A Group Of Students Burned A Latina Author’s Book Because They Felt Attacked For Being White

Amazing article by Brianna Sacks for Buzzfeednews: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/briannasacks/georgia-southern-burned-latina-authors-book

 

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A group of students at a predominantly white public university in Georgia burned the book of a Latina author who had delivered a lecture on campus after some attendees accused her of “dissing white people.”

Jennine Capó Crucet, a New York Times contributor and associate professor at the University of Nebraska, spoke about her novel Make Your Home Among Strangers at Georgia Southern University on Wednesday night. The award-winning book, published in 2015, tells the story of a Cuban American girl from Miami who gets accepted to a prestigious college in New York and struggles to fit into the privileged, predominantly white environment.

The book was required reading for some of Georgia Southern’s First-Year Experience classes, according to the university.

On Wednesday evening, the school hosted Crucet, who spoke to the entire first-year class at the performing arts center. When she opened the floor to the audience for questions, some attendees peppered her for criticizing white people, according to the George-Anne, the university’s newspaper.

“I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged,” one student said to the author, according to the paper. “What makes you believe that it’s okay to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”

Responding to the student, Crucet said that she was invited to speak at the university and discussed white privilege because “it’s a real thing that you are actually benefiting from right now in even asking this question,” according to the George-Anne.

Her answer elicited more questions about race from the audience.

BuzzFeed News spoke with six first-year students, five women and one man, who attended the lecture, all of whom asked not to be named. The students were required to attend the lecture, along with hundreds of their classmates, and said that Crucet attacked white people “for an hour” and assumed that the entire audience was privileged.

“She came to our school and, the audience was predominantly white, and she came in and was attacking white people for an hour, putting all these stereotypes and generalizations on us,” said one 18-year-old attendee. “Like all white people are privileged and racist.”

Another student said the audience reacted when the author stated that most white people “needed to be removed from authority positions because two-thirds of people in high positions should not be white.”

“She wanted everyone to be equal and says she is against racism but she was shitting on white people the whole time,” the 18-year-old male student said. “I can understand the message she was trying to get out but I don’t know what reaction she was expecting when she comes to a school that’s 75% white. I agree there is such a thing as white privilege but the way she was saying it was not OK to our student body.”

All of the students who spoke with BuzzFeed News were born and raised in Georgia. One of the students said she is half-Dominican; the rest are white.

After the event, Crucet tweeted that there had been “aggressive & ignorant comments” during her Q&A and thanked “some very amazing, brilliant students” who stood up for her during the exchange.

“At the signing, we hugged & cried,” she wrote. “I‘m happy to know them and also legit worried for their safety.”

In her replies, several people who allegedly attended the event accused her of “bullying white people.”

“The only reason anyone showed up is because it was required and after the racist bigotry you displayed against the white race we should all be compensated for your book. I’m all for equality but not for hate which is what you displayed,” one user said.

Later that night, a group of students gathered on campus and burned her book, according to statements from the university and videos posted on Twitter. Some even gathered outside her hotel, the school’s department of Writing and Linguistics said on Facebook, writing that it is “dismayed and disappointed by the uproar against” the author.

“Last night’s discussion with the author devolved into accusations of her demonstrating racism against white people,” Dr. Russell Willerton, the department chair, said in a statement. “Some students burned copies of Crucet’s book and even gathered outside her hotel. We assert that destructive and threatening acts do not reflect the values of Georgia Southern University.”

A student in the class — who asked that her name not be used for safety reasons — was walking outside of the Eagle Village dorm complex when she said she saw a group of students burning something.

“I thought it was s’mores at first,” the first-year student told BuzzFeed News. “So when my friends and I went to see what it was, we saw the students yelling and laughing and throwing the books in the fire.”

In the video, the group is gathered around a grill filled with copies of Crucet’s book, and they’re laughing.

The student, who is majoring in nursing, said that when she asked her peers why they were burning the piece of literature they said, “because the book was bad.”

elaina⭐️@elainaaan

so after our FYE book’s author came to my school to talk about it… these people decide to burn her book because “it’s bad and that race is bad to talk about”. white people need to realize that they are the problem and that their privilege is toxic. author is a woman of color.

