altar reflection

http://citedatthecrossroads.net/chs486/2016/10/08/the-altar-process/

The altar is for mi familia which includes individuals who are not blood-related. The altar is a reflection of my multigenerational family ranging from my great-great-grandparents in Mexico to my young cousins. The important value that derives from my family is that it is not just about the family but it is a reflection of the individuals and their impact on my life, either directly or indirectly. A mix of patriarchal and matriarchal families has developed different components that have molded the person I am today. There are calaveras placed in the center of the altar with the family names for all three family ties: Alejandre, Carrillo, and Serna. From my great-great-grandparents to my family dog, each is important and have marked my mind and soul. Their influences have created numerous values – faith, optimism, courage, determination, taking action and the importance of friends and family.

The focus of my altar are photos of my great-great-grandpa, great-grandma, grandfather and aunt Esther. They display the transition of authority between genders, as all four were the head of the household, including the women. The breaking of traditional gender roles began before my birth, as the women in my family had become homeowners in the early part of the twentieth century. For Mexican women to acquire property in the United States without male authority and who spoke only Spanish, is astonishing to me. The unfathomable obstacles and prejudices they must have endured to acquire property are an inspiration.  My great-grandmother’s strength and perseverance to obtain her property is an example of a strong-independent woman. My grandfathers were both respectful and hard-working individuals and they are the source of my work ethic.

My grandfather Luis was diagnosed with lung cancer and within a year he lost his battle and passed. One of the items on the altar are the last pack of cigarettes that my grandfather had, he had continued to smoke after his diagnosis.  My grandfather enjoyed his cigarette breaks, it was his alone time from the chaos of a full household. The cigarette pack reminds me of my grandfather sitting on the porch and the conversations we had for that brief moment. He would wear his Kangol hat, a light jacket, while enjoying a cigarette. We would the most interesting conversations because my spanish was improper yet I understood most words and my grandfather had broken english but understood it perfectly. I always joked with my grandfather and he genuinely showed how proud he was of us, he saw the importance of education through our eyes. I am determined to break through barriers just as they did coming from Mexico with nothing but hope and determination to establish a strong foundation for future generations.

Along with these successes my family has endured great sadness and hardships.  Two such losses were loss of my toddler cousin DJ and stillbirth of my cousin Mila Rose. Their lives were a contributing factor in retaining my faith. Their significance to the altar is as a reminder to not take life for granted and that in due time, a better understanding and perspective will arise. My cousin DJ was born with complications that resulted in cerebral palsy and he was admitted to the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital numerous times. His complications were uncommon and it was hard for the doctors to give an exact diagnosis or life expectancy. A couple months before his death, DJ time was limited. His health declined and we said our “goodbyes,” yet when they removed all of the tubes and IVs that stabilized him, he fought hard and survived. The doctors were speechless at his strength and he lived an additional 3 months peacefully. The death of DJ has allowed our family to give life back, by having an annual blood drive at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. We continue to celebrate his life by giving life to children in need of blood donations.  

There are a few photographs of younger individuals, for example, my friends Jessie, Jacob, Salvador, and Ashlee, were all around my age when they passed away tragically. During my senior year in high school, my brother’s two childhood friends were brutally killed at the house party in Eagle Rock. My brother Jesse attended elementary with both of them creating a solid bond between them. During high school, we took kick-boxing classes together and there was always joking and laughter going on. Jacob went to a different high school than us but he always kept in contact with “the guys” periodically. Jacob was a jokester and he would play endless pranks on everyone, his free spirit and humorous attitude was refreshing.  Jessie was known as “Little Jessie” because of his short stature, he was muscular and from afar he looked serious. Yet when you got to know Jessie he was a flirt with a radiant smile. He adored classic cars and drove a brown El Camino to school. He would give my brother and I rides because we took 3 buses to commute to school. He would be waiting for us in his wife-beater and slick sunglasses, bumping music in the parking lot. He was always smooth with his words and treated me like his little sister.

