"Remember El Alma" First On-site Performance Challenging the Alamo, March 2010

"Remember El Alma," First on-site performance
challenging the Alamo
original poem written by Barbara Renaud Gonzalez

Adapted by Virginia Grise; Produced by Bihl Haus Arts, Kellen McIntyre, Ph.D; Performed at Luminaria!
San Antonio, Hemisfair Plaza, San Antonio, Texas, March 13, 2010; 5 Actresses, 1 Musician
A cast of beautiful women, all ages and colors, from
all over San Antonio
; Foto Credit: Joan Frederick @2010

Friday, September 29, 2006

Want Peace? Imagine Grief: Part 2

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Carlos Arredondo’s oldest son, LCPL Alexander S. Arredondo, died in Iraq on August 25, 2004. He was twenty years old. Carlos Arredondo has been on a national tour protesting the war. His other son, Brian, is currently being recruited by the Marines.

Listen to his and others’ stories at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center on Saturday, September 30, 2006, at 7pm. The Esperanza is located at 922 San Pedro in San Antonio.
Tel 210.228.0201

Produced by 411 Productions

Music by WillieJ

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Want Peace? Imagine War: Part 1

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Kyle Qubrosi lost his father in war. But he doesn’t want revenge. Listen to his and others’ stories at the Esperanza Center on Saturday, September 30, 2006, at 7pm. The Esperanza is located at 922 San Pedro, one-half mile from the downtown library. Admission is free. 210.228.0201

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

His son died in Iraq. Mijito, mijito, mijito...

Imagine the suffering. Imagine the grief. Imagine the heart.

I remember the war in Nicaragua in the 1980s, the contra scandal, the weapons for hostages. Oliver North took the blame for Ronald Reagan. I remember when a bomb blew up in Beirut and kill about 200 Marines. I watch them on the TV, searching for them, carrying the bodies out on stretchers, pieces of them. And what I learned of Vietnam in my country? I never understood what they was fighting for. Costa Rica, it was my home when I was a boy, and we had the same climate, same weather, and I was afraid the United States would someday come to Costa Rica and do the same thing. So, when my son told me at age 17 that he was going to join the service, I said, "Oh, no," and he said, "Don't worry, Dad."

His mother knew the whole time. Then they told me last, I guess because they know how I was feeling. The Marines had an office in the high school and the recruiters know everything, know who comes from divided families, especially when the father's not around. They offer Alex thousands of dollars for signing up and help with college. Though we share custody, one parent can sign. His mother sign the paper. From that moment on, of course, I support my son. I had US Marine bumper stickers on my car, flags in my home, letting people know, even though I didn't want him to go.

excerpt, "War is Personal" from The Nation, May 8, 2006



Carlos Arredondo lost his son in Iraq on August 25, 2004. His younger son, Brian, is being recruited by the Marines. Mr. Arredondo, who lives near Boston, Mass., will be at the Esperanza Center on Saturday, September 30, 2006, at 7:00 pm. The Esperanza Center is located at 922 San Pedro, one-half mile north of the downtown library. 210.228.0201

His appearance is part of the Esperanza's middle east series, examining the people, the culture, the politics, and the history of that region.
On Friday night, September 29, the parents of Rachel Corrie, a peace activist who was tragically killed as she protested the destruction of a Palestinian home, will share their story.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The media today is about selling us junk and talking us into war

From a media discussion about media that matters held at the Esperanza Center on Wednesday, August 16th, 2006. College students, media activists, and media producers were in the audience.


In San Antonio, Texas, a controversial art exhibit

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Because of this art exhibit, the Esperanza Center was labelled as "anti-semitic" by the San Antonio Express-News.  The Center is hosting a series of programs examining the art, culture, history and people of the middle east, with a special look at the occupation of Palestine. 

Friday, September 01, 2006

The San Antonio Express-News uses the anti-semitism word to sell its newspapers at the cost of peace in the middle east

You know this man in the pic? Yep, this is Robert "Bob" Rivard, Executive Editor of the San Antonio Express-News, presiding like some patron over what remains - of a newspaper.

