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a publication of the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center

July/August 2013 | Vol. 26 Issue 6

San Antonio, Tejas

LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • July/August 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 6•

Verónica Castillo, 2013 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Recipient


La Voz de Esperanza July/August 2013 vol. 26 issue 6

Editor Gloria A. Ramírez Design Monica V. Velásquez Editorial Assistance Alice Canestaro García

Contributors Marisol Cortez, Rachel Jennings, Yoly Zentella

La Voz Mail Collective

Bat, Joseph Cheatham, Stef Cmielewski, Sara DeTurk, Juan Diaz, Angela M. García, Maribel Hermosillo, Araceli Herrera, Mildred Hilbrich, Socorro Márquez, Josie M. Martin, Fanny Mayahuel, Maria S. Medellin, Ray McDonald, Angelita Merla, Jeffery Ortega, Christine Sierra, Helen Suarez, Cynthia Spielman, Darian D. Thomas, Elizabeth Treviño, Mary Agnes Rodríguez, Ines Valdez, Luis Valdes, Jon Watson

Esperanza Director Graciela I. Sánchez

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Esperanza Staff

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Imelda Arismendez, Itza Carbajal, Marisol Cortez, Amanda Haas, J.J. Niño, Jezzika Pérez, Melissa Rodríguez, Beto Salas, Susana Segura, Monica V. Velásquez

Conjunto de Nepantleras -Esperanza Board of Directors-

Brenda Davis, Araceli Herrera, Rachel Jennings, Amy Kastely, Kamala Platt, Ana Ramírez, Gloria A. Ramírez, Rudy Rosales, Nadine Saliba, Graciela Sánchez • We advocate for a wide variety of social, economic & environmental justice issues. • Opinions expressed in La Voz are not necessarily those of the Esperanza Center.

La Voz de Esperanza

is a publication of Esperanza Peace & Justice Center 922 San Pedro, San Antonio, TX 78212

210.228.0201 • fax 1.877.327.5902 www.esperanzacenter.org Inquiries/Articles can be sent to:

lavoz@esperanzacenter.org Articles due by the 8th of each month Policy Statements

* We ask that articles be visionary, progressive, instructive & thoughtful. Submissions must be literate & critical; not sexist, racist, homophobic, violent, or oppressive & may be edited for length. * All letters in response to Esperanza activities or articles in La Voz will be considered for publication. Letters with intent to slander individuals or groups will not be published. Esperanza Peace & Justice Center is funded in part by the NEA, TCA, theFund, Astraea Lesbian Fdn for Justice, Coyote Phoenix Fund, AKR Fdn, Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Fdn, The Kerry Lobel & Marta Drury Fund of Horizon’s Fdn, y nuestra buena gente.

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erónica Castillo nunca espero recibir un premio por su arte de barro, menos en los Estados Unidos–pero su destino ya estaba marcado. Hija del maestro Don Alfonso Castillo Orta que fue reconocido con el Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes en México en 1996, Verónica ahora sigue los pasos de su papá con el premio, 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellowship. En 1994, Verónica fue invitada al Mercado de Paz del Centro Esperanza en San Antonio. Graciela Sánchez, la directora, le ofreció trabajo con MujerArtes, una cooperativa de barro que abrió sus puertas en 1995. Verónica empezó su enseñanza migratoria viajando de Mexico a San Antonio hasta que se quedó en San Antonio con su marido, Humberto y su niña, Alfonsina que son de aquí. En total, Verónica fue maestra de mas de 200 mujeres. En Julio de 1999, tuvo su primer exhibición, Nuevo camino, tierra sagrada, en los Estados Unidos en el Centro Esperanza, siguiendo sus tradiciones venerables mientras abria un nuevo camino artístico. Con la bendición de su familia, Verónica siguió experimentando con materiales nuevos y temas políticos. En 2002, ella decidió honrar a su familia; especialmente a su papá y su mamá, Soledad Martha Hernández Báez, con Ecos desde un vientre de barro, una instalación con temas ecológicas con jarros cubiertos de insectos y temas culturales con guerreros calacas en mascaras de jaguar y árboles para Día de los Muertos. En 2003, MujerArtes fue invitada a una conferencia internacional en UCLA sobre las matanzas de mujeres jóvenes en Juárez, Mexico. La exhibición, Lamento Por Las Mujeres de Juárez se inaugró en Esperanza en el verano y después en el Museo Fowler de Historia Cultural en UCLA en octubre. La exhibición incluyó un altar de piezas de MujerArtes con un árbol de muerte hecho por Verónica, una pieza que es parte de la colección de UCLA. Entonces, ella regresó a su pais. Cuando MujerArtes celebró su décimo aniversario en 2005, Verónica regresó de Izucar de Matamoros, Puebla a San Antonio. En 2007, ella montó la exhibición Mujeres: Divinas y Humanas que presentó mujeres fuertes como Emma Tenayuca, Digna Ochoa, Comandante Ramona, Lydia Mendoza y otras incluyendo Diosas indígenas en árboles de vida de varios tamaños, nichos de madera y en esculturas. Quebrando patrones tradicionales–las mujeres Castillo presentaron una exhibición impresionante. En 2009, Verónica y su familia sufrieron la muerte de Don Alfonso. Después de esa pérdida, Verónica decidio instalar Renacimiento desde las entrañas de mi ser en 2012 a la memoria de Don Alfonso y para reunir su familia en el Centro Esperanza. Exhibiendo piezas con temas diferentes y nuevas técnicas, la instalación fue un reto para Verónica que había llegado a un nivel inesperado, pero bienvenido. Al terminar 2012, Verónica decidio seguir su camino como artista dejando su puesto en MujerArtes. Con esa decisión–un nuevo camino se ha abierto para ella. Con todo respeto y cariño de parte del Centro Esperanza le deseamos lo mejor. ¡Felicidades, Vero! –Gloria A. Ramírez, editora

Michelle Myers, (1942-2013) buena gente of the

Esperanza Center and longtime LGBT activist passed into spirit on June 17 in San Antonio where she had lived since 2000. Michelle lived a courageous and giving life receiving many awards from organizations like the SA Gender Association, Stonewall Democrats and HRC. Always elegantly dressed, Michelle became a constant at Esperanza events and La Voz mail-outs putting her polished nails at risk. We will miss her hugs and subtle wit. Her family has requested that donations be made in her memory to the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, 922 San Pedro, San Antonio, TX 78212 or call 210.228.0201.

ATTENTION VOZ READERS: If you have a mailing address correction please send it in to lavoz@esperanzacenter.org. If you want to be removed from the La Voz mailing list for whatever reason please let us know. La Voz is provided as a courtesy to people on the mailing list of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. The subscription rate is $35 per year ($100 for institutions). The cost of producing and mailing La Voz has substantially increased and we need your help to keep it afloat. To help, send in your subscriptions, sign up as a monthly donor, or send in a donation to the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. Thank you. -GAR VOZ VISION STATEMENT: La Voz de Esperanza speaks for many individual, progressive voices who are gente-based, multi-visioned and milagro-bound. We are diverse survivors of materialism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, classism, violence, earth-damage, speciesism and cultural and political oppression. We are recapturing the powers of alliance, activism and healthy conflict in order to achieve interdependent economic/ spiritual healing and fuerza. La Voz is a resource for peace, justice, and human rights, providing a forum for criticism, information, education, humor and other creative works. La Voz provokes bold actions in response to local and global problems, with the knowledge that the many risks we take for the earth, our body, and the dignity of all people will result in profound change for the seven generations to come.


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Call for Calaveras! Primera llamada! It is not too soon to start writing Calaveras (satirical death poems making fun of the living) for the November issue of La Voz de Esperanza that we publish yearly for Día de los muertos. Literary ofrendas for those that have departed are also being accepted. See past November issues of La Voz at www. esperanzacenter.org. The themes this year are wildly

Summer had arrived in Texas The Spurs were feeling the heat Death would come quickly to someone who would go down in defeat!

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disparate so start writing and drawing calaveras!

Las raspas se hacen agua Paletas escurren, también Calacas, banadas de sudor, buscan muertos en el calor

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amistad y resolana Grassroots Mental Health in el norte de Nuevo Mexico

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by Yoly Zentella

mistad y Resolana, in the barrio of Railroad Avenue, in the Today in the U.S., we struggle to preserve our grassroots, social class, and ethnic histories, our language, culture and communities from encroachment by business and gentrification while coping with dwindling resources, unemployment and rising prices. We live with negative stereotypes of our cultures and lifestyles. We struggle to supersede these contexts, at times in positive ways, other times following the destructive paths of substance abuse and domestic violence. If we live in the southwest, monied, outsider gentrification, an extension of 19th century Westward Expansion, pushes our Hispano and Chicano populations out of traditional cultural spaces. Attempts are made to improve our communities, while imposing on us a romanticized vision of our culture. We are expected to accept silently this outsider fantasy, while our psyches are grossly assaulted by such designs. Added to these past and present onslaughts are destructive, systemic layers -- the toxification of our environment, the tampering with our food systems through genetic modification (GM), a medical system that profits from illness and applies toxic medications that, not surprisingly, bring profits to pharmaceutical corporations. The list continues, with the criminalization of undocumented immigrants, hounded by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), incarcerated in for profit detention centers, sometimes with their children, and then deported. Added to this are the trauma of immigration with loss at many levels, such experiences exacerbated by racial profiling and laws such as Arizona’s SB 1070, resurrecting memories of historical deportations of Mexicans, illegal or not, during the 1930s. Our country’s foreign policy, the brutal invasions of Iraq, of Afghanistan, and the current drone search-and-destroy missions, all insidiously increase our stress levels. The media expose us to the torture, killing, and displacement of victims of invasion, it

predominantly Hispano/Chicano

community of Las Vegas, Nuevo

Mexico, is a place where substance addiction, a

factor that plagues our communities, is addressed. Focusing on the familia, family and traditional

