"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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The revolution has begun: Dream Act Fails in Senate/Immigrant Students Eyes Now Open

Back in the late eighties, when most of the Dream Act Activists weren't yet born, and their parents were on the way to the baile to meet each other, the middle and upper-class in Dallas was sloshy with Christmas money.  I saw the Dreamer's parents everywhere: landscapers; roofers; the coolest restaurants; carwashes; nannies in the park;  janitors; and if you were up and around in the early morning, you could see packed cars leaving the warehouses, a working-class flood of brown people -- all over Dallas where they'd just completed a late-night shift in some kind of assembly work.

I'm glad, painful as it is for me to say this -- that the Dream Act failed.  Now these beautiful, idealistic, dreamers, are awake to the powerful interests in this country.  Now they will see beyond the hip-hop, Shakiraness of brown commercials to their destiny.  And what is that?  To lead this country, to educate our community, and to teach all of us to vote as never before.  To be different.  To do better than what my civil rights generation has done for you. 

Now they surely see how my mostly white generation and their followers is a tribe of fear -- of these Dreamers and how they will deny them --- as they tried to deny the Blacks in my youth, Cesar Chavez, Vietnam, La Raza, anyone who wanted justice, equality, dignity not defined by the status quo.  Now they see how we have got to do more than show what good, loyal, Americans we are.  

Bullshit.  Patriotic Americans do not start wars that are nightmares, good Americans do not invade other countries, loyalty is a blood-soaked word if it means that we will send the children of the working-class to wars so that we can save our oil and prestige, rewarding the parents with front-page stories of mijitos, medals, and big checks.  So that we can be proud of killing other people and getting killed themselves. That's not my kind of loyalty. 

I want the Dreamers to be the leaders that our President won't be -- and that your parents didn't want, because their dream is for you to have a nice home, new car, and to live in the suburbs.  That is exactly what my immigrant mother wanted for me, and how I disappointed her. But I have not disappointed myself.  In other words, once your "dream" is realized, our parents want us to forget the past.  Live for yourself and your family only.  And in time, as happened too often in my generation, the powerful might just might invite you to join them.  How proud your parents will be.  And then you will compromise all that has happened, because you want to belong.

This is the price of the American dream.  But you are getting a bigger gift for Christmas.  

I am telling you not to belong to anyone or anything except your soul that is not starving, but the richest ocean of all, the deepest gold mine, the bluest sky, and the greenest land of all. You are the dream of this country.  You are the American dream.   The American dream is not about money, or cars, or fame.  It is about justice.  In your group, and the next 65,000 high school undocumented graduating this spring, is a better Jefferson.  A working-class Bolivar.  A Nobel-prize winner.  I know this, I feel it in my bones.   

Those Senators who voted against you are afraid of you, your parents, and your potential to change this country.  Of course it was supposed to change.  It was supposed to change the moment our collective ancestor, el Cristobal Colon, arrived and showed how savage we can be with each other. 

So change the world.  Change everything.  Walk in truth and tell your hard-working parents and neighbors that you are exactly what this country has been waiting for.  Change this picture.

This is your destiny. 

photo:  Former San Antonio city councilwoman Maria Antonietta Berriozabal getting 
arrested at Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's office in San Antonio.  She and esteemed
professor Antonia Castaneda were arrested along with almost a dozen student-dreamers that night.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

They are starving and getting arrested to go to college/Dream Act in San Antonio, Texas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKj5njkUhdg&feature=player_embeddedLast night at the offices of our Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, over a dozen starving college students (20 days now without eating), were arrested, along with former City Councilwoman and spiritual leader Maria Antonietta Berriozabal, and labor scholar and activist Dr. Antonia Castaneda.

I am frankly dismayed at the lack of courage from our political leadership -- where are they?  Should I name names?  (Congressmen Ciro Rodriguez and Charlie Gonzalez, Mayor Julian Castro).

But the political leaders want to win elections (though Congressman Rodriguez lost his due to his pandering for independents instead of hell-with-the-consequences truth-telling).  So they wait, and they mollify, and they hope the tide will change.  It's gonna get alot worse before it gets better, and no thanks to the ambitions of those who live for what they think matters, instead of getting on the train to destiny.  

We need leaders.  And so here they are.  No fancy titles, status, or campaigns.  Just women speaking truth to power. 

I am proud to know both Maria Antonietta Berriozabal and Antonia Castaneda.  I am proud of these students who are so desperate to get a degree and make this world a better place.  I am proud they want to learn so much it hurts just to look at them.  And so they will change the world, this I know. 

The world is changing, and if the conservative forces out there don't want to see it, then we must talk to them and sometimes starve if that's what it takes to show them that we belong here, as much as their forefathers and mother wanted to come here, to these lands so long ago.  These young people are the best we have, and to deny them is to deny our greatest beauty, and the truth that we were meant to be here here together.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dog Whisperer of San Antonio/Andres Valdez


He's from San Antonio's southside, and he's the
real thing.  I've watched him handle three big dogs at once, and at his camp, he's got 16 dogs, many who were abandoned.  On this day, he made a friend of "Donkey," who's been chained up all his three years.  Donkey mauled my dog months ago, but now he's my buddy,
thanks to Andres, who helped me learn to
understand what dogs want.

