Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Awaken the Sleeping Poet

This letter is from Valerie Bailey:

Dear Poet Friend,

It's time again to begin planning to participate in the Laurel Crown Foundation's third annual "Awaken the Sleeping Poet” Festival, which will be held on Saturday, April 5, 2008. Deadline for entries is February 1, 2008.

The festival will kick off National Poetry Month and will be held again at the San Antonio Museum of Art. We had an overflow crowd last year, so we are dividing this year's event into two time slots.

All students—elementary, middle school, and high school will be featured at 10:30 a.m. Adults (college students are considered adults) will be featured at 1:30 p.m. This will allow maximum use of the auditorium. If you are an adult who is reading and you also have a student reading, this will allow you to take a short lunch break between performances.

The festival's art contest has been expanded and will require a separate entry form with separate fees, which are the same as the poetry contest: $5 for adults (including college) and $1 for all other students. The art contest entry form gives specific guidelines for art and photo entries and should answer all your questions. In addition to the $100 cash award and cover publication, the top 30 entries of merit will be awarded ribbons and will be displayed during the festival. Nine entries will be published in the anthology.

We will have the same generous cash awards and trophies and an opportunity to be published in our beautiful, high quality anthology, The Dreamcatcher. All attendees at the festival will also receive a free copy of San Antonio's premier poetry magazine, The Poet. Winners' poems will also be considered for publication in The Poet. There are other lovely surprises in the works for the festival. You don't want to miss this event!

Teachers! Help us get your students excited about participating in a quality opportunity for the arts in San Antonio. A .pdf file of the poetry and art entry forms is included with this e-mail. If you cannot open these files, please visit our Website at and download the entry forms.

Ready...Set...Go! Start writing, drawing, painting, or snapping photos NOW! Remember the entry deadline is February 1 (this is an "in-hand" deadline, not a "postmarked by" deadline).
If you have any questions, contact me at

I'll be looking for your entry form.
Valerie Bailey

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mendez Commemorative Stamp

News Release from the United States Postal Service--A World War II-era legal case in which a group of civic-minded parents in California successfully sued to end segregation based on national origin in their schools, the Mendez et al. v. Westminster School District of Orange County et al. court case will be remembered on a U.S. postage stamp during its 60th anniversary.

As immigrants who came to the United States when they were children, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez dreamed the American dream. He was born in Mexico and she was from Puerto Rico, but they met and married in California. So it came as an insult when, in 1943, the elementary school in Westminster, a farm community south of Los Angeles where Gonzalo and Felicitas made their home, closed its doors to their three children.

Segregated public schools were common at that time. In California and throughout the Southwest, children of Mexican descent attended specially designated ‘Mexican schools,’ frequently in inferior facilities. Discriminatory practices were also common in movie theaters, where Mexican patrons were required to sit in the balcony, and at public swimming pools, where they were welcome only on designated ‘Mexican days.’

After his children were turned away from the Westminster School in the autumn of 1943, Gonzalo Mendez went to discuss the situation with school officials. The school board offered his children ‘special admission’ — but on March 2, 1945, Gonzalo Mendez and several other Hispanic parents sued four school districts (Westminster, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, and El Modena) on behalf of some 5,000 children. Their groundbreaking lawsuit became known as Mendez v. Westminster.

Arguing for the plaintiffs in court, attorney David Marcus attacked the prevailing notion of ‘separate but equal,’ a rationalization that it was acceptable to offer separate public facilities based on national origin or other criteria so long as the facilities were comparable. Marcus argued that they were not comparable, presenting testimony from parents and students as well as sociologists and educators, who testified that ‘separate but equal’ treatment made children feel inferior and prevented them from entering mainstream American culture.

The plaintiffs argued successfully that such practices on the part of California schools violated their Constitutional rights. On February 18, 1946, Federal District Judge Paul J. McCormick ruled that merely providing the same textbooks, courses, and comparable facilities in separate schools doesn’t give students equal protection under the law, and that social equality is ‘a paramount requisite’ in America’s public school system.

The school districts appealed, but the decision was upheld when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled on April 14, 1947, that the schools could not segregate on the basis of national origin. The opinion was specifically decided on the more narrow ground of whether state law allowed segregation based upon Mexican descent. The Court held that no statutes existed allowing this but that such discrimination had been carried out ‘under color or pretense’ of law. On June 14, 1947, a statute allowing segregated schools for Asians and Indians was repealed (effective September 19) by California governor Earl Warren, who later was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Mendez decision set an important if indirect legal precedent for cases in other states and at the national level. In 1954, Warren was chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when it issued its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, declaring segregation illegal nationwide. Earlier, Thurgood Marshall was one of the authors of an amicus brief submitted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the Mendez case. That brief later served as a model for the argument used in Brown v. Board of Education. The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Congress, and the Japanese American Citizens League were also among those who filed amicus briefs in the Mendez case.

In 1998 the Santa Ana School Board named a new school in honor of Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez. An exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History included details on Mendez et al. v. Westminster School District et al. as well. In 2004, the Mendez family was honored at the White House for playing an important part in the history of American civil rights.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Competition Closed

The deadline has now passed for the the First Annual Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers 1,500 Palabras Short Story Competition! Entries were in the double digits, with one entry coming from LA!!

Winners will be announced during December's Fourth Annual Holiday Extravaganza "Cinco Minutos With You." Wow, the fourth annual event, time sure does fly when you're having fun with friends!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bihl Haus Arts Update

From Dr. Kellen Kee McIntyre, Executive Director of Bihl Haus Arts:

Dear Friends of Bihl Haus Arts,

Please join us on Monday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m. for "60 Years Lived," a birthday celebration and retrospective of the art, movie, poetry, and music of our dear friend Eduardo Cavazos Garza. Eduardo will perform from some of our favorite works, and we expect a few surprises from this very versatile artist. Hope to see you there!

Our anniversary exhibition "Turning Three!" continues through Nov. 10. There are still many wonderful works for sale by some terrific artists in this show, BHA's first fundraiser. The purchase of a work of art at Bihl Haus Arts supports both our fantastic and varied programming, like "60 Years Lived" and the events listed below, and the artists with whom we work. Or, to contribute directly to Bihl Haus Arts, please go to, and click on "Become a Member."


P.S. Also, please mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

Sat., Nov. 10, 2 pm, in observance of Veteran's Day (Nov. 11) and in response to the recent Ken Burns' PBS series, Gil Dominguez reads from his book "They Answered the Call: Latinos in the Vietnam War."

Fri., Nov. 16, 5:30-8:30 pm, opening reception for "Ampersand," new works by David Alcantar and Albert Alvarez. The first major show by these two very important emerging San Antonio artists.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

November's Meeting

Fellow Writers,

Please mark your calendar for the November Monthly Meeting of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio! The meeting will be on Monday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m., at the Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing. Our featured author will be Lupe Ruiz-Flores!

Lupe has just published, via Arte Publico Press, a bilingual children's picture book (with a lesson for everyone of all ages!), entitled "The Woodcutter's Gift/El Regalo del Lenador," about a woodcutter who creates a lasting gift that brings a community together. This book follow's Lupe's successful debut bilingual children's picture book, "Lupita's Papalote." Lupe has written numberous articles for local and national publications and some of her poetry has been published in anthologies. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and has been a featured author at the Texas Book festival in Austin.

I hope everyone can attend this meeting to meet this talented lady who has also just completed a children's novel.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Congratulations, Laurie A. Guerrero!

Congratulations to a friend of the Society, Laurie A. Guerrero. Laurie's chapbook "Babies Under the Skin" was the winning selection of the first Panhandler Publishing Chapbook Award chosen by San Antonio poet Naomi Shihab Nye!

Four other finalist, listed in no particular order, are:

Carolyn Tourney Flores "Secret Rites"
Jennifer Ley "Love and Grief"
Sandi Stromberg "Google Earth"
Joseph R. Trombatore "The Vampire Poems"

For more on Panhandler Publishing, please visit

Monday, October 22, 2007

SLHW Members Showcased at Hispanic Heritage Month Event

The following message is from Founding Member Lupe Gonzalez regarding the Hispanic Heritage Month presentation held at Barnes and Noble over the weekend:

The Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration was wonderful.

First, we heard readings by four writers who were part of a class at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. The class focused on collective and connective writings. The books were ones Barnes & Noble featured for Hispanic Heritage Month. The first writer who read her work was Alicia Tafolla who read a monologue about tortilla-making, inspired by Gustavo Arrellano's book ASK A MEXICAN and stating that "every culture has a bread-making ritual".

Next was Robert Garcia who read an essay inspired by WINDOWS INTO MY WORLD, the anthology Sarah Cortez compiled and BURRO GENIUS by Victor Villasenor.

Martha Curcio, long-time member of Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers, read a very emotional letter from herself now to her 15-year-old self entitled "Cinquenta Quince inspired by two books: ONCE UPON A QUINCENEARA by Julia Alvarez and the anthology, FIFTEEN CANDLES edited by Adriana Lopez.

Grisel Y. Acosta, a fellow in the English program at UTSA, read poetry inspired by the memoir WHEN I WAS PUERTO RICAN by Esmeralda Santiago. Her poem dared to say that "one of these days" everyone would be treated the same and books wouldn't be separated into categories.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Martha at Barnes and Noble

From Martha Curcio:

Hola a todos:

I am going to read at Barnes & Noble San Pedro Crossing, Saturday October 20th between 2 and 3 pm. I will display one of my paintings called "Cincuenta, Quince", to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Robert Garcia, a member of our group, will be performing too.

I will love to see you there Y CELEBRAR JUNTOS!!!
Thank you,

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On The Island at Jump Start

Marian Haddad sends this notice on an upcoming performance at Jump Start:

Performances October 12 – 21 Friday - Sunday at 8 p.m.
Written and performed by S. T. Shimi

On the Island is the uncomfortably timely tale of an artist imprisoned without trial in a mysterious prison. The story switches between her surreal, poignant memories and the paranoid reality of her internment. What will become of her, and more importantly, will anyone care?

Directed by Steve Bailey, with lighting by Billy Muñoz, an original sound score composed by Paul Harford and aerial choreography in collaboration with Nimble Arts. On the Island was presented in its workshop form at the first National Asian-American Theatre Festival in June 2007. “Her grace in the air and on the ground coupled with stunning lighting by Billy Munoz tells an entire story through poignant images and thrilling acrobatics.” ( review)
Part of The Electric Performance Lab.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Poetry Event

The following message is from Jim Brandenburg:

The second event will take place at the Fiesta Trails Barnes and Noble (IH 10 and DeZavala) on the third Wednesday (Oct 17) from 7 to 9 PM. Open Mike runs from 7 to 8, and starting at 8 PM, we are featuring poets who were published in the first two issues of The Poet Magazine. We are looking forward to a great turnout and lots of fantastic poetry. Salome Salter, The Publisher of Poet Magazine, will be on hand to greet you and to answer questions about The Poet. Please join us for an exciting evening.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Martha's Report

The following report is filed by Martha Curcio:

Hola a todos:

Berta Jacobson y yo tuvimos la maravillosa experiencia de conocer y platicar con el señor Rueben Martinez, uno de los ganadores del premio Mac Arthur Foundation, en su visita a San Antonio, Tx.
Es una persona sencilla, amable, con amplio conocimiento acerca del mundo literario y con un gran corazón.

Nos platico un poco de su vida, su familia y como muchas personas se han acercado a él por ayuda, desde personalidades como Jorge Ramos, antes de que publicara su primer libro (por cierto un hombre que yo admiro y respeto) y hasta personas que se encuentran desesperadas buscando a un familiar que cruzo la frontera y no pueden encontrarlo.

El señor Martínez ha compartido sus experiencias en diferentes países. Fue invitado a Alemania a dar una conferencia en el próximo mes de Noviembre y el requisito es que sea en español.
Fue muy motivador platicar con él, su amena e interesante conversación, su franca carcajada y la variedad de temas de los cuales platicamos me hizo sentir como si tuviera frente a mí a un amigo de infancia que tenía mucho tiempo de no ver y del cual no me quería despedir.

Espero en un futuro tener la oportunidad de convivir nuevamente con el señor Rueben Martínez y saborear una vez más esa deliciosa sopa de fideo y el plato de nopalitos que todavía me hace agua la boca, mientras nos comparte de una rica conversación.

Aquí les envio varias entrevistas del señor Martinez y la página de sus librerías. Así que ya saben, si necesitan algún libro y sobre todo en español, no duden en contactar al señor Rueben Martinez a su Librería Martinez.

Martha Curcio

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Encuentros de Mujeres Release Oct. 16

My friend, Virginia Valenzuela, has asked me to pass this information on to you:

The Center for Women at Our Lady of the Lake University invites each of you to join us in celebrating the release of the Encuentros de Mujeres latest publication - En Nuestras Palabras - In Our Own Words on Tuesday, October 16 @ 6:30 p.m. - Providence West Social Room (PWSR).

The Mujeres will read selected stories and autograph books. Proceeds from sale of the book will benefit future projects of the Encuentros de Mujeres Writing Group!

For further details, please contact:

Virginia Valenzuela
Associate Director
Center for Women in Church & Society
Our Lady of the Lake University
411 S.W. 24th St.
San Antonio, Texas 78207
Telephone: (210) 431-3910
Fax: (210)431-4025

Friday, October 05, 2007

Monday's Meeting Canceled

Fellow Writers,

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the author we had scheduled to present on Monday notified me yesterday that she will not be able to fulfill the commitment. After consultation with a couple of SLHW officers, I have decided to cancel the meeting scheduled for Monday, October 8.

I am currently working with an author out of Laredo to come to San Antonio in November to speak to us about his recently published book. I should have a definite response sometime next week.

Thank you for being faithful members of the Society, and I will miss seeing everyone Monday night; can't wait for November! Send me an email every now and then and let me know what you're working on!

Keep Writing,

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Los MacArturos at La Guadalupe

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Presents

Los MacArturos: Latino Genius
A 10 year reunion celebration

Dream Circle: Envisioning a World Without Borders
Friday, October 5th, 2007 at 2PM
At the Guadalupe Theater
1300 Guadalupe Street
Free and Open to the Public


Los MacArturos
Guillermo Gomez-Pena
Hugo Morales
Cecilia Munoz
Baldemar Velasquez

Our Local Locos
Gabriel Velasquez
Robert T. Garcia
Alicia TaFoya
Jason Ibarra
Choco Meza
Rachel Stone

Lanier High School Students:
Clarissa Morales
Anna Burciaga
Kimberly Vargas
Bianca Gomez
Gino Gonzalez
Jennifer Luna


Facilitated by
Vincent Toro

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Tecate Journals

Fellow San Antonio Express-News book critic and Our Lady of the Lake University professor Yvette Benavides has brought to my attention an interesting book by Laredo Community College professor Keith Bowden entitled "The Tecate Journals: Seventy Days on the Rio Grande."

According to Yvette, it's a beautifully written book about a two-month travel Mr. Bowden took along the 1,200 plus miles of the border from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico.

I have read some of Keith's journal writings of his trip and found it interesting, to the point of being spellbinding. I almost forgot to chew as I was reading his accounts during lunch (I read when I can!).

Let me know what you think.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Brujas Locas

Thank you to everyone who has written me regarding yesterday's book review in the San Antonio Express-News on Naomi Shihab Nye's release of "I'll Ask You Three Times, Are You OK?" In case you missed it, please click here.

Here is some news from the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center:

Esperanza Peace & Justice Center invites you to...Brujas Locas

*Sandra Cisneros* *Maria Varela* *Cecilia Munoz* *Ruth Behar* *Amalia Mesa-Baines*
Friday, October 5th @5pm
at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center

.....a platica entre las mujeres MacArturas and Esperanza's local San Anto Locas
..........FREE! ... FREE! ... FREE!..........

Esperanza Peace & Justice Center
922 San Pedro Ave
San Antonio TX 78212
(entrance on W Evergreen, 1/2 mile north of downtown)

..Bruja Loca ...Bruja Loca..
.What does it mean to be a bruja?
.Does society make you loca?

Join us for a discussion addressing these questions, connecting national, international and local perspectives.

Latin@ Genius:
Locos, Dreamers & Visionaries
is a ten-year reunion of the Latin@ recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship, an award given by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, to individuals of "exeptionals merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work." Dubbed "the genius grant" by the press, the Latino recipients have self-organized into a collective called "Los MacArturos," whose purpose is community outreach.

For more info on the MacArturos visit:

About Las MacArturas!
Sandra Cisneros
is the author of several books, including The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek, Loose Woman and Caramelo. She is also the founder of the Macondo Workshop and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation.

Maria Varela is a community organizer living in Alburquerque, NM. Her work focuses on how rural communities, rural cultures and rural ecosystems survive and flourish. The balance among "cultural experiences, ecology, and economic activities either sustain or starve our communities."

Cecilia Munoz is vice president of the office of research, advocacy and legislation at the National Council of La Raza. Munoz, 37, is a leader in immigration and civil rights policy and is a major force in such issues as the legalization of undocumented immigrants, family-based immigration rights and access to welfare benefits and education.

Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba and came to live in New York with her family in 1962. She received her B.A. in Letters (1977) from Wesleyan University, and her M.A. (1980) and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology (1983) from Princeton University. She resides in Ann Arbor and is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. She is also affiliated with University of Michigan programs in Women's Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies.She has written about her experience of crossing cultural borders as a poet, essayist, fiction writer, editor, and ethnographer. She is now turning to documentary filmmaking to seek yet another expression of her unique vision of the meaning of home in an age of travel and homesickness. As a Cuban woman of the diaspora, Ruth Behar is committed to seeking reconciliation and a common culture and memory with Cubans on the island.

Amalia Mesa Baines is a San Francisco based artist, scholar and curator. She has been involved in the Chicano art movement since the 1960s and is best known for her installation work featuring altars and ceremonial themes. The driving force of her artistic vision is what she terms the "feminine Rasquachismo or Domesticana . . .that is simultaneously contestatory and passionately affirming of our histories as women and our situation of struggle."