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1176. From the Republic of Generación Ñ

by tatiana de la tierra

Miami, 1993

My Resident Alien card is thickly laminated and hard like a green mango. It has the image of a thirteen-year old me--naive, self-assured and dreamy. In the photo, my thick, curly hair is tamed and pulled back to expose my right ear. My signature is legible, a sharp contrast to the furious and complex scribbles that now legally define me. And the card has mysterious computer codes and classifications, square numbers written in the Federal Government’s language.

I lived as a Resident Alien in this country for twenty-five years before considering applying for U.S. citizenship. Being an official “Alien” suited me. It allowed me to do as I pleased without taking this country seriously. It was proof of my allegiance to my homeland, my romantic relationship with Colombia. As an “Alien” I could travel the world with a Colombian passport and return to the U.S. through the long non-citizen lines at Customs. I could work, drive, go to school, publish, travel internationally, use credit cards, complain about free speech, get financial aid, go to the hospital, rock out to Springsteen, and do just about anything I wanted. I couldn’t vote in U.S. elections, but I could vote for the Colombian presidential candidate of my choice. I couldn’t commit felonies, because as a Resident Alien, I was deportable. Having a Colombian passport and a U.S. “green card” meant that I was more likely to be questioned upon entering the U.S., that I was more likely to have my luggage searched. It meant that I lived here but I was not of this country. And that was how I liked it.

Being a Colombian in the U.S. means that I have another national anthem that plays inside of me. It means that I am a Spanish-speaking and South-American-dreaming sort of gringa. It means that I listen to Latin radio, stay hip to my Generación Ñ’s literary endeavors, keep my eye out for Latinos in Hollywood and in Washington, D.C., and that I celebrate the accomplishments of all Latins. It means that I eat coconut rice as well as fast food. That I am culturally eclectic and I can be nothing else.

It also means that I see the U.S. through Colombian eyes. The “war on drugs” is a war against people of color that intends to centralize the profits from the production and sale of illegal drugs within the U.S. It is a guise used to prohibit Colombia from reaping the benefits of legitimate trade: textiles, coffee, flowers, bananas, petroleum, and other Colombian industries. It is a war on Colombia’s land and people. Aerial fumigations of the herbicide glyphosate make the soil barren, disturb the ecosystem, poison food crops, displace indigenous farmers and endanger the health of those who are “accidentally” doused.

The “war on drugs” is a war against Colombia, a country that is “decertified” and tagged as a “narco-democracy” one year and then allotted 1.3 billion dollars in U.S. “aid” via Plan Colombia in the year 2000. Plan Colombia intends to beef up the Colombian military with training, intelligence, weapons, ammunition, helicopters, and technology to “fight drugs” by decimating guerrillas. Plan Colombia supports the paramilitaries--aided by the military--that execute and torture scores of people thought to be sympathetic with guerrilleros. It increases human rights violations. It provides minimal provisions for the millions of Colombians displaced by war. It does not offer coca farmers any real alternatives. It aims to poison the land, kill the people, and create further conflict between the rich and the poor, indigenous peoples and multinational interests, guerrilleros and paramilitaries. It is a Vietnam in the making and is bringing Colombia closer to a military dictatorship.

Colombian graffiti says it best of all. Plan Colombia: The U.S. provides the weapons; Colombia provides the corpses.

I am an ungrateful immigrant, one they never should have let into this co

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1177. What we don't know is more than a surprise

Americans are famous for their ignorance about the world, maybe in part because they rely on local newspapers or Tom Brokaw to know what's going on in the world. In the so-called information age, less and less reliable information is what we're being served up. Where cities had two newspapers, they now barely hold on to one. The number of publication companies has shriveled. And journalism's standards have commensurately fallen.

Journalistic standards too, he says? Remember the Vietnam War years, when daily we saw photos of suffering Vietnamese civilians? When's the last time you saw a photo or video of Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan civilian suffering? News of the first caliber helped influence Americans to pull out of Vietnam. News of the second caliber helps Americans ignore what happens in our present wars.

There are countless more examples: "imbedded" American journalists are no longer free to cover wars; they're constantly escorted by military types, helping to filter what Americans know of the world.

The result will be
Surprise! not simply ignorance. In our name, with our tax money, the (presently) most powerful government on the planet goes about its business with little free press coverage to inform us of what may come. Then, Surprise! the Gulf of Mexico is suddenly no longer useable.

Below are some reliable free press sources that aren't "imbedded" and snippets of the types of information they make available daily.

Frontera NorteSur

The editor asks: "El Paso and other places on the US side of the border are actually far less violent than many communities in the interior of the US. Is anyone proposing to send troops to Albuquerque or Oakland?"

From their July 16, 2010 Immigration News release:
"A report by Mexico’s National Institute of Geography, Statistics and Informatics provides details on the emptying of the countryside in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Of 537,000 homes in rural Michoacan, nearly one in four, 23%, stand abandoned throughout the entire year or portions of it, the study finds.

According to the federal agency, Michoacan’s population dropped from approximately 4.2 million people in 1995, a year after the beginning of the North American Free Trade Agreement and a time when economic crisis clawed the landscape, to an estimated 3,926,000 inhabitants today.

"Every year for the last 15 years, between 25,000-30,000 residents of Michoacan have moved to the United States, said Zaira Mandujano Fernandez, secretary of migrant affairs for Michoacan. Despite economic downturn and tougher US border security, Mandujano said she expected the current rate of migration to the US to continue for the next 20 years. Michoacan is a main battlefronts in the so

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1178. Books and Music

New Book

Highly recommended (this is a beautiful, insightful, and important book):

Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives / Fronteras: Dibujando las vidas fronterizas
Steven and Reefka Schneider, Introduction by Norma E. Cantú
Spanish translation by José Antonio Rodriguez
Wings Press, 2010

From the publisher:
Borderlines/Fronteras brings together images and stories, sights and sensations, in an aesthetically beautiful series of bilingual poems and drawings that portrays the people of the borderlands as they are seldom seen, peeling back the layers of fear and mistrust to reveal an rich and vibrant culture.

From the Introduction by Norma E. Cantú:
The Schneiders have crossed the bridge with charcoal, pastel, and conte, and with words. And we are better for it. We peek into the lives of characters and learn how to look beyond to the stories. ... Through images and words, this book invites us to reflect, to consider the stories, the lives and the realities of life on the U.S - Mexico border. But it also impels us to dwell on our own work, asking us to tend to the wound that will not heal, to do work that matters.

Kathleen Alcalá:
These compassionate portraits, from the accordion player to the bead seller, show their everyday public lives, la gente decente on whose backs we have constructed the vast, complicated economy and culture that is the border today. In the discussions of walls, guns, drugs and abstract policies, we need to remember that ordinary individuals live here too, and always will.