With 100,000 stray dogs in San Antonio, it's good to know that Andres can help people with their pets, and also find a way to reach people who have forgotten what it is to love a dog on the streets.

To reach him, email him at fourkninekamp@yahoo.com

Sunday, November 07, 2010

La Perra died and it's my fault

I found her this morning.  La Perra was lying besides one of the creek's pillars under San Jacinto.  I don't
think she had been dead too long  because her body was not very cold.
The men at the Picnic tienda where I fed her last Sunday across the street tell me that she's been going down for a month.  I know that she starved to death, and that is the worst death of all.
Last Sunday I wanted to take her to the dog shelter here in San Anto, but they're closed on Sunday. I have two dogs in my tiny yard, and I was afraid to keep her with me.  On Monday I had to deal with my 91 year-old father's pre-funeral wishes in Raymondville, four hours away, and I was afraid to delay his wishes.  La Perra ate a little barbacoa on Sunday morning and I left food with the men, who promised to feed her.  I looked for her on Monday night, Tuesday, Wednesday, all week.  She must have been alive, just waiting to die.  I should have pressed Juanillo the homeless man when he told me that La Perra slept with him to help me find her right now.  I should have taken her to the Animal Defense League last Sunday, which is way north on Nacogdoches here, except they are very hard to reach, and the last time I needed their help with the dog I have at home now, they refused.
Still, this is my fault.  I didn't think my girlfriends would help me.  They just tease me and don't really want to know. 
La Perra died because I was afraid of my landlord, of rejection from the ADL, giving up on my friends who don't want to see that a starving dog is the most vulnerable creature in a world of social injustice.
I"m so sorry, La Perra.  I should have, I should have loved you more.  Please forgive me.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

She wants to die, the homeless man told me

I've been looking for La Perra since Tuesday.  The men who hang out at the Picnic on San Jacinto and Martin told me she had died.  That the owner had poisoned her.  That she was lying in the creek that runs under the Picnic where I first saw her.
Today, a small miracle.
At dark, I drove by again, and stopped.  I stepped out a bag of dogfood in my hand.  A homeless man came up to me, said "don't you remember me?"
He's one of the men who sleeps under the street, at the creek where La Perra walks.  Told me that she'd slept with him last night, that he tried to feed her but she refused to eat.
The owner bred her for puppies and then dumped her, he said, that he is a cruel man.  The homeless man's name is Juanillo, and he sleeps on a mattress with some blankets, and yes, I remember him now.
I gave him some food for La Perra, a leash, and my cell number.  And some money for him, too, he said that he works as a custodian for the store. 
He says that La Perra wants to die.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

La Perra de San Antonio

I saw her four days ago on San Jacinto and Martin, here on the westside.  She was crossing a tiendita filled with men drinking outside.  I followed La Perra as she crossed the street to the creek below where a couple of homeless men have their mattresses.  She let me touch her, and ate just a little wet food, wagged her tail, and left.

If I take her to the Dog Pound she will be put down because there are 100,000 stray dogs already in San Antonio.

Today, Sunday, she ate a little barbacoa.  She could barely walk.  Neither the Alamo nor the Riverwalk is the true symbol of San Antonio, it's dogs like this that roam the city. 
So many of the people in my neighborhood are working-class, and they don't believe in taking
care of animals when they are hurting to take care of themselves. 

Son criaturas de Dios, my father told me.  Animals are divine, my father taught me.  They are angels, and they carry messages from God to us. 
San Antonio is a beautiful city, but equally poor and struggling.  This is San Antonio.  Take a good look.  Because it's gonna get worse.  
A mile from the Riverwalk.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010


For the first time in history, more than half of all the students attending public schools in the 15 Southern states (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, West Virginia) are children of color -- predominantly African American, Hispanic and Native American.

The Texas State Board of Education has denied our stories in the public schools for the next ten years. Our children are growing up without knowing who their heroes and heroines are. It is up to the artists to tell the story.

If you live in San Antonio and south, get 5 people to vote on November 2nd!
Because the Stories can save us

This is for Emma Tenayuca. Willie Velasquez. Lydia Mendoza. Americo Paredes. Gloria Anzaldua. And hundreds, thousands more, heroes and heroines whose stories
must be shared with the children.

Fundraiser: Wednesday, October 27th
Gallista Gallery Courtyard
1916 S. Flores Street, San Antonio, Tejastzlan
8:00 - 10:00 pm
With Readings, Watos, and Laberintos by Selected Artists
Organized by Artistas for Michael Soto
David Zamora Casas and Barbara Renaud Gonzalez, hosts with the mostest
$5.00 Contribution and mas if you can

‘Stoy ganando!
Willie Velásquez loved the rain.
It made the bluejays sing with gusto, like the fire and honey of his mother’s Spanish words. The rain made the frogs jump for gold medals, and the weeping willow tree in front of his house cried happy tears with so much green.

