Black and South Asian-American women embrace Joe Biden's choice of Kamala Harris as VP pick

Joyce Wilson Harley had been waiting for Joe Biden to announce his female running mate for weeks, hoping he would choose a Black woman who would help the Democrats' presidential campaign. Wilson Harley, a member of the West Orange Democratic County Committee, was not disappointed when she heard Tuesday afternoon that Sen. Kamala Harris was Biden's pick. Harris would be the first Black woman and first South Asian woman nominated for vice president in a major party. "I was so glad to see a Black

Pride and prejudice: Clash over Columbus reveals racial, ethnic divides in a changing Nutley

The white stone bust set atop an engraved pedestal, donated to the township 20 years ago, became the centerpiece for a tense, invective-filled, three-hour standoff on June 26. Under Columbus' gaze, the racial and political and generational divides were laid bare in a town inexorably, uneasily transforming. For some Nutley residents of Italian heritage, the statue represents ancestors and the sacrifices they made decades ago to establish a life in a new country. For some local supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's a symbol of racism and should be legally removed.

Foreign-trained doctors in NJ are ready and willing to help fight coronavirus crisis

Nelson Blanco graduated from medical school in El Salvador and worked for years in his homeland before moving to the United States three years ago. Blanco, 37, who recently became a permanent legal resident, is now working as a medical assistant for a doctor's office in Union. But if he could be on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus working as a physician, he would. "As a doctor, we believe in being humanitarians who want to serve the population in terms of their health,'' he

Married 44 years, 'inseparable' Palisades Park couple die of coronavirus just days apart

Their love story is the stuff of movies. Alfredo Pabatao was the son of a successful clothing retailer, Susana Galapate the daughter of a stableman who tended horses. Both grew up in the Santa Mesa Heights neighborhood in Quezon City, the Philippines' largest city. She lived in a modest, middle-class home, he in an ornate house that stood out with its marble accents. They fell in love, against his parent's wishes, married in 1976 and later became the parents of five children. The couple and t

As Supreme Court considers end to DACA, some Dreamers are already leaving U.S. behind

Born in South Korea but raised in Montclair, New Jersey, Eun Suk "Jason" Hong seemed on the cusp of another American success story when he graduated from college in 2015. Hong, whose mother brought him to the U.S. at age 10, landed a job as a financial planner and was looking forward to starting a career. But in 2017, President Donald Trump moved to do away with DACA, the program that allowed him to work legally in the U.S., and Hong's outlook began to change. In August, he quit his job and mo

'This is worse than war': Minorities hard-hit by COVID likely to be affected again as NJ reopens

During the lockdown to counter the coronavirus pandemic, Blanca Ruby Soto has been out of a job, but she anticipates going back to work cleaning houses in the coming weeks. She needs money — but the prospect of entering other people's homes frightens her. She is one of many in minority communities across North Jersey who would be among the first to go back to their jobs as the state slowly reopens — and who don’t have the luxury of working from home. “Many of my friends are afraid to return to

NJ should provide COVID-19 aid to undocumented immigrants who pay income tax, advocates say

The state of California will give some undocumented immigrants $500 in disaster relief payments that will be paid with a mix of taxpayer funds and charitable contributions. New York City announced last month that a $20 million donation would be used to establish a fund to provide relief to immigrant workers and their families who don't qualify for federal assistance. And now New Jersey advocates and some elected officials are pushing for the state to help immigrants without legal status who ha

NJ Assembly OKs bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain professional licenses

Luis Chirino has spent long hours designing, drawing and building projects to earn a degree in architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, sometimes spending all night in a studio on the Newark campus. But Chirino, 22, who lives in Jersey City, also has wondered whether the long nights of studying will pay off and if he will be able to practice his chosen profession in New Jersey once he graduates. As an immigrant without legal status, he can't obtain a professional license to wor

Families vowed to keep loved ones' wishes for homeland burials. COVID-19 broke those promises

Javier and Martin Morales told their loved ones that, when they died, they wanted to be buried near their father’s grave in the small village in Mexico where they grew up. It was a wish that their family vowed to keep. But when the brothers, who lived in Teaneck, died a few days apart in April after contracting COVID-19, their family struggled to keep their promise. Funeral directors and authorities in both the U.S. and Mexico told the family that repatriating their bodies home would be impossi

No work and no relief in federal stimulus package increases anxiety for immigrant laborers

Lorena Duarte of Palisades Park hasn't cleaned houses in more than two weeks. She's afraid to go to work and bring the COVID-19 virus home to a daughter who had a lung operation a few years ago. Javier Martinez of Kearny said all his landscaping jobs have dried up. He has searched for other work but hasn't been successful. "The clients that give us work, they have closed their businesses and stopped their projects, and they left us up in the air,'' said Martinez, who works in Montclair, Verona

