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Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

The Brown Berets are part of the historical struggle of resistance of the Chicano community. Founded in 1967 by youth in the barrios of East Los Angeles, they organized to fight against police harassment, social injustice and poor education. Influenced by the legacy of this orgnization, a group of Watsonville students decided to reactivate the Brown Berets in 1994. The Watsonville Brown Berets are one of the most active local youth organizations fighting for progressive change and barrio peace.
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Mr Chuch of KPFA La Onda Bajita, Youth and Power Conference 2004. Photo by Bob Fitch
In 1967 young Chicanas and Chicanos from the barrios of East Los Angeles came together and established the Brown Berets organization in order to address countless issues that were impacting their communities negatively. Influenced by the revolutionary movements in Sur and Centro America as well as the organizing efforts of the Black Panthers and the Puerto Rican Young Lords, the Brown Berets fought against police harassment, inadequate public schools and education, the lack of political representation and the Vietnam War draft.

The Brown Berets were key organizers of the 1970 Chicano Moratorium, in which over 20,000 Chicanas and Chicanos came together to protest the Vietnam War. This peaceful protest became chaotic when the Los Angeles County sheriffs department decided to end the event by attacking attendees. Three Chicano activists were killed, including journalist Ruben Salazar. In 1968 the Brown Berets helped organize the East Los Angeles High School Blowouts, the largest and lengthiest high school walkouts in California history. In addition this organization started free clinics, breakfast programs and a community newspaper called La Causa.

The Brown Berets became a symbol of militant activism within the Chicana and Chicano community and began to flourish throughout the barrios of Aztlan. They were instrumental at bringing the struggle of Chicano liberation to the ears and eyes of the American public. Due to the hysteria of communism and insurrection, the government attacked the Berets utilizing programs such as COINTELPRO, which led to the incarceration and suppression of its leadership and members.

A group of students from Watsonville inspired by the legacy of militant activism decided to resurrect the Brown Berets in the spring of 1994. This was due to similar conditions that existed in 1967 and the murders of two young people, Jessica Cortez (Age 9) and her brother George (Age 16). “We were just a group of young people, most of us MEChA members at local high schools and junior colleges, who were tired of injustices in our community and the lack of political representation. We decided to educate and take power for ourselves,? said Luis Alejo one of the group’s founding members.

In order to address the increasing gang violence, the Watsonville Brown Berets organized an annual march that passed through all the different barrios in order to bring the message of Peace and Unity. They believed that through cultura and activism young people involved in gangs could redirect that energy into more constructive avenues. In addition, the group established a meeting location in which young people could learn to organize and learn about their history (the version that is usually excluded from textbooks). It is in this small “classroom? that strategies and ideas are exchanged to effectively create local change.

A few of their (numerous) actions and battles include the Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta school naming campaign, cop watch and police harassment, counter-military recruitment, college-bound mentoring and academic support and local political elections. The group has established firm relations with other progressive community organizations such as Students Against War (UCSC), Barrios Unidos and the Resource Center for Non Violence. In 2004, the Watsonville Brown Berets activated Liberation School, which provides tutoring, and career guidance as well as an extensive revolutionary library.

Watsonville city counsel person Oscar Rios said, “ The Watsonville Brown Berets have been one of the strongest youth organizations in this community and have led by example by providing our young people with constructive alternatives and the tools to make progressive change.?

On May 27, 2005, the Watsonville Brown Berets organized their fourth annual Youth and Power event, which took place at the Vets Hall in Watsonville. Over 400 young people were in attendance. The event featured counter-military recruitment activist Fernando Suarez del Solar. Over 20 organizations hosted information tables providing literature about college opportunities as well as political, community and environmental activism. There were musical performances by La Plebe, Here Kitty Kitty, Universal Language and Watsonville’s own punk rock band Los Dryheavers. “It is events like this that empower our young people and remind them that their voice is a powerful weapon,? said Brown Beret member Jennifer Laskin.

