How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Video: Russia on Sunset Boulevard

In this video from KPCC's Grant Slater, filmmaker Robin Hessman discusses her film "My Perestroika," which tells the stories of five Russians who came of age during the collapse of the Soviet Union. The video follows Hessman, who lived in Moscow in the 1990s, as she promotes the film in Los Angeles' Russian immigrant community.

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In the news this morning: The 'last-minute' D.C. immigration meeting, Sheriff Baca and L.A. Muslims, unauthorized workers and taxes, more

LA leaders at White House for immigration meeting - 89.3 KPCC Immigration reform, the topic of what was described as a “last-minute meeting” at the White House yesterday, hasn’t placed high on the list of Congressional priorities.

Baca and the Muslim community: Baca wins support in Muslim community through conversation, not confrontation - Los Angeles Times The L.A. County sheriff's approach to crime fighting in minority communities has focused on building trust.

Brewer: We Weren't Invited to Obama's Immigration Forum - MyFoxPhoenix.com Arizona Gov. Brewer complained that she was not invited to President Obama's immigration meeting yesterday in Washington, D.C.

Study estimates that illegal immigrants paid $11.2B in taxes last year, unlike GE, which paid zero - New York Daily News Columnist Albor Ruiz's take on a study that estimated the taxes paid state by state by unauthorized workers.

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A White House immigration 'call to action,' but no breakthroughs

Photo by Chris Christner/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Early news reports have been describing President Obama's immigration meeting this afternoon with several dozen elected officials, law enforcement, business, civil rights, religious and other leaders, all invited to the White House to discuss the prospect of a broad overhaul of the nation's immigration system.

Politico spoke with attendees that included Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and the Rev. Al Sharpton. From the story:

According to Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, Obama made a “compelling case” in a meeting at the White House that he was still committed to changing the immigration system, despite his failure to move legislation in either body of Congress in the last two years.

Obama said he wouldn’t let the failed voted in December on the Dream Act, which would allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend public universities and achieve a path to citizenship, be the last word on that bill.

Rev. Al Sharpton told reporters that at the “unusual meeting,” in which Obama stayed the whole time, Obama asked the leaders to continue pushing their constituencies to apply congressional pressure on immigration.

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At LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, the questions are on the floor

Last weekend I paid a visit to LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, the new museum chronicling Mexican American history and life in Los Angeles that opened Saturday.

The museum's downtown location is itself noteworthy: It sits across from Olvera Street near the city's birthplace - so close, in fact, that construction turned up the bones of more than a hundred early residents from a cemetery believed to have been exhumed in the mid-1800s.

The museum pays worthy tribute to early Angeleños, and the Californios and Mexicanos whose history has at times felt close to lost as waves of newcomers arrived and reinvented Southern California. Its interactive displays also highlight the more recent and familiar history of Mexican Americans in the West, from the Chicano civil rights movement to the farm workers' labor struggle in the Central Valley.

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Navigating the Armenian American supermarket: Part 2

Photo by Lory Tatoulian

In the meat section at a Super King in Glassell Park, April 2011

A post yesterday kicked off an occasional series of informal guides to navigating the ethnic supermarket, the mega-store grocery chains catering to immigrants that have become a part of Southern California's regional landscape as its immigrant communities have grown and evolved.

Guest blogger and L.A. comic Lory Tatoulian started us on a tour yesterday of Glassell Park's Super King, part of a popular Armenian supermarket chain. We left off with Lory in the meat section, a part of which she reserves a special name for.

(Continued from yesterday)

Then there is the science project section, which houses strange organs that look like they belong in a medical school laboratory.

These meats are for advanced carnivore consumers and are usually reserved for old Armenian men who classify the more bizarre the meat, the more delectable. In the early morning winter months is it not unusual to see Armenian men, dressed in business suits, huddled over a boiling vat of khash at Griffith Park while having a very loud conversation about world politics. Khash is a dense soup of beef tripe and trotters lavishly seasoned with garlic and also known to induce contentious conversation and cure a host of physical ailments.

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