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Devember 2019

Volume 16 No. 1

Un Peri贸dico Diferente / A Different Kind of Newspaper

Springfield Old Timers Softball League Fiesta de Cierre Temporada 2019

Un Peri贸dico Diferente / A Different Kind of Newspaper

Un Peri贸dico Diferente / A Different Kind of Newspaper

Un Peri贸dico Diferente / A Different Kind of Newspaper


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Editorial / Editorial

contents

¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año 2020! Como es nuestra costumbre en esta época del año, a nombre de todos los que colaboramos en El Sol Latino y de nuestros patrocinadores, les deseamos una alegre temporada navideña en familia y un próspero año nuevo.

agradecimiento por el apoyo que siempre le han brindado a El Sol Latino desde sus comienzos en el 2004. El mismo nos ha permitido mantenernos como un periódico diferente e independiente. ¡Mil Gracias y hasta el próximo año!

A nuestros lectores, nuestro más sincero

Manuel

Foto del Mes/Photo of the Month

La Familia Hispana Inc. Reconoce a Anthony Soto

Diosdado López, Presidente de La Familia Hispana, Inc., junto al alcalde de Holyoke Alex Morse, reconocieron a Anthony Soto por su trayectoria de servicio a la comunidad puertorriqueña/Hispana en Holyoke el 1 de noviembre de 2019 durante el evento del izamiento de la bandera de Puerto rico en Holyoke.

2 Editorial / Editorial ¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año 2020! 3 Portada / Front Page La Migración Puertorriqueña sigue en Aumento tras María 4 Washington D.C. Diaspora Summit 2019 5 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowed multimillion-dollar fraud in Puerto Rico’s power grid repair contracts 7 Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope - Monte’s March 9 Opinión / Opinion It’s coming on Christmas and people are hungry 10 The Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice and Community Service 11 Why the Federal Government Should Support Puerto Rico’s New EITC 12 Libros / Books Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden Mason in Porto Rico, 1915 Medios / Media Pedro Rivera Muñoz presenta el documental Desalambrando 13 Educación / Education HCC welcomes Rachel Rubinstein as first VP of Academic and Student Affairs HCC-STCC partnership offers “Team Building Through Culinary” program 14 Hotspot gift from T-Mobile to help students access the Internet at home 15 Ciencias / Science La neurociencia de la cafeína

Founded in 2004

Anthony Soto junto a su esposa Lisa Wong y miembros de su familia

n

Volume 16, No. 1 n December 2019

Editor Manuel Frau Ramos manuelfrau@gmail.com 413-320-3826 Assistant Editor Ingrid Estrany-Frau Managing Editor Diosdado López Art Director Tennessee Media Design Business Address El Sol Latino P.O Box 572 Amherst, MA 01004-0572

Editorial Policy

Cita del Mes/ Quote of the Month

“I wasn’t sent here to safeguard and protect profit. I was sent here to safeguard and protect people.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) during U.S. House Financial Services Committee on November 19, 2019 against private equity firms for “wiping out tens of thousands of jobs” and having “undemocratic impacts on media companies.”

El Sol Latino acepta colaboraciones tanto en español como en inglés. Nos comprometemos a examinarlas, pero no necesariamente a publicarlas. Nos reservamos el derecho de editar los textos y hacer correcciones por razones de espacio y/o estilo. Las colaboraciones pueden ser enviadas a nuestra dirección postal o a través de correo electrónico a: info@elsollatino.net. El Sol Latino welcomes submissions in either English or Spanish. We consider and review all submissions but reserve the right to not publish them. We reserve the right to edit texts and make corrections for reasons of space and/or style. Submissions may be sent to our postal address or via electronic mail to: info@elsollatino.net. El Sol Latino is published monthly by Coquí Media Group. El Sol Latino es publicado mensualmente por Coquí Media Group, P.O Box 572, Amherst, MA 01004-0572.


Portada / Front Page Springfield Old Timers Softball League Fiesta de Cierre - Temporada 2019

El Sol Latino Devember 2019

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Portada / Front Page

El Sol Latino December 2019

Washington D.C. Diaspora Summit 2019 by JOSUE MENDEZ Centro Voices - Center for Puerto Rican Studies

NEW YORK, NY | CENTRO: THE CENTER FOR PUERTO RICAN STUDIES | November 2019 - September 20th, 2019 marked two years since Hurricane Maria brought destruction upon the island of Puerto Rico. Since then, the island has seen a mass exodus of residents to the mainland United States, failures in its power grids, failures in receiving relief funds, deaths numbered in the thousands, and a political scandal resulting in the resignation of a governor and his team of elected officials. Rebuilding Puerto Rico will be a long and difficult process that must include multiple stakeholders from various levels of policymaking and implementation processes from a spectrum of civic sector actors including businesses, nonprofit organizations, and municipalities.

To mark the anniversary of Maria’s impact, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies hosted a series of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rican conferences first starting off in New York City on September 20, 2019. The next summit occurred on October 12th, 2019 in New England in collaboration with Enlace de Familias, a grassroots non-profit organization that provides parenting programming and resources to help strengthen the community.

OT In Lorain, Ohio, TINTNAT E H INK an Intro to CALIE por MANUEL

FRAU RAMOS

Puerto Rican Studies course...

will be offered by Lorain County Community College (LCCC) for the very first time in the state. The multi-disciplinary course will focus on the racial, historical, linguistic, religious, social, and cultural realities of the Puerto Rican diaspora. It will also have special focus on the migration to Lorain. Students will also learn the history, culture, literature, contemporary society, and politics of Puerto Rico.

In the Pioneer Valley, with one of the highest concentrations in the nation of Puerto Ricans outside of the Island, an Intro course about Puerto Rican Studies in our local public higher educational institutions is difficult to find.

To cap the series, the final summit occurred on November 16th, 2019 in Washington D.C. with the help of a number of sponsors. With the help of Friends of Puerto Rico, Cafe Ama, Puerto Rican Women’s Council, the National Puerto Rican Agenda, and Tertulias por la Patria, a wide range of Puerto Rican community leaders active in the Washington D.C. area were invited to serve as panelists and moderators in the summit and speak on various topics related to troubles both Puerto Rico and the Diaspora are facing today. Held at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs at Washington D.C., the summit kicked off with an introduction by the Master of Ceremonies, Eduardo Conde - Founder of Tertulias por la Patria. Elizabeth Vaquera, Director of Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute of George Washington University followed with the opening remarks for the conference. Back-to-back plenary panels discussing the topics of “Building a New Puerto Rican Energy Future” and “Debt Crisis, Austerity, and PROMESA” took over the conversation, led by experts on the topics such as Director of Sustainability & Corporate Citizenship at TransUnion, Cristina M. Banahan and Margarita Varela Rosa, President and Executive Director of Projecto 85. From there, attendees were invited to lunch. Journalist, television and radio personality, attorney, and political analyst Jay Fonseca took to the stage as the keynote speaker to touch on the current political situation of Puerto Rico “Puerto Rico has three cliffs,” Fonseca stated, “Pension, healthcare, and education. To fix corruption, we need to fix the entire system.” After a third plenary panel talking about Puerto Rico’s political scandal this past summer, attendees were invited to a series of concurrent panels on the topics of the National Puerto Rican Student Coalition, the current state of health within the Island, and the National Puerto Rican Agenda and local engagement. The summit officially closed out with Conde reminding all attendees of the events of the day, and participants were finally invited to a reception

En Lorain, Ohio, un curso Introductorio de Estudios Puertorriqueños… será ofrecido por el Lorain County Community College (LCCC) por primera vez en el estado. El curso multidisciplinario se centrará en las realidades raciales, históricas, lingüísticas, religiosas, sociales y culturales de la diáspora puertorriqueña. También tendrá un enfoque especial en la migración a Lorain. Los estudiantes también aprenderán sobre historia, cultura, literatura, sociedad contemporánea y política de Puerto Rico. En el Pioneer Valley, con una de las concentraciones más altas en la nación de puertorriqueños fuera de la isla, es difícil encontrar un curso Introductorio sobre Estudios Puertorriqueños en nuestras instituciones públicas de educación superior locales.

