Yearly Archives: 2019

The story of Hispanic Americans stretches from coast to coast and across 500 years of history. The Spanish first arrived in Florida long before the pilgrims and the settled in California. Long before California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas were part of the United States, it was Mexico.

But the history of the United States, as most of us learned it, still begins with Jamestown, Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims.

“We tend to think of the United States as an English thing,” says Ray Suarez, who wrote the companion book to “Latino Americans,” a six-part, three-night documentary series beginning Tuesday on PBS. “But this is a case of three empires, Spain, France and Britain, that went charging into this new territory, elbows out, bumping into one another and jostling for dominance.”

In fact, Suarez reminds us, “The first American settlement in 1565 in St. Augustine, Fla., predates Jamestown, and Spanish was the first language spoken in what became the United States. So, Latinos are the newest immigrants to the United States and also the oldest inhabitants.”

Suarez, chief national correspondent for PBS’ “NewsHour,” admits that covering the entire history of Latino Americans in just six hours or 256 pages is “a lot to tackle. It’s a big bite of history, and there’s a lot to stuff into each hour. But I think the series handles that in a way that’s both interesting and coherent, and I hope the book supports that.”

The series and book are structured chronologically, beginning with the earliest history of the Americas. But each episode or chapter also singles out characters (sometimes depicted in dramatizations)

Through whom the story comes alive.

We meet Apolinaria Lorenzana, who as a child is snatched from Mexico and grows old as an important figure in the Spanish Missions.

Juan Seguin, both Texan and Mexican, fights at the Alamo on the American side, next to Davy Crockett. Moving along, in World War II, Macario Garcia becomes the first Mexican National to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor. Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta march for the rights of migrant workers in the 1970s.

Hispanics service to the United States Military can be traced back to the Civil war. Records of Hispanics in the armed forces were not kept until the 1970s, according to the Pew Center for Latino Studies. While some records show that thousands of Hispanic American men — Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans for instance — fought in the Civil War as well as the two World Wars, researchers have determined that many more served and died than official documents show. As a result of the omission, the full story of Hispanic sacrifice may never be fully told. And that is a shame, since Latinos have been part of the building of America — including dying while protecting it — for hundreds of years. If the records don’t show that Hispanics served and died, that we toiled in the trenches and contributed with blood, how does our nation measure Hispanic contributions, let one acknowledge them?

In the new American conversation, cultural celebrations like these matter, and they matter greatly. They help us better explain our Hispanic story to each other and ourselves; they matter for the individual and national psyche, because they allow the 50 million-plus Hispanics, and the larger American family, to better appreciate the Hispanic story within the greater American narrative.

Why is this important to know? By 2050, almost one in three people in the United States will be Latino, a total of more than 130 million, Suarez writes, citing a Pew Hispanic Center projection. Pew also expects the Hispanic population to triple between 2005 and 2050.

As immigration remains a divisive issue, the vision of the United States as a melting pot is different today, Suarez says.

“Our ideas of what becoming American means have changed. The old idea was that we gave up everything we were. In the middle of the 20th century, it wasn’t uncommon for grandparents to talk

to parents in the old language to exclude the children, because they didn’t want the children ever to speak that language.”

Now, the children or grandchildren of immigrants may want to be 100 percent American, or they may want to celebrate their roots and their family history, he says. “It’s up to them. For young Latino Americans, Spanish and English can exist side by side, as two living tongues.”

Suarez’s family came from Puerto Rico in the 1930s, escaping terrible poverty during the Depression, and more followed in the 1950s, when migration was encouraged by both the governments of Puerto Rico and the United States. He was born in New York, the first in the family born on the mainland, and grew up in Brooklyn, “confident that I was Puerto Rican and proud of it.”

Now, his own three kids speak Spanish “from very well to hardly at all,” Suarez says. “It’s been interesting watching them construct their own identity. Their mom isn’t Puerto Rican, so they are figuring out who they are and where they fit.”

By: Gail Pennington

Pursuant to federal regulation 49 C.F.R. Part 26, the Niagara Frontier

Transportation Authority (NFTA) is seeking comments on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program and goals for the Authority.  In establishing the DBE goal, the federal regulations require that NFTA consult with stakeholders, which include, minority, women’s and general contractor groups, community organizations and other officials or organizations which may have information concerning availability of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged businesses, the effects of discrimination on opportunities for DBE’s, and efforts to increase DBE participation.

NFTA is providing stakeholders an opportunity to share their views by participating in an open stakeholder meeting to be held as follows:

Location:      NFTA

                                                  181 Ellicott Street

                                                  1stFloor Conference Room 

                                                  Buffalo, NY 14203

    

                                Date:          Wednesday, June 26, 2019

                               

                                Time:         2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

 

              Please RSVP by          June 24, 2019 – 9:00 am by calling (716) 855-7486

 

If unable to attend the meeting noted above, comments may also be made by calling the EEO/Diversity Development Department at (716) 855-7486 prior to June 26, 2019  .

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday formally launches what may be an uphill battle to persuade voters to give him four more years in office, as he bets a strong U.S. economy will outweigh voter concerns about his unorthodox style and polarizing policies.

At an evening rally in Orlando, Florida, Trump, who has long made it known he is running for re-election, will begin making his case with gusto for a second term.

The Trump of 2020 will most certainly bear a strong resemblance to the Trump of 2016 – brash and eager to bash his Democratic opponents and promote tough policies on trade and immigration.

“We’re doing the best job that anybody’s done probably as a first-term president. I think I’ve done more than any other first-term president ever,” Trump told ABC News.

Two-and-a-half years into his tenure, Trump sees plenty of positive factors, led by a growing economy with low unemployment.

“If the economy stays strong, he is very likely to get re-elected,” said Trump confidant Newt Gingrich, a former Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

But the aftermath of a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, coupled with a presidential style marked by name-calling and eye-popping tweets, has undermined some Americans’ confidence in Trump ahead of the November 2020 election.

He has also stirred division with his hardline policies on immigration and unsettled business and farm groups with his use of tariffs in trade disputes with China and some allies.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on June 11 gave Trump a 36% job approval rating, compared with 60% who disapproved. Other opinion polls have shown him running consistently behind his main Democratic challengers, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, in key battleground states.

BATTLEGROUND STATES

Starting his 2020 push in Florida, which the former New York businessman considers his second home, shows how important the state is to Trump’s re-election hopes. The Republican president would like to recreate the state-by-state electoral map he assembled to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

That election win included victories in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and he thus far faces strong challenges in all those states, along with North Carolina.

Democrats vow to win back industrial states like Pennsylvania and Michigan that flipped to Trump in 2016 after decades of voting Democratic in presidential elections, and they believe his behavior and policies will generate strong turnout among Americans eager to turn him out of office.

“He carried some states last time that put him over the top that he needs to go button down this time – and he needs to keep a close eye on Florida and North Carolina,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed. “But he’s in a position of strength because he has the presidential bully pulpit,” Trump campaign advisers wave off the polls at this stage, saying Trump had trailed in most polls in 2016 and still won.

The advisers believe Trump’s chances will improve once Democrats go through their hard-fought nominating process and produce a nominee for him to face off against.

Nobody is expecting Trump to change his behavior. Aides who had urged him early in his White House tenure to tone down his style are long gone.

“The answer is not ‘you must be more presidential,’” said a Trump confidant. “Some things are never going to happen.”Some Trump advisers had urged the president to begin his campaign launch in New York with a nostalgic recreation of the scene from June 2015 when Trump and his wife, Melania, rode down an escalator at Trump Tower for his announcement speech.

On his flight to Tokyo on May 24, Trump turned down the idea, based on input from the first lady, who thought he should do something new and was adamantly against the escalator ride, said a person with direct knowledge of the conversation.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facebook Inc revealed plans on Tuesday to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra, the latest development in its effort to expand beyond social networking and move into e-commerce and global payments.

Facebook has linked with 28 partners in a Geneva-based entity called the Libra Association, which will govern its new digital coin set to launch in the first half of 2020, according to marketing materials and interviews with executives.

Facebook has also created a subsidiary called Calibra, which will offer digital wallets to save, send and spend Libras. Calibra will be connected to Facebook’s messaging platforms Messenger and WhatsApp, which already boast more than a billion users.

The Menlo Park, California-based company has big aspirations for Libra, but consumer privacy concerns or regulatory barriers may present significant hurdles.

Facebook hopes it will not only power transactions between established consumers and businesses around the globe, but offer unbanked consumers access to financial services for the first time.

ATTENTION CONTRACTORS – Funds are available to assist low-mod income owner-occupied households

TOWN OF AMHERST & VILLAGE OF WILLIAMSVILLE HOUSING REHABILITATION PROGRAM

Funds are available to assist low-mod income owner-occupied households with essential home repairs such as structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing.

Homeowners apply for H.U.D. and A.H.C. funding administered by the Town of Amherst.

Contractors who are fully insured are encouraged to contact Town of Amherst Community Development Program to be included on a contractor’s list provided to the qualified homeowners.

MINORITY OWNED AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES ARE ESPECIALLY ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE.

Contact: jconklin@amherst.ny.usor (716) 631-7082. Town’s website: www.amherst.ny.us

Administered by the Town of Amherst

Funded by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
& New York State Homes & Community Renewal Affordable Housing Corp.

X:\Community Development\Housing_Rehabilitation_Program\State Funding\#1Q62_State_(2018)\Display Ads\Contractor_ad_6.11.19.docx

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is hiring:

  • Chief Financial
  • Chief Administrative Officer
  • Community Impact Administrative Assistant
  • Community Impact
  • Program Associate – Grantmaking
  • Foundation Counsel

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is a 501(C)(3) holding more than 900 different charitable funds, established by individuals, families, nonprofits organizations and businesses to benefit WNY.

Learn more at: cfgs.org/about/careers 

As we wind down another Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate our rich and diverse cultural heritage, the 2010 Census tells us that there are now 58.9 million people of Hispanic origin in the United States. This represents 18 percent of the nation’s total population, and Hispanics are now officially the nation’s largest minority group.

We have much of which to be proud – including 1.1million Latino veterans of the US armed forces. Hispanics contribute much to America’s scientific, business, cultural, sports, entertainment, public and nonprofit sectors. There are 4.4 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the country, generating $700 billion. The number of Hispanic young adults attending college is at an all-time high, for the first time surpassing the number of African-American students on campuses. Our average age is 27, compared to 47 for non-Hispanic white Americans, which means that we will be contributing to the economy, paying taxes, and contributing to Social Security in record numbers – just when the baby boomers generation needs it most.

There were Hispanics in America prior to the Mayflower, and we have long been an integral part of this great nation. Of the 120,000 Hispanics in the Buffalo / Rochester area, most of us are of Puerto Rican descent, and we’re therefore, US born citizens. Therefore, there are relatively few Hispanic undocumented aliens, particularly in the city of Buffalo and Rochester. Western New Yorks Hispanic leaders actively promote integration, education, and the acquisition of English fluency as the means to economic success. Consequently, we have increasingly found success for our families.

Unfortunately, the Pew Hispanic Center recently found that for the first time there are more Hispanic children living in poverty, than either non-Hispanic white or African-American children.  That national study also found that Hispanics have been hit harder than any other group by the economic decline. We have seen the same trend in the Western New York region. We have unemployment rates that are higher than the average, and have seen our average household wealth decline more steeply than either non­ Hispanic whites or African-Americans.  Because so many of our families are increasingly working poor, they become ineligible for food stamps or other public assistance.  Food insecurity has become an issue nationwide, with a much bigger proportion of Hispanic working families turning to food pantries than any other group. The economic gains of our ethnic community in recent years have unfortunately been largely wiped out in the last three years. Add this to Buffalos’ and Rochester’s low graduation rates for Hispanic youth, and it is clear that while many Hispanic families thrive, many others continue to falter.

As we celebrate our heritage this month, Hispanic leaders have been engaged in active planning for uplifting our people up, so that we can get back on track on the economic success and to increasingly help more of our children and future generations reach the American Dream and become contributing citizens of this great nation. America needs all of its citizens to be successful. Please join us in our efforts, this month and every month.

By: Hilda Rosario Escher- Former Chief Executive Officer

Ibero-American Action League, Inc.

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a second day on Tuesday on signs that global economic growth is being hit by the U.S.-China trade war, though losses were capped by Middle East tensions after last week’s tanker attacks.

Brent crude futures were trading 18 cents down at $60.76 a barrel by 1203 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures lost 3 cents to $51.90.

The New York Federal Reserve on Monday said that its gauge of business growth in New York state posted a record fall this month to its weakest level in more than 2-1/2 years, suggesting an abrupt contraction in regional activity.

U.S. business sentiment has sagged as trade tensions have escalated between China and the United States and on signs of softness in the labor market.

(Graphic: New York Fed Empire business survey – tmsnrt.rs/2XOP9Mc)

Oil prices have fallen by about 20% from April’s 2019 highs, partly because of concerns over the U.S.-China trade war and disappointing economic data.

U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping could meet at the G20 summit in Japan this month. Trump has said he would meet Xi at the event, though China has not confirmed the meeting.

Putting further pressure on oil, the U.S. energy department on Monday said that shale oil output is expected to reach a record high in July.

Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since last Thursday’s oil tanker attacks, which Washington has blamed on Tehran. Iran has denied involvement.

“Oil prices appear unperturbed by the further escalation of the Iran crisis,” said Commerzbank’s Carsten Fritsch.

Iran on Monday said it would breach internationally agreed curbs on its stock of low-enriched uranium within 10 days, adding that European nations still had time to save a landmark nuclear deal.

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were defensive purposes, citing concerns about a threat from Iran.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih on Monday said that countries need to cooperate on keeping shipping lanes open for oil and other energy supplies to ensure stable supplies.

He also said that Saudi exports and production are expected to remain at “about the same level” as the past few months.

Market participants are also awaiting a meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, to decide whether to extend a supply reduction pact that ends this month.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Tuesday said it was too early to make any decisions about the future of the agreement because of market uncertainties.

(Graphic: U.S., Russian, Saudi crude oil production – tmsnrt.rs/2QYNGAd)

Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick in TOKYO; Editing by David Goodman

The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill which would permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Wednesday, the day after comedian Jon Stewart gave impassioned testimony in support of the bill in video that quickly went viral.

The bill will now go to the floor for a full vote in the House of Representatives, where it is likely to pass. It’s unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will take up the bill in the Senate, although Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Wednesday that he was “imploring, pleading, even begging” McConnell to bring the bill to the floor as soon as it passes in the House.

Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show,” gave emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on Tuesday, at times broke down in tears and shouted at the lawmakers, calling them “shameful.”

“I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is … a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one … shameful,” said Stewart at the outset of his remarks. A little over half of the 14-member subcommittee members were present, mostly Democrats.

Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010, over opposition from some Republicans who balked at its $7 billion price tag. The act was reauthorized in 2015 for 90 years. But a portion of the law — the Victim Compensation Fund — was only funded for five years, through the end of 2020.  The fund aimed to provide necessary financial support for the thousands who suffered serious medical issues, including a spate of cancer diagnoses, after the 2001 attacks.

Several members of the New York congressional delegation, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, both Democrats, and GOP Rep. Peter King, have introduced the Never Forget the Heroes Act of 2019 to reauthorize the Victim Compensation Fund. It also has the support of New York’s two senators, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Stewart has long been a champion for the cause, first devoting an entire episode of “The Daily Show” to the political debate over the Zadroga Act back in 2010. He’s since become one of the most vocal advocates for 9/11 responders, repeatedly defending the right to health care coverage for those who responded and ran toward the falling towers.

