December 2013
Table of Contents

December 2013

 Letter to Jesus, Oil on canvas by Leroy Martinez
On display at the Pentagon, Veteran Art Program.  Click for more information

United States
Obituary of Leaders
Action Item

Books/Print Media

Latino Patriots
Early  Patriots
Family History

Orange Co., CA
Los Angeles, 
Northwest US
Southwest US
Middle America


East Coast
Central/ South Am


Editor:  Mimi Lozano 
Somos Primos ©2000-2013
P.O. Box 415
Midway City, CA  92683


Somos Primos Staff
Mimi Lozano, Editor
Mercy Bautista Olvera
Roberto Calderon, Ph,D.
Bill Carmena
Lila Guzman, Ph.D
John Inclan
Galal Kernahan
Juan Marinez
J.V. Martinez, Ph.D
Dorinda Moreno
Rafael Ojeda
Ángel Custodio Rebollo
Tony Santiago
John P. Schmal

Submitters to Dec 2013
Judge Fredrick P. Aguirre
Linda Aguirre
Arthur A. Almeida
Ernesto Apomayta
Dan Arellano
Mercy Bautista Olvera
Leonardo Boff
Phil Brigandi

Marie Brito
Eddie AAA Calderón, Ph.D.
Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.
Elder Justin Call
Gloria Candelaria
Bill Carmena
Dena Chapa Rupert
Gus Chavez
Sylvia Contreras
Mariana Correa
Carmen Cortez
Jack Cowan
Joan De Soto
Winston  Deville
Gary Felix
Eddie Garcia
Jose and Linda Garcia
Lino Garcia,Jr., Ph.D
Ramiro Garcia
Wanda Garcia
Stephanie George
Fernando Gomez
Antonia Gonzales
Delia Gonzalez Huffman
Lila Guzman, Ph.D.

Odell Harwell
Reid Heller
Michael Henderson
Elsa Herbeck
Bernadette Inclan
Jeffery Jones
Jim Jones
Galal Kernahan
Fermin Leal
Rick Leal
José Antonio López
J. V. Martinez, Ph.D.
Leroy Martinez
Jessica Mayorga
Don Milligan
Audrey Mills
Rafael Minuesa
Dorinda Moreno
Enrique G. Murillo, Jr., Ph.D.
Maria Angeles Olson
Ricardo R. Palmerín Cordero
Devon G. Peña, Ph.D.
Ignacio Pena

Jerry J. Pena
Jose Pena
Jose M. Pena, IV
Melissa G. Pena
Pauline Pena
Juan Ramos
Angel Custodio Rebollo
Alicia Reynosa Chapa
Armando Rendon
Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez
Robert Robinson
Viola Rodriguez Sadler
Judith Roumani
Tom Saenz
 Joe Sanchez
Antonio Santiago
Luis Sarmiento
Socorro Sarmiento
John P. Schmal
Munsup Seoh
Louis F. Serna
Albert Sequin Gonzales
Albert V Vela, Ph.D.
Kirk Whisler
Tim Wildmon 

"When the government fear the people there is liberty; 
when the people fear the government there is tyranny." 
Thomas Jefferson

"Patriotism means to stand by your country. 
It does not mean to stand by the president."
President Theodore Roosevelt 




Cuento: Los Pastores, The Shepherd's Nativity Play by Hon.Fredrick P. Aguirre
Is There a Santa Claus? by Eddie AAA Calderón, Ph.D.
Hispanics Breaking Barriers, 3rd Vol. 4th Issue by Mercy Bautista-Olvera
Cuento: War of the Worlds, October 30th, 1938 by Mimi Lozano  
Cuento: Japanese and the California Coast During WW II by Mimi Lozano
Judge Raquel Marquez-Britsch, A Wise Latina by Mercy Bautista-Olvera 
Cuento: My father, Marcelino R. Bautista, my Hero by Mercy Bautista-Olvera
NPS to Establish New National Historical Park to Honor César Chávez 
Three-Fourths of Hispanic Say Their Community Needs a Leader
Latina Champions in Congress, Latina Style Magazine
Highlighting Hispanic Contributions to America by Lino Garcia, Jr. Ph.D. 
The Twenty-Seventh Annual NCLR Capital Awards, March 4, 2014 
July 19-22: National Council of La Raza 2014 Annual Conference, Los Angeles



By Frederick P. Aguirre
Superior Court Judge
Orange County, California
November 18, 2013  

         The allegorical 16th Century Christmas play originated in Spain and was introduced into the Americas by Spanish priests.  The play features shepherds journeying to Bethlehem to honor the newborn savior. During their quest the coarse and comical shepherds are tricked by devils but guided and protected by a hermit and four angels.


         From 1920 to 1934, in Placentia, California, my grandfather, Jose Aguirre, led the annual rehearsal and performance of “Los Pastores”.  Meeting in his barbershop for several nights the 15 men and 2 boys would rigorously practice their lines and rehearse the play which took about 2 hours to fully perform.  Our family had performed the play in Michoacan, Mexico for decades before they immigrated to the United States in 1918.

My father, Alfred Aguirre, recalled that Jesus Ortega, a fellow from Corona, California had memorized the entire “cuaderno” (script of the play). He would sit in the barbershop with one leg crossed over, slightly bent over with one hand on his forehead, smoking a cigarette and patiently reciting the lines whenever an actor forgot his cue or his lines.  

The play opens with a chorus in the background singing the opening hymn:  

“In Bethlehem’s holy manger
There shines a wondrous light
To save our souls from danger
Our Savior is born tonight.
In Bethlehem’s holy manger
There is such a joyous sight
Our Savior has come to save us
Was born of Mary bright
March on together joyfully
While the Angels sing
For our Lord’s nativity
Gila, tamales we bring.”

Suddenly Lucifer appears resplendent in a flowing gown with a grotesque, brightly painted wooden mask.  He curses his fall from grace, asserts his control over man then hides when he sees seven shepherds approaching. They are plainly dressed but carry elaborately decorated 7 foot crooks and beaded satchels.  

Tebano, one of the shepherds, proclaims that an Angel appeared to him and said:

“Pastores, no tengan miedo
Que en el portal de Belen
Veremos en breve tiempo
Y si no lo quieren creer
Miralo, aqui esta muy bello
Que parese un sol divino
De los cielos un lucero!”

“Shepherds, be not afraid
For in a manger in Bethlehem
You soon shall see
You doubt me? Look at this sight
It appears a divine sun
From dark heavens so bright!”

 My Dad recalled that the play was presented at pre-arranged homes several times during the Nativity season.  After the performance the actors were treated to a Christmas feast of tamales, menudo, beans, rice, greens, fruit, cakes, bunuelos, sweet bread, hot chocolate and spirits. The troupe performed all over Orange County and even Los Angeles County.  In 1933 they presented in a home in the Simon’s brickyard neighborhood in Montebello.  My Dad who was 13 years old played the part of Gila, a female Angel.  Young boys played the 2 female roles just like actors did in Shakespeare’s time. 

         My great uncles Cistos Raya and Marcial Aguirre played shepherds.  My uncle Sydney Aguirre and great uncle Luz Guerrero portrayed devils.  My grandfather acted the role of Lucifer. He hand-carved and painted the elaborate wooden mask which had a serpent protruding from the mouth.  In the play, the fallen Angel exclaims to Archangel Michael:

“Veneno he de respirar
Volcanes he de ensender
Y al hombre que ha de nacer
Mil injurias preparar.
Desesperado de andar
Al hombre me he de opener

Y si no lo puedo hacer
Sere su enemigo eterno
Que yo todo compondre
Con marcharme a los infiernos!”

“Belching poisonous fire
Volcanoes I ignite
And to the man who will be born
A thousand offenses I will inflict

Man must I tempt
And if I fail I will be
His enemy for eternity 
And all will follow as I predict
When I engulfed in bitter Hell.”

   The Archangel Michael finally subdues Lucifer and the other devils.  He allows the Shepherds and Angels to pursue their journey and to adore the baby Jesus with songs and gifts.  

In 1934 my grandfather died of chronic asthma and “Los Pastores” was not performed in Placentia after his death.  Today, I understand that the centuries-old tradition of presenting “Los Pastores” is still preserved in San Antonio and Goliad, Texas and in Taos and Belen, New Mexico. My family will be traveling to Taos this Nativity season to witness the live pageantry of “Los Pastores”.  

I do not have any photographs of my grandfather’s presentation of “Los Pastores”.  The photographs attached were taken of a troupe in 1893 in San Antonio, Texas by the American Folk-Lore Society.  There appears to be several versions of “Los Pastores” but the main theme is preserved in each account.

Editor: Click to an article highlighting some of the community activism in which Judge Aguirre is involved.


Is There a Santa Claus?
By Eddie AAA Calderón, Ph.D.

December, 2009 
Downtown Minneapolis during Macy Department store Christmas parade.

When I was a child, I remember very well my father telling me and my sister about Santa Claus, if he were real or was a pigment of imagination. As a child I believed that there was Santa Claus though I only saw him in pictures and not in reality. I did see someone clad in Santa Claus costume in movies, advertisements, books, magazines, and in person while shopping with my parents during the Christmas season.

My parents used to tell me and my sister that Santa's gifts would be by our beds when we woke up on Christmas day. We believed our father and that Santa Claus who was traveling on one horse open sleigh from North Pole would visit each home during the eve of Christmas while children were sleeping and would then put the gifts in the Christmas trees or by our beds. Not all of our countrymates had Christmas trees that time and the common knowledge was that the gifts would be by their beds when children woke up on Christmas day.

As I grew towards my pre-teen years, I began to wonder about the real existence of Santa Claus as I started reading newspaper columns and also from the adults and the elderly who told me that Santa Claus was a creation of the media, the commercial enterprises, and the movies. They continued to tell me that the true Santa Claus(es) were our parents. Also my neighbor playmate told me that one Christmas eve night while half asleep, he saw his father putting toys on his bed. I then brought this issue to my father and instead of arguing for or against it, he showed me a Philippine newspaper clipping taken from that of the New York newspaper written by the end of the 19th century reprinted in our newspaper. He suggested that I and my sister read it.

Is There a Santa Claus? was the title of an editorial appearing in the September 21, 1897, edition of The Sun, a New York city newspaper. The editorial, which included the famous reply "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus.

In 1897, Dr. Philip O'Hanlon, an Irish American coroner's assistant living on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was asked by his eight-year-old daughter, Virginia O'Hanlon (1889–1971), whether Santa Claus Santa was real.The father told her daughter to write to the editor of The Sun Newspaper which was a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that "If you see it in The Sun's newspaper, it's so." The letter was then received by Francis Pharcellus Church of The Sun newspaper. Francis P. Church was a war correspondent during the American Civil War. Although the paper ran the editorial in the seventh place on the page, its message was very moving to many people who read it. It later remains the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language more than a century later.

In 1971, after seeing Virginia's obituary in the New York Times newspaper four friends formed a company, called Elizabeth Press, and published a children's book titled Yes, Virginia that illustrated the editorial and included a brief history of the main characters. Its creators took it to Warner Bros., a movie company, who eventually made the Emmy award-winning television show based on the editorial. The History Channel, in a special that aired on February 21, 2001, noted that Virginia gave the original letter to a granddaughter, who pasted it in a scrapbook. It was feared that the letter was destroyed in a house fire, but 30 years later, it was discovered intact.

Some people have questioned the veracity of the letter's authorship, expressing doubt that a young girl such as Virginia would refer to children her own age as "my little friends". The original letter, however, appeared and was authenticated in 1998 by Kathleen Guzman,[2] an appraiser on the Antiques Roadshow.,_Virginia,_there_is_a_Santa_Claus
Here is the letter of Virginia O'Hanlon entitled: "Is there a Santa Claus?" and Francis P. Church replied in the Sun column, "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus."


Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

(Virginia O'Hanlon, circa 1895)

Francis Pharcellus Church' Answer

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

 I would like to greet everybody:





Third  Volume 

 4th Issue


Mercy Bautista-Olvera


Judge Veronica Galvan:  Des Moines Municipal Court Judge

Roberto R. Herencia:  Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation Member  

Sylvia I. Garcia:  Texas State Senate, District 6   

Ernest J. Moniz:  Secretary of Energy, Massachusetts  

Alan Etevez:  Principal Deputy under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, 
                      Department of Defense


Judge Veronica Galvan

Judge Veronica Galvan has retained her position as Presiding Judge of Des Moines Municipal Court, a position she has held for the past six years.

Veronica Galvan was born in Bremerton, Washington she grew up in the Yakima Valley where her father picked fruit for a living. She became the first member of her family to attend a university. 

Judge Veronica Galvan is married to Alex Alicea, an Army veteran and junior varsity baseball coach for Chief Sealth International High School in Seattle, Washington. They have a daughter, Simone, a sophomore at Northwestern University in Chicago, and a son, Zane, a freshman at Chief Sealth International High School.

Judge Galvan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a Criminology concentration at Western Washington University.  In 1994, she earned a Jurist Degree from the   University of Washington School of Law.

She served as an Assistant City Attorney in Seattle. In this capacity, she served as a member of a unit specializing in the prosecution of domestic violence, as well as elder and child abuse cases. She then served as prosecuting attorney for the city of Federal Way.

She was appointed to a full time position in 2001, in 2007, Judge Galvan was appointed to the present position and has served for the past six years.

Judge Galvan took the bench in 2001, and was appointed to a full time judicial position in 2002. In 2007, Judge Galvan was appointed to the Des Moines Municipal Court and has continued to serve the community with distinction for the past six years. Judge Galvan took the bench in 2001, and was appointed to a full time judicial position in 2002. In 2007, Judge Galvan was appointed to the Des Moines Municipal Court and has continued to serve the community with distinction for the past six years.As presiding Judge in Des Moines, Judge Galvan secured grants to benefit the community. This helped to fund public defense services, secure a van for transporting prisoners to and from court, provide for security improvements to the courtroom, and obtain technology upgrades that resulted in efficiency and cost savings to the city.

“Public servants are stewards of the public trust and confidence,” stated Judge Galvan. “I want to ensure that we use the limited resources we have in an efficient manner. As a leader of a court, a judge needs to be innovative in securing resources that will benefit the local community and reduce direct costs for our citizens,” stated Judge Galvan.

“I have been honored to serve the City of Des Moines, over my past six years here; I have built a proven record of experience, dedication, and knowledge. It would be my privilege to continue serving the people of this community,” stated Judge Galvan.

Judge Veronica Galvan has been a Judge for 11 years, for the last six years she has been the Presiding Judge for the City of Des Moines Municipal Court.  Judge Galvan also teaches Spanish to lawyers at Seattle University School of Law.


Roberto R. Herencia

Roberto R. Herencia, former President and CEO of Midwest Banc Holdings Inc. and Midwest Bank and Trust, is now serving as a member of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation Board of Directors.

Roberto R. Herencia was born in Puerto Rico. He graduated Magna Cum Laude and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Science in Business Administration   in Finance from Georgetown University and his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 

He served for the First National Bank of Chicago (now J.P. Morgan Chase) in a variety of roles, including Deputy Senior Credit Officer and Head of the Emerging Markets Division.


He later served as Executive Vice President and President of Popular Inc. building a distinct $12 billion community bank with 138 branches in five of the largest urban markets located across six states. 

Herencia is a Trustee of the Museum of Science and Industry, DePaul University, and Northwestern Memorial Foundation in Chicago.  He served on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Chicago, the Navy Pier Corporation in Chicago, Operation Hope in Los Angeles, and New America Alliance. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the ServiceMaster Company, a registered public corporation, where he served as Chairman of its Audit and Finance Committee.

In 2004, he was selected as “Latino Executive of New York” by the Metropolitan New York Better Business Bureau Foundation. Herencia has other numerous awards for his civic contributions including the Distinguished Corporate Citizenship Award from the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, the Evy Award from A Silver Lining Foundation, “Champion of Charity,” and the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


     Sylvia I. Garcia

Sylvia R. Garcia was sworn into the Texas State Senate, District 6, on March 11, 2013, the seventh woman and the third Hispanic woman to serve in the upper chambers, after winning a special runoff election for the seat of the late state Senator Mario Gallegos.

Sylvia R. Garcia was born in Palito Blanco a South Texas a farming community. She is the eighth of ten children.  

She attended Texas Woman’s University on a scholarship, graduated with a degree in Social Work. She went further and earned her Doctor Jurist Degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

Sylvia knew it was also her responsibility to give back to her community. As a social worker early in her professional career, Sylvia protected our community’s most vulnerable. Whether it was our children or our elderly, she made sure no one was forgotten.

Shortly afterwards, Sylvia entered her public service career in Houston, Texas. She served as Director and Presiding Judge of the Houston Municipal System for an unprecedented five terms under two mayors. There, she made the city court system effective and efficient for the community.

When Sylvia was elected to City Controller, she earned a reputation as the taxpayers' watchdog that fought to protect the pocketbooks of working families. Recalling the struggles of her own parents, she knew every dollar counts when raising a family. That is why she made sure city government was transparent and accountable.

In 2002, Sylvia was elected to Harris County Commissioner's Court. The first Hispanic and first woman to be elected in her own right to the office, Garcia replaced Commissioner Jim Fonteno who served nearly 30 years on the Court.   

She continued her advocacy for working families and made certain Harris County was taking care of its most vulnerable; all the while making certain Harris County led the way for new jobs and economic development.

Active in the Houston community, Sylvia has served on more than 25 community boards and commissions, including the San Jacinto Girl Scouts, the Houston Hispanic Forum, the American Leadership Forum, the Texas Southern University Foundation, and the Institute of Hispanic Culture.

Sylvia has been named "Humanitarian of the Year" by the National Conference of Communities and Justice and chosen as one of "Houston’s 25 Power People" by “Inside Houston” magazine. The Houston Press also named her "Politician of the Year." She is also a recipient of the Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents Woman of Distinction Award, the Hispanic Scouting Distinguished Citizen Award from the Sam Houston Area Council/Boy Scouts of America, and the Board Award from the San Jacinto Girl Scouts.

“I have been fighting for the families of District 6 and for Texas families since I became a social worker right after college, as city controller, as judge, as county commissioner, it’s always been about fighting for people first,” stated Garcia.  

She also stated that she wants to restore the $5.4 billion cut from public education that occurred during the last legislative session. “It’s about making sure that we fully fund public education,” she said. “Right now, Texas is 48 of 50 states in funding public education and that is just not good enough.”  


    Ernest J. Moniz

Ernest J. Moniz of Massachusetts is a nuclear physicist and the new selected United States Secretary of Energy.  

Moniz was born in Fall River, Massachusetts and the son of Georgina (Pavao) and Ernest Perry Moniz both of Portuguese decent.  

In 1962, Ernest J. Moniz graduated from Durfee High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society and served as President of the school’s math club. In 1966, he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics from Boston College, and in 1971, he received his PhD. in Theoretical Physics from Stanford University.  


In 1973, Moniz joined the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology   serving as Head of the Department of Physics from 1991 to 1995 and as Director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center.  He also co-chairs the MIT research council.  

From 1995 to 1997, he served in the Clinton Administration as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President. He also served in the United States department of Energy   serving as Under Secretary of Energy.    


        Alan Etevez

Alan F. Estevez is the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics in the department of Defense.  

Alan Estevez was born in Arlington, New Jersey. “I bounced around for awhile loading trucks and kind of deciding what I wanted to do," stated Estevez. His father taught Spanish for 25 years after retiring from the Army as an Infantry Lieutenant Colonel. His grandparents are immigrants from Spain.

Estevez earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He also holds a Master’s of Science Degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (now the Eisenhower School) at the National Defense University, Washington, D.C.

As the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Estevez develops and implements strategies, and policies.

Prior to his current appointment,   Estevez held several key positions within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  Estevez served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness.  In this position, he was responsible for providing world class military logistics support to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and managing a budget of over $170 billion in logistics operations.  He was the first career Federal official to hold this position. 

From October 2002 to November 2006, Estevez was the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Supply Chain Integration and was responsible for developing global defense supply chain management and distribution policies.  From 1981 to 2002,   Estevez held positions of increasing responsibility within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of the Army, and the Military Traffic Management Command.  

Estevez is a recipient of many awards such as the 2013 Distinguished Public Service Award, the 2011, Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the 2010, Presidential Rank Distinguished Executive Award, the 2006, Presidential Rank Meritorious Executive Award, two Office of the Secretary of Defense Medals for Meritorious Civilian Service, and the 2005, Service to America Medal awarded by the Partnership for Public Service. He was inducted into the Senior Executive Service in October 2002.

Estevez will share responsibility for a broad array of functions, including  developmental testing; contract administration; logistics and materiel readiness; installations and environment; operational energy; the acquisition workforce; the defense industrial base; and efforts to increase the Department’s buying power and improve the performance of the defense acquisition enterprise.  


*Updates from Previous Articles*

Katherine Archuleta: President Barack Obama's former National Political Director of Denver, Colorado has been confirmed by the Senate to head the Office of Personnel Management, making her the highest-ranking Latina in the administration to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management for a term of four years. She will be working on President Obama’s cabinet. “Katherine brings to the Office of Personnel Management broad experience and a deep commitment to recruiting and retaining a world-class workforce for the American people,” Obama said in a statement. “I am grateful Katherine has agreed to serve, and I look forward to working with her in the coming years.”     (See September 2011 issue of “Somos Primos” for complete biography) 

War of the Worlds, October 30th, 1938 
2013 marks 75 years since the War of the Worlds radio broadcast. 
Yes, Many Thought the Invasion was Real by Mimi Lozano 

Most of the time, my Dad, though small in statue, seemed confident and fearless.  The first time I saw something in Dad's manner, when he seemed unsure of himself, was the night of  October 30th, 1938.  Mom and Dad were listening to the radio.  They thought it was the evening news.  There was talk of an invasion.  Germany was spreading it's reach throughout Europe, and I assumed that was what was being described was about Germans invading the U.S..  But it wasn't.  It was the night of the Orson Welles' famous, War of the Worlds broadcast.  The 23 year old creative genus who panicked the nation with a seemingly real newscast of an invasion by Martians.  

I had just turned five a few weeks before, but I sensed that the news broadcast was not an invasion by the Germans or their allies, the Japanese, it was something different and much worse.  It frightened both of them.  Mom kept saying,  "Quiero ir con Mama y Papa, quiero ir con ellos. I want to go to my Mom and Dad's house," she kept repeating. "Llevame, llevame, te ruego,  llevame con ellos."  Please, I am begging you to take me to their house."   

We were living in Hollywood, in a little house behind a restaurant.  Grandma and Grandpa lived in the Bunker Hills, which meant driving. Dad first thought, it was impossible, "No creo que es posible. De otra planeta? Voy a ver en la calle."  Let me look in the streets. "Quedense!"  You all stay here."  Dad wanted to investigate and decide what needed to be done.  Dad stepped out of the house and walked up to the front of the restaurant.  My sister and I watched him from the house.  

People were milling around and kept looking up, pointing, shaking their heads, bewilderment seemed to be in the air itself.  What was happening.  We knew from the weekly Saturday movie news of the war in Europe that planes made noise.  There was no sound in the skies, just the distant sound of people's voices.  

Mom kept her attention on the radio. Other than the newspaper, the radio in the 1930-40s was an important main source for information and entertainment for most Americans. Though Mom's English was limited at that time, it was apparent that she was understanding enough of the news to become more and more agitated.  Dad returned reporting that he saw nothing, but confused people, some hysterical and police in the streets, though nothing was going on.  "Aurora, calmate."   My five year old mind wondered, calm yourself from what?  What is a Martian? 

We used to watch  Let's pretend,  The Lone RangerThe Shadow Knows, the Invisible Man, and the Green Hornet.   None of those programs ever put Mom in the state she was in. 

Dad suggested we stay in the house. Being out in the street would not be safe, instead we needed to secure the house as best we could, board up the windows with furniture and turn off the lights.  I knew then, that this was serious, and we were in some kind of danger.  Whatever a Martian was, it was not good.

Just as Dad started implementing the plan of securing the house for a possible invasion, the 60 minute radio show which aired over CBS suddenly ended, with a message hoping that all had enjoyed the night's Halloween treat.  

The Martian landing was identified as a special Halloween episode.  The whole newscast was fiction.  Mom and Dad looked stunned.  Mom cried in relief and Dad just shook his head, and smiled slightly, maybe amused for having been taken in.

Orson Welles 1937.jpgThe first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress.  The script was based on a book by science fiction writer H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds. Orson Welles directed and starred in the dramatization.    

In the days following the adaptation, there was widespread outrage and panic by certain listeners, who had believed the events described in the program were real.[1] The program's news-bulletin format was described as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast. Despite these complaints—or perhaps in part because of them—the episode secured Welles' fame as a dramatist.

I certainly never forgot the incident, and I am sure that there are others of you who also remember..  
                                                                                                                                                                             Orson Welles

The New York Times headline from October 31, 1938

For more on this event, go to:


The second time that I saw the same uncertainty in my Dad was when the Japanese military torpedoed Santa Barbara. A decision and a change had to be made.  It is not a well fact that Japanese submarines had been active on the California coast.   

However, over a seven-day period, from December 18 to 24, 1941, nine Japanese military submarines positioned at strategic points along the U.S. west coast attacked eight American merchant ships, of which two were sunk and two damaged. Six seamen were killed. It was the first and only time during the three years and eight months of war to come that more than one Japanese submarine appeared at the same time off the American coast.

Two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 23, 1941, a Japanese submarine shot a torpedo at an American oil tanker just off the California coast, sinking the ship and sending three million gallons (11.36 million litres) of crude to the ocean bottom.  All 38 people on board were rescued in what remains an overlooked chapter of World War II - it was one of several attacks by Japanese and German forces on the U.S. mainland during the war.

Fearing a mass panic that the Japanese had gotten so close to shore, the government confiscated newspaper reports about the sinking at the time and did not publicly disclose the event even into the Cold War, Eggers said.  In fact, Japanese submarines operated along the U.S. West Coast, although they did not sink the numbers of ships that German U-boats claimed along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.  In addition to the Montebello, two other tankers were sunk on the coast off Oregon and Crescent City, California.

After war was declared between Japan and the United States, a freighter captain who entered the Japanese navy as a submarine commander on  23 February 1942,  brought his submarine close to the California coast. He knew of the oil fields near Santa Barbara because of his previous experience as a freighter captain. 

The captain surfaced his submarine near an oil field pier just north of the Santa Barbara suburb of Goleta. The submarine shelled the pier, damaging it. He also ordered shelling of the area around, but no damage was done, since it was primarily farmland there.

Since there has be little or no mention of this bombing in history books, it can be assumed that the news was suppressed. It certainly was a significant event, even if the damage was slight. My husband who was brought up in Brooklyn, knew nothing about the Japanese bombing of Santa Barbara. Thank goodness for google that made it easy to make find and prove the validity of my memory.  

San Francisco was wary of an attack by the Japanese. In fact, they were in process of building gun emplacements on the hills by Fort Baker, just on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge, near Sausalito.

I asked my 92 year old Tia, Alicia Reynoso de Chapa if she remembers anything about the Japanese attack on Santa Barbara.  She said she remembered the attack on Santa Barbara clearly, and also that some Japanese soldiers had been captured, smuggled into California by submarines.  

Although, I was only 8 years old, I remember very well the night of February 23, 1942.  We had just recently moved to East L.A.  Our house, though in need of repair, was ours.  It was built on one of the small hills in the area. It seems impossible that we could view from Los Angeles something happening in Santa Barbara, but we did. I remember standing next to my Dad, on the grass in the front of the house, looking towards Santa Barbara.  You could hear the explosions, slightly, and the lights from the exploding shells were visible from our home. I asked my Dad what it was we were looking at.  He answered slowly and matter-of-factly, "the Japanese are attacking Santa Barbara."  Even though we had only recently moved into our house, very soon after the Santa Barbara shelling, we moved again. It was a big change in many ways, but only lasted for the rest of the school year.  Dad closed his dry cleaning/tailoring shop and got a job within the government war effort.  Dad  moved us inland to Ontario, far from the coast, to a rented house, and left our house standing empty.  

Interestingly, the reaction to this attack on Santa Barbara was minimized in the news.  Many reporters on the East Coast thought this was another Hollywood set-up, like the War of the World radio scare..  My husband, who was brought up in Brooklyn, and a couple of years older, did not believe my account of the Santa Barbara attack.  "Never happened," he said, "Why didn't we know about it?"  Via the internet resources I was able to find and present the facts to him. Thank goodness for the internet and google.  
The facts can set the records straight.  

For more on the subject:


Judge Raquel Marquez-Britsch          

 A Wise Latina

Mercy Bautista-Olvera


Judge Raquel Marquez-Britsch


On January 27, 2011, Judge Raquel Marquez-Britsch became Riverside County Superior Court's first Latina judge in the combined Riverside-San Bernardino counties. Her first judicial assignment was at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley. 

Raquel Marquez was born in California, her parents, Guadalupe and Jesus came to the Coachella Valley as migrant farm workers from Zacatecas, Mexico. In 1960 Jesus Marquez worked in cotton fields as a bracero. The bracero program was begun to bring workers from Mexico during World War II, when a shortage of American men threatened the nation's harvests. But even after the soldiers came home, the program continued because cheap labor had become a staple of agriculture. Eventually her parents own restaurant, called Lupita's.

Marquez-Britsch and her siblings all graduated from college -- UCLA, Stanford, Santa Clara, and Harvard. In May in 2012, her brother Miguel was appointed as the first Latino judge in the 6th District Court of Appeal, and her sister, Leticia Marquez-Magana, is a biology professor at California State San Francisco.

Judge Marquez- Britsch is married to Hans Thomas Britsch of Swiss and Austrian ancestry. He operates a farm growing cactus and succulents. His parents, Hans and Gretel Britsch (their actual names) immigrated from Brig, Switzerland, to America. Hans Thomas’ father was born in Switzerland, and his mother Gretel, fled Austria to Brig, where they met.  His father worked days as a landscape architect, and his mother

worked nights as a registered nurse. Eventually they opened Western Cactus, a nursery in Vista in California.

Spanish was Marquez-Britsch first language; she learned English in a Head Start program.  She received her undergraduate degree from Santa Clara University and her Jurist Degree from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law.

Since 1991, Marquez-Britsch served in the District Attorney’s office where she served as a Senior Deputy District Attorney in Riverside County, On December 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed her to the bench.  

In Perris (a Riverside County city) Raquel learned to prosecute cases and made some of her most valued memories working alongside many esteemed colleagues that now serve on the bench, or have since retired. For her misdemeanor jury trial work, Raquel was awarded “Misdemeanor Deputy of the Year.” She later became a trial-team leader and handled serious felony trials in juvenile court.

Raquel consistently worked to attain the stiffest punishment for the most violent criminals. Many of her cases were highlighted in the “Daily Journal” - a California legal newspaper. Raquel also drafted legislation that amended Penal Code sections 1050 and 1050.5 and she litigated People v. Henderson (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 922, a case that stopped an emerging trend in California that threatened the dismissal of cases due to court congestion. In addition, as a senior attorney, Raquel provided in-house training for prosecutors in Riverside, Indio, and the Southwest area of Riverside County, on numerous procedural and substantive issues

She worked   with the Southwest Corridor Narcotics Task Force to assist with the review of search warrants, to assist with the investigation, and ultimately to prosecute individuals engaged in methamphetamine production. Thereafter, she was assigned to the Complaints Unit at the Southwest Court.

Raquel also works closely with the Sheriff's Department, Probation, DPSS, Mental Health, the Riverside County Office of Education's Safe Schools Unit, and school districts throughout Riverside County to develop strategies to better address juvenile delinquency and to promote safe schools and safe neighborhoods.   

She worked with the Superior Court to develop collaborative early intervention truancy and delinquency courts throughout the County and so far, four are up and running in Blythe, Hemet, San Jacinto, and Temecula. She has also worked to update municipal codes to better address juvenile delinquency. Additionally, Raquel has worked to develop a multi-agency comprehensive law enforcement curriculum that will educate all middle-school students in Riverside County about our criminal laws and our system of justice

Raquel was honored by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and by the Riverside County Commission for Women as the Third District "Woman of the Year." She was also honored by the Riverside and San Bernardino Catholic Charities Organization as their “Person of the Year.”

She was sworn in by Judge Helios J. Hernandez in the downtown Riverside Hall of Justice were several judges and appellate justices attended, along with state Assemblyman Manuel Perez, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, Riverside City Councilman Andy Melendez, and Marquez’s two previous supervisors, District Attorney Paul Zellerbach and former District Attorney Grover Trask.

Their three sons, two want to go into law, but the youngest wants to raise livestock in Vista on his grandparents' land. ‘I love picturing him there, in the valleys where the hills are golden at the ends of summer, herding cows, maybe with the cowbell his Swiss-born grandfather brought when he came here, maybe holding a lunch packed for him by his Mexican-born grandparents, who made thousands of meals in their lives, so that their daughter could make history. After she finished washing the dishes, doing her homework, and dreaming of her future -- as do we all here,” stated Judge Marquez-Britsch.

She's made history and been a role model for countless women in California -- especially Latinas, but also an inspiration for all women who are mothers, children of immigrants, and even women who want to work in jurisprudence and law.

The couple three sons -- Mexican-Swiss-Austrian American,   have big plans. Two want to go into law, but the youngest wants to raise cows in Vista on his grandparents' land. “I love picturing him there, in the valleys where the hills are golden at the ends of summer, herding cows, maybe with the cowbell his Swiss-born grandfather brought when he came here, maybe holding a lunch packed for him by his Mexican-born grandparents, who made thousands of meals in their lives, so that their daughter could make history,” stated Judge

She has also written some novels: Her new novel "Between Heaven and Here"   McSweeney's Books. Her novel "Highwire Moon" is about a California-born daughter searching for her Mexican-born mother. Doug McCulloh's photographs have been exhibited across the U.S. and in Mexico, Europe, and China. His fourth book "Dream Street" chronicles the builders, workers, and homebuyers of a subdivision in Southern California.  

For the past 19-years, Senior Deputy District Attorney Marquez has dedicated her legal career to serving the People of Riverside County as a prosecutor in the District Attorney's Office. During the early part of her career, Raquel was assigned to do trial

work. In this capacity, Raquel prosecuted thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases involving domestic violence, robbery, drugs and other serious and violent crimes.  

Marquez-Britsch, is the first Latina judge in the combined Riverside-San Bernardino counties, where nearly half the population, is about 2 million people, are Latinos. "I'm a bracero's daughter, to be a judge here, in the Inland Empire, means everything."

She's made history and been a role model for countless women in California -- especially Latinas, but also an inspiration for all women who are mothers, children of immigrants, and even women who want to work in jurisprudence and law.

For the past 19-years, Senior Deputy District Attorney Raquel Marquez has dedicated her legal career to serving the People of Riverside County as a prosecutor in the District Attorney's Office. 




My father, my Hero

"Great memories make life a little easier."  

Mercy Bautista-Olvera


Writing about Judge Raquel Marquez-Britsch (above) brought back bittersweet childhood memories and was special to me; her story was different than mine, but similar in a way that her father worked as a Bracero just like my dad.  he sad and happy memories about my father Marcelino R. Bautista, who eventually joined and worked as a Bracero, leaving his family back in Mexico. I’m a ‘Bracero’s’ daughter too! 

 Marcelino R. Bautista

My dad was born on June 2, 1906, in the city of Zacatecas, Mexico.  His parents were Tiburcio Bautista and Petra Ramirez. His paternal grandparents: Tiburcio Bautista Sr. and Regina Muro. Maternal grandparents: Victoriana Arteaga and Francisco Ramirez, (known later that Francisco was not our grandmother’s biological father, grandma Petra’s biological father was of French ancestry), but that’s another story.

When my father was 10-years old he lost his mother. On a horrible month of August in 1916, my father went through so many traumas. On August 2nd, my father’s 6-month old sister Reyes died, on August 11th, her sister Daria died at the age of 3-years old, and his beloved mother Petra Ramirez died on August 29th, three members of his family died on the same month and year, (grandma was just 30-years old). My grandfather Tiburcio (Bucho) tried his best to raise his two sons and three other daughters, working in the Mines and other odd jobs.

After our grandmother Petra death, our grandfather Tiburcio decided to come to United States searching for work, bringing his younger son (my dad) with him. My grandfather worked in New Mexico for a while, my father attended an elementary school, however, my grandfather lost his job and soon both father and son returned to Zacatecas.    

My father’s older brother Rafael and two older sisters Maria and Juanita joined in the Mexican Revolution. A General murdered his brother, (he’s brother was 17-years old). Our Aunt Maria found out about her brother Rafael, she looked for the General and shot him. (Remember this was during the Mexican Revolution).

My father’s 5-year old sister Bartola was then living with her Godparents. Her father,  (my grandfather) unable to care for her, since he had to work, so in a way my father lost another sister, Bartola lived with her Godparents since her mother death. As a young adult she moved out and lived on her own eventually becoming a very successful teacher in the city of Zacatecas. She visited her biological father, sisters, and visited us often as well.    

My mother was the daughter of Juan Nuñez and Guadalupe Robles, her paternal grandparents were Lucas Nuñez and Serapia Flores. Her maternal grandparents were Antonio Robles and Guadalupe Nava. The irony was the both my parents lost their mother’s in 1916; my mother was 8-years old. 

Marcelino R. Bautista and Anastacia (Tacha) Nuñez-Bautista - June 7, 1930

My dad was a city man; my mother was a country girl. At this time my mom was living with her father and brothers and sisters in the city not at the ranch. When dad asked

grandpa for my mom’s hand in marriage, he refused. Our maternal grandfather gave them a hard time, he didn’t want for our mom to marry anyone. He was so upset that he didn’t see our mom for a year more or less after the wedding event; eventually our grandfather Juan came to terms and accepted his daughter’s decision to be with the man she loved. It was such a romantic story.

Our parents had nine children, six girls and three boys, me being the youngest of the girls. It was difficult for my father to support his family, he tried his best, he worked in the Mines. He always recalled on how bad his German boss treated his co-workers including my dad. He recalled the danger of working there; he tried odd jobs, but didn’t pay much, without a steady job he decided for other options.    

In the mid 1940’s as a young married man, my father knew about the Bracero program and applied for the job to work in United States. He was accepted and worked for the Railroad in Ohio, and other states. His wife Anastacia (Tacha) Nuñez-Bautista stayed behind in Zacatecas with very young children and teenagers.

The bracero program was begun to bring workers from Mexico during World War II, when a shortage of American men threatened the nation's economy. Men went     overseas to fight for their country, women helped in other ways such as nurses, and clerical work. The government recruited Mexican men to come and work for the Railroad or Agriculture. My father chose the Railroad. While my father worked for the Railroad, things were getting better, he was sending money home, although we didn’t have our father with us, he was still providing for us the best way he could.

WWII ended his employers’ notified railroad and farm workers that they were no longer needed; the government sent them back to Mexico. Years later after the military men and women returned home with their families, the program continued because cheap labor had become a staple of agriculture, but my dad wanted something better for himself and his family.

Although my father went back to Mexico, he knew United States was a country of better opportunities than in Mexico. His older sister Maria immigrated to United States in her early twenties, he decided to come and work in United States. He was a young husband and father, but knew there was no future for him in Mexico.  

My father’s sister Maria was already living in Los Angeles, she was single, my father saw a land of opportunity and he then immigrated to United States alone, he settled in Los Angeles, California worked for a construction company, sending money home to help support his family. I remember sometimes my father and his sister Maria bringing us clothes from United States, especially dresses during their visit, but knowing that my dad would go back to California, sometimes he visited alone without my Aunt Maria.

In the early 1950’s my father with the help of his sister Maria was able to bring his wife and children to live in United States with him. My dad always did the right thing. Immigrating was a must, his wife and children were coming to live with him as a family. At this time two older daughters were married with children in Zacatecas and stayed behind. As we were getting ready for our departure, however, another daughter Lupe eloped with her boyfriend refusing to come with us, no matter how hard our mother tried to convinced her, she stayed behind in Mexico. She had a baby girl a year later; however, the relationship didn’t work out, she was very sick and passed on. (She was just 17- years old). Another tragedy while we were already settled in Los Angeles. Eventually the two older daughters joined us with their families in United States.

My oldest brother Enrique (Henry) and my dad worked for Sully Miller Construction Company. Father and son worked together for many years. Henry married and continued to take my dad to work with him, until my dad retired. On our family gatherings while driving, our father  would tell us how he worked on this street or that street, sometimes he would talked about the cities he worked on in California. To this day, I drive slowly when I see construction workers; it makes me realize on how hard my dad worked as a construction worker all those years to have a home and food on the table.

It was always a joy to visit our parents, it was a place to celebrate Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Sundays were special, mom would made Menudo for us. She always wanted us to eat when we visited. She never said anything negative about anyone and I miss her so much… no matter how old we are, we always need our mother’s.

