Voices in Focus: A Mysterious Drop in Black Unemployment, a Queens Scam and LinSanity

We found plenty to tell you about this morning in our roundup of what’s going on in the ethnic and community media:

* El Diario reported that the Ecuadorian government is trying to collect the names of dozens of immigrants who were scammed by a company in Queens that promised generous dividends but didn’t deliver. About 200 immigrants attended a recent meeting of the scam’s Ecuadorian, Colombian and Mexican victims, although the total number could be around 400, said representatives of the National Secretariat for Migrants.  Victims lost between $20,000 and $200,000 each.

* Also in El Diario, parents and students were stunned to hear the news yesterday that a 40-year-old teacher’s aide, Taleek Brooks, at the Weeksville School in Brooklyn was arrested and charged with possessing and producing child pornography.

“I can not believe it,” one parent told El Diario. “Everyone thought he was a good person.”

* ColorLines sought some explanation of the sudden, unexpected 3-percent drop in unemployment for black men in January. Unless the trend continues, an expert told reporter Shani O. Hilton, it could be a statistical anomaly.

“Month to month, the numbers fluctuate, especially among small groups,” explained Algernon Austin, director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program at the Economic Policy Institute. “Until we see a trend for several months, we’re thinking this could just be some statistical noise and not something that’s really real.”

* The Root describes “LinSanity” over New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, the first Asian American to reach the NBA since 1947, and the first Harvard alum to play in the NBA since the 1953-54 season.

“An American born and bred who has nothing to do with Chinese basketball, but Chinese basketball fans love to watch him,” wrote Chinese basketball commentator Yang Yi. “It’s because he’s tapped into a dream: an Asian guard using skill and awareness to compete in the NBA.”

* Two Spanish-language publications contributed to the ongoing wave of coverage of New York’s legislative redistricting process. Queens Latino asked why the borough’s Latino voices have not been heard in the ongoing debate over proposed district lines that many have condemned as gerrymandered:

The Chinese, Indians, Koreans and Afghans are organized, like the Anglo-Saxons and Jews. But Latinos are showing laziness, disinterest, lack of vision and conformity. They are as if anesthetized.

Meanwhile, El Diario reported on a Long Island hearing on the proposed redistricting lines:

Susan Lerner, director of Common Cause NY, said the redistricting proposal does not reflect the growth of minority populations, and it divides the the African American and Hispanic vote.

Lerner cited as an example the towns of Hempstead and Brentwood, which were divided into three and four senatorial districts respectively.

“The maps give us less chance that minorities are represented fairly,” she said. “District lines prevent us from being a majority in the polls.”

* We were delighted to get word of a new journalistic enterprise for and by young immigrants, and we wish them luck:

Blognik Beat, a new group blog written for – and by – Jewish high-school and university students with recent roots in the former Soviet Union, has launched on forward.com, the website of the Jewish Daily Forward.

The blog, published in English, will include observations on identity, arts, culture, religion and politics from the viewpoints of recent immigrants and second-generation Russian speakers.

The blog is looking for more young contributors, so please pass the news along!

* And lastly, here’s an event, starting tomorrow, that seems worth checking out: Columbia University’s Muslim Students Association will kick off its annual Islam Awareness Week on Friday, Feb. 10. This year’s theme for the week-long conference is “Imagining Muslims” and will include panels, social events and discussions of topics such as “The Prophet: The Man, The Myth, The Legend,” and “The Muslim Next Door.” RSVP to attend the events by sending an email to msa@columbia.edu.

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  1. Pingback: Voices in Focus: Women’s Human Rights to Star at Film Festival | Voices of NY

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