Sep 2, 2017

Sacramento City Leaders Rally To Support DACA Program

Over 1.7 million eligible for the DACA Program and most are in California and Texas.
By Adrian Perez, SacLatino

     With President Trump threatening to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by September 5, 2017, Sacramento City officials gathered at a rally to support its continuation. The DACA program prevents the deportation of undocumented children who were brought to the US before their 16th birthday.
     DACA is a national immigration policy founded by the Obama administration in June 2012. Its purpose is to allow certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.
     "On behalf of our 13,000 'Dreamers' and our great Sacramento community, we ask you to uplift, not tear down,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg told the crowd referring to the DACA eligibles in the Sacramento region.
     The Pew Research Center estimated in 2014 that up to 1.7 million people might be eligible for the DACA program. As of June 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had received 844,931 initial applications for DACA status, of which 741,546 (88%) were approved, 60,269 (7%) were denied, and 43,121 (5%) were pending. Over half of those accepted reside in California and Texas.
     “It doesn’t change anything that we do," said Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn in reference to the possibility of the program being terminated. "I mean, our responsibility is to our community and enforce state and local regulations and a big part of that is maintaining trust.”
     The DACA program was created after the federal government acknowledged that these undocumented children had been largely raised in the United States, and should be viewed as "low priority" individuals.  Moreover, approximately 65,000 of undocumented immigrant student population graduate from U.S. high schools on a yearly basis.
     "They are wonderful, they are brilliant and they are the leaders," said Sacramento State University President Robert Nelsen. "President Trump needs to learn to lead with his heart.”
     So does this mean President Trump is heartless or is he pressuring Congress to address the issue of immigration?
     This issue could have been addressed in 2006 when Congress had proposed a bipartisan immigration reform bill, which was going to be signed by President George Bush, but was killed by Democrats to preserve their relationship with unions. In 2008, then candidate Barack Obama promised Latinos that immigration reform would be addressed in his first year in office. Instead he mounted the largest deportation campaign unlike never seen by the US. As a token of piece, after being called “the Great Deporter” by national Spanish media, he offered the DACA program, which did have an expiration date once a new president was elected.
     In several statements made by candidate and now President Trump, DACA appears to have run its course. The White House has announced that Trump will end the program by no longer accepting new permits and allowing existing permits to expire. This is supposedly being done to pressure Congress into creating and passing immigration legislation that the White House would consider as adequate.
     Because California and Texas will be the most impacted (125,000 in the Harvey disaster area alone), numerous legislators, Republican and Democrat, are telling the White House to reconsider the cancellation of the Program. This call includes Congressmen Jeff Denham and David Valadao, Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsay Graham. - SacLatino

Aug 25, 2017

"El Soldado" Monument Recognizes Latino Heros of War

By Adrian Perez, Publisher/Editor, SacLatino Magazine

“Mothers are sacred in the Latino culture and disobeying them, or worst still,, disrespecting them, is a sign of cowardice.” - My Mom

