How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Is revealing immigration status the new 'coming out?'

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student's shirt at a coming-out event in Orange County, March 10, 2011

What began as a small number of undocumented college students going public with their immigration status in recent years, done as a political act, has developed into a growing movement that embraces a term once synonymous with the gay rights movement: coming out.

During the past week, a national campaign mounted by student immigrant advocacy groups has urged students and other young people to reveal their status. Advocacy sites have solicited coming-out stories via social media and posted them. Student groups around the country have held coming-out events, including one last week in Orange County.

The movement began as a strategy to attach names and faces to the young people affected by the Dream Act, proposed federal legislation that would have granted conditional legal status to undocumented youths brought to this country before age 16 if they went to college, or if they joined the military.

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A week’s worth of reactions to the House hearings on Islam

Photo by waltarrrrr/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A view of the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, CA, November 2009

The news of last Friday's earthquake in Japan all but obscured what had been some of the biggest news of the previous day, the first hearing of a planned series in the House Committee on Homeland Security on the “extent of radicalization” among American Muslims, led by committee chair and New York Republican Rep. Peter King.

Muslim groups and other minority organizations condemned the hearings as xenophobic; King defended them as “absolutely essential.” Prior to the first hearing March 10 (the next one has not been scheduled), KPCC’s Public Insight Network sent out a series of questions to members of its audience, inviting Muslims and people of all faiths to share their take on the hearings.

By last Friday morning, the House hearing had quickly fallen off the news radar, but people continued to respond. The majority were Muslim, though Christian and Jewish respondents answered the questions as well. Here are some excerpts from their responses.

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Giant Robot, others join Japan quake relief efforts

Photo by misocrazy/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Giant Robot store sign on Sawtelle Boulevard, September 2006

The Asian American pop culture emporium Giant Robot has added its name to a growing list of businesses and Japanese American groups in Los Angeles who are mounting efforts to raise money for earthquake relief in Japan.

The franchise, which owns galleries, a restaurant and shops in L.A. and San Francisco, has teamed up with UNICEF to raise funds via an art show at its GR2 store in West Los Angeles, which among other things sells Japanese toys, comic books, magazines and art.

The opening reception is Saturday night. The "Water Works" art show, planned prior to last Friday's devastating 9 magnitude quake in northeastern Japan, was to have promoted UNICEF’s mission to provide clean drinking water to children around the world. The event has now been re-engineered for quake and tsunami relief.

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In the news this morning: Arizona birthright bills rejected, Muslim woman kicked off flight, report on immigrant detention system, more

Arizona Senate Rejects 5 Bills On Immigration - New York Times The state senate has voted down the illegal immigration crackdown bills, among them two measures intended to force the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider automatic citizenship for American-born children of undocumented immigrants.

Airline Apologizes To Muslim Woman Taken Off Flight - KGTV San Diego From the story: "Irum Abassi, a graduate student at San Diego State University and mother of three, was wearing an Islamic head scarf when she was told Sunday that she had to leave the plane because a flight attendant considered her 'suspicious.'"

Survey: Immigration having more negative than positive effect - Riverside Press-Enterprise A poll finds that about half of Californians don't believe immigration has had a major impact on the state's quality of life, but those whose personal finances are in bad shape tend to think so.

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Three great St. Patrick's Day tweets

Photo by st_gleam/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Whether you're wearing green today or not, you've likely been on Twitter, where people are posting St. Patrick's Day greetings, random thoughts, history tidbits, and far too many updates - which will only worsen through the night - on what they are eating or drinking.

And some funny little quips, too.

Here are two from L.A.:

Celebrate the Irish, Europe's Chicanos...
- from @ laloalcaraz

Today is like gringo Cinco de Mayo.
- from @ El_Danny_Trejo (who is "Not Danny Trejo")


And one from Chicago:
Yep. Stopped at the Mexican restaurant in my German neighborhood for St. Patrick's Day dinner.
- from @mrlwe

If the last guy had a green margarita instead of that nasty green beer, hats off to him.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

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