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NACCS 2020 Scholar Award Statement

by Albert Camarillo

Editors note: In April 2020, we would have found ourselves at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel celebrating our honorees for 2020. We planned our awards night dinner around a room overlooking the Seattle skyline at night. But we could not let the moment just pass without recognizing our recipients. Even though we could not physically celebrate Dr. Camarillo, Scholar, and Dr. Salinas, Book Award, we provide you with some comments that would have been shared with each of you if we had been in Seattle.  Please take the time to recognize their contributions to our field, we are sure they would be happy to hear from you. Thank you.

Albert Camarillo

When I received word I was selected for the 2020 NACCS “Scholar Award” and knowing this award recognizes lifetime contributions to Chicana/o Studies, the news set off an avalanche of memories about the organization as well as reflections on my career in helping to develop the field of Chicana/o history and Latina/o Studies. I was part of that small group of graduate students, and even fewer faculty, in 1973-74 to participate in launching the National Association of Chicano Studies (originally the National Association of Chicano Social Scientists) when we held our first conference at the University of California, Irvine. Most of us were scholars-in-training, the first cohort of Chicana and Chicano graduates to enter graduate school, and we were excited about creating an organization that would facilitate our intellectual development and serve as a platform for our social activist agendas. We were few in number but great in spirit.

What made us different from mainstream emerging scholars was our commitment to racial justice and social change and to applying skills learned as scholars, whenever we could, to highlight historical and contemporary problems that defined the Mexican experience in the United States. The legacies of “Jaime Crow” –the generations of discrimination and racial oppression of Chicanas/os and other people of color—haunted us, yet propelled us to make a difference as we came of age and began careers as faculty in colleges and universities across the land. NACCS played a critical role for all of us as we took steps to broaden the reach of Chicana/o Studies on our respective campuses and to recruit more students and faculty through regional Focos and annual meetings. The early years of NACSS provided the camaraderie and intellectual exchange that didn’t exist, for the most part, on our respective campuses. As the first generation of Chicana/o faculty, we were swimming in the waters of traditional white institutions that were adjusting for the first time to people of color on campus, sometimes making it very difficult for us to stay afloat and sometimes throwing us a lifeline as we learned to navigate new environments.

Looking back on a career that spans over forty years in higher education, many of the relationships I formed with NACCS colleagues in the early decades of the organization played an important role in the development of interdisciplinary centers and program I helped found both at Stanford and nationally. The founding of the Stanford Center for Chicano Research in 1980 was inspired, in part, by several Chicana/o students and faculty who, like me, cut their intellectual teeth through participation in NACCS conferences. Similarly, when we established the Inter-University Program for Latino Research in 1983, we realized a consortium of Chicana/o, Puerto Rican, and other Latino university centers (the founding centers were at Stanford, UCLA, Hunter College-City University of New York, and University of Texas at Austin; IUPLR now has 24 member centers) needed to join forces to attract support from major national foundations to fund basic and public policy research to advance knowledge about Latinx communities. And, when the Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity formed in 1996, the lessons of multidisciplinary study and collaborative work which I learned early on as a NACCS member helped me steer this center in many productive ways.

Although the status of Chicana/o and Latinx representation in our nation’s colleges and universities is far greater than when a small group of us entered graduate schools in the early 1970s, our numbers are still far too few. The struggle to maintain our collective presence in higher education institutions cannot be taken for granted and, as current events demonstrate so well, the progress we have achieved will be contested. The critical issues of social justice that inspired so many of us long ago to enter higher education as a means to an end to fight against racial inequality loom over us in seemingly more profound ways in the contemporary period.

As NACCS played a key role in promoting scholarly connections and social activism in my generation, I am sure it will continue to do so for younger Chicanas and Chicanos in the future. As a recipient of the organization’s 2020 “Scholar Award,” I am humbled to join the pantheon of former awardees, many of whom were comaradas when we launched the Chicana/o Movement in higher education decades ago. Muchísimas gracias a todos.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

NACCS Winner of the 2020 Book Award

by the NACCS Book Award Committee

Editors Note: The NACCS Scholar Award and NACCS Book Award were set to be celebrated at the NACCS 2020 conference in Seattle in April 2020.  We were unable to meet due to Covid-19, but we still believe it is important to celebrate these outstanding accomplishments as a NACCS community.

Cristina Salinas’ Managed Migrations: Growers, Farmworkers, and Border Enforcement in the Twentieth Century (University of Texas Press, 2018).

Cristina Salinas makes the provocative argument that the Border Patrol, the growers, and the workers in the 1940s and 1950s were truly the actors who negotiated US immigration laws and policies and not the Washington DC policy makers.  The recalibration of the nexus of power at the local level between growers, the US Border Patrol, and the worker migrants themselves recenters our understanding of immigration policy negotiations.  With South Texas and El Paso as the clear examples of how the agricultural seasonal demands were negotiated by growers, workers, and the Border Patrol agents, Salinas identifies the true negotiators of border policy.  Salinas is able to provide us with a unique perspective on the history of immigration policy from the local most affected areas.  A compelling argument, Salinas provides us with detailed descriptions of individual worker narratives and experiences as they negotiate restrictive immigration policies and yet are able to navigate their own mobility across the country.  A much needed historical accounting of immigration policy, Cristina Salinas has provided a richly detailed accounting of immigration policy and the lives it attempts to restrain.

Cristina Salinas is a native of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas with deep roots in the border region of South Texas and northern Mexico. She graduated from Edcouch-Elsa High School, and received a BA, MA, and PhD in history from the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus on Chicano/a studies and border history. She is an Associate Professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington and affiliated with the Center for Mexican American Studies. She lives in Arlington with her husband and young daughter.