The night of their deaths, all of the guys from their group of friends were to attend the house party, though, due to various reasons Jessie and Jacob were the only ones from the group who attended the party.  The following morning I received a phone call at work from my older sister Donna that “Jesse and Jacob were killed last night,” my heart instantly dropped and my vision became blurry. I immediately thought it was my older brother and got physically ill. When she clarified that it was the boys I was struck with grief and an uncontrollable scream was let out. That pain was indescribable and loss of these two beautiful individuals was unimaginable.   At the party, they were caught in the middle of a fight amongst rival gang members and Jacob tried to break it up but was knocked unconscious. Jessie was upset and tried to figure out who had hit Jacob but before they could leave, shots rang out and Jacob and Jessie were killed.

Their funerals were a reflection of their contagious smiles and funny personalities with over 500 people showing up to both services. The endless amount of lives these two touched showed how special they were to not only their family and friends but to the community as a whole. Their deaths were a pivotal moment in our lives, we no longer felt safe going to house parties and we understood the reasoning behind my mother’s “I am not worried about you, I am worried about other people” saying.  We learned that their loving and humorous attitudes left a mark on all of our hearts and gave us an example of how to live life.

Tragedy struck again the following year with the death of my close friend Salvador. We had a close relationship throughout high school, as I would encourage him with his studies and help him out with assignments. I saw that he was struggling in certain classes and I wanted to help him succeed, we would go to the library after school, and just talk for hours. He gave off good vibes and we grew closer as the years went by. In 2007 on Easter Day a group of girls had hung out and partied, one of the girls was Salvador’s cousin, Sandra. She received a phone call in the morning from her mother that she had to get picked up immediately. Shortly after she leaves she calls us and told me that Salvador was killed the night before while picking up a friend from a party. Gang members were waiting for his friend outside and they ambushed the two men, shooting both. It felt like deja vu because once again neither of  our friends were gang affiliated, but, both of their deaths were a result of gang violence. Losing someone is difficult as is, but not being able to make peace with them is harder.

Last year I lost my friend Ashlee to cancer and it was difficult due to not being on speaking terms prior to her illness. She was a driven hair stylist working in Hollywood at a well-established salon. Ashlee had such a mellow and “always cool” attitude and I met her through mutual friends. One of my fondest moments with Ashlee was bartending at a friend’s party, where we just rolled with it, even with no prior experience.  Her nickname was Booji because she was always trendy and working with the latest celebrities, yet, her humble roots shined through. She had a saying “Slauson to Sunset,” which was her motto because she grew up in Mid-city Los Angeles and learned how to do hair from a young age. We had weekend getaways to San Francisco, San Diego, and Palm Springs, we always a good time, she was carefree and always introducing me to new hip hop songs.

We had a dumb fallout and the dynamics of the group friendship shifted as people changed and our paths diverged. I had heard from mutual friends that Ashlee was not feeling well. A few months later, news broke that she had lymphoma cancer and was set on a holistic treatment and when that failed they began chemo. I had thought numerous times to reach out but I couldn’t.  Her progression in treatment seemed to be going well until she got an infection after one of her treatments. One of our friends reached out and told me she was not doing well and that she needed a ride to see Ashlee. I didn’t hesitate because regardless of not having spoken to her in months, I loved and cared about her. To see a friend, so young, in that situation is devastating and it challenged my faith. I was so distraught at the fact of how healthy and young she was the year prior. I spoke to Ashlee and asked her for forgiveness, I saw her eyes open but we never spoke. I had to make my peace with her and that experience has changed me on reacting to certain situations. I put my pride aside and accepted all my flaws to face the reality and say my goodbyes. Ashlee was an independent, focused, and successful woman in the short time she was on this earth. She displayed courage, humility, and was willing to try new things and see new places.

Their sudden deaths and their inclusion in the altar represent one of the hardest times for myself and my family, yet despite these hardships we are reminded that we overcome these tragedies of lives being suddenly “cut-short” together. These friend’s attitude on the life of “living freely” have had a lasting impression on everyone.  They all displayed courage during their fight for life and instill in me, a continuous fight in making a positive impact on those around me. Their young souls made a great impact on everyone they encountered and it would be nice to uphold those qualities.

There are numerous photographs from all three sides of my family represented on the altar. The person I hold a special bond with is my Uncle Teo. He was my nino (godfather) and he played a significant role in my life by filling the void my father created. We all lived on the same family property and daily interaction with him were normal. He would show us his Harley Davidson, his cars and he would wear cologne and he’d also show up wearing his cool sunglasses. He was the life of the party and would always make sure everyone was entertained. Anytime I needed something; from a ride to work or those unwanted discussions about my attitude, he fulfilled that male role model authority and stability for me.  

