Are Pictures Preferred Because They Can’t Talk Back To You?

Do you all realize what has happened?

Photos, films and still life displays are being favored over the living, breathing human individuals themselves.

These captured moments in time – immortalized forever – reminding us of the “good old days” when everyone could actually work and function together for a more just and historically accurate education, one that represented us all.  These frozen and professionally edited images take us back to a nostalgic time, back to when we once respected each other, when we once felt safe around one another, back to when we once trusted each other.

We go back and reminisce because currently those sentiments no longer exist.

In the Tucson Ethnic Studies community in the year 2013 that is gone now.
And rather than work hard and attentively to regain back what has been lost with honesty, humility, dignity and a sense of moral values we cling on to physical objects that allow us an escapist type sense of comfort; looking to the past, obsessing with the past, fetishizing the past.

As if the present and future growth of this community is no longer important.

I don’t want to be part of any movement that uses disillusionment as a coping mechanism to unacknowledged and unresolved forms of gender violence.

What a waste of energy that must be, to uphold a glossy paper and roll of film movement – a voiceless shadow movement toured around the country rather than upholding the actual local community base itself that is absolutely hurting right now.

That is not building, that’s just showcasing to unaware spectators all of our faces that are no longer present, our mouths that are no longer open, and our eyes that no longer see truth.

Welcome to Xicanisma

Bloggers at the Three Sonorans have, again, pointed fingers of accusation at Chicanas of Tucson. It seems that we (and a few men) are responsible for divisiveness within the community, for accusing rapists and misogynists of their crimes, for calling out the men and women of the Chican@ community for their hypocrisy and machismo and for demanding that Precious Knowledge be abandoned as a source of financial support by Save Ethnic Studies because a victim of crime directly involved with the film asked that it be so. And this is a bad thing?

Underlying the blogger’s concerns over a current issue involving copyrights, profiting and local artists is a broiling anger towards Chicanas who insist upon speaking about the inequities and injustices that they have experienced from within the community movement. And again, the blogger persists in attacking the accusers rather than naming the crimes and acknowledging that these problems exist. We do not pretend to know his motivations, and they don’t really matter. What is relevant is that he continues to imply that a woman’s concerns are not valid unless they have been legitimated by the community and, in this case, the men of the community.  The blogger points his angry finger at Chicana feminists as the problem, though he willingly admitted in a recent post that he knows little about feminism.

Contrary to what Three Sonorans suggests, leaving the Chicano movement behind is not a tenant of Chicana feminism (aka Xicanisma). Xicanisma, as both an academic discipline and way of life, did not originate because Chicanas were so enamored with “White” feminism that we decided to create the “Brown” version. Nor are we so feeble-minded that we cannot think for ourselves and our communities. Our studies are grounded in the commitment to our communities, our ancestors, and our children. Our actions are rooted in the knowledge that real progress does not occur unless and until the needs and concerns of all members of a community are addressed.

Believe it or not, Xicanisma developed as a response to the persisting efforts of academics and activists of all colors–including White feminists– to keep us silent.  Chicanas—and all women of “Latina” heritage– continue to encounter these efforts to silence. It is nothing new to us, our mothers and grandmothers often prepare us for it, so we know from the time we are small this is something we have to face. We also know that if we are going to ever change anything, we have to continue to fight those efforts, even when they are coming from within our own communities.

The bloggers at Three Sonorans would do well to brush up on Xicanisma before further attacking it and the men and women who support it. They may be surprised to learn that it too draws upon Indigenous knowledge to promote equity and justice for men and women. We know that our Nahua traditions do not just speak of Quetzalcoatl but of our female energies too, such as Xochitl, Coatlicue, and Tonantzin. We know that our ancestors sought the counsel of the women before war. We know that women were speakers, leaders, healers, and artists. We know that there was a time when men and women honored one another and stood up for that. We work to live those traditions and teach them to our children. And try as they might, no one will silence us in those efforts.

A suggested reading list for Three Sonorans for an introduction to Xicanisma—we’ve thrown in some Indigenous knowledge too for good measure. (Note that writings by these authors too contain precious knowledge): Gloria Anzaldua, Ana Castillo, Cherrie Moraga, Emma Perez, Antonia Castañeda, Chela Sandoval, Alma Garcia, Sandra Cisneros, Michelle Seros, Aida Hurtado, Gabriela Arrendondo, Sonia Saldivar-Hull, Alicia Garcia del Gaspar, Norma Alarcon, Tey Diana Rebolledo, Vicki Ruiz, Carla Trujillo, Andrea Smith, Paula Gunn Allen, Leslie Marmon Silko, Wilma Mankiller.

