Category Archives: Events

Immigration Issues in the Americas

Immigration Issues in the United StatesImmigration has always been one of the biggest issues in the United States. It is a source of economic vitality and demographic dynamism as immigrants from all corners of the world are also taxpayers, job seekers and consumers. However, the immigration system in the country is in need of improvement. The U.S. border is now more secure than ever but failure to address systematic issues like citizenship for undocumented immigrants still remains a problem.

Here are some of the latest and most important facts about immigration in the country.

Today’s Immigrant Population

Foreign-born population. As of 2012, there are 40.7 billion foreign-born immigrants living in the country. Only 18.6 million are naturalized U.S. citizens and 22.1 million non-citizens. In the past decade, there was a tremendous increase in the population of foreign-born individuals living in the country. In fact, the number has more than doubled since 1960 and the immigrants are more diverse too. Also, there are more foreign-born women as compared to men and they are slightly older than the native-born community.

Undocumented Immigrant Population

The undocumented immigrant population in the U.S. is stable today even after undergoing a dramatic decline during the recession period. In the year 2000, the number of undocumented immigrants in the country was estimated to 8.4 million that reached up to 12 million in 2007 but later on decreased during the Great Recession period. Mexicans are a large part of the undocumented population in the country. The top 6 states that serve as home for these individuals include California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois and New Jersey. Majority of these immigrants have been living in the country for a long time already and most of them are eligible for green card sponsorship but could not change their status because they are still undocumented.

Demographics and Political Power – Growing in Number

Latinos and Asian Americans form a big part of the U.S. population. The Hispanic community is the fastest growing ethnic group in the country. They comprise 16.9 percent of the U.S. population while Asian Americans make up 5.1 percent. The Hispanic population grew by an estimate of 43 percent in a period of 10 years. As compared to the population growth among whites, this is a tremendous increase. Moreover, immigrants and their children are quickly becoming a big part of the Latino electorate. In fact, they made up 55 percent of eligible voters in the year 2012.

Obama’s Action on Immigration Raised Applause from the Hispanic Community

Obama's Executive Act on Latino Immigration IssuesThe Executive Act

‘Obama has shown great courage to stand with us.’ This is just one of the statements that the grateful Hispanics have expressed about the amnesty that the President granted them a few days ago.

Last Thursday, President Barack Obama executed an action to protect the undocumented Latino immigrants from deportation. This shielded around 4 to 5 million ‘illegal aliens’ and gained support from the vast majority of Hispanics and non-Hispanic voters under the age of 35. This is according to the latest national polls. The tremendous support that the President gained from these two growing groups may have a big impact on the voter turnout and party affiliation that will happen in the year 2016.

According to the national poll conducted by the Latino Decisions and which was also appointed by two pro-immigration reform organizations ( and Mi Familia Vota), around 90 percent of Hispanic voters stated that they strongly support the action done by the President. Moreover, the said action also garnered the same reaction from around 72 percent of voters that are under the age of 35 – as reported by Hart Research Associates.

The poll by Hart Research also showed that both men and women from areas that supported Obama and Mitt Romney two years ago have expressed the same favorable reaction to the executive action. All in all, they comprised 67 percent of the registered voters in the country. The act implemented by Obama did not only protect the undocumented Latinos, it also called for the provision of temporary work permits to eligible immigrants. This should help open better job opportunities for the Hispanic community.

Dismayed Complaints about the Act

Despite the vast support from the majority, there are also those that expressed their disappointments about the said executive act. They said that it didn’t cover enough undocumented immigrants in so far to shield all of them from deportation. The executive action only covers Latinos who have not committed a crime, lived in the country for at least 5 years and/or parents of a legal resident or a U.S. citizen child. Obama’s action last Thursday does not allow them to be citizens of the country but it enables them to get a legal work permit.

Stated in Numbers

The Hispanic community living in the U.S. has reached 54 million as of July 2013. The percentage increase is around 2.1% since 2012. As of today, California has the largest growth in Latin population with Texas coming in second place. In fact, the number of Hispanics living in this state has increased by 213,000 from 2012 to 2013.

Fiesta DC

Fiesta DCWhat We Are About

Fiesta DC is a non-profit group that has sponsored and supported various events all throughout the year. These events include neighborhood talent shows, Christmas giving programs, Thanksgiving basket contributions and many more – all geared towards helping the less fortunate members of the Hispanic community.

