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Kevin Lopez – Leadership by example - Bridgeport City Council

As a newly elected city councilman Kevin Lopez has been busy. 

To the best of his knowledge there was a Latino city council member before which may or may not have been elected by the voters for sure, Kevin Lopez was elected to the position.  He was elected city wide.  He did not wait for the district to be gerrymandered for him.

He had the Mexican Consul General at Bridgeport to provide information to the Dreamers.

He hosted a Texas Workforce Commission informational session where the Commissioner of Labor, Julian Alvarez and Director of Employer Initiatives, Aaron Demerson of the Texas Workforce Commission came to Bridgeport to speak at the local business community of funding opportunities available to help with costs incurred by businesses and the Apprenticeship Program.

He is also participated in a Mega Citizenship Workshop in collaboration with Proyecto Inmigrante on October 21st in Bridgeport.  He also has the first committee meeting that night to begin preparation for Bridgeport’s first annual “Dia de los Muertos” festival to be held next year.

He is working to make Bridgeport more attractive for businesses and visitors.  There many Mexican Americans with historical roots in Bridgeport.  Go learn it.

We need his type of dynamism in the political spectrum. 

Felix Alvarado

Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating Ignorance or Culture?

By Franco

Gore Vidal once said that "American's lack of education is the joke of the world." When you look into the origin and use of the term "Hispanic," you might agree with Gore Vidal. Supposedly the word "Hispanic" was coined by Grace Flores Hughes, a food-stamp worker back in the 1970s who erroneously believed that everyone that has a Spanish surname is of Spanish descent. She also erroneously believed that South Texans were Spanish. The last time I checked the vast majority of the Spanish-surnamed South-Texans were of Mexican descent.

Why was the word "Hispanic" preferred over the word "Latino"? Supposedly the term "Latino" was too broad and included Mediterranean peoples from places like Portugal, and Italy. Well aren't the Spanish also a Mediterranean nation, Portugal was a part of Spain at one time, and Spain was a part of Italy during Roman times. Also Spaniards are not a significant population in the United States, the majority of Spanish surnamed peoples are actually Mexican-Americans, Americans of Mexican descent.

The term "Hispania" was used by the Phoenicians and later by the Romans to refer to the Iberian Peninsula. Yet not everyone in Spain considers himself a Spaniard, and not everyone speaks Spanish as their mother tongue, for example the Basque and Catalans. The forefathers of Basque-Americans came from Spain, but I would not risk calling them Spanish-Americans. They are Basque-Americans. What about the Native-Americans in the southwest who have Spanish surnames, are they "Hispanic," are they Spanish-Americans? How about the Filipino-Americans or the people of Guam who have Spanish surnames, are they Spanish-Americans. Are they Asians or Hispanics?

You can't blame a food-stamp worker with a limited education for abusing words to label people with a broad brush, she did the best with the poor education she received. The federal government census actually started using the term "Hispanic" in 1980. Yet if we are to celebrate a Heritage month we need to be specific about what heritage we are celebrating, "Hispanic" is a vague term and too misleading. For example, "Hispanics" didn't create Mexican food, it was the Mexican culture that created that food, and 90% percent of that food is a heritage of Native-American cultures, tortillas, tamales, and most Mexican food originates in Native-America. The Mariachi wasn't created by "Hispanics," it was purely the Mexican genius that created this music. The Puerto-Rican culture, the Cuban Culture, the Cultures of Central and South America, they all have their unique heritages. They cannot all be lumped in together and called "Hispanic," because it's not reality.

Why does the average Spanish-surnamed American call himself Hispanic? Basically, for two reasons: First reason is due to the ignorance and laughable education that Gore Vidal referred to, people just repeat what they hear on television or school, without questioning anything; Second reason is sadly due to shame. Many of these people have a traumatic history in the USA, they or their parents were shamed for being of a specific race or culture. Some Mexican-Americans are ashamed of their Mexican heritage and prefer to call themselves "Hispanic" to hide their Mexican roots. In the past many performers and people changed their Spanish-surnames so that they sounded less Spanish, because in the USA, Spanish surnames were associated with the Mexican culture. Now with the use of the label "Hispanic" many people can conceal their cultural roots and heritage without having to change their names. This begs the question, if many people use the word Hispanic to conceal the emotional shame they feel when reminded of their roots and culture, why are they celebrating "Hispanic" heritage month to begin with. Is this a celebration of ignorance or culture? Isn't it preferable to celebrate Mexican Culture, just like the Irish, Italians, and German Americans, celebrate their heritage? What's wrong with celebrating Boricua culture just like Polish-Americans celebrate their culture? Why hide behind the nonsense label "Hispanic?"

