I saw ABC 7 Xtra last night and I have to say that City Rep Lily Limon is spot on in her advocacy for the Mexican American Cultural Institute. We shouldn't just settle for table scraps on this project.
Limon mentioned visiting another in San Antonio and said that El Paso's facility needs to be world class. That is exactly the type of vision we need in driving the creation of a MACI. Other cities embrace their Latino culture like Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Tucson, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Antonio. For some reason, El Paso which is pretty much the capitol of the border, runs away from it and has for years.
What are we ashamed of? How the hell does San Antonio, literally located hundreds of miles from the border come off calling itself the gateway to Mexico and we have some sort of inferiority complex about being brown.
We need the biggest, best, and most impressive cultural center of them all. And it needs to be downtown, or in Segundo. But all the other reasons we should put all the cool bond stuff downtown apply to the MACI. Its all about the Benjamins.
Now for those of you reading this that are saying, why does it have to be Mexican? I don't need a culture center to teach me how to be who I am.
Shut up. Stop being a condescending ass. Thats not what this is about and you know it.
But a MACI is doomed to have a lot of problems. First, it will be the freaking name. We are going to end up being paralyzed by the same old argument that is going to leave the door open for us to be divided and conquered (again).
The argument is going to be over what we call ourselves. If we can't agree on that, we aren't going to agree on what to call it. I identify as Chicano, but others identify as Xicano, Hispanic, Latino, Mexican-American, Mexican, American of Mexican descent, indigenous, etc...
For all of you that are going to kick, scream, stomp and hold your breath over the name, you people should shut up too.
This stupid bickering that we do among ourselves is exactly what holds us back. If we can't get that right, I can't even imagine the fight over content...
You know what else is a problem? That fact that we got blind-sided with the under-funding. Thats our fault, We dropped the ball and we need to be honest with ourselves about that. Being a Latino leader doesn't mean just showing up for a photo-op when Little Joe or Dolores Huerta comes to town. It means being in the room and making key decisions. The fact that the process has gone this far and we are only now just realizing the screw job that happened is primarily our fault.
One last thing...I'm calling bullshit on Bernie Sergeant. I like the guy, but he was full of it on Xtra. He called for a cultural center that is "more inclusive". Sergeant chairs the El Paso County Historical Commission and its nearly all white. How the hell a historical commission in El Paso ends up being almost all-white is another failure of Latino leadership. But Sergeant tried to dodge that point last night and frankly I'm not letting him off the hook. As recently as last year there was only one member of the commission who was even 1/2 Latino. If there's a couple more now thats news to me, but its still nowhere near a reflection of our community.
Yes, its true that he doesn't appoint the members, but as the chair he's uniquely positioned to be able to connect members of the court with people that would be interested in serving and making the commission look more like El Paso.