Honorable Mention

Roberto D. Hernández’ Coloniality of the U-S///Mexico Border: Power, Violence, and the Decolonial Imperative (University of Arizona Press, 2018) is an intervention into the discussions of the discursive hegemony of the US-Mexico border.  Disrupting a standard political reading of the border, Hernández provides the reader with an anti-intuitive reimagining of the colonial assumptions and the violence engendered in concepts of nation state.  Violence and Coloniality become the terms Hernández interrogates with the use of mass culture, government policies, maps, documents, and even geographies.  Finally, he “remain[s] steadfast in the argument that violence on the U-S///Mexico border reveals the racial/colonial origins and continuities of the interstate system” (182).  From the 1984 McDonald’s massacre to the assassination of women in Juarez, Hernández is able to expose the colonial demand for violence.  A highly theoretical work providing a new reading of the border, Hernández deserves recognition for work that urges us to move toward a decolonial space in order to just survive.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

Tributes: Juan Gomez-Quiñones, Rudolfo Anaya, & David William Foster

1990 NACCS Scholar Juan Gomez-Quiñones Passes Away

From Dr. Reynaldo Macias, 2014 NACCS Scholar

Juan Gomez-Quiñones

Dear all, Juan Gómez-Quiñones passed this (November 11, 2020) morning at 2.28 am at home. A long time colleague and friend, it is impossible to over estimate the contributions he has made to Chican@ Studies and History at UCLA, the US and Mexico, despite institutional resistance, retributions, and political challenges. An activist scholar from the beginning of his academic career as a student in the 1960s, he has shone light in the many dark corners of the academy and society in the US and Mexico. His presence, his voice, and his heart will be missed by many family, friends, and colleagues and the many generations of students that have been influenced and uplifted by his ideas, scholarship and support in the classrooms.


A Tribute Recordando a Rudolfo A. Anaya: From Aztlán to Mictlán (Oct. 30, l937-June 28, 2020), NACCS Scholar 2002

by Francisco A. Lomelí, NACCS Scholar 2004

Rudolfo Anaya

El llano is mourning the passing of Rudolfo A. Anaya where time became suspended, the wind stopped, and the juniper trees sighed. His death marks a watershed moment in many ways: the Quinto Sol Generation just got smaller; his legacy is forever an indelible memory; and his fame transcends his patria chica.  He was a child from the dry eastern part of New Mexico where hardy people live and eke out a living, surrounded by an intensely ingrained tradition of Hispanos who go way back to the XVI century.  He always felt grounded in his gente and his long-standing Nuevomexicano culture.  That solid foundation rendered him a particular lens of confidence and identity as someone who shared a common history.  This is why his works did not dwell on formulating a new ethnos since he knew perfectly well where he came from. As such, the Chicano social and literary movements benefited from his perspective because his characters were not interlopers nor phantoms. Quite the contrary, they seemed of flesh-and-blood or what some consider an embodiment of un Nuevo México profundo. 

       Such lived experiences helped shape Anaya into a keen observer of the human condition filled with life stories from an earthy world view.  He was fundamentally grounded in oral storytelling while transmitting a rich mix of folklore of Hispano and indigenous tales, legends and myths. This was the fertile ground of an infinite imagination upon which to situate his characters in search of harmony, much the way the protagonist Antonio Márez recounted in a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel known world-wide, the unforgettable Bless Me, Ultima.  Antonio represented the synthesis of two peoples and two generations, their religious and cultural beliefs and social practices. The llano culture was the fountain that gave birth to his unique sensibilities: a deep appreciation for this rural culture that never left him.  He instinctively returned to relive the quest to relish, explore and understand the New Mexican conscience because it nurtured his sense of place and purpose.  In fact, most of his fiction, poetry, essays and plays are an extension of such a quest, a desdoblamiento of his inner questions and doubts about life, tragedy, death, a sense of resolution, spirituality and a deep awareness of humanity. 

            Of course, his long list of literary works in multiple genres denote a prolific writer of unmatched talents. He tended to produce distinctive groupings: the first as a trilogy about place and myth in his classic Bless Me, Ultima (l972), Heart of Aztlán (l976) and Tortuga (l979); a second one as a pre-Columbian exploration into the Chicano indigenous background in The Legend of La Llorona (l985), The Lord of the Dawn: Legend of Quetzalcóatl (l987), and to some degree Jalamanta: A Message from the Desert (1996); later a predilection for the detective fiction in Alburquerque (1992); followed by a series of mystery novels based on the four seasons such as Zia Summer (1995), Río Grande Fall (1996), Shaman Winter (1999) and Jemez Spring (2005); and folkloric renditions combined with science-fiction in Curse of the Chupacabra (2006), Chupacabra and Roswell UFO (2008) and Chupacabra Meets Billy the Kid (2018)He also made an impact in children’s literature with his acclaimed The Farolitos of Christmas; A New Mexico Christmas Story (1987), Roadrunner’s Dance (2000) and The First Tortilla (2007)In addition, he effectively explored philosophical topics on love and death, for example, in The Old Man’s Love Story (2013). He has also exceled in writing plays, poetry, essays and chronicles (i.e A Chicano in China [1986] or what Patricia Geuder calls “a chronicle of oneiric dimensions”). Y muchas más.

            Such vast production has been extremely well received, although not unanimously as when certain school districts voted to burn Bless Me, Ultima for its supposed propagation of witchcraft and sorcery. Others questioned the mythic qualities as fanciful or anti-historical constructions, but he always tried to keep his feet on the ground while listening to the imaginative tales of his people. It is noteworthy to mention that the first Chicano works to receive international acclamation up through the l970s were Bless Me, Ultima and El Teatro Campesino.  During his career he was the recipient of some of the most prestigious awards, such as El Quinto Sol Literary Award, the American Book Award, the National Humanities Medal (presented by President Barack Obama), the NEA National Medal of the Arts Lifetime Honor (presented by President George W. Bush), and twice for the New Mexican Governor’s Public Service Award, and many others.