Fiesta DC is more popular in throwing and hosting the Latino Festival. This celebration continuously grows every year, in attendance and in the variety of performances included. This year, there were around 180,000 people who joined the festival held at the Constitution Avenue. The only sad thing about it is that the costs related to the festival have also increased.

Fiesta DC has celebrated its 43rd year this 2014 in recognition to the Latinos as the fastest growing minority group in the United States. In the District of Columbia alone, the percentage has grown by 28%. As of today, there are over 64,000 Hispanic individuals residing in the District which means that they comprise roughly 10% of the entire population.

In their goal to preserve and promote the Hispanic culture, they are strengthening the organization by broadening their focus to build the capacity of the Latin community; welcoming participants, attendants and those who wish to play both parts.

They want to be the pillar in promoting local talents and developing the team building skills of the next generation to carry out the group’s core mission and vision. They want to announce that they are offering the youth volunteers the chance to develop their skills in sales and event management, customer service and even communication skills. The org also wants the young ones to improve their self-confidence so they can carry out a successful operation that Fiesta DC aims for.

 Fiesta DC Highlights

They have prepared an amazing line-up of groups that performed in the parade held this year, 2014. Fiesta DC also had excellent vendors and sponsors that they want to extend their gratitude to.

The festival this year took place at the Constitution Avenue and 7th Street NW and moved east to 14th Street NW. It all happened on a Sunday, just a few days ago – September 21, 2014 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. They opened the staging area at around 8 am where they have arranged the parade to begin. Gladly, all of the participating groups were in their assigned space and the event was able to commence at 10 am.

With the help of sponsors and vendors, Fiesta DC will hopefully hold another successful Latino Festival next year.

Cinco de Mayo in Washington

cinco de mayoIn Washington D.C., they make it a point to celebrate the Cinco de Mayo on an annual basis. During this celebration, they feature live music and dance, children’s arts and crafts workshops, food, games and many fun activities for the entire family. This event is originally Mexican but through the years, it became a larger “Latin American Family Reunion” that is held at the National Mall. Everyone is invited to join the celebration, Hispanics or otherwise, as it is free and will be held rain or shine. People who want to be a part of Cinco de Mayo do not have to pay any entrance or registration fee.

Many people take advantage of this event to discover the interesting culture, history and ethnic diversity of the Latin American residents of the United States. Through the years, the Hispanic community in the country has grown tremendously. As the population grows, the celebration of the Cinco de Mayo followed suit – in size and in scope. This celebration in Washington D.C. is hosted by the Maru Montero Dance Company.

About the Host

 This Latin Dance company performs a variety of numbers – Mexican Folk, cha-cha, Mambo, Salsa, Tango and many more. Their dances are all derived from the Latin American heritage. The company was created by the former Ballet Folklorico de Mexico lead dancer, Maru Montero. The group is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting the joy and beauty of Latin culture in the country. The company performs at various venues around the area and provides a variety of Latin dance performance programs. Their numbers are just one of the things to look forward to during the Cinco de Mayo.

Food and Location

The food served during the Cinco de Mayo celebration is a wide selection of the famous Hispanic dishes. Tacos, chile rellenos, guacamole and tostadas are just some of the things that you may see on the spread. This event is also an excuse for some people to drink excessive beer, tequila, margarita, etc. Whatever you would like to do during the Cinco de Mayo, the important thing is for you to have fun and create beautiful memories with family and friends. That is the way Latin Americans celebrate every event that they have on their calendar. The location of the event is at the National Mall wherein the closest Metro Station is Smithsonian.

The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

This organization’s goal is to help develop the network and sources that assist businesses’ growth and progress. There are more than 1500 businesses that participate in their annual events, majority of which are members of the group. There are a variety of participants – from small businesses to Washington’s biggest and most popular ones.

They strongly encourage every business owner to join and be a part of their organization. No matter what the business type is, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is opening their doors. Just give them the opportunity and they will help in the success of anyone’s business – from networking to education, they can handle it!

Mission and Vision

Just like any other group, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has its own mission and vision that guide them in their activities. Their mission is to promote and facilitate the success of Hispanic and other minority-owned businesses and the communities they serve through networking, outreach, advocacy and education. Furthermore, their vision is to build a stronger and fortified business network for the competitive future of the entire area.

