In my mind songs of Juan Gabriel and Micheal Jackson, Bronco and Whitney Houston, José José and Stevie Wonder, Madonna and Selena. More than bilingual I am bicultural. So Many years dancing along this borderline called “La Frontera! between California, Texas, Puerto Rico and my beloved México figuring out who we are?, where we come from?, where is it that we belong to?… us… Los Chicanos.
I was born in México City yet most of my childhood memories, the happiest ones, ironically take me back to all those moments my cousins and I would run in hospital halls in Houston Texas as Wendy was undergoing her multiple surgeries.
While in college , in the University of Texas in Austin, profesor Charles Ramírez Berg awoke my awareness towards hispanic images and counterimages in Hollywood. I then started to question our role among the population in the US and how we , the immigrants, were percieved both in the media and real life. Numerous documentaries I’ve watched that show the tremendous struggle my country men and women had undergone generation after generation in order to achieve the so called “ American Dream “. Images shake me, but more so real life stories of the beautiful and corageus people I’ve met along this fascinating journey in search of my own identity.
Always back and forth … Observing, understanding , growing, waking up. There’s this gap , this coordinate of time and space where chicanos , and overall hispanics in the US, have evolved as a sub-culture and a tribe of its own… of our own. This sense of being an eternal nomad, a gipsy, an outkast always in the run or better said always in the search of something to hold on to … roots that ground us and guide us , memories , ancestors and pride.
Whether by train, crossing the dessert, in the back of a “coyote’s” trunk , wraped in a carpet, swimming the Río Grande, by airplane, with a visa, a passport or no papers whatsoever, what has driven each and everyone of us is hope and what unifies us is Nostalgia because when it comes both to love and fear there’s no race or nationallity just human beings.
Not belonging is both terrifying and liberating as it is overwhelming yet empowering. It takes so much courage and bravery and faith to dare to seek for something better. We all believe that there is more to life than what our corrupt governments and institutions in Latin America have forced us to believe there is in order to serve the ambition of a few while most people in our beautiful and vast countries is dying of poverty and their dignity constantly stepped on.
This album called “ Chicana “ is a homage to all the unknown heroes I’ve met along the way who have inspired me and have awakened my consciousness, hopefully making me a better human being. To my fellow immigrants and all the people back in my country and other countries who struggle everyday to overcome all the injustices of our greedy governments and hypocrite leaders. To those humans beings and earthlings that have been in one way or another abused and triumphantly overcame as well as those who unfortunately didn’t but whose life paved the way towards this new ideological revolution of fairness, equality and peace.
Partí de México rumbo a California.
El sentimiento de nostalgia lo comparto con mis paisanos y hermanos centro y suramericanos que cruzan a pie, nadando el Río Grande, en la “troca” de un coyote, envueltos en un tapete dentro de un trailer sin ventilación ni luz ó montados en algún vagón de La Bestia. Si bien los caminos y riesgos son diversos, lo que más quema es la distancia que habrá de separarnos de los seres que más amamos, la familia.
Solo el que lo vive lo comprende, lo entiende, lo sufre. Extrañar es como inhalar navajas de eucalipto fermentado. La ausencia de nuestros seres queridos en nuestra cotidianidad americana desgarra de a poquito y nuestra ausencia en sus vidas también … allá … lejos, del otro lado de la frontera en la tierra que nos vió nacer.
California es un estado cálido pero la experiencia en un país ajeno es siempre dulce-amarga. Camino por la ciudad de Los Angeles y reconozco mi tribu. Los matices marrones de la piel nos permíten encontrar un sentido de pertenencia …“ Brown is Beautiful “ . Las sonrisas, los sudores, el “spanglish” masticado … los oficios, los rechazos, los trámites de inmigración … costureras, campesinos, cocineros y choferes, “ baby-sitters” , “ house-keepers “… border patrolls … “ gate-keepers “ . Primera, segunda, tercera generación … hijos de la “ nation “ o la nación. Los gitanos, los chicanos … compatriotas, los paisanos.
La grama no es necesariamente más verde “ del otro lado “ pero nuestros países sufren sequía pues nuestros gobiernos han enfermado de soberbia e injusticia. Con todo mi amor, todo mi respeto y toda mi admiración a los millones de inmigrantes que arriesgan sus vidas buscando un nuevo porvenir para ellos y sus familias. Heroes y heroínas que le apuestan a la esperanza, al trabajo próspero y honrado y a la libertad. Esto es “ Chicana “ un pequeño homenaje hecho con el corazón.
I realized that it’s all really one, that John Lennon was correct. We utilize the music to bring down the walls of Berlin, to bring up the force of compassion and forgiveness and kindness between Palestines, Hebrews. Bring down the walls here in San Diego, Tijuana, Cuba. ✦ Carlos Santana / Mexican American Musician
Mexican Americans(Spanish: mexicano-americanos or estadounidenses de origen mexicano) are Americans of full or partial Mexican descent. As of July 2013, Mexican Americans make up 10.9% of the United States’ population with 34.6 million Americans listed as being of full or partial Mexican ancestry.
US communities with largest population of Mexican Americans
The top 25 US communities with the highest populations of Mexicans (Source: Census 2010)
In 2013, traditional sending states such as Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Michoacán accounted for the largest numbers of the 322,000 Mexican migrants who headed toward the United States
In 2013, 17.4 million children under age 18 lived at home with at least one immigrant parent. They accounted for 25 percent of the 69.9 million children under age 18 in the United States.
More than 30 million Americans trace their roots back to Mexico – it’s the fastest growing demographic in the US. Mexican Americans 34,586,088 (2013) 10.94% of the US population
“¡Si se puede!”
César Chávez Quotes Immigration Activist
01 “It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease. When the poor share some of the power that the affluent now monopolize, we will give a damn.”
02 “There’s no turning back…We will win. We are winning because ours is a revolution of mind and heart…”
03 “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…The people who give you their food give you their heart.”
04 “I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice.”
05 “We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community – and this nation.”
06 “It’s ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves.”