Nuestra América Española!

I decided to watch the documentary entitled: “Soul of a Nation: ‘Carazón de America’ – Celebrating Hispanic Culture” which was aired as an ABC special to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. As I decided to tune in, I was reminded of classroom lectures / courses of study where Professors would add film / documentaries to enhance the learning material. But to watch such does not necessarily mean that the aim is for the student to be in 100% agreement with the visual material, but actually the same as particular pieces of reading material – to poke and prod a students’ thought process and to really find what the learning evoked within the student, what is professionally termed as the process of inquiry. To allow the mind to inquire, think and determine how to proceed in terms of the learning, and within the contexts of the course.

This is what learning institutions seek to try to do, but of course the intersection of politics and trying not to make learning institutions as politically motivated could actually be viewed as very difficult, especially with the current health pandemic that in a horrid sense may have actually mortified students and the process of learning. That has created layers of anxiety, disruption, and in a sense blocking this process of allowing the mind to inquire. We could say as a form to control the human mind, or even further – to stump the growth of the human mind / intelligence at the level of the individual and the collective. It is disheartening especially for those who are excited by learning, feel passionate to learn, within a formal and informal setting. But I know, hope and remain optimistic that we will get through the pandemic. Maybe societies will become changed given the psychological and health impact, as to metaphorically say: injured societies must heal together.

I am proud of the many home schoolers. school systems, public / private who have tried their best to accommodate students. Given the dictatorships at the level of the Macro – that is almost prescribing and utilizing the health pandemic as to how to Govern public institutions, mobility and human freedoms. The beauty of the human mind and the gratitude is found through ones ability to try to make the best of a health pandemic – and of course to nourish the human mind / body / heart / soul as best as possible, thus; to return to the former part of this writing – to nourish ones interests with the resources availiable.

“Soul of a Nation: ‘Carazón de America’ – Celebrating Hispanic Culture.” ABC Broadcasting Company.

I was grateful to watch this documentary as it was the first documentary that I have ever watched pertaining to Hispanic Heritage. I would like to thank ABC’s team and all who were involved in making this documentary possible. If I wanted to comment upon all of the segments – of course I would have to re-watch. But what interested me the most was to see the interview of Ms. Dolores Huerta by ABC’s White House correspondent Cecelia Vega, especially as connected to my current reading from Gibson’s “El NORTE” (2019). As I just finished reading Chapter 14, instead of directly taking notes to write my summary, I decided to comment upon Huerta.

Dolores Huerta: It was rather pleasing to see a living treasure and a legend in her own right – especially with Huerta’s connection to Ceśar Chávez, to advocate for the rights of migrant farm workers, agricultural workers and particularly Mexican Americans. Of Huerta, Gibson writes that along with Chávez they founded the “National Farm Workers Association in 1962; it merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers in 1966” (Gibson, 2019, p. 375-376). Whilst I know that it is easy to reflect, comment and write about what was historically achieved through great activism, individual and collective struggles, I was absolutely impressed with the idea of trying to obtain and improve working conditions with non-violent means. With the aim of achieving and improving working conditions as integral to that of human dignity (2019, p. 375-376).

I appreciated Ms. Vega’s enthusiasm and would equally find excitement to meet, learn and hear stories from a living pioneer Ms. Dolores Huerta.I appreciated Huerta’s reflective tone. Almost as though she felt a sense of peace from the historical struggles, but also to hint at the need for healing within the Latino community – to learn about the indigenous roots – and the continued need for the equality Diaspora. Huerta’s tone emphasized this idea of the non-violent mechanisms from her own living legacy.

