Friday, December 31, 2004

New Years Wishes

New Years Wishes
Originally uploaded by Pandarine.
Photo by "Pandarine." View her collection at flickr.

For my Puerto Rico Sun friends, happy new year!! Peace, love, joy, happiness, health, wealth and everything good in the new year.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004



Online Holiday Shopping Not So Feliz for Latinos
(HISPANIC PR WIRE - CONTEXTO LATINO)--Area malls and retail stores are often brimming with holiday shoppers come this time of year, hoping to find the perfect gift for loved ones and friends. But as any hurried shopper can attest, sometimes the crowds at the stores and long lines at the checkout counters can take the "merry" out of the holiday season. That's why many shoppers look for alternative ways to do their shopping that don't involve the hassle of getting in the car and spending all day at the store.
Online retailers offer the convenience of fast shopping from the privacy and comfort of your own home. With the click of a button you can purchase gifts and have them shipped directly to your house. Some will even do the wrapping for you. However, as Latinos and other ethnicities are learning, not all of these online retailers make shopping convenient for those who speak English as a second language.
Common Sense Advisory, Inc., an independent research firm, has researched online communications, customer service practices, and business-to-consumer marketing for online retailers and published a study on the ability of these firms to reach the American Latino community online. Unfortunately the results aren't promising for the Hispanic community.
According to the study, of the top 50 online retailers, only four offer content in Spanish. The results are based on the sites' multicultural content, e-mail and Web forms and whether customer service representatives are able to communicate in both English and Spanish.
Most U.S. companies have yet to market to Latinos and other ethnicities. It seems American companies prefer to operate in English, and have expressed that a targeted campaign to Latinos exceeds their budgets. In addition, e-mail communication is rarely conducted in any language except English. However, some stand-out firms like The Sharper Image and 1-800-Flowers embrace the opportunity to tap the multicultural market.
Regardless of the language spoken with these top online retailers, if a customer doesn't receive feedback from a representative, he or she is likely to leave an e-tailer site with a bad impression -- resulting in lower sales for the company and potentially driving more calls to an already overloaded call center this holiday season. Considering most Latinos will not use a company that doesn't meet their unique needs, the retailer is missing out on considerable sales opportunities by the influential Hispanic market.
According to Common Sense Advisory's lead analyst, Donald A. DePalma, Ph.D., "If you sell consumer goods or services online, it is time to review your strategy for ethnic communities in the United States. E-tailers should reassess multicultural opportunities and needs in this changing economy -- not just for this year's holiday shopping season, but in an effort to become trusted suppliers to a financially powerful demographic."
For more information on Common Sense Advisory and this study, visit
Young Men are Least Likely to use Seat Belts, but Almost 90 Percent of American Adults Wear them Regularly
Rockville, MD--(HISPANIC PR WIRE – US Newswire)--December 23, 2004--Men between the ages of 19 and 29 are the group least likely to wear a seat belt while driving or riding in a car and are three times as likely not to use their seat belt as women of the same age, according to a new data analysis from HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The data, from AHRQ’s 2002 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, show that 88 percent of people between 16 and 64 years of age were reported to always or nearly always use seat belts. This number is close to the goal set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to increase national seat belt use to 90 percent by the year 2005. Healthy People 2010 set a goal of 92 percent use of seat belts by 2010. However, a little more than 5 percent of people ages 16 to 64 never or seldom use their seat belt, and another 7 percent use their seat belts only sometimes.

Other data about the people who never or seldom use their seat belts:

-- Non-students ages 19 to 21 are four times as likely not to use their seat belts as students of the same age (12 percent compared with 3 percent).

-- People with only high school education were twice as likely not to wear their seat belts as those with some additional education (almost 8 percent compared with almost 4 percent).

-- People living in non-metropolitan areas were more than twice as likely not to wear their seat belts as people living in large metropolitan areas (about 9 percent versus 4 percent).

In addition, of all people ages 16 to 64, those ages 16 to 18 were the group least likely to drive or ride in a car without their seat belt. Only about 3 percent of girls and 4 percent of boys were reported to have never used their seat belt.

Details are in Statistical Brief #62: Characteristics of Persons Who Seldom or Never Wear Seat Belts, 2002, found on the Web at

MEPS collects information each year from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households about health care use, expenses, access, health status, and quality. MEPS is a unique government survey because of the degree of detail in its data, as well as its ability to link data on health services spending and health insurance to demographic, employment, economic, health status, and other characteristics of individuals and families. General information about MEPS is available at

Monday, December 27, 2004

El Yunque

El Yunque
Originally uploaded by GinoPR.
Stop in and view scenic photos of El Yunque as well as surfer-in-action shots by photographer Gino Ferreira on flickr. Just click on "GinoPR" for more information about Gino.

Urban Train

Urban Train
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
SAN JUAN -- Puerto Ricans are finally boarding the famous "Tren Urbano" with officials offering free service for the first few weeks.

Passengers are definitely taking advantage of the free weekend service of the Urban Train, which runs 11 miles from Santurce to Bayamon. While many passengers are now taking the train to just go out for the day to sightsee, others are using it to go to work, shop and do business.

The train was scheduled to open in 2001, but has faced construction delays, safety problems and rising costs. The price tag has nearly doubled from $1.2 billion to $2.3 billion, with the federal government paying about 40 percent.

The cost of a train ride will be $1.50 single fare, which also includes a connecting bus ride, sometime next month.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

La Pava

La Pava
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Puerto Rico has a new governor-elect: Anibal Acevedo Vilá of the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party. Results will be certified next week, but Acevedo Vilá will be the island's next governor.

Acevedo Vilá has won the recount challenge to the governor's seat. This comes a month and a half after the Nov. 2 elections and a host of legal challenges and controversy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


St. Jude Halloween Promotion Raises More Than $3.2 Million to Help Save the Lives of Children Fighting Cancer Worldwide
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Businesses across the country united to help fight childhood cancer through the 13th annual Halloween Promotion benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital(R) and helped to raise more than $3.2 million. During the month of October, participating establishments recognized a $1 donation to St. Jude by writing the donor's name on a pumpkin-themed wall pinup. Hundreds of thousands of pinups were posted throughout the country on the days leading up to Halloween.
Sponsored by Coors Brewing Company, the month-long promotion involved restaurants and retail outlets. Since the promotion's inception in 1992, more than $24 million has been contributed to the hospital's mission of finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
"Our Halloween Promotion partners did a tremendous job this year," said Richard C. Shadyac, chief operating officer of ALSAC/St. Jude, the fund- raising arm of the hospital. "Each and every one of them embraced this promotion and sold as many pumpkins as they possibly could. We are grateful for their help, as well as for all the customers who took part. Each one of the pumpkins they bought will make a difference in a child's life."
"St. Jude would like to especially thank the top six Halloween Promotion fund-raisers for this year," said John Vranas, vice president of Field Operations at ALSAC/St. Jude. "Buffalo Wild Wings, Casey's General Stores, A & P Supermarkets, Favorite Markets, Giant Food Stores, and Petro Stopping Centers all went above and beyond to make this year's program a success."
Founded in 1873, Coors Brewing Company is the third-largest U.S. brewer and the eighth largest brewer in the world. Coors sells its products in North American, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Coors Light is the company's largest brand and is the seventh largest beer brand in the world. For more information on Coors, go to
"Coors has been a proud sponsor of the St. Jude Halloween Promotion for 13 years," said Roy Gifford, Coors Director of Channel Marketing, "We are so pleased that we can excite people around the country to help St. Jude continue its fantastic work in research and treatment."
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, TN. St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities throughout the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fund-raising organization. For more information, please visit .

