Category Archives: Cultura

Democratic Leaders React to Debate, Patrick

State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia (Houston):  “We have not learned the lessons from the mistakes of Arizona. State government needs to get out of the immigration business. Senator Leticia Van de Putte knows that immigration reform is critical and that it takes more than rhetoric to lead. She knows where we’ve been and she knows where we’re going. She has the strength and foresight to bring Texas into the future.”

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (SA):  “Dan Patrick and the Texas GOP ought to work with and for the Latino community, instead they have been placing targets on their backs. They should know better. Dan Patrick is the embodiment of the anti-Latino, anti-immigrant Republican Party platform. He’s anti-Dream Act, anti-early childhood education, anti-immigration reform, and anti-voting rights. Dan Patrick is reason why Republican Latino outreach is a joke.

I know where my community stands, I know who they stand with: it’s with Leticia Van de Putte.”

State Rep. Mary Gonzalez (El Paso):  “Tonight, the people of El Paso experienced the real Dan Patrick. One who refers to our border regions as war zones and who does not recognize the rich culture between the United States and Mexico. We need leaders who understand how important family values and unity are to the Latino community. We need a strong female leader, and that leader is Leticia Van de Putte.”

State Rep. Armando Martinez (RGV):  “We need a Lt. Governor who fights for all Texans, not one who insults our region to score political points. Politicians like Dan Patrick continue to exploit border communities for political gain. His divisive language – the fact that he compares my home region as a war zone being invaded – shows just how out-of-touch he is with our community. This is why we need leaders like Leticia Van de Putte. Leaders who will fight for the future of our children no matter what background they come from.”

State Rep. Celia Israel (Austin): “Families in Central Texas and the Latino community understand education is the key to a better future.  I received that message loud and clear in my recent election as I talked directly to voters.  It seems Dan Patrick has yet to understand what voters are most concerned with.  Dan Patrick and his allies can’t have it both ways. He can’t try to court us while attempting to lessen educational opportunities for our kids.. His harsh rhetoric will not be forgotten by the voters this November when we elect Leticia Van de Putte as our next Lt. Governor.”

Leticia Van de Putte Campaign Statement:  “Tonight Dan Patrick repeatedly spoke of his vision of Texas in which there is only “one seat left” and of a Texas that no longer has a can-do spirit. Our state deserves a leader who will learn from the mistakes of Pete Wilson and Jan Brewer and fight for more seats and more opportunity for every hardworking Texan. That leader is Senator Leticia Van de Putte. That is why Republicans and business leaders across Texas are standing with Senator Van de Putte.”

Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party Chairman:  “Mayor Castro did an excellent job tonight, valiantly representing our democratic values.  Dan Patrick showed us once again that Republicans do not represent mainstream Texans. Patrick does not understand that border communities in Texas are an important piece of the vibrant Texas economy. Texas needs a leader who understands business and what makes our state so exceptional, someone who understands the international relationships and rich, uniquely Texan culture pivotal to a prosperous future. Texas needs Sen. Leticia Van de Putte.”

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Tuesday: Julian Castro vs All Anti-Latino Republicans

The Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, will be debating Dan Patrick on the issue of immigration on Tuesday, 4/15. Really, the good Mayor will be debating the entire Anti-Latino, anti-immigrant Republican Party since Dan Patrick represents the most divisive segment of Texas politics.

Frankly, I am of the opinion that this shouldn’t even be called a debate. Dan Patrick has never offered an ounce of fact in any immigration-related comment he has given. Instead, Dan Patrick has portrayed immigrants and Latinos as disease-carrying criminals who are invading Texas, which his base just loves to repeat. I expect some good facts from Mayor Castro, so, at least his side of the debate will be educative.

Mike Thomas with the SA Business Journal provides the details.

What began as a challenge over immigration policy posed on Twitter will culminate in a one-hour forum where the two politicians will discuss their views on immigration and border security at the Univision San Antonio studios. The discussion will be moderated by Evan Smith, editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, and will be streamed live on Univision41.com and TexasTribune.org beginning at 6 p.m.

