WHY DO WE CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO – IS IT MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY: THE TRUTH AND HISTORY BEHIND WHAT THIS DAY REALLY MEANS IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN MEXICO

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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It’s almost May 5, 2012, so Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! The day commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Texas born General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Cinco de Mayo is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

Cinco de Mayo in Mexico

Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely triumph occurred, for many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks and stores remain open.

Cinco de Mayo in the United States

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations.

Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s because the day commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla. They identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans over European invaders.

Cinco de Mayo: And It’s Fiesta Time (To find out about the Seven Biggest Cinco De Mayo Parties in the US CLICK HERE

Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Arizona.

Confusion with Mexican Independence Day

Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. That event is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810. The book The Course of Mexican History states “The exact words of this most famous of all Mexican speeches are not known, or, rather, they are reproduced in almost as many variations as there are historians to reproduce them.”The book goes on to claim that “the essential spirit of the message is…

‘My children: a new dispensation comes to us today. Will you receive it? Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen three hundred years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once… Will you defend your religion and your rights as true patriots? Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! Death to bad government! Death to the gachupines!’

Hidalgo’s Grito did not condemn the notion of monarchy or criticize the current social order in detail, but his opposition to the events in Spain and the current viceregal government was clearly expressed in his reference to bad government. The Grito also emphasized loyalty to the Catholic religion, a sentiment with which both Creoles and Peninsulares (native Spaniards) could sympathize; however, the strong anti-Spanish cry of “Death to the Gachupines” (Gachupines was a nickname given to Peninsulares) probably had caused horror among Mexico’s elite.

Cinco de Mayo: The History Behind What this Day Truly Means

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cPhoto: Battle of Puebla

In Mexico, the various factions that fought their civil war had borrowed large sums of money from foreign creditors. The fighting devastated Mexico’s economy, and the country had to suspend payments on its debts. Taking advantage of the relative weakness of the United States during the US Civil War, in December of 1861 the governments of France, Great Britain and Spain landed an allied military force at Vera Cruz to protect their interests in Mexico and to try to collect the debts owed to their citizens. Juárez negotiated with the allies and promised to resume payments, and the British and Spanish troops began to withdraw from Mexico in April, 1862.

source unknown

The French, however, did not withdraw and instead sent reinforcements to their troops in Mexico. At the time France was ruled by Louis Napoleon, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. Louis Napoleon was elected President of France, but after the election he proclaimed himself Napoleon III, Emperor of the French (the British referred to him as “the nephew of the uncle”). While negotiations for the Mexican government to repay its debts were ongoing, the French commander, General Charles Ferdinand Latrille, comte (Count) de Lorencez, advanced on Mexico City from Vera Cruz, occupying the mountain passes which led down into the Valley of Mexico. At this point it became clear that Napoleon III planned to turn Mexico into a colony. The French advance was along a route that had been used several times in the past to conquer Mexico, first by the conquistador Hernan Cortes and most recently by US General Winfield Scott during the Mexican War.

Napoleon III

France declared war on Mexico, and called on those Mexicans who had fought on the side of the Conservative Party in the civil war to join them. Napoleon III planned to turn Mexico into an empire ruled by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Josef von Habsburg, the younger brother of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary.

Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Josef von Habsburg

General Charles Ferdinand Latrille, Count de Lorencez, was the leader of the French forces – the Corps Expéditionnaire – which numbered about 7,300 men. He had been their commander for about two months. He was confident of victory. He boldly proclaimed, “we are so superior to the Mexicans in race, organization, morality, and elevated sentiments that as the head of 6,000 soldiers I am already master of Mexico.” He knew that less than 6,000 US troops – considered poorly trained and disciplined by European officers – had defeated a Mexican Army of 30,000 men under President General Antonio de Santa Anna (Antonio López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón) and taken Mexico City in 1847. General Count de Lorencez had over 1,000 more men than US General Winfield Scott, and the Mexican Army facing the French at Puebla numbered about 6,000 men (the French would later say 12,000) – far less than the army General Scott had defeated.
Left: Napoleon III, Emperor of the French (Chateau de Versailles); Right: Díaz at Puebla - This painting shows one of the critical moments of the Cinco de Mayo battle.  The French assault has begun to break up under the deadly fire of Mexican marksmen from Fort Loreto and the fortified monastery of Guadalupe.  Just then, General Porfirio Díaz appears, leading a detachment of Mexican cavalry in a charge against the dispirited French troops.

