Friday, April 29, 2005

Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders

Friday, April 29 - 7:30 PM

Event Image
From acclaimed poet and prose-writer Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Desert Blood is a gripping thriller that ponders the effects of patriarchy, gender identity, bor
der culture, transnationalism and globalization on an international crisis.

I will be going tonight to see this reading and I will let you know how it went. Until then here is a poem I wrote about the women of Juarez after a trip I I took to El Paso-Ciudad Juarez in 2004.

Ni Una Mas

Mi querido 24th and mission
Conjunto on a Tuesday night
Mostly men gathered around to listen, to the upright bass
Acoustic guitar, drum and of course-- the accordion
Harmonizing. reminding stocky brown skinned men of home
They will be home soon they think,
no need to do anything permanent here

And the bar on the corner always a
pop song, ballad, cumbia
salsita BLARING
The music sometimes draws me near
but the Men spilling out to the street ...ssst sst mamacita
Reminds me that no mujer decente would be in there

Some reason I know to walk away, (hurried hips, not swaying)
Even though I’ve never considered myself especially decente
and Even though my father says
I sometimes talk like one of those women in those bars
And we automatically know what one of those women are.

Poor women aren’t allowed liberation
Or maybe they find freedom in tight jeans and
A stretchy v-neck that shows every bump every movement
Dripping ornaments dangle teasing
gold hoops lasso your eyes
You will see me!

"Ay!" He says
,"why do you women wear a dark bra under a white shirt
Only Nacas do that!"

She sighs uncomfortable in skin she thought she was comfortable in
She thought it looked fine,
hurls back: " the bra is pink and is close enough to my skin!"
as she changes
to a darker shirt

They say don’t walk alone
at night because something
might happen to you
And if it does, well then you shouldn’t have been alone
Blame the victim reflex,
so you don't have to take any responsibility

What if you don’t have someone to walk with?
Lock yourself inside until someone comes for you?
Until the world changes?

And he says, "yeah, the world ‘s a dangerous place for women.
But how are we supposed to change things?
It will always just be dangerous for women to be alone.
Some men will always rape some women."

I can’t believe he says this, but then that is what we are talking about,
the ultimate power over a woman.

Confidence busted
Trust gone disgusted
Picked up from a black top smack down
Sub standard practices
Negative in the place of a positive
Accusatory sin and no redemption in sight.

Its dangerous to be a woman; even first world.
That is why I am connected to my hermanas on the border.
I know what it is to fear to have body of mujer

"Be careful! I hear they are killing women over there"
My 1st world status means nothing?

Body parts , cut nipples,
legs disconnected from hips
Her brown eyes, her smile never seen
Her laugh not heard anew
The last her mother saw of her was bone. She didn’t get to say good-bye.
Bone. No flesh to be ogled wounded.
What she most wants to hug her daughter again.

The Border.
This line that is not a bridge, not a line, it ‘s a ditch a hole an open wound,
Like the Berlin
wall the Great Walls, apartheid wall, imaginary walls
Not just one wall
But several, cement, iron gate, barbed wire
Keeping us out Keeping you in.
Men with guns protecting who again?
Whose interests?
Eerie walls of silence

So we March, mourn,
write letters, make speeches
hold discussions
Looking up from fear
and hopelessness
raising awareness
no longer complicit
refusing silence
daring to be powerful

in twos, twentys or two hundreds.

Cause the Missing turned up raped & mutilated,
Ni una mas!

Ineptitude bungling of local authorities,
Ni una mas!

Blame the victim reflex
she must have run off with a boyfriend
maybe your precious daughter lead a double life.
Ni una mas!

Young, pretty, long brown hair, poor, brown skin.
Ni una mas!

Mexico lindo y querido has some dirty secrets,
Yes la madre de las tierras is helping hide our naughty dirty laundry
Out in the dessert, only half hidden,
So you know what happens to women who step out of line,
Out of the house
NAFTA’s neglected, unprotected, migration survival,
maquila women earning 4 dollars a day
working on electronics, working on clothes she could never afford.

Explosion of exploitation!
Is only the half of it
Representing the condition
of women across the planet

Symptoms of a deeper problem.
Tener cuerpo de mujer es ser
amenazado de muerte
Her only crime was being a woman
Crimes against all our humanity

Pero sabes Que?

No Estan Solas.
No Estan Solas.
No Estan Solas!


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Women of Color Film Festival- This weekend

I will be going Friday and Saturday so I will let you know how it went. M


Friday, April 22 - Sunday, April 24
Media Theatre -- UC Santa Cruz

For the detailed PROGRAM, including film screening
times, description of the films, and to view our co-sponsors
visit our website:

This years exciting film festival will feature opening

remarks by Angela Y. Davis (History of Consciousness),
panels moderated by Rosa Linda Fregoso (LALS), Vicky
Banales (Literature) and other members of the Women of
Color Research Cluster.

