Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Never Too Early...

...To Think About CCCC 2013
Regarding CCCC 2013, I got this postcard/flyer in my email that I thought I'd post. Hope to see y'all in Las Vegas, where 'what happens while we're there' becomes experiential knowledge when made sense of and mediated through narration, ha!
























This may sound like a silly title and subtitle, however, I have actually been giving serious thought to my CCCC presentation, tweaking a digital story to go along with my written presentation. Fortunately, the digital storytelling I'm experimenting with stems from a small-scope narrative coming out in the Sept 2013 Special Issue of CCC on the profession, so the narrative is not from whole-cloth.

Still, the piece is personal narrative, so there are rhetorical considerations as to how much I want to express, and the genre of digital storytelling adds the additional questions of modality in terms of which media do I want to employ to communicate my message. One of the major advantages of the genre that I've noted from my research is the ability to add voice to narratives that are traditionally silenced, although there is something bare and exposed about recording voice to accompanying images.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Positive News Regarding Tucson MAS

MAS for College Credit
I recieved this news earlier today from former MAS teacher
 Curtis Acosta with great news about former TUSD MAS 
curriculum being offered for college credit. 
 Curtis Acosta (right) and I

LA LUCHA SIGUE
Although we have suffered through the pain and indignity of losing 
Mexican American Studies in Tucson, today serves as the beginning 
of a sea change in this struggle. In response to the Tucson Unified 
School District dismantling our MAS classes, I started Chican@ 
Literature After School Studies (CLASS), which meets at the John 
Valenzuela Youth Center in South Tucson and is free for all students 
who attend. We meet for at least two hours each Sunday, and 
sometimes my students and I lose complete track of time because 
of our intense conversations inspired by how this amazing literature 
relates to our world and our lives. It is the highlight of my week and 
has kept my spirit and love for teaching alive during these dark days. 
MAS GOES TO COLLEGE
Our dedication and love of learning has been rewarded thanks to the
 amazing people at Prescott College in Arizona. In an incredible show
 of respect for the quality and rigor of our former MAS classes in TUSD,
 Prescott College will be offering college credit to these students for 
our Sunday classes. We are humbled and excited for this partnership,
 but now we need your help to make this dream become a reality.

"While TUSD banned the teaching of Chican@ literature, we recognize
 the rigor and importance of the former MAS classes, and therefore 
Prescott College will offer students the option to enroll in Curtis 
Acosta's Chican@ Literature class for college credit.  We hope this 
will not only be an incentive to attend this weekend class but will 
also send a strong message that this knowledge is highly valued," 
said Anita Fernández, a Prescott College professor.  
Investing in the future of Chican@ Studies 
It is incredibly important for CLASS to remain free for this small
 group of young scholars. Thus, we have established the Chican@
 Literature And Studies Scholarship (CLASS) Fund in order to raise
 money for the students to receive college credit for their
 participation. Will you invest in these amazing young people 
by donating to CLASS today? 
A scholarship fund has been set up in the hopes that most
 students will be able to earn college credits free of charge.  
To make a tax-deductible donation to the Chican@ Literature 
and Studies Scholarship (CLASS) fund, please send a check to:

Prescott College
220 Grove Ave.
Prescott, AZ 86301 

Please write in the memo line: CLASS fund

In Lak Ech,


Curtis Acosta
Chican@ Literature Teacher
Chican@ Literature After School Studies
(Acosta and I at Librotraficante Event)

To learn more about the curriculum of Tucson's famous Mexican-American Studies program, the 93% graduation rate for their students, and the controversy surrounding the now banished classes you can online order the PRECIOUS KNOWLEDGE DVD. If you have any questions about purchasing your DVD, please contact us at:dvd@preciousknowledgefilm.com

Thursday, November 29, 2012

UA News on Adela C. Licona

Zines in Third Space: Radical Cooperation and Borderlands Rhetoric

From the UA News article:
“Zinesters" are engaged in critical and creative work, challenging dominant knowledges and normative misrepresentations of groups and working to build coalitions, Licona said.
"The zinesters challenge dominant knowledges in their daily activist practices, in their commitment to community education and community literacies, in their anti-normative gender performances, and in their inquiries and engagements with contested knowledges."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Reminder of the Fallacies


Got turned onto this from past guest blogger Enrique Reynoso. It reminds us how prevalent fallacies are in many arguments, which is too bad that all of the election debates are over because I'm sure "binders full of women" and other such statements would provide multiple examples of the below mentioned fallacies.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Luis Urrea Celebrates Dia de los Muertos

