20120228-110919.jpg photo of Enrique Avila, 14, and 16-year-old brother Mario say school authorities in Gaston County forced them to sign contracts identifying themselves as gang members. (EFE) Photo from Latino FOX News

Gastonia, North Carolina – The U.S. Education Department is investigating a school district in North Carolina for allegedly forcing Hispanic students to sign contracts admitting that they belong to gangs.

At least three Hispanic families confirmed that the local school authorities had accused their kids of being gang members.

Enrique Avila, while a sixth-grader at Bessemer City Middle School, was suspended for 10 days for wearing a rosary that his mother gave him.
Evidently, rosaries are identifying symbols used by certain local gangs.
His brother Mario, then in 10th grade, was also accused by school authorities of having links with the 18 Street gang, and they forced him to sign a contract admitting he was a gang member.

Enrique, now 14, recalled that school authorities said that he had to sign or “we’re going to deport your mom or dad.”

Both students signed the contract without their parents being present.
“How is it possible that they didn’t call and warn me. They forced my sons to sign something without the consent of their parents. They have never had problems and are not gangmembers,” Mario Avila, the boys’ father, told Efe.
A similar situation occurred with the son of Silvia Calixto, Edgar Valentin, whom school authorities also supposed to be a gangmember when last year, at the age of 11, he brought a rosary that his mother had given him to school.

“They took me out of class and the school officials insisted that I belonged to a gang, and said if I didn’t sign the contract they were going to find my mother and deport her to Mexico. I have a little sister and I didn’t want anything to happen to her, and so I agreed and signed it,” Valentin told Efe.
The student said that now the police have him under surveillance, and they continuously check him seeking drugs or weapons, and they blame him for any incident of lack of discipline at the school.

Edgar’s mother, who came to Gastonia seven years ago, said that she feels indignant, since her son was forced to agree that he was a gangmember “when it’s not so” and his situation at school has been “very difficult.”

Byron Martínez, who for the past year has been helping these Hispanic families, told Efe that he learned about the abnormalities when he agreed to be a volunteer for a program and helps young people get out of gangs. That was how he came to know the Ventura family, who is of Honduran origin, in October 2011, when brothers Henry and Bryan faced difficulties at school because of their alleged links with gangs.

Alexandra Ventura, the boys’ mother, who brought her sons to the United States to get them away from gangs in Honduras, told Efe that the problems began when Bryan began going to Bessemer City High School.

“They told me he had to sign the contract or my son could not return to school just because he wore red clothing and gloves. In any case, they expelled him and that day he had to walk five hours to get home,” Ventura told Efe.

She said she did not understand what he signed because the document was in English and although later she was given a copy in Spanish, she did not have an interpreter present, or time to examine it because she got very nervous.

With her other son, Henry, he was marked as a gangmember because he was Bryan’s brother and wore a t-shirt with the signatures of several of his schoolmates.

“I didn’t want Henry to lose a whole year of school like his brother and the contract would serve to help him. I remember that the principal filled in all the information after I signed it and even selected the gang my son (supposedly) belonged to,” Ventura said.

Read more: Story by FOX News Latino

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Dayana Mendoza: Ready To Take Charge on The Celebrity Apprentice

The boardroom is about to get spicy.

Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza will be competing with the likes of Lisa Lampanelli, Debbie Gibson, Penn Jillette, Clay Aiken and Teresa Guidice for the title of The Celebrity Apprentice on the new season premiering this Sunday.

However, fierce competition is nothing new for this Venezuelan beauty.

After beating out hundreds of beautiful women vying for the role of Miss Venezuela in 2007, Mendoza went on to win the coveted role of Miss Universe in 2008.

Donald Trump, who owns The Miss Universe Organization, handpicked Mendoza for the show.

“He’s been a mentor for me, he’s been extremely helpful, and he suggested it would be something great for me to do,” Mendoza said regarding Trump.

Fox News Latino talked with the striking beauty about what we can expect in the 12th season of popular reality show.

In this competition, while the prize may not be a crown, it is something that the winner can share with a lot more people– a $250,000 check to the winner’s charity of choice.