Xicana voice — on honoring mujeres

I have played a spectator role with the Tucson machismo circus that has taken place for a series of months. I have watched this so-called “beef” created by men stating that man-haters are after them, and care more about taking an online blogger down rather than focusing on reviving Ethnic Studies. Let me break down some consciousness for you, DA, the fight to bring back Ethnic Studies begins with you. The problem here is patriarchy, and your failure to recognize your volatile actions within your “community.” As a self-ascribed journalist, you praise men like Sean Arce and place them on a pedestal for being the “face” of a movement. You ignore writing about any women, unless it is for your convenience. As a blogger, you pick and chose what topics you wish to write about and cover up realities such as domestic violence cases committed by these Chicano “idols.” Why are you so pissed off that a group of women have gathered together and created their own blog that calls out your bullshit? Are you afraid because their words are true? Or is it because the narratives that these womyn tell discredit your news articles? I can see it from New York: you’re scared. You are doing the same thing that the state is doing, you’re censoring true histories. As a self-ascribed journalist you are expected to write the “real” stories and narratives according in our communities, right? Then why do you fail to include the whole truth, and constantly use your media platform to bash empowered women who threaten your narrative? Censorship, false histories, and distorted realities are exactly the same bullshit we see in the history books, and the reason the Arizona State Legislature banned Ethnic Studies. They, like you, fear the truth. They fear the real histories and personal narratives of people of color because it threatens white supremacy and it threatens the patriarchal system which you all fight to keep intact. You may not be white by DNA, but your actions and behavior sure the fuck are. You threaten women, censor women, and wish to continue to dominate the struggle with your macho bullshit. Tell me, DA, how are your actions different from those who hold patriarchal powers like your nemesis (I should say your equal) Huppenthal? You both have attacked a minority community because you fear them taking power. Any power that a womyn of color possesses through her words are a threat to your masculinity.

This morning I looked at my news feed and saw your post, “In Celebration of May, Moon, Mothers, and Womyn.” I thought that you finally got it, I believed you had turned over a new leaf—I was wrong. Your post made me angry at your underlying attacks on women through this contradictory essay that is ostensibly geared at honoring women, the life givers. Not only do you continue to use your hetero-nornative approach within your blog, your bullshit machismo rants overpower the original reason you supposedly wrote this post— to honor the mujer. You are so scared, extremely scared, of Malinztine. You are scared of them because they are pointing that smoking mirror right back at you and showing you the real perception of who you are: a sad, pathetic man who only has machismo and a blog to hold on to.

Within your blog you mention that your partner is Chicana, bilingual, has family on both side of the border, and is, or was, poor. Sorry to burst your bubble, DA, but I am also a Xicana, poor, bilingual, with family on both sides of the border—as are many other Chicanas. You celebrate your partner’s struggles and fail to recognize the struggles of her peers, the women of Malinztine. Just a couple of months ago I remember you posting a status that attacked a single mother, who is Chicana, and is in poverty. Why did you choose to attack this woman and choose to honor another when both have the same histories and struggles? Oh, I get it: you got to penetrate one of them; therefore it is ok to show love for that woman while disrespecting the rest of us who carry the same personal experience. Let me teach you something that you might have chosen not to consider in ethnic studies books — you are full of patriarchy and hella full of shit. How dare you write a blog where you seek to reconcile your differences with women in Tucson and then slap them in the face with your sexist and hetero-normative words?

Then you proceed to make an ass out of yourself and declare that your partner is “embodying the greatness of a woman.” Why — because she is pregnant and has your “DNA” inside of her? Would she be even greater if she were cooking barefoot for you in the kitchen? Oh, this stung a little; well it hurt for me to read your post today. Mujeres should be honored every single day, not only when they are carrying your child. Are you so blind that you fail to recognize how hetero-normative your blog was today? You should know better than to ever make these types of comments. Have you forgotten about a woman’s moon cycle? You know, the period in time where they carry the most energy and are the strongest? This occurs every month, not only when DA’s “DNA is implanted inside of her.”

