La Casa Blanca se puso ayer de ejemplo del crisol de culturas que nutre a EE.UU., al divulgar un vídeo en el que narra las historias de una decena de empleados de la mansión presidencial, tanto inmigrantes como hijos de extranjeros.
El vídeo, de casi tres minutos y colgado en YouTube, fue divulgado en unos momentos en que el pleno del Senado analiza la mayor reforma migratoria en Estados Unidos desde 1986.
Tanto el presidente Barack Obama como el resto de funcionarios de alto rango de su Administración han venido presionando al Congreso a que apruebe este año una reforma integral que permita la legalización de los once millones de indocumentados en este país.
“La Casa Blanca como un crisol de culturas. Estados Unidos es una nación de inmigrantes y la Casa Blanca, como casi todas las oficinas estadounidenses, está llena de empleados cuyas historias comenzaron en países de todo el mundo”, señala la Casa Blanca en un correo electrónico enviado a la prensa.
Agregó que la Casa Blanca produjo este vídeo para que algunos de esos empleados pudiesen “compartir sus propias historias de inmigración, y explicar por qué piensan que es tan importante corregir nuestro maltrecho sistema de inmigración de una vez por todas”.
El vídeo incluye declaraciones de un total de 13 empleados de la Casa Blanca, tanto de algunos que emigraron de países como Polonia, India, la República Dominicana, las Filipinas, Argentina, Irán y Pakistán, como de otros cuyos padres provienen de naciones como Italia, México, Portugal y China.
Todos ellos fueron identificados únicamente por su primer nombre y todos coincidieron en que la inmigración ha sido y seguirá siendo una fuente de revitalización del país.
“Creo que lo que está en juego acá es que tenemos que asegurarnos de que nuestras acciones continúan reflejando nuestros ideales y que seguimos siendo un lugar de oportunidades y de esperanza para el resto del mundo”, explicó Namrata, nacida en la India.
Por su parte, Leandro, de origen dominicano, señaló que la gente “sigue arriesgando su vida para llegar acá porque obviamente tienen una pasión por algo, y creen que aún pueden cumplir sus sueños”.
Mientras, Fernando, de padres mexicanos, afirmó que los inmigrantes y sus hijos aportan al país “distintas ideas, distintas culturales, distintas razones” que lo fortalecen.
A la par de estas historias, el vídeo también incluye imágenes de ceremonias de naturalización, de la Estatua de la Libertad, y tomas en blanco y negro de barcos provenientes de Europa en Ellis Island.
Además invita al público a que comparta sus propias historias relacionadas con la inmigración a través de la página web de la Casa Blanca.
El Senado inició esta semana el segundo día de debate sobre una reforma migratoria integral que, entre otros elementos, fortalece la seguridad fronteriza, aumenta las visas para extranjeros con altas destrezas laborales, y permite la legalización y eventual ciudadanía de la población indocumentada.
Para convertirse en ley, la versión que salga del Senado tendrá que ser armonizada con la que apruebe la Cámara de Representantes, que prevé presentar y debatir su propia versión en cuestión de semanas.
Despite its doors being open for more than a year, “The Hook Up” in Montebello recently held an official grand opening ceremony in hopes of drawing attention to the services the center offers to low-income families, students, veterans and the homeless.
Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Centro de Montebello Conecta a Residentes y Veteranos con Recursos
Esperanza Ortega, one of the founders of the nonprofit organization, told EGP that the resource center has seen an increase in clientele since first opening on Whittier Boulevard in March of 2012. The jump in inquiries from the local community convinced them to hold the May 30th ribbon cutting ceremony as a way to invite more people to come in and see what they are all about.
“A lot of people are noticing us but sometimes they don’t know what “The Hook Up” means,” Ortega said. “Every time they see ‘the hook up’ [sign] they think we are like Match.com [dating website].”
Although the small Internet café and resource center did recently host a wedding reception for a homeless couple to help them avoid being sent to separate shelters, Ortega said the center does not focus on “hooking up people that way.”