From Hopeless Situations, Miracles Happen
Before Luis Urrea’s reading, there was a Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos event in the UA Bookstore, MC’d by my academic-compa Kathryn Ortiz. The event included altars from Dr. Cintli’s upper-division Mexican American Studies students, a mariachi performance by an elementary school group, and a folklorico dance put on by UA’s ballet folklorico group.
I had the chance to speak with Urrea—he signed my copy of The Devil's Highway and I apologized that there were notes I’d taken inside of it, but I explained that I’d taken part in the summer Banned Book club. He then recounted when he had first heard of the proposed book ban years ago when a news reporter asked him about Tom Horne's desire to ban Ethnic Studies, and Urrea's complete disbelief.
Urrea began by professing to be a “proud veteran of Mexican American Studies.” He commented that in California, where he studied, they don’t experience the same scrutiny as in Arizona, but the MAS program he participated in produced “countless authors, PhDs and scholars.”
He read from Nobody's Son , which was published by UA Press, so he was bringing it home to read. Urrea explained that while he lived for some time in Tucson, he was nomadic enough that he was leary to talk about Arizona or on behalf of Arizona, though Arizona gave him his “best books.”
On the Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos when honoring ancestors, he remembered all of the people who have gone before him: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and several of his nephews and cousins who were gone—and he’d be damned if someone regarded any of them as less than human, or stopped them in the street to question them about their citizenship, or tell them that they couldn’t study about their culture.
From Nobody's Son , Urrea read a passage about moving from Tijuana as a child with skin problems and had no place to go while his parents worked, and being raised in the home of two of his female relatives who he described in rich and humorous detail. 
Urrea described the time as hopeless, however adding that when the  “situation was hopeless, that’s when miracles happen.”
He explained the differences in the worlds of his home and that of the relatives who cared for him, watched La Jesse in their soap operas, and made tortillas by hand. In the description of these homes and love, Urrea explained that there was a particular “way a family shares one bathroom that says love.”

Read my past post on Urrea: http://writerscholarprofessional.blogspot.com/2012/05/luis-alberto-urrea-addresses-tucson-ban.html

Monday, October 8, 2012

Maria Hinojosa Screens "America By the Numbers"

Futuro Media's "American By the Numbers" Documents the Changing American Demographic

Maria Hinojosa, the recipient of numerous awards for her journalism, introduced the film by explaining that she has always tried to give a voice to the voiceless, making her known as a journalist with an agenda, which no journalist wants because that means they're compromised.

(Hinojosa and I)
One of the things Hinojosa tries to do with her new show is to document the lives of the voiceless, beginning with a small town in Georgia with a drastically changing demographic due to an influx of immigrants. Something Hinojosa and her producers really tried to avoid in the documentary was to not paint the people in the film with a broad brush--Hinojosa chose people who did not fit into stereotypes or present too flat a portrayal of perspective, e.g. a tea party city council person was "sisters" with a refugee who would vote for President Obama.

(Hinojosa during Q&A)

 Citizenship became an issue for discussion following the screening--Hinojosa responded to one question by referring to an '86 path to citizenship that Ronald Reagan instituted that no longer exists today. Hinojosa explained that many educated Americans have asked her why undocumented people don't just go get their papers, to which she has had to explain that no path to becoming documented exists. She asked the rhetorical question, "If no one's going anywhere--how do we move forward?"

Someone asked about self-segregation and isolation, to which Hinojosa said she was under the impression that these self-selecting groups would be a minority of sorts. The idea of segregation reminded her of interviewing Joe Arpaio--he seems to isolate himself by yelling all of the time--he excused himself by saying that the jail was loud, but Hinojosa couldn't help wonder, 'but why are you yelling at me?'


Because of our context of Arizona and laws like SB 1070, the issue of illegality continued as a topic of the Q&A. A member of the audience asked Hinojosa to reprise what she had said in an interview about the label of "illegal."

Hinojosa explained that she chooses not to use "illegal" and that she learned from a holocaust survivor that 'no human is illegal' and that the use of illegal is the kind of discourse that was used to justify the holocaust.

With regard to breaking down a monolithic "white" America, Hinojosa mentioned the term the "creative class"--a group who identifies with openess and recognizes differences within white communities.

She addressed the idea of fear keeping people apart by saying that she learned from her Dominican husband how to "eat  fear" and not live with it, and push through and past it.


See the trailer for "American By the Numbers":
Trailer "America By The Numbers: Clarkston Georgia" from The Futuro Media Group on Vimeo.

