How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Students tell their personal stories in DREAM Act 'letters'

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A sign parodying the famous immigrant highway-crossing sign, outside a DREAM Act rally in Los Angeles earlier this month.

For the past several weeks, I've been following a series of posts on the social-justice blog Citizen Orange that features the personal stories of undocumented college students.

Titled "DREAM Now: Letters to Barack Obama," it is part of a social media advocacy campaign in support of the DREAM Act, with the posts disseminated via a series of other supportive blogs. However, the stories of the students, with related video clips, are interesting enough in themselves to be worthy of a compelling profile series.

Part of what I like is the focus on students from various corners of the world: Young people from Iran, India, Russia and Korea are featured along with students from Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela. While letting readers know that illegal immigration isn't just a Latino issue is undoubtedly part of the goal of the series, being reminded doesn't hurt. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly a quarter of the undocumented population of the United States is not from Latin America.


The Salazar corrido, "El 29 de Agosto"

Did you know there was a corrido recorded in memory of Ruben Salazar, the Los Angeles Times and KMEX-TV journalist killed 40 years ago yesterday while reporting on a protest in East L.A?

I didn't. But courtesy of a tweet from @LAHistory, I heard it for the first time today. The corrido, titled "El 29 de Agosto" ("The 29th of August"), was recorded by Lalo Gutierrez, the multiple-award-winning "Father of Chicano Music," who died in 2005. Among Gutierrez's many honors was a National Medal of Arts, awarded to him in 1996.

The 1970 killing of Salazar, who was fatally struck in the head by a tear gas projectile, continues to prompt speculation. The LAT, which in recent months has attempted to obtain records of the investigation into his death, reported yesterday that Los Angeles Police Department record show that the journalist had a contentious relationship with law enforcement prior to his death.


New NCLR report: Latino children and nutrition


Photo by Christer Barregren/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Fruits and veggies, January 2008

The National Council of La Raza has released a third report in its Profiles of Latino Health series, which began last year. The new report examines Latino children's nutrition, and the results aren't encouraging. From the report:
Hispanic children currently make up more than one in five children in the U.S., and, as the fastest-growing segment of the child population, are expected to represent nearly one in three children by 2030.3 Latino children are also the hungriest in America—making up almost 40% of the one million children living in hunger.4 Ironically, they also have one of the highest risks for obesity; researchers estimate that nearly two-fifths (38.5%) of Latino children ages two to 19 were overweight or obese in 2008.5 Because hunger and obesity have serious implications for the developmental and health outcomes of children and adolescents, it is imperative to take action now, before these children become the first generation not to outlive its parents.