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Girl Code, Responsibility, Accountability and In Lak Ech

I didn’t believe my friend when she was raped.

……

The last few years in Tucson have been a struggle to survive. With the battles in our communities and legislation targeting brown people of color on indigenous land – we have nearly killed each other and the work and the fight and the fighting has made us all sick – susto. It deserves writing that will never end now that it has started. Through it all, I now reflect on two moments when I know I fucked up. I monumentally fucked up and hurt other women. When it first happened, she was and we all were sorting through statements and over ‘what does this mean to this movement’ shit. She may have at first said something(s) and later they changed which isn’t uncommon with sexual violence and doesn’t delegitimize what happened to her or her voice at any given moment. Sexual violence is haunting and what happened to me with a family member fifteen years ago took me almost a year to tell anyone about. My mom. She knew and never questioned me aloud, but my family raged in confusion. My grandparents led my smear campaign.

‘The divorce and custody battles were just really hard on her she has got to be making this up for attention. Her father, our son would never do this.’

But he did and I still can’t name it. I never filed a report, never told a counselor, I didn’t bring it up in custody hearings, and haven’t explained to my friends who insist that I masturbate but I DON’T FUCKING WANT TO because touching my naked body disgusts me (for a number of reasons) and I haven’t talked about it with anyone the way I go over it with myself. I’m sure it accounts for my inability to have physical intimacy, even hugs are uncomfortable when they’re unwanted and they’re usually unwanted.

After this past summer I even wondered if it’s why V couldn’t force a sexual connection or some shit with me. I questioned myself over and over.

The loneliness of something I can’t even verbalize that was happening in my subconscious made me suicidal about things I could verbalize and understand like break ups. So my moment of attempted overdose or short episode with antidepressants seem unusually common and associated with the moments they took place in but I’ve come to understand that I carry my trauma everyday regardless if I acknowledge it and it shapes my behavior and response.

……

When she said she was raped, she didn’t use that language, in those first days she didn’t say to me, “I was raped”. She told me and one of my best friends at the same time.  I refuse to go over details of what was said and will limit my details because the space to go over this with all of us – belongs to her. Arguably some friends (a word that has become interchangeable to also include: community member, co-worker, social justice acquaintance) thought they probably just had sex, that some of what happened was consensual and she didn’t want to follow through with it and so it was date rape, which apparently isn’t rape-rape in our disgusting shaming language for those who drink alcohol or like to fuck. There is nothing wrong with liking to have sex. We were all friends, all us comadres, going through a lot of shit in Arizona – we deserved to get dressed super cute and go out for drinks. There were nights we drank A LOT. I was going through a break up and thought I was going to die, as usual. Reflecting on the time we had as comadres, a tight inseparable group, it forever transformed me. My home girls, mujeres, had my back and I mostly healed that break up and got through it because of them and jäger bombs. We always took care of each other, took cabs, three or more of us, had our usual spots, and didn’t fuck around with guys. We went together and left together and slept over at each other’s places.  On “Chican@ prom night”, a huge night for our community, it was different. We didn’t carefully plan our night besides our outfits; we’d be with hundreds of our friends and community members.  I suppose we assumed we’d be safe. That there was no way something could happen to any of us around movement men we worked with. We didn’t plan designated drivers or anything like that, the night was predictable except for the predatory behavior of one, who now, obviously had a plan for his night.

We all went to a film premiere and then to a local bar for drinks and dancing.  He was a creep. He was drunk and sloppy and grabbing on women half his age, he wanted to dance; he wanted to celebrate and be the center of attention. Women’s attention. I left before they did. We asked around about rides and getting people home and left.

In the next two days I found out something went intolerably wrong, and I didn’t know what to think of it all. There were talking circles and whispers and meetings and time moved slowly but it  also went quickly. Inescapably slow and quick, so I have a hard time remembering each day. I think for the most part there were young women who never believed her (and still don’t), young women who always have, and those of us who thought nothing at all — who wanted to be neutral.

Neutral on rape.

