Page 1

The Inner Xicanisma PAGE 4

Illustrating the Truth PAGE 12

Transferring More than Just Units

INSIDE LOOK Beyond Different Shades of Brown PAGE 7


El Jardinero PAGE 20

LA GENTE IDENTITY SpringSpring 2013 2013 Vol. 43 Issue 3 1



MANAGING EDITOR Jeanelle Horcasitas


Jacqueline Espinoza Aranzazu Medellin Guerrero

DESIGN EDITOR Melissa Merrill

WEB EDITOR Magaly Chavez


Helen Alonzo Jeanelle Horcasitas Aranzazu Medellin Guerrero Savannah Smith


Regem Corpuz Alma Huitron Bernadett Leggis Rosa Linda Meza Madelinn Ornelas Michael Reyes Roberto Reyna Michelle Salinas Tracie Sánchez Savannah Smith


Helen Alonzo Jeanelle Horcasitas Madelinn Ornelas Michelle Martinez

Letter from the Editor Saludos y Abrazos!

Thank you so much for picking up La Gente’s Spring quarter Identity issue! The concept of identity is fluid, having a different definition for each person. Some think ethnic identity, others gender identity. Each writer within this issue presents a different story but with the underlying theme of identity in some form, whether it is an identity through name or identity through sports. I am proud to have several contributions and the different perspectives that these writers add to the issue from an LGBTQ to a Central American lens of identity. Editor Aranzazu Medellin Guerrero offers a stirring and beautiful understanding of her own inner Xicanisma and Michelle Salinas poses the very important question in her article, “What exactly does it mean to look Latina?” Gentista Tracie Sanchez explores the concept of transfer identity as told by UCLA transfer students. Grupo Folklórico de UCLA expresses their shared identity through dance while Francisco Garcia presents themes of identity through his art, which is breathtaking, politically inspiring and resonating for our community. I am very happy to feature his work in this issue and I am thankful for his willing collaboration.


Personally, I was most excited for this issue because La Gente has been the space at UCLA that has shaped my identity. I have come into my own skin as an individual during my time spent in the back hallway of Kerckhoff Hall with my La Gente family of whom I held never-ending discussions and support of one another’s issues. Over the past year I have been able to realize the extent of my various identities: writer, leader, womyn, hija de papas Salvadoreños, but most importantly, Latina and everything these specific identities mean solely to me.


Hopefully, this issue will allow you to understand others’ identities and help guide you onto the path towards discovering and defining your own identity.


Rosa Linda Meza Sonya Egan

Kevin Bernal Jocelyn Machado Alejandra Rodriguez

Que sigan luchando por muchos años mas,



Community profiles, arts, culture and politics for the Latino college student

118 Kerckhoff Hall 308 Westwood Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90024 310.825.9836 Facebook: La Gente Newsmagazine This magazine was made possible with the support of Campus Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress, online at

As my last quarter as Editor in Chief, I just want to thank everyone who has supported and read La Gente this past year. I want to thank the Gentistas of 2012-2013 for their countless hours of love and labor. It is my hope that La Gente will help you through this complicated journey of college as it did for me, and it is my desire that you come to love it like all the Gentistas who have been in this place before you. I thank UCLA Student Media for the honor bestowed on me this past year and for continuing to allow our various newsmagazines to advocate on behalf of our respective communities.

Campus Progress works to help young people — advocates, activists, journalists, artists — make their voices heard on issues that matter. Learn more at

2 LA GENTE Spring 2013



¡viva la mujer! 4 | The Inner Xicanisma

¡topen esto! 5 | El Amor Colorido No Es Amor Prohibido 6 | Flavor vs. Sabor 7 | Beyond Different Shades of Brown 8 | Central American Identity in Los Angeles

comunidad 9 | Yours = Mine 10 | Sporting More than Just a Team 11 | “Sal Castro, a Teacher”

featured artist 12 | Illustrating the Truth Exhibition One 13 | Illustrating the Truth Exhibition Two


For this issue’s cover I wanted to show the complexity of ethnic identity today. We live in very racially diverse societies and in a world where cultures mingle and collide on a daily basis. Most of us here at UCLA experience this in our campus community or personally, as many of us have multiple racial backgrounds. Having such mixed backgrounds, we can choose which ethnicity we identify ourselves with. Looking at physical characteristics is no longer the standard when determining one’s ethnicity. The two women on the cover illustrate this.Despite being on opposite ends of the racial phenotype spectrum, both identify as Latina. To learn more about them, check out “Beyond Different Shades of Brown” as they share their struggles with mistaken ethnic identities.


14 | LTA Organizes Conference: Y(our) Struggle 15 | Transferring More than Just Units 16 | Tesoro escondido en UCLA : Tú 17 | The Hidden Treasure of UCLA: You

sigan luchando 18 | I am a Product | Gente de Aztlan

nuestra joteria


19 | Inside Out

La Gente Newsmagazine is for the UCLA student interested in Latino issues. We want to represent the diversity of our culture and cultivate pride in our community. We’re a forum for conversation hoping to inspire readers to get involved and make their voices heard.

expresiones 20 | El Jardinero 21 | Pavlo

arte y cultura 22 | Fiesta Mexicana 2013 23 | The “Zapateado” We All Share

LA GENTE LINGO arte y cultura need we say more? comunidad local insights expresiones all things creative LaGENTEdotORG online preview

latinoamérica transnational vista

nuestra joteria LGBTQ sigan luchando for those inside ¡topen esto! all things opinionated universidad exclusively osito ¡viva la mujer! profiling la mujer

Start a conversation! La Gente accepts outside submissions of all sorts for review and possible publication. Email with “Submission” in the subject line. Join the conversation! Comment on our articles online, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter. What should La Gente cover of the Latino student community? #estudiante Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the La Gente editorial board. All other columns, cartoons, and letters represent the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial board. The UCLA communications board has a media grievance procedure for resolving grievances against any of its media. For a copy of the complete procedure contact student media at 310.825.2787. Copyright 2011 ASUCLA Communications Board

Spring 2013 LA GENTE 3

viva la mujer!


The Inner Xicanisma Chicana-Feminist speaks about living within borders Aranzazu Medellin Guerrero


would like to one day be able to call myself a Chicana.” The beauty, controversy, revolutionary, and amazing emotion I felt as I heard these words from a fellow classmate stunned me. Chale, I thought. Why has she not been able to call herself a Chicana? What has set a borderland between what she currently identifies as and embracing her Chicanidad? Perhaps, her borderlands are some of the same ones I faced and continue to work through constantly to embrace my Chicana actuality. The first time I dug into my flesh looking for the inner emotions of my body, my lengua, and my beauty, I knew I was in a inner revolution with myself. I was a trabalenguas that did not know how to finish the rhyme. Today, my trabalenguas has become a poem that flows through my inner being and how I see and explore my beauty. Of course for some of my fellow Chicanas this might not have been or be the same experience. To me, that’s the hermosura and complexity of identifying as a Chicana. We come with all types of hocicos and curves. Y a la persona que no le guste que se valla por donde vino. We are not here to please anyone or to form stereotypes of what it means to identify and embrace our Chicana being. We speak through experience. I say we are border Mujeres. Our physical and emotional beings are full of borders. Digging through our outer and inner is not simply a form of exploration. As we try to define the borders in our lives, we encounter emotional moments, new perceptions, and the discourse of our fellow Chicana elders who came before us. Through written word, dialogue, music, and art they continue to encourage the exploration of our spirits.

just work through them, and I know one day you will all simultaneously see the beauty and ugliness of your borderlands and have paz.

4 LA GENTE Spring 2013


Grapple your borderlands “and sonrían, meditate, cry,

An example of this can be seen in the words of one of our fellow Chicana sisters. Deena J. Gonzales said, “For Chicanas, one dilemma in self-identification set in not because we do not know who we are or are misguided in applying labels, but because like many other terms, Chicana has always been problematized as an identity in waiting, as an incomplete act. Philosophically, spiritually, or politically, Chicanas do not all look at the world in the same way, or even in ways Euro-Americans might understand. It is not true that we do not know of who we are. If anything, we should suffer the accusation that we know too much who we are, have too much identity”. Y Con Safos, I totally agree hermana. The borders we break and go through represent our many dialogues. Some of us are the first mujeres in our families to go off to college. Algunas somos las primeras que le dijeron a nuestra madre y padre, “¡No!”. Others of us are the first to break the silence. We speak two lenguas to create one. We explore our bodies as a means of understanding what it means to represent a brown female body. We transverse everyday in one-way or another through the borders of our lives. Que somos real hociconas. Si. ¿‘Pos porque no? We are political. We talk about our bodies. So perhaps the real problem people have con nosotras is that, yes, we do know ourselves very well. Híjole, people can’t handle our inner flesh poem. We are Mujeres. So if you ever encounter one of us, know we embrace the right of speaking for ourselves, forming our own thoughts, our revolutionary educated and sexual voice! So if you do not like it then ‘pa fuera and let us be.

topen esto!