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Hispano/Chicano values and principles, Alejandro

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Rivera, director of Amistad y Resolana and

substance abuse counselor is an individual with a vision. In a humble little house, he has established a grassroots family- oriented community service, based on traditional values and principles. Alejandro believes that the principle of collective healing, an approach that reflects our communal culture, is a key to recovery. Treatment, usually in the form of rap groups and group activities, is reminiscent of the addiction programs that developed during the Chicano Movement, which regarded addictions as negative coping responding to the stress of internal colonization. The colonization of native, indigenous America, left us a historical legacy of holocaust proportions – warfare style killing of the other, illegal and western style legal usurpation of native indigenous land, loss of a traditional way of life and subsistence, racism, segregation, displacement and marginalization. As humans, we are emotionally vulnerable to social inequalities and injustices in our society. Although we attempt a tough stance in order to survive emotionally, our psyches are continually and insidiously eroded by toxic greed, profit, and racism, basic, overlapping, core elements in the history of the U.S. The overarching question then becomes how do we cope?


generation is culturally empowered by their elders. It is where we went with our abuelitos/grandparents and elders to spend time, vamonos a la resolana. Underlying these values are comunidad and family which protectively surround el yo, the self. The resolana can be healing. Both uninsured and insured are welcome at Amistad y Resolana. Activities include all genders, generations, ethnic populations, and address diverse substance addictions. The collective and confidential activities have included a bicycle project. Here discarded bikes, junked bicycle frames and parts were collected in the community and restored by families – children, parents, and grandparents. The idea behind this project was the collective effort of creating something useful and functional, salvaging what was thrown in the dump heap. This activity gives family members a sense of purpose, it reinforces the idea that together, rather than alone, a seemingly difficult task can be accomplished. The bicycle is taken home once completed, remaining a symbol of collective effort, a reminder of the importance of the family

from treatment options and providers. Premium treatment is tied to high cost insurance, often with co-payments, while culturally based, alternative treatment is often dismissed from insurance menus altogether. Currently, the mental health community and funding entities focus on evidence-based treatments which, not only monopolize the field but have been often normed, or tested outside of our communities. Because funding sources endorse and sometimes will only pay for evidence-based treatment, there is a feeling that these approaches are being forced on providers and clients, often without apparent thought if such treatment approaches are appropriate for diverse populations. Providers in the community often find that, among Hispanos/Chicanos in el norte de Nuevo Mexico, evidence based approaches are not always effective. The grief associated with loss of land and place, still looming over us, is intermixed with the stress of daily living and substance abuse. Treatment for such communities needs to address this complexity. Yet, struggling to shine through the dark clouds that assault our psyches are the sun rays of grassroots mental health. Alejandro chose Amistad y Resolana as an agency name, based on his perception of serving the community. The meaning for Amistad is friendship, affection and trust. Resolana is a place of safety, where conversation and mentoring take place, where wisdom in the form of historias/stories and oral history, and dichos/sayings, are shared, where trust is built, and the younger

and of the group; in this sense the family has healed the bicycle. Through such efforts and continued clinical treatment the family engages in the healing process. This symbolic, client-bicycle relationship is key because as we know trauma, loss, stress, and the consequences of substance abuse and domestic violence can cause deep crevices in the family unit, the mainstay of the Hispano/Chicano cultural community. The bicycle project has evolved into a car project, born of a vision that came to Alejandro as he watched a car being delivered to the recycling center across the street. The car appeared to be painfully weeping. Its battered body reflected emptiness, despair, and abandonment. The engine, the corazón, the heart of the car,

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desensitizes our sensibilities to inhumane relationships as we internalize violence, making us psychologically sick, and in turn lowering our immune system and putting us at risk for serious illnesses. Continuous warfare brings the development of trauma and complex trauma symptoms, often under the PTSD umbrella, to military service personnel, directly impact our families and communities, upon their return. This is a particularly serious issue because it appears that, in the U.S., trauma symptoms are not always addressed through psychological therapies developed to treat trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, or Gentle Reprocessing, but rather with the lucrative pharmaceutical propranolol, the pill that helps us forget. Our communities sustain school, gang, drug, and police violence. School children are gunned down in Connecticut and marathon runners and spectators in Boston are targeted, our minds are intoxicated with brutality. Adding to our injuries, our quest to feel safe and psychologically healthy is undermined by a mental health system that often excludes the uninsured or underinsured

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was no longer working. The car was symbolic of the client that is deep in addiction, where hopelessness is marked and thoughts of being abandoned by the family and the community are many. Alejandro bought the car, and since then it has become the focus of a group project. The clients and Alejandro have been slowly working on it. Today, it sports a refurbished radiator, engine, hoses, belts, and an upholstered interior. The exterior has yet to be repainted, but the heart, the engine of the car, has been healed through human touch underlined by cooperation, communication, mutual mentoring, and individual expertise. The car is a work in progress, as is an individual in recovery. There is a story connected to refurbishing the car. Alejandro relates that a young man coming into the program with his father was overwhelmed by depression and hopelessness. After working on the car for a time the young man related that when he first came into the program he was empty, he had no heart. One day he announced he had found a new heart by working on the car. For a 15-year-old to make that connection is profound. Alejandro believes “the car is symbolic of what people see in themselves and the changes that they want [to make].” It is Alejandro’s belief that collectively we can accomplish recovery from addictions to the benefit of our communities. Is this in line with the current dominant fad of evidence-based programs? No, but what it is in line with is the family and the community because family activities foster communication, collective effort, confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and a positive sense of self, all paths to recovery. Is this the only mode of intervention needed to address addictions and wounded family members? No, addiction is complex -- individual therapy, trauma work, domestic violence and relapse groups are but a few components that can work in conjunction with the work done at Amistad y Resolana. Do the clients find their work at Amistad y Resolana beneficial? According to Alejandro, they do, because simply put, they keep on coming back even after the prescribed treatment, sometimes court ordered, is completed. They send family members and friends to visit Amistad y Resolana, which has now taken on the aspect of a drop-in center. “One client [who completed the program] comes in to say good morning to me on an average of once a week for the last five years” says Alejandro. The sheer value of this statement is in the idea that the agency is a resolana within the community, a place of refuge, a place to process and heal, a place que respeta/that respects and validates the client. One is never done with the program, says Alejandro; instead one is always part of the program. Mi casa es su casa! My house is your house! Bienvenidos! Alejandro hopes that the car will be ready by July of 2013, so that it can be the focus of an open house and a street dance. He is also developing the idea of a mural project under a nearby freeway overpass that will memorialize those community members

that have fallen to drug addiction and overdoses. Through agency activities and community projects, Amistad y Resolana encourages collectivity by bringing both addicted and non-addicted individuals together, disrupting the pattern of alienating the addict from the general community. Both are part of the whole. Will Amistad y Resolana work for everyone in Las Vegas? Perhaps not. Will it bring trickles of social change to the community of Las Vegas? Yes, more than likely its focus on collectivism will motivate change. In the face of continual encroachment, our

Hispano/Chicano community is regaining its collective spirit and tradition of resistance. It is re-empowering itself. Slowly, outside forces, citing our need for progress, have tried to undermine a Hispano/Chicano lifestyle, our orgullo, pride and the vibrant history and culture of el norte de Nuevo Mexico, through real estate and development encroachment, gentrification and fracking proposals. But the population has shown resistance and resilience. In Las Vegas, the mural of grassroots Hispano/Chicano norteño history created in 2011 is still standing without a graffiti scratch on it! The continued use of the Spanish language, the Cinco de Mayo celebration, the Fiesta de la Hispanidad, the dance and musical traditions, and the mariachi bands at the public schools, all point to the respeto that we have for ourselves. Like Amistad y Resolana, that empowers clients toward recovery through collective efforts and traditional values, the community of Las Vegas becomes stronger as we culturally validate ourselves, because to deny our language, culture, and history is to negate who we are. Cultural grassroots empowerment can be a protective, healing factor toward a more positive mental health in the face of the toxins we encounter daily. We are healing ourselves. Bio: Yoly Zentella is an independent researcher, writer, psychology faculty member and licensed psychotherapist living in el norte de Nuevo Mexico. You can reach her at yzentellnm@yahoo.com


PART FIVE Cities as if Women Mattered: a La Voz special series

Beyond Development: Alternatives, Models, and Tactics by Marisol Cortez

This is a model of development based on cooperative social principles and bioregional inhabitation, which in recognizing the embeddedness of human economic activity within a complex network of relationships, takes care to nurture cultural as well as bio diversity. It is a kind of change that produces urban spaces protective of the various commons we depend on at the same time that it ensures these spaces are accessible to diverse publics. In the final section of this series, I want to end by outlining concrete examples I’ve observed in the places I’ve lived which suggest the shape of what we ultimately want to see. What might it actually look like to exercise our right to the city and to respect the rights of nature? What tools and tactics, attempted here and elsewhere, are at our disposal? As I detail below before turning to concrete alternatives, the urban industrial model of growth and development cannot produce the kinds of social and ecological welfare we need, by its very nature.