My most vivid moments with my uncle would be his car rides because he would have the corridos while driving down Brentwood, a predominately white neighborhood he didn’t care. He would drive his truck with the windows rolled down just to make sure every passing person and car heard his music. He would tell me that I should be proud of being brown and never downplay my Chicana culture and traditions. After he passed, my aunt gave me a few of my uncles personal items and she had found a jar with some used joints. That jar is now displayed on my altar as a reminder of my uncle’s youth days. Lastly, the songs that he would listen to, I never paid much attention to, but following his unexpected death, I realized most of them had much deeper meaning. Songs from Ramon Ayala, Los Tigres del Norte, and other corridos are meaningful ballads that speak about life and death and about embracing each and every moment while we are alive. They are all an influence on my outlook on life, to appreciating the small moments, just as much as the big moments.

The altar represents the four essential components of nature; wind, earth, water and fire. To represent wind, I have displayed bright and bold colors of papel picado draping around the altar like a picture frame. The papel picado is a thinly cut paper and the art displays muertos or religious images. The papel picado moves freely through the breeze and it outlines the entire altar. The miniature clay pots and bowls that hold salt and vegetables are symbolizing the earth. Some of the miniature food products display plates of mole, a traditional meal that is left for the souls to enjoy.  Water is placed in the miniature clay pots and illustrates the purification of the souls and the water refreshing the soul’s thirst. The placements of orange, yellow, and purple cempazuchitl (marigolds) bring life to the altar along with a strong scent. The Mexican sombreros are put on various picture frames to illustrate our Mexican pride despite our American upbringing. The photographs are mostly prints but some are so old that they are physically painted and it adds a special touch to the altar. There are numerous candles lit during the night and it illuminated the pictures. All of these different aspects are a representation of my family members and their contributions to my entire existence.

Work Cited:

“The Day of the Dead.” 2016. Accessed December 1. http://www.unm.edu/~htafoya/dayofthedead.html.

“Dia de Los Muertos Celebrations Bring Ancestors, Traditions back to Life | Daily Bruin.” 2016. Accessed December 1. http://dailybruin.com/2016/11/01/dia-de-los-muertos-celebrations-bring-ancestors-traditions-back-to-life/.

Rodríguez, Richard T.. Latin America Otherwise : Next of Kin : The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics. Durham, US: Duke University Press Books, 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 1 December 2016.

Blaxican Identity

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http://www.latina.com/lifestyle/our-issues/ode-being-blaxican-video

In the article ‘Ode to Being Blaxican’ illustrates the family structure of diverse ethnicities and cultures infused into a new generation of ‘mixed’ babies. Rush Davis is a product of his grandparents, a mixture of races, Mexican and Black. His grandmother Dolores Morado explains the changes in her daily life after marrying her black ‘knight,’ she was warned by her family that she had to be strong to fight against others remarks on her future children.  She opens the video saying, “My thing was, be proud of who you are.Black, Brown, it dont matter, you are both” and she instilled in her children and grandchildren to be proud of their cultures. This short clip displays Dolores in her kitchen making a mixture of foods from the traditional African American dish such as fried chicken, corn bread with Mexican nopales dish with tortillas. She explains that she worked hard in showing her future generations that they did not have to identify to one race group. When her family relatives found out she was pregnant by a black man, her response to those who were not fond of her decision, “they can kiss my ass then” she replied to them. Her grandson Rush continues his ode, ” Dolores Morado, the brown goddess that laid our foundation with the Black king, to build bridges of light… her pride, and resistance” shows how essential it was for her to obtain a strong character. This family is an example of the increasing , Blaxican group, that is stuck between two different racial planes but they are able to find the balance between them.

