician, about Republican Colorado Governor Ralph Carr, who demonstrated some of the political leadership that was lacking at the time.)

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a law codifying the CWRIC's findings, complete with an official apology and reparations for Executive Order 9066 and its aftermath.

President George H.W. Bush signed the 1989 appropriations bill for the reparations payments.

Comic: the Borders are closing

Steve Benson

Friday, February 18, 2011

Some of you will open your child's yearbook this spring and see this page


A friend encouraged me to submit an ad for her son's yearbook, and this is the result (she was the editor of her own yearbook back in the day; I hope it's up to snuff).

I thought you might like to see this sneak peek. Have a great weekend.

To see some of the other ads I've created (or been involved in creating) over the years, click here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

R.I.P. Brisenia Flores

Brisenia Flores
On May 30, 2009, nine-year-old Brisenia Flores was sleeping on her couch with her puppy in Arivaca, Arizona, when three intruders impersonating law enforcement knocked at the door of her home.  Once inside, they found a gun and started targeting the family.

Little Brisenia pleaded for her life, but the intruders shot her twice, at close range, in the head. Brisenia's father also died from his wounds. Her mother survived.

Earlier this week, a woman who called herself a "Minuteman" was convicted of a lead role in the murders.

A colleague of mine asked me, "Was this a lynching?"

That question led to this post I wrote over at the Nashville Scene blog.  You can read it here - it's called "Saving the Next Brisenia Flores."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Christine Maddela: a family story of Spain, the Philippines, and political power



Christine Maddela (Twitter: @christnemaddela) is the News2 Weekend anchor/reporter at WKRN. She is Nashville's first Hispanic anchor of an English-language news broadcast.

Maddela won Best Local Twitter Feed (TV) in the 2009 "Best of Nashville" edition of the Nashville Scene. The accolade is well-earned; she uses the abbreviated social media tool not only for the "official business" of reporting but also keeps a conversation going during the breaks in her broadcasts. Maddela welcomes and responds to her Twitter followers, who send her comments that alternate between mundane observations and flirtatious admiration, but Maddela takes it all in stride.

Maddela was named Best TV News Anchor by the Tennessee Associated Press in 2008 and won another TN AP award that year, as well as an Emmy nomination, for "The Border" - a three part series documenting the illegal immigration issue from several different points of view. Maddela's  report "Appalachia" - about poverty and drug abuse in Kentucky's rural Appalachian Mountains - also earned her an Emmy nomination.

Maddela moved to Music City from the CBS affiliate in El Paso, Texas, where her reports on immigration and border issues drew national attention and accolades. Before working in El Paso, Christine worked as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism with a Bachelor's of Journalism and a double minor in political science and Spanish.

Maddela grew up in Denver, Colorado.  Her mother is Spanish and Filipina.

Asked about the Spanish and Filipina sides of her family, Maddela tells HispanicNashville.com:
The Maddelas are Spaniards who were part of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. That’s what brought them to the Philippines. There’s actually a small town in the Philippines called Maddela where one of my great grandfathers served as governor.
I also asked about how her mom got her visa to move to the United States, and what the path was from there:
My mother came to the US after college. It was a “who you know” kinda thing. Her uncle is a former Philippine ambassador who pulled strings.
After she married my father, they moved to Denver for work- following my dad’s job.
This profile of Christine Maddela is the sixth in a series of media profiles here on HispanicNashville.com. Others recently featured include Chris Echegaray of the Tennessean, Charles Maldonado of the City Paper and Scene, Marielena Ramos of NewsChannel 5 Plus, Amy Napier-Viteri of WKRN/News2, and Eric Alvarado of Fox17. On deck are Ray Ponce de Leon of The Contributor, Jaci Velasquez of 94FM The Fish, and Phil Castillo of the One Nation Under God show on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Valentine's Day, four years ago today, Nashvillian Eric Volz was on trial for murder in Nicaragua



Four years ago today, in 2007, while many Nashvillians were going to school or work and anticipating their evening plans for Valentine's Day, Hillwood High School graduate Eric Volz walked into a Nicaraguan courtroom as a high-profile defendant in a murder trial.

