Friday, September 30, 2011

Celebrate Nashville conjures 1897 Vanity Fair; Cuban Village was on modern Park Police site

Vanity Fair educational panel at Centennial Park

The Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival will be held at Centennial Park tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The whole idea of a modern cultural celebration on this site is actually a faithful echo of the original 1897 exposition that brought the park into being. Both can be described as a jubilant display of people and treasures from all over the world. We're getting our own little Epcot World Showcase on, right here in Music City, just as our ancestors did in 1897.

Back then, the Parthenon didn't exclusively showcase Greece (it was the Nashville/Davidson County pavilion), and the Memphis pyramid was all about the West Tennessee city, not its Egyptian namesake. But there was a section of the original Centennial Exposition called Vanity Fair, which was very much about reproducing the look, feel, sounds, and tastes of faraway lands - including China, Mexico, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain, among others.

What intrigues me most about the 1897 Exposition is the "Cuban Village" that was part of Vanity Fair.

Cuban Village was made up of seven buildings, and the space it enveloped would surround where the Park Police building is today (see the map below).  It was a a "colorful" village - there were Cuban cigars (of course), dancers (including "THE SENSATIONAL SPANISH SEN SEN DANCING GIRLS"), shops, food, donkeys - the whole nine yards. In one notable incident, when the dancers wore "abbreviated dress," brawls broke out.

If you go out to the Park tomorrow, look for the educational panels about Vanity Fair - they're in the Parthenon and also along the park's walkways. If you happen to stroll by the Park Police building on the way to or from your car (there are no official events there), do a little dance - heck, get your flash mob on - and shake it a little, in honor of the original dancers of the Centennial Exposition's Cuban Village who got this whole thing started.

Just keep your clothes on.


2011 Celebrate Nashville map, with 1897 Cuban Village and
modern Park Police building added in by HispanicNashville.com

Thursday, September 29, 2011

10 lucky ESL volunteers will get TFLI certification for free, thanks to Nissan Foundation

 
The Tennessee Foreign Language Institute (TFLI) announced that it has received a $23,000 grant from the Nissan Foundation for scholarships to train ten volunteers who currently teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Applicants who are selected for the scholarships will enroll to become certified instructors for adult immigrants and refugees learning English as a second language in Davidson County.

Scholarship applications are due October 15.  Application details are below.

The Nissan Foundation grant will utilize TFLI’s 145-hour (four-month) Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Certification program to formally train volunteer instructors at immigrant and refugee community centers.  The TESL course provides trainees with the foundation to plan, prepare and execute solid and effective lessons for adult English language learners at levels from pre-literacy to superior.  

“The Nissan Foundation supports programs that build appreciation for diversity,” said John Dab, secretary of the Nissan Foundation. “TFLI’s ESL programs help cultivate language proficiency and cultural understanding throughout our community, and align well with the Foundation’s core values.” Since 2000, the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute has directed four intensive certification courses per year and continues to be the leading provider of TESL Certification for teachers of ESL in the state.

According to the TFLI, a TESL certificate opens the door to employment, either overseas or in the U.S., with most overseas work being full-time, and most local jobs being part-time:
Local part-time jobs are abundant. Most institutes that employ ESL teachers will have part-time work available. ESL teachers tend to move where the need is so you will need to be mobile and able to handle a flexible schedule. Usually classes will meet in different locations for two hours at a time.   As you do with any job, you have to promote and market yourself. If you are creative, resourceful and flexible you can find enough part-time work to keep you employed full-time!
For more information, read the additional materials and the FAQ page, and if you still have questions, please contact the TFLI at esl@tfli.org.

TESL Certification Scholarship 2012 Guidelines
Click here to download a printable copy of the Guidelines

• TFLI will accept applications from August 15, 2011 to October 15, 2011.  TFLI will not accept applications, reference letters, or any documentation after October 15, 2011.
• Any incomplete registrations will not be considered for the scholarship. Through a registration screening process, 10 applicants will be chosen from among all the applicants who have applied. The scholarship winners will be announced on November 15, 2011.
• Applicants will be responsible for the $25 registration fee and if awarded, the scholarship recipient will be responsible for $175.00 of the program's cost (total $200.00).  No other coupons, discounts or fee waivers apply to the scholarship recipients.
• Applicants will choose to enroll in one of the TESL courses offered in Winter 2012Spring 2012Summer 2012 or Fall 2012.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Animal Secrets uses Spanish and English in forest creature exploration exhibit opening October 1 at Adventure Science Center


Spanish-speaking and English-speaking visitors alike will feel welcome at the newest temporary exhibit at the Adventure Science Center, Animal Secrets. Panels guiding visitors through the hidden habitats and secret lives of forest creatures are bilingual, with text displayed in equal sizes in English and in Spanish.

Opening day activities are this Saturday, October 1, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (make it a double-date with the kids before or after you visit the Celebrate Nashville event at Centennial Park -Ed.) and include special guests from The Elephant Sanctuary, Tennessee Beekeepers, Walden’s Puddle, Teddy’s Wagon from The Nashville Humane Association and myotonic (fainting) goats from The Fernhill Fainters. The Nashville Zoo will provide a special live demonstration at 12:30 p.m.  Hands-on activities will give visitors a chance to explore the butterfly life cycle, match paw prints to their owners and create animal masks to take home.