Ed Conroy (review in the San Antonio Express-News):
At a time when Arizona's new immigration law has created an intensified national controversy over the value and worth of the people of our border regions, one new book has the power to make us pause to reflect on the stories and conditions of their lives. ... These faces come to life in the charcoal and pastel drawings of Reefka Schneider, who fascinatingly captures both the graphic details and emotional truths etched into faces young and old by the harsh social and natural realities of border life. And those faces breathe with life in the poems of her husband, Steven P. Schneider, crafted clearly with the intention of creating a narrative that captures a moment in life and its emotions for each person. ... The result of their work is a series of 25 poignantly moving vignettes of border people and their lives, expressed as a page of poetry in English and Spanish, and, opposite, the portrait that is integrally joined to the poem.

Voces Unidas Por Ame
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1179. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed Y Tambien Blue

Halfway into my writing of this Thursday's piece on Mexican artist Martin Ramirez, I realized that I have been part of La Bloga for almost a year now. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of La Bloga for the platform that has brought me such delight. Below is my earliest post in full. Mil Gracias a todos.

Something Old

Published in 1975, “Chicano Poems: for the Barrio,” is the first of only a handful of books by Angela De Hoyos. While reading “Chicano Poems,” the voice and image of the late great Abelardo “Lalo” Delgado reverberated and appeared throughout my mind. The coraje, mañas, costumbres, y callejeras of her barrrios de San Anto mirrored Lalo’s El Paso and Lalo’s Denver.

In, “Who Killed Brown Love?” De Hoyos responds, “I did/ - dijo el hombre blanco -/ with my little knife/ cuchillito de palo/ slowly but surely/ magullando." My personal favorite is the titled, “Chicano:” “How to paint/ on this page/ the enigma/ that furrows/ your sensitive/ brown face/ - a sadness,” writes De Hoyos. “Porque te llamas/ Juan, y no John/ as the laws/ of assimilation/ dictate."

When reading De Hoyos you will find that her every poem is a barrio in itself, populated with rage, habits, customs, and troubled streets. Que Viva De Hoyos!

Chicano Poems: for the Barrio. By Angela De Hoyos. M&A Editions, 1975

Something New

Not that it matters, but my vote for Latino Lit’s freshest prospect is the young Boricua from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Kevin A. Gonzalez’s, “The Night Tito Trindad KO’ed Ricardo Mayorga,” is a knockout of a first book. Each poem hit me like Tito’s legendary left hook. No doubt the accolades for this young poeta are well deserved.

What Gonzalez does best is what I love the most about Latino writers, they write what they know by infusing culture. “…you wrote about the kioskos/ in Luquillo, Puerto Rico,” writes Gonzalez in his poem titled “Cultural Sellout.” The fritoleras’ hands scarred/ by the bursting pounce of oil, / coconuts like green bowling balls on ice.” And later in the verse, his beloved Neruda makes an appearance, “Gold wounds/ & reigns over the wounded, / & can you borrow that Neruda line/ & still call this your poem?”

Of all the reasons I believe Gonzalez is a champ in the making, it is the manner in which he vicariously exposes himself through his influences. With the awe and embarrassment of a child, he finds himself exchanging punches with Tito Trinidad, playing catch with Roberto Clemente, and having a café con leche with Neruda. Gonzalez Bumaye!

The Night Tito Trinidad KO’ed Ricardo Mayorga. By Kevin A Gonzalez. Momotombo Press 2007.

Something Borrowed y tambien Blue

The following poem was written six years ago by a student in my creative writing class during his freshman year in high school. Anthony Dominguez is now married and a soldier in Iraq.

Only 4 years old<

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1180. Talleres de Poesía

by Aleph (Alex Sanchez), Salvadoran painter and committee member 

The first Festival Talleres de Poesía will take place in San Salvador, El Salvador this November 8-10. Many events are taking place in different cities in order to raise funds for this event that will promote books and literature in El Salvador.

This wonderful project is being organized by children books' author, Jorge Argueta and the Talleres de Poesia commitee in San Francisco and San Salvador, with the collaboration of the Director of the National Library of El Salvador, Salvadoran author, Manlio Argueta.

The Children's Poetry Festival will be held at the National Library in San Salvador in November 2010. Renowned poets will be conducting writing workshops to Salvadoran children and youth.

The theme of the workshops will be the importance of reading and significance of peace for Salvadoran children and youth. They will also have the opportunity to enhance their writing skills and learn techniques on how to write their experiences through poetry.

We are asking for your collaboration to help us make this event a success. We are raising funds for the necessary materials needed to make the First Children's Poetry Festival a reality in El Salvador.

Here are two ways you can help:

You can make your donation directly
to the Talleres de Poesia
account # 0006696
Mission Federal Credit Union
3269 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110


or you can mail a check to:
Talleres de Poesia
90 Bepler St.
Daly City, CA 94014

Thank you in advance for your support!

Event in San Francisco in support of the
First Annual Poetry Festival in El Salvador 
(Nov 2010)

Date: Saturday, July 17, 2010
Time:5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: El Patio Restaurant
Street: 3193 Mission St.

Live music by Grupo Conciencia and amigos Goldband, poetry for children and adults, clowns, riffles and many more exciting surprises.

Los esperamos - gracias!
Please join us - thank you!

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1181. Review: Writing on the Edge. Book Give-Away. Foto ID Help. On-Line Floricanto

Border literature anthology too much but not enough.

Michael Sedano

Tom Miller. Writing on the Edge. A Borderlands Reader. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2003.
ISBN 978-0-8165-2241-5

Tom Miller adds to his storied borderland accomplishments with an exhaustingly comprehensive anthology that covers the US-Mexico borderland from TJ to Tamaulipas, from New York City to Modesto Califas, with extended visits to Juarez/El Paso.

Readers already familiar with Miller's wonderful collection of his own travel writing, Revenge of the Saguaro, know he's a writer with a yen for research and a pen with a funnybone. Miller's eye takes in the obvious, like Rosa's cantina or black velvet painting that any eye sees, then digs deeply to share penetrating insight knit into a fascinating fabric of hitherto unknown facts. Put down the completed Miller and you've filled gaps you didn't know existed.

Miller's and the University of Arizona Press' 2003 publication, Writing on the Edge A Borderlands Reader, offers the same kind of experience. Clearly a product of keen research, Miller shares snippets about la frontera from poets, novelists, historians, and memoirists, gente like José Vasconcelos, Grahame Greene, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Maya Angelou, Sam Shepard, Elena Poniatowska, Demetria Martínez, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, William Carlos Williams, and on and on and on, with eighty-one writers (plus two anonymous pieces) filling out a fabulous table of contents.

And there's the rub, the problem--if there's any--with this collection. Miller packs in so much good work between the covers of the 360 page volume, there's simply not enough meat--other than poems, which inherently come in compact wholes--to dig into. Writing on the Edge is like standing at the best buffet spread you've ever seen but served by one of those new-fangled minimalist chefs who think a lettuce leaf with a dab of sauce and an anchovy rib is a stomach-stretching salad.

