a publication of the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center
March 2013 | Vol. 26 Issue 2
San Antonio, Tejas
“I have the right of education, I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up.” –Malala Yousufzai
INSIDE: PALABRAS de Mujer, The WORDS of Women Urvashi Vaid: Still Ain’t Satisfied: excerpt from Irresistible Revolution, Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics Nadine Saliba: So Close to the Border Marisol Cortez: Cities as if Women Mattered, Part 2: Mobilities, Crises and Removals
Liliana Valenzuela: Entrevista exclusiva: Su Señoría, Sonia Sotomayor nos abre su corazón courtesy of ¡ahora si! Brenda Norrell: Earth Woman, A California Chumash Woman book review excerpt M.G. Ashley: Devastation of the Night, for India’s daughter, Delhi Braveheart Amanat
La Voz de Esperanza March 2013 vol. 26 issue 2
Editor Gloria A. Ramírez Design Monica V. Velásquez Cover Art Liliana Wilson Contributors
M.G. Ashley, Marisol Cortez, Brenda Norrell of Censored News, Nadine Saliba, Urvashi Vaid, Liliana Valenzuela of ¡ahora sí!
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Esperanza Director Graciela I. Sánchez
Esperanza Staff Imelda Arismendez, Itza Carbajal, Marisol Cortez, J.J. Niño, Jezzika Pérez, Melissa Rodríguez, Beto Salas, Susana Segura, Monica Velásquez
LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • March 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 2•
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is the title of the art piece on the front page by Chilean artist, Liliana Wilson (see p.10). The girls are announcing the coming of peace – a time when violence to humanity and mother earth has ceased – a time of harmony, a time of love and a time of giving that will balance the existence of all living beings so that no one will want for lack of food, water, comfort or love – a time when children will relate directly with la madre tierra knowing that her gifts are not to be wasted or profited from –but simply enjoyed. However, we have a ways to go before such an announcement can be made. Our girls are in danger. The year 2012 was not a good year for women and girls. We traveled back in time and misogyny reared its ugly head. On October 9, 2012, Malala Yousafzai, a 15 year old Pakistani school girl, was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. Malala had been campaigning for the right of girls to attend school and for women’s rights. In early 2009, at 11 years old, Malala was writing a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC talking about her life under Taliban rule. Then the NY Times made a documentary of her life. She continued her activism until December, 2012 when she was shot down in an attempt to quash the rising support that she was garnering among women, girls and men of conscience worldwide. Malala survived and a “contagion of consciousness” began to spread globally. On December 16, 2012 a female physiotherapy intern, Jyoti, was beaten and gang raped in Delhi while riding on a bus with a male friend. Beaten brutally by her 6 attackers that included the bus driver, she died from her injuries thirteen days later while undergoing emergency treatment for brain and gastrointestinal damage. Public protests spontaneously took place in Delhi, throughout India and the rest of the world. Much as Mohammed Bouazazi, the Tunisian vegetable merchant ignited rage and revolution resulting in the Arab Spring, the Delhi rape has resulted in a tsunami of global feminist response. In Egypt it had become common practice for women to be attacked and raped in Tahrir Square since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, but the women there have began to take the lid off of their repression – retaliating with massive demonstrations supported by male allies. On February 13, 2013 the brutal murder of a 17-year-old girl, who was gang-raped, mutilated and left to die, sparked a national outcry in South Africa. A radio station concretely demonstrated the rate at which rapes occur there by beeping every 4 minutes. The list goes on. In the U.S. we have not joined the global protests. The recent murder of Hadiya Pendleton and the killings of children in Newtown have not resulted in mass protests. Instead, we are having trouble passing legislation limiting arms sales and registering gun owners. We are also having trouble passing the Violence Against Women Act! Why? Considering the state of women globally, one has reason to despair – but we also have reason to hope. Pakistani activist The connections between Malala Yousafzai has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel and among women are Peace Prize by 3 members of the Norwegian parliament from the most feared, the most the ruling Labor Party. Efforts in other countries are pushing problematic, and the most the nomination forward. That such a young woman, a girl, really, can rally such support is hopeful. Maybe, in time, we potentially transforming will achieve peace and el anuncio will come to pass. force on the planet. March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. It’s past –Adrienne Rich time to make violence against women history. – Gloria A. Ramírez, editor ATTENTION VOZ READERS: If you have a correction you want to make on your mailing label please send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not wish to continue on the mailing list for whatever reason please notify us as well. 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. 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.
Still Aint Satisfied, an excerpt by Urvashi Vaid
n acquaintance baited me with a question at a dinner party not long ago. “So, is the movement over?” she asked loudly.
right to live an undisturbed private life. From an exploration of queer difference, the movement has turned into a cheerleading squad for LGBT sameness. In my lifetime, LGBT organizations have moved away from actively working for reproductive justice, which lesbians, bisexuals, progressive gay men, and transgender people fought for throughout the 1970s and 1980s; challenging racism, which was a central plank at the first national March on Washington in 1979; and working for economic justice, which was reflected in the pro-union coalition-building done by Harvey Milk and activists in the late 1970s, in the Coors beer boycott, and in queer alliances with the United Farm Workers. No longer would we find a nationally organized LGBT presence at a major anti-war rally, as we saw at the 1981 demonstration against the war in El Salvador. Few LGBT organizations are engaged in articulating a new urban policy, seeking a more effective response to homelessness and poverty, or using their clout in the service of universal health care. Today’s mainstream LGBT movement is strangely silent on the broader social-justice challenges facing the world, oddly complacent in its acceptance of racial, gender, and economic inequalities, and vocal only in its challenge to the conditions facing a white, middle-class conception of the “status queer.” This impoverishment of ambition and idealism is a strategic error. It misunderstands the challenge queer people pose to the status quo. It shamefully avoids the responsibility that a queer movement must take to advocate for all segments of LGBT communities. And it is deluded in its belief that legal, deeply symbolic acts of recognition—like admission into traditional institutions such as marriage—are actually acts of transformation that will end the rejection and marginalization of LGBT people. Without a broader definition of equality, the LGBT politics currently pur-
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I was surprised by her contemptuous tone. But because I didn’t want to embarrass my hostesses, I demurred: “Gosh, what do you mean over? Not in my mind.” “You know, now that we have won marriage,” she said. “It’s over, done, right?” We were dining in Massachusetts, so she was marginally correct about marriage. The question was being asked by a lesbian who had impeccable civil-rights credentials; while not an active participant in the LGBT movement, she had long been an ally. She had grown skeptical of the movement’s commitment to anything but a narrow version of equal rights. It was a revealing moment. Several months later, I found myself listening, and protesting politely, as a major gay power broker told me that when his state legalized marriage equality, that state’s gay-rights agenda would be done. In places where marriage equality has already been achieved and opposition to it has retreated, political disagreement has arisen about remaining goals. In March, New York state’s gay lobby even fired the executive director who steered the coalition win on marriage. The given reason was that he had not articulated a clear vision and was not meeting fundraising objectives; the subtext was a dispute about the group’s agenda going forward. The fact is that LGBT people differ in their views about the society they are fighting to achieve, about the forces arrayed against the full acceptance of LGBT people and, therefore, about when the movement will in fact be successful. In my book Virtual Equality, written more than 17 years ago, I argued that if the LGBT movement ignored the broader and structural dynamics of racism, economic exploitation, gender inequity, and cultural freedom, it would accomplish what other civil-rights movements in America have—a partial, conditional simulacrum called equal rights. We would attain a state of virtual equality that would grant legal and formal equal rights to LGBT people but would not transform the institutions of society that repress sexual, racial, and gender difference. The formal, largely legal measures of equality that the LGBT movement has pursued over the past two decades have become far less substantive than what it sought in the 1970s and 1980s. From a movement demanding that LGBT people be able to live a public life in a world in which queer sexualities are not only tolerated but celebrated, the movement now seeks the much narrower
