On Sunday August 20, a memorable event took place at the Women’s Museum of California. It was publicized as a book signing of the recently released Chicana Tributes: Activist Women of the Civil Rights Movement, but in reality, it was an ebullient celebration. The book documents the work of sixty-one women who were fearless and committed trailblazers in the Chicano civil rights movement in the late twentieth century and beyond. A number of those women were and still are deeply connected to San Diego’s own history of that movement. [Read more…]
Enrique Morones’ fight for justice and human dignity
There are many reasons for reading Border Angels The Power of One by Enrique Morones with Richard Griswold del Castillo. It includes powerful border stories and photographs that give a face to the many hurdles confronting those who come to El Norte.
Some of the stories come from mothers or other family members who have not heard from or seen their grown children for months or years. Immigration is the hot issue today. Do those who speak against undocumented workers know the hardship and pain the families face? [Read more…]
There is a new and exciting book titled “San Diego Lowriders: A History of Cars and Cruising”. Authors Alberto López Pulido and Rigoberto “Rigo” Reyes capture a history and culture that is not always thought of when the history of San Diego is related.
This book begins with the roots of lowriding and introduces us to organized car clubs. The authors emphasize the pride and respect Lowriders had for their community, for their cars, and for each other. Car clubs became a focal point and have remained a common ground for community drivers to the present day.
The general public is not aware that Lowriders are actually part of the history of San Diego as early as 1950. [Read more…]
San Diego Unified had what was then called a leadership list for future administrators. Thinking she would be able to have more influence if she became an administrator, Rosalia applied. While being interviewed by an assistant superintendent, she was told she didn’t qualify for the leadership list because she did not have experience north of Interstate 8. Rosalia took the moment to explain that she had no desire to be in an assignment north of 8 and that she thought those teachers north of 8 should have south of 8 teaching experience.
The assistant superintendent also explained that the second reason she could not be considered for the leadership list was that she had participated in a one-day teacher strike. She then informed him that she had no intention of applying for the leadership list. [Read more…]
Part I: From Laredo Texas to San Diego
Rosalia describes herself as lucky. She grew up in Laredo, Texas, the daughter of hardworking parents. She says her father Octavio was the hardest working man she has ever met. Her mother Alicia, who loved music and sincerely enjoyed meeting people, had an anything is possible attitude. Ocatvio was born in Mexico and Alicia was born in Michigan to a mother who had also been born in the United States.
Rosalia’s mother faced tremendous economic challenges. Her maternal grandfather Celestino left Texas before 1920 and moved to Detroit Michigan in search of a better livelihood. Celestino was born in Saltillo, and while living in Texas, worked as a shoe repair man. When the word spread all over the country that the Ford Motor company was hiring, Celestino, like many other Mexicanos, moved north in search of a better life. [Read more…]
Jess Haro is well known in San Diego’s Latino community. The Chicano activist has been a City Councilman, Chairman of the Board of the Chicano Federation and has served on various boards in our community. How did the boy born in Stockton, California end up in San Diego?
Jess’s father immigrated to the United States in 1918. Jess’s mother became a widow from her first husband in Durango, Mexico and followed her daughter to the United States in 1923. It was a very long journey and took eight days by mule to reach Nogales where she then caught a train to El Monte, California. She went to work at the Hick’s Ranch and lived in the huge farm worker camp located in El Monte. [Read more…]
In Part I the activist path of Linda and Carlos LeGerrette connected them with United Farm Worker efforts in Keene California in the early 70s. Part II provides more details about their work with César Chávez and the UFW, how the couple faced personal crises and their abiding commitment to community service here in San Diego.
César Chávez approached Carlos and Linda about going to La Paz, where he had moved the United Farm Workers’ headquarters in 1971 from Delano. “On 187 acres in the small Tehachapi mountain town of Keene, Chávez began building a community of fellow union members and volunteers who worked with him full time for social justice.”
La Paz was housed in a former tuberculosis sanatorium. Linda and Carlos’ room was in what had been the kitchen. [Read more…]
Linda and Carlos LeGerrette are known in San Diego for their Chicano activism, particularly with farm workers. They started César Chávez clubs in San Diego and have been politically active for decades. They continue to be examples of what can be achieved when working together, not only in marriage but through a shared value system. Like many of us, they have had their share of life’s ups and downs. Both grew up poor but as Linda puts it they weren’t aware of that because everyone around them was also poor. [Read more…]
The 1970s were a period of unrest in San Diego’s Barrio. Norma was taking Chicano Studies at San Diego State and meeting with MEChA. Norma adds that Chicano Studies had a lot of theory but they did not always have the opportunity to practice what they had learned. This changed rather quickly as she started picketing the National City Police Station about police brutality and the Safeway stores as part of the grape boycott.
This was also a time of student walk outs that began with the “blowouts” in East Los Angeles in 1968. These walk outs were precipitated by inferior and discriminatory education in public schools with a high percentage of Latino children. Student walk outs soon followed in San Diego. [Read more…]
Norma Hernandez’ road to becoming a Chicana activist is different than that of the other Latinos and Latinas I have written about. Norma was born in Tijuana in 1938 and lived there until she was fifteen years old. She is an only child born to Mr. and Mrs. Arce. Fortunately, there were a large number of cousin, aunts and uncles that provided an extended family experience.
Her great-grandmother Valeria was an Otomi Indian who lived in San Luis Potosí Mexico on a little ranchito. Norma’s mother was born in Johnson, Arizona, a small mining town near Bisbee Arizona which no longer exists today.
When her mother was a year old, Norma’s grandparents moved to Mexico. The United states was experiencing a chicken pox epidemic. Fearing for the health of his family her grandfather moved them to Tijuana where he would own a barber shop and later a movie theater. [Read more…]
Norma and Roger Cazares are known for their political activism which began while they were both young. They first met each other on a picket line during the Grape Boycott. Chicano politics brought them together and love soon followed.
Last month’s introduction to the activist lives of Norma and Roger provides insight into how they have changed the civic landscape of San Diego. This concluding article fills in more of the details of their commitment to their community and each other. [Read more…]
Norma and Roger Cazares together and individually have helped change San Diego. They usually share the same political views although there have been a few exceptions. Norma supported Hillary, Roger supported Obama. Once again they are split with Norma once again supporting Hillary and Roger supporting Bernie.
Roger says that he is totally amused with the Republican party. They’re destroying the Republican party similarly to what Pete Wilson did in California. He is concerned that we will not have a two party system. Roger believes this is dangerous. Both agree there needs to be a two party system in order to hold each other accountable. Roger says both Trump and Cruz have helped bring the closet racist out of the closet. [Read more…]