The Fantasy of Growth Unchecked by Decomposition In my last year of high school, I remember having to take a state-required course in government and economics. One of my strongest memories from that class was the visual model featured

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the zero-sum game created by prevailing discussions of “economic development”, our critique of projects like Alamo Brewery and Hemisfair are positioned as entirely negative: antichange, anti-growth. If you’re not for ‘economic development,’ you must be against change entirely. Yet our critique reaches beyond simple rejection in searching for a positive alternative to economic development as growth at any cost. What we want is to move from the kind of cancerous growth that characterizes “economic development” as historically practiced to the kind of growth that characterizes intact and healthy ecological systems.

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in our economics textbook for gross domestic product, the metric used to measure a nation’s economic welfare. Between an x and y axis that plotted production over time, GDP climbed ever upward–shakily, perhaps, perhaps with some regrettably major crashes along the way, but clawing its way forward and up, triumphant in ascendance. Or so it had been, and should be, in the best of all possible worlds. The purpose of an economy was to grow, we learned, to expand both production and consumption ad infinitum. That was health; that was social wellbeing. And why? I wanted to know. Grow into what? To what ultimate purpose? No answer. Does not compute. Next question? Although I did not at the time have the background knowledge to pinpoint what exactly seemed crazy about measuring social welfare in this way, I knew there was something wrong with a model premised on the assumption of limitless growth and expansion. Many years later, I find myself asking the same questions, albeit with the privilege of having had formal access to a community of ideas that has taught me to trust my earliest suspicions of a root illogic to the economy of grow-or-die. In an innovative book I’ve used in classes on the sociology of technology called Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart write that from the early industrial revolution to the present-day context of global capitalism, “more, more, more–jobs, people, products, factories, businesses, markets–[has] seemed to be the rule of the day. … Industrialists [have] wanted to make products as efficiently as possible and to get the greatest volume of goods to the largest number of people” (20-21). McDonough and Braungart explain that there are two problems with this model of growth and development. First, it is a linear model, “focused on making a product and getting it to a customer quickly and cheaply without considering much else” (26). Second, this way of doing things as a result disconnects economic activity from the social and ecological systems on which it depends–a kind of unacknowledged reliance that feminist philosopher, Val Plumwood, calls the “backgrounding” of both nature and the labor of marginalized others (women, immigrants and other racialized laborers, workers broadly). Economic growth can only expand linearly and indefinitely if one writes off from the books the social and ecological costs of that growth. Profit only counts as such if it is unshadowed by and decoupled from catastrophe, on the one hand; and on the other, from the cyclic, ecological processes of growth and decay to which it is still subject, even as the scale of global economies obscures from easy perception these lines of connection. What we call “capital accumulation” is thus a kind of fantasy, of a growth that escapes the limits and laws of biological time. It is the fantasy of a surplus that does not rot, wealth freed from the worm and the moth, a permanent enclosure in perpetuity, a “life against death.” The reality

The tree is not an isolated entity cut off from the systems around it: it is inextricably and productively engaged with them. This is a key difference between the growth of industrial systems as they now stand and the growth of nature of our being eaten even as we eat, our inescapable immersion within a complex network of relationships with many more-than-human others. Whether we recognize it or not: that this is the ruling fantasy does not make it so. And while our awareness of ecological embeddedness is finally catching up to the reality of our interdependence with earth others, “modern industries still operate according to paradigms that developed when humans had a very different sense of the world. Neither the health of natural systems, nor an awareness of their delicacy, complexity, and interconnectedness, have been part of the industrial design agenda” (26). At the same time, McDonough and Braungart push us beyond a simple critique of cost externalization, and toward more foundational questions: what is growth? What is economic development, anyway? While cancer has been the metaphor of choice for many critics of industrial models of growth, growth and development in other contexts is not necessarily a bad thing. Consider the growth of children, they suggest, or that of trees. Consider the cherry tree: “As it grows, it seeks it own regenerative abundance. But this process is not single-purpose. In fact, the tree’s growth sets in motion a number of positive effects. It provides food for animals, insects, and microorganisms. It enriches the ecosystem, sequestering carbon, producing oxygen, cleaning air and water, and creating and stabilizing soil. Among its roots and branches and on its leaves, it harbors a diverse array of flora and fauna, all of which depend on it and on one another for the functions and flows that support life. And when the tree dies, it returns to the soil, releasing, as it decomposes, minerals that will fuel healthy new growth in the same place. The tree is not an isolated entity cut off from the systems around it: it is inextricably and productively engaged with them.


This is a key difference between the growth of industrial systems as they now stand and the growth of nature” (emphasis mine). What has been called “development,” then, might be more accurately recast as “maldevelopment,” as Devon Peña refers to it. However, the term “development” is so ideologically freighted that the prospect of reclaiming it along the lines advocated by McDonough and Braungart–even as “community development”-seems difficult. Within the wider public conversation on the benefits and externalities of “development,” there seems to exist no word as yet for what we want: a kind of development embedded reciprocally within surrounding biophysical and cultural diversity, a change that nurtures rather than destroys complex interdependencies (“solidarity economy,” “degrowth,” and “postgrowth” come close, though.) In the absence of such a term, what are concrete examples of practices that seem to fit the bill, examples we might seed and cultivate locally? For if we can’t say what it is we want, we fall victim to being forever positioned as “against progress” or “against everything.”

There Are Ways Below, then, are projects I’ve seen in San Anto and other places that I’ve lived in that intrigue and inspire me–as much as possible in the words of those who have put them into practice. In general, returning housing, land, and labor to community hands and a cooperative decision-making process lies at the core of all three of these tactics.

According to a good friend who sits on the board of a local housing cooperative in Kansas, a co-op is a method of human organization based on cooperative principles. There are different kinds of co-ops, my friend explains, all of which have structures and decision-making processes that vary widely. In the U.S., some of the most popular and well-known cooperatives include credit unions and housing coops; organizing workplaces, food distribution systems, healthcare and utility provision along cooperative lines is not uncommon either. When I lived in the Canyon Lake area north of San Antonio, for instance, we got our telephone service and electricity from the largest telecommunications co-op in Texas, originally organized to electrify rural parts of the state. In Davis, California and Lawrence, Kansas, I frequently bought groceries from the local food cooperative, where as a member I was able to weigh in on the running of the store and received a share of any profits made. In San Antonio, I currently enact cooperative principles on the tiniest and most informal scale, sharing the costs and benefits of one vehicle with another household. We make up how the arrangement works as we go, but we decide together. The idea, then, is hardly fringe or novel. As with the carshare set up, what co-ops primarily try to do is minimize the total resources needed in a society based on accumulation for a few (and thus on scarcity for many) by sharing the costs involved in ob-

Marisol: The first question is, would you describe Fuerza Unida as a cooperative? Or something different? Petra: Well, when we first started, we didn’t start with that visión; that came later, after four or five years, six years, I want to say. When Fuerza Unida was formed, it was for the rights of workers. We never thought that we would do a cooperative or sewing project; raising funds has always been an important factor of our organization. When we started, it was about organizing workers, educating workers, those workers at the plants that closed later in 1994. There were 3 plants in San Antonio. Fuerza Unida worked to affect the closing of the 2 plants that closed after ours. Then we started to struggle a lot with funds. We started to look at other options like limiting our efforts as Fuerza Unida because of the economic hardships we faced. So we started to look at sewing. When we started sewing we just made bed covers, cushions and curtains, pillows because Miller Curtain company had donated many fabric reams and fabric pieces to us. It was exciting at first; it felt really good. We were proud to be able to sew. This went on for a few years, 3, 4, 5 years, until we moved. We were on Zarzamora Street before. We’ve been in this building 17 years. Then we saw that it wasn’t going anywhere. People didn’t buy a bed cover until theirs was super worn and we didn’t make any money. We had just one seamstress, and she was the one always there, plus me and Juanita and Viola like always. Then we met Lety; she needed a job and we hired her.  She would get very frustrated, though, just doing that. She would say, Petra, why don’t we start making clothes? And she started to make little dresses, a blouse, a little dress, a little vest. And we all just loved them! And so we started to make them. We hired more seamstresses and it was going well, we were making money and for a time, we had up to 4 or 5 seamstresses. Our garments sold well at Pulquerios

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Cooperatives

taining and maintaining those resources. At the same time, a cooperative organization tries to organize decision making over resources in as equitable a fashion possible, leveling the hierarchies that structure most institutions within a society based on private property rights (bosses/workers, landlords/renters, corporations/ consumers). As such, they are tools for making the resources required for survival–otherwise, less accessible because commodified–easier for the most vulnerable to obtain. Here in San Antonio, one of longest running examples of cooperative principles in action is Fuerza Unida, a women’s sewing coop formed in the wake of the Levi’s plant closure in 1990. As Petra Mata explained to me, Fuerza did not begin as a co-op, but rather evolved along cooperative lines as their struggle for justice deepened over decades:

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on Alamo. So, after 10 years, we did a small fashion show with a line of linen garments: a dress, a skirt and a blouse and that was it, very limited. Then we added the guayabera and that has sold very well. So we’re still in that process of deciding do we go with a cooperative, or is it a sewing project or will it be separate from Fuerza Unida in the future? We’re trying to figure out what will be better for Fuerza Unida and for our community. Because our purpose is to cre-

separate business. That’s the difference. A business that would create income but separate. But for me, when we started as a grassroots organization, we felt that a cooperative would have more impact because it would be community. Fuerza Unida is community; we wanted to start a cooperative where community would participate, where women feel important. That it wouldn’t be just like any job like at Levi’s or some other business, but something where they would feel, “this is mine.

other countries like China, Japan, Honduras where they pay so little and workers are abused. So, we’re very conscious of all of the injustices that occur in the market when companies make their product in other countries. Marisol: What have the larger challenges been? Petra: Well, sometimes we stop and think, the competition is too great. For example, sometimes people come and say, “Oh,

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. . . as we make our garments, we try to educate our customers. We let them know that our products are made by women earning a fair wage . . .