Instead the center hooks up the community by helping people with their resumes, holding weekly community food distributions, providing clothes and toiletries to those in need and helping veterans fill out paperwork. Students also stop by the small office space to do their homework, get tutoring or use the center’s computers to print out their work.
“When the individual walks in, depending on their needs, we are able to provide them with services or send them to the right agency” for help, Ortega said. “This is like their first stop and we don’t charge them for anything.”
The center originally opened its doors in response to the Occupy Movement at East Los Angeles College where Ortega and her friend Angie Rincon became aware that there are many students who are struggling or homeless. The two couldn’t afford to open a homeless shelter so they opened The Hook Up and decorated it with donated paint and furniture off the streets.
The suicide of Ortega’s 24-year old nephew, a marine who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), led her to become interested in providing services to veterans and more recently helping people understand the psychological disorders veterans face when they return from serving in the military.
“When we first opened we started by focusing on our students but now we’re really focusing on our veterans,” Ortega said.
The nonprofit hopes to create awareness of PTSD by creating a program that will educate children and employers on the mental health issue.
“We’re trying to create a resource that provides answers,” Ortega explained.
This Saturday organization is hosting its first annual walk/bike event at the Santa Fe Dam to raise money for the PTSD program. Registration to walk or bike is $10. The event will also include a variety of vendors selling food and other goods, as well as live music and Aztec dance performances; participation in those activities is free of charge.
The center does not currently receive any government funding for its services, all of which are provided for free and made possible through donations they receive from the community and sponsors. The staff is made up of Ortega, her husband William Valenzuela and volunteers, which keeps the overhead costs, much of which comes out of the couple’s pockets, to a minimum.
Ortega says she and her husband made the choice to cut back on their personal lifestyle after seeing the number of families who rely on their food distribution jump from 20 to 52.
“There’s a need here in the community,” Ortega said. “Despite the economy improving, a lot of families are struggling.”
For more information about The Hook Up and the services they offer, call (323) 516-6382.
La famosa chef Jackie Salas hará una demostración culinaria en el centro de jubilados de Commerce el 26 de junio, el público esta invitado.
La demostración da inicio a un serie de eventos educativos gratuitos en cinco estados, que ofrecerá a los hispanos la oportunidad de aprender acerca del Medicare y como cuidar su salud mejor.
Durante la demostración, Salas dará consejos de alternativas nutritivas para preparar adaptaciones saludables a los platillos y postres, como la ensalada de pasta fría con frutas y vegetales, arroz con pollo, y arroz con leche.
UnitedHealthcare organiza la demostración y lanza la serie de seminarios educativos nacionalmente el 26 de junio con el propósito de ayudar a mejorar la salud y el bienestar de los beneficiarios hispano-americanos, de acuerdo a un comunicado de prensa.
Durante los seminarios, los beneficiarios de Medicare aprenderán más acerca del programa y sus opciones de cobertura de atención de salud.
La demostración de cocina será el miércoles 26 de junio a las 1 p. m. en City of Commerce Senior Center, ubicado en 2555 Commerce Way Commerce, CA 90040.
Santa Monica College graduates and their families, along with administrators and faculty, paused for a moment of silence during commencement ceremonies Tuesday to remember the victims of a shooting rampage that ended in the college’s library.’
The momentary pause added a touch of grief to the otherwise joyous celebration at the Corsair football field.
“Our students and employees of Santa Monica College have shown great courage and heroism during these difficult five days,” SMC President Chui L. Tsang said at the beginning of the ceremony. “We have come together as a community to heal and to pay homage to the victims.”
He also said the college was paying tribute “by drawing from this exercise to find strength in our sadness and to turn our anger into action for positive changes in this world.”
“In memory of the victims of Friday’s tragedy, let us please stand and observe a moment of silence.”
The graduates and other attendees all stood and paused in remembrance before the ceremony continued.
Students returned to the campus amid heightened security Monday to continue taking final exams, while counselors were on hand to speak with anyone still distraught by Friday’s violence, which claimed five lives, plus the gunman’s.
