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

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Lunes con Lalo Delgado: Some Not To Objective Observations About Himself

Lunes con Lalo Delgado

The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations

About the author
By Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado


I'm quite privileged, and, therefore, bear a greater obligation – privileged to move about the country and met my hermanos, who accept me readily and confide in me their greatest secret frustrations and ambitions – privileged to live in Denver where the hear of the movement beats faster; to ride, like now, in planes sitting next to Corky, to meet, as we say, the “heavies” and even at times, throw a few ideas their way which may or may not assist the movement?

Before anyone mistakes me for a mere observer of the movement or a journalist taking advantage of the confidence given me, let me say, that the movement is more...I am the movement and the movement is me. My bag, as it is now said, is to try to match the various shapes of talent floating around to complete the jig-saw power puzzle in the Chicano Movement. I learned this from two persons, a Jesuit priest I worked with for ten years in South El Paso*; and from Salvador Ramirez, who successfully assembled a good set of talented Chicanos to start a chain reaction of institutional change in El Paso – which, only God know where it will end.

Being executive director of a Migrant Council, I saw the phenomenon of what combined talent can do. I was fortunate to have assembled on the one goals of assisting the migrant while in the stream, such giants in the movement as Mario Compean, José Angel Gutíerrez, Rubén Barrera, Narciso Aleman, Lupe Rivera, Pablo Delgado, Lali Sáenz, Gabriel Tafoya, Jesus López, Daniel Quintanilla, Guillermo Cantu, and many others who in that summer of 1969 were all over the nation instituting change in the favor of the migrant.

Playing such combinations, the movement stands all possibilities of being successful, but isolating talent or flinging it in opposite courses, we do not stand a chance.

I cannot help but date even these chapters about myself, because the pace of the movement is fast and strong. I am referring to the incarceration of Cesar Chavez last Friday. This even is of major significance in our movement, particularly since just weeks ago, Cesar went to testify on behalf of Corky in Los Angeles, who was facing charges of carrying a concealed weapon. That event showed Chavez for the first time publicly assuming the national role of leadership, he so deservingly has earned. No Corky cannot stand idle and see him in jail.

Back to my attempts to try to describe myself to the readers, for greater credibility in some of my comments which are not meant as mere descriptive ideas but which aim at provoking thought.

I do not claim to have a total view of the movement, even with my great freedom of mobility through the country. There are factions within the movement with a great deal of secrecy about them, and other active and militant factions, which will not wait for a cue from anyone; but act on their own anger at the status quo and the turtle-like pace of social change which does not spell out signs of meaningful advancement, soon.

There are, too, the many bureaucratic moves with heavy political overtones which I fail to see and care not to see, in relation to the movement, but which must also be acknowledged.

I write with the hope of educating ourselves and making more sense as to what is happening about us, and hopefully, we will be moved into some sort of commitment and action.

I have very little concern with academics or sociologists eating off this paper, but my main concern is my own carnales, my own Raza getting rid of an apathy foreign to our Chicano nature; and asking them to join the “Tropas” at the Crossroads.

*Father Harold Rahm

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Other parts of this series:

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 Family. Special thanks for Dolores Delgado. (c) Abelardo Delgado 1971, all right reserved. This may not be republished with out the permission of the Delgado estate.

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