Mount Cristo Rey: I loved to see the sacred space within El Paso, Texas that intersects with Juarez, Mexico. The rhetoric and tone from the documentary created a feeling of peace. The need to take the time to reflect upon what is within, and to regain a sense of humanity, dignity; given the political rhetorics surrounding the U.S. and Mexico border. The Mount Cristo sculpture was created by Spanish Sculptor Urbici Soler – Soler reimagines the sacred space of border lands, to one of where many who are in the face of danger or religious persecution can find solace, healing and a sense of belonging. These ideas connected well to Gibson’s previous chapters where we are inclined to reflect upon the unique history of the U.S. / Mexico border and how spaces such as Mount Cristo Rey deserve to be preserved, as part of shared interconnected history and heritage.

Hispanic Culture: From the perspective of Hispanic culture we learn of the many faces and origins of those who claim the term Hispanic. But I also think that those who say Cuban African, Hispanic African and so on could delve deeper into ones own history, to reflect upon how did Africans enter the land of America? And how the creation of racial “race” intersections originated from runaway slaves going back and forth from the British colonies. Spanish Governors of the Spanish territories felt the need to protect these individuals then termed as runaways (p. 82-105). My aim here is not to create a type of divide by utilizing the construct of “race” but rather to open up a thought space – particularly for activist groups such as Black Lives Matter to reflect upon history such as this. And also the help that was offered by the Spanish to the African slaves. I am also weary that creating months such as this don’t become a way for politically motivated activist groups to grab and hound Hispanic / Latino populations, as a way to further strengthen their own political cause, views and agendas.

Indigenous Populations: With respect to the indigenous populations, Indigenous Mexican / Spanish or Chicana, Mestizaje and Amerindians, I also echo my above view related to the political activist groups as a mechanism to hound / grab your attention, but again to open space for thought and further learning with focused attention upon how historical relations with the Spanish and Indigenous began to flourish. We can relate to the early encouragement of the marriages between the Spanish and Indigenous encouraged by the Spanish Crown (p. 85) and Spanish Bartolomé de las Casas who was against the brutal treatment of the indigenous people. It was the French and English that were actually quite alarmed with the flourishing economies and societies formed by the Spanish Empires, and relations with the indigenous people when they arrived upon the Americas.

Spanish Heritage Month: But this does not mean that Hispanic / Latino are treated better than any other minority / majority populations. What we see today is the precedent minority groups have taken within minority populations, but the world simply put is not just black and white. Whist my purpose here is not to create a racial argument, I do want to create a thought space – to invite ones thinking, view, opinion, and other ways of knowing. Which actually can be quite difficult given ones own conditioning. To exemplify, I too reflected upon the term: Hispanic Heritage Month, Where populations groups share the common feature of the Spanish language to push for a change to Spanish Heritage Month. Given that the root of Hispanic is from the Spanish Explorations, Spanish Empire, territorial claims, even in the lands of what is known as Mexico today.

Thank You! It is with these thoughts once again I would like to say a huge thank you to ABC’s team. Everyone involved in putting together this documentary. The development of my thoughts have exemplified the process of inquiry – to allow the development of thought – particularly where the interests stem from. With respect to bordering spaces to also connect to current events, to offer peace and hope to the Haitian Migrants who are facing brutal treatment. I don’t think it is humane to use barbaric forces to deter or punish those who are escaping, but rather to seek further understanding as to why this is happening, and to work with Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations to find humane solutions.

Helpful Links:

Reference:

Gibson, C. (2019). EL NORTE The Epic and Forgotten History of Hispanic North America. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.

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Shazia’s Publisher Notes: Original notes pertaining to documentary written on September 17th. Blog post hand-written on 23rd September 2021 and updated on September 26 – 27th, 2021. Whilst within these thoughts I have praised the work of this activism to improve worker rights in the contexts of history, I think that we are lucky that people as such have existed to improve the human condition past and present. Whilst these efforts often involve the risk of human health and life, human advocacy can also be in the form of strengthening the individual and those that we hold dearly and close to us. Thank you!

Blog Post Title | The title of this blog post Nuestra América Española is translated as Our Spanish America! Which is inspired by the many individuals who desired to preserve Spanish American History and in particular reference to Cuban José Martí Political activist, poet, Latin American Literature writer and much more.

With Love & Kindness! 🙂

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