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The journey to recover the accent in official California documents: "Our name is our greatest treasure"


The state legislature is debating a measure so that birth or marriage certificates can have accent marks and tildes that have been prohibited up to now. Plus, in the Axios Latino newsletter, he meets Chef Papi who invented Dominican pizza.


 Axios Latino is the newsletter that summarizes the key news for Latino communities in the hemisphere every Tuesday and Thursday.

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1. The topic to highlight:

Making accents legal

A bill in the US State Assembly seeks to allow the use of diacritical marks — for example the tilde (á) — on birth certificates and other government documents.

If approved, it would represent a social shift since in a 1986 referendum Californians voted in favor of making English the only official language of the state.

News Momentum

: Assembly Bill 77 will go before a state Assembly committee this Tuesday.

The Big Picture

: California is one of the most demographically diverse states in the United States.

But by the 1986 regulations, key records, such as birth certificates, cannot have any spelling marks not used in English.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

  • The ban makes it difficult for Latinos to use accent marks or ñes in their names on official documents.

    In recent years, more American Latinos have been recapturing those signs.

  • Other states such as Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas do accept diacritical marks on their state records, according to California supporters of the proposal.


: The proposal to include the accents and other marks began five years ago when state residents Pablo Espinoza and Nancy Chaires Espinoza tried to process the birth certificate for their newborn son.

  • When trying to register Nicolás Agustín Espinoza Chaires, they were told that accents could not be included in the name.

  • Espinoza says he thought it was due to technological limitations of the keyboard being used.

    But on investigation he found that notaries had stopped accepting spelling marks in 1986 after the referendum.

  • Espinoza did not sit idly by.

    He took advantage of the fact that he worked for the speaker of the state Assembly, Anthony Rendon;

    the Democratic politician and Espinoza, with the support of Nancy Chaires as a lobbyist, promoted a first bill.

    It was approved in 2017, although then-Governor Jerry Brown vetoed it;

    His argument was that implementing the proposal would be very expensive.

  • The bill was taken up this year, introduced by state representative Blanca Pacheco, of Mexican parents.

In his own words:

Among the people who will testify in Tuesday's session in favor of the proposal is Jaime Jarrín.

The legendary Spanish-language announcer for Dodgers games, who retired at the end of last year, tells Axios Latino that it is important to support the measure as a show of respect for the cultural elements that make up someone's name.

  • "Our name is our greatest treasure. And by saying my name [correctly] you respect my culture," says Jarrín.

Yes, but

: The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials opposes the bill;

he says he is concerned about cost and feasibility.

  • Donna M. Johnston, a member of the association, tells Axios Latino that the bill is vague and would need to be clearer that, if implemented, it should be done first at the state level and then in the counties because she is not sure that the


    of computers locally support diacritics.

2. Tragedy in Ciudad Juárez

This morning's fire in a migrant detention center in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, reflects the boiling annoyance of people who feel stuck in limbo.

It hints at yet another of the dangers faced by asylum seekers and others who want to enter the US after fleeing their countries.

At least 39 people die in a fire in an immigration center in Ciudad Juárez

March 28, 202302:27

News impulse

: So far, 39 deaths and 29 others hospitalized have been reported after a fire that started Monday night in the immigration center, on the other side of El Paso, Texas.

  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in his morning conference on Tuesday that the fire started when the detainees found out they were going to be deported.

    They set fire to some mattresses and blankets in protest.

  • At least 28 of the victims are of Guatemalan nationality, according to authorities from that Central American country.

    There are also 13 Hondurans, 12 Salvadorans, a dozen Venezuelans, a Colombian and an Ecuadorian, according to the Mexican Prosecutor's Office.

Big Picture:

Tens of thousands of people from countries including Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba and Northern Triangle nations are in the US-Mexico border area in an attempt to seek asylum in the US or migrate to the US.

  • They are people who have fled violence, political repression, severe shortages of food and medicine, and instability.

  • But with policies on the US side like Title 42, whereby the US expels people who arrive at its ports if they walked or made an illegal crossing, many of these migrants have had to wait for months on the Mexican side for that there is any progress in their immigration procedures.

    There they are exposed to extortion, kidnapping or even forced recruitment by criminal groups, according to reports from international organizations.

In his own words:

Analyst Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, of the nonpartisan group Migration Policy Institute, says that Juárez used to be able to welcome migrants but that the flows have grown so large that they can no longer spread throughout the city.

  • That has generated frustrations along the border cities on the Mexican side.

    In fact, Ruiz Soto says that this is not the first time that small fires have been set as a protest in a detention center.

  • But it has been especially pronounced in Juárez, where in mid-March a group of migrants also tried to cross en masse into El Paso after a rumor spread that the authorities would allow entry into the United States.

