Wednesday, September 08, 2004




"Episode 2"

Sunday, September 12, 2004
10:30 - 11 pm
This episode features Miriam Colon and the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater Company (PRTT) of New York, Tejana musical artist Selena and the Santero art tradition of New Mexico.

Latino artists across the United States take center stage in VISIONES: LATINO ART AND CULTURE, a groundbreaking six-part television series airing on PBS Sundays this month to October 10. Viewers experience the world of Latino artistic expression as the series journeys throughout the country, capturing rich stories about theater, music, dance, spoken word and the visual arts. From New York City's hip hop culture to mural painters in Los Angeles and Chicago to theater in Texas, the series offers a unique cross section of Latino artists.

VISIONES: LATINO ART AND CULTURE is the first PBS series to focus exclusively on Latino artistic expression in the United States.

Update -- Community News

Governor Calderón Announces Success of Nation’s Largest Nonpartisan Hispanic Voter Registration Campaign

Washington, DC--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--September 7, 2004--On the steps of the Cannon House Office Building today, Sila M. Calderón, Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, claimed victory for Puerto Rican and Hispanic communities nationwide as she announced that her government’s grassroots empowerment initiative met its goal of registering over 300,000 voters before this year’s general elections.

The nonpartisan education, registration and mobilization campaign, dubbed “¡Que Nada Nos Detenga!” or “Let Nothing Stop Us!”, was launched in July 2002 as an effort to empower the 642,000 Puerto Ricans across the nation who were eligible to vote in their local communities yet had not registered. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 3.5 million Puerto Ricans living in the states, 1.7 million of whom are of voting age.

“I am proud to announce that our nonpartisan voter registration effort has surpassed the goal of 300,000 voters nationwide,” said Governor Calderón. “This accomplishment is about more than just numbers, it’s about the empowerment of our people and the transformation of our communities.”

As Republicans and Democrats alike target the ever-growing Hispanic vote, Puerto Ricans have the opportunity to play a dramatic role in this year’s presidential, state and local elections. Many Puerto Rican communities are located in politically strategic areas and, because of the Puerto Rican electorate’s largely politically undecided stance, are expected to cast deciding votes in many upcoming elections. In the 1992 Presidential election, 100 electoral votes were decided by a difference of less than two percent of the votes; Puerto Ricans make up more than two percent of the population in as many as seven states nationwide.

“Many Puerto Rican communities represent swing votes that could potentially decide elections across the nation. The eyes of the nation are focused on the Presidential campaign and Puerto Ricans will be crucial in states such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio,” said Mari Carmen Aponte, executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) which launched and managed the campaign.

“We expect even greater impact as we mobilize Puerto Ricans to vote in local and state elections. We have educated our communities to understand that voting is the key to directing many issues which impact the quality of our everyday lives – such as school funding, police budgets, public works projects and zoning,” Aponte continued.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the mainland Puerto Rican population has grown to 3.5 million, a nearly 30 percent jump in the last ten years alone. In addition, Puerto Ricans now reside in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

“This is all about enfranchising people to effect change throughout the nation,” said Calderón, “this campaign is about solidarity, pride and empowerment. We are mobilizing Puerto Ricans and raising awareness of their potential impact on issues that affect their local communities as well as the Island. All citizens play an important role in the political process and should have the information and the opportunities to help control how decisions are made that affect their daily lives.”

Voter registration and participation rates on the Island are 95 percent and 86 percent respectively, higher than any state in the nation. But when Puerto Ricans move to the mainland, both registration and participation rates drop to about 40 percent.

“Research conducted by PRFAA and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) showed there are a number of factors accounting for this stunning drop,” said Aponte. “In some cases there are physical barriers such as language fluency, comparative complexity of the process or even outright discrimination. Often there are psychological barriers such as embarrassment, fear or lack of confidence about participating, as well as cynicism and a sense that voting does not make an impact on people’s daily lives.”

The voter registration campaign has overcome these barriers through an extensive grassroots network of field educators who have spent the last two years talking one-on-one with Puerto Rican community members about the process of voting, how government is structured and why an individual’s vote does have an impact. This approach differs from many other national registration efforts because it places greater emphasis on education and encourages civic involvement.

The campaign’s strategy proved extremely effective in the 2002 mid-term election year as demonstrated by exit poll data. Results showed a 70 percent increase in turnout over the 2000 Presidential election among first-time Puerto Rican voters and 34 percent increase over 2000 in overall turnout among Puerto Rican voters. In addition, 87 percent of Puerto Ricans surveyed in 2002 said they were aware of the voter registration campaign in their community and 54 percent said they were motivated to vote because the campaign drew a clear link between voting and benefits for their community. Since the campaign’s launch in July 2002, major voter registration rally events have been held in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania — all states with large Puerto Rican populations.

