WASHINGTON – There is no doubt that laughter transcends language, and what could be better than using these laughs to bring hope to young people? “What makes us who we are is not that we talk about it, it’s the mixture of the black and the Latino. We come in every color, and no other culture can say that. We are black, as black as Sammy Sosa, and as white as ‘Christina Agriculture.’ We are a shade in between, we are café latte,” comedian Paul Rodriguez said. Rodriguez recruited three other comedians to participate the 11th annual Reyes of Comedy show Tuesday at the Warner Theatre as part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Hispanic Heritage Month events.
Recently, I shocked a fellow worker and a few others by outing myself as a Latino community activist. An “Activist” he said accusatorially. “You cannot be a Latino community activist and an advocate for other causes.” Some people, he added may object to a person who has a strong commitment to a particular group. His response both surprised and offended me. While there is a good point in the sense that there is a negative side to being obsessive about commitment, we cannot forget that both he and I are committed to making sure the Civil Rights legislation of 1964 benefits all Americans –regardless of what the word preceding the hyphen appended before the word American and that is used so often and divisively in our diverse society. I am reminded that while some may color the word activist with a subjective shade, activism is at the core of the evolutionary rather than revolutionary change in our society.
Response by the Latino media to President Obama’s Jan. 25 State of the Union speech was, for the most part, a positive one, with headlines such as “Obama pide esfuerzo bipartidista para ganar el futuro,” found in Univisión.com
Univisión and Galavisión offered voice-over translation of the live speech. As did other print and broadcast media, San Antonio’s weekly La Prensa highlighted a number of issues of greatest concern to the Spanish-speaking community. It stressed, “Immigration reform and the DREAM Act are still priorities of President Barack Obama, according to statements from the White House,” and continued, “This is the third time that the President defends the need for immigration reform in a speech before Congress.”
With education being at the top of the list as the means to “win the future,” Obama took the opportunity to mention the “hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens.”
He urged Congress to work in harmony in addressing once and for all the issues of illegal immigration and to “stop expelling talented and responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, further enriching this nation.”
In a column syndicated by Hispanic Link News Service, José de la Isla, author of The Rise of Hispanic Political Power, saw the President’s comments as “an interesting juxtaposition of student situations.”
“Had the DREAM Act passed, the ‘best and brightest” U.S. resident students it covered already would have been home” de la Isla said. In Obama’s plan for innovation, research for cleaner energy technologies plays a big role to increase job opportunities and compete with other nations.
EL PASO, Texas — Dr. Mario G. Obledo’s heart went out to those who had no voice. He fought for decades for the rights of Latinos through civil unrest and through the creation of powerful institutions. On August 18, his heart fought its last battle. The man known by many as the godfather of the Latino movement in the U.S. died at his home in Sacramento, California, of an apparent heart attack. He was 78.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — “The workingman gives up his dreams and slaves for all his life,” the impassioned marcher shouted, her voice blaring Chicanoism out of a bullhorn that echoed down the streets of East Los Angeles. Hundreds of sign-wielding activists marched in the streets to mark the 40th anniversary of the National Chicano Moratorium of the Vietnam War August 27. The Moratorium, which was implemented by the Chicano movement back in 1970, protested the exploitation of minorities, especially Latinos in the Vietnam War. The march followed the original 1970 route, in East L.A., down Whittier Boulevard, passing the Silver Dollar, the bar where Ruben Salazar, a Juarez-El Paso native and acclaimed war and human rights journalist was killed 40 years ago during the first moratorium march.
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Javier Martínez Vargas se sentó en una caseta un día el pasado otoño, contando el dinero que había ganado como mesero esa tarde en El Matador en Johnson City, TN. Un cliente le preguntó que si estaba planeando hacer algo para el Mes de la Herencia Hispana. Martínez Vargas, un ciudadano mexicano y residente permanente legal de los Estados Unidos, sacudió su cabeza. Luego, el cliente le preguntó qué pensaba sobre la palabra ‘hispano.’
“En verdad, no me importa lo que me llamen,” dijo Martínez Vargas.
At first glance, the words ‘Hispanic’ and ‘Latino’ appear to mean the same thing. When you ask the Spanish-speaking community, however, you’ll find that there are plenty of differences between the two.
The AL DIA Foundation is calling for entries to its annual National Award for Excellence in American Journalism on Latino Issues. Two $10,000 awards will presented for the best examples of Spanish-Language Print Journalism and Spanish or English-Language Digital Journalism produced on American Latino issues during 2009 across the 50 states. According to the Félix Varela Award website, the purpose of the awards is to recognize any American journalist covering with excellence Latino issues in the nation today, either through Spanish-language Print, or any digital media outlet, in English or Spanish. The prizes are presented by the AL DIA Foundation, chaired by Hernán Guaracao, former president of the National Association of Hispanic Publications in the US, and founder, editor and publisher of AL DIA, a print and web-based news media organization with main offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There is no entry fee and the deadline is January 31st, 2010, for work done during the calendar year ending December 31st, 2009.