Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Negative pedo. USC Centro. Banned Books Update. On-Line Floricanto

Movimiento Veteranos Resolve Negative Pedo

Michael Sedano

Update! • Late Monday, La Bloga received this email from Joe Razo:
As a previous editor of La Raza Publications which included La Raza Newspaper and Magazine plus Chicano Student Newspaper, Raul Ruiz and I met this morning and cleared our misunderstanding of facts. We are in accord and stand united as La Raza and El Barrio Communication Project Staff. The photographers mentioned in the prior letter also are in accord and will soon meet with me to claim ownership of their negatives. We hope that this valuable history of our movement will soon be accessible to educators, researchers, and the community.

Long-simmering tensions boiled over last week between a who’s who of movimiento photojournalists seeking access to historic photographic negatives. When LatinoLA published Luis C. Garza's Open Letter pointed at Raúl Ruiz, settlement quickly ensued.

The pedo arises from Ruiz’ apparent refusal to return to the photographers negatives of fotos published in La Raza newspaper and magazine. La Raza stands as paper of record for the chicano movement. It  published in Los Angeles from 1967 until it folded in the early 1980s, with Ruiz its closing editor.

Pitted against Ruiz are a dozen contributing photographers--former staffers--who want their images back. The collective of aggrieved photogs includes such notables as USC J-school profe Felix Gutiérrez, media magnate Moctezuma Esparza, and celebrated photographer Oscar Castillo.

Such negatives are cultural treasures. Through their prints today’s readers can witness only once removed the only extant participant observer images of pivotal moments in U.S. history. It was the incarnation of a political awakening that has grown into today’s electoral landslide for Obama. This is important material.

Here are the street level frames taken by students in high school student walk-outs, marchers with the Brown Berets, and Catolicos por La Raza giving the archbishopric hell. Garza's Open Letter claims the trove to be “likely the largest collection of photographic documentation produced of the Chicano urban movement in the United States.”

Negatives hold not only an image of a moment but also, to the photographer, something of personal importance. Given access to one’s old negatives opens those images to modern tools and materials, permit one to re-imagine an expression for today. There is no way to express the personal pain from loss of one’s youthful work, nor measure the regret for what might be done to make new prints using today’s abilities. Abelardo alludes to something similar, one thousand masterpieces hanging only from his mind.

In many ways, this negative pedo stands in sad epitaph for the chicano movement pictured in those negatives. La Raza newspaper and magazine, according to the artists, represented a collective effort of grass roots gente enfrentando the establishment for la gente.
Detail, O'Gorman, Castillo de Chapultepec, Mexico DF, 

Back then compañeras compañeros didn’t sign waivers and declare their rights, and all that establishment crap. It was la causa, and their burgeoning skills and a la brava energy got the work produced.

Now matured and seasoned, some may have strayed from that idealism, vencido, perhaps.

Ruiz enjoys a solid reputation as a scholar and has the lasting gratitude of history for being in the right place at the right time with his lens when that Sheriff Deputy fired his tear-gas gun into the Silver Dollar. Ruiz' lens told the truth, so it must hurt to be seen as a sin vergüenza, or worse, over these missing negatives.

I do not know Ruiz' motive. The foregoing summarizes the feelings of twelve photographers named in Luis C. Garza’s “Open Letter to all concerned,” published November 10 at the popular LatinoLA. I include the full text, below. Ruiz did not reply to La Bloga’s inquiry via email, so I can draw no firm conclusions but like any pedo, it stinks.

See the Update at the top of this column. Ruiz' actions Monday now put the pedo in the past. It's good to see matters righted and the negatives headed home. La Bloga will update the conclusion of the agreement.

Here’s the Open Letter La Bloga has via email from Luis C. Garza. Leave a Comment below to share your views on ownership of the fruits of collective labor, these events, documenting the movimiento:

Chicano Movement Photographic Negatives

Open Letter to all concerned
Contact: Luis C. Garza

We write to inform you of an extraordinary community resource of photo archives containing thousands of photographic negatives and related document materials, which cover the Chicano movement and community from the late l960s through the l970s. Yet this invaluable archive is unavailable to either the photographers who created these materials and hold legal copyright, or to the large number of scholars, community organizations, filmmakers and others who have attempted to access this resource over the past forty years.