Embedded video

When asked about the book burning, the group of first-year students who asked to remain anonymous told BuzzFeed News that about 20 to 30 of their classmates had gathered to burn the novel in a fire pit.

In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News, Crucet said that after the event her campus hosts had moved her from her original lodging accommodations to another hotel in a different town.

It was only when she read the statement from the department chair that she learned students had gathered outside the hotel she had previously planned to stay at.

“During the event, and afterward during the book signing, many students remarked on how much the story of the novel’s protagonist mirrored their own,
and expressed gratitude for the book—both to me for writing it, and to GSU for selecting it as their FYE read,” Crucet said. “To think of those students watching as a group of their peers burned that story— effectively erasing them on the campus they are expected to think of as a safe space—feels devastating.”

Crucet tweeted several times about the experience, writing, “This is where we are, America.”

Jennine Capó Crucet@crucet

Students at @GeorgiaSouthern literally burning my novel. This is where we are, America. https://twitter.com/camyafeel/status/1182129125907222529 

In now-deleted tweets, first-year students replied to the author with ripped up copies of her book and footage of people lighting the pages on fire.

Other students, however, rallied behind Crucet, thanking her for coming to their campus and apologizing for what she went through. A Georgia Southern junior, who is studying history, emailed BuzzFeed News and said that many students on campus are “disappointed with these book burning students.”

“We are also disappointed with our administration, as racial tension events have occurred in the past (what seems like an almost yearly occurrence now),” she wrote. “The admin of the university never really disciplined those involved, which leads there to be little consequences to deter those events from happening again.”

While several of the university’s departments have condemned the book burning, John Lester, vice president for Strategic Communications and Marketing, said that they are “not planning any actions against any of the students involved in this incident.”

“While it’s within the students’ First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas,” Lester said.

In an email to faculty, GSU President Kyle Marrero described the evening’s events as an “example of freedom of expression.”

“Specific to the reported events of that evening, while it’s within the students’ First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas,” Marrero wrote.

He continued that he wished students “had engaged in a reasoned discussion” and that “these discussions had not deteriorated or led to broad generalizations that paint an ugly picture about our university.”

A professor who provided the email to BuzzFeed News said faculty members were “extremely dissatisfied with this response.”

Crucet was supposed to deliver another lecture on Thursday at the university’s Armstrong campus, but the school canceled it “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

Although Georgia Southern is 63% white, nearly a quarter of students are black and 6% are Hispanic. In a statement, the school’s counseling center said it has a “diverse staff of clinicians who are prepared to support students’ emotional needs.

“We recognize that such incidents can be traumatizing to Latinx/Hispanic students and other marginalized communities,” the center said.

In her statement, Crucet called on the university to support students who may feel unsafe as a result of the incident.

“This book began as an act of love and an attempt at deeper understanding,” Crucet said. “I hope GSU can act from the same place and work to affirm the humanity of those students who might understandably feel unsafe in the aftermath of the event and the book burning, and that the campus continues the difficult and necessary conversation that began in that auditorium.”

The student in the class who said she saw the burning said she was shocked and disheartened by what transpired during the lecture, which she called “good and informative,” and the fact that students burned the author’s novel.

“Students wanted her to talk more about the book over the white privilege stuff but I think that talking about that looped in perfectly because the book was based on her life and her experience with white privilege or lack there of,” the first-year student said. “She’s a Latina woman.”

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Angie Cruz to present at University of South Florida

If you’re going to be in the Tampa Bay Area in early October, this looks like a great event to attend. Dominicana is on my list of must-reads.

Here’s what the book is about…

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz’s Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.

#CFP: Histories and Cultures of Latinas: Suffrage, Activism and Women’s Rights at the University of Houston

Just a reminder!!!!

The deadline for the XV Recovery Conference is Aug. 31st!

