Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Arizona Schools' Ethnic Studies Program Ruled Illegal

From Huff Post Latino

"PHOENIX -- An administrative law judge ruled Tuesday that a Tucson school district's ethnic studies program violates state law, agreeing with the findings of Arizona's public schools chief.
Judge Lewis Kowal's ruling marked a defeat for the Tucson Unified School District, which appealed the findings issued in June by Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal."

Read the entire story here

It's really not surprising that a court in Phoenix sides with the Superintendent, just another example of Arizona politics. But what's really infuriating is that Judge Kowal agrees with Huppenthal who lied about the results of a third party audit of Ethnic Studies, which found the program not to be in violation of HB 2281.
Art by Xico Gonzalez:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I Made a Library Search!

"Peer Reviewed" Feels Nice
Just this afternoon, I was reading the most recent issue of Composition Studies ;there's an interesting article by a creative writing professor Rachel Peckham, "The Elephants Evaluate: Some Notes on the Problem of Grades in Graduate Creative Writing Programs," discussing the grading practices, philosophies and responses of grades in creative writing seminars. Peckham makes some interesting points about the disconnection between grades and publish-ability because acceptance rates at literary magazines and presses is much, much lower than the high rate of A's awarded in creative writing seminars.

Speaking of the most recent issue of Composition Studies, I posted on the book review I wrote, but as I was trolling the UA library website, I ran across my review. Despite the fact it has me as "C Medina" with a link to all kinds of other texts that aren't mine, it's still feels cool.

Or check it out here. 
I even was able to use the cite/export function:
Medina, C. "The Writing Program Interrupted: Making Space for Critical Discourse, Edited by Donna Strickland and Jeanne Gunner." Composition Studies : Freshman English News. 39.2 (2011): 167-170. Print.

The book I co-edited is also in the UA library site, but it's nice to get listed.
This We Believe = Nuestros Refranes: Words to Live by from the Class of 2012 Cholla, Desert View, Pueblo and Sunnyside High Schools. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona and Sunnyside High School and Tuncson Unified School District, 2010. Print. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another Attempt at "Digital Storytelling"

One of the Reasons I Blog Less
On top of writing my dissertation and teaching, I've also had my hands full this past semester with the arrival of my son Will. A bit like the saying "write what you know," I've been toying with digital storytelling and the use of editing, effects and the like to tell stories like a good digital mestiz@, so of course my son has become a part of my work (filming who I know.)

I used quotes around "digital storytelling" because I realize this little video is a take off on an established meme, but still tries work within the genre while appealing to the pathos of audiences.

Cruzito in monkey pain from Cruz Medina on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Louis C.K. Mexicano? No Puedo Creerlo

Huff Post Latin@ Keeping Me Informed
Huff Post did a story on "People you didn't know were Latin@." I like how Louis C.K uses his identity as a site of resisting ignorance through humor. Still, you have to wonder if many of these Latin@s on the down-low live life experiencing it as someone who is racialized by others as Latin@, or if they regard it less seriously than Louis C.K and do the "oh, I'm Latin@, but with roots to Spain" nonsense. A good excuse to also post a link to this Louis C.K clip "Being White": Found a new youtube version of this:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Book Review for Composition Studies

Entering the Conversation
I regret not blogging more as I attempt to juggle teaching, dissertating and fatherhood, but a book review I wrote for the Writing Program Interrupted appears in the Fall issue of Composition Studies. It appears online at:


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Immigration Not Linked to Crime

So all of the arguments about the deaths of innocent Americans near borders supporting Sb 1070 and other such legislation are wrong.  From HuffPostLatino:

"Does Immigration Fuel Crime? Without Statistical Consensus, Rhetoric And Fear Reign In Debate

To researchers such as Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University, El Paso is safe precisely because of its high number of immigrants.
"If you want to find a safe city, first determine the size of the immigrant population," Levin said in an interview with Reason Magazine.
"If the immigrant community represents a large proportion of the population, you're likely in one of the country's safer cities," he added. "San Diego, Laredo, El Paso -- these cities are teeming with immigrants, and they're some of the safest places in the country."
Read the rest:
(Artwork Banksy)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daniel Hernandez on Sunnyside School Board

Former Gifford Intern Wins School Board Seat in South Tucson
An interesting development, Daniel Hernandez wins school board seat in South Tucson, where he had attended Sunnyside schools before the University of Arizona. I had the chance to speak at the same event as Hernandez in Spring at Tucson Writes Night, and I'll be curious to see what kind of impact Hernandez' presence will have in the struggling Sunnyside School District. Having worked on the GEAR UP grant at Sunnyside High School a couple years back, I can attest to a great deal of systemic inequality impacting the Sunnyside District.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

