Friday, April 30, 2010

Nuestra Mission, Our Mission

Saw La Mission last night. Set in San Francisco, it confused James a little at first. He didn't know where it took place - where it was filmed - and thought it was in LA. He probably thought that because his Chicano sensibility was born of the area where I grew up; with my relatives and buddies who are still very much a part of East Los. And East Los burns bright in me.

What didn't confuse either of us was the very real way it portrayed characters and communities. The characters knew where they were coming from, could see the complexities in their own families and friends, but weren't clear about that same complexity existing in other groups. How often do each of us fall into this trap?

It is impossible for me to not make the extension to all that is taking place relative to immigrant /"Hispanic" related news. The idea that people should be stopped based on skin, clothes or accent is illegal, offensive, and just plain wrong. For any group at any time.

Iowa congressional candidate Pat Betroche suggested the idea of planting microchips in immigrants. Is this the same state in which President Obama, who was then a candidate, won the Iowa Caucus? Was this sentiment there at that time? Has the recession exacerbated sentiments that were there but not expressed?

A friend of mine describes this time as being surreal and dangerous.

So I am thankful for folks like James who see people through their heart and embrace their common humanity. For Kathee Hennigan Bautista, who works with students with special needs and sees both their challenges and their growth. And for Juan Pedro Gaffney, on whose fence this image of Tonantzin was painted some years ago.

De sangre o de corazon - Via blood or from the heart, each know that we are all part of the raza humana, the biggest group of them all.

Image - La Madre Tonantsin, Collette Crutcher, La Mission, San Francisco, CA


  1. Financial fear breeding a kind of panic. I'm proud of LA's mayor and others I hear speaking of forms of protest. Let's see what we can do together to battle prejudice.

  2. I couldn't agree more. I'm glad you phrased it as prejudice because it is the prejudging that is the problem.