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¡Viva Puerto Rico! The time to educate is now.

“The following video pays tribute to the hard working Puerto Rican population. Our goal is to assist in breaking down barriers and destroy negative stereotypes.”

For more, visit the Puerto Rican Alliance for Awareness on Facebook.

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Quiz time, when we say Tequila Party, what do you think of first?

A. This picture from college

B. This dance from one of the greatest movies ever

C. This bar scene

D. A well-intentioned grass-roots political movement out of Arizona that actually has some great points to make about immigration reform but has a name that makes a mockery of the movement, so much so that the movement won’t even gain any traction at all

If you think that Dee Dee García-Blasé and other Latino leaders in the United States who support the Tequila Party are just making a mockery of real Latino issues, then take a moment and go here. Let them know that political perception is all reality.

GO HERE AND SIGN: CHANGE THE NAME, NOT THE CAUSE. NO AL TEQUILA, SÍ A LA UNIDAD.

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Estimados Residentes de Jamaica Plain,

Nos complace informarles que ya recibimos las llaves de la propiedad ubicada en el 415 Centre Street y que hemos comenzado con las renovaciones. Como les prometí en mi última carta, quiero informarles sobre los últimos acontecimientos. Hemos recibido cientos de llamadas y mensajes de correo electrónico de personas expresando su apoyo y entusiasmo por la próxima apertura de nuestra tienda, algo que realmente apreciamos.

Actualización sobre la Tienda:
Actualmente estamos terminando la fase de demolición dentro del edificio y pronto finalizaremos nuestros planes de diseño.  Como anunciamos previamente, no realizaremos cambios a la estructura del edificio ni a las características exteriores que hacen de esta  propiedad un edificio único. Sin embargo, necesitamos realizar trabajos extensos en el interior del edificio para cumplir con los códigos vigentes. Es probable que este proceso tome hasta seis meses, por lo que anticipamos inaugurar la tienda durante el otoño. Si usted desea mantenerse al tanto de nuestros avances, le recomendamos seguir la cuenta de Twitter @WFM_JP. ¡Ya tenemos más de 270 seguidores!

Probablemente nuestra noticia más emocionante es que ya contratamos al equipo de liderazgo de la tienda.  Me enorgullece presentarles a Mike Walker y a Wanda Hernández, como el Líder y la Líder Asociado del Equipo de Tienda en JP. Mike ha sido miembro del equipo de Whole Foods Market desde 1994 y su puesto más reciente es de Líder del Equipo de Tienda de nuestra tienda en Symphony. Wanda ha trabajado para Whole Foods Market desde el 2005 y su puesto es de Líder Asociado del Equipo de Tienda en nuestra localidad de Wellesley. Tanto Mike como Wanda tienen lazos con el área de Jamaica Plain y ambos comparten una magnífica visión sobre la creación de un mercado comunitario que se convertirá en una parte integral y homogénea del vecindario.

Su Mercado Comunitario:

Nos sentimos muy inspirados por la gran demostración de interés comunitario que hemos presenciado durante los últimos meses. ¡Es maravilloso formar parte de una comunidad que se preocupa tanto por lo que ocurre en su vecindario! Quisiera compartir con ustedes algunas noticias emocionantes sobre nuestras asociaciones comunitarias:

–       Apoyo a Organizaciones Locales: El mes pasado nuestras tiendas de Brighton y Symphony recaudaron más de $8,500 para la organización Hyde Square Task Force durante un Día del 5%, esto gracias al maravilloso apoyo de la comunidad. Cada trimestre llevaremos a cabo un Día del 5% para apoyar a las organizaciones sin fines de lucro locales.

–       Alimentos Saludables en las Escuelas: La escuela Boston Latin School será la primera escuela de la ciudad de Boston en implementar una barra de ensaladas bajo el patrocinio financiero de nuestro Proyecto de Barras de Ensaladas. También llevaremos este programa a la escuela Curley K-8 School, en donde planeamos donar otra barra de ensaladas para fomentar los almuerzos saludables a través del acceso a la fruta fresca, los vegetales, las proteínas y los granos enteros.