I’ll be checking it out, for sure.

DC Review – The Mavericks at House of Blues

Well I sure did enjoy another energetic, well-performed concert by The Mavericks at House of Blues-Houston. Opening with early hit, Tell Me Why, tossing in hits from throughout their 25-year career, adding some hits from their latest, “In Time,” and as we say in South Texas, adding a few other non-Mavs oldies “de pilon,” The Mavericks once again proved why they are one of the most versatile bands out there.

DSC01230

Raul Malo fronts The Mavericks at HOB

Song after song had a crowd of over 1,500 loyalists dancing, singing along, and shouting their support. And as good as the band is, the crowd seems to energize the band as much as the band energizes the crowd. When it comes to The Mavericks, it really is a people’s band. And that was perhaps the best experience of the evening–the Mavericks fans.

I arrived early and stepped into the HOB restaurant for a beer. The crowd there was mostly loyalists, and a couple of ladies sat with me at my table while I waited to close my tab. Right off the bat, one of the ladies goes into her Mavericks story and how she’d only been a fan for a year or so, but that “In Time” had really helped her through some rough times in her life. Music does soothe the soul, and Mavericks music is probably best for it.

Later on, when I was finally inside the venue, another fan who came in from LaFayette, LA and brought his friends from The Woodlands gave me his Mavericks story. He had been a fan for years and just felt they were the best band in existence, given front man Raul Malo’s unequaled vocals. He had seen them in LaFayette, came to Houston, and looked forward to seeing them at the New Orleans Jazz Festival later this Spring.

Of course, there’s my local friend Jesse who brought his two kids to their first Mavericks concert. From his reports on Facebook, they loved it. I hear they are also big fans of Mavericks squeezebox specialist Michael Guerra. But it just goes to show that the Mavericks attract all ages and backgrounds.

Another friend, Javier and his wife came to enjoy the concert, not realizing the straight 2 1/2 hour concert would have so much music. Javier, though, did recall seeing the Mavs 20 years ago at Billy Bob’s Texas during his TCU days.

And on the way to the elevator after the show, there was a gentleman in a wheelchair just enamored with the band. He had gotten his first glimpse and listen of the Mavericks from their recent PBS special. He was filled with excitement after the show. I expect he’ll be at more concerts in the future.

So, I could go into a long, drawn-out review trying to remember as much of the set-list as possible. (They did play a lot of music!) Eddie is still is the best guitarist out there. Paul still drums like a beast. McFadden still tickles them ivories oh so well. The horn section which includes Max Abrams on the sax still wails. Michael Guerra is still a squeezebox master. Robert is still the funny guy and strummer. Filling that bass line quite well is Jay Weaver. And Raul Malo still mesmerizes the crowd with some amazing vocals.

That said, a good mix of the new and old is what folks in Austin, Fort Worth, Helotes and the rest of the cities in the tour should expect. Go check ‘em out! And if you haven’t purchased “In Time,” get it!

 

Victory of Sorts on MAS

My initial reaction.

My initial reaction.

Well, the tweets and the chisme will tell you that the State Board of Education voted to add courses in Mexican American and other U.S. ethnic group studies by a score of 11 to 3. Sounds pretty huge, right?

I started watching the debate this afternoon and found out there had been a change to the proposal and much was being said about that dreaded term of which I am not a fan, “local control.” After a little and not so contentious debate, it passed easily, but I couldn’t help but ask:  What just passed? Bottom line:  It’s a step, but far from what is needed, which is full inclusion in the overall curriculum.

Nonetheless, a big DC tip of the Sombrero to the #LibrotraficanteNation, el Librotraficante Tony Diaz, and the entire crew for doing all of the leg work. It’s not easy to convince such a contentious board to move forward on something like Mexican American studies, and the work and hours they put in is to be respected and commended.

Although NBC had some of the story, The Trib had a better description of the events.

Instead of making Mexican-American studies an official high school course, the Texas State Board of Education has settled on a tentative compromise that would allow school districts to decide whether to offer the course.

