Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Vietnam Moratorium by Antoniosolisgomez


I and the other vatos from Con Safos Magazine had attended dozens of community events during the last few years in order to sell magazines and our preparations for the Vietnam Moratorium followed a similar script. We gathered a few boxes of magazines with both current and back issues, a folding table and a couple of chairs and most importantly a few gallons of San Antonio wine for friends and customers that would come by.


It was to be a warm day in the low 90’s and we dressed causually. I was taking my 6 year old son, my daughter who had just turned 5 and also two of my 15 year old nieces, for the event promised to be a fun filled picnic kinda of celebration. We in the magazine were deeply committed to the underlying reasons for the protest, the high number of Chicanos dying in Vietnam was the main reason for many and for some it was that there was no reason for us to be in Vietnam killing poor peasant people. But it was never a gathering to condemn our soldiers, how could it be, many of us had friends and relatives fighting there. I had a younger brother flying around in a helicopter, helping take soldiers to battle zones or to extract them.


We set up our table in the northeast corner of the park, a hundred yards from the temporary stage that was placed at the northwest corner where the organizers like Raul Ruiz were to speak as well as the politicos wanting to cash in on the exposure.


Rafas had his guitar and was strumming and signing his original “Hey Carnalito” song. Sergio Hernandez, Magu and Frank Sifuentes and Arturo Flores were busy talking with people stopping at the table, the wine flowing freely into the plastic cups that we provided, the laughter a cacophony indiscernible against the backdrop of the many thousands that were finding their spot, throwing blankets on the grass to claim it, bringing out their food, their kids running around like mine.


My nieces had gone to look around almost as soon as we had arrived and I was keeping an eye on my kids while trying to engage people walking by for we were not shy about hawking the magazine that had been receiving accolades for the creativity and the unabashed support for La Causa with vitriolic articles as well as great short stories such as Mario Suarez’ El Hoyo, Joe Navarro’s Blue Day on Main Street or the poem Mind Jail by Raul Salinas a pinto in Leavenworth. We had also published Oscar Acosta’s first chapter of his book the Brown Buffalo, so we were tight with everyone.