Monday, April 30, 2007


I hope you all have not given up on me entirely! I have been working more, have been sick, and going through photography withdrawals! I have several more pictures of the Anti-Immigration Rally, but I would prefer to show more of the nice side of Omaha, rather than the negative parts.
This O! symbol has shown up in several areas in the last few years. The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce started the O!plosion as a way for Omahans to become more involved in promoting our city. In May, samples of an art project based on this symbol will be displayed around town. I will be sure to keep an eye out for them and document them here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Racism is the real terrorist...

There was a small group of Latinos as counter-protesters at the Anti-Immigration Rally last weekend, that I already posted about. This is one of their signs. I think that it is very fitting and very true.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Not about race?

First of all, PLEASE read the description before being offended!

I debated whether or not I really should put this picture here - especially since I don't want someone to see it on the Portal and be offended without reading it first. There are some things about Omaha that are not so high on my list of things to show off. One of them is rather political. Omaha has a surprisingly volatile history as far as racism is concerned. The more I have read about that history in the past few days, the more surprised I have become. The following is an article that I wrote and submitted to the website of one of our news stations here. I will translate into Spanish soon, and post that as well.

Protesters lined up on Dodge Street Saturday with dozens of United States flags and homemade protest signs. With their signs and battle cries, their negativity towards what lies south of the border was much more evident than their concern for the supposed purpose of the protest.
This rally was announced as a protest against the sentences imposed by the U.S. government on 2 border patrol agents, Ramos and Compean. Groups present included the Nebraska Minutemen and the United Citizens of America. They claim to only want to enforce the laws regarding illegal immigration and to secure the borders. Everyone knows the immigration situation needs to be resolved. The laws are not working and the system must be fixed. Everyone has an opinion of how that needs to happen.
On the surface, the mission of these groups might appear noble. However, when you look beyond these highly repeated mission statements and focus on what they are actually saying and doing, the image begins to change. To begin with, I only saw one sign about the two border agents, and heard almost nothing. What I did see were signs saying things like “Illegal aliens, get out!” and “Illegal? NOT welcome – but I’ll exploit you!!” I have photos of all of these signs, along with video of some of their statements. I heard such things through the bullhorn as “Defend an illegal alien and you defend a rapist!” and “Stop the flow of disease – Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, and Pinkeye!” They are making bold generalizations without documentation to back them up.
The other principal misrepresentation that I see has to do with race. The website announcing the event clearly states, in bold letters: “This is NOT about race.” Yet their actions show differently. I don’t remember ever seeing such a blatant example of racism so clearly directed at a certain population. In this case, the hateful, dehumanizing statements were directed at Mexicans. Among the homemade signs were such phrases as “Go back to Mexico!” and “La Raza-it should be La Racist!”. One protester was so riled up he crossed the street to yell in the faces of the counter-protesters, and had to be taken away by police. The most shocking of all, from this group of flag-bearing patriots, was a huge Mexican flag on which someone painted a black circle with a line through it. The few Mexicans that were actually present among the small group of counter-protesters were speaking perfect English and saying that they were born here. The protesters did not bother to listen to any of that and continued to blindly scream at those who were, in reality, fellow citizens. This kind of blind hatred needs to be recognized for the racism that it is. One thing is to be against illegal immigration. It is quite another to assume that any person who looks “latino” is illegal and to insult them.
As an observer of this rally, I am concerned. A brief glance could lead to either dismissing the event as nothing or to embracing the cause based on a mission statement that is no more than an excuse for deeper motives. The simple use of the term Minutemen provokes images of armed militia ready to fight. Another sign at the rally warned, “Americans, Unite – or face Civil war!!” They say that history repeats itself. I sincerely hope that Omaha is not a community that wants to see acts of racist hatred from the past repeated in our city. I believe that, as a community, we must be aware of events like this. We cannot afford to ignore it or we run the risk of the situation escalating beyond control. Racial mob violence has led to an ethnic group being forced to leave Omaha in the past (1909, South Omaha’s Greek Town), and I do not want to ever see that kind of destruction happen again.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

In Memoriam

My condolences and prayers go out to the families and friends affected by the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
**photo taken in Guatemala, at a roadside flower cart, near Mazatenango.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Anti-immigrant protest....

