Grahamstown National Arts Festival, South Africa

by Sharis Delgadillo 07/2010

African Rhythms and Movements

"African Rhythms and Movements"

The Grahamstown National Arts Festival in South Africa showcased a plethora of dance, theater, film and musical productions. From from June 20 until July 4, Rhodes University used its various halls and venues to host large audiences that flocked to catch these emerging acts. Hundreds of shows were held daily that composed of local and distant talents. This unique festival created a space for experimentation and expression that would otherwise not have the opportunity to flourish through mainstream media outlets. It was an opportunity for amazingly gifted artists to gain exposure for eager audiences craving originality and stimulation.

African Rhythms and Movements is a dance production that fuses traditional South African dance with live contemporary music. This major



production consist of 25 primarily South African dancers dressed in an array of costumes. The clothes represent the evolution of their dance; from traditional African robes to the roaring 20’s swing dancing suites. The dancers, ranging from 10-21 years-old, chant nine of the official languages during their upbeat acrobatic dances. The production has been touring for two years and was on its way to Portugal after the festival.

Akasha is an assemble of exotic instruments meant to be heard by music connoisseurs. Melodious sounds bloom from the strumming hands of mature musicians from Malaysia. They combine the sounds of instruments such as the sitar, tabla, and mridangam along with Indian, Middle-Eastern and Brazilian rhythms. Some might categorize them as a fusion of world music, but they consider themselves Akasha; infinite space.

"Guy Buttery"

"Guy Buttery"

Guy Buttery, 26, has been performing at the Grahamstown Arts Festival for six years. His acoustic techniques that include playing a sword with a violin string, have the audiences pulling him back for more. These instrumental guitar songs are inspired from his visiting the landscapes of KwaZulu-Natal along with the Zulu and Indian cultures that cultivate them. He has toured all over the US and Europe but consider the Grahamstown festival as “the best in the world.”

Below is a video of the artists described. See them perform and speak on their inspirations and influences:

Cape Town TV

Cape Town TV

The following video was broadcasted on Cape Town TV, produced by Sharis Delgadillo

Massive free clinic helps fill gap for uninsured in Los Angeles

RAM/LA Free Clinic

RAM/Los Angeles Free Clinic at the Memorial Sports Arena. photo by Sharis Delgadillo

by Sharis Delgadillo May 5, 2010

The Remote Area Medical Foundation provided free health care to 6,500 people inside the stadium-sized Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena from April 27 to May 3.

During those seven days, hundreds of adults waited in line for hours to see the bustling volunteer dentists and oral surgeons who were conducting basic procedures such as teeth cleanings and extractions. Other patients sat for hours just to visit the volunteer optometrists for an eye examination and to receive a free pair of eyeglasses.

“Those are the expensive parts of health care that they simply can’t afford, said RAM founder Stan Brock. “And I don’t see there being a solution to this in the near future in any of the new health care legislation,” he said.

According to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research,
the number of uninsured Californian residents increased by 2 million since 2007. There are currently 8.2 million people without health insurance in the state. The reports shows this is directly related to the recent rise in unemployment that has resulted in people’s loss of health coverage. Furthermore, Los Angeles county legislative districts have the most uninsured in the state.

Stan Brock, RAM Founder

Stan Brock, RAM Founder. photo by Sharis Delgadillo

“I wish I could see all of them, but unfortunately the sad part is at the end of the day, sometimes you have to turn hundreds sometimes thousands of people away,” said Brock, whose clinics that were once located overseas are now primarily serving people in the U.S.

Several of the people who went to the RAM/LA Free Clinic were also people who have jobs, but still cannot afford the cost of health care.

“In the Marine Core they had done a filling, and about a year ago it got cracked. I went to see a couple of dentists, but they said that out of pocket I would have to pay about $3,000,” said former marine Gabriel Hurtado, 36, who works part-time and said he cannot afford health insurance.

After a RAM dentist examined his tooth problem, Hurtado received the news that he was going to have one of his teeth pulled.

“Since I was out of the military, the VA (U.S Department of Veterans Affairs) said they really couldn’t do anything for me, so I was on my own. And not having that money, you pay the price by loosing a tooth,” he said.

Many of the people who showed up to this clinic were also low-income Medi-Cal recipients, who were cut from adult dental and optometric care in 2009, after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made budget cuts to close the gap on the state’s $20 billion deficit.

“I had straight Medi-Cal,” said Lavenia Shelman, as she waited in line to enter the sports arena along with her two small children in order to get them eyeglasses. “So I was told to come here because this was the best place to come where they can help you.”

General care was also provided, which included high-blood pressure and sugar checks, acupuncture, HIV-testing, pap-smears and mammograms. Yet, many of the patients who had more sever problems, were given follow-up referrals.