Why? Raul Ruiz, a Chicano Studies Professor at Cal State Northridge, and also at Santa Monica Community College, took physical possession of these archives as a co-editor of La Raza magazine, when former editors Eliezer Risco, and then Joe Razo passed the responsibility on to his safekeeping in 1971, for temporary custody (not ownership). Since the demise of the magazine, in early 1980s, he has refused all requests to return the negatives to the photographers who created them or to make these materials available to these photographers, researchers or the community.

We are writing to alert you to the theft of this Intellectual Property, explain the development of this problem, and to make clear our commitment to have the negatives returned to the photographers who hold the legal rights, and to finally make this resource available to the broader community through a university archive.

Under the auspices of the publications, Chicano Student Movement and La Raza magazine (newspaper and then magazine), an archive of photographs and written materials were compiled between 1967 and mid-1970s. This work reflects the efforts of magazine staff members and primarily that of twelve photographers who documented the civil rights struggle of the Chicano movement in the city of Los Angeles, Southern California, and the southwest United States. Our collective work is contained in this LA RAZA archive and is likely the largest collection of photographic documentation produced of the Chicano urban movement in the United States.



These publications and the related photographic archive were started as a grass roots community endeavor and not for the enhancement of a single individual’s career. Raul Ruiz’ appropriation of this material is a tremendous disappointment to all of us who know him, and certainly does not live up to the ideals within the Chicano Movement that we fought for. We did not struggle to replace an oppressive and inequitable system with another one controlled by a brown face. Raul’s actions are incongruous with, and contradictory to what he is supposed to stand for as a Chicano Studies Professor and have significantly damaged the cause of the Chicano Movement and the communities that it serves.

We intend to challenge this problem in two ways:
• Generate community support to pressure for the negatives’ release to their rightful owners via a Los Angeles University archive, where materials will be available for public access.
• Work through all legal means to obtain rightful possession of the negatives.

LA RAZA staff-photographers: (partial list)

Pedro Arias Manuel Barrera Patricia Borjon Oscar Castillo Moctezuma Esparza Luis Garza
Felix Gutierrez Fred Lopez Ruth Robinson Rivera Devra Weber Eliezer Risco~Editor 1967-1970
Joe Razo~Editor 1967-1971

La Raza photographic archived events: (partial list 1967-1978)
• East Los Angeles high school student walkouts
• Board of Education Los Angeles educational issues
• Board of Supervisors Los Angeles mental & health facility demonstrations
• Chicano Moratorium demonstrations against Vietnam War
• August 29, 1970 anti-war rally; murder of LAT journalist Ruben Salazar
• Brown Beret demonstrations
• Catolicos Por La Raza, Saint Basil Church demonstrations
• Police brutality and local/regional/national incarceration issues
• Political suppression, reapportionment & representation
• Teatro Campesino and UFW Farm Movement
• Mexican-American stereotypes, and its negative media overload
• La Raza Unida political party origins, influence and impact
• Corky Gonzalez-Crusade For Justice, Colorado
• Reies Lopez Tijerina- Land Grants, New Mexico

How to Comment on This Open Letter

Google's blogger software--that's what makes La Bloga look like this--makes adding your views on issues like artist intellectual property and ownership somewhat easy.

1. Scroll to the bottom of this post, below the biographies of On-Line Floricanto poets. If someone's already begun a conversation, the space resembles the image below. Click the pencil. To email the column, click the envelope.

2. If no one's joined in yet, the bottom of the post looks like this:
3. Click on "Post a Comment".

4. Stay in touch. When you're at the Comment screen, click the "Email follow-up comments to" box. La Bloga notifies you when someone's left a follow-up comment.

El Centro Chicano at USC Celebrates 40 Years

I arrived on the USC campus for grad school in 1972, with some trepidation. I figured I'd once again be the only Chicano in sight. Wrong.

Living in LA since exiting the Army in 1970, I elected to exit the world of work into full time grad school. The GI Bill covered tuition and fees--twelve units at $75 a hit.

That first year of grad school coincided with the first year of El Centro Chicano. Frank Sifuentes QEPD engaged recruiters who brought 110 raza students to USC. That such an organization would exist countermanded the popular stereotype of USC’s insular exclusivity.