–       Agricultores y Productores Locales: Durante el verano planeamos realizar “mercados agrícolas” en nuestro estacionamiento, de manera que los agricultores y productores locales puedan tener un lugar gratuito para vender sus alimentos.  Una vez que abramos oficialmente nuestras puertas, también apoyaremos a estos productores locales y a muchos otros ofreciendo la mayor cantidad posible de productos locales.

Reunión Comunitaria:

Según lo prometido, realizaremos nuestra Reunión Comunitaria el jueves 2 de junio en la escuela Curley K-8 School de 7:00 pm a 8:30 pm. Queremos presentarnos formalmente, introducir al equipo de liderazgo y dar a conocer nuestros planes para la tienda. También contaremos con un periodo de preguntas y respuestas cuya duración será de 30 minutos y durante el cual los integrantes de la comunidad tendrán la oportunidad de realizar preguntas sobre la tienda y ofrecer sus recomendaciones sobre cómo podemos atender mejor las necesidades de la comunidad de Jamaica Plain.

Oferta de Productos:

Nos gustaría que ustedes nos informen sobre los productos que desean adquirir en la tienda. Nuestros compradores están trabajando diligentemente para contar con una amplia variedad de productos que cumplan con nuestras estrictas normas de calidad. ¡Queremos escuchar sus opiniones! Hemos creado una dirección de email, JP_Products@wholefoods.com para este fin. Durante la reunión comunitaria entregaremos tarjetas postales pre-pagada para que la comunidad de JP puedan indicarnos cuáles productos desean ver en las repisas de nuestra tienda.

Contrataciones:

A medida que continuemos con las renovaciones y tengamos una idea más clara sobre nuestra fecha de apertura, comenzaremos el proceso de contratación de Miembros del Equipo para la tienda. Realizaremos las entrevistas en un remolque que situaremos dentro del estacionamiento de la propiedad. Planeamos contratar a cerca de 100 Miembros del Equipo (aproximadamente 70 de tiempo completo y 30 de tiempo parcial) y esperamos que muchos de ellos provengan de la comunidad local de JP. Durante la reunión comunitaria proporcionaremos más información sobre cómo convertirse en un Miembro del Equipo de Whole Foods Market.

Esperamos ansiosamente la reunión del próximo 2 de Junio. ¡Estamos deseosos de presentarnos y de proporcionarles más información sobre Whole Foods Market!

Saludos cordiales,

Laura Derba

Presidenta de la Región Norte del Atlántico

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We have to give it up to the YouTube channel of JulyNavy. This brilliant video below (the Spanish version has over 22,000 hits) basically speaks to the paradox of Puerto Rico’s colonial status.

Sure, it doesn’t intend to be a sarcastic video (hahaha), but it’s clear that JulyNavy is poking fun at the policies of the current administration of Republican and pro-statehood Governor Luis Fortuño.

Enjoy! And as JulyNavy says: “I’m an idiot, thank you.”

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With the announcement of a Dialogue Committee by Puerto Rico’s Republican and pro-statehood leader Luis Fortuño that has attempted to bring consensus to the colony’s upcoming plebiscite on political status, several organizations, particularly those who support a “free associated state,” have been prohibited from participating in Fortuño’s committee.

As a result, these organizations have decided to take the matter into their own hands and hold their own forums about why Fortuño has not allowed them into the conversation.

ANUNCIO EN ESPAÑOL

La organización Alianza pro Libre Asociación Soberana (ALAS) se une a los compañeros de Acción Democrática Puertorriqueña (ADP) en el coauspicio de la siguiente actividad:

CONFERENCIA Y CONVERSATORIO

EL VOTO DE LOS PUERTORRIQUEÑOS AUSENTES EN EL PROCESO DE LIBRE DETERMINACIÓN DE PUERTO RICO

Conferenciante:   Lcdo.  Manuel Rivera

Sábado 7 de mayo de 2011 a las 2:30 PM

ATENEO PUERTORRIQUEÑO

SAN JUAN

Este tema es de gran interés para los miembros de ALAS, ya que ese derecho para los puertorriqueños es uno de los requisitos que estaremos solicitando en la implantación de la ley habilitadora del plebiscito de estatus si finalmente se realizara.

