Response to Daily Bruin’s Apology

The UCLA Daily Bruin’s “Editor’s Note: Apology to our readers” Tues. Oct. 28th came after a culturally insensitive Mojo blog post, originally titled “The Seven Easiest Costumes Ever that will Get You $3 Chipotle on Halloween.” The post included a Día de los Muertos costume as one of the seven, and included a GIF that read “Holy Burrito” accompanied with a man dressed in a sombrero, poncho and fake mustache.

The blog post was extremely disappointing, to say the least. La Gente Newsmagazine does not condone any ignorant behaviors of cultural or racial insensitivity. Reducing part of our community’s culture to a simple “wardrobe choice,” as the Editor’s Note mentions, and reducing part of our community’s culture to an unrealistic, rather stereotypical image is not acceptable.

Instinctually, we were left with the questions of how such a clearly offensive blog post passed through editors for publication, and why the Editor’s Note did not apologize to the community that this blog post affected.

We appreciate the accountability that is highlighted in the apology. However, we absolutely expect serious systematic actions to make sure this never happens again, including a complete follow through of what the Editor’s Note is requiring from the entire Daily Bruin staff: “diversity and sensitivity training.”

As always, our mission at La Gente Newsmagazine is to represent the Latina/o community who is often underrepresented and, as seen in the blog post, misrepresented. We invite dialogue and all questions regarding this topic.

Latino Subjectivity: Contemporary Artistic Convergences and El Velorio Celebration

On November 8th, Plaza de la Raza will host El Velorio’s 4th annual Day of the Dead celebration. El Velorio is a multicultural event celebrating the Mexican traditions of the Day of the Dead by featuring an art exhibition, live music, an altar installation and much more. Every year, thousands of people come together at El Velorio to celebrate the aesthetic convergence of Latino culture and heritage.

El Velorio began in 2010 with the sole purpose of creating a platform for emerging artists to exhibit their work. It quickly transcended into an event that has benefited various non-profit organizations. In 2014, El Velorio choose to donate a portion of the proceeds to  Plaza De la Raza, Los Angeles’ only multidisciplinary community arts venue dedicated to serving the Eastside neighborhoods of Los Angeles

This year’s exhibition was curated by Erika Hirugami, a recent UCLA graduate who focused on Art History and Chicano Studies. It will feature a wide selection of works in a variety of  two-dimensional media that range from painting to photography, in an array of genres relating to the Day of the Dead and its subjectivity as interpreted by contemporary artists of the greater Los Angeles area.

The exhibition will feature the hyperrealist depictions of Otto Stürcke’s paintings, alongside the suprarrealism of Isaac Pelayo’s drawings. There will also be Steve Grody’s historical view of the city’s gang culture via photographs and Miguel Angel Mejia’s modern Mexican issues in mixed media via photograph, colliding and conversing about the myriad of ways in which the Latino community is affected on both sides of the border.

Antonio Pelayo, founder of El Velorio, will display an introspection about his own aesthetic development and the footprint he leaves behind as an artist in his own community. Nikko Hurtado and Mark Mahoney, tattoo artists by trade, give us a glimpse into a wider range of art forms and converge with UCLA Chicano Master’s own Alma Lopez, Frank Romero, and Patssi Valdez to bring together an array of instances and subjectivities towards discussing greater Chicano, Latino, and Mexican American concerns of the people in Los Angeles.

El Velorio seeks to generate an alternative space where artists from different backgrounds can come together and aesthetically converse Day of the Dead and modern concerns of Latino society and heritage. By showcasing emerging artists, El Velorio seeks to celebrate the Day of the Dead in a transcendental way that allows visitors to contemplate locally produced aesthetic developments. Also, featuring some renown artists alongside these emergent artists creates a space to converse aesthetically about the Latino subjectivity within the confines of the Latino experience, free of borders and limitations, generating an artistic convergence capable of transcending the local borders of the city, time and space.

For tickets, location, and all other details visit www.elvelorio.com

Images courtesy of Ralph Guzman

We are all Ferguson. We are all Ayotzinapa.

On October 22, 2014 Black and Brown UCLA students joined forces to stand against police brutality and to demand justice for the 43 disappeared students of Mexico.

The students met in Meyerhoff Park in front of Kerckhoff Hall at around noon.  The rally began with a brief introduction to the issues being discussed and was followed by a moment of silence for those who have died at the hands of the authorities.  Then various participants took turns reading the names of those who have been killed by police in the United States as well as the names of the 43 missing Mexican students.

The demonstration consisted of displaying artistic representations of tombstones with pictures of Black and Brown youth who have been killed by police.  The students also placed photos of the students from the Escuela Normal Rural of Ayotzinapa in Guerrero, Mexico next to the tombstones.

