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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JOSE HERNANDEZ ALLOWED TO RUN AS ASTRONAUT ON BALLOT

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

A judge ruled that the former space shuttle astronaut can list his old occupation on the ballot. (Facebook.com/joseforcongress)

California congressional candidate José Hernández (D) will be able to call himself an “astronaut” when his name appears on the ballot, a judge ruled Thursday.

The ability of the former astronaut, who flew on a space shuttle mission, to list that profession on the ballot was challenged by a law firm with ties to Republicans in a state court this week. Judge Lloyd Connelly dismissed the firm’s argument that “astronaut” not appear on the ballot because it had not been Hernández’s primary profession for over a year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I was never in doubt that I would be able to use astronaut on my ballot,” Hernández said in a statement. “I am glad that common sense prevailed and we were able to defeat this lawsuit and get back to talking about real issues.”

Hernández, who is challenging freshman Rep. Jeff Denham (R), publicly called attention to the suit this week. In an interview with Univision News, the ex-astronaut said it made him “flabbergasted,” blaming it on his opponents who felt threatened by his personal background.

“I’ve heard in reports that they probably did some type of polling and they found that referring to me as what my career was last, which was an astronaut — that they probably didn’t do too well. So they are throwing everything including the kitchen sink at us,” said Hernández.

Denham had no official role in the suit, but the law firm that brought the suit to court, Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk, has been paid by the congressman’s campaigns in the past for legal services.

The firm criticized the ruling in a statement to the Times.

“Allowing a candidate out of nowhere to use the profession of ‘astronaut’ when he hasn’t served in that profession recently, is akin to allowing someone to use a title of ‘sailor’ when they no longer own or operate a ship,” spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns said in a statement.

READ MORE: UNIVISION NEWS

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IS PEREZ HILTON ON UNIVISION’S “EL GORDO Y LA FLACA?”

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

photo: celebritytwits.com

Famous blogger for celebrities Perez Hilton will be part of the entourage for Univision’s program “El Gordo y la Flaca,” the network announced Wednesday.Every Thursday, Hilton will have a segment from California on the show to report on the latest gossip and buzz concerning Hollywood stars.

Hilton – whose real name is Mario Lavandeira – was born in Miami to Cuban parents and is one of the key bloggers for the entertainment industry. His online work arouses among his fans all sorts of feelings – except indifference – and his blog gets an average of 200 million visits per month.

Hilton recently got his first acting role in Spanish, playing the part of a “paparazzo’s guru” who gives advice to the protagonist of the MTV Latin America telenovela “Popland.”Lavandeira studied drama in college and has appeared in drama series including “The Sopranos,” and as himself in reality shows like “Double Exposure” and “Holly’s World.” EFE

Check Out Blogger Perez Hilton & His New Segment on “El Gordo y la Flaca”

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WAS NANCY PELOSI IN TEXAS?

THE HISPANIC BLOG BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, center with microphone, jestures to Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, from the left, and is also joined by congressional candidate Joaquin Castro, state senator Leticia Van de Putte, Mayor Julian Castro at a breakfast rally for Joaquin at Avenida Guadalupe’s El Progreso Hall, Saturday, February 18, 2012 in San Antonio. Photo: J. Michael Short , SPECIAL TO THE EXPRESS-NEWS / THE SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

PELOSI STUMPS FOR JOAQUIN CASTRO

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi whipped up a crowd of party faithful Saturday morning on the city’s West Side, stumping for state Rep. Joaquín Castro, who is running to replace Congressman Charlie Gonzalez. Gonzalez is retiring at the end of his term after 14 years in Washington, D.C. Pelosi praised Gonzalez and his father, the iconic Henry B. Gonzalez, whom she served alongside as a newly elected congresswoman on the House banking committee. The senior Gonzalez “stood up for the consumers of America on that banking committee,” she said to raucous applause from the 200 or so who turned out for the invitation-only breakfast at Progresso, across the street from the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. It was the first stop for Pelosi, who will spend part of the weeklong House recess in South Texas.

She heads next to Laredo for the annual Washington’s Birthday celebration there. On Monday, she’ll speak at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M, at the invitation of the 41st president. On Friday, Pelosi was one of 293 House members who voted to extend the payroll tax cut to 160 million American workers. The extension was not offset by spending cuts, which Republicans had earlier insisted on. The successful vote was widely seen a coup for Democrats, as well as President Barack Obama‘s re-election bid.

Pelosi also came out swinging earlier in the week after a House panel on religious liberty and birth control included no women. The two who testified at a later hearing were both critical of the administration’s birth control mandate. Capitalizing on widespread outrage, Pelosi urged Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee supporters to sign a petition “to demand that women be allowed at the table when discussing women’s health issues.” The DCCC hoped to get 50,000 signatures before Congress left town Friday; it got almost twice that, according to the Huffington Post. But Pelosi stuck to local themes at Saturday’s event, telling the crowd she was personally as well as politically glad to be in South Texas.

“The Hispanic community in particular has made America more American,” she said to rapturous applause.

She recalled working 30 years ago in California with another icon of the Hispanic civil rights movement, Willie Velasquez, founder of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, and warned the crowd not to be complacent this election.

“We have to have a big turnout,” she said, so that when Castro steps foot on the floor of the House, he does so with overwhelming support.

Charlie Gonzalez, who got his own standing ovation, said he’d been “hanging around” with Castro over the past few weeks, both here and in Washington.

“Of course I’m endorsing him,” he said. “And when you support Joaquin Castro, you support Nancy Pelosi returning as speaker of the House.”

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Pelosi-stumps-for-Castro-3341552.php#ixzz1mo7DLIYV

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WHAT IS OBAMA PROMISING HISPANICS FOR HIS SECOND TERM?

THE HISPANIC BLOG BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Obama pitches unfinished business for second term

President Obama is greeted by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and California Attorney General Kamala Harris upon his arrival at San Francisco International Airport. photo from Associated Press.

President Barack Obama sought on Thursday to stoke enthusiasm in California about his 2012 re-election drive, saying he wanted another chance to overhaul immigration and tackle climate change with a second term. At a series of fundraisers in San Francisco, the Democrat acknowledged he has had a tough first three years in office and asked supporters to summon the energy to mobilize for him again to complete unfinished business on his agenda.

“We’re going to have to be as focused as we were in 2008,” he said, joking that it was “not as trendy” to support him now as when he first emerged as a presidential candidate, but also noting the economic downturn has dampened spirits. “We’ve gone through three tough years and so people want to hope, but they’ve been worn down by a lot of hardship,” he told 70 people who paid $35,800 each to attend a dinner that included a live performance from soul singer Al Green.

He said his second-term to-do list included making sure health care and Wall Street reforms were fully implemented, continuing to bolster education and scientific research, and advancing U.S. oil, gas and clean energy production. He also pitched items of interest but left unattended in his first term, including addressing the large numbers of undocumented workers in the United States and facing down global warming.

Read More: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/17/usa-obama-fundraising-idUSL2E8DH0D120120217

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