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ate jobs; create more jobs for our people. For example, people older than maybe 50, who can’t find another job elsewhere, can come and work with us, as long as they sew. Because the sewing project is becoming very important and very popular. Marisol: So what is the role that cooperative principles have played in your history? Petra:  I think the cooperative is the best way for Fuerza Unida. For me a woman’s cooperative where they themselves can be the owners of their work, is super important. And that is what, for years, we’ve dreamed of accomplishing and like I told you before, I don’t know if that’s the best goal for Fuerza Unida, the most beneficial, but in our history, a cooperative has been the model we want to present to our communities. Marisol: What are the differences between a coop of workers and a union? For those that don’t know…. Petra:   For Fuerza Unida, it would be a

This is what I created. This is what I with my efforts am developing in order to better things and grow here in San Antonio.” Marisol: What have been the biggest benefits of a cooperative structure? Petra:  The only thing we used to know how to sew was pants, parts of pants. The benefits for us and our pride more than anything, has been learning how to create something else, and that women can make their own clothes. Unlike when you go to the store and you buy something, you take it home and it’s too short or too long, or too tight. We’re able to create custom fit work; we make our own patterns and you can see the happiness in our customers’ faces when they feel good about how the garment fits them. And they’re made by women, by women working for just wages, for better treatment as workers; and we also want to be acknowledged by people, by the city, so that clothes made in the U.S. is encouraged and we can keep our jobs here and not continue going to

I could get a guayabera for $8, $10 at Walmart”; “Oh, I could buy this purse at the dollar store.” How can we begin to compete with that model?!  Additionally, as we make our garments, we try to educate our customers. We let them know that our products are made by women earning a fair wage and that are treated well like they’re at home where they’re free to get up and go to the restroom or have something to eat, to leave if they have personal things to take care of. So that’s been one of the bigger challenges, most difficult to address, is having to compete. … And at the same time when they come for us to make their garments, we explain who we are and what our goals are, that way they’re conscious that they’re not going to buy our things just for nothing. We’re not in Mexico, we’re not in China. And some people leave and I say, too bad. Marisol:  And this building here, do you own it in common or do you pay rent to a landlord?


Petra: Here, we pay rent, but we would like the city to give us one for less monthly, or loan one to us so that Fuerza Unida can grow. What we pay for rent, we could use it for something else, like machinery, for the people. So that’s all we ask, for the city to help us, because we are doing important work for the community and especially here in this part of the city. It’s difficult because people want good and cheap things in this area of the city. Marisol: Are there programs in the city to encourage cooperatives? Most incentives for “economic development” seem to be for large outside investors, not small scale community-run businesses. Petra: Cooperatives in San Antonio are barely emerging. We call ourselves a cooperative, but in reality [it’s difficult because], people need to earn money to buy things, pay bills, and earn a salary to do this. But because of our present economy, it is difficult, because people want to know how much they will earn. And we can’t guarantee every week, because we don’t know how much we will sell, so if the new pants line sells well, we can decide if we will be a cooperative or a business.

Petra: First of all, there are many small details in a cooperative. It’s a process that is difficult; you have to first organize the group, and talk to others who have formed coops. Of course, first of all is to get the people, but it is difficult because everyone needs to earn a little, and a coop is not a sure thing; we would need to have a market to sell for real. For example, every week we will sell 100 pairs of pants, so that if we know we need to make like 200 pairs, we would need like 10 people to buy. And if we make $1000, then first we pay electricity, machinery, and what is left, $500, that’s what you’re going to get. So [those involved] have to work themselves as a secretary too; that’s the view that we have. Just get together and talk

People have called us from Houston, Dallas, I remember when one teacher from California called us because she wanted to talk with us about how we began. Our project has developed so that many people are inspired. Because many have started but their projects have not worked; sometimes you have to put everything together--how to treat people, how you do things. We try not to play roles, like boss/employee, instead we try to get involved in everything.

You have to have a good way of interacting with people. Marisol: So are decisions within the organization made cooperatively, too? Petra: Yes, like Lety has so much experience, 30 years of sewing; she is creative that way. She puts out images, and we learn through her decisions about sewing. So we have to make her feel important. Communication is very important–not like, I’m the director and I have more power than you; you have your own power, too.

Permaculture Indian physicist and feminist ecophilosopher Vandana Shiva has argued powerfully that the hallmark of capitalism as an economic system has been its twin destruction of both cultural and bio diversity--the creation of a culture of “monocultures and monopolies.” “The politics of diversity that combine the cultural and ecological aspects,” she writes, “is the really subversive alternative of our time.” Permaculture is the collective name for a variety of practices of “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture” that attempt to realize these values, seeking a form of human socioeconomic organization that works with rather than against nature. Distinguishing permaculture principles from the values and assumptions that underlie extractive economies, Bill Mollison writes, “A basic question that can be asked in two ways is: ‘What can I get from this land, or person?’ or “What does this person, or land, have to give if I cooperate with them?” In a conversation I had with Sister Elise García, one of the founders of the Sisterfarm Santuario outside Boerne, we discussed how Sisterfarm was conceived as a space that modeled permaculture ethics and practices:

Elise: So the history of Santuario Sisterfarm is, we–Carol Coston, who’s another [Adrian] Dominican sister–actually, she’s the founding director of Network, the Nuns on the Bus organization in 1971–she and I moved to Texas in 1992 and got this place out in the Hill Country just north of Boerne, and lived there[.] … This was quite a ways back. … [In] 2001-2002, we established, with Maria [Berriozábal] as the third founding partner, Santuario Sisterfarm, which would be an organization that was dedicated to cultivating diversity–biodiversity and cultural diversity–as a way to promote peace in our world. Peace between or among diverse peoples and peace between peoples and earth, because we’ve been in this sort of divisive role in terms of a sense of separation from earth, instead of saying, we are of earth and from earth. But humans have been acting as if we were somehow plopped down here from outer space, and are just sort of using the planet as a backdrop. So to really link those two, we were drawing inspiration from the Indian physicist and ecologist Vandana Shiva … [who] wrote that the greatest threat to peace in our time is an intolerance of diversity. … So, drawing on that, we set out to create at Santuario Sisterfarm a sanctuary for people to come where we could experience together a different form of living in relationship with earth and with one another. And so we started by employing … practices of permaculture to those seven acres of land that we were living on. And living

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Marisol: For others who are interested in beginning a cooperative of their own, where do you start? What do we need to know?

about it; we already have 10 years doing it.

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sf tran b

or ma tion of co eg nscious ins ness with each indiv idual, and then it sp reads out from that . . .

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with. … And then, in terms of cultivating cultural diversity, we established a women’s press called Sor Juana Press, dedicated to publishing the works of women of color and women religious on topics related to earth and spirituality. And then we also had programs of different sorts, where women could come, especially Latina women from the city, to–just to have a breathing space, really, and a place of connecting with ancestral roots to the land.

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Marisol: Can you tell me a little bit more about what you said about permaculture? What does that mean? What kind of practices did you actually do at Sisterfarm that were examples of permaculture? Elise: Well, the ethics and the values of permaculture are earth care, people care, and fair share. And Carol Coston was the primary person to head up that effort. But among the things that we did was we always looked to–trying to imitate and carefully observe nature as a model for how to proceed in terms of plantings and what to plant and how to plant, so that–you know, the modern agriculture practices are ones of monoculture, where you have the same crop covering acres and acres of land. And in permaculture you would have companion planting; you would really look at the way nature–nature abhors a vacuum, so you would be ensuring that you’re following the practices of nature in terms of how to plant. Having different layers of plantings, different types of plants together, having edible landscapes rather than simply beautiful landscapes. Of course, they would be beautiful with what it was that you’re planting, but also edible. So we would look to see whatever fruit trees or other kinds of plants that we could grow that had qualities that would provide for food and for nourishment or healing. So those are some of the practices where you’re really looking at–as with nature, there are abundant purposes to every being, particularly in the plant world. So, really, becoming more familiar with that and trying to implement that. So we used keyhole gardens, we used geothermal heating and cooling, we used water catchment practices, using a rain catchment system, and drip irrigation. … We also tried to apply another out of nature’s teachings, which is there is no waste in nature.

And so we composted everything that we could and had composting toilets as well, and really tried to apply those practices of living as much in harmony as we could with our surroundings, and learning from what was from the bioregion in which we were living. Marisol: How can we apply these principles in our everyday lives? How can we make them more widespread, as opposed to simply in the context of a community that’s more intentional? Because I guess what I struggle with is, is the solution one of trying to transform the institutions that enact the values that are destroying life? Or is the solution to try to operate from this different value set and create these very small-scale alternatives? Or both? I mean, it’s not as if they’re mutually exclusive. But how can we use these principles to also challenge the big structural institutions and powers that be that are keeping us from not being a permaculture, being a culture of disposability and destruction and monoculture? Elise: I think that you’re right in saying that it doesn’t have to be either/or. In fact, I think both are necessary. And I think that different people have different skills that can be brought to bear in terms of trying to change structures. But ultimately we all know that what we’re talking about is a huge transformation of consciousness, and that was the work that we were about. And that transformation of consciousness begins with each individual, and then it spreads out from that. So that’s why I was saying that I think creating models of other ways of being is really important, because that has its own integrity. And so to the extent that - whether it’s an organization that’s able to model a different way of being, or an individual that’s able to model a different way of being, I think that there’s something very profound about that. And it’s creating –again, I keep saying this, it’s


g n i t th n a e r re e f b f i e d k i a l r s o ’ f t i th r a ... e n o e c a sp ... g n i e b way of like a breathing space on earth for a different way of being. And I think that until that is created, it’s very difficult to then bring about transformation of major institutions that have been–you know, as they’ve been for decades if not centuries or millenia. So we need constantly to be creating and living and modeling these alternatives at the same time that we stand as an alternative in the presence of the status quo that is so deadly to planet and peoples.