Left: Napoleon III, Emperor of the French (Chateau de Versailles); Right: Díaz at Puebla – This painting shows one of the critical moments of the Cinco de Mayo battle. The French assault has begun to break up under the deadly fire of Mexican marksmen from Fort Loreto and the fortified monastery of Guadalupe. Just then, General Porfirio Díaz appears, leading a detachment of Mexican cavalry in a charge against the dispirited French troops.

Furthermore, de Lorencez considered his own French troops far better trained and disciplined than the troops fielded by either the United States or Mexico. In order to make his entry into Puebla as impressive as possible, General Count de Lorencez ordered his troops to apply fresh whitening to their gaiters before the attack.

Texas born General Ignacio Zaragoza on Mexico’s 500 Pesos

The Mexican Army of the East (Ejército de Oriente), under the command of Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862), the vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. General Ignacio Zaragoza, took up positions at the town of Puebla (Puebla de los Angeles). This maneuver blocked the French advance on Mexico City. General Ignacio Zaragoza addressed his troops, telling them, “Your enemies are the first soldiers in the world, but you are the first sons of Mexico. They have come to take your country away from you.” Zaragoza ordered his commanders – Generals Felipe B. Berriozabal, Porfirio Díaz (José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori), Félix Díaz, Miguel Negrete and Francisco de Lamadrid, to occupy the Cerro de Guadalupe, a ridge of high ground dominating the entrance to Puebla, and the five forts which surrounded the town.

Of the forts, the two most prominent were situated on the Cerro de Guadalupe on either side of the road to Mexico City — the fort of Loretto to the right, and the fortified monastery of Guadalupe to the left. These were the positions that General Count de Lorencez ordered the Corps. After a brief artillery bombardment the French began their assault. Caught in a devastating crossfire from the Mexican troops manning the loopholes of the two forts, the French line faltered and then broke. The soldiers of the Corps Expéditionnaire charged the Mexican positions two more times, but each attack was repulsed by the withering musket fire of the Mexican troops. As the beaten French began their retreat, Mexican General Porfirio Díaz, at the head of a troop of cavalry, attacked them. Though badly shot up, the Corps Expéditionnaire was able to retreat in good order. They spent the evening of Cinco de Mayo waiting for an attack which never came. The next day, they began to withdraw back down the road towards Vera Cruz.

When word of the defeat reached Napoleon III, he replaced General Count de Lorencez as commander of the Corps Expéditionnaire with General Elias Frederic Forey, and sent 30,000 troops as reinforcements. The French reaction did little to lessen the shock of the defeat in Europe, and particularly in France. The Mexican Army had proved itself capable of standing up to a first-class European army, and defeating it. The victory of the Cinco de Mayo at Puebla is still celebrated today.

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THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC 100 YEARS LATER: WHO WERE THE HISPANICS ABOARD (MAJORITY WERE 1ST CLASS PASSENGERS)

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

29th April 1912: A crowd await the return of survivors of the ‘Titanic‘ disaster, at Southampton. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images) and FOX News Latino

The ill-fated trip aboard the Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic Ocean 100 years ago today, included a well-to-do Mexican man who had high-level political connections, a rich businessman from Cuba and at least eight passengers from Spain. Some were willing to shell out big bucks to be part of the historic journey, others were onboard because they were servants for the very wealthy. Some survived and even found love amid the wreckage. Others were not so lucky. What strings their lives together is that each of them were passengers of the most famous cruise line in history.

HERE ARE THEIR STORIES:

Mexico

The only Mexican on the Titanic voyage was 39-year-old lawyer, Don. Manuel Ramirez Uruchurtu. Although Uruchurtu was lucky enough to be in first class on the ship, he did not make it out alive. Uruchurtu was part of a well-to-do Mexican family, which allowed him the luxury of studying law in México City where he met and married fellow student Gertrudis Caraza y Landero, a Mexican lady of high social standing. Settling down in México City to establish his law practice, the couple had 7 children. During the time of the Mexican revolution in 1910, Uruchurtu had already established himself in the national political scene of the dictatorship of President Porfirio Díaz which, along with his wealth, made him an automatic target for the revolutionaries. When the former dictator and other former government officials were exiled to France a year following the revolution, Uruchurtu decided to visit his friend General Ramón Corral, who was vice president of Mexico before his exile.

URUCHURTU, Don. Manuel Ramirez
(Lawyer)
Age: 39
Class: 1st Class passenger, boarded in Cherbourg
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico, Mexico
Destination: Mexico City, Mexico
Ticket number: 17601
Travel fare: £27 14s 5d
Died during the sinking, his body —

After visiting with his political friends, Uruchurtu decided to return home to his family. Guillermo Obregón, the son-in-law of Corral, persuaded Uruchurtu to take his ticket on the Titanic’s maiden voyage to return to México. Boarding the ship at Cherbourg in the Normandy region of France on April 10th, Uruchurtu communicated with his family for the last time, sending his brother a telegraph that read “embarcome” (going on board).

April 1912: Survivors of the Titanic disaster boarding a tug from the liner which rescued them. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) and FOX News Latino

In the fatal night that followed, Uruchurtu , a first class passenger, gave up his seat in a lifeboat to an English lady from the second class who was pleading to be let into the boat because her family was waiting for her.In what he knew would be his last moments, Uruchurtu gave up his seat but not before asking the woman to visit his wife in Veracruz, Mexico.

Uruguay

Two passengers from Uruguay were relatives Francisco M. Carrau and José Pedro Carrau, whose relationship, as to if they were uncle and nephew or cousins, is unknown. Francisco was 28 at the time of his death and an active member of the board of directors of one of Carrau & Co., a food distribution company that is one of Uruguay’s largest businesses. Francisco, along with his 17-year-old relative and traveling companion Jose, boarded the Titanic in Southampton England on April 10, 1912. Both men died in the crash although their bodies were never recovered. Other than family legends, little is known about the men and the happenings on their ill-fated voyage.

Name: Mr Ramon Artagaveytia
Born: July 1840
Age: 71 years 9 months
Last Residence: in Buenos Aires Pampas Argentina
Occupation: Businessman
1st Class passenger
First Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17609 , £49 10s 1d
Died in the sinking.
Body recovered by: Mackay-Bennett (No. 22)
Buried: Cemeterio Central Montevideo Uruguay on Tuesday 18th June 1912. photo source: encyclopedia titanica

Ramon Artagaveytia came from a family whose life was the sea. Born in July 1840 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Titanic was not Artagaveytia’s first experience aboard a sinking ship. In 1871, Artagaveytia survived the fire and sinking of the ship America near the shore of Punta Espinillo, Uruguay. Of the 164 passengers, only 65 survived. The experience left Artagaveytia emotionally scarred. However, that did not stop him from traveling. After settling down in Argentina, Artagaveytia traveled to Europe to visit his nephew who was the head of the Uruguayan Consulate in Berlin. But before returning home, Artagaveytia decide to visit the U.S.
Two months before setting sail on the Titanic, Artagaveytia wrote in a letter to his cousin, “At last I will be able to travel and, above all, I will be able to sleep calmly. The sinking of the America was terrible!… Nightmares keep tormenting me. Even in the most quiet trips, I wake up in the middle of the night with terrible nightmares and always hearing the same fateful word: Fire! Fire! Fire!…I have even gotten to the point where I find myself standing in the deck with my lifebelt on…’” The second time, he was not as lucky.

The night of the sinking Titanic, both Artagaveytia and his fellow Uruguayan passengers, Francisco and Jose Pedro Carrau, died. A week later, Artagaveytia’s body was recovered by the MacKay-Bennett. After being transferred to New York, his body was finally laid to rest in Cemeterio Central, in Montevideo on June 18, 1912.

Spain: The Spanish represented the largest percentage of Latino’s on the Titanic voyage

Sisters Asuncion Duran y More, 27, and Florentina Duran y More, 30, boarded the ship in Cherbourg in the Normandy region of France. Both sisters were lucky enough to survive the sinking, rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat 12. After arriving in New York City, the sisters immediately embarked on a voyage to Cuba. While Asuncion’s life after the Titanic is vague, the voyage for her sister proved to be life changing in more ways than one.

photo source: Titanic-Titanic

Florentina found love through the unfortunate event, marrying fellow second class passenger, 26-year-old Chauffeur Julian Padron Manent. The couple lived together in Cuba until Florentina’s death in 1959 at the age of 70. Following Manent’s death in 1968, the couple were buried side by side in an elaborate mausoleum in Colon Cemetery in Havana.

