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VIDEO: people talk about racist calls asking DC Metro not to help Salvadoran woman killed in Red line train accident

June 25, 2009

Relatives of Ana Fernandez, the Salvadoran woman who was killed at the crash of DC Metro trains, said they are receiving hate phone calls saying that they should not get any benefits from Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority – WMATA because she was an immigrant and implied that she was not American. Ana Fernandez was documented and she is the mother of 6 U.S. citizens. This is what DC residents think of that.


Today I spoke with DC Councilmember Jim Graham who is the chairman of the WMATA board. Graham said that Metro has given $250 million dollars to help the relatives of the nine people killed in the June 22 accident, including the Fernandez family.

Ted Loza, chief of staff for Graham said that the Fernandez family will be covered by Metro regardless of racist protests. Also I spoke to Izara Fernandez, one of the six children that survived Ana Hernandez. She said her family is doing alright, and she and her five siblings are still coping with this tragedy and are not paying attention to the racist calls one of her uncles received. Many friends, neighbors and relatives are visiting the Fernandez family to show their support in their Hyattsville, MD home.

Today the National Council of La Raza posted this in its Facebook:

In an astonishing display of insensitivity, a number of callers paid their respects to the family of a victim in Monday’s tragic WMATA train collision, not with condolences, but with hate. Callers harassed the family of the late Ana Fernandez, mother of six, seizing onto her Hispanic surname and reports that she had emigrated from El Salvador as an excuse to intimidate her children and relatives.

According to wtop.com, the family of Fernandez received several threatening phone calls questioning her legal status and that of her children. Ana’s sister has said that Ana was here legally and that all of her children were born in the U.S.

Our condolences go out to the family, and our outrage goes to those who made these calls.

Oh by the way, the note about the racist calls was first posted again by WTOP radio. Great job.

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VIDEO: passengers talk about DC Metro train accident – driver did not cause accident – U.S. Congress failed to fund Metro

June 25, 2009


It’s been three days since the terrible crash of two DC Metro trains which has killed 9 people and left dozens of passengers injured.

DC residents are talking about the reasons what caused the accident -some blame the driver and some say it was a mechanical problem, as investigations are going on. Today I spoke to some passengers at the Columbia Heights metro station.

Image USA Today

This is how some passengers feel about the accident, about the Metro system, who is to blame and what is necessary to do to avoid this to happen again:


Driver did not cause the accident

WTOP radio posted this today:

There has been some speculation about whether the operator, Jeanice McMillan, was using her cell phone when the train collided with a stopped train during the afternoon rush hour, killing herself and eight others.

Metro General Manager John Catoe tells WTOP the cell phone was not an issue. “We know where her cell phone was — it was not on her. It was in a backpack.”

He says all signs are showing that the operator did everything she could to prevent the crash. “The train itself was trying to stop for several hundred feet,” Catoe says. “There’s not one letter of evidence that our operator did anything to cause the accident.”

Old trains and no funds to replace them

USA Today has posted a very complete report that points out how old were the trains involved in the accident:

A 1970s-vintage train car was so heavily damaged in the impact that 50 feet of its 75-foot length collapsed, National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman said Tuesday.

In 2006, the NTSB had called on the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority to replace the aging fleet after a similar accident crumpled a car in 2004, but the system had not done so, citing cost as one reason.

Meanwhile House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that former president Ronald Reagan failed to support mass transportation, including DC Metro

“I want to say that to the extent that that contributed to the injuries and the loss of life here, we need to look at that and that will be obviously impetus for making these cars safer,” Hoyer said. “As you know, it’s been 30 years, and as you know, the Reagan administration recommended no further money towards mass transit.”

Not surprising. Actor and lifeguard Reagan was a terrible president, I wonder why some people still think good of him. If you are not convinced of the lack of funding, here are some good thoughts about the accident posted by Mother Jones focusing on the lack of funding for WMATA, compliments of the U.S. Congress

But the D.C. Metro has to contend with something that other urban mass transit systems do not: the United States Congress. Unlike any other subway system, the DC Metro has no dedicated source of funding, but instead must rely on the whims of lawmakers to appropriate money—and often those lawmakers are more interested in playing to their own constituents than taking care of the District’s needs. Read more here.

So there is no money for infrastructure of the capitol city of the U.S. -talk about national security- but there are always extra funds for car manufacturers and Wall Street bankers. What about the invasion of Iraq and all the business going on with the U.S. war machinery overseas? No good.

Repairs

The DC Metro train system is part of the Washington Metro Metropolitan Area Tranit Authority – WMATA. Today WMATA announced repairs and inspections in all their lines tracks.

