This day in Chicana herstory: Eva Longoria

March 15, 1975
I used to watch Desperate Housewives. I couldn’t stand Eva Longoria’s character, Gabrielle Solis, in early seasons, but she was one of the few Latinas on TV. So I kept watching. Then I read a profile on her in some magazine while getting a pedicure. She seemed kind of likable.

Longoria doesn’t shy away from her ethnicity, unlike other Latina actresses (cough, Jessica Alba, cough). She seems very committed to various philanthropic causes and charities, including Eva’s Heroes for children with developmental disabilities. Eva’s Heroes is quite personal as Longoria’s older sister has developmental disabilities. I don’t know if she’s really a great person, or if her publicists just make her look good.

Last week, I highlighted the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and mentioned that it was supposed to protect those who had been granted land before the Mexican American War. These people are the original Chicanos who can actually say, “we didn’t cross the borders, the borders crossed up.” Apparently, Longoria’s ancestors are one of those families. I knew they had been in Texas a long time, but they went way back.

In 2009, she enrolled in the Chicano Studies master’s program at CSUN. I remember this news spreading through Facebook. My friends in the program were ecstatic, especially the men who couldn’t wait to offer to be a study partner. I don’t think they’ve ever seen her. Maybe she’s taking the classes online.

Happy birthday, Eva.

Santa Barbara anniversary trip

Santa Ynez Mountains north of SB

On the short hour and half drive up to Santa Barbara, Sean asked me why I’d chosen the coastal city to celebrate our one year anniversary. I shrugged, it just seemed better than another trip to Disneyland and California Adventures. “This way you can have a real California adventure,” I responded since he’s new to the state and doesn’t know much beyond LA.

SB is close enough for an affordable and quick weekend getaway. More importantly, it’s far enough to feel like I’m out of the city. I’ve been to SB several times, but I was usually stuck in daylong meetings or conferences at UCSB. I was in elementary school the last time I’d done sightseeing in SB.

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This day in Chicano history: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Ratified by US Senate

March 10, 1848:
While February 2nd is noted by some as the original birthday of the first Chicanos, March 10th is notable too. because the version of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ratified by the Senate was different than the one signed in Mexico a few weeks earlier.

Via the Library of Congress:

Other provisions stipulated the Texas border at the Rio Grande (Article V), protection for the property and civil rights of Mexican nationals living within the new border (Articles VIII and IX), U.S. promise to police its side of the border (Article XI), and compulsory arbitration of future disputes between the two countries (Article XXI). When the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in March, it reduced Article IX and deleted Article X guaranteeing the protection of Mexican land grants. Following the Senate’s ratification of the treaty, U.S. troops left Mexico City.

This would be a significant part of the Chicano Movement in the 60s and 70s as people like Reies Tijerina fought to have the original land grants recognized.

As mentioned above, the civil rights of the new Chicanos were also amended from the version signed on February 2nd.

Article VIII guaranteed that Mexicans who remained more than one year in the ceded lands would automatically become full-fledged American citizens (or they could declare their intention of remaining Mexican citizens); however, the Senate modified Article IX, changing the first paragraph and excluding the last two. Among the changes was that Mexican citizens would “be admitted at the proper time (to be judged of by the Congress of the United States)” instead of “admitted as soon as possible”, as negotiated between Trist and the Mexican delegation.
[Via Wikipedia]

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is still relevant today, especially as states like Arizona pass law after law targeting our community. As Dr. Cintli Rodriguez discusses, the provisions guarding the civil rights of Mexicans in the ceded territories may be useful for those who seek to challenge SB 1070 and proposed laws affecting citizenship rights for children of undocumented immigrants.

Mil palabras: The mission

Did I dream it or did someone tell me the story? I can’t remember where the truth ends and the talk begins.
– from Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros (p. 20)

When I was a kid, my family went camping on some bluffs overlooking the beaches of Santa Barbara. I can’t remember the name of the campsite or how old I was. I do remember joining up with my tía Susana, her sisters and a couple other families. There were a lot of kids left unattended as our mom’s played la baraja.

On Sunday morning, while everyone was still asleep in their tents, my mom woke us up for Mass at the Santa Barbara Mission. I’m sure we grumbled about having to go to church while on vacation, but we went anyway.

There weren’t many people in Mass that Sunday, it was much emptier than our usual 8 a.m. service at St. John Vianney. I remember thinking it was cool and weird that I was inside one of the same missions we studied in 4th grade.

At least I think I remember this. I stopped by the mission briefly on a recent trip to SB. It didn’t look familiar, nor did I get the feeling I’d visited before. Perhaps my memory is distorted. I know we went camping in SB and went to Mass on Sunday, but maybe it wasn’t at the mission. Maybe I imagined that part.

Question of the week: Sibling influence

Last week during Jaime Hernandez’s talk, I started to think of how my own siblings, especially my older brother, Danny, had influenced me. Jaime is one of 5 children (4 boys). He said both of his older brothers had influenced him, but when it came to comics and writing it was mainly Gilbert. Jaime spoke of Gilbert with the kind of admiration you admit to strangers, but never to your own sibling.

I’ve done the same thing. I’m pretty sure I’ve written kinder words about Danny, Lori and Adrian here than I’ve ever told them. I’ve also never thanked them for unknowingly influencing my interests and habits.

Danny is about 20 months older than me, but because of his December birthday, he was only one grade ahead. Because of this, we were often enrolled in the same childhood activities like baseball, children’s choir and ballet folkórico together. I don’t remember choosing those things, but being a shy kid, I enjoyed them much more because Danny was there. I chose to be an altar server because Danny had been one for a few years before. Similarly, I picked trombone in 7th grade because my brother and cousin Robert both played. I likely would not have been in band if I didn’t know about Danny’s experiences his freshman year. I was a shy and bookish kid, but Danny was outgoing. He helped me come out of my shell.

Lori is the reason I’m running the LA Marathon. She’s the reason I took to running two years ago. I’d run before, but without Lori’s advice and her encouragement, I probably would’ve picked another activity for exercise. I cheered on Lori at her first half and full marathons. At the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in May ’09, I was at the finish line with her boyfriend at the time. I’m pretty sure I cried a little as she finished. I’m sure there are more ways she’s influenced me, but running is the first to come to mind.

Adrian and I share a lot in common (we’re both Virgos), but he’s also 5 years my junior and I’m less sure of how he’s influenced my interest. In writing this post, I could only think of Harry Potter and certain bands when it came to his influence. Maybe I’m not thinking hard enough, or maybe we’re already a lot alike.

La Pregunta: How have your interests or habits been influenced by a sibling?