#CFP: Histories and Cultures of Latinas: Suffrage, Activism and Women’s Rights

The XV Recovery conference will convene in Houston from February 20 to 22, 2020 to continue the legacy of scholars
meeting to discuss and present their research. The conference theme invites scholars—including archivists, librarians, linguists, historians, critics, theorists and community members–to share examples of the cultural legacy they are recovering, preserving and making available about the culture of the Hispanic world whose peoples resided here, immigrated to or were exiled in the United States over the past centuries.

This conference foregrounds the work of Latinas that focuses on women’s rights, suffrage and education as we usher in a new phase of feminist critical genealogies. We seek papers, panels and posters in either English or Spanish that highlight these many contributions, but also offer us critical ways to rethink issues of agency, gender, sexualities,
race/ethnicity, class and power. Of particular interest are presentations about digital humanities scholarship, methods and practices on these themes.

The end date for Recovery research and themes will now be 1980 in order to give scholars, archivists, linguists and
librarians the stimulus needed to begin recovering the documentary legacy of the 1960s and 1970s, which is fast
disappearing. We encourage papers or panels that make use of archival research that provokes a revision of
established literary interpretations and/or historiographies. Papers or posters on locating, preserving and making
accessible movement(s) documents generated by Latinas and Latinos in those two decades will be welcome.

Studies on the following themes, as manifested before 1960, will be welcome:

● Digital Humanities
● Analytical studies of recovered authors and/or texts
● Critical, historical and theoretical approaches to recovered texts
● Curriculum development: Integrating recovered texts into teaching at university and K-12 levels
● Religious thought and practice
● Folklore/oral histories
● Historiography
● Language, translation, bilingualism and linguistics
● Library and information science
● Social implications, cultural analyses
● Collections and archives: accessioning and critical archive studies
● Documenting the long road/struggle toward equality
● 1960-1980 only movement(s)-related research

Additionally, XV Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference will offer two US Latino Digital Humanities
(USLDH; #usLdh) pre-conference workshops open to conference attendees and members of the public. The workshop
themes are: 1) Using Recovery archives for traditional scholarship and 2) Introduction to Digital Humanities. Preregistration is required, a limited number of scholarships may be available. We welcome general audiences including
undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate students are encouraged to submit proposals for poster
presentations.

Submit your 250-word abstract for presentations/posters and vitae by email to recovery@uh.edu by August 31, 2019.

CfP: Histories and Cultures of Latinas: Suffrage, Activism and Women’s Rights

 

February 20-22, 2020
University of Houston
Houston, Texas

The XV Recovery conference will convene in Houston from February 20 to 22, 2020 to continue the legacy of scholars meeting to discuss and present their research. The conference theme invites scholars—including archivists, librarians, linguists, historians, critics, theorists and community members–to share examples of the cultural legacy they are recovering, preserving and making available about the culture of the Hispanic world whose peoples resided here, immigrated to or were exiled in the United States over the past centuries. This conference foregrounds the work of Latinas that focuses on women’s rights, suffrage and education as we usher in a new phase of feminist critical genealogies. We seek papers, panels and posters in either English or Spanish that highlight these many contributions, but also offer us critical ways to rethink issues of agency, gender, sexualities, race/ethnicity, class and power. Of particular interest are presentations about digital humanities scholarship, methods and practices on these themes.

The end date for Recovery research and themes will now be 1980 in order to give scholars, archivists, linguists and librarians the stimulus needed to begin recovering the documentary legacy of the 1960s and 1970s, which is fast disappearing. We encourage papers or panels that make use of archival research that provokes a revision of established literary interpretations and/or historiographies. Papers or posters on locating, preserving and making accessible movement(s) documents generated by Latinas and Latinos in those two decades will be welcome. Studies on the following themes, as manifested before 1960, will be welcome:

  • Digital Humanities
  • Analytical studies of recovered authors and/or texts
  • Critical, historical and theoretical approaches to recovered texts
  • Curriculum development: Integrating recovered texts into teaching at university and K-12 levels
  • Religious thought and practice
  • Folklore/oral histories
  • Historiography
  • Language, translation, bilingualism and linguistics
  • Library and information science
  • Social implications, cultural analyses
  • Collections and archives: accessioning and critical archive studies
  • Documenting the long road/struggle toward equality
  • 1960-1980 only movement(s)-related research

Additionally, XV Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference will offer two US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH; #usLdh) pre-conference workshops open to conference attendees and members of the public. The workshop themes are: 1) Using Recovery archives for traditional scholarship and 2) Introduction to Digital Humanities. Pre-registration is required, a limited number of scholarships may be available. We welcome general audiences including undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate students are encouraged to submit proposals for poster presentations.