Ni modo. There's no time limit to reading Writing on the Edge so you can savor each sample at its own pace, then come back for a second helping and never grow sated. Of course, you'll want more. Miller's added a key resource as the final 27 pages: author bios as well as a conventional alphabetized listing of original sources. Another grand resource comes via the internet, Miller's PDF literary map of the contents, allowing a reader to see on a map where along the border a piece lies, with a sidebar listing the authors and titles by place, and on a second screen, a UofA Press bibliography to extend the breadth of one's post-anthology reading.

Although Miller divides the collection into eight segments, each having its own ideational unity, I see the collection

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1182. Anthology celebrates milestone series in Chicano and Latino literature

Book review by Daniel Olivas

Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latino and Latina Writing (University of Arizona Press, $24.95 paperback), edited by Rigoberto González, showcases the best of the acclaimed anthology series published by the University of Arizona Press since 1994. As González explains in the introduction, the Camino del Sol series was the brainchild of editor-writer Ray González (no relation), "a name not unfamiliar to those of us with a vested interest in Chicano/Latino literature."

By the early 1990s, Ray González, an El Paso native, was building "a solid reputation" as an editor and also offered "knowledge and expertise of the literary field (that) set a strong foundation at the University of Arizona Press for marketing and publicizing future titles with Camino del Sol." He now is an award-winning essayist, poet, editor and English professor at the University of Minnesota.

Rigoberto González, a New York book critic, poet and author, is a regular contributor to the El Paso Times books page. I recently interviewed him about the new anthology. I wondered what role he believed the Camino del Sol series played in Chicano and Latino literature.

"Whether the University of Arizona Press was aware of this or not, by championing this literary series devoted exclusively to publishing Chicano/Latino authors for the past 16 years, the press has been keeping a cultural record of Chicano/Latino literature in the new millennium," he said.

"Thankfully, the series has always kept its doors open to new voices, fomenting an incredible community of artists that will sustain a dynamic and energetic list of talent as the press moves into the next decade."

One is struck by the great diversity of voices included in the collection. There's the wry humor of the late poet Rane Arroyo, the wonderfully strange and sexy fiction of Kathleen de Azevedo, and Ray González's sublime ruminations on borderland identity and politics. Well-established writers sit side by side with those at the beginning of their careers.

"I think readers will be pleasantly surprised to recognize how aesthetically, politically and culturally diverse Chicano/Latino literature is," Rigoberto González said. "There is no 'one way' to shape identity or express it, no 'one way' to write as a Chicano/Latino writer in terms of language, subject matter or sensibility."

But does this diversity of voices threaten to split writers (and their readers) into separate and insular literary camps? Rigoberto González doesn't see such diversity as a threat. In fact, he views it as "a strength, accepting and encouraging our artistic differences, because it will help us come together and move forward in solidarity, especially during these hostile times.

"Chicano/Latino writers are important, and what we have to say matters."

In summing up, Rigoberto González did not mince words: "Camino del Sol, the series and the anthology, is not simply a venue for art, it is a venue for life -- our lives."

Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latino and Latina Writing is a literary milestone that not only honors past literary triumphs, but also serves as a harbinger of great writing to come. It is an essential volume for any lover of Chicano and Latino literature.

[This review first appeared in the El Paso Times.]
1183. El Violin: A Movie for the Masses

Olga García Echeverría

It was the 4th of July weekend and the constant fireworks exploding in the streets of Lincoln Heights could have easily been a movie downer. We're talking real barrio quetes with the occassional crazy balazo. Did I mention the poor howling perros? My girlfriend's tiny TV may have also ruined the film, but neither the cherry bombs nor the limited-sized screen had much of an effect on my viewing of Francisco Vargas' El Violin. That's because Vargas' 2005 Mexican film is more explosive than an M-80.

From its disturbing opening scene of torture to the unpredicatable narrative that unfolds, El Violin hooks the viewer. The film highlights the tension between marginalized campesinos and the government. Although the diction is clearly Mexican, the setting is never revealed, and the story could very well take place in Guatemala, Colombia, or Bolivia.

A true star in the film is Angel Tavira, the 81-year-old man who played Don Plutarco Hidalgo, a humble, rural musician who uses his violin as both an instrument of peace and a weapon for survival. In 2006, Tavira received the Best Actor Award at the renowned Cannes International Film Festival for his leading role in El Violin. I find it a bit ironic that fireworks were blasting in the backdrop as I watched Tavira fiddle his violin with one hand. The first-time actor was a real-life musician who actually lost his right hand to an exploding firecracker when he was 13. ¡Pinche quetes!

Other actors in the movie are Mario Garibali who plays Plutarco's grandson, Gerardo Taracena (Apocalypto 2006) who plays Don Plutarco's son and Dagoberto Gama (Amores Perros 2000) who plays El Capitán. These lead actors create an incredible cast of characters that challenge our sensibilities and keep us at the edge of our seats.

El Violin is definitely a political film, yet it successfully avoids being didactic. Instead the film speaks through its characters, their struggles, and through many scenes that don't even need dialogue. Beautifully shot in black and white, there is also something very romantic and classic about the film. This is the best of film--pure, honest, raw, and so perfectly executed that it doesn't feel like fiction at all.

I can say much more about Francisco Vargas' film, but I don't want to spoil the plot. Instead I'd like to invite you all to come out and see a special screening of El Violin in Koreatown. It's all for a great cause--to help those devasted from the tropical storm in Guatemala.

Remember this?

Luis Echeverria/May 31st/Photo released by Guatemala's Presidency

In May of this year, a tropical storm named Agatha hit Central America and devasted Guatemala. Aside from killing and disappearing hundreds of people, it displaced an estimated 74,000 people. In Guatemala City, the earth caved in, swallowing a 3-story building and creating a surreal sink hole that is about 60 feet wide and 30 feet deep.

Here in Los Angeles, a dedicated group of individuals, organizers, and community leaders wasted no time in responding to the Guatema

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1184. Bandas, Arizona, vampiros & René's apellido

Música, tirando chancla, Denver style

As Ramos mentioned yesterday: "I'll see some of you at Part 2 of the Colorado All-Star New Mexico and Tejano Music Festival at Denver's Edelweiss Club, featuring Next In Line of Commerce City, Richard Baca & Sierra Gold from Pueblo, and The Rick Garcia Band."

My wife Carmen and I did see him, and his wife Flo there and the vato wasn't kidding--it was a kick-ass baile. We left at 11:00 before the third band, but my legs were already worn out from trying to keep up with the hot sounds, anyway. Next up will be The King of New Mexico Music, TOBIAS RENE. Tickets available at EDELWEISS CLUB, 6495 Monaco, Commerce City Colo. and RICK'S TAVERN, 6762 Lowell Boulevard, Denver, 303-427-3427

Ramos also mentioned, "I may bump into some of you at the driveway party Saturday night." I'm probably going, but need some help. Anybody know where I can get some permanent marker chalk to christen that new driveway?