On and beyond opening day, the exhibit itself will immerse children in questions about animals and their lives. Where does a chipmunk sleep? What does an eagle feed its young? How do mother bats find their babies in a cave? How high can deer jump? Animal Secrets uses imaginative role-play and hands-on activities to answer these and other questions by exploring nature from an animal’s point of view. The exhibit features five naturalistic environments:

  • The Stream: An interactive stream table and its surrounding environment immerse visitors in a dry streambed.  Examine a detailed, colorful mural for clues about animal homes and behaviors, and then incorporate your findings into play and building activities.  
  • The Woods: Explore how a variety of animals, including birds, mammals, amphibians, and insects, might forage for food and build their homes in trees. 
  • The Meadow: Follow four winding sets of animal tracks through the meadow mural to discover which animal made them.  Use your listening skills and match each animal to its respective croak, song, or quack. 
  • The Cave: Explore the unfamiliar environment of a dark woodland cave. Activate your senses of sight, hearing, and touch to learn more about cave dwellers as well as cave visitors. 
  • The Naturalists’ Tent: Young explorers can role-play working as a naturalist in a canvas tent outfitted with real field to examine fascinating plant, animal, and mineral specimens using a variety of tools.  
“Children are born curious. They love learning about bugs and animals, investigating what lies hidden beneath a rock or a pile of leaves and exploring the world around them,” said Susan Duvenhage, CEO of Adventure Science Center. “Animal Secrets provides a wonderful opportunity for parent-child interaction as, together, they play, observe, pretend, explore and investigate the sometimes hidden world of our animal friends.” 
Animal Secrets is included with regular admission to Adventure Science Center, which is $12 for adults; $10 for children ages 2 to 12 and seniors 65+. Certified TN teachers (with school ID) are free. For more information about these and other exhibits, visit www.adventuresci.com.

Animal Secrets was produced and is toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, Oregon. The exhibit was made possible with funds provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Additional support provided by the Collins Foundation and Meyer Memorial Trust.


About Adventure Science Center
For 65 years, Adventure Science Center has brought science to life for students, teachers and families in Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, Northern Alabama and beyond. The Center offers hands-on, interactive exhibits and engaging programs that encourage visitors of all ages to explore how science is relevant in their lives. Adventure Science Center encourages imagination and curiosity in a fun, dynamic learning environment. Adventure Science Center is located at 800 Fort Negley Boulevard. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 for adults; $10 for children ages 2 to 12 and seniors 65+. Certified TN teachers (with school ID) are free. For more information, call (615) 862-5160 or visit our web site at www.adventuresci.com.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Titans honor Soto on-field with first-ever, elite Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award

Renata Soto's on-field recognition by the Tennessee Titans

Nationwide, only 32 people are being honored with the NFL's Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. Among them are Coca Cola's Vice President of Latin Affairs, the Chairman and CEO of Chiquita Brands International, the President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Deputy Director of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and the Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

On that impressive list is Nashville's Renata Soto, co-founder and Executive Director of Middle Tennessee's leading non-profit for Hispanic integration, Conexion Americas.

Soto was selected by the Tennessee Titans as the franchise's first Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award honoree, with on-field recognition this past Sunday, as part of the NFL's Week 3 celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. A national spotlight was further shined on the NFL’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration during Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football.

Soto
Soto has always worked and volunteered for social and economic justice causes. After finishing college, she started her nonprofit career as a Community Relations Coordinator for the Latin American Association, the largest Hispanic nonprofit social service organization in Atlanta. Once in Nashville, Renata worked for United Way of Metropolitan Nashville for more than five years where she managed a grant-making portfolio of almost $1.5 million, including that United Way's first grants to programs serving immigrants and refugees. In her last role at United Way, Renata was director of an initiative to support and expand a network of family resource centers in low-income neighborhoods in Nashville. She was also one of the lead organizers of the first-ever research project aiming to understand the experience of Latinos in Nashville conducted in 2000 (Encuentro Latino/Latino Encounter). In 2009, the Tennessee Judicial Council, Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Kent Williams appointed Soto to the nine-member Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission. She was recently appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Council of La Raza -- the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

With support from Bud Light, each award recipient selects an organization of their choice that serves the local Hispanic community to receive a $2,000 donation.

Soto has chosen Conexión Américas to receive this donation.

"During Hispanic Heritage Month, Conexión Américas celebrates the presence and contributions of Latinos here in Tennessee,” said Soto.

“Every year, more than 2,500 low-income Latinos and their families turn to our nonprofit organization for help to learn English, to buy a home -- or to keep that treasured asset in these tough economic times --, to start or grow a small business, or to see their children succeed in school and be the first in the family to graduate from high school. Every day, we are inspired by the determination and hard work demonstrated by these families in their pursuit of their own American Dream. That spirit of determination is what we celebrate during Hispanic Heritage Month. And as we celebrate our Hispanic roots and heritage, we also recognize the experiences and traditions from our new community that we have adopted as ours, including our love for the Titans and football Sunday."

