Category Archives: Somos Tejanos

Sylvia R. Garcia Announces for SD-6

From the Inbox:

Houston, TX — Houston community advocate and longtime public servant Sylvia Garcia announced today she will run in the coming special election to represent Texas Senate District 6.

“I’ve been fighting for our community and our families for years in Houston and Southeast Harris County,” said Garcia, “and now I am ready to take our fight to Austin.” “Our neighborhoods need a State Senator who understands our priorities and our values,” Garcia continued.

“Rick Perry and his Tea Party allies have already cut nearly six billion dollars from public schools and fired thousands of teachers. Now Perry’s opposition to the new health care law means four hundred thousand people in Harris County could continue to be without health insurance. That is why I am running for Senate — to protect our schools, our jobs, and our families,” concluded Garcia.

“I have worked with Sylvia to improve the availability of health care in East Harris County,” said Representative Ana Hernandez Luna (Dist. 143). “She understands the issues, has the ability to work with others to achieve the goal, and the passion and energy to stay in the fight until the battle is won.”

“Sylvia has never stopped working for us,” said House Democratic Caucus Leader Jessica Farrar. “Serving as a social worker, attorney, city controller and county commissioner has provided her broad experience and solid relationships at all levels of governent. She is well equipped to fight against the special interests in Austin putting people first. Sylvia’s priorities of education, healthcare, and jobs are what strengthen families most.”

“You can trust Sylvia Garcia to say what she’ll do and do what she says,” said State Representative Armando Walle (Dist. 140). “Throughout her years of public service you have always been able to count on Sylvia’s word.  She has the intellect, honesty, maturity professionalism and integrity we want in our representative in the Texas Senate. Someone our children can be proud of”.

“Make no mistake, Rick Perry and his cronies are not going to give up their disrespectful opposition to our President,” said Representative Garnet Coleman (Dist. 147).  “They may have lost the election, but our community knows Perry will keep fighting our President’s efforts to improve our schools and health care. We need Sylvia Garcia to stand with us.”

“I have worked with Sylvia on community projects for many years, both when she was an elected official and when she was a community activist,” said Yolanda Navarro, “Whether it was neighborhood improvements, redistricting or better schools she was always a leader we could count on to lead the charge.”

Garcia will announce her campaign team in the coming days, and plans to begin campaigning immediately.

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A DC First: DC Reviewed 4 of 5 Latin Grammy Nominees

The Latin Grammys announced their nominees today, including my favorite category, Best Tejano Album. In a Dos Centavos first, I’m proud to announce that I reviewed 4 of the 5 nominated albums. Either my reviews are being read by some important people, or my ear for music is pretty good. Here they are:

Best Tejano Album (Linked to DC Review)

Algo Esta Pasando - Joe Posada [Baby Dude Records]

The Voice Of Authority - Jay Pérez [Tejas Records]

Back On Track - Los Hermanos Farias [Ro Records]

Sunset Run - Los Desperadoz [Tejas Records]

Mas Amigos - Avizo [Powerhouse Records]

Big congrats to the nominees. They are all among my favorite artists.

Houston – 33rd Annual Festival Chicano in October

That’s right! The best three-day Tejano/Chicano music fest in Houston, the 33rd Festival Chicanois back on October 4, 5, and 6 at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Thanks to Daniel Bustamante, the 33rd year of this Festival will be just as awesome as the 32 before it.

The line-up this year is pretty stellar:

THURSDAY, October 4th – Jaime y Los Chamacos, Ruben Ramos & The Mexican Revolution, Avizo
FRIDAY, October 5th – Little Joe y La Familia, Gary Hobbs, AJ Ybarra y Los Bandoleros
SATURDAY, October 6th – Emilio Navaira, Hermanos Farias, Marquel

As always, all shows are FREE, curtains up at 7pm! — at Miller Outdoor Theatre.

Obviously, the return of Emilio Navaira is something that is awaited, but since I’ve recently reviewed the new release of Los Hermanos Farias, they deserve a plug. Of course, I’m also interested in checking out former Musicales vocalist, Marqell, who has a pretty good single, Esperate.