GWHCC Foundation Programs

Here are some of the organizations well-known programs:

  • Business Expo – the annual business expo was launched in 2010 as the group’s main event in the goal of connecting minority businesses with potential clients and the organizations that help them grow. This business expo is held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center during the first 3 months of the year. In fact, the last business expo was able to attract at least 850 participants and 80 exhibitors.
  • Annual Gala – this is the most important fundraising event of the org. The annual gala serves as a chance for GWHCC to promote the importance and contributions of the Hispanic businesses in the DC Metropolitan community. This is the time when they celebrate the group’s success together with their members, sponsors, partners, corporations and the whole community.
  • Chamber Committees – GWHCC encourages the participation of its members to help in promoting the growth of the organization’s initiatives. Some of the active committees of the group are Government Affairs Committee, Fundraising Committee and the Membership Committee.
  • Monthly Network Events – GWHCC has made it a habit to hold a networking event every once in a month. During these events, members and friends are given the opportunity to expand their social network. Majority of the networking events that they conduct are co-hosted by their sponsors and affiliates. The main goal of such events is to allow everyone to make new contacts and relationships.

The Que Pasa Festival in Virginia

festivalThe Hispanics are well-known for the enthusiastic way that they throw their parties. The Que Pasa Festival is just one of the many events that highlight the food, music and art of Latin American communities in VA.


Hispanics pride themselves in their delicious and tasty spread that is rich in flavors and spices. Here are some of the festival’s food vendors for the year 2014.

  • Happy Empanada – the owner of the shop is thrilled to bring her unique Panamanian flavor to the streets of Virginia. Lucy, the owner, immigrated to the United States in 1975 and brought with her the delicious Latin cuisine that she grew up to.
  • La Palmera – an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant that serves delicious native cuisines such as arroz blanco and habichuelas guisadas.
  • Nader’s Bistro – offers great local and Mediterranean favorites. They specialize in rotisserie style dinners and serve New Yorks style pizza, Subs and Pasta.
  • Pollo Campero – started as a small resto in Guatemala that served the most tender and tasty chicken. Now they are serving many other dishes that have the freshest ingredients and spices from all around Latin America.


Every year, the Hispanic community in VA invites different artist to celebrate the festival with them. Below is a list of the invited artists and entertainers for this year.

  • All American Group
  • Antonio Hidalgo Paz – Flamenco Dancer
  • Ban Caribe – an exciting blend of Afro-Cuban, Latin, Caribbean and soulful rhythm and blues all held together with pulsating percussion.
  • Bolivian Folklore
  • Capoeira
  • Conjuto Sason Band
  • International Dance Club
  • Kevin & Flaco – DJ’s
  • DJ Taz
  • Latin Ballet
  • Michael Douglas Magic
  • And many more…

Artisans and Vendors for 2014

  • Alternatives
  • Artesania Columbiana
  • Body Wrap Diva
  • Chacon
  • Crafts & Toys
  • De Guate
  • Diana’s Zumba Wear
  • Diva Fashion Collections
  • Doris’ Flowers & Crafts
  • Forever Dreams
  • Impulse Boutique
  • And many more…

A Brief History on Que Pasa Festival

The first Que Pasa Festival was held 10 years ago and was hosted by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Ever since that time, the number of Hispanics living in VA has almost doubled to about 633, 945 – this is according to the 2010 US Census. As an estimate, there should be 15,000 people who will join the Que Pasa Festival this 2014.

Uncovering More of the Hispanic Heritage Month

hispanic heritage monthIt was in September 17, 1968 that the United States Government officially announced and mandated a law that recognizes the many contributions and accomplishments of the Hispanic community. It was also then that the country started celebrating the Hispanic Heritage Month. The said law was also expanded in the year 1998 and ever since then, the festival is annually celebrated come September 15. The main purpose of celebrating this event is to pay respect to the cultural diversity and helpful contributions of the Latin residents of the U.S. Schools have made sure that all of their students and teachers are aware of this celebration. They wanted to instill this awareness in order to encourage the people to pay respect to the Hispanics living in the country.

What’s in Store for Schools Regarding the Hispanic Heritage Month

The Office of Equity and Assurance has designed a bundle of information that schools in Maryland can use to assist them during the celebration of the Hispanic Heritage Month. The corresponding faculties may either adapt or modify the guide. It’s up to them to make the whole month program well-suited for their students.