Alarcón (& La Bloga) strike deep in the Ariz. heartland

Mari Herreras of the Tucson Weekly ran an interview this week of Francisco X. Alarcón:
"Moved by student protests in Phoenix against SB 1070, Alarcón created a Facebook page called Poets Responding to SB 1070. Many of the poems from the page have been republished on La Bloga at labloga.blogspot.com.

In the interview, Alarcón explains: "Michael Sedano from Los Angeles is an editor of La Bloga, a blog for Latino/Chicano artists, poets and writers. The past eight weeks, we started to select poems, and every Tuesday, five to seven poems are selected and posted on La Bloga. Now we're hitting a critical mass of poets, so we want to do a hard copy. The University of California Press has expressed an interest, but I haven't presented them with a proposal ... but we've come to a decision that this is the next step."

Any billionaire out there want to underwrite free copies for anybody with an Ariz. driver's license--regardless of what kind of shoes they're wearing?

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1185. Fight SB1070 With Music; Poets; Su Teatro Summer

Ry Cooder Donates Proceeds to MALDEF from Sale of “Quicksand” Created in Response to SB 1070

LOS ANGELES, CA – Ry Cooder created his new single Quicksand in response to anti-immigrant law
SB 1070 and the ongoing Arizona immigration battle. SB 1070 requires police to demand "papers' from people they stop who they suspect are "unlawfully present" in the U.S. As described by Cooder, Quicksand is a slow-burning rocker that tells the story of six would-be immigrants making their way from Mexico to the Arizona border. Ry Cooder's Quicksand went on sale exclusively on iTunes, and Cooder has pledged to donate all proceeds from the song to MALDEF.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated that Defeating Arizona's SB 1070 - and the potential copycat laws that have since been announced by unscrupulous legislators around the nation - will require a broad national community effort to reinforce the constitutional principles and values that characterize our nation. Our heartfelt thanks to Ry Cooder for being a leader in that necessary community effort.

Cooder produced the 1996 album Buena Vista Social Club, followed by solo projects with Ibrahim Ferrer and Manuel Galban, of Los Zafiros. Quicksand features Cooder's son Joachim on drums, with backup vocals by Lucina Rodgriguez and Fabiola Trujillo of the Mexican roots band Los Cenzontles. The artwork for the single features the piece Nuthin' To See Here, Keep On Movin'! by frequent collaborator Vincent Valdez.

The Devil’s Highway has been used by migrants traveling on foot for over 100 years, says Cooder of the journey depicted in the song. You should try it sometime. Out there, temperatures can get above 130 degrees. If you fall down, you have religious hallucinations, then you die, cooking from the inside out. If you get lucky, you might make it to Yuma, but then what?

You can find a link to Ry Cooder’s page featuring “Quicksand” here.

To show your support for Ry Cooder and MALDEF, visit the iTunes store to purchase Ry Cooder’s Quicksand here.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the
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1186. New From UT Press

Quixote's Soldiers
A Local History of the Chicano Movement, 1966–1981

By David Montejano

"David Montejano has written a well-researched and clearly argued study of the interaction among members of different social backgrounds in San Antonio's Chicano community during the turbulent and politically creative years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He has augmented extensive archival research (especially in the papers of Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez) with effective use of secondary works by other sociologists and historians and his own field work. This book will be of interest not only to historians of Mexican American urban life and Chicano struggles for civil rights, but also to anyone interested in the politics of the Vietnam War era."

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1187. New Bilingual Books from Arte Publico Press/ Piñata Books

The Battle of the Snow Cones
La guerra de las raspas

Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Illustrations by Alisha Gambino
Spanish translation by Amira Plascencia
November 30, 2010, 32 pages
Ages 4-8
ISBN-10: 1-55885-575-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-55885-575-5

This spirited bilingual kids’ book blends themes 
of entrepreneurship and friendship

It was so hot in Caliente, Texas, that the townspeople gulped gallons of lemonade and poured buckets of water over their heads, but they couldn’t stay cool.

Swinging on the front porch with her mother, Elena suddenly has an idea. Raspas—icy cold snow cones—are what the neighbors need to stay cool. And she can make and sell the refreshing treats from a stand in her own front yard! So with the help of her parents, Elena soon has a stand and the items needed to make and sell the snow cones. Before long everyone is lining up to buy the frosty delights in delicious flavors.

Elena’s best friend Alma watches her friend’s success from across the street and decides to start her own snow cone stand. And so begins the battle of the snow cones, with each girl devising ever more elaborate plans to attract clients: decorating their stands with colorful Mexican crepe paper flowers and papel picado, adding exotic flavors such as coconut and mango to their menus, staging puppet shows and even a folkloric dance. The girls’ ice shaving machines furiously crank out raspas, until one day both machines go bonkers!

Readers will enjoy the girls’ clever antics to attract customers in this lively, colorful picture book for children ages 4 – 8. And just as important, kids will learn—along with Elena and Alma—that competitors can still be friends.

LUPE RUIZ-FLORES resides in San Antonio, Texas, where she writes poetry and children's stories. She is the author of Lupita's Papalote / El papalote de Lupita (Piñata Books, 2002) and The Woodcutter’s Gift / El regalo del leñador (Piñata Books, 2007).

ALISHA GAMBINO, the illustrator of Sunflowers / Girasoles (Piñata Books, 2009), teaches for Continuing Education at the Kansas City Art Institute and is the Art Education Curator for the Mattie Rhodes Art Cen- ter. She has exhibited her work at galleries around the country, and lives and works in Gladstone, Missouri.

Grandma’s Chocolate
El chocolate de Abuelita

Mara Price
Illustrations by Lisa Fields
Spanish translation by Gabriela Baeza Ventura
November 30, 2010, 32 pages
Ages 4-8
ISBN-10: 1-55885-587-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-55885-587-8

A young girl enjoys her Mexican grandmother’s chocolate
gifts and stories about her indigenous

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1188. Guest Columnist: Edith M Vásquez on Rigoberto González. On-Line Floricanto: Poets Respond to Arizona Racists

Amor, Amorphous Amor: On Poems, Sex and Power
In Other Fugitives and Other Strangers by Rigoberto González

Edith M. Vásquez

Editor's note: La Bloga has semi-regularly linked or featured poet and scholar Rigoberto Gonzalez' literary critiques, most recently his review of Calaca Press' Chicas Patas Sci-Fi title, Lunar Braceros (a worthwhile title reviewed in February by Michael Sedano). Today, La Bloga's Guest Columnist, Edith M. Vásquez, conducts a critical tour of Mr. Gonzalez' work. Ms. Vásquez' poem, "To The Poets," was included in a recent On-Line Floricanto.