My immediate family has always embraced other ethnicities and the youngest family member is Dominic, my two-year-old cousin who is Mexican and Jamaican.  His father, Jon, considers himself Blaxican because his father’s family was Jamaican and his mother was Mexican, making Dominic 2nd generation Blaxican. We had attended the “Blaxican” talk at the Annenberg a couple months back and after the discussion, Jon said that he had similar experiences that the speaker had. He expressed that he was always asked to pick a side and during his high school race riots he decided not to side with either. He said he would have discussions with Dominic as he gets older, to help him realize that being Mexican and African American is perfectly okay and that he can embrace all ethnicities. Dominic will have a unique perspective because he will be raised around a predominantly Mexican family yet he will be educated on the struggles of both his brown and black family lineage. Having a Blaxican family member puts into perspective the ever-changing dynamics of race and family dynamics.

The twist and rise of Chicano feminism

In this weeks reading article Masculinity Reconfigured: Shaking up Gender in Chicano/Latino Literature by Pablo E. Martiínez analyze the books Poncho by Jose Antonio Villarreal and How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents by Julia Álavarez show the path that was established for Chicano “voices in literature.” Martínez focuses on the male figures and how they transitioned their position in the family from the head of household to being dependent on his female counterpart. He lost his sense of “machismo” and the transformation “from archetypical macho patriarch” arose from the “process of emasculation at the hands of their wives and children.” It was done by their families resisting their authority and often times challenging the “traditional masculine norms” with the infusion of nationalism, transnationalism, feminism, and modernity.

It usually began as the daughters and wives saw that education for women was available in the United States and they took the opportunity to gain a higher education. Whereas, in Mexico or the Dominican Republic there commercial industry was based on agriculture and those in charge of the industry were males. When the men began their lives in the United States they had a hard time transitioning into their environment of new laws, language, and social norms. Contrary to the women who embraced the changes and were able to maneuver around the social pyramid. By the end of the novels, the father’s position was opposite, as “mother and children as breadwinners, and father as a dependent.” Thus the Chicano household gains a sense of balance between patriarchal and matriarchal viewpoints.

Have you experienced a similar transition in your household?

Why would you think it would be harder for the men to let go of his authoritative role and assimilate into the new norms?

 

Chicana Moderna

Mi Familia

Mi Familia

 

http://citedatthecrossroads.net/chs486/2016/09/21/photo-collage/

My family’s photo collage represents various aspects of my life – from my large family and the city we grew up in, to traditional practices throughout the years. These pictures of my family represent the first generation Mexican perspective, second generation Mexican-Americanism and the third-generation Chicana upbringing. The images are a glimpse into the family values I was instilled with, thanks in large part to the complexity of my family’s makeup.  This allowed for change and, more importantly, the evolution of this Chicano woman.

My family dynamic is unique because my mother’s parents were never married and both my grandfather Casto and grandmother Maggie married other people later. My parents were married very soon after my mother’s 18th birthday and she explained how my father’s machismo and controlling attitude pushed her to find her own strength. She knew that she was strong and should not have to endure both physical and emotional abuse due to the traditional patriarchy of la familia. As discussed in Rodriguez book, that “la familia as a genealogical tradition that entails successive shifts contingent upon chaining kinship discourses and formation,”(Rodriguez 3) and in my family, my parent’s divorce at the age of 5, dismantled the traditional patriarchal structure. My mother nor father remarried.

In my father’s family, his mother was a housewife and his father worked long hours to provide for seven children in a one-bedroom apartment. This family continued the patriarchal structure as the men in the family were required to the provide for the household while the women maintained the domestic front. My father’s side of the family migrated to Los Angeles in the 1970s from Michoacán for better opportunities for their children. The lower photo of my family was take at my grandparents 50th anniversary and it is of my family of four generations; my grandparents, my father and his siblings, my cousins and myself, and their children.

My mother’s side, was slightly different. My mother’s mother, Maggie, was a first generation Mexican American, but related mostly with her American/Chicana side. She was a single mother for a couple of years and would eventually marry my step-grandfather Adolfo. My mother’s father, Casto, was involved in her life but did not provide her that strong emotional support one would expect from a loving father.  My mother and I share a similar experience.  Her father was from Mexico and her mother was first-generation.  We are between two different worlds that helped create OUR Chicana identity.

