Tag: Jelena Kopanja


Domestic Violence In Immigrant Communities: Often Triggered by Stress and Complicated by Immigration Status

This is the first in a special two-part series on domestic violence in immigrant communities by Feet in Two Worlds reporters. Jelena Kopanja reports from New York the challenges faced by immigrant women.

In Bolivia's Upcoming Presidential Election, Migrants Won't Just Watch From the Sidelines

By Jelena Kopanja, FI2W contributor

A 2008 campaign poster supporting President Evo Morales' changes to the Constitution - Photo: Chupacabras/Flickr

Campaign posters in Bolivia in 2008 supported President Evo Morales' changes to the Constitution. (Photo: Chupacabras/Flickr)

At Pike Pizza, a Bolivian restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, Bolivian patrons enjoy some of their country’s delicacies like salteñas, or the refreshing peach beverage, mocachinchi. These days, the conversation can often turn to why it is important to have the right to vote from abroad for Bolivia’s next president.

Bolivians will go to the polls on December 6 to elect a new president. The incumbent, leftist President Evo Morales currently leads his two more conservative rivals in public opinion polls. For the first time ever, Bolivians living abroad will be able to cast their ballots in the upcoming general election.

For Bolivians living in the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Spain – the four major destinations for Bolivian migrants – the right to vote was cemented in the new constitution passed earlier this year. Rodolfo Henrich Arauz, a representative of the Bolivian National Electoral Court, sees this as a victory after almost two decades of struggle for what he considers a fundamental right.

“The Bolivian people have to participate in political, economic, social and cultural life with the country. We live outside of the country, but we belong to the country, wherever we are,” he said.


Activists March on DC to Demand Immigration Reform and a Stop to the Separation of Families

Activists lobbied Congress members to stop deportations and pass immigration reform. (Photos: Jelena Kopanja)

Activists lobbied Congress to stop deportations and pass immigration reform. (Photos: Jelena Kopanja - Click for more)

At four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, a handful of people gathered on the corner of St. Nicholas Ave. and Linden Street in Brooklyn, waiting for the van to arrive. The morning cold did little to temper the group’s enthusiasm as they were getting ready to head to Washington D.C. for an immigration reform march.

Nicolas Zambrano remembered the last time he made the trip two years ago. There were more people back then, filling up several buses. The economic crisis, he believes, had some impact on Tuesday’s turnout. Not everyone could afford the ticket.

Under the slogan of “family unity,” the event in Washington D.C. brought together some 3,000 people, including religious leaders, community organizers and immigrants who shared their stories about families separated by deportations. American citizens spoke about their fathers or wives being sent back to their home countries while they remained in the United States.

Listen to the story of Peter Derezinski, an activist with Chicago’s Polish Initiative, whose father was deported (English with Spanish translation):