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 →
Our outreach team recently partnered with Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque, the Mexican Consulate of Albuquerque, the Spanish Resource Center of Albuquerque, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center to put together a workshop for teachers, discussing how to incorporate the Mexican Revolution into middle and high school classrooms.
Frankly, I had no idea how difficult it is to learn about this cataclysmic event in Mexican history.
Plainly, the Revolution meant—and continues to mean—different things to different people. Diverse groups with contradictory goals were involved in the fight against Porfirio Díaz. Those who took up arms were farmers, miners, professionals, artisans, businessmen, and career soldiers. Some clung tightly to abstract principles such as “liberty,” while others demanded labor protections or the immediate restoration of indigenous lands. Some sought only to rid the community of the local hacendado, while others reacted in principle against three decades of Díaz’s ironclad rule. Folks routinely traversed armies or switched sides altogether. Alliances formed and fragmented. With few exceptions, the leaders of the Revolution were assassinated or exiled by political opponents. Continue reading →