You mention the moon — by which I am sure you must have meant Coyolxauhqui. How dare you even mention the moon and the female energies and powers without understanding your own people’s history.  Coyolxauhqui was killed by a man, her limbs destroyed because she was seen as too strong and powerful. I find it insulting that you reference the moon when you continuously cut off the spiritual limbs of the women in the struggle every day with your machismo, words, and failure to gain consciousness as a man of color. You attack all of the modern Coyolxauhqui’s who are the womyn warriors in my community. Your attacks on them are direct attacks on me. You have insulted my sisters and me enough, and now it is time to fight back.

This is a new time in the history of Xican@ struggle where women do not hold their tongue nor step back behind men, waiting for their order. We love the movement too much to allow for your love of domination and sexism to destroy the minds, bodies, and souls of women who have done more in their young lives than you ever will in your life time by sitting back and being an armchair revolutionary. Your time is up, DA, you are at the point in your life when you must decide if you will change or if you will continue being the person you are today. One road leads to destruction, while the other leads to reconciling the damages made and moving forward in the struggle as equals. You can’t be a feminist or an equalist and choose to respect one pool of women while disrespecting the other. I share the same struggle that your partner had, and that same struggle also belongs to my sisters in Tucson. I think you might have forgotten about the philosophy of In Lack Ech —that attacks that you are staging against my sisters are a direct assault to me —moreover, the only one you’re hurting in the end is yourself and the thoughts of the child your are about to bring to this earth. You must change your ways and think about the 7 generations after you. Do you want your future daughter in the struggle to experience violence, subjugation, and abuse like we did? You must change now if your answer is no. As a Xicana who writes as a method of personal healing, I ask for you never to put down women of color and their words. As a Xicana who is on the frontlines of a movement, I have been a victim of verbal abuse and assault and have used Malintzine as a space of healing. Your campaign to shut down this blog is a direct effort to continue to keep us silent victims. The only ones who profit from our silence are you, the Chicano Machista males. You will no longer be free to bash women without a rebuttal from one of us. I thank you for making me angry enough to write my first post on this blog.  On a final note, you are full of contradictions and macho bullshit. Try to come at me DA Morales; I would love to see you try.

Girl Code, Responsibility, Accountability and In Lak Ech

I didn’t believe my friend when she was raped.

……

The last few years in Tucson have been a struggle to survive. With the battles in our communities and legislation targeting brown people of color on indigenous land – we have nearly killed each other and the work and the fight and the fighting has made us all sick – susto. It deserves writing that will never end now that it has started. Through it all, I now reflect on two moments when I know I fucked up. I monumentally fucked up and hurt other women. When it first happened, she was and we all were sorting through statements and over ‘what does this mean to this movement’ shit. She may have at first said something(s) and later they changed which isn’t uncommon with sexual violence and doesn’t delegitimize what happened to her or her voice at any given moment. Sexual violence is haunting and what happened to me with a family member fifteen years ago took me almost a year to tell anyone about. My mom. She knew and never questioned me aloud, but my family raged in confusion. My grandparents led my smear campaign.

‘The divorce and custody battles were just really hard on her she has got to be making this up for attention. Her father, our son would never do this.’

But he did and I still can’t name it. I never filed a report, never told a counselor, I didn’t bring it up in custody hearings, and haven’t explained to my friends who insist that I masturbate but I DON’T FUCKING WANT TO because touching my naked body disgusts me (for a number of reasons) and I haven’t talked about it with anyone the way I go over it with myself. I’m sure it accounts for my inability to have physical intimacy, even hugs are uncomfortable when they’re unwanted and they’re usually unwanted.

After this past summer I even wondered if it’s why V couldn’t force a sexual connection or some shit with me. I questioned myself over and over.

The loneliness of something I can’t even verbalize that was happening in my subconscious made me suicidal about things I could verbalize and understand like break ups. So my moment of attempted overdose or short episode with antidepressants seem unusually common and associated with the moments they took place in but I’ve come to understand that I carry my trauma everyday regardless if I acknowledge it and it shapes my behavior and response.