In addition, other participants took the initiative of writing chalkboard messages on the walls of Kerckhoff Hall in solidarity with the protest.  However, UCLA administration immediately requested a cleaning service to wash out the messages, even before the students finished writing them.  Out of consideration for the worker, the students decided to help him clean the walls and wash out the messages they had themselves written.

At the end of the demonstration, everyone was invited to join the march in Downtown Los Angeles for the National Day Against Police Brutality.  Meanwhile in Mexico, thousands of people around the entire nation marched for the students of Ayotzinapa.

Here are pictures from yesterday’s demonstration at UCLA.


Created with flickr slideshow.

October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality

On October 22, 2014,  the Stop Mass Incarceration Network from Southern California led a march against police brutality from Olympic and Broadway to the Los Angeles Police Department in Downtown Los Angeles.  The Stop Mass Incarceration Network is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice and is a registered non-profit organization.  However, the origin of the fight for a “National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation” dates back to 1996 with the October 22 Coalition.

This march took place at 2 pm on Olympic and Broadway.  Once at the Los Angeles Police Department in front of the City Hall, various people articulated their demands and frustrations along with their sorrow for those who have been killed at the hands of the authorities.

 


Created with flickr slideshow.

Pintas: Breeding Ground for the New Chicano Movement

Today California prisons hold the largest prison population in the U.S. and when it comes to the S.H.U. i.e; torture kamps, Chicanos are the largest population being targeted by the state to be sent to the SHU’s.  This means that within prisons, ground zero for repression and the front line for the offensive that is aimed at [email protected], can be found in California’s pintas.  Anyone who has ever studied the natural laws of development will know that wherever you find the most injustice you will find the most resistance, for this reason I believe that the New Chicano Movement will find it’s fiercest fighters within these torture kamps.

It was no surprise to anyone who is in the pinta or who has ever been to the pinta, that the largest hunger strike in U.S. history would be spearheaded from the SHU’s in Califas.  These are the laws of dialectics.  These SHU’s and particularly the torture kamp at Pelican Bay is designed in my opinion to dehumanize us and to destroy our ability of Chicanos to not just endure these horrific conditions and specifically solitary confinement, but go on to struggle and rise up.  There is no denying the fact that the SHU has done damage to [email protected], but something else began to happen that even surprised me, people began to develop under this repression like a nopal growing through concrete.

What destroyed the Chicano Movement of the 1970’s was the state’s COINTELPRO and other methods which sought to neutralize our Movimiento.  [email protected] organizations were infiltrated and undermined by agent provocateurs, Tio Tacos (Chicano uncle Toms) and the Feds.  Revolutionary groups like the Brown Berets, Black Panthers and the Young Lords were seen as a threat to the oppressor nation and were destroyed.  But this destruction had another effect on Aztlan where [email protected] revolutionaries no longer showed the path to liberation for the barrios of Aztlan and as a result survival groups “gangs” grew and the barrios which at one time were seen as our base areas for the Chicano Movement were now engulfed in inter conflict and self-destruction.

[email protected] in prisons have begun to see and understand that there is an offensive aimed at Aztlan and we see it because when it comes to the Chicano nation, it is imprisoned [email protected] who are feeling that bald oppression of life in Amerika.  Those of us in SHU fully understand that our oppressor has two choices for us, attempt to assimilate or die.  But only those who taste the least bribes in a society are ready to resist at all costs, just look to the Palestinians resisting to get a contemporary example of this.

What is being forged in today’s pintas is the backbone of the New Chicano Movement.  People are studying and learning from the past in order for us to change our future.  We know that Aztlan is in trouble but many out in society are caught up in the struggle to live and do not really look the repression in the eye like prisoners.  Ex prisoners will take on a more active role in us re-building Aztlan.  These pintas are transforming and [email protected] being released will do in so many cases fully conscious, therefore these pintas are breeding resistance.

What is occurring to Raza ([email protected]) who are migrating to the U.S. is disgusting.  Children being thrown in rooms stacked on top of each other, it all smacks of what the Japanese went through with the internment kamps.  Having a strong and mobilized Aztlan will fight off these attacks.  But like what the SHU is doing to the imprisoned [email protected], so too is the hunting of Brown skins by Migra and their affiliates doing for [email protected] and Raza in general, it is breeding resistance.

Our jale is not done on both sides if the prison walls.  Our lucha will continue in so many forms which will at times overlap and ebb and flow, but it will continue until [email protected] obtain self -determination.

Aztlan Libre!

-Jose H. Villarreal

Getty Funds Extensive Latin American Art Project in Southern California

Getty_Center_2The influence of Latin American art in the Southern California scene has always been present, and it seems people are starting to take notice. Recently, The Getty Foundation announced that it will be investing $5 million dollars for its yearly Pacific Standard Time project that will focus on Latin American art and its influence in the Southern California art scene. The Getty Foundation will be giving grants to a variety of Southern California museums and institutions to plan exhibitions that will focus on Latin American art to display in 2017. A great amount of research and resources will be invested in this project, which is something new since focus on Latin American art has not been very prominent in the California area.

