I had the privilege of interviewing DREAM activist and community leader Tanya Cabrera for New Futuro. Check out this video with Cabrera detailing the educational rights of undocumented students, and share the full article with any interested students.
New Futuro, founded in 2008, works with community organizations and schools in urban Latino neighborhoods to provide students and their families with access to the college materials they’ll need, all of which are available in both English and Spanish translations. The company’s web platform offers America’s largest Hispanic scholarship database and hundreds of articles featuring useful advice on college planning, as well as profiles of successful minorities who’ve reached high levels in their careers. New Futuro also publishes a bilingual print magazine, which is distributed for free in high schools and through nonprofit and community partners.
read the full article in The Atlantic: New Futuro Narrows the Education Gap for Latino Students
Ladies and Gents, life is good. I am the Creative Director for New Futuro.
New Futuro provides Latino families with fully bilingual resources and tools to get students into college and beyond! We are committed to making you an education rockstar! We will teach you how to get into the college of your dreams with money to pay for it. It’s all about making the right classes at the right time, knowing the right people, and getting involved with the right groups. College is your future, so why should it be a challenge to get there? New Futuro will help you achieve your dreams through education!
Read more about my #awesome creative team here.
(via guardian.co.uk article by Roberto Cintli Rodriguez)
Arizona’s cultural genocide law
Legislators in Arizona are pursuing a white supremacist campaign to erase Mexican American presence from teaching
The onslaught in Arizona of reactionary and immoral racially-based laws has managed to attract worldwide attention. The brown peoples of this state are being relentlessly persecuted by a majority population that wants to forcefully remove us and suppress our rights and deny our humanity. Here, the state has even gone so far as to, via HB 2281, to prohibit the teaching of ethnic studies in Arizona schools.
Unquestionably, the brown peoples of this state are treated as less than human. Not everyone treats us this way – just the majority: mostly conservative Republicans, many of them with a supremacist ideology. Their general attitude is: if you’re brown (read Mexican), get the hell out of our God-given country. And for those of you who remain, either assimilate and abide by our [contrived and unconstitutional] laws or face the full wrath of the state.
There is embedded hate against brown peoples in Arizona – the kind associated with the 1800s, a time when the United States forcefully annexed half of Mexico. All of it is thinly veiled under the guise of opposition to “illegal immigration” and “border enforcement”. However, the battle here is actually civilisational: brown peoples, many of whom have been here for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, represent the unfinished business of Manifest Destiny. For conservatives, we represent a return to a past in which we are viewed as a conquered, subhuman species. This brazen attitude informs all the recent anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant bills, proposed laws that long for a return to an idyllic past, which, in fact, never existed.
Aside from HB 2281, other bills include : SB 1070 – the racial profiling law; SB 1097 – the proposed law that will require children to identify the immigration status of their parents; and HB 2561/SB 1308 and HB 2562/SB1309 – bills that seek to nullify birthright citizenship (guaranteed by the 14th amendment ) to children whose parents cannot prove their legal status.
And now, state legislators have introduced the most reactionary bill of them all: SCR 1010 (pdf). This bill seeks to exempt Arizona from international laws. With this bill, these legislators are acknowledging that all their anti-Mexican laws are also outside of international law.
AND read more about HB 2561/SB 1308 (via AlterNet article by Valeria Fernández)
Arizona Bill Would Create Second-Class Citizenship for US-Born Children of Undocumented Immigrants
A baby born in Arizona to two undocumented parents would have a birth certificate that indicates he is not a U.S. citizen under new legislation introduced in Arizona’s State Capitol on Thursday.
The bills (identical in House and Senate versions, HB 2561/SB 1308 and HB 2562/SB1309) will certainly be challenged in federal court and are already steering a polarizing debate in a state known across the nation as a laboratory for anti-illegal-immigrant policies.
I was interviewed on the Latino Blog Directory site Blogadera
click here for full interview:
Here we are with Maya Escobar. An artist and educator whose art, personality and opinions come to life by way of her blog and social media extensions. We are thrilled to have her on to talk about her background, blogging and sharing her blogging experience with the rest of the blogadera.
When did you start blogging? What prompted you to pick it up.
I started blogging in 2005, at the time I was completing my degree in art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was interested in connecting with other artists, activists, students and educators to share ideas and resources.
