Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An American past time: learning more about our community

This week is going to be full of things relating to Chicano/Latino information and studies - a partial listing includes:

Monday, March 28th - Latino Heritage will be sponsoring the annual PUSD K-12 Cesar E. Chavez art and essay contest. Each school was permitted one entry - there are a total of 70 entries that were judged. Winners will be announce Thursday.

Wednesday, March 30th, 5:00-7:30p.m. NACCS annual convention arrives at the Westin. Latino Heritage will host a Welcoming Tequila Tasting @ El Portal Restaurant, 695 E. Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91101. $15 for tasting and appetizers. All are welcome.

Thursday, March 31st, 6:00-9:00 p.m. - "Mexican American Baseball in Los Angeles" Discussion and Book Signing. In conjunction with the 2011 NACCS conference in Pasadena there will be a discussion with Al Padilla and Richard Peña, former players both a part of history in Los Angeles. In addition there will be a book signing with 5 additional authors - Alex Moreno - Mexican Americans in Los Angeles, and Mexican Americans in Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach, Lt. Col. Henry Cervantes, Piloto: Migrant Worker to Jet Pilot, Sandra Gutierrez, Teatro Chicana, Thelma Reyna The Heavens Weep for Us and other stories, and Roberta H.Martínez, Latinos in Pasadena.

Saturday, April 2nd, 6:30-9:00 p.m. - Political Tardeada: in Support of Ethnic Studies. Join the National Association for Chicana/Chicano Studies (NACCS) and Latino Heritage for an informal reception to raise money to support the legal battle to save ethnic studies. Grand Ballroom, Westin Pasadena, 1919 N. Los Robles, Pasadena, CA 91101.

Georgia, Agapito and Nell Villa, Colorado, ~1929.
More information - pasadenalatina@blogspot.com

Monday, March 21, 2011

Team Research

The past three Mondays I've spent time with Team Research @ Marshall High School. The team is made up of 3 grad students from UCLA - Lluliana, Michaela, and Ryan - who have been squeezing time from their super packed scheduled to meet with 10th-12th grade students in the Marshall Puente program.

The class is 2 hours long every Monday from 3:30 to 5:30 with a focus on Research Methodology. Because of some students work schedules a separate section has been taking place on Saturday. There is no credit for this class but the students will be sharing what they have gleaned at the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Conference that will be in town next week. They've been learning about concepts like community cultural wealth, determinism, oral history, interview techniques, etc.
They'll be participating in some brief oral histories and will share some of that experience at NACCS and at the Adelante Mujer Latina conference. And they'll also be sharing what they've learned at UCLA and at a Puente Parents event later this spring.
Go Team Research!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Still here

I didn't grow up listening to Lalo Guerrero. Fact is the first I heard of him was when he was honored in 1997 at the Los Angeles Living Roots Festival. He was only 81 years old.
He seemed like a charming grandfather. The grandfather that we would want to have who is charming, warm, humorous and as if that weren't enough - who could sing and play guitar.

Over the years I came to learn that he was a composer, had done a little acting on occasion, was a storyteller, and was known as the Father of Chicano Music. The last because he initiated, shared or recorded almost every form of music enjoyed by Chicanos. Bolero, rhumba, rock, salsa, ranchero, comedic parody, and so many other forms. In English or Spanish or both; no small feat. If writing in English and Spanish were quite so automatic we'd have a lot more bilingual writers.

The Smithsonian declared him a National Folk Treasure and he was the recipient of the National Medal of the Arts.

His life paralleled and often directly reflected the Chicano/Latino experience. He was born 4 years after Arizona became a state, lived through the deportations of the 30s, the Zoot Suit Riots of the 40s, through the Civil Rights struggles of the 60s and the 70s and throughout he was Balladeer of the Chicano Experience. There was so much to his life and talents; Pancho Lopez; Walt Disney, Los Lobos, Las Ardillitas, the list is incredibly long.

We were honored to have him as our first Grand Marshal in 1998.

Lalo's mother taught him to play, encouraged his great love of music and to "embrace the spirit of being Chicano". His mother's heritage was Mexican and Irish.

So there is peculiar irony to his having been born on Christmas Eve in 1916 and his passing on March 17 in 2005.

Lalo Guerrero - presente - in our hearts and our minds.