On October 27, 1978, my mom had a stroke and passed away, it was the most devastating day, and our lives changed forever. She was the noblest woman I ever knew. She loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren dearly and would do anything to help them out. My mother was beautiful, charming, people loved her even at her funeral you could see car after car going to the cemetery to pay their respects for this wonderful woman, my mother.

The struggles Mexicans and I’m sure other Hispanics who come to United States from other countries for a better life. It’s a huge sacrifice on leaving their families behind, not to be able to see their children grow up, going to another country, not knowing what the future would hold for them. The sadness of seeing our father leave us for months, sometimes a year or two, coming back to us, then to leave us again. To see our mother cried and singing sad songs is what I always remember. It bothered me that my dad was not there when I was born, he came to visit a few years later, and it bothered me to see other children with their dad’s and not having mine with me. Then when he did come back I kind of not wanted to be close to him, perhaps knowing that he would leave

again, then again I was a shy little girl at the time, or maybe resenting him for not being with me and the family.

The hardest thing for me was to leave our paternal grandfather Tiburcio (Bucho) behind, he was the kindest man, he always had this stories for us, especially me, I remember sitting outside of laying down with him. He was a father figure while dad was away; we lived next door to his house. He was always there for us. Unfortunately I only visited once with my family when I was a teenager.  My parents visited their fathers’ as much as they could, however, it was impossible for all us to go with them. My older siblings cared for us while they visited.

Our parents loved each other dearly, if they had problems, we’re not aware of it. My dad loved to tease my mom; she would get so embarrassed in front of us. He would chase her in the house to hug her, she blushed and say “Ay Marcelino,” it was so cute. I had a wonderful childhood with very special parents, brothers and sisters.


                      Our Dad                                                                                        Mercy and dad Marcelino 

My dad and I were extremely close, as the years went by, he was my Hero. He was always there for me in good times and bad times, not financially, (only due that at the time I thought he was older and instead of taking money from him, it should be the other way around, me doing the giving), I couldn’t do that, but I gave him lots of love and attention the best way I could. My father gave me a precious gift, his unconditional love and valuable support in my life when I needed him the most.

On May 12, 1989, I lost my dad and best friend; he also had a stroke, just like my mom. He was always faithful to our mom till the day he died, he didn’t remarry. I was pregnant with my last child, I attended my father’s funeral on a Wednesday, our daughter Monique Mercy was born on Friday, bittersweet week for me. Since then, Life was never the same. Great memories make life a little easier. 

I can also say although I’m not a professional writer, or anything special "I'm a bracero's daughter, to write for Somos Primos means everything to me." in my own humble way.

 NOTE:  The first smallpox epidemic in the 20th Century in Mexico was in 1916

Epidemics such as yellow fever, typhus, smallpox, and influenza begun in the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, the conditions in Mexico worsen; men, women and children lost their lives due to these epidemics.   My paternal and maternal Grandmothers, Petra and Guadalupe, and my father’s two little sisters were affected by these types of diseases. Definitively, the epidemics predominate along the revolutionary period in Mexico.



National Park Service Submits Recommendation to Congress

to Establish New National Historical Park

to Honor César Chávez and the Farm Labor Movement

Under Special Resource Study’s preferred alternative, newly-established César E. Chávez National Monument would act as cornerstone for national historical park.

The Park would honor César Chávez and the Farm Labor Movement, and recognize important sites such as the Filipino Community Hall in Delano, CA.  You can find the full report at Please share this announcement widely. Thank you.
Francisco Carrillo
Deputy Director of Intergovernmental & External Affairs
U.S. Department of the Interior
Office of the Secretary
(202) 208-5541 w (202) 412-8846 c

Release Date: October 24, 2013
Mike Litterst, 202-513-0354

WASHINGTON, DC - In response to a request from Congress to study sites related to the life of César Chávez and the farm labor movement, the National Park Service today transmitted a final resource study recommending the establishment of a new national historical park to interpret the life of the civil rights leader and preserve the places important to the Farm Labor Movement.

“César Chávez was one of the most important labor and civil rights leaders of the 20th century, and the Farm Movement he led improved the lives of millions of agricultural workers,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Sites associated with his life and the movement he led are an important part of American history and should be included in the National Park System not only to honor his legacy but also to ensure that future generations learn about what the movement accomplished. I am pleased to transmit these recommendations to Congress for their consideration.” 

“César Chávez was at the epicenter of some of the most significant achievements of the Civil Rights and labor movements in our nation’s history and through his leadership, farmworkers achieved unprecedented labor, political and social gains,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said. “Recognizing these sites associated with his leadership of the United Farm Workers as part of a national historical park will ensure that his contributions to the Civil Rights movement will be preserved and shared as an inspiration for future generations.” 

Historians from the National Park Service, and California State University, Fullerton evaluated approximately 100 sites related to Chávez and the farm labor movement in developing the report, entitled the César Chávez Special Resource Study, which was requested by Congress in the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (P.L 110-229.)

The report not only considered sites for inclusion in the park system but also for additional designations, such as listing in the National Register of Historic Places or designation as a national historic landmark. It also identifies five management alternatives exploring a range of approaches to manage, protect, or restore significant resources and to provide or enhance public use and enjoyment.

The National Park Service has identified the creation of a national historical park as the preferred alternative, as it would protect the largest number of nationally significant resources related to the farm labor movement, including opportunities for protection of the national historical park sites in perpetuity.

Through the special resource study process and public comment period, the NPS made the following determinations:

  • Of the approximately 100 sites evaluated, five have preliminarily been found to be nationally significant: the Forty Acres National Historic Landmark, Delano, Calif.; Filipino Community Hall, Delano, Calif.; César E. Chávez National Monument at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, Keene, Calif.; the Santa Rita Center, Phoenix, Ariz.; and the route of the 1966 Delano to Sacramento March. The 1966 Delano to Sacramento route also meets eligibility criteria for designation as a national historic trail.
  • A partnership-based national park site or technical assistance program which provides opportunities for collaborative management to protect cultural resources, provide public access, interpretation, and educational opportunities at certain sites associated with the life of César E. Chávez and the farm labor movement is a feasible addition to the U.S. National Park System.
  • There is a need for National Park Service management to achieve partnership-based protection of significant resources and enhanced visitor appreciation of the important resources and stories associated with the life of César E. Chávez and the farm labor movement.

Under the preferred alternative transmitted to Congress today, the César E. Chávez National Monument in Keene, Calif. would serve as a cornerstone for the new national historical park. The monument was created on October 8, 2012, by President Obama as the 398th unit of the National Park System and includes Chávez’ home and the headquarters of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) since the early 1970s when Chávez was its president. It is funded in part by the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation, which supports the work of the National Park Service in preserving historic places that tell a more inclusive story of American Latinos' economic, civic and cultural contributions to the American experience.

If approved by Congress, the National Park Service would manage these sites under a partnership arrangement in which current owners would maintain ownership and management functions in most cases, while the Service would coordinate the sites and an additional network of related resources. This approach allows the Park Service to focus on interpretation, education, technical assistance, and cooperative efforts at several historically significant sites, while limiting federal ownership.

Since Congress authorized the study in 2008, the National Park Service has hosted a series of public meetings to present the draft study report, answer questions, and accept comments. The final report, including a recommended course of action from the Secretary of the Interior, is now being transmitted to Congress.

More information and the draft study are available at

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube



Three-Fourths of Hispanics Say

Their Community Needs a Leader

Most Hispanics Cannot Name One

Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project (October 22, 2013)


The report, "Three-Fourths of Hispanics Say Their Community Needs a Leader," authored by Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research, is available at

Three-quarters of Latinos living in the United States say that their community needs a national leader, but about the same share either cannot name one or don't believe one exists, according to a new national survey of Hispanic adults by the Pew Research Center.

When asked to name the person they consider "the most important Hispanic leader in the country today," 62% say they don't know and an additional 9% say "no one." Yet, three-quarters of Hispanic adults say it is "extremely" (29%) or "very" important (45%) for the U.S. Hispanic community to have a national leader advancing its concerns. This sentiment is higher among foreign-born and Spanish-dominant Hispanics.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were each cited by 5% of survey respondents as the most important Hispanic leader in the country today. Former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (3%) and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (2%) were the only others mentioned by more than 2% of respondents.

The survey was conducted at a time when Latino political leaders and civic organizations have been pressing hard for legislation in Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11.7 million immigrants, the vast majority of them Latino, who are living in this country illegally.

Even though most Latinos say their community needs a national leader to advance its concerns, the survey finds that not all Latinos agree that their community has shared values. Four-in-ten (39%) Latinos say that U.S. Latinos of different origins share "a lot" of values, while another 39% say U.S. Latinos share "some" values. An additional 19% say that they share few or no values. Immigrant Latinos are more likely than native-born Latinos to say those of their Latino origin group have a lot of values in common with Latinos from different countries living in the U.S. (43% versus 33%).

When asked how many values U.S. Hispanics share with people living in their families' country of origin, 38% say "a lot," 34% say "some," and 25% say "only a little" or "almost nothing." Among Hispanic-origin groups, Salvadorans are most likely to say they share a lot of values with those in their home country. By contrast, Cubans are the most likely to say they share only a little or almost nothing with people in their home country.

Among the report's other findings:

  • Just one-in-five (20%) survey respondents say they most often describe themselves by the pan-ethnic labels "Hispanic" or "Latino." About half say they usually use their family's Hispanic-origin term (such as Mexican, Cuban, Salvadoran) to identify themselves, followed by 23% who use "American" most often.
  • When asked which pan-ethnic term they prefer, "Hispanic" or "Latino," half (50%) say they have no preference. When a preference is expressed, Hispanic (33%) is preferred over Latino (15%) by a margin of 2-1.
  • Half (49%) of all Latinos say they consider themselves a typical American, while 44% say they feel different from the typical American----a share that rises to 67% among immigrants who came to the U.S. in the past five years.
  • Some 57% of Puerto Ricans, 55% of Cubans and 53% of Dominicans say they think of themselves as a typical American. Among all Latinos, 49% say the same.

The survey was conducted from May 24 to July 28, 2013 by landline and cellular telephone, in English and Spanish, among a nationally representative sample of 5,103 Hispanic adults. The margin of error for the survey was plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan source of data and analysis. It does not take advocacy positions. Its Hispanic Trends Project, founded in 2001, seeks to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation. 

LATINA Style Magazine, Vol. 19, No. 5 

Our cover story on Latinas serving in the U.S. Congress is a great example of how our community is gaining influence. Why is it so important that we have Latinas serving at the highest levels? It is not only because they are wonderful role models for all of us to emulate. They are consensus builders, they can work across the aisles and cultural differences, they are caring but forceful, they do it all while maintaining their integrity and commitment to not only their constituents, but to their community and our country. Learn more about them in Latina Champions in Congress.    
Relatives can become separated for many reasons - relocation, abduction or gone missing are only a few to mention. 
In Our Past, Our Present read testimonies of families who have dedicated their time to look for long-lost family members, stories from those who have reunited with their loved ones, and accounts of those who are tracing their roots to preserve their heritage.


Lino Garcia,Jr., Ph.D (Tulane)

On October 12, 1492, Cristóbal Colón and his Spanish crew aboard three ships “La Pinta, La Niña”, and “La Santa María”, sailed from the mother country of Spain and landed on what later became known as America. Thus began the colonization of the New World,  later on known  as “La Nueva España”. These efforts by the Spanish authorities were so huge, so impressive in their methods, so widespread, and marvelously designed that no other nation since has, indeed, emerged to equal the splendor of this adventure into newfound lands.

Cristóbal Colón’s “Diario de Abordo”, a narrative that detailed his encounters in America, its people, its wonders to behold, and sent to King Fernando, alerted the Spanish Crown of the huge possibilities for new treasures, as well for an opportunity to spread “La Santa Fe” into new areas. New expeditions, almost all of them self-financed, soon made their way to “La Nueva España”, thus in essence giving start to the first phase of this huge enterprise.


The first phase entailed the bringing of the Hispanic people to these lands. Thus, any individual in the Americas presently enjoying a Spanish surname, or partaking of the Hispanic culture can proudly identify with this glorious adventure ,with its undertakings, and with its huge contributions throughout the centuries.

Captain Hernán Cortés and his crew of Spanish soldiers landed in present day Veracruz, México in 1519, and having made friends with the Tlaxcaltecan Indians, and hearing of the vast richness of the Aztec Empire, ventured through and made their way to its capital: Tenochtitlan. After having met Muctezuma, the Emperor of the Aztecs, Hernán Cortés had a few elements on his side that gave him the advantage over such a huge empire. One was his mistress and  Indian interpreter Doña Malinche, the other was the belief among Aztec that a Fair God would one day come from afar to conquer them, and the third element was the Aztecs, so isolated within themselves for centuries, that they were petrified to see men on horseback and carrying rifles. They were simply overwhelmed by the new intruders into their land. Hernán Cortes took advantage of all of these elements that destiny has bestowed on so few men in history to conquer a nation. He later wrote his “Cartas de Relación”, a series of five letter to King Carlos I in which he detailed his encounter with Muctezuma, describing the new land, and its people, and when the conquest was finally accomplished in 1521, the second phase of this huge enterprise began.


Efforts were started immediately by the Spanish Crown to send huge expeditions into “La Nueva España”, to explore and colonize in the name of the King of Spain all lands encountered by its Spanish soldiers. A “Casa de Contratación” was initiated in Sevilla, Spain to handle all activities dealing with this new phase of Spanish expansion, so huge an undertaking never seen before in the annals of history. A new social, cultural order soon replaced the Indian empire, and representatives of the King of Spain, known as Viceroys, were sent over to look over and administered so huge an empire. An “Encomienda System” was established to oversee the work done by Indians, and headed by an “adelantado” or “mayordomo”, who took charge of working the many mines of silver and gold. Following each ship load of Spanish individuals heading to “hacer las Américas” came young clergymen fresh from the best universities in Europe to dedicate their entire lives to the Christianization of the Indian population now subjects of the King of Spain, and as decreed by the Spanish Crown. This vast colonization during which time the Spanish Culture, with all of its wonders, that included religion, the Spanish language, the Hispanic traditions, and the genetic makeup of the Spanish people that included different ethnic groups that made the Spain of that time: Celtic, Visigoths, Romans, Greek, Iberian, Jewish, Basque and Arab genetic melting pot all made their  way to the Americas and that is what the present day Hispanic carry proudly in their veins, their looks, culture, and traditions, along with the later on acquired Indian heritage. The colonization effort lasted until 1821, when Mexico and the lands comprising almost two thirds of present day USA, to include Texas, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, and certain areas north, obtained their Independence from Spain. Before that date, the present state of Texas had been mapped by Captain Alonso de Pineda in 1519 who traveled along the coast of Texas, but never landed. The distinction of being the first Hispanics to land on Texas soil belongs to Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, who along with Spanish soldiers were the first to land on Texas soil on November 6, 1528; thus starting the systematic colonization of Texas by Hispanics. Beginning in the early 18th century, civilized life, with all of its amenities, cattle drives, farming, hospitals, schools, ranching, banking, and all other activities were part of Texas Hispanic life, now known as Tejanos. One important issue to note is the effective Hispanic participation in the American Revolution of 1776, given that many Hispanics served, helped out with finances, and Tejano cattle barons such as the Seguín, the Flores, and other prominent Tejano ranchers herded their cattle to the shores to help feed the hungry soldiers fighting the British Army, and in essence distinguishing themselves as true patriots in the fight against England. General Bernardo de Gálvez made his famous “Marcha de Gálvez” in the south that helped defeat the British,  and assuring the victory of Americans against a common enemy. Since the start of the Republic, whenever there has been a struggle involving the USA, one can be sure, the Hispanic individual has been there or will be there defending this country.


Indeed, when Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla proclaimed his “ El Grito” for Independence on September 16,1810, this also resonated and liberated Hispanics everywhere in the Southwestern part of present day USA. Two skirmishes in support of Hidalgo’s cry for freedom occurred on Texas soil , led by Hispanics: a) the “de las Casas Rebellion” of 1811; and the “Battle of Medina of 1813”; these two revolts lead in sentiment and framework toward the Battle of the Alamo of 1836 helping to liberate Texans of all persuasions. The Independence Movement also arrived in Texas and other states in 1821 and soon after Northerners were permitted to enter the then Mexican controlled lands. The few years after spelled a decisive and somehow perplexed history for Hispanics, given that the USA/ Mexican War of 1848 proclaimed much of the territory now part of the Union, and Hispanics enjoying a long heritage in the Southwest since the early 1500’s  found that the Rio Grande River, the Río de las Palmas,  or the Río Bravo del Norte merely crossed their lives, as they and their ancestors did not cross this geopolitical boundary;  it was, indeed, this Rio Grande that  crossed them . In many cases, their ancestors received Spanish land grants from the King of Spain in the 1700’s, thus these individuals were coming into these lands that were already part of  “ La Nueva España”  and thus did not meet the standards of a true immigrant, since they were simply coming into another part of the mother country: Spain


Throughout the next decades, Hispanics have distinguished themselves in all areas of human activities, but no other activity has brought them such distinction as the huge number of Hispanics receiving the Medal of Honor for heroism in the face of the enemy of the United States of America. This group of true Americans have been active in military affairs since the American Revolution of 1776, and during the Civil War (no war is civil) three Hispanics received the  Medal of Honor, becoming the first three of forty-four since then to receive this prestigious award given to individuals who exercised true patriotism in the  face of huge dangers. Hispanics have served in the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Boxer Rebellion, WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and the latest conflicts. In all wars/conflicts involving the USA,  one can be sure the Hispanic individual has been or will be there defending this country !


 **First public schools in 1690 at Christians missions, and then in San Antonio in 1746 that were tuition free and compulsory. Hispanics enjoy a long tradition in prompting education for its citizens, as the first university in Mexico was established in 1556  staffed with eminent professors.

**First ranching/ cattle drives in San Antonio (never mind John Wayne and Hollywood)

**First hospital in San Antonio

**First municipality in San Antonio de Béjar- 1718

**First farming

**Fist narrative of Texas “Los Naufragios” by Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

**First cathedral -  San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio

**Spanish names of main rivers

**The bringing of cattle and horses to Texas, and the vaquero culture, thus making Texas unique from any other state in the Union

**First Christian missions

**First banking:  Brownsville, Texas had prominent Hispanics as the first bankers in South Texas, such illustrious individuals who established banks in that city were: Don Francisco Yturria, the Celaya family, and Juan N. Fernández.

**First jurisprudence/ land and water laws; and others governing almost everything in Texas.

Thus, almost everything Texas brags about is TEJANO.

Hispanic Heritage Week was first introduced by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 to cover one week only beginning September 15, the day of the Independence of many Latin-American countries; and was then extended for one month from September 15 to October 15, by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

One can readily see the huge contributions, and eminent heritage bestowed on all of us by the participation of Hispanics in the American life. This essay, hopefully, will help to erase any doubts about the patriotism, the lack of willingness of Hispanics to contribute and it should also dispel some erroneous beliefs about them, given that during most of the 20th century emphasis was placed on the undocumented, and mainstream history texts have been negligent in properly depicting the immense role Hispanics have played in the formation of America, about the heavy lifting done by their ancestors, and thus obscuring for many of us the Hispanic Heritage so much now part of the USA.



Dr. Lino García, Jr. is an 8th generation Tejano with ancestral Spanish Land Grants on Texas soil since 1767, nine years before the American Revolution. He holds the chair of Professor Emeritus of Spanish Literature at UTPA, and can be reached at:
Lino Garcia,Jr., Ph.D (Tulane)
Professor Emeritus/UTPA
Edinburg, Texas



The Twenty-Seventh Annual NCLR Capital Awards, March 4, 2014

Sent by Jessica Mayorga, National Council of La Raza 
Register early by May 14 and get a discounted price.


If you live in Southern California and would like to share your family history in the Somos Primos booth, 
PLEASE let me know. We would love to have you join us.  I can promise you will have a great time.


Houston Civil Rights Icon, Leonel Castillo, Dies at 74 (1939-2013)
Jesús "Tato" Laviera, legendary nuyorican poetic giant, dies at 63
Jose Montoya's Sacred Release

Houston Civil Rights Icon, Leonel Castillo, Dies at 74
By Jayme Fraser

Leonel Castillo, longtime activist and the first Latino elected to citywide office died Monday, just days before a community center bearing his name was set to open.   When Houston state Senator Sylvia Garcia told longtime friend Castillo of the honor last year, he was surprised and humble, she said.


"'Why me?'" Garcia recalled him asking. "He was always out there working for someone. He always was doing it because it was the right thing to do."  Within hours of learning about the 74-year-old activist's death, leaders from Houston Mayor Annise Parker to U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, flooded press email boxes with statements praising Castillo.   "Everybody knew of him as a pioneer," Lee said. "He opened the doors for Hispanics in national government."

In 1975, Houston City Controller Leonel Castillo showed off an electric car he leased. Castillo said it was cheaper to operate than regular cars. He used it for short-trip errands.

In 1975, Houston City Controller Leonel Castillo showed off an electric car he leased. Castillo said it was cheaper to operate than regular cars. He used it for short-trip errands.

All agreed his deep intellectual curiosity, fierce belief in the basic worth of all people and quietly forceful presence as a public speaker defined his time in many public service roles.

Photo By Bill Clough/HC staff
United Blacks, Hispanics

Before President Jimmy Carter appointed Castillo to serve as Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1977, the Victoria-born and Galveston-raised community leader earned his political chops uniting blacks and Hispanics in a push for a movie theater to desegregate, taping integration and social service demands to the chancery door of the Catholic Archdiocese and visiting the homes of truant youth to convince them to return to school.

He was among the nation's first wave of Peace Corps volunteers, the first director of a federal job training program for the persistently jobless and the first Hispanic Houston city controller in 1972.

"I put the first computer in City Hall," Castillo recalled in a 2006 recording for the Houston Public Library's oral history project. The stroke survivor waded through slurred speech, but chuckled as he continued. "You had to bring engineers in to make the floor stronger to hold the computers that were so heavy."

Castillo is credited by many with transforming the city office from a sleepy accountant position to one focused on analyzing whether taxpayer money was spent prudently.

A zeal for serving

Although he often was at the forefront of calls to action and protests, Castillo also was among the first elected officials to sit at the table where compromises were negotiated and policies were written, Garcia said.

His rise to national office did not spoil his zeal for serving Houston. He continued to accept appointments to several minor posts in city and county offices over the years while also mentoring as a social work instructor at the University of Houston. To close friends and family, he was more than an inspiring story about how the son of a poor, union shipyard worker became a respected politician and activist.

Because a cousin had difficulty pronouncing Leonel, he was nicknamed "Lone" and that's how many knew him. As a boy, he was shy and bookish at his Catholic high school in Galveston.

Politics first interested a teenage Castillo, the youngest of four children, when his father impressed him by driving a statewide loop, sleeping in his car, as he campaigned for maverick Democrat Henry Gonzalez to become governor.

His first hands-on activism was as an increasingly outspoken English major at the Catholic St. Mary's College in San Antonio and continued when he later studied community organizing at the University of Pittsburgh.

His desire to serve the neediest led him to spend four years in the Philippines with the Peace Corps, first as a volunteer, then as a training director.  While there, he fell in love with Evelyn Chapman, the daughter of an American contractor. They were married for more than 50 years.

His sister, Anita Serrano, said her brother's favorite room in any house was the kitchen and his preferred snack was buttered tortillas. His humor energized family dinners and his endless bank of knowledge marveled his grandchildren.  "Uncle Lone's not going to know this," Serrano recalled the children often saying just before putting Castillo to the test. "The kids couldn't put anything past him."


Leonel Castillo, 1939-2013
Texpatriate has learned that Leonel Castillo, the larger-than-life political figure in Houston’s Hispanic community, has passed away at the age of 74. Castillo, who served as Houston’s City Controller from 1972 to 1977 and as the Director of the INS under Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1979, died after lingering health problems.

Castillo was a maverick amongst the Mexican-American political community in Houston, and arguably served as a mentor and inspiration for Ben Reyes and other prominent Hispanic politicians. He first entered the political fray a mere four years after moving to Houston, back when the City Charter mandated a five year residency requirement to run for the City Council. Still wanting to throw his hat into the ring, he challenged the City Controller, Roy Oakes, a fourteen-term incumbent.

Oakes, a fiscal conservative and ally of the Republican Mayor (Louie Welch), was defeated by Castillo in 1971 in a landmark victory for Hispanics in Houston. Re-elected twice more, Castillo was rumored as a future Statewide officeholder, so taking a post such as Comptroller or Railroad Commissioner seemed destined in his future. After working hard to deliver the Hispanic vote to Jimmy Carter (the 1976 election was the last time Texas voted Democratic in a presidential year), Castillo was appointed by the President as the Chairman of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Unfortunately, this is where Castillo’s winning streak came to an end. In 1979, he resigned the post to return to Houston and make a run for Mayor against incumbent Republican Jim McConn. In doing so, he split the progressive vote with City Councilmember Louis Macey. McConn was ultimately re-elected and Castillo finished in an embarrassing third place.

In 1981, Castillo attempted to return to his old office by making a fourth run for City Controller. Qualifying for the runoff election in the open field, he was defeated by City Councilmember Lance Lalor.

Eight years later, Castillo made one last one for public office, seeking an At-large seat on the Houston City Council. Despite a strong plurality finish, he was eventually defeated in the runoff by Sheila Jackson Lee, a Municipal Judge who went on to become a Congressperson.

Castillo’s reputation, however, has only increased in recent years as Houstonians have begun to view him as both a trailblazer for minorities and an ardent opponent of the reactionary Welch. A high-profile community center named in Castillo’s honor was recently erected just north of Downtown. Sadly, its grand dedication and opening was scheduled for this Saturday.

As an incessant advocate for his community, Castillo was one of the first to achieve the right to hold office amongst the Mexican-American community in Houston. As Texas Monthly wrote of him many years ago, he was a real-life “Horatio Alger story.”

ABC-13/KTRK-TV Houston, Texas
Houstonians Remembering Civil Rights Icon Leonel Castillo By Adela Uchida
Monday, November 4, 2013

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Houstonian are remembering Leonel J Castillo and his legacy in Houston today. Castillo, 74, passed away Monday morning. 

He was known as a pioneer for civil rights, and Houston's first Hispanic elected official - serving as controller in the early 1970s and later, serving as director of INS appointed by Jimmy Carter.
Mayor Annise Parker issued a statement saying, "I am saddened to hear of the passing of Leonel Castillo. He was a kind, engaging and compassionate man who gave much back to Houston and our nation. As the first Hispanic to be elected citywide, he blazed a trail for those who have followed him. He was truly a pillar of our community and will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends." 

State Senator Sylvia Garcia also released a statement expressing her sadness: "I am saddened by the passing of my dear friend, Leonel J. Castillo, this morning. I am proud to have known him personally as a friend and mentor. He was a champion for social justice, a true progressive, a pioneer in Houston politics and an icon in our Latino community. Leonel blazed trails for Latinos in Houston and opened doors as the first Latino elected to city wide office as city controller of Houston in 1971. 

"As city controller, his work for honesty, transparency and accountability in the office led to the coining of the phrase "watchdog at city hall". One of his biggest distinctions was the appointment to Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. A social worker at heart, he was as an intellectual with great compassion for people and worked tirelessly for the underdog. 

"But most of all, Leonel was a man devoted to his faith, family and nation. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Evelyn, and his family. While he will be missed, we will certainly remember his life at the grand opening of the Leonel J. Castillo Community Center this Saturday, November 9, at 2101 South Street, Houston, TX. Funeral arrangements to follow." 

And current City Controller Ronald Green also issued a statement following Castillo's passing. It reads:  "I met Leonel just before I was first elected to Houston City Council, and I truly valued his friendship and his vast knowledge of policy, both of local and national issues. In 1972, he was the first Hispanic City Controller, and then President Carter named him Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, so he was a public servant to a very full extent and brought great communication and collaborative skills to his positions. 

"He was a neighbor, and we'd meet often on our walks along the bayouwhen he was a young man he served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines, so the Houston summer was no problem for him. I am very thankful to have known him." Meantime, at the community center on the near- north side named in Castillo's honor, staff are still working to prepare for this weekend's grand opening. They say now those festivities will now include a tribute to the man, his life and his legacy. 

Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.


Jesús "Tato" Laviera

The Puerto Rican Cultural Center will be hosting a special event on November 20 dedicated to Tato Laviera. The legendary nuyorican poetic giant, Tato Laviera passed away Friday, November 1. Tato, and his infectious charisma and ability transform language in unique ways, will be greatly missed. The youth of Paseo Boricua had the honor to work closely with Tato on several plays documenting the history of Puerto Ricans in Chicago. Tato, you have left us with a body of work for the ages. Rest in Poetry. Above, Tato with Batey Urbano Youth. circa 2005.


Tato Laviera, Nuyorican Poet, Dies at 63

Librado Romero/The New York Times

Widely anthologized and with numerous titles that remain in demand among students and fans, Mr. Laviera was one of the best-known representatives of the Nuyorican school of poetry.

Tato Laviera lost his sight, but not his vision. His acclaimed poems and plays captured the rhythms and language of Puerto Rico and the Lower East Side — his twin loves — with equal measures of protest, playfulness and hope.

When health problems briefly left him homeless in 2010, he took part in poetry readings with residents of the shelter where he stayed. “I can create here, and that makes me feel liberated,” he said in an interview at the time. “Being here has given me the spirit of continuity and centrality, and that’s better than a salary.” 

Mr. Laviera, who had been in a coma since late January, died on Friday in Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. The cause was complications of diabetes, which years earlier had left him legally blind, said his sister, Ruth Sanchez, who survives him along with his daughter, Ruth Ella Laviera. He was 63 and lived in East Harlem, renting an airy apartment that his admirers helped him get when they learned he had no place to hang his ever-present Panama hat. In a career that spanned more than four decades, Mr. Laviera published books, plays and poems and made hundreds of appearances at colleges, workshops and literary events. Widely anthologized and with numerous titles that remain in demand among students and fans, he is one of the best-known representatives of the Nuyorican school of poetry.

His words could dance, shout and laugh — in English, Spanish and Spanglish. In “My Graduation Speech,” he showed a playful touch in writing about his multicultural life, and his hair, in these lines:

i think in spanish
i write in english
i want to go back to puerto rico,
but i wonder if my kink could live
in ponce, maygüez and carolina

“The American thing is to forget who you are and become homogenized,” said Jesus Melendez, known as Papoleto, a friend and fellow poet. “The whole Nuyorican struggle was to maintain your roots because they are the groove that keeps it all together. Tato personified that struggle.” 

He even took the word and turned it inside out in one collection, “AmerRican,” whose very title made clear his people’s place in the world. That book also featured poems that embraced the city’s diversity as well as his own people’s rich racial roots.

“Tato’s voice was not a singular one, but one that gave voice to people and even objects who did not have a voice but should,” said William Luis, a professor at Vanderbilt University and co-editor of an upcoming collection of essays on Mr. Laviera. “He was able to reach across boundaries and reach all those different people.” 

Jesús Abraham Laviera (Tato was a nickname) was born on May 9, 1950, in Santurce, P.R., near San Juan, and moved to the Lower East Side as a child. He graduated from Seward Park High School and attended Brooklyn College and Cornell. But his real education, friends and relatives said, came in the neighborhood, where he showed an early knack for activism and organizing (not to mention music and dance).

Elizabeth Colón, a community advocate who befriended him when they were both teenagers, described Mr. Laviera as a natural leader who inspired others to rally around causes, especially youth and education.

“His poetry and creativity came from that,” she said. “It came from his involvement and his participation in the community’s struggle, growing up on the Lower East Side, seeing the abuses and how others who were in charge had the power to intervene and did not. He deeply understood the need of people to participate in their future.” 

Mr. Laviera left community organizing to become a full-time poet in the 1970s. (He told the website Latino Rebels that he wanted to be a poet once he saw Luis Palés Matos recite in Puerto Rico in the late 1950s.) His first collection, “La Carreta Made a U-Turn,” was published by Arte Publico Press in 1979.

“To him, poetry was the highest calling,” said Nicolás Kanellos, his publisher. “Even though he lived in relative poverty, he was proud of being part of a tradition that went all the way back to the ancient, epic poets.” 

But Mr. Laviera lived — and performed — very much in the moment. In recent years he had been working on a novel about East Harlem, as well as staging his play “The King of Cans” at a theater inside the housing complex where he had been living. He also continued to inspire future poets, sharing encouragement and advice.

Li Yun Alvarado recalled clutching a poem at a workshop Mr. Laviera gave at Yale 14 years ago. She was nervous. He calmed her down, telling her to “embody the work” and feel the words, linger on the beats and perform. It reminded her of how her 93-year-old grandmother could still remember a poem she had learned as a child.

“He took me back to that history of poetry as part of our culture,” said Ms. Alvarado, who is a now doctoral candidate at Fordham University. “He was our troubadour. He told our story.”

 Sent by Joe Sanchez 

Date:   10/30/13

RE:       Jose Montoya’s Sacred Release  

Thank you for your prayers, offerings and words and acts of kindness and sympathy throughout dad’s illness and passing. Please continue to join us in prayer for his soul. On behalf of the family, we are grateful for the respect you have bestowed upon us in our request for privacy during our sorrow and grief in this season of our profound loss.   

Being such a public figure for so many decades it was hard to follow his doctors’ orders to prohibit visitors during these last months but the risk to him was so great, we did what we had to do to protect dad and we thank you for your understanding.  


In keeping with our beloved father’s wishes, this past Sunday, we, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, brother, nephew and families gathered with his ashes, at his altar in the low-ceiling room where he meditated and prayed for us and for you.  We lit sage and candles and it was like being in a small ancient cave-a natural chapel- intimate and holy, where we prayed through tears and laughter as we held him one last time.  From there we caravanned to a beautiful chosen spot where earth, wind and water meet for the final ceremony he himself had envisioned to commend his body to the loving embrace of sacred mother earth…and she was a wild girl that day! The wind was so strong and the current was pushing upstream but his physical passage and sacred release was completed- in unity and in strength, grace, dignity and deep love.   With one beautiful lowrider cruising by slowly, derelict dogs, prayers, “Taps” (from an iPhone!), and a red-tailed hawk overhead, we felt him satisfied.  We lifted a copita in honor of our magnificent father, grandpa, great-grandfather, brother and uncle!                  


 With that critical milestone completed, we turn our attention to plans for a commemoration of his life in a public memorial.   We are happy to know that many have already done or will do small local events, requested a moment of silence in his honor, dedicated events to his memory, and even woven his poetry into murals- and that these kinds of actions will continue to blossom throughout.  We would love to hear about these tributes, however small or large, to stay abreast of what people are doing or planning.   As long as there is no commercialization or profiteering, we are pleased to know that respectful homage will be paid to dad.  

The large public event that we are planning in Sacramento will honor the memory of dad and his contributions in the many worlds in which he served.  Details with date and venue will be released when final confirmations are complete and all will be welcome. Again, we are grateful for your patience and that you have given us this time to mourn and knowing that it will never really end, we are working through it but we do look forward to seeing all of you when we gather in his memory. 


Mil gracias  . . .  The Montoyas



Ray Suarez's shocking departure from PBS
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew by Ben Stein
Can students be barred from wearing patriotic clothes? 
US Army defines Christian ministry as 'domestic hate group'
Strangers in a strange land by Devon G. Peña

"The democracy will cease to exist
 when you take away from those who are willing to work 
and give to those who would not." 

Thomas Jefferson


According to an NBC investigative report, anywhere from 50 to 75% of Americans are expected to lose their health insurance
 and many will pay for more expensive plans due to the Affordable Care Act.  O.C. Register, November 8, 2013


Ray Suarez's shocking departure from PBS

The National Hispanic Media Coalition has issued an open letter to PBS following Ray Suarez's resignation from NewsHour. Read the text of the letter in the message below from The National Institute for Latino Policy.

FORWARDED MESSAGE: Open Letter on Lack of Latino Inclusion at PBS

National Hispanic Media Coalition (November 4, 2013)

Pasadena, CA - The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) today issued an open letter on PBS' historic under-inclusion of Latinos, following PBS "NewsHour" Chief National Correspondent Ray Suarez's resignation from the program.

To voice your concern to PBS please contact Paula Kerger, president and CEO, at  (copy or 703-739-5000. To voice your concern to "NewsHour" please contact executive producer Linda Winslow at  or 703-998-2175.

The following is the text of the letter:

Esteemed journalist Ray Suarez's shocking departure from PBS' "NewsHour" after over a decade as a senior correspondent should serve as a call to action to the Latino community to address the larger issue of ongoing lack of Latino inclusion at the publicly-funded broadcast network. In an interview, Suarez expressed that he "didn't have much of a future with the broadcast," that PBS News Hour "didn't have much of a plan" for him, that his contributions in recent years were heavily minimized and marginalized many times over, and that his high-level responsibility "had all been gradually taken away."

PBS' historic under-inclusion of Latinos is reflected not only in its employment practices, with Latinos being overlooked for new projects and initiatives, but also the underrepresentation of Latinos in its programming, and an alarming lack of transparency about the situation.  Given PBS' lack of transparency, NHMC cannot know all facts pertaining to Latino inclusion at PBS. Here are the facts as NHMC understands them:

There are no Latinos in senior positions at PBS;
With Suarez' departure, no Latinos occupy senior positions at the "NewsHour" and, more generally, "NewsHour" is severely lacking Latino anchors, senior correspondents and producers; There are few, regular, Latino-focused programs on PBS;
Latinos are underrepresented on PBS' Board of Directors, with only two on the twenty-six-member body; In 2005, the Ford Foundation made a substantial grant to PBS to promote a number of diversity initiatives, including hiring an individual to spearhead inclusion for the networks. As evidenced above, the results were underwhelming.

Recently, the National Latino Media Council, of which NHMC serves as secretariat, proposed the signing of an MOU to address PBS' Latino diversity deficits. PBS rejected that MOU and proposed a vague and meaningless two paragraph offer in its place.

For years, National Latino Media Council member organizations have toiled, to no avail, to make PBS more responsive to the needs of the nation's Latino population. NHMC calls on the Latino community to make it known to PBS that its casual indifference to Latino community concerns is flagrantly disrespectful and that it must expediently address these concerns and agree to the following remedial actions:

Sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Latino Media Council that sets specific goals and timetables for the equitable inclusion of Latinos in programming, contracting and employment at PBS; Hire Latino senior journalists for its "NewsHour" bureaus in Washington, D.C., New York and other local offices; Publicly release annual equal employment opportunity data with the necessary granularity to track and assess Latino inclusion initiatives; Commit to increase its news and entertainment programming geared specifically to issues affecting the Latino community by increasing its collaboration with Latino independent producers and talent; Paula Kerger, president of PBS, and Linda Winslow, executive producer of "NewsHour," must explain not only how PBS could allow such an important Latino talent like Suarez to be marginalized, but also why PBS has been failing to include the Latino community in its ongoing programming and other operations.

If PBS is not prepared to take these measures, NHMC will convene a meeting with National Latino Media Council members to consider whether public support and federal funds for PBS remain in the best interests of diverse communities and particularly the Latino community.

Alex Nogales
President & CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition

About NHMC
The National Hispanic Media Coalition is a non-partisan, non-profit, media advocacy and civil rights organization established in 1986 in Los Angeles, California. Its mission is to educate and influence media corporations on the importance of including U.S. Latinos at all levels of employment. It augments the pool of Latino talent with its professional development programs. It challenges media that carelessly exploit negative Latino stereotypes. It scrutinizes and opines on media and telecommunications policy issues. Learn more at . Receive real-time updates on Facebook and Twitter @NHM

For further information, please contact:
Brian Pacheco
National Hispanic Media Coalition  
(213) 718-0732

Sent by: 
As always, thank you for your support.
Sincerely, Gus Chavez & Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, Co-Founders, Defend the Honor 
Defend the Honor 



I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew by Ben Stein

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary. 

My confession: I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. 

I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. 

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? 

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to. 

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. 

In light of recent events - terrorists attacks, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. 

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. 

The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK. 

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK. 

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. 

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with, 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.' 

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  

Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. 

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.  Are you laughing yet? 

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. 

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not, then just discard it. No one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. 

My Best Regards, Honestly and Respectfully,  Ben Stein 

Sent by Rick Leal,


Can students be barred from wearing patriotic clothes? Dispute goes to court

By Patrik Jonsson


(TCSM) The right of American students to wear to school patriotic clothing — or just an image of the US flag — is at the core of a volatile constitutional case now in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

On May 5, 2010, Live Oak High School officials in Morgan Hill, Calif., told three students to go home after they refused to turn their US flag-themed T-shirts inside out during Cinco de Mayo, the celebration of a Mexican battle victory over France. Administrators cited lingering racial tensions at the school between Hispanics and Anglos dating back to the previous year's Cinco de Mayo celebration.

In their lawsuit, the students — listed as D.M., M.D., and D.G. — contend that there's no evidence that the T-shirts had sparked any disruptions and that "American schools cannot logically ban the American flag for any duration or reason."

