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Latin American Youth Center

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  • David McIntire
    Learning Lessons In Getting Along On Common Ground By Courtland Milloy Monday, November 4, 2002; Page B01 On the surface, the differences between Brandon
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 4, 2002

      Learning Lessons In Getting Along On Common Ground

      By Courtland Milloy

      Monday, November 4, 2002; Page B01

      On the surface, the differences between Brandon Jordan and Jose Ramirez appear striking: Jordan, 20, is brown skinned and speaks with the rhythm of a rapper from the District, his home town; Ramirez, 19, is lighter skinned and speaks English with the Spanish undertones of El Salvador, the place of his birth.

      Seeing them approach one another on the streets of Columbia Heights, a caldron of conflict between Latinos and African Americans in Northwest Washington, you might expect an exchange of wary glances, if not outright dirty looks.

      Robberies of Latinos by African Americans are on the rise, and some Latinos are responding by stereotyping all blacks. At some public schools, African Americans and Latinos separate into taunting cliques while, on the streets, the sniping only intensifies, with Latinos yelling racial slurs at passing African Americans and blacks shouting back, "Go back to your country."

      Against that backdrop, what happens when Jordan meets Ramirez is amazing: They hug.

      "What's up, bro?" Ramirez asks as Jordan smiles warmly, holding up a palm for a high five.

      About a month ago, an encounter between another black man and Latino was not so cordial.

      "I feel like killing me some black people," 48-year-old Florentin Bustillo reportedly yelled out as he began following a black man on the street with a knife in hand. "Come on," the black man responded, according to police, before allegedly pulling a gun and killing Bustillo.

      Jordan and Ramirez shake their head at reports of the violence. They know they could be out on the streets behaving the same way had they not gotten involved with Youth Build, a life skills program at the Latin American Youth Center in Columbia Heights.

      There, young men and women whose futures are at risk are given second, sometimes even third chances to continue their education and work together. There, Jordan and Ramirez discovered that they were much more alike than different.

      "It's not all about color, it's about misunderstanding," Ramirez said. "On the first day we met, we weren't that close. But when we got to know each other, we became very close, like family."

      Said Jordan: "I used to hang with my own and do what they wanted me to do. Now I'm doing what I want to do, and sometimes I really like mingling with Latinos. I ask them to teach me Spanish."

      Last week, Jordan and Ramirez graduated from the Youth Build program. Jordan was named the class's most improved student, and Ramirez won a leadership award.

      They walked tall together to receive their certificates.

      "We both have a nice sense of humor," Jordan said. "And when it comes down to work, we give each other a helping hand."

      Still, they must deal with the harsher realities of the neighborhood. Census data show that the black population in Columbia Heights dropped by 6,000 in the 1990s while the Hispanic population grew by more than 5,000.

      "When the Latinos come to black neighborhoods, the black people say, 'We don't like Latinos, or whites,' " Jordan said. "They say, 'We don't want them taking over our neighborhoods.' "

      At Youth Build, their attention had been redirected. Sometimes, their best lessons came from watching others succumb to ignorance.

      "When we were on various construction projects around town, the Hispanics would talk about the blacks not doing anything," Ramirez said. "But they weren't doing anything either, except talking."

      At Youth Build, where they earned general equivalency diplomas, Ramirez and Jordan talked a lot. Jordan learned that Ramirez likes Expeditions; Ramirez learned that Jordan likes Escalades. Both noticed they wore the same kind of clothes -- baggy jeans, sturdy shoes and heavy jackets.

      "I can't say that the only difference is that we speak different languages because Brandon speaks a little Spanish now," Ramirez said with the pride of a tutor. "I guess the only thing really is that we eat different foods."

      Asked to name his favorite food, Jordan replied, "Chicken, fixed any way -- fried, baked, you name it."

      Ramirez raised his eyebrows.

      "Wow," he said. "This is gonna sound funny, but I like the same thing: chicken, barbecued, fried, chicken with rice."

      The way they were smiling, you just knew they'd be breaking bread together soon.

      Email: milloyc@...

      © 2002 The Washington Post Company

    • Kris
      If you want to support the Latin American Youth Center s good work with neighborhood kids, consider volunteering as a tutor. It s once a week, usually 8-9
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 4, 2002
        If you want to support the Latin American Youth
        Center's good work with neighborhood kids, consider
        volunteering as a tutor. It's once a week, usually
        8-9 a.m. on Wednesday mornings, but you can schedule a
        different time if that doesn't work for you. The
        Youth Center's Next Step charter school prepares kids
        who've dropped out of high school (because they have
        babies, have to work, emigrated here without much
        schooling in their home countries, or other reasons)
        work toward their GEDs. Contact information below.

        Kris Raab

        >>> Deborah Good <nextstepvolunteers@...>
        11/04/02 10:55AM >
        Also . . . please help spread the word! We are
        looking for more volunteer tutors willing to give an
        hour or more each week, at a specified time between 8
        am and 4 pm, to help students with basic reading,
        writing, and math. If you know of anyone who might be
        interested, please have them contact Linda Ohmans at
        202-319-2248 or email nextstepvolunteers@...