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Grand Prairie ISD- Leadership by example

With all this talk of redistricting and gerrymandering you would think that the only way that a Latino can get elected to any political office is to wait for the legislature to redraw districts so that somehow a Latino can get elected.  Such a process can take generations as we are witnessing right now.  Gloria Carrillo and David Espinosa are not waiting.  They have successfully bucked the odds and gotten elected to the Grand Prairie ISD Board of Education.  They are two of seven board members that are Latino.  The other board members are White.  The Majority of the district is 65.3% Latino, 11.9% White, and 17.5% African American. 

H-E-B named Grand Prairie ISD as the 2017 Large School District Excellence in Education Award.  GPISD has a school of choice program whereby students can choose their career field and receive specialized instruction in that program.  Students also have a variety of careers programs to choose from.  They are provided the tools for success.  Mr. Espinosa is very much concerned about bullying, cyber and physical. 

They both want a quality education for our children.  To achieve that challenge administrators and teachers must be able to reach Latino children.  It is in the hiring that teacher and administrators start the connection with students and parents.  Mr. Espinosa’s name goes on the employment contract so he can review the quality of the personnel hired. 

David Espinosa is intimately knowledgeable of Grand Prairie ISD, he is a graduate of Grand Prairie HS and UT Arlington.  Originally from Lubbock, Gloria Carrillo graduated from Fox Tech in San Antonio ISD and has her Bachelor’s and Master’s from Dallas BU.  Mr. Espinosa is elected from a single-member district and Ms. Carrillo is at-large district.  Having two Latino members of the board means that if one makes a motion on an issue the other one can second the motion and the board must act on the issue. 

It is in voting that Mr. Espinosa sets the leadership example.  He knocks on doors, registers people to vote and follows up after election to keep voters motivated.  He describes the word “vendido” as elected officials that disregard their constituents and constituents refer to such officials as “vendidos”, they forgot their voters.  Ms. Carrillo is just as involved. 

David Espinosa and Gloria Carrillo set an example worth emulating.  When we get elected to office we will have political power.  We cannot wait for gerrymandering to seek elected office.  We must do it now.

Felix Alvarado

“I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost”

By Denise Jimenez

When you imagine, a frightening character running around covered in a white hood, possibly screaming frightening demands, you may assume it’s your run of the mill angry ghost. But, in this case you won’t find a disfigured ghoul under that hood, you will find a White Supremacist. While comparable to a ghoul, a White Supremacist presents real problems and sometimes they can be deadly. One of the most popular White Supremacy groups is the Ku Klux Klan.

Popularly referred to as the KKK, this is a hate group whose roots began when the Civil War ended. Klansman, would go on nightly runs to harass the black community, in efforts to regain “White power” in the south. They would often rape, murder and beat unsuspecting black citizens. However, after the new Jim Crow laws were implemented, the Klan felt as if they won back the South and the number of active groups declined.

It wasn’t long before they started back up, as more Jewish and Catholic immigrants came into the United States. And, of course groups skyrocketed when the Civil Rights Movement began. Then from 2010 to 2014 there was a steep drop from active Klan groups, however the situation drastically changed in 2015 when Klan groups nearly tripled in the United States.

The Ku Klux Klan even has a group in Fort Worth, and according to the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan’s disturbing website, they had a successful Klan’s rally in North Texas and they claimed to have had a good turnout. These people are congregating in our very own backyard, but I wouldn’t be nervous. Like I mentioned in the title, “I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost”. These Klansman are nothing to worry about. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, it is the “Lone Wolf” domestic terrorists that carry the most danger.

“Terror from the Right, Conspiracies and racist rampages since Oklahoma City”, is a detailed pamphlet created by the Intelligence Project for Southern Poverty Law Center, a group created in the 70’s made up of civil rights lawyers to ensure equality for all. This organization wanted to inform the public of the growing danger of solo or sometimes duo domestic terrorists.