Not surprisingly, the decision to send the students home for wearing the national flag generated outrage and wall-to-wall media coverage, touching a raw nerve in a country riven by, among other things, the immigration debate and the rise of the tea party, a patriotic grass-roots movement.

But to constitutional scholars and First Amendment experts, the case presents a broader test of the courts' traditional deference toward schools. It also involves the notion of "the heckler's veto," or the ability of government to suppress rowdy speech that it believes could spark violence or suppress the free speech of others.

Moreover, the case touches on the "viewpoint neutrality" principle — where the state, at least technically, is not allowed to discriminate against particular viewpoints, even ones that some people find offensive or distasteful.

"The real oddity of this is that students wearing the same T-shirt on Memorial Day would be applauded, which makes it pretty tough on administrators to divine whether an American flag T-shirt is subversive or patriotic," says Ken Paulson, former editor in chief of USA Today and now president of the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn.

The students lost the first round, when a US district judge ruled that school officials were within their rights to send the students home. Judge James Ware cited concerns where the flag-wearing Anglo students could be in danger of attack from angry Hispanic students.

"Although no school official can predict with certainty which threats are empty and which will lead to true violence, the Court finds that these school officials were not unreasonable in forecasting that the Plaintiffs' clothing exposed them to significant danger," Judge Ware wrote.

Ware, who is now retired, also noted that "our Constitution grants public school children only limited First Amendment rights when they enter the schoolhouse gates." But he also acknowledged that the Live Oak High School case enters "important legal territory."  

Yet the Ninth Circuit may have a different view, legal scholars say. "It will be interesting to see whether the 9th Circuit panel will view the case as one of appropriate school judgment, and defer to school officials' expertise, or will see it as a classic example of a censorial overreaction," writes David L. Hudson on the First Amendment Center website.

In their lawsuit, the students dismiss the idea that the T-shirts posed the threat of violence or disruption, largely because the students had been in school that day for more than three hours and there had been no reports of problems. They also dismissed attempts to draw parallels to the banning of Confederate flag symbols by some schools, saying the US flag is viewed far differently.

But even if the T-shirts had sparked a reaction, that shouldn't automatically prompt an administration crackdown, other scholars suggest.

"The fact is, in political speech, you get hecklers because political speech riles people up, but that's not the same as violence," says Trevor Burrus, a research fellow at the Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies in Washington. "Schools should allow students to be riled up and have conversations about what's around them. The other concern here is that the modern liberal school system is based more on the 'no one should ever be offended' doctrine rather than the 'robust political speech' doctrine."

The US Supreme Court has ruled that students have a diminished First Amendment right in school, which is one reason that principals, for example, are allowed to edit or even censor school newspapers. At the same time, the Ninth Circuit may well have to take a look at the Supreme Court's Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District ruling from 1969.

In that case, it was a national debate about the Vietnam War that brought on a crackdown by school officials against students wearing black armbands in protest of the war. The court ruled that administrators could not censor student protests because there was no evidence of a major disruption, or even a reasonable forecast of anything happening.

Since then, however, the Supreme Court has shown less interest in narrowing the ability of "good faith" state actors — from principals to prison wardens — to impose order.

"In [the Live Oak High School] case, let's be clear: School officials are just trying to educate students and have as few headaches as possible, which courts view [sympathetically]," says Mr. Paulson of the First Amendment Center. "But imagine instead if a school encouraged everybody to post a political message on their T-shirt. I think they'd be applauded for their innovation and for creating a marketplace of ideas — that it's OK to have ideas and it's OK to have different opinions."

Sent by Odell Harwell 


US Army defines Christian ministry as 'domestic hate group'

By Todd Starnes

Todd's American Dispatch

Published October 14, 2013


Several dozen U.S. Army active duty and reserve troops were told last week that the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values.

The briefing was held at Camp Shelby in Mississippi and listed the AFA alongside domestic hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam.

A soldier who attended the briefing contacted me and sent me a photograph of a slide show presentation that listed AFA as a domestic hate group. Under the AFA headline is a photograph of Westboro Baptist Church preacher Fred Phelps holding a sign reading “No special law for f***.”  American Family Association has absolutely no affiliation with the controversial church group known for picketing the funerals of American service members.  

“I had to show Americans what our soldiers are now being taught,” said the soldier who asked not to be identified. “I couldn’t just let this one pass.”  The soldier said a chaplain interrupted the briefing and challenged the instructor’s assertion that AFA is a hate group.

“The instructor said AFA could be considered a hate group because they don’t like gays,” the soldier told me. “The slide was talking about how AFA refers to gays as sinners and heathens and derogatory terms.”

The soldier, who is an evangelical Christian, said the chaplain defended the Christian ministry.  “He kept asking the instructor, ‘Are you sure about that, son? Are you sure about that?’” he said, recalling the back and forth.  Later in the briefing, the soldiers were reportedly told that they could face punishment for participating in organizations that are considered hate groups.  That considered, the soldier contacted me because he is a financial contributor to the AFA ministry.

“I donate to AFA as often as I can,” he said. “Am I going to be punished? I listen to American Family Radio all day. If they hear it on my radio, will I be faced with a Uniformed Code of Military Justice charge?”

The soldier said he was “completely taken back by this blatant attack not only on the AFA but Christians and our beliefs.”  It’s not the first time the Army has accused conservative Christian groups of being domestic hate groups.

Earlier this year, I exposed Army briefings that classified evangelical Christians and Catholics as examples of religious extremism.  Another briefing told officers to pay close attention to troops who supported groups like AFA and the Family Research Council.  One officer said the two Christian ministries did not “share our Army Values.”

“When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values – don’t just walk by – do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem,” the officer wrote in an email to his subordinates.  At the time the military assured me those briefings were isolated incidents and did not reflect official Army policy.  If that’s true, how do they explain what happened at Camp Shelby?

I contacted the Pentagon for an answer but they referred me to Army public affairs. And so far – they haven’t returned my calls.  And their claim that the classifications are “isolated” is not washing with AFA.

“The American Family Association has received numerous accounts of military installations as well as law enforcement agencies using a list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which wrongfully identifies and defames AFA,” reads a statement they sent me.

Bryan Fischer hosts a talk show on American Family Radio. He called the Army’s allegations “libelous, slanderous and blatantly false.”  “This mischaracterization of AFA is reprehensible and inexcusable,” he told me. “We have many military members who are a part of the AFA network who know these accusations are a tissue of lies.”

Fischer said their views on gay marriage and homosexuality are not hate – it’s simply a disagreement.  “If our military wasn’t headed by a commander-in-chief who is hostile to Christian faith, these allegations would be laughed off every military base in the world,” he said.

Hiram Sasser, of the Liberty Institute, told me the Army’s briefing is a smear.  He recalled what President Obama said last year when Muslim extremists attacked our diplomatic outpost in Libya.  “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths,” President Obama said. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”

Sasser said he wished the president and the Army would treat the American Family Association with the same deference and respect they show those who mean to harm us.  “Why must the Army in this administration continue to attack Americans of faith and smear them?” Sasser wondered.  It appears the current administration is separating the military from the American people – and planting seeds of doubt about Christians and some of our nation’s most prominent Christian ministries.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations.

On Oct 31st, a directive from the Pentagon went out: Due to recurring Equal Opportunity (EO) challenges, the FORSCOM DCG has directed an Equal Opportunity Training Stand-down.
All units will immediately suspend all Unit EO training to include the Equal Opportunity Leader's Course (EOLC). 

TASKS TO COMMANDERS: a. Emphasize that neither DoD nor the Army maintain or publish any centralized list of specific organizations considered to be extremist in nature or in opposition to the Army's core values.

Sent by Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

Cocho peers out from his “Cochotunnel.”

Strangers in a strange land


Devon G. Peña | Seattle, WA | October 27, 2013
The politics of deportation | Who are the deportees?

Life & death in an impromptu deportees’ camp
Photos by David Maung.

Here is a report on my recent visit to San Diego and what I learned about deportees living in ñongos, hoyos, alcantarillas, and under bridges and laderas y bordos.   The new study by Laura Velasco's team from Colegio de la Frontera Norte is highlighted. Please share this information.   Go to:     Devon G. Peña, Ph.D.

While the Obama Administration continues to make news by breaking the record number of deportations, the U.S. and Mexican publics actually know very little about the demographic background, socioeconomic status, and living conditions of the deportees. I just returned from a lecture tour to San Diego and what I learned is very troubling.
It has been infuriating to witness the unfolding of the Obama Administration’s deportation policies, which have been driven by a monthly quota system established back in 2009 and designed to serve the demands of private correctional and prison corporations for a steady stream of bodies to fill the 34,000 beds in the nondescript and semi-secret detention centers built across the country since the end of the Bush II years. We first reported on this activity in October 2010 – see Detaining Profits – and will revisit the privatization of prison and detention institutions in a forthcoming post.
Bloomberg reported on the 34K bed quota story back in September and made a critical point clearly illustrating the influence not just of the prison corporations but Wall Street’s role in the financialization of capital, which has fed the growth of the industry by providing a steady flow of investors including banks like Wells Fargo:
Prisons are one of the few institutions that states and the federal government have moved to privatize, creating a booming business for Corrections Corp. (CXW) and [the] Geo [Group], the two publicly traded companies that dominate the market. Both actively lobby Congress. Serving as government jailer has been a hit on Wall Street, as Corrections Corp. and Geo have each about doubled in value since mid-2010. [brackets added]
Significant knowledge and information about the human costs and impacts of deportation are easily lost amid the noise of the policy debates, right-wing diatribes, and endless moralizing. Worst of all is the excessive, and yet increasingly mainstream, racist ideological clutter that fills the airwaves and the Web social networks with messages of hatred, fear, and ignorance. This banal noise feeds the telluric passions of the rightwing partisans.
More people need to recognize and protest the fact that the mainstream media and dominant political discourses are obscuring the human side of this story. The vitriolic debating and endless diatribe among pundits, analysts, and politicos produces a deafening silence. The only decent human beings one can try to listen to – if you can get past the noisy echo chambers and polemical din of the two political parties – are the immigrants and indigenous diaspora peoples themselves.
We know very little about the qualities of the persons being deported. Who are they? How did they come to the U.S.? How long did they live in the U.S. and what did they do? Did they attend public schools? Did they go to church? Do they speak English or Spanish? What is their sexual identity and gender? Did they leave family behind? How is their health? Are they finding jobs in Mexico? What about housing and health care? What are their needs? Are they getting support in Mexico?
There are plenty of questions like this that have been largely overlooked or ignored by mainstream media coverage of the deportation campaign that has so far resulted in the apprehension and expulsion of close to 2 million persons since Obama took office in 2009. Critics have claimed that these policies are destroying families, disrupting communities, and endangering the health and livelihoods of thousands of deportees. Yet, we shamefully know very little about the burgeoning deportee population. They have been rendered “minimal” humans; the disappeared; the forgotten; mere ghosts in deportee camps, companions of the shadows.
The venerable Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana has released the results of a timely and important study that will help us bring a clearer and more poignant human face to the story of deportation. The report focuses on an informal deportee camp located along the length of a canal in that hilly and ravine-filled border city. I first heard about this study while visiting with Professor Norma Iglesias, Chair of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at San Diego State University (SDSU). I was in town during a lecture visit this past week.
To prepare this post, I also spoke with several other persons in San Diego who have direct knowledge of the situation facing deportees in Tijuana; this included Elisa Sabatini of Via Internaciónal. I have also relied on the on-line copy of the report and posts about the study to the Colegio de la Frontera Norte website this past week. Any errors in translation from Spanish are my sole responsibility.
Graffiti scrawled on the bordo of the Tijuana River reads, “AMERICAN”
Not born. Made in the USA
One would think that the storyline from the comedy film by Cheech Marin, “Born in East LA,” has become reality. For those of you unfamiliar with the 1987 movie, the plot basically involves a Chicano by the name of “Rudy” played by Marin who was born and raised in East Los Angeles but is mistaken for an undocumented immigrant and promptly deported to Tijuana. He barely speaks a word of Spanish but eventually makes his way back home. Unfortunately, the reality is much more complicated and tragic than Marin’s comic take on the racist politics of deportation.

About a quarter of the young people dumped into Mexico under the Obama Administration’s full-throttle deportation mode are what we might call “DREAMer deportees”. These youth don’t even speak Spanish and are in Mexico for the first time. They grew up and attended schools in the United States. They are in effect the cultural but not the legal citizens of the United States, and a good many do not even have Mexican birth certificates. Of course, nearly all of them were brought into the U.S. as minor children.
Some of the deported youth are stranded in northern states and cities along the border but a good number have been deported to central Mexico including groups now stranded in various parts of Mexico City and even small cities across the state of Jalisco. They are truly strangers in a strange land but they are also being reduced to the status of “stateless” people – unwanted by the governments on either side of the border.
According to a new study by social scientists from the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF), most of the persons being deported to Mexico are young males and a good number are actually monolingual English speakers. A few are former gang members and many report using drugs. This last quality, of course, makes them less sympathetic figures in the symbolic politics of the real-world tragedy of deportation currently unfolding across our country.
COLEF is one of the principal research centers that conducts social scientific studies of immigration and the border. A new COLEF study reveals much about the characteristics of the deported population and the atrocious and inhumane conditions they face once they are in Mexico. According the researchers there is a distorted institutional view about migrants living in Tijuana and the deportees “face constant violations of human rights, the need for shelter programs, credentialing and border communication, re-employment, prevention and rehabilitation, and support to return to place of origin”. The abuses perpetrated against this vulnerable population by the municipal police of Tijuana also need to be addressed.
Dr. Laura Velasco, a cultural anthropologist with a distinguished record of research on immigration, led the research team that conducted the study, “El bordo del canal del río Tijuana: Estimación y características de la población” [The Border of the Tijuana River Canal: Estimates and Characteristics of the Population]. The title is a reference to an area of downtown Tijuana, running a length of two kilometers, where many of the deportees have settled after their eviction from a deportation camp around August 5. Dr. Velasco and her research colleagues found between 700 and 1000 people living in so-called ñongos – improvised shelters made from scraps of wood, plastic, tires, and other recycled materials. Others are living inside pits (hoyos) sewers (alcantarillas), under bridges (puentes), or on the canal slopes (laderas y bordo).
Between August and September of this year, the COLEF research team conducted survey interviews with 401 inhabitants living on the bordo – the border or slope – of a two kilometer-long strip of land inside the downtown canal. The impromptu deportee camp was established in August 6 and started with 20 tents. By September 20 the researchers counted 300 tents amidst the 700 ñongos. According to the results, 42 percent of these deportees have resided in Tijuana less than a year and about 17 percent had received all their schooling in the U.S. More than half (52 percent) of them speak English while a smaller portion (6 percent) speak an indigenous language.
Tijuana police remove homeless encampments from the Tijuana River channel in August. Photo by SSPM.

The vast majority of the deportees (53 percent) were born in Baja California, Sinaloa, Michoacán, and Guerrero. About 91 percent were undocumented immigrants deported against their will and 8.5 percent returned by choice. [Editor’s note: They agreed to sign voluntary departure orders.] A significant portion, close to 73 percent, had resided in the State of California and most of those had been in the state for more than six years. Only 29 percent of the deportees have been able to maintain contact with family north of the border.
One of the assumptions the media and public in the U.S. have made about the deportations is that the persons involved are criminals or drug addicts. The Velasco study found that 29 percent had never used drugs. However, of the 71 percent who reported drug use, about 20 percent started their drug use after arriving in ‘el Bordo’, suggesting that squalid and stressful conditions in the deportee camp encourage consumption of drugs.
The camp inhabitants are trying their best to make a living and the study found that 41 percent are cleaning cars (e.g., washing windows on cars crossing the border); 20 percent work in the mercado (town market); 44 percent work in recycling (presumably at the city garbage dump) or jobs in masonry and similar trades; a mere 10 percent report panhandling for money.
Problems with the agents of the repressive state apparatus continue south of the border and almost all of el Bordo residents – 94 percent – have been detained or arrested by Tijuana municipal police. The reasons for arrests vary and 34 percent reported being arrested for a lack of proper Mexican identification; 33 percent were detained for being homeless and “wandering” (por deambular); and 15 percent were arrested because of their appearance (su aspecto).
Most of the respondents shared testimonies of police abuse and 44 percent reported physical abuse while 52 percent said they were verbally abused. Police harassment of the detainees is frequent and about 70 percent of the respondents said they are arrested and detained by the police at least once a week.
Unsurprisingly, the study found that 38 percent of the deportees wish to return to the U.S. and only 26 percent are willing to stay in Tijuana and have a job. Only 13 percent of them list the wish to be reunited with family in the U.S. as their priority and about 7 percent (6.6) want to return to their place of origin and this involves in many cases locales in the central states of Mexico far from the border.
While deportations increased by 33 percent between 2007 and 2009, Dr. Marie-Laure Coubès of COLEF explains that the flow of deportees has decreased by two-thirds, especially in female population. The government collects data through the ongoing Survey on Migration in the Northern Border of Mexico (EMIF). That source reports on the characteristics of the deportees on a national scale and the most recent data collected indicates that 100,000 persons had more than one year of residency in the U.S. with an average of 8.5 years. In about 77 percent of the cases, deportees reported that this involves involuntary and unwanted separation from family. The undocumented immigrants are deported to Tijuana, Mexicali, and Matamoros mainly, but also to San Luis Río Colorado, Nogales and Nuevo Laredo.
The majority of the deportees (about 69 percent) wish to return to the U.S. and persons with five or more years of residence north of the border are more likely to harbor that desire.
Deportees across Mexico face a condition of extreme precarity and the trauma of an abrupt condition of homelessness; most had homes in the U.S. or at least family members or friends to live with. The COLEF and EMIF research suggests these conditions of precariousness are associated with higher levels of drug abuse, obesity, diabetes, suicidal thinking, and mental illness. The EMIF data on deportees suggests the population has a 0.8 percent rate of HIV prevalence but an unusually high level of resistance to anti-tuberculosis drugs as a result of trends in California.
The research report offers some policy recommendations including: (1) establishment of shelter programs; (2) ‘credentialing’ of the deportees (i.e., issuing of Mexican identity documents); (3) support for cross-border communication; (4) integration into the local and national workforce (reinserción laboral); (5) drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation; (6) government support for a return to the place of origin; and (7) a comprehensive review of the municipal police arrests.
Virginia Martínez, deported from Los Angeles, walks along “El Bordo”. Photo by Aurelia Ventura | La Opinión

We already know that the U.S. government is guilty of ripping families apart and undermining the welfare of entire communities. There is a generalized sense of dread and disgust with the U.S. federal and many state governments for the extremist anti-immigrant laws and repressive over-policing of our communities. What the COLEF study starts to reveal are the myriad harmful impacts of the deportation program on those who have been removed from the country and sent to mostly unfamiliar destinations without social ties to the deportees.
Human rights violations
Dr. Maria Pombo Dolores, author of a book on the Triqui diaspora and a COLEF professor associated with the research team working on the EMIF encuesta, also addressed the press conference announcing the results of the study. She spoke of human rights violations and highlighted “breaches against the freedom of movement, physical security and physical integrity.” She stated that migrants “are arbitrarily arrested by the police, with the pretext of immoral behavior or minor infractions” and that all of these pretexts “go beyond what is Constitutionally permissible.” The most common legal ruse for the arrests is the allegation of drug consumption but the professor noted that, “according to the federal criminal code, consumption is not punished in our country”.
The main violator of the deportees’ human rights is the municipal police: More than 93 percent of the deportees who live along the Tijuana canal bordo have been arrested or detained by the local police; 44 percent of these reported physical assaults by the police; and 32 percent reported theft of property or destruction of documents by the police.
The COLEF report on the deportee camp reveals much about Mexico’s betrayal of the forcibly repatriated, many of whom were mere toddlers or younger children when they were first forced to leave their birthplace nation. It should go without saying that Mexico’s minimalist post-liberal state is neglecting the deportees’ needs for shelter, health care, basic nutrition, education, and perhaps, especially, legal support and political backing for the assertion of their right of return to the U.S.
The condition of precarity facing the deportees is more than a state of exception in which ‘undocumented” bodies are left to go homeless, hungry, and jobless. It is more like a state of political extinction – they are literally without legal status in either nation. They are being treated as “stateless” people. This precarious but completely contrived condition of statelessness is what apparently allows police authorities on both sides of the border to treat the deportees as somehow existing in a liminal state – betwixt and between – and thus outside the sphere of the protection of the law; perhaps even outside the realm of common [sic] humanity.
I am reminded of a statement by Hannah Arendt who once observed, “Only with a completely organized humanity could the loss of home and political status become identical with expulsion from humanity altogether.”


Next Steps for the American Latino Museum
Federalist Paper #46, by James Madison: How to Take Action Against Your Government 

The new Executive Director of Friends of the National American Latino Museum

Next Steps for the American Latino Museum

By Susana G. Baumann

9 November 2013


The new Executive Director of Friends of the National American Latino Museum is ready to campaign for legislation approval and economic support of this well-deserved recognition of the US Latino community.

A project long due to the Latino community in the United States, the Friends of the National American Latino Museum (FRIENDS) face two major challenges in the near future. On one hand, the approval of legislation that would ensure not only the project’s concretion but also its site at the National Mall, adjacent to other Smithsonian museums. On the other, they need to raise an estimated $650 million to build the museum.

National American Latino Museum.This hefty weight has been placed on Estuardo Rodriguez shoulders as the new Executive Director of the institution. Rodriguez brings a great deal of experience and understanding of the project’s goals as he has been involved in it since FRIENDS’ creation.

“Our schools keep teaching the foundational history of the United States ignoring the important role that Hispanics had in it,” said Rodriguez to VOXXI. “You cannot keep telling the story without mentioning the large territories where Spaniards were settled way before English colonies were established, and the role that generations of Latinos have played in the construction of this nation.”

In fact, historian Juan Gonzalez describes the first Spanish expeditions into North America territory starting in 1513, one hundred years before the Mayflower’s arrival to these shores.

The American Latino Museum: Although a group of recognized Latino leaders started designing the idea in 2005, FRIENDS has been working relentlessly since 2008 in the realization of a museum that would showcase, celebrate and educate the vibrant and diverse history and culture of the American Latino experience while highlighting the contributions made by its leaders, pioneers and communities.

“The American Latino Museum is not only a matter of justice, it is a matter of historical accuracy,” Rodriguez said.

Next steps in the life of the project: In this newly created position, Rodriguez has two primary goals. “We are working at creating a solid base of support for the project. We already have 350K plus people in social media that have expressed their interest and approval. The museum has not been built yet and it has more support than any other museum in the country,” he shared.

The other primary goal is to build a national effort to push forward legislation currently in Congress. The President has already signaled his approval and in Congress, the act has bipartisan support.

US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) reintroduced this bipartisan bill in the Senate and House of Representatives back in March of this year.

The bill seeks the location of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum within the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries building on the National Mall.

This authorization of the museum’s location follows recommendations of the 2011 report by the bipartisan Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of American Latino, established by law in 2008.

“Although there is a narrow window of opportunity, we still hope it will be approved before the end of the year,” Rodriguez said.

Funding, an important issue to be considered: The third issue Rodriguez would tackle in his new position is funding for the new project.

The idea of the Commission was to support the project with a mix of community funding and deferred government appropriation. The report states that no “federal appropriation would be necessary for the first six years upon establishment of the museum” based on private donations that would afford the pre-design and pre-construction phases of the project.

“We estimate the cost in $650 million for the total project, so our goal is to raise half in mixed donations from corporate, organizations, supporters and the community itself,” Rodriguez said. “Our goal is to draw those donations to be used in the initial stages of planning starting in 2014 upon approval of the bill.”

Competing projects? In 2011, a similar project was also introduced in Congress calling for a commission to study the proposed creation of the National Museum of the American People. According to its description, it will include “every American ethnic and cultural group coming to this land and nation from every corner of the world, from the first people through today.”

According to Rodriguez, these are two very different projects and they do not compete with each other.

The FRIENDS project has been in the making for over two decades, the Executive Director said. It has been the result of an effort that originated in a Smithsonian Institution task force report in which the institution was accused of “willful neglect” of Hispanic contributions.

“Our conversation in the media about Latinos is limited to immigration and immigration reform, to the idea of what the Latino community is today as if we had not been here before. In truth, we are part of the earlier foundation of this country. We have to direct the conversation to a more inclusive perspective of Latino contributions,” he said.

The initiative needs support to pass in Congress. Although many Republicans in the House have expressed their positive outlook, Rodriguez is asking the general population to contact their Representatives in every state to generate momentum at this very important phase of the project


James Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution,” had some advice for what to do, and it doesn’t include relying on the federal government to stop the federal government.

In Federalist #46, he gave us a four-step plan to successfully resist – in our states – federal actions we consider either unconstitutional, or “unpopular.”

1. Disquietude of the people: Madison expected the people would throw a fit when the feds usurped power – even using the word “repugnance” to describe their displeasure.

2. Refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union: Noncompliance. The feds rely on cooperation from state and local governments. When enough people refuse to comply, they simply can’t enforce their so-called laws, regulations, or mandates.

3. The frowns of the executive magistracy of the State: Here, Madison envisioned governors formally protesting federal actions. This not only raises public awareness; executive leadership will also move things to the next step.

4. Legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions: An example of this is the use of state and local legislation – laws and resolutions – either protesting or resisting the federal acts.


This is effective stuff.

James Madison said that if a number of states followed this path it would “present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed recently. He said if an entire state refused to comply with a federal law, this would make it “nearly impossible to enforce.”



How the Spanish Deaf Taught Others to Express Themselves by Mariana Correa
Programs of the Odyssey Projects
Feria Cardenas/ Feria Educativa  Draws 130,000 in Attendance 
How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses  

“How the Spanish Deaf Taught Others to Express Themselves” by Mariana Correa

HISPANIC LINK, Nov 4, 2013
vol 31 no 17
Hispanic Link, a news source targeting Latinos for 32 years, has kept up the pace with the latest news and latest technology for delivering the news in a compact, magazine format.   In addition, Hispanic Link  still reaches back into history and finds worthy Hispanic contributions. 

In the November issue Mariana Correa wrote a fascinating article on “How the Spanish Deaf Taught Others to Express Themselves”

In 1620, Juan Pablo Bonet, a Spanish priest in Castille who served the constable of Castille, observed how the constable’s deaf son was taught. With that example, Bonet developed a sign language.  So, the first language to use signing by the deaf was Spanish.  Ms. Correa explains that the same challenges faced by bilingual people adapting to non-native languages, are faced by the deaf, along with other cultural trials.

This is a well researched study, which discusses the difficulties of providing a bilingual/trilingual approach for Latinos facing the challenges of being deaf.  Most classes in the United States use American Sign Language, which is based on English.  Dr. Barbara Gerner de García, department chair of education at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., a leading higher-education institution for the deaf, believes that the resistance to trilingual education comes basically from resistance to the Spanish language itself.

Data reveals that Latinos account for nearly 25% of the national deaf.
You may reach Link reporter, Mariana Correa at  

Hispanic Link
1420 N St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 234-0280


Programs of the Odyssey Projects


General program inquiries can be directed to:

Fall 2011 Odyssey philosophy class, led by Faculty Coordinator, Professor Cris Mayo.The Odyssey Project completed its sixth year in spring 2012. Since fall 2006, the Odyssey Project has offered a free, college-accredited course in the humanities to members of the Champaign-Urbana community who fall at or near the poverty level. The yearlong course offers students intensive study in philosophy, art history, literature, U.S. history, and critical thinking and writing. Classes taught by University of Illinois faculty and graduate students take place every Thursday from September to May in the seminar room at IPRH or at the Douglass Branch Library in Champaign. Tuition is free, as are books, transportation, and childcare.

The Odyssey Project is made possible by the generous financial and institutional support of the Office of the Chancellor, the College of Education, and the Illinois Humanities Council. This year we’ve moved into the College of Education and are creating connections with other community-based educational programs, Education Justice Project (directed by Professor Rebecca Ginsburg) and Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truth (SOLHOT, directed by Professor Ruth Nicole Brown), as well as drawing on the instructional talents of a number of our graduate students there. We continue to be grateful for the support of IPRH, where the Odyssey Project was initiated at Illinois and was incubated for its first five years. The IPRH continues to provide some financial support as well as space for our graduate student coordinator and our weekly classes. Through its programs, Odyssey helps keep alive the public service mission of the Morrill Act that founded the University of Illinois.

We are pleased to announce that nine students graduated this past May.Students who complete the course receive six credits of transferable humanities credit from Bard College and have used that credit to complete degrees already in progress or begin their higher education studies. Several students have continued their education beyond Odyssey at the University of Illinois and Parkland College, as well as the University of Denver, Stanford, and Eastern Illinois University.

Instructors for 2011–12 were Odyssey Faculty Director Cris Mayo (Education Policy, Organization and Leadership/Gender and Women’s Studies), philosophy; Jennifer Burns (Art History), art history; Spencer Schaffner (English/Writing Studies), literature; Kathy Oberdeck (History), U.S. history; and Odyssey Graduate Student Coordinator Michael Burns (English/Writing Studies), critical thinking and writing.



Feria Cardenas/ Feria Educativa  Draws 130,000 in Attendance 


Today's' unprecedented event drew in 130,000 Latino families, exceeding our expectations and projections, making it the “most attended Latino educational expo ever”! The theme of "UNA BUENA EDUCACION" permeated the full day of free fun, food and entertainment.

Thank you to the Cardenas family for graciously hosting an educational fair for our So-Cal / Inland communities, and building a better future with a generous donation of $483,000 toward educational scholarships.

With a steering committee composed of a broad array of community stakeholders and organizations, coordinated by LEAD/CSUSB, and jointly planned with the Partners of the IE Regional Collaborative, our Educational Zone involved, engaged, inspired, and informed families along their educational journey.

El Tema – "UNA BUENA EDUCACION" - con los objetivos de:

1) Entusiasmar los jovenes acerca su camino al colegio comunitario o universidad, y/o a una carrera professional.

2) Involucrar a los padres y las familias, y ofrecer oportunidades para entender su papel en el proceso.

3) Exhibir materiales de información pertinente al bienestar de la comunidad.

4) Generar un compromiso colectivo.

* el “Inland region” tenía el aumento más grande de Hispanos entre 2000 y 2010 de cualquier área metropolitana en los Estados Unidos.

Thank you - Gracias, EM

Enrique G. Murillo, Jr., Ph.D., Professor and Executive Director
LEAD Organization
California State University San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway / Room CE-305
San Bernardino, CA 92407
LEAD - Latino Education Projects
Tel: 909-537-5632 
Fax: 909-537-7040



How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash

  a Generation of Geniuses
By Joshua Davis
These students in Matamoros, Mexico, didn’t have reliable Internet access, steady electricity, or much hope—
until a radical new teaching method unlocked their potential. Yang

José Urbina López Primary School sits next to a dump just across the US border in Mexico. The school serves residents of Matamoros, a dusty, sunbaked city of 489,000 that is a flash point in the war on drugs. There are regular shoot-outs, and it’s not uncommon for locals to find bodies scattered in the street in the morning. To get to the school, students walk along a white dirt road that parallels a fetid canal. On a recent morning there was a 1940s-era tractor, a decaying boat in a ditch, and a herd of goats nibbling gray strands of grass. A cinder-block barrier separates the school from a wasteland—the far end of which is a mound of trash that grew so big, it was finally closed down. On most days, a rotten smell drifts through the cement-walled classrooms. Some people here call the school un lugar de castigo—“a place of punishment.”

For 12-year-old Paloma Noyola Bueno, it was a bright spot. More than 25 years ago, her family moved to the border from central Mexico in search of a better life. Instead, they got stuck living beside the dump. Her father spent all day scavenging for scrap, digging for pieces of aluminum, glass, and plastic in the muck. Recently, he had developed nosebleeds, but he didn’t want Paloma to worry. She was his little angel—the youngest of eight children.

After school, Paloma would come home and sit with her father in the main room of their cement-and-wood home. Her father was a weather-beaten, gaunt man who always wore a cowboy hat. Paloma would recite the day’s lessons for him in her crisp uniform—gray polo, blue-and-white skirt—and try to cheer him up. She had long black hair, a high forehead, and a thoughtful, measured way of talking. School had never been challenging for her. She sat in rows with the other students while teachers told the kids what they needed to know. It wasn’t hard to repeat it back, and she got good grades without thinking too much. As she headed into fifth grade, she assumed she was in for more of the same—lectures, memorization, and busy work.

Sergio Juárez Correa was used to teaching that kind of class. For five years, he had stood in front of students and worked his way through the government-mandated curriculum. It was mind-numbingly boring for him and the students, and he’d come to the conclusion that it was a waste of time. Test scores were poor, and even the students who did well weren’t truly engaged. Something had to change.

Elementary school teacher Sergio Juárez Correa, 31, upended his teaching methods, revealing extraordinary abilities in his 12-year-old student Paloma Noyola Bueno.

He too had grown up beside a garbage dump in Matamoros, and he had become a teacher to help kids learn enough to make something more of their lives. So in 2011—when Paloma entered his class—Juárez Correa decided to start experimenting. He began reading books and searching for ideas online. Soon he stumbled on a video describing the work of Sugata Mitra, a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University in the UK. In the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, Mitra conducted experiments in which he gave children in India access to computers. Without any instruction, they were able to teach themselves a surprising variety of things, from DNA replication to English.  

Juárez Correa didn’t know it yet, but he had happened on an emerging educational philosophy, one that applies the logic of the digital age to the classroom. That logic is inexorable: Access to a world of infinite information has changed how we communicate, process information, and think. Decentralized systems have proven to be more productive and agile than rigid, top-down ones. Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking are increasingly crucial to the global economy.  



And yet the dominant model of public education is still fundamentally rooted in the industrial revolution that spawned it, when workplaces valued punctuality, regularity, attention, and silence above all else. (In 1899, William T. Harris, the US commissioner of education, celebrated the fact that US schools had developed the “appearance of a machine,” one that teaches the student “to behave in an orderly manner, to stay in his own place, and not get in the way of others.”) We don’t openly profess those values nowadays, but our educational system—which routinely tests kids on their ability to recall information and demonstrate mastery of a narrow set of skills—doubles down on the view that students are material to be processed, programmed, and quality-tested. School administrators prepare curriculum standards and “pacing guides” that tell teachers what to teach each day. Legions of managers supervise everything that happens in the classroom; in 2010 only 50 percent of public school staff members in the US were teachers.

The results speak for themselves: Hundreds of thousands of kids drop out of public high school every year. Of those who do graduate from high school, almost a third are “not prepared academically for first-year college courses,” according to a 2013 report from the testing service ACT. The World Economic Forum ranks the US just 49th out of 148 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction. “The fundamental basis of the system is fatally flawed,” says Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford and founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. “In 1970 the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1999 the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. We need schools that are developing these skills.”

That’s why a new breed of educators, inspired by everything from the Internet to evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and AI, are inventing radical new ways for children to learn, grow, and thrive. To them, knowledge isn’t a commodity that’s delivered from teacher to student but something that emerges from the students’ own curiosity-fueled exploration. Teachers provide prompts, not answers, and then they step aside so students can teach themselves and one another. They are creating ways for children to discover their passion—and uncovering a generation of geniuses in the process.

At home in Matamoros, Juárez Correa found himself utterly absorbed by these ideas. And the more he learned, the more excited he became. On August 21, 2011—the start of the school year — he walked into his classroom and pulled the battered wooden desks into small groups. When Paloma and the other students filed in, they looked confused. Juárez Correa invited them to take a seat and then sat down with them.

He started by telling them that there were kids in other parts of the world who could memorize pi to hundreds of decimal points. They could write symphonies and build robots and airplanes. Most people wouldn’t think that the students at José Urbina López could do those kinds of things. Kids just across the border in Brownsville, Texas, had laptops, high-speed Internet, and tutoring, while in Matamoros the students had intermittent electricity, few computers, limited Internet, and sometimes not enough to eat.

“But you do have one thing that makes you the equal of any kid in the world,” Juárez Correa said. “Potential.”

He looked around the room. “And from now on,” he told them, “we’re going to use that potential to make you the best students in the world.”

Paloma was silent, waiting to be told what to do. She didn’t realize that over the next nine months, her experience of school would be rewritten, tapping into an array of educational innovations from around the world and vaulting her and some of her classmates to the top of the math and language rankings in Mexico.

“So,” Juárez Correa said, “what do you want to learn?”

In 1999, Sugata Mitra was chief scientist at a company in New Delhi that trains software developers. His office was on the edge of a slum, and on a hunch one day, he decided to put a computer into a nook in a wall separating his building from the slum. He was curious to see what the kids would do, particularly if he said nothing. He simply powered the computer on and watched from a distance. To his surprise, the children quickly figured out how to use the machine.

Over the years, Mitra got more ambitious. For a study published in 2010, he loaded a computer with molecular biology materials and set it up in Kalikuppam, a village in southern India. He selected a small group of 10- to 14-year-olds and told them there was some interesting stuff on the computer, and might they take a look? Then he applied his new pedagogical method: He said no more and left.

Over the next 75 days, the children worked out how to use the computer and began to learn. When Mitra returned, he administered a written test on molecular biology. The kids answered about one in four questions correctly. After another 75 days, with the encouragement of a friendly local, they were getting every other question right. “If you put a computer in front of children and remove all other adult restrictions, they will self-organize around it,” Mitra says, “like bees around a flower.”

A charismatic and convincing proselytizer, Mitra has become a darling in the tech world. In early 2013 he won a $1 million grant from TED, the global ideas conference, to pursue his work. He’s now in the process of establishing seven “schools in the cloud,” five in India and two in the UK. In India, most of his schools are single-room buildings. There will be no teachers, curriculum, or separation into age groups—just six or so computers and a woman to look after the kids’ safety. His defining principle: “The children are completely in charge.”

“The bottom line is, if you’re not the one controlling your learning, you’re not going to learn as well.”

Mitra argues that the information revolution has enabled a style of learning that wasn’t possible before. The exterior of his schools will be mostly glass, so outsiders can peer in. Inside, students will gather in groups around computers and research topics that interest them. He has also recruited a group of retired British teachers who will appear occasionally on large wall screens via Skype, encouraging students to investigate their ideas—a process Mitra believes best fosters learning. He calls them the Granny Cloud. “They’ll be life-size, on two walls” Mitra says. “And the children can always turn them off.”

Mitra’s work has roots in educational practices dating back to Socrates. Theorists from Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi to Jean Piaget and Maria Montessori have argued that students should learn by playing and following their curiosity. Einstein spent a year at a Pestalozzi-inspired school in the mid-1890s, and he later credited it with giving him the freedom to begin his first thought experiments on the theory of relativity. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin similarly claim that their Montessori schooling imbued them with a spirit of independence and creativity.

In recent years, researchers have begun backing up those theories with evidence. In a 2011 study, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Iowa scanned the brain activity of 16 people sitting in front of a computer screen. The screen was blurred out except for a small, movable square through which subjects could glimpse objects laid out on a grid. Half the time, the subjects controlled the square window, allowing them to determine the pace at which they examined the objects; the rest of the time, they watched a replay of someone else moving the window. The study found that when the subjects controlled their own observations, they exhibited more coordination between the hippocampus and other parts of the brain involved in learning and posted a 23 percent improvement in their ability to remember objects. “The bottom line is, if you’re not the one who’s controlling your learning, you’re not going to learn as well,” says lead researcher Joel Voss, now a neuroscientist at Northwestern University.

In 2009, scientists from the University of Louisville and MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences conducted a study of 48 children between the ages of 3 and 6. The kids were presented with a toy that could squeak, play notes, and reflect images, among other things. For one set of children, a researcher demonstrated a single attribute and then let them play with the toy. Another set of students was given no information about the toy. This group played longer and discovered an average of six attributes of the toy; the group that was told what to do discovered only about four. A similar study at UC Berkeley demonstrated that kids given no instruction were much more likely to come up with novel solutions to a problem. “The science is brand-new, but it’s not as if people didn’t have this intuition before,” says coauthor Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.

Gopnik’s research is informed in part by advances in artificial intelligence. If you program a robot’s every movement, she says, it can’t adapt to anything unexpected. But when scientists build machines that are programmed to try a variety of motions and learn from mistakes, the robots become far more adaptable and skilled. The same principle applies to children, she says.

· A Brief History of Alternative Schools

New research shows what educators have long intuited: Letting kids pursue their own interests sharpens their hunger for knowledge. Here’s a look back at this approach. —Jason Kehe

470 BC
Socrates is born in Athens. He goes on to become a long-haired teacher who famously let students arrive at their own conclusions. His questioning, probing approach—the Socratic method—endures to this day.

Maria Montessori opens her first Children’s House in Rome, where kids are encouraged to play and teach themselves. Americans later visit her schools and see the Montessori method in action. It spreads worldwide.