What do you blog about? Why?
I blog about issues that relate to the artworks I am producing (basically concepts I am thinking about). Topics include: the construction of identity, hybridity, sexuality, education, placelessness, immigration, activism, religion, and mental health.
Can you give us a little bit of background on Maya Escobar?
Well… it just so happens that I just posted a new “about me” to my website:
I am a performance artist, Internet curator, and editor. I use the web as a platform for engaging in critical community dialogues that concern processes by which identities are socially and culturally constructed. I perform multiple identities and sample widely from online representations and existing cultural discourses. My identifications as a Latina-Jewish artist, dyslexic blogger, activist and educator are indexed by the blogs I keep, the visual and textual links I post, the books, articles, and blog posts I cite, the public comments I leave, and the groups I join.
By examining and re-imagining my personal experiences, I attempt to provide others with a framework for questioning societal limitations based on gendered and racialized cultural generalizations.
(if you found that about me too dull there is a post on my blog where I describe myself as an elephant)
Does your blog reflect your culture? Is this intentional or just a natural byproduct?
I hope that my blog reflects a culture of critical inquiry, communal dialogue, and collaboration. (this would be intentional)
What is the state of the Latino Blogosphere? Do you see it growing? Any Examples?
I see more and more Latina and Latino bloggers every day. But what I find most exciting is when those bloggers are young people and they are blogging with a positive message. A wonderful example that I have found is MyLatinitas.com the social networking platform hosted by Latinitas Magazine. Here young Latinas are actively sharing their thoughts on politics, culture, education, and family.
You work alot with videos…do you consider yourself a vlogger? If so, can you define that for us!
hmm… I am not really sure if I consider myself to be a vlogger. When I think of a vlogger, I think of a person who makes videos that contain similar content to content that would be included in a blog post (such as current events, politics, or personal observations.) Maybe, I am a part time vlogger
Any advice for Latinos who want to start blogging?
I think it is important to get a sense of why it is that you want to blog, what will your blog say about you, and how you envision your blog interacting with your personal and professional life.
Write about issues that you are passionate about, in a way that other people can relate to. Use the Internet for all it can do- link between your own posts and link to posts written by others. Read other people’s blogs and comment! If you want people to be interested in the things you are writing about know what they are writing about!
And most importantly when you can, blog in Spanish!
What blogs do you follow or subscribe to? Favorites?
I just started reading VivirLatino which led me to the awesome blog of La Mamita Mala. I have been following Latina Lista for sometime, Rio Yañez and his buddy Maya Chinchilla, Sergio Antonio, Jorge Linares…… the list just keeps on growing…
What are you favorite social media sites and how do you use these tools in your day-to-day?
At this point twitter, youtube, flickr and wordpress are the sites that I most commonly use. My activity on all of theses sites crosses over. For example, I might write a post on my blog, that will include a youtube video and images I posted onto flickr. Then I send a tweet that includes either a segment of my blog post, an image from the post, or some of the tag words describing the post.
Do you divide social media by purpose, friends, professional v. personal, etc.?
Not really, for the most part my personal life is my professional life.
What’s next for Maya? What do we have to look forward to from you?
I am working with my father on developing my first performance piece entirely in Spanish. We are using a recording of an interview my mother conducted with my abuelita in 1985, as source material for the monologue I will be performing recounting her experiences, but as myself- two generations removed……
I am also planning a piece with fellow artist and blogger Rio Yañez surrounding the Wise Latina phenomenon. I don’’t want to give too many details away, but I can promise there is going to be a Top 10 list!
Ruth at the writing center (who somehow amazingly manages my artistic craziness and dyslexia) helped me come up with this metaphor for my work, based on the story of the elephant and the blind men.
I think it might become my artist statement.
Some people think that I am the true representation of the elephant.
It is true I am an elephant, but not the only elephant.
I try to break up the conception of being the only elephant.
Some people see a small portion of my work and think it is the whole- the representative elephant.
Others understand that each piece connects to another piece and that individually they are only fragments.
When breaking the elephant up into pieces, information slips in through the cracks.
People also respond to this new information- creating a bigger more amorphous elephant.
