I was born in Mexico but migrated to the U.S. in 1997 and was without permanent status until 2012 when I got my greencard, at which time I found myself renegotiating my identity after being undocumented for thirteen years.
I decided to write a chapbook around what a greencard meant for me: The journey back, seeing family for the first time as an adult in my homeland, traveling abroad and developing a sense of politics beyond US/immigration policy.
I had been involved with the immigration reformist movement since the age of sixteen and found pride, community and a living. Through poetry I was able to explore concepts and create new language for things that made no sense inside of it. Post Greencard another narrative began to emerge, one a about existence within the resistance: The untold stories of womyn in movement.
Xicanisma/Chicanismo is ambiguous but specific about who it’s for: the individual who feels is neither “from here nor there”, for the poor, the youth of the welfare, and working classes living in the U.S. It’s concept of ethnicity is not for the white gaze, “they use race to divide us, we use it to unite us. They use it as derogatory, we use it with pride.” A Xicana is in solidarity with her third world sisters resisting misogyny and colonization.
Five years before Cherie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua edited and published the essential “This Bridge Called My Back” on Third Woman Press; Lorna Dee Cervantes printed the first crop of MANGO publications on her Xicana press in 1976. Defying the conventions of printing technology by using different colors and multiple presses, different forms of binding techniques and creative use of paper centered on poetry . Its wake created a culture of pride around literature and indigenous American political thought outside of the white mainstream, and in solidarity with the rising civil rights movement of that generation. It was the place to go to for Xican@s who cared about literature and many went on to start their own publications and presses. We have partnered to revive the press and feminist literary movement for today.
Rebelené, which began as a blog for the Librotraficante Movement that “smuggled” banned books to Arizona in 2012, transforms as the place for emerging bilingual and immigrant voices with a focus on poetry, art and social justice on the Fourth of July, 2015. A “Cultural Cradle” that favors experiments in political and spiritual growth on- and off the page in line with the MANGO tradition.