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Damned Ignorance

They peddle the documentary DVDs
like political leaflets, presenting them proudly
as they solicit support and monetary contributions
for the cause.
They are vending a symbol of gender subjugation;
a film that is stained with allegations of sexual assault;
assertions that were muffled; claims that were
minimized; and cries that were choked in the name
of the cause.
They have contaminated the cause and
have even attempted to hijack it.
Damned Ignorance!
Does the end justify the means?
No, not here!

The cause.
We were all clear
about our cause.
It was wrapped around keeping our precious
Mexican American Studies courses that
enable our youth to gain relevant knowledge
to successfully catapult forward in a
self-awareness.
Remember?
Students were and are at the
center of the cause; at least for us.
After all, what we learn is empty
without knowing who we are.
MAS courses allowed all content that
was learned to stream through a perspective
that brought definition to it.
We honored one another (In lak ech)
in our learning spaces.

The film was meant to tell the story of this cause,
in truth (panche be) through student and teacher voices.
The film was meant to offer protection to our youth from
further oppression through our united voices.
The film was meant to help rescue our perspective.
All of these voiced intentions were merely propaganda
upon which nothing but exploitation ultimately took place.
The intentioned promises were all broken.
We knew that the antagonists- Horne and Huppenthal-
and others with like-lower consciousness, were the ones
with the scheme to remove the Mexican American perspective
from anything taught, keeping us forever bound
in Damned Ignorance.

Gradually, as most revelations occur, it became clear
that our cause was not at the focus of saving ethnic studies.
Internal antagonists within our movement took on an assault
within our trusted movement.
A deep contamination of the cause took place through

the elevation of male egos;
the Frankenstein-like creation of a hate-based attack blog;
the exclusion of womyn in decision making;
excessive consumption of alcohol at functions;
the persistent exploitation of young womyn;
intimidation tactics to silence any word of sexual assault;
the lining of pockets with total lack of accountability;
excuses for a man with a known and legal record of domestic violence;
cheap and wrongly founded blog attacks on activist womyn;
a “destroy all-nuclear” strategy in the event of legal defeat – one that has  embraced  loss and proclaimed the death of MAS;
the ill formed notion that one segment of the movement was
thee movement;

and the list goes on ad nauseam.

With the many unfolding revelations,
many left the corner of deception, misogyny
and Damned Ignorance.
Energy shifted within the movement.
We stand here
NOW united.
And the external and internal
antagonists, alike in so many ways,
are all recognized
for what and who they are and
what they have done.
The recognition itself is a form of accountability.

The cause is the path;
not the tyrannical attorney;
not the regressive blogger,
whose multiple muddles
have minimized him from three to zero;
not the moth-eaten sexist bato activists who
desire nothing more than to resurrect their egos;
not the documentary that epitomizes
the drastic wrong turn on this path.

The cause is the path on which most of us have remained.
The path is clearer and conviction is more solid.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Her stories, Tucson movement, Uncategorized

 

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Three Sonorans – blogger/publicist; deception by deflection, attempted polarization, sour grapes- all with underlying misogyny and prejudice

After being called on his misogynist oriented blogging and continued spread of misinformation, some weeks ago, DA Morales, also known as Three Sonorans (TS), proclaimed that his blog would be shut down. The TS absence lasted only a few days and many pockets were lined with quick cash from bets won against his promise. We are regretful to have won the bet! At a New Year’s party, Richard M. Martinez referred to Morales as his “publicist” which simply affirmed Morales’ role. Perhaps the bestowment of his role and title is what propelled Martinez’ promoter to begin TS and what prodded him to once again surface the blog and spew continued misogyny and mistruths.

A quick review of the traces of the misogyny in the TS blog, finds that this anointed publicist has consistently used his blog to attack/defame many women in leadership roles, including Adelita Grijalva, Regina Romero, Sylvia Campoy, Kristel Foster, Kim Dominguez and Mari Herreras. Clad in 1960s chauvinism – “Chingon politics”, Morales has referred to feminists as men-haters. His disdain for the Grijalvas seems to influence much of his blogging, as does his seemingly hero-worship for some of the men with whom he closely associates. His position on domestic violence is strong (anti) unless the alleged perpetrator happens to be one of his close associates. Then he goes into subterranean denial and full-blown deflective defense; a strategy of calling attention to anything and everything else except the real issue. The more fires that are lit away from their troubles, the less attention to their troubles!