Por estas razones invitamos a todos los simpatizantes de ALAS y colaboradores nos demos cita para acompañar a nuestros hermanos de ADP en la actividad del próximo sábado 7 en el Ateneo Puertorriqueño en San Juan.

“Recordando siempre, que lo que necesitamos es voluntad para dar un primer paso”

ENGLISH ANNOUNCEMENT

The organization of the Alliance for an Associated Free State (ALAS) joins fellow organization Puerto Rican Democratic Action (PDA) in the co-sponsorship of the following activity:

CONFERENCES AND FORUMS

THE ABSENT VOTES OF PUERTO RICANS IN THE SELF-DETERMINATION PROCESS FOR PUERTO RICO

Speaker: Atty. Manuel Rivera

Saturday May 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM

ATENEO PUERTORRIQUEÑO

SAN JUAN

This issue is of great interest to members of ALAS. This right for Puerto Ricans is one of the requirements that we request in the implementation of the status plebiscite, if it were to finally be held.

For these reasons we urge all supporters of ALAS and colleagues to mark their calendars and to join our brothers and sisters from the ADP this Saturday May 7 at the Ateneo Puertorriqueño in San Juan.

“Remembering always that what we need is the will to take a first step”

Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño

We applaud ALAS and ADP for addressing what we feel is a serious flaw of Governor Fortuño’s Dialogue Committee: denying all interested stakeholders to have a say in how the plebiscite will be shaped.

ALAS was one of the organizations that presented the option of a free associated state to the White House Task Force on Puerto Rico Status, an option that is recognized as legal and valid.

While Governor Fortuño speaks about practicing true American democracy, his recents actions to not include ALAS and ADP in the Dialogue Committee remind us of tactics better served for typical Latin American leaders who would rather keep detractors away in order to keep their agenda unscathed.

Governor Fortuño’s actions are as un-American and unpatriotic as anything we have ever seen. You cannot have it both ways: either practice true and transparent democracy, or else stop promoting your unwavering belief in the uniqueness and openness that is America’s democratic process

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Los Angeles radio talk show host Fernando Espuelas

Dear Congressman Gutiérrez,

Are you a secret Republican? Are you now actively engaged in making sure that Obama is a one-term President? Are you trying to destroy any chance for comprehensive immigration reform for the next 10 years?

Based on your words and actions over the last two years, it sure seems that the answer to all three questions is “yes.”

You have become a familiar face in the media, purporting to speak for all 52 million American Latinos. You tell the world of our collective pain, our supposed victimization at the hands of the unjust U.S. immigration system.

You remind us, over and over again, that Obama “broke his promise” to push for immigration reform in the first year of his Administration – a political absurdity when the country was undergoing the most devastating economic crisis in 70 years.

You decry the President’s enforcement of existing immigration law – never acknowledging that under our Constitution that is exactly what the President must do.

You leave out of your drama-queen performances the inconvenient truth – President George Bush was lambasted by his own party for his supposed lackadaisical enforcement of immigration law. The party eventually forced Bush to abandon immigration reform, leaving him humiliated by his own party and frustrating Karl Rove’s plan to capture the Latino vote for the GOP.

And now, Congressman, you tour the country giving histrionic speeches and making emotional statements to the media. “Obama broke his promise,” you tell people ad naseum – as if the President of the United States can enact laws without Congress actually passing them.

But that’s not how it works, right? Congress passes laws and the President signs them. You know that. So why the fiction that Obama is fully and uniquely responsible for our joke of an immigration “system”? In fact, you lay all the blame on the President.

US Congressman Luis Guitérrez

And in an act of pure political nihilism – and strategic folly – you have even advised that Latinos not vote in elections if immigration reform is not passed. You’ve hinted that you want to create a new “movement” outside of the Democratic Party.

