Sí se puede! Immigrants and allies march for immigrant rights

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in south Minneapolis, about 400 Latino immigrants and their families, students, and members of the activist community marched for immigrant rights on February 16.Chanting “Sí se puede” and carrying banners that read “No human being is illegal” and “We are all immigrants in the struggle,” the marchers walked several blocks from the corner of Chicago and Lake to the Walker Community Church as a response to immigration proposals presented by Governor Pawlenty January 7. Pawlenty’s immigration proposals include an end to what he calls sanctuary cities in the state, targeting ordinances in Minneapolis and St Paul that say local government employees, including police, do not enforce federal immigration laws. Pawlenty also called for review of all drivers licenses and identification cards already issued by the state, and training in federal immigration enforcement for local and state police, who would work alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Employers would be required to re-verify workers social security numbers through a national electronic program called e-Verify, and would be fined $5,000 for hiring undocumented workers. Public Meeting to Plan May Day 2008
WHAT: A public meeting of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition (MIRAC) to begin planning for this year’s May Day immigrant rights activities and mobilizations. Continue Reading

Navidad lejos de casa: Christmas away from home

‘In Mexico, when I was with my parents and my children, we had wonderful Christmas. Even when we didn’t have much to eat –just beans and vegetables; even when we didn’t have money for buying gifts. We had parties with our neighbors. They’d bring tostadas, atole and tamales. We had a nativity scene. Continue Reading

Gang leaders, undocumented immigrants and hot salsa singers: Latinos in the media

The Minnesotano Media Empowerment Project reports on Minnesota media portrayal of Latinos and how close it comes to the Hollywood stereotypes. What do gang leaders, undocumented immigrants, and hot salsa singers have in common? This is the way that Hollywood portrays Latinos in movies and television. Unfortunately, this is also the way that Latinos are usually portrayed in the media. As a result, this is increasingly, the damaging way in which Latinos see ourselves and the way the rest of the population see us. Continue Reading

Teatro del Pueblo: Facing Latino community issues through theater

It’s a story that’s been repeated over and over again: Impoverished Mexicans leave their country in search of a better life in the United States, only to find humiliations and mistreatment in exchange for a meager wage at backbreaking jobs. When these workers learn their rights and try to organize, they start to receive threats from their employers, including the threat of deportation. This is the story of Help Wanted, a play written by Virginia McFarlen and directed by Alberto Justiniano, that Teatro del Pueblo has been bringing to colleges and community theaters throughout Minnesota. Help Wanted tells the true story of two Mexican sisters who, together with their co-workers, organize to fight for better working conditions at their Minneapolis hotel while they confront threats of deportation. The struggle and triumph of the Holiday Inn Express workers, upholding the right to organize without intimidations, became a watershed victory in the history of the labor movement. Continue Reading

The day the music stopped in Worthington: Dia de la Hispanidad

On September 16, police action stopped a Latino celebration of Mexican and Central American Independence Day in Worthington, though organizers had a permit for the party in Chautauqua Park. The event—and the debate that followed—highlighted continuing tension between new and old residents, as well as efforts to work together. About 500 people from Worthington’s Latino community gathered in Chautauqua Park September 16, to celebrate Mexican and Central American Independence Day as part of the Hispanic Heritage Month. On a beautiful sunny day, children and parents enjoyed food and family-friendly activities, with many dancing to Latin music of three bands invited to perform. Minnesota State Senator Patricia Torres Ray, DFL Minneapolis, invited to share with the community, came ready to give them her support. Continue Reading

Marking Hispanic Heritage Month

From official proclamations to ‘Ugly Betty,’ from ‘Hispanic’ to ‘Latino,’ who is celebrating what? “It most be Hispanic month again,” I thought a few days ago, when after turning on the tube there was a documentary about the history of Latino portrayals in movies and television. As a Latina living in Minnesota, I’m always excited to see this kind of program. The documentary showed how Latinos in the entertainment industry have come a long way from Carmen Miranda films in the 1950’s to America Ferrara’s “Ugly Betty” today. In the United States we measure both the advancement of a population and their acceptance by the rest of society, by how they are portrayed on TV and movies. Continue Reading