“It wasn’t necessarily what we were hoping, with a stand-alone course for Mexican-American studies,” member Marisa Perez, a San Antonio Democrat, said in an interview after the meeting. “But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

In an 11-3 vote, board members added the class — along with African-American studies, Native American studies and Asian-American studies — to the list of instructional materials that publishers will develop for Texas social studies standards in the 2016-17 school year. That means schools will have a list of state-approved textbooks and other resources to choose from if they opt to give the class.

My friend and fellow Bobcat Joe Cardenas passed this statement along from HOPE:

Texas HOPE (Hispanics Organized for Political Education) welcomes the opportunity to implement a greater understanding and exposure of the contributions made by Mexican Americans in the establishment and development of Texas through the fostering of Mexican American Studies in public schools throughout the state. Texas HOPE and its sister organizations have long called for the inclusion of the role of Mexican Americans in the History of Texas so that a comprehensive and accurate accounting of the impact of the Mexican American community may be better appreciated by all Texans especially the millions of students throughout the classrooms of the state. Organizations such as MALDEF, the Hector P. Garcia American GI Forum Org. of Texas, Texas LULAC, and Texas HOPE have actively advocated in the past before the SBOE and its committees as well as the Senate and House Education committees for a more “truthful” History of Texas in the state’s adoption process of textbooks and development of curriculum. These organizations have been successful in their advocacy leading to the inclusion in Texas’ Social Studies books of Dr. Hector P. Garcia, the Green Flag Republic, Jose, Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara, and the Battle of Medina, as well as preserving the inclusion of Cesar Chavez and Dr. King.

However, Texas HOPE will not minimize the contributions of Mexican Americans, Tejanos/as, or other Latin Americans by relegating the teaching of those contributions to an optional elective course that the state may or may not develop and/or school districts may or may not adopt. Texas HOPE and its members will continue to advocate for the comprehensive inclusion of the contributions of Mexican Americans throughout the core curriculum that all Texas public school children must take! In light of the tremendous contributions made by Mexican Americans to all facets of Texas culture, cuisine, music, vocabulary, laws, and art, and given that Hispanics today make-up 38% of the population of the state and that 52% of all students in public education are Hispanics, it is increasingly vital and necessary that the state of Texas recognize the full implementation of the Mexican American experience into the lore of the state for all Texans to learn and appreciate so that the future of Texas and her children may be rooted in the truth and the knowledge that Texas is truly exceptional.

Texas HOPE clearly understands that the task before the State, TEA, SBEC, the SBOE, the school districts, and the Mexican American community is that of developing curriculum standards that reflect the inclusion of these contributions in the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) across the curriculum taught today in public schools. However, in order for that to begin to happen, all parties must agree that a changing paradigm in developing curriculum is necessary in order to have these contributions infused into the whole curriculum. It is disingenuous for any party to feign sincere progress in this regard without actively seeking the necessary inclusion of Mexican American experts in this process. It has been the habit of the State and its institutions to develop bills, standards, policies, and statutes without the input of Mexican American stake-holders.

Texas HOPE welcomes a sincere discourse that will move the contributions of Mexican Americans beyond an optional elective course to one that is inclusive of these contributions across the curriculum in consultation with Mexican American experts and stake-holders who will be decision-makers in the process rather than by-standers. The probability of Texas’ 1,028 school districts opting to provide Mexican American Studies as an elective is low; especially when one takes into account that approximately 800 of these school districts are rural school districts who neither have the funds nor the capacity to develop or implement the course; the issue is further compounded by the fact that 64% of all teachers in Texas are non-minority and not likely able to effectively teach such a course. We as stake-holders will also be taking a risk if students don’t sign-up for the course or if only Hispanics are attracted to the course. The danger is that the State will say that there was no interest or that it is the only place in which to teach Mexican American contributions. Clearly, the Latino organizations of Texas view education as the centerpiece of their agendas because the future of Texas and of our community is increasingly in the hands of those persons who have walked the halls of Texas public education classrooms.