Yesterday, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center - all feministas - met with him and the editorial board - all white men and one latina editorial writer - to challenge the SAEN's biased coverage of the Esperanza Center's middle east series. The Esperanza Center has been hosting a packed-audience series examining the middle east story - featuring the voices of people you just don't read or hear about in the media. The discussions examine the history, culture, and marginalized peoples of the middle east - including the plight of the Palestinians, who are living under seige.

On August 17, 2006, the SAEN published a front-page story using the word anti-semitism in the headlines, "Claims of Anti-Semitism Fuel City Arts Fund."
The reporter Guillermo X. Garcia quoted Rabbi Block a couple of times saying the Esperanza Center was anti-semitic. That's a loaded word, and one that represents everything the Esperanza is against: prejudice/hate/injustice.

In a column following this story by the conservative and simplistic Roddy Stinson, who quoted Rabbi Block as well in his column on August 20, 2006: "They (Esperanza Peace and Justice Center) stand for neither peace nor justice, and I am finding very little of their program has anything to do with the arts," said Block, who sees Esperanza's anti-Israel programming as a pernicious form of anti-Semitism."

DeAnne Cuellar, the media reform advocate at the Esperanza Center, reported that Bob Rivard acted like a patron at the SAEN's editorial boardmeeting with the women of the Esperanza Center:

1. Attack the Esperanza, using scraps of anything he could find to diminish and deride the women.
2. Attack his reporter, Guillermo X. Garcia, when the Esperanza shared an email they from Rabbi Block where he denies using the term "anti-semitic" when talking about the Esperanza (I'm looking at this email right now)
3. And as he's known for, Rivard looked at Deanne's
chichis the rest of the time. This is what Rivard does when it comes to women, latinas, and how he respects anyone who's grappling with real issues.

The Esperanza women included some of the most formidable talent in San Antonio: Amy Kastely, the attorney who led and won the Esperanza vs. City of San Antonio lawsuit in federal court in 2001. Nadine Saliba, a brainy and compassionate Lebanese-born political thinker; Gloria Ramirez, editor of La Voz, the Esperanza Center's monthly newsletter; Salwa Arnous, a Palestinian-born artist who's had 40 art exhibits and whose work is up at the Esperanza Center; Dianne Monroe, a progressive Jewish writer and playwright; Judith Norman, Ph.D, a progressive Jewish activist and professor at Trinity University. And of course, Deanne Cuellar, the media activist.

Why did the San Antonio Express-News use the word "anti-semitism" in the headlines and in the story?
Why did Stinson use it?

What kind of journalism or editors do we have in this town?
Are they hyping hate? Why has Rabbi Block written an email denying he said it?

In a city that's 60% brown and becoming more so every day, as thousands of people die in a war when peace is possible in the middle east - you see what kind of newspaper editors and journalism we have to endure. It begins at home, doesn't it? I can barely read the San Antonio Express-News anymore.

Excerpt from the SAEN Story on August 17, 2006 by Guillermo X. Garcia:

As the city begins the process of allocating almost $4 million in arts funding, officials are facing a budding dispute between next-door neighbors that has led to accusations of cultural racism and counter charges of attempts to stifle artistic freedom. At the heart of the dispute is the criticism by a prominent Jewish religious leader of the political undertones in an Esperanza Peace and Justice Center cultural program about the Middle East conflict.
Rabbi Barry Block of Temple Beth-El questions whether city funds are being used in a program on the Middle East by the center that he says promotes anti-Semitism. City cultural officials defended the center and note several of its community, women's and cultural programs have been nationally recognized. The center's director angrily denied the group opposes the Jewish viewpoint and says the center counts on support and input from Jewish members. "They stand for neither peace nor justice, and I am finding that very little of their program has anything to do with the arts," Block said. Head of the city's largest temple, Block said it would be inappropriate for city funds to be used by the Esperanza center to put on a controversial series of ongoing presentations, discussion groups and films that present the Palestinian perspective, which he categorizes as virulently anti-Semitic.