Publish your bilingual ad in El Sol Latino! Call us today at (413) 320-3826.


Portada / Front Page

El Sol Latino Devember 2019

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowed multimillion-dollar fraud in Puerto Rico’s power grid repair contracts SAN JUAN, PR | CENTRO DE PERIODISMO INVESTIGATIVO (CPI) | November 19, 2019 –

However, when evaluating the attendance sheets, only 58 appear as working that day. That’s a difference of 142 employees.

Two hundred employees were paid, but 58 showed up for work. Crane operators invoiced without having set foot on the island. An unqualified lineman earned almost $58,000 for a month-and-a-half of work, which is what a Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) lineman charges in a year and five months.

The same happened on Dec. 23, 2017, when 190 employees were reported to have worked, but only 46 employees appear in the review.

All of this happened in Puerto Rico under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ watch. These are some of the irregularities revealed in an audit of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General on the repair and restoration of Puerto Rico’s power grid after Hurricane María and that could have added up to $50.1 million in federal funds. The audit of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published Sept. 30, 2019 details how two of its districts — Hunstville and Jacksonville — failed to supervise and review the contracts, invoices and work performed by companies Fluor Enterprises and PowerSecure in Puerto Rico. These failures led to the U.S. Corps of Engineers paying $20.9 million to Fluor Enterprises and $29.2 million to PowerSecure.

In a second contract granted to Fluor Enterprises, it was found that only three of 520 timesheets were signed by the employees. It was also found that 218 timesheets were certified without the date showing when the approval occurred. According to the audit, which does not mention the imposition of penalties, the U.S. Corps of Engineers violated the Federal Acquisition Regulation that says that although service contracts do not provide tools to guarantee compliance standards, it is up to the agencies to properly monitor contractor performance to ensure the best use of public funds. The Administrative Contracting Officer said, to ensure compliance, USACE was able to rely on the worksheets of each company’s staff to corroborate the quality of the work performed. These sheets contain the daily reports, the name of the person in charge, the category of the team’s assignment, the hours worked, the equipment used, the location, and the work assigned. On March 8, 2018, USACE asked Fluor Enterprises to provide all individually signed worksheets. However, the company said because at that time they had finished all the repair work for which they were hired, those employees were no longer in Puerto Rico. Irregularities are also repeated with PowerSecure. On Dec. 21, 2017, they reported 311 employees, but USACE reports indicate there were 245.

The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, for its initials in Spanish) requested reactions from Fluor Enterprises and PowerSecure, but as of the closing of this story they did not answer questions about the audit findings. “Fluor is honored to have played a role in helping to bring back a sense of normalcy to the people of Puerto Rico and is proud of the many accomplishments to restore power through our contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” was part of the general statement the company sent to the CPI. Work was billed prior to arriving in Puerto Rico Among the findings, the CPI found that Fluor Enterprises submitted an invoice for four line workers and two crane operators corresponding to the payment period between December 3, 2017 and December 16, 2017, for $221,718. However, those employees arrived in Puerto Rico on Dec. 17, 2017. The company was unable to present evidence that those employees performed any work before arriving on the island. The audit found that 122 employees charged 6,482 hours for work before they had set foot on Puerto Rico. The U.S. Corps of Engineers paid $1.4 million for those work hours that could not be validated. Moreover, the company billed $134,777 for 1,043 hours of unsupported work by 12 employees who never arrived in Puerto Rico. Unsigned payments; discrepancy in the number of employees A total of 866 employee timesheets were analyzed related to the first contract awarded to Fluor Enterprises for the payment period between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24, 2017. None of the documents were signed by the workers to validate the veracity of the reported hours. Late approvals of attendance sheets were also found. For example, 519 work hour reports were approved five weeks late. The company reported that 200 employees worked on Dec. 21, 2017.

The audit analyzed reports of PowerSecure hours and could not confirm the veracity of the hours billed for 19 of 45 days of the evaluated sample, because the company reports only mention the number of workers assigned for a task without including their names. Employees did not fill out their own timesheets, as it was the company that was responsible for entering this information manually, the audit said. There also wasn’t an optimal corroboration of the accuracy of the hours that PowerSecure billed. USACE justified the mistake with the complexity of the work. Occasionally, workers traveled by helicopter to their work areas, but USACE’s quality control personnel, who were required to complete reports on the quality of work, were not authorized to use this transport. Even though the quality reports did not match the invoices, USACE paid them. Overtime goes unchecked Certifying the need to work overtime was possible on only three of 77 timesheets. When Fluor was asked why the rest of the 74 employees worked overtime, the company just said they accomplished other tasks: safety meetings, garbage collection, cleaning their rooms and equipment organization; jobs for which they were not hired. Fluor Enterprises also billed USACE 454 hours of overtime work without validating how they were justified. In total, the company charged $2.6 million to pay 12,106 hours without providing documentation that employees performed overtime work. They hired unqualified staff and paid unrecognized rates A line worker was paid $57,820 for 252 hours, which would be equivalent to a month-and-a-half of work by a PREPA employee. He had less than a year of experience instead of the required three years. The average salary of PREPA lineman is $40,000 a year, according to the president of the Electric Industry Workers Union (UTIER, for its initials in Spanish), Ángel FigueroaJaramillo. Moreover, Fluor Enterprises billed $94,589 to pay a superintendent who did not have documentation to show he had 10 years of experience. continued on page 6


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Portada / Front Page

El Sol Latino December 2019

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowed multimillion-dollar fraud It also subcontracted crane operators with certifications that did not specify which equipment they could handle; with outdated documentation, or that did not train them to work with cranes. In other words, the U.S. Corps of Engineers did not require Fluor Enterprises to prove that its employees had at least one year of general work experience, three years of experience in handling heavy equipment or cranes, and between three and 10 years for specialized jobs in energy, as required by the contract. USACE also accepted that it did not validate the certifications of PowerSecure subcontractors before paying for the services provided. The agency approved six invoices for this company without including the hourly rates contained in the contract. It included them five months later. The audit does not indicate whether they overpaid for the service. The U.S. Corps of Engineers was not available to issue a reaction on the findings of this audit. Multimillion-dollar contracts USACE Huntsville hired Fluor Enterprises in October 2017 for $240,000. After several amendments, the contract, which extended until June 2018, increased to $505.8 million. USACE Huntsville granted a second contract to this company in December 2017 for $495 million. That contract was modified on Nov. 26, 2018 and was reduced to $276.4 million. Both contracts included the repair of the power transmission and distribution network, equipment evaluation and the recommissioning of substations. USACE Jacksonville awarded a third contract to PowerSecure in October 2017 for $1.3 million. Originally, the company would be responsible for carrying out the cost estimates associated with the repair of the electrical system. But USACE modified and assigned additional repair work to this company, which increased the value of the contract to $523 million. PowerSecure was now in charge of repair work on the transmission and distribution lines, substation restoration, and clearing and removal of debris.

