Hispanic-owned businesses booming, a news roundup

student protests end in arrest for some

Students march on despite disciplinary warnings
— reported by KHOU CBS Channel 11

Students protesting proposed immigration reform continued their march again Wednesday, despite warnings of disiplinary action from school administrators.

HPD reports two protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct in the 1200 block of Alabama. It’s not clear what school they attend.

The largest protest Wednesday involved about 150 students who walked out of Galena Park High School and gathered in the stadium.

Alvin High School reported about 100 students meeting before the start of the school day to protest. They marched northbound on Highway 35 to the Pearland city limits with a police escort, spokeswoman Shirley Brothers said.

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“The consequences for students who violate the standards of conduct will be more severe. A repeat of [Tuesday’s] demonstrations could cause students to be suspended for up to three days, or be removed,” a statement from HISD superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra said.

what makes thousands of students protest?

In a generation best-known for disconnecting and apathy than for political activitism, getting thousands of students to take on stiff monetary penalties and possible expulsion to participate in civil disobedience is a minor miracle. What exactly prompted this reaction? Family.

Students see issue as attack on families
Many youths in protest have elders who came to U.S. illegally

— reported by the Houston Chronicle

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In a bill passed in December, the U.S. House included a measure making it a felony to be in the country illegally. The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected that measure Monday as it began debate on the issue.

Arguelles distributed the flier at school in the morning, which emboldened many of the students to walk out of class despite a campus lockdown. In the rest of the message, he detailed why he wanted his peers, who were all Hispanic, to walk out.

That didn’t include any discussion of the hot-button issues currently being deliberated — a guest worker program, penalties on employers who hire immigrants and beefed-up border security. Instead, he noted that they might not have this life had their elders not come to this country seeking opportunity.

Immigration activists and experts said that many Hispanic youths view the immigration proposal as a personal attack on their families.

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On Monday, nearly 150 students from Eisenhower High School protested proposed immigration reform laws by walking nine miles to an immigration office.

These students “are the future generation,” Romo said. “They are the ones who are going to inherit what we do with this country.”

Spanish media played a key role in organizing protests

I know that in Houston one of the biggest complaints from the community was that the protests didn’t get any advance press and almost no mainstream press until highschoolers ditched school on Monday for an impromptu long-walk and protest. (That was a long sentence!)

Apparently, that wasn’t the case in other cities.

Spanish-Language Media Rally Immigrants
— reported by Yahoo News

The marching orders were clear: Carry American flags and pack the kids, pick up your trash and wear white for peace and for effect.
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Many of the 500,000 people who crammed downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest legislation that would make criminals out of illegal immigrants learned where, when and even how to demonstrate from the Spanish-language media.

For English-speaking America, the mass protests in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities over the past few days have been surprising for their size and seeming spontaneity.

But they were organized, promoted or publicized for weeks by Spanish-language radio hosts and TV anchors as a demonstration of Hispanic pride and power.

In Milwaukee, where at least 10,000 people rallied last week, one radio station manager called some employers to ask that they not fire protesters for skipping work. In Chicago, a demonstration that drew 100,000 people received coverage on local television more than a week in advance.

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ProjectGRAD suffers setbacks

Project GRAD to trim 30 jobs as funds decline
The scholarship program for HISD students struggles to stay afloat

— reported by the Houston Chronicle

Dwindling federal and local funding will force Project GRAD Houston to lay off roughly 30 employees in the next two months — cutting the workforce of the nonprofit group that provides college scholarships to low-income students to about half of what it was a year ago, officials said.

Among those to step down will be Executive Director Roy Hughes, whose last day will be March 31. Other staff cuts are coming from the business and the elementary school divisions, officials said.

[snip]

Currently, 142,000 students at 70 HISD schools participate in the Project GRAD program that promises $4,000 scholarships to students who graduate with at least a 2.5 grade-point average. Those schools also use the nonprofit’s discipline, math, reading and parent engagement programs.

But the program has been called into question over the last year by leaders of the Houston Independent School District, who recently made plans to cut $1.9 million of the $3.2 million stipend that they provide Project GRAD this year.

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