American Dream – Render Boy Thu, 23 Sep 2021 05:10:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 American Dream – Render Boy 32 32 A new Latin voice in Connecticut Thu, 23 Sep 2021 04:03:05 +0000

Our history is interspersed with examples of immigrant communities finding their unified voice and identity. Nothing amplifies the virtues of the American Dream as strong as the blossoming of a new immigrant community.

The Latino population is growing by leaps and bounds every year. The latest census figures estimate that the Latino population has reached around 65 million nationally and represents around 20% of our total population. Latinos continue to be the fastest growing demographic in the United States.

But Latinos are not a homogeneous demographic; We are made up of many races, ethnicities and political affiliations. The Latinx community in the United States represents 22 different nationalities.

The Latinx community has grown into an economic powerhouse that continues to shape the essence of the United States. The most critical piece and challenge of this new Latin revival will be to create a new Latin visibility of Hispanidad. Our Latino identity must draw on our common language and our Spanish, Native American and African heritage.

We are on the cusp of a massive change to lead our nation towards a more prosperous and equitable society. Latinos continue to reassess traditional political parties in this new revival. Over the next few decades, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party must seriously assess their strategies to engage and maintain the loyalty of such a complex constituency.

Latinos support conservative values ​​of independence, patriotism and distrust of too much government power. At the same time, new immigrants appreciate the importance of social programs that support the community. Thus, Latinos are ripe for a new form of centrist politics that is more objective and away from radical ideologies.

A group of parents formed Latinos for Education Advocacy and Diversity to be an active voice for families throughout Connecticut. LEAD’s mission rests on four pillars: educational options, financial literacy, civic engagement, and Latin American history and culture.

LEAD understands that through a system of excellent educational options such as charter schools and more professional programs, our communities will have a mechanism of opportunity and growth. Our families and small business owners will have access to the tools they need to achieve financial independence and improve their quality of life through financial literacy.

LEAD is determined to open a charter school on Main Street Danbury to alleviate some of the overcrowding and provide a much needed educational option. This charter school will serve students in grades 6 to 12 and will serve 770 students. The school will ensure that the 770 seats in our charter school are allocated to residents of Danbury. The school will be a public school that will allow the city to increase its capacity without being a burden on our taxpayers. We are confident that by next year we will overcome opposition from our Danbury delegation and look forward to the ribbon cutting for our new school.

LEAD knows that through civic engagement, our community will see the value of participating in our political system. Our community will understand the importance of registering to vote, voting, running for office, becoming a citizen, and navigating our political system to more effectively defend themselves and our community.

LEAD will become an authority on Latin American history and culture. Our history and shared contributions are a vital unifying element that will give community members a sense of pride and a sense of belonging in the United States.

Until the rest of the country learns of the contributions Latinos made and until all Latinos are proud of this nation and realize that we have been important contributors as well, we will never develop that sense of belonging. .

We have gone from a group trying to open a charter school to a statewide movement that will eventually become a national voice of unity and purpose for all Latinos.

LEAD offers a path of empowerment, self-reliance and pride. We have the essence of sugar cane in our bones and the fantastic legacy of empires in our blood. With flavor, with rhythm in our footsteps, Latinos will move forward. Without having to conform to the status quo, we will chart a brilliant new course.

José Lucas Pimentel is CEO of Latinos for educational advocacy and diversity.

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Oath arouses mixed emotions in Afghan refugee in Modesto Wed, 22 Sep 2021 13:00:00 +0000

Nisar Ahmadi, an Afghan refugee who resettled in Modesto six years ago, felt a mixture of emotions when he took the pledge of allegiance on Thursday, thinking of his family members back home.

For eight years, Ahmadi, now 44, worked with US Navy forces until death threats from the Taliban reached him and his family, including three young children aged 7. , 4 and 3 years old at the time. It took them three years to get special immigrant visas, allowing them to flee, and five more for the family to apply for US citizenship.

Ahmadi’s parents and two brothers still live in this war-torn country, and he is concerned for their safety.

Since 2009, up to 18,000 Afghans have received IVS, along with 45,000 accompanying immediate family members, according to the National Immigration Forum. Visa application processing times vary from about two to three years, but some have waited up to three and a half years, reports the Washington, DC-based forum, which was founded in 1982.

Afghan immigrants are less likely to be naturalized, with just 41% of them being U.S. citizens in 2019, compared to 52% of all immigrants who were naturalized, Immigration Policy reports.

In March, Ahmadi learned that he could finally be naturalized. Although his wife applied at the same time, she has yet to receive the same opportunity.

“The happiest day of my life was yesterday because I have waited a long time to become an American citizen,” he said on Friday, stressing his pride in America and his willingness to defend the country.

Security but struggles in American life

Ahmadi said he feels indebted to the United States because he and his family live in peace, very different from life in Afghanistan. This does not mean that his family’s trip is free from struggle and sacrifice.