Helpful Suggestions for Schoolwide Activities

  • The “Hispanic Heritage Minute” – this consists of daily announcements about notable people, events, holidays and anything that is related to the Hispanic community. These announcements will help enrich the students knowledge about their Latin sisters and brothers.
  •  Musical Moments – playing of Latin music samples that are approved by the BCPS will also help in setting the mood of the students. They will learn to appreciate the talents of the Hispanics and probably even be inspired by them. Moreover, the school can organize a concert wherein Latin performers can showcase their talents for the parents and students to watch. Setting up a snack bar filled with Spanish-inspired dishes would also be a great idea.
  • Show What You Know – this activity is filled with puzzles and trivia about the Hispanics. Some schools make it more fun by turning it into a scavenger hunt.
  • Appreciate Latino Literature and Encourage Writing – this one is all about the literary contributions of the Hispanics. What teachers can do is find poetry, quotes or short readings that are written by Latino authors. They can have these read aloud in class or announced in the school’s sound system. To make it more entertaining, they can assign the students to interpret it through a dance or act.
  • Food for Thought – this activity is one that many people love. It includes eating famous Hispanic delicacies. The cafeteria usually dedicates one whole day to cooking and serving tradition Latino food. The menu includes tacos, burritos, corn and many more. The faculty also encourages their students to have dinner with their families at a local Latino restaurant. There are a number of good Latin restaurants all around Maryland, Taco Bell is just one of them.
  • Wall of Fame – displaying a Hispanic-inspired “wall of fame” at school is also a great idea. This can include posters or drawings of Great Hispanic Americans. It is an effective way to show the students that the Latinos are indeed influential in many things. After all, there is a lot of Hispanic artists, writers and inventors.

Hispanic Dental Association Foundation Together with Procter & Gamble Supports Aspiring Dentists

Hispanic Dentist treating patientThe Hispanic Dental Association Foundation (HDAF) is an organization that is dedicated in promoting and improving the oral health of the entire Hispanic community residing in the United States. The members of this foundation are Latinos who have successfully completed their degrees in dental care. There are also students who are honored to be a part of the HDAF. They all work hand in hand in commissioning the dental services for their fellowmen. They continuously look for ways to upgrade the information, education and utilities related to oral health for the Spanish residents of the country.

And this time, they have fortified the foundation by tying up with one of the most trusted health companies in the world – Procter & Gamble. Currently, P&G serves around 4.8 billion people across the nation together with renowned brands like Gillette, Pampers, Pantene, Ace, Ambi Pur, Ariel, Bounty, Duracell, Oral-B and a lot more. It is said that this company operates in around 70 different countries and is continually growing through the years. It is, without a doubt that P&G is a top choice among brand owners and consumers as well. The company has kept their stellar reputation intact and is still striving to be better with they do.

What could be better than these two companies tying up? Both HDAF and P&G are working for the greater good of oral health for the entire Hispanic community. They are untiringly supporting those who would like to pursue a career in this field. In fact, they have granted a couple of scholarships to well-deserving Spanish individuals. They have taken the opportunity to announce the names of the lucky recipients during the first day of the Hispanic Dental Association annual meeting. This gathering is considered to be one of the biggest get-togethers of the oral health professionals residing in the United States.

Moreover, the scholarship grants were given to about 16 aspiring Hispanic dental students who live in the country. The students should already be accepted in an accredited dental, dental hygiene, dental assisting, dental technician or any dental related course. The criteria used for picking these students include leadership skills, demonstration of scholastic achievement, community service, impressive academic performance and the dedication to help in the improvement of the oral health care for Hispanic people. After all, HDAF and P&G are organizations that aim to better the services and products related to the dental industry. It is only expected that they also work to help aspiring dentists in advancing their careers.

What’s more is that aside from granting these scholarships, HDAF and P&G have also worked hand-in-hand to correct the misapprehensions of the Hispanic community when it comes to oral health. These groups saw to it that the Spanish people are given the right information and proper services in relation to dental care. This year 2013, their focus lies on the success of the next generation of Hispanic dental professionals. They have taken a step further by also tying up with Univision to educate the Latin community about the importance of oral care and assist aspiring dental professionals.