Mendoza says she was ready for this new challenge. “The Miss Universe pageant has definitely taught me how to manage myself when people are trying to kill each other,” she joked.

photo Dayana Mendoza with Jessica Marie Gutierrez creator of the Hispanic Blog

“That’s exactly what happens with the Celebrity Apprentice, we are all fighting for the same goal, although we are all fighting for good,” said the former beauty queen.

Mendoza’s charity is the Latino Commission on AIDS. “I’ve been working with them since the Miss Universe Pageant,” she said.

She says she feels like she can “relate with the part of being a foreigner working in the United States.”

“To hang out with your community, to talk about the same things, in your same language, they made me feel so comfortable, they welcomed me and why wouldn’t I keep working with them when I feel they are my family,” Mendoza said of the organization.

For the first time in Celebrity Apprentice history, there are two Latinas competing for the grand prize, Mendoza and Venezuelan actress Patricia Velasquez.

“I was happy to be there with her, I didn’t know her before the show, but I was lucky to be working with somebody that was really genuine, a hard worker,” but not someone who would “step on anybody’s toes,” Mendoza said.

However someone who was not afraid to step on any toes, amongst other things, was comedian Lisa Lampanelli.

While Mendoza may have a crown she is no Drama Queen. It was comedian Lampanelli who took that title this season by making her mouth “part of her performance” quipped the Venezuelan.

After the Apprentice, Mendoza hopes to keep hosting, something she fell in love with it after hosting the E! Latino show “Relaxed.”

Her advice for anyone looking for success is “appreciating who you really are.” Mendoza said “a lot of people want to be like someone else or look like someone else, its appreciating and loving who you really are” that makes someone stand out.

The new season of The Celebrity Apprentice premieres this Sunday at 9PM EST on NBC.
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LULAC founded

On this day in 1929, the League of United Latin American Citizens, originally called the United Latin American Citizens, was founded at Salón Obreros y Obreras in Corpus Christi, Texas. LULAC is the oldest and largest continually active Latino political association in the United States and was the first nationwide Mexican-American civil-rights organization. It grew out of the rising Texas-Mexican middle class and resistance to racial discrimination. The strength of the organization has historically been in Texas. Over the years LULAC has been a multi-issue organization. It was organized in response to political disfranchisement, racial segregation, and racial discrimination. It responded to bossism, the lack of political representation, the lack of a sizable independent Mexican-American vote, jury exclusion of Mexican-Americans, and white primaries. It also dealt with the segregation of public schools, housing, and public accommodations. The organization has attempted to solve the problems of poverty among Mexican Americans and has sought to build a substantial Mexican-American middle class.

1756 — Lt. Gov. Bernardo de Miranda y Flores of Spanish Texas set out from San Antonio to search for mineral deposits and discovered the Los Almagres silver mine in Llano.


Longoria given hero’s burial

On this day in 1949, the body of Private Felix Longoria of Three Rivers, Texas, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Longoria had died in the Philippines near the end of World War II. When his recovered remains were sent to Three Rivers for burial, the funeral director refused the use of his chapel for a “Mexican.” After action by the American G.I. Forum and Lyndon Johnson, Longoria was buried in Arlington. The affair provided a model case in the Mexican-American struggle for civil rights.

Lone survivor of Bonilla expedition found

On this day in 1599, Jusepe Guitiérrez, the lone survivor of the Bonilla expedition, was found by Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate. Francisco Leyva de Bonilla, a Portuguese captain in the service of Spain, was dispatched in 1594 by Governor Diego de Velasco of Nueva Vizcaya to pursue beyond the frontiers of that state a rebellious band of Indians that had committed acts of theft. Once across the border, Bonilla and his party determined to explore New Mexico and the plains beyond and to search for the fabled treasure of Quivira. They spent about a year at the upper Rio Grande pueblos, making Bove (San Ildefonso) their principal headquarters. They then explored into Arkansas and Nebraska. According to the statement of Gutiérrez, a Mexican Indian who was with the party, Bonilla was stabbed to death after a quarrel with his lieutenant, Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña, who then assumed command. Sometime after the murder, Jusepe and five other Indians deserted the party and retraced their steps toward New Mexico. On the way, four were lost and a fifth was killed. Jusepe was taken captive by Apache and Vaquero Indians and kept for a year. At the end of that period, he made his way to Cicuyé and in 1599 was found at Picuris by Oñate, who secured his services as a guide and interpreter. When Oñate arrived at Quivira in the summer of 1601, he learned that hostile Indians had attacked and wiped out Humaña and nearly all his followers on their return journey, by setting fire to the grass at a place on the High Plains subsequently called La Matanza.

