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Chicano Muralists East Los Streetscapers To Speak at Ventura College Th. Sept. 28, 2017

September 26, 2017
On Thurs. Sept 28, 2017 at 1pm, the Ventura College Chicano Studies Program invites you to experience Chicano culture and history in a free panel discussion by the East Los Streetscapers in Ayer y Todavía.

The East Los Streetscapers grew out of the Chicano Mural Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, a strand of muralism that “began as an arm of struggle of claiming urban space” for Chicanos, according to college sources. Founded by Wayne Alaniz Healy and David Rivas Botello in 1975, these original members along with Streetscaper artist Ignacio Gomez will be at VC, 4667 Telegraph Rd, Ventura 93003 on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 1pm in Guthrie Hall to discuss the history of the Chicano movement, its historical foundation to their art work, and as it relates to current social issues. This will be a open conversation with the artists. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is $2.

Wayne Healy and David Botello have collaborated as a two-man mural team for more than forty years. Working as East Los Streetscapers, they have created dozens of murals and public works of art. In this video, they discuss their first joint collaboration, a mural titled Chicano Time Trip. This video was produced, is owned and copyrighted by Barrio Dog Productions, Inc.

This is perfect timing for my students as today we are reading  “How To Tame A Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldua from her book, Borderlands/La Frontera; we’ve already read “The Path of the Red and Black Ink” (read both essays and discussion questions here). In class, before we go to the library to learn how to use college resources for research, we will read the title poem together in class (see the link above for the pdf with the correct indents–I am not able to replicate it here). The whole book is wonderful but I have yet to teach it; maybe next year. Later this week, we are also reading Amy Tan’s essay “Mother Tongue” (pdf here) and an essay by Richard Rodrigues “Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood.” Hopefully my 1pm class will choose to attend — and some of my 4pm class will too for extra credit!
 According to wikipedia, “Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa (September 26, 1942 – May 15, 2004) was a scholar of Chicana cultural theory, feminist theory, and queer theory.
She loosely based her best-known book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, on her life growing up on the Mexican-Texas border and incorporated her lifelong feelings of social and cultural marginalization into her work.”

To live in the Borderlands means you
are neither hispana india negra española
ni gabacha, eres mestiza, mulata
, half-breed
caught in the crossfire between camps
while carrying all five races on your back
not knowing which side to turn to, run from;

To live in the Borderlands means knowing
that the india in you, betrayed for 500 years,
is no longer speaking to you,
that mexicanas call you rajetas,
that denying the Anglo inside you
is as bad as having denied the Indian or Black;

Cuando vives in la frontera
people walk through you, the wind steals your voice,
you’re a burra, buey, scapegoat,
forerunner of a new race,
half and half—both woman and man, neither—
a new gender;

To live in the Borderlands means to
put chile in the borscht,
eat whole wheat tortillas,
speak Tex-Mex with a Brooklyn accent;
be stopped by la migra at the border checkpoints;

Living in the Borderlands means you fight hard to
resist the gold elixir beckoning from the bottle,
the pull of the gun barrel,
the rope crushing the hollow of your throat;

In the Borderlands
you are the battleground
where enemies are kin to each other;
you are at home, a stranger,
the border disputes have been settled
the volley of shots have shattered the truce
you are wounded, lost in action
dead, fighting back;

To live in the Borderlands means
the mill with the razor white teeth wants to shred off
your olive-red skin, crush out the kernel, your heart
pound you pinch you roll you out
smelling like white bread but dead;

To survive the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads.

gabacha: a Chicano term for a white woman
rajetas: literally, “split,” that is, having betrayed your word
burra: donkey
buey: oxen
sin fronteras: without borders


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