Source: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Puerto Rico Sun is listed in the "links directory" of

Monday, December 20, 2004

Source: PRLDEF statement

December 20, 2004

At the PRLDEF Institute for Puerto Rican Policy, 2004 was a year of much activity as our small crew worked tirelessly to promote a positive policy agenda for Puerto Ricans and other Latinos. This included:

Promoting increased civic participation and discussion of critical issues facing Latinos in this Presidential election year by:

● Challenging the television networks’ inaccurate exit poll findings that 44 percent of Latinos voted for the President, when the actual figure was closer to 39 percent and the Democratic challenger probably received the same level of support as he did in the 2000 election. IPR wrote op-eds on the subject in newspapers like the New York Post and participated in forums sponsored by think tanks like Demos.
● Providing and participating in forums for the discussion of critical issues like the production of a New York cable television program on the 2004 election, speaking at such local and national events as the first annual conference of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute in Los Angeles, the annual policy Institute of the National Puerto Rican Coalition in Orlando, and others.
● Conducting research on Latino voting, such as writing the chapter on New York in the book, Muted Voices: Latinos and the 2000 Election.
● Mobilizing the largest gathering of Puerto Rican community activists from throughout the United States in years by being the leading force behind the convening of Encuentro Boricua 2004, on May 21-22 at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx.
● Convened the first Northeast Regional Meeting of Latino Political Action Committees (PAC) in cooperation with the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, resulting in the creation of the L-PAC Listserv moderated by us.
Promoting an increasing awareness of critical issues facing the nation’s growing Puerto Rican population and its relationship to Puerto Rico by:
● Producing the first ever Atlas of Stateside Puerto Ricans, under contract with the government of Puerto Rico, which documented for the first time that the Stateside Puerto Rican population had become larger than that of Puerto Rico.
● Compiling and disseminating a Latino Datanote that brought attention to the high poverty rate of Stateside Puerto Ricans and compared the socioeconomic status of Stateside with Island Puerto Ricans for the first time.
● Co-edited a new book that presents the first general history of Puerto Ricans in New York City entitled, Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City.
Holding the media accountable to the Latino community by:
● Mobilizing community support and providing technical research support to efforts to challenge the measurement of Latino television audiences by the Nielsen Research Media, including the first study ever conducted analyzing the Nielsen methodology that was conducted by the National Latino Media Council.
● Housing the New York Chapter of the National Hispanic Media Coalition and assisting in its monitoring of the diversity agreements signed by ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.
● Helping the National Hispanic Media Coalition develop their first foundation-funded effort, the Latino Media Policy Consortium, which was funded by the Ford Foundation.
Providing The Latino Policy Forum series for the discussion of critical policy issues affecting the Latino community, such as:
● The “30th Anniversary of the Aspira Consent Decree” and the future of bilingual education in New York, which brought together the original attorneys that brought the Aspira lawsuit in 1972 and bilingual education advocates.
● “Latinos and the New Culture Wars: The Hispanic Threat to this Country’s National Security, Race Relations ... and Other Rightwing Fantasies,” which brought together leading Latino scholars to discuss the implications of two recent book: Huntington’s Who We Are and Vaca’s Presumed Alliance.
Developing a Latino Data Center to provide timely Census and other statistics on Latino trends and to monitor the planning of the 2010 Census, by
● Being an active participant in the Census Bureau’s Census Information Center Program as an officer of the program’s National Steering Committee, and participating in all the national meetings of the Urban Institute, CIC, the State Data Centers and the Racial and Ethnic Advisory Committees to the Census.
● Beta testing new software, such as IBM’s ¡Traducelo Ahora! web-based translation program.
● Being the only organization in the country that has independently monitored a field test for the year 2010 Census, conducting meetings and focus groups with Latino community-based organizations and leaders in the 2004 Queens test site. The result will be a report evaluating the test from a community-based perspective.
● Making presentations on Census issues as they affect Latinos before such organizations as the National Association of Ethnic Studies at the annual meeting in Philadelphia, the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, the National Puerto Rican Coalition, the Pennsylvania Statewide Latino Coalition as well as local community-based institutions such as Boricua College, the New York State Assembly, and others.
● Conducting a survey of the data needs of Latino community-based organizations on the East Coast and in Puerto Rico that will result in a report to be issued in early 2005 under the working title, Beyond the Cuchifrito Syndrome: Assessing the Data Needs of Latino Nonprofits.
Increasing government accountability to the Latino community by:
● Developing a New York City Latino Municipal Priorities Project as a national pilot, taking advantage of the 2005 Mayoral elections.
● Competing research on an analysis of the responsive of over 40 NYC government agencies to the needs of the Latino community.
● Completing research on the employment of Latinos by New York City government and assessing the state of its workforce diversity.
● Releasing a report on the exclusion of Latinos from the NYC private hospitals’ policymaking positions entitled, Condition Critical: The Absence of Latinos from Policymaking Positions in New York City’s Voluntary Hospitals, by Annette Fuentes. The follow-up to the report will monitor how local, state and federal regulatory agencies have responded to this problem.
● Speaking at various conferences and other forums on the role of policy advocacy, such as the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture held in Kansas City and government bodies such as the New York City Council.
Finally, don’t forget to visit our Policy Library on the Web, it’s at:

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Absence of Latinos Among Policymakers
in New York City’s Voluntary Hospitals
by Annette Fuentes

(New York: PRLDEF, December 2004), 66 pages

To download a copy of the full report as a PDF file, go to:

Key Findings
● Six of 13 New York City voluntary hospitals surveyed had no Latinos on their boards of trustees; one hospital had two Latino members (representing only 2% of their trustees) and two hospitals had one Latino member (1% of trustees).
● One of 13 hospitals had a Latino president/CEO; the same hospital had Latinos in 33% of its senior management positions.
● 12 of 13 hospitals had no Latinos in any senior management positions.
● The Greater New York Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York, the two largest industry lobbying/trade groups, had just one Latino each on their boards of trustees, representing 3% and 2% of members, respectively.
● The Greater New York Hospital Association this spring failed to meet the Equal Employment Opportunity standards of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, a GNYHA member, because of lack of diversity in 7 of 20 job categories among staff.

Latinos Face Multiple Barriers to Care
● Hospitals routinely fail to follow regulations on providing language interpreter services for Spanish-speaking patients and others with limited English proficiency
● Hospitals fail to provide written materials, such as financial forms, in patients’ language
● Hospitals receive millions in state funds to care for the uninsured but fail to inform patients such assistance is available
● Many hospitals maintain a dual system of care in their specialty practices – a clinic system for poor with resident doctors, and a private practice with attending physicians
● Hospitals serve low percentages of uninsured patients despite regulatory and legal mandates to serve all regardless of ability to pay; Public hospitals continue to be safety net providers for the uninsured and immigrant populations.

This report was developed by the PRLDEF Institute for Puerto Rican Policy and was funded in large part by a grant from the WK Kellogg Foundation.

The Reading Life
By Vivian Lake, Puerto Rico Sun Book Editor

Memoria de mis putas tristes by Gabriel García Márquez Vintage Books, $10.95)This is the first novel from the author in ten years. Anticipation was so feverish that bootlegged copies of the book hit the streets in his native Colombia weeks before the official publication date. A revised ending written at the last minute has made the pirated versions obsolete. When the book finally hit the stores, sales were clocked in at 1,000 volumes per hour. One wonders what his compatriots have to say about this unexpected story.
A few guesses: Offensive, sad, misogynistic, ridiculous. Not words usually associated with the beloved Gabo.
A 90 year-old man wants a last fling with a young virgin for his birthday and falls in "love" for the first time. Not even García Márquez's formidable talent (still very much in evidence here) can make this story poignant or compelling.
Set in the Colombian coastal city of Barranquilla during the 1930's, the first-person narrative introduces the protagonist, a retired journalist, who is looking back at his life and preparing to face death. But first, he wants that virgin. For this he contacts an old friend of his, the madam of a whorehouse with whom he has a long acquaitance: he has never had sex without paying for it; even if the woman wasn't a prostitute, he insisted on paying. The old writer has kept a list of the women he has slept with (including descriptions and a scoring system); the list contains 514 names. He has lived alone, writing his columns, listening to classical music his whole life. He was almost married once, but ditched the bride on their wedding day. The misogyny fairly boils over the margins.
After some difficulty a young girl is found and the assignation made. When he arrives, she is asleep on the bed, nude, her face grossly made up. He doesn't wake her or touch her in any way, but watches her and leaves the next morning. He arranges to meet the girl several nights per week, for the same pathetic charade. She is always nude and asleep, he watches her and occasionally caresses her, nothing more. Eventually he brings his favorite music, books and objects to the room -- ostensibly for her, but she is always asleep.
When the house closes unexpectedly and the madam disappears, the man is bereft. Desperate to see the girl, he walks the streets, looking for her, imagining that he sees her, when he realizes that he wouldn't know what she looked like fully dressed and standing up. He doesn't know her name or the sound of her voice, and tries to imagine it. Then he realizes he doesn't want to hear it. He prefers her silent.
Amazed at his desperation to find her, his agony at not seeing her, he realizes that for the first time in his life he is in love. With what is unclear, since the girl has never even been awake in the same room with him. He knows the girl works her fingers to the bone every day in a factory as the sole support of her family, and he has done nothing to help her, even mocks her to the madam about it. He calls her "Delgadina" (little slender one) but she is described as malnourished by somone else (not that he cares). He does nothing to find out if she gets enough to eat, or to ensure she is getting a fair share of what he pays the madam. He loves her silent somnolence which neither demands nor complains. There is no poignant love story here, just a lingering distaste.
Review of Spanish language edition.