Rudy Anaya was a man of simple tastes (red chile enchiladas at Barelas Café in Albuquerque) with profound convictions about Chicanos/as’ potential. As a gifted storyteller, he masterfully created stories and characters, oftentimes with shamanistic and poetic qualities, that represent the struggle between opposite cosmic forces, usually ending with an optimistic outlook toward self-realization.  In fact, most of his works embody a search for wholeness, opportunity, justice and goodness, as Ultima told Antonio.  His writings inspire because they express universal truths and values.  Talking to Rudy was often a memorable event for he possessed oracle qualities for his wisdom, passion for writing, and legendary generosity in promoting young writers. I loved calling him at his home because his answering machine seemed to share his humor by saying: “Can’t answer the phone right now because I’m busy writing stories…”. Rudy liked a good laugh con picardía, always promoting books, education and reading like an exemplary pied piper. He was a consummate conversationalist, a friend with a long memory, a gentleman. Only his humility was overshadowed by his greatness. He has now forever returned to the realm of his imagination, the world he sought in life to capture glimpses of owls, golden carps, black stones, subterranean lakes, blue guitars and La Llorona. Rudy has left us but he will be with us por y para siempre. Que en paz descanse nuestro amigo, hermano, maestro, Rudolfo A. Anaya.


A Tribute to David William Foster (1940-2020)

by Frederick Luis Aldama

David William Foster

David, my Virgil. 

From as far back as I can remember, David showed me a way. At Berkeley stirred by Reinaldo Arenas and Luis Zapata, it was his Sexual Texualities (1991). At Stanford David’s careful and creative analytic lens opened wide the work of Francisco X. Alarcón. As an out-of-the-gate professor, he invited me to revisit Mexico City through a cinematic lens. His fervent critical mind carried me time again into spell-binding worlds chock full of ideas and debates. He would patiently take pause to guide me to new friendships with beloved authors. I count “Ani” María Shua as one. 

David was my soothing sage. My Virgil. He was more. 

Lockstep he showed me how to shed those heavy shackles of the academe; those that tell us what we can’t do. With him and thanks to him no road was settled upon by diktat, no way was a priori blocked. To wander, to move by whim and preference, to freely explore all cultural, socio-political grounded aesthetic and scientific options at hand, to be adventurous in order to one day find ourselves. Under this impulse following him was exhilarating, doing anything together with him was creative.  For a while we explored hand in hand then fashionable philosophies and literary theories we eventually found empty, mere flatus voci adding next to nothing to critical issues and debates of real interest and importance. We knew fashions could be loud for a while until inexorably replaced by other sounds and ultimately lost to a forgetful history.  With enthusiasm our hungry eyes and our inquisitive brains were set elsewhere. There was—there is—another world not only to explore but to create. New tools were needed, free spirits and fresh approaches were in immediate demand. And David was always there pointing at new worlds and urgent needs.  As a spontaneous and joyful outcome we kept walking with our bodies set in all manners of inquisitiveness and worldbuilding, while perambulating with those Latinx real-life experiences and grammatically imagined tenses, making past, present and future meet whenever convenient. We comingled with exhilaratingly new situations and characters, with long and short and illustrated stories, with sounds radically new because deep down originating in sound systems of two different languages, with images hailing from unheard of metaphors and new visions, and with planetary authors devoted to building new spaces and indispensable imaginaries that even today are barely given a whisper in the hallowed halls of the academy. 

David and I never tired in our walks through new territories. He was always eager and ready to set the pace and suggest the paths to follow, never shy of meeting exact minds and bodies along the way. He made the world richer and more exciting.

Gentle friend, sage guide, agile mind, passionate soul, explorer and creator of new venues of knowledge and affection, he gave us all our wings. 

David, our Virgil.

A Call for Tributes In the next issue of Noticias de NACCS I am calling for tributes especially to the lives and works of our colleagues Dr. Gary Keller, Dr. María Lugones, and you may know of others.  If any of you would be willing to write these tributes, please contact me: karleen@naccs.org

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

Publications and Awards

Publications

New Book: Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldua: Pedagogy and Practice for Our Classrooms and Communities

Editors: Margaret E. Cantu-Sanchez, Candace de Leon-Zepeda, and Norma E. Cantu.

University of Arizona Press Published 2020

Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa is a pragmatic and inspiring offering of how to apply Anzaldúa’s ideas to the classroom and in the community rather than simply discussing them as theory. The book gathers nineteen essays by scholars, activists, teachers, and professors who share how their first-hand use of Anzaldúa’s theories in their classrooms and community environments.

New Book: Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture: Looking Through the Kaleidoscope

by Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez

University of Arizona Press Published September 2020

Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez traces how Spanish colonial texts reflect the motivation for colonial domination. She argues that layers of U.S. colonialism complicate how Chicana/o literary scholars think about Chicana/o literary and cultural production. She brings into view the experiences of Chicana/o communities that have long-standing ties to the U.S. Southwest but whose cultural heritage is tied through colonialism to multiple nations, including Spain, Mexico, and the United States.

New Book: Querencia: Reflections on the New Mexico Homeland

Edited by Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez, Levi Romero, and Spencer R. Herrera; Foreword by Rudolfo Anaya

University of New Mexico Press Published June 2020

This collection of both deeply personal reflections and carefully researched studies explores the New Mexico homeland through the experiences and perspectives of Chicanx and indigenous/Genízaro writers and scholars from across the state. The importance of querencia for each contributor is apparent in their work and their ongoing studies, which have roots in the culture, history, literature, and popular media of New Mexico. Be inspired and enlightened by these essays and discover the history and belonging that is querencia.

