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Archive for January, 2009

A report by the Center for American Progress entitled “The State of Minorities: Recession Issue” demonstrates that minorities have been hit the hardest out of all Americans undergoing the economic crisis, especially because of fewer employment opportunities available to them.

Traditionally, minority workers have had fewer job opportunities and lower wages, leaving them with lower incomes and slower income growth. Consequentially, minorities are less established financially. In data released by the Center for American Progress, unemployment rates for minorities were substantially higher than those for whites in December 2008.

In December 2008, unemployment rates for minorities were considerably higher than those for whites.(This is a repeat of the previous sentence.) The unemployment rate for African Americans went to 11.5 percent, compared to 8.9 percent for Hispanics, and 6.3 percent for whites. Minorities were 40 percent more likely than whites to experience unemployment at the end of 2008.

Although the unemployment rate rose for all groups, it increased faster for minorities than for whites. The unemployment rate for whites rose by 2.1 percentage points, to 6.3 percent in December 2008 from 4.2 percent in December 2007, while the unemployment rate for African Americans grew by 2.9 percentage points and that of Hispanics rose by 3.1 percentage points during the same time period. By and large, the increase in unemployment rates for minorities was at least 38.1 percent larger than that for whites.

In 2008, employment for African Americans and for Hispanics declined by 1.9 percent, while it dropped by 1.6 percent for whites. The large employment gains for Hispanics were in isolated industries such as construction, hotels and restaurants. From March 2001 to December 2007, employment for Hispanics rose by an annualized rate of 3.6 percent.  Even though these were employment gains, they were not enough to close the unemployment gap between Hispanics and whites.

Large earnings gaps continue among whites and minorities. The media weekly earnings for Hispanics average at $529.00 in the third quarter of 2008, while whites’ were $696.33.  Large disparities in health insurance coverage also persist. In 2007, 10.4 percent of whites lacked health insurance coverage, while 32.1 percent of Hispanics did. In 2007, the white homeownership rate stood at 75.2 percent, compared to only 49.7 percent for Hispanics. The African-American homeownership rate stood at 47.2 percent.

Center for American Progress

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Yesterday as the first African-American president was sworn in, many Hispanic immigrants who live in homeless shelters on Los Angeles’s  Skid Row cheered Barack Obama as he became the nation’s 44th president.

Los Angeles’ Mission and Saint Vincent Mission,two homeless shelters, held watch parties so its residents and neighbors could see history unfold in Washington. “We believe that President Obama can improve the conditions of this countryif he applies his philosophy, knowledge, and applies his poetic words,” said Dimas Hernandez, a 57 year old Guatemalan. He has been unemployed since last year and has been unable to get another position.

Hernandez, who reads the newspaper in Spanish everyday, thinks that Obama “has good plans, a good heart, and the strength to make the reforms he wishes.”

“We hope he supports us as immigrants. We need at least identification and jobs,” said Hernandez.

In the kitchen of Saint Vincent Mission, they set up two television sets, one a 70 inch television that was airing CNN and another 32 inch television that had on Univision to accommodate Spanish-language speakers.

Many who were Latinos watched in silence as the events transpired in Washington, while some read La Opinión as the pre-ceremony was starting.

“The whole world is watching. We are all paying attention. I think we all want change; we all want to improve our situation,” said Pedro Gomez, a 43 year old Mexican, who has had prior drug problems. “Due to my drug addiction, I have been here in this shelter for a year.  I have ruined my life, but now, little by little, I am finding my way, even sleeping here in this shelter,” said Gomez.

All who watched the inauguration in the Los Angeles Mission shelter were emotional. Many waved American flags, applauded and shouted with glee. The president of the non-profit shelter, Herbert Smith, said they opened their doors so the community could feel as if they were part of history and inspire them to get involved and make a change.

“This community wants to see changes. There is a lot of optimism in the new government. The homeless want access to better services and to improve their lives. and The homeless who are being affected by the economic crisis are asking for the opportunity to work to remake their lives,” said Smith.

In Los Angeles, there are an estimated 73,000 homeless in the neighborhood known as Skid Row which has more homeless people than any other place in the country.

Hernandez, who reads the newspaper in Spanish everyday, thinks that Obama “has good plans, a good heart, and the strength to make the reforms he wishes.”

“We hope he supports us as immigrants. We need at least identification and jobs,” said Hernandez.

In the kitchen of Saint Vincent Mission, they set up two television sets, one a 70 inch television that was airing CNN and another 32 inch television that had on Univision to accommodate Spanish-language speakers.

Many who were Latinos watched in silence as the events transpired in Washington, while some read La Opinión as the pre-ceremony was starting.