Little Joe is back, and he has played at almost every single one of these fests. El Borrado de Eagle Pass, Gary Hobbs, never fails to put on a strong live performance, as well as Los Chamacos. The legendary Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution will surely blow everyone away with their horn section, as will local boys, The Powerhouse – Avizo.

Most in attendance are, well, Chicanos. It would do politicos well to go press the flesh as each night will attract around 15,000 people.

SoTe: Do Political Consultants Love America?

My camarada Amaury at Somos Tejanos provides this great write-up on the latest ad wars and political messaging. It’s gotten pretty nasty during the Run-off, whether you watch it on TV, read a direct mail piece, or even open an up an e-mail. Some call it, “just politics,” but is there something better?

Early voting started on Monday and ends Friday, a reminder to voters there are candidates fighting for their spot on the ballot in the November elections. Voters who participated in the May 29, 2012 Primary Elections must vote in the same party’s run-off election in which they voted in May. Voters who did not cast a ballot in the Primary Elections may vote in either party’s run-off election.

I wanted to take the time to ask you if you were going to vote. I have recently had several conversations in the past couple months on whether or not it’s even worth voting in a political landscape that can be described as election season demagoguery. Lately, campaigns have gone down a rotten path — so much that civil discourse has been thrown out the window.

That’s just the teaser. Read the rest at Somos Tejanos.

Librotraficantes Launches Trip at Casa Ramirez

An energetic crowd turned out to support Tony Diaz and his Librotraficante crew this morning at Casa Ramirez Folk Art Gallery, a popular Heights storefront for culture and literature. The caravan takes with them a payload of contraband books to Arizona while creating various Underground Libraries throughout the Southwest.

The historic weeklong journey includes stops in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas; Mesilla and Albuquerque, N.M., and culminates in Tucson, Ariz., touting a celebration of Quantum Demographics, or multifaceted cultural unity, by highlighting Mexican American, African American and Native American literary works along the route. On St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, we’ll host a huge literary celebration of El Batallion San Patricio at 6 p.m., celebrating Irish and Mexican collaboration of the past.

The entire schedule is available online at www.Librotraficante.com.

Librotraficante is part of a response to recent laws in Arizona created to abolish Mexican American Studies programs. In some schools, books have literally been taken out of classrooms and stored away, thus banning them. Librotraficante has collected books and will traffic them into Arizona to ensure books are available to students.

“Arizona made me a Librotraficante,” said organizer and author, Tony Diaz, who has also brought together various banned authors who have donated to this cause.

Participating in Banned Book Bashes and Cultural Caucuses along the route are Sandra Cisneros, who kicked off our fundraising efforts by making a generous donation; Guggenheim Fellow Dagoberto Gilb, whose work recently appeared in the New Yorker and Harperssimultaneously; and best selling author Luis Alberto Urrea, with multiple titles found on the banned book list, was the first to enthusiastically support the project through Twitter.  Other literary giants participating in the Librotraficante Caravan include Rudolfo Anaya, whose seminal novel BLESS ME ULTIMA is banned; Denise Chavez, FACE OF AN ANGEL, who is hosting the caravan in Mesilla, N.M., and who organizes the Annual Border Book Festival; Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the syndicated comic LA CUCARACHA and who coined the phrase “Self Deport”; and Rene Alegria, founder of Boxing Badger Media and www.mamiverse.com, who attended one of the impacted high schools in Tucson.

“Politicians in Arizona have become experts in making humans illegal. We did not do enough to stop that, thus that anti-immigrant legislation spread to other states such as Alabama and Georgia. Now, these same legislators want to make thoughts illegal. If we allow this to happen, these laws, too, will spread. Other branches of ethnic studies will be prohibited, and other states will follow suit,” said Tony Diaz, author and director of Nuestra Palabra, organizer of the Librotraficante Caravan.

For more information and donate to the cause, please visit http://www.librotrafricante.com.

 

Somos Tejanos’ SXSW Message: Respect Our Music!