Disrupting symmetry: the key
to the art of conquering

a lover. Take exactitude and
distort its vain


In ancient myth, Chaos and Eros are closely aligned figures. These lines, drawn from the poem, “Vanquishing Act,” by Rigoberto González call for the disordering of an as- seemingly-permanent value as that of symmetry, in an argument of love as agile potency against compulsory and preordained order. Throughout his Other Fugitives and Other Strangers, (Tupelo Press, 2006) González foregrounds male erotica through a lyric expansion leading ever more deeply into newly broached recesses of the loved body; here conquest is a countering of form, and form is a responsive if seduced lover. Cutting, biting, and probing the body of the lover is represented as a breakage of form--the release of order permitted therewith supplies new poetic material, and new shapes can be appraised.

The power of love—as physical pact or emotional bond—may injure and or please. Conquest entails some rearranging of power as the sexual positions do also create a necessary giver and taker often. Remarking on the potential of abusive power in sex, the speaker of the opening poem, “Good Boy” queries his own progression into the darker forces of sexual relations; the poem dramatizes the experienced lover’s inquiring gaze fixed on a photo of him as a ten-year old child. Meditating on his maturation from apparent innocent to practiced lover, the speaker poses a series of questions, among them: “Wasn’t I a good boy once?” and “How do you explain this/ strange ability to inflict pain?”

A juxtaposition of innocence and experience draws a contrast between nascent and certain lover through sound, color, and age. Youth is described as “a laugh/so clean,” is compared to a “white sheet,” and is recorded as “those high-pitched sounds.” On the other hand, maturation is “rust in my throat,” and it signifies that the child he once was “is lost in the stomach” and has dissolved “like any other/color.” These queries and comparisons culminate in one possibility, thus the assertion: “I must have been the changeling

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1189. Los Muertos

A short story by Daniel Olivas

The afterlife really began to annoy Belén. True, there were great benefits to take pleasure in such as victory over pain and hunger and fatigue. And she could puff away on her fat, hand-rolled cigarettes without fear of cancer. Visiting with her husband Celso and others was not so bad, either. Here, there were no hurt feelings if you didn’t want to be in the company of others. Everyone understood. The transgressions from life on earth also were forgiven. And there was, of course, the great revelation of finally being able to see the face of God—after a lifetime of wondering. But what annoyed Belén was the fact that she still had plenty of free will. Too much, truth be told. She could stay in heaven or wander back down to earth and observe the living, visit them while they slumbered, assert herself in night visions. Belén knew before she died that spirits liked to stay involved in this way. She’d seen her own late mother, Mónica, once or twice in dreams. One day, after much thought, Belén confronted God about all this.

"Why,” she asked, “can’t I simply stay here and enjoy eternal peace with Celso and the rest of my dead family and friends?”

“You may certainly do that,” answered God. “I’m not stopping you.”

“But I feel compelled to come back to earth from time to time to assist my children,” Belén continued as she puffed on her fat cigarette. She blew magnificent, perfect smoke rings that impressed God mightily.

“You may do what you want, my daughter,” said God in a patient, loving voice.

Belén noticed that God was both handsome and beautiful at the same time with a countenance that shimmered and undulated and filled her with warmth. God’s good looks were distracting. She had to concentrate to stay on point.

“But you know as well as I that if given the choice, I will interfere with the living,” said Belén as she puffed more rapidly on her cigarette.

“And your point is?”

Belén marveled at how God could answer like that without sounding one bit snotty. But God could do anything, of course. After a tad more discussion, Belén realized that God wouldn’t budge on the rules. She threw her hands up in exasperation. God laughed. Belén cherished God’s laugh. In fact, it was one of the best things about the afterlife.

“I love you more than you could ever know,” said God.

Seeing that God prepared to leave, Belén said: “Please don’t go.”

“So much to do!” exclaimed God before disappearing.

Belén shrugged. She should have known better than to waste her time trying to argue with God. But since time no longer meant anything, it really didn’t matter. Belén looked down to earth. Her children were more or less sleeping. She squinted. Who was that? Oh, yes. Max Klein. Belén liked his looks and knew that he generally had a good heart. And she’d met his late wife, Ruth, who was the life of the party and quite an intellectual, a philosopher even. In fact, just the other day, they had a very nice chat about the many faces of evil. Belén squinted: there was Max, fast asleep on his couch, dreaming of…of…Julieta! One of Belén’s daughters! Shame, shame, shame!

“She’s married, you!” Belén yelled and as she shoot her fist at Max.

Belén took a deep breath to compose herself. After a few moments, she sighed and came down into Max’s dream. She puffed on her cigarette and tried to think. What sho

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1190. Do These Shoes Make Me Look Illegal? A Night of Spoken Word and Creative Resistance

Olga García Echeverría

Are you suffering from SB 1070 Traumatic Stress Disorder? Wondering if your chanclas or vaquero boots make you look illegal? Sick and tired of racist legislation and political pendejadas?

Then come join us for an evening of cathartic spoken word and creative resistance:

Do These Shoes Make Me Look Illegal?

Poetic Chanclazos By:
tatiana de la tierra
Erika Ayon
Michael Medrano
Olga García Echeverría
Olivia Chumacero

Slide Show of Arizona's National Day of Action:
Claudia Rosas

DJ Music (OMG, For Reals!)
Barrio Snacks
& Other Ghetto Goodies

July 17th, 2010
7-9 PM

UCLA Labor Center
675 S Park View St

Los Angeles CA 90057-3306

$5 Donation
(no one turned away for lack of funds)

All proceeds go to
Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca's Family

On Monday, June 7, 2010, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Güereca, a 15-year-old Mexican boy, was shot and killed by a U.S. border patrol agent at the Juarez-El Paso border. To learn more about this incident: http://www.counterpunch.org/carlsen06232010.html

About the participating artists:

Born in Villavicencio, Colombia and raised in Miami, Florida, tatiana de la tierra is a bicultural writer whose work focuses on identity, sexuality, and South American memory and reality. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Master of Library Science from University at Buffalo. tatiana was a founder, editor, and contributor to the Latina lesbian publications esto no tiene nombre, conmoción and la telaraña. She is author of For the Hard Ones: A Lesbian Phenomenology / Para las duras: Una fenomenología lesbiana and the chapbooks Porcupine Love

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1191. It didn't start in AZ & of course it's about race

[The following post comes courtesy of Frontera NorteSur, 6/30/10]

As the immigration issue continues heating up and shaping US politics in the summer of 2010, New Mexico State University will once again play a role in the debate. Sponsored by the school’s International Relations Institute and Center for Latin American and Border Studies, a summer institute on immigration will take place on the Las Cruces campus during the month of July. The scheduled events include lectures, films, student presentations and sessions designed to come up with working solutions to an issue central to North America's future.

The kick-off event will happen at 7 pm on Tuesday, July 6, at New Mexico State's Anderson Hall Auditorium. Addressing a timely issue, Arizona scholar Roxanne Doty, associate professor at Arizona State University, will deliver a public lecture titled “It Didn’t Start in Arizona and Of Course it’s About Race.” The author of a book on state laws related to immigration, Dr. Doty will examine Arizona’s SB 1070 controversy within the context of similar legislation sweeping the United States.