“The whole world is watching. We are all paying attention. I think we all want change; we all want to improve our situation,” said Pedro Gomez, a 43 year old Mexican, who has had prior drug problems. “Due to my drug addiction, I have been here in this shelter for a year.  I have ruined my life, but now, little by little, I am finding my way, even sleeping here in this shelter,” said Gomez.

All who watched the inauguration in the Los Angeles Mission shelter were emotional. Many waved American flags, applauded and shouted with glee. The president of the non-profit shelter, Herbert Smith, said they opened their doors so the community could feel as if they were part of history and inspire them to get involved and make a change.

“This community wants to see changes. There is a lot of optimism in the new government. The homeless want access to better services and to improve their lives. and The homeless who are being affected by the economic crisis are asking for the opportunity to work to remake their lives,” said Smith.

In Los Angeles, there are an estimated 73,000 homeless in the neighborhood known as Skid Row which has more homeless people than any other place in the country.

La Opinión

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More than 4,200 people gathered at Washington’s Union Station on Sunday night to celebrate President Barack Obama’s arrival to Washington at the 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala.

Latin superstars including Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Edward James Olmos, “Ugly Betty” TV father Tony Plana, “American Idol” runner-up David Archuleta and “70’s Show” star Wilmer Valderrama were among the stars that walked the red carpet and fielded questions from national media about the Inauguration and what it meant for Latinos to have elected President Obama to office.

Rosario Dawson, co-founder of Voto Latino, stressed the importance of getting Latinos involved in the political process, “We’re still very much trying to get people registered,” she said. “Because, even though I know y’all just voted, there’s still so much to do. There are 50,000 Latinos turning 18 every month, so we need to get them registered and ready to go, so we don’t need to scramble at the next election.”

Many Latino political leaders also joined the event including Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). Ken Salazar and Hilda Solis, Latinos who will be joining Obama’s cabinet as  Interior and Labor secretaries.

Other attendees included actresses Rosie Perez, New York Gov. David Paterson (D), Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and Univision news anchor Maria Elena Salinas.

Master of Ceremonies George Lopez began the night with some comedy, which was later followed by musical acts including War, Mariachi Los Camperos, Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Sanz, and Marc Anthony.

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In a report produced by the Pew Hispanic Center, Latinos do not think that immigration is a top priority on the agenda of the incoming Obama administration.

In a survey of Latino adults, only three in ten said that immigration is an “extremely important” issue facing the incoming Obama administration, placing it sixth on the list of seven policy priorities. The top issue among Latinos is the economy, for which 57% said it was “extremely important”. The survey stated that the issues that concerned Hispanics were education, health care, national security, the environment, immigration, and energy policy in that order.

Although immigration reform has long been a major issue in Congress and a longtime concern for Latinos, it currently is not at the top of the agenda for the Obama administration according to Hispanics,. Nevertheless, Hispanics by and large are optimistic about the incoming Obama Administration.  More than 72% say they expect Obama to have a successful first term. Looking back to the Bush administration, more than 54% of Latinos say the failures of the Bush administration outweigh any of its successes; compared to 64% of the general U.S. population.

The report also examines the ways Latinos were involved in 2008’s presidential election. According to the results of the survey, 74% of Latinos were interested in this past year’s election, a significant increase from the 2004 election.  Also, more than 51% of Latinos said they participated in at least one political activity other than voting: 36% researched candidates on the Internet, 26% tried to persuade someone to vote for a particular candidate, and 18% say they wore clothing related to the political campaign. In addition, 9% reported donating to political campaigns, as well as5% said they volunteered or worked for a political candidate.

Television was the most popular news medium in the 2008 presidential campaign among Latinos. More than 82% report obtaining most of their information on the election through television news. 18% of Latinos relied on newspapers, and 10% tuned into the radio. 33% of Latinos got their news in English, while 23% in Spanish, and 44% referred to a combination of English and Spanish news.

Pew Hispanic Center

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Many of the top-name artists who will be participating in the upcoming 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala were enthusiastic about elaborating on the reasons for their participation and what they see as a once-in-a-lifetime coming together of the Latino community, both political and artistic, geared towards one single goal:  Celebrating the change that Latinos helped bring by electing Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States (get your tickets now before they sell out at www.LatinoInauguralGala2009.org/tickets.). .

“I am honored to have been invited to participate in this historic celebration and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with our country,” stated Marc Anthony, award winning singer/songwriter.  “This election marked the turning point for Latinos in terms of political empowerment and civic participation.  We made our voices heard and affected the outcome to bring real change and a better future for our community and our families.”

