¡Feliz viernes a todos!
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday break. Thank you for joining me again. This semester we are kicking off with a focus on activism. You may notice that many of our upcoming posts connect and highlight important activists in Latin America, the organizations they belong to, or the programs they founded. In honor of the focus on activism, I am highlighting some of Ana Teresa Fernández’s recent work on “erasing” the U.S.-Mexico border—using art!
Ana Teresa Fernández is a Mexican-American artist. She and a group of thirty volunteers teamed up to paint the border fence in Nogales, Sonora a light blue color in order to blend it with the sky. In her video about the project, Fernández talked about the fence as a “symbol of hate and pain.” She thought to change that by making it invisible (at least a piece of it). Her work constitutes activism “because it re-contextualizes a possibility. It makes you not see the border — just for a split second — and [makes you see] how two countries can exist, or coexist, peacefully,” said Fernández in an interview with Raquel Reichard from Latina. To her, the problem of the border fence is that it divides two groups of people who could otherwise live in harmony. The idea, while earning support from many people, sparked hate in some who have taken to writing hate mail and nasty correspondence to the artist. Continue reading
¡Feliz viernes a todos!
I hope you all enjoyed the documentary I featured on WWW last week! This week, in keeping with the themes of immigration and resources to honor and understand Latin American cultural influences and experiences, I am featuring an online source that will serve as a good supplement to the documentary, The Dream is Now. The website is called Lost in Immigrationlandia and it highlights the stories of two young men, Alex and Cristhian, who migrated to the United States from Guatemala and Honduras, respectively. Their stories illustrate the many reasons they left their countries in the first place and tell of the obstacles they faced in getting to the United States. Once they arrived, the stories illustrate how the boys were received in the States and taken to holding cells or detention centers nicknamed “The Freezers.” Continue reading
Today marks the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct 15). In honor of this I present you with a book that celebrates Mexican-American culture and traditions. In My Family/En mi familia by Carmen Lomas Garza (ages 6 +) is an award-winning bilingual picture book illustrated with the author’s own paintings.
The author, who is one of the most prominent Mexican-American painters living today (Lee & Low Books) writes on the first page:
“Every time I paint, it serves a purpose-to bring about pride in our Mexican American Culture. When I was growing up, a lot of us were punished for speaking Spanish. We were punished for being who we were, and we were made to feel ashamed of our culture. That was very wrong. My art is a way of healing these wounds, like the savila plant (aloe vera) heals burns and scrapes when applied by a loving parent or grandparent”.
Lomas Garza’s desire to celebrate her Mexican American identity makes this book a great resource for introducing Hispanic Heritage Month in the classroom.
Photo from Flickr CC user: Wonderlane
UNM’s Latin American and Iberian Institute previously hosted a K-12 professional development workshop on teaching about the US-Mexico border. Keira and Katrina created an accompanying online resource for educators that I have personally found to be extremely helpful for understanding the complexity of the region.
Resources for Teaching about the Border is a gateway to dozens of carefully crafted K-12 lesson plans that were created by the Kellogg Institute, the Bracero History Archive, New Mexico State University’s Center for Latin American & Border Studies, Teaching Tolerance, and dozens of other reputable organizations.
Lesson plans cover diverse border issues in the areas of history, economics, immigration, media, and physical landscapes. Some examples include: Continue reading