(Does he- or the person he serves as publicist- think that we don’t decipher such exploits?) And… with audacity only an authentic misogynist can muster, DA Morales then writes a blog admitting his ignorance about domestic violence while claiming  his desire to learn about the topic. Of course, this serves only as self-hype and camouflage. (Disingenuous efforts are easily detected when they are so contradictory to one’s repeated actions.)

As if all of these sexist misdeeds are not enough, the topic of sexual assault is one which has been obviously barred from his blog since its very utterance may be counter to “the cause;”  the case; film; and potentially damage fund-raising. Ironically, when Morales became aware that this issue was being openly discussed by women, he suggested that the discourse be taken out of the blogosphere and into a more confidential setting; clearly another sexist miss-step. (News flash: Women do not need guidance on where they may speak on this or any issue and certainly will not be silenced through such artificial gestures.)

Bear with us. It does NOT end here, although we do wish it had, long before this point.

Last week the District Federal Court Order adopted all elements of the TUSD Desegregation Plan, which includes Mexican American culturally relevant courses. Curriculum that embraces Mexican American heritage in the form of history/social studies and literature will be developed, approved by the Board, and implemented in every high school by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.  Many of us have fought for this! In fact, many of us are anticipating a curriculum that is much more inclusive of Chicana authors, poets and a historical perspective which includes the important contributions of numerous Chicanas.  Cause for celebration?  Of course, but not according to the TS Blogs on this topic. Since late December Morales’ repeated chant, likely reflective of those for whom he speaks, has been ‘MAS is dead’. Would such declaration be made if it were possible for Sean Arce to vie for the directorship overseeing culturally relevant curriculum? Likely not, since the Morales position prior to Arce’s arrest was that he should be named the director. Within a short period after public knowledge of Arce’s arrest, the messaging from Morales drastically shifted; it was only then that he proclaimed that MAS was dead. His blog makes it appear as though he has poured over the Court Order in order to formulate his position when, in fact, his position was formulated in correlation to the Arce arrest and proceeding fallout.

The most recent blog of February 11th 2013 is condescending, patronizing and diminishes the contributions made by everyone involved in the process to develop the TUSD Desegregation Plan. Morales claims that the individuals who have been involved in the Plan development are all women. He minimizes the contributions of the women who represent the interests of TUSD’s Latino students and who are part of the Mendoza Party, which- from the eyes of a misogynist- is the way his world works. Morales is wrong on this and many other counts throughout the blog.  He buffers his presentation as perhaps being erroneous, since he was not privy to much information involving the plan development process due to the gag order imposed by the court. Nonetheless, Morales dives right in and presumes to know what happened during the confidential process, guessing which woman did what in the negotiations.  His subtle admission of ignorance of the process is not loud enough and certainly does not hold him back from casting- race and gender based blame and minimizing the contributions of those involved. As was witnessed during the public forums on the desegregation plan and as one can deduce in reading the court documents, several men were involved during the process; but this, like all other misinformation presented does not really seem to matter. The TS blog is filled with assumptions and misjudgments, particularly relative to MAS, and casts ultimate blame largely based on their gender and race. How can a blogger who constantly alleges racism simultaneously exercise misogyny and his own prejudice be viewed as having any level of knowledge on issues of equity and social justice.

But now back to the Desegregation Plan and Morales’ erroneous statement about MAS and its state of being. Morales does begrudgingly admit that the Desegregation Plan does have many valuable elements but perseverates on the death of MAS. What is in the Desegregation Plan relative to Mexican American culturally relevant courses provides the opportunity for improvement and expansion. The courses are to be offered in every high school beginning with the 2013-14 school year and expansion is also included for the middle school and elementary school level.  Since when is improvement and expansion deemed as a loss or a death of any sort?  Through the eyes of the TS blogger the glass is not half full or half empty; it is empty. No matter how good the Plan, inclusive of the Mexican American culturally relevant courses, it was anticipated by many that sour grapes would manifest from DA Morales and those for whom he seems to speak. If they could not be the ones to deliver a win, then how dare anyone else do so; especially women!