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sued will yield only a conditional equality, one that will always be contingent upon “good behavior.” The argument here should not be misinterpreted. Equality matters, and legal rights, including the freedom to marry, are meaningful in the lives of LGBT people. Policy wins for LGBT equal rights in the U.S. have been dramatic and significant in the past few years. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy was repealed, overcoming decades of deep resistance. New state and local anti-discrimination ordinances have been enacted, defended, and expanded. Advances in court cases and state legislatures toward marriage equality were bolstered by the Justice Department’s decision not to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act. States have passed bills to address bullying in schools and to add transgender people to existing civil-rights laws. Outside the legislatures, arguments promoting greater acceptance of LGBT people have advanced within some religious denominations, reflecting strong shifts in public opinion toward acceptance across all parts of the cultural and ideological spectrum. A growing number of governments around the world now stand strongly for LGBT rights. In December 2011, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights issued its first report on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the U.N. Human Rights Council this March could not have been more direct: “To those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, let me say: You are not alone. … Any attack on you is an attack on the universal values the United Nations and I have sworn to defend and uphold. Today, I stand with you, and I call upon all countries and people to stand with you, too. … We must tackle the violence, decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships, ban discrimination, and educate the public. The time has come.’’ Belatedly, but boldly, the U.S. has stepped up its public advocacy for including sexual orientation and gender identity in human-rights policies and practices. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s extraordinary speech at the Human Rights Council on December 6, 2011, set a new high-water mark for U.S. foreign policy. “Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human,” she said. “And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” This progress is an amazing story—one to which I have dedicated 30 years, so far. But winning these battles for equal rights is not the same as winning a new world, which once was, and should again be, the LGBT movement’s objective. There are three major differences between an LGBT movement focused narrowly on equal rights and one focused more broadly on justice. First, a social justice–focused movement would understand the lesson of history from the experience of our sister social movements: that equal rights represent the starting line of our struggle, not the end point. Formal legal equality—and even progress toward greater cultural recognition of one’s humanity— can be achieved while leaving larger structural manifestations of inequality and deep cultural prejudice intact. After the passage of the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, the civilrights leader A. Philip Randolph observed that the movement suffered from the “curse of victory” in which equal rights had been achieved but “blacks still were not equal in fact.” Formal equal rights were a crucial first step; next had to come the struggle for black empowerment, freedom, and respect. The achievement of
civil rights made the gap between formal and substantive equality even clearer. Similarly, by the late 1980s, the women’s movement had won many of the formal legal gains it sought, despite the failure of the federal Equal Rights Amendment. These achievements created opportunities for women, and over time they changed many cultural attitudes. However, 30-plus years later, formal equality for women has not removed the glass ceiling for women in top jobs, not transformed women’s role in families, and not produced equal pay for equal work—men still earn $1.22 to every dollar a woman earns, and the disparity only increases when race is considered. Nor has it brought an end to violence against women by producing a new respect for women. As the legal scholar and activist Dean Spade writes, declarations of legal equality by the state “leave in place the conditions that actually produce the disproportionate poverty, criminalization, imprisonment, deportation, and violence trans [and LGBT] people face while papering it over with a veneer of fairness.” Equal rights and equal protection can be granted without disturbing many of the hierarchies, institutions, or traditions that perpetuate the idea that LGBT difference is unnatural, immoral, wrong, or harmful to society. A movement focused on justice would engage the underlying systems of gender conformity, religious disenfranchisement, and political domination that reproduce LGBT inequality culturally even as it is outlawed legally. Second, a more ambitious movement would fight for economic justice alongside legal rights. Equality as it is currently articulated in the LGBT movement has been emptied of its redistributive content and represents a politics of compliance with liberal capitalism rather than a critique of the exclusions the system perpetuates. Yet a growing amount of data shows the great economic range of experiences to be found within LGBT communities. In recent groundbreaking reports, several leading think tanks—the Williams Institute at UCLA, the Movement Advancement Project, the Center for American Progress (CAP), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Center for Transgender Equality—have shown that poverty in the LGBT community is at least as common as poverty in the broader world. Just as in that broader world, it burdens people of color disparately. Median household income for LGBT people ranges from $35,000 in the poorest states to $65,000 in wealthier ones. LGBT families are twice as likely to live in poverty as are heterosexual families. Disparities in access to health insurance are dramatic, with CAP estimating that 43 percent of transgender people lack health insurance, as do 23 percent of LGBT people. Transgender people experience double the rate of unemployment as the general population and are four times more likely to live in poverty. African American people in same-sex couples and same-sex couples who live in rural areas are much more likely to be poor than white or urban same-sex couples. Anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of homeless youth are estimated to be LGBT. An LGBT equality politics that ignores this economic context is in the end a politics of exclusion. Third, a justice movement would not allow racial justice and gender issues to drop out of the LGBT political and policy agenda. The definition of “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” or “transgender” in the current mainstream movement, unconsciously (or consciously) refers mostly to white people and often really refers to white gay men. How else can one explain the movement’s silence on issues that have a clear and disproportionate impact on LGBT
people of color? How else can one explain the lack of racial and even gender representation on the governing boards and in the leadership of mainstream LGBT organizations? I’ve often been told that fighting racism is the job of another movement, not ours—that race may be important, but we need to focus on LGBT issues alone. Adding race would make our agenda too big. Similarly, I’ve been told that the women’s movement is where lesbians, bisexual women, and trans women should deal with issues like income inequality, violence against women, and attacks on women’s liberty through invasive regulation of reproduction. It’s time to stop making excuses and change practices. The mainstream LGBT agenda must address race and gender because
right wing’s attacks on Planned Parenthood, defending an organization that provides urgent primary health care to many poor women and kids. To broaden their agendas, the major LGBT organizations— like the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force—must become more representative of the diversity of queer America in their missions, programs, and composition. They also must become more democratic. Beyond writing a check or filling out a survey, there are limited mechanisms for participation in these groups. This has led to institutions acting in ways that are not in sync with some parts of their claimed community, while being overly responsive to others. Leaders will privately tell you that they spend most of their time courting, listening to, and worrying about people from whom they are generating resources for their organizational budgets. What is amazing is how few people these donors actually represent. Of an estimated 8.7 million LGBT people in the U.S., approximately 3 percent are donors to LGBT organizations, according to the Movement Advancement Project. Fewer than 12,500 people gave more than $1,000 to 37 of the largest LGBT groups in 2010. Because such a small number of people donate to LGBT organizations, those who give a large amount have a hugely disproportionate effect on the attention of LGBT institutional leaders. Last year, on a panel at which I spoke, the facilitator asked whether the panelists believed that the LGBT movement stands at some new “tipping point.” We all did the dance of equivocation: Yes, we said, we are in some ways. But we don’t like that frame, because there is no one magical point at which things tip over and gay nirvana emerges. The history of social movements is not about tipping points; it is about turning points—moments that present new challenges, offer new choices, or open up possibilities that hard work or some fortuitous and unplanned action created. History is made by actions taken, choices seized. Such a turning point faces the LGBT movement as its equality agenda succeeds. We have an opportunity to turn away from an ever-narrowing understanding of LGBT freedom and an isolationist form of LGBT politics. We also have the chance to avoid missteps by other social movements that have journeyed to a dead end of equal rights in an increasingly unjust world. Queer activists have an opportunity to renew a focus on a safer and saner world for all, on contributing solutions to the big problems—economic injustice, environmental degradation, structural racism, gender rigidity and its consequences, and undemocratic power. The choice to challenge the status quo at its deepest roots will ultimately protect LGBT people the most. o
A re-formed LGBT movement focused
on social justice would commit itself to one truth: that not all LGBT people
are white or well-off. It might
consider adopting the principle of
“No Queer Left Behind.”
