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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Message from Efrén Paredes, Jr. for Xicano History Month 2010

It is a pleasure to share this message with you as we give honor to the enormous contributions made by our hermanas toward the advancement of our beloved gente. Their selfless sacrifices cannot be underscored enough. Without them, there would be no Xicano comunidad.

The achievements of our gente are incomplete when we ignore any segment of our comunidad or attempt to elevate some over others. IT is imperative that we celebrate our collective contributions, not fragments separated by hollow voids.

It is a dated and discriminatory practice to establish and maintain societies that revolve around males. It is divisive and relegates women to positions of inferiority. Our focus needs to shift to one that emphasizes balance and equality.

As we jettison the antiquated philosophy of male superiority we will begin to create true mutual respect, heal our comunidad, draw from the best we all have to offer, and empower ourselves together instead of individually. We must reject any practice that is disrespectful to our mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and other muxeres.

When we celebrate the Xicana this month, we are celebrating the full spectrum of Xicana/o History and Her story, culture, and identity. We are acknowledging the need to replace them with OUR story. It is also an acknowledgment of our genesis, our cradle of civilization and greatness as a people, and a rejection of foreign concepts that have besieged us and eroded our cohesion.

We must know that until we respect ourselves, and all Xicano gente we will never receive the respect of the world. And, until we stop treating muxeres as footnotes we cannot expect others to treat us any differently.

I ask that you also remember our incarcerated hermanas/os who languish in prison cages in Michigan and across the country. We must actively work to end society’s addiction to incarceration as the primary instrument of social control.

The abuses perpetrated against our gente are growing exponentially. In 2008, nearly 2/3 of the hate crimes in this country targeted Latino people. We are being treated as if our lives are disposable and without value. We can not allow our silence to perpetuate these injustices and suffocate our progress.

Xicana/o culture, history, and identity are illuminating the consciousness of Xicanas/os in society as well as behind prison walls. It is a liberating force that ignites the passion to change and to grow. It empowers us and gives us agency, meaning, and purpose.

This is why we celebrate it and honor each other each day. Xicana/o history is not a month, it is our lives.