Archive for July, 2010

July 31, 2010

“Cumbia” Colombian Folk Dance

by Rosie Galvez

The first time I had heard of the dance called “Cumbia” was over 20 years ago. My good friend and her brothers took me to a club in Astoria, Queens, called “Illusiones.”   My friend is Equadorian and she was showing me the dance steps to do the “Cumbia”  Unbeknown to me at the time,  “Cumbia” is originally from Colombia but many other South American countries also have their version of this dance.

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July 30, 2010

United States vs. Arizona: Injunction Order

by Cristina Villarreal

On Wednesday, United State District Judge Susan Bolton ruled on the United States motion to prevent the Arizona State immigration Law, known as SB 1070, from going into effect. This was a huge victory for immigration activist, but there is still much work to be done on the issue. Judge Bolton’s injunction order applies only to certain parts of the law. It is also important to note, that this is not a permanent victory. An injunction allows for time. The court still has to rule on the validity of the law, but until it has an opportunity to rule parts of the law have been barred by going into effect. Also, by ruling for the injunction on key issues the court is saying that the United States is likely to succeed on the merits of its arguments. The court is making a prediction, but the constitutionality of the law will still have to be determined.

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July 30, 2010

And Justice for All

AJ

by AJ Rodriguez

On November 14, 2009, I sat down in front of my television set and watched the Puerto Rican news on WAPA America like I always do with my Abuela. The top story that night was that of Jorge Steven López Mercado. Jorge was partially burned, dismembered and decapitated for being gay by Juan José Martínez Matos. Police said, “Martínez Matos hated homosexuals, but had offered the victim, who was dressed in female clothing, cocaine in exchange for sex.” A police investigator also added, “People who lead this type of lifestyle, need to be aware that this would happen.”

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July 30, 2010

The Sanctuary Project

by Viktoria Valenzuela

Recently, I wrote here about a fellow Latino named Jose Anthony Rodriguez, a Naval officer whose brutal rape took place over three days in 2009. He was other-than-honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy based on the conclusion that he is homosexual; since the rape was male on male contact. Evelynn Thomas, founder and Executive Director of The Sanctuary Project, heard about Seaman Rodriguez soon after his abduction. It was her program that helped him through his difficult time, in fact, he describes The Sanctuary Project founders as his guardian angels.

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July 29, 2010

“I’m a Doctor. You’re Stupid I know about you people!”

by Keyla Cedano

Saturday night Bronx, NYC: A friend and I were on our way to pick up a mutual girlfriend for a night out on the town. The night was “young,” the air was humid, the streets were crowded; typical summer night in New York City. I was driving along Jerome Avenue, right underneath the 4 train with Randy’s “Guayoteo” on full blast as means to get pumped for the night. With traffic moving slow I decided to mimic a white van and drive between the curb and the main street- a road dangerously close to the cars parked along Jerome. Right before approaching Burnside Avenue the van crossed a particularly tight spot but safely made it past the Red Nissan Altima parked a bit too far from the curb. I, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. My driving skills failed me. I inevitably hit the left mirror, detaching it from the car. The driver didn’t react quickly enough and by the time he reached my parked vehicle a few cars away, I was already outside my car with license, registration, and insurance information on hand.

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July 29, 2010

Taqueros

Written by Rolando Ortiz

I still drive fifty miles one way to East L.A to hit the taquero stands on Whittier or Olympic Boulevards. I have memories as a kid driving late at night with my day to grab a few tacos. I would order my normal asada and El Pastor and my dad would get his cabeza and cesos. Yeah, my dad was just a little more adventurous than I was. You can smell the food from a half a block away. The taquero was normally parked in an auto shop parking lot and cars would be parked all over. Someone was usually having a beer with their food and blasting their car stereo.

We had our regular taquero, he was parked on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Mc Donnelle Avenue right across the street from Oscar De La Hoya’s house. I would sometimes see him and his family enjoying a taco or two. The cops even ate at these places, these where hardworking people trying to make an honest living. They are so respected even the crooks wouldn’t rob them; everyone in the barrio knew to leave them alone. East L.A. wouldn’t  be East L.A. without seeing taqueros, paleteros, eloteros and the family selling aguas frescas or the people selling oranges and flowers on the streets.