Somos Tejanos, that nonprofit on whose board I sit (and do a little blogging for), is hosting their first “unofficial” SXSW Showcase at Jovita’s on South First in Austin, TX on March 10, 2012. Executive Director Amaury Nora and a great team of event planners has put together what will be a special celebration of music, culture, and an important message.

We are billing this showcase, Dos Centavos, to send a message to National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). It is important for people to realize how hard it is to “make it” in the music industry. Now that the NARAS has eliminated 31 categories of music from the GRAMMY Awards, people must realize that 70% of those abolished categories affected ethnic- and color-based genres, including Tejano music. This is an opportunity for Tejanos/as to state their dos centavos (two cents) to NARAS and others who attempt to minimize our music and culture, while supporting the very musicians who add to Texas’ cultural palette.

Come out and enjoy an afternoon of fabulous local artists at Jovitas for the first Somos Tejanos SXSW showcase. All Ages. $8 at the door.

And the line-up is pretty awesome, which includes the awesomely talented Gina Chavez:

Mike Z: 12pm
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Radio-Valley
http://www.youtube.com/user/MusicRadioValley

Dereck and Erich: 1pm

Only Beast: 2pm
http://www.facebook.com/OnlyBeast
http://www.myspace.com/onlybeast

http://www.youtube.com/onlybeasthouston

Shand Walton & The All Amigos Club: 3pm
Shand Walton and the All Amigos Club play edgy Americana music, uniquely blending rock, folk, country, mariachi and blues. The group includes Shand Walton on guitar and vocals and various amigos on violin, accordion, and other instruments. The fall of 2008 brought acclaim for the band as they were warmly welcomed during their tour of Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium. In April 2008, the group released the EP album, Rancho Motel Sessions, on the Toil & Trouble record label in Austin, Texas. In the spring of 2010, Shand Walton recorded and produced a full-length album with RPM Challenge.

http://www.facebook.com/allamigosclub

Son De Rey: 4pm
Son de Rey is one of Austin’s premiere Latin groups and has been cultivating a style that combines Cumbia and Salsa with Tejano roots creating a contemporary and powerful original sound. Son de Rey attracts diverse audiences with their modern arrangements and blend of musical styles. Their high energy performances are filled with memorable melodies & danceable grooves driven by jammin’ percussion breakdowns.

http://www.facebook.com/sonderey
http://www.sonderey.com/

Danny Meeker: 5pm

Steven Baranowski: 6pm
Steve Baranowski is not your typical singer-songwriter. As a guitarist his unusual mixture of rock, pop, jazz, folk and classical is miles away from (and above) the typical three-chord strummer. As a writer, the memorable songs range from absurd to sublime, populated with madmen, superheroes, mystics, zombies and cats. No whiskey and trains to be found. A unique addition to the Austin scene.

Cilantro Boombox: 7pm
Cilantro Boombox’s dance and Afro-Latin based sound organically integrates elements of hip-hop, funk, electronica and traditional Venezuelan music. Danceable percussive beats, infectious bass lines and vibrant horns and synths are some of the hallmarks of Cilantro Boombox’s distinctive fusion of styles.

http://www.facebook.com/cilantroboombox
http://soundcloud.com/cilantroboombox

 

SoTe: Are We On The Right Track?

(As many of you know, I’m doing some editing and blogging at the new site, SomosTejanos.org. Check out this post I did on smartphones and Latinos.)

When we created Somos Tejanos, Inc. and SomosTejanos.org, it was with the intent of cultivating Latino/a civic participation throughout Texas by focusing on Tejano lifestyle and culture. By creating an online platform, we have exhibited a commitment to reaching the Hispanic Texan community through the fastest-growing medium–the internet. How Latinos get on the information superhighway is what is fast becoming important, though.

A recent Pew Internet poll found that ownership of smartphones–or cell phones that operate on a platform, such as Android, iPhone, or Blackberry–is quite high (39% of American cell phone owners). Although smartphones call for added expense in purchasing a cell phone, 44% of Hispanics own a smartphone, compared to higher percentages of well-off and educated cell phone owners, in general.

So, given those ownership numbers, check out the findings regarding internet access.

Read the rest of this post here.