Visit the Futuro Media Group

Maria Hinojosa's Frontline "Lost in Detention"

Watch Lost in Detention on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Friday, October 5, 2012

"A Good Arizona Book Banning"

An Evening of Banned Literature Reading at the University of Arizona
The Dean of the Humanities introduced the event by pointing out that Banned Book Week originated in 1982, and since then 11,000+ books have been challenged.

Organizer Prof. Adela C. Licona explained that the ban of books in Tucson is about access to culture, freeing us of ignorance. Licona argued that Manuel Munoz, Helena Viramontes, and Sandra Cisneros write for those who know poverty, who know people experiencing these stories, and people who are learning about these stories.

Manuel Munoz began his reading by saying that the scrutiny of the books on the banned book list come from a fear of repercussions, further explaining that the term "banned" should be replaced by terms like challenged and contested because "banned" silences people through fear.

(Cisneros and I)
Munoz echoed the assertion of another Mexican American writer who had visited Tucson, who had stated that in Tucson these books are considered traitorous, whereas anywhere else they would be an AP English class. These texts include the lives and patterns of life that Munoz recognizes.

Munoz noted that no one knows how powerful can be if books are on the shelf because people need to be led to them. His knowledge about the craft came across as he stated that stories serve as a compressed act, and additionally that details should resonate with readers.

The stories in the MAS banned book list match, according to Munoz, the stories that parents say around the kitchen table, which in turn made parents players in the role of storytelling. After reading a selection from a short story, Munoz ended by saying that the writing of Viramontes and Cisneros brought them the world, and their writing serve as doorways to literacy and college access--their presence there that evening provided a moment for celebrating the power of reading in our lives.

 (Cisneros reading)
Sandra Cisneros began by jesting that a good ban in Arizona is a good reason for a reading. She said she'd been asked to read from House on Mango Street, but she told the audience that she'd written that 25 years ago and wanted to read something newer.

She read from a forthcoming piece called "Canto," in which she paid homage and evoked Dylan Thomas with a refrain along the lines of "rage, rage, do not go to bed nights in sensible whites and beige" [I apologize for not capturing the exact phrase, but the essence of the verse].

Cisneros thanked libraries and teachers. She said when she was younger she thought all books belonged to the state because they always read "Property of the State" across them. And then she shared a story about finding a beloved book at the Sears bargain basement when she was a child. From what I believe she said was Alice in Wonderland, which her mother paid 50 cents, Cisneros experienced poetry, magic and humor. Interestingly, she noted that she also believed that all literature was British.
(Viramontes reading)
Helena Viramontes began by noting that we often don't appreciate libraries until budget cuts close them, adding that they are incredible spaces for people from bookless homes like her own as a child.

She explained that she had two main influences as a young person when it came to reading: her father's encyclopedias and her sister's Bible. From these texts, she came to believe as a young person that literature was information and the truth of parables.

[Pardon any misspellings and/or other errors--written directly following event]

Tucson Weekly Story About Event Tonight

Banned Authors Reading During Hispanic Heritage Month
This is an article from the Tucson Weekly about an event I'll be attending this evening. I've had the chance to hear Munoz speak a couple times, and he's a great speaker, so I'm looking forward to seeing him with both Sandra Cisneros and Helena Viramontes.


From the article,
"The theme of this year's Banned Books Week is "Liberating Literature." The three authors will address literature as a tool to learn about our diverse cultural surroundings, and how having access to a variety of ideas strengthens us. Muñoz hopes the event will make people more aware of the empowering nature of books."

See the rest of the article at:
http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/pro-literary-choice/Content?oid=3541601

Manuel Munoz's Zigzagger
Sandra Cisneros House on Mango Street
Helena Viramontes The Moths and Other Stories

An article in Spanish about the event by Munoz and Adela C. Licona:
http://azstarnet.com/laestrella/noticias/leer-para-ser-libres/article_c2d4af6c-b5d5-5844-a106-e1e7b5e7add9.html

Sunday, September 16, 2012

National Attention to Tucson Mexican American Studies

Fernanda Santos Addresses Desegregation Complexity and A New Ethnic Studies

A couple colleagues of mine were interviewed in relation to this story and the future of the Mexican American Studies program here in Tucson. Santos points out the desegregation case that forces the district to implement a less-inclusive Hispanic serving program that includes services like tutoring, but she points out the lingering resentment due to the dismantling of the original, successful MAS program.