“Latinos everywhere should be proud that the community showed up in strength and unity,” said Rosario Dawson, renowned actress and co-founder of Voto Latino, one of the co-hosts of the event.  “We played a historic role in historic election and before we roll up our sleeves and begin the hard work of putting our country back on track, we owe ourselves this moment to celebrate.”

“It is an honor for me to have been invited to this historic event, particularly because of what it represents for President-elect Obama, for the hope of change that his presidency brings, for the hope that pours out of us just by pronouncing his name. Not just for the United States, but for the world,” said award-winning Spanish artist Alejandro Sanz.  “I am going to celebrate with my Hispanic brothers from North America at a gala with friends and colleagues who I care for a great deal–Hispanic leaders from the worlds of film, art and politics. We are going to celebrate this victory. They deserve it, we deserve it!”

“I am so proud that our community showed up & made a difference in this election,” stated beloved Mexican international superstar Paulina Rubio. “I was honored to have been able to participate and support President elect Obama during his campaign and am thrilled to participate at the Inaugural Gala with many of my friends.  I look forward to celebrating our new President in unique Latin style!”

“As an artist and as a Latina who decided to live in The United States and proudly become

citizen, it is an incredible honor to be part of this event,” said Cucu Diamantes of the award-winning band Yerba Buena. “I’m looking forward to celebrating a historic moment that surpasses many long held expectations, and to honor how the voices of united Latino Voters helped this day become a reality.”

Other celebrated artists, performers and distinguished journalists who are scheduled to participate in Sunday’s festivities include Jennifer Lopez, George Lopez, Don Omar, Tony Plana, Rosie Perez, Angelica Vale, Tony Gonzalez, Wilmer Valderrama, War, Lila Downs, Elida Reyna, Michael Salgado and Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Soledad O’Brien, and Gisele Blondet.

Additional Co-Hosts of the event include the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Democratic National Committee Hispanic Caucus (DNC), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).

The event has attracted some high-profile corporate partners, such as Western Union, Comcast, Vineyard St. Michelle, DIRECTV Más, Prudential, Time Warner Inc., Anheuser-Busch, Microsoft, IBC Bank, Kraft and others enthusiastic about supporting such a great cause and showcasing their collaborations with the Latino community.

“As a long standing partner of the Hispanic community, Western Union is glad to support an event that underscores Hispanic unity, empowerment and achievement on so many levels and  proud to be an integral part of this historic celebration in our nation’s capital,” said Victoria Lopez-Negrete, senior vice president Hispanic Product Management for
Western Union.

All proceeds raised from the 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala will go to support the vision of creating a National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C. This gala’s beneficiary nonprofit, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, is dedicated to helping take the idea of such a museum from dream to reality.

While sponsorship opportunities are still available, many corporations have already partnered with the Latino Inaugural Gala’s co-hosts to help ensure the most successful event possible.  Some of these corporate partners include Western Union, Comcast, DIRECTV Más, Prudential, Time-Warner, Anheuser-Busch, Microsoft, IBC Bank, and Kraft.

Tickets are on sale now for $200 each and can be purchased on-line at www.LatinoInauguralGala2009.org/tickets. Tickets are sold on a first-come first-serve basis.  Information on sponsorship opportunities is also available on the gala website.   For any additional questions regarding sponsorship opportunities for the Latino Inaugural Gala, please contact Maria Cardona at mcardona@deweysquare.comTo receive the latest up-to-the minute updates on new entertainment/celebrity announcements and other breaking Latino Inaugural Gala news, please text “GALA” to 35328.

The Executive Producers of the 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala are David Chavez and Sarah Ruiz; Producer/Director Leroy Martinez; Grammy-Nominated Musical Director Andres Levin and Talent Director Pilar O’ Leary.

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The Latino Inaugural Gala Planning Committee announced today the participation of international super star Jennifer Lopez, and renowned, ground-breaking comedian George Lopez, both of whom join an all-star cast of world-celebrated artists and celebrities.

Other celebrated artists, performers and distinguished journalists who are scheduled to participate in Sunday’s festivities Marc Anthony, Alejandro Sanz, Paulina Rubio, Don Omar, Cucu Diamantes and Yerba Buena, Rosario Dawson, Tony Plana, Rosie Perez, Luis Guzman, Angelica Vale, Tony Gonzalez, Wilmer Valderrama, War, Lila Downs, Elida Reyna, Michael Salgado, Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Soledad O’Brien, and Gisele Blondet.

Event Co-Hosts include the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Democratic National Committee Hispanic Caucus (DNC), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), and Voto Latino.

All proceeds raised from the 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala will go to support the vision of creating a National Museum of the American Latino (www.americanlatinomuseum.org) in Washington, D.C. This gala’s beneficiary nonprofit, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, is dedicated to helping take the idea of such a museum from dream to reality.

While sponsorship opportunities are still available, many corporations have already partnered with the Latino Inaugural Gala’s co-hosts to help ensure the most successful event possible.  Some of these corporate partners include Western Union, Comcast, DIRECTV Más, Prudential, Time-Warner, Chateau St. Michelle, Anheuser-Busch, Microsoft, IBC Bank, and Kraft.
At $200 each, tickets are virtually sold out. Purchase your tickets immediately on-line at www.LatinoInauguralGala2009.org/tickets. Tickets are sold on a first-come first-serve basis.  Information on sponsorship opportunities is also available on the gala website.   For any additional questions regarding sponsorship opportunities for the Latino Inaugural Gala, please contact Maria Cardona at mcardona@deweysquare.comTo receive the latest up-to-the minute updates on new entertainment/celebrity announcements and other breaking Latino Inaugural Gala news, please text “GALA” to 35328.

The Executive Producers of the 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala are David Chavez and Sarah Ruiz; Producer/Director Leroy Martinez; Grammy-Nominated Musical Director Andres Levin and Talent Director Pilar O’ Leary.

Other celebrated artists, performers and distinguished journalists who are scheduled to participate in Sunday’s festivities Marc Anthony, Alejandro Sanz, Paulina Rubio, Don Omar, Cucu Diamantes and Yerba Buena, Rosario Dawson, Tony Plana, Rosie Perez, Luis Guzman, Angelica Vale, Tony Gonzalez, Wilmer Valderrama, War, Lila Downs, Elida Reyna, Michael Salgado, Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Soledad O’Brien, and Gisele Blondet.

Event Co-Hosts include the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Democratic National Committee Hispanic Caucus (DNC), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), and Voto Latino.

All proceeds raised from the 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala will go to support the vision of creating a National Museum of the American Latino (www.americanlatinomuseum.org) in Washington, D.C. This gala’s beneficiary nonprofit, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, is dedicated to helping take the idea of such a museum from dream to reality.

While sponsorship opportunities are still available, many corporations have already partnered with the Latino Inaugural Gala’s co-hosts to help ensure the most successful event possible. Some of these corporate partners include Western Union, Comcast, DIRECTV Más, Prudential, Time-Warner, Chateau St. Michelle, Anheuser-Busch, Microsoft, IBC Bank, and Kraft.
At $200 each, tickets are virtually sold out. Purchase your tickets immediately on-line at http://www.LatinoInauguralGala2009.org/tickets. Tickets are sold on a first-come first-serve basis. Information on sponsorship opportunities is also available on the gala website. For any additional questions regarding sponsorship opportunities for the Latino Inaugural Gala, please contact Maria Cardona at mcardona@deweysquare.com. To receive the latest up-to-the minute updates on new entertainment/celebrity announcements and other breaking Latino Inaugural Gala news, please text “GALA” to 35328.

The Executive Producers of the 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala are David Chavez and Sarah Ruiz; Producer/Director Leroy Martinez; Grammy-Nominated Musical Director Andres Levin and Talent Director Pilar O’ Leary.

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Yesterday, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama held his first meeting with a foreign leader since his November election. Obama met with Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón, in an effort to strengthen U.S. ties between the two countries.

Obama promised to nurture close ties with its southern neighbor and other Latin American countries. Many in Latin America feel that throughout Bush’s presidency, the region WAS  neglected, as a result of the strong focus on the Middle East.

The two political leaders agreed that both governments have mutual interests such as the war on drugs which has resulted in an increase in violence in Mexico. They also discussed immigration, border security, and the impending global financial crisis. Mexico has seen effects from the financial crisis with many factories laying off many workers, because The slumping US economy has impacted sales of goods.  Mexico sends 80 percent of its exports to the United States.

Obama praised Calderón’s exemplary work on energy and climate change saying the two countries should expand their efforts in those areas while building on existing commercial, security and cultural ties.

With Mexico’s drug violence escalating, there are fears that Obama might seek changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement which would not please Calderón. NAFTA is said to be viewed by U.S. unions as a cause for job losses in industrial states, however Obama made no comments to the press regarding the agreement.  Calderón said that restricting trade would only increase illegal immigration.

Later that day the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi also met with President Calderón, praising the fact that the U.S. and Mexico have a shared history and heritage and pledged to work together for their shared mutual interests.

Reuters

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