……

When she said she was raped, she didn’t use that language, in those first days she didn’t say to me, “I was raped”. She told me and one of my best friends at the same time.  I refuse to go over details of what was said and will limit my details because the space to go over this with all of us – belongs to her. Arguably some friends (a word that has become interchangeable to also include: community member, co-worker, social justice acquaintance) thought they probably just had sex, that some of what happened was consensual and she didn’t want to follow through with it and so it was date rape, which apparently isn’t rape-rape in our disgusting shaming language for those who drink alcohol or like to fuck. There is nothing wrong with liking to have sex. We were all friends, all us comadres, going through a lot of shit in Arizona – we deserved to get dressed super cute and go out for drinks. There were nights we drank A LOT. I was going through a break up and thought I was going to die, as usual. Reflecting on the time we had as comadres, a tight inseparable group, it forever transformed me. My home girls, mujeres, had my back and I mostly healed that break up and got through it because of them and jäger bombs. We always took care of each other, took cabs, three or more of us, had our usual spots, and didn’t fuck around with guys. We went together and left together and slept over at each other’s places.  On “Chican@ prom night”, a huge night for our community, it was different. We didn’t carefully plan our night besides our outfits; we’d be with hundreds of our friends and community members.  I suppose we assumed we’d be safe. That there was no way something could happen to any of us around movement men we worked with. We didn’t plan designated drivers or anything like that, the night was predictable except for the predatory behavior of one, who now, obviously had a plan for his night.

We all went to a film premiere and then to a local bar for drinks and dancing.  He was a creep. He was drunk and sloppy and grabbing on women half his age, he wanted to dance; he wanted to celebrate and be the center of attention. Women’s attention. I left before they did. We asked around about rides and getting people home and left.

In the next two days I found out something went intolerably wrong, and I didn’t know what to think of it all. There were talking circles and whispers and meetings and time moved slowly but it  also went quickly. Inescapably slow and quick, so I have a hard time remembering each day. I think for the most part there were young women who never believed her (and still don’t), young women who always have, and those of us who thought nothing at all — who wanted to be neutral.

Neutral on rape.

The privilege of not knowing what to do and checking out. Checking out was easy. There was so much work to do as usual. Subtlety, my best friend and I combined the work we had been doing with work that needed to be done along lines of gender and sexual violence. She was more on point than I was (usually) and I basked in her energy and kind of said “fuck off” to everything else.

……

A month later after some unnecessary drama, I chose to think what everyone else in Tucson seemingly thought and I pulled the same shit my grandparents had done to me and like my former male teachers and people I looked up to,  my only concern was Ethnic Studies. What does this mean for our comunidad, our fight? In my eyes, she did something that allowed for me to minimize her almost instantly and we fought over email exchanges that were cc’d to other young folks and that was that. I was Team Ethnic Studies (how the fuck did that happen and why wasn’t  I just team myself?).

Folks around the country would call me as a respectable mujer and ask if they could show the film to raise money, they heard there was controversy and wanted to hear it from me. I would call one of my teacher/mentor from the movement and let them know and usually my answer was “yes– Yes, if I were you I’d show the movie.” I’m really struggling now with how sick it all sounds because it was all sick. But I was willing to do anything for Ethnic Studies, ANYTHING. I would’ve then and I will do as much now as long as I’m not negotiating anyone’s dignity in the process.

I remember when he called me, from Save Ethnic Studies, in a panic. He knew then the power I held so he manipulated me and convinced me she was enemy #1.

I’m just a man and I have no say in this, but you’re trucha and if she gets this around, she has eighty some page report on our community. This will destroy us.

Of course he needed me to engineer a solution, a way to exploit young people in the name of social justice education. And I was a pawn in this modern nationalist epic novel. I could be the down ass trucha home girl who was loyal to her Raza, gets arrested, cooks comida, works with the young students and is never mentioned in a history book twenty years from now. This is all so romantic to a young organizer. And I loved everyone involved in this fucked up mess. I even sat down with two women I thought would jump me with words, one being the perpetrator’s partner (I realize I haven’t mentioned that yet, yes he had/s a partner which complicated the situation even further) and tried being – neutral. When we met, she gave me a gift, a fox and chocolates. My friends told me not to do it; she wanted me to be a bridge. I am a bridge in so many ways, I understand that. If I could make peace I would but only recently have I realized that I can’t now and I couldn’t then. Even if my education taught me that I could change the world, I can’t take on every task or every hit that comes my way.

But I still did. I tried to organize a meeting with everyone at the table – all the comadres at least. Like, ‘let’s sorts this out as women.’ I was still in this mentality like it was a women’s job, my job,  to sort through shit, find what was good and exemplify behavior for our community. I do this now, but I also do shit that exemplifies anger and lust and human shit. And CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW it’s not just my job to give a shit because I’m identified as a woman? So in the end, this was all silenced. She went away, literally – she moved out-of-state and out of the country and slowly the whispers became softer and softer. Our community dragged itself forward but this became the norm for all of us. Everything that happened then and since deserves endless words and stories or lessons for future generations and this generation right now.