Elise: Well, Carol was in her mid 70s, and I was in my early 60s, and the two of us–I had joined the Dominican sisters here late in life, but felt–I am among the younger ones in this community and just felt a real obligation to come and provide [care]. … That was the main reason behind it. And we were always struggling for resources, but our hope was that somebody might have been able to continue the ministry there, but we weren’t able to get that to work out. So that’s one of the reasons why we’ve kept the website going [www.sisterfarm.org], ’cause that still offers a model of the different practices. Marisol: What I hear you say is that, just because the space closed, that just means that we need to create those models, and multiply them, and keep them going. I never got to visit Sisterfarm; I think I was leaving town for Kansas right as it was closing, but just knowing that that work was done has always been

Elise: I think that’s the key piece, is that it’s not about any one particular place. And many people were doing this. We were just one. But I think that we were trying to bring in some spiritual values in terms of a real sense of connectedness to mother earth. And different people live that differently. But I think it is that sense of how we influence one another as each one of us enters into a transformed consciousness, a transformed sense of awareness that I am of this earth, I arose, I am part of this 14 billion year process of unfolding. And we are the latest edge of that cosmic unfolding. And we are giving expression to a new way of being, of awareness of that. It’s the first time humans have been aware of that. At least in terms of the scientific story; we also have all of our myths and our stories that come from different cultural traditions that we honor as well. But it’s–this is a huge piece for us to be coming into awareness about. So we’re living in a very privileged time in that sense, but also in a very perilous time, where what we do as individuals and groups and communities is absolutely pivotal. And so in that sense, each one of us counts. And as one organization closes, another one will open. And as the spirit of somebody who dies lives on in others who capture some sense of that spirit and express it in their own unique ways. And all of that’s part of the wonderful diversity of life that we want to keep cultivating.

Community Land Trusts One concrete way to make principles of cooperation and permaculture more accessible is through a tool called community land trusts (CLTs), a cooperative structure that changes relationships to land from one of private ownership to management in common. As such, a CLT can be a way to scale up (or multiply) projects like Sisterfarm Santuario, as well as their more frequent use in urban areas to resist forces of gentrification and displacement by creating a reserve of permanently affordable housing. As Kalima Rose from Policylink describes them, CLTs “take real estate off the speculative market and ensure long-term affordability for renters, low-income homeowners, community arts and nonprofit institutions, and community-centered businesses.” According to the Northern Communities Land Trust of Duluth, Minnesota, CLTs own the land in common and lease to those owning buildings on the land; in that way, they “help low and moderate income families benefit from the equity built through homeownership, and at the same time preserve the affordability of these homes so that future residents will have the same affordable homeownership opportunities. How do we do this? First, by owning the land, CLTs are able to greatly reduce the initial housing cost to the potential buyer. Second, the land lease contains a resale provision which ensures that if the house is sold, it goes to another low or

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Marisol: What was it that, in terms of the history of Sisterfarm, made it unable to continue? Why did it close?

deeply inspiring to me.

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moderate income person.” It would be an understatement to describe CLTs as an underutilized tool locally. Upon investigation, I discovered that not only are there are no existing CLTs in San Antonio, but that there are no active CLTs in the entire state of Texas (the National Community Land Trust lists three in Austin and one in Houston; however, only one of those listed includes contact information. Upon contacting this listing, I discovered the program to be apparently defunct.) To gather more first-hand information from

ties for the city to be involved, and for her position to have influence in being able to grow more food and have healthier food security. And so she started talking to city officials and city staff to see what would be possible. And this is what came out of it. And it started last year that they went through kind of a selection process, and each year they’re going through and selecting more properties, based off of if they’re vacant or underutilized, if they have access to water, if they have a known history to them so they don’t have soil

. . .not only are there are no existing CLTs in San Antonio, but

...there are no active CLTs in

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the entire state of Texas”

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those with direct experience with CLTs, then, I spoke with Jason Hering, another friend in Kansas who has helped use CLTs to pilot a community orchard, among other projects:

contaminants. They go through these different categories and for the ones they find that they think are good enough, they offer them to the public for groups or citizens to apply to use them.

Marisol: Tell me your experience with using community land trusts.

Marisol: So it sounds like it’s a process that originated with somebody who was already familiar with CLTs as a tool within the city government? Like, it didn’t come from the community being like, “Oh, hey, City of Lawrence, we want to organize a community land trust”?

Jason: My experience--there’s been two parts. [First is] living on the land that [our mutual friend] Kelly lives on, Kelly Kindscher. I think that’s considered a CLT within that group on a really small scale. They set it up like a township when they bought it back in the 70s, I think. And I kinda view that as a similar thing, where everybody owns an individual house on it, but they own the land together and pay different prices and make some decisions together. Like if they want to get on rural water or there’s some development happening, then they decide what they want to say to the commission. So I lived there, and then the Common Ground Community Garden program that started last year. Marisol: Tell me about that program, and the story of how it got started and how they set it up? Jason: So, Eileen Horn is [the city of] Lawrence’s sustainability coordinator. She’s on the Food Policy Council with me, and once she jumped into the job she was starting to look for further opportuni-

Jason: Well, I think several people approached her and it kinda came up on Food Policy Council, which has farmers and other people that were interested in that kind of idea, finding more accessible land for growing food in town. And she kinda took that question and went around and tried to find other examples of it. And I think the one she found was a municipal land leasing program similar to that in Cleveland. I don’t know the name of that one. And so I think once she had someone ask her or enough pressure to find out what she was able to do, with that she kind of researched and found what was possible, and helped create it. Marisol: But the community basically had an ally within local government who was willing to take their idea forward and figure out how it would work within the struc-

ture of the local government, right? Jason: Yeah. Definitely. Marisol: So the CLT in Lawrence can be a number of different kinds of projects. And the community orchard is just one of those ideas. Is that right? Jason: Right. Exactly. Some of the other ones - there’s a list of them on http://www. lawrenceks.org/common_ground. There’s a garden incubator that’s in North Lawrence that’s more like a community garden for that area, but it also invites other people who want to start scaling up, going into more production. And there’s a few of the community gardens which is the standard one. There’s one that’s linked up to the Johnson County Community College student farm; they have a plot here, and then they operate it and try to teach students the entire process of planting it and then making sales. And then there’s the newest one which is an incubator farm that they kind of split into individual sections for farmers who wanna start scaling up who don’t have land themselves. Marisol: And is it the case that because it came out of the Food Policy Council that most of these projects are garden or farming projects? Because I know that in a lot of other cities, CLTs are used for affordable housing. Jason: Yeah, this one in particular was started with healthy food production in mind. And so it hasn’t branched out to that [housing], or like if it was a different program it would be more along those lines, but– yeah. Marisol: So what do you see as the advantages of CLTs? Jason: Well, [it avoids] a lot of the kind of control where one person or one small group has a hard time either purchasing, or even if they own a small piece of land, they might get bullied or bought


level of social isolation or alienation. In some ways, private ownership is–it’s just yours, so you don’t have to interact. As a model, it doesn’t presume any kind of social ties to community. But my next question is, how can communities use CLTs as a tool to resist developer-driven decisionmaking around land use? So not just to use CLTs as an alternative to the existing system, but to actually push back or challenge that system and transform it?

out by a development firm or an individual developer or the city. And so just having a group where they’re trying to cooperate to save the land seems to make sense in terms of having more power and control over their ability to protect it and decide together what the community wants to use it for. Marisol: And what do you see as the biggest challenge with that kind of model of common decision-making, common ownership over land specifically? Jason: Sometimes it’s the policies or just the group dynamics that form, especially at the beginning. A lot of them would be longer term arrangements, and with any longer term arrangement, the main thing that comes to mind are conflicts relating

to personality clashes or not enough things decided upon early on, like set up times, creating the bylaws, creating how things work, and what the expectations are for people. Marisol: Yeah, I’ve actually been thinking a lot about that, ’cause I do this carshare arrangement with my friend. And just how sharing resources–the same thing that is the advantage of it is also the difficult thing about it, which is that you’re sharing something. So you have to talk to people a lot, you know? Like if any problems arise, you have to figure it out together. It’s a kind of model that has potential for a lot of conflict, but also for developing skills in how to figure out conflicts. Jason: Yeah. It forces you to deal with and work through problems, because you’re in this together with another group. Marisol: And it’s made me think about the flip side of that, which is that the dominant way of doing things, of owning things privately - that the corollary to that is a high

And so coming up with alternatives to challenge those systems seems like an important one, because this one [neighborhood association] is kind of loose and relaxed and it’s harder to get everyone on board in that kind of system. But with a community land trust, that group of people has a lot of say and just is another power bloc that can exist within a neighborhood association. Or, they can be their own power bloc, they can kinda pull resources, and then if something’s going in, they can try to buy the properties around that area or expand their area to make sure their neighbors can’t be bought out that way. There’s less risk in one family saying yes, and then that being the ability for the landowner, the developer, to try to make the project happen. [Because] once they start there then it’s easier for land value to go down and living quality to go down in the area, so just to have everybody on board in a large chunk like that seems very possible. Especially in a larger city. Like, Lawrence is harder to do, but like in Cleveland and maybe in San Antonio, where there’s chunks of the area that–you kinda hear about it before it happens. You hear that there’s interest

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www.interface-studio.com

Jason: Let’s see. I know, in my mind, similar to a neighborhood association, which is a much more relaxed and less influential kind of system that a lot of cities already have–[nonetheless,] they are capable of, when there’s a large development project going through, they can rally and talk to the city and be the voice of the residents of this place. When there’s a project that almost the entire neighborhood association votes against, usually that’s heard and there are changes that are made. And the first time there was a development project that was going in downtown for a sevenstory hotel, when everything around it is two or three stories, and it butts up right against a residential neighborhood–the neighborhood association completely voted it down. And the city decided to ignore that, and that was a big first time.

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in developing in that area. So before anything surfaces where land prices are cheaper–if you give the people that are living there in a larger city–like, take an entire city block or something. And if people living there had the option of selling to a developer or selling to their neighbors, or just buying into this larger thing, it might be a much easier thing to say, you’re still going to get money from it if you’re interested in selling, but you don’t have to sell to this developer. than And here’s the reasons why we can offer that it would be better than selling to the developer.

and found it, and it’s called Evergreen Cooperative. It’s also up in Cleveland, Ohio. They’re creating like large-scale businesses. They had a number of ’em. Like Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, and Energy Solutions, which is an alternative energy [coop], are and the newest one I think is Green City Growers coop, which is a largescale downtown hydroponic food production facility. And they’re owned and started by people of the community, in neighborhoods that are running down or that businesses have already left and there’s almost no jobs. And they concentrate on that, and they concentrate on what they call anchor institutions. Like, the institutions that, as long as there’s some people around, there will be those that exist. Either a university or more likely a hospital, I think is the one that they largely work with. And they go work with those anchor institutions that they know are gonna stay there; they’re not going to be fickle or might not be there in a year. They work out an arrangement with them; they say, we’re trying to find more jobs here, and we’re trying to meet price points for you. So let’s create an arrangement for, who do you do laundry with right now?

In the end,

these solutions

less prescriptions

they are

intimations

Marisol: That’s awesome. Because yeah, we’ve talked about how, all around the periphery of downtown, there’s this move to gentrify and for developers to come in and create housing, condos, and high rises; and, you know, they might set aside some affordable housing units, but they’re just maybe like 10 out of 100 units or something like that, and it’s not even that affordable. And, that’s in addition to all of the neighborhood changes happening because those developments are moving into spaces that are historically residential and historically more working class areas. And so I think, one of the questions I wanted to end with is just, okay, let’s say people are interested in that kind of model as a way to push back against those forces. Where do we start? How do people with not a lot of resources to begin with come together to organize a CLT for their neighborhood?

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of what could be.

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Jason: Gotcha. Yeah, I was just looking up a couple things. There is a National Community Land Trust Network [www.cltnetwork. org]; it’s an umbrella thing that helps other CLTs start up. And I just started looking into them, and they have training and technical assistance for trying different things, but there are also conferences and online free resources, a variety of ways where you can either tap into or find out how others fundraise for purchasing the first area or purchasing together or just being part of this national framework. And then, depending on what you find out from that, usually there’s a fundraising element, whether it’s a communitydriven one, or just the neighbors themselves who have houses, and you gain capital by putting down payments on things. Yeah– because I haven’t seen too many start up; there’s none around here that I know of. Except for the co-op houses, which are a somewhat similar model, where an organization owns the houses, and then they rent out the properties and then everybody decides things for those properties together, and decides how they spend maintenance money that’s pooled together on major projects and those kinds of thing. But then, we just had to find out, make contact with the university that we bought a house from for a dollar, and it’s really just networking and finding some properties that make it feasible for whatever amount of money you have. Marisol: Was there anything else you wanted to add or ask me? Jason: I remember you were talking about cooperative workplaces and other things in larger cities, and how that might be different [from smaller places like Lawrence]. And I remember going to conferences and hearing about this one in particular, and I went

What is beautiful about principles of permaculture and cooperation is that the goals of return-

ing land, water, and sky to common protection and stewardship are inherently coupled with the goals of both economic justice– distributing resources more equitably–and procedural justice, or fair and equal access to the political process that determines vital questions over the use of and relation to the commons. In the end, these solutions are less prescriptions than they are intimations of what could be. If we take seriously Daniel Wildcat’s argument that what we need is “indigenuity”–or, perhaps, intelli-gente– then the solution will be found in particular constellations of local nature-culture relations; they will emerge from particular community needs, desires, and engagements within particular places and locales. This is a politics ultimately without guarantees, then, open-ended beyond the imperative to act. As Maria Berriozabal frequently reminds me: we are called on not to be effective, but faithful. n Note: The Fuerza Unida interview, conducted in Spanish, was translated into English by Jessica O. Guerrero and Carlos Cortez. Bio: Marisol Cortez attempts to inhabit the impossible interstices between academic and activist worlds. She works primarily on issues of environmental justice as a creative writer, community organizer and liberation sociologist. Email her with thoughts at cortez.marisol@gmail.com.


lawsuit update

Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group vs. City of San Antonio

W

e haven’t updated gente for awhile on what’s been going on around the Hays Street Bridge struggle, so we wanted to pass on the latest developments!

On the legal front, the Restoration Group and supporters recently prevailed against the City of San Antonio in a significant hearing held June 12th at the Bexar County courthouse. At that hearing, Judge David A. Canales ruled in favor of the Restoration Group on both motions under consideration. First, Canales blocked the City of San Antonio’s motion to claim governmental immunity from the suit and thereby throw out the aspect of the lawsuit alleging the city’s breach of contract with the Restoration Group. Debbie Klein, attorney for the City, attempted to argue that there was no contract for services involved in its dealings with the Restoration Group, because the group only gave money and not services and because it was not paid in cash for these fundraising services. Attorney for the Restoration Group, Amy Kastely, was successful in arguing that although the Restoration Group did not get cash for fundraising, in exchange for its efforts–the City promised to apply all resources (funds and land) to the restoration project. She also argued, successfully, that based on precedent from other cases and state law, the City’s interpretation of “services” was not accurate. One implication of these findings is that the agreement between the Restoration Group and the City is

Additionally, the City conceded the Restoration Group’s motion to compel it to comply with the discovery process. Attorney Kastely maintains that the City has been withholding documents, including info about backroom negotiations that took place between the developer and the City before the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group had any knowledge of the City’s plans; the City now has two weeks to comply.   Most significantly, the courtroom was filled with Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group supporters, who filled up one entire side of the courtroom. As Kastely said after the hearing, “It’s just amazing that when community’s here, the judge is so much more attentive. He knows that it matters...your presence makes a difference.” The jury trial over the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group’s claim that the City’s sale of the land at 803 N. Cherry violated the terms of its contract with the city and violated state law on the sale of park lands will take place October 7th of this year at the Bexar County Courthouse.

We wish to remind everyone that legal strategies are not ends in themselves, but tools for getting organized as community. As we approach the date of the jury trial, we’ll be calling on the support of everyone who cares about issues of public space, cultural and historic preservation, democratic process, fair and accountable “development,” and ecological survival to help build a movement for our right to the city and the rights of la madre tierra! n

For info on community meetings + how to get involved call 210.228.0201 or email esperanza@esperanzacenter.org

LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • July/August 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 6•

On the organizing front, we have been supporting the work of the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group through our Puentes de Poder public education program, which has been focusing on the concept of “right to the city” in a 6-month series called “Cities of Hope.” We’ve done free film screenings and pláticas on the Hays Street Bridge and are looking forward to sessions in July and August. Check the back page of this edition of La Voz for details.

a contract and that the group can proceed in October with its breach of contract claim against the city.

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by Gloria A. Ramírez

erónica castillo was destined to inherit her traditional mexican family's artistic legacy as renowned ceramicists spanning 5 generations for over 150 years . . . As a child she played with clay– making small figures–then helping the family to build árboles de vida. She was mesmerized by her grandfather’s telling of prehispanic histories, traditions and legends learning them well. By 12 years old, she had made her first árbol de la vida and sold it! She had found her calling. Upon finding out that she was receiving the 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellowships, Verónica recalled her father, Alfonso Castillo Orta1, who was honored with the prestigious Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes in 1996 in Mexico. As a child of an artistic treasure of Mexico, Verónica had found it difficult to distinguish herself

LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • July/August 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 6•

2013 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Recipient

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in the Castillo family, yet she did. In 1994, Verónica2 was a featured artist at the annual Peace Market of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, Texas. Graciela Sánchez, director, convinced her to return the next year to begin teaching ceramics at MujerArtes, a women’s clay cooperative that opened in 1995. Vero began migrating back and forth from Mexico to the U.S., teaching the women a variety of techniques and sharing life stories of social injustice and cultural history. She ultimately taught over 200 women in her history at MujerArtes. In July of 1999, Veronica exhibited her first one-woman show at the Esperanza Center, Nuevo camino, tierra sagrada, a homage to her new artistic path and the venerable tradition from which she came. With the blessing of her father and mother, Soledad Martha Hernández Baéz, Verónica continued experimenting with new materials and political themes. In 2002, Verónica chose to honor her family in an exhibit at the Esperanza, Ecos desde un vientre de barro. The exhibit highlighted their concerns with ecology featuring jarros covered with insects. Traditional forms of clay expression focused on Día de los muertos with calaca jaguar warriors and trees of life. The year, 2003, was an important year for the artistic conscience of MujerArtes and Verónica Castillo. They were invited by Dr. Alicia Gaspar de Alba to participate in an international conference at UCLA on the Maquiladora murders of young women in Juárez, Mexico. The exhibit, Lamento Por Las Mujeres de Juárez/Elegy for the Women of Juárez opened at the Esperanza Cen-

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ter in the summer of 2003 followed by an exhibition at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History on October 31st. The exhibit included a tiered altar/installation of MujerArtes’ clay works depicting the killings with an árbol de muerte at the very top4. Vero’s árbol had been made with special permission from her father. The historic árbol became a part of the UCLA’s art collection. This exhibit brought MujerArtes and Verónica in contact with the mothers of the murdered daughters of Juárez opening their hearts and minds to the horrors of oppression. Their work had reached a new level of consciousness. At the end of 2003, Verónica left MujerArtes to return to Izúcar de Matamoros, Puebla without knowing if she would return to San Antonio. By 2005, when MujerArtes celebrated its 10th anniversary, Veronica returned with her husband, Humberto Salas and daughter, Alfonsina, both natural born citizens of the U.S. to celebrate with MujerArtes. The mujeres had requested permission from Don Alfonso to make their own árboles and exhibit them in Árboles de MujerArtes: Recuerdos, Tradiciones y Vida in September, 2005. By 2007, Verónica organized a new exhibit, Mujeres: Divinas y Humanas featuring the work of the women in the Castillo


3

6

this exhibit brought mujerartes and verónica in contact with the mothers of the murdered daughters of juárez opening their hearts and minds to the horrors of oppression. 4

1

LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • July/August 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 6•

family who incorporated strong women, local and international, like Emma Tenayuca, Lydia Mendoza, Digna Ochoa, Comandante Ramona and others as well as indigenous goddesses5 in arboles de vida, wooden nichos and sculpted in clay. Breaking traditions and embracing a feminist perspective, the Castillo women put on an impressive show. In 2009, Vero experienced a tragic personal trauma with the loss of her beloved father, Don Alfonso, but she continued to work with MujerArtes. In 2010, she exhibited her culinary skills at the MujerArtes quinceañera. In June, 2011, for the El Maiz es Nuestra Vida exhibit, co-sponsored with MAMAZ, a women’s cooperative in Mexico, Verónica once again produced an outstanding piece of work, Maiz, en el umbral de la agonia/Maiz, in the Throes of Death depicting the goddess of blue corn in a tree of life in danger of extinction from GMOs. Finally, in 2012, Verónica invited her family to once again join her at the Esperanza Center. This time the installation included an altar in celebration of her father’s memory. Reviving her own creative force as well as that of her family the exhibit, Renacimiento desde las entrañas de mi ser/Rebirth from the depths of my being6 at the Esperanza Center featured all new works by Verónica with her family’s help. It was at this exhibit that Verónica gave full reign to her artistic skills exposing her heart and soul and bringing together her personal experiences as a Mexicana living and working in the United States with Chicanas. At the end of 2012, Vero left MujerArtes3 to follow her destiny as an artist and the universe provided her with a path to follow. ¡Felicidades, Vero! o

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Who Is to Blame? Holding Multinational Corporations Accountable for Atrocities in the Coalfields by Rachel Jennings

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Where they operate in countries around the globe, coal companies lack accountability. Even identifying the names of companies or their executives can be difficult. When Sister Valsa John was hacked to death by a mob on November 16, 2011, many news accounts reported that she had been threatened by the Indian “coal mafia” because she had tried to protect the land and way of life of the indigenous Santhal people in the east Indian state of Jharkhand. Practicing mountaintop removal, a coal company had been forcibly displacing the Santhal people from their homes. One finds little additional information, however, about this “mafia” affiliated with an unnamed powerful coal company. In the United States, too, holding individuals and companies responsible for crushing unions, ignoring basic safety standards, and practicing mountaintop removal is difficult. Corporate mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies make prosecutions and lawsuits more symbolic than effective in combating crimes against workers, residents, and the environment. A case in point is the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in Montcoal, West Virginia on

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April 5, 2010. Massey Energy, which owned the mine through its subsidiary, Performance Coal Company, filed for bankruptcy not long after the explosion and was acquired by Alpha Natural Resources (even the name is obfuscatory, lacking the word coal). Don Blankenship, a legendary figure in Appalachia due to his role in crushing strikes and unions and promoting mountaintop removal, has become the individual most often blamed for the Upper Big Branch disaster. In interviews for TV and film documentaries, he becomes a larger-than-life figure, a symbol of all that is wrong in the Appalachian coal fields. While Don Blankenship is completely blameworthy and should be held accountable, we must not divert our attention from the real culprits, which are corporations exploiting regions across the world from South Asia to Latin America to Appalachia. Multinational capitalism is the true culprit, not a hillbilly villain who meets stereotyped expectations of Appalachian backwardness and satisfies some core need for a sole individual to blame. n

Murder of Sister Valsa in Hired Killers for Big Coal by Rachel Jennings

Letter to a Jesuit: On the India by

Her death hits me hard, Father, though I had not heard of her until this news. To be honest, I know little about her Church. What I know now is just that she was a nun hacked to death by a merciless mob for supporting the rights of the Santhal people against the avarice of a mining company. Your question was whether I believe in the Devil. You are serious, and so am I. In Appalachia, growing up, we had few doubts about the Devil. He was a force, a power, in our lives. We knew why we could not pay the rent, why our mother had cancer, why gas built up in a mine. And if the Devil is not incarnate in coal companies or coal bosses, a notion you warn me against, we all being creatures of God, let us just say that coal executives everywhere

have been lured to greed, tyranny, lies by what you call the Evil Spirit. And I agree with Baudelaire, whom you quote, that the Devil’s “most clever trick is to convince us that he does not exist.” No one wants to believe the evil acts of coal barons across the globe. My friend Marie, who suggested I write, agrees the Devil roams but begs me to focus on holy saints like Sister Valsa. That is, the good in the world. I must try to remember her counsel. Thank you for responding, Father. The murder of the sister hits me hard. For your insights, your guidance on this topic, accept my thanks. I see you are right. Sister Valsa John (1958-2011)


Don Blankenship, Massey CEO by Rachel Jennings

“Is Don Blankenship the baddest guy in America? He is the chairman of Massey Energy. . . A big man of 58 with a jutting version of Daniel Day-Lewis as the ruthless oilman of There Will Be Blood, nominated for an Oscar.” - Charles Laurence, “Pressure Mounts on Coal King” (2008)

Bio: Rachel Jennings has published a book of poetry, Elijah’s Farm (Pecan Grove Press, 2008), and two poetry chapbooks, Knoxville Girl: The Walk to the River (Finishing Line Press, 2011) and Hedge Ghosts (LaNana Creek Press, 2001). Recently, she has completed a poetry manuscript, Turn the Other, which laments the cultural and environmental devastation of Appalachia and other regions by coal companies. She is a regular participant in the Macondo Writing Workshop in San Antonio, where she resides.

but rises for lights and cameras. He entirely blocks doorframes but hides behind them. He stands on the opposite side of the bridge with troopers who flaunt bayonets. Clinging to power, he dies of old age. He is the general who waves from the balustrade and the corpse that hangs from a lamppost. He sits for hours at a cluttered desk but loiters on every corner and barstool. He observes nothing, perceives not at all, but catches each twitch of finger or foot. His clammy sweat dampens my shirt when he brushes against my body. His cigar smoke curls through door cracks and stains the upholstery. The stench seeps into my pores. He circles the room at every party but lurks at my pillow when I lie down. He is the knife-wielding killer of my nightmares, the man who finds me in the bedroom closet, the clothes hamper, the basement. In a filmscript by James Agee, he would be the Rev. Harry Powell, a convict stalker of women and children. In a novel by Cormac McCarthy, he would be evil made hillbilly flesh. He is the behemoth, a worm-white phantasm of the unconscious. He is the stumbling block to my salvation. He is the unreal face of Massey Coal. There is no forgiving him.

LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • July/August 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 6•

moustache, he is a real-life

Not this. Not again. I see the blanched faces of miners’ families on my computer screen. “Pray for our miners,” says the church marquee this cruel April day in Appalachia in 2010. Another face appears: Don Blankenship, coal baron and Massey Energy CEO. My blood runs cavern cold. He could be a movie goodfella, a James Cagney or Marlon Brando. One difference: Don Blankenship is not acting. Still, he owned the lead role in a public broadcasting special, The Kingmaker. Also, he took a star turn in an indie production, Mine War on Blackberry Creek, and pulled off a fight scene between a mountain millionaire and a photojournalist in an ABC movie of the week. (For years, confusing his face with Carl Horn’s of Duke Power, I thought he had appeared in Oscar-winning Harlan County, USA.) No, Blankenship is not an actor, but his essence is hard to decipher. He is timeless and ubiquitous. He walks through earthen walls and lumbers into locked cages. He descends into sulphurous darkness

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* community meetings *

Amnesty International #127 info. Call Arthur Dawes, 210.213.5919. Anti-War Peace Vigil on Thurs. (since 9/11/2001) from 4-5pm @ Flores & Commerce. Contact Tim 210.822.4525 | timduda@aol.com Bexar Co. Green Party info@bexargreens.org or call 210.471.1791. Celebration Circle meets Sundays, 11am @ JumpStart, Blue Star Arts Complex. Meditation, Wednesdays @ 7:30 pm @ Quaker Meeting House, 7052 Vandiver. 210.533-6767

San Antonio’s Communist Party USA meets 3-5 pm on 2nd Sundays. Contact:juanchostanford@yahoo. com or check Notas y mas for more.

LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • July/August 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 6•

S.A. International Woman’s Day March & Rally planning committee meets year-round. www.sawomenwillmarch.org or 210.262.0654 Metropolitan Comm. Church 611 East Myrtle services & Sunday school 10:30am. Call 210.472.3597 PFLAG, meets 1st Thurs. @ 7pm, University Presbyterian Church 300 Bushnell Ave. 210.655.2383.

in San Antonio

¡Todos Somos Esperanza!

Start your 2013 monthly donations now!

The Rape Crisis Center, Hotline: 210.349-7273. 210.521.7273 or email Drominishi@rapecrisis.com 7500 US Hwy 90 W.

Adult Wellness Support Group sponsored by PRIDE Center meets 4th Mondays, 7-9 pm @ Lions Field Club House, 2809 Broadway. Call 210.213.5919.

Habitat for Humanity meets 1st Tues. for volunteer orientation, 6pm, HFHSA Office @ 311 Probandt.

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Proyecto Hospitalidad Liturgy meets Thurs. 7pm, 325 Courtland.

The Religious Society of Friends meets Sundays @ 10am @ The Friends Meeting House, 7052 N. Vandiver. 210.945.8456.

Fuerza Unida, 710 New Laredo, Hwy. 210.927.2294 www.lafuerzaunida.org

Progressive Movement

Parents of Murdered Children, meets 2nd Mondays @ Balcones Heights Community Ctr, 107 Glenarm | www.pomcsanantonio.org

DIGNITY S.A. gathering @ 5:15 pm, mass @ 5:30 pm, Sunday @ Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church, 1101 W. Woodlawn. Call 210.340.2230

Energia Mia meets 3rd Saturdays, 1pm @ Oblate School of Theology, 285 Oblate Dr. Call 210.849.8121

Be Part of a

PFLAG Español meets 1st Tues. (primer martes) @ 2802 W. Salinas, 7pm. 210.849.6315

S.A. Gender Association meets 1st & 3rd Thursdays, 6-9pm @ 611 E. Myrtle, MCCSA The SA AIDS Foundation offers free HIV testing at 818 E. Grayson St. 210.225.4715|www.txsaaf.org. SGI-USA LGBT Buddhist discussion group meets 2nd Saturdays at 10am @ 7142 San Pedro Ave., Ste 117. Call Frankie or Ron @ 210.653.7755. Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center classes are on Tues. 7-8pm, & Sun. 9:30am-12:30pm at 1114 So. St. Mary’s. Call 210.222.9303. S.N.A.P. (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). Contact Barbara at 210.725.8329. Voice for Animals: 210.737.3138 or www.voiceforanimals.org for info

Esperanza works to bring awareness and action on issues relevant to our communities. With our vision for social, environmental, economic and gender justice, Esperanza centers the voices and experiences of the poor & working class, women, queer people and people of color. We hold pláticas and workshops; organize political actions; present exhibits and performances and document and preserve our cultural histories. We consistently challenge City Council and the corporate powers of the city on issues of development, low-wage jobs, gentrification, clean energy and more. It takes all of us to keep the Esperanza going. When you contribute monthly to the Esperanza you are making a long-term commitment to the movement for progressive change in San Antonio, allowing Esperanza to sustain and expand our programs. Monthly donors can give as little as $5 and as much as $500 a month or more. What would it take for YOU to become a monthly donor? Call or come by the Esperanza to learn how. ¡Esperanza vive! ¡La lucha sigue! Call 210.228.0201 or email esperanza@esperanzacenter.org for more info

Make a tax-deductible donation. $35 La Voz subscription

for more info call 210.228.0201

Please use my donation for the Rinconcito de Esperanza


Notas Y Más July/August 2013

geminiink offers everyone (including youth) classes and events this summer with The Writers’ Roadtrip: Discover Where Your Writing Can Take You. Their Summer Festival Kickoff is on Friday, July 5th from 6:30-8:30 pm at 513 S. Presa. Check the schedule at www.geminiink.org Bravo! An evening of song and dance sponsored by the City of S.A. Parks & Rec Dept. and La Villita features award-winning dancers performing Folklorico, tap, jazz, hip hop and Latin-style dances at the Arneson River Theater. Performances are on Wednesdays and Thursdays July 3-25, (except July 4) from 8-10pm. Suggested donation is $10. Call 210.207.3132. The People’s Power Coalition meeting is set for July 9th at 6 pm at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, 922 San Pedro. Contact: cortez.marisol@gmail.com On July 11-13, URBAN-15 presents the Josiah Media Festival, a 3-day film festival devoted to the works of filmmakers at or under the age of 21. Films will screen at 7pm each night at URBAN-15, 2500 S.

Presa. Admission is $10 general and $5 Belonging will be held July 17-20 at Ohio discount. Call 210-736-1500 or email: jo- State University. In addition, the Academsiahfestival@urban15.org. ic Article Writing Workshop will be held Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 1300 July 17 & 19. Check: www.malcs.org Guadalupe Street, offers a 2nd session of The International Folk Center at OLLU summer classes July 8–26 for children, offers the CaribFunk Dance Workshop youth & adults. Classes are in a variety of open for all community members on July dance, music, media arts, theater arts and th visual arts. Check www.guadalupecultur- 19th from 6:30-8:30pm and on July 20 from 1-3pm for experienced dancers. $30 alarts.org or call 210.271.3151 per class or $50 for both. Call 210.695.0352 S.A. Communist Party, USA club will meet Sun, July 14 @ Bazan Library, 2200 or check www.spareworksdance.com W. Commerce St. at Nueces, to show a film on the life & work of Nancy Morejón, Cuban poet, honored this year at the XXXIst Congress of the Latin-American Studies Assoc. They will also meet Sun, August 11 (Location TBD) to screen film(s) on freedom for the 5 anti-Terrorist heroes & normalizing US-Cuban relations. For info email juanchostanford@yahoo.com Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) annual Summer Institute: ¡Aquí Estamos! / We Are Here!: Movements, Migrations, Pilgrimage and

Summer 2013: Cities of Hope Series Join us for Puentes de Poder, an ongoing public education program presented by Esperanza Peace & Justice Center

Topic: Gentrification Saturday, July 13, 2013

7pm @ Esperanza, 922 San Pedro Free Film Screening: My Brooklyn Join us as director Kelly Anderson presents her film which highlights how forces of race and class shape the development of city neighborhoods.

Upcoming August Session Topics 5th–Eastside Stories: Community Histories of the Hays Street Bridge

6th–Right to the City! Alternatives and Solutions

check www.esperanzacenter.org for dates and locations

or call Marisol at 210.228.0201 for more info!

38th Nat’l Conference on Men & Masculinities ~ Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal & Accountable Communities meets Aug 8-10 in Detroit. www.nomas.org. The Sereno Alliance for Higher Education & the Univ. of New Mexico present the 3rd Biennial Policy Summit on Latino Higher Education in conjunction with institutions of higher learning (UTSA, etc.) and community organizations from Oct. 2-4 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Check: www.latinosummit.unm.edu

nos(otros) Fabiola Torralba nos(otros) is a collage

of memories, stories, and moments that explore the internal conditions of being a Mexican undocumented immigrant. Based on personal and first hand experiences gathered through ethnographic fieldwork, this narrative is a negotiation that wrestles with silence, fear, imagination, and wit.

Opening Reception July 13, 6p-9p

Closing Reception & Live Performance July 27, 6p-7:30p Free and Open to the Public

nos(otros) ¡somos! A multimedia performance that presents multiple facets of the immigration experience by first voices. Performance collaborators: Karen Becerril, Horwath Productions, Domesticas Unidas, Melissa Toscano Lazcano, Allis Ozornia, Fabiola Torralba, Eleonor Maciel.

July 13-27, 2013 @ Lady Base Gallery

(inside Gallista Gallery) 1913 S. Flores, San Antonio, TX Fabiola Torralba is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and activist who utilizes movement as a vehicle for community building, civic engagement, and social-cultural awareness.

LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • July/August 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 6•

Puentes de Poder

4th Session

Brief news items on upcoming community events. Send info for Notas y Más to: lavoz@esperanzacenter.org or mail to: 922 San Pedro, San Antonio, TX 78212. The deadline is the 8th of each month.

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LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • July/August 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 6• Join us for our monthly concert series with singer/ songwriter Azul

8PM @ Esperanza, $5 más o menos

CUMBIAS Saturday July 20

TANGOS

Saturday Aug 17

La Voz de Esperanza

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FILM SCREENING + PLATICA w/ THE FILMAKER OF

SATURDAY JULY 13, 2013

@ ESPERANZA | DETAILS ON PG. 23

Leticia, who enchanted audiences at the Eva Garza Homenaje, returns for a tardeada performing songs from her new album as well as Eva Garza favorites.

Non-Profit Org. US Postage PAID San Antonio, TX Permit #332

La Voz - July/Aug 2013  

Beyond Development: Alternatives, Models and Tactics by Marisol Cortez • Amistad y Resolana: Grassroots Mental Health in el norte de Nuevo M...

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