First of all, about the title...since I know someone will try to say that it is not true. The groups I could see present at the protest were the United Citizens of America and the Nebraska Minuteman chapter. I know someone will see the title of this post and try to say that those groups are not against immigrants in general, just against illegal ones, but I titled this based specifically on yesterday's protest. A small group of (mostly young) Latinos, and friends of Latinos did show up. I saw them, and spoke to some of them. During most of the time that I was there, not one person could have been an illegal. There were a couple of American girls, obviously married to Mexicans, as well as several students and young people. The protesters across the street kept yelling at them to "Go back to Mexico" and that they are "not welcome here" with their "drugs, diseases, etc." While their message was obviously meant for a wider audience, they were very directly yelling at this group of people. They were yelling all of these hateful things without even knowing what their legal status was. They saw a Latino, and assumed they were illegal, which infuriates me.
Second, I know that one of the freedoms we have here is our right to protest, but please, people, be honest about what you are protesting about! Their rally was advertised as a "Protest for 2 Border Patrol Agents" (quote from the announcement on their website Their website has a quote in bold letters saying, "This is NOT about race." If that is true, then why were the protesters holding signs saying things such as, "Go back to Mexico" and "La Raza, it should be La racist". One of the most shocking things to me though, was a defaced Mexican flag. This was a group of obviously patriotic people, carrying dozens of American flags, showing pride in their own flag. Still they had the unbelievable audacity to claim with their words that their protest was not about race, yet display a Mexican flag on which someone had painted a black circle with a line through it.
As I have said before this subject is quite close to my heart. I will probably post a few more of these photos in the next couple of days, not because I'm proud of them, but because it is something that is happening here in my city, whether I like it or not. If anyone is interested in commenting with their opinions about immigration, I would love to hear them. Just please keep the comments to the level of a healthy debate!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


When I posted this earlier, I forgot the (slightly important-sorry) detail that this photo was taken during the "Day Without an Immigrant" Rally of May 1, 2006. It was so amazing to see thousands of people of all different races, colors, ages, shapes, sizes, etc. coming together in support of each other. This country has been built on that kind of ethnic variety. It's sad to see that so many have forgotten that. Once emotion and racist hatred get in the way, it's hard to get someone to see that the problem is not the immigrant himself, but rather the system which should have been changed long ago. The point of the rally in this photo, and the other rallies of the same day, was for people to see what this country would be like if all of the immigrants were sent home. The idea was along the lines of the movie "A Day Without a Mexican". If you haven't seen it, it's very thought-provoking. I think that people who blindly jump on the bandwagon of "Close our borders! Deport all illegals!" need to seriously think through what that would mean. Are they really willing to do the jobs that would be left open? Or are they willing to pay the higher prices that would result from paying someone enough to get them to do the job? I highly doubt it.

I'm sad, and somewhat ashamed, to say that there is an anti-immigration rally today in Omaha, across the street from the Mexican Consulate. This is a huge issue lately, not only in Omaha, but in the whole country. This is part of what I studied in college, and it infuriates me to see so many opinions thrown around that are not based on facts. I have read some of what this group that organized the rally is putting out there, and it's frustrating to see people jumping on the bandwagon of something that they don't understand. They hear media-skewed facts and adopt them as their battle cry, even though many have done no research themselves. I have conversations with people all of the time, who quote the titles seen in the news as their own opinion, yet the are surprised when they are presented with facts.
This is obviously an emotional issue for me. I am going down by the rally today to take pictures and to see what is going on.

What do you all think of the immigration issue?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

One last time....

It's been cold again the last few days. I decided to use up the rest of the few logs I had left to take advantage of the cold for one last night with the fireplace! It's wood-burning, no gas, and I was so proud of my little fire that I had to take a picture! Hopefully, Spring will arrive for real now, and the fireplace will rest until the fall.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Home of the Eagles.....

Central High School has been providing education for Omaha Public Schools since 1859. This school is near downtown and right across from the Joslyn Art Museum, whose doors I showed the other day. My sister studied here, but I went to a different high school. However, I have always loved the building.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter everyone!!! For Easter, I thought that I would show the doors to my own church! We are a relatively small church, started about 7 years ago. Core Community is the name, and you can find the link to the church website in the sidebar. We meet in the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A little more than the doors...

This is quite a bit more than just the doors....but I like the view of the whole church. This is the First Presbyterian Church close to downtown. I will have to find out how many churches we actually have here, but I seem to see one on almost on every corner. Many of them are very beautiful.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Joslyn Art Museum

Now that my attention has somehow become focused on doors, I have noticed many of them in Omaha that I like. We have many (relatively) old buildings with decorative doors. These doors are at the entrance to the Joslyn Art Museum. I have seen many great art exhibits there. Today, there was a banner by the door advertising an Impressionists' exhibit - I will have to go soon. Aside from the art, the building itself is beautiful. I have been to a few weddings there. They have an atrium area with a fountain in the middle of it which will definitely be showing up here in the near future.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Más Puertas....

So, I'm following my little them started the other day with the door at the castle with the doors from St. Cecilia's Cathedral, which I last posted about here. I guess it's fitting that the day I took this picture was the first warmish day this year....and yesterday and today we've been back to cold weather.
**Internet difficulties and lots of work have kept me from posting daily this last week....I will be back to daily soon! Thanks for your patience!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Beautiful door....

This is the front door at Joslyn Castle that I have posted about before. I had forgotten about this picture. I love the detail, especially of the frame around the door. And here you see reflected the freezing photographer! The day that I went to take pictures there was still snow on the ground.