My mother’s side worked in agriculture in the fields and later participated in the Chicano movement working at co-op markets established by UFW. My grandfather, Casto, would take his children to march during the Grape boycotts of the 1960s that sought benefits for field workers. Casto maintained the male dominance in the household and my step-grandmother Carmen was submissive to him and would do simply as he said. She would not refute my grandfather’s words as a young woman.  Now in her 70s, Carmen challenges him. As my grandfather witnessed his granddaughters succeeding with and without having children, he tells us how proud he is with the changes we have made.  It makes us feel good that in some way we are helping the older generations stand up for themselves.  It shows us that it is never too late to change gender dynamics and that change can and will come if we allow it. The top photo is a family celebration for my grandfather’s birthday and this side of the family is considerably smaller than the Alejandre side.

The images from the collage also illuminate the prominence of the Venice circle and the importance that it held in my own upbringing.  It represents the first city my father’s side settled in until the 2000s and remains the residence of my Grandfather Casto.  This played a vital part to my own development.  Venice’s culture was so infused with such rich cultural diversity that my Mexican traditions included other cultures as well.  My mother exposed me to photography, dance, and other skills through the Venice Arts program. These activities lead to meeting people of different ethnicities and faiths that would widened my perspective.  These new perspectives would clash with my traditional family views. The social and cultural changes allowed me to infuse my Mexican beliefs with others and mold it to my own personal insight.

The photo of my grandfather Adolfo cutting turkey represents the flip side of the cultural revolution I am describing.  In traditional Mexican household women are “supposed” to do the cooking. Despite this cultural expectation, my grandfather and grandmother would alternate and now my grandfather predominately cooks. I’d like to think that his profession, as a cook, allowed for this transition of skills from work to the home, creating and shifting toward a more matriarchal structure. My grandmother Maggie is very opinionated and makes the household decisions, and was my example of what a strong Chicana woman is. Yet when I asked her when was her happiest moment in life, she responded, “the day I married your grandfather Adolfo.” She explained she was fearful of being a single parent and was relieved to no longer be. She was able to hold two opposing positions, yet created her own identity.

The other photos show my Mexican culture of the mercado in East Los Angeles and a family game night of lotería. During a BBQ or small gathering, the frijoles and quarters were taken out to play lotería amongst the family. Growing up on the Westside, we would have to assimilate into the “gringo” society and my mother would take us every few months to different parts of Los Angeles that were predominately Latino. She would expose us to bilingual theatre, music, and events to remind me and my siblings of how powerful our cultural foundation is when overcoming systematic oppression. Si se puede.

My generation is an extension of the hardships and perseverance through the norm to obtain one’s happiness.  We are able to understand that some of the Chicano family structures are not as concrete as believed and disruption of these cultural norms can lead to a healthier household. By deconstructing the traditions, we are able to dig deeper into the core challenges found within la familia and produce more fruitful relationships among and between the family. My family is proof that  breaking down barriers and seeking beyond the norms is the basis of the strength, tenacity, and endurance to emerge with a new and, maybe even, improved Chicano.  La Chicana Moderna.

in between spaces

Norma Cantú presentation A Chicana’s Life in Literature, she discusses the hybrid nation that people lived along the US/Mexico border. She grew up in a border town and shared her experiences of walking across the border back and forth in her early years. The uniqueness of the towns allowed people to actually adapt and use different Spanglish along the border. She came from a  large family, I believe of 11 children, and she shared many experiences. She acknowledges that she is a “product of bilingual education” because her first caretaker taught her how to read and write in Spanish.

She acknowledges that she has experienced the “cultural conflict and confluence,” as an example she had a photo wearing a chiña poblano outfit yet at school she is wearing a cowgirl outfit, school assimilated her into “Texan” culture. The upbringing she considered was “ethnocentric” and felt a cultural clash between Chicana and Texan. Yet when she has questioned her allegiance to either flag was she feels equal to both countries. Would it be that maintaining her residence along the border she feels that connection or if she moved elsewhere she would still identify as with both strongly?

