Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Medicine Story una

My brother has become part of an exclusive club in Arizona that work on airconditioning.  A good OL' boys network he has entered as a result of the work of stepfather and mother. The day they married and merged Mexican with Irish, Arizona with Ohio. White with Brown to create my brothers upbringing. Class. My mother wanted her children to have class. So, she sent us to catholic schools where we learned about reading the classics and writing.  We went to museums, symphonies and spent time contemplating high art even as we were raised in low art forms of folk art among our granmothers and grandfather.  We connected with Mozart at the same time that we had our blood connection to the earth, the grapes, the watermelon fields, the land, the cottonfields our parents worked as children.  Thus, our culture became an eclectic form and mixture of Guadalupe altars, velorias, prickly pear medicine and old western cowboy, Good Ol boy, Willie Nelson and we worked daily to weave these two identities into one art form.  And this is how my brother raised two academically achieving and beautiful Mexican girls into first class majority women and empowered girls. These girls carried on the age old tradition of woman healers in our dreams and blood.  They used their high and low art forms, merged the medicine woman into a doctor and the promotora into a nurse.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Testimonio de mis padres/ My parents story of youth and justice

I ve thought of writing this blog since the beginning of semester but was at a loss for words to describe the story of my parents which is testimony  to the enormous power and resiliency of the human spirit to survive adversity. My mother, Guadalupe Chavarria, was born in Guadalupe, Arizona to my grandmother Martha Chavarria. Martha Chavarria, my grandmother, was the first daughter to Paulina Trevino.  Paulina Trevino was a human trafficking victim as a teen girl. She was forced to migrate to the United States. She was murdered by her trafficker/husband when my grandmother was five years old.  My grandparents migrated from South Texas to Guadalupe Arizona.  My grandparents worked as migrant laborers in the fields. As children my parents followed the crops with their parents and or older siblings. They picked potatoes in Idaho, cotton in Arizona, strawberries in California. My mother and grandmother also took in laundry and sewing  for extra work. My mother recalls her family going without food and electricity. When i was a child my grandmother still had an outhouse toilet and shower separate from the home. When i was born my mother was a seamstress in a local factory.  My father was still working in the fields. Under these conditions my parents did not have many opportunities to further their education.  When they did go to school they  have recollections of being punished in school for speaking spanish. Thus they decided it would be best for their children to master the English language. My parents worked from sunrise to sunset to provide thier children with a private school catholic education. My father recalls a story of driving to the fields with other workers. He states that one day the driver was sick and got into a car accident. The truck tipped over and several migrant children riding in the back went flying out of the truck. He also recalls several incidents where the farmers would not pay the workers and children were rarely paid.  My parents siblings became sick from the pesticides being sprayed in the fields while the families worked. Bonnie Thorton Dill and Maxinne Baca Zinn found that women of color and their families have had to endure tremendous hardship which often times dismembered the family. Men have had to leave to find work. In response both to extremely low wages paid to Chicano laborers and to the preferences of employers who see family labor as a way of stabilizing the work force. For Chicanos, engaging all family members in agricultural work was a means of increasing their earnings to a level close to substinence for the entire group  and of  keeping the family unit together.  Bonnie Thorton Dill wrote that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries little attention was given to family and community life of racial ethnic families except how it related to thier economic productivity.  Labor, and not the existence or maintenance of families was the critical aspect of thier role in building the nation. Thus, they were denied the social structural supports necessary to make their families a vital element in the social order. The lack of social, legal, and economic support for racial-ethnic families intensified aand extended women's reproductive labor, created tensions and strains in family relationships, and set the stage for a variety of creative and adaptive forms of resistance.  One study has estimated that about 32 percent of all recorded slave marriages were disrupted by sale, about 45 percen by death of a spouse, about 10 percent by choice and only 13 percent were not disrupted.  African American slaves thus quickly learned that they had a limited degree of control over the formation and maintenance of their marriages and could not be assured of keeping thier children with them. Baca Zinn stated, " The threat of disruption from lack of social, legal and economic support for the family life of people of color continues to be the most direct and pervasive assaults on families." When i think of all that my family members endured i know that my seat in the rooms of academia is a direct result of their blood, sweat, tears and struggle for a better life for their future generations.