Bio: Urvashi Vaid is a community organizer, writer and attorney who has been a leader in the LGBT and social justice movements for nearly three decades. | Note: Article previously published in May 2012 issue of American Prospect. Reprinted by permission of the author.
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they produce harsh differences in the lived experience of white and brown and black people in America and because sexism remains a structural reality—both within and outside the LGBT community. A re-formed LGBT movement focused on social justice would commit itself to one truth: that not all LGBT people are white or well-off. It might consider adopting the principle of “No Queer Left Behind.” To transform into a social-justice movement, LGBT organizations would have to broaden the definition of what they see as a “gay” issue. Marriage activists, for instance, would continue to fight fiercely for the freedom to marry but also for the right of all people to have health insurance, regardless of marital status. The movement would support a family-policy agenda that recognized and strengthened social supports for single-parent or grandparentled families, instead of seeking protections only for gay versions of the nuclear family. It would challenge the racism, sexism, and transphobia of criminal-justice systems, along with the overpolicing of communities of color and harassment of sexual and gender non-conforming people. It would address violence against women. It would work to combat sexual assault and trafficking. It could also expand its focus on bullied schoolchildren, adding a challenge to racial biases in the administration of student discipline. It could become a major voice in the campaign against sexual abuse of young people. It could use its political clout and capital in the service of reproductive freedom and help resist the
So close to by Nadine Saliba
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“I said: Where are you taking me? He said: Toward the beginning, where you were born.”2
HUDUD. Borders, both physical and symbolic, have been a central reference point that I have had to negotiate, struggle with, cross, pass, trespass, transgress, reject, embrace and defy at different points in my life. Even the union that begat me, was a marriage made across state borders. My Syrian mother crossed national borders into Lebanon to wed my father – my very Lebanese father, and incidentally a history teacher - whom she doesn’t tire of teasingly reminding that Lebanon used to be a part of Greater Syria before the colonialist powers - al-Isti’mar – divided the area and subjected its nascent nations to their control. After my parents married, they lived in the seaport city of Tripoli, located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea in North Lebanon. Tripoli is often endearingly referred to as al-Faihaa – the Fragrant One. The adjective Faihaa comes from the Arabic verb faha, which means the diffusion of smell. The city was famous for its orange orchards. During the blooming season, the air carries the fragrance of the orange blossoms, filling the city and its suburbs with a splendid smell. This was the city in which I was born. Tripoli is an ancient city dating back to the 14th Century BC. It was fought over, conquered and swallowed by the expanding borders and frontiers of many an empire in ancient and modern times. The city was a major Phoenician port before it was successively controlled by the Assyrian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and a succession of Arab and Muslim empires - briefly interrupted by a period of Crusader rule. Tripoli, like the rest of the region to which it belongs, is the site of a multitude of cultures and civilizations that passed through, everyone leaving part of itself behind. I come from a part of the world whose identity was never shut-down and sealedoff and whose culture is intertwined with the myriad currents and countercurrents
the border… that make up human history, a history that contains its fair share of religious wars and imperial conquests, but is also rife with waves of cultural exchange and cross-fertilization. I was born to a city with a rich but burdensome history. After world war one, France and Britain divided the Arab world creating the current borders that exist today. Tripoli was one of the victims of these changing borders imposed by foreign powers through war and conquest. Once an economic and commercial center with the pride of history and the splendor and record of a thriving city, it was wrenched from its natural environment by the new map makers, cut off from the Syrian interior with whom it had centuries-old economic, trade, cultural and social ties and annexed to Lebanon where it was systematically and consistently marginalized by a highly centralized state. Sociologists, political analysts and the records of the United Nations tell us that Tripoli today is the poorest city on the Mediterranean Sea with over half of its population living below the poverty line. This is the city I was born into but did not grow up in. I was a child when my father, fearing sectarian strife after the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war, decided to move us from Tripoli to his sleepy hometown. So I grew up in a small village called Kfarsaroun in el-Koura district squatting on a hill covered with olive groves, producing oil whose fame travelled beyond its borders to faraway lands. Even though my generation was far removed from the life of working the land, in my mind, the olive harvest and its rituals continued to set the rhythm of my life. To this day, the smell of freshly picked olives swaggers inside me, it owns me. Little did I know, that even before Palestine and its people entered my political consciousness, the olive tree was my visceral connection to Palestine then and before then… before time… when “Palestinian olive oil… pressed from trees that bore their first fruit when [my] Christ walked amongst them…”3 drenched my spirit. So I grew up in the countryside separated from Tripoli by a mere 30-minute drive and a stubborn sectarian divide. While many areas in Lebanon were physically cut off from each other during the war, the divide between a majority-Muslim Tripoli and a majority-Christian el-Koura was not a physical border, it was a state of mind. I am of a generation that was born with the war. … cont’d on pg 10
Cities as if Women Mattered: A Special Voz Series by Marisol Cortez
Mobilities, Crises and Removals
mobilities, and whose, have been given priority in the city’s historic development North at the expense of the urban core? Whose mobilities, and what kind, are given preference now in the plans to reinvest in downtown, whether we’re talking about bridges or parks or streetcars? Whose uses and rights of passage through urban space count, and who gets cut off or shut out or displaced? Who has a right to the city, and why? As I cross the bridge, as
Xochitl plays in front of our casita by the highway. Photo by Marisol Cortez
I pass under the highway--past sidewalk encampments, backed by chainlink fencing serving as impromptu clothes racks--I think about whose bike riding counts: the recreational riders able to afford bike rental from the B-cycle program? Or the day laborers who ride without helmet, against traffic, on their beat up mountain bikes? I think about the homeless man who helped us collect petition signatures opposing the city’s brewery deal and land sale last July 4th, before the fireworks display. A participant in a clinical trial, he was intimately familiar with the bridge, using it daily to walk back and forth from where he stayed on the Eastside to the trial downtown. When we explained the purpose of the petition to him, he immediately understood its implications for him as a foot traveler and as a poor person. Build the brewery, and the bridge would no longer function as a connector between Eastside and downtown. Not for people like him, or for the man who patrols the bridge in his wheelchair each evening, who lives at the base of the bridge. Build the brewery, and the bridge would instead become a destination for those with other kinds of mobility, traveling by car from other places, with cash to spend upon arrival. Not a bridge for inhabitants walking from point A to point B, but a bridge for visitors. Not a structure that facilitates historical memory, or deeper still, an ecological memory of the respiratory timescale that persists beneath the industrial landscape. Rather,
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live on the eastern periphery of downtown, literally on the access road of I-37 as it roars its way South of the Alamodome. Open my front door and there is the highway, the Tower to your right; to your left is the federal green sign that points you coastward, where I was born. Behind my house run the Union Pacific tracks. You can sit on my front stoop and twice yearly watch the fireworks bloom from the base of the Tower. You can sit at the writing desk that I pushed up to the window and gaze out across the highway to the Lavaca neighborhood on the other side, imagining that by unfocusing your eyes just so, you can suture the two neighborhoods back together, making whole what the highway split. Imagining that the respiratory timescale of trees and season persist, just perceptible, pulsing just below the skin of the highway with its line of cars blurring past, so constant as to be negligible. Almost. I moved into this little house of my uncle’s, east of downtown, when I came back home from Whose uses Kansas. Other neighborhoods have begun to change to the North and rights of and East of the Dome, but here on this street passage through and the streets behind, it’s still the barrio. urban space count, Just a matter of time, though. They’ve startand who gets cut ed to shut down my street for UTSA games at the Dome--my uncle off or shut out or and aunt and neighbors scrambling to scoop up displaced? Who the cash dropped for parking by impatient has a right to the fans, $20 or $30 per backyard spot--and I city, and why? wonder how long it will be before developers start buying up houses or pushing for eminent domain if they have to, like they did to build the interstate highway that serves as my front yard. When I can, I like to ride my bike to work. Lately, I’ve been using the Hays Street Bridge to get from the Eastside to downtown and beyond, and it’s gotten me thinking about mobilities, a term sociologists use to talk about the importance of flows-of goods, information, bodies, images, wastes--to the workings of power within post-industrial societies like ours. What kind of
a structure for harnessing the flow of capital, positioning the city within a global economic order. What are the longer historical forces behind the present trend toward privatizing public spaces like bridges and parks? This second segment of the series begins to provide an explanation, for my own desire to understand where I live and what I live amidst as much as for the community of readers. To that end, these next couple of segments run the risk of being a little didactic and dense, but with good reason: as I mentioned in my first article (February 2013 issue of La Voz), understanding why we fight over the fate of a house or a bridge requires an understanding of the deeper historical and sociological forces that shape urban space for some interests and not for others. When we understand this wider context, we are in a better position to understand why city efforts to redirect capital to the deindustrialized urban core, the “decade of downtown” called for by SA2020, often means displacement rather than revitalization, profit for developers rather than redistribution of wealth. In short, we see not a reversal of neglect and disenfranchisement, but the newest phase of its manifestation. Same wolf, different costume.