Currently the City of Los Angeles tickets these people and sometimes they confiscate their carts that they work so hard to save up and purchase.  The city has way bigger issues than someone trying to make an honest living the only way they can. Yet they let people panhandle for money and don’t make them move or ticket them. Any chance I have, I go and spend my money where I know people appreciate it and need it. I take corporate clients to eat at these eateries and they are dumbfounded by the quality and quantity they get for the money. When I take them to lunch or dinner the looks on their faces is priceless. The best part is the look on their faces when they try the food and get to talking to the cook and the people around them. For that reason and many more I will support these eatery stands because they are a staple of our Latino culture.

July 28, 2010

Are We the People?

Written by Ixchel del Castillo

For many, the current political environment in the state has been a rude awakening. Just think Arizona: several bills have passed and raised concern – as well as mockery from the left and praise from the far right – at the national level.

This summer, people will be able to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a permit and people 21 or older will forego background checks and classes that are currently required. This week, SB1070 is scheduled to go into effect in Arizona, while ethnic studies will be banned in December. Plus, let’s not forget that Arizona is hoping to require presidential candidates to prove their citizenship to the state’s highest elections official if they hope to appear on ballots in the Grand Canyon State. In addition, publicly announced legislation plans have created unease and worries to citizens of all ages and races, including Hispanics.

Many wonder how this happened, when did Arizona go wrong? We can blame our legislators and local government officials for their actions, but we also must remember that many of those who are making decisions for us, the people, are in fact elected officials – they are in office because the people decided they were the right individuals to represent us.

Who are these people referenced above, and that media and elected officials mention incessantly? They are citizens that come from all walks of life.  They are registered voters, but most importantly, they are those who actually go out and vote.  How many people are actually the people? Facts state that they are not even one percent of eligible voters.

For example, acording to a June report by ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy in 2008 – a presidential election year – only 23% of eligible voters showed up to vote in Arizona. Furthermore, in the same year’s primary, only 1.4 percent of registered voters helped candidates secure their legislative seats. If you consider the number of eligible voters in Arizona, which exceeds 4 million, the percentage drops to a negligible 0.9 percent.

We’ve all heard the expression “your vote is your voice,” and this common saying could not be more true. When we do not vote, our voice is entirely mute. Most importantly, we leave it to a minuscule number of engaged citizens to make decision for us; for who we want to represent us at every government level. Regardless of your political views, if you are a constituent, don’t you want to have a say in the direction your state and contry takes?

If we want to make a change in our community, registering to vote is extremely important, but it’s just not good enough. We need to actually vote.  After all, aren’t we all part of the people as well?

You can join the conversation on Facebook at  My Latino Vote AZ or twitter @MyLatinoVoteAZ.

You might also like- Rock en Español the Vote

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Disclaimer: The views herewith expressed, are explicitly that of the writer and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino Inc.

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About Being Latino:
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Being Latino is a communication platform designed to educate, entertain and connect all peoples across the global Latino spectrum.  Our aim is to break down barriers and foster unity and empowerment through informative, thought-provoking dialogue and exchanging of ideas.  Being Latino seeks to give a unified voice to the multitude of communities that identify with the multidimensional culture that is Latino.
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July 28, 2010

Mentiroso?

Written by Jennifer Turano

As with many second generation immigrants, I’m often the one in the family handling the contacts with hospitals, schools, and authorities in general. Mi abuela only speaks Spanish and my dad, although his Swedish is very good after living here for over 30 years, still has an accent. Being born and raised in Sweden, my Swedish is perfect and I can quickly explain whatever my family needs without there being any complications. In short: it’s the easiest way to get things done.

Then the other day I stumbled upon an article that made me think that there might be more to why it is easier for me to make the phone call. It was about a new study conducted by the University of Chicago, showing that “(f)oreign accents make speakers seem less truthful to listeners.” The study was conducted with native- and non-native English speakers reading statements from a script. The test showed that the heavier the accent, the less credible the person was perceived. This is, according to Professor Boaz Keysar, because we “misattribute the difficulty of understanding the speech to the truthfulness of the statements.”