FEMA will take any action following the Department of Defense’s audit. USACE clarified that this type of work is not part of its core mission. Furthermore, the agency did not have a contract prototype in its files to start this type of work immediately. However, on Sept. 30, 2017, FEMA entrusted the reins of the repair and restoration of the electrical system to the U.S. Corps of Engineers and approved $2.2 billion for that monumental task. With that money, USACE contracted the services of Fluor Enterprise (of South Carolina) and PowerSecure (of North Carolina), which lead the list of companies with the most federal government contracts after Hurricane María’s landfall. For two years, many irregularities have come to light related to the contracting for the repair of Puerto Rico’s electrical system: Whitefish and Cobra were the first, and now Flour and PowerSecure. In addition, in September this year, former FEMA Regional Administrator Ahsha Tribble was arrested for fraud related to the recovery of the power grid, which included $1.8 billion in contracts with PREPA. VÍCTOR RODRÍGUEZ VELÁZQUEZ is a journalist with 10 years of experience. He is a member of Report for America. Professor at the University of the Sacred Heart and at the Ana G. Méndez University, Gurabo Campus. Graduated from the master’s program in communication at the University of Puerto Rico. VANESSA COLÓN ALMENAS has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Puerto Rico and is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, University of the City of New York (CUNY). She held several positions in Primera Hora newspaper: journalist, multimedia editor, planning, innovation, and digital deputy director of the two main news portals of Puerto Rico: elnuevodia.com and primerahora.com. As a freelance journalist, he has published in the Center for Investigative Journalism, CNN in Spanish, City Limits, Latino Rebels, Hunts Point Express and Mott Haven Herald.

Imaginar el Futuro. H C C . E D U / S TA R T

USACE defends its mission Todd Semonite, the Lieutenant General in charge of the mission in Puerto Rico, said in a letter that USACE allocated 250 military, 3,000 civilians, and 3,000 hired employees for the mission to repair and restore the electrical system. Its work consisted of repairing 2,400 miles of transmission lines, 30,000 miles of distribution lines, 300 substations, and 16 power plants.

continued from page 5

Following the audit by the Department of Defense’s Inspector General, Semonite said in the letter that he ordered another internal audit with all documents, timesheets, invoices and payments, the results of which he would announce in January 2020. The restoration and repair of the electrical system was one of the priority missions after Hurricane María made landfall. For PREPA, it implied that 1.5 million customers were without power and without communications. The island was dealing with this situation, but PREPA did not have the structure or capacity for the work required due to a lack of personnel and materials, the document said. Although the federal agency should have been in charge of restoring Puerto Rico’s electrical system, the U.S. Department of Energy admitted — according to the audit — did not have the capacity to manage such a mission. It did not have the resources or tools. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not have a plan, the audit stated. It had never coordinated the restoration of an electrical system after a disaster of Hurricane María’s magnitude. Juan Rosado, FEMA’s spokesman in Puerto Rico, declined to comment on the follow-up that his agency gave to the funds granted to USACE and whether

Clases flexibles disponibles en línea o en el recinto. Las clases comienzan el 27 de enero.

¡MATRICÚLATE

AHORA!


Portada / Front Page

El Sol Latino Devember 2019

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Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope - Monte’s March Juana struggles to find food appropriate for the dietary needs of her autistic son, Hector. “I’d spent many days going to sleep with an empty stomach, making sure he had all the food in the house,” she recalls. “I don’t know what we’d have done without the food from the pantry.” Juana’s story is but one story of the tens of thousands of individuals across all four counties of western Massachusetts who struggle to put food on their table on any given week or month of the year. While they all share the same struggle, each has a unique complicated story of the obstacles they face in life: elders on fixed incomes who face the daunting choice of paying for medication, heat or food; children whose only certain meal is at school; people with disabilities, including veterans, who cannot work (at least full time) and, therefore, live with food insecurity – not knowing when they will eat their next meal. Even households with two adults working full time on minimum wages cannot support a family with children given the cost of rent, utilities, transportation, child care and healthy food. To address this reality for so many people, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts provides healthy food to more than 70,000 individuals at risk of hunger every month indirectly through 175 local food pantries and meal sites and directly through its own 26 Mobile Food Bank and 50 Brown Bag: Food for Elders sites at senior centers across our region. The Food Bank is the clearinghouse of emergency food for our region’s network of these local feeding programs across all four counties of western Massachusetts – Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire Counties. In the last twelve months, it distributed the

Credit: Matthew Cavanaugh Photography: matthewcavanaugh.com

equivalent of 10 million meals through this network to individuals at risk of hunger. Half of its inventory of healthy food is paid for by federal and state funding. Since 2010, the annual event has raised a total of $1,177,720 for The Food Bank, making it one of the most successful fundraising events in Western Massachusetts. Every dollar raised during the event allows The Food Bank to provide 3 meals. Donated food from the food industry supplies the other half – local supermarkets, wholesale food distributors, farms, both regional and local farms, including its own Food Bank Farm. More than half of the food The Food Bank distributes is perishable food – fresh vegetables, dairy and frozen meats. To support its operations, two-thirds of its operating budget derives from individuals and businesses through donations and sponsorships. On November 25th and 26th, WRSI – The River’s Monte Belmonte led his tenth annual Monte’s March against hunger through the Pioneer Valley. For those two days, Monte, Congressman Jim McGovern, and dozens of supporters, pushed an empty shopping cart 43 miles from Springfield to Greenfield to raise awareness and funds to prevent food insecurity in our region. To make donations to Monte’s March, go to www. montesmarch.com.

Credit: Matthew Cavanaugh Photography: matthewcavanaugh.com


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El Sol Latino 2019 It’s like a comic book convention for December PBS KIDS!