A vigil was held Monday evening in front of the SMC campus library and on the football field.
USC President C.L. Max Nikias was among those speaking at the graduation ceremony. Nikias himself is no stranger to campus violence. His campus was the scene of a shooting that injured four people during a Halloween party in October, and two USC graduate students from China were shot and killed in a shooting outside the campus in April of 2012.
Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson from St. Monica’s Church told the students and crowd that the ceremony should be a “a night of great joy, and no one should or could take that from you.”
“But that joy tonight needs to touch the pain and the struggle and the loss of those victims in our city,” he said. “And equally important, that pain and that loss needs to touch our joy, our celebration, our blessing tonight. And so my sisters and brothers, we stand together united in our grief, our fears and our inability to understand this reckless violence. As we strive to console each other we realize that we are one community. Perhaps the greatest legacy of all from these victims, from this great tragedy, is the unity that it has brought us.”
Authorities have identified the gunman blamed for last week’s violence as John Zawahri, who would have turned 24 Saturday. He was shot and killed by police in the campus library Friday.
The victims were identified as the gunman’s father, Samir Zawahri, 55; his brother, Christopher Zawahri, 24; Marcela Dia Franco, 26, who died Sunday; her father, Carlos Franco, 68; and Margarita Gomez, 68, who was seen regularly on campus collecting recyclables from trash cans.
Marcela Franco wanted to be a clinical psychologist. When her school, Cal State Dominguez Hills, couldn’t provide the units she needed to graduate in the fall, she decided to take the courses at Santa Monica, where her father worked for 22 years as a groundskeeper. She and her father were leaving the campus after purchasing books for her classes when they were shot Friday.
The young woman was surrounded by family members when she died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Sunday, according to the hospital. Her father was killed instantly as the two were shot in his red SUV as they drove out of a college parking lot near 20th and Pearl streets.
One shooting victim, identified as Debra Fine, was in good condition and released from the hospital Saturday night.
The killing spree began about a mile from the SMC campus around midday Friday, when fire broke out at a home near Yorkshire and Kansas avenues, and the bodies of Samir and Christopher Zawahri were found inside.
The gunman then carjacked a woman, who told reporters that the man ordered her to drive him to SMC. He made her stop at various points on the way, where he fired randomly at people and vehicles, including a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus.
He eventually got out of the woman’s car and ran onto the campus and into the library, where he was killed by police.
Investigators were still working Wednesday to determine what triggered the rampage. Court records showed that Zawahri’s parents went through a bitter split in the late 1990s that included a request by his mother, 54-year-old Randa Abdou, for a restraining order against his father.
The Santa Monica College Foundation has set up a pair of memorial funds to benefit the Franco and Gomez families. Donations can be made online at www.foundation.smc.edu/FrancoMemorial or www.foundation.smc.edu/GomezMemorial .
Donations can also be mailed to the Santa Monica College Foundation, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, 90405.
Sgt. Richard Lewis of the Santa Monica Police Department said there have been seven homicides in Santa Monica so far this year, compared with just one last year. The most recent occurred Tuesday less than a mile from the SMC campus, where two of Zawahri’s victims were fatally shot.
“…Our investigators are working hard to solve these crimes and I expect to have good news for everyone shortly,” Lewis said
After two key and highly symbolic procedural votes, the Senate on Tuesday cleared the way for the formal discussion of a comprehensive immigration reform bill that if passed could create a path to legalization and eventual citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who entered the country illegally or have overstayed their visas.
The Senate approved two key motions to get the debate started. Earlier that same day, during a ceremony at the White House, President Barack Obama urged Congress to pass the immigration reform by the end of summer.
The first measure, which required at least 60 votes to block obstruction attempts by detractors, was approved 82-15. The second, which opens the door to the debate, won 84-15.
“The passage of comprehensive immigration reform would be good for national security, it would be good for the economy,” said Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In the next three weeks, the Senate will debate hundreds of amendments aimed at modifying the immigration bill approved 13-5 by the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 21 following three weeks of debate that added some 136 amendments to the bill now 1,076 pages long.
