Practice, Practice, Practice…

Practices have been packed, tryouts have been exciting, and song selections have been handed out.

From now on all practices are mandatory! We have to be there everyday of the week, as we now work in smaller groups. ROYCE MODE is in full action. And, I suspect that some of the first year dancers will realize what we all mean over the next week, and the closer we get to the performance.

A few weeks ago elections took place. Many of those returning stood in front of the whole group and had the daunting task of explaining how committed they were to the group and the plans that they will have for next year. This was going to be the last year I would be fully involved in Grupo, or as a fully involved member. It began to dawn on me how after four years of sitting through practices and learning footwork, half of which I do not remember, it will soon come to an end.

However, the great thing about those elections was that it showed me how many of the members are fully committed. And I believe it says a lot about the group and how much of an impact it makes on certain people.

 In simple terms, it was great knowing that although many of us who saw the group grow are leaving, the group is left in competent enough hands that will continue to improve the group and allow it to flourish.

Tryouts were the week following elections. Yep, tryouts. You review all songs on Tuesday, sign up for the dances you wish to perform at Royce, and then on Thursday of the same week perform them in front of the group against others who are fighting for the same spot.

Deciding who gets what depends not only on the tryout, but also on the number of costumes the group has, the need to share costumes, and your status as a member in good standing. With more than 70 members, I don’t envy our Artistic Director job.

Overall, tryouts were great, people were amazing, and it got everyone really excited for Royce. If people were that good in dances taught during Fall quarter, I can only imagine their awesomeness after three weeks of only focusing on a few dances.

I am not going to lie, I only tried out for three, and all in the same region compared to others who tried out for five or more spread throughout five regions. I don’t stand a chance in hell to get those dances but it was a blast dancing the ones I love among my friends.

Tuesday of the following week we were informed of our dances. Most got one or two, some got three, and my status on NOT being a member in good standing only got me the senior dance. I am not complaining–in fact, it was the one I wanted.

 Since last year, graduating seniors who have been part of Grupo for two or more years have the opportunity to dance a Lifelong Member song at Royce. I understand that my other commitments prevented me in the last two years from being as involved in the Grupo as before, hence I did not expect any other dance. It is fulfilling to know that I exit a group that has had a profound impact on my UCLA experience with my fellow seniors of whom came on with me and helped create memories that I cherish.

Now we only have a few days to look and sound perfect…OFF TO ROYCE!!

 

UC Patient Care Workers Strike for Safe Staffing and Respect on the Job

Article by Tlaloc Vasquez

The strike is set to go from 4am Tuesday until 4am Thursday in front of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The strike is a last resort for UC Patient Care workers after negotiations with the University of California (UC) failed to produce a contract that both sides could agree on. UC Patient Care Workers strike for safe staffing and respect on the job; they want a just contract that supports pensions, living wages and job security.

According to the Facebook Group entitled Student Solidarity for UC Patient Care Workers’ Strike!!, “The UC Patient Care worker strike will be taking place May 21st and 22nd! We are asking students to gather at 4:30PM ON TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY to join workers on the picket line in front of Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Then we will be having a rally at 6pm!”

UCLA is not alone in this action. 13,000 patient care workers at the 5 UC Medical Centers (Los Angeles, Davis, Irvine, San Diego and San Francisco) will be going on strike. They will be joined by over 8,500 service workers and another 3,400 hospital technical workers across the UC system. Students and workers are asking people to wear green in solidarity with UC Workers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

These workers are the heart of the living organism that is the University of California. They are vital to the vast functions of each UC campus and hospital as they maintain the aesthetic beauty of our campuses and care for thousands of hospital patients year after year. Simply put, without these workers the UC system would not exist.

The paid spokesman for the UC that you will see on the TV or read in the paper will say things like, “We respect our workers, but we think it is inappropriate for them to demand to keep their benefits. We have a worker appreciation day, isn’t that enough?”  But I know the truth. At the end of the day, this is a fight for the working people. This is for my friends. This is for Olga in the Student Activities Center. This is for Chris in Covel Dining Hall. This is for Mauricio cleaning the halls of Campbell. This is for all the workers that make UCLA feel a little less like a cold institution and a little more like home.

Un Dia No Habra Limitaciones Con Mis Palabras!

A young girl stands apart from the other children with her father, looking away from the camera. A red gown, a yellow cap, and a mini diploma in her hand—it’s Manzanita’s preschool graduation day.

As I browse through old photo albums I stop and stare at this picture every time. I try to remember this moment in time. When I was five years old, when I was bilingual, when I went to Manzanita preschool in Oakland, CA. My mom amusingly says, when I attended Manzanita my favorite thing to say was apoco to muse about gossip I couldn’t have possibly understood.

Read more

LA brewery brings Latino inspired flavors to beer

As Latinos, we are used to spicy and savory foods. Even beverages, ranging from aguas frescas to margaritas, are full of flavor. Yet, in regards to the beers we enjoy, there is a serious lack in flavor variety.

