Category Archives: DC Ojo

Librotraficante Earns Intellectual Freedom Award

From the University of Illinois Grad School of Library and Information Sciences. Congrats to my friend Tony Diaz and his compatriotas for this ongoing movement. La lucha sigue!

Librotraficante is the 2012 recipient of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award given by the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Librotraficante, a movement led by Tony Diaz, is being recognized for its efforts to oppose the censorship of ethnic and cultural studies materials in Arizona.

In 2010, Governor Jan Brewer signed Arizona House Bill 2281 to modify the state public education system in regards to the teaching of ethnic studies. By prohibiting courses “designed for pupils of a particular ethnic group” and “advocating ethnic solidarity,” this law has been used to eliminate Tucson’s popular Mexican American Studies (MAS) program from the public school system. This ban involved the removal of dozens of MAS textbooks and reading list books such as award-winning works A People’s History of the United States (Zinn, 1980) and Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire, 1970). In response, the American Library Association (ALA) issued a resolution opposing the restriction of these materials.

The Librotraficante (the translation of which means “book smuggler”) movement emerged to counter the effects of the ban. In early 2012, with leadership from Diaz, Liana Lopez, Bryan Parras, Lupe Mendez, and Laura Acosta, Librotraficante organized a caravan of educators and activists who facilitated a series of events across the Southwest to raise awareness of the situation and collect books for underground libraries. The caravan reached Tucson on March 17, 2012, with over 1,000 books.

Librotraficante efforts have since extended across the country including the development of a magazine and a freedom of speech event created in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month. On September 21, 2012, several groups, including librarians participating in the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, came together to learn more about the struggles in Tucson and appreciate the important works currently being censored.

A reception to honor Librotraficante will take place during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, Washington, on Saturday, January 26, 2013, from 5:30–7:00 p.m. The reception will be held in the Visions Room of the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 515 Madison Street, Seattle. ABC-CLIO, a publisher of reference, contemporary thought, and professional development resources, provides an honorarium for the recipient and co-sponsors the reception.

The Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award is given annually to acknowledge individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it affects libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular action or long-term interest in, and dedication to, the cause of intellectual freedom. The award was established in 1969 by the GSLIS faculty to honor Robert Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on his twenty-fifth anniversary as director of the school.

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An Inspiring Talk from Justice Sotomayor

Thanks to my sis, I was able to attend the Progressive Forum’s event last night, featuring Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor. I had heard part of her story, I abhorred the attacks on her after “Wise Latina,” and I teared up a little when she was nominated and when she was finally sworn-in. But watching her in person, instead of on TV, made her quite human and very much inspiring.

Life was not easy for Sotomayor. Going through life with an alcoholic father, a busy mother trying to make ends meet, and the challenge of juvenile diabetes, yet, still being able to come through it all with the help of an abuelita, family, and friends, is a story with which most Americans can identify–at the very least, the story of overcoming adversity.

A few highlights:

“Illegal”- Sotomayor is not a fan of calling the undocumented “illegal aliens.” But also stated that when she is asked, “What do you think about immigration?, she is quick to respond, “What do YOU think about it.” A perfect hint for those who expect others to fight their cause. We must all fight for what is right.

“Wise Latina”- Much like when she defended and effectively fended off offended right-wingers for her use of the term, she stated that her use of it came from a sense of pride in her culture, but above all, as a response to having to prove herself as worthy in a world that sees those with browner skin as unworthy. This is definitely something with which many can identify.

Voting – Sotomayor stated that she was content with the recent increase in voting in 2012, stating that the people must decide what they want from their government, rather than just let government happen.

Of course, her talk was all about her autobiography, My Beloved World. She stated that she wanted to write something that was different than most other autobiographies with stories which people can understand and connect. Reading some of her favorite passages, the crowd was quite responsive. Most touching for the Justice, though, was being received with a lengthy standing ovation.

Thanks, again, to the sis. It was great seeing some great friends last night.

Chip In and Support Los Angeles del Desierto

We’ve all heard the stories of migrants who cross deserts and treacherous waterways as they attempt to find a better life. Along with those stories are those in which migrants lose their lives in desolate, desert areas. And that includes Texas.

Los Angeles del Desierto is an all-volunteer search and rescue operation of lost migrants on the US/Mexico Border founded in 1997 by Rafael Hernandez.

For the last 15 years, Hernandez has dedicated his time, resources and financial stability to save lives, lay the dead to rest and ease the pain of countless families looking for their loved ones. Using his skills and training as a paramedic, Hernandez has conducted numerous searches/rescues of migrants reported missing or left behind in mountains, deserts and other isolated border areas in California, Arizona and Texas.