Submit your 250-word abstract for papers/posters and vitae by email to recovery@uh.edu by August 31, 2019.

For details, email us at recovery@uh.edu

To download the PDF, click here.

University of Houston, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage
4902 Gulf Fwy., Bldg. 19, Room 100 – Houston, TX 77204-2004

Carnegie medal goes to first writer of colour in its 83-year history

Check out this WONDERFUL piece by Alison Flood for the Guardian

 

Dominican-American Elizabeth Acevedo wins prestigious children’s award for The Poet X, while Jackie Morris takes illustration prize for The Lost Words

Dominican-American slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo has become the first ever writer of colour to win the UK’s most prestigious children’s books award, the Carnegie medal, which has a history stretching back to 1936 and includes Arthur Ransome, CS Lewis and Neil Gaiman among its former winners.

Acevedo, the daughter of Dominican immigrants, took the medal for her debut, The Poet X. A verse novel, it tells of a quiet Dominican girl, Xiomara, who joins her school’s slam poetry club in Harlem and is, according to the judges, “a searing, unflinching exploration of culture, family and faith within a truly innovative verse structure”. Xiomara “comes to life on every page and shows the reader how girls and women can learn to inhabit, and love, their own skin”.

The book is dedicated to “all the little sisters yearning to see themselves”, and one of her former students in particular. Acevedo was an eighth-grade English teacher in Maryland when the impetus for the novel struck her: one of her students, Katherine, wouldn’t read any of the books Acevedo offered her, telling her : “None of these books are about us.”

So Acevedo set out to write “a story that sounds like and depicts the same kind of neighbourhood” she and her students are from. “When your body takes up more room than your voice / you are always the target of well-aimed rumors, / which is why I let my knuckles talk for me,” she writes in The Poet X. “I’ve forced my skin just as thick as I am.”

“This was a girl who physically seemed to be taking up so much space but felt she had to be withdrawn, she was afraid to push the boundaries,” Acevedo said. “Her body takes up so much attention it would be easy to forget all the things she’s thinking, things she won’t say. I wanted to be really close to those feelings and show the everyday magic and beauty that quiet folks can hold.”

Acevedo is no longer a teacher but she returns to the school where she taught every year, and knows that her former students, including Katherine, have read her novel. In her speech after winning the medal she said:“I felt like this student had given me a challenge, or at least permission to to write a story about young people who take up space, who do not make themselves small, who learn the power of their own words.”

Acevedo’s win comes two years after the prize instigated an independent review into its historical lack of racial diversity, following widespread anger at 2017’s 20-book, entirely white longlist. After interviews with more than 600 people, from librarians to children, the review concluded that the UK’s overwhelmingly white librarian workforce, who nominate books for the medal, were mostly unaware of titles by writers of colour. It also found a dearth of books by writers of colour were being published in the UK.

Kingfisher (1)-3 Illustration from the book The Lost Words
Pinterest
 Jackie Morris’s Kingfisher illustration from The Lost Words. Photograph: Supplied by Penguin books

Tuesday’s ceremony also saw the illustrator Jackie Morris win the Kate Greenaway medal for illustration for The Lost Words, a response to the Oxford Junior Dictionary’s decision to remove everyday nature words such as “acorn”, “bluebell” and “kingfisher”, as they were not being used enough by children. The book, written by Robert Macfarlane, features his poems alongside Morris’s images of the excised words and has become a cultural phenomenon, with members of the public raising funds to ensure schools around the country have copies.

Alison Brumwell, who chaired the panel of librarians who picked the winners, called it an “astonishing book which deserves the highest accolades”.