From the Colorlines Website

"Cherrie Moraga Needs Your Help"

From Colorlines:

"It’s been 30 years since queer Chicana poet Cherríe Moraga co-authored “This Bridge Called My Back” with Gloria Anzaldúa. The book is still praised as an influential anthology of radical writings by women of color, and has become standard in many gender and ethnic studies classrooms across the country. Moraga has remained a prolific writer over the past three decades, and now she’s reaching out to her community for help with her latest work.
Her new play is called “New Fire: To Put Things Right Again” and, if it gets the financial support that it needs, will premiere in time for Brava Theater’s 25th anniversary next year in San Francisco. The play is currently in pre-production. Moraga and her partner, producer Celia Herrera Rodríguez, have begun a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and start rehearsals next month. In short, it’s the story of a 52-year-old woman who battles against apocalyptic notions of 2012 to return to her indigenous heritage.
The project has already got an impressive cast that includes comedian Adelina Anthony. With less than five days left to in the fundraiser, the campaign is still $6,000 short of its $26,500 goal. Go here to make a donation and help the play become a reality."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Listening to Our Elders

Book Needing to Check Out

About the book:
In 2011, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) turned one hundred years old. But our profession is endlessly beginning, constantly transforming itself and its purpose as new voices and identities claim their rights in our classrooms and in our country. The recognition of such claims, however, does not occur without a struggle, without collective work.ý

Listening to our Elders attempts to capture the history of those collective moments where teachers across grade levels and institutions of higher education organized to insure that the voices, heritages, and traditions of their students and colleagues were recognized within our professional organizations as a vital part of our classrooms and our discipline. In doing so, Listening to Our Elders demonstrates this recognition was not always easily given. Instead, whether the issue was race, sexuality, class, or disability, committed activist organizations have often had to push against the existing limits of our field and its organizations to insure a broader sense of common responsibility and humanity was recognized.

Listening to Our Elders features interviews with Malea Powell (Native American Caucus), Joyce Rain Anderson (Native American Caucus), Jeffery Paul Chan (Asian/Asian American), James Hill (Black Caucus), James Dolmage (Committee for Disability Issue in College Composition), Geneva Smitherman (Language Policy Commitee), Carlota Cýrdenas de Dwyer (Latino/a Caucus), Victor Villanueva (Latino/a Caucus), Louise Dunlap (Progressive Caucus), Karen Hollis (Progressive Caucus), Louie Crew (Queer Caucus), William Thelin (Working Class Culture and Pedagogy SIG), Bill Macauley (Working Class Culture and Pedagogy SIG).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Need HBO

"It's Not TV"

So I feel a bit behind on this, but I was listening to the NPR Latino USA interview with the director of this, with some excerpts and it sounds really good.
I plan to do some begging or borrowing to see this--maybe it's available online somewhere?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Los Angeles Occupado

From a Distance
A photographer friend of mine sent me this photo and said some of the photos he's taken are on the Occupy LA Facebook page, since it seems mainstream media has it's own agenda in terms of what and how it chooses to cover this.
CNN coverage:

Another image that's made it's rounds on FB showing how newspaper headlines are changed is this one which demonstrates hegemonic discourse in the media.
What's going on right now seems to be a synthesis of the severity of what's happening, and it's difficult to draw clear conclusions because there's also been controversy about the multiple messages within the diverse group of protesters.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Social Media as Tool for Change in Cartel Violence?

 "MEXICO: Decapitated woman mourned by social media website"

 From the Los Angeles Times:
REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY -- A woman found decapitated in the border city of Nuevo Laredo is being mourned as an apparent member of a social networking site used by local residents to share information on drug cartel activity.
The victim was found early Saturday with a note nearby saying she was killed for posting messages online about violent or criminal incidents in Nuevo Laredo."
Read the rest here.

I heard this news story discussed on NPR Latino  as a part of their news roundup and it struck a chord because I think of myself as someone involved in social media, and as someone speaking publicly about issues affecting Latin@s. While there is great sadness in the death of someone who used technology as an extension of social action, the journalist's message on NPR Latino was that social media has become a tool for citizens to support the government in Mexico.