The most popular beers among Latino populations in the U.S. are Tecate, Corona, Dos Equis, Carta Blanca, Bohemia, Pacifico, and the varieties of Modelo. These beers are all imported from Mexico and most of them are types of lagers. Read more

Tres Poemas

XIV.

Letrada emoción que no significa nada por que no es acción.
Imposible conquistar ningún fervor con algún verbo.
Esto no es poesía, es solo un simple gesto sin gesto, o tal ves,
Un silencio sentimiento.
No hay revolución para dar a luz un sentimiento.
Hombre, qué me tienes guardado?
Nada, nada. No me dice por lástima.
Simplemente me lastima por dentro.
Por fuera solo un joven sin dirección que no hace el mínimo movimiento por dar acción.
Las palabras me dan protección en contra de mi revolución.
Revolución muda, la estoy perdiendo.
Despertare cuando he levantado la corona de victoria.
Contigo la levantaré. Solo así ganaré esta guerra que ocurre dentro de mí.

Sentado en un Arbol Caído

Sentado en un Arbol Caído is a play based on the testimonio of Jesús Tecú Osorio, one of the survivors of the massacre in Rio Negro, Rabinal, Guatemala. This massacre was one of five massacres planned and carried out in 1982 by the Guatemalan military as a means to “evict”, more like exterminate, the villagers of Rio Negro to make way for the Chixoy hydro-electric dam.

Due to the villagers’ strong opposition and resistance towards the building of the dam, many of them were targeted and massacred systematically. The total population of the village was about 800. And, it is believed that after five massacres, at least 444 assassinations were carried out.

The hydro-electric dam, of which so many Maya-Achí women and children were massacred for, was funded by both the World Bank (WB) and the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank). After 30yrs, five military officials were sentenced to 780 years for the March 13 Río Negro massacre, but they will only serve 30 of the 780 year sentence due to a 1969 law that sets the maximum penalty for the crime of assassination at 30 years.

While the massacre of indigenous people is not a new phenomenon, it is particularly infuriating that the World Bank (WB) has not been held accountable for the atrocities that were committed for the sake of building the dam. The WB, along with many other foreign investors and the Guatemalan government, oversaw this project and were key decision makers in the “removal” and “relocation” of the Maya-Achi people, yet they have not been held accountable for violation of human rights and genocide. Also, it is ironic to see how the WB claims to alleviate poverty and provide funding for the sustainable development of marginalized communities, yet it has a history of funding projects that further disenfranchise and oppress communities of color across the world.

It is not surprising that a few economically powerful countries—i.e. the United States— control the World Bank.  Instead of being a tool to help encourage development and, ultimately, improve living conditions, the WB solely seeks profit.

Sentado en un Arbol Caído is particularly powerful because it brings to life the unheard voices of not only the Maya-Achí peoples from Guatemala, but those from other countries as well who are being murdered for refusing to be displaced from their ancestral lands.

It is saddening to know that very few people know about this history and, more importantly, that very few understand that it is not about something that happened in the distant past, but rather, something currently happening every single day. Indigenous people are being displaced by globalization and the privatization of water, land, and other natural resources—forcing many to also immigrate. It’s ridiculous! In the case of the Maya-Achí people, I hope that the World Bank and the IADB are held responsible and provide reparations to the communities that were harmed by the Chixoy Dam project.It is evident that there is a need for transnational organizing that helps apply pressure on international banks to develop in such a way that future projects will comport with international human rights standards and that they do not further displace indigenous peoples.

If you would like to see Sentado en un Arbol Caído it will be running at Frida Kahlo Theatre from May 31 to June 9. Follow the link for more information. http://fridakahlotheater.org/Upcoming%20Events.htm

May Day at UCLA

*Editor’s Note: Compiled by MEChA de UCLA’s Labor and Community Component and S.C.A.L.E. at UCLA

WHAT IS MAY DAY?

Since 1886, May Day is recognized as International Worker’s Day and celebrated throughout the world to commemorate the struggle for economic, social, and labor achievements such as the eight-hour day, and in the past years has come to significantly acknowledge the immigrant right’s movement.

WHY AT UCLA?

UC Workers are under attack by UC administrators who plan to outsource workers, cut wages, benefits, and pensions. UC Workers have been in negotiations with the UC administrators since September, but the UC has failed to negotiate a fair contract for UCLA workers.

While the UC is raising administrators’ salaries, maintaining their lifetime pensions, and increasing student tuition, workers are facing a severe attack on their livelihood. This struggle is about quality education and quality patient care!

The UC Student Workers Union Local 2865, UCLA’s Student Collective Action Against Labor Exploitation, and MEChA de UCLA helped organize the protest, which had a 100 student participants.

 

Below are photos from today’s MAY Day action at UCLA, including the rally in Meyerhoff Park and the students’ protest in front of the Chancellor Gene Block’s office.