This category contains 13 posts

Cesar Chavez’ Legacy Remembered at Prayer Breakfast

Stockton, CA — “…Bless the workers and bless those who are in power…” said Stephen Blair, Bishop Dioceses of Stockton as he blessed the field workers and working families.  The blessing was during the Cesar Chavez Prayer breakfast during the morning of March 26, 2016.

Annually the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery hosts a breakfast in observance of “Cesar Chavez’ birthday and to honor the hard work of field workers with a prayer,” explained Gracie Madrid, President of the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery (MHC&G); adding, “often young people think of Cesar Chavez as the boxer, not the civil rights activist who built a movement for field worker rights.”

“My parents wanted us to live here [In the U.S.] because they wanted a better future for us…” Explained Roberto Valdes Sanchez artist exhibiting at MHC&G, and keynote speaker.  Valdez remembers learning about Cesar Chavez in 1983, “To me he is the most influential leader in U.S. History… He did more for Latinos than any other person in the history of the United States.”

Jose Lopez, Youth Programs Coordinator of the Diocese of Stockton remembers Cesar Chavez when he saw him in south Stockton’s McKinley Park. “He told us, ‘newborn puppies open their eyes during the first 3 days and when will you do it?’ those words will forever be remembered, because he was inviting us to wake up and to fight for our rights,” Chavez’s words are, “embedded well and are very important.”

For Tatiana Garcia, 11th grade student at Venture Academy the conversation and the art, hits close to home. “My family has been working on the fields, Cesar Chavez’s work impacted our family as well as many other,” Garcia appreciated the program and Valdes’ art.   “He has a lot of talent.   I am impressed by his pencil work.”

MHC&G is open all year with different monthly exhibits by artist, community members and educational programs.  The Gallery is located at 111 S. Hunter Street, Stockton, CA  95202.

A Bridge for Women Veterans and Dept of Veteran Affairs.

1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636)

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new hotline — 1-855-VA-WOMEN — to receive and respond to questions from Veterans, their families and caregivers about the many VA services and resources available to women Veterans. The service began accepting calls on April 23, 2013.

“Some women Veterans may not know about high-quality VA care and services available to them,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The hotline will allow us to field their questions and provide critical information about the latest enhancements in VA services.” Continue reading

Delta College Recognized as “2013 Military Friendly School”

San Joaquin Delta College

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY— Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has named San Joaquin Delta College to the coveted 2013 Military Friendly Schools list.

The 2013 Military Friendly Schools list honors the country’s top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that do the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as they work toward academic and career success. Delta College was also selected to the 2012 Military Friendly Schools list.

“Inclusion on the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools shows Delta College’s commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students,” said Sean Collins, Director for G.I. Jobs and Vice President at Victory Media. “As interest in education grows, we’re thrilled to provide the military community with transparent, world-class resources to assist in their search for military friendly schools. Congratulations to San Joaquin Delta College.”

Denise Donn, Director of Financial Aid & Veteran Services, was proud that Delta College has again been recognized for serving veterans and active military. “Delta College will continue to make the extra effort to help our veterans achieve their academic and career goals. It’s important that those who put their lives on the line for their country know Delta College is their dedicated partner. Our commitment will not waver.”

Victory Media’s 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and data-driven surveys of more than 12,000 VA-approved schools. The survey results for the list were independently tested by Ernst & Young LLP, based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media. Each year, schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than the previous year via improved methodology and criteria developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country.

If you want to learn more about the survey methodology information is available at:

San Joaquin Delta College’s Veteran Resource Center moved to its new location in the DeRicco Student Services Building (DeRicco 151) and it will be open on October 13, 2012 — the first day of Delta’s fall semester. The Veteran Resource Center provides: Quiet Study Area; Tutoring; Computer Access; Workshops; Veteran Benefits Information; Networking and support with other campus veterans and a meeting space for the Veteran Student Alliance.

I Have a Voice: Memoirs of Our Community

STOCKTON, CA – Friday, September 14 2012 the Mexican Heritage Center in collaboration with the Bilingual Weekly will host a reception for the exhibition called, I Have a Voice: Memoirs of Our Community.

Continue reading

English: Portrait of Pennsylvania State Senator .