Originally from Costa Rica, Soto has lived in the United States since 1993 and in Nashville since 1996.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Chileans celebrate Independence Day in Rutherford County

By Cindy McCain

Under an azure sky and the shade of a tree line, the grill brigade smoked meat while little ones kicked balls or played in the clearing. Horses watched from their stalls as families and friends dressed in riding boots and sandals, soccer shirts and sun dresses, ponchos and polos talked, laughed, and ate...then ate again.

Parents paused to chase young children or cheer on older ones who lunged in burlap sacks toward the finish line. When the Chilean flag was presented, all stopped for the singing of the national anthem. At sunset, the dj called couples to dance in the grass, first the cueca, then cumbia. Dark descended and someone offered his oldest friend a final Chilean Independence Day tradition, wine served in a honeydew melon.

So went the 2011 Chilean Independence Day Celebration at the home of Jerry and Denise Gonzalez. On Saturday, September 17, Middle Tennessee Chileans and their friends and family gathered for the second year on a horse farm located outside Murfreesboro to pay homage to the past, specifically the South American country’s liberation from Spain, while fully enjoying the present.

Co-organizers Patricia and Cristina Bonacic made everyone feel welcome, serving up smiles and empanadas (the best I’ve ever had) made by Eliana Valdes. Organizer Pablo Bodini was pleased with the outcome:
I loved the participation in the games, dancing, and contests...the integration as everyone enjoyed the music and took part.
Cindy Loyola Kershaw, who performed live, said of the day:
My favorite part was the adult ensacado, where they race with the sacks. It was hilarious watching Nestor (my brother) struggling to not jump out of the sack while at the same time trying to keep his Chupalla on (the straw hat). I also really enjoyed the mini concert we gave as a remembrance of good Chilean artists. Although we had several technical difficulties, we honored our group name, Las Siempre Dignas (vaguely translated as the girls ever worthy of pride) jajaja. My husband's favorite part was the food.
Cindy's dad, Jose Loyola, explained why the Independence Day celebration was special to him:
Chileans love to grill meat outdoors. I grew up around horses, so to go to a party on a horse farm in the middle of the country where there is music and dancing... that’s the real tradition.
Loyola and his dance partner, Cecilia Rodrigues, won the cueca competion. He explained that the National Dance of Chile imitates three stages of courtship leading to love between a huaso, a Chilean “cowboy,” and the woman he pursues. In the universal ritual, men steadily woo while women play it coy…until they are ready to be caught. The couples then dance with joy.

But on that Saturday, the dancers weren't the only ones who left joyful. Tents came down, chairs and tables were folded, and children were carried to cars, where they slept in back seats as tired but happy parents drove home.

Thanks to Constanza Zurita, a talented young photographer, who provided the first seven pictures in this article.






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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vanderbilt University Presents Aliens, Immigrants, & Other Evildoers

By Cindy McCain

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage month, Great Performances at Vanderbilt opens its On the SIDE Series with Latino performance artist and National Public Radio commentator, José Torres-Tama, and his bilingual production Aliens, Immigrants, & Other Evildoers Wednesday, October 5 at 7:30 PM at the Student Life Center (www.vanderbilt.edu/studentlifecenter).

Residing in New Orleans, Ecuadorian José Torres-Tama lives by his mantra to "make art that matters." Before his Sci-Fi Latino Noir multimedia performance, he was curator of Los Invisibles: Latino Immigrants Who Rebuilt New Orleans, an exhibit of photographs documenting the enormous contribution of Hispanics in turning the tide after Katrina. He told Doug MacCash, The Times-Picayune :

We have a people here who have been ubiquitous, but have been rendered invisible because of the undocumented status of most. Whatever pain and suffering they may have endured goes practically unnoticed because of their alien immigrant station.

In Aliens, his characters are more than invisible. With biting satire he reveals their exploitation and victimization by hate crimes. For the production funded by The National Performance Network, Torres-Tama filmed interviews with Latino immigrants not only in New Orleans but also in Houston and Washington, DC.  The performance will contain “adult language” hard to hear and gritty and graphic situations hard to see. Yet Brenda Murphy of Jambalaya News said of a March showing  in NOLA: “For 90 minutes the audience…mostly Latinos from different social classes, remained riveted.”

Facing the music in Music City Torres-Tama style will mean looking at a flawed immigration system and defining the American Dream. Bridgette Kohnhorst, Director and Curator of Great Performances at Vanderbilt, said of the artist-in- residency:
Jose Torres-Tama introduces Social Justice theatre directly for Great Performances on a platform that is more likened to Fringe Festival performance art. I really think
theatre like no other form is a vehicle that can further important civic conversations for current issues. The form embodies the specifics of the political topic, in this case immigration.

Other Residency activities include a Multimedia Lecture, Aliens Are Coming, presented Monday Oct., 3 at 4:30 at the Ingram Studio Arts Center, www.vanderbilt.edu/arts/ . And on Tuesday, October 4, an important UNPLUGGED PERFORMANCE of Aliens, Immigrants, and Other Evildoers, will be given at noon at Nashville’s Global Education Center, ww.globaleducwationcenter.net
sponsored with Conexión Americas and Vanderbilt Center for Latin American Studies. Both residency activities are free.