We will also be joined by over 20 locally and
internationally renowned women of color filmmakers and
performance artists!

For disability needs please call 459-4839.
There will be free parking available all weekend!

Take Back Our Schools Day-May 17

MAY 17, 2005 is
Take Back Our Schools Day
On May 17, we will teach in the streets of our city!

In honor of the historic verdict Brown v. Board of Education,
which promised equal public education for all on May 17, 1954,
a growing tide of youth, educators, parents,union members,
citizens, and community organizations are calling for an end
to the destructive takeover of the Oakland schools.

May 17: Take Back Our Schools Day is a project of Organize DAY,
a coalition of youth dedicated to collective action to reclaim public


. City Council Resolution to declare May 17 "Take Back Our Schools
Day." We are calling on our politicians to support a city-wide day of education
and action.

. Youth March to Oakland City Center. Students -- who are most affected
by takeovers of public school districts, school closures, and hostile
contract negotiations -- will take field study trips to City Hall to participate in the day.

. Community Education. Educators of all types are asked to present
community workshops on May 17th. The First Unitarian Church and
other downtown Oakland centers will host youth and adult-facilitated
workshops on topics such as No Child Left Behind, the High School Exit Exam,
and State Takeover.

For more information on May 17: Take Back Our Schools Day, contact
Raquel Jimenez (youth organizer) at 645-9213, Jonah Zern

(parent/teacher organizer) at 654-8513, Michael Siegel (workshop organizer)
at 289-3318, or Kali Akuno (community organizer) at 593-3956.
Also, see for more information.

May 17: Take Back Our Schools Day is a project of Organize Da BAY, a
coalition of youth dedicated to collective action to reclaim public

education including Youth Together, Californians for Justice, Tojil and
the Xicana Moratorium Coalition, as well as the Coalition to Defend and
Improve Public Education, which includes Oakland parents, students,
educators, politicians, and representatives from ACORN,
Oakland Education Association,Oakland Federation of Teachers,
Californians for Justice, Million Worker March, American Federated
County State Municipal Employees, Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network,
Oakland Parents Together, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement,
CalCARE,PUEBLO, National Lawyers Guild,and Education Not Incarceration.

Walkout for Education

Thanks Nancy for the info. The Channel 2 report was really great
check out the links below:

Over 400 students walked out of City College of San
Francisco Wednesday as part of a statewide day of action
to call attention to the critical state public
education is in right now. California students are
being faced with yet another fee increase, the cost of
community college is projected to be $32 per unit next
semester. That will mean tuition will have trippled in
the past 3 years! The fee hikes have already resulted
in the loss of over 400,000 california community
college students.

The students demanded an affordable and relevant
education, full funding for California's prop 98, and
a tax on the richest 1% to fund education.

check out the quicktime footage & pics:

Also, check out coverage on Ch 2:

More Pics from Sf City College

Sunday, April 10, 2005

LUNADA - Milta Ortiz and Tshaka Campbell @ Galeria de la Raza 4/24

LUNADA - Milta Ortiz and Tshaka Campbell
Sunday, April 24(full moon) @ 7:30 p.m.

Galería de la Raza, 2857 24th Street @ Bryant, San Francisco.
$2-$5 Sliding Scale

April features saucy Salvadorean-Chicana, Milta Ortiz, who describes herself as a modern day She-ra battling macho-isms with a wink of an eye. A recent graduate of San Francisco State’s creative writing program, Milta’s poetry has been published in several literary journals including Cipatli and Coyolxuaqui. Also on the bill is Tshaka Campbell. Originally from London and of Jamaican decent, Tshaka was a member of the 2004 Nuyorican Poetry Café National Slam Team. He has been writing and performing his poetry for over ten years and believes himself to be a reincarnated West African griot.

Las Manas in the Bay Area Hip Hop Theater Festival 5/11

Las Manas are performing in the Bay Area Hip Hop Theater Festival on Wednesday May 11, 2005 at the Brava Theater in San Francisco Check it out!

Once again Youth Speaks, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, La Pena Cultural Center and The New York Hip-Hop Theater Festival are teaming up to produce the First Annual Bay Area Hip-Hop Theater Festival. For the period of May 3-May 15, 2005 Hip Hop’s best and brightest actors, playwrights, dancers and performers will gather in the Bay Area to present pieces, plays, monologues and stories from all over the world.