El Amor Colorido No Es Amor Prohibido Interracial dating subsists the norm Jeanelle Horcasitas


he King of Pop famously sang “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.” Unfortunately Mr. Jackson, I beg to differ. Growing up I never really worried about dating outside of my race—until I finally did. In a world where same-sex relationships are constantly debated, interracial relationships seemed to have fallen off the map. As much as I tried to deny that dating outside of my race wasn’t a problem, the fact of the matter was, that it was, and it remains an issue for a lot more people than I anticipated. Coming from a traditional Mexican family, the majority of my family is comprised of same-race couples. As a child I never realized this “coincidence” could actually be cultural peer-pressure to “stick with your own kind.” In high school, my first boyfriend was half white and half Mexican—which my parents didn’t seem to mind because he was still Mexican. Eventually we went our separate ways, and I began to date vastly different races than what my parents were used to, such as: Iranian, Indian, Puerto Rican, White, Black and other mixed individuals. Since most of the guys I dated weren’t serious boyfriends, my parents didn’t mind much. It wasn’t until I started dating my current boyfriend, that I realized I was breaking the rules. My current boyfriend is Black. I recall my mom being a bit surprised at first, but eventually supported my decision to date him seriously. My dad on the other hand, told me he preferred I date someone within my own race, but knew he couldn’t sway my decision even if he tried. Fourth year English major Catherine DiGiacomo faced a similar problem when dating outside of her race, “I feel pressure only from my family to date inside my own race, but I’ve never let it influence me. Love sees no race!” she said. Third year linguistics and computer science major Armando Araújo explained how dating his girlfriend (of the same race) can be beneficial, “It wasn’t until I started dating someone of the same race that I started to notice the subtle benefits of doing so.” However, Armando explains, “I feel that the culture that I share with my girlfriend is more of a result of growing up in the same industrialized city in affluent neighborhoods as opposed to our race.” While Catherine values racial diversity, and Armando values his relationship because of a shared background as opposed to race, another

student (who chooses to remain anonymous), stated, “I try to date guys who treat me with the love and respect that I deserve. And who I feel comfortable being myself around—not because of his race.” Although I was initially nervous to introduce my boyfriend to my very large Mexican family, I was pleased my family accepted him and realized it was more important how he treated me, than the color of his skin. However, I know this is not always the case for other individuals. The cultural and familial pressure to date within one’s own race is still a very prevalent issue in society today. Even today when I go out to certain areas, I am surprised to get disapproving looks from others when they see my boyfriend and I together. At first I used to feel a bit selfconscious, but I soon learned it doesn’t matter what others think, because as long as I am happy, that’s all that matters. Of course, much of the criticism emerges from the older generation who lived through a time when interracial dating had been widely unaccepted. However, my generation appears to embrace mixing and mingling with those outside of their race. Catherine explains, “My view on interracial dating is very liberal—go for it! You will always learn something new, and if nothing else, it opens your mind to another perspective of the world.” Armando agrees, “I believe that individuals should be free to do as they see fit so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others. I do not believe that interracial couples do harm to anyone, I would say they are a positive aspect of society.” Additionally, our anonymous contributor states, “Interracial relationships are a good way to gain fresh insight into how other people live.” Whether you choose to date within or outside of your race, really shouldn’t be anyone’s business except yours and your significant other’s. Although cultural factors play a huge part for many people even today, I hope this will change and people will realize it’s nice to shake things up a bit and try something new. Fear is often what dissuades people from dating outside of their race. But if there is someone you genuinely connect with, then okay, I suppose I have to give it up to Michael’s lyric, “It don’t matter if you’re black or white”—because what matters most is your happiness. So with that said, hold your breath, lean forward, and take the plunge into the unknown. Spring 2013 LA GENTE 5

topen esto!


Flavor Versus Sabor Having an Anglo name in the Latino world Savannah Smith


hat is the purpose of our name? Maybe it’s to be unique, to differentiate us from the hoards of people in this vast world. Are we meant to derive our life, our lifelong identity—from our names? These are all questions that hit you later in life, perhaps when you have your own children. For me, these were all questions that came up at an early age. You see, my name is Savannah Smith. That’s a nice alliterative name. It is not however, a Latina name at all. I was taught from birth that I was Mexican, so I never thought that my name would ever affect my Latina identity. I didn’t have a typical Latin last name, and as I grew older more of my peers took notice. In high school I had a variety of unsavoury nicknames. When others highlighted this cultural incongruity and ridiculed me, it caused me to look at my last name under a microscope. As a result of living in such a diverse world, there are more individuals with names and stories like mine. There are a number of popular Latino celebrities who have similar situations, like Mexican American comedian Louis C.K., who actually lived in Mexico City for a substantial part of his life. There is also Cuban American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, Mexican American singer Fergie and Puerto Rican American actress Megan Good, all of who fall into this category. UCLA alumna Alyssa Philips is also one of these people. Growing up as a Mexican American with a “white” last name was a bit bothersome, but Philips feels that there are more effective ways to have importance in the Latino community “Most of the time, peers might tease here and there, but since I speak Spanish and continue to participate in the culture, I don’t feel as if I don’t fit in. I feel like the culture and language are more important than a surname in regards to being considered part of a particular ethnic group.” Last names are not chosen like first names, we are born into our names. In response to this issue I have contemplated changing my name in an effort to fit into Latino culture. However, researching my last name changed my perspective. My last name is derived from smitan, meaning to smite or strike, which is connected to blacksmiths (or metalsmiths), some of the first people with specialized skills. Learning the history of my name helped me to appreciate my last name and have more pride in being a Latino, a Smith Latino. Although my last name seems culturally limited, it’s 6 LA GENTE Spring 2013

mine. Always has been and always will be. When asked if they would ever change their last names to something con mas sabor, both Philips and Jennifer Fahrenkrog, 21, Granada Hills, wholeheartedly said no. For Philips, her last name doesn’t affect her cultural identity, “I like my ethnically-diverse name just fine. If I’m not Mexican enough for some people because my last name is Phillips, I don’t need to associate with closed-minded individuals like that anyway.” Fahrenkrog concurrently stated, “Never have I thought of changing my last name, I am even apprehensive to change it if and when I get married! I have had it my whole life and it is definitely special to me, not only because of its uniqueness but because of the amazing people I have known and stories of those that have carried the last name themselves.” I feel that Latinos like me are unique and intriguing: our stories are painted by many brushes and colors. We are creatures caught in a dual world: having roots dug deep in Latino culture, but last names that spread its roots into other nations, such as Germany, Ireland, Sweden, and a plethora of others. We are hybrids in the realest form. We should be recognized for our passion and practice of our cultures, and not stigmatized by our last names. Nor should we be categorized as anything less than what we are: Latinos.

Learning the

history of my name helped me to appreciate my last name and have more pride in being a Latino, a Smith Latino.

topen esto!


Beyond Different Shades of Brown Light or dark skin misleads Latino identity Michelle Salinas


hy are you so light-skinned if you’re Mexican? Well, because my ancestors were raped more than yours. I used to give this blunt response every time I was asked about my light complexion and its so-called contradictory relationship with my ethnicity. But what exactly does it mean to “look” Latin@? Andrea Vazquez graduated from UCLA in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Culture and Community and Mexican Studies. She is the daughter of an Ecuadorian mother and a Mexican father and always identified as Latina. Her mother’s Afrikan roots are evident in Andrea’s phenotype, but at home, her Afro-roots were a taboo topic. Her mother always had a hard time recognizing her own Afro-Latin roots. She recalls, “At home my family took up my dad’s Mexican culture, mostly I feel like, because he is the man of the house and that was my mom’s way of negotiating her identity too, given that there’s not a lot of Ecuadorians in LA as there are Mexicans.” Andrea’s extended family struggled to accept her Afrikan roots, viewing her Afrikan characteristics, like her curly hair, as needing to be “fixed.” Growing up in South Central LA, where the population is predominantly Latin@ and Black, Andrea explains, “For a lot of folks, especially children in my ‘hood, it’s really hard to contextualize that there are Black folk in Latin America and that is because they are not introduced to that concept while at school.” Also within the non-Latin@ community, Andrea is automatically categorized as black. She lacked exposure to the intersection between Afrikan and Latin@ roots. Thus, her full identity remained a question mark until she went to college. Unlike Andrea, Stephanie Suarez, a fourth year International Development Studies major, was idolized by her family for her European-like phenotypic characteristics. She reminisces on her family thinking she was the cutest baby because of her light skin and blond hair. Stephanie recognizes that her family’s appraisal is part of what she calls her White privilege. However, Stephanie’s White privilege also caused many issues while growing up in predominantly Latin@ communities in West LA. She recalls, PHOTOGRAPHY BY MELISSA MERRILL “Growing up, my cous-