(Couldn't help copying this image from Latino USA blog post on Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

Monday, September 5, 2011

What I Should Be Reading

A Couple Cool Huff Post Stories

And a Vimeo vid about Latino positive collaboration:

LR1 Recap 2 Minutes from iNSPIRE! on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some Digital Storytelling

Texas State University-San Marcos' Summer Predoctoral Fellowship Video Short

Back in Spring I announced I'd been awarded with a Summer Predoctoral Fellowship at TSU-San Marcos. Since I often encourage digital storytelling in my second semester composition course, I attempted to document my time on campus as a pedagogical practice of modeling. Put to a soundtrack of 70s funk and Pop en Espanol with a more overtly direct message at the end, I hope the medium fits the purpose and agenda.

Important Note: All footage "filmed" on my iPod's video camera, que rascuache no?

TSU-San Marcos Predoctoral Fellowship from Cruz Medina on Vimeo.

Sly and the Family Stone
Greatest Hits
Los Modulos
Todos Sus Singles Y Primeros Lp's En Hispavox 1969-76

Back to School Jams

With classes about to begin, we all can't help but see ourselves in the back-to-school episode of cualquier 90210, old school 90210 or Fast Times at Ridgemont High as we navigate the halls full of new faces. You got to embrace the novel buzz of students doing everything new all over again, so here are some tunes to provide the soundtrack for the new semester. Thanks to Alt.Latino NPR.

Ceci Bastida

Some Mala Rodriguez:


Thinking about music, I'm reminded of a short story I wrote for Solstice Literary Journal called "Earth Angel" you can check out here:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Huff Post: Immigrants for Sale

Video on ALEC Supports NPR Story

Back in December, I posted on an NPR story linking the lobbyist group ALEC to legislation like SB 1070. This video does a nice job of summarizing the NPR story.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Huff Post Latino Voices

Arianna Huffington Introduces HuffPost LatinoVoices

First Al Madrigal on the Daily Show and now this.
From Arianna's introduction:

"This is truly a Latino moment.

Latino Americans -- 50 million strong and counting -- are both the largest and the fastest-growing minority in the country.
They played a decisive role in the 2008 election, making the difference for Obama in Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico. They represent around a trillion dollars of buying power (roughly 10 percent of U.S. consumer spending). And with 32 million Hispanics online, they are among the most wired and connected groups in the country."

I'm interested in the 32 million Latin@s online figure because of the possibilities and potential I've always seen social media and blogging posing. A good story they posted from the Los Angeles Times:,0,4966839.story

Good thing I never quit my day job...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book News

Check Out Check Code-Meshing as World English from NCTE

Code-Meshing as World English: Pedagogy, Policy, Performance
I had a chance to check out a copy, and even though editor Aja Martinez had told me, I was elated to see a shout out. It's got some serious heavyweight contributors like MLA pres Gerald Graff, whose essay "Disliking Books at an Early Age" has been anthologized many times.

I plan on picking up a copy ahorita. A nice thing about it is that it's paperback so it doesn't hurt the pocketbook as much as hardback releases.
Let's hope it's not the last time my appears in a NCTE publication.

Another recent title from a Arizona professor is Chicana/o Sensibility and the Politics of Identity by Carlos Gallego.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

¡Chicana Power! Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement By Maylei Blackwell

¡Chicana Power!: Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement (Chicana Matters)
 From the UT Press website:

"The first book-length study of women's involvement in the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, ¡Chicana Power! tells the powerful story of the emergence of Chicana feminism within student and community-based organizations throughout southern California and the Southwest. As Chicanos engaged in widespread protest in their struggle for social justice, civil rights, and self-determination, women in el movimiento became increasingly militant about the gap between the rhetoric of equality and the organizational culture that suppressed women's leadership and subjected women to chauvinism, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Based on rich oral histories and extensive archival research, Maylei Blackwell analyzes the struggles over gender and sexuality within the Chicano Movement and illustrates how those struggles produced new forms of racial consciousness, gender awareness, and political identities.
¡Chicana Power!provides a critical genealogy of pioneering Chicana activist and theorist Anna NietoGomez and the Hijas de Cuauhtémoc, one of the first Latina feminist organizations, who together with other Chicana activists forged an autonomous space for women's political participation and challenged the gendered confines of Chicano nationalism in the movement and in the formation of the field of Chicana studies. She uncovers the multifaceted vision of liberation that continues to reverberate today as contemporary activists, artists, and intellectuals, both grassroots and academic, struggle for, revise, and rework the political legacy of Chicana feminism"


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Arizona Senate President Pearce Has Been Recalled

From Jeff Biggers at Huffington Post:

"In a swift affirmation of Arizona's fast-growing and powerful new political movement, Secretary of State Ken Bennett notified Gov. Jan Brewer that the once seemingly invincible architect of the state's controversial SB 1070 "papers please" immigration law has officially been recalled. Bennett confirmed that the recall petitions delivered by the Citizens for a Better Arizona "exceeds the minimum signatures required by the Arizona Constitution."

