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.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Community happenings


NETWORK's workshops: These begin in October. Classes are now forming!


FREE WORKSHOPS: Hands-on, 10 weeks.
1. Basic Digital Camera and Editing Workshop
Leads to MNN public access certification. Classes now forming.

PROFESSIONAL WORKSHOPS: Registration: $25 Plus Workshop fee

1. Screenwriting: The basics, STARTS OCTOBER 7
Workshop fee: $250, Ten sessions, Thursdays, 6PM - 8:30PM

2. Cinematography: Optimize Your Lighting for Film and Digital Video
Workshop fee: $250
Two-day session: Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17
One-day Intensive session: Saturday, October 23

3. Create a Website for your Artwork: For artists.
Workshop fee: $350, One-day.
Knowledge of computers and basic software operation necessary.

All classes and workshops are held at
Satellite Facility in El Barrio
161 East 106th Street
New York, NY 10029

Judith Escalona

161 East 106th Street
Empowering community through technology

source: (Museo del Barrio, NYC)

Saturday October 9
1:30 PM City of Men / Cidade dos homens,
U.S. Premiere, Fernando Meirelles, Cesar Charlone,
Katia Lund and Regina Case , Brazil , 2003; 125m
4:00 PM Sábado / Saturday
Matías Bize, Chile , 2003; 63m
5:30 PM Offsides / Fuera de juego,
Victor Manuel Arregui, Ecuador , 2003; 87m
Tickets: $7 admission; $5 members, seniors, and students;
$10 combo ticket for any two films on the same day.
Tickets on sale day of show at the Museum shop.
Call (212) 660-7132 for more information or visit our website at

Saturday, October 9
Extreme Makeover: Performance Workshop for
High School Teens, 12 noon–2pm
Meet performance artist Carmelita Tropicana and discover your new inner persona! Tropicana will lead teens in a two-hour workshop exploring autobiography through performance improvisation, movement and writing exercises.
Free for NYC high school students; registration required. Groups welcome.
Call (212) 660-7134 for more information.
Featured Site:

Virtual Boricua (

This cultural site offers news articles from various media sources on issues of interest to boricuas; cultural, political and justice community information; photos; and a forum.

I am a forum member. This is a site worth visiting.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Cueva de Camuy

Cueva de Camuy
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Check out the Sunrise, Sunset -- Anything Sun photo group at flickr. Wonderful collection of sun shots from around the world. Places range from Puerto Rico and Cuba to Japan and Brazil.