With stone throwers comfortably standing on the sidelines and taking continued actions to obstruct rather than contribute, it is difficult to assess how much harm they may actually impose by demoralizing supporters and convincing some that we have lost. Just two weeks ago, TS printed a piece written by Richard Martinez suggesting that the desegregation money be stripped away from TUSD; $61,000,000 per year. Were this to happen, it would cause irreparable harm to all students in TUSD, most of whom are students of color. Such damaging rhetoric is expected from the extreme far right Republican factions of our state; not from those who purport to support the rights of students of color. The floating of such a proposal on the brink of the Court’s decision on the Desegregation Plan is unmistakably an attempt to deflect, distract and destroy. Some have said that this is the ultimate sour-grapes nuclear attack strategy that has been reserved if certain conditions were not met by those on the sidelines hurling the stones, such as Morales and Martinez. Their conditions have self-imploded! Their strategies have been faulty and have not worked; their case has not yet had a win (and we genuinely hope it does); their fund raising has failed; their man will not head up the department that oversees the work on Mexican American culturally relevant courses; their overall support and credibility is dwindling and their support base has been fractured- much due to the constant display of sexism. None of these failures have been externally imposed; they have all been self-imposed. Yet, their attacks and continued polarization persist. Instead of celebrating a significant “win” for our community; they jointly chant ‘MAS is dead’ or shallowly propose to extricate desegregation dollars from our school district as a means to deflect and distract from our monumental win. Who exactly does this serve? Certainly, it does not serve the students or the community.

TS reflects misogyny, prejudice, anger, mistruths and polarization which is not a foundational voice for social justice. For any who continue to read TS, understand the deceptions you will encounter and search out the facts elsewhere.

We need to continue to celebrate our WIN and acknowledge our individual and unified role in obtaining it – the struggle and work that lies ahead. We must rebuke the propaganda that is being hurled around (‘MAS is dead,’ the idea to extract desegregation dollars from TUSD, etc.).  We must remain engaged in pressuring TUSD to implement the Desegregation Plan and we must not allow for any further polarization.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Chicano Movement, Tucson movement

 

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Grandfather

To My Dead Grandfather,
 
I used to wish I could have met you
Dreamed of you reading me bedtime stories and of my potential love for you
After I found out the truth all I have dreamed about is my regret your
Death wasn’t torturous enough to suit your crimes
Physical damage will not satisfy my need 
Piss on your soul; mutilate the fibers of the cross-stitch that
Holds your two-face together
 
I dreamed I could have been there and watched you
Die.
And I wanted to be the one to do it.
To have killed you.
Slowly, carefully, methodically with a distinct purpose in causing you as much harm as possible
I would carve out your half-heart while it’s still beating 
I would endure your screams just for the pleasure of watching you cry
I would tune them out because your tears make me smile
They are payment in the form of droplets of water pouring from you eyes
 
God made hell with scum like you in mind
The Devil was too merciful; letting you die
Alone on the side of the highway
Letting your body decompose until the stench forced someone call someone to dispose of your rotting corpse
Your unclaimed body still sitting in the morgue
Terrorized at night, your daughters had nowhere to run or hide
Tears tattooed beneath their eyes, trailing down their cheeks ending in a haunted stream behind them
 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Her stories

 

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Take It All Back

Women with the courage to fight taught me how to take it all back
Your rape cannot take my pleasure
Your hate cannot take my love
You war cannot take my peace
Your ignorance can not dull my light
My voice calls out and is echoed
We come together
bound in women-centered community
We are safe because we promote women as leaders in all sectors
and live as leaders
Leaders who know their strengths
Leaders who turn to community for support when we are weak
We stand together and up in all our actions
Our lives lived and daily choices are our protest…
We are safer together in the streets than our own homes
We confront violence and subjugation
Through this willful confrontation we create society that values
truth, courage, compassion, effort, equality, and safety
Your rape cannot take my pleasure
Your hate cannot my love
Your war cannot take my peace
Your ignorance will not dull my light
Together we take it all back
 
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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Her stories

 

