Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Gomez, Solano write Latino 101 for new mayor (and others)

(L-R) Marcela Gomez, Javier Solano
Starting with the tips, "We don't speak in one voice," and then continuing, "but sometimes we do," Marcela Gomez and Javier Solano appear on the Tennessean web site today with 13 tips about local Latinos for the incoming mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry. Gomez is CEO of Hispanic Marketing Group in Nashville, and Solano is vice president at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations. Gomez and Solano are President and co-Vice President, respectively, of the TN Latin American Chamber of Commerce.

Tip #9, about "Hispanic" vs. "Latino," for instance:
Neither, really. Mexican, Colombian, Cuban, American — any of these will work. Don’t hyphenate. That confuses us. And if you must use Hispanic or Latino, as we’re doing here, we think Latino is better because it’s more of a self-selected term. Don’t lose any sleep over it, though. Not a big deal.
Also, about not speaking in one voice (tip #1):
Here in Nashville, we have about 65,000 Latinos, representing more than 20 countries, five ways of saying the word “orange” in Spanish depending on where they’re from, two chambers... 
Ah, the two chambers. The Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce used to be called the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (see tip #9), and the other Hispanic chamber is the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The fact that there have been two Hispanic chambers in Nashville almost from the moment there was even one, and the frequently asked questions in town about "the" Hispanic chamber, were the subject of's own "101" page back in the day.

As for Latinos speaking in one voice, that's a reference to both the defeat of "English Only" in 2009, and the more recent cause of tuition equality. Tuition equality gets its own tip (#3). Considering this mention of a statewide legislative issue, and the likelihood that some of Gomez's and Solano's statements like "we love this country" (#11) are probably already understood – compassion for immigrants was a point of agreement between Barry and her runoff opponent – the authors are not just speaking to Barry. They're leveraging the recent election as an opportunity to speak to the city as a whole, its newly seated council, and the state leaders who govern from Nashville and read its daily paper.

The full column by Gomez and Solano is here.
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