The privilege of not knowing what to do and checking out. Checking out was easy. There was so much work to do as usual. Subtlety, my best friend and I combined the work we had been doing with work that needed to be done along lines of gender and sexual violence. She was more on point than I was (usually) and I basked in her energy and kind of said “fuck off” to everything else.

……

A month later after some unnecessary drama, I chose to think what everyone else in Tucson seemingly thought and I pulled the same shit my grandparents had done to me and like my former male teachers and people I looked up to,  my only concern was Ethnic Studies. What does this mean for our comunidad, our fight? In my eyes, she did something that allowed for me to minimize her almost instantly and we fought over email exchanges that were cc’d to other young folks and that was that. I was Team Ethnic Studies (how the fuck did that happen and why wasn’t  I just team myself?).

Folks around the country would call me as a respectable mujer and ask if they could show the film to raise money, they heard there was controversy and wanted to hear it from me. I would call one of my teacher/mentor from the movement and let them know and usually my answer was “yes– Yes, if I were you I’d show the movie.” I’m really struggling now with how sick it all sounds because it was all sick. But I was willing to do anything for Ethnic Studies, ANYTHING. I would’ve then and I will do as much now as long as I’m not negotiating anyone’s dignity in the process.

I remember when he called me, from Save Ethnic Studies, in a panic. He knew then the power I held so he manipulated me and convinced me she was enemy #1.

I’m just a man and I have no say in this, but you’re trucha and if she gets this around, she has eighty some page report on our community. This will destroy us.

Of course he needed me to engineer a solution, a way to exploit young people in the name of social justice education. And I was a pawn in this modern nationalist epic novel. I could be the down ass trucha home girl who was loyal to her Raza, gets arrested, cooks comida, works with the young students and is never mentioned in a history book twenty years from now. This is all so romantic to a young organizer. And I loved everyone involved in this fucked up mess. I even sat down with two women I thought would jump me with words, one being the perpetrator’s partner (I realize I haven’t mentioned that yet, yes he had/s a partner which complicated the situation even further) and tried being – neutral. When we met, she gave me a gift, a fox and chocolates. My friends told me not to do it; she wanted me to be a bridge. I am a bridge in so many ways, I understand that. If I could make peace I would but only recently have I realized that I can’t now and I couldn’t then. Even if my education taught me that I could change the world, I can’t take on every task or every hit that comes my way.

But I still did. I tried to organize a meeting with everyone at the table – all the comadres at least. Like, ‘let’s sorts this out as women.’ I was still in this mentality like it was a women’s job, my job,  to sort through shit, find what was good and exemplify behavior for our community. I do this now, but I also do shit that exemplifies anger and lust and human shit. And CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW it’s not just my job to give a shit because I’m identified as a woman? So in the end, this was all silenced. She went away, literally – she moved out-of-state and out of the country and slowly the whispers became softer and softer. Our community dragged itself forward but this became the norm for all of us. Everything that happened then and since deserves endless words and stories or lessons for future generations and this generation right now.

……

During Freedom Summer, organizing became mundane and everyday. There were moments of hope and of accomplishing what we once had but what happened and was silenced will also be told.

I had a long emotional affair that was overdue to become physical and at summer time it did. When I kissed V I thought of my friend. In feeling like a slut – it was the same friend who named us both sluts after all, I would think of her. I would also think of his girlfriend. My political analysis of what we owe one another shifted in moment’s time. When he tried to fuck me when we were drunk it was because over all of this that I was able to know anything at all about consent and that I can change my mind. I CAN CHANGE MY MIND. When I’m drunk or he’s drunk or I can change my mind whenever the fuck I want. Or I can say no or I can say yes to this and no to that and seriously HE JUST SHOULDN’T HAVE TRIED WHEN I WAS DRUNK to begin with.

……

L and C are now my friends. I think.

L and I had lunch, she poured over journals and emails and texts. We spent a day together too, she’s been around now. It makes me feel alive. It is because of her resilience and resistance that I gather the will to act. When I hug her I don’t understand how she even lets me touch her. Hug her, to be around her glowing smile or share words with me… words to share with any of us.

