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Hispanic Heritage Worth Knowing

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin."

According to this Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.

By 2050, the Hispanic population is expected to reach 28%.  This population growth will impact everything from neighborhoods, school, government and the economy.  Learning about Hispanic history and culture will be imperative to how Americans experience life in the future.

Hispanics, like African Americans have fought many battles for equality in the U.S.  One Hispanic writer notes in the Huffington Post,  “As Latinos, we recognize the impact he [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] had in inspiring Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers to adopt non-violence principles -- which King learned from Gandhi's struggles against the British in India -- in their long march for better working conditions and respectable wages for the migrant laborers of California's farmlands…

 

“Their rise into these positions of influence would not have been possible without the path forged by Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, or the rising consciousness which fueled Hispanics in the 60's and 70's to listen, learn and act.”

 

One fallen Hispanic hero, Ruben Salazar, was honored on Aug. 29 in a ceremony by County Supervisor Gloria Molina and the Department of Parks and Recreation.  A plaque was unveiled at an East Los Angeles Park in Whittier named for the L.A. Times journalist who lost his life covering the Chicano Moratorium anti-war protest.   

 

“Ruben Salazar's life and death became emblematic of the Chicano Rights movement of the 1970s,” Molina said

 

This year marked the 44th anniversary of the death of Salazar. 

 

“Ruben Salazar was a gifted chronicler and advocate who dedicated his talents to sharing with the world what it meant to be Mexican-American in a transformative time and place. His contributions made him an icon in the community — and although his life was cut tragically short, his legacy lives on in the people influenced, inspired and touched by his work,” Molina said.

 

An award-winning documentary “Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle” followed the ceremony.

 

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations will be held in numerous places around Los Angeles county, including the Baja Splash Cultural Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific (www.aquariumofpacific.org), 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802 from Sept. 28 to 29; and the 3rd Annual Taste of Mexico La Plaza de Cultura y Artes (www.thetasteofmexico.org), 501 N. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, on Oct. 11.

Mixing culture, music, art, food and the biodiversity of Baja, Mexico, the 12th Annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival is a slightly different take on celebrating Hispanic heritage. The kids will enjoy all of the music and dance performances featuring folk dances from countries like Guatemala and El Salvador as well as Mexico.

 

At the La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles, the taste event is a sampling of foods from some of LA’s best Mexican restaurants and some from Mexico. Live mariachi and lots of other great entertainment will keep you moving your feet. Don’t forget all the tequila and craft mezcal tastings offered as well.

 

For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month, visit http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov.

The Inglewood School District is now accepting applications to serve on the Inglewood five-member Advisory Board of Education.  Residents in Inglewood and Ladera Heights are welcome to apply. 

There are two open slots, which became available in the spring.    Appointees will serve through the next regularly scheduled election in April 2015.

Eligible candidates must be at least 18 years of age, citizens of the United States, residents of the district, registered to vote and qualified to hold a civil office.

IUSD State Trustee Don Brann plans to appoint successful applicants to the advisory position by the end of October.  Application packets are available in the District Office at 401 S. Inglewood Ave., and must be completed by the close of business Sept. 22.

The school district has been without a formal Board of Education since the state took control of it in 2012. The advisory board does not have power to set policy, but rather make recommendations to Brann.

If you have been wanting to help improve the state of Inglewood schools, now is the chance to make a difference.

For more information or to receive an application, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call 310-419-2706 or 310-419-2728.

A new bill authored by Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, will give citizens new authority against police who abuse their power.

 

According to reports, Assembly Bill 2634 allows a victim whose civil rights have been violated by police to seek injunctive relief.  The bill gives courts greater authority to issue injunctions against police departments that have a history of civil rights violations.

 

Bradford said his bill provides an individual the legal right to ask the court to order law enforcement to discontinue the acts that resulted in the violation of rights, if the acts are determined to be part of a pattern or practice. The injunction would then apply across a department, to all individuals, regardless if they were parties in the initial case.

 

Motivated by high profile cases such as Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and locally, Marlene Pinnock, a homeless woman punched in the face by a California Highway Patrol officer on the Santa Monica (10) Freeway (both unarmed), Bradford’s bill would put power into the hands of victims. 

 

“The number of disturbing cases we have seen around the country of officers abusing departmentally approved tactics like pepper spray, chokeholds or other force, makes me cringe,” Bradford said. “Placing an asthmatic man in a chokehold in Staten Island, or punching a mentally ill woman in the face on a Southern California freeway — these are approved uses of force that desperately need review by an independent court.”

 

Last month, protestors gathered in Leimert Park to draw attention to incidents involving Brown, Pinnock, and most recently Ezell Ford, a man shot and killed by LAPD officers after allegedly struggling with police. Pinnock made a public appearance during the rally, which demanded District Attorney Jackie Lacey to file charges against Daniel Andrew, the officer who beat her.

 

 “The activists and civil rights leaders will not just sit quietly and wait for [Lacy’s] decision,” Najee Ali, political director of the L.A. chapter of the National Action Network, told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re going to be in the streets demanding Ms. Pinnock gets justice.”

 

Andrew has been stripped of his duties and placed on administrative leave. The CHP has investigated the case and turned over its findings to the DA's office.  Pinnock has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officer and CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. 

 

“By giving the courts the authority to review departmental practices, we can implement a check on dangerous and unconstitutional behavior,” Bradford said. “I admire our police officers and the work they do keeping our communities safe. But residents should not fear their officers, and victims of excessive force should have an avenue they can take to prevent more people from becoming victims.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGLEWOOD – Inglewood’s Mayor James Butts, members of the City Council, and business leaders celebrated the grand reopening of the Inglewood/Airport Area Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, August 27.  With over 12,450 businesses in Inglewood, including the recently opened Forum that hosted the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, the Chamber represents the interests of business in and around the City of Inglewood while promoting a flourishing economy and quality of life in the region.  Pictured above helping to cut the ribbon at the celebratory event are (left to right): District 4 Councilmember Ralph Franklin, District 1 Councilmember George Dotson, Inglewood Police Captain Marie Dibernardo, Mayor James Butts, Chamber President Ronald Talton, and District 2 Councilmember Alex Padilla.

 

For more information on the Chamber, please call (310) 677-1121 or visit www.inglewoodchamber.org.

 

The Inglewood/Airport Area Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest Chambers in the region providing businesses in the area with passionate advocacy, valuable networking opportunities, and enlightening educational programs.  More online at www.inglewoodchamber.org.

 

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that police officers in Ferguson, Mo have been equipped with 50 body cameras, attached to their uniforms. 

Two companies, Safety Vision and Digital Ally, have donated the equipment in light of the fatal Aug. 9 shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, by one of Ferguson’s officers.  The cameras are able to record video and audio. 

Representatives from the companies were on-site on Saturday training the officers to use the cameras.  Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson confirmed that the quality is good. 

Since Brown’s death, the issue of police officers wearing cameras has been a hot topic nationwide.  There have been way too many deaths and beatings of unarmed citizens at the hands of police.  And although citizen reporters have captured altercations on home videos and cell phones, the audio is often missing.  More important is the lack of footage leading up to the incidents.

Now, with the help of the wearable cameras, authorities, the media, and the public can get details of what really happened.  The body cameras are designed to keep officers’ behavior in line, and at the same time, prove cases when a suspect has resisted arrest or brandished a weapon.  It protects both the police and civilians. Footage is a way to clear up “he said, she said” stories.

As the news site notes, a White House petition, backed by more than 150,000 people, has been pushing for a national “Mike Brown law” that would demand that all state, county and local police officers wear cameras. 

 

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