Friday, July 27, 2007

JFK and School

From my book, "Resilience - The Life of a Mexican American" :

In fifth grade, we studied politics and the Nixon and Kennedy Presidential Campaign. Mr Somes didn’t tell us his preference of candidate. He let each of us decide who we thought was best based on the issues.

After reviewing the issues, the class was divided about 50 – 50. I decided I liked Senator Kennedy best. He was a man who was for the people.

I wrote Senator Kennedy a letter letting him know what we were doing in class. I also said I would vote for him if I were old enough.

A few weeks later, Mom said an envelope came for me. It was in a brown envelope about eight inches long and six inches wide. I never received mail for me before. Excitedly, I opened up the envelope. It contained a letter from Senator Kennedy thanking me for my letter and a signed, autographed picture of him.

I showed everyone in my family the letter and the picture. I also showed everyone at school my new prized possession.

When I brought the picture home, I proudly hung his picture up on the wall in my bedroom.

At this same time, Dad watched the news every night. He liked Walter Cronkite and told us he was an honest man.

Senator Kennedy came to Lansing that summer for his Presidential Campaign. I begged Gloria to take me downtown to the Capital to see him. Thousands of people had the same idea. We were all on the Capital lawn listening to his speech. We felt like we were watching history when he visited.

My parents said they were voting for Senator Kennedy for President. That fall, we were so excited when Kennedy won. We all knew my father voted for him and we felt we had a personal stake in this election.

Mr. Somes was my teacher in both fifth and sixth grade, so we followed the campaign through to the election. This made the whole event very relevant for all of his students.

In sixth grade, Mr. Somes, always so caring about all his students, made learning fun and our group remained friends throughout the entire schoolyear.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Growing Up in America

My best friend in high school was Barb Jent. She was a tall, beautiful, African American girl with a gorgeous alto voice. Barb was popular. I was much too shy to be popular.

I enjoyed High School. I liked singing in choir, my Russian class and my advanced classes. I liked my friends.

In eleventh and twelfth grades, Miss Keeler, our choir teacher, formed the Quaker Singers. This was a group of the best singers in choir and she picked both Barb and me to be in the group. This was a good change for me. I learned to start singing out and the kids in our group became close. We all went to special engagements and outings together so we became good friends.

Barb and I became very close those years. We were in the same Choir class, Quaker Singer and Gym class. We ate lunch together. We went to Quaker Singer engagements together after school. We talked and shared our dreams for the future with each other. I shared my dream of becoming “That Girl.” She didn’t laugh at me. She felt the same way I did.

Neither of our families had money. Her family was even poorer than mine, if that was possible. Barb was cool though and she knew how to dress, even with her limited funds.

Barb said Martin Luther King helped make things better for blacks. People could no longer publicly discriminate, although there was lots of this in private. I knew what she meant.

We often talked about the Civil Rights Movement and how important it was for people to support it. Life wasn’t always fair to minorities. Martin Luther King was her hero and soon, he became mine.

I started watching the news with Dad, especially when Walter Cronkite talked about Martin Luther King or Civil Rights. Dad said Negroes were treated more unfairly than Mexicans. We talked about slavery and all the mistreatment they received.

Dad said God knows we are all equal and we should all treat each other with respect. I was glad Dad felt the same way I did.

Dad´s best friend at work was Will Porter. He was black. He worked in the paint shop in the factory, just like Dad. Will was one of the few friends from work Dad brought home with him.

When he visited, sometimes they sat and talked about work, other times they talked about life. My best memories of Will was when he talked to Dad about cooking.

Dad rarely cooked, but when he did, he made it an event. Sometimes he took every left-over in the refrigerator and put it in a pot. He called it “Mingongay”. It was horrible. We didn´t ask for Dad´s cooking very often.

Will, however, was an excellent cook. Sometimes he brought over his home cooking.

My favorite dishes were his cornbread dressing and his peach dumplings. We were glad he gave Mom the recipes. We didn´t want to know what they would taste like if Dad cooked them. Mom used these two recipes every Thanksgiving for the rest of her life.