Publication: Trump’s Latinx Repatriation

by Kevin R. Johnson, NACCS Scholar 2008

June 6, 2020, Published in the UCLA Law Review

This Article contends that, as part and parcel of his fervent anti-immigrant agenda, President Trump is engaging in a concerted effort to remove Latinx peoples, especially Mexicans and Central Americans, from the country. Just as the previous Mexican removal campaigns did, the new Latinx repatriation accomplishes mass removals and encourages Latinx non-citizens, along with U.S. citizen children, to leave the country and self-deport, or, alternatively, to never come to the United States in the first place.Here is to the full article: Link: https://www.uclalawreview.org/trumps-latinx-repatriation/

Building Teaching Capacity for LGBTQ+ Inclusion with Queer Ethnic Studies

by Mario Espinoza-Kulick and Dr. Alex Espinoza-Kulick

LGBTQ+ students have led movements for more fairness, inclusion, and justice in schools. Student groups, individual student activists, as well as their adult allies often do the work of educating themselves, their peers, and the larger community. While the knowledge created by and for young people is especially powerful and effective, students come to school to learn and adults are meant to guide and support them. So, how can educators further step up to be allies and accomplices with movements for LGBTQ+ inclusion?

Espinoza-Kulick, Mario, and Alex Espinoza-Kulick. 2020. “Building Teaching Capacity for LGBTQ+ Inclusion with Queer Ethnic Studies.” Carnegie Education Blog. Leeds Beckett University. Available at https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/blogs/carnegie-education/2020/06/building-teaching-capacity-for-lgbtq-inclusion/

Awards

Aída Hurtado, 2015 NACCS Scholar, Receives Honorable Mention for the 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize

Aída Hurtado

Aída Hurtado received an honorable mention for the 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize for her recent University of Arizona Press title, Intersectional Chicana Feminisms!

The 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize offers recognition for groundbreaking monographs in women’s studies that make significant multicultural feminist contributions to women of color/transnational scholarship. The prize honors Gloria Anzaldúa, a valued and long-active member of the National Women’s Studies Association.

Advocating for and demonstrating the importance of an intersectional, multidisciplinary, activist understanding of Chicanas, Intersectional Chicana Feminisms provides a much-needed overview of the key theories, thinkers, and activists that have contributed to Chicana feminisms.

Aída Hurtado is the Luis Leal Endowed Chair and a professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Future of Ethnic Studies Alumni Award

Recipient: Mario Espinoza-Kulick

For contributions made in research, teaching and service.

Institution: The Ethnic Studies Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Mario’s research focuses on topics of health policy, immigration, critical queer studies, Latina/o/x studies and social movements. Most recently, he finished his master’s thesis, “The Care-Advocacy Paradox: How Social Movement Organizers Strategize in Support of People Living with HIV/AIDS” which researched how the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power garnered attention for people living with HIV/AIDS during an era when most people affected by the epidemic were being dismissed and underserved. This thesis won the Martin Levine Student Paper Award in 2018.

He is currently researching for his dissertation which looks at health advocacy and access for Latinx immigrant communities along the Central Coast in California. His intersectional identity as Queer, Chicanx and Indigenous has provided him with unique experiences throughout his journey that give him a distinctive depth in researching immigrant/Indigenous communities at risk for disease. Knowing that health access is simply unequal in immigrant communities motivates Mario to continue his work on ways in which healthcare agencies and social movement organizations can advocate for marginalized groups in culturally appropriate ways and through implementation of equitable health policies.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

Latino and Latina Roundtable of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley Stands in Solidarity

by Jose Calderon, NACCS Scholar 2019

The Latino/a Roundtable of the San Gabriel Valley and Pomona Valley is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education, civic engagement, advancing leadership, and to provide a proactive voice. Jose Calderon continues to dedicate his work in the community by being President of the The Latino/a Roundtable of the San Gabriel Valley and Pomona Valley.

The Latino and Latina Roundtable stands in solidarity with all those who are outraged with the brutal murder of George Floyd and the many others in our communities who have unjustly lost their lives to police brutality. 

We stand with Black Lives Matter and our African American communities in our common fight for equality and multi-racial solidarity against systemic racism and white supremacy.  We have a common struggle in opposing the school to prison pipeline, unjust detention centers, voter suppression, and acts of genocide that are seeking to keep our communities from using their growing political power. We stand against the normalization of police brutality, violence, and the use of the military by a President of the United States who, rather than coming out against the conditions which have created the mass of protests throughout the country, insists on promoting more violence and division.  The disproportionate numbers from our Black and Latino communities who have died from COVID-19 has further exposed the economic and racial inequalities that have historically existed in our communities.  In this context, the responses to the killing of Floyd have not just been about his unjust murder but are the result of years of racial and economic disparities.  As Darnell Hunt, Dean of Social Sciences at UCLA proposes from his years of research: “The George Floyd case was not the cause … the police killings are the symptoms … the underlying cause is white supremacy, racism, and things the U. S. has not fundamentally dealt with.”

In this light, we stand against the divisions being created by this administration in scapegoating everyone from our Asian American communities to undocumented immigrants and refugees for his failures.  We commit ourselves to build multi-racial unity and to turn around the sources of these disparities around through advancing transformative policies that are in the interests of providing a quality of life for all and not just profit for a few. 

We stand with the protestors who are calling to turn these conditions around and who are committed to remember the spirit of Floyd by fighting for justice, not only for his family, but for future generations.  We stand with Darnella Frazier, the 17-year old who courageously documented the murder of George Floyd.  We stand with the families and communities who have faced the loss of life of family members and friends.  And we commit to join in helping to build a nation where Black Lives Matter. 

Historians of Latino Americans (HOLA) – Tarrant County

by Peter Martínez

From left to right: William Girón, Cecilia Sánchez-Hill, Richard Gonzales, Peter Martínez, Rosalinda Martínez, Rita Rodríguez-Utt, Arturo Martínez, Paul Quiñones. With the exception of Paul Quiñones, everyone in the picture is an HOLA Tarrant County board member.