Reid said he wants the final vote to take place before the July 4th Independence Day holiday.
Among those who voted in favor of the debate were Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida, all members of the “Gang of Eight”—the bipartisan group that drafted the bill since January, and presented it in April.
The other Republican senator from Arizona, John McCain, also a member of that group, was not present because he had returned from Germany the night before and had a prior commitment that day in New York, but “if he had been, of course he would have voted in favor,” his office told Efe.
Also voting yes was Republican Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who explained that he supports discussing amendments to improve the plan because, in his view, the initiative requires “major changes” to become law.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn also voted for the debate, but is already promoting an amendment that prioritizes border security before legalization. He wants to increase funding for surveillance on the border and to hire 10,000 more Border Patrol agents.
Among Republicans who voted against the debate are Senators Jeff Sessions and Shelby, both of Alabama, and Ted Cruz, of Texas.
Cruz said he believed it would be approved in the Senate by a substantial margin, but would fail in the House of Representatives without amendments that strengthen it.
Tuesday’s votes were very symbolic because they demonstrated the willingness of both sides of immigration reform to debate the issue.
If approved, it would be the largest U.S. immigration reform effort approved since 1986 when the status of three million undocumented immigrants was legalized.
Hours before the debate in the Senate, Obama urged Congress to pass a “common sense” immigration reform.
“So my administration has done what we can on our own. And to truly deal with this issue, Congress needs to act,” Obama said during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, accompanied by political, business, labor, religious and public safety leaders, as well as undocumented students who would benefit from the reform.
The initiative establishes strengthening border security; a 13-year period for the legalization and eventual citizenship process for undocumented immigrants; sanctions on companies that knowingly hire workers “without papers”, a “guest workers” program and an increase in “H-1B” visas for highly educated foreigners.
The version that leaves the Senate will have to be harmonized with the version from the House of Representatives, which has not yet been presented. Passage in the House is expected to be even more difficult, and some observers are already predicting efforts there to be a failure,
One of the main points of contention is Republican demands for border security guarantees before any level of legalization is granted.
Republicans Sessions, Cornyn and Charles Grassley (Iowa) have complained that the promoters of the Senate’s bill have not engaged in serious discussions about border security and that the initiative does not guarantee that there will be no future illegal immigration.
Rubio, one of the bill’s backers who is considered key to gaining the support of the Conservatives, said the measure increases funding for resources and personnel on the southern border.
“I refuse to accept the idea that the most powerful country in the world, that put a man on the moon, is unable to enforce our border,” Rubio said.
Thousands of people took part in the 43rd Annual Gay Pride Parade Sunday in West Hollywood, including for the first time in the parade’s history a delegation from the California National Guard led by its Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, who marched alongside Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), the first openly gay person elected speaker.
“Several of the Guardsmen marching … are gay and were marching openly for the first time as members of the Armed Forces,” Pérez said in a statement released following the parade.
In another first, the California National Guard also had a recruiting booth at the Pride Festival following the parade.
“We are a performance-based force, and one’s sexual orientation shouldn’t affect their ability to serve and excel,” said Maj. Gen. Baldwin. “Duty to one’s state and nation – not sexual orientation – is the defining trait of our soldiers and airmen.”
Con el fin de promover el Día de la Concientización de la Salud Masculina, el Instituto de Envejecimiento USC Edward R. Roybal en USC School of Social Work el sábado 22 de junio presentará una feria de salud que destacará una exhibición de automóviles clásicos de Imperials Car Club.
La invitada honoraria y co anfitriona del evento es la Congresista Lucille Roybal-Allard, de acuerdo al comunicado de prensa del 10 de junio.
“El Instituto Roybal se enorgullece de acoger una feria de salud que ofrecerá exámenes gratuitos e información educativa proporcionada por nuestros socios de USC y las organizaciones de salud sin fines de lucro locales como un servicio a los hombres y a sus familias en el área de Los Ángeles. Junto con Imperials Car Club, compartimos el objetivo común de mantener a nuestras familias saludables,” dijo William Vega, profesor decano y director ejecutivo del USC Roybal Institute.
