News / Chicano

  • Our Culture is Our Resistance

     

     

    Dear fellow Latinx Peoples,


    In the media and in this country we are raised to be believe that all we are good for is to labor for white capitalists like Donald Trump. That we are "at risk communities" needing white intervention. That in order to be successful we have to strip away our heritage and consent to whiteness.


    But fuck that. We have fought the colonization of our lands and minds for over 500 years defending ourselves against every colonial empire thrust onto us by Europe. Our tradition and heritage is one of resistance and militant action. Our societies have produced complex languages and methods of expression that don't rely on the written word but instead on how we relate to one another in community, story and song.


    The work of our ante pasados produced the most radical constitution on the planet: the 1917 Mexican constitution, which guaranteed, ejido, collective land rights. (These rights were significantly weakened as the Mexican government prepared for the implementation of NAFTA)


    In the face of dictatorships we have produced song to express the beauty and the belief in our shared resistance.


    We are the children of fighters and our legacy asks us to endure in the belly of the beast, here in what is now so obviously, the most racist society on the planet. In this, let there be no doubt that the American dream rests on a vision built off the stolen  land of native peoples and the enslaved labor of black folks


    Our generation has made its own mark as we fight the oppressive religious structures of our parents to embrace our queer and trans community. We have the ability to be intersectional, to feed the promise of a worldview and application of our heritage with our own voice and spirit


    We have learned that words move mountains and our moments of solidarity can take on any empire and any delusional "leader." 


    To my non Latinx POC community ... sup... I love you very much and I love the fight we have formed together. There is beauty in our struggle but pain with every step and breath we take.


    Know that the one truth I hold is that our future is tied to an intersectional understanding of how we relate to one another and that white supremacy needs to be dismantled


    And know that the only warmth I find comfort in is the space we hold together in our tears and our hopes. Our shared love will carry me as we get beaten, arrested, targeted, and deported. In short made disposable by the state and its white supremacists


    I will rise and love with you or I will die trying.

     

    Filiberto Nolasco Gomez

    El Huateque

    #dumptrump2017

  • Podcast with Cuicani, a Los Angles Music Collective

     

    Cuicani is a singer-songwriter’s collective comprised of five Los Angeles based musicians. The music of Cuicani features the talented Mavens: Marlene Beltran Cuauhtin and Marisa Martinez, who provide rich vocals and harmonies along with Tony “Tone-Irie” Sauza on vocals and guitar. I spoke with Marlene, Marisa and Tony on a series of steps in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. 

     



    In their own words, "The word  “Cuicani” is a Nahuatl word that means “Singer.” We chose this name because we felt it evoked the importance of exercising one’s voice, and also of giving a voice to the voiceless. Established in 2012, Cuicani’s eclectic mix of members reflects the diversity of the city it calls home. In our three years together we have written and recorded over 15 original songs with themes such as: environmental justice, immigration rights, and protesting police brutality. "

     

    Not surprisingly I was drawn to their sound and mission.

     

     

    A release celebration will be held on the album’s launch day at Center for the Arts Eagle Rock. The community-focused event will include an art installation and workshop celebrating the home as imagined by Ofelia EsparzaRosanna EsparzaFelicia Montesand other notable Eastside artists, as well as a performance by Entre Mujeres as part of the screening of the mini-documentary on the making of the Entre Mujeres: Translocal Musical Dialogues album project by Professor Martha Gonzalez, front-woman of the GRAMMY® winning band Quetzal. Special guest band Quetzal performs followed by the headlining concert by Cuicani.

     
    Now & Then Album Release Celebration
    Friday, March 25th from 6:00 – 11:00 pm
    Center For The Arts Eagle Rock
    2225 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90041
    Tickets $20http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1095225 (includes Now & Then CD)
    http://cfaer.org

     

    Now & Then is a 16-track double album that reflects Cuicani’s work in three distinct studio sessions, the first at Coney Island Studios with Grammy® winning percussionist/engineer Alberto Lopez (member of Quetzal and Jungle Fire), the second with Grammy® winning producer/musician Quetzal Flores (founder of Quetzal), and the last at 54 East Sound Studios with producer/songwriter London Parker McWhorterNow & Then also represents two phases of the band’s career—early work makes up the first half of the album titled “Then,” and the second disc includes the recently written “Now” tracks. The album takes you through a range of world, soul, Latin, and Afro-Caribbean sounds that include reggae, dancehall, cumbia, timba, son, rock, and blues. The songs circle around themes of cultural identity, struggle of the working class, empowering community, heartbreak, love, and unity, while maintaining an uplifting sound and flow.
  • We are looking for an E Commerce Intern! Come join the family

     

    El Huateque is a national leader focusing of Latino social media. We are uncompromisingly progressive and seek out vendors and musicians that align with our values. In our almost two year of existent we have quickly become a leading voice through our Facebook, Twitter and Web Page. We are looking to expand by increasing revenue to put together shows all over the country and pay freelance writers a fair wage.
     