The first Waldorf school opens in Stuttgart, Germany. Based on the ideas of philosopher Rudolf Steiner, it encourages self-motivated learning. Today, there are more than 1,000
Waldorf schools in 60 countries.

A. S. Neill founds the Summerhill School, where kids have the “freedom to go to lessons or stay away, freedom to play for days … or years if necessary.” Eventually, such democratic schools appear around the world.

Loris Malaguzzi vol­unteers to teach in a school that parents are building in a war-torn Italian village outside Reggio Emilia. The “Reggio Emilia approach”—a community of self-guided learning—is born.

Seymour Papert, a protégé of child psychologist Jean Piaget, helps create the first version of Logo, a programming language kids can use to teach themselves. He becomes a lifelong advocate for tech­nology’s role in learning.

Sugata Mitra conducts his first “hole in the wall” experiment in New Delhi, India. On their own, slum kids teach themselves to use a computer. Mitra dubs his approach minimally invasive education.

Ken Robinson gives what will become the most frequently viewed TED Talk ever: “
How Schools Kill Creativity.” Students should be free to make mistakes and pursue their own creative interests, Robinson argues.

The Common Core, a new set of curriculum standards that include student-centered learning, are adopted by 45 US states. Math students, say, should “start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem.”

· CREDITS: Waldorf School: courtesy of Waldorf School; Robinson: Robert Leslie; Malaguzzi: courtesy of Reggio Children; remaining: Getty Images  

                                  Students at Brooklyn Free School direct their own learning. There are no grades or formal assignments. Finke psychologists have also begun exploring this way of thinking. Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College who studies children’s natural ways of learning, argues that human cognitive machinery is fundamentally incompatible with conventional schooling. Gray points out that young children, motivated by curiosity and playfulness, teach themselves a tremendous amount about the world. And yet when they reach school age, we supplant that innate drive to learn with an imposed curriculum. “We’re teaching the child that his questions don’t matter, that what matters are the questions of the curriculum. That’s just not the way natural selection designed us to learn. It designed us to solve problems and figure things out that are part of our real lives.” 
Some school systems have begun to adapt to this new philosophy—with outsize results. In the 1990s, Finland pared the country’s elementary math curriculum from about 25 pages to four, reduced the school day by an hour, and focused on independence and active learning. By 2003, Finnish students had climbed from the lower rungs of international performance rankings to first place among developed nations. 

Nicholas Negroponte, cofounder of the MIT Media Lab, is taking this approach even further with his One Laptop per Child initiative. Last year the organization delivered 40 tablets to children in two remote villages in Ethiopia. Negroponte’s team didn’t explain how the devices work or even open the boxes. Nonetheless, the children soon learned to play back the alphabet song and taught themselves to write letters. They also figured out how to use the tablet’s camera. This was impressive because the organization had disabled camera usage. “They hacked Android,” Negroponte says. 

One day Juárez Correa went to his whiteboard and wrote “1 = 1.00.” Normally, at this point, he would start explaining the concept of fractions and decimals. Instead he just wrote “½ = ?” and “¼ = ?” 

“Think about that for a second,” he said, and walked out of the room. 

While the kids murmured, Juárez Correa went to the school cafeteria, where children could buy breakfast and lunch for small change. He borrowed about 10 pesos in coins, worth about 75 cents, and walked back to his classroom, where he distributed a peso’s worth of coins to each table. He noticed that Paloma had already written .50 and .25 on a piece of paper. 
“One peso is one peso,” he said. “What’s one-half?” 

Juárez Correa felt a chill. He had never encountered a student with Paloma’s level of innate ability. 

At first a number of kids divided the coins into clearly unequal piles. It sparked a debate among the students about what one-half meant. Juárez Correa’s training told him to intervene. But now he remembered Mitra’s research and resisted the urge. Instead, he watched as Alma Delia Juárez Flores explained to her tablemates that half means equal portions. She counted out 50 centavos. “So the answer is .50,” she said. The other kids nodded. It made sense. 

For Juárez Correa it was simultaneously thrilling and a bit scary. In Finland, teachers underwent years of training to learn how to orchestrate this new style of learning; he was winging it. He began experimenting with different ways of posing open-ended questions on subjects ranging from the volume of cubes to multiplying fractions. “The volume of a square-based prism is the area of the base times the height. The volume of a square-based pyramid is that formula divided by three,” he said one morning. “Why do you think that is?” 

He walked around the room, saying little. It was fascinating to watch the kids approach the answer. They were working in teams and had models of various shapes to look at and play with. The team led by Usiel Lemus Aquino, a short boy with an ever-present hopeful expression, hit on the idea of drawing the different shapes—prisms and pyramids. By layering the drawings on top of each other, they began to divine the answer. Juárez Correa let the kids talk freely. It was a noisy, slightly chaotic environment—exactly the opposite of the sort of factory-friendly discipline that teachers were expected to impose. But within 20 minutes, they had come up with the answer. 

“Three pyramids fit in one prism,” Usiel observed, speaking for the group. “So the volume of a pyramid must be the volume of a prism divided by three.” 

When Gauss was a schoolboy, one of his teachers asked the class to add up every number between 1 and 100. It was supposed to take an hour, but Gauss had the answer almost instantly. 

“Does anyone know how he did this?” Juárez Correa asked. 

A few students started trying to add up the numbers and soon realized it would take a long time. Paloma, working with her group, carefully wrote out a few sequences and looked at them for a moment. Then she raised her hand. 

“The answer is 5,050,” she said. “There are 50 pairs of 101.” 

Juárez Correa felt a chill. He’d never encountered a student with so much innate ability. He squatted next to her and asked why she hadn’t expressed much interest in math in the past, since she was clearly good at it. 

“Because no one made it this interesting,” she said. 

Our educational system is rooted in the industrial age. It values punctuality, attendance, and silence above all else. 

Paloma’s father got sicker. He continued working, but he was running a fever and suffering headaches. Finally he was admitted to the hospital, where his condition deteriorated; on February 27, 2012, he died of lung cancer. On Paloma’s last visit before he passed away, she sat beside him and held his hand. “You are a smart girl,” he said. “Study and make me proud.” 

Paloma missed four days of school for the funeral before returning to class. Her friends could tell she was distraught, but she buried her grief. She wanted to live up to her father’s last wish. And Juárez Correa’s new style of curating challenges for the kids was the perfect refuge for her. As he continued to relinquish control, Paloma took on more responsibility for her own education. He taught the kids about democracy by letting them elect leaders who would decide how to run the class and address discipline. The children elected five representatives, including Paloma and Usiel. When two boys got into a shoving match, the representatives admonished the boys, and the problem didn’t happen again. 

Juárez Correa spent his nights watching education videos. He read polemics by the Mexican cartoonist Eduardo del Río (known as Rius), who argued that kids should be free to explore whatever they want. He was also still impressed by Mitra, who talks about letting children “wander aimlessly around ideas.” Juárez Correa began hosting regular debates in class, and he didn’t shy away from controversial topics. He asked the kids if they thought homosexuality and abortion should be permitted. He asked them to figure out what the Mexican government should do, if anything, about immigration to the US. Once he asked a question, he would stand back and let them engage one another. 

A key component in Mitra’s theory was that children could learn by having access to the web, but that wasn’t easy for Juárez Correa’s students. The state paid for a technology instructor who visited each class once a week, but he didn’t have much technology to demonstrate. Instead, he had a batch of posters depicting keyboards, joysticks, and 3.5-inch floppy disks. He would hold the posters up and say things like, “This is a keyboard. You use it to type.” 

As a result, Juárez Correa became a slow-motion conduit to the Internet. When the kids wanted to know why we see only one side of the moon, for example, he went home, Googled it, and brought back an explanation the next day. When they asked specific questions about eclipses and the equinox, he told them he’d figure it out and report back.

Sugata Mitra’s research on student-led learning inspired Juárez Correa. Pinder  

Juárez Correa also brought something else back from the Internet. It was the fable of a forlorn burro trapped at the bottom of a well. Since thieves had broken into the school and sliced the electrical cord off of the classroom projector (presumably to sell the copper inside), he couldn’t actually show them the clip that recounted the tale. Instead, he simply described it. 

One day, a burro fell into a well, Juárez Correa began. It wasn’t hurt, but it couldn’t get out. The burro’s owner decided that the aged beast wasn’t worth saving, and since the well was dry, he would just bury both. He began to shovel clods of earth into the well. The burro cried out, but the man kept shoveling. Eventually, the burro fell silent. The man assumed the animal was dead, so he was amazed when, after a lot of shoveling, the burro leaped out of the well. It had shaken off each clump of dirt and stepped up the steadily rising mound until it was able to jump out. 

Juárez Correa looked at his class. “We are like that burro,” he said. “Everything that is thrown at us is an opportunity to rise out of the well we are in.” 

When the two-day national standardized exam took place in June 2012, Juárez Correa viewed it as just another pile of dirt thrown on the kids’ heads. It was a step back to the way school used to be for them: mechanical and boring. To prevent cheating, a coordinator from the Ministry of Education oversaw the proceedings and took custody of the answer sheets at the end of testing. It felt like a military exercise, but as the kids blasted through the questions, they couldn’t help noticing that it felt easy, as if they were being asked to do something very basic. 

Ricardo Zavala Hernandez, assistant principal at José Urbina López, drinks a cup of coffee most mornings as he browses the web in the admin building, a cement structure that houses the school’s two functioning computers. One day in September 2012, he clicked on the site for ENLACE, Mexico’s national achievement exam, and discovered that the results of the June test had been posted. 

Zavala Hernandez put down his coffee. Most of the classes had done marginally better this year—but Paloma’s grade was another story. The previous year, 45 percent had essentially failed the math section, and 31 percent had failed Spanish. This time only 7 percent failed math and 3.5 percent failed Spanish. And while none had posted an Excellent score before, 63 percent were now in that category in math. 

The language scores were very high. Even the lowest was well above the national average. Then he noticed the math scores. The top score in Juárez Correa’s class was 921. Zavala Hernandez looked over at the top score in the state: It was 921. When he saw the next box over, the hairs on his arms stood up. The top score in the entire country was also 921. 

He printed the page and speed-walked to Juárez Correa’s classroom.

The students stood up when he entered. “Take a look at this,” Zavala Hernandez said, handing him the printout. 

Juárez Correa scanned the results and looked up. “Is this for real?” he asked. 

“I just printed it off the ENLACE site,” the assistant principal responded. “It’s real.”

Juárez Correa noticed the kids staring at him, but he wanted to make sure he understood the report. 

He took a moment to read it again, nodded, and turned to the kids. 

“We have the results back from the ENLACE exam,” he said. “It’s just a test, and not a great one.” A number of students had a sinking feeling. They must have blown it. 

“But we have a student in this classroom who placed first in Mexico,” he said, breaking into a smile.

Paloma received the highest math score in the country, but the other students weren’t far behind. Ten got math scores that placed them in the 99.99th percentile. Three of them placed at the same high level in Spanish. The results attracted a quick burst of official and media attention in Mexico, most of which focused on Paloma. She was flown to Mexico City to appear on a popular TV show and received a variety of gifts, from a laptop to a bicycle. 

Juárez Correa himself got almost no recognition, despite the fact that nearly half of his class had performed at a world- class level and that even the lowest performers had markedly improved. 

His other students were congratulated by friends and family. The parents of Carlos Rodríguez Lamas, who placed in the 99.99th percentile in math, treated him to three steak tacos. It was his first time in a restaurant. Keila Francisco Rodríguez got 10 pesos from her parents. She bought a bag of Cheetos. The kids were excited. They talked about being doctors, teachers, and politicians. 

Juárez Correa had mixed feelings about the test. His students had succeeded because he had employed a new teaching method, one better suited to the way children learn. It was a model that emphasized group work, competition, creativity, and a student-led environment. So it was ironic that the kids had distinguished themselves because of a conventional multiple-choice test. “These exams are like limits for the teachers,” he says. “They test what you know, not what you can do, and I am more interested in what my students can do.” 

Like Juárez Correa, many education innovators are succeeding outside the mainstream. For example, the 11 Internationals Network high schools in New York City report a higher graduation rate than the city’s average for the same populations. They do it by emphasizing student-led learning and collaboration. At the coalition of Big Picture Learning schools—56 schools across the US and another 64 around the world—teachers serve as advisers, suggesting topics of interest; students also work with mentors from business and the community, who help guide them into internships. As the US on-time high school graduation rate stalls at about 75 percent, Big Picture is graduating more than 90 percent of its students. 

But these examples—involving only thousands of students—are the exceptions to the rule. The system as a whole educates millions and is slow to recognize or adopt successful innovation. It’s a system that was constructed almost two centuries ago to meet the needs of the industrial age. Now that our society and economy have evolved beyond that era, our schools must also be reinvented. 

For the time being, we can see what the future looks like in places like Juárez Correa’s classroom. We can also see that change will not come easily. Though Juárez Correa’s class posted impressive results, they inspired little change. Francisco Sánchez Salazar, chief of the Regional Center of Educational Development in Matamoros, was even dismissive. “The teaching method makes little difference,” he says. Nor does he believe that the students’ success warrants any additional help. “Intelligence comes from necessity,” he says. “They succeed without having resources.” 

More than ever, Juárez Correa felt like the burro in the story. But then he remembered Paloma. She had lost her father and was growing up on the edge of a garbage dump. Under normal circumstances, her prospects would be limited. But like the burro, she was shaking off the clods of dirt; she had begun climbing the rising mound out of the well. 

Like Juárez Correa, many education innovators are succeeding outside the mainstream. For example, the 11 Internationals Network high schools in New York City report a higher graduation rate than the city’s average for the same populations. They do it by emphasizing student-led learning and collaboration. At the coalition of Big Picture Learning schools—56 schools across the US and another 64 around the world—teachers serve as advisers, suggesting topics of interest; students also work with mentors from business and the community, who help guide them into internships. As the US on-time high school graduation rate stalls at about 75 percent, Big Picture is graduating more than 90 percent of its students. 

But these examples—involving only thousands of students—are the exceptions to the rule. The system as a whole educates millions and is slow to recognize or adopt successful innovation. It’s a system that was constructed almost two centuries ago to meet the needs of the industrial age. Now that our society and economy have evolved beyond that era, our schools must also be reinvented. 

For the time being, we can see what the future looks like in places like Juárez Correa’s classroom. We can also see that change will not come easily. Though Juárez Correa’s class posted impressive results, they inspired little change. Francisco Sánchez Salazar, chief of the Regional Center of Educational Development in Matamoros, was even dismissive. “The teaching method makes little difference,” he says. Nor does he believe that the students’ success warrants any additional help. “Intelligence comes from necessity,” he says. “They succeed without having resources.” 

More than ever, Juárez Correa felt like the burro in the story. But then he remembered Paloma. She had lost her father and was growing up on the edge of a garbage dump. Under normal circumstances, her prospects would be limited. But like the burro, she was shaking off the clods of dirt; she had begun climbing the rising mound out of the well. 

Want to help teachers like Sergio Juárez Correa make a difference? Here’s how you can get involved in the student-centered movement.

Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D. 


The joy of dance around the world
Latinopia Art Aztlan Art Show
Amalia Mendoza Y Jose Alfredo Jimenez - desolacion
Cielito Lindo
Newspaper Tree . .  a Conversation with Juan Sandoval 
For those of us who like to dance, those who like to travel, those who enjoy diffrerent cultures and, really, ... for EVERYONE! 
Sent by Jose Pena 



In 2003, Frank Garcia curated the first Aztlan Art Show at the dA gallery in Pomona, California. The show brought together different generations of Chicano and Chicana artists. Since that time, the show has become a yearly event. Frank and the owners of the dA gallery decided to celebrate the tenth year anniversary of the Aztlan Show by dedicating it to the Con Safos, a pioneering arts and literary magazine of the 1960s. Latinopia was there for the opening night festivities. 

Editor:  Do view the excellent video that you can access from the site, compact, beautifully done.  You can almost feel that you were there.  It will inspire and acquaint you with the faces of leaders whose names you have heard.  

Amalia Mendoza Y Jose Alfredo Jimenez - desolacion - YouTube
Triste Recuerdos by Peter Rodriguez

Sent by Don Milligan



Excellent video. Brilliant blending of music from places afar to a well-known iconic Mexican song. Hermosa canción que nos retrotrae a tiempos pasados. Parece mentira, fue escrita por Quirino Mendoza y Cortés en 1882 y todavía sigue vigente, siendo una de las emblemáticas del folklore mexicano.  A disfrutarla y a cantar también, porque no debe haber nadie que desconozca su letra...

Click Aqui: 

A Conversation with Juan Sandoval

El Paso Art Collector Exhibits Selected Works at El Paso Museum of Art

By Esmeralda Ojeda
  Interviews, October 9, 2013  

Juan Sandoval, the man behind the collection, sits in a meeting room at the UTEP Library. Sandoval is a Subject Specialist and Reference Librarian at the UTEP Library with a focus on Art and Chicano Studies. He has been working at UTEP since the early 1980’s. (Esmeralda Ojeda/Newspaper Tree)  
  • Juan A. Sandoval II is a reference librarian and subject specialist at the UTEP library, but his main love has always been collecting art, books and textiles. Over a 30-year period, he has amassed almost 1,000 pieces of art and 7,000 books, all stowed away in his home in Sunset Heights.

    “An Expansive Regard: Selected Works from the Collection of Juan Sandoval” is an exhibition, currently showing at the El Paso Museum of Art, of select pieces from his collection. The exhibition will continue in the Gateway Gallery through February 16, 2014.

    Just some of the many historic and contemporary area artists represented in Juan’s collection are Manuel Acosta, Marta Arat, Francisco Delgado, Luis Jiménez, and Mauricio Olague.

    EPMA Curator Christian Gerstheimer said, “This exhibition is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve known Juan for years, but this is the first exhibition we’ve held to really show what his collection includes. We wanted to show the diversity of Juan’s collection and the focus on Mexican art from the El Paso region. It’s wonderful that we have all this just in our backyard.”

    I sat down with Juan Sandoval to get a glimpse of the man behind the collection. He talked about his love of the Mexican Culture, living a life of simplicity, and his hate of uniforms. He even showed me an invitation from the Smithsonian Museum to attend a private dinner with other esteemed collectors from the country. He laughed at the part that said “Formal Attire.” Juan does not own a suit. He believes that all you need are a good a pair of black Levi jeans and a sturdy pair of shoes.

    Here are some of the highlights from the conversation.

    Q: Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in Southern Colorado in the largest intermountain valley in the world, down in the San Luis Valley. It consisted of Apache people, and then we were invaded by the Spaniards for 125 years, then by the Mexicans for 25 years. We’re a mixture of so many different cultures. As Carlos Fuentes once said to me in a private dinner, “You have to embrace your genetic composition. You are what you are.”

    I grew up speaking Spanish of the 16th century. In the first grade we were beat and our mouths were taped shut because we only spoke Spanish, so I was traumatized. But I was very fortunate because I learned to speak Spanish perfectly after that. I went to Bucaramanga, Columbia and studied Spanish there for a year.

    Q: When were you exposed to art?

    My father, who only had a 4th grade education, because his school burned down, was actually an artist. He always drew; he would make all kinds of things—sculptures and paintings. I didn’t have access to museums. In the 8th grade, we had a nun, she would hold this art session every other Friday. She would bring these reproductions of great paintings and hang them on the blackboard. So, that is where I got my art education and an appreciation for it.

    Q: What bought you to El Paso?

    My first job was in Southern Colorado as a social worker for four and half years. Then I went to graduate school at Denver University. Then I was offered three jobs: one in Washington, one in Oregon, and one in Chicago. Since I don’t drive, I took the lowest paying job in Eugene, Oregon, a city that supported a bicycle culture.

    After that, I saw an ad for the job here in El Paso, at the UTEP Library, and that was in 1980-something. But never in my life did I think I would actually stay here. I didn’t know anything about Mexico. Nada. But this job gave me access to the Mexican culture, an entry way into Mexico. Every summer I go to Oaxaca, and I spend six weeks there. The border has very little to do with Mexico, culturally and aesthetically.

    Q: Why Oaxaca?

    When I was in college, I bought a bunch of records by Mexican singers. There was a song called “La Llorona”, and I didn’t realize it was Zapotec. Listening to those songs invoked within me a love for Mexican folk songs. Then in college, I realized I could sing. People would say, “Juan, you have a God given gift.” The teachers made me study Opera. I still sing once in awhile. I sang at the Cathedral in Juarez for Easter. I sang “Ave Maria."

    Q: What led to collecting art?

    I’ve always had creative friends, artists, musicians, actors. A lot of my friends were always poor. I was the only one that ever had a job. I remember my first piece. It was from my friend, Leona Wellington. My first piece was from her. I bought it for, I think, $25. I discovered that you could buy art very inexpensively. Most people are obsessed with buying “sofa art”. Will it look good in my living room? Will it match the colors of my drapes? That’s ridiculous. They could help a lot of poor artists if they would just look to art shows, galleries, or get to know the creative students at the schools.

    People say I have a good eye. And I’ve been very fortunate. But the only reason I buy art is because I was really helping people survive. People know that I collect art, and a lot of art tends to fall into my hands.

    I knew this one artist from Chicago, and he would come into town. I would get a call at three in the morning, “Juan, I need money for gas” and he would sell me this artwork very inexpensively. The director of the museum of art in Juarez would call also, “Juanito, I have this artist who needs to get back to Mexico City. Can you come help him?” And there I am, at 3 a.m., peddling my bike to Juarez, buying art very cheap to help a person get bus fare. In Oaxaca, there was some art work I really, really did not want. But the guy said, “I really have to buy shoes for my son,” so I bought the painting. Three days later I saw him at the plaza, and he told me “You don’t know how much you have helped me.”

    I’ve never earned that much money, but when you have a little bit of discretionary income, it never hurts to help others. What does embarrass me is that a lot of people give me their artwork because they want to be in my collection.

    I have over 1,000 pieces. I could be exaggerating, but I don’t think so.

    Q: Where do you keep it all?

    Ever heard of Mr. and Mrs. Vogel? She was a librarian and he was a postal worker. They didn’t have much money, but they bought art. They now own one of the most important contemporary art collections. They tried to take the art out of their apartment with one truck. I think it took five or six trucks. And they’re still buying art. Anyway, they tell me that’s what I’m like.

    I have art work from the floor to the ceiling. If I knew how, I would attach the works to the ceilings. Once I find a place for something, there it stays. Can you imagine having 800 pieces on the walls or having to move all that? Anyway, it makes for a very interesting environment.

    Q: Are you still collecting?

    Well, when I go to Oaxaca. I take my textile collection to decorate my apartment. I also take my folding bicycle. Would you believe I go by bus? I have so much luggage.

    (He shows me a photo of his luggage at a bus stop in Mexico City. There are at least eight luggage pieces stacked one on top of another.)

    Q: Have you ever owned a car?

    Only when I was a social worker; for four and half years I owned a car. But I’ve always been on bicycles.
    When I go to Oaxaca, people know me. “Ay, llego el coleccionista!”

    It’s very interesting. When you’re old, chaparro, feo, or viejito, they don’t pay much attention. They don’t notice me when I go into the galleries. So, I carry articles that have appeared about me in the past. So, I show the gallery owner the articles, and then they’re like , “Oh, can I give you a glass of wine?”

    (But) it’s not a good idea to be known by the galleristas. It’s very funny. Once they knew me as the “coleccionista," the prices started going higher and higher and higher.

    David Dominguez Espinal, he’s a print maker. Before he goes to the galleries, he gives me some prints. He was able to get a scholarship to study in Albuquerque. I made payments to him every month in $200 (increments). I spent $4,000 on his prints, but now its worth like $14,000.

    Or like Luis Jimenez. He always gave me good prices, but after he died, the prices went up. He was very nice and very creative. In my opinion, he is the most important artist to come out of El Paso.

    Francisco Delgado is an artist who, in my opinion, has ascended the position that Luis Jimenez had. I was able to buy his work when he was starting out, and it’s paid off. People say I have expensive taste. But I’ve just been lucky.

    Q: Do you focus on certain themes for the art you collect?

    This idea of pigeonholing an artist is bad, like “Chicano.” I hate all these labels. An artist is an artist. My collection is very eclectic. I don’t focus on labels. I just buy what’s around me. If I lived somewhere else, I would focus on art from that area.

    Q: How do you find these artists?

    Schools, liberal art school students, art shows, and people always seek me out. Since I don’t have much money, I make arrangements to make payments.

    Q: What draws you to buying a piece of art?

    Most of the time, I was just helping friends out, since I was always a little more fortunate with money. But now, I’m trying to build a collection that can be left to some organization, if I ever find one that worthy. I decided that I would build a collection that would be appropriate for young people. Because where I came from, we had nothing.

    I bought these three paintings of a woman in Chihuahua once. As I got in the car, the taxi driver said, “What ugly paintings! I have better ones.” So he ran home and came back with his paintings, and they were very well done, very well executed, but they looked like they had come out of Playboy. I liked the ones I had better. They’re more interesting.

    When I first bought my first Luis Jimenez, and people would say, “Ewe. Why do you buy that ugly stuff? It shows the worst aspect of women?” But Luis Jimenez dealt with the real McCoy. His figures are full figured men and women. They’re not beautiful, but they’re very interesting.

    I’m actually quite wealthy, in terms of culture. But all I own is paper which has appreciated.

    Q: Have you thought about what you’re going to do with your collection in the future?

    There’s a saying: “You spend half of your life collecting things, and then you spend the other half getting rid of it.”

    Last year, city hall reps Ortega and Susie Byrd came to my apartment. They were impressed. Then they sent some Hispanic millionaires, and a lot of them are in the 70’s. They were impressed. They talked about El Paso building a museum, or acquiring a building downtown to house the collection.

    Howard Campbell, a professor of Anthropology at UTEP, once said in an interview, “I do think though that if people put their minds to it, philanthropists, businesses, banks, UTEP, there would be a way to establish a Juan Sandoval Museum for his collection.”

    Many years ago, this one woman visited my apartment, and said that she was almost in tears from all the art. It had that much of an impact on her.

    Q: What keeps you in El Paso?

    Mexico. I tell people jokingly that we have too many Mexicans here. I like diversity, like New York or San Francisco. Here in El Paso, give me a break: Chico’s Tacos? Don’t people have any taste here? Are they really the best tacos all over?

    Q: What do you think about your collection showing at the El Paso Museum of Art?

    I didn’t even know I had some of those pieces. I didn’t pick them. The curator, Patrick, did a few visits, picking one each time he came. It’s amazing, because you get older, and you forget what you have. There should be a law in art where the artists sign their name legibly. Because many things I have, I can’t decipher whose works they are.

    A lot of artists give me their works because they want to be in my collection. I get calls from people. Like I got one from Adair Margo that some people were interested in my Marta Arat (pieces), but I couldn’t sell them. I feel like I would be betraying her, because she gave those to me to be in my collection.

    I could make a lot of money from selling. But I live on my humble UTEP salary. I don’t have a car. I don’t live in the best place. No heat.

    The year I was born, the temperature dropped to 56 below zero. I don’t feel the cold. I’m never cold. So, I don’t use heat. And that helps with the savings. In the winter, I just put on my t-shirt and I’m comfortable. Without those costs, and without a car, that’s how I’m able to afford to buy art work.

    Q: Anything you would like to see in El Paso in the future?

    I would like it if the city became more bike-friendly. We’re going to be seeing more and more bikes here. We have a bunch of bicyclists here. I’m always the oldest one. Aquí in El Paso, if you’re old and grey haired, they just feel sorry for you.

    One thing I’m upset about is the Luis Jimenez sculpture of “Los Lagartos.” That sculpture should be inside, in a museum. It’s part of the patrimony of El Paso. It should be protected more. A lot of people here in El Paso just don’t understand what they have.

    I hope El Paso learns how to grow. We have to start stressing literacy in the elementary and the high schools.

    I’m very well armed with language, and people try to shut me up. Don’t worry. When I get older, when I retire, I’ll speak my truths.

    Q: You should definitely write a memoir.

    Diana Natalicio said I should also. I have so many interesting stories. There’s the one where two students of mine showed up to my door with two little goat heads, asking me to freeze them, so I could cook them later. Anyway, I told Natalicio about the story. She said I need to write them all down.

    Q: Any last words before we go?

    Without art, why live? People don’t realize that artists are people that have the most important influence in our lives. Look at the clothes you’re wearing. Some textile designer designed that. Do you realize that every little fiber on your pants, in the fabric, was designed by someone? Everything is art.

    This interview was condensed and edited from a conversation on October 7 at the University of Texas at El Paso and written comments received from Juan Sandoval.

    Updated on October 10, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.

    If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more stories like this, please make a tax-deductible donation to Newspaper Tree today.

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    BOOKS and Print Media 

    Wobblies in San Pedro by Arthur A. Almeida 
    Latino Print Network
    Cinco Puntos Press, Celebrating 25 years of great books for Children
    Authors on the Airwaves: Victor Villaseñor

    Latina Style Magazine, Our Past, Our Present

    The Roots of Latino Urban Agency, Edited by Sharon A. Navarro & Rodolfo Rosales 
    The Scalpel and the Silver Bear by Dr. Lori Alvord  

    Wobblies in San Pedro,
    Conversation with Paul War and Bob Bigelow  
    by Arthur A. Almeida 

    Editor Mimi:  Although most of us are now familiar with the plight of the farm workers in unionizing, very few are aware of the history  of unionizing of Industrial Workers of the World. Almeida has meticulously put together the fight, pain, and suffering experienced by many in the forefront of the effort in the 1920s.  Being a IWW member himself, Almeida focus is among the San Pedro waterfronts in Southern California.  

    The book is an 8.5 x 11, 244 pages hardback . Basically the book is an interview of two major national figures in the effort to unionize, Paul Ware and Bob Bigelow, enhance by the inclusion of 90 photographs, 35 graphics, illustrations, icons, and posters. The historical data is supported by 12 newspaper articles, and augmented by copy of letters, telegrams essays, ticket stubs, poetry, government documents, and even a cartoon. 


    The brutality of the police against organizers, included not only the men themselves but women and children. Many died, simply defending their rights of free speech.  

    Wesley Everest, IWW organizer was lynched in 1919 after a mob attached the IWW office in Centralia, Washington. 

    On May 16, 1923, novelist and socialist Upton Sinclair was arrested by the Los Angeles police on charges of unlawful assembly and suspicion of criminal syndicalism. Sinclair was attempting to read from the Bill of Rights at an outdoor meeting at liberty Hill is reading aloud of the preamble to the Constitution of United States was interrupted by the Los Angeles chief of police, Louis D Oaks. 

    On May 17, 1923 Sinclair sent a letter to Chief of Police Los Angeles, Louis D. Oaks.  His final paragraph reads: "all I can say sir, is that I intended to what little one man can do to awaken the public conscience, and that meantime I am not frightened by your menaces. I'm not a giant physically; I shrink from pain and fill and vermin and foul air, like any many of refinement; also I freely admit that when I see a line of 100 policemen with drawn revolvers flung across the street to keep anyone from coming into a private property dear my feeble voice, I am somewhat disturbed in my nerves. But I have a conscience and a religious faith, and I know that our liberties were not won without suffering, and may be lost again through our cowardice. I intend to do my duty to my country. I have received a telegram from the American Civil Liberties Union in New York, asking me if I will speak at a mass meeting of protest in Los Angeles and I have answered that I will do so.  That meeting will be called once, and you may come there and hear with the citizens of the community think of your efforts to reduce the legal proceedings of Czarist Russia into our free Republic."  

    Editor Mimi:  I had intended to write a series from Almeida's book, but decided that the only way to get the full impact of this historical battle was for readers to read the full text in sequence.  The historic unpublished photos, visual and graphic support documentation, is so powerful, that if a reader is interested in the subject, he should purchase a copy of the book, very reasonably priced at $35. 



    Latino Print Network represents more than 625 newspapers in the United States, with a combined circulation of 19 million plus. Latino Print Network is the oldest & largest Hispanic owned one stop advertising buy agency.

    • Since 1996, Latino Print Network has provided newspaper representation services exclusively for the Hispanic market.

    • Since 1978, LPN’s parent company, Western Publication Research, has carried out media research and publishing about the Hispanic Community.

    State of Hispanic Print 
    Annually, since the mid 1980s, WPR has compiled the State of Hispanic Print, with details and trends on everything from the number of publications to numbers of combined circulations to amounts of ad dollars, all of which are presented by type of publication. This research has been quoted by over 250 worldwide media organizations.  
    Kirk Whisler, 2777 Jefferson St., Ste. 200 Carlsbad, CA 92008 Phone: 760-434-7474

    Cinco Puntos Press, Celebrating 25 years of great books for Children

    Acclaimed singer/songwriter Tish Hinojosa presents eleven bilingual songs especially for children.

    Author Joe Hayes and artist Esau Andrade team up to deliver a knockout picture book about siblings.  Here is a story about a poor woodcutter. 
    He was very good at his work. He could 
    swing his ax powerfully and cut down big trees
     Some are playful toe-tappers like "The Barnyard Dance / El Baile Vegetal" where all the peas and greens and cabbage and beans shimmy in the pale moonlight; some are ballads, telling stories about the Mexican Revolution; while some are lullabies Two sisters secretly try to outdo each other with generosity. Each new gift from one sister to the other—a secret to everybody but their mother—will have readers crying out, "Don't say a word, Mama!" Until, of course, she does. He would split them up into firewood to
    sell in the village. He made a good living.But the poor man was not well educated. He couldn’t read or write. He wasn’t very bright either. He was always doing foolish things and getting himself into trouble. But he was lucky. He had a very clever wife, and she would get him out of the trouble his foolishness got him into.


    Authors on the Airwaves: Victor Villaseñor
    KUHF radio host Eric Ladau interviews author Victor Villaseñor for its website's "Arte Público Press Author of the Month" feature. Along with the transcript, their conversation is available to listeners through on-demand audio streaming here.
    Somos en escritos writes:

    October is the month when leaves begin to turn from green to every shade of startling yellows to eye-popping reds and once the transformation is completed, to carpet yards, streets and fields with color. A small percentage have to be raked up as in my yards—Fall is unwelcome for that. But the leaves to be turned in Somos en escrito Magazine (Se.e., for short) are all virtual: just click or scroll down, and in a way, we offer a grand variety of color as well, in styles of writing, in subject matter and in the ability to provoke thought and action.  

    To link onto the magazine, click: To contribute a manuscript, send via email to We are always looking for new and established writers to spread their literary wings in this most immediate of media venues.

    The Roots of Latino Urban Agency 
    Edited by Sharon A. Navarro & Rodolfo Rosales  

    The 2010 U.S. Census data showed that over the last decade the Latino population grew from 35.3 million to 50.5 million, accounting for more than half of the nation’s population growth. The editors of The Roots of Latino Urban Agency, Sharon Navarro and Rodolfo Rosales, have collected essays that examine this phenomenal growth. The greatest demographic expansion of communities of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans seeking political inclusion and access has been observed in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and San Antonio.  

    Three premises guide this study. The first premise holds that in order to understand the Latino community in all its diversity, the analysis has to begin at the grassroots level. The second premise maintains that the political future of the Latino community in the United States in the twenty-first century will be largely determined by the various roles they have played in the major urban centers across the nation. The third premise argues that across the urban political landscape the Latino community has experienced different political formations, strategies and ultimately political outcomes in their various urban settings.

    These essays collectively suggest that political agency can encompass everything from voting, lobbying, networking, grassroots organizing, and mobilization, to dramatic protest. Latinos are in fact gaining access to the same political institutions that worked so hard to marginalize them.

    The Roots of Latino Urban Agency expands our understanding of Latino politics at the grassroots level, across multiple cities and time periods.”—Lisa García Bedolla, author of Fluid Borders and Latino Politics

    SHARON A. NAVARRO and RODOLFO ROSALES are associate professors of political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Navarro is the author of Latina Legislator, co-author of Politicas, and co-editor of Latino Americans and Political Participation. Rodolfo is the author of the Illusion of Inclusion: The Untold Political Story of San Antonio.  

    Denton: University of North Texas Press, October 2013
    Hardcover ISBN-13:9781574415308
    Physical Description: 6x9. 192 pp. Map. Notes. Biblio. Index.
    Publication Date: November 2013
    Al Filo: Mexican American Studies Series | Volume: 8


    The Scalpel and the Silver Bear 

    Bantam Books, 1999, 
    a best selling Memoir.

    Bridging two worlds of medicine, traditional Navajo healing and conventional Western medicine, to treat the whole patient, is the focus of Dr. Lori Alvord’s life work. 

    This book review was published in the October 6, 1999 issue (Vol. 17, No. 40) of the Navajo Hopi Observer on page 9. Reprinted by permission.

    Making it Academically on the Rez

    Jon Reyhner Lori Arviso Alvord, surgeon and university administrator, has to be an example of academic success for students in Navajo schools. Daughter of a "white" mother and a Navajo father (neither of whom completed college), Dr. Alvord describes her trip from the Crownpoint public schools, to Dartmouth College, to Stanford University Medical School, and finally to being the first Navajo woman surgeon in her 1999 autobiography The Scalpel and the Silver Bear (Bantam Books).

    It was not an easy trip for her. She writes,

    I made good grades in high school, but I had received a very marginal education. I had a few good teachers, but teachers were difficult to recruit to our schools and they often didn't stay long. Funding was inadequate. I spent many hours in classrooms where, I now see, very little was being taught. (pp. 25-26) She was encouraged to apply to Dartmouth, an "Ivy League" college in New Hampshire by a friend. However, her education at Crownpoint left her "totally unprepared for the physical and life sciences. After receiving the only D of my entire life in calculus, I retreated from the sciences altogether" (p. 30).

    What saved her was her "strong reading background." She writes, "I read my way through the tiny local library and the vans that came to our community from the Books on Wheels program," encouraged by her parents "to read and dream" (p. 9). She could even get out of chores by reading.

    She majored in the social science and graduated from Dartmouth in 1979. Not being able to get a job in Crownpoint, she went to Albuquerque where she was offered two jobs, one as a social worker and another paying much less as a medical research assistant at the University of New Mexico.

    She took the lower paying job and became increasingly interested in medicine, taking the math and science classes she had avoided at Dartmouth at the University of New Mexico with the encouragement of her supervisor, which led her to being accepted by the prestigious medical school at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

    Subject matter preparation was not the only problem she faced in college. "Navajos are taught from the youngest age never to draw attention to ourselves. So Navajo children do not raise their hands in class. At a school like Dartmouth, the lack of participation was seen as a sign not of humility but lack of interest and a disengaged attitude" (p. 30). Later in medical school she was viewed as "remote and disinterested" for similar reasons (p. 46).

    One should not underestimate Dr. Alvord's accomplishments. Only 4% of the practicing surgeons in the United States are women, and only a few of those women are American Indians. While she got into medical school partly because of affirmative action, this meant that she was constantly tested. She held herself to a higher standard lest "My being a surgeon would be attributed to quota filling, not the result of hard work and my own merit" (p. 50).

    In her hospital residency she credits a Pueblo Indian doctor for his help in teaching her how to be a caring doctor. A large part of The Scalpel and the Silver Bear concerns how Dr. Alvord worked to combine modern medical practice with traditional Navajo healing beliefs of walking in beauty and "living in balance and harmony" (p. 100).

    Besides the hard work and success chronicled in Dr. Alvord's autobiography, she also describes the pain brought to her by her dad's descent into alcoholism and final death in an alcohol-related car crash.

    She describes the gruesome medical statistics of Navajo and other Indian deaths from automobile accidents, an estimated 60% of which are alcohol related. As a surgeon she met some of these accident victims on the operating table in Gallup.

    To a degree she blames schools, as an arm of European-American colonialism, for what happened to her father. She describes how,

    In their childhoods both my father and my grandmother had been punished for speaking Navajo in school. Navajos were told by white educators that, in order to be successful, they would have to forget their language and culture and adopt American ways. They were warned that if they taught their children to speak Navajo, the children would have a harder time learning in school, and would therefore be at a disadvantage.

    A racist attitude existed. Navajo children were told that their culture and lifeways were inferior, and they were made to feel they could never be as good as white people. This pressure to assimilate, along with the physical, social, psychological, and economic destruction of the tribes following the Indian wars of the 1800s...combined to bring the Navajo people to their knees....

    My father suffered terribly from these events and conditions. He had been a straight-A student and was sent away to one of the best prep schools in the state. He wanted to be like the rich white children who surround him there, but the differences were too apparent. (p. 86)

    Dr. Alvord concludes that "two or three generations of our tribe had been taught to feel shame about our culture, and parents had often not taught their children traditional Navajo beliefs--the very thing that would have shown them how to live, the very thing that could keep them strong" (p. 88).

    Because of these outdated attitudes she was forced to study Navajo language as an adult to better serve her patients at Gallup Indian Medical Center. After a number of years practicing surgery in Gallup, Dr. Alvord returned to Dartmouth to work in its medical school as an associate dean so that other doctors in training could learn about the spiritual as well as the physical side of the healing profession, which she learned from Navajo culture and traditional Navajo healers.