Ahmadi has been unemployed for months. Refugees normally find work within 60 to 90 days of arrival, according to the International Rescue Committee. It was also difficult to secure housing, a problem that persists as thousands more Afghan refugees are expected to arrive over the next year.

Once he found accommodation, another barrier followed.

“The money we received… welcome money… it was not enough,” Ahmadi said.

Although refugees may request additional assistance once they have resettled and received their papers, they typically only receive a one-time payment of $ 1,125 per adult, $ 300 per child, to cover their costs. basic needs, regardless of where they end up relocating, the IRC reports. Although this money helped cover most of her rent for the first month and the deposit, Ahmadi still had to find the rent balance of $ 100 and pay for utilities and a source of transportation.

With the support of the growing Afghan community in Modesto, he was able to borrow from people he knew.

Now husband and father of a family of six – the youngest is a 5-year-old born in Modesto – Ahmadi says his children are growing up with big dreams. His 13-year-old daughter, the eldest, wants to be both a doctor and an astronaut. His 9-year-old son, the second youngest, wants to serve in the military, while his older brother is looking to become a Modesto police officer.

Before coming to the United States, Ahmadi had dreams like his children. The Uber driver was hoping to pursue higher education once he arrives in the United States, but the reality of working life makes him feel like it’s nearly impossible.

“We have to work here. There is no time to study, ”he said, adding that American life is about working to survive.

Recently, Ahmadi obtained his business license to become a truck driver. Although he believes the American dream may not come true for him, he hopes to provide for his wife and children so that they have this opportunity.

Thinking about the family left behind

But as he rebuilds his life in the United States, he can’t help but think about his parents and two younger brothers who remain in Afghanistan. Like him, his brothers have also worked with US forces, and they are waiting for their SIV requests to be processed.

He said his brothers received a call from the US Embassy during the evacuations, saying they would receive another call. “They say, ‘OK, we’ll call you back,’ but no one called them. And unfortunately… both were left behind, ”he said.

SIV applicants can only bring their spouses and children, making it more difficult for Ahmadi to bring his parents to the United States

He shared his frustration with former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country amid his fall under the Taliban to avoid further bloodshed. “He betrayed the Afghan people,” Ahmadi said.

And now, with the Taliban under control, he leaves little room for his family to escape to a neighboring country. Moreover, in the absence of passenger flights from Afghanistan, Ahmadi wonders if his family will ever make it to safety.

Andrea Briseño is the equity reporter for The Bee’s community-funded Economic Mobility Lab, which includes a team of journalists covering economic development, education and equity. Support for the lab comes from Stanislaus State University, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Porges Family Foundation, the James B. McClatchy Foundation and over 250 community members.

Your contribution helps support the Lab.

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Andrea is the equity / underserved communities reporter for the Modesto Bee Economic Mobility Lab. She is originally from Fresno and graduated from San Jose State University.

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]]> 0 Passing trailer features Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga in Rebecca Hall’s debut film Tue, 21 Sep 2021 19:47:00 +0000

Known for her acting work in films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Prestige, Rébecca Room made her directorial debut this year with the drama Who passed. Featured at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the British director’s work received acclaim at the event, and now he’s finally getting an official trailer and release date.

Who passed is based on the Nella Larsen novel of the same name from the late 1920s and follows two best friends (played by Tessa thompson and Ruth negga) who have distinct experiences with racism. The “passage” in the title refers to the fact that by being fair skinned one of them can pass for white and she decides to live in a different racial spectrum – and embrace what it means to. do it. The trailer, with its glorious black and white cinematography and 4: 3 aspect ratio, shows how the two best friends’ relationship evolves into something sinister as the race begins to play a bigger role in their changing world. .


Image via Netflix

RELATED: ‘Passage’ Review: Rebecca Hall Makes Exploration Run For Assured Director Debut | Sundance 2021

In an interview with the LA Times in January, Hall revealed that the story is deeply personal, as it began to unveil her biracial roots years ago, and upon reading the novel, she felt “Viscerally troubled” by the story.

“I started to think about how the racial passage is representative of the American dream, in the sense that you can make yourself and transform into something else, but also representative of the lie at the center of the American dream. , which is that you only get [participate] if your skin tone is a certain color. And as I started to think about it, I started wanting to know more and seeing how I stack up against it.

With a scenario also adapted by Hall, Who passed stars Tessa thompson, Ruth negga, André Holland, Bill Camp, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Antoinette Crowe-Heritage, and Alexandre skarsgård. The film will be released in select theaters on October 27 and will be available to stream on Netflix from November 10. Discover the trailer for Fall below.