Anyone studying a new language knows how difficult it can be to learn a complete new set of sounds, and that it often is impossible to sound like a native when you’re not. There are many sounds in the Swedish language, for example, that simply don’t exist in Spanish or English, and learning them as an adult can prove to be quite challenging.

Although I’m not surprised with the result, it is disheartening to see it black on white (or as Americans would say; in black and white). One would think that with globalization; the way we are moving all over the world and interacting with people from different countries on a daily basis, that one’s accent shouldn’t be a reason for someone to mistrust you.

If you visit the University of Chicago website, you can listen to some of the recordings and judge for yourself…

Links:

The University of Chicago- http://news.uchicago.edu/news.php?asset_id=2049

July 27, 2010

Highly (Il)legal

Written by Nicolle Morales Kerns

“Pot is Back!” proclaims the July cover article in Philadelphia Magazine that delves into residents’ of the Main Line (aka rich suburbia) secret use of marijuana to relax after the trials and tribulations of daily life. The show Weeds also highlights the life of a suburban widow, who lacking any real job skills took over her late husband’s place as a drug dealer in order to make ends meet. What is interesting about this article and show is that they show an acceptance of the drug not seen since before it was made illegal (that’s right it hasn’t always been).

To date, 14 states have legalized the growth and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and another 11 states plus Washington, D.C. have pending legislation or ballot measures to legalize it.

What is the cause of this turn in attitude towards a drug believed to lead to laziness, inactivity and a gateway to harsher drugs such as cocaine and heroin? Is it just a matter of the “right” people supporting it?

As mentioned before this plant was not always illegal and served a number of purposes such as clothing, food, incense, rope and many more. There was actually a law in the 1600s and 1700s that ordered farmers to grow the plant. It wasn’t until the 1900s that the fight against marijuana began as it was associated with Mexicans, and Latin American and African American jazz musicians. As this fight coincided with the enactment of prohibition laws, many people were not aware of the passing of laws against marijuana.

Since then, marijuana has been a target in the government’s “war on drugs,” but interestingly only Mexico is in the news for production, while Canada is the second largest provider for the US market. Despite laws enforced with medical marijuana, there will always be a way around them for people who want to find them.

But what will this mean exactly for all communities? Will it take away the need for drug dealers? We are led to believe that dealers flourish most in impoverished or poor neighborhoods and that these neighborhoods mostly house minorities. The above-mentioned article shows that it is not only people in poor neighborhoods who seek to make a living from or just enjoy marijuana. Why then are only those who cannot afford bail made to pay for trying to make a living?

Making medical marijuana legal will not combat problems that come with drug dealing in these neighborhoods. Even if a person were able to get their doctor to prescribe an ID card, depending on the state fees range up to $150.

It is hard to foresee what effects the legalization of marijuana will have on society, but I do believe that one less aspect of the “war on drugs” will lessen the distraction from more important issues that are going on in the world.

drugwarrant.com

civilliberty.about.com

medicalmarijuana.procon.org

justice.gov

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Disclaimer: The views herewith expressed, are explicitly that of the writer and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino Inc.

______________________________________________________________

About Being Latino:
-2
Being Latino is a communication platform designed to educate, entertain and connect all peoples across the global Latino spectrum.  Our aim is to break down barriers and foster unity and empowerment through informative, thought-provoking dialogue and exchanging of ideas.  Being Latino seeks to give a unified voice to the multitude of communities that identify with the multidimensional culture that is Latino.
______________________________________________________________

facebook twitter youtube images
______________________________________________________________

July 27, 2010

Sepharad: Our Latino Jewish Heritage

by Adam Hymans

In 2007, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that surprised the breast cancer research community. The study looked for the presence of BRCA1, a genetic mutation known as the “breast cancer gene” in women of different ethnic backgrounds. Like other studies before it, this one found that the highest incidence of the mutation is found in women of Jewish descent. What came as a surprise was the group with the second highest: Hispanic women.

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