Monthly Archives: June 2020

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From the NACCS Chair

by Karleen Pendleton Jiménez, Chair 2019-2020

When everything hit, I thought of that first sueño of Moraga’s Loving in the War Years (1983) when two lovers are trapped in a prison camp, and one considers escaping. She decides against it: “But I immediately understand that we must, at all costs, remain with each other. Even unto death. That it is our being together that makes the pain, even our dying, human” (p. i). The words seem so relevant to me today as we attempt to live in a pandemic. It’s a time when our vulnerabilities are more dangerous, when the weaknesses of social support structures are more deadly, when discriminatory practices are exponentially cruel. What does it mean in these times to stay “together” with one another, and to keep our humanity intact?

I feel both safe and trapped in my home. I’ve scrambled to put courses online, to finish grading, to get used to interacting with others covered by masks, to participate in university planning meetings, to love my girlfriend, to take care of my daughter. I tell my daughter that her only job, really, is to try to make it through the day, while she tells me that ice-cream sandwiches will get us through this pandemic. I hope you all are figuring out ways to cope and care for one another in these weird and uncertain times.

As we struggle to support our students and to keep colleges and universities afloat, I think it’s a significant moment for us to show the many ways we can act for the public good. Colleges and universities have been able to offer housing for isolated health care workers, provide personal protective equipment, gymnasiums for hospital overflow, conduct frantic vaccine studies, research in mental health, the environment, racism/sexism/classism/homophobia/transphobia, police/state aggression, literature, media, and civil rights, among others. Let’s imagine the many possibilities for how Chicana/o/x Studies will help contribute to the public good through our commitment to activism, art, literature, family, community, migration, history, food studies, equity, and many others. We are also experts at survival, such important knowledge during times of crises.            

I can’t thank all of you enough for your patience and understanding when COVID-19 first hit us and we were trying to convince the conference hotel (for our annual conference) to release us from the contract. It was very frustrating to not be able to communicate with clarity to you. The board, executive director and associate director worked many hours above our usual duties to make decisions, process, analyze, and craft communication. I also want you to know that before the pandemic hit us, we were able to address two important issues discussed at the NACCS 2019 annual business meeting: 1) NACCS is paying off the consultant fees (page 2 of financial report) to our Executive Director and Associate Director, and 2) NACCS has submitted the federal tax-exempt documents (1023 form).

Most of the articles in this newsletter were prepared immediately before our communities were shut down. They reflect our lives on the edge of the pandemic. They celebrate our publications, honours, and pedagogies. I hope you enjoy them and consider contributing to the summer edition of Noticias de NACCS.

Take care.

Moraga, C. (1983). Loving in the war years: lo que nunca pasó por sus labios. Boston: South End Press.

Spring 2020 – Vol. 45 No. 1

Statement on State-Sanctioned Violence Against Black Communities in the United States

We, the community of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS), ever attentive to our historical lineage, are compelled to respond to currently transpiring events in the United States and across the world.

As Chicanx/as/os and Latinx/as/os, we stand today arm in arm with Black peoples and communities against police violence and against state, federal and local governments that condone and legitimize the brutal police treatment of people of color. We refuse to stand by and see our Black and Brown familia treated like criminals and victimized by state violence year after year, month after month, day after day. The true criminal element here is the unrestrained power of police forces that consistently get away with murder over and over again, as prosecutors look the other way and politicians make excuses.

We are outraged by the most recent attacks on Black people in the United States: the murder of George Floyd, the murder of Breonna Taylor, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, all of whom tragically join a much longer list of the hundreds of Black people assassinated by agents of the state. Similarly, the shocking police violence against peaceful protesters and journalists this week in cities across the United States weighs on us heavily.

To live in this brutal, violent nation is to confront on a daily basis an awful truth: its constant and historical debasement of human life, especially Black life. This has been long known to many of us, especially those whose expertise directs us to critically analyze these issues in the course of our research and teaching. Our hope is that from the trauma on the streets of Minneapolis and in cities around the country, a different perspective will emerge, and that the United States will enter into deep conversations of racial citizenship, institutional responsibilities, social and cultural relationships, continuing discrimination, and demand equity.

Tied as NACCS is to the Chicano Movement of the 1960s, and linked as that movement has been to the activism of Black Power, we inform the Black community and its allies of our solidarity with your grievances and your historic and contemporary resistance to the forces of white supremacy. Our solidarity is rooted in the general calls for support by members of the Black community, as it is by the pain of “Gringo Justice,” about which we are only too intimately aware. We will continue to struggle to pursue tangible justice-oriented solutions with you, and roundly condemn the state-sponsored violence against Black peoples in the United States, and social and economic violence that breeds it.

Black Lives Matter.

The Board and Membership of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies

(with writing from José Prado, Rosaura Sanchez, Aureliano DeSoto, and Karleen Pendleton Jiménez)