I had a long conversation recently about why I feel it’s important to hold on to my Chicano culture. While I tried to explain the isolation that comes with growing up in an environment that doesn’t reflect my home, it’s a hard position to articulate without coming off angry and militant. Until today, when I caught this link from The American Latino Museum
This poem by Manuel Gonzalez of Albuquerque, New Mexico is a great reminder of where we stand as Chicanos today. We’re a culture in flux but that fluidity has long been the strength of our people. We’ve been adapting and adjusting for our entire known history. “From the Conquistadors to the Moors to the Azteca and the Tolteca,” it’s hard to pin down Chicanismo because it isn’t just one thing. It’s the legacy that’s carried on after centuries of weathering the storm.
Manuel describes it as “The fire that feeds my soul… that burning that moves me, that motivates me, that makes me who I am.” His question about what being Chicano’s all about is one that bears much thought and responsibility for all of us that carry that fire to make sure that it’s burning for centuries to come.
In case you were wondering, the title of this post comes from another poem by Manuel Gonzalez called A Toda Madre where rejoices that his child will grow up with “memories of codices.”