Rockville, Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers Celebrate a Night of Stars with the Hispanic Community

“Possibilities.” Focusing, Norma Guevara spelled out the word letter by letter in her mind. On a piece of paper, Max Major, a nationally renowned magician, scribbled. Max Major dazzled the crowd when Norma spoke the very word he had written.

Noche de Estrellas, a night of stars, was everything the name suggests: magic, music, and memories. Lively Latin music and a sea of attendees salsa dancing across the room marked the celebration of the Hispanic culture and the people who make strides every day to better the neighborhoods across Montgomery County. Amongst the crowd of leaders in the Hispanic community were those who supported them, including Elizabeth Bermudez and Norma Guevara, two of our Portner & Shure Spanish department paralegals.

The Montgomery County Hispanic Heritage Celebration’s Noche De Estrellas by Telemundo Washington, D.C. raises money to support the non-profit organization that has helped countless immigrants, Ayuda. Ayuda is a nationally recognized organization that provides low-income immigrants of all nationalities legal and social services in the local area.

The Ayuda organization is one that is close to the heart of the Portner & Shure family. At the age of 14, Elizabeth Bermudez and her brother left everything they ever knew in their home country of El Salvador to come to America. Their plan was to join their mother who had come to the United States many years prior. Facing the dangers of crossing the border into a strange, new country at a young age, Elizabeth and her brother navigated their way to Maryland where their mother awaited their arrival. Elizabeth was soon taken to Ayuda to obtain proper documentation. Ayuda not only reunited her with her mother, but also gave Elizabeth the opportunities and education of which she always dreamed.

Elizabeth is planning a trip back to El Salvador soon. She still reminisces today about the balmy, tropical weather, luscious fruit, and homemade pupusas. In the mean time, she is happy that she has found a place at Portner & Shure where she is able to celebrate her Hispanic heritage every day and is able to give back to the organization that brought her here. Ayuda gave her the greatest gift of all – the gift of possibilities.

Night of the Stars

Hispanic Community Takes on Festivals in Maryland

Latinos in Maryland

Latinos are well-known for their spices and their love for vibrant colors. They feel most at home when they are surrounded by bright and sunny hues. And this is because it greatly reflects their personalities – fun-loving, humorous, uproarious and very friendly. The Hispanic community that lives in Maryland is the best example of the stated descriptions above. They know how to have a good time and they are famous for throwing some of the most amusing parties ever.


The LatinoFest at Patterson Park in Baltimore is a solid proof of the fact that the Hispanics are unbeatable when it comes to holding a soiree. This festival is a celebration of the Latino culture – food, music, etc. This happens every year and the Hispanic community is always a great part of this event. The LatinoFest usually lasts for two straight days that is filled with laughter and fun. People of all ethnic backgrounds come together at the Patterson Park to party in the spirit of the Latinos. From the type of music that is played to the kind of food that is served, everything is undoubtedly a representation of the said tribe.

The Hispanic community is pretty fond of celebrating festivals such as this one. The LatinoFest is said to be sponsored by the Education Based Latino Outreach. EBLO was established in the year 1980 with the mission of providing better educational opportunities and cultural programs to the young Hispanics and their families. This group was founded by the late Jose Ruiz together with a group of community activists who want to create a brighter future for the Hispanics who live in Baltimore. Some of the members of this committee have experienced discrimination in the schools that they have attended. This is what drove them to build a learning center for children with limited English proficiency (LEP). EBLO has been a source of quality education ever since.

The LatinoFest last year 2010 was celebrated by the Hispanic community on the southeast corner of the Patterson Park. This park is located near the intersection of S. Linwood avenue and Eastern avenue. The admission fee for adult Hispanics was $5 per head while children under the age of twelve are admitted for free. They also had a series of events lined up for the two-day celebration. The sponsors put up a stage that they named after the founder of EBLO – Jose Ruiz. At noon, the music was operated by DJ Andy and at 1 in the afternoon they had Latin American Folk Dancing.
The other fun activities that took place during that day included Pachamama USA, an award ceremony, Rumba Club Essemble, La Firma, Patrick Alban, the Latin Thing and a closing program. They also had a different program for the second day of the LatinoFest. But it is still characterized with the same ardor and life as the first day of the party. The Hispanic community is strongly passionate when it comes to throwing a fun-filled and exciting event. There has never been a year that gone by that the Hispanics have taken for granted the celebration of this much awaited annual fest.