Hernandez and his volunteers, whom he recruits and trains, have evacuated an estimated 90 migrants in mortal danger when lost, physically ill, and suffering the consequences of extreme weather during border crossings.

As reported by the Chron, they were in Houston a few days ago to speak about their work. With three vehicles and 10 volunteers, they have now set off to South Texas, and, according to representatives are currently in Encinal, TX–about 70 miles south of my hometown of Crystal City and just north of Laredo.

Two of the largest ranches in South Texas have given permission to Los Angeles Del Desierto to look for missing migrants.Until now, our local coalition Houston United and individuals were able to cover the expenses needed to assist Los Angeles Del Desierto with their mission. On this occasion, we find that we do not have sufficient funds to get them beyond our city. We need your help now.

Over 127 bodies of migrants were found in 2012 around the Falfurrias checkpoint, double the previous year. The work done by Los Angeles del Desierto provides those families with lost loved ones some closure, and at the very least the security in mind that their loved ones were treated with dignity. But they need our help–whatever donation you can give is greatly appreciated.

You may click here to make your contribution. Share this post or “like” them on Facebook and share them.

 

Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair Weekend in March!

I’ll let the good folks from the Texas Talent Musicians Association tell you all about it.

SAN ANONIO, TX (01-15-2013) – Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA) presents the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2013. Set for March 14-17, 2013, thousands of Tejano Music Fans from across the country will travel to Historic Market Square in Downtown San Antonio for the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2013.

The four-day event will showcase over 125 bands from across the U.S.A to include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Illinois. The TMA Fan Fair draws over 90,000 die-hard fans each year. The Fan Fair offers an up close and personal atmosphere with live music on five stages featuring emerging acts to top veteran performers.

The family oriented event offers plenty of traditional food, beverage and vendor booths and Tejano Music merchandise. Fans will get exclusive access to their favorite artists participating in the special autograph sessions scheduled during the four days of Fan Fair.

The Tejano Music Awards continues to shine each year by producing one of the largest Tejano Music events in the country. Performing this year Michael Salgado, Gary Hobbs, Ruido Anejo, Jaime y los Chamacos, Los Hermanos Farias, Los Palominos, David Marez, Hometown Boys, Ricardo Castillon Y La Diferenzia , AJ Castillo, Monica Castro, Ricky Valenz, Jessica Sanchez and Tejano Highway 281 more artists to be announced.

San Antonio “Tejano Capital of the World”, will host the 33rd Annual Tejano Music Awards Show for early fall of 2013.

For the latest information on 33rd Tejano Music Awards and TMA Fan Fair 2013 performance schedule and hotel information please visit www.tejanomusicawards.com.

 

Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote professional excellence; a better understanding and greater appreciation for Tejano music; and to provide a public forum for songwriters, performs and musicians in order to recognize their artistic efforts and achievements through the annual Tejano Music Awards and related events. TTMA is based in San Antonio, Texas.

Save the Date: Trapped in the System: Mass Incarceration in Texas, 2/10

Thanks to our friends with the ACLU of Texas for providing us the info.

February 10 at 2:00pm until February 11 at 12:00pm

Register today: www.aclutx.org/lobby

Texas has 94 university campuses and 114 state prisons (not counting jails, federal lockups, and juvenile facilities.

With more buildings to lock people up than to educate people, Texas must change its priorities. Ensuring that our children have a good education is one of the best ways to keep them out of the criminal justice system. Between 1980 and 2000 the ratio of growth in Texas corrections to higher education spending was 7:1.

Join us in Austin Feb 10-11 for Trapped in the System: Mass Incarceration in Texas. We’ll discuss the causes of mass incarceration, how we can reduce it, and how the criminalization of communities in Texas has led to skyrocketing incarceration rates.

Day 1 | Symposium
We’ll discuss the causes of mass incarceration and how we can reduce it. Followed by a social reception.

Sunday, February 10, 2pm-5pm
Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin Downtown
111 East Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701

Day 2 | Lobby Day
You’ll get a chance to go to the Capitol with us and meet your lawmakers.

Monday, Feb 11 9am-12pm
Meet at Texas AFL-CIO, 1106 Lavaca Street, Austin, TX 78701

Register: www.aclutx.org/lobby

The DC SD6 Poll is Done: Garcia Wins It

In the world of DosCentavos, there is no run-off. That said, Sylvia Garcia won a close, unscientific, yet reader-ific poll run all day today. Usually, Friday is my slow day as far as visits go, but the number of folks voting sorta looked like a bad day at an early voting location with 154 participating. Still, thanks for voting!