SATURDAY, NOV. 9

Basketball Hall of Fame 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. WGBY.org/fanday

Winter Session at STCC TERTULIA WITH HOST

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Register NOW for a 4-Week Online Class Classes run Friday, December 20 – Thursday, January 16 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

American Literature: 1620 - 1860 Art History: Prehistoric to Gothic Basic Research Computer Basics: Concepts & Applications English Composition 1 English Composition 2 Fundamentals of Oral Communication General Psychology Introduction to Sociology Lifespan Human Growth and Development Medical Terminology 1 Music Appreciation 1 Nutrition Principles of Management Principles of Marketing Principles of Normal/Abnormal Behavior Sociology of the Family Statistics Survey of Modern U.S. History Survey of U.S. History & Government World Religions

Earn College Credit on Winter Break! stcc.edu/winter

In-State Cost for All Students. 11/15/19 El Sol Latino 1/4 page: 4.75” x 5.75” Manuel Frau Ramos: manuelfrau@gmail.com Due: 5 days prior to the run month Runs: December 2019


Opinión / Opinion

El Sol Latino Devember 2019

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It’s coming on Christmas and people are hungry by MIGUEL ARCE and WALTER MULLIN It is the holiday season. People are decorating their houses, buying gifts and planning special meals. At many malls, there are bell ringers asking for a donation to help the “needy.” As businesses, community organizations and churches plan their annual holiday get-togethers, they ask their invitees to bring canned goods, a winter coat or a toy to be contributed to a local charity. As they do this, people feel good. Yes, these people, you, me, and us, have reached beyond ourselves to do something that is charitable. You, me, and we are kind people. So, let’s keep doing it. Let’s not stop. The food, coats and toys end up being used and benefiting a lot of people. Kindness goes a long way! While we contribute the gifts, however, we can take a step to a deeper, more humane level. That is, we benefit from understanding a dynamic that exists between a “giver” and a “receiver”. This can be done by pondering questions such as these: Does the giver get to feel something that the receiver does not? What do those conclusions and feelings lead the giver and the receiver to conclude about themselves? Is it truly a gift if it something that all humans are entitled to have? Is it possible that the giver and the receiver are part of the same humanity that unites them in common, shared life’s struggles? Of course, the food, coats, and toys are intended for people who live without significant financial resources; the poor. These individuals and families may be having a hard time financially. Despite this, it is clear, however, that they have not made the choice to be poor and hungry. They must live every day trying to accomplish life’s goals. Parents and other family members may be employed in jobs that pay minimal wages while the owners of these businesses take home good profits. These families may rent their apartments from landlords who also make a profit. Their kids go to schools and they drive on roads that their taxes have financed. It is accurate to say that there is a connection between resourced and non-resourced people. Everyone is trying to get somewhere. No one can claim superiority.

people are 2.9 times more susceptible to poor health, and have a higher likelihood of chronic conditions, including hepatitis, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and other diet-related health problems. The politics connected to solving the problem of food insecurity reflects a belief and philosophy that those who do not have adequate food are individuals who are failing in life and, therefore, should either cope with this reality on their own or become recipients of kindness. The human rights perspective is a counter position that contends that access to food is a human right and all people deserve an ample supply. The kindness of the private sector to collect food for those in poverty is wonderful, but it does not relieve the US government from the responsibility to guarantee food for all. As food insecurity continues during this holiday season, private charitable food programs (food banks supported by the private sector) combined with “entitlement” programs cannot accomplish the goals of ending hunger and food insecurity. There need to be a popularly conceived, comprehensive plan in place in the United States with measurable benchmarks to address this human right. Human rights are standards that allow all people to live with dignity, freedom, equality, peace and justice. In principle, they are to be granted to every human being, regardless of their sex, race, nationality, religion, caste or age. However, with 41 million Americans hungry, it’s clear that these rights and specifically the right to adequate food is not being achieved. There is no theoretical or practical reasons why we cannot end hunger and food insecurity. Hunger is a year-round crisis that is not restricted to Thanksgiving or Christmas. Donations are intended to help, and they do. However, let us remember that you, me, and we are part of the same humanity with basic needs that are common to us all, with solutions to be owned by all.

What lens is useful toward understanding this dynamic between the resourced and non-resourced; the non-poor and the poor? Author Amartya Sen, in Poverty and Famine, challenges the common perception about the root causes of poverty and therefore, hunger. She writes that famines and hunger occur amid ample food supply. Famine and hunger are not a crisis of productivity but a scarcity of the value of human rights. When talking about hunger during this holiday season, we should be talking about human rights. The right to food is a human right, not a privilege. The right to food is not about charity, but about ensuring that all people have the food to feed themselves in dignity. The United States is one of the few nations that has yet to adopt any international human rights into its domestic legal structure. Although the United States government was key in drafting the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in 1948, it has equivocated in living by it. This is made clear by statistics on those who live in hunger. According to United States Department of Agriculture, more than 41 million Americans face hunger. This includes nearly 13 million children. Households with children led by single women and people living below the poverty level experience the highest rates of food insecurity. At the same time, social safety net programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are constantly being eroded and challenged depending on the politics of the day. Noteworthy to it all this is that research clearly shows that hungry

This guest opinion is one in a series on living in poverty. DR. WALTER MULLIN (wmullin@springfieldcollege.edu), Professor of Social Work and MIGUEL ARCE (marce@springfieldcollege.edu), Associate Professor of Social Work at Springfield College.


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Opinión / Opinion

El Sol Latino December 2019

The Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice and Community Service by DR. MARIA IDALI TORRES, DR. TOM HIDALGO and ORLANDO ISAZA Many cultures, groups, and organizations celebrate November and December as the traditional giving season. Since 2010, the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice and Community Service has shared this tradition by marking Carlos’ birthdate, November 26, with some type of community event. Some years, we have organized celebratory fundraisers. This year, the members of the Fund Advisory Board awarded a $200 “Appreciation Grant” to several organizations for their efforts to advance social justice in local communities. In addition, they also ask those who read this article to reflect on the contributions of Carlos Vega to his community and the role of the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice and Community Service as a mechanism to preserve his legacy in the Greater Holyoke area. Next November, the fund will mark its tenth anniversary and the 70th birthday of Carlos Vega with a community event to be announced at a later day. Who was Carlos Vega? Carlos Vega was a lifelong learner and teacher who enjoyed transferring information, skills, values, and practices to his fellow human beings. Early in his life as a Holyoke public school student in the 1950’s and 60s who never saw a name or picture of Latin Americans in his textbooks, Carlos realized the need to learn more about the history of his native Ecuador and the experience of Latin American people in the United States. His interest Art by Gaddier Rosario in history was reinforced during his youth when he got his first summer job in the tobacco farms and discovered that Puerto Rican farmworkers were not only staying in Western Massachusetts after the farming season ended but also bringing their families. When he returned to high school in the fall, Carlos started to notice that the new Puerto Rican families were intentionally singled out as the cause of social problems such as overcrowded housing and unemployment, but not given the same opportunities as other local residents. His early awareness certainly contributed to his commitment to community service and passion for telling and archiving the local Latino history experience. Some of us on the Advisory Board met Carlos when he was part of the New Unity Collective, a group of young activists that studied issues affecting the working class from the workers’ perspective, and published their findings in a newspaper distributed in local factories and other workplaces. His love for reading, studying and sharing his analysis about local issues made Carlos the ideal source of information to many new professionals and college students arriving in the city. He made countless presentations about the precarious situation of Puerto Ricans living in Holyoke to local and state government agencies, foundations, and advocacy organizations. A quick search of his name in academic databases generates a list of books, dissertations, master theses, and other research-based products that acknowledge his assistance. Current and future generations of scholars and community activists will continue to benefit from his archives found in two Carlos Vega Collections of Latino History in Holyoke located at Wistariahurst Museum (https:// wistariahurst.org/experience-history/collections/vega-latino-history/ and the W. E. B. Du Bois Library of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (http:// scua.library.umass.edu/ead/mums800).

