I was recently reading a list of five New Year’s resolutions for the Latino community by Ernesto Sosa on Huffington Post. The founder and president of the Hispanic Social Media Institute and SOWEB and director at LATISM (Latinos in Innovation, Technology and Social Media), focused on challenges that hold back the Latino community that prevent us from doing what’s needed to “evolve, become a valuable power group and change the outdated, misrepresented Latino stereotypes.”
Sosa has some good points, and some speak volumes to the specific challenges facing Tucson’s own community and should be taken to heart. But it occurred to Ms. Malinche that we could use five additional resolutions to examine our own work that needs to be done in the coming year, particularly the next three months. But let’s throw some love malintZINE’s way – what’s started already knocks two of Sosa’s resolutions off the list – embracing a true culture of collaboration and the productive use of technology (more than 8,000 views since its start).
But there’s more to do, and there’s more for our local community to embrace. If they did, I guarantee the beginning of real change, a change that’s embraced by everyone, not just those in the Chicano community:
- Let’s steal the first line in Sosa’s first resolution, “Embrace a true culture of collaboration.” That means creating a movement that truly reaches all areas of the community. malintZINE has offered the community a great start – bringing those who’ve felt disenfranchised by self-described leaders in the fight for Mexican-American studies. malintZINE has provided a way for everyone to no longer be silenced and a path to move all of us forward. But they (we) shouldn’t be alone, more allies and those in the community are needed to understand that an approach that uses bullying and draws lines in the sand no longer works. There needs to be organizing that embraces true collaboration.
- In a community movement that embraces collaboration there is no need for the other tactics that have gotten us where we are – using chisme to cause division. When lies come from people seen as trustworthy leaders, it only makes it difficult for many to sift through the lies to get to the facts. Shit, it really makes it difficult for us to use the critical thinking skills we love and embrace. So, for example, if someone were to start whispering that John Pedicone is going to retire this summer and that Auggie Romero is going to be made superintendent, it would make them look only more ridiculous. Or here’s another example, there’s a position in the desegregation proposal that calls for a director of Culturally Relevant Curriculum. Some in the community would like to see Romero, this is true, and others are talking about Norma Gonzalez. The problem here is that nothing has been decided yet, so to act as if that is the case is again, only a tactic to cause division. If Gonzalez is really interested in this position and not feeling peer pressure from her fellow teachers to not apply or push for it, she needs to put herself out there. There’s no need for any whispering. Just get out there and begin an earnest discussion. Let’s begin something collaboratively.
- Having clear goals and a clear path to those goals can begin when you work collaboratively and when you don’t use chisme to divide the community (if you need an example of how to do this look to the DREAMers). So, here’s chisme that has yet to be addressed, but needs to be addressed: If former MAS teachers are telling the community that we need to fight for them because they are the MAS program, but they are also telling others they are planning not to return this fall and use Pedicone’s presence in TUSD as their excuse – please, step up and explain what exactly people are fighting for – especially at the desegregation forums in December. Let’s begin with a clear path and goals. UNIDOS’ message to the Tucson Unified School District at the last board meeting asked the board to work with the community and listen as the desegregation process continues. This was a beautiful start and one worth rallying around. In fact, at this point, the teachers could learn a lot from UNIDOS and malintZINE. Let’s leave the bullshit at home, and let’s work together without threats, lies or division.
- Yes, it’s true that there are some tactics that can be an important part of the Democratic process in order to make change – while some local politicians are known for using chisme to do just that, and it’s obvious that their example is being replicated, it may also be good to think of the old-fashion sit down – no, it’s not compromise, it’s a damn sit-down. You can even have several. If that doesn’t work, then yes, by all means, bring it on. But bring it on with truth and bring it on with trust – you do that, and the community will have your back. Your bring it on with lies and you bring it on with manipulation, we now see that the result is people will no longer care what you have to say. Instead, the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” will continue to be used an example discussed over and over again, as other parts of the community work to do what needs to be done – despite this failed tactic, despite the lies.
- Open your eyes to what is going on right now. Before malintZINE was even a reality on the Internet and Twitter-feed, it was no longer a secret that women in the community had enough. Tucson Freedom Summer was just one small experience in several years of feeling silenced and felt-up at the same time. There are those in the community who support MAS and want to create change – but they may be making one mistake. They are stuck on what some will call the “old ways.” Let’s not repeat something that we now know doesn’t work. Why not start something new, something that uses those community organizing tactics we learned from the past, but something that calls for collaboration and truth that also begins with clear goals? You can’t justify the work you want to do by saying your approach is to use the old ways. If there’s any lesson to learn from all of this and the creation of malintZINE, it is that new ways are needed, too. That’s what we owe the next seven generations – not putting out the same bullshit out over and over again. Looking back what will they say? Maybe, if we aren’t willing to do what is needed, the history told will be that we didn’t use our Precious Knowledge, instead we became bullshit artists and nothing changed … nothing changed at all.