The Fi2W podcast was the top story Wednesday on New Hampshire Public Radio’s Word of Mouth program.
Tag: New Hampshire
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.”
Eduardo A. de Oliveira, a Brazilian-born reporter for New England Ethnic News and a Feet in 2 Worlds contributor, appeared this morning on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, New York Public Radio, to describe the scene in the battleground state of New Hampshire.
You can listen to that segment of the show here.
NASHUA, NH – By Eduardo A. de Oliveira, New England Ethnic News and FI2W
Election Day progresses without any major disruption. Early this morning, a lady was spotted wearing an Obama T-shirt close to the voting booth and was simply asked to cover it with her coat.
Foot traffic appears similar to that in all city wards, but things are expected to step up a bit at lunch hour.
Turnout of immigrant voters at polling places is steady. According to Census data, New Hampshire has 32,000 Latinos, and increasing Russian and Vietnamese populations.
“I feel great and proud to be able to vote. As an immigrant I fight my way to be where I am in this country,” said Kimberly Tau, a Vietnamese stay-at-home mom.
For Tau, a Nashua resident who migrated to the U.S. some 25 years ago, “this is the day you can truly stand for what you believe in.” This election season, she says, local issues matters as much as a national crisis. Tau says she truly believes that in American elections are fair because, “back in my country a lot of time voting was fixed”.
Unity was the political headline coming out of Friday’s news cycle, after Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appeared side by side, in color-coordinated outfits, to put aside their 16-month internecine battle for the Democratic party’s nomination and show (dare we say) a united front at a 3,000 person rally in the aptly named town of Unity, New Hampshire
Press reports gushed over how Obama’s tie matched Clinton’s pantsuit, pondered their lack of a full hug, and pounced on the chance to show discord through a group of Clinton supporters, one of whom stuffed tissues in her ears as Obama spoke.
But the attempts to show solidarity went far past Clinton’s and Obama’s carefully choreographed display in the Granite State.
Preceding the Unity rally on Friday, Clinton spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials in Washington, DC on Thursday and asked some of her most enthusiastic supporters to back Obama in the general election. She told the crowd that if Sen. John McCain won the presidency little would be done to advance the Latino agenda on immigration reform and the country would see, “four more years of the same.”
Clinton was greeted with a standing ovation. NALEO’s president Adolfo Carrión, the Bronx Borough President, referred to her as “nuestra hermana” – our sister. Hispanic supporters of Clinton say that her backing of Obama will be instrumental in winning the group’s support in November. During the primaries, Latinos backed Clinton 2 to 1 over Obama.
Obama also tried to show that unity was a natural next step for Latinos who had supported Clinton. In his speech at the NALEO convention on Saturday, he stressed that Blacks and Latinos have a shared history in the struggle for equal rights. “We marched together in the streets of Chicago to fix our broken immigration system,” he said to the applauding crowd. “And it’s because of that 20-year record of partnership with your communities that you can trust me when I say that I’ll be your partner in the White House and I will be your champion in the White House. And that’s what you need now more than ever,” Obama continued. “Because for eight long years, Washington hasn’t been working for ordinary Americans. And few have been hit harder than Latinos and African Americans.”
Democrats aren’t the only ones trying to build bridges after messy political battles. Sen. John McCain spoke to the NALEO convention on Saturday, promising to pursue comprehensive immigration reform within his first 100 days in office and to reach out to a community that became alienated from the Republican party after Congress’ failed attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform last year.
McCain was on of the chief authors of the failed bill. He now must fend off attacks from Obama, that attempt to stoke doubts that McCain and the Republican Party cannot be trusted to follow through on the immigration issue.
Obama, who took the stage after McCain at Saturday’s convention told the crowd: “[McCain] deserves great credit as a champion of comprehensive reform. I admire him for it, I know that he talked about that when he just spoke before you, but what he didn’t mention is that when he was running for his party’s nomination, he walked away from that commitment. He said that he wouldn’t even support his own legislation if it came up for a vote. If we are going to solve the challenges we face, we can’t vacillate, we can’t shift depending on our politics. You need a president who will pursue genuine solutions day in and day out in a consistent way, and that is my commitment to you.”
The attacks come at a time when Latino support for McCain is sagging. A recent AP-Yahoo poll showed that Obama’s lead among Latinos was 47 to 22 over McCain, with 26 percent undecided.
McCain’s attempts to regain ground on the immigration issue and rebuild ties with the Hispanic community has not gone unnoticed A headline in the Los Angeles Spanish-language daily La Opinion from early last week put it this way “McCain regresa al centro en inmigración.” – McCain returns to the center on immigration.
Saturday’s speech was just the beginning of an intensified effort by McCain to regain ground with Latino voters.. From July 1st to the 3rd, McCain will visit Colombia and Mexico to stress the ties the United States has with Latin America and focus on the shared security and economic concerns.
Unity – or unidad- it seems, might just rival ‘Change’ as a theme in this year’s election.