Do you actually believe all this nonsense? Or has this absurd message merely become a handy platform from which to launch your media vanity tour, now taking you to 20 cities across the country in which you blameyour lack of success in passing immigration reform in the Democratic Party controlled House of Representatives in 2008 and 2009 on Obama?

If memory serves, you never passed a bill. Yet you were the point person in Congress for immigration reform – you were even made the Chair of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force.

Why were you unable to convince your own House Democratic colleagues to, at the very least, approve a bill in the House and put pressure on the Senate to do the same? President Obama has said over and over that he will sign an immigration reform bill – why didn’t you send him one?

In the Latino community we all speak about the need to come together, to “unify.” But unify around what? Your bizarre idea that we can reform America’s laws by not voting?

You seem enthralled by the transcendence of Martin Luther King Jr.’s accomplishments – yet you ignore the fact that Dr. King was principally fighting for the right of people of color to vote. Get it? Dr. King believed in America, he believed in the values of our country – and the institutions that, once reformed, would serve all Americans.

He never advocated not voting. He never advocated “sitting it out” – Dr. King spurred a whole nation into action. And opened the door for millions of people – including Latinos in the South – to vote and be able to participate in the democratic system.

And here’s the irony: you were born in America. You are not an immigrant. You were educated in our schools. Surely you must know how our system works – how it has worked for every immigrant group in this country.

You vote, you have power. If you sit home on election day, you let others chose your leaders and therefore the laws that govern our nation. The Arizona anti-Latino laws, now ruled un-Constitutional by a Federal judge, are proof of what happens when Latinos fail to show up at the voting booth.

Recently you told the media – your new constituency, I suppose – that you had not decided whether to support Obama for reelection. Does that mean that you will support a GOP candidate? With the exceptions of Newt Gingrich and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, all other presumptive GOP candidates have come out squarely against immigration reform.

So let’s see, you encourage Latinos to blame Obama for your own legislative failure – and then you encourage Hispanics not to vote, even though a critical part of the Obama coalition is Latino voters. Meanwhile, the Republican Party stands firmly against immigration reform. Effectively you attack the supporters of reform while strengthening its opponents. If there’s a strategy here for achieving immigration reform it is as opaque as it is risible.

But you, sir, are the Nativists’ best asset. With your high-profile campaign suggesting that Latinos not participate in the mainstream political process, encouraging our community to abandon the ballot box for more useless, even counter-productive marches, you retard immigration reform with every speech you give.

If there ever is a successful reform of immigration policies you will have nothing to talk about. Your burgeoning career as the Latino-whiner-in-Chief will be over and you will have to go back to the mundane job of actually getting laws passed.

As you well know, and as the new Census proves, Latinos have the numbers to be the king makers in 2012. We will be the determinate voting block for both the Presidency and control of Congress.

But unless we get our act together and register millions of citizens who are now hypnotized by your dis-empowering message of non-participation in the democratic process, there is a very real possibility that the next Administration and the next Congress elected in 2012 will be in complete opposition to immigration reform – pushing it back years, if not decades.

So unless you are in fact a double-agent, a tool of the Nativist extremist who are feverishly working to duplicate Arizona’s experiment in institutionalized racism across the nation, go back to Congress, roll-up your sleeves and get back work on building an effective coalition to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Your emotional speeches must give you a huge adrenalin rush – but America needs less of your made-for-TV drama and and more of a real focus on a smart, strategic reform of our immigration laws so that we can effectively compete in the 21st century.

Your MLK fantasies aside, that means passing new laws. And guess what – that’s your job.

Sincerely,

Fernando Espuelas

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In one of the first detailed interviews he has given since learning that his controversial SMUGGLE TRUCK immigration game was banned from Apple’s App Store, Alex Schwartz of Owlchemy Labs admitted that that the initial uproar about the game earlier this year was “merited,” but he is still determined to showcasing the game in the market.

Owlchemy released a statement last week about Apple’s ban and how the game company plans to sell the game via PC and Apple non-app versions. Also, a variation of the game called SNUGGLE TRUCK is available at the App Store.

