#SomosTodosMacacos #WeAreAllMonkeys

EL PASO — “There is no racism [on the field], but maybe there is a word or gesture that is not correct. The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands.”
That is the answer to racism that Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, proposed when interviewed by CNN back in 2011. Not only did he deny that racism exists, which is not the only time he (or FIFA) has denied racism, he proposed a preposterous solution to battle racism when two high profile cases of racism were going on in England. Barcelona star Daniel Alves, who is Brazilian, along with his teammate and compatriot Neymar Santos have decided to not battle racism with something as simplistic as a handshake. They have taken to social media to spread their message, “Somos todos macacos”, Portuguese for “We are all monkeys.”
It started during a Spanish league game, when Barcelona FC were playing a game in Villarreal and in the 77th minute a fan from Villarreal threw a banana at Alves, who was about to take a corner kick.

Tim Wise — The white perspective on racial discrimination

EL PASO — My curiosity as to what an antiracist activist was compelled me to attend an open lecture given by writer and scholar Tim Wise. I sat patiently among faculty and fellow students with the expectation that my curiosity would be satisfied. I was not disappointed. Wise appeared confident as he made his way to the lectern after a very charitable introduction and quickly launched into the evening’s volatile subject matter—racism. According to Wise, people of color fear talking about racism in front of white people, which was a revelation I found surprising given the existence of rap music.

Carlos Montes after one of his court's hearings in L.A. (Courtesy of Julia Wallace.)

Chicano activist Carlos Montes now fights for his own freedom

EL PASO – El Paso born Carlos M. Montes has been a solidarity activist since the late 1960s, denouncing wars and fighting for immigration rights and better public education, but lately he can be seen surrounded by posters with a much different message –“Save Carlos Montes.”

Wearing his black newsboy cap backwards and a ‘Chicano Nation’ t-shirt, Montes, 64, walked with a swagger through El Paso’s Mayapan Mercado Mayachen museum, and in midsentence pointed to a picture on the gallery wall and said, “Oh shit, that’s me!” as if looking through a personal photo album that he’d forgotten existed. The gallery documents the plight of Mexican immigrants as well as Montes’ own lifetime of struggle. The scattered protest posters scream out, “Alto Policía Represión,” “Don’t privatize public education!” and “Stop the war!”

In May 2011, police officers and the FBI raided Montes’ home in Los Angeles, he said, destroying everything in their path, confiscating papers, his computer and cell phone, dragging him out and throwing him into handcuffs. He was charged with four counts of perjury for neglecting to mention a conviction that happened 42 years ago when he was purchasing a handgun. He was also charged with possession of a handgun and ammunition by an ex-felon.

Lupita shows off her papel picado at one of Latinitas' Saturday camps. (Elvia Navarrete/Borderzine.com)

Young Hispanic women on the border find a voice in Latinitas

EL PASO – Troubled young women dealing with pregnancy, depression, drug-abuse and attempted suicide can now find help in an organization created specifically for them. Sonia Rangel, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for Latinitas, said it is important for pre-teen and teenage Latinas here to have a voice. The need to empower and inspire them in El Paso is critical because the rate of occurrence of these problems for Latinas here is the highest in Texas, according to the Latinitas website. In a program entitled “Girl Empowerment Training,” volunteers learn how to mentor the girls. Through a series of hands-on work with multimedia equipment, the volunteers practice with cameras and voice recorders.  In this training, the volunteers get the opportunity to look within through a series of questions such as, “What does leadership, mentor and empowerment mean and what does it mean to be a mentor?” Then they are able to teach the girls how to use the equipment for self-expression.