How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

On the broader legacy of Dr. King

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A detail from a mural with an image of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Among the many pieces that ran this weekend in anticipation of today's holiday honoring the civil rights legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the more interesting ones involved a series of letters from readers published in USA Today's opinion section.

Readers were asked to write about what King meant to them, with their responses published over a two day period. The responses included this one, from Aurora Ramirez Krodel in Cincinnati:

A fight for rights of all Americans

"This holiday honoring Martin Luther King has nothing to do with us," said my older sister's co-worker, a newer immigrant from Mexico. "He only helped the black people." "Oh, no!" my sister responded. "If it hadn't been for Martin Luther King, you and I wouldn't be free."

My sister explained how, when she lived in Texas in the early '60s, Mexican Americans had to drink from separate drinking fountains and attend schools for Mexicans. She also recalled a restaurant in Florida that wouldn't allow Mexicans to eat inside. They could order food, but they had to eat it outside in their cars.

Every year, as my children grow in understanding, I share these stories with them. They know that King didn't fight just for the equal treatment of African Americans, he fought for the rights and freedom of all Americans.


In the news this afternoon: The 'Tiger Mother' debate, the Berkeley chancellor's immigration remark, 'Latino Day' on hold, more

Catching up after meetings today with a few afternoon reads:

Tiger Mother and Amy Chua: Are Chinese Moms Really So Different? - TIME Cartoon father to child: "If you don't eat it," the father threatens, "we're going to have you adopted by Amy Chua." The Yale professor has made waves with a controversial parenting essay.

Tucson rampage: UC Berkeley chancellor's e-mail linking Tucson rampage to immigration issues draws fire - Los Angeles Times In an e-mail sent Monday, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau condemned a "climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated."

On Perfect Immigrants and Imperfect Stories - The Atlantic Nice essay on the search for the right story to humanize the immigration debate.

GOP leaders: Anti-immigration stance hurts party - The Washington Post Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and others speaking at a Florida conference on reaching Hispanic voters urged the party to tone down its immigration rhetoric and take up comprehensive reforms, or lose Latino votes.


A writer asks: What if the Arizona shooter had been Latino?

Photo by Patrick Dockens/Flickr (Creative Commons)

An opinion piece from an NPR contributor relating ethnicity to last Saturday's shooting in Tucson has drawn hundreds of comments on the website. Titled "Across America, Latino Community Sighs With Relief," it poses this question: What if the gunman had been Latino?

The essay is written by Daisy Hernandez, former editor of the magazine ColorLines. In it she describes her reaction when she heard about the rampage. She rushed to her Android phone, she writes, searching for the suspected killer's surname:

My eyes scanned the mobile papers. I held my breath. Finally, I saw it: Jared Loughner. Not a Ramirez, Gonzalez or Garcia.

It's safe to say there was a collective sigh of brown relief when the Tucson killer turned out to be a gringo. Had the shooter been Latino, media pundits wouldn't be discussing the impact of nasty politics on a young man this week — they'd be demanding an even more stringent anti-immigrant policy. The new members of the House would be stepping over each other to propose new legislation for more guns on the border, more mothers to be deported, and more employers to be penalized for hiring brown people. Obama would be attending funerals and telling the nation tonight that he was going to increase security just about everywhere.


In the news this morning: GOP leaders court Latino voters, more on border agent accused of harboring, Arizona and immigration politics, more

GOP Tries New Effort To Bring In Hispanic Voters - NPR Republican leaders that include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are launching a new effort to reach out to Latino voters.

Secret underground room at Border Patrol agent's home may have hidden illegal immigrants - Los Angeles Times More on the 26-year-old agent accused of harboring his twice-deported father and another man.

Weekly Diaspora: Tucson Shooting Reshapes Explosive Immigration Debate - The Media Consortium While the shooting had no direct ties to Arizona immigration politics, "the tragedy bears a number of weighty implications for immigration issues both in Arizona and across the nation."

Slain woman was Juárez activist - El Paso Times Police have identified the body of a woman found last week as an activist who had long protested the femicides in Juárez.


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.