Monday, April 27, 2009

El Fin

The final days of my college career have finally come. In 2 weeks and 4 days I will be walking across the stage smilin' like a bylt haddie. Looking back on these past 4 years amazes me. It makes me nostalgic thinking of my freshman and sophomore years however I have learned a lot since 2005. I am happy with my decision to major in Journalism. It has been tough but very rewarding at the same time.

My capstone class, Border Beat, an online publication, has taken all of my training in reporting, editing, producing, organizing, developing ideas and put it to use. I think it has been one of the best classes because it takes everything you have learned and encompasses it into one class. The newsroom structure of Border Beat is wonderful because the students run the class which makes it more comfortable to express ideas and concerns.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the editing team, PR team and in the class as a whole. It really has brought life to the education.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ted Estrada

In one of my previous posts, St. Andrew's Children's Clinic, I introduced the resources the clinic has to help those in need. I would like to introduce the executive director of the clinc, Ted Estrada.

The first Thursday of every month Estrada travels to Nogales, Ariz. where hundreds of Mexican nationals not only wait for the old church doors to open but also for miracles to happen.

Originally a Los Angeles hospital administrator, Estrada was contemplating retirement when the Board of Directors from St. Andrew’s offered him the position of executive director. He accepted the position May 1, 2008.

“I've been involved in the health care field in one way or another,” Estrada said. “I've never done anything else.”

The transition between jobs wasn’t a difficult one, he says. The role of a health clinic executive director and a hospital administrator holds similar responsibilities.

"I used to tell my employees at the hospital that my job was like running a small city," Estrada said.

St. Andrew’s isn’t much different, he says. Estrada's main priority is to keep the clinic running smoothly while organizing the staff and volunteers so that they provide health care to as many patients as possible.

The volunteers and staff are the people who deserve the credit, Estrada said. Many of the volunteers are pleased to help because of the cause.

Dr. Alan Delman, F.A.C.S. (Foundation of American College Surgeons) is a retired plastic surgeon from Boston, Mass. who moved to Tucson, Ariz. 10 years ago. He heard about the clinic through word-of-mouth and has since volunteered almost every month.

“There aren’t many patients who are looking for nose jobs or face lifts,” Delman said sarcastically. "I do what I can to help those in need and hope it’s enough.”

Depending on the volunteer’s profession or specialty, determines in which area the volunteer works.

Estrada hopes to expand the services in the future. There are many children who are diagnosed with multiple disorders, he says. Expanding the service areas will give those children options. With the hope to expand the service areas, more doctors are needed, he says. Currently, the doctors are volunteers from Arizona and California. Ideally, Ted would like permanent doctors.

Although retiring was Estrada's original plan, he is happy working. Providing health care for children in need is rewarding in its own ways, he says.

Monday, April 13, 2009

University of Arizona's Exhibit: History of Chicano Journalism

The University of Arizona is showcasing Chicano-produced publications in the main library. A group of Mexican American Studies students in UA Professor Roberto Rodriguez's class created the monthlong exhibit, "The History of Red/Brown Journalism & Communications".

The exhibit kickoff was April 7 and included guest speakers, Guadalupe Castillo and Joe Olvera.

Both Chicano and in their 60s, they each shared their stories of struggle and overcoming discrimination while working for Chicano news publications.

Guadalupe worked for Tucson's El Coraje, "The Courage", newspaper in the 1960s.

"We believed that that [mainstream] media was corrupt," said Guadalupe.

El Coraje's last publication was in the 1970s. Due to lack of money, the last publication was not published, Guadalupe said.

"It's better to die standing than live on your knees," she said.

Joe worked for many media outlets in El Paso, Texas, including "The El Paso Reporter" and "El Paso Times," amoung others. He is also the first Chicano T.V. reporter for El Paso in 1971.

"Now I'm the racist," Joe said. "Fine, call me whatever you want but you're reading my stuff...but I'm talking about people, my people, and you better respect."

The following are audio clips from Joe Olvera's presentation:

The Fight for Chicano Professors at Colombia University

Getting Older

The Illegal Aliens Blues - poem by Joe Olvera

Sunday, April 5, 2009

St. Andrew's Children's Clinic

St. Andrew's Children's Clinic is a god-send for many parents who don't have the resources to care for their sick children.

The clinic provides free health aid to patients on a first-come first-serve basis one day every month. Doctors, med students, translators, cooks and many other volunteers work together for a stressful yet helpful attention.

I, along with 4 other journalism students and my professor from one of my classes, got the privilege to travel down the Nogales, Ariz. I was able to witness first-hand the selfless acts that the volunteers and staff provide as well as the helplessness and hope of the families that bring their loved ones to the clinic. For some families, the clinic is their only opportunity for health care.

The following are the areas of medicine the clinic provides:
- Vision
- Hearing
- Audiology
- Cardiology/Dermatology
- Physical Therapy
- Orthopedics
- Speech
- Cleft Palate

*The photos posted are those that depict the care and thoughtfulness of the people that allow the clinic to operate.

