January Issue of “Joaquin” Magazine is Hot off the Press!


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What’s New at Mexican Heritage Center?

Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery
111 S. Sutter
Stockton, CA

What’s Up in the Gallery?   Art Against Violence will be the January exhibit opening January 10th and running though January 31st.  This is a community exhibit sponsored by Draw It Out which is a community organization affiliated with Cleveland School Remembers.  This will be a unique presentation of community expression reflecting our wishes to have a more peaceful environment in which to live and raise our children.  The opening reception is January 16th from 5:30-8:00p.m.

Board Election Results –  Congratulations to our newly elected Board Members.  Cara Davis is now 1st Vice-President, Julisa Salas is corresponding Secretary, and Maggie Salas is now Sargent at Arms.  Wishing you all successful terms as our new board members.

Exhibition Committee Gracie Madrid is now the Exhibition Committee Chair.  Any questions regarding upcoming exhibits should be addressed to her at graciemadrid@sbcglobal.net or (209) 969-9306

Dia de los Muertos Committee Gracie Madrid is now the chair of the Dia de los Muertoscommittee.  Any questions regarding the Dia de los Muertos exhibit should be addressed to her at graciemadrid@sbcglobal.net or (209)969-9306

Wishing you all aFeliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo”

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New 2015 Mexican Revolution Calendars Available

Help support Stockton’s “Joaquin” magazine buy purchasing a calendar or more for $13. each.  These are great for gifts and photos may be mounted and framed after use. Contact the number shown on the photo to order. We can deliver on orders of 3 or more.

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Making History at Candlestick

Making history sometimes costs a bundle of money and time. We left Stockton for the McCartney, August 14, 2014, closing concert at SF’s Candlestick Park last night at 4pm, thinking that would be plenty of time to grab a bite to eat, and drive the short, 85 mile trip to the event scheduled to start at 8pm. All was well until we hit Hwy 101 North, off the San Mateo Bridge, about 6:30, still plenty of time, we thought, to the short drive past SF International, for the venue.

But it was bumper-to-bumper, (it was the middle of commuter traffic to boot). stop and go for the final 7.5 miles to the stadium. 2 1/2 hours later we were still one mile from the stadium! It was already about getting on to 9pm. We were only temporarily relieved when one of the Bay Area stations talked of the massive traffic jams around the stadium that were resulting in a late start for the concert, since McCartney himself was out there somewhere, stuck in traffic, too!

Luckily, one of the local stations was playing the ENTIRE Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album, which thoroughly primed us for the concert.

When we arrived at the Stadium, it was nearing 9:30 and we could hear McCartney’s voice booming from the loud speakers inside. Every parking lot was full and car lights before and behind us loomed for miles! As we reached the end of all the parking lots, we began to fear that we might never make it inside! That we might have to drive all the way back to Stockton only to tell friends that we never got in or that by the time we had, McCartney was doing his final encore! “Go, go”, our son said, “don’t worry about me, go.” My wife and I bailed out of the car while Miguel, drove the another mile to a dirt parking lot that shamelessly charged $40 for parking, a mile and a half from the stadium!

A small army of Rickshaws, seating up to three (skinny) people was ferrying people from these outer lots to the stadium entrance for $10. bucks a head, so my wife and I hopped one and made it to our seats by about 10 pm. Miguel also took a rickshaw and joined us about 20 minutes later.

As I gazed around the stadium at the 50,000+ devotees in attendance, I got chills. Sir Paul was bigger than life. The waft of Marijuana permeated the concourses and the stadium. I took a deep breath. The crowd, young and old alike, were pumped up for the show. I couldn’t see Paul, as some kind of lighting or camera booth was directly in front of him but the HD giant screens were sharp and clear. The sound was powerful and the lighting dazzling, as he belted out many of the crowd favorites, “Hey Jude”, “Back in the USSR”, and “Live and Let Die” (complete with fireworks.) The hundreds of cell phone lamps swaying back and forth to the chorus of Hey Jude’s, “La, la, la, la-la-la-la,” was well…. spiritual. Luckily, Sir Paul did several encores so the pain of missing half the concert didn’t hurt quite as much. I worried about the 100s of cars still trying to park and get into the venue before it ended.