According to the Intelligence Project’s information on domestic terrorism, there has been an increase of White Supremacists or antigovernment individuals who are veering away from popular groups like the Ku Klux Klan and moving more towards “internet activism”, these are generally racist message boards and racist websites.

These Lone Wolf terrorists also have very common backgrounds, and according to the study of 100 racist driven murders by racist extremists, they all had 10 common characteristics. These angry guys and gals were unemployed, engaged in public activism or leafletting, incidents occurred at home, posted on a racist forum or blog, sustained online activity, antagonistic online, changed their posting patterns, sees violence as a solution, discussed weapons, and identified an enemy. The danger of getting immersed in this radical idealism on the internet can turn your regular White Supremacist into a murderer. A recent SPLC report has stated that 74% of the domestic terrorist incidents in the last Six years were carried out or attempted by these Lone Wolves.

Dylan Roof is always the first to come to mind when imagining these solitary domestic terrorists. Dylan, showed every warning sign but nobody ever spoke up or took him seriously. Friends that he had re- connected with him a few weeks before the shootings, described him as more violent and agitated. One friend even took Roof’s gun from his possession, fearing he would do something irrational. The amount of time he spent on racist forums and websites only fueled his rage and pushed him towards violent extremism. Tragically, not one person who witnessed his odd behavior reported him to authorities. Dylan Roof would eventually enter the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, sit in for at least an hour before getting up and gunning nine black parishioners down in a racist, maleficent rampage. Dylan Roof was just the beginning. August 12, 2017, armed with automatic weapons and Tiki torches, white supremacists flooded the streets of Charlottesville Virginia. In an effort to “unite the right” Klan members, Neo Nazis and White supremacists came together unmasked to show their solidarity against removing confederate statues. Some Americans are shocked by the images of Nazi and confederate flags being flown threw the streets of Charlottesville. However, Americans like myself were not surprised at all, as discrimination and racism towards any person of color has become more and more brazen since 45 began his campaign for Presidency. It wasn’t long before anti-hate protesters showed up to defend their community, but sadly it would end in tragedy. During the demonstration, 20-year-old Alex Fields Jr. plowed into a group of innocent protesters, injuring at least 19 and killing Heather Heyer. She was only 32 years old. 

While the threat of entire hate groups like the KKK seem to be trivial, the hate speech and rhetoric they have perpetrated throughout this country has certainly done severe damage. They have long since solidified the anger of White Supremacist towards people of color, Jews, and Catholics. People like Timothy McVeigh, Alex Fields Jr., and Dylan Roof were clearly influenced by the core beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan, and while these three separate terrorist attacks didn’t have the Klan’s involvement, there is still blood on their hands.

During these trying times when it seems all is lost within the moral fabric of our communities, it is important to remember our values as a country. When you have a friend or family member headed down a questionable road, you must speak up. Sometimes all someone needs is a voice of reason, and sometimes they need to be turned in to authorities. It is time to take a stand against hate, and to keep moving forward against this new tide of extremism, racism and prejudice.

Sources:
Resources:
KU KLUX KLAN
Southern Poverty Law
May,17 2017 / May 17, 2017
https://edit.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/ku-klux-klan

TERROR
FROM THE RIGHT
PLOTS, CONSPIRACIES AND RACIST RAMPAGES SINCE OKLAHOMA CITY
Southern Poverty law/intelligence project
https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/d6_legacy_files/downloads/publication/terror_from_the_right_2012_web_0.pdf

Remembering A Martyr (Part 1)

Ruben Salazar March 3, 1928 to August 29, 1970

While most don’t remember or even know who Ruben was, I say you should, that is if you care about Chicano History. Part of the mission of Nuestra Voz is to keep the history of our community alive and we would be gravely remiss in not sharing the story of Ruben Salazar. And while we cannot do this Giant of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement true justice with one article. We would at least honor him by remembering him on this the 47th anniversary of his murder.

Ruben’s story is that of a journalist that got swept away by the movement.  While the mainstream media’s attention was on the Black civil rights movement, he chose to cover the Mexican American community. And while we (Nuestra Voz) have written about the four horsemen of the movement (Reyes, Gutierrez, Tijerna and Chavez) somehow, we are just now getting to Salazar. For that we must apologize to both Ruben and our readers. We have been guilty of somehow letting Ruben get lost in the annals of history.