Back at school, Miss Oliver, my Russian teacher, took us on a number of field trips. We even went horse-back riding together. What a blast. I still remember the songs we learned in Russian, but not much more.

Late in the eleventh grade, the Quaker Singers had an engagement at a Country Club. Miss Keeler asked us to dress in spring colored evening gowns.

I, of course, had nothing to wear. I went to Mom and explained what I needed.

The funniest thing happened. I think Mom was proud of me for being a member of the Quaker Singers. When I went to her with my request for a dress, she was surprised, but pleased. She promised to talk to Dad. She said not to worry. She helped me get the gown.

I wore the beautiful yellow dress to the singing engagement and I decided my dress looked just as good as the other girls’ dresses.

In addition to High School, I taught Catechism at our church on Saturdays. They needed someone to teach the 2nd and 3rd grade children religion classes. I volunteered and was selected to teach. I was provided the curriculum and some brief training, then started teaching.

While I enjoyed teaching and the students were receptive to my teaching style, I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher the rest of my life.

My dream job was to become a career woman, just like Marlo Thomas on “That Girl.”

During senior year, we constantly prepared for SATs. We took sample tests every month. I always did well on them.

The year I graduated, nineteen sixty eight, was quite an eventful year. Everyone was talking about the Vietnam War. Students were protesting.

My older brother Steven was in Vietnam. My parents were worried. When Steven wrote home, he said most of the soldiers were upset with President Johnson and they were against the War.

We listened to Walter Cronkite. The reports about the War were disastrous. How did our country get in such a mess? Peace must be the answer. I found myself siding with the Peace activists.

Barb and I sometimes joined other students in protesting the war. I didn´t think of myself as one of the activists. It was more about Barb and I agreeing with our teachers and other kids our age and carrying signs asking for Peace.

In the spring, Martin Luther King was murdered. This was a shock to all students. Barb was particularly upset.

We sat together after school talking about what happened. Barb was crying. I put my arm around her shoulder and tried to console her. We were both worried. Who was going to lead the charge for Civil Rights now? Our champion was dead.

Bobby Kennedy came to town the next month. I asked my sister Gloria to go to the airport with me. We stood with the rest of the crowd for hours waiting for him.

When he finally arrived, the crowd pushed and shoved us like sardines.

I lost sight of Gloria. The crowd started moving me forward, shoving me towards Bobby.

All of a sudden, Bobby´s back was directly in front of me. We were still packed like sardines and the crowd was moving us towards the terminal. Bobby and I were moving with the crowd´s momentum and he was just inches from me. He was so close, I could touch him, so I did. I reached out and touched his shoulder, just to see if he was real.

Bobby looked back at me, startled. I pulled my hand back quickly and just looked at him as the massive crowd moved us along. I couldn’t believe I was actually within inches of him. Suddenly he disappeared into the terminal. It was so odd that we moved along with the crowd. Then I was mashed by the crowd against the glass doors.

I became a little nervous and said out loud, “Stop! You are squashing me.” My face was mashed against the glass doors.

It might have been dangerous had the security not pushed everyone back. I was relieved, but I was still in awe over what just happened.

When I found Gloria later, we both were amazed that I was so close and that he wasn´t better protected from the crowd.

A month or so later, I was in the high school auditorium when they announced Bobby was shot. Students were shouting “No!” Everyone was crying. They let us out of school early.

Mom was watching TV when I arrived home.

Our family stayed glued to the set and watched the reports of the shooting. Walter Cronkite gave us all the latest reports.

Bobby died.

Sirhan Sirhan shot him.

