Response to Certified Organic Intellectual by Aurora Levins Morales

In the early 1970’s groups of women would come together to share their personal stores. Sharing these stories lead women in social action groups to connect with each other on a deeper level due to similar hardships faced against their race, sexual identity, age and other identities. These women used their shared experiences to create a personal authority that they had achieved with this knowledge. This knowledge became the spark to educating and actively fight for feminism. I made this collage inspired by this part of the essay. From reading this you can see that activism was a very important part in the lives of feminists like Aurora Levins Morales. Morales’ story inspired me to find these images to create a collage that reflected the messages sent to communities in order to enlighten and find peace. Especially during the 1970’s, getting involved and speaking up about issues was super important because there wasn’t much quality in America and across the globe.

-Images found on Polyvore.com and collage made on Polyvore.com

Writing From Within

It was thrilling reading these first few testimonios. In general, I felt an immediate connection to the storytellers and their use of language and form. Nothing ever felt too formal, too academic, or too dictated in usual forms of writing. In my creative writing course, my professor said one of our goals for the semester is to separate the self from the story and move away from personal reflections. At this point in my life, that’s something really difficult to do. My identity, and the exploration of my identity, has always come from my writing and my reflections. My creative writing isn’t a diary entry, but it is a testimonio to my experience in conjunction to my creative freedoms. I write what I know and that comes from within. Writing was my coping mechanism in difficult times, my hobby when words and sentences came to me in aesthetically pleasing ways, and now its a form of self-discovery and rediscovery of an identity that I feel like is slowly being lost. I’ve been channeling this course a lot in my creative writing exercises:

My land is distant and familiar.

These memories of un cafecito

Under the sun en el patio de

Abuelita are displaced by incessant

Honking and rumbling subway tracks.

 

My land is distant and familiar.

I cannot be one without the other.

I exist as city lights and mango trees.

I am my memory and my mother’s.

I am the generation that remembers.

 

I am the memories of fiery summers

Of frio frios and sancocho shared

With abuelita en el parque with

No person or place demanding our

presence away from each other’s company.

 

I am my mother’s memory of desire

When shoes were a hard bargain over

Groceries since a mother’s sacrifice

Is her own perseverance in spite of

the lazy misogyny holding her back.

 

I am my abuelita’s memory of

Pain, soledad, la lucha and success.

I am the author of her untold stories

Waiting to be remembered by those

made possible by her resilience.

 

My land exists en las mujeres

Whose language refused to be lost

In a new land. This land is mine and theirs.

I am their choices and influence in

Moments of fear and hope, siguiendo el esfuerzo.”

(Dayamara Cruz, Creative Writing 2)

This poem is absolutely not polished or has any semblance of completion, but it is something I want to expand upon and reflect back on. It’s my attempt at a cinquain which means it is written in five line stanzas, and the assignment also included writing in iambic pentameter (which I fail at following time and time again).

This poem (which I wrote last week) reminded me a lot about Yvette Gisele Flores-Ortiz’s and Celia Alvarez’s testimonios. Ortiz’s reflection and stories resonated very personally with the stories my mother and grandmother tell me. I’ve also had the privilege of growing up with powerful and inspiring women, and I can’t imagine myself being so independent and resilient without them. I never deny my father’s strength and what he has done either, a lot like Ortiz, especially when he recounts the women of his upbringing being essential in a fatherless childhood. Her ruminations of belonging and bridging the gaps of her own life with those of her parents’ expectations and live speak a lot to the duality of Latinas’ identities when they are the children of immigrants. We are their hope from the despair of their pasts, both unspoken and well-known.

I connected a lot with Alvarez’s ruminations of the power of knowledge. Her “responsibility” as gifted by her parents is something that she shapes within herself. Her way “to knowing” wasn’t just reading the usual classics, but her sense of honor in her mother making her read Spanish newspapers. Not all people of Latino descent necessarily speak Spanish, but her reality felt a lot like my own. My mother, father and grandma only ever spoke Spanish at home, which is funny to think about since I never really registered that my parents could speak English until I was in Middle School. She claims knowledge as something granted to her, but as shaped and made relevant by her own circumstances. She doesn’t let the knowledge define her identity, but instead uses it as a tool of understanding knowledge. Understanding and knowing is the fine line that shows us what it means to make sense of our own stance and our own bodies in relation to what exists around us.

This first introduction to the testimonios have already forged relevance in what I feel is the purpose of this text. These connections have already allowed me to reflect on shared experiences that define a kind of theory that reflects experience while acknowledging differences in background, context and details. The process itself becomes the continuous study of respective pasts and how they inform the changing present notions of our own identities. I’m still thinking about this idea of theorizing through testimonios in a very broad sense, but I hope to continue breaking down these ideas and concepts.

 

“The function of an artist is not a gift but an obligation”.

Ana Mendieta and her art

https://www.google.com/search?q=ana+mendieta’s+art&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjip8a557jSAhVKl1QKHZK6Aq0Q_AUICCgB&biw=1264&bih=816#imgrc=IIfODYJ0gQPs_M:

The works by Ana Mendieta especially her three performances before graduating college,  experimenting with physical representation and focusing on issues such as gender and beauty,  and Cuban manifestation of machismo really reminds me of the works by Regina José Galindo.

It is amazing to read that because of the open talk discussion that feminists of this era create, many of the political prisoners back in Cuba are released, including Mendieta’s father.

You don’t know

Don’t tell me you don’t know.

About my roots; hijos de la tierra.

About the urge to feel free from machismo…

free in my body, free in the world.

You don’t know.

 

You doubt whether I’m crazy or not.

But…you’re right,

I am crazy, so let me live in my bubble.

you’re right,

because you don’t know about my struggles.