A trained social worker, Carlos worked as a caseworker for the Western Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Children and Families helping people find ways to meet basic human needs, such as food, shelter and jobs. His social work interventions always included education about social power dynamics and support for individual and collective empowerment. Carlos advocated for quality public bilingual education for Spanish speaking children and general community education on basic human and civil rights, such as voting, housing, employment, health and safety. He continued this mission at Nueva Esperanza, a communitybased organization he helped to establish in the early 1980’s that served as the platform for the development of affordable housing, small business and other economic endeavors in South Holyoke. At Nueva Esperanza, Carlos served in multiple roles throughout the years, from volunteer to Board member and later as Executive Director. He was also a member of the Coordinating Committees for the Holyoke Human Service Network, Citizens for a Quality Environment and the Board of Enlace de Familia, the Holyoke Land Trust, and other community-based organizations. Regardless of his title and official role, Carlos always became the person who coordinated cooperative efforts to promote the interests of the Latino community. He helped define the problems, think through the strategies and tactics necessary to act with confidence, and make public officials and institutions accountable. His community organizer’s leadership skills and in-depth knowledge about local sociopolitical dynamics made him an asset in any advocacy effort. Among his other community organizing activities were longstanding voter registration and voter education campaigns and running for elected positions several times. As one of the first Latino candidates Carlos helped to pave the way for the current generation of Latino elected officials in Holyoke. What is the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice and Community Service? By 2009, it was clear that brain cancer would shorten Carlos Vega’s life and work. In response to the distressing news, Luis Orlando Isaza, a close friend, fellow trained social worker and partner in many community struggles presented the idea of establishing a Carlos Vega Fund to the Latino trustees of the Western Massachusetts Community Foundation at the time, Sonia Nieto, Isolda Ortega-Bustamante, Irene Rodriguez Martin and Maria Idali Torres. Encouraged by the positive response, Orlando, who at the time was a Senior Program Officer in the Community Foundation. approached Carlos’ family and friends. Once the idea for the fund developed further, Carlos was told. As his cancer disease progressed, Carlos engaged in planning meetings to draft the fund’s mission statement and to develop a donor’s list. He also attended his 60th birthday celebration to raise startup money. Even in the last phase of his life while experiencing cancer with great fortitude, Carlos continued educating all of us about finding pleasure and meaning in social justice work. The Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice and Community Service was officially established in 2010, two years before Carlos died at the age of 61. It is a Donor Advised Fund that is managed by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts with the assistance of an Advisory Board. Donations made to the Carlos Vega Fund are tax-deductible because the Community Foundation is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c) (3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. The fund supports individuals and organizations in activities designed to advance social justice resembling Carlos’ grassroots organizing approaches. It involves two types of awards: (1) small grants from $250 to $1,000, for one-time activity aimed at supporting social justice by addressing root causes of community disempowerment and inequality, and (2) a community service award to an extraordinary individual who, like Carlos, embodies a commitment to improve the quality of life of residents in the greater Holyoke community. For more information about the fund activities or for instructions about how to donate to the funds go to https://carlosvegafund.org. Your donation would be greatly appreciated.


Opinión / Opinion

El Sol Latino Devember 2019

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Why the Federal Government Should Support Puerto Rico’s New EITC by ROSANNA TORRES and JAVIER BALMACEDA The Center for a New Economy (CNE) | November 14, 2019 Puerto Rico faces a host of daunting challenges, including chronically high poverty (especially among children), low labor force participation, over a decade of economic decline, an unsustainably high debt burden, and the lingering effects of the devastating hurricanes of 2017 that make its longterm prosperity harder to attain. To address these challenges, the Commonwealth needs a comprehensive economic package that centers around powerful tools such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) — which goes to low- and moderate-income working people, encourages work, and is one of the nation’s most effective anti-poverty programs. Puerto Rico took an important step by creating its own EITC, which took effect this year, but it lacks the funds to make the credit robust enough to address those challenges more fully. That’s why a proposal to provide federal support for expanding Puerto Rico’s EITC, which the House Ways and Means Committee approved in June and which mirrors other congressional proposals, would prove very helpful. The President and Congress created the EITC in 1975 in part to offset the impact of Social Security payroll taxes on low-wage workers. As evidence grew in ensuing decades that the EITC encourages work and boosts incomes in the short term while improving educational, occupational, and health outcomes in the long term, Presidents of both parties — Republicans Reagan, Bush, and Bush and Democrats Clinton and Obama — supported EITC expansions that have extended the credit to many more working families. And its impact has proved quite significant. In 2018, the EITC lifted 5.3 million people, including 2.7 million children, out of poverty and lifted another 17.6 million poor people, including 6.6 million children, closer to the poverty line. Meanwhile, the EITC’s effectiveness has helped persuade a growing number of states to enact state EITCs to further supplement the wages of low-income workers, as 29 states and the District of Columbia have done — often on a bipartisan basis among governors and state legislators. The EITC could prove particularly important to overcoming deep poverty and chronically low labor participation in Puerto Rico. Close to 43 percent of its population lives in poverty, more than double the poverty rate of Mississippi, which at 19.7 percent ranks as the highest among the states. Child poverty is even higher at nearly 57 percent, while labor force participation amounts to just 40.8 percent, compared to the national figure of 63.2 percent. Puerto Rico is no stranger to the EITC. The Commonwealth first enacted its own EITC in 2006 and expanded it in 2010, but it repealed the credit in 2014 due to its deepening fiscal crisis. That credit, however, was far too modest to begin with. It “did not eliminate high implicit tax rates on lowincome employees or do enough to incentivize formal employment,” according to the 2019 fiscal plan for Puerto Rico that was certified by the Financial Oversight and Management Board — which the President and Congress created in 2016 to enable the Commonwealth to restructure its debt. Puerto Rico’s new EITC will cost the Commonwealth an estimated $204 million a year and provide a maximum credit of between $300 and $2,000, depending on such family factors as marital status and the number of dependent children. It’s substantially better than Puerto Rico’s earlier EITC, the benefits of which were not adjusted for such family factors. The new credit is expected to better target resources to boost incentives for labor force participation, reduce child poverty, and provide needed support to working families. Nevertheless, it, too, remains modest. That’s especially true in light of the fact that — unlike for workers who live in any of the 50 states — the federal EITC is not available to people who live in Puerto Rico. To be sure, Puerto

