El Sol Latino – July 2010: Celebration of Latino Culture

July 2010 Cover

This month’s issue of El Sol Latino highlights El Festival de la Familia Hispana (the Hispanic Family Festival), which will take place from July 15 to July 18 in Springdale Park, and promotes the Western Massachusetts Puerto Rican Day Parade on July 18 in Holyoke. Every year the festival recognizes Puerto Rican and other Latino individuals who contribute to the well being of the community, while the parade celebrates the Puerto Rican culture and heritage in the State.

The periodical features a recent study by the Carsey Institute, which indicates that almost half of US newborns were people of color, as compared to aproximately 40% in the year 2000. This ESL edition also showcases notable achievements by Latino individuals like Wilma Ortiz (Massachusetts Teacher of the Year) and several helpful sections like Robert O’Leary legal column.

Pick up a copy of July’s El Sol Latino or browse through its pages by clicking here.

El Sol Latino – June 2010: Immigration and Education are big topics

El Sol Latino, June 2010

This month’s issue of El Sol Latino (ESL) features the backlash generated from the new Arizona immigration policy, which has been rejected by civil rights groups across the Nation. SB 1070 has won the Grand Canyon State a boycott from Los Angeles and other cities have considered similar measures, including Springfield.

The dangers of the new Arizona immigration policy, which directs police to determine the immigration status of a person “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien”, are exemplified through a recent story presented by NBC in Chicago last week, and covered on the Huffington Post. The article spotlights Eduardo Caraballo, a Puerto Rican and US citizen who was detained for three days by federal officials on suspicion of residing in the US illegally, despite providing adequate identification. As Congressman Luis Gutierrez says in the interview “In Arizona, they want everybody to be able to prove they’re legally in the country. They want everybody to prove that they’re an American citizen. Here we had an American citizen, that the federal government – not state authorities – but the Federal government, with all their technology and all the information capacity they had… could not determine, for more than three days, his status as an American citizen. It’s very, very, very dangerous ground to tread.”

This edition of ESL also shares three recent studies related to the Latino immigrant community. The first, by the Pew Hispanic Center profiles the latest Hispanic Demography in the US, where Latino’s are accounted for by Nationality and insightful statistics are provided regarding their language, educational attainment, income level and regional dispersion. A second study, also by Pew finds that Hispanics in the US reach the lowest attainment of General Education Degrees (GED) amongst High School dropouts, when compared to Whites and Blacks. The last of these articles suggest that parenting practices amongst Latino communities plays a favorable role in their children’s success. This stems from a study by the American Psychological Association (APA) that found Latino children displayed skills “at levels equal to those of white non-Latino children, despite vast differences in family income between the groups”.

In news from the Caribbean, ESL includes Economic news from the Dominican Republic, and prominently summarizes the University of Puerto Rico student strike, which has had 10 of its 11 campuses paralyzed for 41 days after the University Governing Board undertook drastic measures which would increase the cost of higher education in the system.

Pick up a copy of El Sol Latino or access the latest version here.

El Sol Latino – May 2010: Arts, immigration, energy, education & more!


El Sol Latino, May 2010

This month’s issue of El Sol Latino features the Riverview Senior Dancers, a Springfield group that promotes culture and fitness through Bomba and Plena, two afro-Puerto Rican folkloric dances that get your groove going and blood pumping! It also highlights a new sustainability and green jobs initiative in Holyoke known as Energía, an effort to make multifamily and commercial buildings more energy efficient.

El Sol complements this edition by taking a close look at national and international topics: a piece on the recent Arizona immigration bill, an Op-Ed by Dr. Brian Rachmaciej on how national education policy should place more importance on parental involvement, and news from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

All that and more for May. You can have a great read by picking up a copy or clicking here to view online. Enjoy!

El Sol Latino – Jan 2010: Maria’s new poetry collection, White House task force on Puerto Rico’s status, upcoming changes at El Sol, and more

Here is a review of Maria’s new collection. This review, which appears in this month’s issue of El Sol, was written by Cathleen C. Robinson. (Ms. Robinson is a member of the Spanish Advisory Committee of the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA.) Click here to download the full issue (16 page PDF).

You might say that María Arroyo pens poems to preach against domestic violence in her bilingual collection called Gathering Words: Recogiendo Palabras.

You would be wrong.

She is not preaching.

María Luisa Arroyo, a transplanted Puerto Rican who grew up in the North End of Springfield, is an artist blessed with the talent of finding exactly the right words and the right cadence to show what she sees and what she feels.

She shares that vision with us in her word pictures and word music. Her readers and her listeners can draw their own conclusions after experiencing the truths her poetic vision imparts.

This, her first published collection, is divided into four parts: “Raíces de silencio,” “What children see and hear,” “Invisible Women,” and “Gathering words/recogiendo palabras.” The theme of the first three parts focuses on the family tangled in the debasing values of machismo; the fourth addresses more universal themes while continuing to bring to life the experiences of ordinary human beings.

Arroyo’s poems show that machismo takes its victims on all sides. It demands a perverse stoicism that brutalizes feelings, glorifies physical force, subjugates women and children, and victimizes men, telling them that just because they were born male the world must pay them homage and when it doesn’t, it’s okay to soak their frustration in alcohol and express their rage
in explosive violence against the very ones they profess to love. Such a man loses his dignity and his humanity.

The brutality is made even more brutal by the ironic beauty of the poet’s words. The word snapshots show children who “fake sleep/and hold their pee out of fear,” whose papi will “slap our backs bumpy” for “coloring outside the lines” or because a child “spills her milk/ or uses too much toilet paper, or wets the bed.”

The wives and mothers “huddle and press their noses/against the screen door, sighing.” The women are to stay in the background and keep quiet: “Silence in English, too,/ the language mi marido says/ I am too stupid to learn.” They must Continue reading