And Life Goes On
We've survived the holidays, now what?
Published on LatinoLA: January 6, 2004
Like me, you've probably had your fill of tamales, ham, turkey, menudo, pan dulce, pumpkin pie and thousands of other kinds of sweets. (Not to mention tons of leftovers!)
You've hugged and shook hands with everyone you've come into contact with, and have wished well for all those you consider "good people". You've received and given out so many gifts that your trash can is probably 70% wrapping paper & boxes. The smiles of happy little kids has melted your heart to the verge of tears. Mild regrets of things you didn't or couldn't accomplish in 2003 have all but disappeared, bouyed by New Year's resolutions and feelings of self imposed fresh starts.
I'm there...like a lot of you.
But also like a lot of you, there have been some downsides. Although I've been priviliged to meet and communicate with Gente all over the Country and different parts of the world, it's obvious we're all hurting in some way or another.
That perpetuates la lucha por vida de nuestra gente.
We're still losing our young carnalitos & carnalitas to the curse of substance abuse, a dilapitating educational system which discourages upward mobility from poverty, and a general feeling of loathing from society for those entrapped in poverty, guaranteeing disenfranchisement.
There are exceptions, of course, but sadly, many of these exceptions forget where they came from. The results are, of course, regretable. Thus are the chances for every successive generation of Raza diminished, with options and opportunities limited to a priviliged few.
This would almost insure a bottomless pit of cheap labor and an easily exploitable large group of people. Considering the future and continued growth of the Latino population in the United States, guess who isn't in line for the last tortilla? I pray young Raza prove me wrong. Crumbs are OK for some, but I say it's time we get a whole slice of the pie! And I mean "WE" in the true sense of the word!
We're still losing our young guys in Iraq. Like WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, Grenada, Panama, and the Persian Gulf war, some of the most heroic combat acts have been selflessly performed by young Latino warriors representing the USA. Yet, in California, some of our Gente aren't seen worthy enough to get a driver's license. Whenever somebody mentions the word "immigrant", the media usually alludes to gente Latino, and usually in a negative tone. Ironically, 9/11 has brought a new collective sense of loathing to people of Middle Eastern descent...brown people who look Latino! (Or we look like them!)
As an educated Chicano Professional, Viet Nam Vet and participant in the L.A. Chicano Movimiento of the 1960's-70's, there is a unique feeling of pain, anger and frustration within me that simmers like un oya de frijoles listo whenever I consider these facts...and it's not a new feeling.
Never mind that Corporate America has sold more than half its ass to wealthy Asian, European and Middle Eastern interests, making the price of buying a home no longer the "American Dream". Never mind that we have one of the most lamest, baboso Presidents in history that has allowed the price of freedom, liberty and privilige to soar out of the reach of many around the world. Never mind that a wealthy, politically well-connected, and European-born Caucasian became Governor of one of the richest American states in the Country and the World, with one of the largest Latino populations, who are evidently not on the new Governor's most favored list.
The fact is....life goes on. What's done is done. ?Asi no mas! Let's move on.
I forget who it was that stated during the Movimiento, "If we can't come up with a way to go around a wall, over or through a wall, then the wall must come down." I remember when this statement, put into action in Berlin, Germany, a few years later, was rejoiced around the World. Hey, it worked before......
So what then, is our wall? The wall that confronts our Gente?
I believe that wall is ignorance and wasted talent. We must once again put education as a priority for our young, and strive to make it attainable by all. We need to put concerted efforts into rehabilitating our young from substance abuse, rather than settle for incarceration as the ultimate answer. We need to provide for continued access and exposure to the arts and cultures of the world, which enlighten and encourage creative thought and the exchange of ideas...things that lead to peace & prosperity.
We need to learn (like other successful immigrant groups have over history), how to come together, put petty agendas aside, accept each other for the unique qualities that make us similar yet different, and combine resources for the common good, which insures legacy on our terms, discouraging stereotypes.
I have stated before in earlier articles that Mi Gente has made some noticable strides in Government, the Arts, Entertainment, Business and Athletic fields. We need to continue this on a larger scale, while being careful not to shut doors behind us.
Let's all try to help some Carnalito or Carnalita this year. Let's all make some efforts to come together with others for a good, common cause benefitting our young and our Gente. No matter what struggles and difficulties you've endured in your lifetime, there is no little kid to blame, therefore, no need to make them examples. The way you treat kids today is the way they'll treat you when they're adults tomorrow.
What goes around comes around, etc...tu sabes!
A couple of years ago, there was a T.V. commercial in California that showed a young Latino gangmember transforming into a surgeon while explaining how he had been given a "Second Chance" and an education. His parting words ended with him smiling gently and saying "The next time someone like me cuts you open, it may be to save your life". Although it only ran for a few months, it had a profound affect on a lot of young Latinos of college age at the time. We need more public service announcements like that.
2004 is already a week old. I'll continue to play the finest Oldies but Goodies on the World Wide Web for you, but now with a message and theme for Mi Gente to come together. I'm hoping my music will be one of the bonds for us. I encourage all Mi Gente to follow suit, in whatever endeavor that allows you forum. I promise you, it will be good for the soul.....
...and life will go on!
Frankie Firme spins the finest lowriding Oldies but Goodies in the world, live every Thursday at 6:oopm, (L.A. time), only on www.kclafm.com