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Posts Tagged ‘Latino Rebels’

Divided We Stand: How the Dream 9 Brought Many Shames to Light.

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2013 at 2:27 pm

(Inspired to write this at the request of Latino Rebels)

Even though immigration has been an issue that the U.S. has faced since its inception, myths about immigration abound. Immigration reform 2013, the latest chapter in federal intervention in this issue, while on the radar of concerned people, still is fairly unknown by many and thus, relatively misunderstood. In fact, according to one poll, even of those interested, few are following the story closely. Thus, events that concern immigration, even negative ones that receive national attention, often force Americans to at least know about the issue and form an opinion.

Enter the Dream 9.

The Dream 9, if anything, accomplished one thing: bring the issue of undocumented immigration to living rooms, educational spaces, and other arenas outside of Spanish language media and immigration circles. Other events, such as the Boston bombing and the events on 9/11 have made immigrants the focus of their attention, bringing them to a national scale and shaming immigrants, documented and undocumented, for pursuing the American dream. Many have worked proactively against some of the negativity created by these horrific events to produce a more humane picture of who undocumented immigrants are and why they deserve to be treated justly. However, for all the good efforts engendered by pro-immigration groups and immigration lawyers, few events have painted a clear picture of the effects of a broken immigration system as has the detention of the Dream 9. Rather than identifying immigrants as the problem, the Dream 9 has provided us with a current image of the devastating effects of an immigration system that continues to detain, abuse, and deport undocumented immigrants. On Friday, it was discovered that the Dream 9 were denied humanitarian parole and are now seeking asylum, shedding even more light on how undocumented immigrants are being treated in detention centers, how long it may take them to hear news about their release, and the process undocumented immigrants must endure just to achieve the American Dream. This is a case, truly, of a dream detained. And, possibly, deported.

You would think this was a good thing. You would think that finally someone is brave enough to put their lives on the line for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in fear and held hostage to a Congress who cannot figure out how to create a more humane system of immigration.

The problem is that not many “pro-immigrant” groups and individuals are happy that the Dream 9 are receiving this kind of attention. Rather than using this moment as a time to continue to highlight the ills of privately owned detention centers, a nonsensical militarized border, the insidious effects of Secure Communities, and the almost 2 million deportations of undocumented immigrants, these “pro-immigrant” groups would rather shame the Dream 9 for their act of civil disobedience that could possibly mean the loss of returning to their homes in the U.S. Critics of the Dream 9 chastised the Dream 9 by calling them “diversionary”; calling their act a publicity stunt, and some even said the Dream 9 are romanticizing the problem of a broken immigration system. On Huffington Post Live, we also heard that the efforts were misplaced and the attention should be on pushing the immigration reform bill that is in congress now, thus dividing the agenda and splitting the movement – a pathway toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants – in two separate policy agenda items.

Does anyone really believe that being detained and put into solitary confinement is a romantic gesture? Would any one of these critics give up seeing their loved ones in the name of a publicity stunt?

I don’t think so.

While my fellow panelists on Huffington Post Live accused the Dream 9 of coordinating this act of civil disobedience to shame President Obama, the panelists inadvertently created more shame; the spotlight is now on us – a divided people, workers toward the same goal, who cannot agree and thus, work on separate camps. It seems that the shame is really about us.

While this was not readily admitted on Huffington Post Live on July 31st, this underlying sentiment was felt in an apparent refusal to work together on what everyone on that panel desires: a bill that protects immigrants from a broken system that has separated families, detained people for lengths of time including placing some in solitary confinement, and deported close to 2 million people during the Obama administration. And these are just some of the consequences.

It seems that critics of the Dream 9 are now contributing to the creation of a nation of Dream Detainers and Deporters. We are now even killing deferred dreams.

Given the comments heard on the Huffington Post Live conversation regarding the Dream 9, my question still stands: Is there any room to build coalitions? Are people so against what these young people did (i.e. crossing over to Mexico to return back to the US) that they are willing to let them stay in those detention centers? How do we use this moment to create more momentum to push our Congress toward more humane policies concerning undocumented immigrants? If we cannot build coalitions and relationships among people who are supposedly working toward the same goal, how can we possibly expect to build relationships with conservative Democrats, Republicans, and others who do not want to sign that very bill, this comprehensive immigration reform bill, that my fellow panelists so desperately want us to focus on? We are truly divided, and only time will tell if we will be conquered.