Burning Precinct Puerto Rico: Book Three by Steven Torres (Thomas Dunne Books, $23.95)This is the third novel featuring the no-nonsense Sheriff Luis Gonzalo of Angustias, Puerto Rico, a remote small town in the mountains. The year is 1989 and Sheriff Gonzalo has 25 years on the job. His last duty before an extended vacation is to attend his anniversary celebration in the town square, where he's bored to tears by the speeches and distracted during the ceremony. Then billowing smoke in the distance signals a major fire on the outskirts of town and all hell breaks loose.
When the smoke clears, a family has been killed and their home burned down. The Ortiz family seemed to be farmers, but the violence signals something more serious was going on. The story moves at breakneck speed as Sheriff Gonzalo starts investigating and two dangerous suspects come to light. Other leads indicate the drug trade blighting the cities has moved up into this mountain idyll. But how? The town is so impenetrable even the walkie-talkies don't work steadily. Solidly relentless, the Sheriff follows the investigation through more twists than a daytime soap, as deputies get shot, people disappear and the new mayor continues trys to get him off the case.
An intimate sense of place, vivid and well-devoloped characterization and fast-paced action make this crime-spree a must-read.

To read more of Lake's work, go to

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Originally uploaded by minusbaby.
Photo by "minusbaby."

Check out minusbaby's work at flickr.
Felicidades. In this month of sending holiday wishes, consider sending an e-card of Puerto Rico.

Reminder -- My photos are now part of the photo collection at the Escape to Puerto Rico site.

My work is located under the categories:

Old San Juan



Please visit and send an Isla del Encanto e-card.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

In the News


Thursday, December 9:
* A look at the contested Puerto Rican election of 2004: The candidate
narrowly leading in last month's governors race is charging the U.S.
government with acting as a colonial ruler for seizing control of
ballot counting in the protracted election. A Boston-based federal judge has
decided to step in and overrule Puerto Rico's Supreme Court on how to
run the recount. Last week 20,000 people protested outside the federal
courthouse in San Juan to denounce the decision of U.S. District Judge
Daniel Dominguez. Some demonstrators held signs reading "Stop the
federal coup, respect Puerto Rico." Gubernatorial candidate Aníbal
Acevedo Vilá said the U.S. judge's move "tortures the island's
residents and holds them hostage."

* A discussion on the future of the nation's labor movement
For more information,

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Guitar, maracas, oh my!

Guitar, maracas, oh my!
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
!Feliz Navidad!

Thanks for your support of the Puerto Rico Sun project.

Peace and love always.


Saturday, December 04, 2004

Boricuas in Gotham forum

Community News

IPR Policy Forum

Puerto Ricans in the Making
of Modern New York City

Wednesday, December 8, 2004
6:00 pm (followed by a book signing reception)
PRLDEF Conference Room
99 Hudson Street, 14th Floor
(between Franklin and Leonard Streets in Manhattan; #1 or 9 subways to Franklin St.)

This forum will critically examine issues in the writing of the history of the Puerto Rican community in New York City as presented in the newly-published book, Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City -- Essays in Honor of Dr. Antonia Pantoja (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2004).
Boricuas in Gotham, edited by Gabriel Haslip-Viera, Angelo Falcón and Félix Matos-Rodríguez, attempts to recover that history from 1945 to the present through the writings of leading scholars in the field. The book’s contributors are: José Cruz (SUNY-Albany), Angelo Falcón (PRLDEF and Columbia University), Fernando Ferrer (NYC Mayoral Candidate), Gabriel Haslip-Viera (City College of New York), Antonia Pantoja, Francisco Rivera-Batiz (Columbia University and the Russell Sage Foundation), Clara Rodriguez (Fordham University), Virginia Sánchez-Korrol (Brooklyn College) and Ana Celia Zentella (University of California-San Diego).
A panel of respected experts has been invited to critique the book and discuss its implications for the Puerto Rican community and New York City. These are:
Javier Castaño (Hoy Newspaper; author of New York Colombiano)
Juan Flores (Hunter College; author of From Bomba to Hip Hop)
Lillian Jimenez (Latino Educational Media Center)
Ed Morales (freelance writer; author of Living in Spanglish)
John Kuo Wei Tchen (New York University; author of New York Before Chinatown)

Lillian Jimenez will be showing clips from her documentary, "Antonia Pantoja: Abriendo Caminos," chronicling the Puerto Rican community's educational and language rights struggles in New York. The documentary features interviews with Dr. Antonia Pantoja and other members of the Puerto Rican community from the 1950s to the early 1970s. It includes rarely seen archival footage and never-before-seen 8mm home movies of the era.
This IPR Policy Forum is organized by the PRLDEF Institute for Puerto Rican Policy, and co-sponsored by the New York Regional Office of the Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños at Hunter College, the Latin American and Hispanic Caribbean Studies Program at the City College of New York, and Markus Wiener Publishers.

Please RSVP with Myra Y. Estepa at or 212-739-7499.
Myra Y. Estepa
Policy Networking Program Coordinator
99 Hudson Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10013
(212) 739-7499 (Direct)
(212) 431-4276 (Fax)

"Querer ser libre es empezar a serlo"

Zero Improvement for Hispanic Workers: Hispanic Unemployment Rate Unchanged, Significantly Higher Than National Rate

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/
-- Today the government reported that the Hispanic unemployment rate continued to be disproportionately higher than the national average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Hispanics was 6.7 percent, with 1.3 million Hispanic Americans looking for work -- a 16 percent increase since President Bush took office.
The national unemployment rate was at 5.4 percent; with today's weak job numbers, 1.2 million private-sector jobs have been lost over the last four years. The average length of unemployment is at a 20-year high, and manufacturing jobs have been lost three months in a row remaining at a 54-year low. Americans working hard to provide for their families need good jobs and a growing economy.
"Today's lackluster jobs report makes clear that the economy has not 'turned the corner,' as President Bush claimed during the campaign," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said. "Under Republican leadership, the manufacturing sector has been devastated, wages have not kept pace with inflation, and we have the worst record of job creation since the Great Depression."
"The Latino unemployment rate did not improve and it remains staggeringly higher than the national rate," Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said. "The policies of this Administration and the Republican Congress ignore the economic realities facing the hard working Latino community, making matters worse for Latinos, and benefiting the very wealthy at the expense of American workers."
"According to the President's spokesman, the Bush Administration is planning an economic summit in two weeks, to 'force' the President to focus on economic issues," Pelosi said. "Instead of using this summit to push the radical Republican plan to cut retirement benefits, or to discuss the merits of exporting American jobs, Republicans should use that time to come up with a real plan to create good paying jobs here at home, control the deficit, and help the middle class achieve financial security. Bipartisan solutions exist. But first, the Republicans must replace economic theory with real-world strategies that focus on job creation."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an additional 1.3 million people fell out of the middle class and into poverty last year, with paychecks flat and household income down. While annual average incomes remained flat, incomes for Hispanics dropped by 2.6 percent, the only group whose incomes fell last year.
House Democrats have always fought on behalf of Hispanic American working families. The Democrat's Hispanic Agenda, Compromiso Democrata con el Pueblo Latino embodies this commitment. The proposals put forth by House Democrats would create 10 million new jobs, would fully fund education programs so that all our children can reach their potential, including migrant and seasonal worker's children. The Democratic commitment to Latino families is the same that produced 20 million new jobs during the 1990s and that has always defended the interests of the Hispanic community, especially during the last four years of insensitive neglect from Congressional Republicans and President Bush.