De acuerdo con el comunicado de prensa, en Estados Unidos, los hombres mueren a un ritmo mayor que las mujeres, de las 10 causas principales de muerte. Del mismo modo, 1 de cada 2 hombres en comparación con 1 de cada 3 mujeres será diagnosticado con cáncer en su vida. Los hombres son también un 24 por ciento menos probables de haber visitado a un médico en el último año. En términos de índice vital, los hombres estadounidenses viven cinco años menos que las mujeres en los Estados Unidos (77 años comparado con 82 años). Además, los estudios indican que los hombres latinos se enfrentan a más problemas de salud crónicos como la hipertensión y la diabetes que la población general de Estados Unidos.
El evento del 22 de junio esta orientado a todas las edades y a las familias. Además de los coche lowrider clásico en exhibición, habrá música en vivo y actividades para niños y una variedad de exámenes de salud.
“Esperamos que esta feria para la conciencia de la salud de los hombres se convierta en algo positivo para la comunidad, en especial para la comunidad latina”, dijo Tomás Vázquez, presidente de the Imperials Car Club. “Estamos muy contentos de asociarnos con USC. Es un verdadero honor”.
La feria de salud será 10am a 3pm en el USC University Park Campus, en Los Ángeles. Para obtener más información visite http://roybal.usc.edu/imperials.html
Just in time for Fathers Day, First 5 LA is reminding the public that father’s “really do matter” and it’s important for them and other caregivers to get more involved in the lives of their children.
And not just when they are older, but starting before they are even born, according to First 5, an organization focused on financing health, education and child development programs for children ages zero to five years and their families in Los Angeles County.
Research shows that an active father figure can have a significant positive impact on the physical, behavioral and emotional wellbeing of a child; results that are seen in higher academic achievement and greater professional success, according to First 5 LA.
On the other hand, the research also indicates that a father’s absence can have negative lifelong results, such as higher rates of poverty, school dropouts, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, crime and depression.
Mothers may have a physical connection with their children before fathers, but it’s just as vital for fathers to bond with their child from the very beginning, says First 5 LA Public Affairs Director Francisco Oaxaca.
He said research shows that dads are not spending as much time with their children as they would like, and what time they do spend is often not enough to be truly beneficial.
“According to a recent Pew Research report, 50 percent of fathers say juggling work and family life is difficult for them and 46 percent say they’re not spending enough time with their children,” Oaxaca said in a written statement.
That’s why First 5 LA started “A Father Really Matters,” a public education campaign aimed at encouraging dads, father figures and other male caregivers of children 5 and under to get more involved with their children, Oaxaca explained. First 5’s initiative, which runs through the end of this month, provides tips and resources on how fathers can get more involved.
“Children thrive when they have an involved father or male caregiver, someone who loves them, knows them, guides them, and helps them achieve greater academic success,” said First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshé in April when the campaign was first launched.
She said the goal is to “inspire and equip men to be engaged fathers, grandfathers and father figures for the young children in their lives.”
Father’s Day is a great time to again remind the public that fathers really do matter, says First 5 LA.
For tips and activities dads and their children can do together, visit the website www.readysetgrowla.org/Dads
La corioamnionitis, infección de las membranas placentarias y del líquido amniótico, aumentó a más del doble en California en los últimos quince años, afectando de manera especial a las madres hispanas y asiáticas, según un informe presentado el 6 de junio.
El reporte, que analizó cerca de medio millón de nacimientos en hospitales en el sur de California entre 1995 y 2010, reveló que la infección en madres hispanas aumentó 145 % en este período, la segunda tasa más alta después de las asiáticas.
“El estudio ofrece nueva información sobre la ocurrencia de la corioamnionitis para ayudar a los médicos a entender cómo los índices de diagnóstico difieren por raza, etnia y edad de gestación al momento del parto”, anotó el médico Michael Fassett, especialista en gestación y maternidad del Centro Médico del Oeste de Los Ángeles Kaiser Permanente y director del estudio.