On Wednesday, July 7, the Institute will offer a public discussion on immigration and border policies from a comparative perspective, analyzing the experiences of Europe as well as the US-Mexico border. Once again scheduled for the Anderson Hall Auditorium at 7 pm, the event will feature Dr. Carlos Gonzalez Herrera, founding director of El Colegio de Chihuahua; Emily Carey, Regional Center for Border Rights, American Civil Liberties Union; and Dr. Luis Alfonso Herrera Robles of the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez.

The series will culminate with three sessions on different aspects of immigration policy and reform including legalization, law enforcement and due process and future flows and root causes of migration. Scheduled to run from July 12 to 14, all the concluding events will being at 6 pm at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. The facilitators will include NMSU professors Neil Harvey and Alison Newby and Sarah Nolan of Comunidades de Accion y Fe.

In addition to dissecting the sociological, political and economic forces defining one of today’s most important public policy debates, the Las Cruces gathering promises up-to-date information on legislative proposals for addressing the US immigration crisis.

“We will particularly focus on the legalization of the currently undocumented, the impacts of border and interior enforcement, and policies that address future flows and the root causes of migration,” event organizers said. “Our goal is to increase our own understanding of this important issue and contribute to the national debate in ways that promote the human rights and dignity of all people.”

For a complete list of events or more information, please e-mail Roberta Gran of the International Relations Institute: rgran AT nmsu.edu.

Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New M

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1192. Rigoberto Gonzalez Review Latino Sci-Fi

Mil gracias to fellow bloguera Dan Olivas for giving me the head's up on Rigoberto Gonzalez's recent review of Lunar Braceros: 2125-2148; a rare Latino Sci-Fi novel. Also, muchicimas gracias to Rigoberto for allowing us to post it. Enjoy!

Review by Rigoberto Gonzalez

Though science fiction plays an integral role in American letters, few Latino writers have ventured into the field. That makes "Lunar Braceros 2125-2148" by Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita (Calaca Press, $15 paperback) a bit of a rarity. But it must also be celebrated as an excellent example of political critique.

The year is 2148, the tricentennial of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, though this anniversary no longer holds much relevance. In the age of the New Imperial Order, global economic powers have remapped the Americas into nation-states. The history of this "new political re-alignment" is presented to 18-year-old Pedro in the form of "nanotexts with lunar posts, lessons, bits and pieces of conversations, and notations" in an effort by his mother, Lydia, to help him understand the world he was born into.

Pedro learns about the creation of Cali-Texas and its 20th-century roots to a proud Chicano people. But hard times crippled the nation-state, prompting a tough solution: It rounded up the unemployed and homeless into reservations, "a type of population control camp mechanism."

And when Cali-Texas expanded to include parts of Canada and Mexico, becoming a Latino-identified nation-state, the exploitation of the work force intensified. The reservations became no less than prisons supplying cheap labor to any enterprise seeking a part of Earth's dwindling natural resources.

With advances in space travel came a need for moon-based miners and technicians (called "tecos"). That launched a lunar bracero program that included Pedro's mother, a gifted teco who could "code, decode, and recode any computer language." But what began as a promising prospect - for the tecos to make enough money to move their families out of the reservations - soon turns into threat of extermination, as details emerge about the fates of the first generation of braceros who reached the moon and never returned to Earth.

Pedro's mother, and the rest of the tecos, stage an escape from the moon to become part of an insurrection. Pedro reaches the end of the nanotexts with no clear answers about their fate, but it is clear that the purpose of the history has been consciousness-raising. After absorbing the dispatches, Pedro grows up and is ready to join the revolution.

Sánchez and Pita have constructed an inventive and prophetic allegory about the troubles that await an economy that cannot sustain a capitalist model without abuses to its beleaguered land and population.

There is no guesswork, however, in the knowledge that the downtrodden will rise up and resist - that's a lesson from the past.

"Lunar Braceros 2125-2148," a unique and timely addition to Chicano letters, is full of points to ponder, many coming from Lydia, the wise Latina of the future: "There is this need for freedom that never leaves you. It can become more important even than survival."

Rigoberto González is an award-winning writer living in New York City. His website is www.rigobertogonzalez.com, and he may be reached at Rigoberto70@aol.com.

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1193. Rigorberto Gonzalez Reviews Latino Sci-Fi

Thank you to fellow bloguero Dan Olivas for giving me a head's up on (the ever prolific) Rigoberto Gonzalez's recent review of a rare Latino Sci-Fi novel titled, Lunar Braceros: 2125 - 2148. Please enjoy Gonzalez's review as it is listed below.

Though science fiction plays an integral role in American letters, few Latino writers have ventured into the field. That makes "Lunar Braceros 2125-2148" by Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita (Calaca Press, $15 paperback) a bit of a rarity. But it must also be celebrated as an excellent example of political critique.

The year is 2148, the tricentennial of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, though this anniversary no longer holds much relevance. In the age of the New Imperial Order, global economic powers have remapped the Americas into nation-states. The history of this "new political re-alignment" is presented to 18-year-old Pedro in the form of "nanotexts with lunar posts, lessons, bits and pieces of conversations, and notations" in an effort by his mother, Lydia, to help him understand the world he was born into.

Pedro learns about the creation of Cali-Texas and its 20th-century roots to a proud Chicano people. But hard times crippled the nation-state, prompting a tough solution: It rounded up the unemployed and homeless into reservations, "a type of population control camp mechanism."

And when Cali-Texas expanded to include parts of Canada and Mexico, becoming a Latino-identified nation-state, the exploitation of the work force intensified. The reservations became no less than prisons supplying cheap labor to any enterprise seeking a part of Earth's dwindling natural resources.

With advances in space travel came a need for moon-based miners and technicians (called "tecos"). That launched a lunar bracero program that included Pedro's mother, a gifted teco who could "code, decode, and recode any computer language." But what began as a promising prospect - for the tecos to make enough money to move their families out of the reservations - soon turns into threat of extermination, as details emerge about the fates of the first generation of braceros who reached the moon and never returned to Earth.

Pedro's mother, and the rest of the tecos, stage an escape from the moon to become part of an insurrection. Pedro reaches the end of the nanotexts with no clear answers about their fate, but it is clear that the purpose of the history has been consciousness-raising. After absorbing the dispatches, Pedro grows up and is ready to join the revolution.

Sánchez and Pita have constructed an inventive and prophetic allegory about the troubles that await an economy that cannot sustain a capitalist model without abuses to its beleaguered land and population.

There is no guesswork, however, in the knowledge that the downtrodden will rise up and resist - that's a lesson from the past.

"Lunar Braceros 2125-2148," a unique and timely addition to Chicano letters, is full of points to ponder, many coming from Lydia, the wise Latina of the future: "There is this need for freedom that never leaves you. It can become more important even than survival."