Ruben’s professional career is one that can be admired by any that have put pen to paper. He was a news reporter and columnist for the Los Angeles Times and other news agencies. He was a foreign correspondent covering the 1965 U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic and the Vietnam War. He also served as a bureau chief in Mexico City. When he came home from that assignment his focus turned to the LA Raza. He was the first Chicano journalist of a major newspaper to do so and many would say the only one.  He covered the East LA School Walkouts that soon spread throughout the nation. And in doing so he became critical of the treatment of La Raza, by not only the police department, but other government agencies also. Among his many articles were “Who is a Chicano? And what is it the Chicanos want”. His focus was that of disparity in city government and the outright discrimination and mistreatment of La Raza. He wrote “This in a city that had the largest Spanish speaking population in the Country had no Latinos in City council” “They were however politically sophisticated enough to have three African Americans serving on council though”

All this was also clearly obvious in the number of Latinos that were losing their lives in the Vietnam War at a number that did not equate to its population. This led to the National Chicano Moratorium March to protest the Vietnam War to be held at Laguna Park. Reportedly, over 30,000 people came out to the mostly peaceful march until the end. A rally was held after the march where the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department decided that it was time to end the rally. They went in and attacked unarmed civilians with batons, tear gas and physical brutality. Panic and rioting ensued. By days’ end over 600 would be arrested and three would lie dead, among the dead Ruben Salazar.

By A. Govea

References; Demoocracy.org Retrieved September 3, 2010, El Paso Times September 3 2010

Los Angeles Times February 6, 1970, Perry Paul 2004, Fear and Loathing; The strange and terrible saga of Hunter S. Thompson, Thunder’s Mouth Press

And others unknown 

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Remembering A Martyr ( Part 2 )

Ruben Salazar March 3, 1928 to August 29, 1970

According to historical reports of the infamous day, Ruben and a follow journalist had decided to escape the violence and have a beer at the Silver Dollar Bar on Whittier Boulevard. Around the corner from the bar was the Green Mill Liquor Store and according to police reports they called in for help. According to the police report they reported people coming in to steal, (the owners later denied ever calling the police.) The police responded and a fight broke out, according to the police some in the crowd went into the bar and one of them reportedly had a gun (Never proved).  Deputy Thomas Wilson fired a 10-inch tear gas projectile (the type normally used in barricade situations, not to be shot at people) into the bar which tore of half the head off Ruben Salazar and killed him instantly.

The coroner’s inquest ruled the death a homicide but, Tom Wilson was never prosecuted, a coroner’s jury was split in its findings. Therefore, no charges were ever filed with the District Attorney’s Office, however Salazar’s family did reach a settlement with Los Angeles County for $700,000. They were found to have not used proper and lawful guidelines for the use of deadly force. Many articles and some books have been written about this time in Chicano history and Rubens place in it. Perhaps one of the most famous was an article written by Hunter S. Thompson in 1971 for Rolling Stone Magazine titled “Strange rumblings in Aztlan” In doing the research for his article he had a series of interviews with Oscar Acosta a lawyer and civil rights activist. Part of the interviews and writing of this story was done in Las Vegas which then led to the book and later movie “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  This 1998 movie starred Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro and was for its time one of the wildest movies out there. (I personally liked the movie but many at the time were like “What the hell is this”)

The park where the march took place is now Ruben Salazar Park, in 2008 the US Post Office issued a stamp with his image. There have been many more awards and honors issued posthumously and even a corrido by Lalo Guerrero entitled “El 29 de Augusto”

By A. Govea

References; Democracy.org Retrieved September 3, 2010, El Paso Times September 3 2010

Los Angeles Times February 6, 1970, Perry Paul 2004, Fear and Loathing; The strange and terrible saga of Hunter S. Thompson, Thunder’s Mouth Press

And others unknown 

No SB4 and what else

SB4 is not the only issue that affects the Latino community in Fort Worth and Tarrant County.  It is just one of several.  A lot of smoke has been blown over SB4.  It is just that smoke.  A more accurate description than “Show me your papers” is “Anti Mexican Law”.  I recall an incident I had regarding something that I knew was false.  After I found out what had really happened the person that was listening to me gently told me, “Don’t confuse me with the facts!”  Such is the case with SB4, those that want the law, have justified in their mind the need for the law and facts don’t matter.  We live in a world of perceptions. And lies.