     In the Latino culture, mothers are the symbol of unconditional love. The one who protects when we need shelter and the one who provides when we need food or clothing. Yes, fathers do this too, but not at the level mothers do.
     When a mother sends their child to school, thereʼs a clear expectation the child will return that afternoon. But, when a mother sends their child to war...It only stands to reason that the pain and void of not seeing their child return cannot be filled with a letter explaining how valiantly they died for their country. This was the case for numerous Mexican American mothers who decided to fill that void by building a memorial in honor of their sons who died in World War II (WWII.)  These mothers organized themselves right after WWII and formed a group called “La Sociedad de Madres” (Mothers Society) and embarked on an effort to build a veterans memorial to honor their children.
     In 1948, La Sociedad de Madres found a carved statue of a soldier that cost $4,000 to purchase and ship it from Italy. The amount was challenging for the time period, but the members of the group were up for the challenge.  
     Hosting and preparing a series of fundraisers (tamale sales), La Sociedad de Madres reached their goal and on May 10, 1951 (Mexican Motherʼs Day) the monument was dedicated.
     The Memorial was initially located on the grounds of the Mexican American Center, a nonprofit that offered social services to primarily Mexican American residents of Sacramento. 
     Since WWII, there were the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, where more soldiers died and so a push was launched to relocate the Memorial onto state property to better honor all Mexican American/Latino soldiers who died in battle. The push was successful and the memorial was moved to its present location on the grounds of the State Treasurers building, facing the westside of the state Capitol. Its rededication was held on September 16, 1975, which is also independence day in Mexico and several other Latin American countries.
     At the time of its move and rededication, little consideration was given to its design regarding it being “visitor friendly” and a place for visitors to share a moment. Plus, as other memorial monuments were built around the Capital grounds it became evident the Memorial needed an upgrade.
     In the 1980s, a group of Latino Vietnam veterans decided to raise funds to beautify and build out
the Memorial. They soon learned that the State of California would not fund a renovation, and that only private funds could be used.
     They worked toward raising money and their efforts included an artist rendering of what a renovated Memorial would look like. The artist rendition was the illustrated work of world renowned muralist and Vietnam Veteran Juanishi Orozco. Although the private efforts were admirable, they fell short, and the group decided to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and several members of the State Legislature to obtain public support.
     In 2007, the State Legislature created the Mexican American Veterans' Memorial Beautification and Enhancement Committee to beautify and enhance the existing memorial, and to secure private funding to complete the project. The estimated cost of the memorial restoration project was $1.1 million.
     The Memorial ʼs design, engineering services, architectural drawings, and environmental assessment work was completed with the initial $335,000 raised. However, the most expensive component has been the actual renovation, which the Memorial Committee estimates will cost over $800,000. A series of fundraisers were held throughout the state with the assistance of the Cesar E. Chavez chapter of the American GI Forum.
     “We have done a significant amount of work and weʼre going to be doing a lot more to raise funds and educate the public about the Memorial,” Says Fredrick A. Romero, State Commander of the American GI Forum. “Weʼre encouraging all Californians to get involved and help us get this project done. It is my personal goal to have this Memorial completed.”
     The Memorial is the first permanent memorial to honor Latino veterans at any of our nationʼs fifty
state capitols.
     “What remains to be completed is the cement plaza on which El Soldado will be permanently located, the sidewalks leading into the plaza and a ‘Mothers’ Garden,” says Robert Ruiz, former Chairman of the California Mexican American Beautification and Enhancement Project. “Other enhancements will be in the next phase of the project.”
     The El Soldado Memorial is not owned nor provided maintenance by the State of California. It is a Memorial that relies on private funds. Any and all support is welcome. - SacLatino

Jul 1, 2017

Sacramento Latino Community Roundtable continues to grow


The Sacramento Latino Community Roundtable continues to grow in size and influence
Sacramento Latino Roundtable meeting hosted by SMUD
     Sacramento’s Latino community became fragmented after the passing of Mayor Joe Serna in 1999. Serna was not just a civil rights activist, City Council Member and Mayor, but had been the glue that held the Sacramento Latino community together. Although several Latino community meetings were held to regain the coalitions that Serna had created, none resulted in a sustained effort. Instead, it took a scathing editorial published in the Sacramento Bee that asked, “Where have all the Latinos gone?” in response to the poor Latino voter turnout of the November 2014 election. The article, written by Mariel Garza, a Latina, prompted a number of us to make calls and push for a general meeting where we could begin to plan the future of Sacramento’s Latino community.

     The first meeting, albeit a bit contentious, was held in January of 2015, with over 60 attendees representing themselves and varied nonprofits, and yours truly acting as moderator. It was not easy, after a couple of hours we all agreed on two resolutions: 1) To meet on a monthly basis; and, 2) To work on Eric Guerra’s campaign for City Council.

     At its second meeting, the group named itself the Sacramento Latino Community Roundtable (SLCR), a body not owned or governed by any person, group, or entity, with a focus to better the lives of Latinos in the region. Since then, the SLCR has met monthly, helped get Eric Guerra elected, and has collectively written letters to City Hall to ensure inclusion of Latinos in city government and its activities.

     Because of the many leaders and organizations involved, the group also decided early on that the SLCR would be structured as an unincorporated association, governed by guidelines rather than bylaws or Robert’s Rules of Order. With a simple agenda, a two-hour meeting time limit, no membership fees, open to anyone and rotating monthly hosts, the SLCR has attracted the attention of business, political, elected and appointed individuals. Moreover, it has established itself as a key group to engage for public policy development.

     Now in its third year, it’s been my honor to moderate most of these meetings together with past President of the League of Women Voters Lola Acosta. With a fluctuating number of attendees, from 40 to over 90, there is no question that the information shared at these meetings is invaluable, and the resources discovered continue to help the improvement of our Sacramento Latino community in the areas of education, economic development, and political empowerment. Si Se Puede!

- Adrian Perez, Publisher/Editor