Friday, March 29, 2013

Cycling for Today's Revolutionary Woman of Color and La Global Bloga

Claudia D. Hernandez. Photo by Melinda Palacio

Claudia D. Hernandez is a revolutionary woman. La Bloga has been following the progress of her project, Today's Revolutionary Woman of Color. The idea of creating a photo exhibit of 50 revolutionary woman of color to inspire young girls is a growing movement with a website, a facebook page, and plans to showcase future revolutionary women around the country. La Bloga spoke with Claudia on the eve of her clycothon at Hollydale Park in South Gate, March 24. It turns out there are many ways to support this project.

La Bloga :
When did you first come up with the idea of Today's Revolutionary Woman and how has the project changed or evolved?

I came up with the idea of the project in October 2012. I was going through a difficult time in my life and instead of isolating myself like I normally do because I’m a very private person, I surrounded myself with amazing women who not only inspire me with their art and careers, but were there for me to support me in the most difficult time of my life.

As a photographer, I first envisioned the project as a photography exhibit, but when women come together, great ideas explode like colorful fireworks. Odilia Galván Rodríguez gave me the idea to make it into a photography book. From there, I decided to add the component of a live interview where women talk about their accomplishments, involvement with the community, and their story of resilience, a five-minute interview that will inspire young women in our communities.

Someone else gave me the idea to create a Facebook page specifically for the project. After uploading all the interviews on my Youtube Channel and on Facebook, I came up with the idea of compiling the interviews on a DVD, which will also be part of the photography book and be given as a gift to all the women who attend the opening night of the exhibit. 

Now I’m in the process of creating a webpage for the project because I want the project to be accessible to everyone, not just people on Facebook. Eventually, I want other women/artists to help me expand the project to other states and other countries. This is one of those projects that will continue to grow because there are too many women out there who are not getting the recognition they deserve for the exemplary work they are doing for our communities.  Not to mention their powerful stories of resilience that need to be told.

La Bloga:
Are you almost done with all of the interviews and photographs? How many in total? How many left to go?

Almost done. I have interviewed 40 women out the 50 who first confirmed participation. The project continues to grow. I have been presenting the project at different events and I continue to meet phenomenal women who have unique stories of resilience to share with the world. I have to admit that now it’s more like 65 women who want to participate in the project. I might have to publish another book in the near future. But for the purpose of the project, I will only publish 50 women in the book and exhibit 50 in the photography-walking exhibit.

La Bloga:
What have been some of the challenges and why are you personally committed to seeing this project through?

I have confronted many challenges with this project, but I have to admit that I have conquered most of them and that makes me feel great and unstoppable.

To start, I am a full-time student, pursuing two masters (please don’t ask me how I got myself into that) I’m also working full-time as a bilingual educator at an elementary school, and I am the proud mother of a wonderful teenager. The project alone has become another full-time job. Balancing all these tasks has been the greatest challenge.

Money has been another significant challenge. I have written several applications for grants and now I’m waiting for the money to come in. In the mean time I don’t waste my time, I have created several events to raise funds for the project. Coordinating these events has been a learning experience.

The project is supposed to last a year. I have learned to sacrifice sleep, exercise, and going out. I live in a tiny studio that has become my heaven where I write, edit, and create art. I’m personally committed to seeing this project become successful because it has been my medicine, my therapy. . . a healing journey that will not only last a year, but hopefully a lifetime. I am most interested in the impact that it will have in other communities as well.

Not only am I helping myself, but I’m helping others as well, especially young women who sometimes experience certain situations in life and find themselves alone in the world. Not knowing how to cope and overcome such obstacles in life. This is for them, to empower and inspire them and also to highlight the revolutionary women who are transforming our communities with their art and careers.  

La Bloga:
In the Facebook page for the Cyclothon, you mention different levels and leaders for the race. How will this work? Who are the cycle leaders? Will most of the program take place after the race? Have you been involved in such a Cyclothon before? 

I created a Cyclothon event for March 30th, where professional and beginner cyclists will meet at Hollydale Park at 8:00 a.m. to help me raise funds for the project. The program will take place before and after the race.