My senior year, two heroes died. Their deaths changed us. The war changed us. The Civil Rights movement changed us. After graduation, as I entered the world as a young adult, I thought I was ready for anything.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

AZ and Equality

I´ve been visiting the ANTI Kernel´s website since our Cage match this weekend. One of his groupies, AZ Republic, was extremely rude to me. Here is what he said and here is my response. Get your popcorn ready --:

(Keep in mind AZ is a Kernel (KD) groupie) --

Arizona Resistance // Jul 25, 2007 at 12:26 pm
KD, I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t be so weak as to allow myself to be pulled into the fray with a blog troll. I have been fighting the impulse all morning and have obviously lost control of my better judgement.
Madam Troll,Thank you for not mistaking me for a gentleman. There is nothing gentle about me. As a union boilermaker by trade, I take your weak attempt at insult as a compliment.As an American fighting to retain a once great American culture, I see no need for pleasantries in battle either.
The only informative item you’ve presented is in your assigning relevance to Mr. Sharpton. I hesitate to refer to him as “Reverend”, on account that it still hasn’t been ascertained as to what congregation he is the clergyman of. None the less; America’s search is over! It appears we have found the ONE person left outside the white liberal media that still finds Mr. Sharpton relevant. I’m sure if you would let him know this, he would gladly reciprocate in kind and lend you relevance. Who knows, since Black America has labeled him as the snake oil salesman that he is, I’m sure he would willfully change his name to Alberto Sharptonero and invite you to appear with him the next time he starts dealing race cards like a Vegas gambler.
Of course, you would have to become quite skilled at fund raising. He does love those Giorgio Armani suits.
When you and Sharpton can put down your deck of race cards and talk about the assimilation of races into the AMERICAN culture, rather than the assimilation of America into Mexican, Islamic and other cultures… progress will be made.
I and others of like mind have no problem with peoples of ANY race legally immigrating to America. It’s one of the foundations that made this country great. All that is asked by the “antis’” As you like to call us, them, whoever the hell they are… Is that they assimilate to the American culture and live by it’s laws. Why people such as you think America should assimilate to accommodate the Latino or any other culture is beyond me. It does make one wonder who the “racists” really are.
KD, again, my apologies. Although I’m aware my words were wasted and nothing good will come of it; it was therapeutic for me to give her my opinion as unwanted as it was. I know that’s not how you “ignore” a blog troll. I promise I won’t allow myself to get hooked again.

I recognized you were not a gentleman immediately. I could sense, in every key you typed, that your emotions were overwhelming you. You are seething in red-faced anger. I am not a troll. I am an informed, intelligent, Hispanic American woman. In other words, your worst nightmare come true.

You seethe in anger in the fact that I can speak to you on a level playing field. All you could do ALL of your life could not and will not squelch my ability to speak to you as an equal.

Yes. I am equal. In fact, on an IQ scale, I far surpass you.

This information resonates in your left molar. It irritates your teeth just to know this. Your teeth grind at night just thinking that someone like me lives and breathes in America. I am an American.

I am a proud American.

I have lived and thrived here all of your life and you didn´t even know it.

Nothing, nothing you could ever do could stop me from thriving, thriving in education, knowledge, reading, studying and continually growing strong.

I am loyal to our Founding Fathers beliefs. Yes. That is right. OUR Founding Fathers. I claim them too.

Doesn´t this fact just stick in your craw. Doesn´t this gell in your multitude of anger. Seething, raging, angry you.

I survived. I am here. I lay claim to the beliefs of OUR Founding Fathers.


And yet, you seethe!!

email to Rev Al: You are so Right about Immigration

My email to Rev. Al today @

Rev Al,

I am so grateful to you for speaking out with the truth.

I read your comments.
"Congress needs to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill now."
"I want to say what a lot of people won't say. The immigration debate is not simply about border security, it is a problem of America dealing with race," Sharpton told the audience.

You are right. Hispanics and African Americans have partnered together for the last several decades in support of the Civil Rights laws.

I believe the Civil Rights Movement was the most important change in American History. We have finally lived up to our Founding Fathers´ beliefs and the Declaration of Independence in saying, "ALL PEOPLE ARE CREATED EQUAL!" as I said in a previous post:
"The achievements during this phase of the Civil Rights Movement were passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned discrimination in employment practices and public accommodations, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that restored voting rights, the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 that dramatically changed U.S. immigration policy, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing."

I think we, minorities, understand the core beliefs our founding fathers were advocating. WE ARE EQUAL and America is the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.