……

During Freedom Summer, organizing became mundane and everyday. There were moments of hope and of accomplishing what we once had but what happened and was silenced will also be told.

I had a long emotional affair that was overdue to become physical and at summer time it did. When I kissed V I thought of my friend. In feeling like a slut – it was the same friend who named us both sluts after all, I would think of her. I would also think of his girlfriend. My political analysis of what we owe one another shifted in moment’s time. When he tried to fuck me when we were drunk it was because over all of this that I was able to know anything at all about consent and that I can change my mind. I CAN CHANGE MY MIND. When I’m drunk or he’s drunk or I can change my mind whenever the fuck I want. Or I can say no or I can say yes to this and no to that and seriously HE JUST SHOULDN’T HAVE TRIED WHEN I WAS DRUNK to begin with.

……

L and C are now my friends. I think.

L and I had lunch, she poured over journals and emails and texts. We spent a day together too, she’s been around now. It makes me feel alive. It is because of her resilience and resistance that I gather the will to act. When I hug her I don’t understand how she even lets me touch her. Hug her, to be around her glowing smile or share words with me… words to share with any of us.

C, she came to an event recently, she donated ten dollars to malintZINE. She hugged me. I thought her text messages were strategy, to get me to have lunch with her, so she can rip me apart, deservingly, although that’s never been her style. If she wanted to give me a regañada, I would sit and answer whatever she needed me to for her healing. She said she respects me still. I don’t understand. I lent her a book. My copy of Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her.

“The half life of love is forever”

Maybe these things mean not much to anyone other than myself; possibly them. I have and will continue to reflect on these past few years and my own behavior. It is through my reflection that I need to account for what has happened and document. Accountability to me is speaking my truth. Acknowledging the ways in which I can and need to grow. Responsibility is challenging myself to behave in ways that will cause growth to happen. I have a responsibility to L and C to do work from here on that moves towards – NEVER AGAIN. It wasn’t through ethnic studies that I learned in lak ech, tu eres mi otro yo. But through two ethnic studies alumni, both younger than me, who offered me forgiveness and room to grow. Creating some Chicana girl code of accountability and responsibility. To taking care of each other and never assuming anyone else will.  To loving other women and loving yourself.

Reflection… Correction… Direction…

Here’s the thing — a little more clarification is necessary since it seems that the confusion continues.

First of all — this is not a competition for fans or views or reads. When we set out to launch malintZine on December 21, 2012 we had a vision of offering an anonymous space for women to speak their truths. Truths that had been silenced for too long. MalintZine has been and will continue to be a radically safe space that will ferociously protect the anonymity of our authors. But malintZine and her authors are not just the women who you’ve seen in photographs — we’re everywhere!! Indeed this space has been used to call men on the mat for their straight up bullshit and specific instances of fucked-upedness, but it has also been a safe space for sharing experiences than span the spectrum from fear to rape. We were not under the impression that the presence of our truths would come easily for anyone involved including ourselves. The truth tears down barriers, destroy relationships and bring others together. While we might have hoped otherwise, personal attacks were expected.

Since December 21, 2012 malintZine has grown into a larger community than we could have imagined that stretches from LA to Colorado, New York and Baltimore with a strong core of amazing mujeres in Tucson.

We were honored and blessed to have participated in and hosted events in the last week in Los Angeles and in Tucson. We were invited to speak in Maylei Blackwell’s class and sit on a panel with Maylei and Anna Nieto Gomez. In 1971 M.E.Ch.A held a mock funeral procession that was a ritualized attempt to kill Las Hijas de Cuactemoc. They carried caskets and walked with candles to a makeshift graveyard with gravestones for Hijas leaders and a lynched effigy of Anna Nieto Gomez (with her name inscribed). It was an honor to meet Anna, who stood up to the misogynistic Chicano leaders of her time, and a humbling privilege to sit beside her on the panel.