We interviewed Schwartz via email today. Here is what he had to share:

Alex Schwartz of Owlchemy Labs

FB: Did Apple give you a specific reason as to why they banned Smuggle Truck?

AS: Our communications with Apple are unfortunately under NDA so we cannot discuss the reasons for the denial other than the fact that the rejection was based on content.

FB: Why did you create an adapted version of Smuggle Truck called Snuggle Truck?

AS: Smuggle Truck was denied from the App Store due to content reasons. Snuggle Truck was our way to get the fun and excitement you see people experiencing in our gameplay trailer to the App Store.

FB: Most Latino organizations we know only (particularly Being Latino and Latinos in Social Media) were and have been extremely critical of the Smuggle Truck game. Was this criticism merited, in your opinion?

AS: I think the criticism was merited back when the initial news broke in early February. When the stories came out, all that was available for people to judge our game was a 20-second teaser trailer and a few screenshots. The game was approximately 20% completed. I think it was easy to assume based on the premise of the game that we were creating a hateful game, without having a proper window into the backstory, the reasoning behind it, and a proper showcase for the satire. Once we were able to get closer to a final version of the game and have tested it in players hands, we’ve received quite a bit of support for publishing such a satire.

FB: When you released Smuggle Truck earlier this year, you said that part of the reason was because you had friends who have had and were having major frustrations with the immigration process in the United States? Can you share more general details (without naming names) of those problems they experienced?

AS: As you mentioned, our friend chose to remain nameless due to the fragility of his status in the country. To sum up the issues broadly, our friend wanted to come to the U.S. to develop video games, had a U.S. college bachelors degree but no family living here. Without a full time job to get an H1B, and without enough proof to substantiate an O1, it appeared that there were no legal ways to immigrate. Even though he/she had plans to begin a startup, the proposed Startup Visa would not have applied due to the harsh requirements for investor funding. They can’t talk about their status currently, and it’s quite sad that it’s so common to be secretive about ones own immigration status for fear of further investigation by authorities, but rightly justified.

FB: You said that you believe this country needs comprehensive immigration reform. How does a game like Smuggle Truck fit into the debate?

Smuggle Truck definitely doesn’t address specifics on ways to reform immigration. Smuggle Truck also doesn’t impose a viewpoint on the issue of illegal immigration. The one major point that it addresses is the absurdity of the wait times for citizenship, as displayed in the Legal Immigration Mode. If you’re not familiar, this is a mode in Smuggle Truck where the player can sit in a waiting room for 19 years as a timer counts down to the point at which they can obtain a green card. See this chart below for some of our inspiration:

FB: Smuggle Truck recently won a local award in Boston? What was it for and why did you win it?

AS: We were chosen as finalists in the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX East) Boston Indie Showcase. The PAX conference chose three independent games that rose to the top by the criteria of innovation, fun, technical excellence, or otherwise displayed that they stood out from the crowd in some significant way. Here thousands of attendees were able to play the game and the results were fairly unanimous – people enjoyed the game and they “got it” once they picked it up. With the forest (read: Canadian) smuggling levels and the legal immigration, it was very apparent to players that they were experiencing something oozing with satire.

FB: Do you still stand by the fact that Smuggle Truck is not a controversial game that has offended many US Latinos? What would you like to say to the people who have criticized the game?

AS: Not at all, the game is most definitely controversial. Many of the criticisms of Smuggle Truck boil down to an ideology that believes a game cannot talk about a subject like immigration. The misconception that interactive games can only work with fun, happy, light, and airy subjects is something that we as game developers need to address, whereas film has had decades of experience in that realm. We’ve definitely learned that satire is something that requires ample context and in an interactive medium like games, it requires you, in some cases, to experience it for yourself. The original press pieces about Smuggle Truck back in February definitely did not get a chance to see that angle nor the more structured satire included in the game, such as our Legal Immigration mode. To those who criticize the game, I challenge you to try out the game. Subtlety is sometimes lost when viewed from afar.

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