Rico residents aren’t eligible for the federal EITC because they don’t pay federal income taxes, but they pay federal payroll taxes — which, as noted above, the federal EITC was created in part to offset. Moreover, a large share of individuals and families that would gain the most from the EITC in Puerto Rico wouldn’t pay federal income taxes anyway because their annual earnings are too low. The Commonwealth’s new EITC phases in at a much lower rate than the federal EITC, and the maximum annual credit for a single parent with two children is $1,500, compared to $5,828 for the federal EITC. In states that have created their own EITCs, the gap between what workers in those states can receive from the combination of federal and state EITCs and what Puerto Rico’s workers can receive from its own EITC is even greater. That’s why proposals in Congress to provide federal support for Puerto Rico’s EITC are so important to the Commonwealth’s future. The Ways and Means Committee plan would provide about $600 million a year to enable the Commonwealth to expand its new EITC. President Obama also proposed $600 million a year for a Puerto Rico EITC in his fiscal year 2017 budget, though Congress didn’t act on his proposal. With $600 million in federal funds, the Commonwealth could expand its new EITC from $200 million a year to $800 million. That three-to-one federal match would leverage Puerto Rico’s contribution and ensure that its EITC would be effective and sustainable, significantly boost the income of low- and moderate-income working families, and draw workers from the informal into the formal economy. The Oversight Board has strongly endorsed such a proposal and called for its enactment. To put a $600 million federal investment in Puerto Rico’s EITC into context, consider this: It’s far less than the nearly $1.1 billion that low-wage workers in Mississippi, the poorest state in the nation, claimed in 2016 in federal EITC dollars — even though Puerto Rico and Mississippi each has a population of about 3 million people and Puerto Rico’s median income is less than half of Mississippi’s. As policymakers explore ways to reduce poverty and increase labor force participation in Puerto Rico, they should pay particular attention to providing this additional federal support to enable its new EITC to reach more people, which would further encourage work in the formal economy, boost the incomes of low-wage workers, and reduce child poverty. ROSANNA TORRES is the Director of the Washington D.C. office for the Center for a New Economy, a nonpartisan think tank in Puerto Rico. JAVIER BALMACEDA is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonpartisan research and policy institute.

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Libros / Books

El Sol Latino December 2019

Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden Mason in Porto Rico, 1915 by RAFAEL OCASIO New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press | Release Date: August 14, 2020 | 266 pages “Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden Mason in Porto Rico” explores the founding father of American anthropology’s historic trip to Puerto Rico in 1915. A component of the Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Boas intended to perform field research in the areas of anthropology and ethnography, while other scientists explored the island’s natural resources. Native Puerto Rican cultural practices were also heavily explored through documentation of the island’s oral folklore. A young anthropologist working under Boas, John Alden Mason, rescued hundreds of oral folklore samples, ranging from popular songs, poetry, conundrums, sayings, and, most particularly, folktales. Through extensive excursions, Mason came in touch with the rural practices of Puerto Rican peasants, Jíbaros, who served as both his cultural informants and writers of the folklore samples. These stories, many of which are still part of the island’s literary traditions, reflect a strong Puerto Rican identity coalescing in the face of the U.S. political intervention on the island. “Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden

Mason in Porto Rico” explora el histórico viaje a Puerto Rico en 1915 por el famoso fundador de la antropología americana. Como parte del Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Boas propuso la investigación de campo en antropología y etnología; otros científicos exploraron los recursos naturales de la isla. Las prácticas culturales puertorriqueñas también fueron exploradas mediante una profusa documentación del folklore puertorriqueño. John Alden Mason, un joven antropólogo bajo la supervisión de Boas, rescató cientos de ejemplos de folklore oral, por ejemplo, canciones populares, poemas, adivinanzas, proverbios y, particularmente, cuentos folklóricos. Estas historias, aún hoy en día parte esencial de una tradición literaria, reflejan una fuerte identidad puertorriqueña en oposición a la intervención política de la isla por los Estados Unidos. RAFAEL OCASIO is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Spanish at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Medios / Media Pedro Rivera Muñoz presenta el documental Desalambrando por MANUEL FRAU RAMOS Bajo los auspicios de la Familia Hispana, Inc., la proyección del documental Desalambrando, la comunidad rescata sus tierras se estrenó el pasado 29 de octubre de 2019 en la Biblioteca Pública de Holyoke. Posteriormente se realizó un conversatorio con el director y co-productor del documental, Pedro Ángel Rivera Muñoz. Esta obra cinematográfica está basada en las investigaciones producidas por la socióloga urbana Liliana Cotto Morales, en su libro Desalambrar, publicado en 2006. Desalambrando es una narrativa que documenta el origen y desarrollo del movimiento social de las luchas de los rescatadores de tierra para la construcción de viviendas, desde fines de los sesenta hasta finales del siglo 20, en Puerto Rico. Liliana Cotto Morales, es Catedrática jubilada de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Rio Piedras. El documental contextualiza la historia de las expropiaciones de tierras en Puerto Rico desde el la época del colonialismo español hasta el patrón de colonialidad presente bajo el dominio de los Estados Unidos. Pone como ejemplo clásico la expropiación de las tierras de los propietarios de la isla de Vieques, entre el 1941 y el 1948, por parte de la Marina de Guerra de los Estados Unidos. Los protagonistas de Desalambrando son los mismos rescatadores de terrenos que narran sus luchas sociales durante diferentes décadas del siglo 20. Sus voces y sus narrativas presentan un apasionado testimonio de la creatividad y capacidad organizativa de los sectores marginados en tiempos de opresión y adversidad. En una entrevista publicada en el semanario puertorriqueño Claridad, Liliana Cotto Morales explica que, “Me interesaba que se viera que nuestras luchas son unos procesos que tienen precedentes. Creo que el documental comunica que hay un legado en nuestra historia de luchas frente a crisis. A mí me parece que nos regala dos cosas que necesitamos para las luchas de ahora: las lecciones de lo

que salió bien y mal, y la energía y el orgullo de los manifestantes de esos tiempos.” Otro punto importante resaltado por Cotto Morales, en la entrevista con Claridad, son las diferencias entre los rescates de terrenos que se realizaron en Puerto Rico durante los años 1930 y 1940 y la que se realizó en los sesenta. Cotto Morales señala que, “en los 60 vamos a tener una toma de tierra por gente pobre que no son campesinos, sino gente urbana que no caben en la ciudad y empieza a buscar terrenos suburbanos… era la gente que quería salir de los residenciales, que no podía pagar las urbanizaciones, que se fue a Nueva York y regresó porque en el Bronx quemaban los edificios y no llamaban a los bomberos.” El documental presenta recortes fílmicos de los noticieros de Puerto Rico de época, fotos y material informativo producto de la investigación realizada para este proyecto. En el caso especifico del movimiento popular y político en Vieques, muchos materiales informativos utilizados en el documental fueron grabaciones realizadas y conservadas por los propios rescatadores.

Parte de la portada del libro Desalambrar de Liliana Cotto Morales

Pedro Angel Rivera Muñoz

continued on page 15

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Educación / Education

El Sol Latino Devember 2019

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HCC welcomes Rachel Rubinstein as first VP of Academic and Student Affairs HOLYOKE, MA | HOLYOKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE | November 12, 2019 – Holyoke Community College is pleased to welcome Rachel Rubinstein of Florence as its first vice president of Academic and Student Affairs.

Rubinstein holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the Department of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University.

Prior to her arrival Oct. 1, Rubinstein spent 16 years at Hampshire College in Amherst, where she was a professor of American literature and Jewish Studies and from 2010 to 2018 served as dean of Academic Support and Advising.

A child of Mexican-born, Jewish immigrants, Rubinstein grew up in a Spanish-speaking household and also studied Yiddish. Her academic studies, professional scholarship and teaching have largely focused on immigration, migration, and multilingualism.

