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Quiet All Summer

This is what it’s like to be lost in between.

To feel the words of the songs you heard in your childhood resonate inside your heart. To feel the lyrics rise up, and yet not have the words to let them out.

To keep Borderlands/La Frontera on the bookshelf of your mind for two years, only to find out that Gloria Anzaldúa is dead. To mourn her passing, so deeply, so late, anyway.

To not be able to participate in the conversation between your elders, and yet rest your head and soak it in, enjoying it, anyway.

It’s the silence you keep daily, but never acknowledge, because being lost in between is hard enough without always failing to agree that Diego Luna is so sexy.

It’s not an empty feeling. It’s feeling the edges of the shape of a huge missing piece inside your soul.

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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Her stories

 

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Women in Detention

Women in Detention

by Shloka Ettna

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Her stories

 

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Fuck you Haiku

My lungs bear the brunt
Incest, Rape, Violent gendering
No smoke inhaled soothes
 
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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Her stories

 

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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.

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

 

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Calling upon the Chicano Pope to Reflect

How was the Chicano Pope chosen? Did I miss the anointment ceremony? The Chicano Pope proudly grinds the biggest axe to attack those who do not heed his mandates and demand for complicity. This is a call for the Chicano Pope to thoughtfully engage in the issue of accountability.  After all, it was the Chicano Pope who wrote, “What is so frustrating about politics is that there is so little accountability. We can continually screw up as my students would say and are not accountable. Because we as a society are ahistorical, we are unable to sort out the lies that our leaders tell us or correct our own errors…The biggest obstacle to furthering a Chicano, Latino, or anything you want to call it agenda is a lack of accountability.” Wise words but is the Pope exempt from heeding them?

The Chicano Pope feigns objectivity and freely admits that “In times like these I have found myself trying too hard, and becoming a motivational speaker instead of a teacher, relying on what some may call hyperboles to make my point.” He also proclaims that he is “protective of the legacy of the sixties.” Is the Chicano Pope trying to suppress intellectual inquiry that does not fit into his hero making narratives?  Are the accusations that Reies López Tijerina molested one of his children off limits? Or does this history not matter?  A few months ago the Chicano Pope openly encouraged us to embrace another “martyr” by boasting, “Based on my reading of history the stock of Sean Arce will reach epic levels. If he were living in California or Texas there would have been at least a half dozen corridos (ballads) written about him.”  The Chicano Pope has been silent on this issue, why?

Maybe the Pope “dreads” going to NACCS in San Antonio because for the last two years he has used the organization to peddle charlatan leaders who silenced and threatened those who disagreed in Tucson. Or does this history not matter?  People donated to ethnic studies and defense funds because the Chicano Pope had blessed these fundraising efforts.  Are these organizations going to offer yearly reports that detail where all the funds were spent?  The Chicano Pope asked us to donate to these causes and held the collection basket in his hands as he blessed those who reached into their pockets. Where is the accountability?

The Chicano Pope has made it clear that, “If people would be held accountable, this would put people on notice.”  Chicano Pope, this is your notice.  You have sold Chican@s short and out.  The paper trail you leave in this lifetime grows each time you lead the Chicano choir in nationalist hymns and engage in perverted reasoning aimed at silencing dissent in order to achieve a “Wonderful Life.”  What you offer is delusion.

Stop using smoke and mirrors to encourage ignorance and to discourage deeper examinations into shameful, antifeminists and homophobic histories. Stop casting stones against your CSU Northridge colleagues, NACCS and anyone who disagrees with you. And, realize that you do not have the power to dictate where outrage should be directed. This message is also a call for the Chicano Pope to examine his conscience. Stop seeking conformity.  Embrace new ways of thinking and listen to youth instead of preaching to them. This is hard to hear because your narcissism gets in the way, but Chican@ Studies will not crumble if you retire. New forms and people will step in and build on what it is and once was.  And, yes, it might even be better. Don’t be a Chicano Pope who presses for the conservative and traditional.

Step aside.

It is time.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Chicano Movement

 

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Letters From the Palestinian Border

It would feel like if you ate
Gorged yourself in front of a hungry person.
But the starving one is the one who cooked the meal,
Grew the garden,
Nurtured the abundance
And then they just took it.
Ate from another’s plate.
For 63 years.
 
This is the border between Palestine and Lebanon
Between Palestine and us.
Between you and I.
This is what the border must look like
To the thirsty
To the hungry –
Dry, cracking Earth where I stand
Dying, withered weeds
Trash.
Zionist wrappers.
Empty
Bottles of water
And then-
My eyes feast on the overwhelming abundance just over the electric wall-
Rolling greens.
Fertile.
Plentiful
Life.
 
I feel numb.
I keep staring at the thirsty ground under my blistering feet.
Looking up and across
Creates a blocking in my throat.
She tells me when she was a little girl-
She wanted to be wealthy
Wealthy enough
Just enough
To buy her village back – she laughs a little.
I begin to sob so I carry my eyes to the ground again-
Weeping, parched, blowing plants
Struggling in the heat.
 
This time I look straight up.
Two flags
Scorched from the unbearable sun
I remember to wipe my brow.
 
I hear the UN solider behind me.
Questions.
Invading the past and present histories.
Memories.
And I can’t stop crying.
 
Thousands come to see their home-
A young woman yells in Arabic
“Palestine do you hear us?”
“We are here to see you”
“We are here to see you,”
“To love you,”
“To be with you,”
“To live you,”
“To live with you,”
“To live in you again.”
 
Then a little girl-
Running alongside the fence, happily chanting-
“Palestine”
“Palestine”
“Palestine”
She has known it her whole life.
Her grandmother looks up to the sky
“Ya Rab”
“My Lord”
“May we return to Palestine.”
 
Ya Allah-
May I return with healing hands and clear eyes
To see Palestine
To be Palestine.
 
 
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Posted by on February 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Good Girls

My hips, they extend outwards in imitation of the horizon believing they will be welcomed like the morning sun signaling the beginning of a brand new day—
They are not.
 
My belly, it extends forward and under filled with excitement to be part of the world bouncing happily along as if constantly waving to those passing thinking it will be met with the same cordiality—
It is not.
 
My thighs, they rustle together making me chafe as I walk to class—or anywhere really—thinking the constant “swish-swish” friction of fabric is like the chatter of gossiping friends whose conversation will be interesting to all those around them—
It is not.
 
No, you see, they exist in a world where they are unwelcome—even though they harm no one. Their absence is what is preferred by most, men and women alike.
 
On this campus you see slim, sun kissed ladies who do not rudely “swish-swish” to all those who walk by, or wave with their abdomens to strangers. Oh, no. they are good girls, disciplined. They are well educated and they know not to be intrusive, to not take up space except when they are beckoned. Except when they are summoned for entertainment or pleasures of another. They do not make their existence known.
 
Good girls silently and almost invisibly just passing by—no waving, no speaking. Just perfect. Just shut up.  Just don’t eat that. Just wear this.  Just buy that. Just don’t love yourself. Just hate the rest as well. Just behave.
 
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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Her stories

 

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