Bonnie Thorton Dill, Baca Zinn Maxinne. Women in U.S. Society.Temple University Press, 1994.

Monday, April 23, 2012

International Mariachi Conference and Youth Showcase this weekend here!!

I am so excited i absolutely had to post this blog. I am actually a tex mex gal myself having grown up with a father who was once an accordian musician and grandparents from South Texas. However, after having lived in Tucson i fell in love with Mariachis. i thought the cutest kids were the full attired mariachi and i wanted my kid to be a mariachi.  Every year the International Mariachi conference is held in April. You haven't missed it. Just in time for end of school this weekend. Rooted in Jalisco,  Mexico mariachi music has become associated worldwide with Mexican culture. In the 1950's little attention was given to Mexican folkloric dances in Mexico.  In 1962 Amelia Hernandez took first place in a world folkloric dance competition in Paris,France. This event created a national wave in folkloric dance. Years have passed and Mariachi music and Folklorico dance has gained wide recognition.  The Tucson International Mariachi conference has become nationally and internationally recognized as the leading proponent of the mariachi tradition anywhere in the world. Imagine all this in our own backyard! Leaders of the conference state that the effects of the Tucson International mariachi conference have been profound and widespread. Yet, nowhere are they more deeply felt than in Tucsons' up and coming generations. Which leads me to what does this have to do with youth and justice. Researchers are just now recognizing that fostering traditions and ethnic identity assist youth of color in buffering the effects of discrimination and risky behaviors.  Romero did a study in youth as young as eleven. In this study she found that ethnic identity buffered the negative effects of discrimination on self esteem among Black, Latina/o and Asian American adolescents.  Ethnic identity affirmation was found to be a resource and coping skill.

Not to mention that music as art form has been shown to be therapeutic in nature. i guess this is why youth walk around with earphones and ipods. The ipod has become an extension of thier ears. 
Every year more than 1000 students from all over the country come to Tucson to learn from the Masters-some of the best performers in the world. Workshops are given in four different levels with a minimum age 10 grade four. After two and half days the students perform at the showcase on thursday or are invited to perform with the Masters on Friday and Saturday.

You cannot miss this rich cultural tradition and agency in building youth resiliency. It is so much fun. Don't worry, you do not have to Mexican to attend. It is similar to eating tacos and margaritas for cinco de mayo. All can partake and enjoy this treasure. Hope to see you there. I have tickets for the lawn section at the Spectacular show for Friday night. Afterwards we can go to South Tucson for the best mexican food in Arizona. You can get your ticket at Casino Del Sol online. I do not work for the mariachi conference. I just love sharing my rich culture and traditions.

Romero, Andrea, Edwards M. Lisa. Coping with Discrimination Among Mexican Descent Adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. vol.30. Feb. 2008. 24-29 Sage Publications. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Black Panthers: Policing the police

The Black Panther Party was started as part of the civil rights movement in Oakland, California.  Although the party started in colleges it quickly emerged as a youth movement and reaction to policing of youth in Oakland. As we read in Rios' book policing of youth is not a current trend. What most interested me about the Black Panther movement is the agency of the youth. Out of community concerns grew this political consciousness and activist work.  For example, in the ghettos of Oakland there existed an intersection which needed a traffic light due to the fatality of numerous youth attempting to cross the street. Members of the Panther organizations, Newton and Seale, had tried numerous times to advocate with the city to put up a stop sign.  After failed attempts to have their voices heard they took it upon themselves to  start directing traffic at this dangerous crossroads. Their strategy worked because shortly thereafter the city installed a signal.  The Panthers also followed the police with law books in hand to document any brutality. Before the Panthers started several of the leaders had themselves spent time in juvenile corrections. Ironically during their time in corrections they studied Martin Luther King and Malcom X thus setting the stage for the movement. There existed a saying among black youth that stated, "There are only three ways a black man can get an education:college, prison and military." I find it fascinating that they used their time in corrections to exercise agency and create an  ideology and vision of their future resistance. In David Hilliards autobiography he writes about one of the Panthers stating, " Eldridge inspired me on a personal level,....He was left to destroy himself in a prison cage, Instead he has mastered language and made the entire sociey listen to him."  In 1966 the Black Panther Party created a platform and program that listed a ten point plan. They stated they wanted freedom and the power to determine their destiny. We want employment for our people.  We want an end to the robbery of Black communities.  They further stated that forty acres and two mules was promised them 100 years ago as resititution for slave labor and mass murder of black people.  We want decent housing fit for human beings and education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches our true history and our role in the present day society. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people. I find it sad that this was the plan some forty years ago, before I was even born! Yet, here we are history repeating itself with the policing and  killing of an innocent black youth in Florida, Trayvon Martin.