Read the Entire Article at Huffington
 (Art by Xico Gonzalez)


Friday, July 8, 2011

Anti-SB 1070 Baseball Petition

Petition Asks Baseball Players to Wear White Ribbons During Next Week's All-Star Game in Protest of SB 1070

From Gustavo Arellano's blog:

"Next week, Major League Baseball will hold its annual All Star game in Phoenix, where Sheriff Joe Arpayaso roams and perhaps the only major metropolitan area in the United States that has more Know Nothings per ratio than Orange County. For the past year, activists have been calling on Commissioner Bud Selig to move the game away because of Arizona's reprehensible SB 1070--that obviously isn't happening, so those activists went on to ask Latino ballplayers such as Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols to boycott the game" Read the rest

or Sign the Petition:

Tex[t]-Mex Re-posting: Intentional Conflation and Symbol Switching

Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog: Jihad? Jingoísimo? Or just un Jumento? The Aztec A...: "A fairly brief and not-so-crude documentary on Mexican identity, Chicano/a ideology, MEChA, education and politics in Los Angeles, and an id..."

If you've been following HB 2281 in Tucson, then you're probably familiar with accusations of racism and racial chauvinism against programs designed to engage Latin@ students' achievement. On the Tex[t]-Mex blog, a youtube "documentary" put together by a far-right wing group goes so far as to use the title "Aztec Al-Qaeda" to string together people related to a Chican@ charter school--of course, with regard to the school, there are no facts to substantiate allegations--thank you Fox News for popularizing that trend. The production relies on the development of logical fallacies constructed through ideological appeals to fear and erasure of context.

You can also see the video at:

Check out Prof. Nericcio's Tex[t]-Mex book.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Book Trailers the New Book Report?

More Visual Spatial Literacy Ideas

 So I was reading about a winner of a short film who used a cell phone to shoot and I found out the director had done a book trailer for Elmore Leonard. This got me to thinking about book trailers and I ran across a great Prezi presentation by Michelle Harclerode, which appears to be a lesson she does with students and has handouts with accompany the project. The point of the book trailer, like a movie trailer, is not to give a plot summary, but to entice readers.

Of course I had to try my hand at the process, the result of which is the below trailer for Tijuana Dust

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Nostalgia

Cruz Medina Poem a part of César Chávez Day Programming on KXCI

July 1 Update:
There's something about Summer that makes me want to listen to music from high school--anyone else with me on that? With the fourth of July upon us, marker of time passage and reminder of fireworks past, I thought I'd re-post the link to the poem I read on KXCI as a part of their Cesar Chavez remembrance. As Victor Villanueva has said, memory is a friend, and experience is great teacher and source of knowledge, so instead of commenting on a timely piece of rhetoric in the public discourse, I turn to a fond experience during which I reminisced, remembered and reflected.  

Normally, I'll be the first to tell you that I am not a poet. But as someone in Rhet/Comp, I concede that some genres better convey certain kinds of messages. So even though I have written very few poems I would ever want to see the light of day, I had written and revised a poem over the last couple years that I read as a part of KXCI's César Chávez Day Programming.

You can hear me on the podcast recording of the day's contributors at about the 4 minute mark here:

An early post of mine on Chavez.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"The State of the Education" in Cape Town South Africa

A Documentary by a Student at Cape Town University
On Wednesday, a professor from Cape Town University and a teacher from a high school in Cape Town spoke at Texas State University San Marcos. The high school teacher provided background about the school where she teaches and the professor spoke about some of the projects the university has been doing with the high school. One of the salient issues raised by both instructors had to do with the segregation that continues in most of the schools through discriminatory testing and fees which serve to keep black students out of white schools. White schools since apartheid also continue to maintain what is referred to as their "cultural ethos."

The video below was done by the son of the CTU professor.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My ebook Tijuana Dust from Hungry Panther Press

Summer Reading de Cruz

In past posts I've mentioned the publication of some short stories Acentos Review and Solstice Literary Journal and I'm excited to announce the release of my novel Tijuana Dust now available on Kindle. Hungry Panther Publishing is an indie press with other authors and titles worth checking out in horror and sci-fi.

Tijuana Dust is a detective novel which takes place in San Diego where I contributed to the San Diego Reader from 2003-2006. The main character Martinez is a private investigator who wears pachuco suits and drives a beat up Integra, trying his best to not get mixed up again with the Mexican Mafia while learning too much about the structure of the City of Villages he calls home.