GUTIÉRREZ, JUSEPE (ca. 1572-?). Jusepe Gutiérrez (Jusephe, José, Joseph), a native of Culhuacan, a short distance north of Mexico City, was a Mexican Indian servant of Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña,qv a lieutenant in the illegal expedition of Francisco Leyva de Bonilla.qv Following the murder of Bonilla by Humaña, Jusepe, along with five other Mexican Indians deserted the expedition somewhere on the high plains. Jusepe was captured by a wandering band of Apache Indians and held prisoner for a year. On hearing of the Spaniards in New Mexico he escaped to the Pecos pueblos, where he was found by Juan de Oñateqv at Picuries on February 16, 1599. He guided Oñate to Quiviraqv in 1601. Jusepe was the only known survivor of the Bonilla expedition.

1959: Fidel Castro became the president of Cuba.


Texas adopts constitution

On this day in 1876, citizens of Texas adopted the Constitution of 1876. They ratified it by a vote of 136,606 to 56,652. The document is the sixth constitution by which Texas has been governed since declaring independence from Mexico. Among the longest of U.S. state constitutions, the Constitution of 1876 reflects the earlier influences of Spanish and Mexican rule, the state’s predominantly agrarian nature in the late nineteenth century, and a resurgent Democratic party determined to undo many of the measures implemented by Republican administrations during Reconstruction. Despite having been amended more than 230 times, it remains the basic law of Texas today.

Texas has had six constitutions: the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas, and the state constitutions of 1845, 1861, 1866, 1869, and 1876.

The 1876 constitution, which took effect on February 15, is the current constitution of Texas. Texas’ Constitution is the one of the longest state constitutions in the United States, and one of the oldest still in effect.

Texas (Hispanic) rancher murdered by Mexican troops

Slater, H. D., editor. El Paso Herald (El Paso, Tex.), Ed. 1, Wednesday, February 25, 1914, Newspaper, February 25, 1914; digital images, ( : accessed February 17, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.

On this day in 1914, the body of South Texas rancher Clemente Vergara was found hanging from a tree. Vergara owned a ranch near Palafox. He allowed his horses to graze on an island in the Rio Grande, land that was disputed by the United States and Mexico. Vergara suspected that Mexican soldiers had stolen eleven of his horses from the island. He and a nephew crossed the Rio Grande to meet with several soldiers who called the two men over. Vergara was struck on the head and carried to the Hidalgo garrison, while his nephew escaped and returned to the United States. Vergara’s wife and daughter crossed into Mexico on February 14 and found him severely beaten and jailed in the Hidalgo garrison. The following morning soldiers told the women that he had been taken to Piedras Negras. Texas governor Oscar B. Colquitt and President Woodrow Wilson‘s administration disagreed on how to deal with the situation, with the former advocating the use of Texas Rangers to extradite Vergara’s kidnappers if necessary. On February 16 the commander at Piedras Negras reported that he had ordered Vergara’s release and the return of his horses; however, on February 25 witnesses told American officials that they had seen Vergara’s body hanging from a tree near Hidalgo, and that it had been there since February 15. Vergara’s body was finally “delivered” to his relatives in Texas on March 7. Vergara’s murder outraged Texans and increased tension between Mexico and the United States.


Arizona’s Federico José María Ronstadt Big Businessman

George Wiley Paul Hunt walked from his Phoenix hotel to the Capitol on Feb. 14, 1912 to be sworn in as Arizona’s first governor. The F. Ronstadt Co., Tucson’s leading wagon maker, was so buoyed by the economic prosperity it expected to follow statehood that it announced plans that February to build a new 4,000-square-foot shop. The company’s namesake, Federico José María Ronstadt, had arrived 30 years earlier. His father brought the 14-year old from Mexico to apprentice at a blacksmith shop. Hunt and Ronstadt were among the 200,000 people living in Arizona on that Valentine’s Day 1912 when it became the 48th state. It was a prize Arizonans had hoped for since shortly after President Abraham Lincoln declared Arizona a territory, separate from New Mexico, in 1863. Arizona celebrated its centennial on Feb. 14, 2012. Ronstadt remained both a business and community leader until his death in 1954, and descendants continue that tradition to this day.