The Dream 9’s act of civil disobedience is not only shaming the President. It is also shaming divisive pro-immigrant groups and activists. More importantly, the courageous act of the Dream 9, is in fact, our national shame. The Dream 9 should have never felt propelled to do this in the first place. As a country, we have failed to protect them.

We can change this. We must collaborate. We must stop shaming the acts of the Dream 9 and work toward their freedom and the freedom of all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Open Letter to Latina: The Year of the Latin@ Intellectual & the Fascinating Story I Missed – La Muerte de La Comay

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2013 at 11:40 am

Fascinating Story Number Six: The Year of Latin@ Intellectualism & Latin@ Intellectuals

One thing learned from the 2012 election: Neither candidate or media, advertising and marketing experts knew how the hell to deal with the growing Latin@ population. Between polls and surveys, seems like no one got quite right what Latin@s think or how we feel about “our” needs. It seemed that media journalists/academics who discussed Latin@ politics (without a Latin@ scholar/activist/intellectual at their discussion panels) looked confused, were misinformed, and seemed misguided. But we had our champions, our Latin@ public intellectuals who took to Facebook, Twitter, blogs and even their own shows to break through all the confusion among non-Latinos. And, we were all the more grateful for it.

Our biggest national champions throughout this time were Jorge Ramos, Maria Elena Salinas,  and Maria Hinojosa. With shows like Al Punto and their own shows such as Latino USA on NPR.  In fact, Jorge Ramos was noted by the  Washington Monthly as “The broadcaster who will most determine the 2012 elections…” Getting these Latino journalist-intellectuals in the same space is a real treat. Their journalism is characterized by their advocacy and have been part of our homes for years. You can watch them on Bill Moyers here. In this episode, Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas discuss why there has not been a Latino moderator for the presidential debates. Jorge Ramos responded, “We were not invited to the party, so we had our own.” Their push for more visibility of the Latin@ community is interestingly promoted by their own recognition that as much as they expect non-Latin@s to accommodate and recognize Latin@s, Latin@s in Spanish language media must also change to accommodate the newer generations of Latin@s who do not primarily speak Spanish. It is a must-watch episode.

Other Latino journalist-activists intellectuals include and Juan Gonzalez and Roberto Lovato  who push national imagination on immigration. 2012 was the year Harvest of Empire by Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now), was finally made into a movie and reached a wide audience outside of the book’s readership. Others such as Roberto Lovato, were equally as important as he reminded Latin@s of the unfulfilled promise of an Obama administration capped by the deportation of over 1 million undocumented immigrants. Despite the unpopularity of spreading this truth, Lovato reminded us that Juan Crow, a term he coined, is alive and well in this “Post-Racial” era. He forces us to explore the role Latin@s play in a White Supremacist society headed led by a Black president. In fact, they all push us to think in this direction.

Where mainstream English language media lacked, Spanish language media, political blogs like the National Institute for Latino Policy and HP Latino Voices,  cultural blogs such as Capicu Culture and Latino Rebels, and Latina health bloggers as demonstrated here all provide us with insight into Latin@ lives in a way that surveys and polls cannot – and, it takes Latin@ intellectuals to do it.  Because we do it everyday – we take more than just snapshots of our community. We are not a summary and we are not items on a menu or agenda. We are THE fascinating story that continues to be ignored. And, as Jorge Ramos points out, if we don’t get invited to the party, we will make our own.

A final example of the strength of Latin@ intellectualism is Junot Diaz.  A Pulitzer Prize winner for his book The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao he is also a recent recipient of the coveted MacArthur fellowship, an honor that many Latin@s cheered almost like it was a soccer or baseball game. The combination of the Pulitzer Prize and the MacArthur Fellowship gave us our own personal genius in our modern Latin@ times.  His writing and his quest for decolonial love provides us with a different type of road map for Latin@ intellectualism – like many of the geniuses before him, they understood that at the heart of the matter is love. Self-love, love for your partner, and love for your people – a love free from the internalized oppression that makes us sell ourselves short, a love that doesn’t sell your people out for retweet or a Facebook like, a love that is free from White Supremacist values and if that cant be achieved – a love for the fight to end White Supremacy.

