STOCKTON, CA — “We lost 30 thousand workers in the schools both teachers and schools employees. 170,000 school workers across the state have taken furlough days, unpaid days, in order to help with this budget crisis, we rank at the bottom of all 50 states in staff students ratio,” said Rose Roach, Field Director of the River Delta California School Employees Association discussed education and the tax initiatives on the November 2012 ballot. Continue reading
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.
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, CA - Sunday May 6, 2012 the Coalition of Mexican American organizations (COMA) held their annual Cinco de Mayo parade in Downtown Stockton. COMA hires a professional judges association, Pacific COast Judges Association, to judge the parade and give awards to the best parade entries with the theme of ‘Peace in the Valley.’ Continue reading
STOCKTON, CA – The philanthropic Aspen Institute has ranked San Joaquin Delta College as one of the nation’s 120 best community colleges, challenging it to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Continue reading
STOCKTON, CA- Eighty San Joaquin County high school seniors were recognized as the first class in the county to receive the “State Seal of Biliteracy Award” in a ceremony held at the San Joaquin Office of Education on Thursday, April 26. Continue reading
Approved in October of 2011, applications for the CA DREAM ACT (AB-131). are now open for qualifying students. Similar to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid most known as FAFSA, the Student Aid Application for Dream Act Students (SAADAS) will determine eligibility for California student financial aid. The California Student Aid Commission will have an all day live Webinar on April 20th to answer questions via IM & Text messages on the California DREAM ACT. There will be specific hour sections in several languages for students, teachers, counselors and parents.
Students may download the application at: http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp
Stockton, CA- Venture Academy was one of the host schools in California of the national Teen Truth (TT) Film Festival tour on Thursday, April 12. Continue reading
San Joaquin County — The Coalition of Mexican-American Organizations (known for its acronym in Spanish COMA) announced that the 2012 Cinco de Mayo Parade will be held May 6th at 11:00 a.m. at Stockton’s downtown. Continue reading
Stockton, CA — Students at San Joaquin Delta College and University of the Pacific gathered to speak their “truth” about undocumented students and the issues affecting them in the community. Continue reading
Sacramento, CA — This week “the walkers” have completed the first two weeks of their nine month journey to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., in support of the federal DREAM Act. Continue reading
Stockton- CA, As part of the Women`s History Month activities at the University of the Pacific, acclaimed writer and producer of the documentary “Miss Representation”, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, led a discussion after the screening of her film at the Janet Leigh Theatre on Tuesday, March 13. Continue reading
SACRAMENTO, CA – There’s no doubt immigration reform has a long way to go to ensure family reunification and a path to citizenship for the undocumented community. We must continue to fight for a federal DREAM Act and demand an end to Secure Communities and 287(g) programs that allow state and local law enforcement agencies to partner with ICE. But I remain hopeful because California had major victories last year that prove just how powerful uniting with dignity as our moral compass can be.
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.
San Joaquin County — Over 180 San Joaquin County high school students gathered at the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) Tuesday, February 28, to prepare for the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) state competition. Continue reading
San Joaquin Delta College’s Atherton Auditorium was full of excitement as fourth and fifth graders arrived at the Stockton Symphony’s “Steppin’ Out” concert on Friday, March 2nd.
As the children sat to enjoy the concert, little did they know that they were about to experience a world premiere of Conflict and Resolution—a music project created by Israeli composer and award winner, Avner Dorman. Conflict and Resolution is based on the children`s book “Uzu and Muzo” by Ephraim Sidon.
The Steppin’ Out Concert is a project beyond a single concert; teachers support music education as they engage children in conversation and basic understanding about music in their classrooms by teaching kids music concepts and appreciation skills, explained Stanley.
In the 30 minute performance Dorman brought life to the story of two brothers, Uzu and Muzu, with symphonic music. In addition to exposing children to orchestra music, the book teaches kids a message about tolerance and conflict resolution. The Fantasy Overture from Romeo and Juliet by the legendary Russian composer, Tchaikovsky, was also performed.
Dorman is in a residency agreement with the Stockton Symphony to encourage children to read and write about conflict and resolution through a series of educational activities.
26 schools around San Joaquin County and approximately 2,350 students attended two Steppin’ Out performances. The community may enjoy Dorman’s creation on Thursday March 8th and Saturday March 10th. Tickets are available at (209) 951-0196.
Other art organizations also harmonized with the Stockton Symphony as they are exhibiting their own interpretations of Conflict and Resolution. The Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery’s (MHC&G) March exhibit highlights its gallery members’ interpretation of Conflict and Resolution. Dorman will have a special reception at MHC&G on Monday, March 5 and an Artist Reception will be on Friday, March 9th; both events are scheduled at 5:30 p.m.