The amorphous elephant is broken up again and again, so that it is relevant to new individuals new experiences…
There is one specific image that I have never been able to remove from my mind: an image of a Guatemalan solider pointing a gun at the belly of a young pregnant woman. Ironically, I have no recollection as to the source of that specific image. Part of me wonders if that image even existed, or if it was a confabulation of my youth, created in response to the countless stories of political massacre in Guatemala that my father described to me on a regular basis.
The Power of Image
Recently I attended a symposium on Architecture, Art and the Experience of Blackness, where I was greatly moved by the words of Hamza Walker, who serves as the Director of Education and Associate Curator for the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.
In an effort to outline “blackness” or the “black experience”, Walker alluded to the profound impact of the publication of the casket-side Emmett Till photos in JET magazine.
The Till incident began with the brutal beating and murder of an 11yr old boy, whose only crime was whistling at a white woman. In a surprisingly high profile trial the two men accused were almost immediately acquitted by an all white jury. The boy’s grieving mother insisted on an open casket funeral so that the world could see what had happened to her beloved son.
Walker said, that the media transmission of these transgressions confirmed the collective understanding shared by African Americans that this treatment was the reality of the judicial system. If they were to ever “compromise the integrity of a white woman” what happened to Till would happen to them.
Is exposure to explicit images of human brutality the proper way to insure that these incidents do not repeat themselves?
How many times have we seen the same iconographic holocaust pictures?
But do we know who is in these images and what is taking place?
Has seeing the same images a million times done anything the stop the Iraq war or prevent genocide in Darfur?
Perhaps the issue comes down to the dissemination of information to young people. Without providing a proper context for the interpretation and dialogue surrounding these explicit images, the depicted incidents become far removed from our lives, and we become numb to their reality.
Why a Coloring Book?
Coloring Books, emerged in the United States a part of the movement towards the “democratization of education”. They are commonly utilized in popular education models as, accessible teaching tools for often illiterate audiences.
This coloring book provides the platform for the introduction and the critical re-evaluation of social movements the context in which they occurred, and the individuals who have preserved and made a major impacts upon the world.
Rald Institute’s mission is to assist at risk children and individuals with learning, social-emotional, and other disabilities. We strive to enhance self-worth while strengthening cognitive and affective domains. We work to increase public awareness of various disabilities and function as advocates. The institute supports schools by providing technical assistance to staff. Rald provides experiences in the arts because we believe such experiences help children expand critical thinking, increase imagination and develop an appreciation for cultural diversity. Inclusive art workshops are offered at no cost to children. The institute is run by volunteers and there are no charges for services to individuals.
here is a link to an abc special on Beverly’s work.
Beverly Normand, Ph.D., Founder and President, is a consultant for public and private schools in Illinois, and is lecturer and adjunct professor for several universities. She recently retired from the Office of Specialized Services, Chicago Public Schools, after thirty-four years of service as Special Education Teacher, Citywide Instructional Specialist, and Facilitator for School Based Problem Solving/Response to Intervention programs in Psychology and Special Education. She earned degrees from Roosevelt University, DePaul University and Chicago State University. She was a contributing writer for several publications of Chicago Public Schools, is the recipient of numerous educational awards, special recognitions, and various grants. She has written and hosted several educational television programs, has been published in numerous journals and magazines and has participated in various research projects.
A poet, designer, lyricist and patron of the arts, she has collaborated with artists and musicians on special projects and has planned and coordinated cultural programs and art exhibitions for school children, churches and other institutions throughout her adult life.
Serving as Commissioner of Religion and Race for the United Methodist Church in the South Shore Community of Chicago for twenty years, Normand developed activities and programs to support African American history and culture, while also planning activities and programs to strengthen multi-cultural exchange and diversity training. She served as editor for the Nimbus publication for many years.
Normand has helped thousands of pupils, parents, teachers, ancillary teams and school administrators, and is highly respected for her integrity, creativity and skills. “I believe in interdisciplinary instruction and all curricula that stimulate the imagination and lead us away from mediocrity and complacency. The mission of Rald Institute is to reduce the at-risk population, support children and individuals with special needs in a manner which leads to self-actualization, support as many parents and teachers as we can, and help twenty-first century educational leaders maintain integrity and democratic forms of leadership, while problem solving.”