Single tickets are on sale and range from $30 to $40. Vanderbilt students and staff receive discounted rates. Tickets for non-Vanderbilt students are $10 with identification at Ticketmaster outlets and at the Sarratt box office. Call (615) 322-2471 for season details or visit: www.vanderbilt.edu/greatperformances.

Co-sponsored by Vanderbilt Center for Latin Studies and Conexión Americas with funding in part by Alternate ROOTS and the Ford Foundation through the ROOTS Tour & Residency Program.


Monday, September 19, 2011

FBI, TBI, Mexican violence, and singing: today around town

I added some events to the calendar.  Here are the latest.

Meet the Peace Agents: FBI and TBI present Gang Awareness
Belcourt Theater
11 a.m.
Tuesday, September 20

"A Crisis of Representation: Violence, Mexico, and Performance."
Lecturer Kirsten F. Nigro, professor of Spanish at UTEP, is a noted scholar whose research has focused on Latin American theater, popular culture, and border issues. Her visit to Vanderbilt is sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.
123 Wilson Hall, Vanderbilt University
3:10 p.m.
Tuesday, September 20

Sing Your Art Out
In the key of peace, tune into some songs of love and hope and let your “art” speak on hearts you can decorate with your message. Once the evening is over, we’ll place the hearts all over the city where unsuspecting people will receive a secret smile. A silent auction of “heart” work will help support The Peace Dragon’s Peace Master Class, a “living peace” curriculum crated through an international collaboration of teachers, principals and policy makers in a program which aims to establish peace as the default mechanism for conflict. It is a free program and will be offered in the multiple languages.
The Listening Room, 209 10th Ave S # 200, Nashville, TN 37203-4124
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 20

The Long Struggle for Freedom in Latin America
Vanderbilt Center for Latin American Studies Teacher Workshop; Vanderbilt Campus. For more information and to register, contact claire.p.gonzalez@vanderbilt.edu
9:00 a.m.
Wednesday, September 21

10 Days of Peace Grand Finale / 30th Anniversary International Day of Peace
Centennial Park Bandshell
Come celebrate world peace together.
7:15 PM – 8:15 PM
Wednesday, September 21

Gypsy Fire flamenco dancing, Great Performances at Vanderbilt
Spain’s flamenco superstar and former dancer with the National Ballet of Spain - a celebrated troupe of dancers, singers, and musicians showcase the art of flamenco. Langford Auditorium, Vanderbilt University. “The public, on their feet, didn’t rip their shirts, but applauded to the point of exhaustion.” —El Pais, Spain
7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 22

Storytelling on Afro-Latin America
11:30am; Downtown Public Library
Saturday, September 24

2nd Graduation of Plaza Comunitaria
Plaza Comunitaria was developed by the Mexican Government to provide Mexican and Latino adults living abroad the opportunity to continue and improve their education. The organization offers adult literacy programs, ESL Classes and Citizenship classes as well. The Honorable Salvador De Lara, Mexican Consul in Atlanta, will be present. RSVP to Mayra Yu-Morales at plazacomunitaria@email.toast.net
In the gym of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 3112 Nolensville Road.
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 28

Brown Bag Lunch with Tony Brown "The Social Construction of Race in Brazil: Findings from the 2002 Belo Horizonte Area Study"
12pm; Vanderbilt University; Buttrick 123. Space is limited; please email alma.paz-sanmiguel@vanderbilt.edu to RSVP
Friday, September 30

Celebrate Nashville (formerly Celebration of Cultures)
In 1995 Scarritt-Bennett Center, a Nashville conference, retreat, and education center recognized a need within the rapidly growing and changing Nashville community. The population was becoming more diversified and people were in need of ways to understand and appreciate each other’s differences. The Celebration of Cultures was established to provide an avenue for different cultures to share their traditions through music, dance, activities, food, and crafts. The event, held each summer on the grounds of Scarritt-Bennett Center initially attracted around 2500 people. Over time the popularity of the event grew and outgrew the facilities of SBC. In 2006, a partnership was formed with Scarritt-Bennett Center and Nashville Metro Parks and the festival expanded and moved to its new location at Centennial Park, becoming an annual October event. The festival continued to grow over the next few years and last year saw more than 40,000 people in attendance.  And, after 14 years, Scarritt-Bennett Center passed the torch of leadership exclusively over to Nashville Metro Parks.  The focus and mission of the festival remains the same, encompassing over 50 cultures that live in Nashville through dance, music, visual arts, a children’s area, a Teens United Area, an educational Global Village, and exotic food samplings. 
Centennial Park
Free Admission
10 am - 6 pm
Saturday, October 1

José Torres Tama Performance Art, Great Performances at Vanderbilt
Aliens, Immigrants, & Other Evildoers – adult language; 7:30 p.m.; Student Life Center; Not for the faint of heart, the series launches with the radical Latino performance artist and writer who lives by his doctrine – make art that matters. “Torres Tama treads that dangerously vague turf of performance art gracefully … with dexterity and daring” —The Village Voice
Wednesday, Oct. 5

