News Briefs

by Melanie Davis
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Eliseo Medina
  As of Jan. 1, Oregon’s minimum wage is now $8.95, up from $8.80. By state law, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) must adjust the minimum wage for inflation annually. Employers with questions about compliance, or employees who feel their rights have been violated, should contact BOLI at 971-673-0761, or visit oregon.gov/boli. Leaders from several national Latino civil rights and labor organizations announced a campaign last month to pressure Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform in 2013. The joint statement — backed by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mi Familia Vota, Voto Latino, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Hispanic Federation, and NALEO Educational Fund — references the importance of the Latino vote in the most recent and upcoming elections, and calls for immediate action by President Obama and Congress. The coalition promises, “Members of Congress will be rated on how aggressively they championed comprehensive immigration reform or whether they tried to block it. With these report cards, Latinos will be able to determine who deserves their support in the 2014 election cycle.†Read the full statement in English and Spanish at nclr.org. Causa Oregon is seeking volunteers to help produce its “LGBT Theater Play Project.†Two separate casts will tour Oregon performing two versions of an original play — one in English and one in Spanish — in an attempt to illustrate the issues affecting LGBTQ immigrants and to help connect people to needed resources. Volunteers needed: assistant director, producer/marketing, costume designer, costume assistant, set designer, volunteers to build the set, lighting and sound designer/operator, stage manager. Actors from a diversity of age ranges are also needed, and experience is preferred but not required. Production meetings will be held every Thursday in January, except Jan. 24, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Stingray Café (240 N Broadway, Portland). A casting call for actors will be held Feb. 3 (location to be announced). Rehearsals will begin Feb. 5 and last for six weeks, three times per week. At least eight performances will be held around the state on the weekends. Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact Christian Baeff at Christian@causaoregon.org or 503-737-7014, or show up to one of the production team meetings. The U.S. is getting a new soccer league, and Portland is among the cities gaining a new team as a result. The eight-team National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) will include two Northwest teams: Portland Thorns FC and Seattle Reign FC. According to U.S. Soccer, which will administer the league, play will begin in the spring of 2013. U.S. Soccer, the Canadian Soccer Association, and the Federation of Mexican Football will subsidize the salaries of some players. For further developments, visit portlandtimbers.com/women and ussoccer.com.
Following the loss of Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera in a Dec. 9 plane crash, Edward James Olmos had this to say about his co-star in the film “Filly Brown,†set for release in 2013: “The world lost an extraordinary talent in the realm of Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Frank Sinatra, who took their singing artistry and became dramatic artists in film and television. Jenni Rivera was destined to surpass any artist that we have ever seen coming from the Mexican American culture. She was just starting. My love to her family, especially her children and her mother and father.†Over 6,000 people attended a musical memorial for the singer on Dec. 19 in Los Angeles. Among the other Latin luminaries lost in 2012 were actress Lupe Ontiveros, author Carlos Fuentes, and boxer Héctor “Macho†Camacho..