Chicano filmmaker, Hector Galán documents the legacy of Willie Velasquez, the Mexican-American activist, who launched a grassroots movement that forever changed the political landscape in the United States in his Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary, Willie Velasquez: Your Vote is Your Voice.” The film breaks cultural barriers highlighting the importance of the Latino vote and was recently presented at The University of Texas at El Paso’s Union Cinema and was accompanied by a voter registration effort to honor Velasquez’s legacy. A production of Galan Incorporated and Latino Public Broadcasting, “Willie Velasquez: Your Vote Is Your Voice,” showcases the life of the man who led the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project and launched 1,000 voter registration drives in 200 cities. Velasquez paved the way for Latinos to have a voice in government and underscored the growing power of the Latino vote. Chicano independent filmmaker, Hector Galan directed the documentary shedding light on the Latino voting revolution.
It’s been five years since my wife Danya and I first walked into the Cotton Memorial building for our introduction to journalism class at the University of Texas at El Paso. This is where we met our mentors David Smith Soto, Zita Arocha, and Lourdes Cueva Chacon. And where we learned the countless lessons we referenced every day at our internships and now at our jobs working for a daily newspaper. I was a creative writer at heart and felt comfortable with my storytelling abilities. Danya was an artistic photographer and felt comfortable telling visual stories.
The 6-year-old online Border Life magazine, Borderzine, crosses another milestone this month with a redesign, enhanced digital features and visuals to better reflect its mission to publish rich relevant content about the borderlands by multicultural student journalists. A few of the exciting changes include a responsive design that allows readers to easily navigate across computer platforms and mobile devices, an updated logo, new story categories covering “Immigration and Fronteras” and “Diversity and Ideas” as well as a snazzier portfolio page to showcase the multimedia journalism of our student reporters. Here are some highlights of what we’ve added:
At the core of the new Borderzine.com is the responsive web design, which makes the site look good across computer platforms and on mobile devices. We’ve updated our look with a fresh, new logo inspired by the sunrise over a Southwest landscape – the vibrant glow of a new dawn in multicultural America. New category sections on the home page showcase our unique and varied content.
EL PASO – Dressed in a bright orange jacket adorned with a necklace and a crucifix pendant, Rosa Guerrero flashes a warm smile, projecting the trademark youthful spirit and upbeat stamina that belie her approaching 80th birthday. “Age is just a matter of the mind,” Guerrero said as she sipped her cranberry and orange juice drink, a mix she concocted herself. “If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.”
Guerrero’s long resume in the professional dance world has not weighed her down. An avid dancer in all types of genres, a dance teacher of students that range in age from two-year- olds to 100-year-olds, and an ambassador for Mexican folkloric dance, her love for dance is evident in the rhythm of her hand gestures and expressive nature. “I started dancing in my mother’s womb,” Guerrero exclaimed as she sculpted a simple dance move with her hands.
EL PASO— The Mexican experience in America, presented with verve as a celebration of the culture and and as a bulwark against negative stereotypes in popular art and media was dubbed Mextasy by Dr. William Anthony Nericcio. “This anti-Mexican fervor needs to be met with a kind of invocation of mexicanidad that needs to be equally strong,” Nericcio says. “You got to attack it with the same power with the same fervor, with the same dynamic focus.”
Nericcio captivated a room of faculty members and students when he came to the University of Texas at El Paso recently to discuss and present his travelling art show,
TheMextasypop-up exposition contains objects that Nericcio has collected over the years, Ranging from dolls to posters that harken back to the 1950’s representing and satirizing the Mexican experience in the United States, representing an analysis of Hollywood’s contribution to perceptions of Mexican ethnic identities. Nericcio gets serious when addressing how consumers should fight the negative commentary on Mexicans that some commentators in media like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter advocate. Ectasy healing
For Nericcio, Mextasy can be seen as a form of defense and cure against those Mexican stereotypes and tropes.
Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of first person essays about identity written by UTEP Liberal Arts Honors students during the spring 2013 semester. EL PASO – I still remember the name of my middle school bully and what he looked like. I might have been an insignificant part of his life but for me he was not. His behavior when I was a teenager produced fear, self-hate and an identity crisis that haunts me to this day. A native of Ciudad Juarez, I have always considered myself Mexican and I have been proud of my background.
Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of first person essays about identity written by UTEP honors students during the spring 2013 semester. EL PASO – All my life I have had problems with identity. I identified as a Mexican-American, but was always wondering what makes me Mexican-American. Is it because I am dark-skinned, or because I eat Mexican food? What constitutes Mexican food anyway – Taco Bell or Chico’s Taco’s?
Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of first person essays about identity written by UTEP honors students during the spring 2013 semester. I used to be a real Mexican. I know because I have a little black cassette tape that was made 32 years ago. It’s an artifact of another time. A time I don’t remember well.
DANYA HERNANDEZ (Reporter): Living in a border city, such as El Paso, Texas, can make many realize the benefits of cultivating both cultures. Some residents consider themselves not American enough to call themselves Americans and not Mexican enough to call themselves Mexicans. But they want their children to be able to embrace biculturalism and bilingualism, so they search for places where their children can be exposed to it at a young age. [Natural Sounds: Ambience music]
Marianne DiPasqualie, a mother of 3, expressed the importance of having her children immersed in the different cultures surrounding them. She said that being an Anglo family she wants her kids to be acceptant of other cultures and languages.
El Paso – I would be lying if I said I was a suave city girl. The truth is downtown still scares me. With all the shady characters walking up and down the streets and the shopkeepers peering at you with their hawk like eyes, downtown is not my vision of a shopper’s paradise. What I loathe most is that some stores require customers to leave their shopping bags at the front counter. Because I can’t be sure that my bag will be returned simply because my name is taped to it, when I leave something at the counter naturally I am apprehensive.