Nos vemos: I’m heading down the road
News from Capitol Hill. The immigration reform bill is dead and the Supreme Court shows its colors by dismantling desegregation efforts in the K-12 system. ‘Tis a sad day when our legislators show once again that they are unable to take action on one of the most pressing issues facing the nation. Is this 2007 or 1967. At least in 1965 and 1986 the nation’s leaders were able to pass legislation that accounted for the world we lived in then. Our leaders today are moving us backwards by failing to figure out how to move us forward.
And I’m starting my trip.
A Journey Across Our America: Observations & Reflections on the Latinoization of the U.S. From July-December 2007 I’ll be biking across the U.S. This experience will be the basis for book that follows José Martí’s 1891 call in “Our America” for a distinctively American culture, one that embraces rather than denies, the dynamic and organic relationship between place, language, and experience that shapes the American continent. In the blog I’ll document the exchanges I have with people about the Latinoization of the U.S. as well as my own life experiences and thoughts.
I spent Monday and Tuesday leading a seminar on immigration called American Crossings at the Minnesota Humanities Center for a group of 50 impassioned educators who know that education is the key to our future, as is the need to find a just and fair solution to our immigration policies.
Last weekend Yectli and I rode the Willard Munger Trail to new personal records. I rode 120 miles; he went from Hinckley to Duluth and reached 144. As I head out, I’m wrapping up details and have lots of folks to thank for their support and encouragement in getting ready and for believing in me. To my co-workers, friends, and colleagues who have expressed their support in myriad ways and gave me a farewell cake today–THANK YOU! To my family and friends who are always there for me–I am a lucky brother-son. To Yectli, Gilberto, and Lisa who rode with me and pushed me to strengthen myself–I’ll think / thank you all along the way. To Brittany, my R.A. last semester who did the tedious work of drafting the first draft of my route , mil gracias. To Jen and Noah for taking Shadow (la gata) in for a portion of my trip–I hope she’s good company. To Marianne for seeing me off in California this coming weekend: I look forward to introducing you to Minneapolis. To colleagues, students, and friends on campus and in the community–thanks for accepting me into the fold. To the CLA communications team, especially Kelly O’ and Kelly Mac, your help has been phenomenal. Rusty: the maps that once guided you will serve me well. To community members who’ve called or written wishing me well: gracias! To the youth of La Escuelita and Academia Cesar Chavez–you are our future and I look forward to your leadership. We need it!
To all those who have expressed concern for my safety–Your good will and sentiments inspire me and lighten my load. I’ll be back and have many stories to tell that will go well beyond what I’ll be able to share with you on this blog.
P.S. An update on the map. Already my route has been altered. Instead of trying to snake my way thru Central California, I’ll be going down the coast along Highway 1 to Eugene, OR.
I’m a 46 year old Tejano transplant living in Minnesota since the summer of 2004 when I decided to jump off the proverbial cliff and see what life would hold for me if I accepted a position as chair of The Department of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota. Surrounded by a great group of people, the work has been super hard, but fun & rewarding. I think we’re making progress all the time. What’s progress? Well, that’s always debateable because it’s relative. From where we were, we’ve come far. From where we want to be, we’ve a long way to go. In the meanwhile, this blog is about another journey, one which I hope will keep me sane as I try to figure out this crazy world and my place in it…