But the rain also made Willie sad.

---from The boy made of lightning/Willie Velasquez, American Hero, to be published 2011
Written by Barbara Renaud Gonzalez, illustrated by a San Antonio artist TBA

Monday, October 18, 2010

The story of Adonis, the dog who was supposed to die

It happened in April. There are 100,000 stray dogs wandering in San Antonio -- more
common than graffiti. But I'd never seen anything this bad.

He was stumbling down the street, covered in bloody sores with flem streaming down his eyes. It was a wonder that he was still alive, a dog made of ravaged fur, mange, abandoned who-knows-when. And yet -- something told me to feed him, to save him. That he would be alright.

I always carry dogfood in my car, and yes, he came to the bowl, a good sign. A man in a pickup truck stopped and helped me wrap a moving rope around his neck, and then I lifted him into the back of my van. He didn't resist. He was even more repulsive up close, yet it hurt me more to leave him behind, so I didn't.

Once I got him home, the neighbors gathered to talk about how crazy I am, watched me feed him more bathe him. I think they felt more sorry for me than the dog.

What was crazy was that I didn't have a cent at the time -- only blind faith that
I could get him to a veternarian and then the City's animal clinic here that does
low-cost sterilization and shots.

The other thing is that I live in a shotgun house in the barrio, a house that is about 650 sq ft, and I've already got seven cats from the neighborhood -- all sterilized with their shots. Can't afford to keep middle-sized dogs around for
too long, and my house is a rental, besides.

I named the dog Adonis, which means God of Love. It was the least I could do, and the only place I had for him was in the outdoor utility room,
where he stayed, and thrived for three days and nights until I remembered that I have a friend who had some antibiotic for dogs. Another friend gave me some medicine for his conjunctivitis. Of course this isn't the way it should be done...

Adonis got better every day. My friends told me he had the mange, and that it was probably curable. Sure enough, three weeks after I found him I took him to a vet who confirmed our diagnosis, gave me a discounted deal, along with the good news that Adonis didn't have heartworm! Adonis ended up having 6 weekly dips along with medications, sterilized, shots, microchipped. He's gone from 32 pounds to 52 pounds, and is now 11 months old.

I think he's an Akita/pit bull/shar-pei mix, and he's about 10 months old.
He loves playing loves, children and is very attached to one of my cats, Baby Kitty.

I can't keep him in my rental house forever. He deserves a family, and if you know someone, let me know. He's an excellent watchdog and good at walks.

His fur is now turning from off-black to brown-gray with blonde patches and streaks.

Please help me find a good home for Adonis. I know there is a little boy or girl out there who's been looking for him as much as he was seeking them that day in April.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The night that San Antonio artistas became one moon

Franco Mondini-Ruiz; Joan Frederick; Vincent Valdez (with a trumpet instead of a brush); Joaquin Abrego with Los Nahuatalatos; Terry Ybanez, Deborah Vasquez, David Zamora Casas, Rita Contreras, Rolando Briseno, Dee Murff, and many many more, came together at Bihl Haus Arts to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Bihl Haus Arts, one of San Antonio's cultural centers and gathering place for some of the city's most interesting and best artists.

It was a night of ART. LITERATURE. MUSICA! BAILE. Over 40 visual artists created original covers for the first Chicana novel published by the University of Texas Press, "Golondrina, why did you leave me?" by Barbara Renaud Gonzalez.

It was a humbling noche that left me hallucinated by the beauty of what we can
make together.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why haven't I blogged? Been writing and reading and making a living

I've been invited to read in NYC/CUNY next Monday, September 27th in the evening.
Haven't been to NYC in a few years -- since the Intl PEN Festival when I met writers
from all over the world. Africa; Japan; Germany. A birthday present from Raquel
Ruiz (who's writing a book on women and boxing).

Right now I"m finishing a children's book on the life of Willie Velasquez, that's right
the Voting Pioneer that NYC isn't interested in, but I know I know it will sell.
It's called "The boy made of lightning."

Today I worked getting out the vote on the Southside...for County Commissioner
Tommy Adkisson. Too many people don't want signs or want to be bothered by voting. The Tea Party hype, like some nasty worm,has infested enough brains so that people are ashamed of Obama because he hasn't changed things fast enough -- spending money, etc.
If you hear this enough, you start believing it. The calls to the ego by the
conservative forces in this country seduce people into wanting to be morally superior, morally right. To question, to challenge the status quo, to recognize injustice and
do something about it because it's painful in our hearts -- this is something the
Democratic Party seems to have a hard time discussing. I don't care if we lose
this year's elections -- I'm interested in changing people's hearts. Guess that's why
I'm not a politician, eh?