    I would highly recommend this book for adults, because it has much to say about educating our children, and to students in middle schools, high schools, and universities because it has much to tell them about persisting with their education and using their culture to help give them the strength to be successful adults.

    Sent by Munsup Seoh 

    Latino soldiers
     Cebu, Phillipines, WW II


    Website focuses on Latinos in the U.S. military
    Wikipedia editor profile: "Tony the Marine" Santiago
    HIstory: Marines Look Back Across the Generations
    WW II Hero: Eugene Arnold Obregon
    Exile is not a Fitting Reward for Veterans by Wanda Garcia
    Cuento: Christmas 1966, Vietnam by Joe Sanchez
    Profile in Courage: An Interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Alfred Rascon
    Medal of Honor Recipient Alfred Rascon & Rick Leal, the Hero Project
    Veteran Artist Program, by Leroy Martinez

    Dr. Al Mijares, O. C. Superintendent of Schools is being presented with one of four books published by Latino Advocates for Education, Inc. and co-authored by board members Superior Court Judge Frederick P. Aguirre, teacher Linda Martinez Aguirre and engineer Rogelio C. Rodriguez. The four books contain biographical profiles and photographs of over 2,000 local Latino veterans from World War I to the present and research of archival data detailing the military service of Latinos from the Revolutionary War to the present wars. All of the materials have been transferred to the website, American Patriots of Latino Heritage, The public may access the website.

    Website focuses on Latinos in the U.S. military

    The Orange County Register,  October 16, 2013

    A website focusing on the contributions of Latinos in the U.S. military has been launched.

    The site, called American Patriots of Latino Heritage, is the result of an effort by the Orange County Department of Education and Latino Advocates for Education to provide a historical resource for students and teachers.

    It contains research and a documentary produced by Latino Advocates for Education, with photographs and profiles of more than 2,000 Latino veterans since World War I, as well as women who contributed to the country’s defense. It also highlights the military contributions of famous Americans of Latino background, including baseball player Ted Williams, entertainer Desi Arnaz and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez.

    "Accentuating the contribution that Latino men and women have made to our country in military service is essential,”

    said Al Mijares, Orange County superintendent of schools. “This is an important part of American history and provides a foundational element to the education of our students. It is imperative that we not forget and celebrate their sacrifices so that all students and their families can understand and more fully enjoy the freedoms of our democracy."

    Frederick Aguirre, an Orange County Superior Court judge and president of Latino Advocates, said that the website grew out of a longtime collaboration with the county schools office. He and Mijares came up with the idea of taking research done by Latino Advocates and building a website through Mijares’s office.

    Latino Advocates has for years sponsored a Veterans Day event in Orange County, gathering information about Latino veterans and embarking on its own research.

    Aguirre said he hoped the information compiled would be useful to students on school projects, as well as those seeking a different way of looking at U.S. and world history. The website project will replace the Veterans Day event as a way of celebrating the contributions of veterans, he said, adding that he hopes its contents will grow.

    “It’s promoting patriotism, it’s promoting and identifying our loyalty to this country, and the sacrifice that Latinos have made since the Revolutionary War to the present day,” Aguirre said.

    You can find American Patriots of Latino Heritage at
    The public may access the website.

    Sent by Linda Aguirre 

    Editor:  Please note that in the 2013 issues of September, October, and November, Somos Primos ran a series of article filled with data and information compiled by Rogelio C. Rodriguez.



    Dear friends,  I just wanted to share with all of you that the Wikipedia foundation has created a "blog" about me. Check it out:
    I hope that you all like it, Tony

    Wikipedia editor profile: Tony the Marine

    In 2004, Antonio Santiago, aka "Tony the Marine" Santiago began editing Wikipedia by expanding upon the work that his son started on the free encyclopedia. Since then, he has become a passionate researcher, broadening and polishing articles about Puerto Rican military history. Six years after his initial edit, then Puerto Rican Secretary of State Kenneth D. McClintock called Santiago the Commonwealth’s foremost military historian.

    Santiago, a Vietnam veteran, father of three, and loving husband of 40 years, said his contributions are a direct product of his background. Born in the South Bronx to Puerto Rican immigrants, he credited his perspective on history to his experience growing up Latino in the United States. In 1969 he was accepted into Columbia University, but chose to join the Marines, where he served until 1975. Though he grew up in New York City, Santiago said his abiding interest is in his parent’s homeland of Puerto Rico. His time in the military made him revaluate the role of Latinos in the United States, which, in turn, led him to view American politics towards Puerto Rico differently.

    Santiago’s contributions to Wikipedia center on Puerto Rico’s military forces, something that prior to his involvement he said had very patchy coverage. “I have written over 500 articles on Wikipedia because of the principles that Wikipedia was founded on,” he says. “To be able to share my knowledge with thousands of people for free is beyond my comprehension. Only Wikipedia can make that possible.”

    Santiago’s Wikipedia debut was a bit unconventional, considering that he began editing before he had really spent much time reading it. “I didn’t start by using it as a resource. I wanted to fix and add to the articles which my son had written,” he said. “When I saw the possibilities that Wikipedia presented, I started writing more articles.”


    Santiago wants to "make people aware of the good things that Latinos have done, he said. “We’re living in an era, especially in the United States, where the anti-Latino sentiment is very high.”

    “Most people do not know the contribution that Latinos have made. Wikipedia has provided me with the tools to help,” he added.

    Santiago’s work has not gone unnoticed. He often catches the eye of Puerto Rican journalists and state officials. “I wrote an article once about Medal of Honor recipients who had died and the families got together because of that,” he said. “It came out in the newspapers. It made the headlines. That makes me proud of my work, and it makes me proud to know it’s making a difference.”

      Santiago says he has met a number of high-profile people because of his work on Wikipedia.  Santiago underscored Wikipedia’s impact on future generations as motivation for contributing. “As a father and a grandfather, I can appreciate that for the first time in history there’s somewhere providing children around the world with the tools of knowledge, allowing them the opportunity to use what they have learned to make this a better world.”

    But don’t expect him to want too much credit for the value he’s added to the encyclopedia. “It’s not about me. It’s about Wikipedia and the opportunities it provides and the impact it has allowed me to make on people. I write for the love of it, you know, and for the love of my people. It’s an opportunity to educate people.”

    Profile by Joe Sutherland, Wikimedia Foundation Communications volunteer
    Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Visual Storyteller.

    Spoken by Kenneth McClintock, the former Puerto Rico Secretary of State, during the celebration of Veteran's Day in the town of Guanica, Puerto Rico. Guanica was the site where the American troops under the command of General Miles invaded Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War.


    Article Tab: Marines armed for modern warfare maneuver around Marines in uniforms from yesteryear during the 2013 Marine Corps Birthday Pageant in honor of the 238th birthday of the Marine Corps. at Camp Pendleton Thursday.
    Marines look back across generations with birthday bash18 Photos »
    History: Marines look back across the generations 

    Erika I. Ritchie, Orange County Register, CA
    November 8, 2013

    CAMP PENDLETON, California  
    Generations of Marines have served in “every clime and place” around the world, and today's troops carry on the tradition.  From the shores of Tripoli to the forests of Belleau Woods, the sands of Iwo Jima, the jungles of Da Nang and the deserts of Afghanistan, Marines have fought the country's battles for 238 years.

    Marines armed for modern warfare maneuver around Marines in uniforms from yesteryear during the 2013 Marine Corps Birthday Pageant in honor of the 238th birthday of the Marine Corps. at Camp Pendleton 

    Photos by Joshua Sudock, Orange County Registert

    Did you know?

    The origin of the Marine Corps dates to 1775 at Tun Tavern as a Corps of Marines was formed by the second Continental Congress.

    In 1921, Lt. General John Lejeune issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, honoring the founding of the Corps.

    In 1918, the Secretary of the Navy allowed women to join the Marine Corps for clerical duties. About 300 answered the call to duty that year.

    The Marines got their named "Devil Dogs" after the battle of Belleau Woods, when the Germans called them "Teufelhunde" because of their fierce fighting.

    In 1943, the Marine Corps Women Reserve was established and five years later Congress passed the Women's Armed Services Integration Act, giving women a permanent place in the Marines.

    Conflicts: Revolutionary War: 1775, Tripoli and War of 1812, Mexican American War: 1847, Civil War: 1861, Spanish American War: 1898, World War I: 1918, Pan American War: 1925, World War II: 1941, Koran War: 1950, Vietnam: 1965, Operatiuon Enduring Freedom: 2001, Operation Iraqi Freedom: 2003, Afghanistan.

    Source: USMC



    WW II Hero 
    Eugene Arnold Obregon
    (November 12, 1930 – September 26, 1950)

    He was a United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the United States' highest military decoration for valor — the Medal of Honor  for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company G, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces at Seoul, Korea, on September 26, 1950. While serving as an ammunition carrier of a machine gun squad in a Marine Rifle Company which was temporarily pinned down by hostile fire, Private First Class Obregon observed a fellow Marine fall wounded in the line of fire. Armed only with a pistol, he unhesitatingly dashed from his covered position to the side of the casualty. Firing his pistol with one hand as he ran, he grasped his comrade by the arm with his other hand and, despite the great peril to himself, dragged him to the side of the road. Still under enemy fire, he was bandaging the man's wounds when hostile troops of approximately platoon strength began advancing toward his position. Quickly seizing the wounded Marine's carbine, he placed his own body as a shield in front of him and lay there firing accurately and effectively into the hostile group until he himself was fatally wounded by enemy machine-gun fire. By his courageous fighting spirit, fortitude and loyal devotion to duty, Private First Class Obregon enabled his fellow Marines to rescue the wounded man and aided essentially in repelling the attack, thereby sustaining the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
    Go to Wikipedia for a full description of his family background, service history and awards
    I was intrigued by Obregon Park in Los Angeles since I was familiar with Obregon Park at MCLB, in Yermo, California. Both Parks were named for WWII hero Eugene Arnold Obregon. 

    Eddie Garcia 

    Eugene A. Obregon Park
    Department of Parks and Recreation, County of Los Angeles

    4021 E. First Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90063
    (323) 260-2344

    (323) 260-2366

    District Office: (323) 260-2360


    Eugene A. Obregon Park is located in East Los Angeles and offers a friendly environment for families in the community. Its many grassy areas make it an ideal place for family picnics and birthday parties.

    Obregon Park - Yermo, California
    Park Dedicated to Hispanic Medal of Honor recipient
    Submitted by: MCLB Barstow
    Story Identification Number: 2003109163320
    Story by Lance Cpl. Andy J. Hurt

    Obregon Park is located  just outside of the main gate of the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow Yermo Annex, in Barstow, California, is named in honor of Obregon.  

    MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif.(Oct. 9, 2003) -- There is a little known area at the MCLB Barstow Yermo Annex, where all base personnel can congregate and enjoy the high desert atmosphere, seldom discussed.

    A park just inside the main gate at Yermo that is dedicated to the memory of a great American hero, Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon, just one of the countless Hispanic Marines who gave his life for his country, and one of 38 Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients.

    Obregon, an East Los Angeles native, joined the Marines at the tender age of 17, along with four friends. He was stationed aboard MCLB Barstow from 1948-1950. He was a member of the Base Fire Department.

    After the breakout of the Korean War, Obregon received orders to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, then being formed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, for further assignment to Korea.

    It was on the streets of Seoul, on a cold September morning, when Obregon committed an uncommon act of bravery that cost him his life and earned him the Medal of Honor. His citation reads in part:

    "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company G, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces at Seoul, Korea, on September 26, 1950.

    "While serving as an ammunition carrier in a machine gun squad of a Marine rifle company which was temporarily pinned down by hostile fire, Pfc. Obregon observed a fellow Marine fall wounded in the line of fire. Armed only with a pistol, he unhesitatingly dashed from his covered position to the side of the casualty.

    "Firing his pistol with one hand, and despite the great peril to himself, dragged the wounded man to the side of the road. Still under enemy fire, he was bandaging the man's wounds when hostile troops of approximately platoon strength began advancing toward his position.

    "Quickly seizing the wounded Marine's carbine, he placed his own body as a shield on front of him and lay there, firing accurately and effectively into the hostile group until he himself was fatally wounded by enemy machine gun fire."

    Obregon's mother, Henrietta, in later years, told a reporter the man whose life her son had saved confessed that before the incident he was prejudiced against Hispanic Americans.

    Obregon Park here was dedicated 15 years after Obregon was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, on Nov. 12, 1965.$file/obregonlow.jpg 

    Private First Class Eugene A. Obregon
    Photo by: Marine Corps 


    Exile is not a fitting reward for veterans
    by Wanda Garcia   
    Wanda. garcia @sbcglobal.netv
    Caller-Times, November 1, 2013

    John Valadez, PBS documentary producer, doesn’t let grass grow under his feet. After his successful national debut in “Latino Americans and the Longoria Af­fair,” John has produced a one-hour documentary called “American Exile.” The subject is about two brothers, Valente and Manuel Valenzuela, both military veterans who volunteered and fought in Vietnam.

    Now forty years later the Department of Home­land Security is trying to deport them to Mexico.

    In case you haven’t heard, the two brothers, who served honorably and were decorated for valor, stand to be deport­ed because the Depart­ment of Homeland Se­curity contends they are not citizens. They were born in Palomas, Mexico, to a U.S. citizen mother born in New Mexico and father who was a natu­ralized American citi­zen. Although they were born in Mexico to two U.S. citizens, they were mistakenly classified as resident aliens in the U.S. instead of citizens and this classification is causing the problems.

    Both signed up to serve in the Vietnam War. Va­lente is highly decorated soldier who received the Bronze Star for combat heroism. He was exposed to Agent Orange and sus­tained multiple bullet wounds. Manuel injured both knees in combat. If ex­iled they will lose all their medical benefits. Both are married with children and grandchildren.

    The Valenzuela broth­ers are not the only vet­erans facing exile or exiled. According to the documentary, “American Exile,” almost 400,000 people were removed from the country last year including veterans of U.S. wars. The passage of the Illegal Immigra­tion Reform and Immi­grant Responsibility Act of 1996 is responsible for these statistics. Under the law, a noncitizen con­victed of minor offenses like shoplifting, driving with an expired license or possession of marijua­na can be deported. Man­uel was convicted of re­sisting arrest more than a decade ago. Valente was sentenced to take an an­ger management course because he got into a fight 10 years ago. Before 1996, judges could take into consideration ser­vice to the country, fam­ily, military decorations and years of residence in the country. After 1996, they could not. In re­sponse to the Sept. 11 at­tacks the Department of Homeland Security was created and the 1996 law was enforced resulting in the deportation of over 3 million individuals in the past 10 years.

    What becomes of these veterans who served our country once they are exiled? Many of them end up living under a bridge in Mexico be­cause they have no place to go. These veterans are suffering from medi­cal conditions related to serving in war but do not have access to medical treatment. Jan Ruhman, a retired Marine Captain with Vet Speak estimates there may be as many as 45,000 soldiers who have been deported or exiled. Before 1996, there has never been a case where an honorably discharged U.S. Military veteran had been deported accord­ing to Craig Shagin, at­torney. To date, Veteran deportation has not been addressed in the legisla­tive efforts and national conversation about im­migration reform.

    With the USA’s in­creased dependence on foreign countries to sup­plement the military to fight our wars, we are not providing an incentive if we keep deporting these foreign veterans once they have served in our military. In the past, ser­vice in the military was a guarantee of citizenship. This was an enticement to foreign soldiers to join the armed services. My father Dr. Hector P. Gar­cia served in World War II and received a Bronze Star and five battle stars for his service. When he returned stateside, he ap­plied for citizenship and received it.

    None of us can predict the outcome of the fate that awaits the Valenzu­ela brothers. As Valadez puts it, the documentary will close either with a sequence of Manuel and Valente being deported to Mexico or taking the oath of citizenship. I can­not think of two more deserving individuals to become citizens or of a better way to repay this country’s debt to the Va­lenzuela brothers than to let them become citizens.

    Daisy Wanda Garcia of Austin is the daughter of civil rights pioneer Dr. Hector P. Garcia. She writes monthly for the Caller-Times. Email her at Wanda. garcia @ sbcglobal. net.

    Wanda, I disagree with you on some of what you message states. I totally agree with you on that "Exile is not a fitting reward for a Veteran". A few years ago congress passed a law that allows military members who serve in the US forces can become citizen of our country. I personally know of several who have become citizen because of this law. The other side of the coin is that some of what you stated is correct but allot of that comes from the Veteran not knowing his rights. As a Service Officer, I constantly come across that. For the record we have US Veterans living in Mexico and get their full benefits although they are living over there. I also familiar with at least two non-citizen who either retired or did their duty and choose to return to Mexico. They are getting their benefits. Hope you can understand why I disagree with some of your statement. I'll say to you what my father used to say to me when he was alive and I was a young men. "Listen to what your elders say but keep and open mind" sometime people add to the story. Anyway your statement in this letter at the very least opens eyes to our present problems with im­migration reform. On that we are right behind you. Thank you hope you can side my side of this statement.
    God Bless +
    Jose M. Garcia PNC
    National Service Officer
    Catholic War Veterans
    “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
    “In God we Trust"




    CHRISTMAS 1966, Vietnam

    by Joe Sanchez 

    The first two photos are from when I served with the First Cavalry Division Airmobile 5/7 Battalion 7th Cavalry Regiment A Company back in 1966. I also served with the 2/7 Battalion, where I was wounded, along with three other troopers by an enemy hand grenade, on my 20th birthday.

    The first photo, I'm with my friend Leonard Pelullo. I have my left hand on his shoulder. We were in base camp "An Khe" which was in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Lenny was being treated for trench foot ( jungle rot) on both his feet and lower legs. Christmas was around the corner as one can see by the small decorated Christmas Tree. 

    Lenny once told me, "Joe, I'm  going home. I'm not dying here." I said, "I know, Lenny. We are both going to make it home alive." 

    Lenny was later killed, along with 3 other troopers on February 13, 1967. It was during a night firefight, when the Viet Cong tried to enter the outer perimeter of a listening post,  protecting the company. Lenny was 22-years old. God bless his soul. His father, Salvatore Pelullo, served in the Navy during World War-2. He passed away some years back. 

    The third photo is with me and man's best friend on a spooky looking hill. 
    He, too, was also wounded in action.

    His mother, Maria Pelullo, lives in Philadelphia. She is a strong woman with a sharp mind.  I was able to visit them both back in 1998. I send Maria a present every Mother's Day in honor of Lenny. 

    I see Lenny as a little boy and a photo and when he graduated from high school. I have a special page for him on my Website on the Vietnam page PFC Leonard S. Pelullo.

    I'm proud to have served my country both on the battle field of Vietnam and on the mean streets of New York City. I was a New York /New Jersey Port Authority police officer and an NYPD police officer. I also was a corrections officer with the New York Department of Corrections. I've co-written three books with my friend and co-author Mo Dhania. Our first book which is a novel is called "Latin Blues" It's about my first rookie year in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and the murder of two police

    Our second book "True Blue: A Tale of The Enemy Within" is my autobiography from the Nam to the concrete jungle of The Naked City: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Our third book "Red Herring: The Stinking Trail...Police Corruption in Washington Heights" begins where Latin Blues left off.

    Our fourth book which we are working on, is called "Yellow Streak" It, too, starts where Red Herring...left off. Latin Blues, Red Herring...and Yellow Streak are a trilogy.

    If anyone wants to purchase our books they can order with Amazon. Both True Blue: A Tale of The Enemy Within and Red Herring: The Stinking Trail...Police Corruption in Washington Heights are also on Amazon Kindle. One can also purchase by emailing me at: so as I can mail them a signed copy. Visit my Website at:  to see the many photos and music of yesteryear of Vietnam and the NYPD, when I and those I served with were soldiers and cops
    once...and young. Google Joe Sanchez for my biography on Wikipedia.

    Also Google "Joe Sanchez drug bust" for a You Tube video showing what it was like going up against the NYPD's Blue Wall-Police Code of Silence, 30 years ago.

    May God continue to bless our troops and America.
    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year.
    Joe Sanchez

    Profile in Courage: An Interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Alfred Rascon
    The Hero Project

    Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson interviews Alfred Rascon, a U.S. Army veteran and Medal of Honor recipient. 
    See live tweets as Rascon recalls a particular moment in battle and reflects on a life in service to his adopted country.

    Medal of Honor Recipient Alfred Rascon 
    and Rick Leal, President of the Hispanic Medal of Honor Society 
    at the 
    Veterans Day Parade in Phoenix, AZ.  2013

    Sent by Rick Leal, President of the Hispanic Medal of Honor 


    Veteran Artist Program VAP

    Title: Letter to Jesus, 
    Oil on canvas and article by Leroy Martinez 


    In the past, I have donated Veteran-

    related art to the Long Beach Veterans Hospital.  Most of this art in located in the Veteran's Hospital Chaplain's surrounding area, including the room where religious services are conducted.   

    Some Long Beach Veteran Hospital employees  provide a juried art program with different art forms, including poetry.  The last two years I came in first place in the oil painting media.  The "Letter to Jesus" was my first entry.  Reverend George Vogel helps start this art show.

    I was notified by Chaplain Reverend Vogel that he found a VAP program and website.  This web site indicated a juried art show for the Pentagon and registration information.  I submitted an application and I later received a letter that my art was accepted over thousands of others. 

    This painting "Letter to Jesus" was used in other national veteran exhibits before it ever went to the Pentagon.  The subject is a homeless veteran sitting on a Ralph's store shopping cart turned sideways and he is writing a letter to Jesus.  Based on his appearance I would say he was about the Vietnam era.

    I was asked to provide a biography and images in uniform and civilian attire.  I served in the Army from February 1966 to 1968.  Though I saw no action in Vietnam, I still played a role in preparing chemical warfare for the field.  One of the chemicals was Agent Orange, in which I worked with on a daily basis.  I now qualify for Agent Orange contact.

    Art did not come to me naturally, as I am an analytical person.  During my early 50's I feared trying to do art.  However, I said that it did not matter what my art looked like, because it was only for me.  It started with a weekend form of relaxation and later grew into addiction.  It was getting away from work and just letting myself express myself.  After retirement in the year of 2000, I attended the Laguna College of Art and Design and continued pursuing my interest.  I completed all my art studio courses.  Who would have guessed I could get a second Bachelor's Degree, with just trying to learn art.

    I am still busy with research, writing, and other analytical endeavors.  But I always have an art project waiting for me to do..  

    Pentagon Veteran Artist Exhibit

    VAP is honored to launch the first ever dedicated Veteran Artist Exhibit at the Pentagon in conjunction with the Pentagon Art Curator and the Pentagon Patriotic Art Series. We will be releasing a call for submissions this Fall across the country for veterans to submit their artwork to a jury of accomplished arts industry professionals, distinguished Pentagon VIPs, and Veteran leaders. This year-long exhibit will grace the halls of the Pentagon where over 25,000 people work daily and thousands visit over the course of the year. Not only is this a great opportunity to showcase the amazing work of veteran artists but to continue to show how veterans lead the way in redefining the arts in America.  

    Mission: To Foster, Encourage, & Promote Veteran Artists 
    VAP, a 501c3 nonprofit, takes artists who are also veterans, and propels their works and careers into the mainstream creative arts community through networking, mentorships, collaborations with professional artists, and original productions. We are based in the Baltimore-Washington area but we work with other like-minded organizations and individuals across the country to expand the network and visibility of veteran artists. 

    Our scope includes the performing and visual arts, specifically music, theater, filmmaking, acting, painting, photography and many other disciplines in the creative arts. We also provide high quality, veteran-led, professional services such as event and film production, documentation through video and photography, gallery exhibitions and much more.  

    Vision: Art is for Us. Art is an Option 
    Countless veterans made the brave decision to step away from their art and be part of something larger than themselves and fight for their country. VAP provides the resources, tools, and networking necessary to take the intentional artist to the next level. We are about collaboration in all genres of art with an emphasis on bringing together the veteran and artistic communities. 
    The arts have always been the mechanism that a society uses to portray, understand, document, and affect change. As veterans with a unique world perspective, we have the opportunity to not only redefine the veteran as an artist, but influence the communities we live in by being intentional with our creative endeavors.  

    The Veteran Artist Program (VAP) was created for veterans by veterans. While in the U.S. Army, founder BR McDonald discovered many other creative types in uniform. What seemed like an unlikely pairing – military and the arts –made sense to BR because of his background in the arts and his degree in music from the University of North Carolina. 
    After his service, BR realized the support and camaraderie from the military were still needed as veterans wrestled with the universal question, “What next?”BR reached out to fellow Baltimore-based veterans Rich Blake (Marine) and Mike Subelsky (Navy), who became founding board members, and VAP was born. More veterans came on board the following year, including many of the current VAP team. Josh Davidson, an Air Force veteran and actor/filmmaker, jumped on board to produce documentaries and full-length films. Erin Byers, an Army veteran and visual artist, participated in Telling: Baltimore and is now our VAP VIS lead. 

    The arts have been a powerful, therapeutic tool in the healing process for many combat veterans reintegrating back into society and transitioning back into civilian life. The arts, however, also represent something else. Hope. Dreams. A Future. 
    Whether it is painting, writing, performing on stage, acting in a movie, or singing opera, the possibilities are limitless. VAP exists to provide other veterans the encouragement, motivation, and means to follow their passion in unchartered territory. Through networking, collaborations, mentorship, and actual productions veterans can realize it is not too late to pursue their dreams. 

    "So many people think that the military experience is at odds with the creative arts world - It's not. As a veteran, I don't have to give up one world for the other, even though I may have considered it at one time. The time is NOW for veterans to reshape the arts in America and own the discussion about the veteran experience in the mainstream creative arts community" - BR McDonald      Source: 


    Texas A&M-San Antonio Chapter, Texas Connection to the American Revolution Assn 
     25th annual Juan N. Seguin celebration, Guadalupe County Coliseum 
    November 2013 Newsletter, Houston Chapter of the Granaderos Y Damas De Galvez

    October 25, a Genealogical and Historical Seminar was held at the Menger Hotel, San Antonio, Texas in celebration of a new student chapter of TCARA 

    The Texas A&M-San Antonio Chapter of the Texas Connection to the American Revolution Association (TCARA) presented the Galvez Panels as the new student chapter's first debut.

    The TCARA booth was manned 
    by Past President RoseMarie LaPenta

    Speaker at the Seminar, Dr Thomas Chavez (author of Spain and the Independence of the United States - An Intrinsic Gift) is pictured admiring the Galvez Panels in the photo below. 

    The Galvez Panels, which are the property of TCARA President Sylvia Sutton, are currently on display at the San Antonio Main Library thru December.

    Sent by Jack Cowan 



    25th annual Juan N. Seguin celebration in Seguin, Texas
    Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum on Saturday October 26

    Mimi, the program went very well and Janice was an excellent choice as our keynote speaker. She related information so easily, she makes learning easy and enjoyable. Her talk connected and credited her family's survival and existents to Juan Seguin for having sent them information that Santa Anna was on his way toward, (Walnut town later in 1838 renamed in Juan's honor), Seguin and would have eradicated anyone in his path. 

    She told the story of Juan Seguin in such a way that she painted a spirited and inspiring visual picture, for example when she so softly said, .....and Juan carried the ashes of the fallen Alamo heroes in his arms to be buried in San Fernando church....
                                                                                                                                      Albert Seguin Gonzales and Janice Woods Windle  

    After 25 years of organizing the annual event, I find myself each year saying "this will by my last year to do this." But I always seem to get fired up again and again to run the course. My fire for next year is yet to spark and yet I wonder, who will carry the kindle and keep the flame and fame of Juan N. Seguin in the forefront of the public so that he does not fade away in history. Sorry to go on and on and Thank you for the extensive work you do. What little I do seems to overwhelm me, I cannot begin to imagine the work it takes to pass on to all of us all the wonderful information that you do.

    Albert Seguin Gonzales, a Texas City resident, organized and was Co-Master of Ceremony alongside Yvonne De La Rosa at the 25th annual Juan N. Seguin celebration in Seguin. Attendee's celebrated the life of Col. Seguin and the 175th year of the naming of the city in his honor. Teri Masone of Texas City performed a Medley of Texas Songs. Teri and J.B. Kline sang "Seguin Loves Texas..A Texas Love song."

    Janice Woods Windle author of the book and mini-series "True Women" served as Keynote Speaker held in the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum on Saturday October 26. Mrs. Windle's book has been translated into many world languages. Gonzales is the Great Grandson of Col. Seguin who was the only commissioned officer who fought inside the Alamo and survived to fight at San Jacinto. On Sunday the Guadalupe Community Symposium sponsored a luncheon prior to the stage play "Seguin: Unsung Texas Hero" written by Alvaro Saar Rios and held at the Historic Texas Theatre.


    Albert Sequin Gonzales,


    November 2013 Newsletter of the 
    Houston Chapter of the Granaderos
    y Damas De Galvez

    Greetings from the Houston chapter- host of the 2013 October National Meeting

    The planning of the National Meeting began in earnest as soon as the date was selected. The initial committee included the Governor of our chapter, Richard Espinosa and his wife Merrilee, along with John Espinosa, Beth Leney, Margie Renazco, Maria Carmen Palle, Melanie Serian and Anthony Startz.

     Planning meeting in August at Andalucía Restaurant in DT Houston 


    The 2013 National Meeting of the Granaderos Y Damas de Galvez was held the weekend of October 12th in Houston, Texas. The meeting kicked off with a reception at the La Quinta Hotel with a fajita dinner from Lupe Tortilla’s restaurant. Richard Espinosa the host chapter Governor General greeted everyone and talked about the meeting events. Joel Escamilla our National Governor, then welcomed everyone and thanked the Houston chapter for all of their hard work in putting this event together.

    After the wonderful dinner of fajitas the group gathered in front of the new Bandera de Granaderos Y Damas de Galvez and the port flag from the ‘Dedalo’.

    Margie Renazco gave the Houston chapter the flag that was flown on the Spanish Air Craft Carrier ‘The Dedalo’ when it was in port. The flag was given to her husband Antonio when they attended the decommissioning ceremony of the ship in 1989. The carrier was originally the USS Cabot and was loaned to Spain until their new carrier could be completed. The decommissioning ceremony was held in New Orleans. The flight deck from the scrapped ship is now in the Naval Museum in Pensacola.

    The ‘Dos Hombres’ Richard and John Espinosa

     Both Richard and John have been enthusiastic Granaderos now for many years. They share their love of Bernardo de Galvez and his contribution to the American Revolution.  They are standing in front of the port flag that flew from the ‘Dedalo’, Spain’s aircraft carrier.

    Also on Friday evening, Dama Cristina Girard presented a beautiful Granaderos Y Damas flag she had commissioned for the organization. In the picture below Cristina is holding the flag with Governor General Joel Escamilla, Maria Carmen Palle and Cesar Vazquez. 

    Cristina Girard, Maria Carmen Palle, Joel Escamilla & Cesar Vazquez Display the new bandera of the Granaderos Y Damas de Galvez commissioned by Christina. The crest on the flag mirrors the crest on the Damas pin.

    The Saturday business session began at the Kilroy Center at the Beautiful Museum of Fine Arts Bayou Bend estate, former home of Ima Hogg. After a welcome and tour of the home, the meeting got underway. Chapter reports were presented and a wonderful presentation was given by Bill Adriance from the Galveston, Texas Galvez Statue project. Bill is the Chapter President of the Sons of the American Revolution Bernardo de Galvez Chapter. The artist Erick Aposto also spoke about his inspiration and research for the statue. Then both Bill and Erick answered questions about the project. Anthony Startz proposed a donation to the statue project followed by donations from Jill Brooks, Beth

    Leney, Margie Renazco and Jackie Huckabay totaling a phenomenal contribution of $975 towards this project.



    Joel Escamilla, Richard Espinosa
    & Joe Perez
    are shown here as Joel holds a plaque given to him in appreciation of his many years of service to the organization. Joel thanked everyone for the honor.

    Joe Perez was unanimously elected as the new National Society Governor General. He will proceed over the coming weeks to select his chapter officers. Next the election for the office of State of Texas Governor general took place. Richard Espinosa was nominated and unanimously elected to this position. Richard will now work to put together his state level positions.

    The individual chapter reports, along with the Governor General’s reports, were presented for review with this document. The weekend event included twenty seven registered and three guests.

    The meeting was adjourned for the tour of Clayton Library.  An overview of the genealogical archive  and "Cuban" Papers - Galvez research was presented by librarian Clinton Drake.


    The afternoon business meeting session concluded with this group photo at the Kilroy Center

    John Espinosa, Mary Anthony Startz, 
    Melanie Serian, Maria Carmen Palle 
    & Richard Espinosa

    After the library tour, the last event was a closing "Garden Reception" (Hosted by Maria Carmen & Melanie at Briar Hurst Gardens). The food was fantastic- scrumptious paella!  John Espinosa spoke of the possibility of a trip to Mexico City during April or May of 2014.  

    Our chapter was honored to host the National meeting and looks forward to a growing chapter and a growing organization as we spread the word about the role of Spain and Bernardo de Galvez during the American Revolution.

    Sent by Joe Perez 

    Spanish SURNAMES


    Copyright © 2013 by John P. Schmal


    John P. Schmal: This research is the compilation of research done by others and the recent research of Mercy Bautista-Olvera and me in Mexico City’s Sixteenth Century church records. This article is dedicated to my two Aguascalientes research buddies, Mercy Bautista-Olvera and Paola Ruvalcaba Tamayo.  

    For many years, Aguascalientes and Nueva Galicia researchers have agreed that one branch of Moctezuma’s descendants ended up in Aguascalientes. However, the paper evidence for this theory has been difficult to assemble. And, at this point in time, there are still some gaps. It is believed that the researchers Guillermo Tovar de Teresa and Mariano Gonzalez-Leal have put together more detailed analysis on this lineage, but at this time, we will present what we have, which present parts of the picture.  


    MOCTEZUMA II XOCOYOTSIN II was born about 1480 as the son of AXAYACTL TLATOANI (Water Mask” or “Water Face”), who was the sixth Emperor of the Aztecs, reigning over Tenochtitlán from 1469 to 1481. Axayactl was himself the grandson of Emperor MOCTEZUMA I (reigned 1440 to 1469), the monarch that he succeeded. Moctezuma II became the Emperor of the Aztec Empire in 1502 and was killed on June 29, 1520 during the fall of Tenochtitlán.  

    In May 2010, Margo Tamez, in submitting a dissertation to Washington State University, discussed the Moctezuma-Esparza lineage and the fact that female descendants of Moctezuma were granted “significant encomiendas in perpetuity” by the Spanish Crown.[i] In fact, three of Moctezuma‘s children were awarded special legal recognition, privileges and rights for themselves and their descendants.[ii] 


    was one of the daughters of Moctezuma II. It is believed that she was Moctezuma’s daughter by a noble Mixtec woman of Acatlan, a town and province that was in alliance with Tenochtitlán at the time of the Spanish invasion. Leonor was Christianized by Hernán Cortés and was then endowed with the encomienda of Ecatepec.[iii] The fact that Moctezuma was the father of Leonor (alias Marina) and father-in-law of X’poval [Christoval] de Valderrama is confirmed by a segment of this 1574 chart in Mexico’s Archivo General:[iv]


    Donald E. Chipman, Moctezuma‘s Children: Aztec Royalty Under Spanish Rule, 1520-1700, (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 2005).
    Ibid., pp. 75-95.
    Mexico Archivo General - AGI - MP - Escudos: 211.

    Marianna was married in 1527 to Juan Páez,[i] a conquistador who died by late August 1529. Two years later in 1531, Mariana married her second husband, Cristobal de Valderrama. Don Cristobal, a native of Burgos, España, was a conquistador who served in Michoacán, Colima and Zacatula. The History of Tarímbaro (Michoacán) states that Cristobal de Valderrama was given the encomienda of Tarímbaro (1526-1537) and of Ecatepec, and he is mentioned in the text of Michoacán’s early history during the 1530s until his death in November 1537.[ii] Mariana and Don Cristobal had only one daughter, Leonor de Valderrama y Moctezuma, who was baptized sometime around 1532.

    [i] Hugh Thomas, Who’s Who of the Conquistadors (Cassell & Co.: London, 2000), p.222.
    Enciclopedia de los Municipios y Delegaciones de México, Michoacán de Ocampo: Tarímbaro. Online:


    GENERATION 3: LEONOR DE VALDERRAMA (born 1532 – died 1562)

    Doña LEONOR DE VALDERRAMA Y MOCTEZUMA, the second encomendera of Tarímbaro and Ecatepec, was probably born around 1532 and died in 1562 when she was only 30 years old. Leonor de Valderrama y de Moctezuma was married to DIEGO ARIAS DE SOTELO, a native of Zamora, España, who was born around 1525. It is believed that Diego was the son of Fernando de Sotelo and Maria de Villasenor.  

    The relationship of Leonor (alias Marina) and X’poval [Christoval] de Valderrama to their daughter Leonor de Balderrama who married Diego Arias Sotelo is confirmed by a segment of the 1574 Archivo General chart referenced earlier:[i]  

    [i] Mexico Archivo General - AGI - MP - Escudos: 211.


    Diego Arias de Sotelo came to Nueva España in 1550 as a waiter of Viceroy Luis de Velasco and served as Alcalde Ordinario de Méjico in 1561. Diego and Leonor were involved in lengthy law-suits which consumed the rest of their lives and which, according to Chipman, involved the disputed properties in Ecatepec and Tlatelolco.[i]  

    During the late 1560s, Diego Arias Sotelo got into trouble with the Vice Royalty, along with his brother, who was executed for his alleged crimes against the state. Diego Arias Sotelo was exiled to Spain in 1568 for his participation in the plot of Don Martin Cortes, but his son Fernando stepped in to take over the encomienda of Ecatepec from him.  

    Leonor Valderrama and her husband Diego Arias de Sotelo had the following children:  

    1. Don Fernando de Sotelo, the third encomendero of Tarímbaro and San Cristobal Ecatepec. He later became the Mayor of Colima and died sometime after 1604.
    2. Don Cristobal de Sotelo Valderrama was married Juana de Heredia Patino in 1594 in Mexico City and is believed to have died in 1607.
    3. Dona Ana de Sotelo Moctezuma, who became a nun.
    4. Petronila Moctezuma (Montezuma). She was married to Martin de Gabay, also known as Martin Navarro.

    Unfortunately, the 1574 Archivo General chart refers to the Leonor de Valderrama and Diego Arias Sotelo as the parents of Fernando Sotelo de Moctezuma and "otros hijos [other children] de Diego Arias Sotelo."[ii]

    [i] Donald E. Chipman, op. cit., p. 77.
    Mexico Archivo General - AGI - MP - Escudos: 211.

    However, this excerpt from a 1594 matrimonio informacion document from the Archdiocese of Mexico City provides the following information: "X’poval [Christobal] Sotelo Valderrama natural de esta ciudad hijo legitimo de Diego Arias Sotelo y Doña Leonor ---- [unreadable] - difuntos [deceased]. This is the brother of Petronila Sotelo alias Petronila Moctezuma. This document was the result of diligent research in Mexico City's information matrimonios by Mercy Bautista Olvera.[i]

    [i] Family History Library, Mexico Distrito Federal Church Records, Aquidiocecis de Mexico (Centro), Film 1512017, Image #96. Online:



    It is believed that Leonor died in 1562. Her husband, Diego Arias de Sotelo died four years later on July 7, 1566.


    PETRONILA SOTELO MOCTEZUMA was probably born around 1552 in Mexico City. It is believed that in 1571 she was married to MARTIN GABAI DE NAVARRO, also known as MARTIN NABARRO. A marriage of Petronila and Martin has not been located yet, however, they were referenced several times as an ancestral married couple Martin Nabarro and Petronila Montesuma in a 1703 Diocese of Guadalajara informacion matrimonio document for a marriage that took place in Nochistlán as seen below:[i]

    [i] Family History Library, Diocese of Guadalajara Matrimonios Film #168605 (1700-1705), Images 318-320. Online:  


    In an earlier section of the same document, the following relationship is outlined: Theresa Ponze, the daughter (hija) of Nicolas Ponze, the granddaughter (nieta) of Doña Juana de Siordia, great-granddaughter (bisnieta) of Maria Gabai, and great-great-granddaughter (terzera nieta) of Martin Nabarro and of Doña Petronila Montesuma.[i]

    [i] Ibid.

    The known children of Petronila Sotelo (alias Moctezuma) and of Martin Gabai de Navarro are shown below:  

             Mary Gabay, who married to Pedro Fernandez de Vaulus

            Ana-Francisca Gabay, born circa 1573-1577, married circa 1594-95 to Lope Ruiz de Esparza, died March 30, 1652, 
            Villa de        Aguascalientes - married LOPE RUIZ-DE-ESPARZA. He died 14 Aug 1651 in Aguascalientes.