On Friday March 8th we had the pleasure of hosting Andrea Smith for a powerful discussion about accountability with well over 150 people in attendance followed by a launch party that brought together the community of malintZine readers, authors and editors. The ability to have the physical manifestation of the safe space that had been created online at malintzine.com was quite the event. There were poetry readings, zines, and plenty of music. Yes, there was a piñata and yes it was male bodied and yes we beat it with a stick until tamarindo, chamoy, lube and condoms gushed out. Yes, a drag king who resembled Three Sonorans attended the party and photos that have since been made public were taken. Three Sonorans has become the living embodiment of contemporary chingon politics. By his own doing, DA Morales has turned himself into a caricature of a 50-year history of misogynistic one-sided Chicano Movement narrative that holds its male leaders in blameless esteem.  Herein lies the point — maltinZine was created to counter the continuation of that narrative and on Friday night we celebrated.

And finally, we expect that you will continue your personal attacks on our motherhood, on our loyalty, on our motives, on our writing skills, on our education or lack of education, on our age, on our perceived sexuality, on our children and on our character — but your attacks don’t blight the truth. You may know who we are but you should also know that we are not going away. If there is a month where you cease to spew your false problematic narratives — we will be happy to keep your name of our blog (maybe!).

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For more photos of March 8th’s International Womyn’s Day events hosted by malintZINE click HERE!

malintZINE does the telling

By Anna NietoGomez, Coughing Woman

Custom was that violence against women was private and should not be talked about in public. The women’s rights movement changed all that, and violence against women became a public discussion. Women demanded that they have the right to be safe at home, at work and at play. Traditionalists ignored this challenge, blamed the woman for the violence done against her and took no action.

Then women told their stories.
 First they began the telling with friends and family, but nothing changed. The story was forgotten, and violence against women continued.
 Then the telling became public. The telling increased from a solo, to a chorus, from a community to a nation. 
The telling were stories of all kinds of violence against women, sex exploitation, sexual harassment, rape and physical abuse.

The telling raised awareness that women are not safe, 
and when women are not safe, the family is not safe. 
The telling organized a larger agreement that women have the right to be safe in the home, at work and at play.
 The telling became political when the nation heard the same stories told by so many different women all over the country.
 Once the telling became political, laws were passed to protect women from violence.
 But laws are not enough.
 
Courageous Mujeres created MalintZINE, 
a 21st century feminist magazine for mujeres of all kinds!

It told the story of violence against women in Tucson and of their efforts to stop it.
 Mujeres voiced to the community leaders that violence against women made community activism a hostile and unsafe place to be. Mujeres asked their leaders to condemn and help stop the violence against women.

But the leaders did nothing, they said the complaints were a nuisance. The leaders didn’t want to know what the women thought or said. They contended that the role of the Mujer was to be seen and not heard, to look pretty and to please the men at night. The leaders said stop complaining, there are more important things we have to do. They told the women to return to work. Lets work together so that Hombres are equal to Gavachos.

The leaders explained that the role of the Mujer was to make the men look good. 
It was disloyal to complain and air their dirty laundry in public.
The leaders said hush, act right! Stop telling these stories, or we may lose the gains that have been made.

The Mujeres said, “Remember Penn State”. 
Those leaders ignored complaints of violence against students.
The leaders perceived the complaint to be the problem, not the perpetrator.
 They knew the perpetrator and he was good for their program. 
The leaders agreed, the program was more important than any violence against students.

So the leaders lied to themselves and said they did not receive the complaints. 
Each time they heard the crowd cheer and basked in their glory, the leaders lied again, “We did the right thing”. 
So the perpetrator committed violence against students over and over again. 
And It was unsafe to play.

But the story was not forgotten because there were many more new stories to tell, 
and finally the telling became public, and the nation heard.
 Then there were consequences.
 But the crowd booed at the telling,
 “It’s a lie. Our leaders made us great,
 we owe them. Don’t take them away.
 Who cares what happened to the students.”

The program was not destroyed. Finally the perpetrator and the leaders who covered it up were removed.
 They longer enjoyed the glory.
 Again the Mujeres told their leaders, “Remember Penn State, this could happen to you.”

But the leaders refused to learn the lesson.
 They knew the perpetrators.  They were good for the business of civil rights which brought fame, money and jobs. The leaders agreed, the business of civil rights is more important than violence against women. They said nothing, and did nothing. The leaders denied that sexual harassment was bullying, and pretended it validated women’s self worth.
They expected women to provide sexual favors for the leaders and their male network.
 And women got something in return, they were envied for being pretty and desired and they got a free dinner to boot.
 Women who resisted or complained were discredited as disloyal and crazy.
 The Mujeres were ostracized, and shunned and feared losing their jobs.