The Brown Berets meet every Thursday at 7pm in Watsonville.
We are Located at 406 Main Street (Suite 408b) behind Ritmo Latino Music Store.
Membership is open to anyone dedicated to battle social injustice.
Contact us at brownberets (at) msn.com or visit us at www.brownberets.info
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Brown Beret member Ana with son. Photo by Bob Fitch
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Interview with Brown Beret member Tomas in New York protesting the RNC ( Republican National Convention) 2004.
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Watsonville Brown Berets Peace and Unity March 2004. Photo by Bob Fitch
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Brown Beret members Evelyn and Jennifer in New York protesting at the RNC 2004.
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Brown Beret member Ramiro educating youth about alternatives to the military. Photo by Bob Fitch
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Brown Beret members Rob and Sandino conducting anti-military recruitment workshop. Photo by Bob Fitch
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Watsonville Brown Beret general meeting. Photo by Bob Fitch
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Brown Berets host Youth and Power conference at Cabrillo College 2004. Photo by Bob Fitch
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Brown Berets members Magge, Yadira, and Daisy at MECHA youth conference at Cal Poly 2005. Photo by Jenifer Laskin
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Brown Beret information table at Peace and Unity March 2004. Photo by Bob Fitch
 
 


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Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

Mexika tiahui, que viva los Brown Berets!
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

At 56 years old now and a former member of the original Brown Berets (and the Young Lords in New York too incidently as I traveled a lot in those days and was involved with a lot of groups referred to as 'latino power coast-to-coast') I would advise all members of the 'new' Brown Berets to try to obtain a copy of David Sanchez's book, "Expedtion Through Aztlan" which tells the whole, founding story of the original group and our 'expedition' march from east LA to Arizona-New Mexico-Colorado-Texas-Utah and back covering the entire canvas of Aztlan. Whatever one thinks of David now and whatever he became-at that time he was our leader and Prime Minister, truer to the cause than any man I knew. His book, "Expedition through Aztlan" is testament to that, complete with pictures as well as the full and detailed 16 point program of the Brown Beret National Organization referred to as the "Brown Beret National Policies" or Platform. This book was published in 1978 by Perspectiva Publications which was, at the time of publication, located in La Puente California.
 

"Follow up"

If you cannot find David's book I would be willing to submit mine to be reprinted and republished by your group if you wish to arrange those details. Mace T GitanoOne (at) webtv.net
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

Mr. Mace T, thank you for your suggestion. Actually, Mr. Sanchez book is part of our Liberation School library. We are grateful for the work Mr. David Sanchez did at the beginning and formations of this organization. However the history of this movement did not begin or end with one person. The Brown Berets have many biographical histories and accounts that were never published, especially those of mujeres (women), who dedicated their time and energy to the struggle of social justice in our barrios. Mr. Mace, our organization continues the vital work that is necessary to empower our young people. We invite you to attend our meetings and share your personal and political experience with our group and get involved once again in this struggle. We still need our veteranos. Mexikah Tiahui
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

I am an American of Mexican descent. I am an American first and foremost. I love this country and feel that groups like yours only segregate and continue to promote the "victim" mentality of "Chicanos". Don't be followers and remember this is the greatest country and we are so fortunate to be Americans (first!)
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

Anonymous --- you obviously didn't even read this article if you think that the BBs are perpetuating the victim mentality. Trolling along, eh?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:What_is_a_troll
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

Yes- I read the article. My family was involved with the UFW etc. All these groups that feel they are "entitled" are perpetuating the "victim" mentality. My daughters will learn that just because they are "Latinas" they are not victims and are not entitled to special benefits!
 

"Don't Let Nobody Get you Down!!"

