"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Monday, July 31, 2006

Trini Sanchez, Jr. walks on

It with great sadness that I bring the new of the passing of my friend, poet, activist, Trinidad Sanchez Jr. I've tried to access his old website, but have been unsuccesful, but try: https://alumni.shsu.edu/~org_iha/Trinidad%20Sanchez%20Jr.htm

"FROM Regina Chavez y Sanchez cgi-bin/compose?mailto=1&msg=F3285A37-326A-402D-A0DC-5BFDAC34928C&start=0&len=14730&src=&type=x&to=trinidadjr43@hotmail.com&cc=&bcc=&subject=&body=&curmbox=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001&a=4a042bc73eb718a3372825d38a5ba5a406a4239b121ea3efb070cbca7527d643:

My beloved husband, Trinidad Sánchez, Jr., died today at the Methodist Hospital. He was such a loving man, gentle spirit and leader. His words and laughter will live on forever. The poet, activist and teacher must live on in all of us!"

Years ago, his book Why Am I So Brown, one of the best-selling book of Chicano poetry in the 1990s, gain us chuckles and inspired many of us to start writing Chicano Poetry.

Ricardo Sanchez called Trini the "heir apperrant to writers like him and Abelardo Delgado." It was a true statement. I remember spending time with Trini and Lalo in Denver drinking cafe at La Taza.

I spend many a night with Trini concernign the plight to Chicano Poets.

I'm going to miss my amigo.

Trini wrote one of the last memorable signature poems. And that an achivement in itself. Not many poets have a signature poem. Even Ricardo Sanchez fought at length to get a signature poem like "I Am Joaquin" or "Stupid America.' Below I'm posting Trini's most famous poem, though it looks like he had made some revisions:


A question Chicanitas sometimes ask
while others wonder: Why is the sky blue
or the grass so green?
Why am I so brown?

God made you brown, mi'ja
color bronce--color of your raza, your people
connecting you to your raices, your roots
your story/historia
as you begin moving towards your future.

God made you brown, mija
color bronce, beautiful/strong,
reminding you of the goodness
de tu mama, de tus abuelas, your grandmothers
y tus antepasados, your ancestors.

God made you brown, mi'ja
to wear as a crown for you are royalty--a princess,
la raza nueva, the people of the sun.
It is the color of Chicana women--
leaders/madres of Chicano warriors
luchando por la paz y la dignidad
de la justicia de la nación, Aztlan!

God wants to understand . . . brown
is not a color . . . it is: a state of being
a very human texture
alive and full of song, celebrating--
dancing to the new world
which is for everyone . . .

Finally mi'ja
God made you brown because
it is one of HER favorite celebrations!


One of his recent poems that gained noteriety was his plug against Tom Tancreado:


For Tom Tancredo

Tom I want you to know that
I am
that my parents were
that they came to this country
that life would be better there would be an abundance of
They raised ten
Illegal children who fought and returned
from those unlawful wars
only to be more Illegal
than when they left.
If that’s not enough,
I want you to know my siblings have multiplied
and all sobrinos y sobrinas
they are all

I want you to know that
I am
that we’re the ones who
renovated your home, raise your children,
clean up after people like you
maid your houses, garden your flowers.
work your fields, your orchards
construction sites & restaurant kitchens
doing the cheeeeeap hard labor your kind refuse to do.

I want you to know that
I am
We are all
illegal Americans from
North, Central
& South America
we are all proud of being
illegal Americans.

I want to know
with a name like yours
if there are skeletons in your closet . . .
if they are illegal
& did you ask for their pink cards
after all, people who live in glass houses
need to be extra careful.

Tom Tancredo

I am
I’m proud of being illegal.
Your Gestapo immigration
can’t mess with my MEXICAN/CHICANO sueño
for a better life – lleno de justicia
NOT the “just us” American dream
that you look for . . . a life without people
who are different than you
in color and size and even better than you.


I want you to know
there are no illegal people,
there are only illegal governments.
I’m sure you will say writing this poem is
It’s against the law
because it’s the fashionable thing to be.
I want you to know

You will never understand
is fun
being a wetback is cool
being a mojado es la moda
because being
is being different than you
is the best thing I know how to be!


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