Stewart was disgusted by the small number of members assembled for Tuesday’s hearing, calling the showing an “embarrassment to this country” and a “stain on this institution.”

“You should be ashamed of yourselves for not being here,” he added. “Accountability appears to not be something that occurs in this chamber.” Stewart expressed concern that such legislation like the Never Forget Act would just be punted like a “political football” and attached to riders in massive budget bills.

“Why this bill is not unanimous consent is beyond my comprehension,” Stewart admonished. He also lambasted Congress for those that consider the measure a “New York” issue.

“More of these men and woman are going to get sick and they’re going to die, and I’m awfully tired of hearing this is a ‘New York issue,'” he said. “Al-Qaeda didn’t shout ‘death to Tribeca.’ They attacked America.”

BY GRACE SEGERS, EMILY TILLETT

    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico and the United States might consider additional steps next month to restrict illegal immigration from Central America, including measures to bind Brazil and Panama into their efforts, Mexico’s foreign minister said on Monday.

    Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the measures could be needed if a deal announced last week between Washington and Mexico fails to reduce within 45 days the numbers of migrants entering Mexico, mainly from Central America, on their way to the U.S. border.

    The deal averted import tariffs on all Mexican goods that President Donald Trump had threatened to impose unless Mexico committed to do more to fight illegal immigration into the United States.

    Stock markets around the world rose on Monday while U.S. Treasury prices fell after the United States shelved the tariff plan, easing worries about the impact of another trade war on the global economy. The Mexican peso was up more than 2% against the dollar but major risks remain for the currency.

    Under the agreement, Mexico will rapidly expand a program under which migrants applying for asylum in the United States wait out the process in Mexico. It has also pledged to reinforce its southern border with Guatemala with 6,000 members of its National Guard militarized police force.

    But Trump on Monday said he would go ahead with the proposed tariffs if Mexico’s Congress does not back part of the deal that may need lawmakers’ approval.

    “We do not anticipate a problem with the vote but, if for any reason the approval is not forthcoming, tariffs will be reinstated,” he wrote on Twitter.

    Ebrard said Trump was referring to possible further measures to pressure countries other than the United States to share the burden.

    BRAZIL, PANAMA, GUATEMALA

    “If the measures we are proposing are not successful, we have to discuss with the United States and with other countries, like Guatemala, Panama and Brazil,” he said. “It is a regional system.”

    “If we have to participate in a regional model like the one I have just described, we would have to present that to Congress,” Ebrard said.

    Many of the migrants are families trying to escape poverty and violent crime in Central America, one of the most impoverished areas in the Western Hemisphere.

    Asylum seekers from El Salvador and Honduras first pass through Guatemala when fleeing their homes, while Cubans and Haitians often fly first to Panama before heading to the United States through Mexico. Migrants from African countries regularly fly to Brazil before making the arduous journey north.

    While he did not go into detail, Ebrard suggested that asylum seekers might have to seek refuge in the first country they reached after leaving their homeland.

    That is different from a long-standing U.S. demand that Mexico be declared a safe place for asylum seekers, requiring them to seek refuge in Mexico if they passed through the country on the way to the United States. That demand was put on the table again by U.S. negotiators last week, but was not accepted by Mexico.

    Any plan that called on Brazil, Guatemala or Panama to take in more asylum seekers would require cooperation from those countries.

    U.S. border officers apprehended more than 132,000 people crossing from Mexico in May, the highest monthly level since 2006. Trump, who has called the surge in migrants an “invasion,” had threatened to keep raising duties up to 25% unless Mexico did more to curb it.

    The Trump administration announced on Monday that Kenneth Cuccinelli will serve as the new acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees the nation’s legal immigration system. Cuccinelli, a former attorney general of Virginia, has developed a reputation as a hardliner on immigration.

    He has called for denying citizenship to U.S.-born children whose parents are in the country illegally, and authorized law enforcement officials to investigate the immigration status of anyone they stopped.

    Reporting by Dave Graham; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Makini Brice in Washington and Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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