Murch, Donna Jean. Living For The City:Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California.The University of North Carolina Press,2010.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Banned Books, Drug Cartel and Private Prisons in Arizona

Last month Arizona Public Schools removed appx. 150 books from the once classrooms of Mexican American Studies in Tucson Arizona. These books were also taken from the students during the school day and boxed up in front of the students.  The Tucson community and several supporters of the Mexican American Studies program are outraged and have decided to assist the students in moving the program underground. Advocates of the program are smuggling the books back into the community and starting a banned book library in South Tucson.  When the Mexican American Studies program started i was teaching Chicana/o studies at Caesar Chavez charter school in South Tucson. I was also in the first graduate studies classes at University of Arizona Mexican American Studies program. I saw first hand what the students endured on a daily basis from living in ethnic enclaves where poverty and all the problems associated with poverty claim space in youths lives long before they have a chance to develop into their own.  Despite the challenges they endured the children worked hard on their studies and even came in before class, lunch time, and after class to study and work on their assignments. Many of these students were the first in their families to further their education and have opportunities to be tracked into college courses.  The current high school students in the Mexican American Studies program were reading books such as critical race theory and Paulo Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Many of these books i did not read until i reached graduate studies.  Since i started the first of these two blogs on this subject i started reading the book we will be reading later this semester by Victor M. Rios. After reflecting on Rios' theory i have applied it to the banned books issues in Arizona. In Rios book he states, "Sociologist William Robinson argues that capitalist globalization has resulted in a vast restructuring of the world economy, integrating all national economies into a transnational global economy.  Essentially, the proliferation of neoliberalism in the past three decades has erected a transnational global economy that frees capital to prey on vulnerable populations and resources and facilitates a transition from social welfare to social-control, security societies." He further states, "In order to understand the "trouble with young men" which takes place in the new millennium, we must understand how local troubles are often derived from global processes." Thus i would add to this by stating that when Arizona bans education to minority communities it is criminalizing a culture of youth with the intent to limit opportunities and "prepare them for prison." Why is Arizona doing this you ask? Because Arizonas' private prisons benefit from criminalizing the poor and undocumented.  As long as our youth have limited opportunities then they are left to the vulnerabilities of drugs, violence, and prisons that infiltrate life in the barrios. All one has to do is read the law banning ethnic studies to find the punitive measure in words used to exercise social control and criminilize youth. Stay tuned, for further critical race theory and transnational globalism in Tucson Arizona. Find out how the National Rifle Association and the Tea Party benefit from taking books away from little Esperanza. (banned book House on Mango Street protagonist is Esperanza). Pending approval i will write my final project on this abstract/blog.

reference- further reading

Rios, Victor M. Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys. New York University Press, 2011.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ethnic Studies and Book Ban in Tucson Arizona 2012