At HCC, Rubinstein will oversee the divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs in what is a newly unified role at the college. “As dean of Academic Support and Advising at Hampshire I was working with the entire school, across the curriculum, on student success and support,” said Rubinstein. “I worked with struggling students, and I worked with transfer students from community colleges, so the idea of a struggling student who is having academic issues not necessarily because they are underprepared Rachel Rubinstein but because of the challenges in their lives impinging on their ability to learn is familiar to me.” The combined position is one of the features that attracted her to HCC. “I think most of the community colleges in Massachusetts have this model, and I think the alignment is so necessary,” Rubinstein said. “What faculty are asked to do these days is very taxing because it’s not just about teaching anymore. It’s about advising. It’s about mentoring. It’s about student support. The issues that students are dealing with are tremendous and faculty need help. These issues can’t be solved by just Academic Affairs. They also can’t be solved by Student Affairs. It has to be a coordinated effort.”

“The other thing that attracted me to HCC was Holyoke,” she said. “The prospect of being at an HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) was really appealing to me. Holyoke has a really deep history as a city of immigrants, and literature of immigration is what I do.” Rubinstein was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a Whiting Foundation Travel Fellowship. She has taught at Smith College and Mount Holyoke College and also taught adult learners and high school students through community organizations including the Jones Library and the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst. Her scholarly work includes two co-edited volumes, Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Literature and Culture in Honor of Ruth R. Wisse (Harvard University Press, 2008), and the forthcoming Teaching JewishAmerican Literature (MLA Publications Committee, 2019). She is the author of Members of the Tribe: Native America in the Jewish Imagination (Wayne State University Press, 2010), which earned a Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Honorable Mention. She lives in Florence with her husband, Justin Cammy, an associate professor of Jewish Studies and World Literature at Smith College. They have three children: Aviya, Amitai and Shalev.

HCC-STCC partnership offers “Team Building Through Culinary” program HOLYOKE, MA | HOLYOKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE | November 18, 2019 – Eighteen employees from four different area hotels competed last month in a friendly, “Chopped” style culinary competition at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute designed to enhance their professional development. The participants, all management-level employees from the BK Investment Hotel Group, took part in a new one-day, four-hour program – “Team Building Through Culinary” – offered by Training and Workforce Options, otherwise known as TWO, a collaboration between Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College. From the program’s customizable menu of options, the company chose “Sliced,” a culinary training exercise modeled after “Chopped,” one of the Food Network’s popular, competitive cooking shows. The training was led by chef and HCC culinary arts instructor Tracy Carter, whose professional experience includes working at the Food Network, where she prepared the ingredient baskets for “Chopped.” “The cooking sessions at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute are designed to help employees who work closely together improve their communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills, while enhancing team cohesiveness and highlighting individual talents,” said Tracye Whitfield, TWO’s director of business development. “TWO’s mission is to provide area companies customizable training progams for their employees’ professional growth.” The Oct. 17 program included management teams from four of the BK hotel group’s properties – Hampton Inn by Hilton in Chicopee; Residence Inn by Marriott in Chicopee; Tru by Hilton in Chicopee; and Holiday Inn Express in Brattleboro, Vermont – who learned cooking techniques while competing against each other in one of the HCC culinary institute’s teaching kitchens.

Under the direction of Chef Carter, each of the four teams worked together to create a meal using a basket of pre-selected, mandatory ingredients, which in this case included chicken (for the protein), brussel sprouts (vegetable), mozzarella cheese (starch) and guava paste (wild card), along with other items they could find in the kitchen’s pantries and refrigerators. After the cooking was done, the participants sat down together to dine, sample each other’s creations and vote for the team whose food they liked best. Two teams tied for the win: Hampton Inn by Hilton, wearing blue aprons and selfproclaimed “Team Awesome,” and Tru by Hilton, wearing yellow. “We had a lot of fun,” said Sandra Reed Hofstetter, BK’s regional director of operations. “Many thanks to Chef Tracy and the TWO team for the warm welcome and attention to detail.” To learn more about “Team Building Through Culinary” and other TWO training programs, please contact Tracye Whitfield at (413) 221-4443 or twhitfield@twoworks.org.

Management team members from Hampton Inn by Hilton in Chicopee celebrate their culinary success during a team-building training program offered by TWO at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute.


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Educación / Education

El Sol Latino December 2019

Hotspot gift from T-Mobile to help students access the Internet at home SPRINGFIELD, MA | SPRINGFIELD TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE | November 22, 2019 -– Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a gift from telecommunication company T-Mobile which will allow the STCC Library to more than double the total number of mobile hotspots lent to students. Students can borrow mobile hotspots, which are small boxes with a cell phone data plan, and take them anywhere to access the internet for studying. The units create hotspots, which are areas where a user can access the Internet using Wi-Fi. The mobile hotspots emit a Wi-Fi signal that connects students’ personal devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones to the Internet. STCC started lending students mobile hotspots in 2017 after receiving a grant administered by the Massachusetts Library System. T-Mobile’s donation boosts the number of mobile hotspots to 45 from 20. STCC also has 75 Chromebook laptops that students can borrow. The lending of the laptops and mobile hotspots is part of the library’s digital equity program. The STCC Foundation accepted the gift from T-Mobile, which is valued at $9,000. The STCC Foundation, a nonprofit organization, helps the college meet its goals and commitment to provide superior educational opportunities in the community.

STCC student Robert Cavers, of East Longmeadow, third from right, holds a mobile hotspot. He stands with, from left, STCC student Kisha Jones, of Springfield; Bjorn Dragsbaek, senior manager, public sector sales, state, local and education, T-Mobile; STCC student Jasmine Feliz, of Springfield; Ryan Lopes, government account manager, public sector sales, state, local and education, T-Mobile; STCC President John B. Cook; and Erica Eynouf, dean of the library at STCC.

“I think it’s a really good idea, especially for students who don’t have internet on their phone or can’t connect to Wi-Fi,” said Jasmine Féliz, an STCC student from Springfield who attended an event at the STCC Library on Nov. 22 announcing the T-Mobile grant. “I know there are a lot of students who don’t have Wi-Fi at home or can’t afford to pay for the Internet. They can come here and borrow the hotspots, so it will be really good for them.” STCC President John B. Cook thanked T-Mobile for the donation, which he said will have a positive impact on students. “Access means many things to STCC students, and hotspots ensure student entrée to ideas, information, data and resources. STCC students work so hard, and to help them on or off-campus is tremendously valuable. We are grateful to T-Mobile for helping our students leverage their learning with this technology,” he said. Erica Eynouf, dean of the library at STCC, said the contribution will help remove barriers for students. “We know that many of our students do not have access to Wi-Fi at home, which means our digital lending is critical for their success at STCC,” she said. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, one-fifth of adults who lived in households with annual incomes less than $30,000 were

“smartphone-only” internet users, which means they own a smartphone but do not have broadband internet or a device at home. The digital divide shows up at school in what has been called the “homework gap” – students who have access to high-speed internet at home and those who don’t. Some 5 million school-age children do not have a broadband internet connection at home, with low-income households accounting for a disproportionate share. T-Mobile’s national EmpowerED initiative is aimed at bridging the “homework gap” – the uneven playing field that exists when millions of low-income students are unable to access the digital tools necessary to succeed inside and outside of the classroom. “T-Mobile believes every child deserves access to the tools they need to be successful in today’s fast-paced online world,” said Ryan Lopes, Government Account Manager, State/Local Government & Education, T-Mobile for Government. “Having a computer at home and access to high-speed wireless can help bridge the digital divide for a whole family – allowing students to keep up with homework while supporting the rest of the family with Internet access as well.” Interested in applying to STCC? Visit stcc.edu/apply or call Admissions at (413) 755-3333.