See the full story at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/us/tucson-school-district-tailors-program-to-struggling-hispanic-students.html?_r=1&ref=fernandasantos

From the story:
"Instead of classes about historical realities and the everyday experiences of Mexican-Americans, once a hallmark of the department, Ms. Figueroa’s program will offer tutoring to Hispanic students who are teetering on the edge of failure. In place of discussions about race and identity, it will recruit mentors from among Hispanic business leaders and college graduates to talk to students."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kick Off of Fall

The Blog Goes First

With the semester kicking into gear, the first victim has been the neglect of my blog. However, I have been putting in some work and updating my website: http://cruznmedina.wordpress.com/


My website is a much more straight-forward platform, but I've still seen some interesting political satire on Arizona and the proud uber-conservatives like Jan Brewer, who was recently accused of race-baiting President Obama.

In the spirit of archiving interesting Arizona-related satire that illuminates current dynamics within Arizona, I'm posting the link to a recent Funny or Die video:

http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/745u

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to School

The Preparation for Fall 2012 in Full Effect

My department had their general meeting to start the semester this past Wednesday, and I had a chance to speak about my role as Collaborative Coordinator for the Developmental Writing course. It's exciting because my fellow coordinator was a participant in my collaborative group last fall, and the course coordinator was also a participant in my group--onwards and upwards for my fellow collaborators!

The first class meeting of the semester is Thursday, and I'm looking forward to getting to know this crop of my first year writers. After a great summer with New Start, and winning the Instructor of the Summer having taught an amazing group of students, I'm planning to carry the positive energy forward starting next week; perhaps, if I'm lucky, I'll also channel that positivity into last minute tweaks to my syllabus as well.

(My New Start Class)

This semester, I'm also looking forward to participating in this program the Writing Program is piloting for graduate teaching associates with Superior Teaching ratings. I'm pairing up with one of my mentees in the Rhet/Comp department to set and plan goals for our teaching this semester. It might comes as no surprise, but I'll be focusing mine on applications of technology in the writing classroom.

Monday, August 6, 2012

After School Encuentro with Curtis Acosta

From Three Sonorans, Video of Acosta's Community Lesson

Last night, former TUSD Ethnic Studies teacher Curtis Acosta gave a lesson at the John Valenzuela Youth Center 1550 S. 6th Ave. Tucson.

Three Sonorans put together a five minute version of Acosta's lesson, which I was interested to see because Acosta was discussing a piece by the author that the MAS Banned Bookclub is reading this week.



Three Sonorans also provided and entire recording of the talk:



See this article and others at Three Sonorans:
http://threesonorans.com/2012/08/06/video-mas-teacher-curtis-acosta-teaches-a-banned-in-tusd-latino-literature-class/

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tucson Freedom Summer

Tucson Board Meeting

Last night I attended the rally for Mexican American Studies at Tucson Unified School District's office. Local news reported on it, but I'm not going to embed it to my site because the video is full of commercials that play automatically.
See it here: http://www.kvoa.com/videoplayer/?video_id=11179&categories=1
There's some stock footage from the KVOA video I posted from the Banned Bookclub I've been participating in.

I'll be sure to post the video from Arizona Public Media's coverage when it's available.
In the meantime, more fun with memes:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Selena's Edward James Olmos on Mexican American Identity

"More Mexican than the Mexicans..."
This is a clip from the film Selena that addresses the positionality of the Mexican in American and space between both cultures where this identity navigates and performs the consciousness of both.


Also, I got contacted with the link to a video also featuring Edward James Olmos discussing the pejorative "pocho," which contributors to this blog have discussed in depth before. It begins by exploring the term "naco" that possesses pejorative connotations like pocho, but infers more of a "hick" identity characterized by pointy boots and linguistic markers.

Monday, July 16, 2012

AZ Public Media on New Start

What I've Done on My Summer Vacations

For the last three out of four summers, I've taught English as a part of the New Start Summer program for underrepresented student populations. It's continued to be one of my most rewarding teaching experiences that reminds me why it is I do what I do in addition to teaching so that I might have these kinds of opportunities.
 From the website: " The Office of Admissions at the University of Arizona welcomes a new freshman class every year. Up to 350 of those students take part in the UA's New Start summer program. The New Start summer program accommodates students for the summer, giving them a chance to get acquainted with the University of Arizona at all different levels." Visit the website: https://www.azpm.org/s/9538-new-start-program-offers-six-week-orientation-to-college-life/    Update (July 20, 2012): Voted on by my fellow instructors, I was awarded the Outstanding Instructor of the New Start Summer Program this past Friday at the Awards Ceremony (not so humble brag).  Hopefully a photo to come.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

MAS teachers Curtis Acosta and Asiva Mir

"Empowering Young People to Be Critical Thinkers: The Mexican American Studies Program in Tucson" 
By Curtis Acosta and Asiya Mir 

From the website: www.annenberginstitute.org

Education for Liberation: VUE Number 34, Summer 2012
A teacher and a student in Tucson’s acclaimed Mexican American Studies program, recently shut down by state and district officials, describe how the program has transformed the lives of its students and teachers.

INTRODUCTION
Curtis Acosta

The memories overwhelm me as the question is posed, “What does education for liberation look like in Tucson?” I see the marches, the vigils, the teatro. I feel the music and voices of youth expressing their own view of the world through their art. A collection of powerful and poised faces of former students quickly flip through my mind, as they assertively and respectfully challenged the misconceptions and agendas of powerful political figures in Tucson and Phoenix. Along with them, I see the uncomfortable expressions of those políticos as they were held accountable to their constituency, to the voices, passion, and dreams of our youth. For those of us who have struggled to save ethnic studies and Mexican American Studies (MAS) in Tucson, these occurrences have become a part of a beautiful tradition of education for liberation that is handed from one cohort of students to another and will change our community forever.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guest Blogger Rubén Mendoza

 
"Report-back from Berkeley: Presenting, Performing, and Participating at the 2012 Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed Conference"


By Rubén Mendoza





I recently had the opportunity to present at the 2012 Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed conference inBerkeley. My larger scholarly project as a doctoral student in English at UC Riverside looks at pedagogico-aesthetic rhetorical practices through a focus on Harry Gamboa’s contemporary work.
At this conference, I looked specifically at Gamboa’s use of performance and digital technomediation on a two-part panel with several other scholars who also focus on Chicana/o art practices and rhetoric, including Joshua Guzman (NYU), Dianna Santillano-Romo (CSUN), Joelle Guzman (UCR), and Ricardo Gamboa (NYU). During my presentation, conference chair Jiwon Chung popped in and provided some valuable feedback on my work. But it was my attendance at his body performance workshop the next day that was particularly helpful, as I was able to participate in a series of Theater of the Oppressed-oriented performance exercises that resonated with Harry Gamboa’s work and with my study of it. In this workshop, which reflected Chung’s performance work around non-violence, peace, and healing with his local Kairos Theater Ensemble, I met and interacted with a variety of people from different organizations who are doing similar scholarly work and performance and art practices in their own communities that resonated and intersected with the work of other Chicana/o scholars and activists who had a large and impactful presence at the conference (Rudy Acuña, PhD, Sean Arce, Liana Lopez, and Bryan Parras, for example, were all featured panelists and plenary speakers).

 (Photo of Sean Arce by Benjie Sanders for the Arizona Daily Star)

The conference in general provided a great opportunity to meet people from around the world who are studying and doing similar work intertwining education, art, activism, and action. This helped to contextualize my own work and the work of other Chicana/o scholars, artists, and activists, as part of a larger web of international and transnational work and struggle. Over the course of the conference, I was fortunate to meet and speak with scholarly art-practitioners and activists who have found creative and effective ways to combine various realms of arts and education work, theory, and practice, in places like Brazil, Portugal, Ghana, South Africa, and Spain. For example, Tamara Lynn and Rebecca Tarlau presented on their work with the MST/Landless Movement in Brazil. Especially illuminating here was the description of how the MST has developed its own educational system. As Tarlau made clear, even though Freire was Brazilian himself, the use of Freiran Pedagogy of the Oppressed concepts was only one small part of a larger systematic pedagogical effort by the MST. While MST educators and pedagogists found that Freire’s approaches were useful for individual situations and projects, their desire to develop a whole educational system led them to seek out a more comprehensive approach to meet the needs they were seeking to address. They asked: Where has an entire educational system based on socialist principles been successfully constructed and implemented? The result of this questioning was a focused study on the pedagogical theorization and practice of the pre-Stalinist Soviet Union. Soviet pedagogists like Anton Makarenko and Lev Vygotsky, for example, formed the basis of their effort to construct an educational system based on collectivist and sociocultural pedagogical models to address the needs of the MST.
 (Photo of Julian Boal)
Inês Beatriz Barbosa presented some of her scholarly work with the Research Centre on Childhood Studies at the University of Minho in Portugal. Her case study about a forum-theatre group of teens from underprivileged areas in Portugal looked at how Theater of the Oppressed work addressed contemporary issues involving youth, cultural participation, citizenship, and social transformation. As with Lynn and Tarlau, Barbosa’s work was not just a scholarly analysis, but reflected a synthesis of academia and art in that the case study involved her own work as a TO practitioner, artist, and activist working with teens.
I was also fortunate to meet Julian Boal (Augusto’s son) and hear him speak several times in different contexts. One of the more interesting and salient points Boal raised was what he described as a current professionalization of Theater and Pedagogy of the Oppressed, especially in his talk, “Traps and Decoys in Liberatory Education: Participation, Indoctrination, False Neutrality.” Here, Boal spoke to the phenomenon of how some TO and PO practitioners have become professionalized, many operating like professional speakers on tour circuits who pop in to communities with which they are unfamiliar (for a fee), hold workshops that consist of highly technical and technicized exercises, then move on to the next spot. Others establish themselves in academic or non-profit organization positions, where they similarly practice a set of TO/PO exercises for local groups. The larger point Boal was trying to make was that in the process of this professionalization, TO/PO practices are reduced to techniques that are then mechanically applied, instead of developing and growing organically into new forms, techniques, and approaches, through non-professional practice outside institutional structures. The result is that the practice and the practitioners ossify. He called—quite self-consciously, as a featured speaker and workshop facilitator—for a heightened level of self-awareness, self-reflexivity, and self-consciousness, about the dangers and threats of these professionalization processes on the part of TO/PO practitioners as practitioners. I found the call relevant not just to TO/PO practitioners, but to all progressive educators, academics, and artists navigating institutional structures and their mandates and imperatives of “professionalization.” The danger to which he pointed is one of acting, paradoxically, as an agent of institutional co-optation of those very practices and forms that represent the efforts to subvert and deconstruct institutional structures to which “radical” and “progressive” educators and scholars aspire in the first place.

Overall, I think the conference is a great opportunity for both new and experienced PO/TO practitioners, scholars interested in PO/TO theory and practice, and anyone interested in critical transformational pedagogy. Visit their website at http://www.ptoweb.org/  for more information on this year’s conference and be sure to check with them for next year’s Call for Proposals.


For an extensive list of PTO resources and organizations, please visit the PTO Conference Resources and Links page by clicking here: http://ptoweb.org/links.html.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Arizona Loteria and the Fate of Latin@s

Roll of the Dice
Thanks to Ana Ribero for turning me onto this take on the Loteria cards with critical representations of how Arizona and Latin@s relate. In light of the recent passing of the gutted SB 1070, the metaphor of the roll of the dice and leaving it up to fate seems apt. In the Kafka-esque landscape of Arizona, you never know what laws legislators will write up, pass, and enforce with extreme prejudice.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

KQED A Year Without Mexican American Studies

Listen to the KQED Story
From the story:
"It was horrible," Lopwez says. "It was heartbreaking to have students who've experienced this class in the first semester, and know the potential and know what they should be getting ... and just have to stop."

 Listen to the story here: http://www.kqed.org/news/story/2012/06/24/98801/a_year_without_mexicanamerican_studies_in_tucson?source=npr&category=education

Thanks to Three Sonorans' DA Morales for posting the link to his FB.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Coming Soon: the Return of Natalie Martinez

More from Guest Blogger Natalie A. Martinez on Prisons

AcademiadeCruz welcomes back Natalie A. Martinez, who wrote an amazing post "Poch@ as Queer Racial Melancholia"  and Martinez will be back soon with another thought-provoking post based on work with prisons.

From Martinez's last post:
"In the past few years I have experienced what queer theorist, Anne Cvetkovich would call “an affective life.” It is a life where “[an] archive of emotions [has resulted] from ungrievable losses…”  called into question for me long held assumptions about agency, memory within the body, and the effects of trauma not just on an individual but collectively (qtd in Eng and Kazanjian 15). This affective life I speak of consisted of a few things in the span of two years:  First, I lost my father not to death, but to unspeakable trauma, and thus I lost a living link to my identity as a latin@. That same year I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A year later after moving to Tallahassee, Florida from Arizona, I lost my partner from the stress that illness put on our relationship and the very real struggles queer people encounter daily, advocating on behalf of, or for the rights and health of their loved ones in a system that does not recognize their relationship as valid in the first place. "
Read the rest: http://writerscholarprofessional.blogspot.com/2011/06/guest-blogger-natalie-martinez-on-poch.html


Video accompaniment from the post:

Monday, June 18, 2012

United Farm Workers Say NO to Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh's Comments on Huerta and Women Synecdoche for Conservative War on Women
Thanks to Elias Serna for turning me onto this article on the UFW site:

From the article: "On Russ’ May 30th Show he said, "The Presidential Medal of Freedom is now being rendered meaningless. It’s just a political award. That’s all it is. It’s been politicized. It’s another great tradition, institution down the tubes. "
Not only that but he insultingly said, "As a young adult, Huerta taught school—though she never had an education degree—until 1955, when, as a single mother of seven children—she now has eleven—she launched her career as a political activist. "
Read the whole article here: http://action.ufw.org/page/speakout/stoprush
Below is the video of Limbaugh posted on the UFW's site:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Judge bars state intervention in Mexican American Studies

From Three Sonorans


"Tucson, AZ – Today, a Tucson federal court barred the State of Arizona from intervening in an ongoing school desegregation case involving discrimination against Latino students by the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). The State sought to intervene in order to impose arbitrary restrictions on ethnic studies courses in Tucson schools based on a 2010 state law, A.R.S. 15-112, that was proposed and has been used solely to target Mexican American Studies courses. The court rejected the State’s attempt to intervene, ruling that ” [a]ny state law or state interest found to be contrary to or an impediment to the desegregation efforts mandated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals…must yield to the supremacy of the Federal Constitution.”

Read the whole article:http://threesonorans.com/2012/06/14/judge-bars-state-intervention-in-mexican-american-studies-case-is-tucson/

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Minority Unemployment" in the Media

Al Madrigal on the Daily Show
On the Daily Show, Al Madrigal turns the conversation from the topic of "minority unemployment" into a criticism of the lack of Latin@s on TV.




Link to the Daily Show

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Day of Good News

Dolores Huerta Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

From the HuffPostLatino:
"Dolores Huerta, a civil rights advocate and labor leader who fought for farmworkers rights alongside César Chavez, will be honored with one of the nation's highest civilian honor -- the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Huerta told The Daily Beast that news of the honor came as a surprise to her.
“I was humbled, thrilled, and surprised,” she said. “I never expected to be nominated.”
Huerta is now 82 years old, a mother to 11 children, and grandmother to seven. Huerta considers her proudest accomplishments to be, "Spanish-language ballots for voters, public assistance for immigrants, toilets in the fields, drinking water protection from pesticides," and an immigration act which gave legal statust to over a million farmworkers, according to The Daily Beast."

This is great news in light of Huerta's anti-SB 1070 activism and her participation with the TUSD Mexican American Studies program.

Additional Good News
Past contributor Natalie A Martinez and Crossroads Collaborative scholar and Londie Martin have agreed to guest blog in June! Look forward to their posts, I know I am looking forward to reading the work of both writers.

In the meantime, feel free to check out Martinez's amazing past post:
http://writerscholarprofessional.blogspot.com/2011/06/guest-blogger-natalie-martinez-on-poch.html



And I can't resist re-posting my photo with Dolores Huerta from her speech at a conference on Decolonialism at the U of A.
The original post from where the photo came: http://writerscholarprofessional.blogspot.com/2010/12/dolores-huerta-cherrie-moraga-leslie.html

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Watch Precious Knowledge Online Now

Expires June 8
From pbs:
"At Tucson High School, ethnic studies programs have improved graduation rates among Latino students. But some state politicians think ethnic studies promote “racial solidarity” and anti-Americanism. When books are banned and the programs eliminated, teachers and students fight back in a modern civil rights struggle."

Watch Precious Knowledge on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.
Or view at: http://video.pbs.org/video/2236099589/ This video is no longer available, but you can still view with others!  From Save Ethnic Studies:
Dia De La Raza - Oct. 12 Precious Knowledge House Parties
Día de la Raza, October 12, 2012, offers an opportunity for all of us throughout the nation to show the same passion and solidarity to these amazing educators and warriors for social justice. Please join myself, and thousands of other supporters, by hosting a house party of the film Precious Knowledge as a fundraiser for the Raza Defense Fund. 
Be a part of history! Register below to receive a brief informational packet on how to host a Precious Knowledge House Party. On October 12, join the fight for Mexican American Studies, for freedom of speech and our rights as Americans

En Lak Ech!


To learn more about the curriculum of Tucson's famous Mexican-American Studies program, the 93% graduation rate for their students, and the controversy surrounding the now banished classes you can online order the PRECIOUS KNOWLEDGE DVD. If you have any questions about purchasing your DVD, please contact us at:dvd@preciousknowledgefilm.com
WRITE TODAY! Get ready to host a Precious Knowledge House Party on October 12

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Arizona Public Media on Banned Book Club

"Only They Can Tell Their Stories"
 
(Photo by Fernanda Echavarri on AZ Public Media)

In stark contrast with my last post on News Channel 4's sensationalized coverage of the Mexican American Studies Banned Book reading club, Arizona Public Media's story on the club allowed for voices taking part in the book club to be heard without uninformed commentary by those not in attendance.

List here: https://education.azpm.org/p/education-featured/2012/5/18/1541-book-club-discusses-literary-works-no-longer-taught-at-tusd/

From the Arizona Public Media website:
“I wanted a safe place where we could come together to discuss and engage on the banned texts,” Juarez said. “And hopefully in reading them, we can understand the value they have to our youth, and we will understand why some people perceive them as a threat.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tucson's MAS Banned Book Club

Channel 4 Coverage Demonstrates "Narration Sickness" Freire Critiques

Yesterday, I attended the book club for books banned when Tucson High's Ethnic Studies program was outlawed. A Channel 4 camera crew documented book club's generative session in which the club engaged with the themes of the texts, often relating them to relevant sociopolitical contexts; however, the Channel 4 coverage creates a distorted depiction of the story, imposing a polemic argument that allows an un-credible, anonymous commentator to present a narrow perspective. News 4's coverage further inflames paranoia by allowing the voice in the shadows to shape the presentation of the story, juxtaposing an extremist voice in shadows with the well-spoken participants of the book club.


From: http://www.kvoa.com/videoplayer/?video_id=10302&categories=15

Read the Books and Check Out What the Club is About
Mexican American Studies Book Club

In January, 2012, the TUSD Governing Board voted to suspend the Mexican American Studies program. The books used in the program were collected from classrooms and put into storage. This book club will read and discuss some of those books. The purpose is to demonstrate, through the reading of these works, the value they have for youth in our community. The book discussions will be facilitated by Marissa M. Juarez, PhD from the University of Arizona. You can find some of the books at the library. All are available at Amazon.com.

Reading schedule:
May 16: Pedagogy of the Oppressed
 by Paulo Freire

May 30: Chicano!: The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement
 by Francisco Arturo Rosales

June 13: Borderlands/La Frontera
 by Gloria Anzaldua

June 27: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
 by Sherman Alexie

July 11: The House on Mango Street
 by Sandra Cisneros

July 25: The Devil's Highway: A True Story
 by Luis Alberto Urrea

August 8: Zigzagger
 by Manuel Munoz

Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N Stone, Tucson AZ
Every other Wednesday starting May 16th
6:00 pm in the Children’s Meeting Room
Free program – teens and adults welcome - 791-4010

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Luis Alberto Urrea Addresses Tucson Ban of Books

They Don't Gotta Burn a Book/They Just Remove Them
Just before the 30 minute mark, Bill Moyer asks Luis Alberto Urrea about the removal of his books from Ethnic Studies classes. Urrea responds that he initially thought it was a joke when he was first informed about the ban, and then he came to understand that the ban was a removal of "books from brown hands."



In the Moyer interview, Urrea goes on to say, "It's not about books. It's about ethnicity. It's about power in Phoenix."
 
When Urrea spoke at the UA at the '11 Tucson Festival of Books, I had the chance to see him and wrote a bit about that I draw from below:

On  Friday, March 11th 2011, Marissa Juarez, Aja Martinez and I attended a reading by Luis Alberto Urrea (http://www.luisurrea.com/home.php), organized by Kathryn Ortiz. Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North, The Devil's Highway and The Hummingbird's Daughter, spoke as a part of the UA Reads Program (http://www.uofabookstores.com/uaz/UAReads/default.asp), which Kathryn Ortiz coordinates as a Graduate Assistant for the University of Arizona’s campus bookstore. 

Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Urrea explained a lot of his fiction has been heavily influenced by friends, family and colleagues. While working in the Tijuana dump, Urrea came into contact with humble characters whose lives taught Urrea about genuine community. While he was looking for a job away from the dump, Urrea wrote a letter to a former writing instructor, asking if he could help him find a job as a janitor. The writing instructor responded with an opportunity to teach writing.

Urrea said that he always entered into the writing process with the strategy of demonstrating his love for his characters. However, he remains critical of nationalist messages he hears traveling in Mexico about Honduran immigrants. Listening to talk radio in Mexico, Urrea criticized those who spread anti-immigrant rhetoric like Spanish-speaking versions of Bill O’Reily.



   

Urrea also spoke of his own connection with Tucson, living off minute rice and hot sauce at the time he met his wife. She interviewed him while reporting for a local paper. Offering advice to writers, Urrea recommended using librarians as the heroes because every librarian will order the book. Similarly, Urrea made the point that more writers should have female heroes because there are already endless numbers of male heroes “from Beowolf to Mad Max.”