 

Hi- and Low-Lites from the SBOE Hearing

No doubt, there was some great testimony by supporters of Mexican American Studies, including DC-friend, Tony “Librotraficante” Diaz and Recognized author Dagoberto Gilb. Of course, Mexican American Studies was promoted and defended effectively, and it was made known that this would basically be a state-sanctioned elective whose curriculum would be developed and approved by the State and offered to the entire state. It’s a pretty simple proposal.

According to Juan Tejeda, faculty advisor at the Center for Mexican American Studies at Palo Alto College, stated that 40 individuals testified in favor of the proposal, and only one testified against it.

The AP released this report.

The discussions also likely will preview some of the coming clashes over the content of new social studies textbooks the board is set to approve for use in classrooms across Texas this fall. In 2010, then Democratic board member Mary Helen Berlanga even stormed out of a meeting on social studies curriculum after failing in her efforts to include more lessons on Hispanic leaders, declaring: “We can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”

The best question asked of the SBOE:

Still, that did beg for some questions that didn’t make much sense, but do speak to any future clashes over what is taught in the course.

As Diaz noted, the course would have to be approved first before any discussion of what is included could be had.

Obviously, Mercer was attempting to make things political in nature, rather than educational. But I agree with Diaz that if he wants to be a part of the discussion, what better way to get involved than by voting yes.

As far as Cruz’s inclusion, it could be said that maybe 65% of Mexican American voters chose the Anglo Democrat over Cruz and that Cruz constantly votes against Mexican American interests (health care, jobs, education/college aid). At least that’s what I’d contribute. That’s if Mercer really wants to get political. Otherwise, let’s make it about educating kids and move forward.

There was another question about whether indigenous Guatemalans were similar to indigenous Mexicans from SBOE member Hardy, whom I called out yesterday for basically saying Mexican American Studies came from Mexico. At least that’s what I think I heard. But that one would just be too easy to ridicule, considering she’s been a social studies teacher.

One thing is for sure. The naysayers effectively prove through their ignorance that Mexican American Studies is needed.

 

Note to SBOE Member: You Sound Ignorant

So, there is an article in the Chron (behind paywall) about the upcoming vote on Mexican American Studies at the Texas State Board of Education. It’s no secret that, although there is one Republican who supports the measure, the entire opposition is made up of Republicans. I’m hoping a few more can be convinced to support the measure, but these folks seem to be against it.

Some, like the head of the board, attempt to explain it away.

“I think it is up to the local school districts whether or not to offer a Mexican-American studies course,” board chairman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands

Some attempt to play “divide and conquer”:

“I’m Irish,” says board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont. “So I’d like to propose an amendment to create an Irish-American Studies class.”

Then, others are downright ignorant and just plain racist, if that was her intent. I hope it wasn’t.

“We’re citizens of the United States, not citizens of Mexico.” Patricia Hardy R-Weatherford.

Let me explain to Ms. Hardy:  Mexican Americans ARE Americans!!! The social, political, and cultural history of Mexican Americans and their impact on Texas is often left out of textbooks and the classrooms for various reason. What kind of an ignorant comment is that?

And to David Bradley:  Really? Well, If there is a group of activists knocking on your door with a viable and sincere request for Irish American Studies, let them in. Otherwise, your little game is a tad immature.

And Ms. Cargill and the rest:  What are you afraid of?

I’ll let my friend, HISD Board President Juliet Stipeche explain it:

“We want to have a culturally and historically relevant high school course that aligns to the TEKS,” she says, referring to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, curriculum standards that the state creates for various classes. “We want the course to be well developed and well defined. If we don’t develop the TEKS, it can get lost in the shuffle.”

Some say we are wasting our breath because the Republicans are hell-bent on being anti-Latino, no matter what the issue may be. That may be so. But if they think that voting down the measure will end the conversation, they are wrong.

It is much simpler to vote to support Mexican American Studies and move forward. Moving backwards certainly shouldn’t be an option. It wasn’t an option for Texas’ heroes that are in our textbooks, and moving backwards was not an option for Mexican Americans who fought to move forward despite the opposition and the odds.