Ciencias / Science

El Sol Latino Devember 2019

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La neurociencia de la cafeína

¿Conoces a alguien que dice frases como “a mi el café no me hace nada” por JESSICA CABALLERO-FELICIANO o “yo tomo café y me acuesto a dormir”? Pues esto es producto de Muchos decimos que no hay nada mas rico que el olor “tolerancia”. Podemos crear a café recién colado en la mañana. Con solo olerlo nos tolerancia a cualquier droga que ponemos en un mejor estado de ánimo y nos prepara consumamos con mucha frecuencia. para el día. Se cree que el consumo del café comenzó Al tomar café todos los días, el cuerpo aproximadamente en el año 1000 d.c. en Arabia. El comienza a compensar y crea componente psicoactivo del café se llama cafeína, y se tolerancia a la cafeína. La tolerancia, cree que el consumo de cafeína comenzó en el año en este caso de la cafeína, se refiere a 3000 a.c. en India. Hoy día el café sigue siendo la que el cerebro crea mas receptores bebida más consumida en el mundo. En este artículo te de adenosina. El cerebro crea mas explico como es que la cafeína tiene efectos tan receptores de adenosina para que significativos en nuestro cuerpo. Quizás te quieras pueda absorber todas las moléculas preparar una tasita de café y lo disfrutes mientras lees. de adenosina que la cafeína Nuestro cuerpo produce una hormona llamada antagoniza. De igual forma, el cerebro Crédito - es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cafeína adenosina. Los niveles de esta hormona aumentan crea más hormonas de adenosina durante las horas de la noche causando sensaciones de para que sean absorbidos por los nuevos receptores de adenosina y relajación y cansancio para ayudarnos a dormir. La adenosina también necesitas más cafeína para antagonizar esos nuevos receptores. A medida mantiene los niveles de dopamina y noradrenalina bajos. Al uno despertarse que creas mas tolerancia, tienes que consumir mas café o mas luego de haber dormido varias horas, o al recibir contacto con rayos solares, concentración de cafeína para poder sentir los efectos psicoactivos que los niveles de adenosina disminuyen, pero aún continúa en el cuerpo. sentías antes de crear la tolerancia. Ahora imaginemos que te tomas una taza de tu café predilecto. ¿Y el dolor de cabeza que algunos sentimos cuando dejamos de tomar café? Aproximadamente cinco minutos luego de que te tomes tu café, la cafeína Luego del consumo frecuente y crónico de la cafeína, los receptores que llega a tu cerebro, que es donde tiene sus efectos. La cafeína es una droga tenemos en nuestro cerebro están acostumbrados a recibir la molécula de estimulante del sistema nervioso y es lo que se llama un antagonista de la cafeína. Sin embargo, si creaste tolerancia a la cafeína y no te tomas esa adenosina. Es decir, la cafeína bloquea el efecto que tiene la adenosina en taza de café, todos los receptores de adenosina recibirán la adenosina que los receptores que tenemos en nuestro cerebro. La molécula de la cafeína anteriormente competía con la molécula de cafeína y el efecto de la evita que la adenosina entre en contacto con su receptor y causa un efecto adenosina se intensificará. Ahora sentirás cansancio, sueño, dificultad para opuesto - sentimos energía y permite que los niveles de dopamina y concentrarte y el famoso dolor de cabeza – todos síntomas opuestos a lo noradrenalina aumenten. La dopamina y la noradrenalina son que la cafeína causa. neurotransmisores asociados a sentimientos de placer y alerta. Es por esto que sentimos mas energía y motivación al tomar café y su efecto dura por JESSICA CABALLERO-FELICIANO (jcaballerof@umass.edu) es estudiante aproximadamente dos a cuatro horas. en el Neuroscience & Behavior Graduate Program - UMass Amherst.

Pedro Rivera Muñoz presenta el documental Desalambrando continued from page 12 mientras trabajaba con adolescentes en programas de acción de la comunidad de medios, particularmente uno conocido como la Fundación Young Filmmakers, donde conocí a mi futura colaboradora Susan Zeig. Con la Sra. Zeig exploré las posibilidades del movimiento cinematográfico experimental y, finalmente, pude desarrollar una asociación a largo plazo que condujo a la producción de Manos a la Obra: la historia de Operation Bootstrap (1983) y Plena is Work, Plena es Song (1988). “ Manos a la Obra recibió el “Premio a la elección del mejor material no impreso”, mientras que Plena is Work, Plena is Song ganó el premio del “Mejor Documental” en el Festival de Cine San Juan y se describió como “... un bien elaborado y reconocimiento esclarecedor de un vívido arte popular.”

Pedro Angel Rivera Muñoz, tercero de izquierda a derecha, junto a los asistentes a la premier del documental.

Pedro Angel Rivera Muñoz es un distinguido maestro y galardonado cineasta. Pertenece a la generación de cineastas documentales puertorriqueños de los años 70, muchos de los cuales aprendieron sus primeras habilidades de filmación en los Estados Unidos, particularmente en la ciudad de Nueva York. “En Nueva York pude combinar y desarrollar mis intereses y habilidades como maestro mientras me convertía en cineasta; un camino que tomé

En el 2009, rivera Muñoz lanzó el video De Nuestras Manos, Sale Un Tiple A Cantar. Este es un video sobre el Taller de Construcción de Tiples de Puerto Rico, que se llevó a cabo por primera vez en Chicago, Illinois, en agosto de 2006 y el cual se celebra todos los años desde entonces. Desde su regreso a Puerto Rico, Rivera Muñoz ha continuado produciendo documentales además de enseñar en universidades, escuelas públicas, uniones obreras y asociaciones culturales comunitarias. Sus últimos proyectos se han centrado en preocupaciones culturales, particularmente en el campo de la música y la literatura. En los últimos años, ha abrazado el arte de la fotografía como otra forma mucho más personal e íntima de explorar el lado interno de mis experiencias colectivas.


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El Sol Latino December 2019

Fine Arts Center 2019-2020 Season

We Shall Overcome:

A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Featuring Damien Sneed Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 7:30 pm Fine Arts Center Concert Hall

We Shall Overcome is a celebration of African-American music and the civil rights activists who have been inspired and electrified by the tradition. Interspersed with the spoken words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the evening brings together gospel and spirituals with jazz and Broadway tunes. The production is led by Damien Sneed, a conductor and composer whose unique understanding of these genres allows him to fluidly cover much musical ground.

Pre-performance talk in the lobby at 6:30 p.m. $35, $25, $15; FAC Club Seating: $70; Five College Students and Youth 17 & Under: $10 Under40TIX become available for this performance January 10, 2020 Appropriate for all ages This performance is funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies.

For tickets, call: 413-545-2511 or 800-999-UMAS or online at fineartscenter.com

Profile for El Sol Latino

El Sol Latino | December 2019 | 16.1  

Un Periódico Diferente - A Different Kind of Newspaper

El Sol Latino | December 2019 | 16.1  

Un Periódico Diferente - A Different Kind of Newspaper

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