The campaign theme, “¡Que Nada Nos Detenga!,” speaks directly to the Puerto Rican spirit of determination and hope for a better future and encourages increased participation in the democratic process, thereby positively impacting communities both on the mainland United States and on the Island. Governor Calderón’s campaign combines grassroots community outreach efforts with an aggressive, multi-faceted communications campaign reaching Puerto Rican neighborhoods across the nation.

The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, which serves as the mainland offices of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, advocates for the social, economic and educational empowerment of Puerto Rican communities nationwide and operates 12 regional community outreach offices in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Springfield, Mass. PRFAA is headquartered at 1100 17th Street, NW in Washington, D.C.

For more information, please visit

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Community News

Puerto Rico Governor To Announce Nation’s Largest Nonpartisan Hispanic Voter Registration Campaign Succeeded in Registering Over 300,000 Hispanic Voters

Over 100,000 Registered in Key Swing States Including FL, OH and PA

WASHINGTON -- From the steps of the Cannon House Office Building, Governor Sila M. Calderón will announce Tuesday that the Hispanic voter registration campaign has reached its goal of registering 300,000 voters and provide details about the impact these voters will have in upcoming local, state and national elections.
Calderón, Mari Carmen Aponte, executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, and Puerto Rican elected officials from across the country will also announce that PRFAA’s extensive grassroots empowerment operation has succeeded in meeting its goal of registering 300,000 voters before the 2004 presidential elections. Battleground states including Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio have large or rapidly growing Hispanic populations that will prove to be decisive in the upcoming elections.
The goal of Calderón’s ambitious empowerment initiative, “¡Que Nada Nos Detenga!” (“Let Nothing Stop Us!”) was to register 300,000 Puerto Rican and Hispanic voters — or nearly half the eligible yet unregistered Puerto Rican voters living in the states — thus enabling them to become actively engaged in the civic process in their local communities across the nation.
The campaign increased first-time voter turnout by more than 70% in the 2002 mid-term elections and effectively mobilized this pivotal voting block, ensuring that national, state and local leaders focus on issues that affect the Hispanic community in November.
Puerto Ricans on the Island vote at a higher rate than any state in the Union — over 85% — but when Puerto Ricans move to the mainland United States, voting rates in local elections drop to approximately 30-40%. The initiative has used education and grassroots outreach to reduce the physical and psychological barriers associated with voting to leverage the Hispanic vote in targeted geographic areas where their vote will have a significant impact.
¡Que Nada Nos Detenga! was a $12 million voter education and empowerment effort launched in July 2002 to encourage citizens to engage in their communities while demonstrating the combined power of the Puerto Rican vote. Local elected officials will be available for comment about the campaign’s impact in local communities.
PRFAA, which represents the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the United States, is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The agency is responsible for the advancement of Puerto Ricans on the island and the United States and serves as the advisor to the Governor, Resident Commissioner and constituents on all activities in the U.S. of interest to the island. PRFAA facilitates and promotes economic and public policy initiatives important to the growth and empowerment of all Puerto Rican communities.
PRFAA is located at 1100 17th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20036, and can be reached at 202-778-0710 or via the web at

Saturday, September 04, 2004

La Isla

La Isla
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
Hello, you are invited to view the new
"Sunrise, Sunset -- Anything Sun!" photo page at flickr. It features sun images from a mix of photographers.