Chauffeur Julian Padron Manent

Speculated traveling companion to Julian Padro Manent and the Duran y More sisters, Emilio Pallas y Castello was a 29-year-old American citizen heading for Cuba. Like his friends, Castello was rescued and lived a long life until his death in 1940.

photo source: encyclopedia titanica John William Thompson, William McIntyre, Emilio Pallas y Castillo are shown in New York after the sinking. Thomas Whiteley was being treated at St. Vincent’s Hospital for a leg injury sustained during the sinking.

Spanish domestic Encarnacion Reynaldo, 28, boarded the Titanic to visit her sister in New York City. And luckily for Reynaldo, she eventually reunited with her sister after being rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat 9.

Victor Peñasco died and was newly wed to María Josefa Pérez de Soto photo source: Gente del Pueblo

Of all 8 Spaniards aboard the titanic, only one, Victor Peñasco y Castellana, did not make it out alive. Left by himself on the ship, Castellana died in the sinking. Victor Peñasco y Castellana, along with his wife Maria Josefa Perez de Soto y Vallejo and her maid Doña Fermina Oliva y Ocana , boarded the Titanic the same day as the Duran y More sisters in Cherbourg. While all were first class passengers, only Maria and her maid were rescued as they were able to be go ashore in lifeboat 8.

Argentina

Brothers Ahmed and William Ali boarded the Titanic in Southampton England. Laborers from Buenos Aires, the two purchased third-class tickets for the voyage. While both lost their lives, only William’s body was recovered. He was buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetry in Halifx, Nova Scotia on May 10, 1912.

photo source: A UMNS web-only photo collage by Kathleen Barry.
All photos are public domain.

Another Argentine, Edgar Samuel Andrew, never intended on boarding the Titanic. Originally from Córdoba, Argentina, Andrew came to the U.S. in 1911 to visit his brother. After traveling to Bournemouth, England to study, Andrew was lured back to the states for his brother’s wedding and the promise of a job at the Harriet White Fisher company in New York. However, when the coal strike forced Andrew to change his ticket from the Oceanic to the Titanic, his future fate was sealed.

photo source: Titanic Project

In a letter to his friend Josey Cowan in Argentina, on April 8, 1912 Andrew wrote, “I am boarding the greatest steamship in the world, but I don’t really feel proud of it at all, right now I wish the ‘Titanic’ were lying at the bottom of the ocean.” Along with a suitcase that was recovered from the wreckage in 2001, Andrew’s letter to Cowan has remained in the family. Somehow foreboding the ship’s fate, Andrew died in the sinking.

Cuba

Servando Jose Florentino Ovies y Rodríguez

Servando Jose Florentino Ovies y Rodríguez, was the sole Cuban aboard the Titanic. The 36-year-old worked in the import business in Havana where he lived with his wife, Eva Lopez del Vallardo and son, Ramon Servando. Although a first-class passenger, Rodríguez was not able to make it out of the sinking alive. After his body was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nova Scotia on May 15, 1912, his wife filed a claim for $75,000 for the loss of his life and $2,800 for the loss of property.

DID FAITH DRIVE TITANIC MUSICIANS

Read more: FOX News Latino

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REMEMBERING JAIME ESCALANTE: “GANAS=DESIRE” MAKE A DIFFERENCE THE ESCALANTE WAY

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

“IF YOU EXPECT CHILDREN TO BE LOSERS, THEY WILL BE LOSERS; BUT IF YOU EXPECT THEM TO BE WINNERS, THEY WILL BE WINNERS!” –JAIME ESCALANTE

A NEWS CLIP FROM 2010 WHEN ESCALANTE PASSED WHICH SHOWS THE IMPACT HE MADE AS A TEACHER IN EAST LA

“‘GANAS =DESIRE + DETERMINATION + DISCIPLINE’ AND THAT’S ALL WE NEED TO LEARN!”

JAIME ESCALANTE

JAIME A. ESCALANTE

Two years ago, on March 30th we lost a pioneering teacher who changed people’s ideas of what children are capable of learning. Many people know about Escalante’s work from the popular movie “Stand and Deliver,” which depicted his success teaching Advanced Placement (AP) calculus classes to students at East Los Angeles‘s Garfield High School.