    According to the doctorate dissertation Margo Tamez, when Lope Ruiz de Esparza (1569-1651), a Basque colonist, married Ana Francisca Moctezuma Gabay (1573-1652), “high status was secured, and certain facets of aboriginal title through his wife‘s ancestral lineage, recognized by the Spanish Crown as a direct line descendent of Moctezuma II, facilitated the acquisition of lands and wealth for his heirs vis-à-vis intermarriage with an Indigenous woman with immense social and political capital.”[i]  

    Lope Ruiz de Esparza

    Lope Ruiz de Esparza – a native of Pamplona, Navarra – is documented by the Catalogo de Pasajeros a Indias (Vol. III - #2.633) as having sailed from Spain to Mexico on Feb. 8, 1593. Lope, who was the son of Lope Ruiz de Esparza and Ana Días de Eguino, was a bachelor and a servant of Doñ Enrique Maleon.[ii] After arriving in Mexico, Lope is said to have married Francisca de Gabai Navarro y Moctezuma somewhere in Mexico City in 1595. This marriage has not been located.  


    At some point, Lope and Francesca made their way to Aguascalientes in the Spanish colony of Nueva Galicia. The town of Aguascalientes had been formally established by a decree of October 22, 1575 during the height of the Chichimeca War (1550-1590). As a result, the small villa got off to a bad start and during the height of the hostilities (1582-1585), the population of the villa was reduced to only one caudillo, two vecinos [residents] and 16 soldiers. However the last Chichimec raid took place in 1593, after which the threat from native peoples quickly diminished. At this point Spanish settlers – mostly cattlemen and farmers – began arriving in Aguascalientes.[iii]  

    By 1610, the small town of Aguascalientes had some 25 Spanish residents, about fifty families of mestizos, at least 100 mulatos, twenty Black slaves, and ten Indians.[iv] It is likely that these twenty-five Spanish inhabitants probably included persons with the surnames Ruiz de Esparza, Alvarado, Tiscareno de Molina, Luebana, and Fernandez de Vaulus. The Registros Parroquiales (Parish Registers) for La Parroquia de la Asunción (Assumption Parish) in Aguascalientes began at various points around this time: marriages in 1601, baptisms in 1616 and deaths in 1620. And the vast majority of the people who were baptized or married in this church in the early years were mulatos, mestizos and indios (as indicated by the 1610 tally).  

    The first evidence we have of Lope’s presence in Aguascalientes is an October 8th, 1611 marriage of two people who are described as servants (criados) of Pedro Fernandez de Vaulus (most likely a nephew of Francesca Gabai de Ruiz de Esparza). This marriage was performed in the presence (en presencia) of three people, one of whom was Lope Ruiz de Esparza.



     Lope Ruiz de Esparza and Francisca de Gabay had the following children:

    1. Salvador, born in 1595, died in Aguascalientes on Sept 29, 1679. He was married about 1618 to María de Vielma, born circa 1600
    2. Anna Tomasina, born about 1597. She was married on Nov. 25, 1618 to Francisco Sánchez de Montes de Oca, a native of the Kingdom of Castilla. They lived in Morcenique
    3. Martín, born about 1600. He was married about 1625 to Doña María López de Elizalde y Becerra, the widow of Don Juan de Luévana (a peninsular). He died in 1662 in Aguascalientes.
    4. Lorenza, born about 1602. She was married in the Hacienda de Morcenique, Aguascalientes, on May 16, 1623, with Capitán Luis de Tiscareño de Molina y Márquez, originally from the Barrio of Triana en Sevilla; Luis was the son of Juan de Tiscareño de Molina y de doña Elvira Márquez.
    5. Jacinto, born about 1604. He was the Escribano Real de Aguascalientes. He was married about 1629 with Doña Juana López de Elizalde, who died  in Aguascalientes on May 21, 1682 (she was the daughter of Juan López de Elizalde y de Leonor Becerra y Sánchez de Mendoza). He died in Aguascalientes on July 27, 1679.
    6. Bernardo (who also used the surname Salado) was born in 1608. He was married in the Estancia de Morcenique to Doña Catalina Lozano Isla, the daughter of Don Cristóbal y de Doña María (Lozano-Isla)
    7. Pedro, was born in 1611. He was married on April 12, 1636 to Isla Juana Lozano, the daughter of Don Cristobal and Dona Maria, already mentioned. His second marriage in Aguascalientes, on March 13, 1688 was recorded as follows: “13 de marzo de 1688: Pedro Ruis de Esparza español vecino de esta villa y vudo de Juana Lozano con Margarita española vecina y natural de esta villa hija lexítima de Luis González y Beatris Gallegos ya difuntos.” He had fathered a child by her. Margarita was baptized on Nov. 24, 1625 in Aguascalientes.
    8. María, born in 1613 and married about 1630 with Don Nicolás de Ulloa, who had been born in 1605. They were vecinos de Teocaltiche, where their descendants lived.
    9. Capitán Cristóbal, born in 1616. He was marred on August 18, 1646 to Doña Isabel de Alcaraz, o Pérez
    10. Don Bernabé, baptized en Aguascalientes on June 17, 1618 and died on October 21, 1672. He was married on May 11, 1643 with Doña Anna Ortiz Ramírez, a native of Sierra de Pinos and daughter Pablo and de Doña Catalina. They had no descendants.
    11. Don Lope Ruiz de Esparza y de Gabay, born in Morcenique and baptized in Aguascalientes on August 21, 1620. Lope was also known as Lorenzo Ruiz de Esparza. His first marriage was to Doña Antonia del Castilla (daughter of Juan del Castillo de Contreras and Doña María Ruiz de Aldana) on May 2, 1647. His second marriage was on August 1, 1677 to Doña Josefa de Sandi, widow of Juan Martínez Calvillo, daughter of Alonso de Aguilera y de Josefa de Sandi.

    Both Lope Ruiz de Esparza and his wife Francesca served as padrinos at numerous baptisms and marriages in the Aguascalientes during their long lives. However, their own children were not baptized in the Aguascalientes parish church until 1618. It is possible that records were kept in their private chapel in Morcenique and that these records were never turned over to the parish or may have been lost at some point.

    [i] Margo Tamez, op. cit., p. 329.
    Archivo General de Indias, Sección de Contratación, Pasajeros a Indias:  Libros de Asientos (Sevilla, Spain: Imprenta Editorial de la Gavidia, 1940), Vol. VII, 1586-1599, III-163, #2.633.
    Peter Gerhard, The North Frontier of New Spain (University of Oklahoma: 1993), pp. 63-65; Philip Wayne Powell, Solders, Indians and Silver (Center for Latin American Studies, Arizona State University: 1975), pp. 144, 154-155.
    Peter Gerhard, op. cit., p 65.

    LORENZA ESPARZA (The fourth-born child of Lope and Francesca) (1602-1690)

     LORENZA RUIZ DE ESPARZA, the fourth-born child of Lope and Francesca, was probably born around 1602. On May 16, 1623, in Morcenique, Lorenza was married to Luis Tiscareno de Molina, a native of Triana, across the river from Sevilla in Castilla. Their marriage is shown below:[i]   The approximate text of this marriage reads as follows:

    En la estançia de Morçenique desposé…a Luis Tiscareño de Molina hijo de Juan Tiscareño y Elvira Márquez naturales de Triana en Sevilla en Reynos de Castilla con Lorença Ruiz de Esparza hija legítima de Lope Ruiz de Esparça y Francisca de Gabadi, su muger, vecinos de esta villa. Fueron testigos Martín Fernández de Vaulux y Francisco Maçías Valadez y Salvador Ruiz de Esparça, cuñado del dicho Luis Tiscareño de Molina. Fueron padrinos: Francisco Sánchez Montes de Oca y Ana Ruiz de Esparça, su muger, cuñados del dicho Luis Tiscareño de Molina.

    Copyright © 2013 by John P. Schmal  

    [i] Family History Library Film 299421, Aguascalientes Bautismos & Matrimonios (1616-1662).


    1. Juan Tiscareno de Molina
    2. Luisa Tiscareno de Molina – married on Sept, 3, 1652 to Andres Lopez de Nava in Aguascalientes
    3. Francesca Tiscareno de Molina, baptized March 4, 1625, Aguascalientes
    4. Elvira Tiscareno de Molina, baptized May 11, 1627, Aguascalientes
    5. Maria Tiscareno de Molina, baptized March 13, 1634, Aguascalientes
    6. Margarita Tiscareno de Molina, baptized June 27, 1642, Aguascalientes
    7. Juana Tiscareno de Molina, baptized August 20, 1644, Aguascalientes

    According to the Aguascalientes Parish Book, Lorensa Ruis De Esparsa, the widow of Luis Tiscareño, was buried on June 3, 1690 (Aguascalientes Film 299856, Book 2, page 150).



     MARIA TISCARENO was born eleven years after the marriage of her parents, Lorenza Ruis de Esparza and Luis Tiscareno de Molina. Her baptism on March 13, 1634 described María as “hija de Luis Careño [Tiscareno] y Lorenza Ruis.” The actual baptism from the Aguascalientes film was located on Family History Library Film 299421 and has been reproduced below:


    Several sources have reported that on May 5, 1658, in the Chapel of Los Tiscareños, CAPITAN JUAN ROMO DE VIVAR (born around 1632) married María de Molina Tiscareño, the daughter of Luis de Molina and Marquez Tiscareño.  

    We do not have a copy of this marriage. However, from 1658 forward, Juan Romo and Maria Tiscareno are frequently listed in the baptism book of Aguascalientes, both as padrinos and as parents.  Although they were the parents of several children, only some of those children were baptized in Aguascalientes. Others may have been baptized in the private family chapel, and the records may not have been transferred to the Parish of Aguascalientes.  

    Juan Romo de Vibar and María de Tiscareno are believed to have had several children including:  

    1. Teresa Romo de Vibar, born circa 1662
    2. Antonio Romo de Vibar, baptized Aug 12, 1664, Aguascalientes Parish
    3. Domingo Romo de Vibar, baptized Sept. 13, 1666, Aguascalientes Parish

    On December 18, 1691, according to the Aguascalientes Parish Book, Juan Romo de Vivar – the husband of Maria de Tiscareño – was buried at the Convento De Nuestra Señora De La Concepsion (Aguascalientes Film 299856, Book 2, page 160). The death record for his wife has not been located.



    Aguascalientes research specialists, including Mariano Gonzalez, have stated that Juana Teresa Romo de Vibar was born about 1662, possibly baptized in the private Tiscareno chapel or in another parish. What is known is that Doña Juana Teresa – when she was about 17 years old – was married to CAPITAN DON JOSEPH DE LA ESCALERA Y VALDES on September 10, 1679. The two page document for their marriage (Aguascalientes Film 299823) is reproduced below:



    The known children of Jose de la Escalera and Teresa Romo who were baptized in the Parish of Aguascalientes are listed below:  

    1. Margarita, baptized Sept. 1, 1680
    2. Juan, baptized March 24, 1682
    3. Joseph, baptized July 4, 1684
    4. Mariana, baptized May 27, 1687
    5. Christoval, baptized Oct. 23, 1689

    According to the Aguascalienes Parish Book, Teresa Romo De Vivar – the wife of Joseph de la Escalera – was buried in the Church of Aguascalientes on Dec. 24, 1691 (Aguascalientes Film 299856, Book 2, page 160). She was probably only 29 years old at the time.

           TEXAS-MEXICO BORDER] (Program in American Studies, Washington State University: May 2010), p. 76.

    Donald E. Chipman, Moctezuma‘s Children: Aztec Royalty Under Spanish Rule, 1520-1700, (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 2005).
    Ibid., pp. 75-95.
    Mexico Archivo General - AGI - MP - Escudos: 211.
    Hugh Thomas, Who’s Who of the Conquistadors (Cassell & Co.: London, 2000), p.222.
    Enciclopedia de los Municipios y Delegaciones de México, Michoacán de Ocampo: Tarímbaro. Online:

    Mexico Archivo General - AGI - MP - Escudos: 211.
    Donald E. Chipman, op. cit., p. 77.
    Mexico Archivo General - AGI - MP - Escudos: 211.
    Family History Library, Mexico Distrito Federal Church Records, Aquidiocecis de Mexico (Centro), Film 1512017, Image #96. Online:  

    Family History Library, Diocese of Guadalajara Matrimonios Film #168605 (1700-1705), Images 318-320. 

    Margo Tamez, op. cit., p. 329.
    Archivo General de Indias, Sección de Contratación, Pasajeros a Indias:  Libros de Asientos (Sevilla, Spain: Imprenta Editorial de la Gavidia, 1940), Vol. VII, 1586-1599, III-163, #2.633.
    Peter Gerhard, The North Frontier of New Spain (University of Oklahoma: 1993), pp. 63-65; Philip Wayne Powell, Solders, Indians and Silver
    (Center for Latin American Studies, Arizona State University: 1975), pp. 144, 154-155.
    Peter Gerhard, op. cit., p 65.
    Family History Library Film 299421, Aguascalientes Bautismos & Matrimonios (1616-1662).

     Copyright © 2013 by John P. Schmal



    Mexico DNA Project,  the Sephardic Connection, by Gary Felix
    Ancient DNA Links Native Americans With Europe by Michael Balter



    Mexico DNA Project, Sephardic Connection 
    Administrator, Gary Felix


    We report on two of the oldest mitochondrial DNA clusters in existence with Jewish affiliation. Both are in haplogroup T2e1. Four unrelated individuals from the Mexico mtDNA project were found to have the control region mutations that characterize a Sephardic signature previously reported (motif 16114T-16192T within T2e). Full genomic sequencing found the identical coding region mutations as Sephardic individuals which provides genetic evidence for founders of Northern Mexico that were both female and Sephardic Jewish. 

    This is in contrast to a more common finding of European male, but local female founders and additionally lends biological support to anecdotes and historical reports of Crypto-Jewish founding of the Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas regions of Mexico and influx to Southern Texas, USA. The haplotype is nested in an old tree with mutations at positions 2308 and 15499, presently of uncertain geographic origin. 

    The second cluster, a Bulgarian Sephardic founding lineage (9181G within T2e) previously reported, was found here in a population of largely Americans of European descent, but only among Jewish individuals. The non-synonymous mutation in ATPase 6 was found among both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews from diverse regions of Czech Republic, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, and Romania. Full genomic sequencing found great coding region variability with several haplotypes and suggested a Near East origin at least 3000 years old. This predates the split between Jewish groups, but more recent admixture between Sephardim and Ashkenazim cannot be ruled out. Together the two Jewish-affiliated clusters account for all the genetic distance found in branch T2e1 and much of T2e. The findings suggest reexamination of the origins of mitochondrial DNA haplogroup T2e as Levantine or early back migration to the Near East. New subclades of T2e are identified.

    Sent by Gary Felix


    Ancient DNA Links Native Americans With Europe by Michael Balter

    by Michael Balter
    25 October 2013

    SANTA FE—Where did the first Americans come from? Most researchers agree that Paleoamericans moved across the Bering Land Bridge from Asia sometime before 15,000 years ago, suggesting roots in East Asia. But just where the source populations arose has long been a mystery.

    Now comes a surprising twist, from the complete nuclear genome of a Siberian boy who died 24,000 years ago—the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date. His DNA shows close ties to those of today's Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia. The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today's Native Americans can be traced to "western Eurasia," with the other two-thirds coming from eastern Asia, according to a talk at a meeting* here by ancient DNA expert Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen. It also implies that traces of European ancestry previously detected in modern Native Americans do not come solely from mixing with European colonists, as most scientists had assumed, but have much deeper roots.

    "I'm still processing that Native Americans are one-third European," says geneticist Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida in Gainesville. "It's jaw-dropping." At the very least, says geneticist Dennis O'Rourke of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, "this is going to stimulate a lot of discussion."

    Researchers have been trying to parse the origins of the first Americans for decades. Most agree that people moved across Beringia, via a vast ice age land bridge (see map p. 410), and began spreading through the Americas, reaching Chile by 14,500 years ago. But the origins of the source populations are not clear, and some archaeologists have even suggested that ancient Europeans crossing the Atlantic were part of the mix (Science, 16 March 2012, p. 1289). Others have contended that early skeletons found in the Americas, such as the 9000-year-old Kennewick Man, show some European features (Science, 10 April 1998, p. 190). In his talk, Willerslev argued that the ancient genome "can actually explain a lot of these inconsistencies," by offering glimpses of prehistoric populations before more recent migrations and other demographic events blurred the picture.

    The genome comes from the right upper arm bone of a boy aged about 4 years, who lived by Siberia's Belaya River. Those who buried him adorned his grave with flint tools, pendants, a bead necklace, and a sprinkling of ochre. In the 1920s, Russian archaeologists discovered the burial and other artifacts near a village called Mal'ta, which gave the celebrated site its name. Willerslev and co-author Kelly Graf of Texas A&M University in College Station, traveled to the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, where the boy's remains are housed, and took a bone sample.

    Willerslev reported that the team was able to sequence the boy's genome, and also to radiocarbon date the bone. The team then used a variety of statistical methods to compare the genome with that of living populations. They found that a portion of the boy's genome is shared only by today's Native Americans and no other groups, showing a close relationship. Yet the child's Y chromosome belongs to a genetic group called Y haplogroup R, and its mitochondrial DNA to a haplogroup U. Today, those haplogroups are found almost exclusively in people living in Europe and regions of Asia west of the Altai Mountains, which are near the borders of Russia, China, and Mongolia.

    One expected relationship was missing from the picture: The boy's genome showed no connection to modern East Asians. DNA studies of living people strongly suggest that East Asians—perhaps Siberians, Chinese, or Japanese—make up the major part of Native American ancestors. So how could the boy be related to living Native Americans, but not to East Asians? "This was kind of puzzling at first," Willerslev told the meeting. But there seemed little doubt that the finding was correct, he said, because nearly all Native Americans from North and South America were equally related to the Mal'ta child, indicating that he represented very deep Native American roots.

    The team proposes a relatively simple scenario: Before 24,000 years ago, the ancestors of Native Americans and the ancestors of today's East Asians split into distinct groups. The Mal'ta child represents a population of Native American ancestors who moved into Siberia, probably from Europe or west Asia. Then, sometime after the Mal'ta boy died, this population mixed with East Asians. The new, admixed population eventually made its way to the Americas. Exactly when and where the admixture happened is not clear, Willerslev said. But the deep roots in Europe or west Asia could help explain features of some Paleoamerican skeletons and of Native American DNA today. "The west Eurasian [genetic] signatures that we very often find in today's Native Americans don't all come from postcolonial admixture," Willerslev said in his talk. "Some of them are ancient."

    The talk sparked lively exchange, and not everyone was ready to buy the team's scenario, at least until they can read the full paper, which is in press at Nature. "This is a lot to hang on one skeleton," Mulligan says. Willerslev said during the discussion that his group is now trying to sequence the genomes of skeletons "further west."

    The new findings are consistent with a report published in Genetics last year (and almost entirely ignored at the time) that used modern DNA to conclude that Native Americans have significant—and ancient—ties to Europeans. "Our group is very excited to see this," says Alexander Kim, who works with geneticist David Reich at Harvard Medical School in Boston and represented the group at the meeting. Reich's team found that populations they identified as Native American ancestors in Asia apparently also contributed genes to populations in northern Europe. Thus, both studies suggest a source population in Asia whose genes made their way east all the way to the Americas, and west, all the way to Europe.

    "Mal'ta might be a missing link, a representative of the Asian population that admixed both into Europeans and Native Americans," Reich says. If so, he adds, it shows "the value of ancient DNA in peeling back history and resolving mysteries that are difficult to solve using only present day samples."

    /Sent by Don Milligan



     Tia Lucina Hernandez Rubio Arcos is in the Photo, who is the Family?
    MyHeritage and FamilySearch enter significant strategic partnership 


    Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Jaime Rendon Hernandez, 

    I thought maybe you or some of your readers can help me identify where and who are in this picture. I think I have seen you publish similar pictures with like questions in the past. I know for sure that my Tia Lucina Hernandez Rubio Arcos is peering from behind the little girl with the black hat. It appears they are in front of a church, taking a group picture with a just baptized child, family presumably? 

    My aunt lived in San Antonio Texas from approximately 1925 to 1960. The picture looks circa 1940's! So it could be a church in San Antonio or maybe a church in Monterrey Nuevo Leon, since we have many relatives there, but most of them are long ago deceased. I would appreciate it if you would post the picture in an upcoming issue.



    MyHeritage and FamilySearch enter significant strategic partnership to advance family history

    Landmark alliance between the leading industry players includes the exchange of technological innovation and historical records to benefit users

    TEL AVIV, Israel & SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – October 9, 2013 – MyHeritage, the popular online family history network, and announced today the signing and commencement of a strategic partnership that forges a new path for the family history industry. Under this multi-year partnership, MyHeritage will provide FamilySearch with access to its powerful technologies and FamilySearch will share billions of global historical records and family tree profiles spanning hundreds of years with MyHeritage. This will help millions of MyHeritage and FamilySearch users discover even more about their family history.

    FamilySearch will provide MyHeritage with more than 2 billion records from its global historic record collections and its online Family Tree. These records will be added to SuperSearch , MyHeritage’s search engine for historical records, and will be matched with family trees on MyHeritage using its matching technologies. MyHeritage users will gain access to an unprecedented boost of historical records and family tree profiles, which are key to researching and reconstructing their family histories. This reinforces MyHeritage's position as an international market leader, with gigantic assets of family trees and records, which are the most globally diverse in the industry.

    FamilySearch members will benefit from MyHeritage's unique technologies which automate family history discoveries. Smart Matching™ automatically finds connections between user-contributed family trees and Record Matching automatically locates historical records relevant to any person in the family tree. By receiving accurate matches between FamilySearch’s Family Tree profiles and historical record collections, such as birth, death, census, and immigration documents, FamilySearch members will be able to more effectively grow their family trees in size and in depth and add conclusions supported by historical records.

    “For more than a hundred years, FamilySearch has been dedicated to working with the world’s archives to preserve their records for future generations” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “Their massive undertaking has made family history more accessible to everyone. This partnership highlights MyHeritage’s technology leadership and our firm commitment to adding historical records on a massive global scale, accelerating our vision of helping families everywhere explore and share their legacy online. We look forward to a fruitful future working hand in hand with our friends at FamilySearch.”

    “FamilySearch values collaborative partnerships that enable more people, in more places, to discover their family history” said Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch. “MyHeritage is an innovative company that has a fast growing, global online audience. We are excited to commence this partnership which enables FamilySearch to better serve the global family history community.”

    About MyHeritage

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    Early Hollywood Drawn to Orange County by Fermin Leal 
    SHHAR November Meeting, Photo HInts & Tidbits from the Jones Family
    os Alamitos Lawman, Juan Orozco gunned Down and Forgotten, Phil Brigandi

    Extract from: A library of many moments by Fermin Leal 
    Extract: Santora arts building changes hands in Santa Ana
    Inter-cultural Marriage Discussion Arises from Somos Primos November issue

    Orange's connection 
    Hollywood history

    In the 1910s, the area around 
    Santiago Canyon was fertile 
    ground for Westerns 
    by Fermin Leal, 
    Orange County Register
    Oct 25, 3013

    This scene from the 1912 short film "Squaw Man was shot in Santiago Canyon.  
    Two years later, Cecil B. DeMille would direct another version of "Squaw Man"  in Hollywood.
    Back in the 1910s, the hills east of Orange were often overrun with cowboys, Indians and covered wagons. The land saw countless gunfights, cattle stampedes and a few daring heists.  The land, surrounding what's now Irvine Regional Park, served as one of the fledgling motion picture industry's first filming locations.

    The area's vibrant valleys, grassy hills, arid canyons and lush creeks were the perfect setting for the Wild West. Most of the movies were 20-minute shorts, popular at the time because they fit on a single reel. One film, 1912's “The Squaw Man,” was an early version of a movie that would go on to make Hollywood history.

    “The land around Orange was then considered ‘Indian Country' for Hollywood producers,” said local historian Douglas Westfall.

    Another historian, Jim Sleeper, described the area in his book “Great Movies Shot in Orange County” about the first part of the 1910s: “Santiago Canyon saw more massacres per acre than the Great Plains states saw in a lifetime.”

    Sleeper, who died in 2012, chronicled in the 1980 book more than a dozen scenes for films shot around what is today Irvine Regional Park, Irvine Lake, Santiago Canyon and Santiago Creek.

    Some movies featured actors, directors and other crew members who would later work in bigger Hollywood productions. Many locals believe the legendary director Cecil B. DeMille also traveled to the area to film.

    Devilled is often referred to as one of Hollywood's founding fathers. His 1914 version of “The Squaw Man” has the distinction of being the first feature-length production filmed in Hollywood.

    “The Squaw Man” was adapted from a 1905 play that tells the story of a British officer who moves to America to work as a cattle rancher, then falls in love with an American Indian girl.

    Several versions of the story were produced into films, including the short shot in Orange's hills in 1912. In that version, the American Indian girl was played by actress Princess Red Wing. She would later play the same role in DeMille's 1914 adaptation.

    Between 1913 and 1920, DeMille directed more than 30 silent movies. Most were Westerns shot across the region. Westfall and other film historians believe DeMille likely shot some scenes in eastern Orange. The filmmaker “shot all over Southern California,” said the director's granddaughter Cecilia DeMille Presley, a Newport Beach resident. “He was always looking for the perfect location. I don't know if he ever worked in Orange. “But if the scenery was right, he would have found his way to it,” she said.

    DeMille Presley serves as a trustee emeritus at Chapman University.  DeMille's most famous Orange County film location was Seal Beach in the early 1920s.  The city's shoreline served as the coast of the Red Sea for “The Ten Commandments,” which came out in 1923 and starred Theodore Roberts. DeMille later went on to direct the more famous Charlton Heston version of “The Ten Commandments,” which was released in 1956.

    Contact the writer: 714-704-3773 or



    Left to right: Jeffery Jones and father Jim Jones

    Using pictures with your genealogy and personal stories, Hints and Tidbits from the Jones Family 
    The Nov 9th workshop was presented by Jim Jones, retired engineer, and his son, Jeffery Jones, working engineer teamed up in a presentation on how to organize and manage your  picture in your computer. They  discussed  scanning techniques, storing photos in folders by categories, and how to edit and enhance your pictures.  

    They also demonstrated how pictures can effectively be used with your genealogy and family history.  A demo DVD, "The Women in My Life, 1763-2013" was shown. Enhanced with music and a series of beautifully restored photos, of grandmothers and aunts brought many to tears.  The tidbits on that segment of the presentation: 7 seconds per photo and keep all the photos the same size.  
    SHHAR holds a regularly scheduled, second Saturday monthly-meeting, except for  the vacation months of August and December.
    One of the means for assisting researcher is the strategy of introducing new attendees, who share their interest in family history research.  Although the focus is Hispanic research, with so many Americans of mixed heritage, attendance is multi-cultural.  The organization is very service oriented, making presentations and setting up displays throughout Orange County.  For its monthly meetings, the SHHAR Board seeks out experts in a variety of family researching  topics.  There is no membership, and all presentations are free of charge.   The meetings are held by permission of the Orange County Family Search Library of the  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at 674 S. Yorba, Orange.  4;  SHHAR is  non-denominational, and the public is always invited. For more information, please contact President, Letty Rodella, 714-776-5177
    Radio Santa Ana
    A new project of the Centro Cultural de Mexico will be another valuable support for the Spanish speaking in Orange County.  The  
    leadership behind the effort is to make available to radio station to listen to and to serve the needs of the Latino community in Santa Ana.  For more information, please contact: 
    Luis Sarmiento          (714) 425-5562
    Carmen Cortez          (310) 819-7484
    Socorro Sarmiento      (714) 425-0487

    Last of the wild West
    Los Alamitos Lawman, Juan Orozco gunned Down and Forgotten
    Phil Brigandi

    The forgotten tale of the 1907 shooting of Los Alamitos deputy constable Juan Orozco was told by historian Phil Brigandi at the Orange County Historical Societies general meeting October 10, 2013.

    Over the course of two years the Brigandi has uncovered this intriguing story from the waning days of orange County's wild and woolly pioneer era.

    Surrounded by freeways, condos and strip malls it's easy to forget that orange County was once part of the wild West, complete with bandits  and horse thieves, tough lawman, Indians, cat houses, rough-and-tumble saloons, false front stores, blacksmith, shootouts, cattle roundups, prospectors and nearly any other old West cliché you'd care to conjure up. Los Alamitos was such a stereotypically tough and rugged Western town that movies directors would later use it as a location set for their "oaters."

    Orozco seems to have been the first Orange County law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty, said  Brigandi. "the story has been forgotten mostly because we don't have constables anymore or any successor agency to keep a list of their own fallen officers. This is a story I ran across a couple of years ago and there are still some questions to unravel. But the basic facts are clear.

    Phil Brigand has written over 20 books on local history, has been a museum curator, teacher, public speaker, historical consultant and newspaper columnist and served as Orange County's archivist for five years. He also leads OCHS's, history hikes and is editor for OCHS's Orange Countiana  Journal.

    This was the first time the Phil Brigand had spoken on the subject of Juan Orosco, an article about his research appeared in the May 28 2013 issue of the Orange County Register.

    Source:  County Courier, Official Publication of the Orange County Historical Society 

    Extract from: A library of many moments by Fermin Leal
    Orange County Register, Nov 2013
    A collection of 15,000 photos tells the story of Orange's growth since the 1850s.

    It's a collection of history spanning more than 160 years. Almost 15,000 photos chronicle how Orange started as a small housing track, then grew into Orange County's fourth largest city.

    The orange public library and history centers archive of photos the pics the boom of the agricultural packing industry shows the development of old town and offers a glimpse into 
    the daily lives of Orange residents from the mid-1800s until today County's.

    All the photos are available digitally on the library's website. Library staff spent several 
    years scanning the photos or film that get negatives into the archives.


    Orange Union High School is shown in th 1920 photo.  The campus later became Chapman University. 
    Santora Extract: Santora arts building changes hands in Santa Ana

    The Santora Arts Building, the iconic Spanish Colonial style building that anchors Santa Ana’s downtown Artists Village, has been sold to Newport Beach resident Jack Jakosky, according to the Voice of OC. The 1928 Santora building at 207 N. Broadway, became home during the 1930s and 1940s to a restaurant
    which attracted Hollywood's. The building is listed on the national register of historic places.


    Members of Orange County's arts community expressed confidence that the new owners would benefit the arts. With the Santora building becoming more arts centric, it will add to the vitality and significance of Santa Ana and the greater Orange County arts community.  

    Jakosky said in a brief interview that he wants to rekindle the building’s art scene, which has been declining in recent years as other businesses fill studios vacated by artists.  “I want to increase the number of art-related tenants,” Jakosky said. “It needs to go back to its roots frankly, and that’s my objective.”



    Inter-cultural Marriage Discussion Arises 
    from Somos Primos November issue on the Ontiveros Family of Orange County  

    In a message dated 10/28/13 15:49:04 Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
    Enjoyed seeing this / It's a topic that's of interest / It would be interesting to do a similar
    study of the YORBA, GRIJALVA, and PERALTA families of OC: 1800s /

    I'm sure these 3 families also intermarried with AngloAmericans, both males & females. I wouldn't be surprised to find that a huge percentage of Orange Countians have a mix of Anglo & Latino cultural heritages.  Al

    On Oct 28, 2013, at 7:12 PM, mimilozano <> wrote:

    Hi Al . . I would surely welcome an article along that line on any or all of the OC families, Yorba, Grijalva, or Peralta. It makes the points in many, many ways. 

    Also, would have the time to write up a personal article about a Christmas memory in Orange County? As you know, I am trying to get readers to start writing their stories and sharing. I thought Christmas would be a good time to show how much fun it can be, and insightful at the same time.

    God bless, Mimi

    From: Albert V Vela, PhD [] 
    Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 7:22 AM
    To: mimilozano
    Subject: Re: InterMarriages in OC / 1800s /

    Hello Mimi,  Early this yr I started work on the early history of the Santa Ana Canyon. Only one major significant study has been done, a Masters by Tracy Smith, CSU, Fullerton.  Other than that there are pieces in journals here and there / Was in OC recently 
    and was happy with what I learned including an interview with Marilyn Yorba Lasker.  What I'm saying, Mimi, is I have my hands full at this time. But I encourage you to keep telling folks to write their personal/family stories. 

    The InterCultural marriages in early OC between the ranchero sons & daughters with AngloAmericans is not unusual.  Happened up and down the coast / Here again, not a whole lot has been written by scholars on this topic . . . just lines here and there . There 
    are rivers of "Spanish/Mexican/Indian/mestizo blood" flowing in the lives of Orange Countians.  I was surprised to learn that some of my Mater Dei HS classmates of the 1950s had a Latino cultural connection.  This surfaced years following graduation / Who would have guessed it with German surnames like Bain & Wagner among others?

    Fondly,  Al

    On Oct 29, 2013, at 12:15 PM, George, Stephanie wrote:

    Just thought I’d mention, too, that the Anaheim families that are often evoked as “German” were very much inter-cultural marriages. August (Augustus) Langenberger, a German native, who owned the general store in 1858 (a year after Anaheim incorporated) was first married to Maria Petra de Jesus Ontiveros, the daughter of Juan Pacifico Ontiveros (who sold his ranch land to the Colony) and, one of my favorite families, the Rimpaus, who’s patriarch, Theodore, married [Maria Marcilina] Francisca Avila. Her father was Francisco Avila (and alcalde of the pueblo of Los Angeles) and her mother was Maria Verdugo. 

    *This* is one of the other research topics I’m working on, since these families have, more times than not, been identified as “German” when it comes to Anaheim. Moreover, they were influential in the development of St. Boniface (again, the German connection) but Langenberger and Rimpau were NOT Catholic! Of course, there wives were – and you can see the influence their wives had on the religious education of their children and financial support of the RC church in town. It was only after Rimpau’s wife died did he convert. (That’s always baffled me; why wait?!) 

    Anyway, one of these days, I’ll get back to this. I was very heavily into this when researching for the St. Boniface sesquicentennial exhibit that I curated for them. 

    Hope you’re doing well, Al!


    In a message dated 10/29/13 10:33:38 Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

    Hi Stephanie, 

    You've got your hands full on this topic / I guess the authors/contributors to The Story of a Parish were/are the same mold as the writers of Yorba Linda, Santa Ana, et al. where the focus is on the latecomer AngloAmericans (1860s) which for them is the beginning of history in OC / This bias,  I've learned, has a long history. . .goes to Pres Thomas Jefferson. . .with roots in England / Los hispanos don't count for much in The Story of a Parish! By the way, how did the early records of the San Antonio Church disappear? What a shame! 

    Why did el señor Teodoro Rimpau wait till his deathbed to convert? We'll have to wait for the true answer! Hopefully I'll be able to visit St Boniface's Holy Cross Cemetery to ck dates/names / That's where early Mexicans / MexAm's got married, baptized, confirmed / You did a great story on the cemetery in Orange County (2011).

    Fondly, al

    Dear Al and Stephanie . . . I am SO glad that the article stimulated a lively discussion on the subject.
    I was thinking that as I suggested a topic for the December issue (memorable Christmas) that I would start off the 2014 requesting those of us who have married out of our cultural group, or children of such a marriage, share a story on that theme for the January issue.
    Al and Stephanie . . It would be great if you could co-author an article on more mixed marriages in Orange County. It really makes the point . . . that early Hispanics in the Southwest did not disappear, we just lost our surnames through marriages.
    Hope you both will consider the suggestion for a great article on the subject. 
    God bless, Mimi

    From: "Albert V Vela, PhD" <>
    Subject: Re: CAMPO ALEMAN: InterMarriages in OC / 1800s /
    Dear Mimi,

    I got drawn to the topic of inter-ethnic/cultural marriages in CA first from the diff articles I came across where authors wrote about the consequences of these marriages pro Anglo males in CA / and other books/articles that dealt with these marriages in NM / I figure the same thing happened in TX, AZ and along the border /
    You're right, Mimi, the early Hispanics now carry Anglo surnames like MacArthur, Smythe, Rowland. . .It's part of our hidden unwritten Hispanic OC history / I wonder how many MexAms decided to change their surnames to become Anglo! This from
    lack of knowledge of their Hispanic culture and anti-Hispanic bias/discrimination in the 19th/20th C / Obviously ignorance of one's cultural heritage has negative consequences.   By the way, an outstanding book that gives essential background re the presence of Spaniards in CA is FELIPE DE NEVE (1971) by EDWIN A BEILHARZ 

    Tom Saenz
    Wed, 30 Oct 2013 3:13 


    Good to hear from you and interesting conversation you have going here with Mimi. You might want to look a bit deeper in terms of why the mixed marriages. I am not too familiar in terms how things happened in California. Something tells me that the Anglo did not marry the Hispanic just because they liked our curly hair! I do know for a fact that in Texas it all had to do with land ownership. Many of the early Hispanics had possession of a lot of land and one way Anglos got their hands on it was through marriage. If I am not mistaken, Richard King (King Ranch) was one example. One other that comes to mind is John Mc Allen (founder of the city of McAllen, TX). John Mc Allen was the second husband of Salome Balli. If you look up the Balli name you will find that they at one time owned in access of a million acres in South Texas and this included Padre Island. The McAllen story is all told in a book I read a few years ago titled: "I Rather Sleep in Texas", a history of the Lower Rio Grande Valley & the People of the Santa Anita Land Grant.

    Saludos!  Tom

    Stephanie George  < 
    30 Oct 2013 4:17

    . .and it could have been as simple as there were many more local Californio women than Anglo. Look at the census records during the time about which we’re speaking and you’ll see that’s true.

    Certainly, marrying into large land-holding families has its perks (and, certainly, there were/are those who looked/look at marriage as an opportunity for empire-building or land-grabbing) but when you analyze the history of marriage vis-à-vis dowries (especially as it relates to land ownership) —one would find it difficult to assign this as anything other than the norm. Moreover, the California Constitution of 1849 addressed the issue of community property, but based it on Spanish civil law, which distinguished the wife’s property from European common law ideas about community property, that is, that any real property owned previous to marriage or real property acquired by gift after marriage, was still hers. It did not belong to her husband.

    Going back to the previous discussion, women *do* tend to lose some of the birth family “identity” by taking on their husbands’ names. However, it wasn’t—and isn’t—simply a phenomenon that was specific to Hispanic women of the nineteenth century, but to women, in general, who adopt Mrs. Husband’s Surname at marriage. And, remember, it’s more than just changing one’s name, but it replaces the women’s birth name. It doesn’t surprise me at all that part of a woman’s identity is “lost” or “re-assigned” at marriage.





    Cuento: 1937 Christmas in Los Angeles, and the Yale Puppeteers by Mimi Lozano
    Cuento: The Mystery and Magic of Christmas 1960, Flintridge, California
    Troubled Waters No More: Echo Park Lake Reopens
    UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center



    1937 Christmas in Los Angeles, and the Yale Puppeteers by Mimi Lozano

    I came to Los Angeles, from my birthplace San Antonio, as an infant in arms in 1934.  I was about three when I began to fully observe the special magic of the season. Department stores and individual shop owners decorated their store windows. Garlands and bright colored lights were hung from the streetlights. It seemed that the whole world was celebrating.

    The department stores outdid themselves with full window displays of animated figures and trains running all day long through little mountain villages with smoked snow-covered roofs. Among the little houses were children playing with sleds and dogs and building snowmen. The snow looked clean and soft like a raspada before the sugary syrup has been added. It was like a dreamland of perfection.

    Inside the store was special too. Decorations hung from the ceilings, and Christmas music added to the joy. Sometimes employees dressed as elves or Santa helpers would walk around with a basket of candy's and give those to children. But, the most special of all the merchant gifts with the children's entertainment offered throughout the holiday season. My favorite were the marionette shows. They marked me for life. They carried me into the land of make believe, reinforcing the radio program of Let's Pretend, which we listened to daily.

    I did not know why I had such a vivid memory of viewing my first marionette performance,  but it was and is deeply imprinted in my memories of Christmas.  It was a performance of Hansel and Gretel and the lovely music, accompanying it . .  which starts out "When at night I go to sleep, fourteen angels, guide to keep. . . "  It was etched into my mind, but I did not know why. When I had my own little girl, my mother shared with me what had happened, so long ago, when I was about three.

    Mom had taken my sister and me to a large department store, timing it so we would arrive for the first puppet performance. I remembered attending, but it was only after she awaken the full incident. Mom said that after the first performance, I staunchly refused to leave. She said I kicked and screamed and carried on to such an extent that we stayed not only for the next performance, but for several more scheduled for the day. Because I was always very cooperative and obedient, Mom didn't really know how to deal with me.  I remember she even pretended to leave, a few times, but I did not care.  I sat on the floor, feet outstretched, all alone, looking at the closed curtain, waiting for the magic to begin again. Finally Mom  asked the puppeteers for their help. They kindly came out and, let me touch the marionettes, and showed me how they moved.  Since I only spoke Spanish, some how they were able to convince me, with Mom acting as translator, that tt was their last performance for the day, and that I should go homeWhether it was the last performance are not, I will never know but my love for the theater was surely awakened.