English: Portrait of Pennsylvania State Senator . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MARK SCOLFORO,Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A senior Pennsylvania state senator faces allegations he violated rules of professional conduct for lawyers while working for a Utah-based company that helps find heirs to people who died without leaving a will. Continue reading

“¡Todos a Votar!” (“Let’s Vote!”) National Tour Makes its First Stop in Stockton

STOCKTON, CA- Stockton is the first stop of the national campaign ¡Todos a Votar! (Let`s Vote) tour to register and mobilize Latino voters.

Led by six national Latino advocacy groups, ¡Todos a Votar! Campaign kickoff was held on Thursday, July 26 at the Comision Honorifica Mexicana, “La Jamaica” and is expected to travel to four cities and five other states.

The 2012 presidential election could be one of the most important for Latinos because the political party debates are polarizing issues close to home, such as jobs, taxes, immigration and health care.

“We will decide who will be elected president of the United States and who will be running the congress…  we will also make sure that the issues that we care about are placed on the agenda,” said Eliseo Medina, Service Employees International Union International Secretary Treasure.

Vanessa Maciel and Adriana Granados, two volunteers of Mi Familia Vota, walk through the streets of Stockton encouraging people to cast their vote.

Labor rights leader, Eliseo Medina

Through the door to door campaign Vanessa Maciel (23) and Adriana Granados (14), two of the thirty volunteers in Stockton, are determined to increase the Latino voter turnout in the San Joaquin County.
Are you registered to vote? is the question that Maciel and Granados continuously  ask as they walk through the streets of Stockton, hoping to register as many new voters as they can.

“I am Latina…I really want to get out there and help,” said Macias. “I been a volunteer for two weeks…the message I want to get out is to encourage the community to vote.”
The goal of the campaign is to nationally register 650,000 new voters, – two thousand of them in the San Joaquin County.
For the labor rights leader, Medina, this November the election will also determine whether 1.2 million dreamers and eleven million workers, will legalize their immigration status.The Latino electorate is not a “sleeping giant,” says Arnulfo de la Cruz, California State Director of “Mi Familia Vota,” one of the national participating Latino advocacy groups.

“We [Latinos] are working one to three jobs, we are taking care of the children, we are up early, so we are not sleeping; we are an ignored block,” said De la Cruz. “I don’t think candidates and the political infrastructure do enough to reach Latino voters.”

“Political campaigns have limited money, so they will spend it on people who always vote to try to convince them to vote for them,” explains De la Cruz.  “They will not go out to a Barrio (neighborhood) where there’s Latinos not participating to try to engage them to vote.”

With 30 volunteers in Stockton and 25 Modesto, the campaign plans to triple the number of volunteers as the election gets closer.

The ¡Todos a Votar! National Tour will next travel to Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego, to eventually reach Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Colorado.

According the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), in California, New Mexico and Texas, at least one in five voters will be Latino.

“These are all states where the Latino vote will play a decisive role,” said Medina. “Democracy works best when we all participate.”

Contact Dennise Rocha,

Recent Pacific Grad victim of the Colorado theater shooting

STOCKTON, CA- Petra Anderson ’12, who graduated in May as a composition major in the Conservatory of Music, of the University of the Pacific was caught in last night’s shooting at a Colorado movie theater. The latest information provided is that Petra is undergoing surgery in an Aurora hospital. Continue reading

President Obama Reflects on the Impact of Title IX

By US President Barak Obama

Coaching my daughter Sasha’s basketball team is one of those times when I just get to be “Dad.” I snag rebounds, run drills, and have a little fun. More importantly, I get to watch Sasha and her teammates improve together, start thinking like a team, and develop self-confidence.

Any parent knows there are few things more fulfilling than watching your child discover a passion for something. And as a parent, you’ll do anything to make sure he or she grows up believing she can take that ambition as far as she wants; that your child will embrace that quintessentially American idea that she can go as far as her talents will take her.

But it wasn’t so long ago that something like pursuing varsity sports was an unlikely dream for young women in America. Their teams often made do with second-rate facilities, hand-me-down uniforms, and next to no funding.

