Yesterday was the closing party for Tia Chucha's Cafe/Community Center. The Sylmar based spot founded by author Luis Rodriguez lasted 5 years at its Glenoaks Blvd. location.
I went only a handful of times, but each time was very memorable. I went to hear people discuss issues and poetry. Heard gente from the neighborhood break off knowledge and skills seldom seen with so much innocent, passionate, powerful flavor. I also rolled there with Harry Gamboa Jr. to take Rodriguez's picture for Gamboa's ongoing project Chicano Male Unbounded. That was very cool. Rodriguez is a GIANT, a man to be honored and heard. His writing is just an inkling of the depths he goes to, and if you know, you know he is one bad ass writer. His work for Tia Chucha's has given that dry part of the SFValley so much. He is committed. And if he was able to be pushed out of his location then DANG we are in some shitty times.
I had Rodriguez come and promote this event on Power Tools and heard him several times on KPFK breaking it down about what was happening. He was always positive and upbeat stating that the owner of the space tried to work with him, but in the end it is about money. Rodriguez was never bitter. He always said Tia Chucha's was not going to die, only move. They already have a new location on Foothill Blvd. just down the 210 from where the O.G. Chucha's is/was. He said that this location was only temporary, and in about three - four years he would have a new spot where he could really get down to making all his visions come true. The man was unstoppable, positive, focused. I believe he knows the law of attraction and was living/manifesting everything he said at every moment. Like I said, we gotta listen to this hombre noble.
Today at the party Rodriguez invited Rueben Martinez of Martinez Books to come and speak and he put some stuff into focus about this whole pedo. He began by saying that if only .5% of 1% of the Latino population supported Tia Chucha's, it would not be closing. He pointed out how WE as Raza are responsible to never give up our dreams/spaces. As he scolded us, I went into my head and remembered other spaces we have lost: The Peace and Justice Center, Midnight Special Books, Arroyo Books, The Centro Regeneracion/Popular Resource Center, Cafe Luna Sol, The Aztlan Cultural Arts Foundation, The South Central Farm, and so many others I may not have even heard about. I remembered how some were taken, some we walked away from, some imploded, some exploded and some are barely hanging on like Self Help Graphics is. What the fuck RAZA! I took Martinez's scolding because we deserve it. We have let so much go. We have not established much to leave for the next generations. We are not working like a WE.
Martinez pointed out how in Santa Ana, where he is based out of, it is 80% Latino!!!! Out of that 80%, 57% can vote, but in the last election Santa Ana ended up with a Vietnamese leader because only 12% of Latinos came out to vote for the Latino candidate!!! What the fuck RAZA!
When Martinez was done, (and I must note that he didn't just scold, he taught, inspired and educated us at the same time) my homeboy Alberto Ibarra of Chusma fame, spoke a little about our next pedo: the fight to keep the charter school in El Sereno, Academia Semillas del Pueblo (ASP) open in the face of LAUSD charter renewal proceedings. ASP has been in the spotlight because racist pendejos on some Disney owned radio station began attacking them for actually giving Chicanito/as a real education. There were bomb threats, Minutemen threats, and just plain media pendejadas being hurled at OUR SCHOOL. Ok my kid don't go there (long story, baby momma drama etc.), but the peeps working there, the education being given there is what all schools in the LAUSD should be doing. Due to the drama on the racist radio and because of stupid State test scores ASP may lose its charter.
It's hard to stay positive.
It's becoming easy to accept loss.
We need to hear Rodriguez and Martinez more often. We need to re-member how to fight, but with new weapons and tactics because what we have done in the past has obviously not worked. We have lost so much.
"you're a lost soul you're a lost soul, you don't know where to run, you roll out of control." - Aztlan Underground, Lost Soul
Tuesday February 27th the LAUSD will vote on ASP's charter re-newal. ASP needs our bodies there to show support. If you plan on coming wear your best business attire. Showing up in feathers, war paint, dread locks and your most radical Xicano t-shirt has not worked fighting this machine and its minions. We need to scare them by showing them we can talk their game, play their game, dress their game, and beat their game on their terms, because we didn't write the rules, face it. We are playing their game. We need to beat them on their turf without losing sight of why we came to fight in the first place.
Yes we need to take their spaces, their seats, their positions, just like they have taken ours. But we must not forget and begin to value what they value. Take their shit and re-make, re-structure it to something that serves humans not money accumulators who pose as humans. In order to take it, we need to go really underground to the point where they elect us, they sit us next to them, they let us in to help design the laws, plans and policies. BUT NEVER FORGET what we came for.
"We will never be free unless we realize prophecy. This prophecy is Aztlan. Aztlan is the key for the world to see, Aztlan is the key for the world to be free. And Aztlan will free the world eventually. Yes Aztlan will save the world eventually."
- Aztlan Underground, Sacred Cirlce
We got a lot of work to do, we got a lot to get back, we got a lot to take back.