    In 1956, I was at UCLA in graduate school working on a thesis concerning drama and theater offerings of public recreation departments. At that time UCLA offered its first course in puppetry. The UCLA class focused on marionette construction and performance. In addition I did fieldwork at the Shatto Drama Center with the Los Angeles Recreation Department. Television was just developing. The Shatto drama center was invited to produce and perform puppetry shows on their television network, so about 57 years ago, I had the fun of doing puppetry on television. Come to think about it .  . . . .  the Los Angeles Recreation Department may have been among the first to do puppetry on television . . .  and my fascination went all the way back to the magic of Christmas in 1937.

    In the late 1960s, I pursued a Teaching Credential. After, I started my student teaching in a Junior High in Manhattan Beach, I suggested and convinced the principal that the multi-faceted aspect of  puppetry (script writing, construction, stage design, and performance) was a valuable teaching instrument. I put together a curriculum and taught a series of  6-week classes.  The puppetry class was adopted and continued as part of the regular school program.    

    In the 1970s, I was teaching puppetry part time at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, and did so for five years, My students were of all ages.  They were mostly teachers and librarians, but also professional performers.  I wrote and we put on puppet shows at Golden West College, with Spanish and English performances, and in the community at libraries and schools. I was a member of the Puppeteers of America and spoke in Washington, D.C. at an International conference on the use of puppetry for Bilingual Education.  

    As part of my advanced puppetry class, I also made arrangements for a field trip to visit the famous Yale Puppeteers, Harry Burnett, Forman Brown, and Richard Brandon, co-founders of the Turnabout Theatre, a Hollywood institution for 15 years.  

    After a few years of  interacting with the Yale Puppeteers, the most touching part of this memory came to a touching closure.  During the 5 years that I taught at Golden West College, my classes and I had occasion to meet quite a few times with the Yale Puppeteers.  When the three gentlemen (and they definitely were refined and delightful) I mentioned my interest in puppetry going back to my Christmas experience in Los Angeles department stores in the 1937s, the three elderly puppeteers were quite startled . . They looked at each other and than Forman Brown said, "We were just getting started, performing our marionette show of Hansel and Gretel, during the Christmas season in Los Angeles."   I answered, "Do you happen to remember an occasion when a little Spanish speaking girl of about three refused to go home?"  

     I think it was Richard Brandon, who said. "Yes. I remember"  He made some comments to Harry and Forman, which seemed to tickle their recall of  the incident.  Whether they fully remembered (with so many years and so many performances, I don't  not know.  But, the softness, warmth, and joy in their eyes clearly spoke to me.   They were overjoyed that they had touched my life with such a deep imprint.  I looked at these three kind men, filled with gratitude.  I don't know who was more pleased, me or them.  They had entranced, captured, and swept me into the fantasy land of drama, which I never forgot.  

    Harry Burnett, Forman Brown, and Richard Brandon (lt. to rt.)

    Below is Harry Burnett's obituary.  It will fill in some information on the Yale Puppeteers. 
    Harry Burnett, 92; Turnabout Theatre Founder, Puppeteer  by Myrna Oliver, Times Staff Writer

    Harry Burnett, one of the three legendary Yale Puppeteers and co-founder of their Turnabout Theatre, which was a Hollywood institution for 15 years, has died. He was 92.  Burnett, who had been in failing health for two years, died Thursday at the Orchard Gables retirement home in Hollywood.

    The Yale Puppeteers, so the old story goes, started at the University of Michigan in 1920 when Burnett (nicknamed "Woozie" because of his wiry hair) and his surviving cousin and partner, Forman Brown, were students. Burnett started making puppets and marionettes, and the two created plays during their school vacations.  

    Burnett transferred to Yale--adopting that name--where he recruited a third partner, Richard (Roddy) Brandon, who died in 1985.  The trio toured the country with their growing marionette troupe during the 1920s, driving a truck they dubbed Camille "because she died so beautifully." Burnett designed the puppets, Brown wrote the satirical songs, Brandon handled the business arrangements, and they all pulled the strings.

    In 1929, they settled in Hollywood, performing first in a club in Beachwood Canyon, where their audience included silent film stars Theda Bara and Colleen Moore and evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.

    When Olvera Street was refurbished in 1930, they moved to an 80-seat theater there called El Teatro Torito and charged $1 a ticket. "We entertained Charles Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Lionel Barrymore," Burnett recalled for The Times in 1965. "We presented a special show for Dr. Albert Einstein when he visited the street while teaching at Caltech."

    One reason the trio remained popular with the Hollywood crowd was that many of Burnett's puppets caricatured stars.  "We did it with tongue in cheek, poking fun at them," he said, "and they always took it good-naturedly."  The puppeteers toured in the East for a couple of years and delighted Broadway audiences with such spoofs as "Mister Noah" and "The Pie-Eyed Piper."  Hollywood beckoned again, this time inviting them to create puppets for the Fox Studio film "I Am Suzanne" and later "Who the Gods Would Destroy."

    On July 10, 1941, the three puppeteers realized their dream of opening their own stage, the Turnabout Theatre, at 716 N. La Cienega Blvd. Equipped with seats from the old Pacific Electric streetcars, the theater presented a marionette play at one end, then invited audiences musically to "turnabout, turnabout" to watch Elsa Lanchester, Burnett and other live performers do vaudeville songs and gags at the other end.

    If you were in the first row for the puppet show, you were in the last row for the live theater, "turnabout" being fair play. Instead of numbers, the reversible trolley seats had names, such as "Cream," "Sugar," "Fine," "Dandy," "Fat," "Sassy," "Hot" and "Bothered."

    Actors flocked to the little theater, which never had more than 180 seats, and left their autographs on the walls. Tourists followed, as eager to see the Turnabout Theatre as the La Brea Tar Pits or the movie studios.  It was the first full-time marionette theater in America and one of the handful of live stages operating in Los Angeles during its day.  Times theater critic emeritus Sylvie Drake described the playhouse 30 years after its demise as "a joyous beacon for theater lovers and one of the very few local stages producing mime, puppet shows and original musical theater in that unremarkable stretch of the '40s and '50s."

    Brown continued as the writer, turning out satiric plays with such titles as "Gullible's Travels" and "Caesar Julius." Burnett remained the creator of the puppets, turning out witty likenesses of such topical notables as Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, the Marx Brothers, Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes.

    Audiences dwindled during the 1950s, however, turned off by lack of parking on La Cienega and turning on their new television sets at home. Closing the theater in 1956, the puppeteers moved briefly to San Francisco and San Diego. They finally returned to Hollywood where all three lived in a big two-story house dubbed Turnabout House and produced occasional shows for friends.

    Burnett's studio behind Turnabout House was always open to students. In 1965, he took over Claremont's Marionette Theater, where he helped children, senior citizens and the handicapped learn to make puppets.

    "Puppetry is infectious," he told The Times then. "There is so little of the make-believe world left anymore."
    In 1988, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle gave Burnett and Brown its first lifetime achievement awards.




    The mystery and magic of Christmas 1960  . . .  Flintridge, California
    Aurora Chapa Schwartz
    Oct 11, 1913 - June 21, 2003

    If I were to speak for my mother, I think this is what she would say about her most memorable  Christmas
    by Mimi Lozano

    Absolutely the best Christmas would be 1960.  My husband, Elias "Al" Schwartz and I had just purchased a house.   Al, my second husband had a business fixing television sets for a living.    He was also just starting up a background music business in Glendale. We had been living in a small apartment, but when the business started doing so well.  Al decided we should buy a house.  I could not have been more excited. It was a dream come true.  The house we purchased in Flintridge had vaulted ceilings, thick carpets and large spacious rooms.  It was built on the side of a hill, with a lush green landscaped, rising behind the swimming pool.  It was also fairly close to the office.  I felt like it was all unreal.  I never imaged myself living in such a beautiful house.

    I decided this Christmas was going to be really special. I had a beautiful house to share with my daughters. It would be a spectacular Christmas tree with lots of gifts underneath and a huge delicious dinner dinner. Actually, it would be my first time of preparing an American style Christmas dinner. The traditions that I remembered as a child in Mexico had long ago been lost along the way. Our family in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon enjoyed many of the Mexican folk traditions of the Christmas season, but since neither my mother or father practiced any religion, we did not have the foundation for what the season was all about.

    I had never did really gotten the reason for the season. Going to my mother and dad's home for tamales and buñuelos, and seeing the family was celebration enough for me. Papa's attitude was that it was all foolish supersititions.  

    My first husband, Catalino, "Lino" Lozano, father of my two daughters, was born in San Antonio Texas. His family observed Catholic traditions and set up Christmas trees. Lino was the one that pushed to celebrate Christmas. Usually he would go out  Christmas Eve to a tree lot, and bring home a bargain tree. The girls would decorate with home-made decorations.  Once he even talked someone out of a tree fully decorated. I rarely got involved.  

    I finally grasped what Christmas was about when I was not able to be with my parents and siblings, nor with my daughters.  My parents and siblings had all moved to northern California, most to Stockton.  My husband and I had divorced and I was afraid of him.. I got an apartment in Los Angeles at a woman's hotel.  

    I had scrimped and saved, secretly squirreling away money, and with the help of one of my sisters had bought a little tiny 3-room house, in a Manteca, close to Stockton. I had decided for my daughter's safety to have them live there by themselves. 

    That Christmas of  1949**, I cried and I cried. I was so lonely, and I really wondered about the situation. I was alone and they were alone. Had I done the right thing? They were just 15 and 16.  
    Fortunately, my two daughters survived.  I am sure that angelic beings were watching over them. They lived most of their high school years, with the little bit of money that I was able to send them.    

    By 1960, I had become a Christian.  In fact, all my sisters were now Christians.  

    My two daughters  married well, more than I could have imaged, men with college degrees.  The both had two children. My eldest grandchild was a boy, Aury, who had just turned three, son of my daughter Mimi.  The youngest grandchild, a boy, Greg, was six months old, son of my oldest daughter. My two granddaughters were a year and a half, born two weeks apart, one to each of my daughters.  

    This Christmas of 1960 would be the first time I would be preparing a Christmas dinner for my daughters, their husbands and children, my four grandchildren.    

    It was a joy.  My second husband, though of Russian Jewish heritage was very supportive.  He enjoyed all the preparation, as much as I did.   I prepared a turkey, with a rice, vegetable, and raisin stuffing and all the trimmings, , home made biscuits and buñuelos.   I felt wonderful being able to enjoy the whole message of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our dear savior, and the love of family.  I served my family with love, as my mother had done since I was a child, with her home made tamales and buñuelos. 

    With our vaulted ceilings, I was able to get a huge Christmas tree and decorated with shining balls,  lights and other decorations. plenty of gifts.  I enjoyed shopping for gifts.  Two of everything for the girls was easy.  One of the strangest little occurrences had to do with my oldest grandson Aury. He  loved cowboys.  He had a red cowboy hat, boots, slept with a cowboy blanket, and loved to listen to cowboy music, I think there was a Sheriff John program*  that he used to watch.   I had promised Aury a cowboy get-up, with a vest, and cap guns in a holster.  As soon as Aury got to the house, he kept asking if he could open his gift with the holster and guns.   

    We had planned to have dinner first, and then open gifts.  While we adults were chatting, three-year old Aury could not wait.  Somehow, among all the boxes, he himself found the box that contained the toy guns and holster. He brought the  gift box to me for permission to open it. He was not reading yet.  He could not have read the name tag. We were all puzzled.  No one had helped him.   How did he do it? 
        An added memory of the mystery of the Christmas season,  love . . .  1960

    * "Sheriff" John Rovick, was beloved Los Angeles children's TV show host whose gentle, fatherly persona made him a welcome guest in homes throughout the 1950s and '60s. 

    **It was almost 40 years later that my Mom shared her feelings of not being with us Christmas 1949. We had moved to the little town of Manteca, three weeks before the Christmas vacation was to start. We didn't know anyone in town, however my sister and I were together. My sister and I had each other, but Mom was alone. Going to and from school, we passed houses with lighted Christmas trees, but I don't remember being sad. It was peaceful and it was quiet. Christmas Eve, we slept well. Christmas day we spent playing basketball in a school yard. We had long ago learned to accept whatever happened in life. And . . it was well.


    Credit: Photo courtesy Blaise Nutter

    Troubled Waters No More: Echo Park Lake Reopens

    After a two-year renovation, this 1860s reservoir in Los Angeles is back in the limelight and better than ever.


    The sediment at the bottom of Echo Park Lake was so thick that construction equipment brought in to remove it kept getting stuck.But no matter how slow and arduous the task, the sediment had to go. Citing heavy pollution, excessive algae, unpleasant odors, and significant levels of ammonia, copper, and lead—among other concerns—the state of California in 2006 declared the lake, two miles outside downtown Los Angeles, an “impaired body of water” in desperate need of rehabilitation.

    It was a far cry from the lake’s earliest days. In 1868 Echo Park Lake began as a reservoir for drinking water, one of several waterworks projects completed in the late 1800s to accommodate the city’s growing population. The reservoir became a park 24 years later, and for decades people went there to picnic, fish, boat, and enjoy the annual Lotus Festival, which began in 1972 as a celebration of the city’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

    Now a basin in the city’s storm drainage system, the lake was named a Los Angeles Cultural Historic Monument in 2006.

    “We knew it was important to maintain the historic and cultural significance of the site, while also making many large-scale improvements,” says Julie Allen, the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation’s project manager.

    Shortly after the state’s designation, city officials met with community groups, and after five years of designing and planning, construction began in July 2011.

    Working with a team of historic preservation consultants and Ford E.C., Inc., a local contracting company, the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works’ project team drained the lake, removed the sediment, added a clay liner to reduce water leak­age, and installed several features to improve water quality, including new circulation and aeration systems. The iconic fountains built for the 1984 Olympic Games were restored, and the lotus beds that inhabited the lake since the 1920s were reconstructed.

    Beyond the lake, the 1932 boathouse underwent a complete restoration and seismic upgrade. The Lady of the Lake statue, designed in 1934 as part of a project undertaken by the Works Progress Administration, was returned to the north side of the lake, with its cracks repaired and missing fingers replaced.

    The $45 million project, funded by a voter-approved bond measure, came in well under budget, and hundreds of people celebrated the park’s re-opening in June. Pedal boats returned to the lake the following month, and a cafe opened in the boathouse in August.

    “There’s a sense of community and responsibility around the lake now,” Allen says. “The hope is that people will want to keep it looking like it does now and do the right thing by the environment and keep the park healthy.”




    UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Newsletter

    November 2013 Volume 12, Number 3

    CSRC Library: Sal Castro exhibition on view

    Sal Castro: Legacy of a Teacher, an exhibition of materials from the Sal Castro Collection, recently donated to the CSRC by the Castro family, remains on view in the CSRC Library and vitrine through December 13. Photos, awards, memorabilia, and ephemera from throughout Castro’s life and career are on display. Videos, including Susan Racho’s Taking Back the Schools (1996), provide dramatic context. The exhibition can be viewed during regular library hours.

    New collections in process

    The CSRC Library is proud to announce the addition of the Luis C. Garza Papers to its holdings. Garza is a Chicano photojournalist who moved from New York to Los Angeles in the 1960s and launched his career as an artist and documentary photographer. Garza was a staff photographer for the Los Angeles-based Chicano magazine La Raza. Garza’s collection contains a number of films that he produced, including episodes of the KABC-TV documentary program Reflecciones (1972–1974).

    The CSRC Library has also added the Nikki Darling Papers to its collections. Darling is a Chicana music journalist and memoirist based in the San Gabriel Valley. Her collection includes her personal papers, manuscripts, photographs, and ephemera documenting her family history and career as a writer. This is the first collection acquired in conjunction with the CSRC Library’s collaboration with Marissa López, who teaches undergraduate course CS 191A, “Documenting L.A.: Oral Histories, Podcasting, and Future of the Archive.” In this research seminar students explore oral history as a genre of Chicano and Latino literature. López is the CSRC’s associate director and an associate professor of English and Chicana/o studies.

    To learn more about these collections and projects please email your queries to the CSRC librarian, Lizette Guerra, at

    Sent by Roberto Calderon, 


    Cuento: Christmas for the Homeless in Stockton by Dena Chapa Rupert
    Cuento: The Adventure of Christmas in the Snow , 2009 by Audrey Villarreal Mills
    Seeking Descendants of delegates to the 1849 Monterey, Galal Kernahan



    Christmas for the Homeless in Stockton
    Dena Rupert
    Dena Chapa Reynosa Ruppert is the figure on the left in a black sweater. 

    Two years after WWII, when I was about four, we moved to Stockton from Los Angeles, me, my Dad, Mom Alicia Reynosa Chapa, and younger brother, Eric. My Dad, Oscar Chapa served in the Army Air Force, attained the rank of Master Sergeant, responsible for the mechanical maintenance of fighter planes. Dad quickly developed a reputation, as a top-notch mechanic. His planes never malfunctioned. Because of Dad's record and mechanical skills, coming out of the service he was offered a job by Earl Warren, the Governor of California to maintain the governor's private plane, in Sacramento.

    However, Familia came first. He was the oldest son and my grandparents who were getting up in years were living in Stockton, and other family members were also living in Stockton. Instead, Dad decided in 1947, to go into business in Stockton with two of his sisters, m y aunts, Estella Ratto Spaulding and Elia Valdez. My Dad, with only little help, built a building on the edge of town, on the south side of Stockton. It faced a major street, McKinley, which is now known as Highway 5. The building was designed for use as restaurant, which is what they started. Called the Mexico Cafe, it attracted local customers, and was a convenient for people traveling north and south. By chance, an official on the State Fair Board stopped for a meal. He liked the food so much, he invited them to apply for a food booth at the Sacramento Fair. They did and were quite successful.
    This was the beginning for the three partners to became full-time concessionaires. Eventually, they were invited to participate in fairs all over the state, and sold the restaurant. In between the fairs, my Dad kept himself quite busy. He helped organize and co-founded a bilingual Lions Club in Stockton. Dad was usually in charge of preparing the food for all the Lions' Club events and fund raisers. A big annual event was the Lions' Clubs All-City Health Fair. Dad was responsible for all the foods served there.

    The Lions Club, under my Dad's presidency held many, many events and presided over numberless projects in support of the Blind, in addition the Stockton Chapter supported an orphanage in Mexico, and sent ambulances to their Sister-City,
    Guaymus, Mexico. Any time food preparation was involved, Dad was at the helm.

    My Dad was an amazing, honorable man. His life was of service, joyfully lived. He was multi-faceted and did everything well. He was a pilot and frequently assisted the Sheriff, with people lost in the mountains. After Dad retired from the fairs, as a volunteer he prepared meals for senior citizens at a local center. My Dad himself was a senior in his late 70s.
    I received my Masters and taught for 32 years. After my retirement from teaching, I quickly followed his example of service. I volunteered at the California Rural Legal Aide Center where my uncle, Albert Chapa worked, and a whole series of service groups: Director of Learning Center for the Gospel Center Rescue Mission, Board member of the Stockton Emergency Food Bank and I volunteered at the St. Michael's Preschool.  A friend who is a home nurse, said that there were people in the community who did not have insurance and needed medical items. She and I started collecting medical supplies to distribute to those without insurance. It became The Senior Outreach Ministry where we maintain a closet of mixed items.  Today it also includes a food closet.
    Another friend of mine introduced me to The Breakfast Club and when she passed away I decided to keep it going. It now occupies me full-time.
    Stockton's bankruptcy has affected the community of homeless, increasing the numbers and the need for basics considerably. All of our service is without government support, of any kind. The involvement of people from many churches, and private donations, given in love, are the fiscal foundation of The Breakfast Club.
    The Breakfast Club is entering its 11th Holiday season serving a hot nutritious breakfast each and every Saturday morning to families staying at Stockton's Homeless Shelter. This same breakfast is then served out in the street in front of the shelter to families in need and the homeless. Each person is also given a bag lunch with a sandwich, snack, cookie and fruit. Another Breakfast Club member now makes 200 lunches and with the help of her family serves these lunches on Sunday.
    During the fall several women from various churches are knitting or crocheting sweaters, scarves, and hats. Others sew 600 drawstring bags to fill with toiletries and handmade items and warm socks. We collect items for the bags and use donations to complete filling the bags with additional toys for the children. This is all done by individual support from the community. There is no major donor.
    These last two years the Breakfast Club has helped a local Spanish speakers church prepare gift bags for migrants who live in two trailer parks.One of our members sews their bags and we share donations of clothing, toys and cookies.
    Some come for miles, arriving in the cars they slept in: others simply roll out of their tents and boxes set up on the sidewalk. The setting is not very pretty. Trash blows from the recycling plant. Makeshift shelters line the sidewalks and traffic speeds by overhead on the freeways. But with the love and care of the volunteers and donors beauty and grace abound in these circumstances throughout the year. The amount of available food, and the number of people in line, nearly always match well enough so everyone has something.
    I am so grateful to my father and family for their teaching, which has given me an opportunity to live a life as Christ would have lived, loving and caring for others, and concerned with the poor. I feel that God is revealed through giving and helping others. This continues sharing the Good News with all.

    Editor: Dena is my first cousin. Her dad, Oscar Chapa and my mom were brother and sister. I am SO proud of Dena. Educated within the Stockton schools system, graduated with a teaching credential from the University of Pacific and a Masters in English as a Second Language from the University of San Francisco. Dena taught for 32 years for the Lodi Unified School District and Stockton Unified School District, retiring in 2002. Dena has served tirelessly in her community. Her brother Eric, is a well known physician serving the needs of the Spanish speaking community, even going out into the fields and treating the workers on the side of the road. Dr. Eric Chapa is an active member of the same Stockton Lions Club chapter that his Dad helped established, as are Eric's wife and sons . . . and Dena too is now a Lions' Club member, helping with their activities, as well as all her other projects. The Chapa family has been a true blessing to the City of Stockton.

    If you would like to contact Dena for suggestions on how to duplicate their programs in Stockton, contact her directly:
    Dena Rupert




    by Audrey Mills

    A Christmas celebration that really stands out in my mind is one our family celebrated in 2009.  I grew up near the beach in Orange County, California.  I loved it, the weather was generally great - we could even go to the beach at Christmastime.  

    In 1995 my parents, Bob & Yomar Cleary, chose to move to Big Bear Lake for their retirement.  This was an elevation change of 8,000 feet!  At that elevation it SNOWS!  I am not a snow person, and told my parents it would be very hard for me to make any Christmas celebrations while they lived in the mountains. . .  due to the snow.  Sadly, it had been many years since my children and I celebrated Christmas with my parents, at their home and it had been even longer since my parents had me, and both my sister’s, Babette and Cheryl, at their home for Christmas.  

    In 2009 I decided that we really needed to make the trip. Babette and Cheryl were on board too – this would be a special Christmas with all of us together for the holiday.  My parents assured me that it wasn’t supposed to snow during that week, and I believed them.  Then a few days before we were set to make the trip my parents called and asked if we could arrive a day earlier.  I asked why and they said they just thought it would be nice, so I agreed.  Little did I know that a large storm was headed that way. 

    The roads were clear but the snow was everywhere.  I was glad I had purchased snow pants, jackets, boots and gloves for the boys.  Once we arrived I found out why my parents asked us to arrive a day early!  At least we made it in before the storm.  I told my dad that my van was parked for the week since I do not drive in the snow and he would need to play chauffer while we were there – he readily agreed and I sighed with relief.   

    We settled in for the week, Parker (16) and Walker (14) were excited to have a white Christmas; I was a bit more hesitant.   Growing up a beach bunny I do not like being cold. My parents had to make a few concessions when I agreed to the trip.  First concession, my dad had to start the fire in the fireplace earlier in the day than he generally did.  He may have grumbled a bit but I know that my parents were happy to have us there for Christmas week.  So every day dad started the fire a couple hours earlier than normal, I only had to remind him once or twice.  The second concession my parents had to make was to NOT turn off the heater at night.  They agreed and my dad would set the heater before he went to bed.  After he was asleep I would go and nudge up the thermostat up a few degrees, like I said I don’t like being cold.  

    Parker and Walker had a great time in the 1’ - 2’ of snow that was on the ground.  They made a snowman and we had snowball fights.  The day after we arrived, the storm arrived.  It was snowing like it was never going to stop.  Thankfully we were nice and cozy in the warm house with a fire blazing in the fireplace.  That was short lived.  I am not sure who had the bright idea (it may have been me) that the fire hydrants in the neighborhood needed to be dug out so the fire trucks could access them if there was a fire (I read about this in the local paper).  Parker and Walker thought this was a great idea.  They geared up and headed out to do this good deed in the spirit of Christmas.  Being the type of mother that I am I went out with them, mostly to take photographs. 

    The first five minutes I was having a great time watching them, and then I got too cold.  The boys were determined to get at least the three closest fire hydrants unburied; they would not stop until this was done.  Of course the hydrants are on the side of the road and when the snow plow had come through it had plowed the road and piled the extra snow on the side of the road.  This meant that the hydrants were under 3’ – 4’ of snow, but the boys were determined.  They worked for hours shoveling snow while it was blizzard conditions.  You could not see the house across the street it was snowing so hard.  I was determined to show them that I supported them and what they were doing (plus I was watching out for cars), so even though I was frozen to the bone I stayed outside with them.  Finally they were finished and we were all able to go inside and get warm.

    The snow let up which allowed Babette and her son Kyle as well as Cheryl, her husband Gene and children Brittany and Adam to come up the mountain for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We had a great time celebrating the holiday all together, for the first time in a very long time.  I know that my parent’s hearts were full of love and joy to have all their children and grandchildren together for the special holiday.   

    A day or two later, it came time for the boys and me to head home.  It had stopped snowing but there was still a lot of snow on the ground.  My parents checked the weather report and chains were still being required to get off the mountain (Ughhhh).  I had brought chains for my car but disliked them, even more than I disliked the cold.  Dad provided a “how to put on chains” lesson as I reluctantly help put the chains on my car.  Once the chains were on we said our goodbyes and headed towards home in the warm central valley of California.   

    All was good for about four miles … then it happened.  One of the chains came loose and was flopping around, I had to pull over and deal with it.  I was not a happy camper having to pull over on a narrow two lane road with almost no shoulder with two kids and a dog in the car, to deal with a snow chain. Being such a dangerous location I told the boys to stay in the car.  I got out of the car and was trying to figure out what to do short of curling up in a ball at the side of the road and crying until it fixed itself.   Then one of the boys popped his head out of the car and told me grandma and grandpa were on the cell phone.  Close to tears I take the phone and tell them the problem I was having.  Thankfully they called to tell me chains were no longer needed so I could just take them off.  I was so happy to get those chains off the car and get off the mountain.  

    In the end the trip was well worth it, to have the whole family together; however, for the following year, I did tell my parents I would meet them at their place . . . in Palm Desert . . . . instead . . . .  too cold in Big Bear.

    Editor: Audry is my second cousin.  Her Mom, Yomar Villarreal Cleary was my mother's sister. Audrey currently lives in Modesto and is the Project/Construction Manager for Kitchell. She manages and oversees construction projects at two Junior Colleges, one in Modesto and one in Stockton.   Prior to that Audrey was Modesto City Manager.  I am SO proud of Audry!!


    Seeking Descendants of delegates to the 1849 Monterrey Convention

    I would like to find Descendents of delegates to the 1849 Monterrey Convention that drafted California's original state Constitution, beginning with Hispanics.  The goal is to eventually have a family representatives from each signer of the California Constitution, and promote the important fact that California's Constitution was a bilingual document.   

    Galal Kernahan, 619-C Avda. Sevilla, Laguna Woods, CA 92637   (949) 581-3625

    Mariano G. Vallejo  42  California  Sonoma  all his life
    Manuel Dominguez  46  California  Los Angeles  all his life
    Antonio M.  Pico  40  California  San Jose  all his life
    Jacinto Rodriguez 36  California  Santa Barbara  all his life
    José Antonio Carrillo  53  California   Los Angeles  all his life
    Miguel de Pedroena  41  Spain  San Diego  12 years
    P. de la Guerra 36  California  Santa Barbara
    J.M. Covarrubias 40  California  San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara


    1959 Christmas in Richland, Washington by Mimi Lozano 


    1959 Christmas in Richland, Washington by Mimi Lozano 

    Christmas 1959 was very special for me, our first family Christmas. Our daughter Tawn was one month old and our son, Aury, 18 months. 1959 also marks an experience that filled my head and heart with a profound spiritual concept.

    My husband Win, had completed a second Bachelors and Masters in Health Physics at UCLA.  

    We had accepted a job in Richland, Washington, one of the Tri-Cities, home to the Hanford nuclear site. Richland is a city in the southeastern part of the State of Washington.   Richland is dry with semi-arid desert climate receiving only about 7 inches of precipitation a year.

    We moved to Richland in the middle of summer from our tiny two-room Veterans Housing unit at UCLA,  On July 10th, 1959, when we got off the plane, the headlines read, Hottest Spot in the United States.  

    Arrangements had been made for a rented company house which was waiting for us, a two bedroom, with a full basement, washer, dryer, refrigerator and a full bath.  After our tiny two-room UCLA, unit,  I was delighted, in spite of the heat wave, and no furniture, we settled in for the night on the cool wooden floor with the few items we had brought in our luggage .  The following day our household items and beds arrived.  Most of our neighbors were sleeping in their basements, but we set up our beds in the bedrooms.  Summer seemed to last into October.  I enjoyed the change from the busy Westwood atmosphere to a landscape that was bare, dry, and flat. 

    It was November when a treasured incident of nature's happened.  It with the first snow fall, very different from the snow we had experienced during our year in the middle of Trinity National Forest.  I was looking out the front window.  The sky was a very light grayish blue fog. Light seemed to be shining through from above the sky.  I saw what at first looked like soft little tiny feather falling.  They didn't fall straight down, but floated gently, swaying back and forth as the fell. The flakes were weightless, soft and fluffy, most the size of a quarter. 

    These flakes did not splattered when they hit the window or cement stoop, as I recalled other snow flakes, more like drops of crushed ice, held together until they hit the ground. . These snow flakes floated down and just rested softly where they fell, on the windowsill, on the grass, on my arms and hair.  I stepped out on the front stoop, and stretched my arms out, letting the delicate flakes fall on my sweater.  I had never viewed nature's incredible beauty with such clarity.  With my own eyes, I could actually see the intricate complex patterns of  each flake; just as I had seen and marveled about in books.  

    Mesmerized, I realized, it was true, each snow flake was different. I was actually seeing it.  Standing there with the snow flakes falling on me, I wondered if I could capture their beauty. I tried to lift them from my sweater, but they collapsed as soon as I touched them.  The warmth of my hands melted them.  I wanted to share the beauty of their existence with my husband.  My children who were little oozed and awed a bit.  

    Being far from family during Christmas was different too.  Rather than fly up, my Mom flew two of my young cousins to visit during the Christmas vacation. Dena Chapa and Laura Schultz were both in high school.  They enjoyed the fun of the Christmas the tree that we set up. Appropriate to our interesting desert experience, we sprayed a tumble weed gold, and hung chains of silver paper clips.  These tumbleweeds blow wildly along the desert floor, and also in the air, resting against fences, homes, and building.  Quite a contrast to the gentle snowflakes.  

    We did have more snowfalls throughout the winter, but nature's conditions did not always result in and showcase the  millions of  nature's fragile  little crystal jewels each time.   

    The wonder and magnitude of God's world has never left me.  It is proof to me, that just as each snowflake is different and beautiful, so people come in great diversity too.  To seal this fact is a  second testimony, our finger prints, each of us is unique, wonderfully made. 

    King James, Psalms 139:14 
    I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
    marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.




    Cuento: A Mexican American Christmas Story in Flagstaff,  Arizona During the Great 1930s Depression. by J. V. Martinez
    Historical Novel: Part 2: My Days as a Colonist/Soldier with Don Juan de Onate

    A Mexican American Christmas Story in Flagstaff,  Arizona During the Great Depression.


    J. V. Martinez*

    The following account took place during the Great Depression, either 1934 or 1935 in the Flagstaff, Arizona area.  We lived  "South of the Tracks" which defined the White/Brown areas. Of course, most all major businesses were north of the Santa Fe RR tracks.  Our house was across the street from the elementary school for "Mexican" students.

    As was the rule, with few known exceptions at the time, Mexican immigrants in our “hood” rented places to live. This took into account the largesse of the local sawmill which made its housing available to its employees. Talk about downright poor, residents of those “shantes” (shanties) were barely able to get by. At least our family did not live in company housing, and we had shoes to wear.

    While my father was a lumberjack, it was a separate operation than being a sawmill employee, who lived in company housing. The latter simply walked up a small hill to the mill to work. My father's activity was sited in the forest. He was one never to work a 48 hr. position; rather, he preferred contract work and cherished his independence. Working in the mill was at least 8 hr. Monday through Saturday. It may have been the mill employees worked only half days on Saturday but that is my conjecture.** 

    I did have relatives living in company housing and caused me, even as such a young age-say 10. or so, in my few visits to them, to appreciate how lucky I was that we did not live in company housing. Whatever conditions of company housing-and they were stark-the employees did not complain. Again, it was one of making do. Considering what I learned later of the conditions they left in Mexico, I was unable to understand their (our) resilience.

    In our two-room rental house, there was but one light bulb hanging from a cord in the middle of the one room where we all slept. The only source of heat for the house was a wood burning potbelly stove unless the kitchen wood burning stove located in the smaller room is considered a source of heat. As part of their acculturation into their new country, my parents eventually found it appropriate to follow tradition and set up a Christmas tree which I, as a two year old, could easily see from the crib. (Considering my father was a lumberjack, I am certain obtaining the “right” tree did not offer him much of a challenge.)

    Once in place, the tree was decorated by my father by placing two lights on the tree which was decorated with tin foil icicles. He installed two regular light bulbs using a three bulb socket device placed in the middle of the tree. One socket held a wire lead that led to the house electrical power, a red bulb was screwed to one socket and one other socket accommodated a green bulb. That was my father’s idea of lighting the tree. As for presents under it, forget it. There were none. Instead there was enough love in the house.

    No sooner had the so decorated tree been in place when my sister Helen (May she rest in peace.) who was then 18 months older than me, pulled down the tree. Just how she did so, will never be learned. Fortunately, it is clear to me now, there were no presents under the tree. They were too much of a luxury for us. 

    The turmoil that the falling tree caused, must have made an indelible impression on me.   I watched the whole thing unfold, as I stood in my crib, fascinated. I can imagine the panic must have been augmented by watching the broken bulbs flashing about with the threat to start a fire which, to put it mildly, in our little wooded house, would have been a disaster. The tree was promptly taken out and trashed.

    As I now best recall, the next Christmas tree we had in our own house-after we left the rental when I was five years old-was.  By the time I was 7th or eighth grader, we did have a few presents underneath the tree. They were not toys, but items that had a practical use like shirts, socks, etc. These were times of poverty, but we did not know it then. We were aware that certain individuals had wealth, but it did not bother us. What we did understand by then is that we had learned well, how best to manage with what little we had, and with what we were able to earn. Not once did our family depend on government welfare.

    I am certain the lumberjack children were not dressed in current fashion garments. Life was then hard and among other things taught me not to take things for granted. In at least one case, as a teenager working with my dad in the forest, each day for the summer we passed by a campground where a White family made its temporary residence. Within the family, which lived in a tent and has access to spring water, was a little blonde girl. When she appeared near the dirt road we traveled, it was clear her dress was filthy and her face was dirty. 

    I don't recall seeing a vehicle next to the tent where the family lived. The road I reference was a dirt road in the mountain and no doubt the family chose the site being there was a spring nearby. Thus, it was quite an isolated area and yes, it was bear country as well. It was a house tent where if need be, cooking could be done inside. It was virgin land in the sense that only an occasional visit by the forest service would have visited the family. Even then, since it was federal land, I am certain the family, considering their condition and the times, would not be asked to vacate. It was not park land either.  

    My father lamented that sight for as poor as the family appeared, at least they had access to clean water, under-scoring the statement that we did the best we could, with what we had. Apparently, the family hoped to get to the West coast, reminiscent of survivors from the Dust Bowl, which was over by then. We do count our blessings, don't we?

    I do appreciate this recalling the early experience, for it reminds me of reasons we cherish our values.


    *Dr. J. V. Martinez was born in Flagstaff, Arizona and in1962 was awarded a doctorate degree in chemical physics by Oregon State University. Following his post doctorate experience at Cornell University, he joined Xerox Corporation in Rochester, New York which he left to teach under graduate physics at St. John Fisher College for a period of 10 years. He then joined the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in Washington, D.C. which was superseded by the U.S. Department of Energy where he reached the rank of Senior Advisor in the Department’s Office of Science. He retired from federal service in January 2010. He is a founder of the Society for Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. (


    My father had the good fortune of buying a Model A Ford (as I recall) truck to use in his work, i.e., getting to the forest site and otherwise, using the truck to deliver orders of rock, sand, lumber, etc., in addition to being a lumberjack. He always had one truck or another. The truck used to reach the birch trees in the mountain (part of the San Francisco Peaks) was a 1941 Dodge ton and a half. With amazing luck, the truck was delivered to him in Sept. of 1941.  His brother, Lupe, and his brother-in, who lived with us the time, ca. 1934/5, helped earn what was required to purchase the truck.

    The trees were harvested for the local business centered about providing "wooden grass" which I recall was labeled excelsior, for some strange reason. The local business would shred the aspen, say in 14 inch long (now dried) blocks-pieces cut from the birch logs my father delivered. The "grass" was baled and ship off to somewhere i never knew. The "grass" (was not smoked) I learned was used to pack munitions to ship to the military theater. This aspen related work took place during WW II. 

    Note from editor Mimi . .   

    ** Early in the nineteenth century, most Americans worked twelve hours a day, six days a week. The work week shrank gradually during the nineteenth century and more quickly during the twentieth. The traditional six-day week was shortened to five and a half days during the 1920s and to the five-day, forty-hour week during the 1930s.  

    The year 1935 figured greatly in the discussions of a a shorter work week. 
    Source of photos: 


    My Days as a Colonist / Soldier with Don Juan de Onate 
    Historical Novel Part 2

    By Louis F. Serna
    Oct 2013

    Gracias a Dios..! I awake after another night of half-sleep… Last night one of my compadres told me that he awoke yesterday morning and when he reached for his boots a little black warrior with his pinchers raised high and his tail stinger flailing in the air scurried out of his boot…! He said that in this Tierra Nueva, big hairy tarantulas and these deadly little escorpiones love to crawl into your boots at night, both for their own safety and for the little morsels they find in your boots that they can snack on during the night..! He also told me to be wary of thieves in the night who may find my boots better than theirs, and in this hot dry thorny ground you sure don’t want to be forced to go barefoot or with holes in your boots, so he said, “I tie a cord to each of my boots and to the toe of each foot while I sleep…! Although we are among friends who will fight shoulder to shoulder with you, they will not hesitate to take your boots if they feel they need them more than you do”..! While I thought he might have been enjoying a little humor at my expense, I thought it good advice and so this morning I awoke with leather cords tied to my toes but my boots were at the ends of the chords so I will take that advice to heart.  Just one more thing to remember if I am to survive this journey..!

    As I look around I see women hurrying around, dressing themselves and their children, I see that they are wearing their best clothes, such as they are… and I recall my orders to prepare myself for a proper formation among my fellow soldiers as we will be part of the Gran Entrada ceremony this morning… I can hear buglers testing their instruments and the flag bearers are already stringing banners at the now completed Altar down by the grove of trees. Up ahead, I see the Padre Commisario, Fray Alonso Martinez preparing for his Mass and the very popular brothers, Vicente and Juan de Zaldivar, nephews of Don Onate and very worthy of every soldier’s respect. With them is Don Pedro Robledo, aged and highly respected warrior who at times serves as a counselor to Don Onate on military and other decisions.  Also with them is the Expedition Notario who records everything of any consequence, Capitan Gaspar Perez de Villagra. They are all waiting for the Gobernador who soon shows himself in full splendor..! On cue, the men of the cavalry dressed in their finest and in shining armor, mount their horses already in formation and are handed their weapons. There is much snorting and farting by the horses and as if in respectful self-discipline, they hold their stomach contents, at least for the time being… and now the man said to be one of the five richest men in Mexico, and the son of the Gobernador in Nueva Galicia, and a fine-looking man in his own right steps forward in his best of six complete suits of shining armor. He is respectfully bareheaded in the presence of the Cross and he stands beneath the Royal Standard where he begins to real aloud.  I, and I’m sure everyone else, hope that he keeps his speech short as the sun is now showing its best color and there are no seats for anyone to rest… and there is still the Mass to come by yet another great orator / showman, who will not be outdone… the Fray Martinez..! It will be a long day and Don Juan finishes his oraciones, and the Fray finally completes his holy Mass. The celebration finally breaks for the more than welcome noon meal! It has been a long day and we all know that it is an epic day and one that will be remembered for years to come. It is a worthwhile event and one that our friends and our enemies should remember as we have shown our Spanish reverence and our Spanish might, what with the harquebus shots fired and the swords and lances flashing, banners waving, cries of “Que Viva..!” and the bugles blatting loud and clear! We know the savages are watching from the hills beyond and the message is clear to them.

