Go back to San Antonio!

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for Sebastien De La Cruz.

The 11-year-old San Antonio native got to sing the national anthem at the start of Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, and the media followed the racist reaction his performance  received on Twitter.

One twat tweeted, “Why do they have this illegal immigrant singing the National Anthem?” Another asked, “Who dat lil #Wetback sangin the national anthem at the #Heat game????”

On Wednesday morning, Sebastien appeared on a local television show and defended himself with grace:

“My father was actually in the Navy for a pretty long time, and I actually salute him today for that. People don’t know — they just assume — that I’m just Mexican. But I’m not from Mexico. I’m from San Antonio, born and raised — a true Spurs fan.”

The story could’ve ended there, with smiles all around. But, last night, little Sebastien stepped out onto the court for a second time to deliver an encore performance.


America — land of the free, home of the brave… and birthplace of El Charro de Oro.


Fenced out

While the debate over immigration reform rages in Congress, thousands of families are being kept apart by laws and a fence.

United We Dream’s Operation Butterfly calls for family reunification as part of the effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform. And to show the heartache caused by current immigration policy, the group released a video of children coming face to face with the parents they haven’t seen in years.

The issue hits close to home for me, as I’ve just returned from a trip to Juárez to meet my father-in-law. My wife was born in Juárez and brought to Chicago when she was only 2 years old. Her father was forced to return to Mexico eight years ago, leaving his five daughters in the United States, after making a simple mistake with his paperwork.

Something must be done about the current situation, because only bad laws tear apart good families.


Sen. Habla Español

While we’re on the issue of immigration reform, did you see Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) deliver an entire speech in Spanish from the Senate floor?

I’ve heard a few people giving the senator some flack for what they view as Hispandering, but, for the most part, people applauded Kaine on becoming the first senator to deliver a speech from the Senate floor in a language other than English.

It took guts for Kaine to do that, considering many Americans apparently weren’t ready to see a Mexican-American boy sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the NBA Finals.

Kaine’s speech is just another step in the Latinization of America. First Latinos got America to watch soccer. Now we have their senators speaking Spanish.

I  for one can’t wait till they add “Latino Time” as one of the official time zones.


Quítate Tú Pa’ Parademe Yo

Yesterday marked the start of the 31st Annual Puerto Rican Festival in Humboldt Park.

This year’s festivities bring a bit of added excitement, as is it was announced in April that the city’s two Puerto Rican parades — the one downtown and the one in HP — would be joined into one for the first time. The parade begins at noon at Division and Western.

So put on your best guayabera and head over to the park this weekend to eat some bacalaítos, alcapurrias and jibaritos till you explode, or dance to rhythms of la isla del encanto till your feet fall off.

The festival runs through Sunday and ends at 10 pm each day.

So, dale! — but only after this last bit of news….


The Comatose Giant

The Pew Research Center reported this week that more eligible Latino voters stayed home on Election Day last year than headed to the polls.

Though a record 11.2 million Latinos voted in November 2012, making up a record 8.4 percent of the American electorate, a full 12.1 million eligible Latino voters failed to fulfill their civic duty. In the end, the percentage of eligible Latino voters who actually voted was lower in 2012 than it was in 2008, going from 49.9 percent to 48 percent.

What’s going on?

Latinos seemed to be excited by their growing population and the gradual but sure march toward a more diverse America, but most Latinos still refuse to become fully integrated into that new America. How much will our numbers be worth if we don’t do anything?

How strong are 50 million Latinos if only a few are brave enough to have their voices heard?


[Photo: hesenrre via Flickr]

Published by Hector Luis Alamo

Hector received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. Since then, he has written for various publications, including the RedEye, where he is an opinion columnist. He is a regular contributor for Latino Rebels and a staff writer at La Respuesta, a nationwide publication focused on the Puerto Rican Diaspora. Hector is formerly the managing editor at Gozamos, as well as an associate editor at Being Latino. He also writes fiction and poetry.