 

 

Blog Post 3

Poetry Response to The Children’s Ambassador.

 

Children are the future;

So it is our moral and social responsibility;

To educate and advocate for them;

And to make sure they know their worth.

 

If we are not there to support and raise them up;

Then who will be?

Children are the future;

So we need them to keep pushing forward.

 

If we allow them to believe they are not brave or intelligent;

Then what type of people will they become?

Angry, weak souls.

 

Children are our future;

So we must keep pushing;

Because sometimes a little push;

Makes the biggest difference.

Latinas and Liberation Theology

Reading about Teresa Urea reminded me a lot about a topic I was really interested in and researched a lot a few years ago–liberation theology. Basically, in the early/mid 20th century, a lot of Latin American revolutions often went hand-in-hand with support from the church. Not officially, of course–but many priests and nuns would provide sanctuary for revolutionaries as well as convey radical messages within their parishes. This led to a lot of government-sanctioned denouncing and killing of religious officials that dared to question their authority. In turn, many idols of the Catholic church became integrated into revolutionary symbols, especially Jesus Christ.

I always found this interesting because the Catholic church is always seen as a monolithic oppressive entity when in fact many Latin American countries have utilized the Catholic church as a way to radicalize the masses, for many of the most disenfranchised people will readily listen to messages from the church. While I agree that the Catholic church has undeniable roots in Spanish colonialism, I also think it’s interesting how Latinos have weaponized it regardless.

When I think of many of the Latinas I know, I think of their strong ties to religion. The fact is, while most of my Latina relatives consider themselves devout Catholics, they do believe in things that my Irish-Catholic family members don’t agree align with true Catholic practices. For example, on Dia de los muertos, my mother puts out an alter with velas and food as an offering to any deceased relatives that may pass through our home. My Irish family members always remark about how spooky that tradition is, and often say that believing in ghosts is nonsense. Mi abuela has always told me stories of supernatural things that have happened to her, miracles that she swears she witnessed, much like the ones that Teresa Urea performed.

Overall, it appears as if there is something inherently radical in religion, as long as it is truly used to cure the sick and help further the causes of those that are marginalized. I also believe that religion among Latinas is less about maintaining the status-quo upheld by the Vatican (although there are usually exceptions when it comes to matters of contraception and abortion) and has more to do with using religion to further cultural traditions.

Destroying the Patriarchy

The photo displayed is of me playing dominoes with my father, brother, and grandfather.  I remember being so happy in this photo because my family would never let me play with them.  Dominoes is a man’s game.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been considered a “tom-boy.”  I’ve never understood this term and how it was attaching me to a gender I didn’t identify with.  I identify as a woman, but this doesn’t mean that I have to follow feminist ideals.  Because of this, I’ve always tried to do anything that my dad and brothers did, while trying to maintain my identity.  I am a woman but not the woman that men want me to be.

I felt like this related a lot to the story of Lola Rodriguez  de Tio and the Puerto Rican Struggle for Freedom.  In her own little way, she is fighting against the patriarchy.  I am trying to do the same.

Gratefulness

A collage by Gabriela Soriano

Maria Amparo Ruiz De Burton was a woman with a powerful voice, that since the begging she proved that she as a woman was worth it. The thing that impact me the most about her, was the decision of choosing her mother name instead of her father, something unusual at the time.  Even though she was projected as a “pretty woman”, she does not allow herself to be limited by that, Maria Amparo took advantage of the social circle that she was into because of her marriage and transformed the important events into literature, art, expression. Reading about her traced a smile in my face. Knowing that in all her work, Maria Amparo sense of identification, nationality and her sense of Latin is intact, makes me proud and grateful.”

Who would have thought it?” is a great representation of that, now there are so many presentations of one of the most important books for Chicano/a literature, and not only for them, but for latinx population in general. The only thing that changes is that now her name is in the cover page and not hidden.

My Strength and Freedom

When I took this picture, and read Lola Rodriguez story it brought me to tears. This is my family in Puerto Rico these are my Aunts, Cousins, and Grandma. When I saw this picture once again after taking it and reading the Lola Rodriguez story, I noticed my male cousin was in the center of this picture; it bothers me a bit. Not because she is a bad person, but till this day my grandma still believes in the stereotypical household, that one must do everything for their husband and it hurts me. It upsets me, my aunts were raised to think the same way. My grandmother never went to school but I wish she would have been exposed to more women like Lola. My family growing up, were afraid to fight for what was theirs, however Lola’s poetry set so many people free and I wish it got into the hands of my family so they could also be set free. The way Lola feels about Puerto Rico is exactly how I feel so prideful and free, wroth the fight. Mi Isla Del Encanto, I talk about Puerto Rico and my family so much because they motivate me and I hope to one day motivate them.

https://blogs.stockton.edu/litrecovery/maria-amparo-ruiz-de-burton/

This outstanding woman, was a precursory writer of Chicano Literature, her social and cultural surroundings allowed her to posses a particular perspective on American society and politics, nevertheless she stayed truthful to the her roots and addressed multiple issues related to ethnicity, gender and class. It was quite interesting to learnt about her marriage and how the ceremony and the union itself was considered as a scandal because she didn’t share the same religion, nationality or age with her soon to be husband, however it was even more shocking finding out that some elderly californios remembered her, but not for her powerful voice through her writings but rather because of her beauty, denigrating all her efforts to acknowledge the social problems that she criticized throughout her novels, such as her well-known critic which established that justice was given just to the most powerful and influential individuals. Its also remarkable that her novel the squatter and the don, was written from the perspective of the conquered which granted her to express questions from a totally different and new angle.