Sun images from la isla and different parts of the world are showcased.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez Joins Guaranty Bank and Fannie Mae to Announce 'Buy for Family' Mortgage; Qualified Borrower Can Finance the Purchase of a Residence for a Parent or Sibling Who is Unable to Purchase for Themselves
CHICAGO, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez (D- IL) today joined local community leaders, housing advocates, and representatives from nonprofit organizations, Guaranty Bank, and Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) , the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages, to announce a new mortgage designed to help increase affordable homeownership opportunities for underserved markets, including low- and moderate-income immigrant and minority families. "Buy for Family," a new mortgage designed by Guaranty Bank, allows a qualified borrower to finance the purchase of a residence for his or her parents or a sibling if they are unable to buy a home for themselves. Guaranty Bank will originate the Buy for Family loans, and Fannie Mae will purchase the eligible loans.
"The power of homeownership is a central wealth building tool and an essential vehicle for long term financial security and stability," said Rep. Gutierrez. "And that is why Buy For Family is so important, because it will help tear down barriers that currently prevent homeownership and it will provide opportunities and options for first-time home buyers, especially in minority and immigrant communities."
"America was built on the backbone of new immigrants who arrived in this country trying to make a better life for their families," said Chicago Housing Commissioner John G. Markowski. "Buy for Family is a great solution for immigrants to buy their piece of the American dream. When we have a gap in the homeownership rate, that's a gap in access to wealth."
Buy for Family is a flexible, affordable mortgage that helps qualified buyers, such as the first generation children of immigrants, purchase a home for their parents or siblings, who may not have traditional forms of credit or use mainstream banking and are, therefore, unable to qualify to buy the home themselves. Buy for Family offers borrowers the opportunity to finance a parent or sibling's home through several key features.
Borrowers contribute at least $500 down from either their own funds, with the remainder coming from a gift from their family member or grants from a church, employer, municipality or nonprofit agency. In addition to the flexible down payment sources, additional funds may be obtained from cash on hand or money not traditionally placed in a financial institution. To be eligible for the Buy for Family product, the home must be located in Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, and the State of Wisconsin.
Buy for Family is intended to help boost homeownership rates, which have been on the rise recently. According to the National Association of REALTORS(R), the homeownership rate for African American households in the first quarter of 2004 was 49.3 percent, up from 47.7 percent in the first quarter of 2003, while the homeownership rate for Hispanic households was 47.3 percent, up from 46.7 percent a year earlier. In addition, the homeownership rate for Asians, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders was 58.2 percent, up from 55.7 percent in the first quarter of 2003. The homeownership rate for non-Hispanic whites was 75.5, up from 75.0 percent a year earlier.
"These are very needed programs that we bring to the table. Buy for Family will enable many minority and immigrant families to realize the American dream of homeownership, by reducing some of the barriers they presently face," said Guaranty Bank's Executive Chairman Gerald Levy. "Guaranty Bank is thrilled to partner with Fannie Mae and further demonstrate our commitment to the communities we serve by offering more diverse and creative programs and opportunities to the residents of the communities we serve."
The Buy for Family mortgage is offered by Guaranty Bank as part of its recently announced five-year, $2 billion multicultural lending initiative with Fannie Mae that is designed to increase affordable homeownership opportunities for underserved markets, including immigrant and minority families.
As part of this initiative, Guaranty Bank and its subsidiaries, Guaranty Mortgage, Shelter Mortgage Company, and GN Mortgage, will offer new or enhanced mortgage products that utilize options for helping people overcome barriers such as blemished credit or lack of a down payment. Fannie Mae has committed to purchase from Guaranty Bank $2 billion in eligible loans originated under this initiative.
"Fannie Mae is committed to bringing more initiatives to the marketplace that provide solutions to one of America's most pressing housing needs," said Terry Young, director of Fannie Mae's Illinois Partnership Office. "With Guaranty Bank, we are excited about Buy for Family, and how it recognizes the need for more affordable housing in underserved markets, including immigrant and minority families.
This effort is part of Fannie Mae's American Dream Commitment(R) for Illinois, a new seven-year, $135 billion Illinois housing investment plan to help finance affordable housing for 900,000 families across the state.
For information about the Buy for Family mortgage, the multicultural homeownership initiative, to apply for a loan, or learn more about loan opportunities, contact Guaranty Bank at 1-847-439-5626.
For more information on Fannie Mae's affordable mortgage products, consumers may call Fannie Mae's Consumer Resource Center at 1-800-7FANNIE (1-800-732-6643), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CDT.
Guaranty Bank is a Federal savings bank headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Guaranty Bank has more than 117 retail locations throughout southeast Wisconsin, northern Illinois, southeast Michigan and Minnesota. Guaranty Bank's subsidiaries and d/b/a's include: Guaranty Mortgage, GB Home Equity, GN Mortgage, Shelter Mortgage, and BestBank (in Southeast Michigan). At the end of June 2004, Guaranty Bank's assets totaled $1.89 billion. Guaranty Bank is owned by Guaranty Financial Corp. The stock symbol of Guaranty Financial Corp. is "GFCJ."
Founded in 1923, Guaranty Bank has established a strong presence as a well-known community bank. As a subsidiary of Guaranty Bank, Shelter Mortgage's nationwide offices specialize in its own niche of mortgage lending. With more than 300 loan programs available, borrowers are placed with the best-suited mortgage fitting their needs. Personalized customer service is one reason why Guaranty Bank is one of the top 50 lenders in America. For more information visit
Fannie Mae is a New York Stock Exchange company and the largest non-bank financial services company in the world. It operates pursuant to a federal charter and is the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages. Fannie Mae has pledged through its "American Dream Commitment" to expand access to homeownership for millions of first-time home buyers; help raise the minority homeownership rate to 55 percent; make homeownership and rental housing a success for millions of families at risk of losing their homes; and expand the supply of affordable housing where it is needed most. Since 1968, Fannie Mae has provided $6.3 trillion of mortgage financing for 63 million families. More information about Fannie Mae can be found on the Internet at

Style Usage: Fannie Mae's Board of Directors has authorized the company to operate as "Fannie Mae," and the company's stock is now listed on the NYSE as "FNM." In order to facilitate clarity and avoid confusion, news organizations are asked to refer to the company exclusively as "Fannie Mae."

Source: Fannie Mae; Guaranty Bank

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