C, she came to an event recently, she donated ten dollars to malintZINE. She hugged me. I thought her text messages were strategy, to get me to have lunch with her, so she can rip me apart, deservingly, although that’s never been her style. If she wanted to give me a regañada, I would sit and answer whatever she needed me to for her healing. She said she respects me still. I don’t understand. I lent her a book. My copy of Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her.

“The half life of love is forever”

Maybe these things mean not much to anyone other than myself; possibly them. I have and will continue to reflect on these past few years and my own behavior. It is through my reflection that I need to account for what has happened and document. Accountability to me is speaking my truth. Acknowledging the ways in which I can and need to grow. Responsibility is challenging myself to behave in ways that will cause growth to happen. I have a responsibility to L and C to do work from here on that moves towards – NEVER AGAIN. It wasn’t through ethnic studies that I learned in lak ech, tu eres mi otro yo. But through two ethnic studies alumni, both younger than me, who offered me forgiveness and room to grow. Creating some Chicana girl code of accountability and responsibility. To taking care of each other and never assuming anyone else will.  To loving other women and loving yourself.

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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Chicano Movement, Tucson movement

 

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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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Community New Year’s Resolutions

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Tucson movement

 

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TUSD

Artist: Amy Hagemeier

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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David Abie Morales:

Your announcement that your last post for Three Sonorans was in the works arrived in only the grand fashion that you are known for – that overly dramatized self-important manner usually followed by chisme and posts that polarize rather than bring us together. You know, some of us actually don’t believe this is going to be your last post. We’re taking bets on your return. Let us know if you want to get in on it. You can’t stay away from the attention and the glory, real or imagined. No, David, MAS isn’t dead, and we suspect, unfortunately, neither is Three Sonorans.

It’s interesting what you chose to deliver as your last post. For days, many waited for you to write about Sean’s arrest. SILENCE. Instead, you spent your time having side conversations trying to understand why so many women feel that you don’t have to get beat up black and blue to experience domestic violence. Looking back, there are so many ways you could have figured out how to break the silence rather then run around in panic. How sad for us that we expected more from you. Even more pathetic is how you and other writers only prospered from propping you up as some type of organizing messiah and Sean, as the man meant to bring MAS back. Right now, some articles on your blog, Huffington Post and Salon are starting to look like some sick joke. Oh, wait, maybe this is why MAS is dead – because you realized we all finally got a good look behind your green curtain? If only Yoda could sit down and talk with you. “The narcissism is strong with this one.”

How interesting that in your last post, not only did you decide to continue to debate what is and what isn’t domestic violence, but you also chose to attempt to take down the only other person in Tucson who has steadfastly stood up for MAS in the local media. You say you dearly love her, but how much were you drinking when you wrote this post? Seriously, how much whiskey does it take to try to beat down another Chicana in another post? Someone who once championed your work and stood up for you when you were fired by the Tucson Citizen? But I know women are such a pain. Boy, what are we going to do with all those troublesome vaginas?

Well, maybe if we bully them enough like you’ve done with other people through your blog, we could scare them into silence and remind them they are all malinches to begin with. It’s sad really the legacy you leave us – you could have helped a movement form relationships to create allies in this struggle – but no. It took some time for observers to realize you were a mouthpiece for those who’ve pretended to be the leaders of this “movement,” but have only worked behind the scenes to destroy it. If MAS is dead, as you say… then look at the two men you protect and blame them (and yourself).

There were times when we were proud of you. When you called out the racism we all recognized that propelled the fight against our classes from the right, as well as the racism and its denial from those on the left. There are wonderful moments. Your video magic. Perhaps, if there’s any benefit to your last post, is that we are at a point now that, not only have we seen what’s really behind your green curtain, your credibility, which was always questioned, may now be gone.

It’s gone because we realized you were just a mouthpiece. It’s gone because we realized you’ll never get it and as women, it get’s tiring. It’s gone because you don’t seem to understand what real friendships are about. It’s gone because we are tired of you representing us nationally and locally for some time now – but we were too scared to come forward – too scared you’d bully us down as you had anyone else who dared question you or correct you.