After reading the comments above by "anonymous" it might be real easy for some people, especially younger people, to get upset, angry, frustrated. To scratch their heads and ask themselves "where do people like this come from...what are they even doing accessing a site like this if they feel that way...how can their thinking be so muddled...what we're doing is as clear as a bell...why can't they see it like I do?" Pero mi hermanos y hermanas you mustn't let these things annoy you or sway you or deter you from your goals. Such thinking has existed in every latino generation and will continue to do so until the end of time. In the sixties we refered to it as 'reactionary' and called these people 'tio tacos'. Often they would (and will) argue against you more vehemently than the dominate society does and will stand shoulder to shoulder with those who are your strongest adversaries and critics. And as strange as it may seem you need people like that, even the ones from your own raza. It helps to motivate and galvanize you. I learned myself as far back as 1969 to energize myself and push full speed ahead when I ran into this kind of thinking because it's people like that who need your help and guidance the most. What a dull world this would be anyhow if we all thought and felt the same and saw things in the same way!


When my father was beaten with a steel chain in the Zoot Suit riots of the 1940's-beaten by a policeman and an american navy officer with a little american flag stitched on his sleeve-he never forget that. And neither I nor anyone who looked at him could ever forget it either because his face was scarred from the attack and the marks remained with him all of his life. It was one of the motivating factors for me joining the Berets- to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening to anyone else. And now I bear my own scars, internal and external, from doing just that so that people like anonymous are allowed into a voting booth or can get served in a restaurant and doesn't get turned away by a sign that says, "No dogs or Mexicans allowed." Anonymous says that they love america and that she's an american first and a latino second. Good! I'm glad to hear it. I only hope america feels the same way about you and will have the decency to call you a 'greaser' after your back is turned and not to your face. It can hurt and shatter a lot of illusions. Trust me. I've felt the sting of that word myself, face to face and know.
Anonymous goes on to say two other interesting things. That their family was 'involved' with the United Farm Workers union. Anonymous doesn't say I was involved but the family was. That speaks volumns right there. And in any case being 'involved' is a far cry from being a committed activist and revolutionary fighter! One can be 'involved' with the republican party by just saying they voted for George Bush! So frickin' what!

And finally, anonymous goes on to say that they want their daughters to be accepted on their merit and not because they're latinas. Bravo. I hope that happens and if it does it's because of what groups like the Brown Berets, groups you seem to detest, did years ago and are doing today-things we fought and died for-that your daughters now have that opportunity today. You know Clarence Thomas, the black supreme court justice, fights tooth and nail at every opportunity, against affirmative action, very convenieintly forgetting that he himself got to where he is because of AA. Apparently it's alright for him to make use of it but he's damned if he's going to let anyone else use it. Maybe for the dauhghter's of anonymous there's a lesson to be learned in that.
 

RIGHT ON MACE T

Right on, Mace T! You nailed it, brother, and touched every base. I like it, I like it! My old man was in the Zoot Suit riots too and lived in the Sleepy Lagoon barrio. We owe it to both our papis to never forget and never let others forget. You must have written for "La Causa' man because you have a hell of a way with words! And to the new Brown Berets- 'la lucha' continues.
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

This is my last comment. Funny how you liberals claim First Amendment Rights when you want to state your opinions but when conservatives "Latino Conservatives" especially we are "trolling", invading your space etc. What happened to your ideas of "tolerance"? You are all welcome to state your comments on any conservative room, board etc. I always listen to "liberal" hosts. That is the only way to learn. Don't teach the Latino youth to close their minds and only hear the liberal side (although that is only what colleges teach).

And yes I was involved in the UFW - my brother a higher up in the cause. Yes I saw the good that Cesar did but I also have seen the great harm liberal causes like yours do.