Here is the official synopsis of Who passed:

Adapted from the famous 1929 novel of the same name by Nella Larsen, PASSING tells the story of two black women, Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga), who can “pass” as white but choose of live on opposite sides of the color line during the height of the Harlem Renaissance in late 1920s New York. After a chance encounter reunites old childhood friends on a summer afternoon, Irene reluctantly allows Clare to enter her home, where she introduces herself to Irene’s husband (André Holland) and her family, and soon to its wider social circle. As their lives become more and more intertwined, Irene sees her once stable existence turned upside down by Clare, and PASSING becomes a fascinating examination of the obsession, repression, and lies that people tell themselves and others. others to protect their carefully constructed realities.

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“Like a treasure hunt” – NJ liquor stores run out of supplies Mon, 20 Sep 2021 20:27:54 +0000

Every day, customers of Garden State Discount Liquors in Perth Amboy are faced with purchase limits on approximately 100 products in the store.

And it could be that way for at least a year.

“When it comes to things like Don Perignon… one bottle is all you get,” owner Paul Santelle said.

Santelle, who is also executive director of the New Jersey Liquor Store Alliance, said a perfect storm of factors, most of which are a product of the coronavirus pandemic, has forced stores to operate with limited supplies of products to all levels, from beer to spirits.

Some of these factors: Factory outages in 2020, trucker / labor shortages, container issues, and increasing demand.

Since the start of the pandemic, Santelle added, many consumers have switched to higher-end alcohol brands because they no longer spend money every week on expensive drinks in bars and restaurants. Thus, high-end tequilas and high-end scotches, among other products, are not always available.

“It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt,” Santelle said. “No matter where you go, you can’t find it, and that includes the Internet.”

Santelle said her store receives countless emails every day from customers looking for a specific product. He believes the demand and frustration will be even greater as the holiday season approaches.

“I hope we’ll be in a better place 12 months from now,” Santelle said.

The impact on the consumer does not stop at purchasing limits. Following the typical business model, as supply tightens and demand increases, stores spend more money to get their hands on the products they and their customers need.

“The products keep coming in at a higher price, so obviously we have to increase the price,” said Jonathan Bello, manager of Hub Liquors in New Brunswick. “To be honest, no one is even complaining because they say it is happening everywhere.”

High-end cognacs and tequilas are among the hardest products to find for Hub consumers, Bello said.

The supply crisis initially only affected alcohol, according to Bello. A few months later, he said, the same problems started with beer.

“And it’s actually the main brands – Corona, Modelo, that are actually our bestsellers,” he said.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

Look inside the avenue at American Dream

The American Dream mega mall in the Meadowlands is opening a luxury boutique wing that promises to be a must-see experience, and not just for luxury designer brands.

The best outdoor beer gardens at breweries in NJ

There are more options than ever to enjoy Garden State craft beer in an outdoor setting.

New Jersey is tied for first place (with Kentucky) with 43% growth in the craft beer scene from 2015 to 2019, according to C + R Research.

What follows is a roundup of the state’s breweries with quaint, dedicated outdoor seating if the weather permits.

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Sylvia Mendez’s Latino family played a central role in the fight against desegregation. Mon, 20 Sep 2021 09:00:35 +0000

As a little girl in Westminster, California, in 1945, Sylvia Mendez aspired to attend the “beautiful school” with the “beautiful playground” where the school bus dropped her off each morning. But the 9-year-old girl was not allowed in this school because she was Mexican-American.

Instead, each day she walked past the school of her dreams and trudged towards the “Mexican school,” a dilapidated building next to a cow pasture. As she remembered, the conditions there were terrible. “All of our books and desks have been used and beaten up. The boys learned things to prepare them for a professional job, and we learned sewing and home economics. It was as if they were preparing us girls to be domestic servants. ”

When her parents took legal action against the school district’s segregation practices, she found herself in the center of Mendez v. Westminster School District in Orange County. The lawsuit helped end school segregation in California. It also paved the way for Brown v. Board of Education of the United States Supreme Court, which declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

Yet most Americans, including many Latinos, are probably unaware of this groundbreaking affair.

Segregation of Mexican Americans from other students was common in the years leading up to the Mendez case, said Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF, Mexico’s Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Schoolchildren ate hot school meals consisting mostly of food from the surplus produce program at a school in Peñasco, New Mexico, in December 1941. USDA

“The case is not on the curriculum of colleges, high schools, colleges or even many law schools,” he said. “It’s part of the unknown and unnoticed history of Latinos facing discrimination in the Southwest.”

Saenz noted that civil rights are often presented in this country as a black and white issue, “without acknowledging or acknowledging the parallel experiences of Mexican Americans and other Latinos.”

“It wasn’t just about me or our family”

Mendez, now 85, was in third grade when she and her brothers were refused entry to the neighborhood school and ordered to attend Mexican school. In response, his father, Gonzalo Mendez, recruited four other families to join him in the fight for their children’s right to a quality education.

“At the time, I didn’t really know what it was about,” Mendez told NBC News. “For me, they were fighting so that I could go to this beautiful, lovely school.”

