By Jéssica Ceballos
Note: Con Tinta believes in affirming a pro-active presence in American Literature. We come together in the spirit of intellectual/artistic dialogue and of recognizing our literary/social histories. C/T’s mission is to create awareness through cultivating emerging talent, through promoting creative expression, and through establishing alliances with other cultural/political organizations.
Avenue 50 Studio is an always-opened-door art gallery and poetry haven located in a small Northeast neighborhood in Los Angeles, and not a stranger to La Bloga. For over 15 years the gallery has been central to representing Latin@ culture, and has stayed true to its mission of bridging gaps through artistic expression, and using art to educate and stimulate intercultural understanding. This year’s Annual Pachanga & Awards Ceremony, which is presented annually by Con Tinta, was proof that there couldn’t have been a more welcoming host than this cultural space in Highland Park.
The 2016 Annual Pachanga held on Thursday March 31, as an offsite AWP Conference event, was co-presented by Con Tinta, the DeCon Tinta, the partment of Chicana & Chicano Studies at Cal State University Northridge, Avenue 50 Studio, Poets Responding to SB 1070, and 100 Thousand Poets for Change, and paid tribute to Francisco X. Alarcón, Lucha Corpi, US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, Los Ángeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, and Odilia Galván Rodríguez. The pachanga also included a reading featuring Los Poetas / Poets Responding to SB 1070, La Bloga contributors and authors featured in the recently released Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice (UA Press) edited by Odilia Galván Rodriguez and Francisco X. Alarcón.
The brilliant and effervescent host of the evening, Xánath Caraza, kicked off the event by welcoming Chicano Studies Professor María Elena Fernández who briefly, but importantly spoke on the importance of the looming strike by Cal State Faculty. She reminded us of the oft-forgotten sacrifices faculty made through furloughs in 2009, and the money raised by proposition 39, and while teachers are passionate about what they do, they should remember that they are also workers. Workers have rights. I was reminded of the importance to stand with my passionate brothers and sisters who tirelessly fight for equity in all of these the institutions in order to counter their comfortability in exclusion, who fight for equity in the classroom and are rewriting pedagogy to better prepare our next generation of warriors, I was reminded that faculty are doing all of this, as not only brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, but as workers. And the day we resist to stand in solidarity with workers, is the day we let the establishment win.
Odilia Galván Rodriguez continued the evening by reiterating the mission of Con Tinta and its history of bringing Latino representation to AWP. At a time when so many of us are questioning the need for such exclusionary dynamics as the AWP conference, Odilia brought it home – the importance of writing, continuing to seek inspiration, and the importance of beinginspiration, for our gente, and for ourselves doesn’t begin and end with AWP, it’s found in community.
Lucha Corpi joined us via telephone, bringing the spirit of San Francisco to our space in Highland Park. She read two poems for us and shared la experiencia como escritora and poet. Corpi has been a role model for many of us Latina/o & Chicana/o writers. Read Rest of Article Here