What changed? Well, 40 years ago, committed women from around the country, driven by everyone who said they couldn’t do something, worked with Congress to ban gender discrimination in our public schools. Title IX was the result of their efforts, and this week, we celebrated its 40th anniversary—40 years of ensuring equal education, in and out of the classroom, regardless of gender.

I was reminded of this milestone last month, when I awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Pat Summitt. When she started out as a basketball coach, Pat drove the team van to away games. She washed the uniforms in her own washing machine. One night she and her team even camped out in an opponent’s gym because they had no funding for a hotel. But she and her players kept their chins up and their heads in the game. And in 38 years at the University of Tennessee, Pat won eight national championships and tallied more than 1,000 wins—the most by any college coach, man or woman. More important, every single woman who ever played for Pat has either graduated or is on her way to a degree.

Today, thanks in no small part to the confidence and determination they developed through competitive sports and the work ethic they learned with their teammates, girls who play sports are more likely to excel in school. In fact, more women as a whole now graduate from college than men. This is a great accomplishment—not just for one sport or one college or even just for women but for America. And this is what Title IX is all about.

Let’s not forget, Title IX isn’t just about sports. From addressing inequality in math and science education to preventing sexual assault on campus to fairly funding athletic programs, Title IX ensures equality for our young people in every aspect of their education. It’s a springboard for success: it’s thanks in part to legislation like Title IX that more women graduate from college prepared to work in a much broader range of fields, including engineering and technology. I’ve said that women will shape the destiny of this country, and I mean it. The more confident, empowered women who enter our boardrooms and courtrooms, legislatures, and hospitals, the stronger we become as a country.

And that is what we are seeing today. Women are not just taking a seat at the table or sitting at the head of it, they are creating success on their own terms. The women who grew up with Title IX now pioneer scientific breakthroughs, run thriving businesses, govern states, and, yes, coach varsity teams. Because they do, today’s young women grow up hearing fewer voices that tell them “You can’t,” and more voices that tell them “You can.”

We have come so far. But there’s so much farther we can go. There are always more barriers we can break and more progress we can make. As president, I’ll do my part to keep Title IX strong and vibrant, and maintain our schools as doorways of opportunity so every child has a fair shot at success. And as a dad, I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that this country remains the place where, no matter who you are or what you look like, you can make it if you try.

The piece was published in Newsweek

Interview: Vietnam Veteran

 Soto in his library

(bw) STOCKTON, CA – Tracy Native and Veteran, Richard Soto’s began his life in the south side with his widowed mother and 4 siblings. Continue reading

USCIS Launches Online Immigration System, USCIS ELIS

Agency begins transition from paper-based to online environment

WASHINGTON— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched the first phase of its electronic immigration benefits system, known as USCIS ELIS. The system has been created to modernize the process for filing and adjudicating immigration benefits.  Continue reading

Book Review:Evening at the Argentine Club

Evening at the Argentine Club: A book written by Julia Amante

Grand Central Publishing 2009

By Richard Soto

If you want to read a book full of love, young and mature romance and all the challenges that go with both of them, then this is the book for you.  In her first novel, author Julia Amante has taken on the challenge of describing love and has done an excellent job.

Richard Soto

The novel revolves around the Argentinian immigrant families of Victor and Jacqueline Torres and their daughters Victoria and Carmen.  Carmen is away at college studying to become a doctor.  The second family consists of Antonio, Lucia and their son Eric Ortelli.

The Argentine Club is a center created by Argentinian immigrants where they can gather, celebrate Argentinian patriotic holidays, speak Spanish and keep their culture and language alive for themselves and their children—like Victoria, Carmen and Eric.  It promotes the sentiment: “You have to work to keep the Argentine culture alive inside of you”: a sentiment that resonates like the message of La Jamaica/Comision Honorifica Mexicana on Lincoln Street in Stockton.

Victor Torres fell in love with his novia (girlfriend), Jacqueline, and brought her to the United States where he wanted to realize the American Dream.  Antonio Ortelli fell in love with his novia , Lucia, and also promised her the American Dream.  Victor works 24/7 and has a successful restaurant and after 30+ years decides that he wants to grow and create a chain.   A problem: Victor does not share his decision with his family and over the past 30-years Jacqueline is beginning to feel neglect and the pains of empty nest syndrome.