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Boom and Bust
Understanding the fight over the Hays Street Bridge as a land struggle first requires a basic understanding of the logic of capitalism as an economic system, as this logic makes up the most bigpicture set of limits within which cities make decisions about land use. While some of this information may feel a little like Marxism 101, it’s important to recognize (as I tell my students) that Marxist theory is one of the foundations of sociology, which emerged as a discipline in order to understand the new forms of social organization and inequality historically specific to industrialized societies. Far from being an ideological position, these early insights into the nature of capitalism continue to inform basic sociological understandings of structural inequality (racism, sexism, classism, colonialism, environmental injustice) in the 21st century. Here is how I’ve explained it to my students. Capitalism is not simply an economy based on money, but an economy based on commodification--what we might think of as “thingification.” Within capitalism, everything (nature, goods, human labor) is reduced to the status of a thing, an object capable of exchange between buyer and seller. Exchanged for what? Not for other useful things, but for a surplus--profit--which can then be reinvested to produce more profit the next go round. Carrots are produced not to eat directly or to trade for potatoes to eat, but to maximize the production of a surplus that can be used to produce more carrots, ad infinitum. It’s not that carrots can’t still be eaten, but that this is no longer the point of the system. The value of carrots as something that satisfies a human need is secondary to their value as things useful in maximizing profit for those who control the process of producing them. Two other familiar fea-
tures of capitalism as an economic system are important here. The first is class society, or the inherently unequal balance of power between those who control the process of production (the land, machines, and factories involved in making stuff) and those who do not, and who consequently are forced to work for wages in the employ of those who own. Although Marx was clearly writing in a very different historical context, in which divisions between owners and workers was much more simple and stark, recent attention to the 99% versus the 1% continues to capture the reality that while capitalism as a system produces vast wealth, this wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very few, both within the U.S. and globally. According to Marx, this is because profit comes from an appropriation of the wealth that workers produce above and beyond their wages--but also, significantly, from an appropriation of the commons (land, air, water as resources and waste sinks) as “free” gifts of nature. The second feature of the system important to this discussion is the set of contradictions inherent to the capitalist logic of “grow or die,” manifesting as a boom-and-bust pattern of repeated crises. Some of these contradictions are socioeconomic, as we have seen with the housing market collapse and, arguably, the fracking boom south of SA. Here, boom conditions (like the discovery of natural gas deposits trapped in shale) lead to speculative reinvestment of profit, which produces a ‘bubble,’ or an artificially inflated set of market conditions. Eventually the bubble bursts; eventually, the continual reinvestment of surplus to produce more surplus leads to a crisis of overaccumulation: too much surplus with no way to reinvest it, no further potential for profit. This is the point at which companies pull out of once-impoverished communities, leaving them impoverished once more; at which the stock market crashes and unemployment spikes, at which the housing market collapses and an epidemic of foreclosures ensues. And some of the contradictions of capitalism are ecological, in that an economy geared toward infinite growth bumps up against the finite nature of its resource base--as we see with the current climate destabilization produced by a carbon-intensive industrial economy that needs to blow off the tops of mountains, or transport tarsands crude from Native lands in Canada to the cancer-stricken neighborhoods of the Houston Ship Channel, all to keep the whole thing going just a little while longer. What do these inherent tendencies toward social inequality, ecological destruction, and boom and bust have to do with land use decisions within cities? As urban geographer David Harvey explains, urbanization has historically functioned to regulate crises of accumulation by absorbing and disposing of surplus. What this means is that when bubbles have burst, building and tearing down and rebuilding urban infrastructure has been one way that governments have attempted to regulate crises of overaccumulation and unemployment (war is another). Or, as stated more simply by historian Dolores Hayden, “home building [becomes] as a business strategy for economic recovery” (2002, 39). This is not a new pro-
and West sides, while intentional investment in new growth on the Northside has starved these sides of town of funds, basic services and infrastructure. At the same time, investment to the North has encouraged sprawl that threatens the aquifer that provides water to the entire city. As Hayden argues, the two-tier housing policy also significantly impacted how cities were designed and what they were designed for. In the mid-20th century, “the suburbanization of the United States was not merely a matter of new infrastructures. … [I]t also entailed a radical transformation in lifestyles, bringing new products from housing to refrigerators and air conditioners, as well as two cars in the driveway and an enormous consumption of oil” (Harvey 2008, 27). As highways were built and cities rescaled, urban planners increasingly designed urban space for cars, and hence for the auto- and petroindustries. But the advent of “automobility” has had vast implications not only for public health and the wellbeing of the global environment, but for possibilities of creating and sustaining public life within urban spaces. In part, this is because highway construction and urban renewal programs have often meant the decimation of intact neighborhoods and Cartoon by Stephanie McMillan, whose radical comix can be found @ stephaniemcmillan.org community serving businesses; according to Gihan Perera of the Miami Workers’ Center, since the 1960s urban renewal programs Urban Renewal = Black and Mexican Removal have undertaken the removal of 1600 black neighborhoods around In the United States, the economic changes brought about by the country (Tides Foundation 2007, 8). In downtown San Antonio, mid-20th century urbanization and suburbanization have been in- urban renewal meant the displacement of an estimated 1200 resiseparable from histories of racial segregation. As Hayden writes, dences by HemisFair Park and the economic segregation of both “postwar suburbs represented the deliberate intervention of the Eastside and Westside by the construction of I-37 and I-35. But the federal government into the financing of single-family housing threat to democratic public life arises also in the attempted soluacross the nation. For the first time, the federal government pro- tion to these histories of inner city neglect, which too frequently vided massive aid directed to developers. [B]ankers, real estate means the privatization of central city plazas, parks, and spaces, brokers, builders, and manufacturers … lobbied for government rather than true public investment in the most vulnerable neighsupport for private development of small homes to boost con- borhoods and residents. In the context of historical disinvestment, “wholesale gentrification is then seen as revitalization. Frequently, sumption” (39). However, people of color were largely excluded from this push however, this