Tijuana Dust (San Diego Crime)

Martin Nakell provided a great review:

"We sorely are in need of serious literature which explores the frontiers of our country - which we too often think of as isolated and impermeable. Likewise, sorely are we in need of serious literature which explores the frontiers of our cultural realities, for herein lie the strains that we live with, that - in today's world - every country lives with. Cruz Medina's book [Tijuana Dust] addresses those needs head on."
 --Martin Nakell Settlement

Don't have a Kindle? Get the apps  Kindle for PC, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for Blackberry or Kindle for iPad

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ethnic Studies Teacher Curtis Acosta in Tucson Weekly

Reprinted from Tucson Weekly
The following piece by Ethnic Studies teacher Curtis Acosta was featured in the Tucson Weekly, but it wasn't the easiest to locate, so I'm re-posting it here. Thanks to Mari Herreras' original post.

Curtis Acosta's piece:
How Dr. John Pedicone has failed us

Over the past semester it has become painfully clear that many concerned citizens of TUSD were unaware of the true relationship between Dr. Pedicone and the teachers within the Mexican American Studies Department and plaintiffs in the Acosta v. Huppenthal lawsuit. The time has come to set the record straight.
Dr. Pedicone has only attempted to meet with the teachers of Mexican American Studies (MAS) on two occasions. The first was a mandatory meeting on January 3rd where we were told that we must comply with HB 2281 and that the program would be dismantled if any fines were levied by the state. The second meeting on March 29th was also mandatory and was simply to inform us of the pending state and district audit of our classes.
During the same time, our classrooms have been under unprecedented surveillance. In my personal case, a high ranking district employee, board member or auditor observed at least one class session from December to May. These included both unannounced and announced visits, yet after each observation there were never any follow-up dialogue or discussions, which is customary in education and my 16 years of service for TUSD. Most of my colleagues have had similar experiences.

In an effort of good faith after the leadership debacle of May 3rd, Save Ethnic Studies an organization that represents the legal defense of MAS, submitted a letter to Dr. Pedicone and the governing board declaring our commitment to help organize a community forum about our classes. We were never given the courtesy of a direct response or formal letter. Over the past six months we have hand delivered nine letters to Dr. Pedicone and have yet to receive any type of response. This is a consistent stance by Dr. Pedicone where arresting elders and youth is a first option and civil discourse is a last resort.

For a true leader, meeting with MAS teachers and responding to repeated formal requests to collaborate should never be seen as an inconvenience — it should be a priority. It is essential to build relationships with teachers and communicate a clear vision for the district, for not only the issue of Mexican American Studies and ethnic studies, but for the entire district as a whole. Yet, the superintendent did not set a clear vision, nor communicate the vision to the community and parties involved. He remained silent for weeks during the building tension toward the Stegeman resolution and only offered to listen to community concerns after protests and arrests, and has displayed confusing inconsistencies toward the Mexican American Studies program, students and supporters.

These actions of our superintendent over the last few months have been reactionary, haphazard and contradictory. Why would he promise community groups that he would meet with the teachers when he had no intention to do so, while simultaneously reprimanding the director of MAS, Sean Arce? If Dr. Pedicone truly supported the teachers, students and standing of the program why would he be reticent to meet with us with our lawyer present as his comments revealed last week? Our lawsuit has been the most proactive step in protecting TUSD from a law that is unconstitutional. If he truly believes the statements he has made publically, should we not be on the same side of this issue? His actions display that he clearly is not.
Meanwhile, this week the results of an audit ordered by state superintendent for public instruction John Huppenthal will be released — an audit that is unprecedented, uncalled for and not authorized by anything in HB 2281 or any other educational statute. Moreover, with legal actions ongoing to determine the constitutionality of HB 2281 — a law that legal scholars at a UA law college forum on the matter in March agreed is of dubious constitutional legality at best — this audit should at very least have been postponed until after the suit had been settled. Pedicone knew all of this and allowed the audit to proceed.

Finally, it is important to note that the plaintiffs of the lawsuit are all career TUSD teachers who have dedicated their lives to serving all students, parents, and members of our community. A few of our colleagues are products of TUSD schools and many of us have children within TUSD schools. We are no strangers to this district and have worked diligently, and for many of us with distinction, at our schools for years. In our view, his opportunity to demonstrate that he is a leader we can follow has been lost. Simply stated, Dr. Pedicone should be held accountable for the actions and treatment of his teachers and the community he was chosen to serve. He needs to recognize his failures and he must resign.

Support Ethnic Studies at:

Read the article at Tucson Weekly: