Friday, April 28, 2006

North Dakota to San Antonio: Sugar Beets to Unfinished Places

Manuel Ramos

I'm saving some stuff for the special May Day edition of La Bloga - we have something different in mind, hope we can pull it off. In any event, a few news items and announcements for now.

The 1 Book 1 San Antonio initiative was launched on April 11 with the announcement that John Phillip Santos' 1999 family memoir, Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, had been selected as the featured book. The program, designed to encourage everyone in San Antonio to read the same book and discuss it, selected the book because it "highlights San Antonio and has the power to draw the community together."

A review of the book in the San Antonio Express-News said: "Some of Santos' best writing is about the landscapes of Mexico and San Antonio, vivid and moving literary snapshots that give life to streets, mountains and the weather. 'There are mysteries held within a family and there are mysteries held within the deeper soul of a nation,' he writes. Santos doesn't totally unravel the mysteries of his colorful and adventurous family, but with this haunting memoir he's made a fascinating, magnificent exploration."

I see more and more Latino books selected for these city- and statewide book celebrations. That says a lot about the high quality of the literature, its accessibility, and the clear thinking of the people who organize these events.

From The Spectrum, newsletter of North Dakota State University:
"Mexican-American women have at times felt stifled and silenced since migrating to the Red River Valley (North Dakota) to find work. Carol Pearson, associate professor of modern languages has begun to give those women a voice through her presentation, Barefoot Hearts: Mexican-American Women’s Voices in the Northern Plains. Her discussion illuminated Mexican-American women’s influence in the novels and autobiographies of Rolando Hinojosa, Tomás Rivera and Elva Trevino Hart. One of the most important aspects of her presentation focused on the oral histories she obtained from women in Fargo-Moorhead. Many of the women in the Spanish-speaking communities originally settled in the region to work the sugar beet fields. Pearson began accumulating the women’s stories last summer and had acquired about 10 narratives by the fall. Since then, she has added another 8-9 to her collection. The project got off to slow start, but once Pearson began talking with women, everything 'snowballed from there.'" Read the rest of the article here.

Preservation and discovery - two very important missions of academics and writers. Chicano history should be told by the people who lived that history. All success to people like Professor Pearson.

The Membership Chair of the Colorado Authors League is looking for help with a young adult novel she is working on. Donna Hickey wants to talk with anyone who has stories, first-hand or from relatives, about Pancho Villa or Emiliano Zapata, or stories in general that pertain to living during that revolutionary time in Mexico. She will get more specific with anyone who responds. Donna can be contacted at

I got this message from a young man I know quite well:
Need writers to help finish a treatment for a reality T.V. show already in progress. Writers need to be skilled in television technical writing. Interview cast and write a selling biography on their lives and profession. Writers will be paid by the hour with a quick turn around. If interested contact Diego (720) 934-8876, (720) 840-7390 or e-mail:

Event: Chic Chicana Scholarship Comedy Show
Date: April 28, 2006
Come and enjoy an evening of comedy by HBO's Kenny King, Bo Galvan, Ernie Ruiz and special guest 7-11. Dancing music after the show will be provided by Denver's own Maxine & Company. $10.00 per person/$15.00 per couple. Door prizes and raffles. Tickets will be available at the door. You must be 21 and proper dress required.All proceeds benefit the Chic Chicana Leadership and Development Program. Call 303-891-2442 for an application to the Chic Chicana Program.

Chic Chicana is a summer leadership development program that prepares high school students for the future by increasing their self-confidence. The program offers modeling, public speaking, dance, music, career exploration, leadership development, health education, tennis and golf. Both males and females are encouraged to apply for the program. Classes begin May 6, and graduation ceremonies are held at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on July 9, 2006.

Make a note to visit La Bloga on May 1, maybe during a break from marching. ¡Que vivan los trabajadores!


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