As court proceedings dragged on, Mendez said, the school district offered her parents a compromise: if they dropped their lawsuit, she and her brothers could attend white school. But this deal was only offered to them and would leave other Mexican American students stuck in separate schools. The Mendez family refused.

The Mendez family won in federal court in 1946, Judge Paul J. McCormick writing: “Social equality is of the utmost importance in the American public education system. It should be open to all children by unified school association, regardless of lineage.

Her parents won again in 1947, after the school district appealed.

“When we won again my mom, Felicitas, told me I had to be aware of what the deal meant,” Mendez said. “She explained that it wasn’t just about me or our family. It was not about the beautiful school. The fight was for all children to be treated equally.

Two months after Mendez’s appeal ended, California Governor Earl Warren signed legislation to officially end desegregation in public schools.

Mendez’s impact went beyond that. While the trial was still ongoing, attorney Thurgood Marshall submitted a memorandum on behalf of Mexican families on behalf of the NAACP. He then used Mendez’s legal framework to litigate Brown against Board of Education in the Supreme Court in 1954.

At that time, the chief justice was Earl Warren, who sided with Marshall and wrote the majority opinion ending segregation in public schools. In a sense, the Mendez case was a precursor to Brown, as it laid the groundwork for one of the most important court decisions in American history.

“A blow against inequalities”

On September 23, Sylvia Mendez will receive the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Medallion Award at the group’s annual gala. “Latinos were receiving a substandard education, and his case struck a blow against inequalities and changed the trajectory of the population,” said Marco A. Davis, president and CEO of the institute. The institute makes the virtual event free for anyone who registers.

Davis said the Mendez case is “an example of how Latinos opposed the established system and actually made a difference.”

“Despite the impact of his case on education and Latinos in the United States, a lot of people don’t know. They don’t know that Latinos, like African Americans, have ever attended separate schools.”

From a legal standpoint, Mendez was solved in an unusual way. Both sides stipulated and agreed that Mexican children should be considered white. This meant that the case was not about race discrimination; it was alleged intraracial discrimination, distinguishing it from other civil rights cases. “This stipulation partly prevented Mendez from becoming as prominent and well-known as Brown,” Saenz said.

‘A storyteller of this part of the story’

Yet the fact that Mendez is not widely known is troubling to some educators. “Too few in our community and in the country know that we have been championing education for so long,” wrote Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education, in an email. “And not just for our own education, but for that of so many others as well.” Latinos have often not been included in American history, she explained, which obscures the community’s legacy of leadership and advocacy.

President Barack Obama presents the 2010 Medal of Freedom to civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez at the White House on February 15, 2011.Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images File

Decades after Mendez, states like Arizona and Texas attempted to ban or limit Mexican-American studies in public schools. This year, Republican lawmakers in nearly half of the states have sought to restrict the teaching of concepts such as historical racism or white privilege, sometimes under the broad concept of Critical Race Theory.

Failure to teach cases like Mendez leads to “a loss impact,” Santiago said. “These stories are important. You feel empowered and engaged when you can connect with the advocacy that came before you. Knowing that there were people who struggled and sacrificed on behalf of a larger group, knowing that Latinos are part of the country’s narrative, is powerful.

“Our community is not deficit-based,” she said. “This American dream, we believe in it, and we are fighting for it.”

In 2007, the Mendez case was commemorated on a US postage stamp, and in 2011, Mendez was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2007, the Mendez case was commemorated on a US postage stamp.US Postal Service

Reflecting on her parents’ legacy, Mendez said she never wanted to be a public figure. A retired nurse, she only became a lawyer after promising her mother that she would let people know about their hard-fought victory. “The awards and the honors, they are really for my parents and the families who brought the case and sought justice,” she said.

“I’m just the storyteller,” she added. “The main characters are my family and I’m so proud of them. But I just consider myself a storyteller of that part of the story that is not well known.

To follow NBC Latino to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Museum director talks about Hispanic heritage and travel to the United States Sun, 19 Sep 2021 19:25:00 +0000

GULFPORT, Mississippi (WLOX) – Southern Mississippi is no stranger to prominent Hispanic figures, but one person can call themselves a filmmaker, pilot, and executive director of the Mississippi Aviation Heritage Museum.

“When people tell you that you won’t be able to do something, let that give you more energy to be able to do it,” said Francisco Gonzalez.

This is the advice he has followed since his teenage years in Venezuela, working in film studios.

“When I did cinema, I did a good job of cinema. It’s not mediocre work, ”Gonzalez said.

His love of cinema merged with his love of airplanes, as he often spent time taking trips with his father on the family plane.

“I fell in love with the feeling of flying,” he said.

But when he realized his home country didn’t offer enough opportunities, he moved to Mississippi at the age of 19 after falling in love with the beaches along Highway 90. .

Gonzales made the most of his new country by earning a pilot’s license and then his own plane. He then attended USM for film school, before landing a job at WLOX-TV to help with camera work.

He moved away from the station to start his own film company, Gonzaflex Productions, shooting thousands of commercials along the coast.

His passions brought him new life in America and he still flies high as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Aviation Heritage Museum.

“I am fully committed to this museum,” he said.

Gonzalez was part of a group dedicated to honoring the state’s aviation history with a museum in Gulfport. He helps organize the site, does volunteer work, and even donates artifacts to exhibits.

“Anyone who engages in something has to put their own skin and bones in it. And that’s what I did,” he said.

While he attributes part of his success in the United States to his own talent, he also recognizes the opportunity the Mississippians have given him.

“As an immigrant, when I came here, I was in awe of this country,” he said. “People appreciate what I do. People appreciate what I bring to the table.

Although he has enjoyed many successes, the filmmaker, pilot and museum director has had his share of challenges and these are experiences he wants other immigrants to take to heart.

“I see other Venezuelans and I tell them this: ‘I work very, very hard for many years,” he said.

Gonzalez wants people to know the American Dream is real, if the effort is there, too.

“If you work hard you can be successful and if you are successful you can help others,” he said.

And with Mississippi seeing an increase in the number of immigrants from around the world, he hopes more families will lead his councils.

“When there is an obstacle in front of you, step aside and continue,” he said.

Currently, Venezuelans in the United States are designated for temporary protected status due to the political and economic dangers of life in the country.

Copyright 2021 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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The tortuous journey of Haitian migrants ends in Mexican limbo Sun, 19 Sep 2021 05:38:30 +0000

After weeks on the road, crossing mountains and jungles, risking assault and drowning, thousands of Haitian migrants hoping to reach the United States found themselves stranded in Mexico instead.

Many embarked on the journey encouraged by family and friends already living the American Dream – but who often failed to mention the dangers that lay ahead.

Tens of thousands of migrants, including many Haitians who previously lived in South America, are stranded in the town of Tapachula in southern Mexico, awaiting documents that would allow them to continue.

Those who are tired of waiting or short of money still try to cross Mexico, hoping not to be arrested by the authorities and deported to Guatemala.

But when they reach the border with the United States, they find themselves trapped again.

Thousands of migrants, many of them Haitians, are now crowded under a bridge in Texas after crossing the Rio Grande River, hoping to be allowed entry into the country.

Despite the difficulties, migrants continue to flow into southern Mexico from Guatemala.

– Fleeing the fallout from the earthquake –

Each night, Murat “Dodo” Tilus wakes up with excruciating pain in his arm, the result of a fall on a Colombian mountain on his way to the United States, where he hopes to join his brother.

He left Chile with his wife, daughter and two grandchildren on August 8, leaving a country that had welcomed him following the 2010 earthquake that killed 200,000 people in Haiti.

“My house collapsed (in the earthquake), my relatives died, then I decided with my wife to go to another country,” the 49-year-old electrician told AFP.

But the “Chilean dream” began to fade in 2018 when the government imposed measures making life more difficult for migrants.

These days in Chile, “it’s very difficult to get a work permit. Everything has become more expensive, so people want to leave to look for a better life,” he said.

He and his wife Rose Marie raised around $ 5,000 for the trip, leaving by bus.

After a month-long odyssey through 10 countries, they arrive in Tapachula.

Now they are sleeping in a room in a house they share with four other Haitian families, waiting for an appointment to process their asylum claim.

It is only thanks to the money sent by Tilus’ brother that they do not sleep on the streets like some migrants.

The Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees is grappling with a backlog of requests for documents.

So far this year, it has issued around 77,559 permits for migrants, compared to 70,400 for all of 2019.

Hundreds of migrants tried to cross Mexico on foot this month in caravans but were stranded by Mexican authorities.

“I want to continue (in the US) legally,” Tilus said.

– Perilous journey –

Judith Joseph fled Haiti to Chile in 2017 after the murder of one of her three children.

Despite illnesses such as diabetes and difficulty walking, the 43-year-old left on July 10 and arrived in Tapachula almost two months later with her two other children, Samuel and Cristelle.

The worst of the trip was crossing the Darien Gap, a jungle area between Colombia and Panama infested with armed gangs and drug traffickers.

They saw some migrants drown, while others lost their few possessions.

Life in Haiti, where her mother worked in a market, was just as difficult, said Samuel, 11.

“There were mice in the kitchen at night. During the day, there were always Haitian soldiers shooting outside the house, ”he said.

Now, they share a room with others on the outskirts of Tapachula, while they wait for refugee status to continue a journey that Samuel wishes he had never begun.

“I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay in Chile,” he said.

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Volinsky is the FPU’s first “civic scholar” Sat, 18 Sep 2021 21:35:18 +0000

As of today, class is in session for Andru Volinsky at Franklin Pierce University.