In August of 2019, a small group of individuals created what we originally (and unofficially) called the Latino History Group of Fort Worth, with the goal of collecting, preserving, creating, and publishing Latinx history in Fort Worth, Texas. Our young group includes historians, educators, writers, community activists, and civic leaders. Several of us – including Max Krochmal, Cecilia Sánchez Hill, Richard Gonzales, and Peter Martínez – are also actively involved in the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies as members and conference participants. This past January, our organization presented an exhibit entitled “Historya/Trails of the Mexican-American Experience in Fort Worth.” The exhibit visually depicts significant issues that contributed to the migration of Mexican populations to Fort Worth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Additionally, using old photographs, the exhibit provides an overview of how Mexicanos adapted to their new environment as well as how they were received by the Anglo-majority population. We plan on moving the exhibit to a variety of venues going forward as we promote Latinx history in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Additionally, the exhibit portrays early communities, accounting for some of the struggles that these communities overcame during the early 20th century.

In addition to the exhibit, key members of our group have also interviewed older Fort Worth women who have shared their thoughts and experiences as long-time Fort Worth Chicana residents. By giving these women a voice, we are empowering our community and contributing to our history. The current pandemic halted interviews, but we plan on expanding on this endeavor once we are able to safely resume this valuable work.

In May of 2020, we voted to change our group’s name to Historians of Latino Americans – Tarrant County (HOLA Tarrant County) as we continue our efforts going forward. We also recently built a website (https://holatarrantcounty.org) where we will store information pertaining to our organization as well as share research, interviews, and events among other pertinent material. The website is a work in progress, but it will serve as an instrumental tool for our history going forward.

Included with this article are two images. One is an exterior photograph of the historic Rose Marine Theater in Fort Worth, which is part of the Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center where our January event was held. The second image shows most of our board members with the exhibition in the background. A few board members were unable to attend the event.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

Midniters Singer Survives COVID-19: Shares Experience to Help Others

by Gregory Esparza

Gregory Esparza

I am Gregory Esparza, the singer for Thee Midniters, and I survived Covid-19 thanks to my best friend, writer and educator, Dr. Martha R. Gonzales and my cousin Dr. Elena Esparza, a licensed chiropractor and practitioner of natural medicine. They both helped to save my life from the virus. Before I go any further, I want to disclose that what worked for me against Covid-19, was a regiment of all-natural medicines and treatments. Still, I encourage everyone to consider all their health options when contending with this lethal novel coronavirus. In my case, what at first felt like having no options to fight the virus, because my health insurance policy ended the same week I began to fall ill, forced us to imagine alternative options as we reached out for help from Elena and she prescribed certain local indigenous herb and spice mixtures to help wage my body’s defense. 

My story begins when I went public with positive Covid-19 test-results on April 10, 2020, but what most people did not know, was I had already fought the virus from home beginning on Monday, March 23rd – April 6th when all my severe symptoms had subsided. The significance of this timeline means that we fought multiple symptoms without knowing for certain if I had the virus or not. Essentially, we fought to some extent blind, but all along took jabs at the virus with indigenous remedies. We hesitated to rush me to the hospital in fear of being around others with the virus and in fear of out of pocket costs, both equally concerning to us at that moment. Then there was a lot of confusion in the media about what symptoms to look for, such as a dry throat, and persistent cough coupled with chest pains and tightness, because my symptoms varied. At first, I thought maybe that slight tickle in my throat was allergies, since I felt no dryness. The tickle made me want to cough, but my body merely tensed up to prevent me from coughing. In many ways, tensing up was my body’s subconscious reaction because I did not want to spread my cough around the place where we lived. However, not too long after that tickle in my throat, a stomach ache set in. These symptoms did not match the media’s Covid-19 virus checklist, and I had been careful to not get sick, except for that last concert I did just 9 days prior on Saturday night, March 14, 2020.

After learning I tested positive for Covid-19 on April 10, 2020 most people wanted to know how I got it. I am the lead singer for Thee Midniters, a legendary East L.A. band from the 1960s and we were contracted to perform on March 14, 2020 at Buffalo Bill’s casino, inside their Star of the Desert Arena, a state line casino where California and Nevada meet about 227 miles outside of Los Angeles. This particular arena holds up to 6,000 people and for a sold-out show, during the pandemic, about two-thirds of the ticket holders still showed up, despite many cities and institutions like the NBA shutting down for quarantine just days before. However, it was a combination of the draw of a casino and the Latin Legends, such as, Thee Midniters, Malo, Tierra, El Chicano, and A Lighter Shade of Brown that brought the people out in much larger numbers than I had hoped. 

In mid-March, during the weekend of our show, the rule of the day was elbow bumps instead of handshakes, social distancing, and washing one’s hands frequently. Masks in California would not become the rule until about two weeks later, when California Governor Gavin Newsom made it so around April 5th. Before that, hardly anyone thought to wear gloves either, which the bands, the audience, and the casino, could have benefitted from while navigating new territory for an arena concert as well as for backstage etiquette during a pandemic. 

As for my personal thoughts. I was reluctant to do or promote any upcoming shows for weeks prior to March 14th. Nevertheless, being the lead vocalist of an 8-piece band under contract to perform, it was never my call to back out. As a matter of fact, no one from the band or the production company spoke to me about it or moved to cancel and so I felt pressured to show up. The one thing I could control was my social media and I deleted and un-tagged my name from all 2020 promotions I had shared since January; especially the 4-day weekend cruise ship getaways that were already sold out for May and September 2020. Transmission of Covid-19 on cruise ships seemed much higher within confined cruise ships than for people on land. Doctors Kenji Mizumoto and Gerardo Chowell published their estimation that the “mean reproduction number in the confined setting reached values as high as ~11, which is higher than the mean estimates reported from community-level transmission dynamics in China and Singapore (approximate range: 1.1-7).” Throughout February and March reports about the cruise ships were the first to capture our imaginations about travelers getting sick. I hoped by not providing information about my shows that I could dissuade concertgoers from coming out. I felt it was irresponsible to draw people out of their homes and into large crowds. But off we went into that Saturday night concert and we had an incredible show. I rationalized my role to bringing energy and upliftment for an audience that wanted to get away from the anxiety brought upon us from talk of the pandemic. Regardless of my messages about courageous love and energy, I felt that a happy immune system was stronger than a depressed one. Although I knew I was going into a highly vulnerable situation.

