By Joanna Shenk
Early in the morning of May 1st, 10 people from First Mennonite Church of San Francisco joined with approximately 100 others to shut down the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building and create a beautiful street mural.
Our goal was to express solidarity with immigrants who are caught in the clutches of ICE and/or facing deportation. We wanted to bring awareness to this injustice and saw May 1st, International Workers’ Day, as a good opportunity.
By Benjamin Bolaños
Play Corrido de Cesar Chavez
That’s called Corrido de Cesar Chavez. It’s Tex-Mex Mariachi style music. And I hate it. Not the lyrics but the music. I really really do. German Polka music in Mexico? Not really my thing. However, regardless of my lack of affinity for this type of music, it does evoke strong memories for me. I’ve been running away from Mariachi music for a long time. Or at least I thought I was. But it’s not really Mariachi music that I’ve tried to keep at arm’s length. It’s what it culturally represents for me. It anchors me to a time, place, a history I’ve battled with internally, again and again. The music has power over my identity and the path I forged for myself: Latino, Hispanic, Salvadoran, Mexican, immigrant, the migrant worker, the outcast, outsider, the great unwashed, the spic, the illegal…. All labels used to define my identity. See, that music, its harsh melody, that accordian noise, reminds me of those labels. They are like chains to me, a prison, a monolithic omnipotent force that you cannot ever escape, forever shackled to my being, my mind and soul. But assimilation, to belong, was the other power force. Assimilation was the antithesis, the remedy, and the medicine to those labels, to the music. Assimilation meant opportunity and a sure way out. It was the language of the powerful. Continue reading