means existing residents are priced out and poverty toward subsidized homeownership, through segregationist prac- migrates elsewhere” (19). Understanding these more recent dynamics as the backdrop to tices in mortgage guarantees (ensured by the Veterans’ Adminiscurrent struggles over public lands at Hays Street and Hemisfair tration for white male veterans only), redlining (refusal by banks (aka The Park Formerly Known as HemisFair) requires an underand insurance companies to extend home loans to residents of parstanding of the global transition to neoliberal forms of capitalticular areas of the city), and racial restrictions within suburbs. As ism, as this transition has informed how city governments make white flight populated the suburbs, the flight of jobs and capital decisions about local land uses. It also requires understanding the away from the urban core prompted by urban renewal meant, efparticular character of privatization occurring--more often via the fectively, a policy of urban disinvestment, which created poverty civil, reasonable-sounding public-private partnership than via the that was not only spatially concentrated but also racialized. brutality of eminent domain. Next month, then, we tackle Hays Hayden calls this a “two-tier” housing policy, where “cramped Street and Hemisfair in the context of what scholars call “neolibmulti-family housing for the poor would be constructed by public eral urbanism.” Stay tuned! o authorities, while more generous single-family housing for white, male-headed families would be constructed by private developers Bio: Marisol Cortez attempts to inhabit the impossible interstices bewith government support. This policy disadvantaged women and tween academic and activist worlds. She works primarily on issues of people of color, as well as the elderly and people of low incomes” environmental justice as a creative writer, community organizer and (41). In San Antonio, racially restricted housing covenants pushed liberation sociologist. Email her with thoughts at cortez.marisol@ the city’s majority brown and black residents to the South, East, gmail.com. cess historically. Harvey points out that in mid-19th c. Paris, the urban planner George-Eugene Haussmann headed a massive public works project that absorbed “huge quantities of labour and capital by the standards of the time and, coupled with suppressing the aspirations of the Parisian workforce, was a primary vehicle of social stabilization” (2008, 26). Closer to home, urbanization (and war) helped pull the U.S. out of the Great Depression in the mid-20th century, with the construction of the interstate highway system and the flight of capital from the downtown core to the suburbs fostering the geographic expansion of cities. This was an era of what Harvey and others have called monopoly capitalism: think the stable, unionized factory jobs of Detroit that have become a thing of the past in a more recent era of deindustrialization and outsourcing.
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So close to the border… cont’d from pg 6
Nadine leaning on a pine tree.
And so I realized that my story began not in 1975 with the Lebanese war, not in 1967 with my mother and her family’s displacement from their home in the Syrian Golan LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • March 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 2•
Heights by the Israeli
occupation, not even in 1948 with the Palestinian Nakba . . . The story begins in 1492 because Palestine is a metaphor for exile,
Adults often referred to us simply as the “war generation.” You could hear the pity in their voices whenever they uttered those words because, as they put it, we did not know our country except at war. All wars are disastrous and tragic but there is no war more devastating and ruinous, more tragic than a civil war, and no conflict uglier than a sectarian one, because nothing is more painful than to see communal hatreds tearing apart the social fabric of your country. I couldn’t wait to grow up and vomit all of it, all that I had been witness to. Perhaps that was my first border crossing. Moving to San Antonio, it did not take me long to realize that I left one borderland to another. Place is emotion and every geography in my atlas has been a source of pain. How closely does today’s bleeding border resemble yesterday’s. “The US-Mexico border es una herida abierta (an open wound),” said Mexican American writer Gloria Anzaldua, “where the third world grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms, it hemorrhages again the life blood of two worlds, merging to form a third country, a border culture.” And so I realized that my story began not in 1975 with the Lebanese war, not in 1967 with my mother and her family’s displacement from their home in the Syrian Golan Heights by the Israeli occupation, not even in 1948 with the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) whose reverberations did not spare surrounding nations such as Lebanon and Syria. I realized that the story began in 1492, the date of Columbus’ voyage that destroyed the Native American world. The story begins in 1492 because Palestine is a metaphor for exile, grief, dislocation and dispossession everywhere. It is a metaphor for every story of uprootedness, obliteration and displacement, because we read the Palestinian narrative within a universal context of postcolonial tragedies and an indictment of the erasure of indigenous cultures and of settler colonialism in the “new world” too. Confronted with the bulldozers of history, as Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish said, both literal and metaphorical, what do we do? The literal bulldozers demolish homes and orchards and confiscate lands as they do in Palestine and as they do, even now, along the US-Mexico border to build walls. The metaphorical bulldozer is the discursive absence, the ongoing obliteration and exile of the native, enforced by the master narrative and a triumphalist historiography. Darwish summons the voice of the Trojan poet. He says: “We’ve listened to the Greek mythology… I’m looking for the poet of Troy, because Troy didn’t tell its story.” Our narratives are a form of literary resistance against the intellectual genocide that takes place in the triumphalist discourse of the master narrative, emptied of the voice of the victims, “refugees: guests of the wind.”4 We summon the power of words to document our people’s fortunes and misfortunes, to excavate our memories and offer our narratives, defiant against our erasure because we insist on our “share in tomorrow’s memory.” We are chroniclers of our people’s stories, rescuers of our memories. That is our resistance, and our resilience. o
grief, dislocation and
This essay was read at the Transcultural Poetry Reading that was part of the Women & Fair Trade Festival in Austin, Texas organized by Tan Cerca de La Frontera (www.atcf.org/) on December 2, 2012.
Bio: Nadine Saliba, an Arab American activist born in Lebanon, lives in San Antonio, TX with her family. Photo of Nadine courtesy of the Saliba family.
Trascendencias Works by Liliana Wilson
Opening Reception: Friday, March 8, 2013 6-7:30 p.m. On Exhibit March 8-April 3, 2013 @ University of the Incarnate Word Gallery hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Semmes Gallery/Dougherty Fine Arts Center/1st Floor 4301 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas
su señoría Sonia Sotomayor nos abre su corazón
uando la jueza de la Suprema Corte estuvo en Austin para promover su autobiografía Mi mundo adorado (Knopf, 2012) el miércoles 23 de enero de 2013, tuvo la gentileza de conceder una entrevista exclusiva a ¡ahora sí!. Lucía muy guapa en la suite de su hotel con su vestido beige y marrón y una chaqueta anaranjada, zapatos de tacón tipo leopardo. De origen puertorriqueño y apenas la tercera mujer en llegar al tribunal supremo de la nación, Sotomayor no ha olvidado sus raíces.