It could have been any number of moments that Saturday evening when I was exposed to someone sick with the virus. For starters, anyone asymptomatic, especially among a few thousand people in the arena, let alone the casino, made it so that it was just a matter of odds that someone was spreading the virus around without even knowing. Then as a lead vocalist, I used a microphone that was handled by a stage crew, sound crew, the emcees, and other vocalists from soundcheck to the actual show. Never mind the fact that I had my microphone sanitized at soundcheck. Once the concert was underway, I forgot to have them sanitize it again. Time moves fast when concerts get underway and friends and fans backstage maneuver for quick hellos and photo ops. And although security escorted me to and from the arena, at one point after the concert, a breakdown within the crowd occurred and many people with smiles pushed in for photos and social distancing ceased for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then I was in an elevator where a woman of all things holding a Corona beer in her hand began coughing and did not cover her mouth completely. My manager may have had a cold too. Then I attended a gathering after the concert with the other bands. It was not a small room, but there were still far too many of us together in that space, and I simply may have stayed too long. I mention all these mundane details to share how simple it was to experience a breakdown with social distancing when too many people are gathered together. Especially in spaces where people are celebrating the occasion of a concert, because eventually everyone’s guard fails and that is why we should never have been there to begin with.

I did not stay overnight at the casino and returned to Los Angeles in the early morning of March 15th. I came straight home and made it a point not to drop-in to visit my parents. I was happy when they and my sister decided not to attend my show and I knew there was a 2 to 14-day incubation period for the virus to surface if I had caught it. But I remember thinking that the evening of the show everyone looked happy, healthy, and in good spirits. I did not think anyone was sick and figured I would be fine and would be seeing my parents soon. For a few weeks prior to the concert and the week after I returned home, every day I tested myself by holding my breath to see if I could do it without coughing. But on Monday March 23rd I failed that test. I took in a breath and coughed. I tried it again and failed again. I could not hold my breath without coughing. It was definitely a canary in the coal mine moment, yet I thought it cannot be. Maybe it was just my allergies tickling my throat. Then I noticed my achy stomach and thought maybe it is a slight stomach flu. Unfortunately, by Tuesday multiple symptoms mounted all at once and quickly. I was definitely sick, but I remained somewhat uncertain if I had the actual virus. My partner I live with also began to feel sick and with no more health insurance coverage, my partner and I turned to my cousin, Dr. Elena Esparza. 

We spoke by phone and I provided the timeline and details of my symptoms that were as follows: Initially a tickle in my throat with light phlegm that gave me the urge to cough. My cough was productive and made translucent phlegm. Then came my stomach ache. I felt a nervousness and nausea in my stomach and dizziness when I walked. As soon as I ate anything, I needed to use the restroom. Next, I quickly progressed to a fever and intense chills that literally felt as if I were shaking me out of my body. Then came the shocking headache that lasted for two weeks. The shocks were these lightning bolt-type strikes that sporadically hit the top rear left side of my skull repeatedly in the same place. There were at least four to five memorably painful days and nights, and I recall never being able to sleep through the night. Even to lightly brush my hair with my hand caused pain and discomfort where the shocks hit my head. I tried massaging my left temple and making a fist to apply pressure to relieve any pain, but nothing worked. I talked myself through the pain and got frustrated with Martha when she gave me more water to drink. It was just a few days in and I asked her how long this was going to last. She said at times I was delusional. I lost all sense of taste and smell. I remember eating a bagel that felt and tasted like cardboard. At times my head felt heavy and other times it felt light and detached from my body when I would stand or walk. My coughing came in uncontrollable bursts that caused more pain in my head, as if I had sinus trouble, but I had no nasal blockage. Coughing took my breath away and I would regain my composure and shortness of breath rhythm by as calmly as possible breathing through my nose. With all these symptoms attacking at once, eventually I found sleep from sheer exhaustion as the combined ailments worked to zap my entire body of its strength and energy. There were nights that shook my mind. I did not know if this was it. Were things going to get worse? I wondered if I fell asleep if I was going to wake up again and to what other pain. Prior to calling Elena, I did what I normally do for colds and flus, which meant Dayquil and Nyquil along with lots of sleep, hot tea, and gargling saltwater. However, Dr. Esparza advised me to stop taking over-the counter medicine because it was could be shutting down my body’s natural defenses against the virus. This meant by the third night of feeling sick, I ditched the over-the-counter remedies and we mounted a fight with natural remedies, vitamins, and other treatments.

In a phone appointment Dr. Esparza asked questions about my diet, allergies, and other habits. We made a checklist of herbs and spices we had in our kitchen, along with others we needed to gather. These herbs and spices included: turmeric, ginger powder, peppermint dried leaves, garlic powder, clove grounded, cinnamon ground, black pepper, cumin, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Then we looked to Vitamins C, D, fish oil pills, zinc, and Andrographis complex. Dr. Esparza provided measurements for each herb and spice that my partner mixed into my teas and soups that made them extra hot and spicier than normal. All these ingredients worked to heat up the hard-outer shell of that invisible Covid-19 virus inside my body, because we believed that the hard, outer shell weakened with heat. 

Despite my new regimen of natural remedies, by the fourth night of being sick, my fever and chills found me increasingly with shortness of breath. That is when Dr. Esparza and my partner shifted gears and moved to induce my fever to break it. This involved sitting in a hot tub of water, as hot as I could stand it, while covering my back and head with a hot soaked towel and pouring hot water over my head for 20 minutes. I also drank hot tea while I sat in the tub. Once I was out of the tub, a shocking cold water-soaked bedsheet was draped over my back and head and I was directed to sleep within many layers of heavy blankets that essentially created a personal sweat lodge where I laid on the floor for the remainder of the night. Steam rose from my entire body and I was instructed not to get out of this one-man lodge, not even to urinate if I had to. I slept heavily, and thankfully never urinated. When I awoke the severe chills and fever were gone.