Read: An Unlikely Conservative, How I Became the Most Hated Hispanic in America by Linda Chavez

Liberals talk about being open minded - then open your minds - read the other side, educate yourselves!
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

i don't really want to start attacking anyone here because i don't believe it will be productive. so annonymous- a thought or few. I'm very confused about where you get this emphatic obsession with victimization. if you read as much history as you do conservative propoganda you might learn a little bit about the legacy of white supremacy (and the relevant cultural and spiritual assimilation of too many people trying to achieve the "american dream" thats built off of), colonial massacres of million of indigenas throughout the world, capitalistic predation on developing economies and societies, illegal and leagalized slavery (modern day prisons, sweatshops, and farm labor that may provide you and many others with your everyday cafe, nikes, clothes, cleaning supplies, food, etc), and the history of your beloved ameriKKKa from the perspectives of anyone other than rich, white conservatives.

if you read the brothers words you would see he told his story and spoke to the companeros who might be disgusted, frustrated, or infuriated with your comments. What he said was the complete opposite of what you read as victimization- SELF-DETERMINATION! the power to take the strugges of life and used every challenge to empower, humble, and strengthen us.
What he did was rise above you with his words, speaking from his heart to the hearts of others that believe in fighting for our lives, for justice, for cultural, human, and indigenous rights and expression, fight for our children and our children's children and the betterment of our communities. Maybe in your community you are removed somehow from death, violence, poverty, racism, greed, corporate take over, lack of community automy, and the erosion or lack of quality communal life. Maybe you see your own people (or anyone fighting for justice in america or against america) as victims because you don't actually see or know most of them- you don't actually see beyond FOX or MSN into the barrios, ghettos, prisons, YOUTH prisons, women shelters, homeless shelters, food banks, unemployment offices, miserable schools, nor in the fields.

the brown berets are not and have never been here as victims. in fact, we are here as completely the opposite: SELF-DETERMINED, EDUCATED, PASSIONATE GENTE who believe in education ourselves and creating something WITH and FOR THE PEOPLE. One of the keys to the lucha is to create. To create community. Create schools. SPark and Ignite- create a fire in the minds and souls of the people that inspire them to vitalize and empower their community. to not be followers of the oppressive American Dream Buill by Blood on Oppression to something differt....something you and your daughter might be highly inspired by if you did actually come and sit and listen for a minute...without your ready to criticize in the name of an open mind mentality. we are here create unity and justice, especially for our youth- to unite all those that are oppressed (which frankly includes you too. what you see as all your intelligence and appreciation for the US- i see as internalized oppression- a very deep swallowing of american text books, media propoganda, and assimilation- no offense). i fully honor your difference of opinion as a person, but as someone who has never come aroudn the Watsonville Brown Berets i have to discredit your completely un-experienced and therefor invalid and ignorant assessment of who we are and why and what we do. come meet us and try working with us before you continue talking about your own judgements about yourself. don't have time to re-read this so i hope it made sense. sorry if it didnt. in solidarity with all the companeros y companeras out there fighting for equal rights, justice, and community empowerment. POWER TO THE PEOPLE! LA LUCHA SIGUE HASTA LA VICTORIA!
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

you are doing such a great job with everything! you go BROWN BERETS>>>>
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

I have only been one time to the brown berets meeting I cant go all the time because I live very far away from Watsonville. But I think everything you do and have done it's been great.
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

I am glad this discussion is taking place. i have been very touched by the work of the brown berets and by individual people in the organization. Especially in these times when hte youth have more and more distractions from education, family and culture, the BB are a guiding force. For that reason, i must say, don't forget to self reflect. This is necessary to your continued success. Adelante!
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

First of all, I want to thank Mr. Mace T for his kind words. It would be great to see you sometime in one of our meetings.

Second of all, we have to remember that there are many people who think like anonymous. Whose, it seems, mission in life is to adhere to wealthy white americans and is so concerned with the "what will they think?" mentality. This way of thinking comes from a colonialized mentality: that we have to serve and always worry about the upper-class white society. We are determined not for them, but for ourselves. To steer our youth in the right direction, to fight for the rights of our gente in the fields, to represent the voiceless in our barrios and our schools.

I feel that our sista (reSista) has broke it down pretty well, and I don't want to repeat anything she has already elaborated on.