ins would always make fun of me because they would say I was so White. I would get frustrated but didn’t understand why.” She started feeling separated within her own community. Stephanie realized that this separation is real because she can never fully understand some of her community’s struggles in regards to skin color and policing or racial profiling. Stephanie’s feeling of separatism rises every time she walks into a brown space. She shares, “ I feel awkward. I sense that they feel guarded and uncomfortable, not all but most. It’s like another layer of tension.” Stephanie confessed that she often feels like she has to prove she is Latin@. She admits, “I always hope that the question of my identity comes up so they know that I’m not White.” Rather than quickly be categorized like Stephanie, Andrea causes confusion in brown folks about her identity. She describes her way of speaking as a possible reason for such uncertainty, “I’ve fused in my mom’s Ecuadorian accent pretty well so a lot of people always tell me that they can’t tell where I’m from based on the way I talk and structure my sentences.” For Stephanie, her accent is an indicator within the non-Latin@ community. She states, “No one at home ever realized that I was not white until I came [to UCLA], because my accent became my marker.” The people of color, that Stephanie interacts with, may be intimidated by her white privilege. However, as a brown womyn her “privilege” becomes a barrier to connect with her own community. Stephanie recognizes that her skin color is the product of her ancestors’ colonization.“It’s not my community’s fault, rather our society’s fault for our hegemonic idea of identity.” “Colonization taught us that Black is bad and White is good and created this deficit thinking regarding our skin,” said Andrea, “Now that I’m back home, it’s all about the grind of teaching folks about that identity or justifying some aspect of it, not so much the Latina but the Black as a political identity.” These two womyn share a common culture and hystory. Yet, one is mistaken for only being White and the other as only being Black. The impact of our ancestors’ colonization is still present today, in our own skin giving us the answer that there is no one-way to look Latin@. Spring 2013 LA GENTE 7

topen esto!


Central American Identity in Los Angeles High School student gives insight to Central American visibility Kevin Bernal



here do you come from?” A common question that most Latinos are asked. Identifying yourself as Salvadoran to Caucasians and even Mexican-Americans is a difficult task. Reasons for this vary depending on the individual asking the question. Some individuals are oblivious to the location of the country, the atrocities its people have faced, and the fact that Salvadorans lived in fear in their native country. Therefore, I feel obligated to give an explanation about how my family came here and why my parents left their country. I feel obligated to give individuals these explanations because information about Central Americans is sparse and nearly non-existent. Schools are designed to educate our students, but the ignorance is palpable among our Latino youth. Living in a Mexican-dominated city places Central Americans as the minority and lumps them together with “Mexicans” at first glance. On many occasions, I have been asked by Mexicans, “Where are you from?” I reply by saying that “I am Central American.” At this juncture, I am usually asked one of two questions, “Which Central American country are you from?” or “What have Central Americans done for


S A L V A D O R A N S: 1.8 MILLION G U A T E M A L A N S: 1.1 MILLION N I C A R A G U A N S: 348,202 P A N A M A N I A N S: 165,456 Kevin Bernal was born to two Salvadoran parents in Quebec, Canada, on May 14, 1995. Shortly after his birth, his family relocated to Los Angeles where he has lived for 17 years. He recently graduated from Alexander Hamilton High school, Class of 2013. 8 LA GENTE Spring 2013

Latinos?” I keep my composure, but I am enraged by the ignorance of some Mexican-Americans. They don’t understand the plight of the Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, or the Salvadoran. They do not know that the United States had a prominent military presence in each of those countries during the 1970’s and 1980’s. The United States military had a major role in all of their civil wars. Another country that faced warfare includes Panama, in Operation Just Cause, where civilians and military personnel were killed by U.S. troops. It led to 20,000 civilians losing their homes, causing them to become refugees. The Central American has struggled too severely to be mistaken as a Mexican. They were forced to leave their war-torn countries to pursue a better life for themselves and their future children. Central Americans remain inconspicuous because of the fact that they have just arrived as immigrants to the United States. The movement of Central Americans from their countries to the United States began in the 1970’s and 1980’s and many students of Central American descent in our public school systems and in college are first generation. Central Americans have not been here long enough for the atrocities they have faced to be recognized. Mexicans have been here since 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. They have been here long enough to gain recognition within mainstream society. There are some non-Latinos that perceive all Latinos as Mexican and a few even refer to our language as “Mexican.” I have met a few mixed Latinos who are half-Mexican and half-Central American who only side with their Mexican heritage. I have also known some who know about their Mexican heritage, but don’t bother to learn the history or lexicon of their Central American culture. They are ignorant of their own culture and are reluctant to explain that particular side of their culture. I believe that it stems from the majority of Latinos in Los Angeles being Mexican and the fact that they would rather fit in, than be different. Most Mexicans pride themselves on being “The Best Latino” (Yes, I have heard that before) and do not care about the Central American people. It is never beneficial when one culture believes they are superior to another culture. I hope one day Central Americans become as recognized as Mexicans, but I do not want Central Americans to believe that they are superior. I wish for equality among all Latinos because we share many similarities, most importantly, language. I hold no animosity towards Mexican people. I respect them because of the crusades they have led, such as the Chicano and Farm workers movement, which were both successful. We need to consider ourselves Latino first, and Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalan, or any other Latin American country second. We all come from a form of absolute horror in our native countries; it is time that we accept each other as equal to one another. We represent something greater than our own native countries; we represent one of the most prominent minority groups in American history, the Latino.


Yours=Mine Sharing our struggles through Social Media Regem Corpuz


arch 26, 2013 marked a viral phenomenon on Facebook and other social media outlets. You may have noticed it, or even participated. Tens of millions of social media users switched their profile picture to a pink equal sign behind a red background—an adaption of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)’s equal sign—in solidarity with same-sex marriage. Social media users posted these pictures in support of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, which were brought to the Supreme Court. Originally a yellow equal sign on a blue background, this simple yet powerful sign was officially used as the Human Rights Campaign’s logo in 1995 and came at a time when the issue of marriage equality was emerging in the national spotlight. In 1993, Hawaii’s state Supreme Court ruled in Baehr vs. Lewin that the prohibition of same sex is discriminatory on the basis of sex. The state did not fully address the legality of same sex marriage, essentially ruling that same sex couples might—or might not—have the right to marry. This logo serves to promote similar policies of equality on behalf of the queer community, such as recognition of same sex mar-


riages. Throughout the years, the logo gained attraction and is widely seen in LGBTQ pride celebrations, becoming a well-known symbol to the queer community—such as the rainbow flag. As a result of this popular image, variations of the HRC equal sign were posted by other groups who share similar struggles or wish to promote solidarity and equality for other social issues. Taking the momentum brought on by HRC, social media staffers at Voto Latino created an image in response to the struggles arising from Immigration Reform legislation. However, their image is a flipped equal sign, resembling the number 11, with the caption “In Solidarity with the 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants”. This image demonstrates support for undocumented immigrants in the United States, raising awareness about immigrants seeking a peaceful pathway to citizenship. Voto Latino urged its supporters to change their default picture to the 11 million graphic, as they launched their “I’m ready for Immigration Reform” Campaign. It went viral on Twitter and Facebook as early as April 10. Also, as immigration rallies were held around the nation,

the 11 million graphic was a popular image used for posters and other signage. In a time when issues like marriage equality and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants are receiving national attention, people throughout the nation observe the same struggle in different scenarios—certain groups are being excluded from the rights and opportunities they deserve. Within the recent decade, social media has become an integral part of our lives. It is a great opportunity for everyone to express his or her own struggle or his or her solidarity for other groups who are impacted by institutionalized exclusionary policies. Even through simple actions like changing profile pictures to graphics, like HRC’s equal sign or Voto Latino’s version, makes a difference in these collective struggles. People across the nation strive to promote equal rights and opportunities for all multi-faceted identities. In an effort to push for equal rights and opportunities, social media is effective in garnering support from others to take action, such as signing online petitions, making calls to their government representatives, or even going to rallies.