After breaking the fever, I stopped eating solid foods and did a cleanse for three days by drinking brine and lots of water to prevent from dehydrating. The cleanse addressed my stomach ache. After three days my appetite returned, and I could taste and smell things again. With the fever and stomach ache gone, a third victory soon followed when I breathed in the eucalyptus essential oil from droplets put into steamed water. My partner covered my head with towels and blankets to capture the steam as I breathed it in for up to 8 minutes in duration and sometimes twice per day. After the first time I did the eucalyptus essential oil treatment, it cleared the phlegm and tickle from my throat. The odd thing was, although the tickle was gone from my throat, when I tried to breath in deeply, I still burst into a cluster of coughs. My shortness of breath and shocking headache remained into the second week. There was dizziness when I walked, and fatigue was prevalent too. Although these and other symptoms remained, they eventually began to subside to where I felt fairly well and free of them by April 6, 2020.

My path for being tested for Covid-19 was a much longer process that lasted until May 24, 2020 when I shared that I was virus free. At one point, during my two-week physical battle with Covid-19, I obtained a new health insurance policy and went to an ER. I wanted to test while I still suffered from my lessening symptoms, such as slight chills, dizziness when I’d walk, my nonstop shocking headache, shortness of breath, and fatigue. However, the hospital I visited was a reflection of the nation’s narrative in the media, that test kits were still not abundantly available. It seemed they did not want to waste a test on me when the doctor said, “Your vitals look fine. We’re not going to test you and we’re not going to give you any antibiotics. You either have one of three things; the cold, the flu, or the virus.” He advised me to return home and treat it like the flu and if I got to the point to where I felt like I was drowning when trying to breathe, then to come back. In other words, the hospitals prioritized test kits for anyone they deemed critical. I thought that if I waited until I felt like I was drowning when trying to breath, then it would be too late. Goodbye life. I was sent home despite stating that I had found out another singer from the concert I performed at tested positive for Covid-19. And that guy was in critical condition in an induced coma at the VA hospital. But it did not matter. I was not angry at the doctors, but I had hoped for more support and information. It turned out that the more I probed for answers to my questions, that doctors were learning just as much from us as we patients were hoping to learn from them. When I returned home, I secured an appointment with a local doctor willing to test me for the virus on April 4. It took three phone interviews and convincing them that we broke my fever about one week prior and they finally agreed to see me. 

On the day of my appointment, we entered through a back entrance and I was asked to enter the first room we saw at the end of their hallway. I was administered a nasal swab test that made my legs kick a little from the discomfort. The doctor said in about 5 to 6 days the results would be ready. That’s when on April 10 I got confirmation that I was indeed positive. It was odd to learn my status after the initial physical fight with the virus, and to know it was still inside me. That whole day I contemplated if I should share my status publicly. I felt a sense of embarrassment and shame for catching the virus and wondered if I would be stigmatized, but beyond that I felt a larger sense to share my experience and list of symptoms because they varied greatly from most of the articles I read in the media. I did however find many similarities with testimonies from New York survivors and some videos made by television journalist Chris Cuomo. For instance, I suffered many more symptoms than the typical dry throat, incessant cough, and tightness of chest. While loss of taste and smell was not originally on the list of CDC symptoms, many New Yorkers described experiencing it too. Eventually the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization expanded their list of symptoms that began to match better to the things I endured. My other goal for sharing was about informing others within my social networks and community to help anyone recognize symptoms and hope that they would act quickly to start fighting the virus immediately; even before being tested. To me, the sooner one mounted a fight the better their chances to weather its lethal wrath.

I tested for a second time on April 24, 2020. This time we did a nasal swab, mouth swab, and serology test to check my antibodies. I was going on three weeks of feeling well and was somewhat surprised to learn I tested positive again. Equally surprising was to learn that the doctors could not tell me for certain how long the virus might stay in my system. The good news was my serology test indicated that my body was mounting a strong natural defense. I returned home and remained in isolation just as I had since testing positive the first time. This had entailed signing an agreement with the Los Angeles County Health Department to remain isolated for two weeks. However, the second time around it was doctor’s orders, along with instructions to leave only for emergencies or doctor visits. On May 18th I did my third test and by the 22nd of May I got my negative test results for Covid-19.

Since my last concert, all my shows for 2020 were canceled until 2021, which I am completely okay with. As a singer songwriter with a career in music and entertainment for the past 22 years, unlike essential workers, I was afforded the privileged time to stay home and wage my fight and maintain a steady regimen of natural remedies and treatments for my health. From the night of my last concert until I received my negative test results, about 69 days went by, which says much about asymptomatic people and how long they can carry the virus; maybe for at least two months before it is completely gone from their body if you consider my experience. My colleague Jerry Salas of El Chicano, from the same concert eventually spent about 85 days at the Veteran’s Hospital fighting for his life against this virus. And so, I am worried about my Mexican American, Chicana/o/x, Latina/o/x community members that are pulled from the safety of their homes while in quarantine, to have to be in public spaces fulfilling jobs under working conditions that expose them to others who could be sick. In particular, having to face other people who refuse to wear masks to the detriment of all of us. So, it is no surprise to see a second order of beach closures and requiring that masks be worn in public spaces once again by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Thousands of people from the Latina/o/x community do not have the privilege to work from home. In addition, since it became evident through my experience that it can take at least two months or more for the virus to be completely undetectable or purged from one’s body, it exposes the danger in our country’s unwillingness to provide funds for all people to stay safely at home. My brother works at a distribution center in California where currently over 100 workers have tested positive for the virus. They are afforded only 14 days paid leave to get well and then must return to work to make their money. Economic pressures pull these workers back into unsafe and unsanitary working conditions where “capitalist logic,” a term Noam Chomsky described as a system where workers are treated as expendable, is in effect. It is a system of corporate profits over the quality of life for people. My brother explained how coworkers that tested positive said company doctors told them that eventually everyone will catch the virus. Evidently this company is not working to curb the virus as best as it can. They have opted to weather the virus from what sounds more like a herd immunity approach, because 14 days off will not assure those already infected will not infect the others that have not gotten sick. 