My first impression of your comments are also that they are uneducated. Skewed by conservative mumbo-jumbo and that you know nothing of the Brown Berets to be talking about us. I invite you to one of our meetings every Thursday @ 7pm in Watsonville. We would love to hear your point of view and entangle in a healthy conversation.
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

how do we get more information about meetings how do we become a Brown Beret?
 

Responce to Dee

Membership is based on active participation with our organziation. Meeting locations are posted st the end of this article or you can log on to www.brownberets.info for more information
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

Thank you for your information
 

"WE ARE ONE!!"

We are One!! No matter what our political, social or economic persuasions are, as the most beautiful race of people in this country, we are and always will be ONE-no matter how misguided some of us may seem to be-and we must always remember that. For those who commented nicely on my words above, thank you, but I also want "Anonymous Poster" #1 to know that we are not 'ganging up' on you. No one is picking on you or calling you names or questioning your 'chicanismo'. One thing we don't want to do is play that divide and conquer game that worked so well against us in the early-mid seventies and succeeded in corrupting the movemiento at that time through infiltrators, agents provacateurs and FBI informants. Thankfully since then law enforcement has changed a great deal and become more 'centralized' in terms of the communities it now policeses. And with the addition of many more latino cops and officials I have great hopes that the new Brown Berets will be spared some of the s--t we had to put up with at the hands of the racist police then. But back to Anonymous #1 Your beliefs and feelings, however different, are valid and respected and should be listened to and given a fair argument which is exactly what this Brown Beret web site is doing and that makes me proud and thankful and grateful.


You mentioned the conservative Linda Chavez and her book. Actually I did read the sister's book and found it very enlightening and informative though I wish she hadn't used that subtitle' "the most hated Hispanic in America." It kind of suggested we are all hated but she moreso than the rest of us. She of course meant hated by other Hispanics because of her conservative views. She may think a little too much of herself though because I don't think too many other Chicanos are really going to expend the energy and effort 'hating' her. Frankly, most don't even know who she is! The Chicano raza and the Berets in particular are not now nor have they ever been about hate or hatred for anyone- whether they be deceitful politicians, explotive businessmen or racist policemen. But I'm glad, Anonymous #1, that you drew everyone's attetion to it and you're right when you say people shouldn't criticize something they don't know or understand. Don't take our words as 'criticisms' but more as explanations and clarifications so that you know where we're coming from as well as we knowing where you're coming from.
I personally admire you for being bold enough to state your views here knowing full well that those of us who didn't agree with them were going to come after you. But it was done with love, my friend, not hatred or anger.

And to the young vatos y vatas who didn't understand my reference to the Zoot Suit riots of the 1940's. Well, there's too much to that story to go into here but if you get the chance, rent Luis Valdez's film called "Zoot Suit" starring brother Edward James Olmos. It's an entertaining way to learn what happened in the Sleeepy Lagoon Barrio in the mid 1940's. You can also look it up on the internet. In a nut shell, if you had a brown face and got caught wearing a Zoot suit by roving bands of racist thugs from the nearby naval base you ran the risk of getting beaten and stripped of your clothes. It happened to my Dad. The Zoot Suit was a sign of Chicano independence and resistance back then and like the Brown Beret it could make you a target if it was seen in the wrong place. Venceremos! Mace T
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

For the history of Sleepy Lagoon and the Zoot Suit (the 1940's verison of the Brown Beret) Riots go to www.brownpride.com
Scroll down on the left hand column to HISTORY and under HISTORY see the subtitles, "Zoot Suit Riots" and "History of the Chicano Zootsuiters".
 

Cabrill College article

A new chapter of the Brown Berets, a non-violent predominantly Latino youth activist organization, has been formed in Santa Cruz. Started by members of the Watsonville Brown Berets and Santa Cruz residents, the new chapter will be autonomous, dealing with issues unique to Santa Cruz.