¿Siente que quedó bien la traducción al español, con su voz? Fue un trabajo enorme, que la traducción saliera junto con el inglés, pero era muy, muy importante para mí. La traductora (Eva Ibarzabal) hizo un buen trabajo pero, y sin quitarle nada a ella, uno no puede olvidar la ayuda de Exevior Romero Mata y su esposa Lynn. Los dos se criaron en Puerto Rico, son masters del inglés y conocen mi voz y fueron ellos quienes hicieron este español puertorriqueño, la voz mía. Me dicen muchas amistades mías que han leído el libro en español que hay palabras puertorriqueñas que ellos no conocen. Pero era importante porque todos hablamos un poquito diferente. Pero este libro es de una puertorriqueña. Yo creo que cualquier persona que lea este libro en inglés va a tener la misma experiencia
que tiene cualquier persona que lo lea en español, y eso es raro…Son las cosas pequeñas pero importantes. La frase del poema que inspira el título del libro, “Mi mundo adorado”, tan bonito de Gautier, la vida del exiliado, de tener ganas de regresar al país natal, ¿se jubilaría para ir a vivir en Puerto Rico? Ahora más nunca podría. Tengo un trabajo para el resto de mi vida, ser juez para la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos. Es el único trabajo en Estados Unidos., ser juez federal, que la Constitución dice que tenemos un trabajo para el resto de la vida. Es la única posición de este tipo. Así que vivir en Puerto Rico ya quedó fuera. Pero lo sigue añorando, el cariño… El cariño siempre lo tendré todavía como ese poeta estaba hablando, siempre uno tiene en su corazón ese amor tremendo, ya sea una canción, un poema, un momento que alguien diga algo que abre la memoria de uno, a lo que era bueno de la vida que tenía…, a mí me hace muy alegre. ¿Cuál es el obstáculo más grande hoy en día, sobre todo para los inmigrantes recientes, para que sus experiencias, sus voces sean valoradas en la sociedad de Estados Unidos? El miedo. El miedo a tratar cosas nuevas, el miedo de ponerse uno en una posición de peligro. Es el obstáculo más grande de todas las personas, la inseguridad, y yo en este libro hablo abiertamente de todas las mías. Ahora para los inmigrantes, es más difícil, que no tienen sus papeles, las consecuencias de fallar son enormes. Y en eso no tengo palabras de ayuda porque no hay, menos hablar con sus vecinos, con sus amistades que son ciudadanos y que ellos hablen por ellos, y exigirles que sean parte del movimiento que hay para cambiar esas leyes que no les gusten. Porque esa es la responsabilidad de cada ciudadano, de no dejar que las cosas le pasen a uno, pero que uno participe directamente en cambiar lo que no le gusta y en eso que los latinos
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¡ahora sí! ¿Qué consejo tiene para nuestras madres, hermanas, esposas, parientes y amigas latinas que no hayan obtenido el nivel de educación que deseaban para sí mismas? Nunca es demasiado tarde. Cuando lean mi libro verán que mi madre soñaba con convertirse en una enfermera certificada y de hecho lo estaba pensando el año en que murió mi papá. Luego, cuando él murió ella tuvo que criarnos sola. Después, cuando mi hermano y yo estábamos en la preparatoria… regresó al colegio comunitario. Fue un gran ejemplo para nosotros. Ahora, eso puede ser muy difícil para algunas latinas. Aquellas que están trabajando a tiempo completo… Pero la educación no sólo es la escuela. Puede significar leer más para mejorarse a uno mismo, puede ser pasar tiempo con sus hijos, aprendiendo las cosas que ellos están aprendiendo y que tú no sabías, puede ser tomar parte de un fin de semana para escuchar una conferencia especial sobre un tema que te interese, a veces puede ser mirar a tu alrededor y ver si hay alguien que esté haciendo algo interesante y preguntarle sobre ello. Ese es mi consejo, nunca es demasiado tarde.
Por Liliana Valenzuela, ¡ahora sí!
hasta recientemente no lo hacían. En estos años más recientes lo están haciendo más y creo que están viendo que cuando lo hace,n sí que pueden cambiar las cosas. Yo estoy en una parte grande, en esta corte suprema, por el apoyo que recibí, nos sólo de los puertorriqueños, pero de los latinos en todo el país. No había un grupo de latinos, ni menos los mexicanos porque ellos se pararon en seguidita y se fueron al frente de la línea a ayudar y por eso yo tengo un agradecimiento tremendo. Y dicen, no lo digo yo pero lo dice el resto del mundo, que tuvimos una parte muy grande en la elección reciente. El poder de votar es enorme. ¿Notó durante la ceremonia de inauguración cómo la gente le aplaudía? Es usted la estrella de rock de la Suprema Corte? No lo creo, pero me emocionó mucho. Sabes, ese recibimiento tan cálido te sacude y, obviamente, te calienta el corazón. Porque la gente se reconoce en usted, es una de nosotros… ¡De eso mismo se trata mi libro! Para que la gente comprenda lo mucho que realmente soy como ellos.
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Fue tan valiente de usted dejar en claro sus vulnerabilidades, inseguridades, para que la gente sepa que es humana… Exactamente, y si yo pude, tú también puedes. Nunca quiero que cualquier niño que me conozca no tenga esa sensación y espero que este libro, que los niños y jóvenes lo lean, pero que sientan eso al final.
Dice en el libro que paso a paso, dando pasitos pequeños se logran muchas cosas Exacto, había un saying que vi hace poquito pero el saying no estaba right pero ahorita le explico por qué, un sign que vi en una tienda que dice “Aim for the moon. If you miss you’ll land among the stars”. [Trata de alcanzar la luna. Si no lo logras, caerás entre las estrellas]. Y pensé, caray, ese letrero es el resumen perfecto de mi vida. Pero yo fui más allá de la luna, ¿ok? (Ríe). Pero está bien tratar de llegar a la luna, porque aún si no logras alcanzar ese sueño, llegarás a otro lugar mejor, y esa es la idea de paso a paso. Ahora, la razón por la cual debo tener cuidado con ese letrero es que un amigo me dijo cuando me escuchó hablar de ello, el letrero está mal, las estrellas están más lejos que la luna. Así que tengo que tener cuidado, “Si tratas de alcanzar la luna, caerás en un asteroide o en algún sitio…” Hubo mucho alboroto acerca de la cita de la “latina sabia (wise latina)” hace mucho tiempo. ¿Se siente más sabia ahora, después de cuatro años en la Suprema Corte, o cómo ha madurado su sentido de la justicia? No creo que usaría esos adjetivos. Lo que diría es que me siento más enriquecida. He madurado tanto como persona al escribir este libro y como jueza durante el poco tiempo que estado en la corte. Sabes, durante mi primer año en la Suprema Corte tuve una
