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Welcome to Multilingual Chicago!

A Dark Period of American History

DID YOU KNOW? The Los Angeles City Council recently approved a resolution which recalls the forcible removal of Mexican Americans during the Great Depression. More than 2 million people of Mexican descent were forcibly relocated to Mexico between 1929 and 1944. In California alone, 400,000 American citizens were relocated, many of whom were never able to return to the United States.

Choose Your Language

More than a dozen languages are spoken by hair stylists at GALLERY OF HAIR, 6500 W. Irving Park. According to Michael Giandonato at GALLERY, stylists can assist you in English or in one of the following languages: Italian, Spanish, Greek, German, Russian, Albanian, Arabic, Lithuanian, Romanian, Polish, French, Assyrian and Portuguese. If you have a language preference, just make it known when you call for an appointment at 773-283-0000 or just visit at

Chicago Botanic Garden Holds Japanese Garden Festival

The Chiago Botanic Gardens traditionally holds Japanese garden festivals three times a year in March, May and August. This year the March event will be held Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25, 2012. The Saturday event, "Resilience: Lessons from Japan" starting at 4 P.M., is a tribute created to remember the devastating tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster Japan experienced a year ago. It honors the resilience of the Japanese people. Dance, taiko drumming and garden-inspired lectures are presented by five Japanese Americans.

Three Worlds of Books

Enter into the world of real books in Spanish! TRES AMERICAS BOOKS, 4336 N. Pulaski Rd.,(773) 481-9090, will be celebrating its 24th Anniversary in August. Take a tour with the always pleasant Mr. Humberto Gamboa. He will show you Spanish books for every age and taste: great literature, history, science, humor, children's favorites -- even CDs in Spanish. TRES AMERICAS also has materials to help you acquire Spanish or English. You can find text and workbooks for your child or school. Ask for a coupon for the in-store sale ending March 31, 2012.

Languages Lose Out in 2012

According to a January 11, 2012, article in "Education Week," the omnibus federal spending bill for fiscal 2012 eliminated $27 million for the Foreign Language Assistance Program, in operation for the past twenty years. Some foreign language programs that received multi-year funding will even lose 2012 funds previously approved.

Free Language and Literacy Resources

Washington Learning Systems is making available, at no cost, activities to support the literacy of young children (0-5) in English, Spanish, Vienamese, Mandarin, Somali, Burmese, and Russian. Each activity includes a desription and hints for making the activity fun and developmentally appropriate. An activity checklist helps family members, caregivers and teachers observe skill development. Read on to access these free and reproducible materials.

"Reclaiming Voices of a Lost Generation" -

LOS DESAPARECIDOS: A forum in panel format will be held at the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MEXICAN ART, 1852 West 19th Street, Chicago, on Saturday, December 3, 2011, 12:30 to 3 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT? Hear five human rights advocates bear witness to the time when paramilitary groups in Latin America carried out brutal raids on tens of thousands of children, peasants, workers and students who vanished and were never heard from again.

Is Language Diversity a Problem? Dr. Kim Potowski Responds

Approximately 20% of the U.S. population speaks a language other than English. Some see linguistic diversity as a problem. Dr. Kim Potowski will make the presentation, WHEN "FOREIGN" LANGUAGES AREN'T FOREIGN: HERITAGE SPEAKERS IN THE UNITED STATES. Dr. Potowski, Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at UIC, is the editor of the book, lANGUAGE DIVERSITY IN THE USA. She discusses the myths regarding language uses which are fairly prevalent in the U.S.even today.

Illinois Dream Act Passes, by Elizabeth Murphy

During a recent Republian Presidential debate, candidate Rick Perry announced that, in Texas, students who were brought into the United States illegally by their parents when they were children are entitled under Texas law to pay the same in-state tuition rates as other students. What Perry actually said was, "If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they've been brought there through no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart" (CNN website).However, for whatever reasons, Texas Governor Rick Perry does not support the Federal Dream Act, which would make the right to an education for these undocumented children, a law across the United States.
The state of Illinois recently passed its own version of the Dream Act, which Governor Quinn signed on August 1, 2011.This new Illinois law allows immigrant students, both legal and undocumented, to have access to scholarship funds to use for college.

Value of Language

Language occupies a central position in life. It is the most important medium of thought and the key component of culture. It is the window into the culture of any given group. It is also an individual's identity card. People are judged by how they speak.
- Dr. Lev Soudek, Northern Illinois University
Midwest Conference, November, 1976

What value do YOU place on language? Leave your thoughts at the Forum.

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