A CLIP FROM MOVIE “STAND AND DELIVER” THAT DEPICTS A FEW OF JAIME ESCALANTE’S TEACHING METHODS – (Watch how even when students gave him the middle finger he still managed to use it to teach them Math)

Today, the beliefs that all children can learn and every child deserves a quality education have become familiar language in goals set by the Department of Education and school boards across the country. But when Escalante genuinely believed this about the children he was teaching in the late 1970s and early 1980s, people thought he was naïve and crazy. The students at Garfield High were exactly the kind of children other education and policy experts predicted would be left behind. They were largely from poor Mexican American families, and the majority of their parents had not finished grade school. (Sadly, this poor education method of the “Left Behind” system is still being used on a lot of our children.)

When Escalante arrived at Garfield, the school was known for low test scores and a high dropout rate. Most people looked at the students’ backgrounds, their school, and their environment and simply didn’t have high expectations for them. But Jaime Escalante always did. As a result, he was able to teach children who had nothing and who had been “taught” they could do nothing that they were capable of great things. He showed the world that with a good teacher poor and minority children can accomplish wonders. After all, children live up or don’t to expectations of important adults in their lives.

Distributed byMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services click on the LA Times

Escalante’s expectations seemed especially farfetched at first because he wasn’t simply saying he wanted his students to be able to take standard high school math classes and get good grades. His goal, AP calculus, was an elite college preparatory course considered by many to be the most difficult class a student could take in high school. Many affluent public schools still didn’t offer it, and the public and private schools that did often required students to take entrance exams or satisfy other prerequisites to prove they could handle it.
Escalante’s idea that he could offer it at Garfield and make it available to any students willing to do the work flew in the face of most conventional wisdom about testing, tracking, and predicting student success in a challenging course. But his students’ stellar performance on the national standardized AP tests proved his own judgment correct. His simple formula for student success was a good teacher committed to working hard to teach and students committed to working hard to learn–and he demonstrated that student commitment and ability could be developed through the encouragement and reinforcement students received from the hardworking and committed teacher.

photo source tuboston.com

Escalante’s demonstration of the power a single teacher can have to motivate and push students to extraordinary success changed the way many educators viewed student ability and learning. The fact that great teachers like Escalante can teach poor and minority students to soar academically has recently been confirmed in a groundbreaking longitudinal study by Tennessee scholars June Rivers and William Sanders which found the effectiveness of the teacher is the single most important factor in student learning–far overshadowing all other classroom variables, including the ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of the students.

Jaime Escalante teaching. Photo courtesy of Anthony Friedkin from Yahoo Community Immigrant Group

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Many of Escalante’s classroom techniques became models too, like encouraging the class to tackle the material together like a team taking on an opponent (the AP test), and putting in extra time so students could keep working after school and on weekends when necessary. Today, many of the most successful charter schools and other urban classrooms across the country follow in Escalante’s footprints. His commitment to opening up the most challenging classes to more children also revolutionized placement policies in many schools. Escalante understood that success in AP calculus was not an end in and of itself. It gave students the right preparation to take similarly challenging courses in other subjects and was a gateway to college admissions and other future aspirations that didn’t need to be limited to children from “elite” backgrounds. **If he could do it in the 70’s/80’s and his methods were proven successful, then why isn’t every public school following his lead? Why must it be limited it charter schools?***

Teacher Jaime Escalante on K-ABC TV Los Angeles News

There’s still so much work to be done to lift the ceiling so many insecure adults place on children’s aspirations. The most recent data show White students are more than twice as likely as Hispanic students to be enrolled in AP science or AP math, and about three times as likely as Black or American Indian students to be enrolled in AP science or AP math.

The Obama Administration is making the goal of continuing to open up these classes a priority, and its Blueprint for Reform in education specifically supports states’ efforts to improve access to AP tests for low-income students. This is a key part of Jaime Escalante’s legacy. But his most enduring lesson is that all children can learn and excel–as long as they have the right teacher. And we must all stand up and speak up to get the right teachers in the classroom for all our children.

A CLIP OF AN INTERVIEW WITH JAIME ESCALANTE REGARDING HIS PASSION FOR TEACHING

ESCALANTE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED AND HIS LEGACY WILL LIVE ON

Members of Garfield's junior varsity football team touch Escalante's shiny black casket. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Jaime Escalante Jr. with his son Jaime, 9, lower left, enter the classroom of his father, Jaime Escalante, a Bolivian-born American educator, during a memorial service at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles on Friday, Apr. 16, 2010. Escalante, 79, was born Dec. 31,1930, in LaPaz, Boliva and passed away at his home in Roseville, Calif. on March 30. Escalante was the subject of the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver," in which he is portrayed by actor Edward James Olmos.

A STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA

On the same day President Barack Obama (surrounded by the family of Cesar Chavez and leaders of the United Farm Workers that Chavez co-founded) signed a proclamation in the Oval Office designating March 31, 2010, which would have been his 83rd birthday, as Cesar Chavez Day; he also made a statement recognizing Jaime Escalante and his impact in the Latino community. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Jaime Escalante today. While most of us got to know him through the movie that depicted his work teaching inner-city students calculus, the students whose lives he changed remain the true testament to his life’s work. Throughout his career Jaime opened the doors of success and higher education for his students one by one, and proved that where a person came from did not have to determine how far they could go. He instilled knowledge in his students, but more importantly he helped them find the passion and the will to fulfill their potential. Jaime’s story became famous.  But he represented countless, valiant teachers throughout our country whose great works are known only to the young people whose lives they change. Michelle and I offer our condolences to Jaime’s family, and to all those who knew him and whose lives he touched.

Read More: Huffington Post

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CESAR CHAVEZ DAY: REMEMBERING A HISPANIC LEGEND AND ICONIC SAYING “SI SE PUEDE…YES WE CAN”

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

When Barack Obama campaigned to be the nation’s 44th president, he used the simple mantra, “Yes We Can” — a translation of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez‘s chant, “Si se puede.”Nearly four years after the presidential election, Obama’s paying homage to the man whose words helped him win office, decreeing Saturday, March 31st of 2012, the 85th anniversary of the civil rights icon’s birthday, Cesar Chavez Day.

This LA Times photo captures a moment of
friendship between Bobby Kennedy and Chavez
during Chavez's 25-day fast in 1960.

The civil rights leader, who fought for fair wages and humane treatment for California’s farm workers in California, championed principles of nonviolence through boycotts, fasts, and marches. In conjunction with Dolores Huerta, Chavez founded the United Farm Workers of America, an organization devoted to defending the rights of farmhands and field workers across the country.
Earlier this week, the White House honored ten local leaders who “exemplify Cesar Chavez’s core values,” inviting the activists, farmworkers, and professors to speak at a panel called, “Champions of Change,” hosted by HuffPost LatinoVoices blogger, Viviana Hurtado.

On March 10th, 1968, Cesar Chavez breaks his 25-day fast by accepting bread from Senator Robert Kennedy, Delano, California.
Left to right: Helen Chavez, Robert Kennedy, Cesar Chavez Photographer: Richard Darby

One of those “champions” was Rogelio Lona, a a farm worker, activist, and community organizer who worked in the fields of California for more than 47 years.
Unbearable working conditions lead Lona to join UFW in 1972.  “We were treated as slaves, we did not have any representation in society, we were discriminated against and there were neither benefits nor labor protections,” Lona wrote in a blog on the White House website. Lona said that he accepted the award on behalf of all of those working in America’s fields, and was adamant that he will never be done fighting. “Rogelio, the struggle will never end, we must always be prepared,” Lona recalls Chavez telling him.

Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy and Cesar Chavez address the audience at an unknown meeting, possibly on the floor of the United States Senate.

Many of the panelists that spoke on Thursday focused on the importance of placing Cesar Chavez’s legacy in a modern context. A few of the activists said Cesar Chavez’s words should be remembered in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform, the Dream Act, and the on-going struggle to end harsh state immigration laws like those in Arizona and Alabama.

Activists in Tucson, Arizona say that Chavez’s fight against discrimination is especially alive in their city. After the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) banned the city’s Mexican-American studies program, organizers say that the annual Cesar Chavez march would no longer be held at a local high school because of further censorship from the school district.

According to Laura Dent, an organizer of the Arizona Cesar Chavez Holiday Coalition, the TUSD stipulated that there could be no mention to the elimination of Tucson’s Mexican-American studies program in order for it to be held at Pueblo High Magnet School, where it has been held for more than a decade.
“So the Chavez Coalition decided that with that kind of level of censorship, we would just move the staging area of the event,” Dent told NPR.

Viviana Hurtado, the moderator of the White House’s commemorative panel, told The Huffington Post that she was able to chat briefly with Cesar Chavez’s son about what advice his father would give us in a modern context.

Cesar Chavez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union,
with McGovern for President supporters ("Grassroot McGoverners" in the language of the time) marching from the Civic Center to Union Square in San Francisco against Proposition 22 which forbade secondary boycotts.
Fall, 1972.

According to Hurtado, Chavez’s son believes his father would say, “Don’t just be frustrated with the situation ahead of you. Get up and do something. Take action.”

Read More: HUFFINGTON POST

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“TO SELENA WITH LOVE” IS HOW CHRIS REMEMBERS HIS TEJANO STAR & SELENA GOMEZ SINGS “BIDI BIDI BOM BOM”

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

CLIPS OF SELENA’S “DREAMING OF YOU” AND HER LAST CONCERT IN HOUSTON, TX ARE POSTED THROUGHOUT THIS POST


The new book “To Selena, With Love” reveals intimate details about the late Tejano star’s life, but the book’s author – her widower, Chris Perez – doesn’t consider it a “tell-all” kind of book.
“I thought it should be honest, with dignity. I knew there would be things that would make me feel uncomfortable, but I think I wrote the book with respect,” Perez, 42, said in a recent interview.

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT – PART 1 OF 7 – SHE’S INTRODUCED

Perez says the book, released Tuesday, allows him to share his memories of Selena Quintanilla, who was shot and killed on March 31, 1995, two weeks shy of her 24th birthday. The Mexican-American singer was a sensation in the Tejano world with hits such as “Como la flor,” “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “El chico del apartamento 512.” She was on the verge of crossing over when she was killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her fan club.

SELENA’S CONCERT PART 2 OF 7- AMOR PROHIBIDO

“When Selena died, I suppressed the memories, I boxed them away in order to cope. When I decided to write the book, I opened the box and put it all out. It was a beautiful process. It  was a good thing to revisit and I can’t say I fell in love again because I never stopped loving her,” he said.

SELENA’S CONCERT PART 3 OF 7 – TECHNO CUMBIA

Perez met Selena when he became the lead guitarist for Selena y Los Dinos. It was a band formed by Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., and also featured her siblings Suzette and A.B. Quintanilla.

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT PART 4 OF 7 – NO ME QUEDA MAS

Perez confesses that he feels remorse for not protecting his wife. He wonders if things would have been different had he told someone that Selena told him days before her death that Saldivar had shown her a gun. Perez also addresses rumors, including one that Selena was pregnant at the time of her death (she wasn’t).

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT PART 5 OF 7 – BIDI BIDI BOM BOM

The first part of the book talks about their secret love. Their romance started behind her father’s back, as depicted in the 1997 movie starring Jennifer Lopez, “Selena.” Selena’s father was opposed to their relationship and accused Perez of being with his daughter only for her money. Selena’s father only accepted Perez after the couple eloped in 1992. Perez describes his father-in-law as an admirable person whom he still loves and respects. “We had our differences but I love him and respect him like my own father. As a matter of fact, I just went to his studio the other day and I took my kids to see him. We’re still a family,” he said.

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT PART 6 OF 7 – EL CHICO DEL APARTAMENTO 512

 Perez says that music was really a “business” for Selena; her real passion was fashion. “I have pads and pads of sketches,” he said. “Most of the clothes she wore were her own designs.” After Selena’s death, the guitarist, who lives in San Antonio, struggled to cope with his loss but eventually moved on. He formed The Chris Perez Band, which won a Grammy in 1999. He also married Venessa Villanueva in 2001 and the couple had two kids, but they divorced a few years later.

SELENA’S LAST CONCERT PART 7 OF 7 – COMO LA FLOR – WE LOVE YOU SELENA

Selena Gomez named after the late Queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla, who has been gone for 17 years.

The Disney princess tackled the Mexican pop legend Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”—but can her cover hold a candle to the original? “I’m keeping her name alive,” she said proudly. The new Selena featuring Selena duet, “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” from Enamorada de Ti, the upcoming album honoring Quintanilla and boasting other collabos with Samo from Mexican rock band Camila (“Amor Prohibido”), Cristian Castro (“Como La Flor”), Juan Magán (“Enamorada De Ti”), and Don Omar (“Fotos y Recuerdos”).
Selena Gomez tells Abraham Quintanilla, “I’m extremely honored that you thought of me for this. The 73 year old patriarch responded, “I know it’s going to be un éxito.” Enamorada de Ti drops April 3.

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