“The illustrations test our acuity and make us all think on a much deeper level about scale, colour and proportion; also, about representations of loss and absence. We are invited to ‘read’ on more than one level and to reflect upon a world in which change can mean irreparable loss, impoverishing both language and the environment,” said Brumwell.

Jackie Morris, winner of the 2019 Kate Greenaway medal for illustration
Pinterest
 ‘We are at a turning point’ … Jackie Morris. Photograph: Katariina Jarvinen

Morris said that she believes the response to The Lost Words has been so strong because “instinctively, we know that we are not separate from nature, we’re part of it”.

“Certainly in urban environments, we’ve almost divorced ourselves from a close connection with it, and I think there is a hunger to return to those connections – and it’s also an enormous necessity,” she said.

Morris ended her acceptance speech on Tuesday with a call to her fellow authors and illustrators, artists and musicians “to help to tell the truth about what is happening to this small and fragile world we inhabit, to re-engage with the natural world, to inspire and to imagine better ways to live.

“Because there is no Planet B and we are at a turning point. And because in order to make anything happen it first needs to be imagined. And as writers and illustrators for children we grow the readers and thinkers of the future,” she said.

Since you

Nuestra Historia: Alonso S. Perales Exhibit

Very cool work coming out of the University of Houston

On May 14, 2019, in a collaboration between the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 60, the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage/Arte Público Press, and SERJobs, members of the community gathered to celebrate the launch of the Alonso S. Perales Digital Archive. Among those in attendance was Perales’ daughter, Marta Perales Carrizales. This digital archive marks the first digitized collection on the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Archives site.

Alonso S. Perales was one of the most prominent US Civil rights leaders of the twentieth century. He was born in Alice, Texas in 1898. Perales served in the US Army during World War I. After his military service, he attended college and law school at the National University (which later became George Washington University). Upon receiving his law degree, Perales became only the third Mexican American to practice law in Texas (Olivas xi). Perales dedicated his life to Mexican American civil rights and empowering the working-class community through knowledge and education. In 1929, Perales co-founded of the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC)–the first nationwide Mexican American civil rights organization, not to mention the largest and oldest US Latino political association. He served as the second LULAC national president from 1930 to 1931 (xiv). In addition to his work in the United States, Perales served as Nicaraguan Consul General for twenty-five years and as counsel to the Nicaraguan delegation to the United Nations in 1945. In addition, he helped draft the original Charter of the United Nations. Perales authored Are We Good Neighbors and two volumes of En defensa de mi raza. His writing stressed the need for anti-discrimination legislation and civil activism for the Latino community.

Alonso S. Perales Collection

The Alonso S. Perales Collection is Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage’s flagship online digital archive. In 2009, Marta Perales Carrizales and Raymond Perales donated their father’s extensive personal papers to the University of Houston’s Recovery Program. This collection, which measures over 40 linear feet, contains correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, civil rights writings, and foundational documents related to LULAC. The online digital collection includes a large sampling of these documents. To facilitate accessibility, the digital documents include full-text transcriptions and bilingual keywords for searches. In the future, more US Latino digital archives will be added to the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections (available at: usldhrecovery.uh.edu). The original Alonso S. Perales Papers are housed at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.

Are We Good Neighbors? Mapping Discrimination Against Mexican Americans in 1940s Texas

Screenshot of Are We Good Neighbors? : Mapping Discrimination Against Mexican Americans in 1940s Texas. https://arcg.is/1C1bbv

Perales’ activism also included the empowerment of his community. He urged people to publicly share experiences of discrimination, including the names and addresses of businesses where they were refused service. Many of the testimonies sworn to him in his capacity as Notary Public appeared in his book, Are We Good Neighbors?

The digital mapping project, Are We Good Neighbors?, uses the information in these testimonials to locate these incidents on a map in an attempt to reveal the embodiment of racism. One after another, these accounts tell stories of everyday life: going out for dinner with family, spending time with friends, looking for employment, or moving to a new house. Yet, for people of Mexican descent, these activities were marked by disgust, hatred, shame, and even violence. This project highlights the personal history of racism, one that takes place in our own neighborhoods to real people, rather than distanced through abstract statistics.

