March 26, 2007
I think of the fallen warriors, the infant souls who did not have the choice of whether they were going to eat or not eat, who survived just a few days past their expected deaths by starvation because their heart and spirit enabled them to outlive their hunger; I think of them and every other child who didn't make it past their seventh birthday due to disease or human frailty, children who did not have the choice of whether they wanted to play outside or watch TV because their lungs were too busy holding on to sweet breath inside hospitals, day after day, night after night; I think of them and their brave mothers and fathers, who tried till the very end—till the very last glimmer of life--to be there and do everything they could to support their child in a fight for air, a fight for existence . . .
I think of them and those who struggled and sacrificed for our future, for our right to exist: our parents, grandparents, elders, and ancestors; I think of them and every other human being--and not just the heroic leaders usually mentioned in books--who took a humbled stand for justice, imparting light upon a world of darkness for warriors of light across the globe; I think of you who have committed yourself to the struggle for humanity.
I think of you, my brothers and sisters, as I fast for the next four days with leaders of Academia Semillas del Pueblo Xinaxcalmecac and members of a growing alliance for dignity in Los Angeles, a group of persons I am proud to be a part of.
"We are fasting for our future and for the coming Seven Generations," declared Marcos Aguilar, Principal at Semillas, speaking a stern, yet gentle Spanish standing alongside the circle we had formed on the elevated circular kiosk at the entrance of La Placita Olvera in Downtown. Just across the street from the historic Pico House, where Pio Pico, last governor of Mexican California, lived during the American invasion in 1846, we began our day with a Sunrise Ceremony, receiving the fresh songs of birds and the indigenous prayers of two elders, understanding how the founders of the original city must have felt when deciding to build El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora on that very Mexican road. Cleansed with the natural medicine of native hymns, we saluted the Four Directions, kissing the winds with the whale-like cries of the caracoles in the hands and at the faces and blowing lips of the ceremony’s leaders.
Though the clouds hovered over the skyscrapers and hills that surrounded us, cloaking the great solar miracle that happens every morning, affirmation gripped my spirit when I heard that ancient cry in the streets, a cry from what Marcos would later tell me came from a crow; flying somewhere in that deep gray mist, telling us that the sun had risen, that the sun had listened, that the sun had heard our cries.
I also urge you to join us in our Walk for a Better Education on March 29, 2007. Meet us at La Placita Olvera at Noon. There we will convene and begin our walk through Main Street, First Street, and Beudry, where we will gather outside the Los Angeles Unified School District's Headquarters.
We are calling on political leaders and el pueblo to take a humbled stand for the future of our children. Academia Semillas del Pueblo is a symbol of not only what is necessary but what is just: the right to be educated by people who care and to learn at a pace in accordance with one's level of comprehension.
In Pedogogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire writes that liberation is “not a gift, not a self-achievement, but a mutal process." It is a process that occurs when the people are finally taught to teach themselves, to explore their imaginations and creativity for knowledge, to apply their emotions and intuitions in every learning situation, to seek answers to questions about one's identity through learning about one's culture, to learn how to love one another in harmony with the earth, and to break from the chains of ignorance while freeing the oppressor from his.
In Peace and Solidarity,
Yours for the cause of Justice,