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