The former New Hampshire executive councilor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate is the school’s first-ever “resident civic scholar”. He was scheduled to deliver the first of his three public talks on the Rindge campus this morning as part of Franklin Pierce’s annual Constitution Day celebration. Next semester, Volinsky will teach an undergraduate graduate seminar titled “Law and Public Policy for Change”.

“I am delighted to take on this role and join Franklin Pierce,” said Volinsky, 65, of Concord. “I am really looking forward to working with students on a topic that has motivated me for some time, namely civic engagement.

Volinsky, a lawyer who still deals with matters of public interest through his Chichester-based 160 Law PLLC law firm, said he views this new academic position as extremely important.

“I think we are as divided a nation as possible, and we have to find a way to talk to each other, even though we may disagree,” he said. “I think young people in particular have an important perspective that we have to respect. And young people in particular should test their civic muscles, learn how the different community and government systems work in our society, and understand how they can play a role, starting in college and hopefully for the rest of their lives. . ”

Kathryn Grosso Gann, spokesperson for the university, which has around 1,200 students and 235 faculty and staff at its Rindge campus, said Volinsky’s post at the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences is one of the many residency research programs the university plans to create in the coming years. For example, Franklin Pierce could bring in health care and business experts for one-year stays in Rindge, she said.

“So this is just one of many, hopefully, that we’re really excited about,” said Grosso Gann. “And with Andru in particular, what’s really great is that he’s going to be here for a year, fall and spring, is that he’s really going to become a committed member of our community. And students will have great access to really ask questions, seek answers, have an open dialogue on topics that I think are really relevant today.

In addition to his public events this fall, Volinsky said he had previously been invited to lecture in several classes at Franklin Pierce that cut across his areas of expertise, including criminal justice courses. Volinsky holds a law degree from the George Washington Law School in Washington, DC, and began his career as a public defender in Tennessee and teaching at the University of Tennessee.

Volinsky – who spent four years representing the Executive Council’s Second District, which covers Keene and much of the Monadnock area – last spoke to Franklin Pierce in February 2020, he said. He referred to the recent commutation of the death penalty he had obtained for a client in Georgia with whom he has worked for 30 years.

During this address, Volinsky met Matthew Konieczka, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

“And one thing led to another, and we started talking about what a potential role might be for me as a guest speaker,” Volinsky said. “And given our mutual interest in civic engagement, this program was born. ”

In a press release announcing Volinsky’s new post at Franklin Pierce, Konieczka said the university was honored to welcome him for the 2012-22 school year.

“Our students will learn greatly from the breadth of Mr. Volinsky’s experience as a lawyer, elected official and advocate, as we continue to provide them with the opportunity to be confident and knowledgeable citizens,” Konieczka said. .

Volinsky said his primary goal as Franklin Pierce’s resident civic scholar is to help students discover the wide variety of ways they can engage with each other and the world around them.

“So I want students to understand the opportunities to build community. Sometimes it’s in your backyard, but sometimes it’s statewide, ”he said.

“… And too often today, we do not focus enough on the search for a common good. And I especially want the students of my seminar to be alert to and seek out opportunities.

His first lecture, “Can Constitutions Save the American Dream?” Was scheduled this morning at 11 am in Spagnuolo Hall on the Franklin Pierce University campus and was also scheduled to be broadcast live online. Volinsky said on Tuesday that the public event will focus on funding schools and educating the public. The conference can also be viewed at

“I hope that (this) helps people understand how the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of the States work and how sometimes the decisions of those courts are more than a question of words on the page, and how they can demand that we are all civically engaged in order to make the words on the page a practical reality, ”Volinsky said of his lecture.

He has extensive experience in funding schools in New Hampshire and worked as senior counsel in the 1997 Claremont Schools Funding case before the State Supreme Court which established the duty to l State to finance adequate public education. The latest legal battle over the state’s school funding formula, brought by the ConVal School District and joined by 18 other districts across the state, is back in superior court after a Supreme Court ruling from the ‘State in March.

Volinsky’s next public lecture, “Are Voting Rights Safe?” Is scheduled for October 28. His last speech of the fall semester, the subject of which has not yet been fixed, will be on November 9.

Jack Rooney can be reached at 352-1234, ext. 1404, or Follow him on Twitter @RooneyReports.These articles are shared by The Granite State News Collaborative partners. For more information, visit

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Meek Mill, Drake, and more call on President Biden to pardon non-violent cannabis offenders in the United States Fri, 17 Sep 2021 17:18:18 +0000

Some of the biggest names in hip hop and sports have come together in hopes of reforming the laws surrounding the use and possession of marijuana. As reported by Fox 13, Drake, Meek Mill, Killer Mike and Ty Dolla $ ign were among 150 celebrities who have asked for President Biden’s help to commute the sentences of all non-violent cannabis offenders in the United States. United.