    We are looking for a passionate and motivated, hardworking individual with strong interest in e-commerce, marketing and analytics. This is a great opportunity for candidates who are interested in first-hand experience in being the resource engine that will drive the growth of the website and our progressive vision.
     
    Details:
    This internship will include a small stipend that will increase as sales increase. Long-term opportunities are contingent on sales. Geographic location is open.
     
    Responsibilities:
    • Setup and launch of online ad campaigns
    • Assist with merchandising of product on site
    • Assist with online traffic and sales analysis for growth opportunities
    • Research and assess potential sales partners
     
    Qualifications:
    • Experience in driving sales through Social Media such as Instagram and Pinterest
    • Experience with Ecommerce platforms is a plus
     
    What You Will Learn:
    • Create a long-term online marketing and social media marketing campaign.
    • Interact and build relationships with our online community by maintaining online media accounts.
    • Assist the founder in building and presenting social media strategy.
     
     
    To apply please submit your resume and cover letter to filiberto@elhuateque.com
  • Be Gone Chipsterlife! We are Now El Huateque

    Chipsterlife.com began as an experiement to test our insight that there are very few latino spaces online with a strong progressive voice. What surprised many of us is that we were right. While amazing work is being done by the likes of presente.org and latinorebels.com we came to realize that we could compliment their path breaking work by adding our attentiveness to the emerging artistic and expressive work of groups such as Chicano Batman, Viento Callejero, Mexico 68, among others. We began discovered our own voices as journalists and commentators as we have strung together pieces examining gentrification in Highland Park, investigating Slumlords in South Minneapolis, drawing attention to the racist Santa Barbara News Press and long form stories from friends all over the country.

     

    We are proud of the work we have done and the voice we are crafting. This project is no longer an experiment but an uncompromising digital space with a clear voice and purpose. It is with this in mind that we are moving away from what seems an unfit name “chipsterlife” and instead assert ourselves into a vision of documenting and reflecting on the politics in the art forms that our communities are developing. We will write without restraint, grounded in our experiences and devotion to crafting our own brand of journalism and storytelling that tells a narrative different from other media outlet.


    In truth chipsterlife was a placeholder and a joke few seemed to get. At the outset we hoped it would take advantage of the emerging interest in the term, but began growing frustrated with its political stagnation and association with the community of folks, “hipsters,”  that have exacerbated gentrification and alienation with the communities we love. Despite this, we do love plastic rimmed glasses, records and La Cita in our native Los Angeles, but those are just objects and an aesthetic. It’s not what drives the beating of our hearts, what moves us to protest injustices, stay up late at night carefully crafting a new post, and honoring the lives of those we write about.


    While the project will continue to evolve as we consistently constantly examine our place in the world, we are confident with who we are and are now capable of really embracing what the website has become and realize what it could be. This is a call to accept us as we see ourselves, but also a call for our audience to embrace their own voice and contribute content. If you have been following us you know what we are about. Stand with us and amplify our collective voice. We are devoted to sharing this experience with you and continue crafting it together


    Wait hold on... so what is El Huateque?


    You know we arent entirely sure. It's often spelled with an h and is attributed to Mexican, Venezuelan and Cuban pre hispanic communities. Near as we can tell different communities define it for themselves since it's so colloquial and that is awesome! Thats what the site is about: people embracing it on their own terms and taking the time to find content they enjoy. In any case, our understanding is that Huateque refers to a party, a festive gathering place where stories are shared and communities come together.


