Thursday, September 13, 2018

El Grito de Dolores in Austin! Texas State Capitol Building, September 15, 2018

Happening this Saturday evening on September 15th at the Texas State Capitol—El Grito de Dolores! This is the celebration of Mexico's Independence Day from Spain. 

I remember just how powerful and exciting the celebration was in Guanajuato.  Both Garcia-Robles Fulbright recipients, my husband, Dr. Emilio Zamora, and I lived there for an entire year with our children from 2007 to 2008.  And what a memorable one!

This holiday is important for many reasons, the most important of which was that Indigenous people stood up to oppression with beloved priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, tolling the church bells for independence from Spain, leading to a radical transformation of Mexico.  

Beginning in 1492, the Spanish invaded the continent and brutally colonized Indigenous peoples for close to 400 years.  In 1864, in the town of Dolores, Guanajuato. Indigenous people from there and throughout the surrounding mountainous areas, descended upon Guanajuato, Guanajuato—the state's capital city where we also lived—to take back their lives, exercising their rights to their full humanity of which they had been robbed via war, conquest, and colonization under the yoke of centuries-long oppression, insurrection, and resulting carnage.  Although many today still speak their native, ancestral tongues in Mexico, it is nevertheless profound to consider that the majority speaks Spanish, the colonizer's language.  

As Mexican Americans in the U.S., many of us speak two colonizers' languages, Spanish and English.  Such are the inescapable aspects of that history for the descendants of that history.

You can learn more about it here.  You're going to want to also know about Juan José de los Reyes Martínez, "El Pípila," to get the deeper story.  Atop a steep hill literally in the middle of the city of Guanajuato, 
Guanajuato, you will find a towering statue dedicated to him because of his key role in the defeat of the Spanish.

If you travel go to Guanajuato itself, you may find Indigenous chroniclers standing around or close to the statue who attribute this decisive victory to Juana Gavina, El Pípila's wife.  You can read more about this here.  Juana Gavina was from the town of Santa Rosa, 
Guanajuato.  Today, the community annually celebrates her pivotal role in the Independence Movement. A chronicler told us that, instead of El Pípila, Juana Gavina was the one who successfully strategized this victory.

Powerful woman.  Powerful history.  

I love how this totally subjugated knowledge, this counter-story, this counter-narrative, follows the dominant one close behind throughout time.  It always has and always will for more reasons than we might can even imagine, not the least of which is women's power and resolve, particularly when they say, "Basta con esto!" "Enough with this!"  

Shhhh...listen...I hear whispers of the #MeToo movement right now... ☺

El Consul General Carlos González Gutiérrez has been such a wonderful consulado and Saturday evening's program promises to be splendid!

-Angela Valenzuela

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