Source: Office of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

CONTACT: Federico A. de Jesus of the Office of House Democratic Leader
Nancy Pelosi, +1-202-225-0100

Web site:

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Community News

Date: December 3rd, 2004
Category: CT

Rita Rivera Ortiz
Program Director
Leadership Greater Hartford
860.951.6161, ext. 15

400 Connecticut Latino Leaders To Convene for Third Summit Dirigiendo Con Nuevo Ritmo

November 22, 2004 (Hartford, CT)On December 3, Latino leaders from across the State will convene at the Hartford Marriott Hotel in Farmington for the third biennial Connecticut Latino Leadership Summit. Impacto Latino: Leading With New Rhythm, is an outstanding opportunity for learning, networking, and celebrating for emerging and current leaders in the Latino community.

The program features morning and afternoon workshops and keynote addresses from U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Johnson and Rossana Rosado, Publisher /CEO of El Diario- La Prensa.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the day concludes with a reception at 4:00 p.m.

Latino Leadership Development Network, in collaboration with Leadership Greater Hartford, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, The City of Hartford, C.A.L.A.H.E., The Latino & Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, Latina Roundtable, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, SINA, Trinity College and the Hispanic Professional Network, organized the event.

Thanks to key event sponsors The Phoenix, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, Bank of America, Aetna Foundation, Comcast, and SBM Charitable Foundation, registration is only $75, or $35 for students (18-25) and Senior Citizens (60 plus).

For more information and to register, please visit Leadership Greater Hartfords website at, or contact Rita Rivera Ortiz, at 951-6161, ext. 15.


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Friday, November 26, 2004

New: The Puerto Rico Sun online newspaper

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays!
Please take a moment.

Website: Puerto Rico Sun

Encourage users to give your site a rating on To
have people rate your site, have them go to this URL:

Thursday, November 25, 2004

3 Reyes Magos

3 Reyes Magos
Originally uploaded by RicanGeek.
Have a good Thanksgiving. The Christmas season has begun here in Puerto Rico, so happy holidays to all.

This photo of the Three Kings is by "RicanGeek," a boricua in San Francisco. Check out his work at flickr.

Thank you for your support.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Manuel Hernandez

Picture MH
Originally uploaded by Manny.
Education Corner

Where do we go from here?
By Manuel Hernandez

There has been a lot of talk about the results of the November 2nd elections and the role Latinos played in the general outcome.
According to the founder of The National Hispanic/Latino American And Migrant Agenda Summit, Peter Fontanés, “the victory of President George Bush has resulted in some very interesting developments, and they will certainly impact our communities in ways never before seen.”
I agree and foresee further developments in the days ahead. Notwithstanding all the post-election events and post-electoral debate, I am sure all agree that Latinos made an impact like never before and are now ready to contribute and take their place in American history. But where do we go from here?
Education is the key that unlocks the door to a new world of opportunities here and anywhere in the world. Without education, Latinos merely survive and risk their existence and role. Assessment is a process by which one learns more about oneself -what ones likes, what one does not like, and how one tends to react to certain situations. Knowing these things can help one determine which areas and situations need to be improved. Latinos have been assessed in all areas: crime, immigration, home ownership, business, health and education, just to mention a few.
Education is where we Latinos need to go. The core areas are parent school improvement, not just saying it but providing a sound and solid voice for Latino parents. City and state evaluations must include disaggregated student achievement data, academic objectives for each subgroup and the percentage of students not tested, high school graduation rates and the professional qualifications of teachers.
Education must be visionary and culturally sensitive. Federal involvement is needed in this area by supporting programs and activities that include academic enrichment services, art and music education, math, science and computer literacy tutoring services and mentoring programs. The key Latino role models which may include NBA Latino sports stars, entertainers, young Latino entrepeneurs, rising Latinos in business, education and publishing must be available to come in and reach out to the younger Latino teens in dire need of guidance and support. Additionally, programs that provide after-school activities for limited English-proficient students that emphasize language skills and academic achievement, telecommunications and technology education must be encouraged.
The vision for quality education is a good, engaged, caring and involved parent. Let us take advantage of The No Child Left Behind Act provisions which would help parents of English language learners make informed decisions about their children’s education, such as which program of study is best for helping them learn English and academic course work. There is a plan and it must be placed in action. We are all in awe of the Latino growth and unequivocal influence in all of America's institutions, but we Latinos must put priorities in order. After our loyalty to the Almighty and the Latino family, the education of our present and future generations must be the priority in the days ahead.

Manny Hernandez contributes commentary about education issues to Puerto Rico Sun. Hernandez may be reached at 787-355-0099 or by mail: HC-01, Box 7717, Luquillo, Puerto Rico 00773.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Community News


New NCLR Publication Examines the Latino Vote in the 2004 Election

Washington, DC - Hispanic participation in the 2004 election, including exit poll numbers that have generated considerable debate and controversy over the last two weeks, is the subject of a new analysis released today by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.
"NCLR's analysis shows first that there was a record turnout of Latinos in this election, and second that Hispanic voters have clearly cemented their status as a swing vote," stated Janet Murguia, NCLR Executive Director and COO.
NCLR's paper examines a variety of exit poll data that show a range of support among Latinos: 31-44% for President George Bush and 53-67% for Senator John Kerry. The analysis concludes that, despite discrepancies among the various exit polls, when each poll is compared to its 2000 counterpart, it shows a seven to nine percentage point increase in support for President Bush. The document also includes a comparison of exit poll data from other presidential elections dating back to 1988. Finally, it notes the exponential growth in Latino voters in that same time frame. NCLR estimates that nearly eight million Hispanics went to the polls on November 2, a 27% increase since 2000 and more than double the number who voted in 1988.
The analysis is available free of charge. To access other election related information visit NCLR's website,

"NCLR - How Did Latinos Really Vote in 2004?"

source: NCLR


IRS Has Refunds for Hundreds of Puerto Ricans

Washington, DC – The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) is working with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to alert taxpayers in Puerto Rico that over 700 Puerto Ricans who were owed refunds in 2004 did not receive them due to incorrect mailing addresses or other problems. Nationwide, nearly 87,500 income tax refund checks – totaling over $73 million – could not be delivered.
Refund checks can be reissued as soon as taxpayers correct or update their addresses with the IRS.
"If we owe you money, we'd like to get it to you," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "All you have to do is tell us where you are.”
Mari Carmen Aponte, executive director of PRFAA, said her Agency will help facilitate the dissemination of information to all Puerto Ricans who might be missing their refund checks. “We have posted on our website – – all the names of those Puerto Ricans who are owed refunds by the IRS. We know that you have worked hard to earn a living and want to make sure that every Puerto Rican receives what they are owed.”
“If you see your name or the name of someone you know on the list, you can click on the link on that page to go directly to the IRS website to track your undelivered refund check. On the IRS website, you will need to provide your social security number, your filing status (such as single or married filing jointly) and the refund amount shown on your 2003 tax return.” Aponte explained.
When that information is submitted online, taxpayers see Web pages that show the status of their refund and, in some cases, instructions to resolve potential account issues. “Where’s My Refund?” was developed through the IRS Business Systems Modernization program and delivered in the summer of 2002. Taxpayers used the online tool nearly 24 million times to track their refunds in 2004.
Taxpayers who believe they are owed a refund that was never received and are unable to access the internet may call IRS toll-free assistance line at 1-800-829-1040 to update their address.
The number of undeliverable checks decreased this year by 5,325, but the average refund, $836, increased compared with last year’s average of $722.
Taxpayers can avoid undelivered refund checks by having their refunds directly deposited into a personal checking or savings account. Direct deposit also guards against theft or lost refund checks. The option is available for both paper and electronically filed returns. More than 49 million taxpayers chose to direct deposit almost $120 billion in refunds this year. The number of direct deposit refunds was up 10.8 percent from last year.
Refund checks go astray for reasons that can vary with each taxpayer. Often, it’s because a life change causes an address change. If taxpayers move or change their address and fail to notify the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service, a check sent to their last known address is returned to the IRS.
Taxpayers who have moved since filing their last tax return can ensure the IRS has their correct address by filing Form 8822, Change of Address, with the IRS. Download the form or request it by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

Related Links:
“Where’s My Refund?” —,,id=96596,00.html
Form 8822, Change of Address —

Names of those Puerto Ricans who are owed refunds by the IRS — (go to and click there).