In closing, I shared my experience and will continue doing so for my community and for those that reach out. Since coming out in early April I get contacted on a daily basis from strangers to friends on behalf of others or for themselves if they feel sick. Yesterday, an L.A. musician connected me to someone in Brazil and a few weeks back I spoke to a guy in Tijuana. Two-days ago a friend called for her cousin and just a moment ago I got off the phone with a friend connected only by social media. We spoke for the first time and he explained having high blood pressure, a feeling of tightness in his chest, dry throat, and having trouble breathing. I shared with him what I knew and was happy to hear he was in the parking lot of a clinic waiting to see a doctor. With anxieties high, everyone is looking for answers while we navigate a lethal virus with no vaccine available. See a doctor as soon as you can and know that natural remedies can also help you along. At the end of our conversation, this friend expressed that his anxiety level dropped somewhat, and he was slightly more at ease. It brings to mind the power of conversation with information that I was more than happy to share. At the end of the day, we need to take care of each other. Because no one is coming to save us but us. In my case, when I was down, the East Los Angeles village came through for me and I will continue to do my part until we are well past the wrath of Covid-19. Be safe, be well, stay diligent.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

Courtyard at SER murals documentation project/ pamphlet

by Phillip M. Gonzales

I began working on this documentation project in April 2019. The eight murals feature  local artist Ernesto Palomino, considered the “Godfather of Chicano murals in the San Joaquin Valley”, (Fresno area), California. Fernando Hernandez is also a featured artist/muralist. There are six (6) reproductions of classis murals representing the works of “Los Tres Grandes”, “The Three Masters”, Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siquerios.

Working with a graduate student, Monica Requejo, from Fresno State University, the project includes: recorded video interviews (some live and some via “Zoom”) with the artists, Mauro Carrera, Ramiro Martinez, and Racquelle Justo. Additionally, we did a live interview with Jesus “Chuy” Padron, CEO/President of SER Program for over 20 years, whose idea it was to do this mural project.

The purpose(s) of this mural project were/are numerous: 1) To feature and pay tribute to local artists/muralists, 2) to “reproduce” murals that reflect important aspects of Mexican/Mexican American/Chicano history, 3) to contribute to the local community by providing a cultural/art location for all community (the Courtyard at SER is located in the “Cultural/Mural District of Fresno, California), 4) to feature local “current” Chicano muralists.

I have been a volunteer with the Community Center for Arts and Technology – C.C.A.T. for several years, where I teach guitar, and in late 2018 we moved our location to the building next door to the SER Program where the “Courtyard at SER” murals are located. Once I became aware of the mural project, I approached Jesus “Chuy” Padron, CEO/President of SER about bringing students in the class (Chicano Artistic Expression) I teach at Fresno State to do a field study and view the murals. He was delighted, and my class was the “first” to visit/view the mural project. Shortly after that I again approached Jesus “Chuy” Padron with the idea of developing an informational pamphlet, and doing documentation of the whole project. Needless to say he was/has been very supportive. 

Featured here with this informational article is a “final draft” of the pamphlet, it is being reviewed by the Board of Directors of SER for final approval and publishing. (see pamphlet link below)

In addition to developing this pamphlet, I once again approached “Chuy” Padron about the possibility of developing an informational plaque or series of plaques. These plaques would be permanent and feature each mural along with information about the artists, related historical information, and meaning/ symbolism related to each mural. Once again “Chuy” was delighted with the idea which is currently being developed with a planned “Unveiling/Dedication” for September, 2020.

For informational purposes, I have been involved in the documentation of Chicano murals since 1980, when I began documenting the “Murales de Mi Tio” which was featured in the Spring 2020-Vol. 45 No. 1 issue of Noticias de NACCS.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

Action of the NACCS Board Regarding Membership Term

by Ernesto Colín, Treasurer

In the recent past, the NACCS membership term was tied to the calendar year (January 1st – December 31st), while the NACCS fiscal year operates from July 1st – June 30th (aligning to tax, academic, and conference cycles). Accounting and logistics forced to reconcile these two different cycles presented ongoing challenges and increased labor to organization officers, members, and foco/caucus leaders.

After a long-term study of the issues, the Board has shifted the NACCS membership term to align with the organization’s fiscal year, effective July 1, 2021. The Board considered this an opportune time to effectuate this change given the financial landscape of our academic institutions, and the shift in our forthcoming annual meeting. In this transition, current 2020 (calendar year) paid memberships will be extended for a period of six (6) months, until June 30, 2021, with all rights reserved for voting, communications, meetings, and conference submission, presentation, and attendance. Individuals who wish to newly enroll or lapsed memberships which are renewed after July 1, 2020 (in order to participate in forthcoming communications, pláticas, voting, conference submission/attendance), will also have a membership valid until June 30, 2021. If you know of individuals with lapsed membership or who would like to join our organization, please encourage them to enroll now to participate in organization activities in this current cycle.

Membership renewal reminders for the term beginning on July 1, 2021 will be sent out in late Spring 2021 rather than Fall 2020. Please plan on renewing your membership in late Spring – just before the next membership cycle which, again, commences on July 1st, 2021. 

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

NACCS (FY2019-2020) Final Financial Report

Prepared By: Ernesto Colín, PhD (Treasurer) (Version: 16 July 2020)

Covering the period of July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1