After deportation, children struggle in foreign, dangerous Bangladesh

After deportation, a family struggles in Bangladesh; children can't go to school When Evana Akter lived in Elizabeth, she was a college student pursuing a degree in nursing, with aspirations to one day become a medical doctor. She held a part-time job at a pharmacy and helped her family, which includes two younger brothers, however she could. That was more than a year ago, before her life was disrupted with the deportation of her dad to Bangladesh. Before her family decided, weeks later, it wa

After Zika: Raising a baby with microcephaly

The first baby born in the continental United States with birth defects caused by the terrifying Zika virus is almost 2 years old and living in New Jersey. Darah Girón Funes smiles, laughs and occasionally rolls over. That may not seem like much for a toddler, but for a child with microcephaly, it's extraordinary progress. Her small head — the most recognizable Zika birth defect — is nearly concealed by thick brown curls and a colorful headband. She can hold her head upright for a few seconds,

Skilled foreign workers' spouses risk losing work permits under Trump

The studio's bright lights beamed to life and the cameras swiveled to face Neha Mahajan as she prepared for a taping of "Center Stage," the current affairs show she hosts on TV Asia. On this recent afternoon at the cable network's studios in Edison, Mahajan was seated near three women whom she would lead in a discussion of the #MeToo movement and its significance in the South Asian immigrant community. “We are close-knit and don’t talk much about such issues,’’ she said, describing her show, w

Adenovirus outbreak 2018: Parents of Wanaque children speak out

Angel Ojeda Jr.’s mother suffered a brain aneurysm when she was six months pregnant, forcing doctors to deliver him before she died. The boy, now 9, has relied on a ventilator and feeding tube ever since. Ismael Velez was born with a rare condition that prevented his lungs from fully developing. Ismael, who is 15, is just starting to walk. Brianna Padilla was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, causing severe brain damage, her mother said. Now 22, she is unable to walk, talk

For parents of severely disabled kids, long-term care is a last resort

For Kristine Deleg, it was the most agonizing decision of her life. Her daughter, Elizabeth, had suffered from asthma and debilitating seizures since she was only months old. The little girl with big brown eyes had no muscle tone, would aspirate during feedings and caught pneumonia. Deleg, a single mother who had moved to New York from Florida, tried to care for Elizabeth at home, but her fragile daughter's needs quickly overwhelmed her. “I realized as a parent I couldn’t do it," she said of t

For parents of severely disabled children, long-term care is often a last resort

For Kristine Deleg, it was the most agonizing decision of her life. Her daughter, Elizabeth, had suffered from asthma and debilitating seizures since she was only months old. The little girl with big brown eyes had no muscle tone, would aspirate during feedings and caught pneumonia. Deleg, a single mother who had moved to New York from Florida, tried to care for Elizabeth at home, but her fragile daughter's needs quickly overwhelmed her. “I realized as a parent I couldn’t do it," she said of t

Hurricane Maria: A year later, Puerto Ricans find new lives in NJ

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria tore through her second-floor apartment in Puerto Rico, tearing the the roof off the building and leaving only her bedroom standing, Josyvette Sierra boarded a plane for the first time with her 2-year-old son to join her mother in New Jersey. Sierra, 25, thought she would stay a few months until conditions on the island improve, but a year after the powerful Category 4 storm made landfall on Sept. 20, 2017, she remains in Passaic County. She has found work, and

NJ 'Dreamer's' cancer battle influences her DACA activism

For the better part of two years, Cinthia Osorio was on the front lines in New Jersey of a nationwide effort to preserve a federal program that protects her and hundreds of thousands of young immigrants like her from deportation. The stakes were raised a year ago when President Donald Trump announced on Sept. 5, 2017, that he would end the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, by March 5. A pair of judges ordered the administration to keep the program going, but then

Undocumented students are seeking financial aid to attend NJ colleges

It took Yetzul Salazar a decade after her graduation from high school before she began classes at Passaic County Community College. Salazar, 30, of Clifton, was raising a son, and she was concerned about her undocumented status. Then, after two years of part-time courses in child development, Salazar took another break in December — this time because she couldn't afford to pay the spring tuition. Now, however, she has good reason to believe things will improve in the fall, when New Jersey will

'Turban man' slur aimed at NJ attorney general is the latest indignation for state's Sikhs

Days before they were to mark the sixth anniversary of a shooting at a temple in Wisconsin, Sikhs across New Jersey on Thursday were again trying to explain their religion after a pair of radio hosts referred to state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal as a “turban man.” “This is terrible. Everyone should learn — they should not be calling him 'turban man.' It just shows that we are not an open society as we should be,’’ said Amrik Singh Sikand, chairman of the board of the Guru Nanak Mission Si
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