As we made our way back to the parking lot, we stopped to rest, and I took a final nostalgic look at the now fully lit “Stick.” We walked half ways, to the lot and decided to take another rickshaw back to the car. And that was that. We had been part of history, at a cost.

The drive back was quick and uneventful and we each shared what we thought was a memorable moment from what we had just witnessed. But Obladi, Oblada, life goes on.

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Suffer The Little Children: A Tragedy of Immigrant Children

In any discussion or debate over the  complex issues of illegal immigration there is little talk about one segment of victims that may well be hardest hit by its consequences: children. While it is obvious that adults suffer the perils of treacherous geography, criminal assaults, unscrupulous Coyotes, and even death, there is a surge in unaccompanied children from Mexico and Central and South America who have been apprehended at the border for attempting to cross illegally in the US.

It is easy for Americans to picture our children playing safely in the streets, throwing water balloons at one another, riding bikes, or in their warm, air-conditioned homes watching TV entranced by their cell phones and electronic games. But few of us can imagine them taking their few possessions, stuffing them in a knapsack, and heading out on a treacherous thousand mile trek across deserts and mountains, to another country with only a couple of sandwiches and a bottle of water in hand, can we?

Yet according to figures, from 2008-2011 and average of 6-7500 children were apprehended attempting to cross the Mexico-US borders by the INS. In 2012, over 13,000 – in 2013 over 24,000 – and estimates are that over 90,000 unattended children will be detained in 2014!  Thus, it is welcome news that the Senate has just awarded the Obama administration $2B to help address the issue. But how far this money will go and exactly how it will be spent remains to be seen. This, issue while serious in its own right, does not address the untold trauma caused by children in the US, whose parents have been deported, and are left to the mercy of family and friends to care for them.

Recently, because detention centers at the border are already overflowing with illegal immigrants, excess detainees, many of them children, are being bussed to Texas and California only to meet angry mobs of Americans denying them entrance into their states or cities. It appears that the vast majority of these kids hail from Central and South America who are fleeing to the US due to poverty and to avoid the lure and violence of gangs in their countries. Many have relatives in the US and some of these may be fortunate enough to be reunited with them. Obama has called it a “humanitarian crisis.”

But many Americans just don’t want to hear the reasons why immigrants from the South are clamoring to enter the US. For them, the easy solution is “round em’ up and ship em’ back”, a primitive method dating to the beginnings of the 20th century, one which has obviously not worked. “Illegals” have been rounded up, bussed, flown and herded into box cars in mass deportations. A large majority of these just turned around, and re-entered the US.

These Americans fear for themselves: “They bring crime.” “They bring disease.” “I got mine, by God. That’s all that counts.” But how can we comfortably eat from our full plate with so many hungry eyes watching us? Even the eyes of our own poor and homeless haunt us. If it weren’t for the red stoplights that force us to make eye-to-eye contact with the derelict at the corner asking for money, we would never even acknowledge they exist.

To help get a perspective on this issue, let me take the liberty of recommending a few must-see films: “Sin Nombre” (Without Name), the powerful HBO documentary “Which Way Home?”, and the documentary “Dying to Get in”, for starters.


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Heaven: No Lawns or Graffiti

I just got back from Phoenix, Arizona after visiting some close friends. I had hoped for a leisurely stay of 10 days at their mobile home park lounging in the sun and next to their luxurious community swimming pool, but instead they were anxious to give us tours of nearby Sedona, which was glorious, and of the sprawling Phoenix surroundings. The very first thing I noticed was that there was not one single lawn to be seen anywhere!

I mean, how could they? How dare they? Isn’t this “unAmerican?” Front yards were mostly decorated with a great variety of rocks, stones and gravel and dotted with pines, Saguaros and other species of cacti. In this daunting California drought (they are having one too) we would do well to follow their lead and dig up our water guzzling lawns. I could sure appreciate a break from mowing lawns and watering them during the summer season. But what would it take for Californians to follow suit?

The second thing I noticed was how clean their roadways, highways and freeways were. The public art on sound walls and overpasses was in good taste, mostly Native American in color and theme and pleasantly complimented the drudgery of driving through miles and miles of roads. But what floored me about this is that nowhere, and I mean nowhere, was there any GRAFFITI! How is this possible? Were we in Heaven? Had all the spray-can punks moved to California? I almost missed the mindless  scrawling we’ve all grown so accostumed to in this neck of the woods

I could go on, but I really need to go outside to mow and water my lawn.


