In previous posts in Notes from Aztlán, I have made public some of the notes I took, documents I hold, and “policy” statements I wrote as an emerging Chicano activist within the Brown Berets. I have shared these briefs because it allows me to reflect on my own political development while helping me assess my own current work as an aspiring Chicana/o Studies scholar with plans to write about the Chicano Movement.
Fortunately, I have already undertaken the task of writing about the Chicano Movement several times in Notes from Aztlán without having to be constrained by academia.
It is also important that Chicana/o Studies scholars never forsake nor distance themselves from the community. In my own particular case, I am an activist first and foremost. Being an academic is secondary, especially in the context of the Euroamerican educational system.
In From the Archives: National Raza Huelga Day 1999 (Notes from Aztlán – August 11, 2013), I previously shared a sixteen point bulletin that addressed the need for self-determination of the Chicana/o people as I understood them.
As such, what follows below is the National Raza Huelga Day Statement of Purpose that is important in light of the fact that not much is being done in terms of advocating for human and civil rights at the national level within the Chicana/o community.
The call for a National Raza Huelga Day was a step towards (re)connecting different communities with the idea of developing a coalition of Raza groups under the banner of the National Freedom Committee.
The idea for a National Raza Huelga Day was formed from my reading of El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán: “September 16, on the birthdate of Mexican Independence, a national walk-out by all Chicanos of all colleges and schools to be sustained until the complete revision of the educational system: its policy makers, administration, its curriculum, and its personnel to meet the needs of our community.”
This was a time that represented my further Chicano radicalization.
April 23, 1999
National Raza Huelga Day Statement of Purpose
Hermanos y Hermanas de La Raza:
As Chicanos, Mexicanos, Raza, and oppressed peoples of color throughout the world, we hereby declare Thursday, September 16, 1999, as a day of National Protest in the United States. A psychological and physical “war” is being waged against La Raza, and it is our moral responsibility to respond to the injustices.
There has been a severe and unprecedented rise in racial, gender, language, and cultural discrimination against La Raza that affects all aspects of our daily lives, such as in the areas of employment and education. Chicanos are not being hired. Chicano students are not being admitted to the nation’s universities and colleges in proportion to our population. This is blatant discrimination. La Raza in occupied Aztlán has two principal effective weapons against the Anglo oppressors and their Vendido hispanic occupation administrators which are the “economic boycott” and the popular mass “labor strike” by large numbers of our gente. We can bring these two weapons into an effective focus on Diez y Seis de Septiembre by turning this day into a national day of protest.
In addition, on this day we should not buy any product or service from any Anglo vendor or merchant, including not buying any alcoholic beverages which are specially pushed on this day by the alcohol industry to our people. We should also target the products or services of particularly racist companies and corporations who in the past have supported racist politicians like Pete Wilson.
In California racist attacks upon La Raza are being waged under the guise of Political Democracy. Propositions 187, 209, and 227 highlight this new wave of physical and symbolic attempts at cultural annihilation of our people. Additionally, the passage and implementation of these propositions are violations of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which fully protects our Human and Civil Rights in the United States.
We demand that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo be ENFORCED.
We are calling for the complete demilitarization of our Chicano Barrios and the disarmament of Racist Police officers, who under the guise of self-defense kill our people as if they have a license to kill. As Chicanos and Chicanas we are being denied full process of law in our own land. We must act now to defend our rights. Action is our only defense against this aggressive wave which threatens our livelihood. The future of our children is our responsibility. An emergency exists, and we must be prepared.
As Raza we should organize events in local parks and meeting halls and instead of going to work we should participate in these events as speakers to educate our young people about our history and to open their minds to the awareness that we live in a “politically, economically and spiritually colonized state.”
With this in mind, the National Freedom Commitee is calling for a no-school, no-work, and no-buying stoppage on Thursday, September 16, 1999 to protest the tide of hate and discrimination against La Raza. Raza lets turn this day into a glorious day of protest throughout Aztlan and beyond and deal a heavy blow against the economic forces that keep us in a continuous state of oppression.
Viva La Huelga!