The leaders told the Mujeres:
 The woman is to blame when she is raped. 
Change your behavior. 
If women do not want to be raped, stay home and do not go to play. Don’t drink alcohol, don’t wear short skirts or plunging neck lines.

The leaders did nothing to stop violence against women.
 They advised: 
”
Prove your loyalty to the movement, go home, forget about, and come back to work another day.” “It never happened if you don’t have a police report.” “No one will believe you, you’re promiscuous, we know your history.” “Have pity of the rapist, think of the violence against men.” “Don’t criminalize men of color”.

Without consequences, nothing changes, and violence against women remains normal.
 But Tucson is different
. The Mujeres told friends and family, nothing changed, but it was not forgotten. 
Mujeres created malintZINE to tell their stories.
 The telling became public. 
The telling increased from a solo, to a chorus, from a community to a nation.
 The telling raised awareness that it is not safe for women to be a community activist. 
Some threaten Mujeres with lawsuits if they do not stop the telling. 
But the Mujeres persist.
 With the telling comes support, and allies who will help them make the community safe for women.
 What do they want? 
Public support to stop violence against women.
 A public apology for failing to provide a safe environment for women.
 A public statement of men acknowledging that gender violence work is men’s work too! Men’s compliance with a code of behavior that respects women’s rights and allows women to live in a safe environment.
 Social, as well as legal consequences to those who act out violence against women.

Three Sonorans – blogger/publicist; deception by deflection, attempted polarization, sour grapes- all with underlying misogyny and prejudice

After being called on his misogynist oriented blogging and continued spread of misinformation, some weeks ago, DA Morales, also known as Three Sonorans (TS), proclaimed that his blog would be shut down. The TS absence lasted only a few days and many pockets were lined with quick cash from bets won against his promise. We are regretful to have won the bet! At a New Year’s party, Richard M. Martinez referred to Morales as his “publicist” which simply affirmed Morales’ role. Perhaps the bestowment of his role and title is what propelled Martinez’ promoter to begin TS and what prodded him to once again surface the blog and spew continued misogyny and mistruths.

A quick review of the traces of the misogyny in the TS blog, finds that this anointed publicist has consistently used his blog to attack/defame many women in leadership roles, including Adelita Grijalva, Regina Romero, Sylvia Campoy, Kristel Foster, Kim Dominguez and Mari Herreras. Clad in 1960s chauvinism – “Chingon politics”, Morales has referred to feminists as men-haters. His disdain for the Grijalvas seems to influence much of his blogging, as does his seemingly hero-worship for some of the men with whom he closely associates. His position on domestic violence is strong (anti) unless the alleged perpetrator happens to be one of his close associates. Then he goes into subterranean denial and full-blown deflective defense; a strategy of calling attention to anything and everything else except the real issue. The more fires that are lit away from their troubles, the less attention to their troubles!

(Does he- or the person he serves as publicist- think that we don’t decipher such exploits?) And… with audacity only an authentic misogynist can muster, DA Morales then writes a blog admitting his ignorance about domestic violence while claiming  his desire to learn about the topic. Of course, this serves only as self-hype and camouflage. (Disingenuous efforts are easily detected when they are so contradictory to one’s repeated actions.)

As if all of these sexist misdeeds are not enough, the topic of sexual assault is one which has been obviously barred from his blog since its very utterance may be counter to “the cause;”  the case; film; and potentially damage fund-raising. Ironically, when Morales became aware that this issue was being openly discussed by women, he suggested that the discourse be taken out of the blogosphere and into a more confidential setting; clearly another sexist miss-step. (News flash: Women do not need guidance on where they may speak on this or any issue and certainly will not be silenced through such artificial gestures.)

Bear with us. It does NOT end here, although we do wish it had, long before this point.

Last week the District Federal Court Order adopted all elements of the TUSD Desegregation Plan, which includes Mexican American culturally relevant courses. Curriculum that embraces Mexican American heritage in the form of history/social studies and literature will be developed, approved by the Board, and implemented in every high school by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.  Many of us have fought for this! In fact, many of us are anticipating a curriculum that is much more inclusive of Chicana authors, poets and a historical perspective which includes the important contributions of numerous Chicanas.  Cause for celebration?  Of course, but not according to the TS Blogs on this topic. Since late December Morales’ repeated chant, likely reflective of those for whom he speaks, has been ‘MAS is dead’. Would such declaration be made if it were possible for Sean Arce to vie for the directorship overseeing culturally relevant curriculum? Likely not, since the Morales position prior to Arce’s arrest was that he should be named the director. Within a short period after public knowledge of Arce’s arrest, the messaging from Morales drastically shifted; it was only then that he proclaimed that MAS was dead. His blog makes it appear as though he has poured over the Court Order in order to formulate his position when, in fact, his position was formulated in correlation to the Arce arrest and proceeding fallout.