The 25-page letter – which was also supported by Quavo, Kodak Black, Dave East, TI and 2 Chainz – was sent to the White House on Tuesday (September 14). It would detail the reasons why prisoners should be pardoned and mention laws enacted by the state that prohibit the use of marijuana.

“Whatever one thinks of other drugs and other accused, the incarceration of marijuana-related offenders in federal prisons is a misuse of our country’s resources and is extremely hypocritical, given that a clear majority of “Americans oppose the ban on marijuana and about half admit to having used the drug in their lifetime,” the letter read.

“It also flies in the face of the arc of history and the principle of federalism: almost three-quarters of states have now abandoned the federal government’s blanket criminal ban in favor of secure and regulated legal access to marijuana for adults and / or individuals. “

In addition, the letter indicates some of the lasting impacts that a federal conviction can have on the life of the prisoner after prison.

“The harms of incarceration are evident, but the pains of federal marijuana convictions transcend prison walls, making it harder for someone to get a job, access affordable housing and receive an education, ”the note continued. “A conviction can forever limit an individual’s constitutional rights and can put the American Dream even further beyond the reach of an entire family.”

The letter to Biden comes nearly five months after many of the same artists pressured Ralo to seek clemency. The jailed rapper – who faces two federal charges of intent to distribute marijuana – is one of many people POTUS must forgive.

“It’s just not fair that corporations are allowed to break federal law and become millionaires when people like me go to jail for years,” Ralo said of the prison system. “It’s hypocrisy. But I hope Joe Biden will honor his campaign promise and grant us mercy without delay so that we can return home to our families and communities. ”

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Afghans are likely to find Georgia a more welcoming place than former refugees Fri, 17 Sep 2021 05:03:44 +0000

Heval Mohamed Kelli, 11, believed his family were going on vacation after crossing the Syrian border into Turkey in 1996, when his father paid smugglers to take them to safety in Germany.

He was unaware at the time of the political persecutions his father, a lawyer, was facing in Syria or how life was going to change drastically as they mostly lived in resettlement camps for the next few years in a unknown country.

Kelli eventually settled in Clarkston in 2001, where he and his family still lived in poverty, but the opportunities for better education and professional mobility sparked optimism they did not have in the camps. German refugees. Two decades later, Kelli watches with keen interest as hundreds of thousands of Afghans flee their country after the Taliban declared control when the United States ended its role in the longstanding conflict.

Kelli was 17 when he arrived in America and did not speak English. He now works at Northside Hospital as a cardiologist. It’s a piece of the American dream that started small as a teenage refugee working as a diver to support his family. Now he is inspired to help refugees and others living in underserved communities in the United States.

Heval Kelli, center, a Syrian refugee whose family moved to Clarkston in 2001 watches with keen interest Afghan refugees waiting to find new places to live after US troops withdraw from their home countries. Kelli is a cardiologist at Northside Hospital, Photo credit Emory University

“These Afghan refugees come from a very unfortunate situation, it is so sad to see what is happening,” he said. “They are just happy to be in a safe place for them. But I tell them, I think this is the only country in the world where you could come here. I have lived in the Middle East and I don’t think I would have become who I am if I hadn’t been here.

Approximately 123,000 people have flown from Afghanistan and 50,000 are currently undergoing security screening at military bases in preparation for reintegration into American communities.

Tens of thousands of Afghans who worked directly with the US government started leaving the country a few months ago and many arrived after a August evacuation. The majority of these refugees have special visa status which will allow them to clear basic security hurdles more quickly.

The Associated Press reported this week that officials in the Biden administration have started briefing governors and mayors in 46 states of the number of people from the first wave of 37,000 evacuees to be expected in the coming weeks, including more 1,000 refugees expected to arrive in Georgia.

A coalition of Atlanta nonprofits, including New American Pathways, will likely begin helping individuals and their families find housing, employment and other supports soon, as many relocate. in apartments and rental homes in Georgia, primarily in the Metro Atlanta area.

Larger numbers of refugees will go through an even more complicated process as they have yet to apply for permanent status as they seek to pass a more rigorous background check.

Finding enough affordable housing for those allowed to relocate to the United States will be a major challenge that will also benefit from the kindness of strangers. While resettlement groups typically pay a few months of rent, Airbnb provides temporary housing across the country to 20,000 Afghan refugees.

The Biden administration has asked Congress for $ 6.4 billion for the resettlement of Afghan refugees, with targets of 65,000 by the end of September and another 95,000 by September 2022, according to the AP.

Over 90% of people served by American Pathways and other local groups pay their own expenses within six months. There is a strong system of support from the religious community and beyond in the greater metropolitan area and among ethnic groups that depend on each other, said Emily Laney, director of development for New American Pathways.

“Even before the 1980 Refugee Act, groups were resettling refugees in Georgia,” Laney said. “It’s really so intense. There have been a lot of really traumatic events in the last few weeks, and we have the resources to support them.