PRFAA, which serves as the mainland offices of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, facilitates and promotes economic and public policy initiatives important to the growth and empowerment of all Puerto Rican communities. The agency is headquartered in Washington, DC and currently operates 12 regional and satellite offices in New York City, Newark, Boston, Springfield, MA, Philadelphia, Hartford, Orlando, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Houston. The Washington, DC office is located at 1100 17th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036 and can be reached at (202) 778-0710 or via the web at


La Providencia

La Providencia
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Los Catolicos celebramos La Virgen de la Providencia, la patrona de Puerto Rico, hoy en su dia.
Nov 19, 2004 08:00 ET

20,000 Reached in Nationwide Bus Tour to Increase Number of Latinos Attending College

The Sallie Mae Fund Hosts Last of 125 Workshops, Community Events Nov. 19-20 in Miami

RESTON, Va., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sallie Mae Fund's 23-city, coast- to-coast bus tour, On the Road: The Paying for College Tour, concludes this weekend in Miami with a series of events and workshops for Latino families.

(Photo: )

The nationwide bus tour has helped educate more than 20,000 Latino students and parents on planning and paying for college through more than 125 workshops and community events. In Florida alone, nearly 2,000 people are expected to participate. Workshops attended by 150 students will be held this morning at Coral Park Senior High School in Miami.
"The Sallie Mae Fund has shown that knowledge of financial aid can mean the difference between attending college or writing it off as hopelessly out of reach," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). "I challenge Hispanic families to capitalize on this financial aid because, as college graduates, Hispanics can play an increasingly important role in our country's future."
The Sallie Mae Fund also will host workshops at ASPIRA North tonight, and Maria Celeste Arraras, popular Telemundo news personality, will join the tour tomorrow afternoon at the Miami Beach Convention Center (details at The Fund also sponsored an "Idea Lab" this week to provide educators with a forum to discuss higher education access issues affecting minorities.
The bus tour, which began in Los Angeles on Sept. 8, was launched in the wake of the largest-ever survey of Latino perspectives on financial aid, which was commissioned by The Sallie Mae Fund and conducted by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California. The survey results, announced in March, revealed that awareness of financial aid options is critically lacking in the Latino community, and that this lack of awareness is hampering college attendance. Half of all Latino young adults and more than half of all Latino parents did not receive any financial aid information in the K-12 years.
The survey showed that Latino families prefer to learn about financial aid from in-person meetings or workshops, provided by guidance counselors or financial aid experts. Financial aid experts, and more than 60 student- serving organizations, and Latino community-based groups nationwide partnered with The Sallie Mae Fund to bring financial aid information to Latino families how and where they want to receive it. The free Spanish-language workshops (with simultaneous English translation) are designed to help answer questions and provide information to Latino students and their parents. A college scholarship was awarded at every workshop, with a total of $60,000 in scholarships awarded to date.
"We knew from our research that thousands of Latino families were not receiving financial aid information in their desired format," said Susan Corsini, vice chair of The Sallie Mae Fund. "These families embraced The Fund's workshops and events -- a clear sign that this type of initiative can be tremendously powerful in helping more Latinos prepare for college."
"Many Latino young adults believe they can't go to college because college has not been part of their family history. If we can communicate a message of opportunity, college will become a source of pride for so many more Latino families," said Ruth Gammon-Stennett, associate director, ASPIRA North Miami.
Latinos represent the largest and most rapidly growing ethnic minority group in the state, making up nearly 17 percent of the Florida population. By the year 2014, more than one out of every three public high school graduates in Florida will be of Latino descent, according to projections by the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education.
The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, achieves its mission -- to increase access to a postsecondary education for America's students -- by supporting programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education, prepare families for their investment, and bridge the gap when no one else can. For more information visit

Photo: NewsCom:
AP PhotoExpress Network: PRN2
PRN Photo Desk,
Source: The Sallie Mae Fund

CONTACT: Hugh Rosen of The Sallie Mae Fund, +1-703-984-6227, or

Web site:

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Orgullo Boricua

Orgullo Boricua
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Featured Site (

Next week all my English students from grades 4 to 9 will get school assignments related to Puerto Rico, where they will use their bilingual abilities. I am using a wonderful tool:, a bilingual cultural site for Puerto Ricans.

The site offers wonderful resources, ranging from Puerto Rico-related lesson plans for teachers to food recipes and interesting articles.

Visit the elboricua site. I recommend you stop in.

November 19 marks "El Dia de Descubrimiento" de Puerto Rico (Discovery Day), a local holiday here on the island. Puerto Rico was "discovered" November 19, 1493, by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the Americas.

Community News

Did you know that stateside Puerto Ricans (3.9 million) outnumber those in Puerto Rico (3.6 million) for the first time in history? That's according to a new study. Read about it.

by Angelo Falcón

(Washington, DC: Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration), 130 pp.

To download an abridged version of the report without the state and local maps, visit this link:

To get a free hard copy of the full 130-page report mailed to you, order from PRFAA:
Celeste Diaz Ferraro at 202-271-7263 ( or Maite Rivera at 202-271-7272

Highlights of the Findings:
Stateside Puerto Ricans (3.9 million) outnumber those in Puerto Rico (3.6 million) for the first time in history
Stateside Puerto Ricans send an estimated $1 billion a year in remittances to their families and relatives in Puerto Rico
The aggregate income of Stateside Puerto Ricans ($55 billion) exceeds that of Puerto Rico ($43 billion)
The concentration of Puerto Rican communities stateside are presented in 12 states and the District of Columbia at the state and metropolitan levels in more than 90 maps.
In 2002, the average individual income for Stateside Puerto Ricans was $33,927, compared to $48,687 for non-Latino Whites
63 percent of Stateside Puerto Ricans ages 25 and over graduated from high school, compared to 84 percent of non-Latino Whites.
Stateside Puerto Ricans have a family poverty rate of 23 percent, compared to 6 percent for non-Latino Whites and 45 percent for Puerto Rico.
The poverty rates for single female-headed families were 39 percent for Stateside Puerto Ricans, 20 percent for non-Latino Whites, and 61 percent in for Puerto Rico.
21 percent of Stateside Puerto Ricans are in professional-managerial occupations, compared to 36 percent of non-Latino Whites.
Stateside Puerto Rican women have the closest of any racial-ethnic minority of income parity to the men of their own group: their income was 84 percent that of Stateside Puerto Rican men.
The implications of this study for Puerto Rico and Stateside Puerto Ricans are outlined as well in this report.
About the Author:

Angelo Falcón, a political scientist, is the Senior Policy Executive of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he directs the PRLDEF Institute for Puerto Rican Policy. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Columbia University School of Public and International Affairs. He is also co-editor of the recently-released book, Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City (Princeton: Marcus Weiner Publihers, 2004). The Atlas of Stateside Puerto Ricans was commissioned by the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and is released jointly with PRLDEF.

To arrange an interview with the author, contact Myra Estepa at the PRLDEF Institute for Puerto Rican Policy at 212-739-7499 or
Myra Y. Estepa
Policy Networking Program Coordinator
99 Hudson Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10013
(212) 739-7499 (Direct)
(212) 431-4276 (Fax)

"Querer ser libre es empezar a serlo"

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Want to know how the sun is called in other languages?

Go to the Sunrise, Sunset -- Anything Sun photo group at flickr, to find out.


Sunset at Zandvoort Beach

Sunset at Zandvoort Beach
Originally uploaded by uruandimi.
Among the beautiful sun shots in the Sunrise, Sunset -- Anything Sun photo group at flickr.

Photo by "uruandimi"

Monday, November 08, 2004

"Old San Juan in Silhouettes"

An excerpt from an article posted at the photosofpuertoricosun site. On images from Old San Juan and more, photosofpuertorico wrote: "Clarisel carefully 'painted' them just with pure shadows and silhouettes, producing very compelling images from ordinary objects."

Stop in and enjoy the photo gallery at

Site has a wonderful array of photos of La Isla del Encanto from a talented pool of photographers. Definitely worth a visit.


Saturday, November 06, 2004

Caminito in La Boca

Caminito in La Boca
Originally uploaded by lujan.
Check out the latinoamericanos! photo group at flickr. Beautiful images from different Spanish-speaking countries.

This photo is by lujan. It is a "caminito" in Argentina.

