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.

Anonymous is a Woman

Why do (some) people keep complaining that those of us writing original work for this blog are choosing to remain anonymous? Why are you so uncomfortable? Is it a problem because we don’t need credit for our words? Are you disturbed because our egos don’t need stroking with pats on the back and high-fives? Does it bother you to not have a specific target to aim at when you disagree? Are you afraid that it’s your sister, your girlfriend, your mother who’s writing — and you don’t know?

We speak collectively because of our politics. We do not claim authorship for each individual piece because our experiences are shared by many women. We are creating safety for ourselves and our sisters by speaking our truth. We are unnamed because we are everywhere. You should assume that every single piece that has been published so far was written by a different woman. That’s a lot of voices rising in unity!

The other day, I heard someone call this “K’s blog.” Well, it’s not K’s blog, or A’s blog, or B’s blog. Dozens of women — an entire alphabet of mujeres — have already contributed, and a collective is staffing the submissions email addy, the Twitter feed, the FB page, and the Tumblr. This is not the work of one woman, no matter how awesome she may be. This is the work of many, and we are moving like wildfire, burning away patriarchal debris and illuminating a woman-centered landscape.

Just so you know — I’m not a member of the editorial collective, and my view on why anonymity is important may resonate with them, but it may not. You don’t know who I am, your assumptions are probably wrong, and you don’t have any say about what is going on here. You can’t bully us, and you can’t beat us. But you should definitely listen to us.

Culture of Silence

Acts of violence are committed against women in the Mexican-American Studies community consistently, yet it seems they are only discussed publicly when people outside the movement get involved. As a young woman in this community I should have been made aware of men in the movement who are known perpetrators of violence. I need to know which spaces are safe spaces and I need to be able to make informed decisions about the people I am involving myself with or organizing with. I believe that part of the reason I had no previous knowledge of any man’s history of gendered violence was because of a carefully constructed culture of silence. This culture of silence is also a culture of protection and of zero accountability. It was created to
pardon perpetrators of gendered violence and shield them from public scrutiny in order to maintain an image of social unity against injustice. The fact that information about people’s history with violence is kept from young women and other community members suggests that there is a system within the MAS community to keep that information private. It suggests that the people in power choose to glorify certain people and hide their history of violence.

Crafting a dialogue or narrative on blogs, newspapers, or during interviews also creates this culture of silence. Every time someone gives an interview or writes an article that intentionally covers up violence and injustice within the community – in order to fake a united, justice oriented front for the rest of the country – they are
contributing to the culture of silence. This is part of a larger issue, one that is centered around Three Sonorans controlling the national dialogue surrounding ethnic studies and vilifying the women or queer identified people who choose to counter this narrative, making the choice every time he writes a post and decides who is the glorified savior and who is the demonized. Bloggers and interviewees make the choice to glorify or vilify whomever they want every time they speak or write a post. They have the power to pick and choose which parts of the present to write about, therefore creating a history – again based on the observations and opinions of men and leaving out certain narratives they believe are unimportant. The assumption is that the narrative of men is all-encompassing and that somehow certain people have the authority to be ‘the voice’ of the movement.

When Three Sonorans writes a post he decides which narrative he wants to perpetuate, one that suits him the best and one that supports his homies, regardless of the truth. People perpetuating narratives for their own personal gain need to take responsibility for their role in establishing the current Tucson narrative as a largely male voice. They also need to take responsibility for their writings glorifying certain men in the community as pillars of social justice around the country, while they knew these men were perpetrators of violence inside their homes and inside the community.

In contrast to this male-centric national ethnic studies narrative, I want to have a collective narrative; filled with stories from women, LGBTQ, and disabled identified peoples. I want the national spotlight to not only focus on the men in this community but to embrace and acknowledge the leadership and contributions of women to this
movement.  In order to create this new narrative there needs to be an end to the public flaming and silencing of women and queer people in the community and there needs to be a system of accountability for our bloggers and those people who try to represent us nationally.

Hopefully this blog can be a tool to shift our national narrative to one that includes voices of people of all genders, sexualities, ages, class status and abilities. We cannot be a movement to fight injustice elsewhere if we are still perpetuating the same patriarchal, colonial oppression within our community.

Call for submissions!

Call for submissions!

January 26, 2013

Call for submissions!

We are malintZINE, an online zine featuring the stories, thoughts, and interests of radical mujeres, some of color and some queer, based in Tucson, Arizona. We’re putting together a paper zine while we prepare for some exciting upcoming events in March—and we want your contribution! Send us your original writing, and, especially, your graphics, comics, and any other form of visual art.

Artists: we’re only accepting submissions online, so please scan your art and send it to us! If you have an art piece to submit, but it can’t be scanned or photographed, contact us—we’ll see what we can do to record and include your work.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: February 14, 2013

To submit contact us at malintZINE@gmail.com

* Not everything submitted will make it in to the 1st publication of the zine; however, it may be included at malintZINE.com. The editorial board will select the final writings and arte for zine. We will not publish writing that re-creates violence and oppression, or that normalizes problematic language/content—for more info, check out our online zine: malintZINE.com

Bigger Things

I hope you’re one of the lucky ones who left untouched,
But I know you don’t get to be that strong without trauma.
I know.
We knew of each other.
We knew each other before we met.
I met you today and I know your history, our background.
I know your weaknesses, your triumphs, your fears, your life.
And you know mine.
Our visions intersect and today our lives did too (finally).
We have each other.
To confide in.
To revolutionize with.
To bitch at.
To understand.
Holy fuck Chicana mamas, you are raining them down to me like acid rain.
I feel the burn of the polluted water, but I like it.
I swim in the pain with her.
And it feels so good.
We will swim, swim, and swim some more.
Over bowls.
Over coffee.
Over the desert.
Over our home.
And bigger things will come because our lives are now one.