“The people who have gone through some of the worst things humanity has to offer, these refugees are strong, resilient and courageous,” Laney said.

The amount of resources spent on refugee resettlement has been slashed under the administration of former President Donald Trump through federal policy changes reducing refugees admitted each year to less than 23,000 in 2018 compared to plans last year. year of former President Barack Obama to admit 110,000.

During Trump’s tenure, Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East were among the countries targeted by tighter restrictions hampering the path to a green card.

According to the New American Economy, a nonprofit refugee research organization, Afghans made up less than 2% of the total number of refugees who immigrated to the United States between 2002 and 2018.

The Biden administration has raised its goal of admitting refugees to 125,000 people this year. It’s an unrealistic benchmark due to dwindling resources, but it’s a much better direction than the previous four years, according to Jeremy Robbins, executive director of America’s New Economy.

“It’s our biggest competitive advantage that people want to come here and work hard, but it masks the fact that it’s really hard to do if you don’t speak the language, if you don’t have the network, or if you can find a job by yourself. ” he said.

“Having a big influx of people from Afghanistan right now is something you can expect to have a backlash,” Robbins said. “But one thing that’s different now is that I think the circumstances in which this happened, seeing people who risked their lives to help us win this war all of a sudden hanging on the air libre has really brought about a big change that seems to be very bipartisan. “

Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp signaled his willingness to take in controlled Afghan refugees shortly after the Taliban took control of their country last month. This contrasts with the stance taken in 2015 by his compatriot Republican and former governor Nathan Deal against the resettlement of Syrian refugees fleeing a bloody conflict in their country of origin.

Witnessing current events was an overwhelming experience for Muska Haseeb, an Afghan refugee turned American citizen, as the Taliban regained control after two decades of sacrificing American troops and treasures and the dashed hopes of Afghans who sought more help. opportunities in their country.

Haseeb’s family moved to Phoenix in 2012 after spending six years in Pakistan as a refugee to escape the physical abuse her mother suffered in Afghanistan for working as an administrative assistant.

(left to right) Muska Haseeb, sister-in-law Madina Haider, brother Syed Haider, niece Marwaha, nephew Sultan and mother Haseeba Aria. Photo by Kulsoom Rizvi & Andrew Oberstadt / International Rescue Committee

Today Haseb’s mother is a social worker and her 27-year-old daughter runs her own fashion business and will soon be starting school at the University of Texas in a pre-medical program.

“I really wish they could do something about this in the future because nobody wants to stay under Taliban rule,” Haseeb said. “I’m definitely going to want to be a motivation for any new refugee, whether from Afghanistan or any other country. I want them to see that (the United States) is the land of opportunity and that we can certainly pursue our dreams and goals and that we can become something here.

Clarkston from Georgia to welcome remaining Afghan refugees

Clarkston, a town in DeKalb County where more than half of its 13,000 residents were born overseas, is likely to receive an influx of Afghan refugees via New American Pathways and other resettlement agencies in the coming months.

Clarkston became a home town for many refugees, earning it the nickname of Southern Ellis Island. It offers affordable rental housing and is small enough that newcomers can walk to schools or its small downtown area, while still providing enough public transportation to get around Atlanta’s two largest counties. .

Immigrants frequently take on low-paying minimum-wage jobs and other lower-paying positions as they adjust to life in a new country.

For some refugees who settle in Clarkston, this means daily trips to Gainesville to work in the chicken processing plants.

Yet Clarkston’s leadership was not so welcoming to foreign nationals and refugees settling in the city as recently as the past decade.

In 2013, the former mayor of Clarkston helped ban the resettlement of new refugees. A few years later, when Ted Terry was elected mayor, the moratorium was lifted. He has set in motion an attitude of acceptance within government that continues to push the community toward inclusion as more refugees become citizens, vote and run for office.

“I think we finally hit a kind of critical mass of voters who were like, in fact, we think refugees are a positive thing. And we don’t want to go back in the history of Clarkston. We want to look to the future and move forward, ”said Terry, who is now DeKalb County Commissioner.

Refugees are known to contribute to the economy of their new country almost upon arrival. Their crime rate in their community is generally low. And they own businesses or attend college at a higher rate than the average American.

Although Kelli lived in a poorer area of ​​Clarkston while he was finishing his studies, the town offered an enclave that could have been much worse for a Muslim family who had recently arrived in America shortly after 9/11.

“We always say we got scared more than anything,” Kelli said. “I think Clarkston was such a loving community that really offered protection from the harassment we might have faced.

With the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan now complete, Catholic Charities Atlanta will continue to help evacuated families find new homes, as it has done for the past 20 years.

“Rebuilding your life is not easy,” said Vanessa Russell, CEO of Catholic Charities Atlanta. “These brave families escaped with just what they could take. They are courageous, resilient and optimistic about their future. We will welcome these families with a grateful heart and help them integrate and thrive in their new home here in Atlanta. “

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