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Guadalupe Center in Crisis: The San Antonio Express-News finally publishes a story/What took them so long?

The SAEN has suggested they will be doing a substantial

story on the Guadalupe Cultural Center. This is what happens when
a corporation owns a newspaper - you publish stories about
"good" latinos for the brown people to read your paper and read the ads. And blast/stereotype or don't write about the "bad"/rebellious/controversial/passionate brown ones because
they might upset the conservative advertisers and publisher.

Unfortunately, all the media in town is corporate-owned -
except for KEDA, the only independent radio station in
town - the conjunto station.

Dave Davies, the new executive at Texas Public Radio pretty much stated that the public radio affiliate could only react - to the Guadalupe Center story. In other words, no story.
He's called me before to complain about how not one Latina gets to have a real voice in San Antonio. A city where brown women are in the majority.

This is the San Antonio Express-News story below that ran last Friday, March 23, 2006

Arts | Entertainment


Guadalupe center gets called out

Web Posted: 03/24/2006 12:00 AM CST

Elda Silva
Express-News Staff Writer

Councilwoman Patti Radle is urging the board of directors of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center to "take immediate action" in responding to community concerns about the organization and staff complaints.

The statement was made in a letter presented, but not read, to the board on Radle's behalf by assistant Santiago Garcia at a board meeting at the Guadalupe Theater on Thursday night.

"Not addressing the issues immediately has allowed the issues to fester and has been a discredit to the reputation of the organization," Radle writes.

In December, the Guadalupe's public relations marketing manager Dolores Zapata Murff filed a formal complaint with the board alleging racial discrimination and sexual harassment by President R. Bret Ruiz. In addition, former education director Mary Jessie Garza has filed a complaint with the board regarding her termination in January and is seeking reinstatement.

Community members have expressed concern about the center's education program, citing a drop in the number of courses offered under the Juntos en Arte program and tuition costs they allege have cut community participation.

Several members of the community spoke at the meeting, including freelance writer Barbara Renaud Gonzalez who called for the resignation of the board to a smattering of applause.

"I think that the board, frankly, needs to resign and needs to move on and let us rebuild the Guadalupe," she said.

Maria Ibarra, who has taught theater at the center, began by asking three board members seated at a long table so they faced away from the crowd of about 30 to "take a moment and look at all the faces that are here out of courtesy, out of respect, so you know your community."

"It's a community arts center," Ibarra said. "Where are the arts? Why is this theater empty? Why isn't anything happening? Why doesn't the community just walk in like they once used to? Why do I have parents who can't afford to bring their children to the classes any longer? What can we do?

"I know arts funding is getting cut. We all know that. But if we don't know where you're headed, if we don't get any answers from you, the only thing we can do is assume you don't care," she said.

Board chairman Juan Aguilera directly addressed community members.

"This board does not have anything against anybody out there," he said. "There are two complaints that have been raised, and they're all over the media so it's not anything that's private. I've instructed every one of these board members and I've told staff this is a personnel matter. You cannot speak about those things because we have to honor and respect the privacy of those individuals. And we will do that.

"So our silence does not mean we do not care. Our silence means we respect our employees."


Juana Gallo said…
The error in not speaking up when unethical practices are occurring lies not only with the SAEN but with every individual who fails to stand and defend what is right. The argument in the community is that it is either too political (translated to mean, I have to watch out for my own ass)or that they don't want to hurt the Guadalupe (translated to mean, I have to watch out for my ass). It all boils down to the same thing and folks, if you can't stand up for what is right then how can you call yourselves activists? Right now students all over the nation are teaching us how to stand up for justice.Are we listening? the Ninos Heroes of the Guadalupe have stood and spoken since October yet little from the "activists". Pues que paso, raza? Gato got your tongue? Just for the record, don't call yourself an activist around those young people who have stood and spoken on the record for what is right and just. Como decia Reyes Lopez Tijerina, "Me da verguenza.
LaRed said…
In reference to Juan Aguilera's comment about the Board's silence... "respect the employees???" You respect the employee R. Bret Ruiz. Certainly not the women that have suffered injustice and have dared to bring it to your attention. Respect would have been to address the many complaints both formal and informal that you received about your choice of President. Respect means getting rid of that lying, racist excuse of a man that will not even turn around and face the "community" he was talking about "serving" at the Board meeting. Respect would have been if you as the Board chair would have insisted that he turn around and face the many people that were there to speak out against all the things that have gone wrong since he took over the Guadalupe. You don't know the first thing about respect!

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