Cemetery Tells of Culture Crossings

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photo by Denise Minor

by Denise Minor

South of the town of Knight’s Landing off Road 113 sits Mary’s Chapel and Cemetery. The white church is stoic and plain with a narrow steeple that punctures the sky. The graveyard behind it has thick grass and ancient tombstones clustered by families.

Names on the stones are decidedly German and English. The Longs, Kennedys and Glascocks all boast “Native of England.” Interspersed among them are families with names such as Shneegas, Zimmerman and Clausen. Some read “Native of Germany” and others “Native of Bavaria.” In a clearly demarcated plot rests Henry Clausen 1826-1901 on one side and Catherine Clausen 1840-1922 on the other. Between them are the gravestones for Charlie 1870-1888, Julia 1869-1871, and Minnie 1875-1895. Did this man and woman suffer three times what many of us would consider the worst experience possible — the death of a child? Were there other offspring who survived? read more

Familia dividida por la migra

por Leslie Layton

Un lunes en marzo a las 6:30 de la mañana, un señor salió de su casa en Chico con un amigo rumbo a la tienda, para comprar leche antes de ir a trabajar. Al arrancar su carro, se dio cuenta que una camioneta Durango, que anteriormente vio estacionada frente a su casa, le seguía. Paró su carro y la camioneta paró también.

Oficiales de Inmigración (ICE por sus siglas en inglés) se le acercaron, diciendo que querían hacerles unas preguntas. Querían verificar sus nombres y ver sus identificaciones. Preguntaron si ellos tenían “papeles” para comprobar residencia legal. Él y su amigo eran inmigrantes sin documentos y por eso los oficiales les pusieron esposas y los metieron en la parte trasera de la camioneta. read more

Chico Attorney’s Water Project Quenches Thirst, Ambition

Ron Reed Loading Drill

photo by Erik Aguilar

by Ron Reed

When Besta Mlowe was born 18 years ago in the town of Ifunda in Tanzania, it seemed this would be her future: she would marry young, have many children, be dominated by her husband and live in a mud hut.

Mlowe was the second born in a family of four children. When she was 2, her father abandoned the family. When she was 14, her mother died. She and her siblings had been working in the fields to get money for food, and Besta had been to primary school and had learned to read in Swahili.

After her mother’s death, the four Mlowe children went to live with their grandparents in a village in the Kilolo District of Iringa. Now, her grandfather is 85 and unable to work. The children cultivate maize and beans, living in a small hut with a dirt floor. read more

Caught up in ICE’s Net

by Leslie Layton

At about 6:30 a.m. on a recent March Monday, a Chico dad left his home with a friend to pick up some milk before going to a construction job. He noticed he was being followed by a Durango van that had parked near his house, and when he stopped, the van parked, too.

He was approached by officers from Immigration, Customs & Enforcement (ICE) who had a few questions. They wanted to verify his name, see identification and know whether he had “papers” that prove legal residency. He and his friend — both undocumented immigrants — were soon handcuffed and placed in the back of the van. read more

Truancy Arrests Sow Fear in Orland

by Leslie Layton

When Shannon Anderson asked the police who were on the porch of her Orland home why they planned to arrest her, an officer radioed the question to headquarters.

It was a recent March Monday, and Anderson had answered the door in her shorts, t-shirt and socks, hardly expecting to be greeted with handcuffs. She was shocked by the one-word response that came back over the Orland police radio: Truancy. Then, the 37-year-old mother of four was booked into Glenn County Jail in Willows on a $10,000 warrant.

Anderson soon realized she had been arrested in connection with her dispute with the Orland Unified School District over her youngest son’s attendance record. Her 8-year-old son Logan suffers from asthma, the cause of most of his 24 absences this school year. Anderson has only been able to persuade the school to excuse 14 of the absences, even though she says that in many cases the district nurse agreed Logan should go home. read more

Learning to Cherish Trilingualism

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By Mary Guillen

Growing up speaking Mandarin, Spanish and English is something I took for granted. It was not something I was proud of (much less boasted about) because most of my classmates were not racially mixed and they saw it as being odd or strange.

Before starting school, I never thought anything of it. But one day in first grade my friend commented on how weird it was that my parents were from such different countries. That was the beginning of a long period during which I often tried to hide my mixed heritage from my peers because I wanted to blend in. read more