conversación con el juez Steven, en que yo le hacía un cumplido sobre una opinión qué él había redactado, le dije, ‘Me desespera, John, que nunca voy a poder hacer algo tan brillante como esto’. Y el me dijo, ‘Sonia, nadie nace juez. Tienes todas las habilidades básicas, lo haces muy bien y sólo vas a seguir mejorando’. Y no puedo decirte lo mucho que me consoló que me dijera eso, con todas las inseguridades que tenía en mi primer año, el consuelo maravilloso que recibí ese año es que cada día, uno crece y madura. Y el libro menciona que la lección más importante que he aprendido en mi vida es que ser un estudiante todos los días de tu vida es algo maravilloso. Es una gran responsabilidad, ser juez, podría ser intimidante… Pero eso es cierto de todos los trabajos. Si no tienes miedo, entonces creo que podrías tener demasiado ego. Así que hay que tener un poco de humildad, de saber que cada trabajo nuevo representa un desafía y tener cuidado de no sentirse demasiado confiado. Con la suficiente confianza para saber que lo vas a trabajar, lo vas a solucionar, pero no demasiada como para no apreciar que cada camino tiene sus dificultades. Siente que ahora que ha sido jueza de la Suprema Corte basa más sus opiniones en la experiencia personal o en una interpretación más técnica de la ley. ¿Dónde está el equilibrio hoy en día? El problema es que juzgar no es tan blanco y negro como cree la gente. Pero uno no puede basar sus juicios sólo en la experiencia, porque eso no es convincente…Uno no trabaja solo, y si les digo a mis ocho colegas (de la Suprema Corte), ‘voy a votar así porque me da la gana’, te van a mirar y te van a decir, ‘¿Y qué?’ y con toda razón. Así que no es la experiencia personal como se imagina la gente. Hay que recordar que en cada caso, cuando votas por un lado, haz hecho que otra persona pierda. Y aunque a ti personalmente te caiga bien el lado que ganó, la persona que perdió va a sentir que se cometió una gran injusticia, y eso es lo peor en el mundo, que alguien que pierda salga de allí pensando que eres un juez injusto, con prejuicios y que no sentiste su dolor….Por eso creo que lo que el público piensa sobre juzgar es algo muy distinto a lo que hacemos. ¿Cree que habrá justicia real para las mujeres algún día? Hemos dado algunos pasos en esa dirección, pero habrá un día en que realmente tendremos pago igual para trabajo igual o que las mujeres recibirán toda la protección de la ley? Eso espero. Pero no creo que uno llegue allí con sólo desearlo. Todavía necesitamos a los pioneros que sigan allanando los caminos hacia la igualdad de género y raza, necesitamos que la gente se dé cuenta de que todavía no hemos llegado, que falta mucho por hacer. El hecho de que las mujeres de hoy todavía ganen considerablemente menos que los hombres en el mismo
puesto debe decirnos algo, que algo está fundamentalmente mal en la estructura del sistema, y lo mismo va para las distintas razas. Los latinos hoy en día están muy mal según algunos barómetros básicos, tenemos la tasa más elevada de deserción escolar, somos el grupo menos educado junto con los indígenas americanos… Todavía tenemos mucho por hacer, así que tenemos que seguir trabajando para lograrlo. Y si lo hacemos, sí podemos lograrlo, sí, pero hay que hacerse cargo de ello. Y tengo que decir, que sí nos hemos hecho cargo, porque el progreso que hemos hechos es por esos líderes, pero no podemos bajar la guardia. De todos los casos en su carrera, ¿hay algún caso o individuo que cambió su vida? El juez (de la Suprema Corte John) Stevens. Ese año de servicio junto a él me enseñó tanto sobre el valor que uno necesita para votar de la manera que uno cree que es correcto bajo la ley, aún si estás solo. Como con cualquier grupo, es importante alcanzar la unanimidad de ser posible, pero también es importante hablar y expresar un punto de vista distinto si crees que es lo correcto. Y observarlo me dio un poco de ese valor. Usted es una guerrera, siempre está en marcha. ¿Qué hace para desconectarse, para recargar las pilas? Lo primero que hago es llamar a un buen amigo/a y hago
de cenar. Me encanta guisar junto con amigos. Hago ejercicio, porque me gusta mucho hacerlo, me encanta andar en bicicleta, por cierto. Ya no salgo tanto como antes, una vez hasta anduve 100 millas en un día en la bici, pero hago ejercicio en la bicicleta estacionaria, en la máquina elíptica. Me encanta ir a ver danza (tanto clásica como moderna) y me encanta jugar al póquer. ¿Tiene otras maneras de expresar su creatividad? Uso mi creatividad en la profesión que escogí. Me encanta ser abogada y usar los poderes de persuasión para convencer a la gente. ¿Cuál es su galleta favorita de las girls scouts? La de menta, la acabo de ordenar para la oficina. Me encantan las samosas y hay una de mantequilla de cacahuate. No me las puedo comer, pero las compro para la oficina para que todos las disfruten. Porque tiene diabetes…Exacto. o Note: This interview was reprinted in La Voz with permission of ¡ahora si! An English version can be found at www.ahorasi.com Bio: Liliana Valenzuela es escritora y reportera de ¡ahora si! publicada en Austin, Texas. Vea: lilianavalenzuela.com
Chumash book is history and medicine
excerpted from Brenda Norrell/Censored News
She described the Chumash elder Khus, and co-author of Earth Wisdom, as a freedom fighter, medicine carrier and traditional ceremonial elder who will turn 80 years old this year (2012). She is an activist for the spiritual way of life and human rights. Khus fought Wal-Mart and Chevron in the battles to protect Chumash lands.
To protect Point Conception, Khus and other Chumash occupied the land for one year. The 1978 Point Conception Occupation was a turning point in Khus’s life, as she battled a new natural gas facility there. Chumash language is also now being revived by young people, who have tapes of the spoken Chumash. Broyles-Gonzalez quoted Khus about the Chumash language. “It flows in the rivers, it blows in the wind.” She described how Chevron polluted one Chumash canyon to the point where people could not live there anymore. For ten years Khus fought Chevron in meetings. It was the same type of gas plant that was responsible for the tragedy in Bhopal, India in 1984. Broyles-Gonzalez described the friendship formed between the two women before she wrote the book. They met when Broyles-Gonzalez arrived in the region and asked permission of the Chumash to enter their territory. Broyles-Gonzalez encouraged the Chumash to write their own stories, and for young people to tell their own stories. She quoted Khus about the stories that we hold in our bellies, which have a life of their own. “I am waiting for the stories to awaken,” Khus said. “We carry the stories in our belly.” “The stories have a life of their own.” b
Editor’s note: To read the complete article written in February, 2012 visit www. bsnorrell.blogspot. com Earth Wisdom: A California Chumash Woman can be ordered from the University of Arizona Press: www.uapress. arizona.edu/Books/ bid2300.htm
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aunching the book, Earth Wisdom: A California Chumash Woman, Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez spoke with the magic of a storyteller, as she shared the stories of Pilulaw Khus, elder of the Northern Chumash Bear Clan, and co-author of the book. Weaving beauty and truth, Broyles-Gonzalez spoke sharp words for the anthropologists who have attempted to divide and conquer the Chumash. She said the book opens the chasm of the violence and slavery that is part of California’s unspoken history, and it offers the solace of the balm of healing.
* community meetings *
Amnesty International #127 meets at various sites during the year. Contact Arthur Dawes at 210213-5919 for details. Anti-War Peace Vigil every Thursday (since 9/11/2001) from 4-5pm @ Flores & Commerce Contact Tim Duda at 210.822.4525 or email@example.com Bexar Co. Green Party firstname.lastname@example.org or call 210.471.1791. Celebration Circle meets Sundays, 11am @ JumpStart at Blue Star Arts Complex. Meditation, Weds @ 7:30 pm @ Quaker Meeting House, 7052 Vandiver. 210.533-6767 DIGNITY S.A. mass at 5:30 pm, Sun. @ Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church, 1101 W. Woodlawn. Call 210.735.7191. GLBT Wellness Support Group sponsored by PRIDE Center of SA meets 4th Mondays, 7-8:45pm @ Lions Field Club House, 2809 Broadway. Call 210.213.5919 for info Energia Mia meets every 3rd Saturday, 1pm @ Oblate School of Theology, 285 Oblate Dr. Call 210.849.8121 Fuerza Unida, 710 New Laredo, Hwy. 210.927.2297, www.lafuerzaunida.org
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Habitat for Humanity meets 1st Tues. for volunteer orientation, 6pm, HFHSA Office @ 311 Probandt.