Sister Cities’ Third Annual World of Friendship
A gathering to bring Nashvillians together to celebrate the exciting diversity that marks our community and our world.  This year’s silent auction and reception will take place at Nashville’s Farmer’s Market.  Local restaurants and caterers will offer regional and international fare, and the amazing silent auction will feature an international theme. The ticket price is $40 for Sister Cities members, $50 for non-members, and $85 for admission to the fundraiser plus a one-year Sister Cities membership.
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 6

Nueva Vida, Nuevo Trabajo (translated as "new life, new work")
Highlights the work of professional and non-professional artists from Nashville’s growing and diverse Hispanic population including Orlando García Camacho, Antonieta Capdevila, Aida Costner, Yuri Cunza, Adolfo Dávila, Gladys Escobar, Gil Veda, Alba Gonzalez-Nylander, John D. Griffin, Megan Kelley, Zolita Mojica, Mario Moreno, Inés Negri, Jairo Prado, Mike Quiñones Gonzalez, Sandra Rivera, Kathryn García Smith, Liliana Vélez and Yenny Walker.  Metro Arts Gallery, 800 2nd Avenue South, 4th Floor, Nashville, TN.
Through October 7, 2011

Journeys: An Exhibit by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
In collaboration with the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Vanderbilt's Center for Latin American Studies will welcome as Visiting Resource Professor María Magdalena Campos-Pons, whose work symbolically follows the African Diaspora from her family’s origin in Nigeria to Cuba, where they worked in the sugar industry, to present day Boston, where Campos-Pons now lives and teaches art.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
October 7, 2011-January 9, 2012

Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Heritage Month Lunch
The Sheraton Downtown Nashville, 623 Union Street, Nashville, TN
For more information: http://www.tnhcc.org/thcc_event11.htm
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 11

Austin Peay State University’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Dinner
Presented by APSU Hispanic Alumni Chapter and the National Alumni Association.  Morgan University Center (rooms 308-310).
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 13

Exhibit Opening of Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons: Mama/Reciprocal Energy
Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery. Runs through December 8, 2011
Thursday, October 13

Southern Festival of Books
A number of Latino writers, including the following:
Helena Mesa, born and raised in Pittsburgh to Cuban parents. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Barrow Street, Bat City Review, Indiana Review, Poet Lore, and Third Coast. She is currently co-editing a collection of essays, Mentor & Muse: From Poets to Poets. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is an assistant professor of English at Albion College. Lisa D. Chavez, a poet and memoirist who lives in the mountains of New Mexico. She has two books of poetry published, In an Angry Season and Destruction Bay and has had work included in such collections as Mentor and Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets, The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity, and Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing. Lorraine López - her short story collection, Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories won the inaugural Miguel Marmól prize for fiction. Her second book, Call Me Henri, was awarded the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Literature, and her novel, The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters was a Borders/Las Comadres Selection for the month of November in 2008. López's short story collection, Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories was a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize in Fiction in 2010. Her most recent work is a novel, The Realm of Hungry Spirits, published by Grand Central Press in May, and a collection of essays, The Other Latin@, co-edited with Blas Falconer, which will be released fall 2011 from the University of Arizona Press. www.lorrainelopez.net Justin Torres grew up in upstate New York, where this novel is set. His work has appeared in Granta, Tin House, and Glimmer Train. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is a recipient of the Rolón United States Artist Fellowship in Literature, and is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He has worked as a farmhand, a dog-walker, a creative writing teacher, and a bookseller. Marisel Vera grew up in the barrio in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood, where she was raised by Puerto Rican emigrant parents. One of six children, she was the first in her family to earn a college degree: a BA in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. She has won the Willow Review literary magazine fiction prize. In 2011, her unpublished coming-of-age novel, the Liberation of Carmela Lopez, was adapted into play form and directed by her daughter at Northwestern University. www.mariselvera.com Sandra Gutierrez grew up in the United States and Guatemala, is a journalist, food writer, culinary instructor, and recipe developer. She lives in Cary, North Carolina with her husband and their daughters. www.sandraskitchenstudio.com Her new book The New Southern-Latino Table merges Southern and Latin cooking.
Nashville's Legislative Plaza
Friday, October 14 - Sunday, October 16

Performance by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, October 14

Alfredo Rodriguez (Daniel Azoulay), Great Performances at Vanderbilt
Alfredo Rodriguez with Trio; 8 p.m., Langford Auditorium. Schooled in the rigorous classical conservatories of Havana, this riveting pianist is informed by Bach and Stravinsky as much as his compatriot Chucho Valdés. “Without a doubt one of the best young pianists I’ve ever seen”
—Quincy Jones
Friday, Oct. 14

Fall Fiesta at Vol State
Celebration of Hispanic cultureon the Volunteer State Community College campus in Gallatin. The Fiesta runs from 10am-4pm and features food, music and fun. Best of all, it’s a free event and open to everyone. Once again we are hosting the Hispanic Alliance Cook-Off Contest. Cook your favorite Latin American dish or dishes and enter into the contest to win prizes! Diana Kiser is running the food contest again this year. If you are interested in participating e-mail her at: ranadiana739@gmail.com
Saturday, October 22

