Tu voto es tu voz

With the election only twelve days away, Hispanic Americans have the opportunity to participate in the democratic process of the United States of America that they helped to create.  In key states where elections are hotly contested by an uncertain margin of a few points, Hispanics can make a difference.  In Nevada and Florida, for example, Hispanics compromise 10 to 15% of eligible voters.  The races for Governor and Senator in California will be heavily influenced by Hispanic voter turnout.  Even in Arizona, Hispanics compromise 25% of eligible voters.

Voting is one of the most important responsibilities that we have as citizens, an opportunity that was earned for us by the courage of those who founded this country.  Despite, or perhaps because of this opportunity to make a difference, we are seeing unconscionable attack ads urging Hispanics not to vote in this election.  Both Univision and Telemundo have decided not to run the ads.

Please remember  to vote, for the party of your choice.  It’s our privilege, our responsibility, and our voice to speak for ourselves and about our aspirations.

Help Preserve Admiral David Farragut’s Birthplace

The birthplace of America’s first admiral and a great Hispanic American hero — the man who uttered those famous words, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” — is about to be turned into a private gated community.

Admiral Farragut was born at Stoney Point Farm 12 miles southwest of Knoxville, Tennessee. Until a few months ago, most people were completely unaware that this land had any historic significance. A 110-year-old monument is still on the property, and it is etched with the words “Birthplace of Admiral Farragut,” but it is on private property that is fenced off from the public and now zoned for residential development.

Stoney Point Farm was first settled by Spaniard Jorge Ferragut in 1797, four years before the future Admiral’s birth. He hacked out a clearing in the wilderness, built a 20 x 40 foot log cabin, plowed the fields, and moved there with his young family to run a ferry across the Tennessee River.

David Farragut’s father left his homeland of Minorca, Spain, and sailed to America in 1776 to fight in the Revolution. After the war was over he became a major in the territorial militia and a prominent Knox County landowner.

A preservation group is now coordinating with the Knox County Parks and Recreation and the University of Tennessee Archaeological Research Lab to study the public land that surrounds the farm and borders the waterfront. Fundraising efforts are underway to purchase the lots and dedicate them to future development of a visitors’ center and museum rather than a private residential development.

Please visit http://www.farragutbirthplace.blogspot.com for more information and to make a donation for “Farragut Birthplace” to Knox Heritage, an affiliate of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

21st Century Immigrants! Share your Story

As we know from studying the American Revolutionary War, immigrant experiences are as varied as the people involved.  While most of the immigrant stories in the 18th century were unrecorded, we can now share stories in ways that the earliest immigrants could never dream of.  Immigrant Connect Chicago is an online network for immigrants, their families and communities. Through individual stories, Immigrant Connect Chicago is crossing ethnic, cultural and generational lines and providing a forum for shared immigrant experiences in Chicago.  This ongoing project is coordinated through the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, with funding support from the Carnegie Corporation.

The site features a section to “Share Your Story” about your experiences as an immigrant, with suggested topics on learning the language, problems with “papers,” keeping the family together, fearing “the law,” connecting with back home, trying to get work, culture shocks, remembering the migration, and identity issues.

While it’s too late to hear personal narratives on these topics from 18th century immigrants who contributed to the American Revolutionary War – such as Alexander Hamilton (whose portrait is on the US $10 Bill), Jorge FarragutRobert MorrisOliver PollockThomas Paine, and Friedrich Von Steuben – there’s still time for you in the 21st century.  Please contribute your stories and memories.