Woman with a View

Woman with a View
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Culture & Identity


By Clarisel Gonzalez
Puerto Rico Sun

SAN JUAN - I was told yesterday that I am not Puerto Rican.

Neither is Jennifer Lopez or Marc Anthony I was told.


Well, I was told by a "real Puerto Rican" that none of us are Puerto Rican because we were not born on the island.

I was offended.

This "Puerto Rican sister" told me that Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and no other person born in New York or anywhere in the states is a "real Puerto Rican." "You just see yourselves that way," she said. It was not the first time I heard comments like that about Nuyoricans, but it was the first time that someone told me that to my face.

I heard this coming from the mouth of what I perceived to be a boricua sister who doesn't see me as boricua. I don't see her as a sister anymore even if she was born on La Isla del Encanto and sees herself as a "real Puerto Rican."


I have been living on the island on and off since 2000, but I have identified as Puerto Rican all my life. My mother and father moved to New York City in search of better opportunities just like many Puerto Ricans did. They had me in New York, and I grew in the South Bronx. But they instilled in me a deep love for the island.

And, I grew up bilingual, bicultural.

As a journalist, a large part of my mission has been striving for better and fairer coverage of Latino issues and more opportunities for journalists. That is why I am now running this Puerto Rico Sun cultural blog.

As a teacher, I have served Hispanic students in Trenton, N.J., and on the island.

I currently work as an English teacher in Santurce's Barrio Obrero, and my students are Puerto Rican and Dominican. I see it as a way of giving back to mi gente.

Now, I am told I am not even a "real Puerto Rican."

I disagree.

I am a proud Puerto Rican. I am American. I am a New Yorker.

I know who I am, and I am giving back to mi gente.

Or, should I just go home to New York (where I belong) to do that?

Friday, November 05, 2004

Education Corner

The Road To Freedom
By Manuel Hernandez
The November 2nd elections defined Latinos as the vote that marched through the road to freedom. With the highest turnout ever, Latinos have finally opened the gates to their pathway. The road to freedom provoked a lot of before, during and after electoral debate, but Latinos met the challenge and cruised to victory. With an increase of 5 percent of the Republican vote from the 2000 elections, it is clear and present that Latinos will have an opportunity to voice issues and concerns and make their presence felt in all avenues of the American highway.

The Latino preschool, elementary, secondary and high school population is growing and has now become part of an important story of the largest minority ethnic group in the United States. Much of the recent rise in minority enrollment in elementary and secondary schools may be attributed to the growth in the number of Latino students. The issue of education is key to Latinos, who are less likely to receive a quality education than most other Americans. In one of his recent political rallies, President Bush stated "the role of government is to help people realize a dream, not stand in the way of dreams." The road to freedom is rough and bumpy, but Latinos dream and have realized that their dreams are founded in the educational empowerment of the people.

After they numerically proved in the past elections that they should not be taken for granted, the education of Latinos must be a top priority for the President's administration. Census projections go as far as placing them over the 100 million mark by mid-century, but the numbers are meaningless unless Latinos decelerate high school drop out rates, national testing scores and other educational pit stops. However, despite the fact that Latinos have recently made some major gains, disparities still exist in academic performance between Latinos and non- Latino White students.

In the Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass by Terry M. West, young Frederick's owner prohibits his wife to read to him because it was dangerous and against the law. The words of the slave owner sank deep into Douglass' heart and motivated him to read, learn and educate himself. The rest of Douglass' legacy is recorded in American history. Latinos must decisively take advantage of this moment in history and drive through the road to freedom. The road to freedom is a pledge to educate and empower children and send them on an envisioned road to promote the educational excellence that all of them deserve. A generation after the historical “I Have A Dream” speech has paved the way to provide all America’s children with quality education and excellent academic standards.

Manny Hernandez contributes commentary about education issues to Puerto Rico Sun. Hernandez may be reached at 787-355-0099 or by mail: HC-01, Box 7717, Luquillo, Puerto Rico 00773.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

pr politics

Want to know more about the three major political parties in Puerto Rico? Want to know more about the candidates running for governor? Take a look at the following sites:

The pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party (gubernatorial candidate is Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila):

The pro-statehood New Progressive Party (gubernatorial candidate is former Gov. Pedro Rossello):

The Puerto Rican Independence Party (gubernatorial candidate is the PIP's Ruben Berrios Martinez):

Worth visiting all the sites. The elections in Puerto Rico are Tuesday.

Boricua VOTE! The only way to be heard is with your vote!!!

Flags Wave

Flags Wave
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
See collection of photos of the Dominican/Hispanic Parade in Puerto Rico.

Dominicans make up a vibrant community on the island.


Friday, October 22, 2004


Aprendamos de las Oportunidades de Crecimiento
por Manuel Hernández

Rene Descartes dijo que “cada problema se convirtió en una regla para resolver otros problemas.” En una cultura tan agitada y maltratada verbalmente, es necesario un cambio de actitud hacia los problemas que nos aquejan a diario. Cuando lo que vemos y lo que oímos va en contra de la verdad, podemos adaptar la percepción como realidad. Desde que el primer hombre desobedeció, entró la mentira, el engaño y la muerte. Luego vino otro que le ofreció la oportunidad a la humanidad de hacer de cada problema una situación y de cada situación una oportunidad de crecimiento.
En vez de llamarlos problemas, son oportunidades de crecimiento que sirven de enseñanza para consolidar la vida en paz, gozo, justicia y poder. Las oportunidades de crecimiento van forjando el carácter y desarrollan el potencial de liderazgo. Oportunidades que llegan esperadas e inesperadas igual de accesibles a todos y tienen como objetivo el desarrollar una mentalidad sobrenatural para manejar y vencer las situaciones. La diferencia entre el líder forjado y el líder en potencia es que el forjado ha aprendido a madurar ante las situaciones diarias y visualizarlos como oportunidades de crecimiento.
Muchos de los llamados próceres utilizaron las situaciones a su favor y aprendieron a crecer ante tales. Podemos diferir de la ideología de Muñoz, Ferré y Albizu pero los tres de una manera u otra influenciaron e impactaron a Puerto Rico y su historia porque en los momentos cruciales de sus respectivas carreras dieron muestra de valentía y superación. Es fácil celebrar cuando se gana pero cuando se pierde el carácter es probado. Ante tan arrolladora derrota de los Yanquis de Nueva York frente a Las Medias Rojas de Boston, en el 2005 tendrán la oportunidad de demostrarle a todos su verdadero carácter como equipo y organización.
Aprendamos de cada momento, situación y oportunidad para crecer emocional, intelectual y espiritualmente. La vida es una escuela y los que internalicen las enseñanzas serán enviados. Cuando las aflicciones y sufrimientos son las tareas, confiemos que a través de ellas pasemos de grado. Hay un Maestro interesado en guiar el camino. Cambiemos de actitud hacia los llamados problemas y así hagamos un Puerto Rico mejor para nuestros hijos y futuras generaciones.

Manny Hernandez regularly contributes articles to Puerto Rico Sun. He may be reached at 787-355-0099 or HC-01, Box 7717, Luquillo, PR 00773.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Education Corner