Spring 2013 LA GENTE 9


Sporting More than Just a Team Cultural identities define sport identities Bernadette Leggis


he 2014 FIFA World Cup is about one year away; soccer aficionados are ready to enter the stadium of Sao Paulo, Brazil or watch diligently from their local television station. As people begin to watch the World Cup, it makes one wonder if their loyalty to a team lies in the skills of the players or their cultural alignment with the team. In a survey of 100 UCLA students, “Sport Identities,” this became root of the question: do fans identify with a team due to their cultural background or are they more concerned with the team’s ability to win the World Cup? Out of 100 responses the majority of respondents, 55 percent, identified as Mexican, 23 percent identified as American, and the rest of the respondents indicated as being “mixed.” The survey found 34 percent of respondents root for sports teams from their parents’ country of origin, 28 percent root for sports teams from the United States, and 38 percent of the respondents said it depended on the sport. One respondent claimed, “I always choose the U.S. except for soccer (Mexico).” Another respondent shared similar sentiments in saying that for soccer he or she roots for his or her parents’ national team, but for every other sport he or she roots for the U.S. The major trend that was apparent in the results was that the respondents choose to root for their parents’ national soccer team first and then the United States’ team. For most other sports, several respondents said they rooted for the United States. Consequently, the survey led to the leading question: Are people interested in the nationality the team represents or the skills of the game? The survey conveyed 62 percent root for teams based on their nationalities while 38 percent root for teams based on a team’s skills. Lastly, the survey asked respondents if they watched sports broadcasted in English or in Spanish. Naturally, if they rooted for a team from their parents’ country of origin, they felt more comfortable watching sports in Spanish instead of English. One of the respondents answered, “I grew up watching soccer in Spanish. [It] reminds me of my heritage and upbringing.” Another respondent said, “It depends on the sport. I like watching soccer in Spanish better because the announcer is more energetic and entertaining.” On the other hand, some respondents answered they prefer to watch sports broadcasted in English. One respondent stated, “It is more difficult for me to follow a game in Spanish. I find it easier to understand the plays/terminology in English.” The major trend in the results was that the majority of respondents preferred to watch sports broadcasted in English with the exception of soccer, of which respondents preferred to watch in Spanish. Although many of the respondents mainly spoke about their devotion for soccer, there are other national leagues such as the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the World Baseball Classic. Therefore, it would be interesting to know if people would also root for these teams based on their cultural background, or if they are more inclined to show passion for their local Los Angeles Lakers or the Dodgers. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

10 LA GENTE Spring 2013


“Sal Castro, a teacher” La Gente dedication to an educator and activist who has impacted many of our lives. Aranzazu Medellin Guerrero


ll I want on my tombstone is ‘Sal Castro, a teacher’” said Salvador (Sal) Castro to UC Santa Barbara’s Professor of History and Chicano Studies Mario T. Garcia. However, those who knew Sal Castro know he was much more than a teacher. A native of East Los Angeles, California, Sal Castro began serving his community in the military during the Korean War. When he returned, Castro attended Los Angeles City College, and then went on to California State University Los Angeles. He grounded himself in education and became an educator for Belmont and Lincoln High School. It was in his classroom where young Chicanos began learning the history of their community. It was from the gaps found in Chicano California history that Castro began to prepare his students to become social activists, and stand up for their rights! That is why this April 15, 2013, the Chicano community across the Eastside and nationally, experienced a great loss as Castro passed away. Through his Chicano Leadership Youth Conference (CYLC), his various lectures, and community involvement, he created and expanded the identity of hundreds of Chicano youth. His famous saying, “Don’t be a pendejo, go to college” transformed hundreds of lives. Amongst them was Paula Crisostomo, who became a huge voice in the 1968 Blowouts, when hundreds of students decided to walkout of their schools on the Eastside. Crisostomo was one of Castro’s students back then, and she became the youngest person to lead a walkout in the country. Today she serves as the Assistant Dean for Intercultural Affairs and the Director of the Intercultural Community Center at Occidental College. Her strength to lead a walkout attests to the impact Castro had in her life. That was the beauty of Sal Castro. He knew how to be an empowering figure for his students, but he also knew how to be heartwarming and socially engaging. He leaves behind a legacy of learning and a powerful impact on young Chicanos on their way to higher education. Yet, even more importantly, he leaves a generation of leaders that he transformed through his vision, from other teachers, to social activists, artists, and politicians. Therefore, this issue is dedicated to you maestro. On behalf of La Gente Newsmagazine we commemorate you for the great influence you have bestowed on the community and educational studies of Chicano/Latino students, which form a large amount of the stories we have been covering since 1971. We thank you for your words and wisdom, may you rest in Chicana/o Power!

Illustrating the Truth Enuf voices the truth behind his arte Helen Alonzo


rt should inspire, provoke, and motivate. It should start a movement within the people to remind them that there is a creator. We love to create because we were created,” said Francisco “Enuf” Garcia, 27. Francisco “inspires, provokes, and motivates” everybody who has an opportunity to view his artwork. An LA based artist, Francisco’s background is a mixture of indigenous tribes, Spanish and Arab. According to Francisco, “I am Brown, I am Mexican.” His Latino and LA background is evidenced throughout his work whether it is a portrait of Frida Kahlo or a west coast styled graffiti mural. “It is about justice, history, faith, and culture. It is realistic and graff inspired,” said Francisco about how he defines his art. His art pieces share a common theme of justice and social change, which Francisco attributes to his acceptance of Jesus Christ. “I always try to use the negative into positive and God always opens better and more doors for me. He has brought me from a graffiti vandal in the street that got kicked out of high school four times and went to jail twice. He has helped me to do my dream, which is to paint, travel and help people.” Through not only his art but also through his policy involvement Francisco tries to enact social change. “In 2011, I was invited to the White House to share my story and have been working closely with organizations in DC such as the National Council of Young Leaders. I personally represent the brown community, fight for the arts, and represent my faith.” Francisco’s motivation stems from his mother. “She taught me art, she taught me to love people, and to hustle,” he said. His daughter Isabella also serves as great personal motivation. Yet, Francisco’s motivations come from sources, which inspires many in the Latino community. “My other motivations are Martin Luther King, Dream Act students, Mexican Culture, Chicano Movement, and Love.” See next two pages for For Francisco, each art piece is different depending on the source of inspiration. From examples of Franciscos’s art community struggle for change to his beautiful daughter or to seeing injustice in Phoenix on immigration issues, Francisco’s inspirational artwork connects with the viewers on a personal level. Francisco believes, “Art is a pure expression of what is inside you.” Spring 2013 LA GENTE 11


12 LA GENTE Spring 2013


featured artist

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LTA organizes conference: LTA hosts spring conference on micro- and macro- aggressions Jacqueline Espinoza


ambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. - Delta Rho Chapter at UCLA, hosted their 5th Annual Spring Conference on May 14, 2013. Lambda Theta Alpha (LTA) was founded in 1975 at Kean University, New Jersey, as the first Latina academic sorority during a time when there were few womyn, let alone Latinas in higher education. LTA was established as a support system, but it also strives to provide social and cultural activities, as well as conducting charitable and educational programs. The Delta Rho Chapter at UCLA hosts at least two internal academic workshops per quarter for their members and their Spring Conference is open to the UCLA community and the public. This year the “Lambda Ladies” co-sponsored with the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture (CESLAC) to bring together respected guest speakers such as, Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, Professor of Medicine & Director of CESLAC at UCLA and Dr. Jerome Rabow, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at UCLA. The theme and topics of discussion vary every year. This year’s conference topic was titled, “Y(our) Struggle: A dialogue about the contemporary issues of our time”. This theme was chosen because of the ongoing and recent incidents of micro- and macro-aggressions towards historically underrepresented students of color at the university level, locally and nationally. Last year at UCLA, a Latina Greek member was harassed with degrading words on her apartment door. Even UCLA’s Ackerman store was selling Billabong shirts with the caption “Still Filthy” underneath an eagle and a snake that represented the Mexican flag. And last but not least, the infamous “AntiAsian Rant”. In Orange County, after three years of complaints from Mexican students LAMBDA THETA ALPHA

Lambda Theta Alpha with Dr. David Hayes-Bautista (L) and Dr. Jerome Rabow (R)

