Just before Valentine’s Day each year, a small army of immigrant entrepreneurs stakes out street corners, freeway off-ramps, tables outside established businesses or just busy stretches of sidewalk, spreading out small loads of romance-themed gifts for sale.
You’ve seen these guys – they’re the ones waiting for you to drive up and claim that pink teddy bear holding the red embroidered heart that reads “I (Heart) U,” wrapped in crisp cellophane.Who are they, and how do they get hold of so many pink bears to sell anyway? Yesterday, I met up with Gustavo Angel, 28, one of Los Angeles’ diligent curbside Valentine vendors, who was working the intersection of Sunset and Echo Park boulevards.
“My regular work is washing loncheras,” said Angel, a Salvadoran immigrant who has sold gifts on the street for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day since soon after he arrived eight years ago. “I saw people selling these and I thought hey, I can try this.”
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
A sticker message spotted on the freeway, February 13, 2011
The stickers on a truck driving along the 101 interchange through Boyle Heights get at the long-running debate over how to identify those of us with ancestry from Latin America: Latino, Hispanic, or simply as from wherever it is our roots are, like Mexicano?
An older thread on one chat board had some interesting and occasionally raw takes, including this one: "Hispanics are things and people of Spain. We are not things or people of Spain."
Hearing set on bill requiring hospitals to check patients' immigration status - Arizona Republic The state senate bill would require hospitals to confirm that someone is in the country legally before the person is admitted for non-emergency care, and that if not, that the hospital notify immigration officials.
Thomas A. Saenz: Governor considers naming a civil rights activist to the state Supreme Court - Los Angeles Times Saenz is president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and led the legal fight against Proposition 187 in the 1990s.
Illegal immigration: Conservative Inland Empire cities move to require E-Verify - Los Angeles Times The inland communities pushing for tight immigration rules in the workplace are especially hard-hit by the recession, with a high rate of foreclosures and unemployment.
Forget momentarily about chocolate, oysters and the rest of the usual food suggestions that accompany Valentine’s Day, about aphrodisiacs and expensive dinners. As a favor to lovestruck foodies in the Los Angeles area, a few colleagues and I recently came up with an unscientific but well-loved list of some of the best date-friendly offerings to come out of our immigrant enclaves.
Ethiopian There’s something very intimate about sharing a meal from the same dish, eaten with your hands. The spongy injera bread serves as a both plate and utensil with which to scoop up savory stews, called wot, and other dishes, making the meal a tactile experience. The food itself is fragrant, seasoned with garlic, ginger and other spices.
One place to find it: Nyala at 1076 South Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 936-5918
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
Patrons watched Al Jazeera updates from Egypt last night at the Nubia Cafe in Anaheim, February 10, 2011
Last night, in one of the crowded hookah lounges that dot an Anaheim neighborhood known as Little Arabia, I came across a table of Egyptian immigrants tensely watching Al Jazeera via satellite, a group of friends grumbling over a shared smoke and many cups of hibiscus tea.
They were angry and frustrated, having hoped for a resignation announcement from Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak yesterday that turned, instead, into a declaration that he planned to stay in power. But not for long. This morning, those who had managed to sleep awoke to the news they had hoped for: Amid mounting protests, with hundreds of thousands crowding Cairo's Tahrir Square and unrest throughout Egypt, Mubarak finally resigned, ceding power to the military.
Since then, I've caught up with several of the same people I spoke with last night. Today is a new day, they said, and they are elated. For some, mixed in with the joy is a bit of fear of the unknown, magnified by distance as they watch the country they grew up in, and where many of their loved ones still live, begin the difficult transition toward what they hope will be genuine democracy.