The young man described as a Mexican-American in Nicaraguan court papers and as a gringo in the Nicaraguan press had a notebook and a recorder with him. No matter how the trial turned out, this was a story he wanted to remember in every detail. Now, Volz has shared those details with us.

In his book Gringo Nightmare, we have Volz's version of his two years building businesses and relationships as an American living in Nicaragua, of his romantic relationship with a young local woman named Doris Jimenez, and of the aftermath of the accusations that Volz was one of the men who brutally killed Jimenez in the small clothing boutique she owned in her small town, San Juan del Sur.

In Gringo Nightmare, Volz tells about his imprisonment, the facts of his defense, his multi-layered strategy (not limited to the courtroom), and the Nicaraguan people and personalities that held the many strings that would determine his fate. The reader has to understand that it's a hybrid story - as much of a window into Volz as it is into Nicaraguan politics and justice - but this autobiographical account of a one-time Nashville kid is still a fascinating read.

Even though we know that Volz was convicted in that Valentine's Week trial, and we know that his conviction was overturned and that he was released in December of that year, seeing the harrowing events of 2007 through his eyes offers palpable suspense. The few months he had spent in custody before the trial could have easily turned into a lengthy sentence that would consume his life. If not for the herculean efforts of his support network, including his Mexican-American mother Maggie Anthony and his stepfather Dane Anthony (a Belmont professor who, like Maggie, took a leave of absence from work to focus on this case), Volz's remaining years might have been spent - or taken from him - behind the walls of a Nicaraguan prison.

As for mental images, Volz paints those for us, but he also supplies via the book's web site more than 50 "exhibits" - a case file of original documents, photos, and videos.

The level of detail combined with the exhibits creates more of a narrative of why Volz thinks he was framed, as opposed to why he thinks his ex-girlfriend was killed. There is simply so much more in Gringo Nightmare about the web of national and international scheming that Volz suspects was behind his imprisonment, and how Volz himself found it necessary to contribute to that scheming to in his campaign for freedom. Maybe that difference in emphasis between the crime and the aftermath is simply a result of the crime being simple and the aftermath being complex. It's also because a man professing innocence should not know too much about the crime of which he is accused.

Readers are going to be naturally curious, however, to find out what actually happened - who killed Doris Jimenez, and why.  Oddly, the only full-length, hearsay account of an admission of the crime is buried in the final quarter of the book, without an obvious chapter or even section heading to alert the skimming reader that it is there. Also hidden is the most convincing, condensed argument for Volz's innocence: the letter penned by one of the appeals court justices who ruled for Volz's freedom, available to the reader only by punching in the number for Exhibit 50 on the Gringo Nightmare web site - and even then, the letter is in its original Spanish, untranslated.

Gringo Nightmare is best enjoyed as something other than a criminal case file into the original tragedy, which was the death of Doris Jimenez.  Volz's book is for those who want to hear his story, in the words of the man who was accused of such a horrid crime in a foreign country.  For anyone who wants to be a fly on the walls of Nicaraguan jail cells, hospital rooms, American embassies and other very real places - like a San Juan del Sur courtroom on the 14th of February - Gringo Nightmare is your passport.

Read HispanicNashville.com's previous coverage of Eric Volz here.

Update: Eric Volz tweeted three times today in response to this post:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to me, from Sofia Vergara


My sister Helena works out in Hollywood, and look what she got me for my birthday today: a kiss from Sofia Vergara of Modern Family.

Not bad, sis - and thanks, Sofia!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Support rises in Tennessee for naturalization of illegal immigrants


Tennesseans agree 2-1 that we should "deal with illegal immigrants currently in the United States" by "creating a way for them to become citizens."

