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Posts tagged: chicano

Violence is when there is no awareness of our inner soul, that the person next to us is also a sacred soul. It is when we make that decision to use whatever power we have…to injure another soul.


-Maria Elena Martinez, Local Council member, Alma de Mujer

This is one of my favorite definitions of violence that I have received in the many interviews I have done. It is simple and elastic; and by that I mean it is clear and to the point while resisting the impulse to be rigid in the criteria of what is and is not violence.  Many people’s own definition of violence, and certainly the definition of violence in the law, creates a very narrow idea of what violence is. The problem then becomes that many people’s, many groups’ experience of violence and harm because of racism, patriarchy, transphobia, homophobia, class exploitation, xenophobia, and ableism do not get recognized in the many forms they often come. Racist violence does not always come in the form of a lynching. Misogynistic violence does not always manifest in rape. Transphobic and homophobic violence does not always look like street harassment.

Maria Elena Martinez’s definition creates a space where we might recognize and acknowledge the many forms of harm a person can encounter.  Whatever language you use: soul, spirit, divine spark, or humanity; Martinez’s comment asks us to consider what institutional, group, and individual actions that denies or minimizes a person’s or group’s sacredness or humanity we may be witness to or participating in. At the very least, her quote asks us to reflect on how we come to define violence and what effect that might have on other folks.

San Antonio City Council Passes TLGBQ Non-Discrimination Ordinance - Goes Into Effect IMMEDIATELY!

On Thursday, Sept. 5th the San Antonio City Council added language to their local non-discrimination ordinance that outlawed discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.  The amendment to the ordinance is meant to provide protections to TLGBQ folks in public accommodations (local businesses) and government programs and services.  What is especially great about the San Antonio ordinance,is that it bans all elected and appointed public officials from discriminating and exhibiting bias towards TLGBQ people (and all other protected groups) in any of their official duties and responsibilities.

It has been a long fight to pass this piece of legislation. Of course, there were recriminations claiming people’s religious freedom is being challenged. Additionally, there were some really ugly, but old, trans and gay panic arguments.  Despite this, activists and concerned folks turned out and put pressure where it was needed.  This victory is due to the incredible and persistent work of Latin@/Chican@ TLGB/Queer activists and community folks.  The passage of this ordinance, which could not have passed without Chican@/Latin@ support, is a great testament that Chican@/Latin@ coomunities are any more or less transphobic and homophobic.

With all that being said, government policies/statutes/ordinances are a great tool to have in the arsenal for continued social justice work, BUT they are not the “silver bullet” some wish they were. Often they are not as effective as proponents wish or think they will, and can also have unintended consequences. In the end, I think it is a very good thing that the motion passed, but we have to keep everything in perspective. ¡La lucha sigue! (The fight continues!)

LUPE ONTIVEROS (1942-2012)

¡Actriz, Activista, Gritona!

Querida Lupe, we thank you for the time you spent with us.  We thank you for the gift you shared with us.  But above all we thank you for sharing your truth with the world, always speaking truth to power and never shying away from the fact that you were typecast as the Latina/Chicana maid over 150 times! Your bravery and example inspires us.

Didn’t get a chance to see the Queer Latin@ Monologues (cuz I live in TX), but I wanted to share yet another example of Queer Latin@s doing it for ourselves and getting our stories out there in whatever format, vehicle, and medium we can!

This production was a collaboration between DeColores Queer Orange County and Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble. Props to them for doing their thing!

Didn’t get a chance to see the Queer Latin@ Monologues (cuz I live in TX), but I wanted to share yet another example of Queer Latin@s doing it for ourselves and getting our stories out there in whatever format, vehicle, and medium we can!

This production was a collaboration between DeColores Queer Orange County and Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble. Props to them for doing their thing!

Angry Fact(s)!: 111,000+ and counting…

Since 2006, the rate of being diagnosed with AIDS 12 months or less after testing HIV+ is 3 TIMES GREATER FOR LATIN@S COMPARED TO WHITE PEOPLE.

Also since 2006, the death rate for individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS is 3 TIMES GREATER FOR LATIN@S COMPARED TO WHITE PEOPLE.


Most folks focus the overall disparities in HIV transmission between white folks and people of color, especially black people and Latin@s.  To me, what is even more startling is the relatively short time between when many Latin@s test HIV+ and then receive an AIDS diagnosis.  On top of that, the death rate for Latin@s living with HIV/AIDS is 300% higher than whites.  This just emphasizes the fact that our communities lack access to both HIV prevention services and health care to manage the virus once transmitted (in general, our communities lack access to health care whether we are talking about HIV/AIDS or not).  As of 2008 (since 1986 when data was first collected), over 111,000 Latin@s have died because of HIV/AIDS.  We are dying for this and many other reasons.  Our lives are of equal value to any other human being, this is an absolute, universal (meta)physical fact; question is: when will folks in power get clue and act in accordance with this fact.

**These facts were gained from the Latino Commission on AIDS

Yesterday the 19th Annual International AIDS Conference started in Washington, D.C. (the first time it is being held in the U.S.).  Let’s take a moment and acknowledge the work of some, and so many others, who work in our communities to educate all of us about the truth and reality of HIV/AIDS.  Here I would like acknowledge 3 folks in particular:

Pedro Zamora - a cubano who appeared on the 3rd season of Real World (San Francisco); professionally and through the show, Pedro was an HIV/AIDS educator.  He passed away from HIV/AIDS complications on November 11, 1994, the day after the final episode of his Real World season aired.

Pedro Julio Serrano - a human rights and HIV/AIDS activist who helped found Puerto Rico para Tod@s.

Andres Duque - a colombiano, who is an HIV/AIDS educator who helped found the Colombian Lesbian and Gay Association (COLEGA) in New York City in 1996. Has a popular blog called Blabbeando.

If you re-blog this, please let us know anyone else we should know about who is working on HIV/AIDS in our communities.