14 LA GENTE Spring 2013

and faculty, the annual “Señores and Señoritas” themed spirit day at Anaheim’s Canyon High School was shut down. Students’ stereotypical costumes of Mexicans included pregnant womyn pushing a stroller, gardeners, gang members and border patrol agents arresting immigrants. On May 3rd just across town at the University of Southern California (USC), there was an end-of the year graduation party which was composed of mostly Blacks and Latino/as students that were bombarded by 79 Los Angeles police officers in riot gear. The party was registered with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and had the required security to check student IDs. Despite the student’s compliance with police orders to leave, police officers continued to harass, taze and arrest students. On the national level, Ben Shapiro, a former UCLA Bruin, commented on the Mexican American Studies controversy in Tucson, Arizona by stating that ethnic studies is only good for “first is to meet girls and the second is to get an easy A.” These comments and actions are nothing more than a broken-record and proof that discrimination still exists. The conference was intended to address these issues of discrimination. Dr. Hayes Bautista spoke and defined trends of discrimination via micro- and macro-aggressions (e.g. segregated “separate-but-equal,” anti-miscegenation laws, etc.) and institutionalized racism throughout history up until the 21st century micro-aggressions. In particular, he explained how institutionalized racism towards Mexican Americans could be traced back to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. At the start of the conference, the hosts passed out surveys and asked guests to write the first thing that came to their minds when presented with different identities such as “Latina, Latino, Black female, Black male, LGBTQ, Muslim, White female, White male.” Utilizing the survey Lambda Theta Alpha distributed , Professor Rabow pointed out the conscious and unconscious stereotypes we have internalized from institutions, our peers and even family members. Professor Rabow’s contribution was interactive, and an intimate dialogue was exchanged among the audience, the hosts, and the professors, about their experiences with microagressions. Professor Rabow pointed out that deviating from stereotypes and “becoming anti-racist is a process that has to be ongoing,” which includes addressing the micro- or macro- aggressions. The sorority hoped that the conference would help raise awareness about everyone’s common struggles and interests in order to encourage solidarity to achieve equality in all forms for all people. Andreina Rocha, who organized the conference and is the Lambda Theta Alpha- Delta Rho Chapter’s Academic Chair , stated “the conference is meant to empower our guest to be pro-active in attaining equality at a personal and collective level for others at a regular-basis–not simply when the media chooses to cover accurately or not selected acts of injustice or inequality.” Attendee Pardeep Brar, a California State University Northridge economics student, was motivated by the dialogues and the interaction the guest speakers had with the audience. He plans to make it a personal goal to be more verbal with pointing out micro-agressions once they occur. He was also inspired to coordinate an “awareness assembly” where he hopes to bring this dialogue and awareness to his high school. “Everyone’s feeling this way and there is still no change so we need to speak up,” said Pardeep.


Transferring More than Just Units UCLA transfer identity as told by students


CLA has one of the biggest transfer population in the UC system and nation. “Up to 34 percent of every incoming undergraduate class is made up of transfer students, ” said Vanessa Luke, a Bruin Resource Center Student Development Educator. But for each student entering UCLA, being a transfer means a number of things. Rachael Warmack, an English major from Ohlone Community College in Fremont California said, “My transfer identity is made up of my experiences at my community college as well as the difficult transition from there to UCLA.” Being a transfer means coming to terms with the vulnerability of change yet remaining determined to “overcome the challenges.” For some, being a transfer means being a resource to other transfers to ensure more students successfully get admitted to UCLA. Michael Padilla, a Chicana/o Studies Major and transfer from Napa Valley Community College, said the transfer identity is one of a “student that is appreciative of the education they are receiving and using that education to inform and make the [transfer] process easier for students to come.” Padilla is a peer mentor for UCLA’s Center for Community College Partnerships and visits Santa Monica Community College on a weekly basis to mentor students who are interested in transferring to UCLA. Similarly, Sandra De Mel, a biology major and transfer from El Camino Community College said, “It’s hard finding Science Technology Enginnering Mathematics (STEM) transfers, some co-workers and I started a student-run organization at UCLA called STEM Transfer Community. The goal of this club is to offer support to STEM transfers even before they enter UCLA so that they are aware of what UCLA has to offer”. Rosaura Huante, a gender studies major and transfer from El Camino Community College believes that the transfer identity is defined by an investment in their communities, “Transfers come into UCLA with diverse life experiences, some working full-time jobs or supporting families during school making their experience different to that of ‘traditional’ students who arrive as freshmen. These experiences motivate [us] to be involved within our community. You’re constantly thinking about your community because you just left there.” When describing the transfer identity within the context of academics, some transfers highlighted the unfortunate reality of existing misconceptions about transfer student’s academic competence. Tatev Papikyan, a gender studies major and transfer from Pasadena City College vocalized, “Many question my educational trajectory and assume I was not ‘good enough’ to have been accepted as a freshman.” Echoing similar feelings Salvador Robles a political science major and transfer from Santa Monica Community College said, “Everyone assumes you got rejected the first time. We’re seen as left overs. I’m proud to be a transfer student, we only have two years, so we’re goal oriented and have no time to waste! We’re committed and want to be here.” Elmarie Edwards, a transfer from Los Angeles Harbor Community College, and African American Studies major who spent over 20 years in the work force before returning to school, said it was difficult to adapt to the academic culture of UCLA.

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Tracie Sanchez

“I am a mature African American student, and they look at me differently. It takes extreme personal initiative and drive to successfully transfer to the university, which I think some professors and students who started here as first-years do not recognize very often.” Some students describe the transition to UCLA life difficult; others like Mimi Lee, a sociology major and transfer from El Camino Community College said, “UCLA has amazing resources for incoming transfers that help ease the transition process.” UCLA’s Transfer Summer Program (TSP) is a seven-week rigorous academic residential program that introduces first-generation, low-income, underrepresented students to the social and academic demands of UCLA. After participating in TSP Lee said, “I feel like I’ve established my place here. I have a strong affiliation with UCLA.” Lee stresses the importance of summer bridge programs to prepare and inform transfer students about the culture of research-one institutions like UCLA. UCLA’s Bruin Resource Center acknowledges the various obstacles transfer students face, and in April held it’s first Bruin Transfer Pride Week (BTPW). It brought together over 12 departments from across student affairs and four transfer student groups to highlight the transfer community. According to Vanessa Luke, also known as The Transfer Lady, “BTPW sought to “encourage [transfer] students to make their transfer status visible to each other: to make friends, reach out for help from campus resources, and to celebrate who they are!” Vanessa said, “I thought if we talked about it as a campus—faculty, staff, and students—we could all address specific transfer challenges and offer better solutions, with solidarity.”

To be a transfer student at UCLA is to be amazing! Other than that, it’s kind of different for everyone. There are as many transfer identities here as there are opportunities at UCLA. ~ Vanessa Luke

Spring 2013 LA GENTE 15


Tesoro escondido en UCLA : Tú La biblioteca de investigación de estudios chicanos ofrece opotunidades de explorar uno mismo tras soporte y colecciones


na palabra que puede servir como el fracaso o promotor de un individuo: identidad. Las influencias que rodean a un estudiante en la universidad son ilimitadas. La continua batalla de crear una imagen/presencia, e identidad en un espacio tan vasto como UCLA causa un sentimiento de inferioridad dentro de los más “fuertes” de estudiantes. El comienzo de establecer una identidad puede emerger cuando un estudiante transgrede del status quo. Mi viaje hacia formulando mi propia identidad aquí en UCLA viene de mi trabajo como archivista en la biblioteca de investigación de estudios chicanos (CSRC) en Haines 144. El trabajo y responsabilidades que viene con ser un archivista consiste pero no es limitado ha establecer y mantener control, sobre los aspectos físicos e organizacionales sobre registros de mucho valor histórico. Como archivista uno debe de organizar y preservar los archivos siendo cartas, documentos, libros, etc. Trabajando para la CSRC me ha dado la oportunidad de aprender más sobre mis raíces culturales. Estoy trabajando presentemente es la colección de Ricardo Muñoz, alumno de UCLA y un jubilado juez de administración y abogado. La oportunidad de trabajar con una colección tan vasta y rica en información me ha dado una experiencia desigual que he experimentado como estudiante en UCLA. La vasta información que se encuentra en la biblioteca no se centra en sólo un genero. En vez transgrede las normas de sólo tener información que serviría para los que estudian los estudios Chicano/a. La CSRC es el tesoro escondido de UCLA. Patricia Valdovinos estudiando para un bachillerado en estudios Chicano y un menor en estudios de Indios Americanos y trabajadora en la CSRC dice, “ Me gusta que es pequeño, cómodo, y familiar no como tu biblioteca normal, yo necesitaba encontrar un lugar que hacía precisamente eso, y la biblioteca lo hace, so a mi me gusta.” Aunque la CSRC no es muy bien conocida, aquellos estudiantes que se ubican entre sus paredes encuentran un sentido de paz y fortaleza. Julia Fernández un estudiante en su último año, estudiando historia de arte dice, “Cuando primero miras a la biblioteca parece como si no es capaz de darnos mucho por su tamaño, pero una vez al hablar con la bibliotecaria y personal, sabes que tienen muchos recursos.” Aquellos estudiantes en busca de una identidad que justamente los presente, comparten el mismo dilema con la biblioteca. Existe mucho más que la simple infraestructura. Dentro de la biblioteca se ubica información específicamente para servir a la comunidad en su viaje a completar sus estudios o trabajos de investigación. La colección de Fernández está en este momento en exhibición en a CSRC. “Era muy importante especialmente para la audiencia que está en la biblioteca de investigación de estudios chicanos para que conozcan sobre éste trabajo, y también para mi especialmente. La bibliotecaria, Lizette Guerra me dijo que yo era la primera estudiante de historia del arte y primera estudiante pregrado, so me sentí de que eso realmente me hizo ver la importancia de la investigación que estaba haciendo. Me ayudó a encontrar confianza y mi identidad,” dice Fernández. “Hay alguien aquí alguien en campus que realmente se preocupa por ti, no solo académicamente, pero cómo te sientes emocionalmente, tu bienestar. El CSRC ayudó a formar mi identidad porque me hizo aceptar mi presencia aquí en UCLA,” dijo Valdovinos. No son los estudiantes que van desconocidos aquí en UCLA. Un ejemplo es La Frontera,