Twitter: @AlonsoSPerales

The Alonso S. Perales Collection Twitter Bot (@AlonsoSPerales) also strives to bring attention to his activism. This Twitter account automatically posts quotations (in English and Spanish) from Perales’ writing and allows his voice to continue to advocate for education, equality, and justice.

The Perales Collection is extremely important for our understanding of the historical trajectory of US Latinx civil rights. The documents in this collection reveal the ways our community refused to remain silent, even in the face of persecution. Civil rights leaders such as Perales fought for justice long before the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. The history embedded in this collection is not readily available in K-12 history books. We hope that digital projects such as these can empower our community through education and help Latina/o/x schoolchildren see themselves reflected in US history in a positive light.

Organizers

LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic Organization the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide.

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (“Recovery”) is an international program at the University of Houston dedicated to locating, preserving, and disseminating Hispanic cultural documents of the United States written since colonial times until 1980. Recovery in the premier center for research on Latino documentary history in the United States.

Arte Público Press is the oldest and largest Hispanic publisher in the United States. Established in 1979, it is the principal provider of cultural materials on Latino life in the United States for general and educational audiences.

SERJobs is a nonprofit community organization that educates and equips people in the Texas Gulf Coast Region who come from low-income backgrounds or who have significant barriers to employment.

2019 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival to Focus on U.S. Latinx Talent

Rebecca Sun for the Hollywood Reporter

The festival co-founded by Edward James Olmos will take place July 31 to Aug. 4 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Latin American filmmakers have earned much critical acclaim (and several Oscars) in recent years, but the 2019 edition of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, which takes place July 31 to Aug. 4 at the TCL Chinese Theatre, will put the spotlight on Latinx talent from the United States.

“LALIFF has become the preeminent destination for Latinx storytellers and this year we want to spotlight our homegrown U.S. community of filmmakers, musicians, students, TV writers, visual artists, digital producers and podcasters,” said Edward James Olmos, who co-founded the festival in 1997 with independent producers Marlene Dermer, George Hernandez and Kirk Whisler. In its early years, it has premiered short films from Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro G. Inarritu; today, the festival is run by executive director and Jane the Virgin writer Rafael Agustin.

In 2013 LALIFF took a five-year break from holding annual festivals (it returned last year); the organizers instead focused on the Youth Cinema Project, an outgrowth of the festival’s youth program. This year YCP launched its first-ever scholarship for high school students who demonstrate academic progress and filmmaking prowess. The inaugural recipient attends Santa Ana High and will complete a paid internship with LALIFF as part of the program.

Both LALIFF and YCP are part of the Latino Film Institute, which this year added Ana-Christina Ramon, director of research and civic engagement at UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences and co-author of the annual Hollywood Diversity Report, to its board of directors. “As the largest minority group in the U.S. and one whose buying power outpaces other groups, Latinos are still severely underrepresented in film and TV,” Ramon said in a statement. “My goal is to provide the data necessary to enact meaningful change and motivate those in the industry to make content that is authentic and representative of how the majority of Latinos and other people of color live and work in America.”

Submissions for LALIFF 2019 are now open at latinofilm.org. The festival is programmed by artistic director Diana Sanchez (a TIFF international programmer) and director of programming Dilcia Barrera (Sundance feature films programmer).

Jimmy Santiago Baca’s latest carries timely message

A wonderful article by David Steinberg for the ABQ Journal about a wonderful writer. See it here: https://www.abqjournal.com/1297830/jimmy-santiago-bacas-latest-carries-timely-message.html?fbclid=IwAR2My0mV7g7D2pRa7Xqdeiax-H1wieSOuAoSesrqAeLqKYUt8JDGdIxeKSE

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The heart of Jimmy Santiago Baca’s new book is the epic narrative poem “When I Walk Through That Door, I Am – An Immigrant Mother’s Quest.” It packs an emotional and political wallop.

The poem is written through the yearning voice of a woman named Sophia, a heroic immigrant from El Salvador. Her husband, Tonal, had been the victim of a gang murder. She musters the strength to head north to the United States with her 4-year-old son, Joaquin. U.S. border authorities separate them.

