By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
New America Media
In my class, History of Red-Brown Journalism & Communications, at the University of Arizona, I see the future mayor of Tucson. I see it in her eyes. In another student, I see the next Sandra Cisneros. I hear it in her Xochitl In Cuicatl in her poetry and song. I also see the next Ruben Salazar. In others, I’m not sure if I’m seeing Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta or Barack Obama. In still others, I see temixtianis or great teachers, members of the noblest profession.
These same students are found in every corner of the nation. Some of them are former students of Raza Studies at Tucson Unified School District. Others are direct descendants of the 1969 Chicano Youth Liberation Conference, convened by Denver’s Crusade for Justice. Others are members of Movimiento Estudiantli Chicano de Aztlan or MEChA, also founded 40 years ago.
I can proudly say that I was part of that movement in its incipient Stages. Not as a founder, but simply as a youngster who was swept up in this youth liberation movement. I was not even Chicano, but what one of my students terms a Mexican Mexicano. I never got be a Mexican American, much less Hispanic. In spirit, this volcanic political eruption was akin to the Mexican Independence Movement of 1810 and also the Mexican Revolution of 1910. We rebelled, not simply because of a war or because of the daily denigration in the schools, the streets or the factories, in the cities and fields; more than anything, we rebelled against dehumanization.
Often missing from history’s pages is preeminent American-Indian scholar Jack Forbes, who was part of the founding of another movement in the early 1960s: Movimiento Nativo Americano or the Native American Movement, which at its core called upon people of Mexican, Central and South American origin to reclaim their Indigenous roots. This was the antecedent for the Chicano Movement.
And now, we know that Mexican youth in this country had actually rebelled in the previous generation, creating the Mexican American Movement. Pioneer University of Southern California journalism professor Felix Gutierrez, whose parents were part of this national organization, recalls that they did not use acronyms in those days. But they, too, fought for their human rights.