Rigoberto González is an award-winning writer living in New York City. His website is www.rigobertogonzalez.com, and he may be reached at Rigoberto70@aol.com.

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1194. Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush

Luis Alberto Urrea's fantastic short story Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush was recently published by Cinco Puntos Press as a graphic text with illustrations by renowned artist and political muralist Christopher Cardinale.

As the story unfolds, we soon realize why Cardinale was indeed the perfect artist for this project. Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush is the story of a graffiti artist, "Rey de Graffiti en todo México", whose paintbrush is always ready to denounce injustice, hypocrisy or simple ill-manners in whatever surface is available at the time... If you'd like to read my review, you can find it here.

Warning: this is not for kids! I found my 6-year old reading it intently, especially the part in which Mr. Mendoza's paintbrush strikes the narrator's buttocks. She thought it was hysterical...

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1195. You Should Visit Denver

Today I have a guest contribution from the inimitable Flo Hernandez-Ramos, Project Director for the Latino Public Radio Consortium. Flo got a little upset because of a snub to the Latino aspects of and contributions to Denver, but instead of stewing in her juices she came up with a nifty response - her own Guide to Latino Denver. This Guide is hot off the press and just this week was made available to the visiting National Association of Hispanic Journalists, who are in town for their annual conference. The pamphlet is laid out in an attractive format that doesn't get justice on our blog and I am using only a few of the photos and images, but the information is all here. It just might encourage you to wander around the Mile High City this summer.

The Guide adds considerably to a column I did for La Bloga a while back, Five Reasons It's Great to be a Chicano in Denver. Hope you enjoy the guided tour of the city I call home - and you know how home is: messy, sometimes too familiar, but always comfortable.
There are no Latinos in Denver. At least according to the in-flight magazine of a Denver-based airline whose name will not be mentioned but those cute animals should know better. The article was titled “The True Denver” and purported to list the attractions that would give the tourist an “authentic” experience. I read and re-read the article, but alas, there was no mention of the numerous Latinos, African-Americans, Native Americans or Asians that make Denver a truly great city. But why was I surprised? Over the years I have had the good fortune of visiting various cities and not once in the guides strategically placed in hotel rooms and lobbies has there been much more than a cursory mention of that city’s people of color.

Thus was born this Guide to Latino Denver. As a courtesy to visitors to the Queen City, the Latino Public Radio Consortium will give you some idea of the influence Latinos have on Denver and how you can rub elbows with the locals. Latinos must be doing something right in a city where we constitute 31% of over ½ a million people and which has streets (Peña Boulevard, the main thoroughfare connecting DIA to I-70), parks (Martínez Park, 10th & Raleigh), schools (Lena Archuleta Elementary, 16000 Maxwell Place) and buildings (Richard Castro Social Services, 12th & Federal) named after Latinos. But remember, this is only the perspective of a Mexican-American; other Latinos from Denver can add much more. When you meet them, ask them for recommendations too. Enjoy.

Flo Hernández-Ramos
Project Director, Latino Public Radio Consortium

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1196. Denver Zoot Suit re-performance

From Jose Mercado, one of Colorado's premier teatro directors, comes the following:


Please read Tina Griego's column in The Denver Post concerning the upcoming performance of Luis Valdez's wonderful acto.

Opening Night!: Special “Taste de las Americas” tickets include dinner & ticket to Zoot Suit and can be purchased here.

For tickets for the show only call 866-464-2626 or click here.


Tina Griego's article says it all, so I won't repeat it since you can go to her link to read all about it.

Having had the pleasure of seeing the first performance of
Zoot Suit six years ago, I highly recommend this event. Opening night tickets are hefty since they include Tastes of Colorado, but tickets for the other nights are $10 for students and the 70+.

Es todo, hoy,

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1197. The Gift: My Lesbian Daughter


by Fabiola Restrepo, tatiana de la tierra’s mom

This was originally published in Spanish as “El regalo” in 1992 in the latina lesbian magazine esto no tiene nombre. We share it in la Bloga to celebrate gays, lesbians and transgender people throughout the world, with respect and love for all.

Mother’s Day passed and left me thinking about the mothers and daughters who didn’t celebrate it. I think of the mother who let intolerance close her heart in pain and of the daughter who suffers from the rejection. I know the wall this mother builds is made of silence and fear and answers that are not accepted or searched for from within. I know this wall will separate her from her daughter to the end.

When my daughter’s umbilical cord was cut I was fortunate to understand that it was merely a physical separation and that what would unite us later, stronger than a band of fleshy fibers, would be love, mutual respect, understanding, and acceptance. When I found out that my daughter was a lesbian I felt confusion and pain. I knew this was more than a word or a way of life. I knew how hard society is against this group of people. I knew they were discriminated against and even persecuted at times. I knew this because these attitudes are the ones that I had felt toward homosexuals all my life.

My first step was acceptance. I didn’t think of trying to change her or offering to take her to a psychologist. I know my daughter well. When she chooses a path it is because she is convinced that it possesses her truth.

Little by little, without much desire but with great curiosity, I began to learn, to try to understand what it means to be a homosexual. I’ve only known my daughter’s lesbian world. She is a feminist who embraces woman-related issues, including history, submission, and subjugation. She even fights for women’s rights, including the right to abort, which I don’t agree with.

She was one of the editors of the latina lesbian magazines esto no tiene nombre and conmoción (published in Miami, 1990-1996). Her articles were controversial. She is atrevida, daring in the choice of her material. I don’t like some of the things she writes about, like sadomasochism. But I admire her style of writing. And I like her way of delving into irreverent themes, as she does in the poem “The Day I Learned to Pray” and her poem about women with beards. She even lets her own facial hair grow without shaving or bleaching it, which is something that people, including me, don’t like to see or read about.

In other words, we have differences between us, some of them deep. I am Christian, and she is pagan. She doesn’t accept God or Jesus. For me, Christianity is more than a belief. I live my religion. For me, a mother’s love is like God’s love, unconditional above all. I am proud of her and everything she has accomplished in her life, of what she is as a woman and as a person. She had the courage to step forward when many, out of

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1198. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Fears and Loathes Brown People

By guest essayist Álvaro Huerta

Not to be outdone by the late segregationist, Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (pictured above) will go down in the history books as an ardent xenophobe and racist. Brewer’s hatred of immigrants and disregard for the civil rights of Latinos (both legal residents and citizens) have come to fruition in Arizona’s recently passed laws aimed at criminalizing immigrants, racially profiling Latinos and denying racial minorities the right to learn about their history.