Placed inside a southern New Mexico detention center, Sophia is raped. Yet she holds her head up and perseveres. She thinks of her late husband. She hopes her son is alive and they can be reunited: “I feel like I am walking up a mountain/meditating on you my sweet Joaquin,/where are you? are you safe? do you have nightmares?/do you cry at night, are you eating, are you sick?”

Repeatedly, Sophia wills herself to ascend a metaphorical mountain. She struggles to overcome fear and the unknown, suppresses memories of death and still has the will to go on. She shows the courage of Athena.

Baca, a widely honored Albuquerque poet, said he had been initially thinking about different individual battles. “I was bemoaning the addictions of kids. I was sick of it. With ‘walking up the mountain,’ I thought of the cross those kids bear. And it turned into Sophia’s cross,” he said.

Baca said in an author’s note that he created the character of Sophia soon after helping a real-life undocumented Burmese refugee named Sae-Po. Catholic Charity Services announced it was seeking sponsors for refugees; Sae-Po was one. Baca gave him a job at his ranch outside Santa Fe until Sae-Po and his family were arrested.

“Everything we know about (refugees) is wrong, and yet they come at just the right moment in time, to define for us what Democracy is,” Baca argues in the author’s note. “They come giving, not taking. They create community. They believe in justice. They seek peace. How much more simple can that get for our muddle-brained minions who create insane immigration policies? Refugees enrich, not deplete.”

Baca’s other new book is “Feeding the Roots of Self-Expression and Freedom,” written with Kym Sheehan and Denise VanBriggle. Baca said that book is for high school students who can’t manage the conventional framework of school. “It’s geared to help students and teachers in alternative learning environments – those sequestered in juvenile facilities, for young, unwed mothers or for kids who don’t fit in the public school system,” he added.

Baca has won the American Book Award for Poetry, the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature and the Pushcart Prize.

Jimmy Santiago Baca reads from, discusses and signs “When I Walk Through That Door, I Am” and “Feeding the Roots of Self-Expression and Freedom” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at the Farmington Public Library, 2101 Farmington Ave., and at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at Collected Works, 202 Galisteo St., Santa Fe.

The film “A Place to Stand” will be screened at 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Octavia Fellin Public Library, 115 W. Hill St., Gallup. At 3 p.m., Baca will give a free 90-minute Writers Workshop on “How to Write Great Stories and Poems!” in Room 200, Student Services Tech Center, University of New Mexico-Gallup campus. A live stream of the workshop will be in the public library.

At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, Baca will give a talk in the library on “Moving Ahead in Your Life.” The screening, workshop and address are part of Gallup’s Biennial Authors Festival – “Story, Telling & Conversation.”

The sixth annual Jimmy Santiago Baca Writing Retreat will be held in Albuquerque on June 19-20. Register at jimmysantiagobaca.com.

Miracles on the Border: Retablos of Mexican Migrants to the United States

I’m catching this late, but there’s still time to see this awesome exhibit up in New Jersey!

Saturday, March 16, 2019 – Sunday, July 7, 2019 at the Princeton Art Museum: https://artmuseum.princeton.edu/art/exhibitions/3478?fbclid=IwAR14I2AzyMFFdtR1YSj1cZYOxuc8bOia4nPhXmOi4pKmeGQ2hc8MEtkknBA

Retablos are thank-you notes to the heavens dedicated to Christ, the Virgin, or saints to consecrate a miraculous event. The votives on view—spanning the entirety of the twentieth century—were offered by Mexican migrants and their families to commemorate the dangers of crossing the border and living in the United States. Filled with emotive detail, they eloquently express subjects of greatest concern to the migrants, such as the difficulty of finding work or falling sick in a foreign land and the relief of returning home.

The word “retablo,” from the Latin retro tabulum (behind the altar table), originally referred to devotional paintings hung in Catholic churches in Europe. In Mexico, reflecting traditions embedded in local cultures by Spanish conquest beginning in the sixteenth century, retablo (synonymous in this usage with ex-votolámina, and milagro) came to denote a small oil painting on metal placed on the wall of a shrine or church.