    We love it and we are now El Huateque


     Con amor, solidaridad e intención


    Filiberto Nolasco Gomez


    and the Huateques

  • The Battle for Chicano and Latino Studies

    The Battle for Chicano and Latino Studies:
    What a banner drop on Cinco De Mayo was really all about

     

    Born out of the struggles by Chicanos throughout the United States to set the terms of their identity, the University of Minnesota established the first Chicano Studies Department in the upper Midwest in the 1970s.  Following similar successful efforts on the West Coast, the epicenter of the burgeoning Chicano Movement, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities department blossomed following a sit in by student activists at the primarily administrative building Morrill Hall.

    While victorious in its inception, the Chicano and Latino Studies Department has never had more than 4 faculty members and normally only two--one senior faculty and one junior faculty, i.e. non-tenured. Faculty have come and gone, many citing the inhospitable environment for faculty and students of color at the University of Minnesota as a primary motivation for leaving. Last year, the University revealed that former Chair Louis Mendoza’s tenure track faculty line would not be replaced, leaving the department with one tenure track professor. Chicano leaders throughout the community interpreted this as an attempt to destabilize the department and set it on a track for closure. Students and other community members responded to this and other social justice related concerns on campus with a series of events throughout the academic year, eventually leading to a sit in at the President’s office by one particular group, Whose Diversity?.

     

    On a snowy Minnesota afternoon, at a faculty organized solidarity rally for support of the students arrested during the sit in, the only professor in the Chicano Latino Studies Department spoke. Assistant Professor Jimmy Patiño gave a speech to a crowd of well-layered protesters on the front steps of the University’s main administration building. He explained:

     

     

    “I am currently the only faculty member in the 40 year old department of Chicano and Latino Studies. I have been put in a situation where I must constantly think and rethink how this situation came to be and what my responsibilities are in doing something about it.  And the administration has given excuses as to how this occurred, has minimized the absurdity of such a situation, and even suggested that this department is somehow supposed to have only a few faculty members. With all the excuses, what I hear from the admin is that “we do not value what you have dedicated your life to do. We do not value this field of study and the community it takes as its central subject of knowledge creating.”

    With the former Chair Professor Mendoza’s departure, along with the University’s decision to not reinstate and rehire for his position, the department was put in an extremely tenuous. Not having a senior faculty member has limited the number of professors who teach classes and can complete other necessary administrative tasks. However, most crucially, this has left the department without a viable candidate to serve as chair--a (usually) tenured professor who oversees the department. Although this position is currently held by Professor Éden Torres, she is actually “on loan” from the department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and her term is up next year after which she will go on sabbatical and then phased retirement.

    While the one hire from the University may “solve” the problem of who will chair the department after Torres, it does not solve the department's larger problems. In order to have a truly sustainable and thriving  department that lives up to the standards of excellence in academia, Chicano and Latino Studies requires a minimum of five faculty members. While a seemingly ambitious goal given the dire constraints of University funding, activists argue that this ask is nothing compared to peer Midwest institutions. For example, the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign's Latino Studies department has 12 faculty members; the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Chican@ and Latin@ Studies department has 13 faculty members; and the University of Michigan’s Latina/o department has 10 faculty members.

     

     

    Activists explained that this was the reason that early in the morning on “Cinco De Mayo,” an estimated 40 ft  banner that read “FUND CHICANO STUDIES.” with the hashtag “#onehireisnotenough” was dropped from the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Memorial Union’s balcony. This act of protest was designed to highlight the University of Minnesota’s systematic and detrimental underfunding of the Chicano and Latino Studies department.

    Activists chose to drop a banner as a response to the University administration’s lack of engagement with the community over the tenuous state of the department. Earlier this semester, a number of activists sent an email to President Kaler, Vice President Hanson, and CLA Dean Coleman asking them to attend a community meeting. Dean Coleman responded by stating that there had not only been enough discussion over the matter, but that in fact that the matter had been resolved. Coleman was referencing the opportunity granted to the Chicano Latino Studies Department to search for one senior faculty hire next year, a direct result of the Whose Diversity? sit in. Activists argue that one hire is simply not enough to stabilize the department.

    The activists’ demands, however, go beyond the department’s faculty hiring numbers. They also demand that the University reinstate funds so that the department can rehire its Outreach Coordinator at full-time status. The position has proven to be crucial to Chicano and Latino Studies, as this department and academic field was founded on an inextricable connection to those in the community. The department’s outreach coordinator maintains those community connections and helps them thrive. Furthermore, this position has been central to developing programs to recruit, retain, and sustain Chicano and Latino students at the University.

     

    - Filiberto Nolasco Gomez 

     

     

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