That was the opinion of 64% of respondents to a statewide poll conducted by Vanderbilt University in January 2011, according to the Tennessean.  Only 1% favor an unconditional grant of citizenship; 63% of the 64% who favor citizenship expect applicants to meet certain conditions.

Support for naturalization of illegal immigrants is rising in Tennessee - by 13% over the past two years - if you take into account a 2009 statewide poll on this subject by MTSU, that showed 51% of Tennesseans supporting the idea that illegal immigrants "should be allowed to stay".

Read the full story about the 2011 Vanderbilt poll in the Tennessean.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More February events

Tuesday, February 8

Vol State Hispanic Family Night

Thursday, February 10

Pamela Schoenwaldt talks about her new novel When We Were Strangers at Borders on West End

Film: "Kiss of the Spider Woman"; Part of the LGBT Series on Exploring Latin American Sexuality through film. 6pm; Vanderbilt University, Buttrick Hall, Room 101. Refreshments served and following the film there will be a brief discussion moderated by VU Lambda.

Charlemos Spanish conversation group, with Lisa Rivas

Saturday, February 12

4th Annual Ravenwood High School International Food and Music Festival. Noon until 4 p.m. at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood. Belly dancers, an opera singer and members of the Nashville Chinese Culture Club. In addition to a huge selection of cuisines from around the world, the festival will also feature a number of booths and activities that will be fun for the whole family. The cost of admission is $5. Children under the age of five and seniors age 65 or older get in free.

Tuesday, February 15

Delivering the Next Global Economy: How can Middle Tennessee businesses remain competitive in this increasingly international economy? At this international business luncheon, join Amy Liu, deputy director and senior fellow of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, for a discussion of how business leaders -- using a regional mindset -- can think globally to compete globally. Additional speakers include Mayor Karl Dean and Chamber President/CEO Ralph Schulz. Details:
Tuesday, Feb. 15, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Sheraton Nashville Downtown, 623 Union Street, Nashville, TN 37219; Cost: / $25 Chamber members / $50 future members / $300 reserved table of 10

Thursday, February 17

Tennessee Hispanic Chamber Membership Luncheon; 11:15 AM to 1:00 PM; The Standard Restaurant; 167 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN 37203; Members: $15 / Member Guests: $20 / General Public: $25 / Reservations required: www.tnhcc.org

Roundtable on Healthcare Ethics in Costa Rica; 12:15pm; Vanderbilt University, Buttrick Hall, Room 123. Lunch will be served; email Norma Antillon at norma.g.antillon@vanderbilt.edu if you plan to attend.

Tuesday, February 22

Lecture by Erica Segre "Re-Playing and Toying with the Mexican Revolution: Troublesome Toys, Dissent, and the New Aesthetic in Mexican Visual Culture of the 1920's and 1930's".Sponsored by CLAS, Warren Center and Dept of Spanish and Portuguese. 5pm-6pm; Vanderbilt University, Buttrick Hall, Room 302.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cherokee Removal - remembering Nashville's role in the Trail of Tears


When the U.S. government deports people from their homes and sends them back to their country of origin, that process is legally called "removal" - the same word that was used in the 1800's when Indian populations were forced to the West by this same government.

Nashville has had prominent roles in both removals.  In the 21st century removal, Davidson County is the fifth most active locality in the country in deportations triggered by minor legal infractions. In the 19th century, Nashville also played a large role:
  • Nashville's own President Andrew Jackson was a chief architect of Indian removal, the long-term plan to evict the Cherokee and other tribes from the eastern U.S.;
  • U.S. Rep. John Bell (Nashville) chaired the House Indian Affairs Committee and was the legislator who introduced the 1830 Indian Removal Act; and
  • The Northern Route of the Trail of Tears ran straight through Nashville via Route 41.