Antonio Ortelli, on the other hand, has been a big risk taker but on more than one occasion he has come out behind, to the point that he loses Eric’s college fund, he is in a fight with his son and Eric leaves home in a fit of anger and does not return for many years.  In this American dream struggle, Victor makes money but is on the verge of losing his wife and daughter, both of whom have dreams of their own.  Along the way, Victor realizes that “all his life he thought he knew his family, and he didn’t know any of them.  He hadn’t paid attention.” Antonio has kept the sparkle in his relationship, lost money and he is trying to win both back.

While I was reading this book I couldn’t help but think of that book “Passages” by Gail Sheehy that deals with predictable crises in one’s life, such as when Jacqueline states on pg. 252. “I was thinking not of seeing them, but about a lifetime of raising them.  I swear, Lucia, I can still remember how they smelled when they were tiny, pudgy babies.”  Pg.123, “It wasn’t new friends she was looking for, it was… a life.” And on pg. 169 on her mature relationship, “She’d mourned the passionate innocent, romantic part of their marriage long ago.  That didn’t hurt anymore.  But now she missed the friendship part that they’d developed in later years.”

Each couple has their trials and tribulations, but the overarching value of this book for parents and young adults are the lessons learned and steps taken to deal with challenges in one’s life.  I had to stop and look for one of my most favorite counseling books, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else,” by Dr. David Campbell, Ph.D. first published in 1974 and used by me as a counselor since 1976.

Some examples: pg. 133 Eric talking with Victoria “Vicky, you’ve gotta accept yourself better your dreams, your body.  It’s who you are.”  Pg. 153 on not letting things just happen, “one bag full of makeup, brushers and combs, her blow dryer, hair straightener, curler, lotion, creams, deodorants, toothbrushes, and birth control pills.”  On planning and getting a mentor pg. 164, “as part of her registration process, she had a counseling session. Victoria spent a couple of hours discussing her goals and planning her courses.” We all need a support team and Victoria’s consisted pg. 164 “Douglas is the one who recommended I get my degree.  He’s my cheerleader and my friend.  He’s right about absolutely everything.”  On making space for what you want to happen, pg. 206 Victoria, “bought a journal and a planner to create a new plan for her future.”

I thought for sure that Juliana was a psychologist, marriage counselor, interior decorator, carpenter chef and many other things to have written such a wonderful book.

Now on the bad side, again, the Argentinian characters all seem to have readily available money to pay cash.  Eric is writing one check after another, taking his graduation class on a cruise, buys a fixer-upper, and pays workers.  Victor is investing in multiple restaurants, Jacqueline goes on a cruise, Carmen is getting her college paid for and Victoria still lives at home.

There are instances of discrimination but again the author does not explore this sufficiently.  She describes the misidentification of all Latinos as Mexicans and leaves it at that.   Then when Steven punches Eric in the face after telling him that he is pretty much white washed and too good for other Argentinians, the author drops out and we do not hear from Steve again…

This and Ms. Amante’s second book were both excellent in dealing with the Latino family navigating through tough time in a changing society.

Stockton Residents Rallied in a Call for Immigration Reform

STOCKTON, CA — In the City of Stockton; as in the rest of the nation, residents’ rallied calling for immigration reform.  Continue reading

Book Review: Say You’ll Be Mine

Say You’ll Be Mine: Parte de Julia Amante

By Richard Soto

Grand Central Publishing of New York City has done it again in publishing Julia Amante’s second novel set in Temecula, California and Argentina.  In her second book, Ms. Amante explores with great sensitivity the delicate issues of child adoption, child rearing, love, cultural nationalism, discrimination and success. Continue reading

Book Review: The Second Time We Met

 Book Commentator: Richard Soto

Bud West, Principal at Kohl Open School, along with teachers and staff wrote “Shooting Victim Leaves Huge Void,” a letter to the editor published on the March 6, 2012 edition of The Record — Stockton’s daily newspaper.

Continue reading

Audio books for Military personnel

Connect parents in service and their children

Charterhouse Center for Families in partnership with Karl Ross Post 16 launched its Boots-N-Books campaign.  Boots-N-Books is a program that brings military families together through literacy and books.  The kick-off campaign was on Wednesday, March 7th at the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce. Continue reading

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