“We are seeing that many of these patients who have hypertension, diabetes, and stomach problems, have never seen a doctor,” said a retired specialist Dr. Eugene Taw. “We were able to give them a one month supply of medicine, and then they would have to make an appointment at their community or free clinic.”

Doctors were able to see their patients privately behind small curtains hung by shower rods on metal poles purchased at Home Depot said Taw, who now donates his with the Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, an organization that has provided a steady source of volunteers to RAM.

“It’s not quite spacious, but spacious enough to see patients,” he said.

The day before the clinic opened, thousands of people stood in line along King Boulevard to obtain a wristband and schedule an appointment for one of the seven days. Many of them slept on the sidewalk overnight only to be accompanied by drizzling clouds.

“It was cold, funny, and drama,” said 7-year-old Kayla Jackson who spent the night outside the sports arena with her mother.

There was an argument between a lady and a 60-year old man she said. “There are winners and losers, and it all really funny to me.”

Statistics provided by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research:

California Health Care Coverage, 2007-2009

California Health Care Coverage, 2007-2009

  • From 2007-2009, the number of people living without health insurance jumped from 6.4 million to 8.2 million; a 28% increase.
  • From 2007-2009, the unemployment rate increased from 5.4% to 12.3%.
  • One quarter of California’s population is currently living without health insurance.

Meet the people who attended RAM/LA Free Clinic:

Exclusive Interview with RAM founder, Stan Brock:

US Census targets immigrants

by Sharis Delgadillo 02/ 2010

2010 sample census form

2010 sample census form

With the 2010 Census right around the corner, major outreach campaigns have been launched to target the Spanish-speaking immigrant population of Los Angeles, in an effort to encourage them to fill out the form by April 1.

Though more than half the city’s population is Latino, this demographic has historically been considered a ‘hard to count’ group.

“Whether they are legal or undocumented, they fear the government,” said Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, the executive director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice-Los Angeles.

“They think it’s illegal that too many people are living in their house, especially in hard times like now with the economy and people consolidating their homes,” she said.



Census offices have developed a ground campaign through partnership programs with faith based organization to reach this community at a grass roots level and help them “overcome their fear,” said Rev. Salvatierra.

This reverend’s organization has partnered with the Network of Pastors and Leaders of Southern California (La Red de Pastores y Lideres del Sur de California), a network of 1,200 congregations, which advocates for immigration reform, and participates in several census activities such as “Census Sunday’s.”

“It’s a Sunday where we will put special focus in encouraging participation,” said the reverend.

Not all faith-based organizations, however, have complied. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders based out of Washington D.C., which has not been reached for comment, have a website encouraging the boycott of the upcoming census, demanding the halting of

California Census Offices

California Census Offices

ICE raids, and the immediate legalization of all immigrants in the U.S.

Their Spanish-language press release, “Before they count us, legalize us,” speculates that the information collected may be “infiltrated” by other departments of the federal government and be used to push anti-immigration reform bills, such as Oklahoma’s HB-1804.

By law, the information collected must be kept confidential under the “iron clad commitment,” and must not be shared within any other department of the federal government. A violation of this law will result in a $250,000 fine.

“The Census will come and go before comprehensive immigration reform will come down,” said the Senior Director of Civil Engagement Jose Cruz, for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. “If you participate in the census, you can elect politicians that can push comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.

Another factor that is being used to encourage the participation of immigrants in the census is that new 10-question form doesn’t ask for a person’s social security number, allowing for undocumented immigrants to be counted as well.

“In the past that has been one of the biggest issues,” said the office manager of the East Los Angeles local census office, Felipe Moscoso. “They are reluctant to give their personal information, especially when it comes to sensitive information as social security numbers.”

In June 2008, a high volume of local census offices grew in Los Angeles County permitting each office to concentrate on a smaller geographical area.

The East Los Angeles office covers an approximate 5-mile radius and will employ 1,200 people as field operators and enumerators.

Major media corporations have also launched air campaigns. Univision is advertising public service announcement and ImpreMedia, the nationwide company that owns newspapers such as La Opinion, have run several print adds.

According to the NALEO Educational Fund Senior Director of Policy, Research and Advocacy, Rosalind Gold, the prediction is that California runs the risk of losing a Congressional seat in the re-apportionment process done after the census data has been calculated.

The state’s overall population growth rate has dropped compared to states such as Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida. California’s Latino population is the only group that has increased, which would help California keep its congressional seats.

“That is why it is very critical that we have a complete count of Latinos,” said Gold.

Gold also said, “It’s important Latinos are part of the redistricting process,” which is when the state determines how many representatives are assigned within its districts.

“What we would hope is that when redistricting is done, you have representatives that are more responsive to the community,” she said.

Currently the federal government has an allowance of $400 billion a year that will be allocated to cities throughout the United States depending on their population.

by Sharis Delgadillo


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