I’m speaking, of course, of SB 1070, the unconstitutional law that requires police officers to demand legal documentation of individuals suspected of being undocumented immigrants under the premise of “reasonable suspicion” and HB 2281, the racist law that bans ethnic studies (optional courses, as a matter of fact) in public schools. Instead of chastising Brewer for her racist legislative actions, President Barack Obama recently invited her to the White House to discuss the controversial immigration law that the president referred to as “misguided.” This is the same president that had a “Beer Summit” at the White House with a racist police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, shortly after he arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.—a distinguished African American scholar—in his own home. This high profile arrest can be traced to Gates’ initial “inability” to verify proof of residence to Crowley even after Gates provided his Harvard faculty identification card.

As any parent should know, this is no way of rewarding bad behavior! Better yet, instead of meeting with Brewer in a one-to-one meeting usually afforded to world leaders, Obama should chastise the rogue governor and take direct action against Arizona’s racist agenda. Obama can learn a thing or two from previous presidents. For instance, in 1963, then-President John F. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard when Gov. Wallace attempted to prevent two African American students from attending the University of Alabama under a federal court order to desegregate public schools.

An ardent segregationist, Wallace, who operated under the political platform "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever," eventually caved under pressure when confronted by the military might of the federal government. Taking this historical event as a “teachable moment,” Obama needs to use all of executive powers, including unmatchable oratory skills, to immediately repeal both SB 1070 and HB 2281. While Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder contemplate legal action, individuals of Mexican decent in this desert state live in a constant state of fear, anxiety and financial insecurity.

When she originally signed SB 1070 into law on April 23rd, Brewer assured the public that racial profiling would not be tolerated. However, what does she—a white, privileged politician—know about racial profiling? I wonder if she, or any member of her family, has even been a victim of racial profiling? More specifically, has she ever been denied a taxicab in the city of New York or other major city because of the color of her skin? Has she ever been pulled over by a police officer for simply being in the “wrong neighborhood” or because she allegedly “matched the description” of someone suspected of committing a crime?

While Brewer and the supporters of this anti-immigrant law attempt to frame this policy measure as one of “crime” and “safety,” especially with the law’s official name, “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” they have yet to produc

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1199. Guest Writer: Interview with the Poet: Francisco X. Alarcón. On-Line Floricanto.

Guest Interviewer: Jorge Argueta

This interview was done by TALLERES DE POESÍA, a poetic organization of El Salvador. Salvadorian poet Jorge Argueta, who lives in San Francisco, California, and narrator/poet Manlio Argueta, Director of the National Library of El Salvador, are organizing the First Festival of Children's Poetry of El Salvador (November 3-5, 2010). For more information visit the Facebook page:

TDP: Tell us about your greatest satisfactions as a poet?

FXA: There are several things that have given me great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment during my trajectory as a poet. One of the greatest satisfactions is to have been able to contribute for the opening of new publication possibilities for Latino writers who live in the U.S. through an independent publishing house, Children’s Book Press of San Francisco, California.

I served first as a translator (Spanish to English; and English to Spanish), consultant, and then, as an editor of several children’s books done by Chicano/Latino writers and artists who for the first time were publishing bilingual picture books for children. I also served as a Board Member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit Children’s Book Press.

For myself, it took me several years to be able to publish my first book of bilingual poems for children, “Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems / Jitomates risueños y otros poemas de primavera” (Children’s Book Press 1997) because the main editor thought that a children’s book with bilingual poems will not sell well in the U.S. But this first picture children’s book with bilingual poems was very well received by readers in general and by critics in special. It was awarded several prestigious literary awards, and it was the first of title of a series of four picture books dedicated to the seasons of the year published by Children’s Book Press.

The four books include wonderful artwork by San Franciscp-based Chicana artist Maya Chistina Gonzalez: “From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems / Del ombligo de la luna y otros poemas de verano” (1998), “Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems / Los ángeles andan en bicicleta y otros poemas de otoño” (1999), and “Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno” (2001). These picture books were also awarded several important literary prizes. The fact that around 250,000 copies of these books have been sold means that there is a big market for bilingual poetry books for children in the U.S.

TDP: Do you write another genre besides poetry?

FXA: I have also written short stories. One these short stories, titled “Las repatriaciones de noviembre” (“The Repatriations of November”), deals with a Latino family in Los Angeles, California, that is about to move to Mexico during the Big Depression in 1931 when being “Mexican” had become almost a crime. It’s a story based on real life experiences endured by my mother’s family. It was awarded a major literary prize in Texas, and it has been included in several Chicano Literature anthologies published in the U.S. and Spain, and in many Spanish language textbooks as well since it was originally written in Spanish.

At the moment I am interested in exploring different poetic forms, styles and themes, like eco-poetics. Recently I was named Editor of POETAS•PUENTES,

1 Comments on Guest Writer: Interview with the Poet: Francisco X. Alarcón. On-Line Floricanto., last added: 6/29/2010
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1200. Goooooooooooal, Get a Free Copy of Pelé King of Soccer

Hola, how is everyone doing with the World Cup Fever? Now the tension is on to discover which teams will make it to the semifinals. But we need to wait until Friday.

Monica Brown wrote a beautiful book about Pelé the king of Soccer. This is the bilingual description of the book:

 Do you know how a poor boy from Brazil who loved fútbol more than anything else became the biggest soccer star the world has ever known? Turn the pages of this book to read the true life story of Pelé, King of Soccer, the first man in the history of the sport to score a thousand goals and become a living legend. Rudy Gutiérrez's dynamic illustrations make award-winning author Monica Brown's story of this remarkable sports hero truly come alive!

¿Sabes cómo un niño brasileño pobre que amaba el fútbol más que nada en el mundo se convirtió en la estrella más importante del deporte? Lee este relato y entérate de la historia de Pelé, El rey del fútbol; el primer hombre en la historia del deporte capaz de marcar mil goles y convertirse en una leyenda viva. Las dinámicas ilustraciones de Rudy Gutiérrez destacan vívidamente los momentos recreados por la escritora premiada Mónica Brown en este extraordinario libro.

Last year La Bloga had the honor to interview Monica Brown. This is just the first question. To read the complete interview click here. 

Congratulations on your new book Pele King of Soccer, Monica you are truly the queen of Latino children’s book biographies. How did you get the idea for this great book?

How fun to be queen of something! More seriously, I am surrounded by people that inspire me, from the children I meet to the folks in publishing who fight to get these stories told. As a Peruvian-American, I grew up with an appreciation for Pelé's physical genius and an understanding of what he represented for the children of South America. The idea to write about him grew out of conversations with my husband (who has coached each of our girl's soccer teams) and my agents, Stefanie Von Borstel and Lilly Ghahremani. I've was also inspired by my brother Danny, who has played soccer semi-professionally and who now plays for the CAL Men's Club team. Since I have a soccer-crazy family, this was a natural project for me.

In celebration of the 2010 World Cup,  author Monica Brown created this book trailer about Pelé, the legend at the heart of Brazilian Soccer.  She's also donated a signed copy of the book to the readers of La Bloga.

Leave a comment about your favorite fútbol's team and why you would like this book. La Bloga will choose and announce the name of the lucky reader next Wednesday.

Saludos y mucha suerte.
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