"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, October 17, 2008

This is why Obama won't win Texas -- Si Se Puede

At a brunch with my comadres the other day, my girlfriends confessed that their elderly parents did not want to vote for who they callel negro. Some of them weren't going to vote at all, they said.

"El negro" is a Spanish translation for "Black man." It isn't a negative word at all, but it can be negative, depending on how it's used.

My girlfriends are voting for Obama, but they don't know what to do with their parents.

The tragic history of Texas has ensured that for Latinos and Blacks of the boomer generation and older -- the prejudice, ignorance, hate and scramble for scraps - continues.

Latinos make up 20% of the registered voters in Texas, and Blacks make up 19%. I know we have over 10% progressive White voters, so why can't Obama win Texas?

The past is still with us. Today, I roamed around the San Antonio (majority Latino) barrios today, Southside/Westside/Eastside. Where are the Obama signs?

Because the yard signs cost $7.00.

I don't have $7.00 to spend on yard signs, and neither do many on the Southside, Westside, or Eastside San Antonio, apparently.

But I am an activist and have given thousands of volunteer hours to help the party and written about Obama and Latinos. When I visited the San Antonio Democratic Party headquarters in the King William district, the mansion-rich district of San Antonio, Thomas Rocky Moore said a yard sign would cost me $7.00.

In downtown San Antonio, Judy Hall wanted to charge me $5.00.

When I told Judy Hall at the downtown office that I didn't have the money, she just looked at me and smiled. Isn't this shortsighted, I asked? Don't you want to see signs all over San Antonio?

She replied that Obama didn't have the Texas electoral votes.

At the last stop, Bexar County Democratic Party's Main Headquarters on St. Mary's Street run by Carla Vela, the Black and White Democratic Party workers argued with me when I told them I didn't have any money, and that they were being shortsighted by not distributing, by not giving away the signs all over the barrios, they basically threw me out. "Take a sign and get out!" the white guy said. The black guy must've thought about it, because he ran out a little later with two yard signs. He saw me with T.C. Calvert, civil rights activist and president of the Neighborhoods First Alliance, who spent the whole afternoon along with me touring the neighborhoods, worried about the lack of energy and excitement, evidenced by the lack of yard signs and too-quiet campaign offices.

The disrespect I felt and "we need to raise money for the Democratic party" line on the part of the Obama volunteers would have ensured that the swing voters I know wouldn't vote for him or vote at all -- that's how cold it was in there.

No matter that Latinos run some of the Democratic Party offices in Texas, I can see that the Party still doesn't understand the working-class Latino who is vital to making the difference in the Texas electoral votes. Of course elderly Latinos can vote for "el negro" and help secure the 34 electoral votes Obama needs to win the presidency. But we need to include everyone, not just the middle-class and upper-class voters I saw at the offices. If people like me were welcomed more often, we could help them, but I don't feel they want me/us right now.


tybanez said...

Barbara, I wrote a very eloquent response to your posting before realizing that I had to register. When I registered I lost what I wrote. Chihuahua, ahora para recordar!
It is a reality that the past prejudices and racism still have a strong hold on our elders and our country. Both political parties deny that neither exist. yet, here we are with my parent's generation not trusting a member of their party, the Democratic party because of the color of his skin. But maybe, Obama could have transcended this mistrust if he had sincerely connected with the communities of color Latinos and Blacks. Many of my Chicano high school students have Barack Obama pins pinned to their backpacks. The pins are interesting because it has Obama's portrait al estilo Bob Marley, rasta style. Obama invested his time connecting to the younger generation. My students dished out $$ for the pin even took the time to walk into the democratic party office. When I went into the KW office a handsome African American man gave me the price for the signs and invited me to VP debates the next night in their office. Yet, again, I did not feel the urgency of needing my vote or my community's vote. I plan to vote for Obama. I wish our elders trusted him as a leader. Maybe, our elder's know that "el negro" needs to connect toand understand them sincerely before they will transcend the past.

carmen la ronca said...

Barack could not win Tejas because yard signs cost $7??? Funny he won in Bexar, Harris oh what the hell, who reads this blog any way.

Carmen La Ronca

linda a said...

glad to have found your blog again.

i for one agree with you that the one political party that could reach out to us more aggressively doesn't.

luckily obama is the new president elect..perhaps he'll change more minds in the next four years.

linda a said...

back again... i read this and i thought about this blog entry in relation. this is regarding the vote on prop 8 in cali:

"The leaders of the No side acknowledged that they did not make a serious outreach to the African-American community and did not feature blacks in their ads. After the campaign they wrote, "We achieve nothing if we isolate the people who did not stand with us in this fight. "