Images from:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 12, 1998 and the Latino parade & jamaica is conceived

James and I love things Irish. There may be some Irish on his father's side: I know that there is none in my family. Don't laugh, the San Patricio's are a fascinating part of the the Mexican/U.S. War. Whatever the reason, who can clearly define why certain cultures resonate strongly within each of us. De sangre or de corazon - by blood or by the heart...

When we heard of the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Green Street we made our business to go the parade with Kate and Matthew. It was a small parade; very small in comparison to the Rose or Doo Dah parades. It was very community sized.

It was while I was watching the parade that I thought that there were probably as many folks in Pasadena who were connected with Latino culture as Irish culture. That was it. The seed for the Latino Heritage parade & jamaica were planted.

In 1998 I was Co-director with Sandi Romero of Latino Cultural Academy. I shared the idea with her, and she in turn connected with Council member Bill Crowfoot and Victor Gordo, then his field rep, now Vice Mayor. Working together we began work on a Latino parade.

We will have our 13th parade on October 15th this year; a while in the future.

Tonight I'll refocus on things Irish. Perhaps I'll have a Murphy's and sodabread. Whatever I'll do I know that I'll think of the time James and I spent in Ireland. I'll listen to Uileann pipes, bodhran, and smile.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Welcoming NACCS to Pasadena

The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies will take place in Pasadena from March 30 through April 2nd.

Quoting the NACCS website - "While NACCS has been hosted in the LA area many times over, it has been long time that we've been (in) Southern California and not be in Los Angeles. Pasadena offers us the large city opportunities of restaurants and activities without feeling lost."

Latino Heritage will be hosting a reception for attendees and community members on March 30th from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. It will take place @ El Portal Restaurant. If you've ever gone to one of their Tastings you know the appetizers will be great.

El Portal will be donating a portion of the Tequila Tasting to support the cultural and educational programs of Latino Heritage. If you decide to leave the tasting and purchase dinner and drinks you'll be at one of the finest restaurants in the Playhouse District.

We're excited that members of NACCS and the community of Pasadena will get a chance to meet and greet in a site that is a locally owned business while supporting the work done by Latino Heritage.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Who was Nancy Lopez?

The National Women's History Project was founded in California in 1980. They provide information and training in multicultural women's history "for anyone wanting to expand their understanding of women's contributions to U.S. history".

They are a fine resource for learning about Women's History, especially that part of the history that took place in the United States.

Check out their website for more information. While you're there you might want to Test Your Knowledge of Women's History. Sample questions include:

Who was the first African-American woman poet to have her works published?
What was the first Hispanic woman to serve as U.S. Treasurer?
Who spoke out for the advancement of of American Indians' rights from speakers platforms nationwide and before Congressional committees int eh 1880s?
What woman was invtied to teach nuclear physics at Princeton University, even though no female students were allowed to study there?

Here's the site - for more about the Project and the answers to the questions.
The National Women's History Project -

Saturday, March 5, 2011

César E. Chávez Art and Essay Contest

This month young readers in PUSD will learn about the Chávez family and their journey from Arizona store owners to migrant farmworkers in California. They can learn about how he and Dolores Huerta eventually became co-founders of the United Farm Workers and their success as organizers, in the field and at boycotts.

Students in Middle and High School will learn about his work and will be asked to reflect on how Cesar might have responded to the Dream Act. They will be asked to include how the Dream Act ties in to Chavez's goals and legacy.

All of this is being shared via a packet that was put together by the PUSD Language and Development Department. Latino Heritage helped to set guidelines and questions and will be coordinating the judging of the district wide art and essay contest.

Our children will get a chance to learn about a person whose life, in some ways, was not that different from their own. There are challenging that we all face and times when we deal with bias. How others have responded to bias is a lesson worth learning. How we respond can be learned from that lesson.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Guadalupanas at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Church

This Friday, March 4th, our exhibit "Latinas at Work and Play: Pasadena Stories" will be ready for viewing. This exhibit will share the changing roles of Latinas in Pasadena in the 1940s through the 1960s.

We'll have photos, textiles, and personal items that will reflect the range of experiences of the three generations pictured here.

Las Guadalupanas, those devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe and pictured here, performed the work necessary for the upkeep of the church and kept sense of order, structure, and tradition in the community.

The prayers, remedios, and even the language spoken by the eldest kept families connected with their heritage. Their daughters were a bridge generation, sometimes with a foot in the country of the parents birth and sometimes solidly in the land of their birth.

A special thanks to Ed and Rita Almanza, generous and marvelous photographers as well as Liz Espinoza for putting together the exhibit. The exhibit will up through March 31st.