En términos generales, la incidencia de la infección pasó de afectar al 2,7 % de los nacimientos en el bienio 1995-1996 a estar presente en el 6 % de los partos ocurridos en 2009 y 2010, un incremento del 126 %.
Las madres asiáticas presentaron un incremento de 151, las madres blancas mostraron un aumento del 141 % y las afroamericanas, el nivel más bajo con el 66 % de incremento.
Según destacó Fassett, la infección ha sido ligada en la literatura médica a partos prematuros y a algunas complicaciones médicas de los recién nacidos.
La corioamnionitis es causada por una infección bacteriana que usualmente comienza en el tracto genital superior de la madre. Los efectos inmediatos y a largo plazo en los bebés incluyen muerte fetal, necesidad de tratamiento intensivo al recién nacido, así como desórdenes pulmonares crónicos y parálisis cerebral.
A esta infección es la causa de cerca del 50 % de los nacimientos prematuros, señaló el informe, que analizó las historias clínicas de 471.821 nacimientos en hospitales del grupo Kaiser Permanente.
The death of an eight-year-old San Bernardino boy after being tortured, burned and killed fills us with anger hard to express on an editorial page.
It isn’t as if this child is the first to be murdered at home by parents or foster parents, and that’s the problem.
Unless there is strong and visible outrage by the public, absolutely nothing will change in how the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) chooses to enforce child protection laws.
Children’s Court and DCFS, and unfortunately public safety officers, continue to adhere to the misguided notion that families need to be kept together at all costs.
Courts routinely return custody to parents even when they have been accused of neglecting, starving and beating their children. A few anger management classes, referrals to social service programs and all is forgiven, and too often forgotten.
We understand that not every parent that comes in contact with DCFS is purposely doing wrong or evil. We know that being poor or homeless is not a crime, and in some cases all a parent needs is a helping hand and support to get back on track.
We know that drug and alcohol addictions are a disease, and there are programs to help people get and stay clean.
But we also know that sometimes the fixes don’t stick, and it’s the children who pay the real cost of those failures.
Some social workers, not all, seem to lack the backbone it takes to protect children from abusive behaviors because they are afraid of being accused of overreacting or abusing their authority. They are more afraid of parents and their attorneys than they are motivated to ensure the safety of the children they are sworn to protect. They say they have too many cases to keep track up; we sympathize, but don’t believe that’s a valid excuse for the repeated failures to act when multiple sources report that something is dangerously wrong.
The fact that local police officers didn’t pursue a case of abuse before the violent death of the eight-year-old boy, who at one point was so desperate he said he wanted to kill himself, doesn’t surprise us, but it should. We should be shocked, but we’re not.
Police departments are overwhelmed with many of these cases and believe that it’s up to a social worker to see the burn scars, bruises, and to interpret the fear exhibited by a child. They trust that once out of their hands the social worker will act to ensure the child’s safety. It seems to us that many child services workers just take too long to remove a child from an abusive situation, forgetting that time is critical in these cases. Maybe all the children in these cases don’t end up dead, but we all can be sure that they are permanently harmed.
Secrecy, under the guise of privacy, is too often a fall back excuse for not giving out information to concerned citizens who have filed referrals with the police or children’s services, making it impossible for them to check on the status of their referral. The people reporting suspected or obvious bad behavior are usually those closest to the child, and their concerns should be taken seriously.
When a child is finally removed, extreme caution should be exercised before allowing him or her to be returned to the care of the abusive or neglectful parent or guardian.
There are cases of children who have spent years away from a parent, but the court will decide that the child should be removed from the only home and parents they have ever known, because their parent has finally shaped up. Why? Because only parents, and not children, have rights.
We believe it’s time to allow the public into the decision making process that keeps children in abusive, neglectful homes, or before they are returned to parents who have proven at one time to be a danger to their welfare.
Children’s welfare should be the first consideration in every case, if not, children will continue to be murdered under horrible conditions.