Thursday, November 20, 2014


Growing up my family reinforced the idea that I was a citizen of the United States of America and that the home of my family roots was in Mexico.

Not the quaint Mexico we saw on TV; most folks don't think of their families as quaint. We were living in the Land of Mid-century moderne, so the actions and attitudes depicted in the movies had nothing to do with our Rock and Roll infused teen years, nor with the cousins who would from time to time come to visit from Mexico.

Mexico was the family home where my grandparents were born; where they lived and worked before they decided to come to the United States to live a better life.  The stories my grandpa told were about Chihuahua, Los Angeles, El Paso, and Pueblo.  He told his life as a story that had connections of one experience to the next; it wasn't one life lived in Mexico and a different one lived in the U.S.A.  It was his long life that spanned 19th and 20th century; a life lived in two countries.  Both those countries having been his home.

When I was growing up we rarely heard Spanish on the radio or read about Mexico in school.  My world was a Spoken English World.  Both my parents were born in the U.S.A.  Both had lived through the 20s, the Depression, WWII, and the post-war WWII Boom.  I heard Sousa and Berlin growing up.  The GIs had seen the world and had brought back an expanded view of their place in that great big world.  I learned that you could like, or at least be intrigued, by parts of the world far from where you lived.

I suspect all those experiences and sentiments allowed our family to embrace where we lived and where we can from in about equal portions.  We live here, and wouldn't live elsewhere, but our ancestral home was still very much a part of our heart.

Ni de aqui ni de alla (Neither from nor from there) is a commonly used phrase when describing Americans with Mexican roots.  In some ways this is true, but in many ways for me it is a contradiction to my sense of place.  I am from here and I am from the land of my ancestors.

For this reason I will wear black today joining others who are disgusted with and are dismayed by the chaos that is in México. I will wear black in commemoration of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa who were slaughtered.

I joined in the voices of those who were outraged at the killing of young men and that taking of young women by Boko Haram.  I hope that there will be those who look to learn more about what has happened in Iguala, México and feel a similar outrage.  If we can not be outraged at the murdering of those who would make lives better through education, what will charge our sadness and anger?

I hope that folks will call our news agencies on the lack of coverage of this story to date.  It is a huge story.  It is complicated.  Perhaps that is why some news organizations have not covered it.

I don't know.  But I do know that there is news out there you've only to Google Ayotzinapa and you will find lots and lots of links.  I do wish more people were aware of what is taking place.

The sign above translated - "Why in Kansas City?  Because, I , too am Mexican".  
I do not read this as anti-American, but to acknowledge that our family home is in deep trouble.

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