So now I wonder: What is the story you want to tell, Latina magazine, about your people? We can easily ask ourselves this, too.  What is the story we want to create for ourselves as Latin@s and as a community? One thing is for sure: I love my people and the work we do. Let’s push each other to do better, be better. Let’s see what we come up with in 2013.

Here is to Latin@-race-work-race-love filled 2013 full of fascinating Latin@ stories!!!


The Fascinating Story I Missed: La Muerte de La Comay

This story I missed until my friend and colleague Dr. Manolo Guzman wrote his thoughts on the end to La Comay. I have included his thoughts below. You can read more on the Boycott of La Comay here and here and here

El Rotundo Exito del Boicot a La Comay

by Manolo Guzmán on Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:40am ·

La Comay ha sido castrada, Kobbo Santarrosa se quedó sin auspiciadores, y muchos de los que apoyan y aplauden el boicot nos hemos quedado boquiabiertos.

No sé por qué otros quedan con la boca abierta. A mi me cuesta aceptar que una respuesta en contra de la homofobia en PR, parte central de la protesta en contra de La Comay, haya tenido el éxito que en este boicot ha encontrado. Quizás 20 años son nada, pero, a lo mejor, los 35 años de exilio a cuesta de el odio homofóbico, sin salida y asfixiante, de los primeros 17 que viví en PR son algo y el boicot contra La Comay un éxito inesperado en el que ese algo se recoge.

Sobre este éxito debí haber escrito un artículo pero odio escribir las quince páginas que los escritos académicos, los que conozco, requieren para exponer una idea que no necesita más de una oración. Además soy vago para escribir. Así que al grano, el éxito de el boicot y los esfuerzos astutos de Carlos A. Rivera-Jones y los otros 75,000 entusiastas del boicot no sólo se manifiestan en la castración de una muñeca de trapo o en haberle hecho perder millones de dólares en auspicios a esta basura. No, eso es sólo parte de este rotundo éxito.

El verdadero éxito se vislumbra en el final de la producción del programa en vivo. Y lo que esto vislumbra es que los procesos de vigilancia han sido en alguna medida democratizados. WAPA TV, toda las estaciones de TV en PR, todas las estaciones de radio y todos los periódicos han perdido en esta batalla. Y todas estas instituciones [y el resto de el aparato que incluye una iglesia asquerosa y un departamento de la policía que es una vergüenza] saben que están bajo la vigilancia de un pueblo que completamente dentro de la ley le viró la tortilla del panopticón a medios de comunicación que se imaginaban altaneramente invulnerables e impunes además.

En un momento histórico en que está claro que los procesos de vigilancia no menguarán, quien se sienta detrás de las persianas desde donde se vigila es una de las luchas más importantes. Hoy todos los medios de comunicación e instituciones aledañas [curas, puercos, alcaldes y el resto de esa saorria ideológica] en PR saben que en un PR que se extiende mas allá de las islas municipios de Culebra y Vieques hay miles de puertorriqueños que los están velando y evaluando. Y lo que importa es precisamente eso, que se sienten velados, que se regulan internamente en relación a otra lógica mas complicada que la del mercado. Esa nueva distribución y práctica de la vigilancia ha sido el gran éxito de este boicot. Por que vendrán otras muñecas y otros auspiciadores, y, peor aún, quizá la muñeca castrada nunca se vaya; pero los procesos de vigilancia y la manera en que esos procesos se entienden, materializan, y experimentan cambiaron para siempre y por eso debemos estar de júbilo, sin tiros al aire por favor.

A lo mejor en algún lugar encontaré un jaca baya y en mi Collores un bohío arropa’o de los famosos cundeamores, por que tu sabes Puerto Rico que yo te I love you y que nunca bote el baby con la placenta.

La falta de matices me la disculpan. Para eso hubiese tenido que escribir las malditas quince páginas que mencione arriba y que tanto detesto.

¡Féliz 2013!

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