The Changing Face of Middle Tennessee: 
A Regional Conversation about Immigration
Vanderbilt Center for Nashville Studies' 2011 Community Conversation. Panelists, among others, will include Katharine Donato, Professor and Chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Sociology, Ralph Schulz, President of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Nonye Ejiofor,  President / Chief Executive Officer of Bastion, Inc. To RSVP or for additional information, please contact
Whitney Weeks (whitney.weeks@vanderbilt.edu) or call the Vanderbilt Center for Nashville Studies at 615-343-7626. www.vanderbilt.edu/vcns
11 a.m.  – 1 p.m.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Saturday, September 17, 2011

A fresh start in immigration law

Image of Constitution, overlaid on photo by Kalyan Chakravarthy. Licensed via Creative Commons.

Today, September 17, is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and that means we are celebrating fresh starts.

The Constitution itself is our country's fresh start in the structure of its self-government.  The Constitution is a do-over, a new beginning.

In the very same sentence of one corner of the Constitution, Congress is given the power to handle two kinds of new beginnings, the kind of fresh start ordinary people sometimes need: new citizenship, and bankruptcy:
The Congress shall have power...To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
A friend of mine described this citizenship-and-bankruptcy sentence in the Constitution as the "Fresh Start Clause."

As we know, bankruptcy law is the process of stripping away financial obligations that a person hasn't met - obligations that have become so impossible to meet that a legal reset is better than the alternative, for everyone involved. The reset comes with a new set of conditions but not the same ones that the person was supposed to have met in the first place.

Immigration law, in contrast, doesn't have a bankruptcy-like process of leaving behind unmet obligations and creating new ones. There is no reset for prospective citizens with American lives and histories. No practical and reasonable set of new conditions for those who are stuck with the impossible consequences of immigration mistakes. This is despite the fact that these homeowners, job holders, business owners, students, and family members now have long records of good, America-friendly behavior, like economic activity and neighborhood relationships, that would have been impossible to prove before they came here.

Let's take advantage of what we have and not what we wish we had. Let's embrace would-be Americans with the full force of law by setting up screenings and new rules to follow, taking away certain rights while sunsetting old ones. Use bankruptcy law as a template for this part of immigration solution.

The Fresh Start Clause of the Constitution is the Founders' acknowledgement that doing it right the first time isn't the only American way. Sometimes we get it wrong and find a new way to make it right.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Please vote today for HispanicNashville.com in Best of Nashville Reader's Poll


Readers of HispanicNashville.com:

Would you mind voting and asking a couple of other people to vote for HispanicNashville.com in the Best of Nashville Readers' Poll? I figure that Hispanic Nashville should at least be a contender, and perhaps a winner, with your help.

The categories I'm asking you to vote in are:

  • Best Local Blog (vote "Hispanic Nashville" or "HispanicNashville.com"); and
  • Best Political Blog (vote "Hispanic Nashville" or "HispanicNashville.com")

You can vote in both categories on this page:
http://ww2.nashvillescene.com/promotions/bestof/3

FYI, you have to vote in 20 categories minimum or none of your votes will be counted. You can choose from the 20 categories on the media page (where the blog categories are) or on any of the other pages listed (Food & Drink, Arts & Ent., etc.)

The voting deadline is tomorrow, Friday, September 16, but if you could vote today while you're thinking about it, that would be great.

Thanks a million, and Happy Hispanic Heritage Month to everyone.

John Lamb

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Updated Hispanic Heritage Month calendar

Hispanic Heritage Month starts tomorrow, September 15, and runs through October 15. Also, 10 Days of Peace is underway. The two calendars are combined here:

Diversity Speakers Day
Not In Our Town: Light In The Darkness documentary screening and panel discussion
with Keynote: Richard Herman, author of Immigrant, Inc.
TSU Main Campus, Forum Auditorium, Floyd-Payne Center
3500 John Merritt Blvd., Nashville, TN 37203


2:30 PM  – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 14, and Thursday, September 15

Not In Our Town: Light In The Darkness documentary screening and discussion
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Thursday, September 15
12 p.m.

Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Official Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-Off Reception
Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center @ Vanderbilt University
5:30 PM to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 15

Conexión Américas’ RUMBA at
 ‘Live on the Green’ Opening for Los Lonely Boys Live On the Green is a free outdoor concert series every Thursday night in downtown Music City. The event highlights local acts along with national artists with a connection to Nashville.
6:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 15

The Cry: Voices of Mexico
An Evening of Mexican History, Literature, Song and Dance. Join gallery F. and the Foreign Language Acting Group (F.L.A.G.) for an evening celebrating Nashville's Mexican community. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Call 615.320.4651 or sschlunk@scarrittbennett.org  For more info contact Jaz Dorsey at jazmn47@aol.com or 615-915-0891. Free & open to the public
2 seatings @ 7p & 8:45p.
Thursday, September 15

Fast-a-Thon
Not In Our Town: Light In The Darkness documentary screening and panel discussion
Hosted by Institute for Conflict Resolution at Lipscomb University, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Islamic Center Nashville, Center for Refugees and Immigrants Tennessee.
Lipscomb – Ezell Center,  1 University Park Drive, Nashville, TN 37204
Free and open to the public.
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 15

