So much of my youth was shaped by my father Don Beto’s, stories of crossing the border from northern Mexico into South Texas. I would sit with him on countless occasions listening intently as he described: why he left Mexico, the many failed attempts, getting shot at by border patrol agents and his own dreams for us and himself. His crossing was motivated by wondering what life would be like for him and us as he dug deep to motivate himself to continue his journey.
I would hang out with my dad’s buddies at parties. Humble, modest folks like him that had lived a life of struggle but enjoyed each other and told stories. They would often commiserate over the struggles that had happened in the United States. They reminisced about their lands in Mexico, generations of their family had lived on but they had felt forced to leave. I loved their stories. I learned that my father had a very adept sense of humor that I really hadn’t experienced before. I would watch him tell stories and his technique, slow paced statements, subtle and complementary hand gestures to emphasize his points. He was there elder and they had great reverence, making sure that his glass was always full and that he was comfortable.
Not only an advocacy tool in part El Huateque is a memorial to my father as a storyteller and a reader. He loved reading La Opinion. The articles that he particularly liked, mostly smart editorials, that he thought I would enjoy would be tediously cut out with an exacto knife and laminated. Patiently waiting for me to come back from Santa Barbara or another country he would gleefully pore over every word in Spanish and read it out loud asking for my thoughts and perspective. I loved those moments and think that I am doing a lot of the same with the articles that I choose to post or things that I write. Just as my dad would I am offering a narrative about something meaningful.
Don Beto also had a strong perspective honed from years of working in whatever he could as an undocumented worker to provide for his family. He came over in the late 1950s and had a bullet wound scar from a border patrol agent to prove it. He wanted the best for his family and the communities he identified with. Don Beto also saw his share of tragedy having lost his father at the age of five which precipitated his decision to try and provide for his family in the United State's along with having lost two wives to breast cancer.
In a sense this website is an opportunity to disseminate information about our community as we live and breathe in the United States, but also represents the heritage that Don Beto and his life and struggles speak to. We aren't just folks growing up and living in the United States but we also identify with the millions living in the Spanish speaking Americas. Our shared heritage is as much Chicano Batman or Los Soldaderas of the Mexican revolution as it is the thousands picking in the fields for our consumption.
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