Usually commissioned from local artists working anonymously, retablos feature a narrative that is both written and pictorial. First-person vignettes, dated and inscribed with the supplicants’ names, draw on a traditional vocabulary such as “doy infinitas gracias” (I give infinite thanks). In the luminous illustrations above the inscriptions, earthly figures share space with holy images and a dreamlike representation of the miracle. As they accumulate on church walls, both in Mexico and the United States, these votives become public records of private faith, fears, and familial attachments.

Download the exhibition checklist


Retablos son notas de agradecimiento a los cielos dedicadas a Cristo, a la Virgen, o a los santos para consagrar un evento maravilloso. Los exvotos expuestos aquí—que abarcan todo el siglo XX—fueron ofrecidos por migrantes mexicanos y sus familias para conmemorar los peligros de cruzar la frontera y vivir en los Estados Unidos. Llenos de detalles emotivos, expresan de manera elocuente los temas de mayor preocupación para los migrantes, tales como la dificultad de encontrar trabajo o enfermarse en tierra extranjera y el alivio de regresar a casa.

La palabra “retablo,” del latín retro tabulum (detrás de la mesa de altar), se refería originalmente a pinturas devocionales colocadas en las paredes de las iglesias católicas en Europa. En México, debido a las tradiciones incorporadas a las culturas locales con la conquista española a partir del siglo XVI, retablo (sinónimo de exvoto, lámina y milagro) vino a significar una pintura pequeña al óleo sobre metal, colocada en la pared de un santuario o de una iglesia.

Generalmente encargados a artistas locales que trabajan de forma anónima, los retablos presentan una narrativa tanto escrita como gráfica. Las viñetas en primera persona, fechadas e inscritas con los nombres de los suplicantes, recurren a un vocabulario tradicional como “doy infinitas gracias.” En las ilustraciones luminosas sobre las inscripciones, las figuras terrenales comparten el espacio con imágenes sagradas y una representación onírica del milagro. A medida que se acumulan en las paredes de las iglesias, tanto en México como en los Estados Unidos, estos exvotos se convierten en registros públicos de la fe, los miedos y los vínculos familiares privados.

Haga clic aquí para descargar la lista de obras en la exposición


Miracles on the Border: Retablos of Mexican Migrants to the United States is presented in conjunction with Princeton University’s Migration Lab. It has been made possible with support from the Frances E. and Elias Wolf, Class of 1920, Fund, and by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the Program in Latin American Studies, and the Office of Religious Life, Princeton University. The retablos on view, collected by Douglas S. Massey and Jorge Durand, are from the Massey-Fiske and Arias-Durand collections.

Milagros en la frontera: Retablos de migrantes mexicanos a los Estados Unidos se presenta en colaboración con el Laboratorio de Migración de la Universidad de Princeton. Se ha logrado gracias al apoyo del Fondo Frances E. and Elias Wolf, Clase de 1920, y del Instituto de Estudios Internacionales y Regionales, el Programa en Estudios Latinoamericanos y la Oficina de Vida Religiosa de la Universidad de Princeton. Los retablos expuestos al público, coleccionados por Douglas S. Massey y Jorge Durand, vienen de las colecciones Massey-Fiske y Arias-Durand.

Book Reading in Houston – Why I Am Like Tequila by Lupe Mendez

Is anyone going to be in Houston soon?! Make sure to check this out!

When: Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 6:30 PM

 

Where: Casa Ramirez Folkart Gallery, 241 W. 19th St., Houston, TX 77008

Please join us as Lupe Mendez presents selections from his new book, WHY I AM LIKE TEQUILA. Books for sale at 17.99 and Lupe will be available after the reading to autograph. Refreshments served. Free event

 

WHY I AM LIKE TEQUILA is a collection of poetry spanning a decade of writing and performance. This collection exists in 4 parts – each a layered perspective, a look through a Mexican/ Mexican – American voice living in the Texas Gulf Coast. Set within spaces such as Galveston Island, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley and Jalisco, Mexico, these poems peel away at all parts, like the maguey, drawing to craft spirits, quenching a thirst between land and sea.