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Culture of Silence

Acts of violence are committed against women in the Mexican-American Studies community consistently, yet it seems they are only discussed publicly when people outside the movement get involved. As a young woman in this community I should have been made aware of men in the movement who are known perpetrators of violence. I need to know which spaces are safe spaces and I need to be able to make informed decisions about the people I am involving myself with or organizing with. I believe that part of the reason I had no previous knowledge of any man’s history of gendered violence was because of a carefully constructed culture of silence. This culture of silence is also a culture of protection and of zero accountability. It was created to
pardon perpetrators of gendered violence and shield them from public scrutiny in order to maintain an image of social unity against injustice. The fact that information about people’s history with violence is kept from young women and other community members suggests that there is a system within the MAS community to keep that information private. It suggests that the people in power choose to glorify certain people and hide their history of violence.

Crafting a dialogue or narrative on blogs, newspapers, or during interviews also creates this culture of silence. Every time someone gives an interview or writes an article that intentionally covers up violence and injustice within the community – in order to fake a united, justice oriented front for the rest of the country – they are
contributing to the culture of silence. This is part of a larger issue, one that is centered around Three Sonorans controlling the national dialogue surrounding ethnic studies and vilifying the women or queer identified people who choose to counter this narrative, making the choice every time he writes a post and decides who is the glorified savior and who is the demonized. Bloggers and interviewees make the choice to glorify or vilify whomever they want every time they speak or write a post. They have the power to pick and choose which parts of the present to write about, therefore creating a history – again based on the observations and opinions of men and leaving out certain narratives they believe are unimportant. The assumption is that the narrative of men is all-encompassing and that somehow certain people have the authority to be ‘the voice’ of the movement.

When Three Sonorans writes a post he decides which narrative he wants to perpetuate, one that suits him the best and one that supports his homies, regardless of the truth. People perpetuating narratives for their own personal gain need to take responsibility for their role in establishing the current Tucson narrative as a largely male voice. They also need to take responsibility for their writings glorifying certain men in the community as pillars of social justice around the country, while they knew these men were perpetrators of violence inside their homes and inside the community.

In contrast to this male-centric national ethnic studies narrative, I want to have a collective narrative; filled with stories from women, LGBTQ, and disabled identified peoples. I want the national spotlight to not only focus on the men in this community but to embrace and acknowledge the leadership and contributions of women to this
movement.  In order to create this new narrative there needs to be an end to the public flaming and silencing of women and queer people in the community and there needs to be a system of accountability for our bloggers and those people who try to represent us nationally.

Hopefully this blog can be a tool to shift our national narrative to one that includes voices of people of all genders, sexualities, ages, class status and abilities. We cannot be a movement to fight injustice elsewhere if we are still perpetuating the same patriarchal, colonial oppression within our community.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Her stories, Tucson movement

 

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Think about the family

We keep talking about the pain it causes our families
I know that, I am them
 
I am the one that held on to stories of violence so hard I bled
Held on to secrets of feeling unsafe
Felt my insides explode, cancer in my belly, pain in my chest
 
I too felt it was no ones business
So I kept on holding on
Explosions continued in my body, on others faces, on my arms
 
Growing up I began to think these secrets were normal
This fear and uncertainty I kept inside
Comfortable
Was love, was safety
 
But I cannot hold and explode
No more
Hate me for being hateful
Raging is not peaceful
But exploding is not either
I know that now
 
Is this the pain you speak of?
The one you want us to keep quiet about
So that our families can be at peace?
But this peace you speak of are explosions that we hold
And they keep the bombs sacred
Ready to go off
 
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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in Her stories

 

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Old Ways

When referring to the “old ways” to do away with
We meant the patriarchy that has been killing(rapingbeatingsilencingsuppressinghating) us
And going back to those older ways when our voices could sing
Unfettered
Openly
Without fear.
You know: Matriarchy.
Those days when we knew a profound love.
 
Those times when everyone acknowledged the power of women to create
Healthy Societies
Healthy Families
Healthy Lives
A Healthy Earth
A Healthy Time to live in
 
Don’t get stuck on supposed definitions
When we’ve been staring you right in the face this whole time.
 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Her stories

 

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