How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Shots, anyone? Latino Dems ponder a Tequila Party

Photo by Sheep "R" Us/Flickr (Creative Commons)

All kinds of Cuervo, October 2008


Some disgruntled Latino political leaders are "quietly debating whether to sever their traditional Democratic ties and form an independent grass-roots political group," the Las Vegas Sun reports. Its proposed name: the Tequila Party.

From the story:

The idea, born of frustration over the party’s inaction on immigration reform and fears that as a voting bloc they’re a political afterthought, Latino leaders have discussed the idea among themselves locally and in conference calls with colleagues across the country.

The unlikely model for the movement they would like to launch is the Tea Party — not in substance, of course, but in its grass-roots organizational style. Acknowledging the source of their inspiration, Latino leaders have dubbed the proposed movement the “Tequila Party.”

These Hispanic leaders have noticed that while the Tea Party has had spotty electoral success, it has called attention to its concerns and values and put the establishment on notice.


In the news this morning: What's in a name, the upcoming DREAM Act vote, an immigrant private eye, undocumented student leaders, more

Little Bangladesh must grow into its name - Los Angeles Times Most businesses in the tiny hard-won district, approved by city officials earlier this year, still cater to a mostly Latino or Korean immigrant clientele.

Vote on illegal-immigrant students bill possible this week - The Orange County Register A possible vote nears on the DREAM Act, proposed legislation that would provide a path to legal status for undocumented youths who go to college or join the military.

Eddie Zhao is on their side - Los Angeles Times Great piece on a Chinese immigrant turned private investigator in the San Gabriel Valley.

Embassy cable tells of elderly American's escape from Iran - The Guardian The harrowing story of a 75-year-old Iranian-American Los Angeles man's daring escape from Iran after being stuck there for months. The escape involved riding a horse over a frozen mountain range into Turkey.


Got masa?

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Dry masa mix on the shelf in a Westlake grocery store, November 2010

Now that the turkey thing is behind us, it's officially tamales season, the time of year when bags of dry masa mix begin flying off grocery shelves. Ready for your tamaleadas?

I'm not, but I'll be hitting the grocery store this weekend for my Maseca and hojas.

See you back here Monday. In the meantime, I've tracked down a couple of good tamal-making videos, one for Mexican-style tamales (starring a hip hop-loving chef), and one for Central American-style tamales. No language comprehension necessary - the demonstrations are easy to follow.

A good holiday weekend to all.


In the news this morning: Undocumented with a law degree, green light for a disputed mosque, honoring a Boyle Heights culinary hero, more

Undocumented UCLA law grad is in a legal bind - Los Angeles Times In May, Luis Perez became the first undocumented immigrant to graduate from the UCLA School of law. But because he has been here illegally since age 8, he may not be able to practice, even if he passes the bar.

Planners recommend building mosque - The Desert Sun City planners in Temecula are recommending the construction of a much-disputed, proposed 25,000-square-foot Islamic center.

Many in LA's Koreatown decry island attack - The Washington Post Reaction from the city's Korean-American community over the North Korean shelling of South Korea's tiny Yeonpyeong island, near the two nations' disputed maritime border.

Study: Latinas Are Economic Engine of Arizona - New America Media According to a study by the state's Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latinos represent more than 30 percent of Arizona’s population and bring more than $31 billion to the state’s economy. Latinas spend big on fresh food and other items.


A Thanksgiving retweet

Photo by Lane & Anne/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The table is set, November 2007

RT @NeffStarr Turkey with my white family @1pm Then my mexican family @6pm

I caught a retweet of this little gem from someone in Houston yesterday. I liked it because it captures, in less than 140 characters, the transitioning between cultures that is also a big part of Thanksgiving Day for many in Southern California, where families are of mixed ethnicity, mixed race and mixed status.

For recent immigrants who celebrate it, the holiday is part of their adaptation to a new culture. For those who have been here a long time and have raised children here, it is a tradition that captures a cross-generational blend of voices, attitudes and languages at the table.

And for those of us raised here, the second and third generations (and the 1.5s like me), it's a day of transitioning between the old and the new, the families that raised us and the families we have perhaps married into, which, in this part of the country, might be from a different culture altogether.