Over the next couple years I would photograph centro activities, usually on Daily Trojan assignment. I especially looked forward to the frequent tardeadas, which meant free food and the laughter of the serving line.

I recently learned that, being I was an older vato--and one who always had a camera pointed at them--the youngsters thought me a narc. That explains why the women wouldn't let me help in the kitchen, I guess.

December 1, 2012 marks an opportunity for that group of 110 suspicious kids to return for the 40th Anniversary of El Centro’s existence. Not only that crew but all USC alumni looking to recognize and celebrate forty years of centro history at USC, and help raise money to promote another 40.

The original centro occupied the most prominent spot on campus, a storefront space where Hoover Street ended at the gate to campus. Everyone walking onto the University of Southern California campus from nearby student housing passed el centro’s parking lot mural and the wraparound mural crowning the façade.

Led by Sy Abrego, that group of students breathed new energy into campus life. On Cinco de Mayo, MEChA held festivities in the student center patio as well as the lawn of el centro. President John Hubbard came for a formal update and left more convinced than ever to support el centro.

Thost years, at the emcee mic of most centro public events was locutor and student Marco Antonio Dominguez. Dominguez would read his poetry at chicano literature's first floricanto in 1973, then return in 2010 for the reunion floricanto, when Marco Antonio shares the stage with his poet son.

That centro structure was razed years ago, the site today uncommemorated, buried under lovely landscaping and a parking lot.

Today’s centro occupies a beautiful penthouse suite in the nearby architectural gem of the campus church.

Town and Gown, where the original Festival de Flor y Canto sponsored by el centro took place, hosts the 40th Anniversary celebration of El Centro Chicano. Director Billy Vela notes:

For 40 years, we’ve been providing invaluable services and programs to USC Latino students and we’re excited to announce that we will be having a 40th Anniversary Gala on Saturday December 1st, 2012 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Town and Gown.

Full details on attending, corporate sponsorships, contacting Billy or El Centro, are at the event website: http://sait.usc.edu/elcentro/

Banned Books Update

The books are still banned in Arizona, but the Special Master has opened the policies--but not the hearts and minds--of the Tucson Unified School District.

The original 1974 desegregation order led to implementing the successful raza studies core curriculum. Then the court took the district's word that it had straightened up and was flying right. Federal oversight lifted, the district dismantled the raza studies program and banned their materials from classrooms. Bureaucrats and teachers pulled the titles from classroom shelves while children looked on in stunned silence. "I thought she was our friend," one student sadly related.

The current court orders admitted the foolishness of trusting these tipos, and returned community sensibilities to TUSD's core. The court goes a step further, demanding the program's expansion to the K-12 gamut.

In the long-awaited report, the Federal Court's Special Master reinstates a core curriculum that restores openness and cultural appropriateness to the curriculum. The story is not burning up the presses, so in addition to the order reproduced by Tucson Sentinel, check out Three Sonorans, whose ongoing reporting has kept the news alive over the long slog to today's status quo ante snafu.

Ironically, per Three Sonorans, fighting the progressive court order are prominent members of Arizona's Democratic Party establishment. Instead of tearing up the banned books list, these people are fighting for the right to ban books.

The voters gave Obama four more years to cure Unitedstates ills like Arizona disease. After Obama brings the troops home--next week would be fine--he needs to clean up the mess in Arizona.

Santa Ana Bowers Museo Fêtes Oaxaca

Click image for a larger size, or visit the Bowers website for details of what looks to be a holiday gift bonanza so early in the shopping season.

La Bloga On-Line Floricanto Day 13 Month 11 Year 2012
Tara Evonne Trudell, Iris De Anda, Sonia Gutiérrez, Esmeralda Bernal, Andrea Mauk

La Bloga celebrates six poems from five poets in the month's second On-Line Floricanto:
“Border Song” by Tara Evonne Trudell
“500 Years” by Iris De Anda
“Herencia / Legacy” por Sonia Gutiérrez
“Rosita” by Esmeralda Bernal
“Mudos Across the Ocean Divide” by Andrea Mauk