Even though Nashville is intricately connected to the removal now known as the Trail of Tears, you wouldn't know that history if you weren't actively looking for it. I can't remember ever seeing a story about Nashville's role in this seismic event in American history in the City Paper, the Scene, the Tennessean, WPLN, or any of the local TV stations. The city's most famous institutional caretakers of Trail of Tears history are The Hermitage (which calls Indian removal "the most conspicuous blight on [Jackson's] presidential legacy") and the Tennessee State Museum, but their teachings are tucked away, not on the tips of our tongues on a regular basis, in contrast to the admittedly more recent memory of the civil rights movement.

Former Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Zach Wamp, whose maternal great-grandmother was full Cherokee, has made popular awareness of the Trail of Tears a personal cause. A few years ago, Wamp sponsored legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to expand the Trail of Tears to include various sites including 29 immigration depots, telling the AP:
You have to recognize and acknowledge your mistakes for the white man to make this right...There has to be an acknowledgment that ... slavery was a mistake, the Trail of Tears was a mistake.
In 2009, Wamp was the Grand Marshal of the Annual Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride (video here), which runs through various Tennessee cities, but not Nashville (see a list of Tennessee cities with historical ties to the Trail of Tears here and here).

As for the city of Nashville, what could we do to remember Cherokee Removal more faithfully?

For a quick refresher course right now, I highly recommend that every Nashvillian set aside an hour to listen to this 1998 episode of This American Life, narrated by Sarah Vowell. She covers many of the basics and also some of the particularly illustrative parts of the removal story. She even visits The Hermitage and talks to a historian there.

Long-term, though, what if we were to set aside a week or a month every year in memory of the Cherokee Removal? The month of May would work nicely - more than any other on the calendar, May contains significant anniversaries of events leading up to the forced exodus - not just the support, but the opposition, as well. Take a look below - don't miss Davy Crockett's statement in opposition of removal - and let me know in the comments if you think this should be something we take more time to remember in Nashville, whether in May or at any other time.

May 1830


May 26, 1830: Indian Removal Act signed by President Andrew Jackson. The act was opposed by U.S. Rep. Davy Crockett of Tennessee, who made a politically risky but morally unavoidable objection to Indian Removal:
It was expected of me that I was to bow to the name of Andrew Jackson, and follow him in all his motions, and windings, and turnings, even at the expense of my consciences and judgment. Such a thing was new to me, and a total stranger to my principles. ... His famous, or rather I should say infamous Indian bill was brought forward and, and I opposed it from the purest motives in the world. Several of my colleagues got around me, and told me how well they loved me, and that I was ruining myself. They said it was a favorite measure of the President, and I ought to go for it. I told them I believed it was a wicked unjust measure, and that I should go against it, let the cost to myself be what it might; that I was willing to go with General Jackson in everything that I believed was honest and right; but further than this, I wouldn't go for him, or any other man in the whole creation.
In large part because of his opposition to removal, Crockett soon became persona non grata in Tennessee politics, so he left for Texas - and died at the Alamo.

May 1831


May 10, 1831: Jeremiah Evarts dies of tuberculosis. Evarts used moral arguments to organize Congress and public opinion against the Indian Removal Bill and the Jacksonians who supported it. (Wikipedia quotes historian Francis Paul Prucha for the premise that "the Christian crusade against the removal of the Indians died with Evarts.")

May 1836


May 23, 1836: "Although the lawful Red Clay [Tennessee] representatives protested the treaty through every legal channel, the U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty of New Echota on May 23, 1836, by a single vote." -Tennessee Encyclopedia

May 1838


May 10, 1838: General Scott issues a proclamation to the Cherokee Nation that troops are coming to round them up and enforce obedience to the Treaty of New Echota. -Wikipedia

May 14, 1838: First publication of an anti-removal letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson to President Martin Van Buren:
It now appears that the government of the United States choose to hold the Cherokees to this sham treaty, and are proceeding to execute the same. Almost the entire Cherokee Nation stand up and say, “This is not our act. Behold us. Here are we. Do not mistake that handful of deserters for us;” and the American President and the Cabinet, the Senate and the House of Representatives, neither hear these men nor see them, and are contracting to put this active nation into carts and boats, and to drag them over mountains and rivers to a wilderness at a vast distance beyond the Mississippi....And now the steps of this crime follow each other so fast, at such fatally quick time, that the millions of virtuous citizens, whose agents the government are, have no place to interpose, and must shut their eyes until the last howl and wailing of these tormented villages and tribes shall afflict the ear of the world.
May, 1838: Private John G. Burnett ordered to Smoky Mountain country to assist with Cherokee Removal:
The removal of Cherokee Indians from their life long homes in the year of 1838 found me a young man in the prime of life and a Private soldier in the American Army. Being acquainted with many of the Indians and able to fluently speak their language, I was sent as interpreter into the Smoky Mountain Country in May, 1838, and witnessed the execution of the most brutal order in the History of American Warfare. I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into the stockades.
Forced Move (Trail of Tears) (detail) by Max D. Standley, courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries. Used with permission.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Swag sale today only - 45% off

HispanicNashville.com 7th anniversary - Printfection.com

If you have ever considered buying some HispanicNashville.com swag for yourself or someone you love, the front-and-back 7th anniversary t-shirts (and tote bag) are on sale today for one day only.

Today, Saturday, February 5, Printfection.com is offering a 45% off coupon code for all products for 24 whole hours. This is a great time to get a one-of-a-kind gift. We have three of these t-shirts at our house (the kids each have one), and they're the best HispanicNashville.com t-shirts I've ever had made. And, yes, those "normal" prices are indeed their normal prices, so this discount makes a big difference.

Use this Coupon Code before checkout: FEBLUV11

Disclaimer: You must enter coupon code FebLuv11 before completing checkout. The entire subtotal may not be eligible for the discount due to varying partner commissions*. The maximum qualifying discount will AUTOMATICALLY be calculated by the website. Email Printfection.com if you have questions. Discount does not include shipping, taxes, or additional charges. Offer valid from 2/05/2011 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM MST. May not be combined or substituted with any other promotion.

*FYI, no commissions or proceeds go to me, to HispanicNashville.com, or to a charity supported by HispanicNashville.com

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eric Alvarez of Fox17: lived in Switzerland and France, son of Texas biochemist from Michoacan


Eric Alvarez (Twitter: @WZTVEricAlvarez) is a reporter for the Fox 17 news team.  The station says that "you can see Eric around town bringing you the latest from the Grand Ole Opry, fan reactions outside Titans and Predator games and the stories that most affect the underrepresented communities of this great city."

Alvarez had previously worked for various Spanish-language media outlets in Nashville, starting in 2008 with the local Telefutura affiliate, where he was General Manager.  Prior to Telefutura, Alvarez was a producer on the Peabody-award winning investigative team at KNBC in Los Angeles.  Alvarez earned his Master's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California and did his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt.

Alvarez grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. His parents are both from Michoacan, Mexico. HispanicNashville.com asked Alvarez about his family's journey to the U.S.:
My parents and older sister first came to Denton, TX in the early 80s. My father earned a grant from the Mexican government to study at the University of North Texas (then North Texas State, I think) and came with a student visa.

I was born in Denton in 1983, the first person in my extended family born in the U.S. Shortly after, my father earned a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

My father has worked as a state employee for the UNT Health Science Center for the last 22 years [see Dr. Alvarez-Gonzalez's bio here - ed.]

My family has lived in the States since 1981, except for two years spent in Zurich, Switzerland in 1985 and 1986.
Alvarez speaks fluent English, Spanish and French. He tells HispanicNashville.com how a Texas kid got to be trilingual:
I learned Spanish and English simultaneously as a child. We spoke Spanish exclusively at home and English exclusively when we were out of the house.

I think it's vital for U.S-born Latinos to learn fluent Spanish, not only to maintain one's culture, but also because it can also open many doors in one's professional life

I learned French in school and on the streets of Aix-en-Provence. I was lucky to be able spend a semester abroad during my junior year at Vanderbilt. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and my months in the south of France allowed me to view society, sports, politics and culture from another angle.

I am extremely proud to be able to use my knowledge of foreign languages to fairly and more accurately report the stories of Nashville's diverse community.
This profile of Eric Alvarez is the fifth in a series of media profiles here on HispanicNashville.com. Recently featured media profiles include Chris Echegaray of the Tennessean, Charles Maldonado of the City Paper and Scene, Marielena Ramos of NewsChannel 5 Plus, and Amy Napier-Viteri of WKRN/News2. On deck are Christine Maddela of WKRN/News2, Ray Ponce de Leon of The Contributor, and Jaci Velasquez of 94FM The Fish.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February events

Illustration by Alec Lomas. Licensed via Creative Commons.
Here are some of the events occurring around town in February, starting today:

Meetup at La Esquina Pupuseria
Nashville Spanish Language Meetup Group
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 6:00 PM
La Esquina Pupuseria - 1326 Antioch Pike Antioch TN

Latin Dance Classes @Coleman Rec Center
Diablos Que Bailan
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 5:30 PM
Coleman Park Community Center
384 Thompson Lane Nashville, TN

Film: Fresa y Chocolate (Cuba, 1994)
Thursday, February 3, 6pm
Part of the LGBT Film Series "Exploring Latin American Sexuality Through Film"
Vanderbilt University, Buttrick Hall, Room 101

The Bilingual Cafe
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4 AT 6PM
Restaurante El Sol
EL SOL 1501 N. GALLATIN ROAD
MADISON, TN 37115 (across from Rivergate Toyota)
6:00-6:30 registration/pleasantries Spanish/English
6:30-8:00 dinner/theme conversation Spanish/English
The normal cost of the events is $25 per person $40 per couple and $60 per family of four. Children 6 and up are welcome and encouraged to participate in their own activities.
RSVP by email at info@bilingualsociety.com or by calling (615)506-9201

An Overview of the 2010 Census and its Data Products
by Angeles Ortega-Moore, U.S Census Bureau
Date: Friday, Feb.4th
Time: 9:00 am
Location: Tennessee State University Capitol Room (3rd floor) Avon Williams Campus 330 10th Ave. North Nashville, TN 37203
To register for this free workshop, call 216-5737 or via email at programs@nashvillehispanichamber.com
Please bring your laptop for the workshop portion of the program.

Lecture by Peter Guardino: "In the Name of Civilization and with a Bible in their Hands: Religious Destiny and the 1846-48 Mexican- American War."
Monday, February 7 4:10pm
Vanderbilt University, Buttrick Hall, Room 305
Reception following in Buttrick 230

Hispanic Family Night at Volunteer State Community College
Tuesday, February 8 from 5:30pm to 8pm
This annual event is held in Spanish and English.
It provides people of all ages with information about Vol State degree programs, ESOL classes, financial aid and admissions. Spanish-speaking Vol State advisors work one-on-one with potential students and parents. We call it "Hispanic Family Night" because we encourage the entire family to come and visit. We’ll have refreshments and activities for the kids.
Eric Melcher
Coordinator of Communications and Public Relations
Volunteer State Community College
1480 Nashville Pike
Gallatin, TN 37066
Office: 615-230-3570
Cell: 615-483-8994

TENNESSEE HISPANIC CHAMBER’S MEMERSHIP LUNCHEON
Thursday, February 17, 2011
11:15 AM to 1:00 PM
The Standard Restaurant
167 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37203
Members: $15
Member Guests: $20
General Public: $25
Reservations required: www.tnhcc.org
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