Voices in Focus: A Pair of Former Doctors Deported for Slavery

Today our perusal of the ethnic and community press turned up a debate over equity in New York City schools; a call for adoption within the African-American community; plans for Salvadorean expatriates to vote in their country’s 2014 presidential elections; more from a controversial study about Asian-Americans; deported slave-holders; and sad news about two independent bookstores.

* In New York City’s public school system, some students learn in classrooms with multiple Mac computers, the gifts of wealthy and well-connected parents, while students in poor neighborhoods such as East New York are lucky to have an art teacher. A New York Times article about power fund-raising among wealthy parents for New York public schools has sparked a debate on the practice, Colorlines reported.

The conversation reignited a decades old debate about persistent educational inequities and the role parents play in their children’s schools. With public school budgets facing continual cuts, individual communities face even more pressure to help sustain their neighborhood schools. Parents in wealthy neighborhoods can afford to backfill those shortfalls but parents in poorer neighborhoods, some of whom are just scraping by themselves, can’t always dip into their own pockets to help furnish their schools with extra amenities or even the bare basics. In today’s public school economy, it’s still the case that the quality of the education students get depends on what their parents can pay for.

* Almost a third of the 400,000 children in foster care in the United States are black, according to a 2010 report by the federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.  Still, there remains a reluctance to adopt from outside the family within the black community, wrote Brennan N. Johnson — who is herself an adoptee — in the Amsterdam News.

My mother, Tina M. Johnson, is a single Black woman who adopted my sister when she was 2 months old and I when I was 4 months old.

“Black families tend to adopt within their own family, so you have relatives taking care of their cousins or grandchildren,” Johnson said. “There is a myth out there that has people believing that in order to adopt, you have to have money. This isn’t the case at all. There needs to be more recruitment for Black parents. People need to advocate.”

* Salvadorean expatriates may have the chance to vote in their country’s 2014 presidential election, reported La Tribuna Hispana.  In mid-June, members of a voting commission met with Salvadorean organizations in San Francisco to discuss plans for voting from overseas. They proposed creating an identification card for Salvadoreans living outside the country. Saul Linares, the ousted chairman of the Board of the Workplace Project, a group that advocates for day laborers on Long Island, was skeptical of the plans:

“The ordinary Salvadorans, who seek their daily bread waiting for jobs on corners, are thinking more about how to survive this crisis and the immigration restrictions we live each day,” he said. “For me it is a cultural issue, since in our own country, when elections are held very few come out to vote. There is a large abstention, and the people are very apathetic on this issue. And when it comes to this country, the situation does not change much. “

* Korean-Americans are the most racially exclusive Asian-American group, reported the KAmerican Post, citing data from a controversial report by the Pew Research Center. (We wrote about the backlash over the report last week.) Korean-Americans are more likely than other Asian Americans to have all or mostly Korean-American friends. A translated excerpt is below:

The Pew Research Center surveyed Asian-Americans and asked whether all or most of the friends who they hang out with are from the same country as themselves. Korean-Americans were ranked No. 1. 58 percent of them answered that the friends they spend time with are mostly Korean-Americans. Vietnamese-Americans (49%) were ranked the second, followed by Chinese-Americans (45%,) Philippine-Americans (41%,) Indian-Americans (38%) and Japanese-Americans (21%).

* In Milwaukee, a couple was deported for keeping a Filipina woman in their home as a virtual slave for nearly 20 years, reported the Filipino Reporter last week.

Dr. Elnora Calimlim and Dr. Jefferson Calimlim in a November 2006 photo at the U.S. District Court in Milwaukee. (Via jsonline.com)

During the criminal trial, the victim testified that for 19 years she was hidden in the Calimlim’s home in an affluent Milwaukee suburb, forbidden from going outside, and told that she would be arrested, imprisoned and deported if she were discovered.

She was not allowed to socialize, communicate freely with the outside world, or leave the house unsupervised.

She was also required to lock herself in her basement bedroom whenever the Calimlins had visitors.

As we have noted, this is far from the only case of abused domestic servants.

* In book news, a couple of local bookstores are closing shop for good. Today Word Up, a popular bookstore in Washington Heights, received notice that their lease will terminate in 30 days and that they would need to move, the Manhattan Times reported. Located at Broadway and 175 St., the store has been a favorite spot among locals and artists.

Also, Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstore is set to close at the end of July, reported DNAinfo. The store, located at 2319 Frederick Douglass Boulevard between 124th and 125th streets, features works by black writers and caters to black readership. Co-owner Marva Allen told DNAinfo that the 10-year-old book retailer struggled in the face of rising rents and a grim publishing industry.

One nugget of good news:

Hue-Man will now turn its focus to helping ethnic writers while continuing to be involved in publishing and offering agency services to writers. The store will also maintain an online presence that Allen hopes will allow her to keep many of the store’s eight employees.

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