Thank you for standing up for us, Rev. Al. We need you right now!!


ps: Here is my Blog address. I will write about all you do to help the cause:

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Civil Rights Movement changed America

This weekend, I was doing my usual Blog surfing, looking for any interesting Blogs on Immigration on the net. I came across this outrageous ANTI blog. The blogger was blogging about the inferior genetics and low IQs of Hispanics titled "Immigration: Let’s Discuss The Genetics Of It".

Outrageous? YES!!! In fact, he got my dander up. So, of course I responded to "the Kernel", the author of the Blog. When I woke up Sunday morning, I had an email-response from the Kernel. We start commenting back and forth, tit for tat. If we were WWE wrestlers, it would have been a cage match.

He was so pompous, self-righteous and non-apologetic for his remarks. The best he could do is advocate conservatism, “The conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity. It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire.” He, of course, was referencing the custom of the Northern European immigrants of the 1700s and the need to maintain his heritage.

As I shared the importance of the Declaration of Independence, “All people are created equal,” his weak response was “show me where it says that because we’re all created equal we must forego the obligations we have to our ancestors and to our descendants.” This is the man who advocates inferior IQ and genetics of Hispanics.

As I advised him, “The rate of Hispanics will not diminish. We are CITIZENS and our numbers are growing. You cannot stop this. Your Northern European policies have brought us to where we are today.” I shared with him the 1924 Immigration policies setting limits to Eastern and Southern European Immigrants, the Chinese Exclusion Act and the fact during this period the Corporations and Congress ensured open southern borders allowing Hispanic migrants to work via programs similar to the Bracero program.

I added, “Now, with the accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement, we have learned we are, in fact, equal.” The Civil Rights Movement being the single most important difference in the history of our nation.

The Civil Rights movement changed America. Prior to the civil rights movement, the time the Kernel relishes, it was permissible for the Anglo majority to mistreat minorities. Minorities were paid lower than standard wages. They were made to work in unsafe working conditions. They could be removed from their property. Often, they were subjected to Jim Crow laws which prevented them from voting. Legally they could be made to drink from separate water fountains, sit in the back of the bus, restricted from restaurants, sit in restricted locations at theaters, swimming areas, and restricted from other entertainment facilities.

The Civil Rights Movement stopped the Jim Crow laws and helped all minorities achieve equal, legal status. EQUAL!!

The achievements during this phase of the Civil Rights Movement were passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned discrimination in employment practices and public accommodations, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that restored voting rights, the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 that dramatically changed U.S. immigration policy, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.

I will leave it to you to judge the outcome of the discussion between the Kernel and me. The ANTIs will love him. The PROs will probably agree with me and think he is a pompous you know what although it was an invigorating exchange. (scroll to bottom of page)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Dad Was My Hero

My Dad was my hero. He came to Michigan so his family could have a better life. He started his work in the fruit and vegetable fields in Michigan. When the season was over, he stayed and found a job in an auto plant.

Dad and Mom raised us all to be a close, Christian family. Each Sunday, we woke up early, dressed and attended Mass. We prayed together. Afterwards, we came home and mom always made us a nice Sunday breakfast. We spent the entire day relaxing, talking, and just being together.

Dad believed in education for all of his children. He guided us to complete our education so we would have good careers in our adult lives. He asked we speak English at school and at home. He said we should not have an accent. Americans view accents negatively so we did not want to start our lives with this strike against us. We listened and followed our Dad´s suggestions. We all learned to speak English flawlessly.

Through the week, we went to school while Dad worked three jobs to support us. One of his jobs was being a house painter. He worked for the Church part time in order to help offset our tuition at Catholic school.

Each night, after I finished my homework, I dreamed of my future career. I wanted to be “That Girl.” I believed my Dad when he taught us that in spite of any discrimination we may encounter we could each achieve the American Dream.

They Called Us "Messykins"

I always wondered why we were never called Americans. As long as I can remember, people referred to us as Mexicans. They didn´t say Mexicans though. They pronounced it one of two ways.

