July 2003 Archives

Poetry is power

This wonderful poem, "A Forgotten People" can be used in prayer services, don't you think? "Love your gente" is a rephrasing of ancient wisdom, even of "love your neighbor."

The whole site, Soy Chicano portal/site is a good mix of entertainment, thought and community connections. I always wonder why "religion" or "spirituality" is never a category on these sites. There's a question that I will probably never be able to answer.


My friend in Santiago, Chile, Rodrigo Garcia says that "Can Linux be an opportunity to develop solutions in communites with limited resources, as in Latin America?" He mentions BioLinux, an Argentinian project that develops a sofware solution for Argentinean hospitals using the Linux platform and adds, will Linux survive the giant Microsoft?

Alberto Pigola, Uruguay, reminds me that even for Linux there are "talons of greed" biting on its heels, citing this article about SCO.

Any coments or links, I will really appreciate.

Radio Campesina, UFW

La Campesina Radio Network is an example of community radio, different from the "public radio" stations at university campuses, many of which play mainly European classical and are members of NPR. Radio Campesina was founded by Cesar Chavez and has a clear, direct, energy-filled identity -- the migrant farm working community. With 7 stations and several repeaters, the network's reach covers Arizona, California and Washington. Also look at the UnitedFarm Worker webiste. It is informative and provides ways of getting involved. You will be welcomed with an audio file that plays automatically, the voice of Cesar Chavez.

�S� se puede!


Latino Internet Art

Chicano art is fun and little by little getting digital. On-site is slowly moving into on-line. This store, Self Help Graphics, onsite, has a children's book, "A New Sun/Un Nuevo Sol," that I am buying for my godson. If you'd like to shop for hot Chicano art, here is a listing of other stores, some on-line.

Media Ownership

Is it finally clear to a substantial number of our citizens that that we have gone too far with deregulation? I think so, when the National Rifle Association and the National Organization for Women team up to fight the Federal Communications Commission's rule allowing even a greater concentration of media by a few corporations.

A strong backlash is the only reason I can see for the vote yesterday to block the FCC rule that would increase corporate ownership of TV stations. Before the rule, one company could own TV stations that reach 35% of the population. The rule increased it to 45%. There were other changes.

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting provides a good, short description of the rule, and how you can take action, though it is written before yesterday's vote.

I find it interesting and hopeful that grass-roots interests are winning out here. Also, the FCC chair is Colin Powell's son, Michael K. Powell. Hmmmm.

It would be great if a religious institution stepped up to the plate and gave this religion-TV discourse some life.

Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz was buried today, after a service at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Cruz died from a brain tumor Wednesday in her home at Fort Lee, N.J., at age 77.

In the 1950s, Cruz became famous with the Afro-Cuban group La Sonora Matancera. She left Cuba after its 1959 revolution, coming to the United States in 1960. Her music and voice help form latino identity. I was privileged to meet her on a plane about 10 years ago, She said in an interview that in a sense she fulfilled her father's wishes that she become a teacher because as an artist she taught people about her culture and about happiness: "En un sentido, he cumplido con los deseos de mi padre de que fuera maestra, ya que a trav�s de mi m�sica puedo ense�arle a generaciones de personas sobre mi cultura y la felicidad que se puede encontrar dando alegr�a. Como artista, quiero que la gente sienta sus corazones cantando y sus esp�ritus rebosantes".

Let's continue to enjoy her music as she lives in our hearts and culture.

Workers and Markets

This manifesto, from 1999, provides an interesting step into exploring the free market and copyright issues. Titled cluetrain manifesto, it is referred to by Mary Hess in a wonderful address she made to the Association of Theological Librarians.

There is a market all over Latin America for religious resources. The team of Roberto Viola, Eloisa Chouy and five other creative catechists in Montevideo, Uruguay have long been saying, "Our videos are all over Latin America. We get e-mails from people saying that they saw our videos even in Cuba." Eloisa and team have not seen a penny because the copies are all pirated. Noone in latin America has yet figured out a way to distribute religious resources, yet people who need them have from time to time found a way to get them. The Uruguayan team think piracy has been great because their work is being done.
Now on their website they've made their resources also available. Even their on-line course on Christology is free -- but requires a commitment. They work day jobs and do this in the evenings and on weekends and have been doing so for years. Refreshing.

Now let's give some more thought to making these materials more accessible to schools, community groups and churches.

Chicano Video

UC Berkeley has a resource list that is a useful reference for looking up Chicano films, videos and publications. This is an example not only of resourcing Chicana materials, but also of a library that is making headway into integrating digital material with books. The library states:"The Media Resources Center (MRC) is the UC Berkeley Library's primary collection of materials in electronic non-print (audio and visual) formats. These formats include: videocassettes, DVDs (Digital Versatile Discs), and laser discs; compact audio discs; audiocassettes; slides; and interactive multimedia materials."

One good DVD by Susan Racho is "The Bronze Screen." By using the scene selection feature, you can easily include a 5 or 10 minute section in a class. I like the section about names and labels. It's funny and revealing.

Gay and Lesbian Studies

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the Pacific School of Religion makes note of the film, "In The Name of Allah," described as "the world's first documentary to explore the complex intersections of Islam with Gender and Sexuality. It is by Parvez SharmaThe film which is currently a work in progress "takes a close, involved and personal look at the mostly invisible lives of a strong but seldom heard minority: lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender Muslims and their allies. In the recent past there have been some glimpses of these lives, seen through camera's eagerness to capture the silence that surrounds them. This film will go further in detailing the richness and persecution, intense pain and joyous celebration that come with being LGBTQ and Muslim."


Sacred Media Conference

I'm on the road, first to Rome for a meeting of the International Study Commission on Media, Religion and Culture. It is hosted by the Salesian Pontifical University and I will see my friend again, Fabio Pasqualetti who teaches there. With him and Mary Hess we led a seminar last April at MACC.

Fabio and his colleagues in the communications faculty will converse with the study commission members about higher education and the intersecting fields of media, religion and culture.

One of the highlights of this meeting is dialog with Eastern Europe scholars about icons, still art and media practice. Marko Rupnik, the Jesuit artist who designed and installed the walls and ceiling of the Redemptoris Mater chapel of the current pope will speak about his work and the chapel mosaics.

Among the participants is Borys Gudziak, the rector of the new Ukrainian University.

After this meeting all of us will go to Jyv�skyl�, Finland to attend the Sacred Media Conference July 10-13.

Happy Summer

Latino Cinema and Ministry

If you are intersted in media issues and the life of the soul, I invite you to sign up for a weekend seminar that I am leading about latino film/video and contemporary ministry. We'll attend screenings at the San Antonio Cinefestival the first latino festival in the US, which I founded in 1976. We'll arrange discussions with the video and film directors and discuss linkages between the imaginations, symbols and narratives of Latino films and the world views, symbol systems and narratives of ministry like: worship, community activism, religious education.

Sign up at MACC. It is scheduled for February of next year, so make plans early.


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