The Latino Nation: An Educational Vision
By Manuel Hernández

According to the United States Census, Latinos are the fastest growing minority population projected to increase from 39 million to 63 million by 2030. By 2025, 25 percent of the K-12 grades will be Latinos, though in some regions they already make up a far greater percentage. Because of its size and peculiar needs and challenges, many have taken to call Latinos a nation within the nation.
In many states within the nation, Latinos have the highest dropout rate and the lowest test scores, and many are not prepared to enter institutions of higher learning. At the present, only 17 percent of Latino fourth-graders at the national level read at their grade level, and the percentage is even lower in mathematics. As a consequence, the Latino nation has become aware that the educational empowerment of their community is intrinsically related to their struggles to achieve economic, social and political justice in the nation. The educational development of the Latino nation will depend on the enhancement of these conditions and the ability to meet their needs in the classroom and have a positive influx on both the individual and the United States. An educational vision for Latinos must examine its jump off point to design and create a path for others to follow.
First, approximately 40 percent of the Latino children in the United States are below the poverty level. Less financial resources mean fewer opportunities for quality education.
Second, teenage pregnancy rate is extremely high making the next generation of Latino teens more likely to have less parental support. Latinos accounted for 31 percent of total births under 15 years of age in the year 2000; and 27.6 percent of the total births from mothers between 15 and 19 years of age.
Third, language proficiency is a problem. Many Latino immigrants enter the nation having limited proficiency in Spanish and as a consequence the teaching of English becomes a monumental task. With the dismantling of ESL and High School Bilingual Programs across the nation, Latinos have fewer opportunities to make a transition to mainstream academic courses.
Fourth, research on class size reveals that while reductions by just a few students (for example from 27 to 24 students) may not result in dramatic differences in student achievement, when class size is reduced to 15 to 20 students, Latino children achieved academically on par with and often better than those in larger schools. They have stronger academic and general self-esteem; lower drop-out rates and higher attendance and graduation rates.
Fifth, the highest high school dropout rate amongst minorities is preventing Latinos to attain a higher education degree. Although Latinos are 13% of the total nation population, they represent merely 6% in graduate programs.
Finally, Latino teens are scoring poorly in city, state and national testing requirements. Teens have difficulties reacting and responding to literature that is far away from their modern day American experience. There is no bridge to facilitate the literary analysis of the classics. With this jump off point, how do we design a vision to impact education?
The process of improving educational standards begins with Latino parents. City, state and government must provide parents with information, give parents a voice and encourage parental partnerships with schools. Sexual education must be an integral part of school curriculum. Research shows that teenagers who receive sexual education that includes discussion of abstinence and contraception are more likely to delay sexual activity, use contraceptives when they do become sexually active, and have fewer partners than those who receive abstinence-only messages. (National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2001).
Let us get back to basics. An age/grade-appropriate transitional bilingual education program, with a strong ESL component, to new and recent arrivals is a must - develop strict identification and placement procedures and implement reliable diagnostic and assessment measures. Ensure a rigorous, content-enriched academic program across disciplines with authentic and practical young adult literature in English and continue to provide linguistic/academic support for at least one year after mainstreaming to ensure a successful transition.
Funding for ESL training is required across all disciplines so that educators may incorporate ESL strategies and methodologies into their daily instruction when faced with numbers of ELL students in their mainstream classes.
The No Child Left Behind demands more testing, improved teacher quality, and higher achievement scores that in turn require better-trained teachers and principals, new and improved textbooks and assessments. However, according to the House Appropriations Committee, the 2004 budget under funds the act by $9.7 billion, leaving local communities many of which are already facing severe budget gaps to make up the difference. Educators know that these types of programs can close the education gap: highly qualified teachers and para-educators; sound professional development; early childhood programs; all-day kindergarten; small class sizes in the primary grades; highly involved parents, guardians and community; mentoring and tutoring; and quality summer programs. These services and programs will make a difference in a child's ability to meet and exceed NCLB and establish state and national achievement standards; but adequate funding is necessary in order to achieve this.
An educational vision examines causes and effects and fosters effective strategies to teach the Latino nation to meet the challenges and peculiar needs of the 21st century. With the united efforts of Latino leaders of all walks of life, we the Latino nation will help our community to become successful today, tomorrow and forever.

Manny Hernandez regularly contributes articles about education issues to Puerto Rico Sun. He may be reached at 787-355-0099 or HC-01, Box 7717, Luquillo, PR 00773.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Community News

source: National Council of La Raza

New Report Finds that U.S. Criminal Justice System is Unjust and Unfair to Latinos

Latinos are Disproportionately Incarcerated and Face Systemic Discriminatory Practices

Washington, DC
- The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Latino civil rights organization in the U.S., released a report (last week) which found that Hispanics are overrepresented in the U.S. criminal justice system, with Hispanic defendants imprisoned three times as often as Whites and detained before trial almost twice as often as Whites, despite being the least likely of all ethnic groups to have a criminal history. According to Lost Opportunities: The Reality of Latinos in the U.S. Criminal Justice System, Hispanics represented 13% of the U.S. population in 2000, but accounted for 31% of those incarcerated in the federal criminal justice system. Latinos in the U.S. have one chance in six of being confined in prison during their lifetimes.

"It is apparent that the criminal justice system in this country is neither fair nor just for Hispanics," said Janet Murguia, NCLR's Executive Director and COO. "Recent polls show that Latinos care very much about protecting public safety and fighting crime, but they recognize that being tough on crime is not always the same as being smart on crime. Our community is losing a whole generation of people, and that is unacceptable. What we need is a system that does a better job of protecting public safety without destroying lives and wasting resources. Crime and justice issues are the new civil rights issues of the 21st century."

Lost Opportunities, co-authored by NCLR, the Center for Youth Policy Research (CYPR), and Michigan State University's (MSU) Office of University Outreach & Engagement, is the first comprehensive examination of Latinos in every facet of the criminal justice system - from arrest to sentencing, including juvenile justice. The analysis is based on data from government sources, including the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. Lost Opportunities presents policy recommendations - including community-based strategies that offer alternatives to incarceration - for addressing criminal justice issues that affect Latinos and which provide models for states to replicate.

"This study conclusively documents the criminal justice system's discriminatory practices against the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority population," said Nancy E. Walker, President and Senior Research Fellow of CYPR and MSU adjunct professor, and an author of the report. "This indictment of the system comes from the government's own statistics. Our nation cannot afford to ignore the compelling case that these numbers make for reforming our system. It would be costly, both in human and monetary terms, for us to proceed with today's norm."

In Lost Opportunities, the authors found that the inequities that Hispanics experience in the criminal justice system stem from a variety of factors: policy initiatives, such as "mandatory minimum" sentencing, the "war on drugs," and the "war on crime," that have caused incarceration rates for low-level, nonviolent drug offenses and immigration violations to skyrocket; systemic discriminatory practices in law enforcement and court proceedings - such as over-criminalizing certain behaviors and employing personnel who are, often, neither bilingual nor culturally competent - that lead to higher arrest and incarceration rates for Latinos; and even damaging media portrayals that fuel negative public perceptions and prejudices of Latinos in general.

Other key findings about the disparate treatment of Hispanics include:

Latinos experience discrimination during arrest, prosecution, and sentencing and are more likely to be incarcerated than Whites charged with the same offenses. Problems at the arrest stage include racial profiling and targeting poorer, "high crime" neighborhoods, which impacts people of color. Hispanics are disproportionately represented by publicly-appointed legal counsel, who are overworked and underpaid. Of those defendants found guilty in large state courts from 1994 to 1998, 71% represented by public counsel were sentenced to incarceration, as compared to only 54% of defendants with private attorneys. "Mandatory minimums" result in sentences that are too harsh for some nonviolent, low-level offenders, and too often courts do not make documents available in Spanish or provide translators when needed.

Latinos are disproportionately charged with nonviolent, low-level drug offenses. Although federal health statistics show that per capita drug use rates between Whites and minorities are remarkably similar, Hispanics were arrested by the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2001 at a rate nearly three times their proportion in the general population, and they accounted for nearly half (43%) of the individuals convicted of drug offenses in 2000. As incarceration for drug offenses grew - from 16% in 1970 to 55% in 2002 - so did the Hispanic prison population.

Latinos constitute the vast majority of those arrested for immigration violations. Arrests for immigration offenses increased 610% over ten years - from 1,728 in 1990 to 12,266 in 2000. A growing list of more than 50 crimes - including offenses considered misdemeanors under state law, such as shoplifting or fighting at school - can trigger deportation. Yet, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. citizens are ten times more likely than immigrants to be incarcerated for violent offenses.

Community-based alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent, low-level offenders would better protect public safety, rehabilitate offenders, reduce crime, and save money. The most expensive - and most common - option in the criminal justice system for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders is to incarcerate them at an average annual cost of about $23,500. The alternatives to incarceration recommended in Lost Opportunities include drug court, outpatient drug treatment programs, and non-hospital residential treatment; these reduce recidivism and have annual average costs under $4,617. A Rand Corporation study found that for every dollar spent on drug and alcohol treatment, a state can save $7 in reduced crime costs.
"We called this study 'Lost Opportunities' for a reason," said J. Michael Senger, Senior Staff Attorney of CYPR and an author of the report. "By relying too much on prison as a one-size-fits-all solution, our country has failed to separate the low-level, nonviolent offenders who can be rehabilitated from the hardened criminals who must be locked up. This is truly a lost opportunity for us all - for the individuals involved to become productive citizens, for Latino communities to draw strength from of all of its members, and for our nation as a whole to benefit from the talent, labor, and taxes that these people could potentially contribute."