Before the race, I will present the project and introduce some of the Revolutionary Women who will briefly share their story of resilience. Raffling tickets will be sold before and after the race for $10. Cruz Cycling Team will help me divide the cyclist into two groups: beginners and advanced. They will lead the cyclist towards the lighthouse in Long Beach and back to Hollydale Park where the event will culminate with the raffle.

I will raffle one of my photography pieces and other art pieces that several artists have kindly donated to help me raise funds.  LunaSol Mexican Vintage will donate a gift basket. Artist Irene Carranza will donate several of her “Bella Mujer” 2013 calendars. Melinda Palacio will donate a signed copy of her latest poetry book: How Fire Is a Story, Waiting.

I have never been involved in a Cyclothon event, let alone coordinating one. Four years ago, I was part of a cycling team of educators from Southeast LA. The team evolved into Cruz Cycling Team, with Tony Cruz being the founder. I stopped riding because I had knee surgery, and decided to go back to grad school. These cyclists have become lifetime friends who continue to support my art projects.

La Bloga:
What is your vision for an ideal Cyclothon and what are your fundraising goals. Can people help by sending checks directly to you or to the fundraising account?

The ideal Cyclothon for me would be that everyone who says they are participating shows up on time, buys a raffle ticket, and enjoys the ride. I don’t have a fundraising goal at the moment because I’m not sure how many people will show up and how much money they’re willing to donate. I just hope that the people, who are planning to attend, help me spread the word so that more people show up and learn about the project.

Many people have offered to sponsor a cyclist because they are not able to attend or because they live out of state. Since the Cyclothon evolved from a race to a tour, I prefer they donate to the project by sending checks directly to an account I opened specifically for the project or to my PO box address:

Wells Fargo Bank account

Send a check to:
Claudia D. Hernández
PO BOX 522

La Global Bloga

Photo by Douglas McColloh and article by Susan Straight for KCET

Susan Straight has another wonderful article on the history and haps in Riverside in KCET SoCal Focus. Read about Riverside's Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Over in Denver:
"Please post on La Bloga, Write a letter of support to name Denver's new library in Westside after Rodolfo Corky Gonzalez, to Librarycommission@Denver see"

Tonight at Tia Chucha's in Sylmar...The Open Mic Feature is Karineh 'you don't want to miss her' Mahdessian
    • 8:00pm until 10:00pm
  • Open Mic Feature: Karineh Mahdessian
    Friday March 29, 2013 @ 8-10pm

    Karineh Mahdessian learned English by reading Nancy Drew books and watching Married with Children. She has a great affinity for really large earrings. She enjoys tacos from highland park taco trucks. she will challenge anyone to a thumb wrestling match. anytime. anyplace. She always has her chess set riding around in the trunk of her car. And she is absolutely in love with haikus.

    Ire'ne Lara Silva 

    Over in Texas. Congratulations to Ire'ne Lara Silva. She is a Genre Finalist in Fiction and will receive $5000 from A Room of Her Own foundation for women artists and writers.

    Tomorrow, Saturday, March 30 in Albuquerque, the NHCC presents Reyna Grande at 2pm, 1701 4th Street SW, AlbuquerqueNM 87102

    Sunday, Easter.

    Next month in Los Angeles...

    Next month at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the panel to see is Saturday, April 20 at 3:30 pm with Reyna Grande, Luis J. Rodriguez, Melinda Palacio, David Treuer, and Hector Tobar, Taper Hall 201, Conversation 1134 with interviewer, Hector Tobar.
     Taper Hall (THH 201)

    11:00 a.m.Young Adult Fiction: Danger & Determination
    (Conversation 1131)
    A.S. King
    Martine Leavitt
    Elizabeth Wein
    Interviewer: Angelina Benedetti
    12:30 p.m.Serious Science: Stunning Stories
    (Conversation 1132)
    Sean M. Carroll
    K.C. Cole
    George Dyson
    Moderator: Michael Hiltzik
    2:00 p.m.Memoir: Close to the Bone
    (Conversation 1133)
    Meghan O'Rourke
    Emily Rapp
    Rebecca Solnit
    Moderator: Samantha Dunn
    3:30 p.m.Writing American Identity
    (Conversation 1134)
    Reyna Grande
    Melinda Palacio
    Luis J. Rodriguez
    David Treuer
    Interviewer: Hèctor Tobar

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