El CSRC ayudó a formar mi identidad porque me hizo aceptar mi presencia aquí en UCLA. ~ Patricia Valdovinos 16 LA GENTE Spring 2013


Rosa Linda Meza

Julia Fernandez

una colección de música tradicional en español. La fundación Los Tigres del Norte, conocido como el grupo más popular de música norteña ubico los fondos suficiente para que tal colección existiera. La generosidad de Los Tigres del Norte ha permitido que varios departamentos de estudio como la etnomusicóloga, literatura, historia, culturas globales, las artes, para nombrar unas, el acceso para enseñar sobre la música en español. Tal colección es único para UCLA. Basta decir que la mayoría de los estudiantes que trascurren por UCLA no están infirmados que existe. Al igual que esa maravilla de colección, hay muchos estudiantes en la universidad que no son reconocidos, sus historias están sin decir. La rapidez de los años como estudiante en la universidad hacen prácticamente imposible establecer una identidad concreta. Christopher Velasco un trabajador en la CSRC dice, “Yo he batallando con tratando de encontrami propia voz y he tratado de averiguar quien soy, me ha tomado mucho tiempo y ya estoy llegando cerca hacia sintiendo más cómodo con mi mismo, de ser yo mismo y ser quien creo yo quien soy y no permitir que otros me dicten sobre quien debo de ser.” La dificultad de construir una identidad es un trabajo más fácil que erradicar la invisibilidad de un individuo. Instituciones como la biblioteca de investigación de estudios chicanos no son bien conocidas, pero el pase tras bastidores existe con tan solo que un individuo hable de el. “Yo creo que tiene un rol importante. No sólo ayudamos a los estudiantes chicanos ayudamos a todo el mundo. Lo primero, somos un centro de investigación y somos un departamento de conservación activa. Me he dado cuenta que muchos estudiantes que están estudiando para ingresar a la escuela de biblioteca o cumpliendo prácticas de conservación vienen aquí porque somos activos,”, dice Velasco. El tesoro escondido de la universidad UCLA es el individuo: tú. Sea estudiante, trabajador, profesor, contribuidor, ha llegado la hora de levantarse del sillón de pereza y tomar la iniciativa de deslumbrar el mundo a nuestro alrededor con la identidad única que poseemos.


The Hidden Treasure of UCLA: You Chicano Studies Research Library offers opportunities to explore oneself through presence of support and collections Rosa Linda Meza


music in Spanish. The foundation Los Tigres del Norte, known as the most popular group of norteña music, donated the necessary funds for the existence of such a collection. The generosity of Los Tigres del Norte funded various departments of studies such as: ethnomusicology, literature, history, global studies, and the arts, to name a few, and more importantly, the access to teach about music in Spanish. Such a collection is unique to UCLA. Like this wondrous collection, there are many students at UCLA that are not recognized, and their stories go untold. The rapidity of a student’s college years makes it virtually impossible to establish a concrete identity. Christopher Velasco, a full time staff member at the CRSC says, “I’ve been dealing with trying to find my own voice and trying to find who I am. It’s taken me a long time and I’m getting close to being more comfortable within my own skin, to be myself and be who I think I should be and not let others tell me who I should be.” Institutions like the Chicano Studies Research Library are not well known, but there is always access when you actively look for it. “I think it has a huge role. We don’t only cater to Chicano students, we cater to everybody. First thing, we are a library research center and we’re an active conservation department. I’ve noticed that a lot of students that are studying for library school or fulfilling conservation internships come here because we are active,” said Velasco. The hidden treasure at UCLA is the individual: you. Student, worker, professor, contributor. The time is NOW! Get active and take initiative! And don’t be afraid to dazzle the world with your unique identity. ROSA LINDA MEZA

ne word that can serve as the downfall or pride of an individual: identity. The influences that surround a student at the university are limitless. The constant battle of creating an image/presence in a vast space like UCLA, causes a feeling of inferiority even among the “strongest” of individuals. The beginning of establishing an identity emerges when a student decides to deviate from the status quo. My journey to forming my own identity at UCLA comes from my work as an archivist at the Chicano Studies Research Library (CSRC) located in Haines 144. The work and responsibilities that come with being an archivist consists of: establishing and maintaining control of the physical and organizational aspects of records with great historical value. As an archivist, one must organize and preserve archives such as: letters, documents, books, and more. Working for the CSRC has given me the opportunity to learn more about my cultural roots. I am currently working on a collection about Ricardo Muñoz, a UCLA alumni, retired judge of administration and attorney. The opportunity to work with such a vast and rich collection has given me an experience like no other I’ve had during my years as a UCLA student. The mass of information that can be found in the library is not concentrated on one single genre. Instead, it challenges the stereotype of only having information for Chicana/o Studies students. The CSRC is UCLA’s hidden treasure. Patricia Valdovinos, a third year Chicana/o Studies major and American Indian Studies minor and CSRC employee says, “I like that it was small, cozy and familiar, not like your usual library. I needed to find a place that did that, and the CSRC library did, so I liked that.” Although the CSRC is not well known, the students who do know about it have found a feeling of peace and fortitude within its walls. Julia Fernandez, a senior art history major says, “When you first look at the library, it may seem like it may not give us much because of its size, but once you talk to the librarian and staff there, you know they have many resources.” Those students in search of an identity that will justly represent them, share the same dilemma with the library. There exists much more in the CSRC than simply its infrastructure. Inside of the library, information is located specifically to serve community members in their journey to complete their studies or research. Fernandez’s poster collection is currently on display at the CSRC. “It was very important especially for the audience that is at the Chicano Studies Research Library to know about this work and for me too. The librarian, Lizette Guerra, told me I was the first art history student and first undergraduate, so I felt like that really made me see the importance of the research I was doing. It helped me find confidence and my identity,” said Fernadez. “There is someone here on campus that really cares for you, not just academically but how you’re feeling emotionally, your well being. The CSRC helped shape my identity because it made me really accept me being here at UCLA,” said Valdovinos. It is not only students that go unrecognized here at UCLA but collections and academic papers as well, such as La Frontera, a collection of traditional

Christopher Velasco and Patricia Valdovinos

Spring 2013 LA GENTE 17

sigan luchando

I Am A Product By Gilbert (Puppet) Bao Corcoran State Prison SATF I am a product A product of Spanish rape A mix of white, yellow, red, and black A brown product Born from an act of destruction Born to revolt I am a product A product of servitude Remember your Mines, your Missions, your Religion, your Railroads, your Fields ....Worked to death.... I am a product A product of your Manifest Destiny How can I forget your trickery, your violence, the lynchings, your Texas Rangers, your racist indoctrine I am a product A product of your politricks, poverty, your justice…. The fuel of Capitalism I am a product A product of your wars How easy your forgot the Pacific, North Africa, Sicily, France,

Gente de Aztlan Artist Unknown

18 LA GENTE Spring 2013

Germany, North Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq Yet you beat me in the streets Remember the Zoot Suits? I am a product A product of your ethnocentric border Exploited for cheap labor Remember operation Wet Back? And you call me Alien to a land I’ve been migrating up and down for 60 thousand years I am a product A product of your drugs Remember Nancy Regan “Just say no”…. While Ronald was busy saying “yes”…. To “El Perico” Norwin Menenses The king of Drugs Your secret wars I am a product A product of your cover-ups NSC, CIA, FBI, DEA, DOC, L.A. Co. Sheriff And all the way down to the L.A.P.D. My scars are deep….my bones hurt Remember when I was 15?

I am a product A product of your guns How did so many mysteriously end up on my streets? AK’s, Mac 11’s, Tech 9’s Just to mention a few I am a product A product of your policies, over crowded schooling, Your pollution You’ve cursed me with Asthma Etc….Etc….Etc I am a product A product of Gangs, Prisons, and broken homes A pawn….worst off than a beggar I’ve been conditioned, convicted, and condemned…. You can take my life, But you’ll never have my Soul…. I am the product Born to revolt! Watch my spirit rise from the ashes…. Released from bondage, burden, and anguish of mind

nuestra joteria

Inside Out Latina UCLA student recalls coming out to her mother


y heart began to beat faster as the minutes passed; I knew I had to do it. Taking a deep breath, I finally blurted out the words that had waited years to emerge: “Mom, I’m a lesbian.” Thinking back, I realize that I was never really sure about my sexuality. I considered myself straight because that’s what I was supposed to be according to society. Yet, I wasn’t attracted to boys in any way at all. I didn’t think much about it, other than maybe I wasn’t mature enough and still had a childish view about boys. During high school, I began questioning my sexuality. While I was never attracted to boys, I always knew I had an attraction for girls. For fear of not being taken seriously, I would try to convince myself that I couldn’t be queer. I didn’t look like a stereotypical lesbian, and I had never had a girlfriend, which meant that I couldn’t possibly be one hundred percent sure I liked girls. I thought my attraction for girls was just a phase, one that would fade with experimentation. But that wasn’t the case. I once asked my mom what she thought about the LGBT community and how she would react if one of her children turned out to be gay. She said, “ I don’t mind gay people, as long as they don’t bother me. They can live their life together, but I don’t believe they should get married or adopt children. If any of my children ever turned out to be gay, it would take me a while to get used to it, but in the end they’ll always be my children and I’ll always love them no matter what.” Listening to her say that gave me hope that she could accept me as being queer. Even with that slight hope, I was aware of the possibility of her not understanding or accepting me. So I thought about how I would come out to her. All I could think of was telling her that I was a lesbian and leaving it at that, but I knew that couldn’t be the end of the conversation. I began to wonder whether she’d even believe me. There were times when I thought, “Maybe coming out right now isn’t such a great idea,” but I realized that there may never be a right time. I had to come out to my mom either way, so I might as well do it sooner rather than later. The moment my mom heard my words, her jaw dropped and it took her a moment to reply. She finally processed it, and said, “Why? I didn’t raise you that way.” She was telling me she didn’t raise me to be queer, as if being queer was a choice. I didn’t wake up one morning and tell myself, “I’m going to be gay from now on”; it just doesn’t work that way. As a single mother in the Latino community, my


Alejandra Rodriguez

mom feels as though she has to raise her children the way the Latino culture and society as a whole expects of her, meaning that there is no sex before marriage, and furthermore, sex and sexuality should not be discussed at all. By adhering to these strict cultural pressures, she proves to her family and community that although she made mistakes throughout her life, she wasn’t going to raise children that make the same mistakes. My mother never talked to me about sex or sexuality in any sense — I never had “the talk” with her, so bringing up my sexuality in any way, and especially in a way that shows I’m different than what she was expecting, was nerve-wracking, to say the least. I want her to understand that even though I like girls, it doesn’t mean that I’m not the same person I was before I told her the truth. She continued, telling me that she wasn’t okay with me being a lesbian, and that she would need time to get used to the idea. Now that I am out to my mom it’s somewhat relieving, but I know she’ll probably want to men-

tion it to my aunts and uncles. I don’t think I’m ready for them to know yet, because they are even more judgmental than my mom. I’m just not ready to deal with that. I guess all I can really do now is move on with my life and hope that one day my mom can accept me for who I am. Maybe then I’ll be ready for everyone else to know. Once I know my mom accepts me, I feel it’ll be much easier for me to come out to others, because I honestly wouldn’t care whether they were okay with me being queer. All that really matters to me is having my mom’s complete support.

Alejandra Rodriguez is a first year undecided life science major from Los Angeles. This article first appeared in Outwrite Winter 2013. Outwrite is a UCLA LGBTQ newsmagazine. Spring 2013 LA GENTE 19


El Jardinero El abuelito que enmotiva el poder de la poesîa


oeta Julia Alvaréz escribe que ella es más viva cuando está escrita en papel. Y con eso puedo relacionarme. Parece que la vida es práctica y motivación para mi trabajo de escritura—donde represento el verdadero yo. Además, le debo mi influencia creativa a la historia de mi abuelito, cuyo trabajo con sus manos ha inspirado mi trabajo con mi pluma. Me ha tomado mucho tiempo para darme cuenta de donde viene mi inspiración. Me ha tomado mucho tiempo para solo entender a mi abuelito, y ver su trabajo y sacrificio. El reconocimiento para un artista es vida, ya sea un artista de escritura, como yo, o un artista de la naturaleza, como mi abuelito, el jardinero. Me acuerdo de las reuniones en la casa de mi abuela, los domingos con tíos inapropiados y borrachos, tías con voces altas y exageradas, y primos infinitos. Era colorido como el jardín alrededor de la casa: mis tíos como las palmas, balanceando sus brazos y piernas ingrávidos como hojas; mis tías como rosas, sus caras cubiertas de color de rosa y rojo, dulces también, pero rápidas para picar con sus espinas; y primos como limones, algunos más agrios y guapos que otros. Pero no hasta que el sol excavaba la tierra, como una hormiga incansable, era completa la familia. Él llegaba en la camioneta verde de su padre con herramientas plateadas, golpeando como las ollas de abuelita. Complicados de comprender, con caras íntimas e imperturbables, pero él entendía bien sus herramientas. Todos los días con esas herramientas, su compañía, excepto días de lluvia. Los atendía y arreglaba, como si fueran sus nietos. En regreso, sus compañeros cortaban más bruscamente. Pero eso era lo más cerca que llegaba a una muestra de agradecimiento. Arrastrando los pies, él entraba a la casa. Nadie notaba. Al cruzar su frente mojada de sudor, se encontraba un pañuelo rojo, el color de las cortadas sobre sus brazos. Manchas frescas color café y verde marcaban sus rodillas, agregando a las manchas de antes en sus pantalones descoloridos. Botas usadas y viejas por su trabajo físico, y nadie en la familia entendía el camino que caminaban esas botas todos los días, o si lo entendían, nunca lo mostraban. Él cortaba, escarbaba, y plantaba en casas grandes con gran vistas de los amaneceres y las puestas del sol del oeste de Los Ángeles encima de bellos paisajes que probablemente el construyó. Luego, él se sentaba, encorvado como las margaritas a la vista del sol, y se ponía sus huaraches. En la televisión, una película Americana de acción que dudo que él le entendía bien—solo observando las expressiones y los gestos de los actores. Al ser forzado dejar la escuela a una edad joven, él era muy inteligente—bien educado, aunque no recibió título o diploma, pero todavía manteniendo y alimentando a su familia, como a sus jardines.

VISIT to read the English version 20 LA GENTE Spring 2013


Michael Reyes

Jose Reyes Ubaldo y Carmen Reyes Rodriguéz

Me sentaba a su lado, tranquilamente mirando la película con él, prestando atención a su sonrisa cansada. Como una almendra, su cara era arrugada y quemada por el sol, y su pelo plateado como su herramienta. Su bigote era oscuro como la tierra, con bigotes delgados y frágiles como las hierbas malas que cortaba. Tierra debajo de sus unas, fruciendo el ceño, y él constantemente abría y cerraba sus manos dolorosas, imitando a una flor floreciendo. Jubilación no estaba en su mente, aunque cada día se marchitaba más como los árboles que eventualmente se tienen que sacar de la tierra. Pero sus ojos, el color de conchas de caracol, nunca envejecían. Se quemaban con determinación y sacrificio por su familia, desde joven él ya conocía el deber del amor y que el amor es no ser egoísta. Pero las reuniones se acabaron. Y la unión de la familia se había marchitado antes de que yo me había dado cuenta que no lo apreciábamos, nunca nos deteníamos a pensar como fue que llegabamos a ser, o pensar en el que hizo todo lo posible para que pudiéramos brotar. Él hizo éste jardín, éste lugar de gente colorida y feliz, pero nosotros logramos disminúyelo al nivel de las hormigas. Sin que él me lo pidiera, ahorra me caigo en sus brazos, no como un nieto agradecido por su domingo, pero como un nieto abrazándolo por ser el artista, el hombre, que ha sido desde su juventud. A través de esto, con mi gesto silencioso de escritura, espero que él comprenda lo que él se significa para mí. Espero que me comprenda como comprende a sus flores cuando sus hojas se marchitan y sus tallos se doblan hacía el sol.


Pavlo Retomando el reflejo perdido Roberto Reyna


u nombre es Pavlo. De origen mestiza, con destino de vivir toda su vida en estos ranchos mantenidos por el ganado. El joven consiste de atuendo estudiantil, mente de niño y actitud perversa. Notable por su mal corte de cabello, lo cual provocaba que su cabeza se mirara más grande de lo que en verdad era. Perdido e inútil, aún no cultivaba alguna forma de identidad ya que ha sido la victima de burla de muchos. El vestuario del joven se le empieza a arrugar pero no encuentra alguna maquina para arreglar lo machucado. Pavlo. Pobre Pavlo. Ninguna mujer se ha atrevido a acercarse a éste inmueble ya que la falta de conocimiento han tejido asquerosos hábitos que ningún caballero debería de poseer. Su piel brilla de lo moreno, otro motivo lo cuál no es el galán del rancho. Su mismo nombre es error humano ya que su madre india quería un nombre como “Juan Pablo”, pero ni a eso llegó. Se quedó corto a su santidad. La luz se colaba por la ventana rota y sin guardia. El sol es necio y tocaba su frente hasta llegar a sus ojos. Al voltearse y desquitarse del coqueteo del calor mejor optó por rendirse. Se estira, su cuerpo tosco acompañado de un ladrido bostecéo, indicando la hora de levantarse. Casi se arrastra hasta llegar al baño, donde las fantasías de estar con las mujeres de sus revistas de espectáculos lo distraían cada fin de semana. La imagen del reflejo que tiene de frente en aquel espejo pañoso no lo dejaba de imitar. Se acercó hasta que curiosamente hubo una reacción distinta. De repente notaba que la figura gemela apuntaba hacia su miembro que, aún dormido, se carga en medio de sus piernas. Con gran susto y con un sólo movimiento, el cuadro que lo refleja, desaparece. Su curiosidad era demasiada pegajosa y abre el espejo de nuevo. Para su colmo ya no había nadie, ya no tiene a la persona que lo ha continuamente imitado por vida. El espejo sólo tiene una figura que él no puede reconocer. Al acercarse más a la bestia, intenta abrir más la vista pero ya no estaba en aquel cuarto blanco con escusado. Se había transportado al corazón mexicano de Los Ángeles. En la esquina de Central Ave y Alameda para ser un poco más específicos. El olor de los vehículos era algo nuevo. El pavimento negro, a la distancia nota una fábrica café obscura con algunas letras que dicen <<Legalize L.A.>>, esto lo distrae ya que el problema mayor para él era de estar en medio de la carretera.

Una bestia roja con el número “720” en la frente rugía su molestia. Su corazón no paraba de palpitar como un sapo atrapado durante caza. La confusión desmesurada es la razón que mandaron a Pavlo a buscar aquella reflexión perdida en éste nuevo mundo. Ya lo perdió todo excepto a sí mismo… ah no, eso también. Pobre Pavlo. Las calles paralelas de rectángulos parados consisten de miles de ojos cuadrados que no le quitan la vista a la persona minúscula. En el fin del camino, en la esquina, se encuentra la muchacha de la noche. Ella, sin nombre. Bien paradita y conocida tiene zapatillas para manipular su corta altura, a pesar del clima frío tiene una mini falda blanca y blusón azul escotado. Es hora de su servicio. El aroma que emite las lociones baratas penetraban la nariz azteca de Pavlo. Él ya se imagina tener entre sus manos aquella pelirroja de piel dorada, labios delgados rosados, cicatriz en la frente y cejas preocupadas. Ya se imagina el grito placentero que le provocaría. Ya se imagina aquellas uñas quebradas rasguñándole su espalda. Su saliva se derrite por entrar en aquella boca llena de pasiones del pasado. “50 baros por el tiempo que ocupes pelón”, decía con acento chilango. “Nomas que no andes dejando tus marcas”. La inocencia de Pavlo desaprovechó el accidente perfecto para convertir su imaginación en realidad, pues sólo tenía unas cuantas monedas en su bolsillo. Eso es lo que él pensaba. “No gracias” con debilidad le responde. Y ahí conectado se encuentra su reflejo que había perdido. La razón por esta expedición y corta historia. Ahora se refleja a Pavlo con camisa blanca que le llegaba hasta las rodillas. Cabeza limpia de cabello, ya sin corte imperfecto. Pantalones negros inflados repletos de arrugas por todos lados. Pavlo ya no es Pavlo, y su relejo ya no es su reflejo. Se acerca al reflejo oscuro por la noche en aquel espejo gigantesco del edificio. Voltea la mirada y como forma del destino tiene 5 papeles con “10” en las cuatro esquinas. “50 baros” murmuró. Caminando hacia aquellas morenas servidoras de la calles angelinas, el nuevo mexica iba por convertirse en un dios de la noche. Pavlo pierde el cuerpo que había tenido al principio de este cuento, esta vez se conoce a él mismo.

Power is Living Jocelyn Machado My identity is my painted image. How me and the world engage. Yet my body is not everything. I let my spirit do the ruling. I let the wind blow me away, And in the air I sway. My soul chants to obtain my desires. My dreams are mighty fires! They will burn until I die; Those flames are me.

Love your soul and identity. They are a wondrous entity. I am a Salvadoran girl With lovely brown curls. From the tropics my roots hail, “Pura Salvatrucha!” I like yell. But let me tell you this, Always be proud of your existence. For life is unique and only yours. Spring 2013 LA GENTE 21

arte y cultura


Mexicana 2013

Photography by Helen Alonzo & Melissa Merrill

22 LA GENTE Spring 2013

arte y cultura

The “Zapateado” We All Share Grupo Folklórico de UCLA members share identity through dance


n a campus of nearly 28,000 undergraduate students, it can become difficult to continue to identify with the culture shared by your family. However, on Sunday May 26th Grupo Folklórico de UCLA held their annual Fiesta Mexicana, performing at Royce all the songs they had learned in the past nine months. They performed songs from the Mexican culture as a way to show how cultural identity comes out within the university. Grupo Folklórico de UCLA is a student run group that aims to maintain and nourish the preservation of Mexican heritage through traditional folk dancing. Founded in 1966, the group provides a way for Latinos to show their cultural identity within UCLA and continues to thrive after 45 years, attracting students from different national identities. At UCLA, the undergraduate population is made up of an estimated 17% of Latinos, most of whom are Mexican. Many organizations and events during the year aim to encourage the promotion of Latino identity and culture throughout the school. The issue, however, comes up when speaking of national identity, which is not equally represented within the university. National identity is a person’s sense of belonging based on a shared feeling with a group of people regardless of citizenship status. Folklórico allows many who were raised with a Mexican national identity to continue to learn about the culture, and share it with others in the form of dance. The issue of identity within Folklórico comes up when talking of those who identify with other national identities. The group within the university only teaches and performs songs from Mexico, and none from other Latin American countries. The reason may be practicality. This year’s Folklórico coordinator Javier Borjon explains how it all boils down to how the group functions as a student run group. Those with years of experience teach all dances he explains, because they are able to teach what they have learned. “If someone came


Alma Huitron

Grupo Folklórico de UCLA dancer Lester Rosales

with knowledge of other dances, I would not know how to teach that.” Ideally he goes on to explain, it would be great to have someone who knows Mexican and other forms of Folklórico dances to teach under the one group. He also explains the how great it could be if it were a separate group, allowing another country to express their dances in their own unique way. Even then, explains group member Lester Rosales, he doesn’t see it happening anytime soon. A first year dancer, Lester has the unique case of being born in Costa Rica, from two Nicaraguan parents. For him, as opposed to many, his cultural and national identity is always the two. He says that he will always identify and love his birthplace of Costa Rica, but because he was raised on Nicaraguan traditions he always makes sure to mention his parent’s lineage. Lester understands that the traditions you were raised can make up your identity as much as the nationality you were born into. Becoming part of Grupo Folklórico de UCLA was not something he ever imagined doing. Lester says he had never been a dancer, but like most in the group he was invited to join by a friend earlier in the school year. He explains the bug bit him after his first performance. Lester loved the feeling of being a live performer and thus decided to continue. By the time the annual Royce performance came around, he was a part of the Folklórico family. Lester explains the unlikeliness of other Latin American Folklórico groups to be created is because of the lack of presence they have within the school. “Latino’s are a minority in UCLA,” he explains “and most are Mexican.” There is currently not a large population of those from Costa Rica or Nicaragua, he says, to form a group with an avenue to showcase cultural dances as Grupo Folklórico does now. At the end of the day it is your decision on why you keep dancing. On performance night, Javier mentioned how he was excited to showcase some dances people in the audience might not have had the privilege of seeing live. While Lester, hoping his parents made it down, was just excited to perform at Royce. Both, from different cultures and with different national identities, looked forward to putting on a great two-hour show. And they did. Spring 2013 LA GENTE 23

24 LA GENTE Spring 2013

La Gente Spring 2013 Identity Issue  

Volume 43. issue 3

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