    I remind myself that all this pageantry, pomp and ceremony seems a bit much… but then I remember my father’s words that this kind of ceremony is necessary so that the English, the French, the Dutch and others, will know that among the nations of the world, we Spanish have a powerful position among them… and we have it by “officially” claiming as many lands as we can conquer, so that our diplomats can prove before the courts of the world and before the all-powerful Pope in Rome, that we are as powerful as we say we are and that, is how we maintain our place in the world.  And that, is why this voyage is so necessary and why we must succeed in our conquest and colonization of this land that seems so worthless to us now for after all, are we to be defeated by bands of savage Indians? Are we to be forced out of this land by people who fight with rocks and sticks? The world we live in is watching and we must show our Royal pageantry, we must blow our horns, we must fire our harquebus and canons, we must show our Spanish steel swords, lances and daggers if we are to maintain our place in the world we live in. We must succeed…!

    So today we celebrate and we feast, as meager as the table may be, because tomorrow our test begins. Will we be a nation of conquerors and colonists? That remains to be seen and for every one of us soldiers and settlers, there is the dream of Hidalgo and the riches that we must take from this land for ourselves for it will not be given up easily. Many of us will never know whether we succeeded or not as we will become the casualties of war and the inspiration for others to take our place and advance our Spanish dominance among nations. We will be like the warriors of old who were told by their wives as they went off to war; “Return home with your shield on one arm and your achievements in the other… or be carried home on your shield…!” I feel fulfilled today… proud yet humble… ready to fight but not angry… and as I look around me, I see my companieros with broad smiles and the same look of determination that I must be displaying as we embrace each other, bless each other, bless our King and our leaders, and we  strike our breasts with a tight fist… we are ready for the journey ahead…! I can hardly wait..!    


    Cuento: Christmas Memories by Lila Guzman, Ph.D.
      Lesson I Learned from Mama in the Front Pew by Delia Gonzalez Huffman
    Dec 21, 2013: Christmas in Old St. Augustine
    Florida Living History, Inc.
    Roger Baudier’s  The Catholic Church in Louisiana
    Laughing at Dead, Omaha, Nebraska



    Christmas Memories by Lila Guzman, Ph.D.

    At the advanced age of (mumble mumble), I have so many Christmas memories swirling in my head, it’s hard to pick just one or two.  So here are the ones I remember best.  My childhood memories were in Kentucky. Aunt Ethel lived in Lexington, my grandparents in Lincoln County.  My husband and I raised our kids in Round Rock, Texas.

    When I was a child, our church would put on a Christmas play each year.  My brother and I were pre-teens and were assigned roles.  Luckily, I was an extra shepherd and had no lines to memorize.  My brother, on the other hand, was the innkeeper and had just one thing to say: “This is the inn, friend.”  His best buddy was playing Joseph.  During rehearsal, they got a serious case of the giggles and changed the line to “This is the end, friend.”  Yep!  You guessed it.  On opening night, my brother forgot his one line and his friend said in a stage whisper, “This is the end, friend.”  The audience dissolved into laughter.  

    Every year, a day or two before Christmas, my parents would bundle us into the car and we headed to “the country.”  My grandparents, Pawpaw and Mama Luster, lived in a two bedroom house surrounded by a barn, silo, cistern, smokehouse, and outhouse.  In the summer, we hung out in the barn loft or tromped in the woods.  During the winter, we stayed as close to the fireplace as possible. There was no central heating.  The living room hearth burned coal and I remember pulling a rocking chair close and staring into the roaring fire as it consumed the kindling and danced around jet black coal.  In the kitchen, the oven kept that room warm.  In the back bedroom, there was a Warm Morning stove that kept the room toasty until around 3 a.m.  Getting out of bed and leaving the warmth of a mound of quilts was hard .  On Christmas Eve, I slept on the couch in the living room and struggled to keep my eyes open so I could see Santa come down the chimney.  I always worried that he’d arrive before the fire went out.  Try as I might, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  My last memory would always be dancing firelight on the ceiling.  I’d awaken to presents under the Christmas tree.  In spite of my best efforts, I never managed to catch the rascal coming down the chimney.  

    My grandparents always put up a live tree.  On Thanksgiving Day, my father, brother, and I would tromp through the woods in search of the perfect tree.  It never took long to find it.  Beyond the back gate stood woods filled with evergreens, all with great Christmas tree potential.  One year, we stumbled upon dog tracks that lead to a gully covered by several fallen trees.  As it turned out, a beagle had pups in a cozy home beneath them.  We could see her offspring, but couldn’t get to them.  Every day we took her leftovers.  She feasted on homemade biscuits, sausage, and gravy.  When her pups were weaned, several of the locals took them in and they made fine squirrel dogs.  

    Speaking of Christmas trees, no one beat Aunt Ethel in the decorations department.  She was something of the scarlet woman in our family having been married three times in an era when divorce was taboo.  She was also famous for her bourbon balls that were 90 proof.  We’re not quite sure if she used Wild Turkey or Jim Beam in the recipe, but we suspected she baked the balls and then marinated them overnight in Kentucky ’s finest.  They were so strong, they could have gotten up and walked out the door.  

    Her bourbon balls might explain the way she trimmed her Christmas tree.  One year, she attached plastic poinsettias to every bough.  Another year, she hung all the cards she received from the branches.  And yet another year, there was so much costume jewelry on it, you couldn’t see the greenery.  

    It became a family tradition.  What will Aunt Ethel do this year to outdo herself?  

    One of my favorite memories involves my husband and children after Christmas, during “gift exchange” time.  Daniel had gotten a CD player from a girlfriend and he wanted to swap it for a videogame Rookh had gotten, but they weren’t of equal value.  Jennifer and her Dad had gotten gift cards to Best Buy.  All five of us were on the way home from an unsuccessful run to the store.   

    The wrangling began in the van’s back seat and worked its way up to the front.  Jennifer wanted the CD player but her gift card wasn’t an even swap.  Rookh offered Daniel the videogame.  That meant he would give her Jennifer’s gift card, but it didn’t match the price of the videogame.  (You’re beginning to see why it took us an hour to agree on a restaurant every Sunday after church.)  

    During the twenty-minute drive home, nothing was resolved.  To this day, we laugh about the ride and quote a line from City Slickers when Billy Crystal is herding cattle and explaining to a fellow cow herder how to program the VCR.  “The cows can tape something by now!”  (I guess you had to be there.)  

    Many Happy Returns of the Day!  Merry Christmas to all and may your Christmas memories be as warm and fond as mine.

    Lila Guzman

    Lila is the author of many books for young people, in addition, Co-authored with her husband Rick Guzman the award winning "Lorenzo" series.  The Lorenzo books are a series of  historical novels, set during the American Revolution.  The hero is a young man, Lorenzo, delightful series and historically accurate.   I've read the first four .  They are in affordable paperback and would make good Christmas books for middle school, boys or girls, little romance and lots of adventure.



    Lesson I Learned, from Mama in the Front Pew
    Delia Gonzalez Huffman

    Standing: Sebastian Gonzalez Benavides and Raquel Salinas Gonzalez, baby in arms, Maria
    Seated, left: Nora, Homero, Delia, Nelly and Sergio
    1964 - Farm in Paragon, Indiana.

    Notes on the photo: Every time we visited their families in Mexico my father would buy us something to remind ourselves of our trip of their birth. One year it could be a hat and another time a handmade leather coin purse. It was a great adventure visiting family. We would come face to face with the farm animals and horses. Traveling across my grandfathers land where we would find our Uncle Maria Jesus herding his goats. It was another world.  We took our trip in the summers.
    The house and property in the background of the photo belonged to an elderly American couple who had no children. 
    The husband "Bud" had heard my father speak Spanish and one day showed up at our  door asking my father if he would teach him Spanish. Every so often they would invite us over and give us vegetables, etc.  They were among a few individuals who welcomed my parents into their lives.

    Mama was raised on a farm and considered her animals, and all living things her best friends. She was a country woman and a woman of tradition and believed she would marry and spend her remaining years days in her country of Mexico. This would not be, instead, she followed my Papa north with their three children.  My father followed work with the New York Central railroad, and finally settled in the Midwest.  After forty years, Papa retired as a welder in good standing.

    For my mother moving to a world power like the United States of America may have been important to my Papa, but to my Mama who had left everything behind, she needed something of greater substance, and it was a place to worship our Lord. 

    We came to Indianapolis Indiana and rented a one bedroom duplex in 1963, but my parents couldn't find a Catholic church, any place close.  In 1964, Papa accidentally, and I mean accidentally purchased a home on the better side of town.  The homeowner that sold the house to my father believed Papa was some kind of European. Papa didn’t want to argue with the owner when the real estate transaction was being held at the bank office. Papa had not been born in Europe, he was born in Mexico. The seller could not believe he had just sold his home to a Mexican. Possibly the neighbors won’t notice, he told my Papa.

    When we moved to our new home we started to attend mass and, enrolled in  catholic school. The Catholic church and school was located around 8 blocks away from our home. My father had the only car, and my mother did not drive (never); so, regrardless  of the weather, sunny, raining or snow, we all walked together each morning and returned home together.

    Mama couldn’t believe the great fortune in being walking distance to the Catholic Church and school.  Attending our first mass on Christmas Eve at our new found Catholic Church in 1964, was a great joyous occasion, since we were all together. There had been many men like my father who were alone, with wives and children still in Mexico. Here, in our new church everything was starting to fall into place.  We were together. 

    Even though my parents could barely speak English they understood the traditions and understanding of the Latin mass as much or better than any of the English speakers of Irish, Italian and German ancestry who attended church alongside of us. Yes, we did notice there weren’t any Spanish speakers, and hoped at least the priest could speak Spanish. It was not to be.

    Mass on Christmas Eve was more important than the few presents under the small crooked Christmas tree left behind at our small bungalow. We all knew what we would receive as presents because it had not changed from year to year. New pajamas for each one of us was well appreciated but going to mass and seeing Jesus in the manger, with his parents Joseph and Mary was extraordinary. There was little baby Jesus in all his glory.

    But reality set in as much as Mama did not want to set herself apart from the other women attending mass on Christmas Eve. Mama didn’t do this on purpose. Where the women wore their hair short with perfect waves, mother had her brown hair braided falling down to her hips. The Irish women wearing the Mrs. Cleaver dress with imitation pearls whereas Mama having her worn dress made of cotton with a paisley design.  She carried her rosary in her dress pocket whereas the other women had beautiful handbags. What really set her apart were her white mid length cotton socks and all the other women wearing hosiery. Couldn’t Mama See how old fashioned she was.   

    We as her children would hear the women commenting on my mother’s worn dress and how she didn’t look like any other Indian they had seen. Of course the only Indians they had seen were on a screen and many of those actors were actually white with makeup painted on their faces.

    As young children we sensed the emotional pain Mama must have felt.  All she ever wanted was for all of us to worship under the same roof. She wanted  her children to continue the tradition, as a family to attend mass on Christmas Eve together.  

    We children went to mass six days a week. At the catholic school we were expected to attend mass every day and Sunday and holy days. She wanted us to not forget what Jesus Christ had done for all of us. All those from around the world would attain his blessings as Jesus died on the cross for all our sins.

    Mama never expressed in words or facial expression of any anger.  Even though at times I wanted to kick a few individuals on their shins, Mama would sense my anger and tell me, look straight ahead and look at the altar and say a prayer. If I would ask her what kind of prayer, she would pull out her rosary and touch the cross.

     As a total of six children and a home busting from the seams Mama and Papa would have the yearly discussion, if we should move. Mama would always answer an emphatic no. We attended a good church and their children were getting a very good Catholic education. God knew best. End of the discussion. Of course, I had to question God. Why can’t you take us back to Mexico? Why do I have to go to school where the teachers smack me with a ruler if I speak Spanish?

    The question would arise around Christmas Eve mass; but in time, possibly because we began to feel there was a routine in our lives, it slowly diminished in importance. We as a family were more comfortable with the American life, and others in the neighborhood understood we were not moving.  We were here to stay.

    As I look back at what Mama taught me I wonder how she had the courage to take my older brothers hand and his hers, as the rest of us, locked on with our hands holding onto each other. We all were going to sit as close to the altar as we could. Every time we attended mass we moved to the front.  But now I know, we may have all been worshiping together but she had her eyes on what really mattered. She wanted us to learn lessons that kindness is not always easy or simple. Kindness takes effort only if you have obstructions in your mind.

    Her kindness year after year gave me anxiety, because I believed she had to be exploding inside. Projecting my feelings onto her took a real turn when everything became clear.

    She drew her strength from her faith and the love of her family. She saw all those worshipping,  had their own crosses to bear. She knew there was a language each spoke,  but it was how you treated others that mattered.  She couldn’t conquer the English language in a short period,  but being kind didn’t need a language.

    Where did mama learn to be kind and having gratitude?  Maybe it was being surrounded by her animals,  or  picking cotton in the fields, or where the rains were infrequent, and  every raindrop could make the difference between seedlings sprouting or dying.

     Mass on Christmas Eve,  through the years  did bring changes. We no longer had to hold hands. We knew where we were heading, and having those front seats was comfortable.

    The highest honor for a mother at our Catholic church was to be recognized as the mother of the year. When my mother was recognized with this honor she was beside herself. Most of the parishioners knew mama had great challenges. She had a difficult time speaking English and suffered severe depression; but, nonetheless she was recognized. It proved Mamas’ kindness wasn’t futile, and her gratitude of her family blessings brought all of us good fortune.

    Mama and Papa smile quite a bit. They have been married over sixty-five years, and now reside in assisted living residential community. There is not a single Latino, other than my parents living in the facility. Not that it matters.  Yes, the question frequently comes up, if my parents are European because they are told. they don’t look like Mexicans.

    Mama  speaks of the Catholic Church where they  were married. Sometimes you can see in her soft eyes that there is an imprint of her farm animals and the fields she walked with her bare feet.

    As the birth of Christ is upon us I remember the lessons learned by Mama, sit as close to Jesus in the manger, as possible.  With kindness you  can move obstructions in your mind,  and with  gratitude can change your inner spirit and how you perceive the world.



    FLH Navidad
    La Compañía de Santiago (c. 1565) / Alondra (c. 1565-1821) / Theater with a Mission / Los Compañeros de la Cocina (c. 1513-1704) 
    FLH Newsletter Header Graphic

    Navidad en el Viejo San Agustín (Christmas in Old St. Augustine)
    December 21, 2013
    Mission Nombre de Dios, St. Augustine, Florida 

    On Saturday, December 21, 2013, Florida Living History, Inc. (FLH) will present its third annual Navidad en el Viejo San Agustín (Christmas in Old St. Augustine) heritage Event, featuring the Christmas music and customs of 16th-century Florida, circa 1580. 

    Hosted by FLH's member groups - Alondra: Interpreting the Music of Colonial Florida (c. 1565-1821), La Compañía de Santiago (c. 1565), Los Compañeros de la Cocina (c. 1513-1704); and Theater with a Mission - this living history Event will take place at Mission Nombre de Dios ( in St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest, continually occupied European city, port, and parish in the continental United States.

    This holiday celebration will include: living historians in period garb, representing the citizens of San Agustín de la Florida in 1580; Las Posadas - a colonial Spanish Christmas tradition dating back almost 500 years, this procession reenacts Mary and Joseph's search for lodgings in Bethlehem on the first Christmas Eve; colonial Spanish musical entertainment; a performance of El Auto de los Reyes Magos ("The Play of the Three Wise Kings"), the oldest Spanish play still in existence, which follows the Magi on their journey to Bethlehem, to welcome the newborn Messiah; and samples of colonial Spanish holiday treats (available for purchase). 

    Navidad will take place from 6-9 p.m., all presented by torch and candlelight on the grounds of historic Mission of Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche on the shores of beautiful Matanzas Bay. Admission to this Event is free of charge to the public! 

    Navidad 2012 - Posadas
    Photo by John Cipriani, courtesy of Florida Living History, Inc.

    This heritage Event is sponsored by the:
    Diocese of St. Augustine/Mission Nombre de Dios   and Florida Living History, Inc.

    For more information on Navidad en el Viejo San Agustín, please e-mail us  or phone us, toll free, at 1-877-FLA-HIST (1-877-352-4478). 


    About Florida Living History, Inc. 

    Florida Living History, Inc. (FLH) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public about Florida's colonial and territorial history, from the time of Don Juan Ponce de León's first landing in 1513 to the time of Florida's statehood in 1845, using living history programs, demonstrations, and re-created portrayals of significant historical events.

    FLH strives for high standards in historical interpretation and supports educational initiatives that promote a greater understanding and appreciation  of Florida's, and America's, rich and diverse heritage. 

    We invite you to explore our website for more information about FLH: . If you have questions or comments, please contact Florida Living History, Inc. at .

    Member Units of Florida Living History, Inc. 
    The current member units of Florida Living History, Inc. are: 

    La Compañía de Juan Ponce de León / The Company of Juan Ponce de León (c. 1513-1521) 
    Los Compañeros de la Cocina / The Companions of the Kitchen (c. 1513-1704) 
    Alondra - Interpreting the Music of Colonial Florida (c. 1565-1821)
    La Compañía de Santiago / The Company of St. James (c. 1565)
    Theater with a Mission (16th and 17th century)
    Los Presidiales de San Agustín / The Presidiales of St. Augustine (c. 1672-1763) 

    Below are photos from Founding Day, 2013
    VIVA Florida 500, the statewide initiative led by the Florida Department of State to highlight our state's 500 years of rich and diverse history, named St. Augustine's annual Founding Day heritage Event as a 2013 VIVA FLORIDA 500 SIGNATURE EVENT. 

    Founding Day 2013 - boats
    Photo by Tonya Creamer, courtesy of Florida Living History, Inc.
    Founding Day 2013 - Veneration of the Cross
    Photo by Tonya Creamer, courtesy of Florida Living History, Inc.
    Founding Day 203 - Colonists and Natives
    Photo by Tonya Creamer, courtesy of Florida Living History, Inc.
    Founding Day 2013 - NPS Artillery Crew
    Photo by Sergio Mijares, courtesy of Florida Living History, Inc.
    Founding Day 2013
    Photo by Tonya Creamer, courtesy of Florida Living History, Inc.

    Founding Day 2014 will take place on Saturday, September 6, 2014.


    Founding Day 2015 - the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine - will take place on Saturday, September 5, 2015.


    Both heritage Events will be co-sponsored by Florida Living History, Inc. and located at the Diocese of St. Augustine's Mission Nombre de Dios and environs, in St. Augustine, Florida.


    For more information on Florida Living History, Inc., please contact us at or phone us, toll free, at 1-877-FLA-HIST (1-877-352-4478).


    LONG OUT-OF-PRINT ~Roger Baudier’s  The Catholic Church in Louisiana
    When Baudier’s The Catholic Church in Louisiana was published over a half-century ago, a new era in Louisiana historiography was born. Prior to that time, many Louisiana historians had paid little attention to source citations, that is, to evidence based on original sources. Although the author’s citations do not always conform to today’s standards, the book’s integrity is far greater than many earlier and contemporary Louisiana studies.

    This book covers “The Period of Discoverers,” “The French Missionary Period” and “The Spanish Missionary Period.” Also included are sections on the interregnum, and the individuals who made their church such a significant part of Louisiana history.
    A ten-page bibliography guides researchers to sources; a comprehensive index and a detailed table-of-contents lead readers to subjects of interest. Prior to 1804, records of Protestant were duly recorded in Catholic records. Some pages, unrelated to the subject, were eliminated.

    656 pages, wrappers. $55.00. ISBN 1-59804-723-X. See ordering directions below, please.
    Post~Office Box 261333 Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70826    PROVINCIAL PRESS, AFFILIATE OF CLAITOR’S PUBLISHING DIVISION.

    Sent by Winston  Deville
    Laughing at Dead Folkloric Dance and Play Ensemble in Omaha, Nebraska

    Linda and I are much indebted to you and your efforts disseminating information on grass-roots cultural/traditional programming in barrios throughout our great Nation! Linda and I have been at full throttle the past two months mounting and running an exhibit and nurturing a literal flowering of Dia de los Muertos activities in the state of Nebraska! It has been difficult because of the exploitation and the mixing of non-traditional elements of the many for profit venues that have popped up.

    Our exhibit, which is a legitimate attempt at bringing the history and tradition of Dia de los Muertos to the public, has been literally inundated by tag-a-longs. But we have persevered preparing for our final performance incorporating Maya and Mestizo elements to the observance of this most important cultural tradition.

    Here is our Facebook link and also our web site.....

    God Bless you guys who continue to inform la gente.

    Jose and Linda Garcia 



    Cuento: 1920s, Christmas in Old South Texas, by José Antonio López  
    Cuento: 1940s, Robstown, Texas Christmas, by Viola Rodriguez Sadler
    Cuento: 1948, The Americano who would be Santa, by Tomas 'Tom' Saenz
    Cuento: 1953, Mrs. Reed’s Christmas Tree by José Antonio López  
    Cuento: 1954, When Santa Came to Visit, by Bernadette Inclan
    Cuento: 1990s Christmas, by Daisy Wanda Garcia
    Garcia/Longoria families of La Grulla, seeking primos
    Texas A&M University-San Antonio has established a TCARA History Chapter



    Christmas in Old South Texas, 1920s

    By José Antonio López  

    During the holidays, Mother often told us the way they celebrated the blessed Christmas season when she was a child, growing up in San Ygnacio, Texas in the 1920s.  She began by saying that festivities began on December 16th, the first day of Las Posadas, our ancestors’ very unique way of re-enacting the Gospel of Luke, 2:1-9.   

    Early in the evening of December 16th, families gathered at one of the homes.  Holding candles and hand-made decorations, they form a procession to a nearby home.  A couple plays the role of Mary and Joseph and leads the way.  They knock on the door of a home looking for shelter.  The resident lets the couple and the procession into their home where they pray the rosary.  The guests are treated by the host family with hot chocolate, pastries, and similar refreshments.  The group repeats the ritual by visiting other homes each day until Christmas Eve.  

    Continuing her recollection, Mother added that the aroma of special meal preparation was customary during this special time of the year.  The entire house was rich with scents of tamales, caldo, barbacoa, spicy menudo, empanadas, buñuelos, reposteria, cinnamon, and hot Mexican chocolate.  

    Other than home-made wreaths, bows, and ribbons on the front door, homes were decorated inside (not necessarily outside).  Every home had a special place in the front room for the nativity.  The “nacimiento de Jesús” display was the center of attention.  

    Christmas trees were few and there was no Santa Claus.  Much of Christmas Day was spent with family, friends, and attending church-related activities.  

    Then, early on the morning of January 6th, El Dia de los Tres Reyes (Three Kings’ Day), families attended Mass celebrating the epiphany.  Children were told that since they had been good kids during the year, Los Reyes Magos had left each a gift and a decorated bag containing hard candy, pecan pralines, mixed nuts, and dried fruit.  

    Most gifts were hand-made.  Store-bought gifts were rare.  Whatever was received was cherished throughout the New Year.  That is how our ancestors celebrated the Christmas holidays throughout South Texas in the 1920s. 



    Robstown, Texas Christmas, 1940s
    "As I think back of Christmases past, I think one of my favorite ones was when Sis and I were attending parochial school at St Anthony's in Robstown. For "Misa de Gallo" (literally the Mass of the Rooster--because of the wee hours) we were angels in costumes of white and glitter. We were two of about twenty girls, but I felt so special in my halo and wings. We walked up the aisle to the altar where the nativity scene had been mounted. The entire church smelled of cut trees that my dad had donated for the altar.

    I remember the ritual of kissing the icon of the baby Jesus. Father Dunne held the baby and we all lined up as if to receive communion. Father had a napkin or handkerchief that he wiped the last person's kiss before the next one came to kiss the baby's leg. Were we fearful of transferring germs? We never gave it a thought. Our faith was so sincere that such ideas never crossed our minds.                                                                                     

    After Mass we went home on Avenue D. I think we all walked home. Everyone used to walk everywhere--neither Mom nor Dad drove a car. Since it was after midnight, Sis and I discovered that Santa Claus had visited our house. We each got a pair of roller skates. Have I ever mentioned that my sister and I always received identical gifts, and we wore identical dresses all the time? Mom's idea of being fair was to be identical. Later, in our teens, Sis and I decided equal did not have to be identical.

    Neither my sister nor I ever had a bicycle. Even though there were "girl" bicyles, Mom assured us that bikes were not ladylike and therefore, not for us. We were happy with our skates, but the street was unpaved (had caliche top), and our front yard had a narrow sidewalk about 15 feet long, at the most. The skates were the kind that had a key to tighten around the sole of your shoe. We learned to skate anyway in our carefree days."
    Me on the left and my sister Yolanda. 
    I must have been around 3 years old, my sis is 18 months older.

    See below, also in identical dresses.  Believe it or not, I was only 11 years old. 


    Me, (Viola),  on the left, my cousin, and sis, plus Fido. That photo was taken in front of my dad's store the summer of 1950. I know it is summer time because the featured special on the window says ice cold watermelons! They used to sell for a few cents a pound!

    My blog:
    Grand Jurors Association of Orange County:





    Christmas 1948, Alice, TX
    by Tomas 'Tom' Saenz 

    I have shared before in Somos Primos, some of my experiences in South Texas.  I came from a migrant family that eventually included 14 children, plus parents.  The late forties and early fifties were hard times in Alice, TX.  Other than some foods like tamales and  pan de polvo (Mexican wedding cake), there were no gift giving at Christmas.  However, the year 1948 was an exception for me.  I did receive a gift.

    It all started in late November about one month shy of my tenth birthday.  Even at the tender age of ten, I was already out in the streets trying to earn a little extra money, to help out at home.  It was a Saturday afternoon.  My friend, Amando and I decided to grab our shoe-shine boxes and head on over to Manuel Bernal's Cantina, which was only a  half block from my house.  When we got there,  I immediately spotted an Americano drinking a beer!  So, I went up to him and simply asked: Shine?  His reply was in the affirmative so I got down on my knees and started polishing his boots. 

    When I was finished he paid me my dime and even gave me a tip!  As my friend Amando and I  started walking away, he called us back and wanted to know our names and addresses.  He said he wanted to do something nice for us. The Americano was sensitive, with penetrating eyes- it seemed that he could see right through us!  I am sure he noticed that we were poorly dressed and barefooted.  Amando was about a year and  half older, and had a little more schooling than I had.  In our broken English we gave the Americano the information he wanted.  He  told us that he would bring us a present for Christmas.  We parted company, each going our own ways.

    On Christmas eve I recall I was out in the streets playing with the neighborhood kids.  Suddenly, one of the kids came running to tell me that there was an Americano down the street asking for me.  I quickly made my way over to where he was.  We both recognized each other from the encounter we had had a few weeks before at Bernal's cantina!  My friend Amando was already there.  We each were given a Roy Rogers pistol complete with holster and a bag of goodies that included some fruits, nuts and some of that traditional multicolor Christmas candy.  Needless to say, we were both in high haven! 

    Once he gave us our gifts, the Americano left and we never saw him again. We never even got his name! What a kind and caring person he was, coming to our barrio and reaching out to two kids at Christmas time.  It was a memorable chance encounter.   I often reflect on it, particularly during the Christmas season.   I know that when he died, he was surely put on the express lane to Heaven and is now looking down observing that his good deeds and influence here on earth are being recognized!





    Mrs. Reed’s Christmas Tree

    By José Antonio López

    For most people, childhood Christmas memories serve as imaginary gold nuggets treasured for a lifetime.  One of these gems is also my earliest recollection of when I first learned the true meaning of Christmas giving.   

    It was 1953; I was about nine years old and in Third Grade at Central School in Laredo, Texas.  Mrs. Reed was my teacher.  Authoritative, yet warm and friendly, Mrs. Reed was a classic elementary school teacher.  Effective and practical in her no-nonsense approach to teaching, she constantly challenged us to learn.  In her classroom, “Eyes and ears on the teacher” was the rule.   

    A few days before the Christmas holidays vacation, she would purchase a small Christmas tree and placed it in the middle of one of the classroom work tables.  She also bought the tinsel and garland.  Then, each student in class was asked to donate one ornament.  They could either make it in class or bring one from home.  Trimming the tree was an extra treat for us students.  As a reward for good behavior, she allowed us to help her adorn the tree, which was done a little each day.  By the time we had our class Christmas Party on the last day of school, the tree was finished.  Not all teachers went the extra mile.  So, after lunch on that special Friday, teachers formed a line outside our classroom and brought their students to view and admire our creation.  

    Barrio El Azteca was mostly poor blue-collar.  Most of our neighbors were hard-working day-labor folks and migrants. They arose before day-break and returned home at nightfall; dead tired after their day at a building site in town or working at one of the area’s ranches and farms.  The next day, they did it all over again.  Still, pay for low-skill workers of the time was dismal and employment for day laborers was erratic.  Knowing that Christmas trees were considered a luxury in some children’s homes, Mrs. Reed responded with her own style of kindness.  During the last day of school, she put all our names in a bag.  She then asked one of her fellow teachers to pick a name from the bag.  The student whose name was drawn won the Christmas tree.  

    More than anything that particular Christmas, I prayed that I would be the lucky winner.  Having overheard my parents a few days earlier, I knew money was tight in our monthly budget.  It seemed that they might not be able to buy a Christmas tree for us that year.  That’s not to say that our house wouldn’t be decorated for the season.  Mother always did a great job decorating our home with very limited resources.  Too, the center point inside the house was a small Nativity set in the living room.  Yet, the spot reserved for the tree was empty.  

    So, it was with great anticipation that I welcomed the last day of school before our Christmas break.  The Christmas Party was well underway that afternoon, when all of a sudden, I heard my name called.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had won the prize.  When the dismissal bell rang, I asked Bernardo, a classmate, to assist me in carrying it home.  He agreed.   

    Mrs. Reed helped us remove some of the breakable ornaments and she put them in a small box.  As soon as we reached the outside of the school building, every step of the way became a challenge.  First, we had to maneuver a steep stairway in front of the school entry.  In one arm, Bernardo was carrying our notebooks and in the other, the small box with the ornaments.  I carried the tree still sporting the tinsel and garland.  Second, balancing the tree upright in front of me, my view was very limited.  Walking on the unpaved, gravel street was tricky. So I walked on level ground, avoiding any large rocks that might make me fall. A slight wind was blowing and small bits of tinsel were dropping off the tree, marking our way.  We were a sight to behold!   

    Our house was about six blocks from Central School.  Bernardo’s house was half-way to mine.  So, before we knew it, we had already walked the three blocks to his home.  I placed the tree on the ground and waited for him to drop off his school books and tell his mom he was helping me get home.  After a minute or two, his mother walked out to admire the tree and went back inside.  It was then that I realized that Bernardo’s home did not have a Christmas tree.   

    Suddenly, a hard-to-explain powerful feeling overcame me.  I asked Bernardo to open the front door to his home.  Before he had a chance to ask why, I carried the tree inside and placed it by the front window.  Hearing the commotion, his mother walked out of the kitchen and I asked her if she would like to keep the tree.  She was stunned and after a moment, she began to weep.  She gave me a big hug, nodded “yes”, and thanked me over and over.  Then, I helped Bernardo put the ornaments back on the tree.  It immediately brightened up the entire room.  As I left, the two of them were quietly standing admiring their beautiful Christmas tree.  

    When I got home, other kids had told my mother of my winning Mrs. Reed’s Christmas tree.  As soon as I entered our home, Mother asked me where it was.  When I told her what had happened on my way home, she began to cry just like Bernardo’s mom.  Mother gave me my second big hug of the day.  She then called Dad at work and told him what I had done.  My father, a stern man of few words, but possessing a big heart himself, approved of my charity.  That evening, he returned from work with a Christmas tree strapped to the top of his car.  

    In summary, I tell this story to focus on the plight of today’s needy.  Having lived the experience, I am in a position to say that poor people don’t enjoy being poor.  Nor are they lazy.  That is why they don’t deserve the unkind treatment they receive almost daily from politicians and some news commentators.  The fact is the poor are in a never-ending struggle to improve their quality of life.  They only ask for a compassionate helping hand to grab onto the next rung in the ladder of success.  This Christmas, let’s all be part of the solution by helping them do it.           

    Here’s wishing all my Primas and Primos of Somos Primos a very blessed Merry Christmas 2013 and a most wonderful Happy New Year 2014.



    By Bernadette Inclan

    My father, Chon was a longshoreman. One late summer afternoon, he was supervising the unloading of cotton bales off of a ship docked in Galveston when a 480 lb. bale snapped from its chain. As the bale hurled directly in his path, he jumped from the ship’s deck about 20 feet and landed in a sitting position on the dock below. He was seriously injured. He spent a grueling recovery in the hospital flat on his back with several broken vertebrae.

    I was in the first grade, my brother, John, in the second. We visited every day. In his final rehabilitation phase, he had to begin to walk again. I remember tears flowing down his cheeks as my mother and the therapist helped him walk those painful first steps.

    This was 1954, and my mother, Tila, a stay-at-home-mom, kept the household going on the meager unemployment Chon collected. Christmas was upon us and being children, we looked forward in anticipation.

    On Christmas Eve, the manger was on display along with the usual decorations, but no tree.

    “Why don’t we have a tree?” John asked our parents. Both were in the kitchen making homemade tamales, a novelty, as mama never before made tamales.

    “Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus are visiting us tonight and they’re bringing us Christmas,” she replied.

    We were astounded!

    “Why?” we both asked incredulously, as we had never personally encountered Mr. Santa Claus, much less the Mrs. Daddy had a wide grin as he spread masa on the cornhusks. As Daddy finished his part, Mama would fill with meat and fold to contain the filling. She explained to us why we were chosen for a special visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.

    “Santa wants to visit us personally because of Daddy’s injuries and our family’s hardship,” she explained. This sounded plausible to us, so we waited in even greater anticipation.

    The December evening was very cold, but we were warm and comfortable with the aroma of cooking tamales, beans and rice, a traditional Christmas Eve meal in a Mexican household.

    “I want to give Mr. and Mrs. Santa tamales to take home,” Mama told us. "That is our Christmas gift."

    My parents were not strict, so my brother and I were allowed to stay up for the much-awaited visit.

    To say it was awesome is an understatement. I think that Mr. and Mrs. Santa were surprised that John and I were still up, but they put aside their astonishment as they made into our home with a Christmas tree, bags of gifts and a basket of food. My parents welcomed them into our kitchen and served them the traditional meal. When they were ready to leave, John and I shyly expressed our “thank you,” awe-struck at the magnificently dressed Mr. and Mrs.

    Mama handed them a paper bag filled with warm tamales, which Mr. and Mrs. Santa gratefully accepted. When they were gone, John and I rushed to the tree to unwrap the gifts they had left. That was the Christmas of my rag doll, Katrina.

    As my parents tucked us into bed that night, John sleepily mentioned that he didn’t know that Mr. and Mrs. Greenberg were Mr. and Mrs. Santa. These were our neighbors who lived three doors down from our house. Mama said that it was Christmas, and during Christmas, all over the world, there were all kinds of people who were Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.

    She was right. Mr. and Mrs. Greenberg were Jewish and didn’t celebrate Christmas. However, they knew two little kids a few doors down that needed Santa that year.






    circa 1990s

    By Daisy Wanda Garcia

    Every holiday season I reminiscence about the Christmases spent with my family in Corpus Christi, Texas.  I wish that I could return for one moment in time just to relive those moments.  The photo below was taken in 1959 at the house on Ohio St.  My mother Wanda F. Garcia and father Hector P. Garcia standing behind my brother Hector Garcia, Jr and me.

    Christmas was always a special season for me.  It was special because it meant gathering with family, friends, and the observance of the family Christmas rituals. With the passing of the years, my family’s traditions changed to accommodate a growing family and the coming and goings of extended family members.  Even with these changes, family was at the heart of the Christmas season. This holiday season draws me to the past, to my roots.  For fifty years of my life, I drove to Corpus Christi from Austin Texas to spend these holidays with my family.  I remember my Papa, Dr. Hector P. Garcia, in his big Cadillac driving around the corner and honking his horn twice to signal he was arriving-followed by the sound of the garage door opening.  I knew that I better go to the garage to help unload because his car was filled to the brim with pan dulces and other pastries and cheese and ham. Papa brought home all the cakes, cookies and gifts he received from patients to share with us.  Papa also bought champagne for the Christmas meal and give us each a bottle.  I was never disappointed.  Meanwhile my mother, Wanda, was in the house preparing the holiday meal.  Mama decorated the house with a beautiful flocked tree from Currie Seed Nursery and nativity sets and displays of old Christmas villages’ made with Department 56 houses.   It was like being in a magical world. Both my sisters  drove from other destinations to join in the festivities.  On Christmas Eve 
    we waited until midnight to begin the distribution of gifts.  We took turns playing “Santa.”  “Santa”   handed each person a gift. The spectators commented while the chosen one opened the gift.  With Papa, we handed him his gifts and he had to guess what was in it and the color.  I enjoyed studying my father’s actions during the guessing game. He turned the gift around and then concentrated. He was a mind reader because he always guessed what the gift was. We enjoyed watching Papa at work.  These were silly traditions, but the important thing was that we were all together.  

    On Christmas Day we attended mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. One of the highlights was going to Dr. Cleo’s house on Christmas Day to join the rest of the Garcias in celebrating the holiday.    Relatives came from all parts of Texas and Mexico to attend these gatherings.  Dr. Cleo had a beautiful home that overlooked Corpus Christi Bay.  The holiday spread had the traditional      Mexican holiday dishes like fideo, tamales as well as the eggnog, turkey and  ham. After Christmas Day lunch, the adults gathered in the living room while     house on Ohio St.  the kids played outside.  I enjoyed listening to my relatives discuss their family stories and tell jokes. The conversations were lively and filled with jokes and much laughter. Surrounded by Garcias, grounded me and gave me a sense of who I was.

    Afterwards, we returned home for Mama’s meal which was so delicious because Mama prepared it with love. Mama cooked her delicious turkey with the special sausage dressing and giblet gravy.  The children set the table. At the meal, Papa said a special blessing and then we began to eat. The ritual was sealed when we girls had to help wash the dishes and put away the remains of the turkey.  For several days later we snacked on the leftovers. Now I realize these were the best times of my life…to be with my parents who are both gone, my dear aunt Dr. Cleo and uncle Xico and his wife Yolanda…with sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. 

    Since Christmas is the end of the year, it is natural that we assess our accomplishments of the past year.  One of my dreams is to publish these articles about my father and family in a book and to expand my circle of readers.  Since January 2007 until now, I have written one article each month for Somos Primos about my father, Dr. Hector P. Garcia. In addition I am now writing a monthly column for the Corpus Christi Caller Times-all of this with the intention of keeping my father’s legacy alive.   I was fortunate enough to meet Delia Huffman who will be working with me on this project.   I wish all of the Somos Primos readers many blessings this season.  

    See if you or one of your subscribers can help me . I am of the Garcia/Longoria families of La Grulla . I was able to trace my Longoria roots , thanks to Raul Longoria's web site . We are 3rd cousins and I was able to trace my Longoria ancestors starting with my grandfather , Teofilo Garcia , whose mother , Yrinea Longoria married Dionicio Garcia . My grandfather also married a Garcia , Francisca Garcia De Garcia , who was my grandmother . This is who I have no history of . Francisca Garcia De Garcia was the daughter of ,Eutimio Garcia , ( I have a picture of him ) . Eutimio had 3 other daughters , Hilaria ( who I knew ) Constancia and Dolores . Eutimio was married to Cresenciana .
    Confusing ?
    See what you can do prima .
    Ramiro Garcia 

    PS , I will follow up with a picture of my great grandfather , Eutimio Garcia    Ramiro Garcia .


    The Texas Connection to the American Revolution Association
    Texas A&M University-San Antonio has approved and established a TCARA HISTORY CHAPTER for its students, alumni and teaching staff. TCARA Board member, Dr Amy Porter, history professor at Texas A&M is the chapter’s liaison and was instrumental in setting up the Chapter and gaining University approval.
    Dr. Amy Porter is an Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She studied history and Spanish at Austin College, and she received her PhD in American history from Southern Methodist University in 2004. Her research interests include the Spanish borderlands and women's history. Her teaching interests include early America, women's history, Spanish borderlands, and the American West.

    Miss. Cassandra Castaneda is Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s TCARA History Chapter President and at 23 is
    majoring in history with a minor in sociology. She will graduate with a BA in the Spring of 2014. She received her Associates in Liberal Arts from San Antonio college and is devoted to history preservation.