    In Ana Castillo, So Far from God is about a Chicano family living in New Mexico and the four daughters Esperanza, Fe, Caridad, and Loca seems to foreshadow the books themes. The mother Sofi establishes a household that not only encourages but allows the women to become their true self, without any direction. Each daunter represents independent and strong women who overcome obstacle without the support of a male figure. Sofia created that space for the girls to grow and sometimes learn the hard way about not only people but life in general.The family endures hardships, especially with the death of their first daughter, Esperanza, her name, meant hope and she contributed her life to her community. What does their faith have to do with how they handle their situations? Why does the family continue to have negative events unfold?

the altar process

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a mini altar within the altar

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image of my nino and dog princess

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our beloved booboo who we had for 16 years

The season of remembrance has arrived and the construction of my altar is beginning to take shape. Each photo has an item such as the doggie treat that was placed near my dog Booboo image. I try to add on every year a unique item or decoration… I can’t wait for the final look.

kid-frost

://www.npr.org/2015/10/12/447229966/songs-we-love-brownout-la-raza

In the read Next to Kin, it explains that the Chicano hip-hop and other elements are essential, “socially, politically, and historically,” (Rodriquez 108) giving substance to the music, through its explicit and eye-opening lyrics. Most of the hip hop music was created out of the “impulse of working-class consciousness,” (108) regardless of race and in Kid Frost, “La Raza” illustrates the perspective of the daily lives of someone living in the barrio. Even though the audience of the song is predominately Latino, the black community can also relate to the similarities. There has been an infusion with both Chicano and Afro-America when it comes to hip hop, even though the foundation of hip hop was stemmed from the black community, various elements such as the clothing and lowrider cars came from Chicano culture. 

I came across an article on NPR Latino, “Songs We Love: Brownout, ‘La Raza’,” discussing the 25th anniversary of the song. The evolution of the classic song “Viva Tirado” by El Chicano was sampled by Kid Frost for the iconic, “La Raza” to an Austin-born group Brownout’s “La Raza,” each adding a different element to the song. The commonality of the different versions is that they all discuss issues within their community, Brownout’s song begins with gentrification. Many say that gentrification is the new colonialism and in this song, landlords are seen as “slum lords” by raising the rent incredibly high, in turn, kicking out those who could no longer afford housing. The song talks about our roots, “Latino, Chicano, Mexicano- con sangre de Emiliano, revolucionario,” reminding us of our powerful force in fighting back oppression.A female rapper speaks about the pride in our culture and criticizes the current presidential candidate Donald Trump for his racist slurs about Mexicanos. The song describes the community, “la cause, mi gente, por la raza” of the barrios and the police targeting the young men. It’s nice to see the influence of Kid Frost regenerated 25 years later, illustrating the continuous fight against the oppression that continues currently.

What elements of the song did you connect with?

Movie Review

REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, Lupe Ontiveros, America Ferrera, 2002, (c) HBO

REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, Lupe Ontiveros, America Ferrera, 2002, (c) HBO

The movie Real Women have Curves depicts the life of Anna, a bright student, from the  inner city of Los Angeles. The opening scene of the movie depicts Anna wiping down the windows, an example of domestication, falling within the Chicano gender roles. Immediately Anna and her mother clash because her mother would like for Anna to tend to her, yet it’s Anna last day of high school. Anna leaves the house stating “smart women could contribute to the world,” shows her directly challenging the Chicano gender roles, by stating that she too can essential to society.

At school, her English professor reminds Anna about the college applications and she tells him her family can’t afford college and he should not waste his time on her. After school, Anna quits her job and when she arrives home her mother is furious over it. During the confrontation, an unexpected visit from her English professor creates more animosity with the family. The professor expresses his support for Anna’s higher education and automatically her mother says she has a job at the factory the next day. Her father expresses how she needs to contribute and provide for the family. This scene demonstrates Chicano family values of contributing to everyone, including the sacrifices for oneself. When Anna does get accepted to Columbia University, her family sees it as an abandonment of them. She is not only abandoning them physically but financially and emotionally, by her mother reminding her about her abuelito.

A scene between the Anna parents shows her mother complaining about Anna not doing any domestic jobs, calling her lazy for not cleaning or cooking. Illustrates the Chicano gender roles of women obtaining the domestic duties that her mother was upholding her to. What was unique about the scene was the father suggesting that Anna should attend college and learn. Anna’s father was breaking away from the typical Chicano gender roles and instead of portraying a “machismo” attitude, he gave encouragement for Anna’s education. However, her mother rebuttals that she will teach Anna “learn” by showing her how to cook, sew, take care of her kids, and husband. Once again her mother is applying the Chicano gender role to her daughter. Her mother says it is not fair that she was working since 13, where Anna began at 18, and its time for her to work. That statement could be seen as her mother envious of her daughter’s opportunity for education and growth, so she doesn’t approve.

