How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Quote of the moment: Daniel Hernandez at the Tucson memorial service

"On Saturday, we all became Tucsonans. On Saturday, we all became Arizonans. And above all, we all became Americans."

- Daniel Hernandez, the intern credited with saving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's life during last Saturday's shooting in Tucson

In addition to being impressively courageous, 20-year-old University of Arizona student Daniel Hernandez turns out to be an impressive public speaker.

Hernandez spoke at the memorial service held at the university in Tucson tonight, also attended by President Obama. During his speech, Hernandez begged off the title of "hero," saying it belonged to others, among them his boss, Giffords. But Obama called him a hero anyway.

Hernandez had been working for Giffords for five days Saturday when suspected gunman Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a public event outside a grocery store. Six were killed, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, and several others injured. Hernandez ran to the victims as he heard the shots, taking the pulses of those on the ground, stemming the bleeding from the bullet wound on Giffords' forehead and preventing her from choking.


San Francisco's first Chinese American mayor

Photo by Steve Rhodes/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The city whose past is perhaps most closely intertwined with Asian immigrant history, including its most troubled periods, has achieved a milestone: San Francisco has its first Asian American mayor.

Yesterday's swearing-in of City Administrator Ed Lee as interim mayor came after a flurry of political jockeying as city leaders scurried to fill the seat being vacated by former mayor and now Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, who was sworn in to his new office Monday.

Lee was voted in by the city's Board of Supervisors and is expected to serve only until next January, when the winner of next November's mayoral race would take over. He has said he will resume his previous post after the temporary term, limiting his long-term influence.

Still, the selection of Lee as mayor is seen as a symbolic victory in a city that is synonymous with Asian immigrant history.


In the news this late morning/early afternoon: More on immigration and rhetoric, new House immigration leader, farm labor plans, more

Hi, all. I'm off to a later start that usual after a non-blogging assignment last night. But without further ado, here's the mid-day reading list:

Immigration groups consider security and tone after Tucson shooting - 89.3 KPCC With much of the recent political rhetoric in Arizona focused on immigration, two immigration groups with ties to the Southland consider the impact of the shooting on their work.

Arizona Rhetoric In 2010 Driven By Immigration Bill - National Journal The tenor of Arizona politics has grown increasingly strained in recent election cycles, with the immigration debate front and center.

Meet Elton Gallegly, The Chair Of The Immigration Committee - Talking Points Memo Gallegly, a Republican from California, will lead the House subcommittee after Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was passed over for the job.


The forgotten history of Angelenos' lost ñ

I linked earlier to a post on the KCET website by author D.J. Waldie on the disappearance of the Spanish consonant ñ, pronounced "enye," from the word that we in Los Angeles use to describe ourselves, and from our regional identity altogether.

But the post is so nice, I want to share more of it here, starting with what Waldie writes about the now commonly used term "Angeleno:"

There's another word, original and more correct. The word for us is Angeleño (with a tildé over the n). The sound of ñ is roughly approximated by the "ny" in canyon. In telling the Spanish alphabet, the letter ñ is pronounced "enye."

Even after the Americanization of Los Angeles (and until the early 1860s), nearly all residents of the city - Anglo and Latino both - spoke Spanish. Presumably (if it ever came up in conversation), they called themselves Angeleños, because that's the usual form of the noun.


Quote of the moment: UC Berkeley chancellor on the Arizona shooting and immigration

"A climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated can lead to such a tragedy."

- Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor of UC Berkeley, in a letter to the campus community

UC Berkeley News has published Birgeneau's letter, in which he cites Arizona's political climate as it relates to immigration - in particular, the state's embrace of controversial anti-illegal immigration legislation - as contributing to an environment "in which such an act can be contemplated, even by a mind that is profoundly disturbed."

Here's the quote in context:

Such a brutal and violent attack on an individual who has devoted herself to public service is deeply regrettable. It calls upon us as an academic community to stop and ponder the climate in which such an act can be contemplated, even by a mind that is profoundly disturbed. A climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated can lead to such a tragedy. I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons.