Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Howard Zinn Has Died

I'm devastated that Howard Zinn has died. When Michael Jackson died I didn't feel anything really. But with him, I do. I felt the same way I did when Gloria Anzaldua died. I wrote this as one of my first blog posts on sexuality, health, latinidad about her and her death:

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

When Celia Cruz died I wasn't that deeply affected; i mean i listened to la mega all day in her honor. When mr. rogers died i could have cared less, when mother teresa died, my momma was upset. but now, gloria anzaldua dies and i'm a mess. yeah yeah white feminist have claimed her as "THE latina feminist" to quote and cite and sweat, kind of how they have done with audre lorde, and alice walker. but anzaldua means more to me, i am a chicana feminist, a puerto rican, a woman of color, a border crosser. her writings, and i'm not just talking her creative pieces, but i'm talking her theory; have been irreplaceable in my ethnic/racial/sexual/social identity. when i think of how i see myself as not just puerto rican, but as latino, as chicana, as part of la raza, anzaldua's work it what helped me achieve that acceptance of community difference, need, change and mobility is paramount. what does it mean that the person who helped legitimize you, written your story, without ever meeting you, or having a conversation with you? this is what anzaldua did/does for me. this is her spiritual activism at work. will she ever know how this bridge called my back changed my interpretation of social justice and change? does this now mean that she will become famous all over the world and among men (especially white men) now that she is dead? i'm more upset cause i never got a chance to have a conversation with her about her political strategies, about love and about activism. reading a book isn't the same as having conversations with someone directly. i waited too long and missed out on making my physical connection. i've learned from and decided that i am going to make contact with those i believe to be influential, important, essential, and fierce leaders in my community, in our community now, instead of later. i encourage us all to do the same, don't wait for somebody to come at you, go to them. viva la lucha de luz, paz y amor viva la memoria de los revolucionarios viva puerto rico libre

Internationally recognized cultural theorist and creative writer, Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua, passed away on May 15 from diabetes-related complications. She was 61 years old. A versatile author, Anzaldua published poetry, theoretical essays, short stories autobiographical narratives, interviews, children's books, and multigenre anthologies. As one of the first openly lesbian Chicana authors, Anzaldua played a major role in redefining contemporary Chicano/a and lesbian/queer identities. And as editor or co-editor of three multicultural anthologies, Anzaldua has also played a vital role in developing an inclusionary feminist movement. Anzaldua is best known for Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), a hybrid collection of poetry and prose which was named one of the 100 Best Books of the Century by both Hungry Mind Review and Utne Reader. Anzaldua's published works also include This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981), a ground-breaking collection of essays and poems widely recognized by scholars as the premiere multicultural feminist text; Making Face, Making Soul/Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Feminists-of-Color (1990), a multigenre collection used in many university classrooms; two bilingualchildren's books--Friends from the Other Side/Amigos del otro lado (1993) and Prietita and the Ghost Woman/ Prietita y la Llorona (1995); Interviews/Entrevistas (2000), a memoir-like collection of interviews; and this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation (2002), a co-edited collection of essays, poetry, and artwork that examines thecurrent status of feminist/womanist theorizing. Anzaldúa has won numerous awards, including the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, the Lamda Lesbian Small Book Press Award, an NEA Fiction Award, the Lesbian Rights Award, the Sappho Award of Distinction, an NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Fiction Award, and the American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Anzaldua was born in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas in 1942, the eldest child of Urbano and Amalia Anzaldua. She received her B.A. from Pan American University, her M.A. from University of Texas, Austin, and was completing her doctorate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is survived by her mother, Amalia, her sister, Hilda, and two brothers: Urbano Anzaldua, Jr. and Oscar Anzaldua; five nieces, three nephews, eighteen grandnieces and grandnephews, a multitude of aunts and uncles, and many close friends. A public memorial will be planned at a later date.

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