Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ken Burns: Defend the Honor AND Take Back Your History Press Conference and Tribute

On Sunday, September 23, approximately 150 people attended the Defend The Honor Campaign AND Take Back Your History demonstration/press conference in front of the KCET Studios in Los Angeles protesting Ken Burns’ The War documentary on World War II. Chicano/Latino veterans, students, professors, and activists expressed criticism of Burns omitting the stories of sacrifice and valor of Chicano/Latino veterans from his initial production of the documentary and then splicing an addendum of footage of Chicano/Latino veterans into the project only after intense pressure from communities throughout the United States.

Within the demonstration were counter-demonstrators defending PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) contending that Ken Burns is not a racist, arguing for “one nation” and “one language,” “stop bullying PBS,” and, particularly a white pick-up truck patrolling the protest area with US Marine messages on its bed while blaring nationalist songs from an outboard speaker system. The counter-demonstrators seem to have confused the demand for the integration of the WWII experience of Chicano/Latino veterans into the documentary as unpatriotic.

The Larry Amaya Greater Los Angeles chapter of the American G.I. Forum informed participants of the contributions of Chicano/Latino veterans. One story recounted US Army General Douglas MacArthur’s demand, “Send me more Mexicans,” upon returning to the Philippines. Apparently, the courageous fighting of Chicanos made an impression on the general. Community activist, educator, and historical figure of the 1968 East Los Angeles student walkouts, Sal Castro detailed to reporters Burns’ pattern of excluding the experiences of Chicano/Latinos in his documentaries—most blatantly those having to do with baseball and the latest on WWII.


Demonstrations to Ken Burns’ historical erasure of 500,000 Chicana/o/Latino WWII veterans were held across the United States in Austin, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities. Central to the organizing of these events were Sal Castro, Jorge Garcia, David Sandoval, Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, and Rudy Acuña.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Acuña Art Gallery Reception "One Love: Arte Visions from the Four Corners of the World" Exhibit

Last night I attended the One Love: Arte Visions from the Four Corners of the World reception for the international exhibit of: Paul Dilworth (England), Christine Leong (Hong Kong), Elan Cohen (Bali), the Cusco School (Cusco, Peru), and the Orchids of the World (Zuma Canyon Orchids, Malibu). Proprietors Dr. Deborah De Vries and Armando Vazquez of the Acuña Art Gallery @ Café on A continue to culturally nourish the Southern California region with art that captivates the soul while challenging the intellect of all who encounter the paintings, sculptures, and arrangements in the building.

In addition to providing a magnet venue of artistic expression, Dr. De Vries and Mr. Vazquez co-direct the Keys Leadership Academy for at-risk youth. I often state to people that the Café on A is the cultural conscious of Ventura County, particularly when issues adversely affect the Chicana/o community.

If the work that the two perform from the Café were not enough, Dr. De Vries is a professor at Oxnard College and a school board member of the Oxnard School District; Mr. Vazquez is an artist who is at the moment is writing a novel based on his 35 years of work with at-risk young Chicanas.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

civil gang injunction essay

I received notice today that the peer-reviewed journal Latino Studies accepted for publication my essay on the institution of a civil gang injunction in the City of Oxnard in 2004. The piece is titled, “An Invading Army: A Civil Gang Injunction in a Southern California Chicana/o Community” and is scheduled to appear in the December 2007, volume 5, issue 4 edition of the journal.

Latino Studies has been named Runner up in the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) Awards for Scholarly Achievement - Best New Journal category...”