Tag Archives: Latinx

If you want to know where to find me…

by Zury Margarita Ruiz

Much like fellow LAFPI blogger, Leelee Jackson, I too was already a homebody and a hardcore introvert. It’s not that I don’t enjoy socializing—I do—but if I overstep my bounds, I can feel depleted of energy, which unlike Leelee, I require to rush home and watch YouTube clips of Sid the Cussing Bunny.

Sid the Cussing Bunny

That all being said, there are most definitely things I miss doing, people I miss seeing and communities (theater and otherwise) I miss congregating with. And so, like a great deal of folks, a lot of my interactions have now happened online. I wasn’t entirely sure how engaged I’d be in these conversations, especially when I have the option to mute myself, turn off my camera, or just get up and walk away for a bit, but I’ve actually been absorbed in these interactions and have found myself participating and expressing my opinion a lot more than I normally would. Additionally, I’ve realized that a lot of these gatherings are not something I would have even been able to attended before because, far more than just my being introverted, I’d been working long hours most every day. There’s been a heavy emphasis on work for me for quite some time, which you know—is necessary, but it has definitely kept me from events and people/communities that matter to me. And so, being able to do that right now—engage with what’s important to me—has definitely been an upside during this time.

On that note, I want to talk about two particular communities with whom I’ve been interacting with which have made me pretty happy during this time. There are still some upcoming events with both of these groups, so links will be provided, in case you’re interested in joining:

East Los Angeles Women’s Center

ELAWC’s model

The East Los Angeles Women’s Center (ELAWC) is an organization that I’ve had the pleasure of training and volunteering with for some time now. With the mission to “ensure that all women, girls and families live in a place of safety, health, and personal well-being, free from violence and abuse, with equal access to necessary health services and social support”, even now through the Covid-19 crisis, the staff of the ELAWC have been honoring their commitments by keeping their hotline running, operating a food pantry program and creating awareness of the distress this time of isolation has had on people experiencing Domestic Violence at home. Additionally, during the month of April—Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)—the ELAWC has been holding a series of workshops and film screenings via Zoom, ranging from topics like “Coping with Overwhelming Emotions” to “Loving with Consent”.

Tomorrow, 04/30/2020 at 4pm PST, is their final workshop via Zoom for SAAM.

SAAM Workshop: Engaging Boys and Men to end Sexual Assault #2

Tune in to This workshop and discuss the role of boys and men in the fight to end sexual assault. Facilitators: Ozzie Cruz, Prevention Specialist and Luis Mendoza, ELAWC Outreach/Advocate

Here is the link for that event:

https://www.elawc.org/engaging_boys_and_men2?recruiter_id=20799

Please note that although there is a deadline to sign up, there is still some availability!

I also just briefly want to mention that today, April 29th, is Denim Day, so I hope you got to rock a little denim in support! And in case you don’t know what Denim Day is, here is a little backstory: https://www.denimdayinfo.org/history

Latinx Superfriends Playwriting Hour

Can you spot my mug?

Curated by Tlaloc Rivas and peer-produced by HowlRound, Latinx Superfriends Playwriting Hour is a five-week, hour long, playwriting series led by various guest writers/theatremakers throughout the U.S. I have been able to be part of 2 out of three of these workshops so far and let me tell you—they’ve been super fun, engaging, and encouraging. This past Monday’s workshop, led by writer Christina Quintana, was particularly special, as we talked about our inner critic and even gave them a name (mine actually ended up being named after a family member of mine so I’m not going to name any names here). There are only two more workshops left in this series—Monday, May 4th led by Georgina Escobar and Monday, May 11th led by Jose Rivera—I would more than encourage you to take part!