  • "This did not come out of nowhere, there have been events that led to this... Perhaps the difference with yesterday's case is that the frustrations in general are much more skin deep in Juárez and El Paso," said the analyst. .

3. Fort Hood will be Fort Cavazos starting in May

US Army authorities confirmed this week that the Fort Hood base will be renamed as early as this May.

The new name will honor the first US Latino to be a four-star general, Richard Cavazos.

"I'm going to take her to Tacámbaro": Ana Basaldua's mother awaits the release of her daughter's body

March 27, 202301:59

News impulse

: In the coming months, several bases will change their names based on a proposal to rename Army sites that allude to leaders of the slave-owning and separatist Confederation that lost the Civil War.

  • The change was proposed in 2022 by a Naming Commission specially formed by the federal Congress, which recommended changing the name to nine bases.

More details:

Cavazos was born in Texas and died in 2017 at the age of 88.

He was also the first Latino brigadier general in the history of the US Army, serving for 33 years, fighting in the Vietnam and Korean wars.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

  • Fort Hood actually refers to John Bell Hood, a general who volunteered for the Confederate army.

4. In her words: Marla Bilonick

Axios Latino is sharing first-hand the voices of influential Latinas during March, when the United States commemorates Women's History Month.

In this issue,

a leader in the NGO world shares how she wants to uplift Latinos.

Who I am

: Marla Bilonick, 49, proudly Latina;

born in Panama, raised in and resident of Washington DC

What I do

: I run the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders-NALCAB.

We promote economic mobility for Latinos through our network of more than 200 nonprofit organizations and community lenders that are helping our community build wealth and build generational wealth.

Photo courtesy of NALCAB.

Background illustration by Natalie Peeples/Axios

What motivates me

: I am inspired by social change and a vision of a brighter future that can be achieved by improving the financial situation of individuals, families, and communities.

  • The entrepreneurial spirit of Latinos is unmatched.

    I have seen it with my own eyes working in parts of Latin America, in New York and in Washington DC I am motivated to emulate that entrepreneurial spirit, striving to find creative and innovative solutions in my work.

  • And of course my three children motivate me;

    one is in college, another in high school, and the third in elementary school.

What my day is like:

Before 8:45 there is the rush of getting the kids to school.

Afterwards, if I have some time, I go to Rock Creek Park to walk through the woods and refocus before the hustle and bustle of the rest of the day.

  • Then I have face-to-face meetings in the downtown area of ​​the city and virtual meetings to which I connect from home.

  • In general, the evenings are spent relaxing at home.

    But from time to time I have to go from event to event where I make links to keep NALCAB in the minds of the people who work in the capital city.

My general goal is:

If with the work I have done I have been able to help even one person or family to have more financial security and with assets that they can leave to future generations, my final objective has already been achieved.

5. Summary of key news in Latin America and the Caribbean


Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

had to cancel a state visit to China scheduled for this week due to pneumonia.

  • Lula is receiving antibiotics and has a concurrent mild case of influenza A, according to the president's doctor.

"Don't be thinking that it's all over": AMLO reacts to the suspension of the so-called 'Plan B'

March 27, 202301:45


The Mexican Supreme Court


criticized this Monday by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador because the court suspended an electoral reform that he defended.

  • The indefinite suspension was ordered on Friday after appeals by the autonomous National Electoral Institute (INE), which said the reform violates constitutional precepts of fairness in electoral contests.

  • The reform, called Plan B, which provoked massive protests, would cut the INE's budget and take away partial control of the voter lists for the executive branch to manage.

6. Farewell Smile: Toston Pizza

A New York Dominican chef's spin on pizza has won him many fans, including artist Cardi B.

This Hispanic chef conquered Cardi B's palate and is the creator of Dominican pizza

March 7, 202302:50


Stephen Rodríguez created the Dominican pizza, which uses patacón-style mashed fried plantains instead of regular dough.

The pizza has mozzarella cheese, fried cheese, chicken and sausage.

  • The dish has gone viral on several occasions.

    In February, Rodríguez (nicknamed

    Chef Papi

    ) announced that he plans to partner with food preparation companies to sell Dominican pizza in other cities.

  • Last year he was hired to cater a birthday party for one of Cardi B's children and has also cooked for other Dominican celebrities.

Thanks for reading us!

We return on Thursday.

Do you want to read any of the previous editions?

Black and Latino families are more food insecure and now they just lost their "first line of defense"

Fears of economic collapse raise fears that Silicon Valley will curb its support for Latinos 

Forgotten Latinas: Few Historic Monuments and Sites Honor Women

This Latino launched his film studio to finance the projects that Hollywood ignores: "I got tired of waiting"

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-03-28

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