DCsd6

 

Click image to enlarge.

Apparently, I have more readers who are fans of Garcia and Martinez than I do Alvarado. And that’s as scientific as I will dare to get. Again, there is no science to this, just some Friday fun.

Congrats to the Commish!

Watch Junot Diaz on Moyers!

The good folks at Moyers Media sent the link to show off to all. Thanks to them!

http://player.vimeo.com/video/56012865 (for big screen)

The life and work of Junot Díaz contains many worlds. His books, including National Book Award finalist This Is How You Lose Her and Pulitzer Prize-winner The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, journey between the old and the new, and between the America that was and the America we’re becoming. Born in the Dominican Republic, but raised in New Jersey and American to the core, Junot Díaz is a spotter of the future, a curator of the past, a man of the here-and-now.

Díaz joins Bill to discuss the evolution of the great American story. Along the way he offers funny and perceptive insights into his own work, as well as Star Wars, Moby Dick, and America’s inevitable shift to a majority minority country.

There is an enormous gap between the way the country presents itself and imagines itself and projects itself and the reality of this country,” Díaz tells Bill. “Whether we’re talking about the Latino community in North Carolina. Whether we’re talking about a very active and I think in some ways very out queer community across the United States. Or whether we’re talking about an enormous body of young voters who are either ignored or sort of pandered to or in some ways, I think that what we’re having is a new country emerging that’s been in the making for a long time.”

Click on the link to find out about a live chat with Diaz on Thursday.

DCs Top Posts of 2012

Music Reviews – Top 3

The Mavericks – Suited Up and Ready

Los Texmaniacs – Texas Towns and Tex-Mex Sounds

Johnny Hernandez – Gracias…Por Los Exitos!

Political Posts – Top 10

Did Ann Just Lose The Other 30% of Latinos? (Romney Mouth)

Dude, This Election Makes No Sense (Post-Primary)

Tacos and Votes – To Protect the Vote (Latino Vote)

Endorsement:  Vote FOR the City of Houston Bonds

RIP – Texas Senator Mario V. Gallegos

Helena is Doing What and With Whom? (City Council)

Tacos and Votes ~ All About Engaging the Community

Fort Bend Dems Open HQ

Finally, Let’s Move Toward November (Post-Primary)

Dos Centavos Endorses in Dem Primary (Post Primary)

Top 3 Posts w/ Staying Power (Pre-2012)

Celebrating 40 Years of La Raza Unida Party (by Carlos Munoz)

DC Reviews ~ Intocable – 2011

2010 Profiles ~ Kathy Cheng for the 209th Court

Top 5 Cultura and Community Posts

Tejano Music Awards Fanfare is Coming

FIEL Announces Deferred Action Assistance Program

RIP – Shaun Chapa

Houston – 33rd Annual Festival Chicano

RIP – Mike Kelley

DREAM Beanies for the Holidays

So, you’re freakin’ out that you forgot to buy a few gifts for friends or family members? Well, my friend and DREAMer Jose Luis Zelaya, a grad student at Aggieland U., tells us how he went from homelessness to reaching a professional goal of a graduate degree by crocheting all sorts of cool stuff.

Howdy! In this video I share how I went from being homeless to a graduate student with the help and support from a teacher. I am now pursuing a Masters in Education seeking to make a difference in the lives of my students. In order to pay for College I crochet beanies, scarves, etc. I ask you to please help me and support me by buying beanies and other crafts. Please share this video and tell your family and friends about it. I know everything is possible. CROCHETING MY WAY THROUGH COLLEGE.

Watch the video, fall in love with a great cause, and then place your order here.

FYI – For some of my Harris County Dem friends, Jose Luis was a speaker at 2012′s Johnson Rayburn Richards dinner, so you all need to buy something, too!

Best American Poetry Features Tomas Q. Morin

Are you a fan of poetry, or perhaps, someone who hopes to become a poet, or even a writer of some sort? Well, my friend and poet, Tomas Q. Morin is featured as a guest blogger all this week at Best American Poetry.

Tomas recently published his first collection of poetry, A Larger Country, which was the winner of the 2012 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. So, yeah, he’s the real deal, plus he’s a pretty awesome dude.

He’s already got his first couple of posts up, I Be Monsters and Workshop Days, which provide us a look into his early days of writing. And I thought I was the king of self-criticism.

Some of these poems, in spite of how poorly made they were, brought my mother to tears when she read them because there we were, our family, our struggles, on a piece of paper. It was a record, albeit a weak one, that we had lived and suffered and were still here.

Check him out, and don’t forget to buy his collection, A Larger Country, at your favorite bookstore.