 

Houston ISD Backs Mexican American Studies

Kudos to HISD Board President Juliet Stipeche for calling on the board to consider a resolution favoring Mexican American Studies be added to curriculum offerings–an issue to be voted on by the Texas State Board of Education on April 9. As reported by Ericka Mellon:

The 9-0 vote followed some debate over whether the district would appear to be favoring one culture over another.

HISD board president Juliet Stipeche, who brought the resolution to the board for consideration, asked her colleagues whether they could name five Mexican-American leaders in history.

“It’s not that we don’t care. It’s that we don’t know,” she said.

As I’ve mentioned previously:

The Texas State Board of Education is set to vote in early April on including Mexican American Studies in the state curriculum. Unfortunately, those who are iffy or possibly against the proposal are all Republicans and at least three more are needed to pass the proposal. Let’s give them a call and ask them to support Mexican American Studies at their next meeting on April 9.

At least one Republican on the SBOE, however, appears to support the idea. Vice chairman Thomas Ratliff told The Texas Tribune in February: “Some of [the board members] are trying to say that they don’t want to start creating a whole bunch of other studies for every other ethnic group. I don’t understand that concern because there aren’t any other ethnic groups that make up a significant portion of the state’s population like the Hispanics do.”

Houston: Call Donna Bahorich at 832.303.9091
Woodlands: Call Barbara Cargill at 512.463.9007
San Antonio: Call Ken Mercer at 512.463.9007
Ft. Worth: Call Patricia Hardy at 817.598.2968
Dallas: Call Geraldine Miller at 972.419.4000 or qtince@aol.com
Waco: Call Sue Melton-Melone at 254.749.0415 or smelton51@gmail.com
Amarillo: Call Marty Rowley at 806.373.6278 or  martyforeducation@gmail.com

General e-mails in support of the proposal may also be sent to:  sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us

DC Review: SIGGNO En Vivo

Tex-Mex showband and Latin Grammy winners Siggno just released their long-awaited live album, “En Vivo.” Recorded in multiple cities, including Houston and Laredo, Jesse Turner and his tight-knit band give us a good live recording–as good as their live shows, which are really good. Kudos to Freddie Records for some great post-production work.

siggnoFans who love them will miss the light and pyro show they sometimes bring with them, but what listeners will definitely not miss is the power-drumming of Joey Jimenez and the rock-n-bajo of Richard Rosales. And what listeners definitely get is a drive through Siggno’s 14-year career, with recent hits like Mi Mundo Se Acabo and Yo Quisiera Detenerte and earlier hits like Pero Hablama and Estupida. Other hits, like Mejor Dimelo, and Ya No Me Importa will definitely keep hard-core fans happy. The album even has a tear-jerker part in which band leader Turner dedicates Mama to his mom.

What many fans were awaiting was the release of four new tracks. Getting much airplay and YouTube hits is En La Basura. Enamorados, Tonto Corazon, and Duele definitely have the potential to be fan favorites.

All-in-all, it’s a great collector’s item and cruising partner for those sunny Sundays.

 

 

 

DC Turns 9 in April

dc9That’s right, DosCentavos.net got its start sometime in April of 2005–nine years ago. Thanks to all of you who continue to visit–especially those who enjoyed the four-year old April Fools Joke I posted on the Facepage. Apparently, it just means I have a bunch of newer readers, which is always good.

Not much more to say, except that I need to get back on the horse and create a lot more material. This little funk of mine has definitely caused some writer’s block, although there is a lot to be said about a lot of things that many blogs out there aren’t saying–except our Texas bloggers since they’re always spot-on on the issues. Thanks to my fellow bloggers who continue to support and whom I support in any way I can. When you want real commentary on the latest issues, you need to rely on the folks of the Texas Progressive Alliance. Seriously.

Stay connected for the latest opinions and commentary on local, state, national, and even global issues, as well a cultura, musica y mas! We’ve got elections to win in November and that needs to be our focus if we are to get any positive legislation and public policy passed in the near future.

For now, here’s the very first op-ed I wrote in the Chron which really got DosCentavos started.