The first pronunciation was said in whispers and pronounced messy-kins. When we were in the Traverse City area, the local children poked each other in the ribs when we walked by and loudly whispered, “Hey, look at the messy-kins.”

The second pronunciation was said in a stern voice and pronounced meXX----kinz. The X severely accentuated with a two second pause before saying the second syllable. This was the pronunciation people in authority often used. “Hey, you meXX—kinz better move right along.”

This was all normal to my young ears. It was normal that is until Dad brought home our first TV set. On TV, I watched shows like “Father Knows Best.” I pictured my Dad as Jim Anderson. I thought of myself as Kitten.

On TV we were all Americans. In school we learned we were Americans. Why didn´t anyone ever call us Americans? I wanted to know.

“Momma, Momma,” I asked, “Why don´t they call us Americans? We were born here. Why can´t we be Americans too?”

“That is what they call us, Mija. It doesn´t matter what they call us. We are God´s children and He made us in His image,” she answered. It was a good answer, but she didn´t answer my question.

School had no answers for me either. Teachers always said, “Sign your identification cards.” Then she came directly behind me and said, “Dee, be sure to mark the box Mexican American. “

I tried to overlook their efforts to differentiate us from the rest of the children. I worked hard in school and I made friends. My best friend in Kindergarten was Helen.

Once, Helen took me to the bathroom and tried to help me scrub my skin. “I just know that brown will come right off. I get dirty myself and all the brown comes off.” She was trying to help me, but she just didn’t understand that the color stuck.

When I came home from Kindergarten that day, Momma saw my arms were red and raw. She asked, "What happened to your arms?"

"My friend Helen tried to help me wash off the brown, Mama. She said my skin was just dirty and it would come off if I washed it," I answered.

Momma gathered me up in her arms. She said, "The color doesn't come off mija."

"Then why would she say my skin was dirty mama? Why?" I asked, tears rolling down my cheeks.

She hugged me and replied, "They just think it is mijita. But don't worry. God made you this way. God loves you. Just be proud of who you are."

“But Momma,” I pleaded. “Why can´t we be Americans too?”

Patiently, she tried to explain, “they have always called us Mexicans. We have brown skin. We haved lived in the country for hundreds of years. It doesn´t matter what they call us. Never be ashamed of who you are. You are a child of God, made in God´s image.” Still no answers.

When I think back to those times, I know our family was brought to the state because we were migrants. In the fields, we worked. When the work was finished, we were expected to leave. The farm owners hired us for this purpose. They did not want us to disrupt their lives. They wanted us to do the work and go. Somehow our humanity was not part of the equation. From their perspective, we were not much different than machines.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Growing Up Mexican American

I was the seventh child in a family of ten. We had five boys and five girls, an even match. We lived in a small town in Michigan. It was a quiet, peaceful place. We were one of the few Mexican-American families that lived in town all year round.

Dad had a good job in a factory. Most of the Mexican families were migrant laborers and only came to the state in the summertime. Dad and his family came to Michigan as migrants too. When his parents, brothers and sisters moved back to Texas, he decided to keep his family in Michigan and work in an auto factory.

I guess we did pretty well in Michigan, especially compared to our relatives in Texas. We lived in a big house with a big yard. Fruit trees and beautiful flowers decorated our yard. We had plenty to eat. Dad’s family in Texas wasn’t so fortunate. They didn’t have very much money. Many of them still traveled the country to work various migrant jobs. In the winter, they all headed back to San Antonio to count their family profits.

Every summer until I was twelve, Mom took all of us kids to the Traverse City area to pick cherries. Dad taught all of us children that hard work and an education would enable us to achieve success in America.

We usually joined the flocks of migrant workers from down south who migrated to the Michigan fruit fields. We followed the caravan of cars up to Lake Leelanau, just north of Traverse City. There, we went to the home of a nice fruit farmer. He housed us in clean garages and barns and paid us the average wages. These were much better conditions than other migrant families had to endure at neighboring farms.