Share Your Diversity Thoughts Day
TSU Avon Williams Campus, Auditorium
2:30 p.m.
Friday, September 16

Conexión Américas’ 
Hispanic Heritage Fiesta
Historic Cannery Ballroom, 1 Cannery Row, Downtown Nashville. $40 per person. Don't miss our celebration featuring authentic Latin American food by local chefs, the hip-swaying rhythms of live Latin music by Kazique and Conexión Américas’ own band RUMBA, original artwork by local Latinas, cash bar, and more! Reserve your tickets here by September 12.
6:00 pm Reception & Awards Ceremony
7:00 pm to 12:00 am Fiesta
Friday, September 16

Community Open House & Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness screening
Islamic Center of Nashville
10 a.m.
Saturday, September 17

Diverse Community Sports Day
Nashville International Academy
Saturday, September 17
10-6 p.m.

Play for Peace Exhibition Soccer Tournament / NIC Soccer Exhibition
7 v 7 round robin soccer matches, showcasing the many nations of the Nashville soccer community followed by a time to mingle and player interviews.
Soccer is the world's sport, and right here in Nashville the world plays together in the Nashville International Cup.  The NIC is a competitive men's soccer tournament hosted by InterFACE Ministries and her many partner churches, universities and corporate friends.  The tournament features 200-300 players from 24 home countries- all living in Middle Tennessee.  The NIC helps build community amongst the diverse people groups in our city and helps our city fall in love with the nations in Nashville.
NPT has invited the Nashville International Cup to put on exhibition matches on September 17th to highlight the diversity and unity of the NIC community.  Please join your international neighbors for a day of fun soccer and friendship on September 17th from noon to 5:00 p.m.
The Sept. 17th NIC Exhibition is part of NPT's 10 Days of Peace and the Not in Our Town movement for genuine community amongst the nations in our communities. The event is free and open to the public.
Montgomery Bell Academy, 4001 Harding Road, Nashville, TN 37205
12:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 17

Metro Human Relations Commission's Strategic Planning Retreat and Screening of Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness
The Metro Human Relations Commission will screen Not in Our Town during its annual retreat, Saturday, September 17, at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center.  The screening will take place at 12:30 p.m. and will be followed by a brief discussion on how Commission programming can address issues raised in the film.  The event is free and open to the public.  Please RSVP to Caroline G. Blackwell, MHRC Executive Director, at 615-880-3374 or by email atcaroline.blackwell@nashville.gov
Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, 1900 Davidson Street, Nashville, TN 37206
12:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 17

Latino Family Day at the Zoo
The Nashville Zoo will offer several docent interpretive stations, animal shows and keeper talks with Spanish translators available. The day will also feature a variety of entertainment and activities, including traditional music and dance, bouncy houses, games for kids and much more. To download a buy one, get one free coupon, click here.
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 18

Family Peace Picnic
Fannie Mae Dees Park a.k.a. Dragon Park, Park Shelter
Come join us in Dragon Park to snack on some worldly flavors and fun. The TN Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (TNRPCV) will be showcasing a variety of foods to sample and display items from countries where they served.  Then author/illustrator Linda Ragsdale from The Peace Dragon will be leading all able artists in drawing peace dragons. Watch how letters, numbers and punctuation become the basic strokes of this peaceful messenger. Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, and family to taste, hear and see adventures from around the world; as we come together to share peace in our community.
The event will take place rain or shine  (held under the shelter). Street Parking is available. The event free and open to the public.
2400 Blakemore Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 18

The Taste of Peace: Comfort foods from around the world
Diversity is the spice of life and the flavor of Peace. How shall we serve it up? By indulging our guests with a smorgasbord of worldly treats, prepared by local chefs with recipes submitted by the international fellows from Vandy’s Hubert H. Humphrey program. You’ll meet this year’s candidates from over nine different countries; watch a clip of NPT’s new initiative “Not In Our Town”; and experience The Peace Master Class, an internationally collaborated school program for students for “living peace” through conflict.
Recipes provided for adventurous world cooks!
Icon in the Gulch – Ultra Lounge, 600 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203
7:00 PM – 10:00 p.m.
Monday, September 19

Meet the Peace Agents: FBI and TBI present Gang Awareness
Belcourt Theater
11 a.m.
Tuesday, September 20

Sing Your Art Out
In the key of peace, tune into some songs of love and hope and let your “art” speak on hearts you can decorate with your message. Once the evening is over, we’ll place the hearts all over the city where unsuspecting people will receive a secret smile. A silent auction of “heart” work will help support The Peace Dragon’s Peace Master Class, a “living peace” curriculum crated through an international collaboration of teachers, principals and policy makers in a program which aims to establish peace as the default mechanism for conflict. It is a free program and will be offered in the multiple languages.
The Listening Room, 209 10th Ave S # 200, Nashville, TN 37203-4124
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 20

The Long Struggle for Freedom in Latin America
Vanderbilt Center for Latin American Studies Teacher Workshop; Vanderbilt Campus. For more information and to register, contact claire.p.gonzalez@vanderbilt.edu
9:00 a.m.
Wednesday, September 21

