How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Ground Zero's distant past: Before Little Syria, a burial ground for slaves


Photo by Wally Gobetz/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A plaque outside New York's Civic Center in Lower Manhattan, a few blocks from Ground Zero

Earlier this week, in a post about the so-called Ground Zero mosque, I highlighted a great post from KPCC contributor Marc Haefele on the history of the Ground Zero site in Lower Manhattan, lately tied to a vociferous controversy over the planned construction of an Islamic cultural center a couple of blocks from the location of the former World Trade Center. In the post, he described the area's history a century ago as Manhattan's old Arab District, referred to then as "Little Syria."

Mother Jones has now peeled away another layer of the historical onion, pointing out that before Little Syria existed, Lower Manhattan was the place where African slaves were buried. From the story:


Bracero film wins audience award for best documentary at Latino film festival
A documentary about the Bracero labor program, which brought millions of Mexican farm workers to the United States as temporary laborers between the early 1940s and early 1960s, has won the audience choice award for best documentary at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, where several films this year addressed the topic of immigration.

The winning documentary, "Harvest of Loneliness," features interviews with former Braceros and their families, chronicling the hardship and exploitation endured and examining what might be expected from a new temporary worker program, if one is implemented. The film was directed by Gilbert G. Gonzales and Vivian Price, professors at UC Irvine and CSU Dominguez Hills, respectively. The Venezuelan soccer drama "Hermano" (Brother), won the audience choice award for best feature.


Local efforts for Pakistan flood relief step up

Water floods the yards of villagers in Koth Mithan in Sindh province

Photo by Oxfam International/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Water floods the yards of villagers in Sindh province, Pakistan

Humanitarian aid has been slow to reach Pakistan nearly a month after the Indus River overflowed, ruining crops and leaving millions of people without shelter. More recent flooding has worsened the damage, and food supplies are running short.

The U.S. State Department has compiled a short list of organizations taking donations for flood relief. This afternoon at City Hall, City Council members Jan Perry and Tom LaBonge, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca and the Pakistani-American Chamber of Commerce will join the American Red Cross to solicit donations.

More creative fundraising efforts are coming from the Los Angeles-area Pakistani immigrant community, which is estimated at around 150,000. Pakistani immigrants have been hosting community garage sales, dinners, and other grass-roots events to gather donations for flood relief. In Pasadena, a Muslim women's quilting circle will be directing proceeds from quilt sales to flood relief, and one member is hosting a sale of plants and clothing at her home this weeknd.