For more information on this series and to sign up for the remaining sessions, check out this link: https://howlround.com/happenings/latinx-superfriends-playwriting-hour

So now, Dear Reader, if you want to know where to find me…

About a Chicana Falsa

by Zury Margarita Ruiz

I was introduced to her work in high school…

I’m not sure how it came about, but the folks at my high school decided that they wanted to have a cultural celebration of sorts. All 45 seniors and 20, or so, underclassmen at our little magnet high school were expected to participate in some capacity. While I was part of a Mexican folkloric dance group at that time, I had no intention of dancing in front of my entire school. As I’d mentioned in a previous post, there was very little fun I took from that endeavor. Additionally, I was still traumatized by the demands of peddling the “joy and skills you too can acquire” of accordion playing to my middle school classmates that I just wasn’t going to put myself out there like that anymore. Still, I was expected to participate.

Unsure of what to do, and with a day to go, my Spanish teacher (who was coordinating this whole ordeal) suggested that I read an excerpt of short story written by a Latin@ author. I hate to admit it but at the time I can’t say that I knew the work of very many Latin@ authors—call it a lack of awareness/exposure, ignorance, what have you, I was drawing blanks.  So my Spanish teacher handed me a few books from his desk and encouraged me to check them out, and from those few, I was immediately drawn to Michele Serros’ Chicana Falsa and Other Stories of Death, Identity, and Oxnard.

Copy of Chicana Falsa

Chicana Falsa was a compact offering of non-fiction and poetry detailing Serros’ complex, comical grappling of her own identity. It was genuine, often times heartbreaking, and funny as hell. It was one of the first pieces of literature that I deeply connected to and made me feel seen. 

Michele Serros reading her work at Lollapalooza.

For our school celebration, I ended up selecting the story “Attention Shoppers”. It was a satirical piece that shows Serros being made aware of the notion that, even within supermarket aisles, discrimination was alive and well. This was proven to her by way of packaging styles for Malibu Style Vegetables vs. Latino Style Vegetables and the connotations each evokes.

“…. look at this, the Latino Style Vegetables are all spilling out of this wicker basket, all overflowing, messy like. Insinuating that we are overflowing, overcrowding what they think is their land. And what’s with this wicker basket?”  

Back in January I had the pleasure of visiting an exhibit at University Hall (Cal State University Chanel Islands) in honor of her life’s work.

I cried when I saw the exhibit.

Most everything that she’d been inspired by and written about was there— the desk her mother gifted her, journals, framed t-shirts, concert tickets, her skateboard…  it was overwhelming. Michele Serros’ work has meant so much to me for a very long time. I often think of her, her writing and the impact her artistic voice has had on me. She’s the writer whose work I most often go back and re-read. I love the familiarity. It feels like home.

I meant to post these photos a while back but it didn’t feel right then. I was writing about loss and it’s not what I wanted to do, especially in a week that already felt so sorrowful. I decided then that I would give it some time and wait until my next go-round on the blog to post them because surely the world would be in a different place from where it was at the time.

And we are, now, in a very different place.

But it feels right to remember the people, places and voices that bring us joy.

In fact, there’s no better time than now.

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Ya Basta

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF19’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Jeanette Godoy

WHAT: YA BASTA: TIME’S BEEN UP

WHERE: Assistance League Theatre 1367 N. St. Andrews Place

WHY:

As soon as you walk in the theatre you feel a contagious energy – you are bearing witness to a special performance where actors and non-actors share the stage to honor the promotoras who’ve fought for their community, the safety of their bodies, better working conditions and have built a union connecting janitors across the state of California. Written and directed by Jeanette Godoy, this play is powerful and full of urgency as it gives insight into the battles endured by immigrant janitors who fought to protect women working late night janitorial shifts. This fight for women, led by women, redefined how immigrant women were seen in the workplace. It is a testament to the power of coming together and sacrificing by any means necessary. Go see this show – by the end of the show you’ll be shouting YA BASTA, Sí Se Puede!

HOW: htttps://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5731

(Email, call, or show up in person to hold state representatives accountable and guarantee their support for AB 547.)

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”