The most recent blog of February 11th 2013 is condescending, patronizing and diminishes the contributions made by everyone involved in the process to develop the TUSD Desegregation Plan. Morales claims that the individuals who have been involved in the Plan development are all women. He minimizes the contributions of the women who represent the interests of TUSD’s Latino students and who are part of the Mendoza Party, which- from the eyes of a misogynist- is the way his world works. Morales is wrong on this and many other counts throughout the blog.  He buffers his presentation as perhaps being erroneous, since he was not privy to much information involving the plan development process due to the gag order imposed by the court. Nonetheless, Morales dives right in and presumes to know what happened during the confidential process, guessing which woman did what in the negotiations.  His subtle admission of ignorance of the process is not loud enough and certainly does not hold him back from casting- race and gender based blame and minimizing the contributions of those involved. As was witnessed during the public forums on the desegregation plan and as one can deduce in reading the court documents, several men were involved during the process; but this, like all other misinformation presented does not really seem to matter. The TS blog is filled with assumptions and misjudgments, particularly relative to MAS, and casts ultimate blame largely based on their gender and race. How can a blogger who constantly alleges racism simultaneously exercise misogyny and his own prejudice be viewed as having any level of knowledge on issues of equity and social justice.

But now back to the Desegregation Plan and Morales’ erroneous statement about MAS and its state of being. Morales does begrudgingly admit that the Desegregation Plan does have many valuable elements but perseverates on the death of MAS. What is in the Desegregation Plan relative to Mexican American culturally relevant courses provides the opportunity for improvement and expansion. The courses are to be offered in every high school beginning with the 2013-14 school year and expansion is also included for the middle school and elementary school level.  Since when is improvement and expansion deemed as a loss or a death of any sort?  Through the eyes of the TS blogger the glass is not half full or half empty; it is empty. No matter how good the Plan, inclusive of the Mexican American culturally relevant courses, it was anticipated by many that sour grapes would manifest from DA Morales and those for whom he seems to speak. If they could not be the ones to deliver a win, then how dare anyone else do so; especially women!

With stone throwers comfortably standing on the sidelines and taking continued actions to obstruct rather than contribute, it is difficult to assess how much harm they may actually impose by demoralizing supporters and convincing some that we have lost. Just two weeks ago, TS printed a piece written by Richard Martinez suggesting that the desegregation money be stripped away from TUSD; $61,000,000 per year. Were this to happen, it would cause irreparable harm to all students in TUSD, most of whom are students of color. Such damaging rhetoric is expected from the extreme far right Republican factions of our state; not from those who purport to support the rights of students of color. The floating of such a proposal on the brink of the Court’s decision on the Desegregation Plan is unmistakably an attempt to deflect, distract and destroy. Some have said that this is the ultimate sour-grapes nuclear attack strategy that has been reserved if certain conditions were not met by those on the sidelines hurling the stones, such as Morales and Martinez. Their conditions have self-imploded! Their strategies have been faulty and have not worked; their case has not yet had a win (and we genuinely hope it does); their fund raising has failed; their man will not head up the department that oversees the work on Mexican American culturally relevant courses; their overall support and credibility is dwindling and their support base has been fractured- much due to the constant display of sexism. None of these failures have been externally imposed; they have all been self-imposed. Yet, their attacks and continued polarization persist. Instead of celebrating a significant “win” for our community; they jointly chant ‘MAS is dead’ or shallowly propose to extricate desegregation dollars from our school district as a means to deflect and distract from our monumental win. Who exactly does this serve? Certainly, it does not serve the students or the community.

TS reflects misogyny, prejudice, anger, mistruths and polarization which is not a foundational voice for social justice. For any who continue to read TS, understand the deceptions you will encounter and search out the facts elsewhere.

We need to continue to celebrate our WIN and acknowledge our individual and unified role in obtaining it – the struggle and work that lies ahead. We must rebuke the propaganda that is being hurled around (‘MAS is dead,’ the idea to extract desegregation dollars from TUSD, etc.).  We must remain engaged in pressuring TUSD to implement the Desegregation Plan and we must not allow for any further polarization.