S.A. International Woman’s Day March & Rally planning meetings are underway! Check www.sawomenwillmarch.org or 210.262.0654 LGBT Youth Group meets at MCC Church, 611 E. Myrtle on Sundays at 10:30am. 210.472.3597
Be Part of a
Metropolitan Community Church in San Antonio (MCCSA) 611 East Myrtle, has services & Sunday school @ 10:30am. Call 210.599.9289. PFLAG, meets 1st Thurs @ 7pm, 1st Unitarian Universalist Church, Gill Rd/Beryl Dr. Call 210.655.2383. PFLAG Español meets 1st Tuesdays @ 2802 W. Salinas, 7pm. Call 210.849.6315 Proyecto Hospitalidad Liturgy each Thursday at 7 pm at 325 Courtland. Call 210.736.3579. The Rape Crisis Center, 7500 US Hwy 90 W. Hotline @ 210.3497273. 210.521.7273 or email Drominishi@rapecrisis.com The Religious Society of Friends meets Sundays @ 10 am @ The Friends Meeting House, 7052 N. Vandiver. 210.945.8456. San Antonio’s Communist Party USA holds open meetings 3-5 pm 2nd Sundays at Westfall Branch Library, 6111 Rosedale Ct. Contact: email@example.com S.A. Gender Association meets 1st & 3rd Thursdays, 6-9pm @ 611 E. Myrtle, Metropolitan Community Church, downstairs. www.sagender.org Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center classes are on Tuesdays at 7pm, & Sun. at 11:30 am. 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 Contact 210.737.3138 or www.voiceforanimals.org for meeting times
Progressive Movement in San Antonio
¡Todos Somos Esperanza!
Start your 2013 monthly donations now! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
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Notas Y Más March 2013
Brief news items on upcoming community events. Send info for Notas y Más to: email@example.com or mail to: 922 San Pedro, San Antonio, TX 78212. The deadline is the 8th of each month.
CineFestival sponsored by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center celebrates its 35th year as the nation’s longest-running Latino film festival. See www.guadalupeculturalarts.org for lineup on March 1st and 2nd.
6111 Rosedale Ct. Meeting on the 2nd anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster–they will discuss how humanity can wean itself from the use of nuclear energy & armaments before making improbable the continued existence of The Texas Association Against Sexual our species. Assault (TAASA) will hold its 31st Annual Conference on March 4 – 7 at the Hilton The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Austin Airport Hotel. The 2013 theme is Race and Social Justice will sponsor the Bringing Justice to the System. For work- Immigration Symposium on Friday, April shops including Talleres en Español check: 5th at the San Antonio Plaza Club in the Frost Bank Tower in San Antonio. taasaconference.org/schedule-2 Articles are now being solicited. Contact F2C: Freedom to Connect bringing un- Claudia at firstname.lastname@example.org or der-represented people and issues into the Francisca at email@example.com. Washington, DC-based federal policy discussion will be held March 4th & 5th. See Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, vol. 2, issue 2 is calling for freedom-to-connect.net for details. submissions that speak to local conditions S.A.’s Communist Party USA meets of Indigeneity and how these relate to the March 10th at Westfall Branch Library, larger global decolonization movements.
Submit articles at www.decolonization.org by April 26th, 2013. Salt of the Earth’s 60th Anniversary Commemoration in Silver City, Santa Fe, New Mexico is being planned. Contact DorindaMoreno@rocketmail.com. Get a free download of the 1954 film at www.publicdomainflicks.com/0377-salt-of-the-earth/ The San Antonio AIDS Foundation offers free HIV testing 6 days a week at 818 E. Grayson St. Call 210.225.4715 or see www.txsaaf.org for more. Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) invites submissions for its annual Summer Institute: ¡Aqui Estamos!/ We Are Here!: Movements, Migrations, Pilgrimage and Belonging to be held July 18-20 at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. | malcs.org
De Borne from my body, Are the restless souls that light a candle in my name, A catalyst, a movement, a revolution, A call to action, Blissfully inclined, Where people normally mill about have gathered, Speaking, shouting, and screaming, The words I have not uttered yet, For justice not just for me but for everyone, Should there be shame in expressing, Sharing life experiences, Shall I whisper them? Will they fall on deaf ears or ignorant minds? My struggle destined to be forgotten, This all came quick as lighting, Loud as thunder, Even the gods have mixed emotions, As the thunder roars and the rain falls, No time for caching in battles, Do not splinter me with your, Epithet words, thoughts, and gestures, I have to deal with the demons that creep From my nightmares through the daylight,
My dreams carrying happiness in the distant, I will no longer internalize, No more clandestine efforts to salvage dignity, For I can only save myself, How much I wish for a state of bliss amidst chaos, For the rains to stop, A clear sign that the gods share our tears, I can feel the sun pouring in but it is cold, The wind is merciless, Whirling everything in its path, A storm has been borne, All too much to bear, I want The smell of freshly blossomed flowers, Soft eyed smiles, Amidst Our tears of pain and loss, Someday maybe Or Even tomorrow Everything will change for the better.
This is dedicated by M.G. Ashley to the woman of many names: India’s daughter, Delhi Braveheart Amanat, Nirbhaya, Damini… Jyoti, and for those who remain nameless. Contact the San Antonio Rape Crisis Center (210) 349-7273 or www.rapecrisis.com if you need assistance or can offer help as a volunteer.
LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • March 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 2•
Devastation of the Night
LA VOZ de ESPERANZA • March 2013 Vol. 26 Issue 2• BOLD SA 2013 presents
Birth is a documentary-style play that is part of a global activist theater movement that has inspired audiences all over the world to start demanding a childbirth model of care Proceeds that is compassionate benefit San and woman centered!! Antonio Birth Doulas www.boldaction.org
Join us for our monthly concert series with singer/ songwriter Azul
Saturday March 16th 8pm $5 más o menos @ Esperanza
a play by Karen Brody @ the Sterling Houston Theater at Jump-Start Performance Co.
Friday & Saturday, March 8th - 9th at 7 pm and Sunday, March 10th at 3 pm. Director Jan Olsen, Producer Suzanne de Leon
Tickets $20 | Online at Brown Paper Tickets
La Voz de Esperanza
922 San Pedro San Antonio TX 78212 210.228.0201 • www.esperanzacenter.org
Celebrating the Spanish Romani (Gypsy) Historia y Arte Friday, April 5th 7pm-10pm
Non-Profit Org. US Postage PAID San Antonio, TX Permit #332
Haven’t opened La Voz in a while? Prefer to read it online? Wrong address? TO CANCEL A SUBSCRIPTION EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org CALL: 210.228.0201
• Free Workshop on Belly Basics (all skill levels) w/ Gio of Zombie Bazaar Belly Dance • Plática with Silvia Salamanca, internationally acclaimed performer from Spain
Saturday, April 6th 9am-10pm
• Registration • Workshop w/ Erin Gillespie • Zambra Mora! • Gitana Revolución Performance
@ Esperanza, 922 San Pedro Contact Gio at email@example.com | 210.459.6660
Vagina Monologues March 2, 7:30 p.m. @ Coates University Center, Fiesta Room Black, Latina, Both: Claiming and Making History March 5, 5:30 p.m. Miriam Jimenez and Juan Flores, New York University @ NH040
San Antonio’s 23rd Annual
Latina Empowering Testimonies: Daughters Betrayed March 6, 7 p.m. Reading by Dr. Josie Méndez Negrete @ Barnes & Noble at Ingram Festival
Latina Filmmakers as Witnesses of History March 27, 5:30 p.m. Dr. Rosa-Linda Fregoso @ NH040
Poetry as Therapy March 20, 6 p.m. Josie Mixon, poet @ Barnes & Noble at Ingram Festival
All events are FREE and open to the public. web.trinity.edu/x33137.xml
Somos poder de luz, fuerza y lucha. We are power of light and strength in the struggle.
International Woman’s Day March & Rally 10am | Meet @ Dignowity Park Saturday, (corner of Hays St & N. Hackberry) www.sawomenwillmarch.org March 9th, 2013 Facebook: Mujeres Marcharan | 210.262.0654
INSIDE Palabras de Mujer, The Words of Women: Still Aint Satisfied, an excerpt from Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the...