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Immigration Not a Popular Topic at Democratic Convention

NAM/EthncNewz, News Report, Eduardo A. de Oliveira Posted: Aug 27, 2008

Editor's Note: Eduardo A. de Oliveira is a Telegraph columnist and an EthnicNewz.org reporter. He is in Denver with nine other ethnic media journalists, all sponsored by California-based New America Media. Send your questions or comments to Oliveira: eduardo.ao@hotmail.com.

Kennedy versus Michelle

DENVER -- Yesterday's speech by Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention still reverberates through Denver.

A combative Kennedy spoke of how "Barack Obama will close the book on the old politics of race and gender, and group against group."

John Matthews, a South Carolina state senator, was surprised to see Kennedy on stage. For Matthews, Kennedy is a leader able to pull Democrats together.

"He lit up our spirits, spoke about important issues, like health care. Nobody disputes he's a great leader."

But the only moment that measured up to Kennedy's emotional remarks was Michelle Obama's speech. The keynote speaker of the night stuck with the theme of family values."She made me a believer that her family will not just sit in that White House. They are going to do something about gas prices, health care," said Buenaventura.

"If the intent was to open her family values for all Americans to see, the speech worked. It felt like as if they were the all-American family just like ours," said the delegate, a son of Philippine immigrants.

A world of perspectives

It's true that a journalist covering his peers is not really a piece of news. Not with the 10 ethnic journalists sponsored by New America Media, a non-profit from California. They bring an array of perspectives to the already complicated DNC coverage. I represent New England readers in Denver and have learned a lot from my peers.

Cindy Yurth works for Navajo Times, a newspaper that caters to the Native American community of Arizona. Contrary with my Hispanic counterparts, immigration is not among Yurth's primary interest. Her people believe that immigrants take jobs that belong to Native Americans.

"A lot of Navajos are for stronger border control. Because the conditions on the reservation are quite comparable to those on the other side of the Mexican border, with no plumbing or electricity on most of the reservation, and the Navajo people are desperate for any kind of jobs."

Although immigration reform is way down her list, the crisis has reached people in her reservation.

"There have been cases where Native Americans, U.S. citizens, have been detained in Mexico because they were suspected of being illegal immigrants posing as Indians to cross the border." Randy Stelly, of Louisiana's The Real Views newspaper, is focused in African American affairs.

He was not too satisfied with what he heard in the African American Caucus yesterday: "Too much of the same", he said.

Stelly is a veteran journalist when it comes to covering minorities. He focuses on interviewing congressmen, like Al Green of Texas. "I pressure them about what can be done to better the lives of African Americans in this country. But I am not pandering to anyone, I am just informing a segment of the population," he said.

Stelly is the kind of journalist who can get fired up at politicians' remarks. "I hate when preachers want to be politicians. Gandhi once said: 'Politicians can be saints, but saints can never be politicians.' "

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