A scene at the clothing factory shows women doing a domestic job, sewing dresses, and not always paid on time. They work in a hot environment, Anna’s job was to steam the dresses, and the only time her mother showed her compassion was when she burned her finger. Her mother tended to the finger, singing a familiar song, “ Sana sana colita de rana,” a song I too have heard growing up.

A connecting theme of the movie was purity, Anna’s mother stressed the importance of a women’s virginity. Anna challenge her mother, “ Why does a women virginity matter? We have thoughts, ideas, a mind of our own,” addressing the typical Chicano gender roles of the women contained within her own position. The movie connects with gender roles were not only displayed in the acting but also in the music. Throughout the film the songs had a message of both the struggles and empowerment of women. The songs Chica Dificil and Luto by Aterciopelados discuss the “issues” men face being with a strong and difficult women, yet it is worth-wild. Finally when Anna loses her virginity, disobeying her mother’s values of purity. Her mother is upset with Anna’s decision, there is “more to me than what’s in between my legs,” says Anna.

At the end of the film, Anna pursued her education in New York. For Anna to show her mother that her education, not her virginity would help define her purpose of life.Anna is an example of resilience, determination, and the constantly pushing of gender roles by not conforming to them.

Bronze América

Harry Gamboa Jr., Chicano Cinema, 1976. Pictured: Harry Gamboa Jr. © 1976, Harry Gamboa Jr.

In Rodriquez’s Next to Kin and Noriega’s Imaged Borders: Locating Chicano Cinema in America/América, discussed the emergence of Chicano awareness in mainstream media through cinema and television. Both reads agree that the “Chicano cinema” arose out of the Chicano Rights movement and were inspired to develop a piece that would show their experience, identity, and expression. Both authors agreed the poem I Am Joaquin and the film Joaquín, as the first Chicano film and poem because they are the first to display “political, historical and poetic consciousness about the ‘Chicano Experience.’

I was intrigued to learn about the development of the New Communicators Incorporated, a federally funded program that gave Chicano and black kids about the cinema business. This opportunity allowed for students to use the camera, becoming an outlet of expression for them. One of those students was Jesús Salvador Treviño, and he was determined to change the stereotypical image of Latinos.

Noriega’s article explains that after the New Communicators, these students went out and documented the high school Blow Outs of 1968 in East Los Angeles. They were specifically documenting the Sal Castro hearings, the organizer of the walkouts, was arrested for his involvement. The Chicano filmmakers were able to incorporate their community and issues through an “artistic expression within the movement.” This lead to the explosion of various films during the late 1960s and 1970s, La Raza Nueva, Ya Basta!, In Ya Basta!, and Yo Soy Chicano. The students were motivated from their community activism to “become filmmakers able to work within the mass media itself,” producing Chicano films illustrating issues and objectives of the Chicano movement.

Rodriguez examines the film Mi Familia/ My Family, to show Chicano cultural nationalism recreated with a western “American” national family concept. Other films are discussed to explain the conflicts between mainstream cinematic productions and independent Chicana/o films. Rodriguez concludes questioning the recent productions that continue the “Western family-centered,” and whether it has a “positive Latino imagery” or not. He is looking at specific films and media, whereas Noriega’s article focuses on the phases of Chicano cinema.

Noriega illustrates the transition of amateur films to the mass media production, he examines Treviño’s work with Ahora! series that was funded by the Ford Foundation and PBS.It was interesting to learn that the Chicano community was not supportive of the series at first. Yet, Treviño was successful as providing instant coverage for planned protested and other events. This lead to a creative development of informing not just their Chicano community but others about the cultural awareness and one effective strategy was using a mask of “folk ethnicity” through theatrical performances.Another strategy was “treatro based programs that relief on Spanish-speaking dialogue and code switching,” becoming the first process of the “development of pan-Latino advocacy and organization at the national level.”

After the protests of the 60s and 70s, Chicano/ Latino filmmakers established national institutions within the industry. These institutions were a noticeable shift from “social protest strategies to professional advocacy within the industry and independent sector” and an interesting statement Noriega said, “Chicano cinema both juxtaposed and straddled two locations: America and América,” the fight between ‘nationalism and assimilation,’ allowed for Chicano cinema to flourish.