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

Octavio Romano

Monday, October 04, 2010

Lunes con Lalo Delgado - Regional and Local Jefes - Some Not Too Objective Observations

Lunes con Lalo Delgado
The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations
Regional and Local Jefes


No attempt will be made here to identify the total range of local and regional leaders because no matter how objective the intention or how thorough, I would wind up omitting some, who in their own right, are of prominent importance to the Movement.

As mobile as I have been in the last four years, it never fails to amaze me of how little I know of the true size of our movement. I go to the farthest corner, any direction, and I am surprised to find MAYOS, Brown or Black Berets, UMAS, MECHAS, G.I. Forum, or an already organized and functioning group of Chicanos taking on the responsibility of holding their “own ground” against bigotry or injustice.

No pun intended, but even in our own capital of Washington, D.C., a group now exists who openly claim their Chicanismo and carry on strategy during their many coffee breaks. For sure, the states of Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Idaho are very much up-to-date on the movement and very much a part of it.

I have to mention Michigan and Illinois in a separate breath, for the strength of the Movement there will not take a back seat to Colorado, Texas, or California. It is staggering, the number of Chicanos involved! Someone said long ago, “the basic strategy of the movement is to encircle the U.S. with Chicanos,” and while he was somewhat facetiously playing with an Anglo audience -- the jest is now on him -- for it is surely happening.

New Mexico and Arizona comprise the other two fronts of major significance in the Movement. There are Chicanos in Florida, drop-outs of the migrant stream, who are organized as well as Chicano students in Minnesota and Nebraska, which are also heavily populated by Chicanos.

It would not be out of place to speculate that if it were possible to measure the strength of the various Chicano organizations existing today; you would need a directory the size of a New York phone book.

These organizations already express a desire to communicate with other existing and neighboring groups with the hope of sharing issues and seeking or offering support. These efforts of sharing issues and seeking or offering support. These efforts to communicate and link are evident in the two or three hundred underground Chicano newspaper publications that have emerged.

Since I am not pinpointing any names for the sake of not omitting others, let me at least pinpoint where these leaders operate, and something about their range of activity. First of all, in the barrio, where the old gangs use to exist, chartered organization have arisen and they no longer knife each other, but discuss school, housing, health, or employment issues, and more recently, are fighting strongly against drugs. These leaders by large are young Barrio Batos not yet sophisticated with the complexities of a larger society, which has failed to engage them. In jail houses too, organizations made up of Chicanos keep up with what is going on in the outside world. They contribute their art or writings while still inside, and many pledge to involve themselves in the movement rather than continue a career of crime.

In the fields, where a great number of our Chicano brothers work, organization takes shape, the shape of La Huelga and the fight become more lasting and more bitter. The colleges, high schools, and even grammar schools, are other arenas for the Chicano's grouping themselves and daring to ask for change in a system that is shocked at the audacity of a Chicano to speak when not called to do so.


Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observation entries:

from The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations by Abelardo B. Delgado, (Denver: Colorado Migrant Council, 1971), prepared by the Colorado Migrant Council. Published with permission from the Delgado Estate. (c) Abelardo Delgado 1971.


Tomorrow: The Tortilla is Flat - Questions for the Dean of Chicano(a) Literary Criticism - Felipe Ortego y Gasca

Wednesday - The Formidable Dagoberto Gilb - Interview on his visit to El Paso

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