Border Song
by Tara Evonne Trudell

will I be
the border song
you sing
rusty tall
will I be
the warm
you ache
to feel
in cold
will humanity
ever comprehend
how deep
can feel
so many years
taking fear
and crafting it
to the masses
keeping souls
in far away
continual stealing
taking earth
killing her people
will children die
playing sticks
and stones
into living
a walking dead
tireless ancestors
spirits fighting
over and over
in an America
that doesn't care
to question
will I be
last border

tara evonne trudell c/s november 4, 2012

500 Years
by Iris De Anda

Amputated thought discarded in delusion
of too much money
too much gain
Sell you ideas of futuristic dreams
things unseen
& you will never see
Sell the cycle to the middle class
think you're made of glass
made of extremes
Keep the poor in the dark alley
covered with the newspaper that tells of your greed
on them you feed
Radicals seek to misshape your kingdom of doom
for them you have no room
Liberals fight to magnify your lies
try to inform of the underprivileged cries
Labels drown in the abyss
of ultimate creation
Because before
there was or were or is a name
Everything became one in the same
So who's to blame
Present day, month, & fears
It's been 500 years
It's been 500 years
It's been 500 years

por Sonia Gutiérrez

Soy la lengua de Frida—vulgar
como la de mi abuela.

Y la punta del bolígrafo azul,
doblegando al papel callado.

También soy la flor de tuna,
asomandome por la madrugada.

Soy orejas de olla de barro, escuchando
el paladar de mis antepasados.

Mujer de cara redonda
como la tortilla de maíz y nopal.

Cuerpo de abeja punzante
de donde nace el mañana.

Y soy, por supuesto, letras armadas
con azadones arreando nuestro destino.

La mariposa sedienta, bebiendo
del sudor de una mano humedecida.

Soy las garras del jaguar, rasgando
las líneas esclavas del bufón de vista corta.

Soy la poeta que las leyes escupen muy lejos—
al exilio de los poetas.

Soy herencia—que pinta de mil matices
de verde a esta nuestra tierra natal.

Pero definitivamente soy una manita de puerco
si tu horquilla del diablo asoma su rostro feo.

A esos los vestimos de esqueletos
y los ponemos a bailar por las calles, eternamente.

by Sonia Gutiérrez

I am Frida’s tongue—vulgar
like my grandmother’s.

And the tip of a blue ballpoint pen
kowtowing shy paper.

I am also the prickly pear flower
peering at dawn.

The ears of a clay pot, listening
to the palate of my ancestors.

A woman with a round face
like the corn and cactus tortilla.

Body of a throbbing bee
where tomorrow is born.

And I am, of course, armed letters
with hoes spurring our destiny.

The thirsty butterfly drinking
from the sweat of a moist hand.

I am the claws of the jaguar, tearing
the enslaved lines of the nearsighted fool.

I am the poet whom laws spit far away—
to the exile of poets.

I am legacy—who paints this our homeland
a thousand shades of green.

But I am most definitely an arm twist
if your devil’s pitchfork shows its ugly head.

To those, we dress up like skeletons
and make them dance through the streets, eternally.

by Esmeralda Bernal

if I had a thick accent
my words, in your mind,
would flow with memories
of mexico and
your ears would love
the sound of their hands
cleaning house

in your mind
every spanish tinged word
would be a once a year call
back to the fence
your white bread smile
an approval of Rosita
climbing over the fence
directly to your services

if my words were
unbarbed metallic
sounds without
an English cusped in
a spun dream
you would combust
in outrage and
send Rosita packing

© Esmeralda Bernal 11/4/12

Mudos Across the Ocean Divide
by Andrea Mauk

I shed the flag in which I'm draped
so I can see myself bare breasted
unadorned by donkey tails and elephant tusks.
I pluck the stars one by one
from the field of blue
and launch them out the window sill
wonder if they can still
but they twirl back to earth
in a tailspin
and melt like snowflakes
as they touch down.

I come from an island
a goddess
of red, white and blue
Spain's last outpost,
one star, her voice
washes between
loudly unheard,
testing ground
for the pill,
breeding ground of
beauty queens...
And here, we are hemming skirts
and stocking shelves
rolling up sleeves,
as they're trading coffee beans
and sugar cane
for tax-free trade
and tourism.
Would you like an umbrella with that?