Success stories that the authors point to as models for other states include Texas, which saved nearly $30 million in sending offenders to a state drug program rather than to jail, and California, where lawmakers are considering closing one or two women's prisons because of its success in diverting more than 12,000 individuals from prison to treatment programs. Texas drug court participants had significantly lower two-year recidivism rates for arrest and incarceration. Of all ethnic groups, though, Hispanics are the least likely to have the opportunity to participate in substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.

"We have to look at the detrimental impact our approach to criminal justice has on Latino youth. The number of young Hispanics in the justice system has increased significantly, which has frayed the social fabric of our community," said Francisco A. Villarruel, MSU Office of University Outreach & Engagement Fellow and an author of the report. "We need more community-based programs to help put these young people on the path to college rather than to prison."

Legislation to address the problems with the criminal justice system has gained bipartisan support in Congress. The "End Racial Profiling Act of 2004" (H.R. 3847 and S. 2132) seeks to eliminate racial profiling within law enforcement agencies, and the "Second Chance Act of 2004: Community Safety through Recidivism Prevention" (H.R. 4676 and S. 2789) would reduce recidivism by ensuring that people returning from prison get the training and treatment services they need to hold down jobs and become productive members of society.

"Congress must act now to pass pending legislation that would reform and improve the criminal justice system," said Janet Murguia. "Reforms to eliminate racial profiling and give people returning from prison a second chance would not only help improve public safety, they would go far in restoring the Latino community's trust and confidence in our system of justice."

Key findings from Lost Opportunities: The Reality of Latinos in the U.S. Criminal Justice System are posted on NCLR's website (


Friday, October 08, 2004

Education Corner

Marijuana use Negatively Impacts Teen Learning And Academic Success, Experts Say
White House Drug Policy Office and Leaders in Education and Health Urge Parents to Protect Their Teens’ Futures
Washington, DC--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--October 8, 2004--With over one million high school juniors and seniors preparing to take college entrance exams this fall, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) today announced a new outreach effort focusing on marijuana’s negative impact on teen learning and academic success. The "Marijuana and Learning" effort features a new “Open Letter to Parents” that will appear next week in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and U.S. News and World Report. The letter will also be available for viewing online at and
The “Open Letter to Parents” is signed by leaders in the fields of education, health, and youth drug prevention including the Center for College Health and Safety, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, National Association of Asian and Pacific-American Education, United Negro College Fund, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American School Counselor Association, National Student Assistance Association, and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
“Marijuana use is especially problematic during peak learning years,” said John P. Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "Parents have a major role to play in helping their children achieve good grades and a bright future—preventing drug use is a part of that mission. Research tells us that parents’ attitudes about marijuana influence their child’s decisions about illicit drug use. It is imperative for every parent to regularly send the message that marijuana use is dangerous and unacceptable in their family."
The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that almost 4 million youth aged 12 to 17 (16 percent) had used marijuana at least once in the past year. Further, almost 14 percent of youth who bought marijuana did so on school property.
"Young people who begin marijuana use at an early age when the brain is still developing may be vulnerable to problems with memory, attention span, and learning," said Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Smoking marijuana can cause some changes in the brain that are like those caused by cocaine, heroin, and alcohol."
"The use of alcohol and drugs by students clearly impacts academic performance and eventually robs America of thousands of our most vital citizens—our youth—who do not meet their fullest potential,” said Rod Paige, Secretary of Education. “If we are to safeguard not only the fabric of our society but also ultimately our economic security, we need every student performing to his or her fullest. We need to turn our attention to this important issue to ensure that students turn away from underage drinking and marijuana use."
The “Marijuana and Learning” outreach effort is part of a larger marijuana education initiative launched by ONDCP in 2002 to dispel myths and misconceptions about the drug among teens and their parents.
"Teens might try marijuana for a number of reasons, ranging from peer pressure, school or family-related stress to depression and self-esteem issues,” said Carden Johnston, M.D., President, American Academy of Pediatrics. “Signs that a teenager may be using drugs include changes in mood, attitude, sleeping habits, suspicious friends, declining grades, truancy, and temper outbursts. Keeping communication channels open with teenagers will help parents distinguish abnormal from normal adolescent behavior."
“Research shows that students with an average grade of ‘D’ or below are more than four times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year as teens who reported an average grade of ‘A.’ Parents and teens need to understand that marijuana use can negatively affect a teen’s academic success,” said Richard Wong, Executive Director of the American School Counselor Association.
For more information about marijuana’s negative impact on teen learning and other ONDCP drug prevention efforts, please visit,
Since 1998, the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has conducted outreach to millions of parents, teens, and communities to reduce and prevent teen drug use.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Community events

It is my honor to introduce myself as the representative for the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) and to humbly request your assistance in helping us promote NSHMBA’s 15th Annual Conference and Career Expo.
NSHMBA is a 501(c)(3), which was started in 1988. The mission of the organization is to foster Hispanic leadership through management education and professional development in order to improve society. There are currently 29 chapters through out the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
The conference will take place on October 21-23 in Fort Worth, Texas. The national conference attracts Hispanic MBA students and professionals from across the country. Thursday, October 21, offers a full day of professional development. On Friday and Saturday, there is a Career Fair that hosts more than 280 companies, mostly Fortune 500. There is an anticipated attendance of over 6,500 Hispanic professionals.
We would greatly appreciate any efforts that you could lend in educating your community about this incredible event and/or this incredible organization and its leadership.
Please call me at the numbers below if you have any further questions and thank you beforehand for your valuable assistance.
RAIZ Public Relations & Special Events

Mauricio Navarro
President RAIZ
4622 Maple Ave. Suite 202
Dallas, Texas 75219 tel:
mobile: 214-523-3440

Manny Hernandez

Originally uploaded by Manny.
Hernandez will speak about his textbook and other Latino issues at an upcoming activity in Rhode Island.

Hernandez regularly contributes opinion pieces on education issues to the Puerto Rico Sun.
Comunicado de Prensa

División de Asuntos Educativos Puertorriqueños de RI
Contacto: Abigail Mesa, Directora
Fecha: 1ero de octubre de 2004
Asunto: Presentación del Educador y Escritor, Manuel Hernández

El educador y escritor puertorriqueño, Manuel Hernández, confirmó su visita a Providence, Rhode Island, para una disertación y presentación de su libro titulado: "Latino/a Literature in the English Classroom", el cual fue nominado como el Libro de Texto Latino 2004. Hernández es una autoridad a nivel nacional, conocido por sus ensayos sobre literatura. Ha conducido un sinnúmero de talleres, simposios, entrevistas televisadas y trabajos periodísticos sobre este tema.
Hernández, quien actualmente vive en Luquillo, tiene una trayectoria en el análisis de la literatura latinoamericana a nivel nacional. Dedicado a la motivación a la lectura y la escritura, Hernández se concentra en la preparación y estudio de exámenes a nivel estatal como parte de un programa de tutoría a adolescentes.
Posee una Maestría en Educación de la Universidad de Puerto Rico y un Bachillerato en Ingles del Colegio Herbert H. Lehman de Nueva York. "La educación es la llave que abre las puertas a un nuevo mundo.sin educación arriesgamos nuestra existencia como pueblo latino en los Estados Unidos. Esta invitación de impartir lo que por gracia he recibido; es mi visión de ir a los pueblos latinos en Estados Unidos y establecer un puente literario entre la literatura latina de la Diáspora escrita en Ingles y los clásicos anglosajones. No hay representación en las instituciones que gobiernan a estos países. Podemos ser muchos en población pero sin educación, los números no tienen validez. Para mi es un honor y privilegio compartir mis ideas y estrategias con ustedes" declara Hernández.
La disertación se llevará a cabo el sábado 6 de noviembre de 2004 en Progreso Latino, localizado en el 626 Broad Street en Central Falls. La misma está pautada para las 5:00 pm. Un panel de analistas se integrará al auditorio para una sección de preguntas y respuestas.
"Sé que una sóla presentación de Manuel Hernández no es suficiente para lograr el objetivo que tiene la División con esta presentación. Pero extraeremos lo esencial para utilizar su disertación en nuestros centros de trabajo y en nuestras vidas personales" indicó Abigail Mesa, Directora de la División.