The Watsonville Brown Berets began in 1994 in response to the increasing gang violence and specifically the gang related murder of 9-year-old Jessica Cortez and her 16-year-old brother, Jorge Cortez. Seeking to counter the growing violence, a small group of high school and college students formed the Brown Berets, adopting the name of a former Chicano revolutionary group of the 1960s.

Thomas Alejo (right) and Rob Elrich honor deceased movement leader Rodolfo Gonzales during April 21 Brown Beret meeting. Bob Fitch
“We started the Brown Berets in Watsonville because it was necessary,? said Tomas Alejo, an active member of the Watsonville Brown Beret's since 1994. “The issues that were happening in the '60s were still happening in 1994; there was still police harassment in our community, there was still mass poverty and our schools were in deplorable condition?

According to online sources, the original Brown Berets, founded in Los Angeles in 1967, created many social programs, such as free health clinics, published a newspaper called La Causa and fought against racism, police brutality a.d. in later years, the Vietnam war. They were one of the most powerful and militant organizations in the Chicano liberation movement, but were disbanded in 1972 due to police infiltration.

The Brown Berets today have adopted many ideas from the original organization but are also strongly influenced by the non-violent teachings of Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as local issues and institutions. They welcome youth any gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation to help create change in their communities. They also seek to educate youth about their history and culture in the hopes of empowering them with self-identity and pride.

“The greatest achievement of the Brown Berets is seeing young people come out of these meetings with a greater understanding of society and their history and culture,? said Alejo.

But the main focus of the Brown Berets is to empower youth to create change in their community. At the meeting last Thursday Brown Beret members spoke of dedication to their communities.

Magge Rodriquez has been tagging along with her sister to Brown Beret meetings since fifth grade and is now, at 15, co-chair of the Watsonville chapter. She expressed her frustration with the world she lives in; “This world is so messed up, they say you have a voice but they don't hear it,? she said.

But her frustration only empowers her more. She has been involved in protests with Brown Berets since fifth grade and has aspirations to work in politics so that she may better help create change in the world.

Nahum Rivera, a history major at Cabrillo College and original member of MECHA, has also found empowerment in the Brown Berets. “We can make changes that are so monumental and historic� I am making history. I am doing what a child in some high school somewhere in mid-town USA will be reading about 20, 30, 40 years from now,? said Rivera passionately.

In the past 10 years the Brown Berets of Watsonville have been involved in such local issues as the redistricting of local schools, reduction of police brutality and local elections. Most recently they have been involved in counter recruitment efforts at Watsonville High as well as UCSC and the petitioning for two new Watsonville schools to be named after Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.

The Watsonville Brown Berets have also created a program called “Liberation School? that offers free tutoring and mentoring for students of all ages. Located at the Watsonville Brown Beret's office, it is a place where youth can come for help with anything from homework to filling out financial aid forms. It is also a place where the curious can find a lending library full of progressive books and videos about social struggle and radical history.

The Liberation School is one of the many things the new Santa Cruz chapter also wishes to create. “We really want to be not only an active force in our community but also a resource for our community,? said Sandino Gomez, member of the Brown Berets since 2000 and Youth Empowerment Coordinator at the Resource Center for Non-Violence in Santa Cruz.

The Watsonville Brown Berets have greatly affected the Santa Cruz community through their involvement at UCSC and Cabrillo. Mario Wyon, a new member of the Brown Berets and Cabrillo Student Senator feels that the Brown Berets ideals have greatly effected how he approaches life.

“One of the things that I'm doing as a senator is trying to bring the philosophies of the Brown Berets and the philosophies of revolutionary activities to the student senate and keep them thinking in fresh ways in order to really support the students,? said Wyon.

With the creation of the Santa Cruz chapter the Brown Berets hope to continue inspiring change and activism in our community.

Wyon quoted Indian author Arundhati Roy about change “Another world is possible.? He added, “on a quite day, if you listen really closely, you can almost hear it being created, and I would just like to encourage everyone to try to listen for that new world being made and to try to make it themselves.?