        --- David McIntire <mail@...> wrote:
        > Learning Lessons In Getting Along On Common Ground
        >
        >
        > By Courtland Milloy
        >
        > Monday, November 4, 2002; Page B01
        >
        >
        > On the surface, the differences between Brandon
        > Jordan and Jose Ramirez appear striking: Jordan, 20,
        > is brown skinned and speaks with the rhythm of a
        > rapper from the District, his home town; Ramirez,
        > 19, is lighter skinned and speaks English with the
        > Spanish undertones of El Salvador, the place of his
        > birth.
        >
        > Seeing them approach one another on the streets of
        > Columbia Heights, a caldron of conflict between
        > Latinos and African Americans in Northwest
        > Washington, you might expect an exchange of wary
        > glances, if not outright dirty looks.
        >
        > Robberies of Latinos by African Americans are on the
        > rise, and some Latinos are responding by
        > stereotyping all blacks. At some public schools,
        > African Americans and Latinos separate into taunting
        > cliques while, on the streets, the sniping only
        > intensifies, with Latinos yelling racial slurs at
        > passing African Americans and blacks shouting back,
        > "Go back to your country."
        >
        > Against that backdrop, what happens when Jordan
        > meets Ramirez is amazing: They hug.
        >
        > "What's up, bro?" Ramirez asks as Jordan smiles
        > warmly, holding up a palm for a high five.
        >
        > About a month ago, an encounter between another
        > black man and Latino was not so cordial.
        >
        > "I feel like killing me some black people,"
        > 48-year-old Florentin Bustillo reportedly yelled out
        > as he began following a black man on the street with
        > a knife in hand. "Come on," the black man responded,
        > according to police, before allegedly pulling a gun
        > and killing Bustillo.
        >
        > Jordan and Ramirez shake their head at reports of
        > the violence. They know they could be out on the
        > streets behaving the same way had they not gotten
        > involved with Youth Build, a life skills program at
        > the Latin American Youth Center in Columbia Heights.
        >
        > There, young men and women whose futures are at risk
        > are given second, sometimes even third chances to
        > continue their education and work together. There,
        > Jordan and Ramirez discovered that they were much
        > more alike than different.
        >
        > "It's not all about color, it's about
        > misunderstanding," Ramirez said. "On the first day
        > we met, we weren't that close. But when we got to
        > know each other, we became very close, like family."
        >
        > Said Jordan: "I used to hang with my own and do what
        > they wanted me to do. Now I'm doing what I want to
        > do, and sometimes I really like mingling with
        > Latinos. I ask them to teach me Spanish."
        >
        > Last week, Jordan and Ramirez graduated from the
        > Youth Build program. Jordan was named the class's
        > most improved student, and Ramirez won a leadership
        > award.
        >
        > They walked tall together to receive their
        > certificates.
        >
        > "We both have a nice sense of humor," Jordan said.
        > "And when it comes down to work, we give each other
        > a helping hand."
        >
        > Still, they must deal with the harsher realities of
        > the neighborhood. Census data show that the black
        > population in Columbia Heights dropped by 6,000 in
        > the 1990s while the Hispanic population grew by more
        > than 5,000.
        >
        > "When the Latinos come to black neighborhoods, the
        > black people say, 'We don't like Latinos, or
        > whites,' " Jordan said. "They say, 'We don't want
        > them taking over our neighborhoods.' "
        >
        > At Youth Build, their attention had been redirected.
        > Sometimes, their best lessons came from watching
        > others succumb to ignorance.
        >
        > "When we were on various construction projects
        > around town, the Hispanics would talk about the
        > blacks not doing anything," Ramirez said. "But they
        > weren't doing anything either, except talking."
        >
        > At Youth Build, where they earned general
        > equivalency diplomas, Ramirez and Jordan talked a
        > lot. Jordan learned that Ramirez likes Expeditions;
        > Ramirez learned that Jordan likes Escalades. Both
        > noticed they wore the same kind of clothes -- baggy
        > jeans, sturdy shoes and heavy jackets.
        >
        > "I can't say that the only difference is that we
        > speak different languages because Brandon speaks a
        > little Spanish now," Ramirez said with the pride of
        > a tutor. "I guess the only thing really is that we
        > eat different foods."
        >
        > Asked to name his favorite food, Jordan replied,
        > "Chicken, fixed any way -- fried, baked, you name
        > it."
        >
        > Ramirez raised his eyebrows.
        >
        > "Wow," he said. "This is gonna sound funny, but I
        > like the same thing: chicken, barbecued, fried,
        > chicken with rice."
        >
        > The way they were smiling, you just knew they'd be
        > breaking bread together soon.
        >
        > Email: milloyc@...
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > � 2002 The Washington Post Company


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      • Emmi Covington
        http://www.layc-dc.org/ Peace, Emmi Wendy Acosta wrote: Does anyone here have information on this organization? I can t find a website for them. I ve been
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 10 7:06 PM
          http://www.layc-dc.org/
          Peace,
          Emmi


          Wendy Acosta wrote:
          Does anyone here have information on this organization? I can't find a
          website for them. I 've been meaning to walk in and find out what they
          do ,etc.
          I have seen them send emails about the big sister/big brother program
          which I was not able to do.

          I'm interested in contributing a printer and a used laptop.that's in
          great condition. I dont want to give this to a place where it gets
          purchased by someone that doesnt really need it, and can afford retail.
          Basically, I would like to contribute to a place that helps people look
          for jobs, etc.

          If someone has a link, i would appreciate it.
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