Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day, etcetera

Today, April 22, is Earth Day, a commemoration that began as an environmental education day in 1970 at the behest of Gaylord Nelson, a United States senator: an estimated twenty million people participated in the first Earth Day and it is sometimes called the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

Wendy Weinstein at Film Journal International has given the film The Soloist, directed by Joe Wright and starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr, about the friendship between a journalist and a homeless musician, a very mixed review.

The Los Angeles Times, in association with UCLA, is sponsoring the Festival of Books, scheduled for this coming weekend, April 25th and 26th.

The Ford Foundation is providing ten-million dollars for the establishment of a new foundation to support indigenous American artists, according to the April 21 New York Times. (It is nice to have that news during a time when is watching the new documentary on PBS about the brutal historical treatment of native Americans.)

Yesterday, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report titled Under Siege that focuses on poor Latino workers in the American south, based on surveys conducted with 500 low-income Latinos, legal residents and those not recognized by law, in Nashville, Charlotte, New Orleans, rural southern Georgia, and towns in northern Alabama. According to the Center’s web site, “The survey findings, coupled with accounts from in-depth interviews, depict a region where Latinos are routinely cheated out of wages by employers and denied basic health and safety protections. They are racially profiled by overzealous law enforcement agents and victimized by criminals who know they are reluctant to report crime to these same authorities. Even legal residents and U.S. citizens of Latino descent said racial profiling, bigotry and other forms of discrimination are staples of their daily lives.”