In the fifties and sixties, discrimination was obvious towards Mexican-American migrants. We could only swim in the "Mexican section" of Lake Leelanau. We had separate bathroom facilities. They reserved a special Mass at church just for the Mexicans. It wasn´t that people were rude to us. They just kept us separate then sent us on our way when the work was done.

We worked long hours, from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm each evening.

Each Saturday, Mom paid us our allowance which was based on the work we completed. We learned so many valuable lessons in the Cherry fields. Dad was right. Hard work did reap rewards. We also learned the value of a loving family.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

America Shrouds Detention Centers in Secrecy!

The Detention Centers are not prisons, they are much worse. They are torture chambers. Not only undocumented workers and their families are taken there, but innocent Hispanic American citizens as well. People in these centers are beaten, raped, tied up and moved to segregation. Guilty until proven innocent.

Hutto Detention Facility - TX
The T. Don Hutto "Residential Center" is an immigrant detention facility in Taylor, Texas operated by Corrections Corp of America. A former high-security state prison, it and a smaller center in Pennsylvania are the only two facilities in the United States that are authorized to hold non-Mexican immigrant families and children on noncriminal charges. Its purpose is to hold immigrant families while their applications for asylum are being considered. It began operating in the summer of 2006 and currently holds 375 prisoners, approximately 200 of which are children. Previously immigrants with children would be released with a notice to appear before an immigration judge. The policy has changed and now families are being locked up in prison cells until their status is determined. Detainees are a diverse group, they include single men with children, pregnant women, and infants.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Good News!! ICE is getting tough on employers. Assist Sec. of Homeland Security, Julie Myers wrote a letter to the Kansas City Star. ICE is arresting and fining employers. In some cases they are enforcing their asset forfeiture authority. I say hurray for ICE. It is about time they have gone to root cause and penalized the actual culprits of illegal immigration, the employers.

What is remarkable is you do not hear Lou Dobbs, Buchanan, Rush or the ANTI Shock Jocks talking about penalities for the employers. Where is their outcry to imprison or put these unscrupulous employers out of business? Nowhere! The ANTIs are after the Hispanic undocumented workers, no one else. We know their real agenda.

Ask yourself this, if the ANTIs really wanted to stop illegal immigration, they would push to stop the employers. The crimes of the New Bedford employer Insolia are horrendous. Not only did he solicit, hire and provide false documents for workers, he ruled them with fear and intimidation:
"Mr. Insolia ran "a sweatshop," where workers were docked 15 minutes pay for every minute they were late; fined $20 for spending more than two minutes in the rest room on the first violation and fired if there was a second violation; fined $20 for talking during work and fired if there was a second infraction; and fined $20 for leaving work before the break bell sounded. Prosecutors said Mr. Insolia provided only one roll of toilet paper in each rest room stall per day, and the rolls ran out in 40 minutes. The way the environment is described it’s the type of sweatshop that you read about in terms of the turn of the century," Mr. Sullivan said. "I’m not talking about the 21st century, the turn of the 20th century, very early 1900s. These are the deplorable conditions that these workers essentially had to endure under. They were given no option, certainly. It’s either here or the risk of no income. The conditions were horrible. Clearly, they were exploited because of the fact that they are here illegally."

Where is the outcry from the ANTIs? Don´t hold your breath waiting for them to respond.

Monday, July 9, 2007

My Pet Peeves: Minority ANTIs

SUBJECT: Why do minorities jump on the ANTI Bandwagon and speak in favor of the ANTI agenda?

Response: Because they believe they will be held in high regard by the ANTIs, whether it be their boss, the media or public opinion on the internet.

What shall we call them? Wanti´s (Wannabe ANTIs)

Personally, I feel sorry for the Wanti´s. They are wannabe ANTIs. They wish they were Anglos. They are ashamed of their own ethnicity. They hide their eyes when a minority walks by. Worse yet, they may call them a name. My question is, how do they treat their own mother or grandmother? How do they treat those that marched in the civil rights movement? Are they in so much denial they forget where they come from?

Request: I ask them to study the issues. I ask them to study history. I ask them to read my Blog and email me. Let´s talk about it. It is not too late. We want you back!!

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