Las Manas was created out of the need for these women to find a supportive space to nurture their creative spirits. Individually these women are accomplished in their own right but as Las Manas they are able to take their creativity to new heights using sisterhood and storytelling to inspire this collaborative piece "La Ofrenda/The Offering" that delves in pain, injustice, love, family, community, identity to conjure a potent potion to fend off the plague of self sabotage.

Gina is originally from Los Angeles but has been bringing the Bay Area spoken word circuits her own fuerte flavor for the past eight years. In addition Gina has danced with numerous Afro-Caribbean performance groups including appearing on a Brazilian samba float in San Francisco’s Carnival last year and dancing in Cheo Rojas’ Afro-Cuban dance company Odduarra. Gina is a full time attorney at the Eviction Defense working for tenants’ rights. Through her artistic, professional and creative endeavors, Gina is committed to social justice and empowerment in urban communities.

A native Californian of Mexican and Japanese descent, Marisa is an experienced community advocate, and has worked for human rights and social justice organizations both nationally and internationally. She has worked against domestic violence and poverty in various nonprofit organizations, and completed a degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. A dedicated believer in the power of building community as a tool for social change, she is the recipient of several awards and research grants for her work on issues of social and racial justice, including the Ford Mellon Research Grant, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and the Rappaport Institute Fellowship. She is new to the spoken word scene, and performs to break her own silences as well as the silences around her.

Maya is a Guatemalan poet, journalist and the people’s documentarian. Recently, she co produced her first documentary “Reading Between the Rhymes” about the use of hip-hop in education. Maya is a fervent advocate for immigrant rights and works with the National Conference for Community and Justice as facilitator for high school retreats, opening hearts and minds to social justice and to ending discrimination. As the co-coordinator of the End-Dependence Spoken Word/Artists' Collective and founding editor of La Revista Santa Cruz, Maya enjoys organizing events showcasing artists who investigate and celebrate the intersection of politics, media and art. She has worked on several independent video projects and has also worked in public radio over the past 10 years, ranging from music director and DJ, to newscaster and producer. Currently she is working on video projects for non-profit youth organizations in San Francisco, CA and Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Genevieve is charged with the force of the pen and the voices in her heart to express her emotions and desires through the written word. She loves to listen to the beauty of words braided together and enjoys creating that amazing space for others as well. When not writing to free her mind and figure out the intricacies of social interaction, she writes lesson plans and curriculum for 8th graders in oakland's fruitvale. She loves her work and labors to motivate her students to use their hearts, voices, and pens to express.

Growing up in Brooklyn Hip Hop meant anything from a Rumba in the park, to crowded dancehall basement parties, to Salsa and freestyle at underground clubs throughout the city. Sasha graduated from NYC's LaGuardia Performing High School as a Theater Major and went on to spent 5 months of intensive dance training in Cuba. She is completing the Urban Anthropology Master's Program at San Francisco State University, where she is exploring the relationship between dance and immigrant youth empowerment. Sasha has been working with young people for the last 10 years, teaching dance, cultural consciousness, Hip Hop activism and violence prevention. She currently teaches dance and Destiny Arts' Violence Prevention and Self Defense curriculum for Destiny's Teddybears (3-6 year olds) class. Sasha also has been dancing with DREAM (Destiny Arts’ professional performance company) and touring nationally since September of 2003.

Rosa is a teacher, writer, and visual and performing artist.Teaching middle school in East Oakland, her commitment is to nurturing young leaders and new voices.Outside of teaching,Rosa is a member of headRush, a guerrilla performance crew dedicated to inspiring working class communities through a blend of spoken word and teatro-style political satire. She is also a founding member of Las Man@s, an all-women’s writing and performance collective and belongs to the End-dependence Poet’s Collective. In 2002, she wrote and directed her first play, “My Camino Real,” staged at MACLA in San José. She writes to evoke spirit, inspire young people and honor her ancestors. Rosa has a Masters in Latin American Studies from Stanford and a Masters in Teaching from USF.

Cruz is a poet and playwright. As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley she studied and performed Shakespeare under the direction of Hugh Richmond and was a key member of the agit-prop theater group Teatro Manos Arriba. After obtaining her degree in English (poetry), she laid low raising her son (in true Leo estilo), until her passion for shape shifting attracted the divine light of the powers that be and for three years partook in the alchemy of Los del Pueblo Actors Lab, San Jose. While with Los del Pueblo, Cruz starred in various productions and was an acting coach, wrote and co-directed their final production at MACLA. Lately Cruz has been working with Las Manas, an Oakland-based women's writing circle that has been helping her find her vox in the dark. Cruz is a voracious reader, has a fetish for most matters academic and awaits many honorary degrees before she dies. Cruz hopes that her brujeria as the sexy hierophant she is combats the energies put out by skulls and bones but knows things will have to get much worse before they will get better.