This will be part one of a two part blog covering the new law banning ethnic studies and banning books such as Shakespeares the Tempest from the high school curriculum in Tucson Unified School Districts.
 In 2006 labor rights activist Dolores Huerta told Tucson High Magnet School students that "Republicans hate Mexicans". In reaction to this then Superintendent of public instruction Tom Horne sent deputy superintendent Margaret Dugan to explain to the students why Huerta was wrong.  The students felt frustration at not being allowed to ask Dugan questions. They placed tape on thier mouths and more than 200 students walked out on the speech. Horne investigated about how these students learned about free speech and civil disobedience. Horne decided that this knowledge came from their Mexican American studies classes. Thus HB 2281 was launched. Around the time that Huerta spoke to the students a series of bills were being passed such as SB 1070 which we read about in another classmates blog this semester. These legislative attacks were aimed at enforcing borders and antiimmigrant sentiment. Huertas aim in telling the students that republicans hate mexicans was an effort to have the children look at and challenge them.  Senator John Huppenthal successfully ran for state superintendent with the platform stating he would eliminate Raza studies. La Raza being a term used by the Chicano Movement meaning "the people".
The origins of the Tucson Mexican American studies department was a response to student drop out rates and low test scores. the Department of Education hired the Cambium group to audit the program. the Cambium report found that students were doing better in school and that the classes
increased the likelihood that students would graduate and go on to college. Students even began to perform better outside of the classes such as math. Teaching kids their history affirms and supports their performance in and out of the class room. Personally ethnic studies gave me a voice and affirmed that i had a role in my education. I learned that there are others like me and we too have the power to create knowledge.  I learned to think critically about issues in and outside my community. Sandra Cisneros wrote "One day i will pack my bags of books and paper. One day i will say goodbye to Mango. I am too strong for her to keep me here forever. One day i will go away. Friends and neighbors will say, What happened to that Esperanza? Where did she go with all those books and paper? why did she march so far away? They will not know I have gone away to come back.  For the ones I left behind. For the ones who cannot out".


further readings/reference
Sandra Cisneros banned book The House on Mango Street
Pedagogy of The Oppressed Paulo Freire

What's Race Got to Do With It? Critical Race Theory's Conflicts With and Connections to Qualitative Research Methodology and Epitemology
Laurence Parker and Marvin Lynn

What happened to the lost girls of Sudan?

Featured local Youth and Justice artist: DJ Howl - Think globally, act locally
This is the 5 min. mix I made for battle of the bands. The Mesquite High school battle of the bands was recently cancelled despite having been held every year prior to 2012. The student council at MHS shut it down to prove that they are not afraid to use their near fascist power to censor the rising genre of electronic dance music. This is social injustice, because one cannot simply ban music from the school that isn't mainstream endorsed. So I put it on the internet, safe from the councils cold grasp.  Enjoy :) - Nick Yoakam

Can't Oppress EDM!

In 2000 The United States recieved 3276  Sudanese boys and 89 girls from the Sudanese refugee camps. As we know from our readings and class this week we have learned that these children suffered extreme hardships and duress and finally have arrived at a destination that has assisted them with relocation. After further research on the lost children of Sudan i found that 3000 girls vanished from official records.  There is some evidence that the  girls were shielded from the UN eyes in order to bring money to the foster families that were caring for them.  The girls were left behind because they were placed in foster care families instead of placing them in groups as the boys were. These foster families sold the girls to be slaves or brides. As we see from our readings when the INS officials arrived to interview the children the ones who were married did not qualify for relocation to the United States. The lost girls have been "twice forgotten". The girls who were not sold into marriage and slavery also stayed behind to perform unpaid labor for the foster families. However many of the girls have "simply disappeared".
The lost girls who made it to the United States have started to organize and presented at the conference for lost boys in Phoenix Arizona.  Several of the women were relocated to Dallas Texas. Below is a video of a lost girl telling her story in Washinton DC.

In concluding my blog i just wanted to speak about how amazed i was at the agency and resiliency of these children to survive adversity and stay true to themselves. Whenever i see them on video or pictures they are so happy to have the bare necessities and so many things many take for granted here in the United States. For example in the video about God grew tired of us when they arrived in their apartment and found their beds to be so soft and comfortable compare  to the hard floors they were used to. The lost girls have written a book and some of the proceeds will go to their education and advocacy.  For the lost girls who stayed behind there are presently efforts to build school dormitory for them to get thier education.  The book by the lost girls can be found at