Spanish nobleman calls for settlement of Texas

On this day in 1729, the Marqués de Aguayo proposed to the king of Spain that 400 families be transported from the Canary Islands, Galicia, or Havana to populate the province of Texas. Eventually some fifteen families from the Canary Islands came to Texas. The first of the Canary Islanders arrived at Presidio San Antonio de Béxar on March 9, 1731. The immigrants formed the nucleus of the villa of San Fernando de Béxar, the first regularly organized civil government in Texas. Several of the old families of San Antonio trace their descent from the Canary Island colonists.


Spanish language newspaper debuts in San Antonio

On this day in 1913, Ignacio E. Lozano founded La Prensa, a Spanish-language daily newspaper published in San Antonio to address the needs of Mexicans residing temporarily in the United States who wished to follow events in Mexico, which was engulfed in the Mexican Revolution. As the voice of “el Mexico de Afuera” (“Mexico Abroad”), La Prensa linked that community of Mexicans on the outside with the homeland. It provided coverage of Mexican national political events an well as analysis and criticism; it announced activities of Mexican and Mexican-American organizations; and it always reflected admiration and even reverence for Mexico and its people. It sometimes defended Mexicans and Mexican Americans from abuse. Above all, La Prensa promoted and expressed patriotic fervor for the homeland.The paper was sold all over South Texas and in communities of Mexican emigrés elsewhere in the United States and Central and South America.The last issue of La Prensa, by now a bilingual tabloid, was published on January 31, 1963, just two weeks short of the paper’s fiftieth anniversary. 


“Madam Candelaria” dies at age 113

On this day in 1899, Andrea Castañón Villanueva (Madam Candelaria), who claimed to be a survivor of the battle of the Alamo, died at age 113 in San Antonio. She said she had been born in Laredo in 1785, though other sources say she was born at Presidio del Río Grande. She came to San Antonio when she was about twenty-five and married Candelario Villanueva, who she said was her second husband; thereafter she became known as Madam or Señora Candelaria. She was the mother of four children and raised twenty-two orphans. She nursed the sick and aided the poor. She claimed to have been in the Alamo during the 1836 battle and to have nursed the ailing Jim Bowie. Since evidence of survivors is sparse, her claims may never be confirmed, but in 1891 the Texas legislature granted her a pension of twelve dollars a month for being an Alamo survivor and for her work with smallpox victims in San Antonio. Madam Candelaria is buried in San Fernando Cemetery.

Legislature confirms South Texas land grants

On this day in 1852, the Texas legislature confirmed the work of the Bourland Commission, a group of three officials appointed to investigate land claims after the Mexican War. The war’s outcome had brought into question the validity of numerous Spanish and Mexican land grants north of the Rio Grande. Against a complex backdrop that included agitation for making trans-Nueces Texas a separate country, Governor Peter Bell recommended that the legislature appoint a commission to investigate claims. The commission began its business in Laredo in mid-1850 and in February 1852 confirmed 234 grants in five South Texas counties to the original Spanish and Mexican grantees.


Cleveland signs the Dawes Severalty Act

On this day in 1887, in a well-meaning but ultimately flawed attempt to assimilate Native Americans, President Grover Cleveland signs an act to end tribal control of reservations and divide their land into individual holdings.

Named for its chief author, Senator Henry Laurens Dawes from Massachusetts, the Dawes Severalty Act reversed the long-standing American policy of allowing Indian tribes to maintain their traditional practice of communal use and control of their lands.  Instead, the Dawes Act gave the president the power to divide Indian reservations into individual, privately owned plots.  The act dictated that men with families would receive 160 acres, single adult men were given 80 acres, and boys received 40 acres.  Women received no land.

photo of Senator Henry Laurens Dawes

The most important motivation for the Dawes Act was Anglo-American hunger for Indian lands.  The act provided that after the government had doled out land allotments to the Indians, the sizeable remainder of the reservation properties would be opened for sale to whites.  Consequently, Indians eventually lost 86 million acres of land, or 62 percent of their total pre-1887 holdings.