Want one more example? You dared to call out those who wrote about Sean’s arrest or broke the “silence,” on your Facebook post, reminding us of Sean’s children. You wrote that as you status update and you tagged Sean’s daughter. Not only did you allow your followers who come from many many political spectrum’s to see her on Facebook, but she got to read your post and realize that hundreds of others may have seen it too. How dare you? It was disgusting and our stomachs still wretch thinking about it.

How sad that at one time you attempted to call yourself a journalist, and others called you the same. You tried to call yourself an organizer, or someone wrote you were – but you showed you don’t really have the stomach for that. Maybe, rather than call yourself any of these things, you could just call yourself retired. We need new voices to come forward. We need new voices to bring us together. We need new voices that remember what this was all about to begin with – Mexican American studies. You and those who’ve taken the lead have made a mess of things. It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking what you’ve done and how you’ve lowered yourself – especially in your last post.

It just begs the question? Can’t you just really, for once, think about MAS. Can’t you just really mean it when you say, this is your last post?

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Tucson movement

 

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MAS isn’t dead.

It is alarming to me that machismo propaganda is informing a large majority of the Mexican American studies (MAS) community nationally and internationally. It is even more alarming to me that the focus of this propaganda is no longer the students, but the men in charge. It is becoming a cult-like obsession, a broken record.

“Fire Pedicone.

MAS is DEAD.

Grijalva is now the enemy.

Racism.

Racism.

Racism.”

What about mujeres? What about youth? What about us?

It wasn’t too long ago that this propaganda was somewhat beneficial to some. It articulated the teachers struggle. It documented the racism at Tucson Unified School District. The man behind the camera asked all the right questions. But now… now for some reason his ego has led him to assume he has the mind, the power, and the influence to call the political shots. Apparently our education has become so politicized we don’t talk about the very essence of what MAS is: education.

When and why did the community stop discussing having our own classrooms independent from TUSD and institutions? When did the community decide that MAS is dead and will not return until certain political moves are made? When did politics begin to matter more than the students, alumni, and teachers?

I want some answers!

The goal of MAS is to learn who you are, what you want to be, and how you’ve been shaped by the histories around you, histories of your own and histories of others. The goal of MAS was to create a broader space where students of any color could enjoy the contributions of oppressed communities without criticism, MAS has always been used to identify injustice, but never was a space to hate on the hater. MAS is about creating love, forgiveness, and a realm of acceptance.

The goal of MAS has been lost among the politics and the men who so profoundly believe that have the wisdom to guide its direction. It is obvious that the community “leaders” have lost control of what it has founded, and instead is being spoken for instead of reporting on. There is a blanketing tone that is used, as if all the opinions being shared are a representative of how the community feels.

I am part of the community and I don’t feel this way.

I am an alumnus of MAS. I am a student. I am a Xikana.

I want to stop talking about Pedicone and talk about historical mujeres who’ve contributed to a living MAS.

I want our humanity to matter more than politics.

Most of all, I want it to be heard around the world that MAS isn’t in a grave just because a few men aren’t in charge. Classrooms aren’t supposed to be a platform for power, and I am sure I am not the only one feeling like that’s what MAS has become.

What I want is no longer being documented.

“____ ____ needs to be reinstated.

TUSD is racist.

The new board members are puppets.

Deconcini Law Firm is controlling the district.

MAS is dead.”

These narratives are not humble. They are loud. They are inciting feelings of defeat. Most of all, they are attitudes being distorted as the truth. When national news media is looking at Tucson, I don’t want the country to think that the fight for educational equity has been lost in a power struggle because a blog got publicity going in the wrong direction. I want them to know that we have not given up hope. That the women are demanding their place in this movement be recognized. That the students are building for the next generations. That our struggle is a continuous battle. That political machines have not defeated us.

I am hurt by the position of one. I am angered that my voice is being lost.  I refuse to allow one person, one male, to talk for me. I can obviously talk for myself.

We will no longer stand in the margin of a margin.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Tucson movement

 

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