I sew the stripes together
and wind them 'round me
walk to the nearest polling place
enthusiasm of a mummy,
close the curtain
and cast my net across the wide
froth of Atlantic blue
catch my fill of calamar
and octopus,
fry them up with
Green Party platano
but loving arms, tostones and tentacles aside,
I am awash in my own
milk and honey land,
they call me
that other kind
of Mexican (?)

I am not a slave but I am owned,
possessed like a noun
watched over by the eye
and the pyramid.
And I question the Goddess,
does she really want
to be a state
when the state of the nation
is unraveled, just broken
coming unglued
link by link
on the partisan spine
and the laborious backs,
to be owned by the
boardroom masters on the
87th floor?

I run down the stairs
out the front stoop
to gather the stars
that have yet to dissolve
upon the bodega's
place them in my eyes,
their sparkling hope
let the ribbon of stripes sewn
red after white
fly towards home from the boardwalk
on this starless night,
send my voice
spinning out to sea,
a gift to those who stayed behind.

We are citizens both here and there.
We are mudos across the ocean divide,
our borders drawn by Poseidón.
We are peripheral,
between the shores.
I have given away my stars and stripes
left only with the yellow fringe
belted around my nakedness.
It doesn't really matter.
No one will even notice me
on this election eve.

“Border Song” by Tara Evonne Trudell
“500 Years” by Iris De Anda
“Herencia / Legacy” por Sonia Gutiérrez
“Rosita” by Esmeralda Bernal
“Mudos Across the Ocean Divide” by Andrea Mauk

Tara Evonne Trudell has resumed writing poetry after a break of almost ten years and is passionate about combining poetry and film to create a visual art form of her own. She is a mother of four children and raising them to be socially aware and conscious of the injustices that plague our society. This is a top priority of hers as a she rediscovers her own word in a world that only attempts to silence the Indigenous spirit.

Iris De Anda is a writer, activist, and practitioner of the healing arts. A native of Los Angeles she believes in the power of spoken word, poetry, storytelling, and dreams. Follow her story @ http://irisdeanda.typepad.com/la_writer_underground/

Sonia Gutiérrez, a promoter of social justice and human dignity, first contributed her poems to Poets Responding to SB 1070 in 2010. Sonia teaches English at Palomar College, where she advises the Palomar Poets. Her poetry and vignettes have appeared in the San Diego Poetry Annual, contratiempo, CRATE, Mujeres de Maiz, City Works Journal and La Jornada Semanal de México. Sonia’s poem, “La Maza y cantera de una poeta”/“A Poet’s Mallet and Quarry,” was selected “10 Best Poems of 2011” by La Bloga. Sonia’s bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña, is forthcoming; she’s at work on her novel, Kissing Dreams from a Distance, among other projects.

Esmeralda Bernal resides in Phoenix, Arizona. She strongly supports the dreamers and their valiant efforts to have the Dream Act become a reality. Her poetry has appeared in La Bloga, HaLapid, Yellow Medicine Review and recently in Nahualliandoing Dos: An Anthology in Nahuatl, Espanol and Engish.

Andrea García Mauk grew up in Arizona, where both the immense beauty and harsh realities of living in the desert shaped her artistic soul. She calls Los Angeles home, but has also lived in Chicago, New York and Boston. She has worked in the music industry, and on various film and television productions. She writes short fiction,
poetry, original screenplays and adaptations, and is currently finishing two novels.

Her writing and artwork has been published and viewed in a variety of places such as on The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder; The Journal of School Psychologists and Victorian Homes Magazine. Both her poetry and artwork have won
awards. Several of her poems and a memoir are included in the 2011 anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality, and her poetry is featured in the 2012 Mujeres de Maiz “‘Zine.”

She is a regular contributor to Poets responding to SB 1070. Her poems have been chosen for publication on La Bloga’s Tuesday Floricanto numerous times. She is also a moderator of Diving Deeper, an online workshop for writers, and has written extensively about music, especially jazz, while working in the entertainment industry.

Her production company, Dancing Horse Media Group, is currently in pre-production of her independent film, “Beautiful Dreamer,” based on her original screenplay and manuscript, and along with her partners, is producing a unique cookbook that blends healthful recipes with poetry and prose from the community.

1 comment:

M. Miriam Herrera said...

I especially love Esmeralda Bernal's poem, "Rosita." Thank you for bringing it to us!