Still, the Dawes Act was not solely a product of greed.  Many religious and humanitarian “friends of the Indian” supported the act as a necessary step toward fully assimilating the Indians into American culture.  Reformers believed that Indians would never bridge the chasm between “barbarism and civilization” if they maintained their tribal cohesion and traditional ways. J.D.C. Atkins, commissioner of Indian affairs, argued that the Dawes Act was the first step toward transforming, “Idleness, improvidence, ignorance, and superstition… into industry, thrift, intelligence, and Christianity.”

In reality, the Dawes Severalty Act proved a very effective tool for taking lands from Indians and giving it to Anglos, but the promised benefits to the Indians never materialized.  Racism, bureaucratic bungling, and inherent weaknesses in the law deprived the Indians of the strengths of tribal ownership, while severely limiting the economic viability of individual ownership.  Many tribes also deeply resented and resisted the government’s heavy-handed attempt to destroy their traditional cultures.

Despite these flaws, the Dawes Severalty Act remained in force for more than four decades.  In 1934, the Wheeler-Howard Act repudiated the policy and attempted to revive the centrality of tribal control and cultural autonomy on the reservations.  The Wheeler-Howard Act ended further transfer of Indian lands to Anglos and provided for a return to voluntary communal Indian ownership, but considerable damage had already been done.


Seguin Incorporates

On this day in 1853, the town of Seguin was officially incorporated. This South Texas seat of Guadalupe County saw settlement as early as the 1830s, and founders originally called the site Walnut Springs before changing the name to Seguin in honor of Tejano revolutionary and Texas Republic senator Juan Nepomuceno Seguín in 1839. The town enjoyed a rich agricultural landscape and ample water resources thanks to the nearby Guadalupe and San Marcos rivers and Cibolo and Geronimo creeks. Its original schoolhouse, built in 1850, was still used for educational purposes well over 100 years later, when the state recognized the structure as the oldest continuously used school building in Texas. Texas Lutheran College relocated to Seguin in 1912, and the town’s economy experienced a major upswing with the discovery of oil in the nearby Darst Creek fields in the late 1920s. Throughout the twentieth century the community supported agricultural, oil-based, and manufacturing interests. In 2000 Seguin had a population of 22,011.

1883 — Birthday of Jessie Marion Koogler McNay, whose willed her estate and Spanish colonial mansion to found the first modern art museum in San Antonio.

1959: The United States recognizes Fidel Castro as head of Cuba


Frenchman, considered a troublemaker by the Spanish, dies in prison

On this day in 1756, Joseph Blancpain, a French trader whose activities in Texas heightened bad feeling between France and Spain in the middle of the eighteenth century, died in prison in Mexico City. Blancpain had been arrested in 1754 by Spanish army lieutenant Marcos Ruiz for unauthorized trading with Indians, to whom he was evidently furnishing firearms. The Spanish authorities believed him to be an agent for the French government. As a result of Blancpain’s activities the king of Spain ordered that any Frenchman found in Spanish territory would be imprisoned.

1899: US Congress ratified the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War

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The Hispanic Blog by Jessica Marie Gutierrez


In a ceremony held on Monday at the White House, President Barack Obama awarded the National Humanities Medal to nine honorees. Among them were two Latino academics, Professors Teófilo Ruiz and Ramón Saldívar.

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The number of Latino workers in the United States continues to rise every decade, according to a new study released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS study expects Hispanics to account for 74 percent of the growth in the nation’s labor force over the next ten years.

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powered by Influential Access – “Transforming the Ordinary to EXTRAordinary!” – CEO – Jessica Marie Gutierrez – Creator of The Hispanic Blog #thehispanicblog



powered by Influential Access – “Transforming the Ordinary to EXTRAordinary!” – CEO –  Jessica Marie Gutierrez – Creator of The Hispanic Blog

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