We’ve got a lot coming in the next few weeks!

 

 

 

 

Pinche Ronald Reagan and Other Reactions to Cesar Chavez

Thanks to the good folks at AARP-Texas, I had the opportunity to enjoy an advanced screening of Cesar Chavez, the biopic about the late Labor and Civil Rights organizer and leader.

Given the various stories about Chavez, I didn’t know what to expect from Director Diego Luna and his crew. What I got was a fast-paced journey through the beginnings of Chavez’s organizing of farmworkers in the California fields, including coalition building with Filipino farmworkers, the founding of the United Farm Workers,  and on through the five-year boycott of grape growing companies. The film portrays Chavez, as he was, rather than as some superhero–always humble, always working, and always risking, yet flawed like anyone else.

Michael Peña gives a strong performance as the title character, as does America Ferrera as Chavez’s wife, Helen. While Chavez is portrayed as the leader, it is Helen, among others, who are portrayed as the foundation on which Chavez stood up against the growers. Overall, it was a good ensemble, with good performances by John Malkovich, Jacob Vargas, Yancey Arias, and, of course, Rosario Dawson. Much credit should go to Luna for some good attempts at recreating important aspects of the movement.

What was not recreated was actual film of Ronald Reagan, governor of California at the time, doing his part to break the strike through a public relations campaign which included calling the strikers “immoral” and eating grapes while being filmed by news outlets. I still don’t understand that 80s “Decade of the Hispanic” bull that was promoted by the Reaganites. The devil is always the devil.

As much as the film is about Chavez, some strong political statements are made about those in charge at the time who would want to destroy the farmworker movement. Also given his due on the positive side is Bobby Kennedy.

The film also lightly covers a topic some use to darken the legacy of Cesar Chavez–his feelings toward undocumented labor. Low-wage immigrant workers who weren’t demanding worker rights back then were easy to exploit and industries of today have learned much from farmers and growers of that time. Chavez was fighting to protect all workers at the time, which made him an easy target in the right-wing “divide and conquer” strategy.

 

Unfortunately, the film said little about the fact that these movements still continue today. While  some actual Chavez footage at the end of the film is utilized in which he speaks to the plight of the poor, a strong message could have been delivered that these struggles still continue in the form of health care reform, minimum wage increases, college for everyone, etc. We are left to figure it out on our own, or, perhaps that was the intent.

Then again, I’m not Diego Luna working on deadlines and a time frame in which to make a biography as sincere as possible. There will be criticism from activists who were there or folks wanting more, but the bottom line, there is only so much one can put into a movie before it loses an audience. The actual story is saved for textbooks and biographies. Otherwise, I truly enjoyed the film.

Chavez also serves as a reminder that this stuff isn’t being taught to our K-12 kids here in Texas, along with other aspects of Mexican American Studies.

The Texas State Board of Education is set to vote in early April on including Mexican American Studies in the state curriculum. Unfortunately, those who are iffy or possibly against the proposal are all Republicans and at least three more are needed to pass the proposal. Let’s give them a call and ask them to support Mexican American Studies at their next meeting on April 9.

At least one Republican on the SBOE, however, appears to support the idea. Vice chairman Thomas Ratliff told The Texas Tribune in February: “Some of [the board members] are trying to say that they don’t want to start creating a whole bunch of other studies for every other ethnic group. I don’t understand that concern because there aren’t any other ethnic groups that make up a significant portion of the state’s population like the Hispanics do.”

Houston: Call Donna Bahorich at 832.303.9091
Woodlands: Call Barbara Cargill at 512.463.9007
San Antonio: Call Ken Mercer at 512.463.9007
Ft. Worth: Call Patricia Hardy at 817.598.2968
Dallas: Call Geraldine Miller at 972.419.4000 or qtince@aol.com
Waco: Call Sue Melton-Melone at 254.749.0415 or smelton51@gmail.com
Amarillo: Call Marty Rowley at 806.373.6278 or  martyforeducation@gmail.com

General e-mails in support of the proposal may also be sent to:  sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us