The Watsonville Brown Berets will be holding it's 5th annual “Youth and Power? event May 27 at the Watsonville Vets Hall. The newly formed Santa Cruz chapter is renting office space at the Resource Center for Non-Violence and holding meetings there every Wednesday from 7–9 p.m. The Watsonville holds meetings on Thursday from 7–9 p.m. For more information, contact Sandino Gomez for the Santa Cruz chapter at 423-1626 ext. 103, and for the Watsonville chapter e-mail brownberets (at) msn.com or call 722-1775.
 

"SELENA; A BROWN BERET?"

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!
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

While I agree that as a community we should be encouraging our young towards self-empowerment, It makes me sick seeing kids carrying all these che flags. Che was not a chicano, he came from argentina, and later adopted cuba as his home. His words while full of concern for the people have some nobility, his actions and that are castros were tyrannical. View the results at the follow website

_www.therealcuba.com
 

Responce to "chicano" 831

Che Guevara inspired and created a legacy that reverberates throughout every barrio, ghetto and so called third world country that has been effected and exploited by first world (esp. American) imperialism. If you bothered to read about the life and work of Che, you will discover that this person sacrificed his life for the amelioration of all oppressed people. Che lived by discipline and by example and defied Russian style communism. This is why the people of Cuba still sing songs about this legend. This is why protesters all around the world carry his image on flags and banners. If you allowed yourself to understand even the basic concepts of the word Chicano/a you will discover that Chicanismo is a political ideology based on people like Che, Marti, Sandino, Zapata, Sub Comandante Ramona. I would encourage you to discover your history, balance the information you get from mainstream media or guzano websites. Like my comandante said, "Hasta La Victoria siempre!" Que viva Che!
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

I met you guys at the Livermore Lab Hiroshima Day
on 8/6/05. Mexika tiahui. You did such a great job as Masters of Ceremonies that I went to your booth and met some more BBs. I really admire your
group and...bueno, se les agradezco mucho por todo lo que hacen. Que voten verde los que puedan,
abajo la conscripcion de teenagers del barrio, abajo con el militarismo, arriba la justicia social, cuidado medico y licencias por todos, y el fin de los vigilantes en la frontera. Arriba
Brown Berets. Soy Jeffrey in San Bruno
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

Well I disagree with two comments posted here at least they are not as bad as what I have seen on those minutemen msg boards. Oh they sicken me I never would think people would have a belief system like that in this day of age.
Also I like and support Brown Berets in a whole and would love to be in contact with other chapters around the world as I have had trouble finding sources online. I am in Detroit feel free to email me yumsammcih (at) yahoo.com I would love to know if there is a chapter here.
 

enlightment is key for a prosperous future for us

I believe that through the years we have not only become this greatly unified RAZA, but have also learned to acknowledge our past. Those that came before us, and those that are to come can, and will change the corse in which we, our family and that which our future kin will live in. We shall supply the seed of that which we want them to live in and I am ready o see our culture yet even more unified. What we do is essential and if even one person is moved by the march, chant, or pressence that is the CHICANO activism, then there is no limit to what may change in the future.
PODER
peace
 

Saludos from Southern Cali

I want to thank and congratulate you my brothers on your struggle for equality and true liberation
I myself am not Mexican or Mexican-American, but Guatemalan, with a long list of revolutionary family members who fought the oppressive dictatorships in Guatemala during our civil war
Seeing how our struggles are similar, I applaud all that the BB's have done 'para nuestro pueblo'
I would like to get more involved in BB activities, but I have been unable to find more brothers or information regarding the BB's in the Riverside area
If any of you could direct me or give me some info, I greatly appreciate it
Hasta La Victoria Siempre...mis hermanos
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

necesitamos un brown berets en nebraska porque esta lleno de racists and haters.
 

Re: Watsonville Brown Berets Continue Message of Radical Activism

Wow you guys have the power to do alot of great changes. Im looking at a very strong youth and thats what alot mexicanos and chicanos like to see
 

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