Grant recipients will be presenting their Latin American exhibits through a variety of methods and with a variety of focuses as well. Some museums will be focusing on individual Latin American artists, specific time periods, specific countries, movements and many other aspects of the broad Latin American art realm.

UCLA’s very own Chicano Studies Research Center has received a $210,000 grant to have an exhibit at LACMA titled Home. This exhibit will focus on about 30 and more different Latin American artists from the 1950’s to present. Home will focus on the intersectionality of being an American and Latin American and the binary of what home means to such artists. There will be a variety of topics such as that of belonging, nationalism, and the way that Latin American and American methods plays directly into these artists’ pieces.

The Fowler Museum at UCLA has also received $170,000 in funding and will be having an exhibition titled The Roads that Lead to Bahia: Visual Arts and the Emergence of Brazil’s Black Rome. It focuses on African inspired arts of Bahia in Brazil and the manner in which they have had a strong presence in El Salvador. Taking note of the complex national, ethnic, racial, and religious aspect of Afro-Brazilian art in El Salvador and expanding parts of the world will allow the Fowler to further examine the importance of Latin American art at a more international level.

Another Los Angeles recipient will be the Hammer Museum who has received $225,000 in funding to bring an exhibit on Women artists in Latin America from the 60’s to 80’s. This focus has been inspired by the Women’s Rights Movement that will bring about varous artistic media from about 80 artists from 12 countries in the exhibit titled The Political Body: Radical Women in Latin American Art 1960–1985.

 The Getty’s decision to focus on Latin America is great news for the Southern California art scene as there has never been a strong devotion to acknowledging and analyzing the manner in which Latin American Art impacts Southern California. Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA will allow the link between these arts to be made more visible and, most importantly, LA/LA has the potential to create a larger awareness and recognition of how Latino/Latin American art has changed and continues to change the dynamics of Southern California.

Outraged Demonstrators Demand the Return of Ayotzinapa Students

On October 9th, about 35 demonstrators met in front of the Los Angeles Mexican Consulate, located near Macarthur Park, demanding justice for the 43 disappeared Mexican students in the state of Guerrero. These students were taken by the municipal police of Iguala and members of the criminal organization, Guerreros Unidos.

On September 26th, students from the Normal Rural School from Ayotzinapa were assaulted by municipal police officers. The students were headed to the city of Iguala in public buses to raise funds for their school until they were intercepted. In the assault, police killed 6 students and wounded at least 25.

Days later, some burned and dismembered bodies were found in various pits located in the hills of Iguala. Guerrero’s chief prosecutor stated that at least 17 of the 28 bodies in the pits pertain to the normalista students that disappeared, but there are reports that more tests are being ran to identify the bodies. Still, the 43 students are currently missing. The school is known for being an educational institution whose students actively organize manifestations against unjust policies and corrupt governments.

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The collective of activists from various organizations in Los Angeles began the demonstration at 11:00 am. With a microphone in hand, speakers expressed their grievances toward the Mexican authorities for their negligence and complicity in the disappearance of the students.

“This is not the first time that the government attacks its own people and kills our own sons, our students. Have we forgotten? Have we forgotten the year 68? Who remembers it?” said Lilia Trujillo to the crowd of protesters.

Lilia Trujillo lived in Guerrero for 25 years. While studying in the University of Chilpancingo as a biology major, she met “estudiantes normalistas” from the Normal Rural School from Ayotzinapa and described them as prominent social fighters.

“They have fought, they have manifested, and they fund their own education because the government does not cover their educational expenses,” she said.

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After several protesters spoke, Assigned Counsel Juan Carlos Mendoza Sánchez came out to address the protesters. The crowd argued with Sánchez about his responsibilities to the events in Iguala until he agreed to sign a letter addressed to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto that repudiates the crimes of the state and municipal government in Guerrero against the normalista students. The letter also made a list of demands, among them the resignation of current governor of Guerrero, Ángel Heladio Aguirre Rivero, thorough investigation of the assassination of the students, and punishment towards the culpable.

Jali Mejia, a member of the student activist group Yo Soy 132 from Los Angeles (which originated in Mexico as a result of student’s inconformity to the Mexican political system) and a native to the state of Veracruz, retrieved the letter signed by Sánchez. She hopes that the protest will bring attention the repression that is happening in Mexico.

“If the government will not change current situation, then the people have to take responsibility to make these changes,” she said.

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After the signing of the letter, Ana Quintero, named all the missing students. Each time a student was named the crowd lifted their fist and chanted “En pie de lucha!”

This demonstration was one of many others that spread throughout various cities in the world including Barcelona, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Bogota, and London. There has also been protests and indignation in Mexico, including San Cristobal de las Casas, where Zapatistas mobilized in a silent march.