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DREAM Act National Graduation today in DC at Union Station

June 23, 2009

For Immediate Release
Jun-23-09

Contact:
Marisol Ramos (New York) 917-443-7013
Kiran Savage Sagwan (DC) 530-574-2551
Daniela Alulema (DC/NY) 646-472-9565

DREAM FOR AMERICA!
NATIONAL DREAM ACT GRADUATION ON JUNE 23RD, OVER 500 STUDENTS EXPECTED

New York, NY – On Tuesday, June 23rd, youth from around the country will organize in Washington D.C. in support of the DREAM Act – an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented young people. Each year, more than 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, but because they lack immigration status, these students face uncertain futures.

The New York State Youth Leadership Council is a youth organization along with other allies working to pass the DREAM Act. On June 23rd, in partnership with the United We Dream Coalition, a national volunteer- led network of undocumented youth and their allies, we are organizing a National DREAM Graduation Ceremony in Washington D.C. We are anticipating close to 500 students/youth and educators from all over the country to participate in this event, which will include a Dream Act graduation and an afternoon of advocacy. Speakers from the College Board and Microsoft will be present to offer their support for this legislation

What: National Dream Act Graduation Day of Advocacy

Where: Buses will depart from Bryant Park(40th and Broadway) in NYC at 7am and arrive in Washington DC. The graduation will be held at Lousiana Avenue and D Street at the Union Station Plaza, Washington DC

Who:.The NYSYLC, in partnership with YKASEC, Make the Road NY, PSC CUNY, Eye Openers/Project Hospitality, Cabrini Immigrant Services and Jornada Movement will be mobilizing 215 students, youth and their families to Washington, DC

For more information, please visit http://www.nysylc.org, call 212-627-2227 ext 248 or email info@nysylc.org

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VIDEOS of DC Metro train crash: seven dead and dozens injured

June 23, 2009
Washington, DC is shocked by this terrible accident, people are mourning the victims and from here I send my condolences to their relatives and friends.

DC Councilmember Jim Graham who is also Metro’s Chair of the board told me yesterday “this is the worst accident in Metro’s history, the images of the victims were horrendous, blood all over. We don’t know the causes yet but there are ongoing investigations,”

These are some photos and videos posted the same day of the accident:

Photos AP

USA TODAY raw video

ASSOCIATED PRESS

FOX NEWS

ASSOCIATED PRESS – Witnesses

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This makes me angry: police officers humiliate woman for selling food in DC streets

June 22, 2009

An elder woman immigrant from El Salvador was detained and held in the streets by DC police officers -about three weeks ago- for selling food in the corner of 16th Street NW and Irving Street NW.

While I agree the police was trying to enforce the law, but the officers in charge were totally ignorant with people -including me- who tried to help the Spanish-speaking woman with translation into English. The two policewomen were extremely rude and threatened anyone who tried to help.

They held this poor woman in the streets for about 15 minutes asking questions as if she was a dangerous delinquent. After the incident I went and talked to the lady, to see how she was feeling about this situation.

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I know she should obey the city laws on food service, and I support the enforcement of food safety regulations completely. But also I think there should be ways to support hard working people who are trying to make a decent living. Also I wonder if DC police needs to treat neighbors as delinquents or instead they should try to actually show respect and dignity for all DC residents. What do you think?

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VIDEO Blogging While Brown 2009 Day 2: Gina McCauley and bloggers opinions at the end of conference

June 21, 2009

So the BWB is over. The final day was yesterday and I spoke to several attendees at Blogging While Brown 2009 conference; I asked them about their experiences and what they learned during this great event. This is what they said:

First video: BWB founder and executive director Gina McCauley, bloggers from Concrete Loop, The Super Spade, Uwishunu, The Joba Group, Woman: Body & Soul a radio show host from New York, and others.

Second video: Included are bloggers Brightplum, Small World View, Carlos in DC, Urban Science Adventures, Around Harlem, But You Are A Girl, Marty Blogs and others.

What about me? I have to agree with everything that my new blogger friends have said. But I think I will write something later on today or tomorrow. For now, I have to get ready to leave Chicago. See you soon DC!


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"Blogs have change politics in America" Monroe Anderson at Blogging While Brown 2009

June 21, 2009

As part of the Blogging While Brown 2009 conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Monroe Anderson a political columnist, TV host, author, blogger, also one of the first African American journalists in mainstream U.S. media.

Monroe Anderson. Photo by Carlos A. Quiroz

Monrow Anderson participated at the BWB conference as part of the panel “What’s Next for traditional Media” during this successful event held in Chicago, IL this past weekend. Please read Monroe Anderson’s blog, his columns are really interesting and direct focusing mostly in African American topics.

This is a video I made of a very informal and interesting conversation with Anderson, where he mentions why blogging is important especially for journalism today, and other intersting things like how he met Barack and Michelle Obama before they went to the White House. Thanks Monroe Anderson!

monroeanderson.typepad.com

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