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Personal Quest through the United States Immigration Process

Hello All,

I would like to not only introduce you to the fact that I am personally on the quest for my American citizenship but also let you know how it is going...

The Decision
I have lived in the States for about 14 years. Within the past 6 months I decided to apply for my American citizenship.

I think the main reason I decided to go for it is because I am really interested in the Peace Corps and amoung a few other things is one of the benefits of being an American. I researched many other overseas humanitarian organizations like the Peace Corps to see if there was a possibility of participating without going through the long process of naturalization.

To make a long story short, there is no other organization like the Peace Corps that is as available to me as it is. So, I filed the 10 page Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, along with the $675 filing and biometrics fee.

I went to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Tucson and got my fingerprints taken last week. I also received the study guide for the NEW citizenship test as well as sample questions from the OLD citizenship test.

Referring to my earlier post about American Assortment if you apply for naturalization/citizenship ON or AFTER Oct. 1, 2008 you will take the new test.

I am actually quite impressed of the format and how easy it is to understand the material presented. The book consists of the civics and English sections to help with studying for the interview and the test.

American Government
A. Principles of American Democracy
B. System of Government
C. Rights and Responsibilities

American History
A. Colonial Period and Independence
B. 1800s
C. Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information

Integrated Civics
A. Geography
B. Symbols
C. Holidays

Answer questions during the interview and your English proficiency is determined by the officer
Read one out the three given sentences aloud; proficiency is determined by how well you read
Write one out of the three given sentences correctly; proficiency is determined by how well you write the sentence

There are photos in the study book as well which makes it more user-friendly and interesting. Kudos to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for creating a helpful tool!

The next part of the quest is the test and the interview, that is if the FBI approves my fingerprints ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Today, I would like to introduce Stephanie Elizondo Griest, 34, a successful writer, speaker and traveler. She comes from a Mexican-American family. Her mother is Mexican and her father is American. Stephanie has written for the New York Times and the Washington Post as well as other publications. She has written 3 books in her lifetime thus far. One of which has won her numerous awards -- Around the Bloc.

Around the Bloc
conveys Stephanie’s experiences traveling around the world, including Russia, China and Cuba. The following are previews of her experiences which can be found on her Web site.

In Moscow, Russia, Stephanie volunteered at a children's shelter, fell in love with an ex-soldier who slit his wrists to escape clean-up duties at Chernobyl and experimented with vodka.

In Beijing, China, Stephanie ate fish lips, chicken feet, and yak penis soup, learned the art of saving face the hard way and dated a Chinese college student.

In Havana, Cuba, Stephanie stalked Fidel Castro, marched with 100,000 mothers demanding the return of Elian Gonzalez to Cuba, belly danced and smoked a lot of Cohibas.

Around the Bloc
won "Book of the Year" by the Mayor's Book Club of Austin in 2007, Texas; "Best Travel Book of 2004" by the National Association of Travel Journalists of America, and "Best Book of 2004" by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Stephanie reads parts of Around the Bloc with music entertainment.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Asim's American Dream

The Motivation
Asim Badar, 28, moved to the U.S. in 1999 when he was 20 years old. But the journey started well before that with his father, Major Badar Uz Zaman, who visited the U.S. for the first time in 1985. Major Zaman videotaped his trip to the East Coast and showed the video to the family. In the video, Asim saw a building with an iconic image that he associates with the U.S.

“It was the biggest building I had ever seen at the time,” Asim said.

The sign on the building pictured cowboys and horses and read, “Welcome to the Marlboro Country." Although he has never been a smoker, Asim is familiar with the American cigarette company from its distinct commercial advertising.

One of the motivational factors that lead Asim to the U.S. was watching American movies. "Road Trip" in particular showed Asim the social aspects of American college life and inspired him to start planning his American future. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, corvettes and hamburgers also influenced Asim's planning.

“All of these things that I liked that happened to be from the U.S.,” Asim said.

Asim landed in John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Aug. 19, 2001. Roughly three weeks later, the World Trade Center was hit and Sept. 11 went down in American history.

"What will happen now?" Asim said.

Rumors spread around that Middle Eastern people would not have any job opportunities. But Asim wasn’t bothered by them.

“Things have changed but I don’t blame anyone,” Asim said.

His family wanted him to come home but Asim was determined to finish what he came to do.

“My family was worried, especially my mother,” Asim said. “I’ve never lived on my own so of course she was worried.”

The American Dream

“The American dream means having a good life, a very comfortable life and security," Asim said.

Asim stayed in school and graduated with a degree in international business. He now works as a business system analyst for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Asim has a work visa and hopes to get his green card soon. He will stay in the U.S. for a while but doesn’t know what will come in the future.

“Coming to United States was a personal decision,” Asim said. “It wasn’t economic or that there was [anything] lacking in Pakistan.”

Asim came to the States looking for the American dream. After traveling around the world he is pleased he chose the U.S. to further his education.

“America is the one place that people are free,” Asim said.

Photos courtesy of Asim Badar