This is the way the SB4 works, if a person is going to be deported, the person is picked up detained and the deported.  If this person has children born in America the children cannot be deported.  The children are left with one parent or no parent.  See, the law does not have a heart.  And please, let us not talk about technicalities, because that would be a never-ending discussion.

Along with the issue of SB4 we also have documented and undocumented children that cannot get medical care because of the lack of parental documentation.  I have heard a lot of malarkey regarding undocumented not paying taxes, being on welfare, blah, blah, blah.  Undocumented people pay all the taxes that you and I pay. The difference is that those using fake id cards will never recoup what they put into Medicare or Social Security.  The money they pay goes into this bottomless pit to be used for such project as Trinity River Vision.

Denying medical care to children who were brought by their parents when they were still babies is morally and ethically wrong.  Christian conservatives that claim that God approves of their hypocritical position leave a lot to be desired.  These are the values that they pass on to their children.  This is how KKK, Neo-Nazi and White Supremacists/Nationalists develop.

Once again, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.  The term Hispanic was born during my generation by people that were ashamed of being called the Mexican racial epithets of the day.  It was the successful and educated Mexican Americans that immediately embraced the term to conceal the fact that they were of Mexican descent.  Those that embraced the term Hispanic, robbed us of our identity.  We must get it back.  It is okay to say; “I am Mexican American.”  Over 70% of us are of Mexican descent.  New immigrants within one or two generations will meld into, Mexican American, White, Black, or Asian.  But, their ethnicity will disappear.

I experienced the civil rights era. It is a time period that I would wish on no one.  Things are still not copasetic but they are a lot better than what they were.  The danger now is that we are regressing.  The person that sits in the White House has little regard for the contributions that minorities have made towards making America great.  In this, we minorities and moderate Whites can unite to overcome the evil that Trump casts upon this nation.  An African American saying is appropriate, We Shall Overcome.

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Could You or Someone You Love Be Suffering
from Mental Illness?

Maybe so. Read on to find out what I learned from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) WWW.NAMI.ORG

Article by: Prudence Sanchez, Attorney at Law

What is mental Illness? NAMI explains that mental Illness is a medical condition. This medical condition disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Mental Illness is no different from other medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

NAMI explains that there are many serious mental illnesses including major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. Fortunately, recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses do not discriminate. Mental Illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing.  Mental illnesses are treatable.  The main ingredient in experiencing relief from symptoms is active participation in an individual treatment plan.

NAMI Statistics on children and teens:

20% of youth ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition.

  • 11% of youth have a mood disorder.

  • 10% of youth have a behavior or conduct disorder.

  • 8% of youth have an anxiety disorder.

  • 37% of students with a mental health condition age 14 and older drop out of school—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.

  • 70% of youth in state and local juvenile justice systems have a mental illness

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24.

  • 90% of those who dies by suicide had an underlying mental illness.

  • Warning signs according to NAMI:

  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks (eg., crying regularly, feeling fatigued, feeling unmotivated).

  • Trying to harm or kill oneself or making plans to do so.

  • Out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors that can cause harm to self or others.

  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or fast breathing.

  • Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or gain.

  • Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships.

  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol.

  • Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping habits (eg., waking up early and acting agitated).

  • Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that can lead to failure in school.

  • Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities like hanging out with friends or going to classes.

  • 4 Things Parents Can Do

  • Talk with your pediatrician

  • Get a referral to a mental health specialist

  • Work with the school.

  • Connect with other families.

  • NAMI Texas offers a variety of programs and services directed to individuals living with mental illness, family members, friends, professionals, other stake holders, and the community at large to address the mental health needs of Texans. NAMI programs are provided at the local level by our Affiliates. Source for this writing: namitexas.org/about-mental-illness.


Nuestra Voz of North Texas
Presenting the news that the mainstream media won't
Fort Worth, Texas
P: (123) 456-7890
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Alberto Govea