For Phillip Kisubika a late night taxi ride in Boston led to an exploration of his family’s roots.
The biggest advertising campaign of the new year isn’t selling cars, beer or burgers. The $340-million effort, which made its debut with a TV spot on the Golden Globe Awards last Sunday, encourages everyone in the U.S. to be counted in this year’s census.
The good days have returned for Brazilian immigrant Claudete Alcântara. Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Everett Literacy Program has reopened its English classes and she is one of 54 students who have now returned to school.
Ethnic media outlets are providing a vital link to news and information about the situation in Haiti as Haitians in the U.S. scramble to learn the fate of friends and family members following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake and relief efforts are organized in communities across the U.S.
By Maibe Gonzalez Fuentes, FI2W Contributor
The Latino community of Chelsea, Mass. had twice the reason to celebrate when Judge Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court. They had recently pushed for and gained the appointment of their own “wise Latina” for the local criminal and civil court.
Last month, Gov. Deval Patrick named Bronx-born judge Diana Maldonado First Justice of the Chelsea District Court.
The judge and Justice Sotomayor share a similar history. Maldonado, who is 50, was born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in the Bronx. The youngest of ten siblings, she attended Bronx public schools, and Stony Brook University (a New York State college), before attending Northeastern University law school. After graduating, she worked for Neighborhood Defender Services in Harlem, New York, leaving in 1993 to become the first Latina appointed to the Massachusetts Federal Defenders Office.
Comparison between Maldonado and Sotomayor seem inevitable these days. “I received a congratulations card with the acronym TOWL. I had to ask the sender what it meant, and the person said: The Other Wise Latina,” Maldonado said in a phone interview with Feet in 2 Worlds.
Hispanic News Briefs From New England Newspapers
By Pedro Pizano, FI2W contributor
BOSTON, Mass. — The state Senate is seeking $130 million in savings by kicking “aliens with special status” out of Commonwealth Care, a subsidized insurance program for low-income residents, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis. The program will save an additional $63 million by no longer automatically enrolling new low-income residents.
The “aliens with special status” are 28,000 documented immigrants who have had a green card for less than five years. They will be left without health coverage from Commonwealth Care after August 1.
The Massachusetts Hospital Association says the $130 million cut will bring additional costs to the hospitals that provide free care to people with low incomes. They say those hospitals would need to spend an additional $87 million in 2009 to treat those who lose their coverage, according to the NCPA.
Although Gov. Deval Patrick approved the budget cut for the 2010 fiscal year on July 1st, he also submitted separate legislation to restore $70 million to Commonwealth Care. This program is central to the nearly universal health care law enacted here in 2006 that achieved the nation’s lowest percentage of uninsured residents: 2.6 percent compared to a national average of 15 percent.
News Briefs From New England Hispanic Newspapers
By Pedro Pizano, FI2W contributor
BOSTON, Massachusetts – Hispanic and Jewish groups have launched a joint campaign to stop “hate crimes targeting Latinos and the anti-immigrant rhetoric entering the mainstream.”
Diego Portillo, the president of LPN who has lived in Boston for the past 10 years said, in an interview with El Planeta, that he has seen discrimination against Hispanic Immigrants increase in the past few years.
El Mundo reports that organizers claimed that hate mongers have rallied around situations such as the Swine Flu outbreak and the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, to demonize and scapegoat Latinos and other groups.
There will be periodical Latino/Jewish roundtables, starting in August, to advance partnerships between the Latino and Jewish communities. A “Declaration of Partnership” will be published next week, in both Spanish and English, in El Mundo .
New program from Children’s Hospital Boston aimed at the Latino Community
BOSTON, Massachusetts. – Children’s Hospital Boston recently launched Milagros Para Niños (Miracles for Children) , the hospital’s first-ever fundraising campaign specifically aimed at the Latino community.
“This pioneering initiative aims to raise money and awareness to support Children’s clinical care and research for its increasingly diverse patient population,“ according to a news release from the hospital.
Out of 500,000 children that use the Hospital every year, 100,000 (20%) are Latino. At the Martha Eliot Health Center in Jamaica Plain, which is owned and operated by Children’s Hospital, 65% of the patients are Latino, according to El Mundo.
“The Latino community is very important for Children’s and we are proud to serve all families in need of our services,” said Sandra Fenwick, the hospital’s president and chief operating officer.
The fund-raising campaign will culminate with Children’s serving as the first-ever charitable partner for the Comcast Latino Family Festival at Fenway Park, which will be hosted by El Mundo Newspaper and the Boston Red Sox Foundation on Sunday, August 2nd, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
8th Massachusetts congressman to sponsor DREAM Act.
LYNN, Massachusetts. – Members of the Student Immigrant Movement met with Congressman John Tierney last Monday to discuss the DREAM Act. After the meeting Tierney agreed to co-sponsor the bill, according to Boston weekly Siglo21.
Tierney’s commitment brings to eight the number of Massachusetts congressional representatives sponsoring the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act . The act would provide a path to citizenship to about 65,000 undocumented young adults that have been in the U.S. for 5 years, have graduated from high school, and want to go to college or enlist for military service. They must also show proof of “good moral character.” (click to see USCIS (formerly INS) questionnaire to determine “moral character”). Additionally the DREAM Act would also return to states the authority to determine whether to grant in-state tuition to state residents regardless of immigration status.
By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Hondurans in the United States are intensely following the events in their home country, after the military on Sunday rushed President Manuel Zelaya out of bed and sent him into exile in Costa Rica.
But not every talk-show caller nor every demonstrator in American cities is asking for the swift return of the democratically-elected president. Many Hondurans in the U.S. support the coup and the government that took power in Tegucigalpa, despite unanimous condemnation from the international community — including President Barack Obama.
“I think it’s a good thing that they took him away, because he would have won the election on Sunday, and he would have been in office another four years,” restaurant owner Marlen Nunez told WDSU in New Orleans, where there is a big Honduran community. She was referring to Zelaya’s botched attempt to conduct a non-binding national referendum asking voters if they wanted to change the constitution to allow him to run for a second term.
“Constitutionally, a president shouldn’t be in office more than four years … that’s not a democracy,” Nunez said.
With unexpectedly low turnout, peaceful protests took place across the country today, with rallies in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, New Jersey, New York and other cities. Although two factors –rain and the possible spread of swine flu– represented a setback in some cities, advocates feel this is the right moment to push for immigration reform. Police in East Boston, Massachusetts estimated there were 1,000 protesters at a local rally. Across from City Hall in Manchester, N.H., demonstrators numbered only 60, according to organizers.
Fausto da Rocha, a Brazilian activist in Massachusetts was not disappointed with the low attendance. “I’m satisfied to see several religious leaders here today, people who can influence many in their communities,” he said . “Everyone knows the time for legalization is now.”
What the rallies lacked in numbers they compensated for with the participation of entire families.
At least three immigrant families whose members were separated by recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids attended the rally in Manchester. At one point, Aaron Silvestre, 6, an American citizen whose father was detained for a few weeks, told the crowd: “We need to keep families together. The police should not take fathers away like they took my father.”