Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia


Selena; A Brown Beret? You decide. Of all the people, beginning in 1969 and continuing on until whenever that I converted, or that I 'think' I converted to la causa, none stand out in my mind more than Selena Quintanilla, the tejana songstress whom I had the good fortune to meet only once before she left us in 1995.

Selena was born in 1971 so she missed out on the sixties and early seventies when america was going through its second revolution and the original Berets were on the march through Aztlan. And at the time I met her neither one of us were aware of the Watsonville Brown Beret rebirth in 1994. But interesting in that same year Selena began to do the things that in my opinion would certainly qualify her for Beret membership. She introduced an educational video for the students at a Cunninghamn Middle school, which I presume was either in Lake Jackson Texas where she was born or in Corpus Christi Texas where she grew up. She was also active in the anti-drug campaigns for young people nationwide as well as some international AIDS awareness programs. Also in 1994 she went on a musical tour that included New York, L.A., Argentina and Puerto Rico.
It was at the L.A. concert that I had my one brief meeting with her.

As was usually the case with me then whenever attending something that a lot of Chicanos were going to be at I wore my Beret. And when my turn in line came to get her autograph she inquired of the cap and what it was about. I tried to explain it to her in the short time I had with her and she seemed fascinated and wanted to know more. Unlike many people younger than me who couldn't have cared less about the days of strife and struggle for our people before they themselves were born, Selena was hungry and insatiable for anything I could tell her. She actually pulled me aside and told me to keep talking while she continued signing autographs. I was quite flattered to be honest about it.

And before our chance encounter was over I ended up giving her my Beret. She said she'd wear in in one of her music videos but I don't know if she ever did. I haven't even seen all of her videos so I couldn't say. Saddly now I will never know if the seed of la causa that I planted in her that day ever took root and bloomed. When she was shot in the back and murdered by that woman whose name I won't even mention in the same paragraph as Selena, the flower died-in more ways than one. And I guess a little piece of me died too. As far as I was concerned she'd earned the right to call herself a Brown Beret and the right to wear the hat.
In March 1995 a special service was held at the L.A. Colliseum for Selena. I attended that and I remember wanting to stand up and shout out to everyone present..."Selena was a Brown Beret!!" But I didn't. And in April of that same year the then governor of Texas George Bush declared April 16 "Selena Day". (One of the few things he's done right in his political career). Like some poeple who can never think of Dallas without thinking of John Kennedy, where he was assassinated
I can never think of Corpus Christi without thinking of Selena. 'Esta en mi corazon...nuestra corazons...por siempre mi amor.' Viva la Raza! Viva Selena!
Viva los Brown Berets!

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