My favorite method of communication is writing. I believe alternative media is not only essential for the survival of ourselves as mujeres but necessary. I prefer the written word over spoken conversations, because the synapses of my brain to my mouth are cut short-I fumble through languages, stutter what may seem incomplete thoughts to some and these fragile and angry, rooted and happy words are better contained on paper. My writing is a deeply personal; a fiery exhalation of love, motherhood, disappointments and legacy. I am dedicated to writing, to commit to paper and memory truths of our stories, for and as a healing process and to create change.
I grew up in the borderlands¹ known as Rio Grande Valley, birth place to Gloria Anzaldua, this bordered terrain of la migra, rinches, politicos, Winter Texans², colonias³ and paleteros. My creative work is framed with this background, striving to connect without stifling the anger in my writing, not silencing one part for the other, writing for the single mami Chicana/Boricua, the queer welfare mami, writing for the vegan earth mami who grew up on government cheese and in colonias, the high school drop out who went to live with her dad in Mexico, who told her not to read too much, or she’ll go crazy like her mom.
REFRAME OUR STORIES AS A FORM OF RESISTANCE AND CRITIQUE.
¹A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, gloria anzaldua.
²Winter texans or snow birds take advantage of the weather, low costs, preferred treatment, their unchecked white racism and freely and seemly “right” to take advantage according to the hierarchical scheme of the United States society. Colonias can be found in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, but Texas has both the largest number of colonias and the largest colonia population. Approximately 400,000 Texans live in colonias. Overall, the colonia population is predominately Hispanic; 64.4 percent of all colonia residents and 85 percent of those residents under 18 were born in the United States. There are more than 2,294 Texas colonias, located primarily along the state’s 1,248 mile border with Mexico.
How were colonias developed?
The development of Texas colonias dates back to at least the 1950s. Using agriculturally worthless land, land that lay in floodplains or other rural properties, developers created unincorporated subdivisions. They divided the land into small lots, put in little or no infrastructure, then sold them to low-income individuals seeking affordable housing.
Colonias are basically, from USA’s point of view, illegal subdivisions created by rural settlers and are found near the U.S. – Mexico border. The lack of clean water and proper plumbing infrastructure is due primarily to the fact that the settlements were established spontaneously without the approval or assistance of the proper government authorities. The population of a colonia will usually grow rapidly well before its infrastructure needs are realized by the closest established towns or government officials.
From Mexico’s point of view, however, a Colonia is a regular division inside every city, meaning suburbs or fraccionamientos sometimes, aside from economic and sociocultural development. Every Mexican City is divided in different Colonias for administrative purposes and sometimes a Colonia belongs to a single Postal Code.