10 Days of Peace Grand Finale / 30th Anniversary International Day of Peace
Centennial Park Bandshell
Come celebrate world peace together.
7:15 PM – 8:15 PM
Wednesday, September 21

Gypsy Fire flamenco dancing, Great Performances at Vanderbilt
Spain’s flamenco superstar and former dancer with the National Ballet of Spain - a celebrated troupe of dancers, singers, and musicians showcase the art of flamenco. Langford Auditorium, Vanderbilt University. “The public, on their feet, didn’t rip their shirts, but applauded to the point of exhaustion.” —El Pais, Spain
7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 22

Storytelling on Afro-Latin America
11:30am; Downtown Public Library
Saturday, September 24

Brown Bag Lunch with Tony Brown "The Social Construction of Race in Brazil: Findings from the 2002 Belo Horizonte Area Study"
12pm; Vanderbilt University; Buttrick 123. Space is limited; please email alma.paz-sanmiguel@vanderbilt.edu to RSVP
Friday, September 30

Celebrate Nashville (formerly Celebration of Cultures)
In 1995 Scarritt-Bennett Center, a Nashville conference, retreat, and education center recognized a need within the rapidly growing and changing Nashville community. The population was becoming more diversified and people were in need of ways to understand and appreciate each other’s differences. The Celebration of Cultures was established to provide an avenue for different cultures to share their traditions through music, dance, activities, food, and crafts. The event, held each summer on the grounds of Scarritt-Bennett Center initially attracted around 2500 people. Over time the popularity of the event grew and outgrew the facilities of SBC. In 2006, a partnership was formed with Scarritt-Bennett Center and Nashville Metro Parks and the festival expanded and moved to its new location at Centennial Park, becoming an annual October event. The festival continued to grow over the next few years and last year saw more than 40,000 people in attendance.  And, after 14 years, Scarritt-Bennett Center passed the torch of leadership exclusively over to Nashville Metro Parks.  The focus and mission of the festival remains the same, encompassing over 50 cultures that live in Nashville through dance, music, visual arts, a children’s area, a Teens United Area, an educational Global Village, and exotic food samplings. 
Centennial Park
Free Admission
10 am - 6 pm
Saturday, October 1

José Torres Tama Performance Art, Great Performances at Vanderbilt
Aliens, Immigrants, & Other Evildoers – adult language; 7:30 p.m.; Student Life Center; Not for the faint of heart, the series launches with the radical Latino performance artist and writer who lives by his doctrine – make art that matters. “Torres Tama treads that dangerously vague turf of performance art gracefully … with dexterity and daring” —The Village Voice
Wednesday, Oct. 5

Nueva Vida, Nuevo Trabajo (translated as "new life, new work")
Highlights the work of professional and non-professional artists from Nashville’s growing and diverse Hispanic population including Orlando García Camacho, Antonieta Capdevila, Aida Costner, Yuri Cunza, Adolfo Dávila, Gladys Escobar, Gil Veda, Alba Gonzalez-Nylander, John D. Griffin, Megan Kelley, Zolita Mojica, Mario Moreno, Inés Negri, Jairo Prado, Mike Quiñones Gonzalez, Sandra Rivera, Kathryn García Smith, Liliana Vélez and Yenny Walker.  Metro Arts Gallery, 800 2nd Avenue South, 4th Floor, Nashville, TN.
Through October 7, 2011

Journeys: An Exhibit by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
In collaboration with the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Vanderbilt's Center for Latin American Studies will welcome as Visiting Resource Professor María Magdalena Campos-Pons, whose work symbolically follows the African Diaspora from her family’s origin in Nigeria to Cuba, where they worked in the sugar industry, to present day Boston, where Campos-Pons now lives and teaches art.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
October 7, 2011-January 9, 2012

Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Heritage Month Lunch
The Sheraton Downtown Nashville, 623 Union Street, Nashville, TN
For more information: http://www.tnhcc.org/thcc_event11.htm
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
October 11, 2011

Exhibit Opening of Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons: Mama/Reciprocal Energy
Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery. Runs through December 8, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Performance by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, October 14

Alfredo Rodriguez (Daniel Azoulay), Great Performances at Vanderbilt
Alfredo Rodriguez with Trio; 8 p.m., Langford Auditorium. Schooled in the rigorous classical conservatories of Havana, this riveting pianist is informed by Bach and Stravinsky as much as his compatriot Chucho Valdés. “Without a doubt one of the best young pianists I’ve ever seen”
—Quincy Jones
Friday, Oct. 14

Fall Fiesta at Vol State
Celebration of Hispanic cultureon the Volunteer State Community College campus in Gallatin. The Fiesta runs from 10am-4pm and features food, music and fun. Best of all, it’s a free event and open to everyone. Once again we are hosting the Hispanic Alliance Cook-Off Contest. Cook your favorite Latin American dish or dishes and enter into the contest to win prizes! Diana Kiser is running the food contest again this year. If you are interested in participating e-mail her at: ranadiana739@gmail.com
Saturday, October 22


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