Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

American snapshot: Christmas in Alhambra

One of a series of well-decorated front lawns on an Alhambra street, December 23, 2010
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Santa flies the Stars and Stripes outside a Latino household in the San Gabriel Valley majority minority city, whose population is about half Asian and a third Latino. Alhambra recently became home to a multilingual community news website in English, Spanish and Mandarin.

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and ????? (and please, Mandarin speakers, correct me if that means something totally different). Happy holidays to all.


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In the news, this afternoon: Immigration reform prospects dim, another migrant kidnapping, more

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In new Congress, detours ahead for immigration bills - USA Today From Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, which advocates for restricted immigration: "Nothing is going to happen. The House will kill everything."

Mexico announces investigation of kidnapping of 50 Central American migrants - Los Angeles Times A day after declaring that such an incident did not take place, Mexican officials now say they are investigating the reported mass kidnapping of Central American migrants in Chiapas.

2012 hopefuls to skip Hispanic forum - Politico Concerns are raised over most GOP presidential hopefuls so far declining to attend a Latino leadership forum in Miami next month, given the party's presently strained relationship with Latino voters.

Deportation request dropped for man in NYC probe - The Washington Post Immigration officials have dropped a deportation case against Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, one of three Pakistani men detained in connection with the botched Times Square car bombing. The man who admitted to rigging the bomb has been sentenced to life in prison.


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'The landscape we'll be exploring,' revisited

Photo by Joe Goldberg/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A good late morning to all.

I'm getting off to a later start today after spending part of the morning going through older posts, a little prep work for a year-end report. And while doing so I came across this initial post from July, when this blog was launched, in which I described what Multi-American was setting out to do:

Our goal is to explore Southern California’s evolving identity as a place where the cultural landscape is constantly being shaped and reshaped by immigrants, their children and grandchildren, with each new generation contributing its own brand of American identity to the mix.

We’ll report on the immigration debate, and on the policies and politics that affect Southern California residents as they play out in their communities, but also something broader: on immigration as a topic that defines our regional identity. What New York was to the 19th century, Southern California is to the 21st. This is the landscape we’ll be exploring.


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No House vote on Armenian genocide resolution

An East Hollywood mural painted in memory of the Armenian genocide, February 2007
Photo by Clinton Steeds/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A hoped for last-minute House vote on a resolution that would have officially recognized the Armenian genocide of nearly a century ago didn't happen today, as representatives adjourned for the holidays without a floor vote. Here's an excerpt from KPCC Washington correspondent Kitty Felde's story this afternoon on House Resolution 252:

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff cosponsored the resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. He acknowledges that the resolution is largely symbolic, but he says it’s very important to the families of people who lost relatives. "Elie Wiesel, the holocaust survivor has said that the denial of genocide is the last chapter of genocide. And you only need to speak to a family of survivors of the Armenian genocide to understand the truth of those words."

Schiff – whose district includes parts of heavily Armenian Glendale - says the failure of the US government to officially recognize the genocide undermines its human rights efforts elsewhere in the world.


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Tamales: Tales, tips, and a recipe

Patricia Zarate, manager of Homegirl Café, readies a batch of tamales. December 2010
Photo by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

The Latino culture site Remezcla tweeted this today:

Food of the Year: Tamales

Okay, so maybe it's a stretch. But tamales are the food of the moment, at least in much of Los Angeles, where people are in different stages of making them, ordering them, eating way too many of them, and swearing they won't eat another one again for a whole year.

I personally haven't reached that point yet, but the day will come.

For those who have yet to hit the masa wall, here are a couple of tamal tales for a rainy day, plus some tips and a recipe thrown in for good measure.

My KPCC colleague Adolfo Guzman-Lopez recently visited downtown L.A.'s Homegirl Café to report on the Homeboy Industries offshoot's intensified holiday tamal production. A quote from the cafe manager:

"The shift is beginning right now and we’ll be here at least 8 hours, from 8 to 10 hours, just to supply tomorrow’s orders. Because of the holidays we have plenty of orders. We will be making about 4 to 500 tamales tonight," she said.


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