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Mexican? Hispanic? Latino? Mexican-American? Chicano?

For decades we, we descendents of Spanish-speaking ancestors, born or having lived most of our lives in the US,  have struggled with what to call ourselves. I have written plenty on this in the past. The Chicano Movement of the late 60s and 70s grappled with this issue head-on, choosing to identify itself with the term “Chicano” rather than the more domesticated and inert sounding “Mexican-American.” We chose up sides. We argued. We debated. And sometimes came to blows.

I personally chose Chicano because it was loaded with a cultural-social-political aura that identified me as a mover, a doer, and those who sought an identify one grounded smack in the middle between Mexican and American, not half of each, but 100% of each, if that were even possible.

But despite all this, we succeeded, I believe in creating not a watered-down version of two different cultures, Mexican and American, but a completely independent third culture, a Pocho culture, masterfully blended with the best (but sometimes the worst) of the two. Actor, James Olmos, says it best in the following clip from the movie. “Selena”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw5bA8cVF-E

This video commentary by Sociologist, G. Christina Mora offers additional insights into our dilemma over cultural identity – http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/04/29/hispanic-label/


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On the Passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I am almost embarrassed to admit here that I have not read the work of this great Columbian writer and Nobel prize winner, who recently passed, though I have heard over and over about his greatness. Perhaps now, I will be moved to try one of his books. Nonetheless, today’s piece in Stockton’s The Record, by one of my favorite columnists, Eugene Robinson, offers a unique insight into how this great writer touched his own life.


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New Latino Milestones… Ay, Caramba!!


Two recent stories on the front page, mind you, of Stockton’s, The Record, grabbed my immediate attention. The first, pertained to new findings that show that more Latinos than whites are being accepted in to the   UC system. Now, that might not seem like good news to some, but you need to understand that Latinos in the US have come a l-0-n-g way since the early part of the twentieth century. In the 1950s, when I was a senior in high school  few Mexicans or Hispanics (we didn’t refer to ourselves as Latinos then) went to college. I knew of not one single one who did! It simply was unheard of.

When I went to college, a small private art school, population some 600+, in the Bay Area, there was only about 6 of “us” on campus! Thus, it was a BIG DEAL when we spotted another one of us on campus. Classrooms were full of whites with one Mexican/Latino face in the crowd, if any. According to the article, of the 61,120 freshman applicants accepted into UC 17, 589, or 29% , were Latino while Whites made up 27%. Whew! Big stuff.

The second article concerned California’s changing demographics showing that some time in March, for the first time since 1850, Latinos are the largest, 39%, ethnic group in the state. Hijola! Ay, Caramba! The only other state so far to join California in this phenomena, is New Mexico. However, we know that numbers alone do not translate to power, and that Latinos still rank near the bottom in economic and educational status.

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Kudos to Mexican Heritage Center on Awarding of $15,000 Grant!

And Kudos to the Center’s new President, Gracie Madrid who was instrumental in submitting the proposal to San Joaquin County. The project consists of three(3) components.  The activities will involve students in high quality art, music and folkloric dance to elementary school students in grades 4-8.  Each separate activity, will have a qualified facilitator who will provide the students with the skills and techniques necessary to learn the activity.  In addition, the students will be given a comprehensive historical perspective to each activity being taught.
A cultural festival of the AFTER SCHOOL ACTION ARTS PROGRAM will take place in May, 2015 which will give the students an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in the areas of art, music and folkloric dance and acknowledge their work by presenting them with certificates and awards.  As a public service, the community at large, family members, and friends of the participants will be invited.
Needs statement:  Fine and performing arts education has been on the decline in public schools for more than a generation.  Very few schools offer high quality arts learning.(Wallace Foundation, 2005.
A high # of students lack access to after school programs that provide rich opportunities for growth, learning and fun, and find themselves unsupervised at the end of the day. (The after School Corp. 1998)
In the 2010 census, a negative health factor that has been identified in San Joaquin County is the lack of safe and affordable place to be active. (2010 census)
Twenty nine percent (29%) of juvenile crimes on school days occur between 2 and 5pm.  These are peak hours for juveniles to experiment with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex.  (US Department of Justice, 1997)

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