¡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
Hey there readers!! This week I am pleased to bring you some information on Ann Jaramillo, the author of this month’s book club featured book, La Linea (ages 10 and up).
Ann Jaramillo teaches English as a Second Language to Mexican-American seventh and eighth graders in Salinas, California, many of whom are migrants. La Linea is her first novel. Over ninety-five percent of her students are of Mexican descent, and many are first generation, new arrival immigrants themselves. She wrote this story for them, for the kids who come into her classroom, ready to learn, after surviving a daunting journey. “From them I have learned the meaning of optimism, courage, and determination” (pg 128). 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