Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 - RIP Sister Rosa, Korematsu, Tookie, Corky - the Fists of La Raza, Richard Pryor and Brother BIRJ Anant of ASATA - We are all Joaquin!

2005 Rest In Peace
* Rosa Parks - Sister Rosa and other brave and strategic women like Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer were the sparks for the freedom movement of the 50's leading to the 60's Black Liberation movement and other movements for self-determination
* Fred Korematsu - civil rights and redress/reparations movement icon - the soft-spoken korematsu will be missed by those of us in the Asian American Movement
* Tookie Williams - let his execution be the spark that ignites a movement against racism in the criminal justice system and prison industrial complex
* Corky Gonzalez - the "Fists of La Raza" - with brother Corky's passing let's remember the lessons of the Crusade for Justice, Chicano youth and student movements, the August 29, 1970 Chicano Moratorium against the war in Viet Nam - Corky Gonzalez Presente! We are All Joaquin!
* Richard Pryor - political comedian extraordinaire who laid the groundwork for folks like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy - check out the power pac blog's commentary
* Birj Anant - lastly, a young global justice activist from ASATA/APICAW and most recently the World Social Forum and anti-WTO campaign in Hong Kong this past month.
Many of us from the Chinese Progressive Association, Asian American Movement group and others just saw BIRJ upon his return from Hong Kong.
Below are excerpts from a few statements about Corky Gonzalez from
and Rosalio Munoz
and the BAYAN NorCAl statement from Kawal about BIRJ's contributions to our movements.
To the memory of all those that left us in 2005.
THE FISTS OF LA RAZA - We are all Joaquin!
Corky Gonzalez - Presente!

From Democracy Now! Friday, April 15th, 2005
Chicano Leader Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales 1929-2005:
"He Was the Fist. He Stood For Defiance, Resistance"
Listen to Segment Download Show mp3 Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript Help
Chicano political and civil rights activist Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales died Tuesday at his home in Denver, Colorado. He was 76 years old. We speak with his friend, columnist Roberto Rodriguez.

Chicano political and civil rights activist Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales died this past Tuesday at his home in Denver, Colorado. He was 76 years old.
Gonzales was an iconic leader in the movement for justice and equality for Mexican-Americans in the Southwest and he is credited with raising the nation's awareness of the plight of urban Chicanos.
In the mid-1960"s he founded an urban civil rights and cultural movement called the Crusade for Justice which advocated Chicano nationalism. During the late sixties and early seventies, he organized walkouts, demonstrations against police brutality and marches against the Vietnam War.
In 1968, Gonzales led a Chicano contingent to the Poor People's March on Washington D.C and issued a "plan of the Barrio" which demanded better housing, education and restitution of pueblo lands. Gonzales was also an organizer of the Annual Chicano Youth Liberation Conference which sought to create unity among Chicano youth.
Gonzales also advocated for increased political representation for Chicanos. In 1972 he was the keynote speaker at the newly formed La Raza Unida Party national convention in El Paso Texas. The party fielded political candidates to run for office in the state.
But perhaps Corky Gonzales is best known for his poem "I am Joaquin/Yo Soy Joaquin." He wrote the epic poem in 1965 and it is one of the most important literary works to emerge from the Chicano movement.
In the poem Gonzales tells of the historic struggles faced by Mexican Americans in the United States.

See also UCSD Chicano Studies Professor Jorge Mariscal's piece on Corky from Counter Punch.
April 15, 2005 - Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales - The Passing of a Legend
or check out his blog hasta la justicia...siempre by clicking here ->JORGE MARISCAL

Lastly, here's a link and a few excerpts from Chicano and anti-draft Movement leader Rosalio Munoz piece about Corky from People's Weekly World April 05.

In 1968, he was the main organizer of the large Chicano contingent in the Poor
People’s Campaign that King initiated before his assassination. He spoke at
peace rallies, including the November Moratorium in San Francisco where 250,000 attended. It was the Crusade for Justice that hosted a watershed event for the country.

In 1969, 1,500 activists from barrios and campos throughout the
Southwest and Midwest came to the National Youth and Liberation Conference, where “Plan de Aztlan” was produced. The legendary plan called for cultural and race pride and independent political action. The event galvanized the youth movement. It stands as a foundation for today’s Latino political power, vital to all U.S. progressive struggles.

In 1970, a second conference was held. I went and was fortunate to head up the peace workshop where we developed plans to hold a National Chicano Moratorium in East Los Angeles on August 29, 1970. The plenary of nearly 2,000 unanimously approved the motion I brought from the workshop. A reporter named Ruben Salazar put the plans on the front page of the Los Angeles Times. Thirty thousand marched at that demonstration. The local police and federal agents viciously attacked us. They killed Salazar and arrested Gonzalez on trumped up charges. The FBI hounded Gonzalez and the Crusade well into the 1980s.

I attended a memorial for Corky organized by Mecha student leaders on April 14. Without permit we occupied the big gondola of La Placita Olvera, the historic first plaza of Los Angeles. We lit candles, recited all of “I Am Joaquin,” and reflected on what Corky’s life and poem meant to us.
I asked the youth to speak of what they were working on now: a May Day march for
immigrant and labor rights, fighting cuts by Gov. Schwarenegger, counter-military recruitment, planning for the World Youth Festival, campaigning for a Chicano mayor of L.A., organizing support for the farm workers, organizing conferences for high school youth. They are carrying on the legacy of Corky Gonzalez, the Chicano/a champion.

San Diego County's Office of Education has a decent lesson plan for use of Corky's I am Joaquin in the High School Curriculum -

Rest in Peace and Justice - BIRJ Anant -
Many global justice and Asian American Movement folks will miss BIRJ's warmth and never forget his commitment and movement-building work for a better world and future for us all.

For more on BIRJ's global justice work - and this interview -
WTO voices: Birjinder Anant, San Francisco, USA
With an Asian American delegation representing garment workers and migrant rights.

"The idea that the WTO is going to be a panacea for the ills of developing countries and benefit the poor is all propaganda. The negotiating position is still formulated by elites that will benefit from it."
Photograph: Kristian Buus
Listen to Birjinder Anant's interview

From the Bayan Nor Cal statement by Kawal Ulanday, Chairperson BAYAN USA

We are deeply saddened to have learned yesterday that our loved comrade brother Birjinder Anant apparently passed away in his Oakland apartment sometime during the last few days. We are awaiting reports and autopsy results which will provide more details on how this tragedy occurred. Birjinder just returned from the World Trade Organization Ministerial international resistance activities with a large Bay Area AsianPacific Islander No to WTO delegation. He met with many of our Filipinocom patriot organizations and allies while in Honk Kong just days ago. He is also a founding member of APICAW representing the ASATA - Alliance of South Asians Taking Action - for many years. Birjinder has been on the frontlines of anti-war people of color resistance in the Bay and internationally for aslong as most of us have known him. We remember him vividly gently smiling yet fiercely confronting thecontradictions of huge wealth and economic starvation, and the clash betweenempires waging war and people wanting peace, liberation and democracy. We observe Birjinder and on the front security lines protecting Strength inUnity contingents in major actions with the commitment of a proud son of the people.
Long Live Birjinder Anant!
Long Live International Solidarity!"


Bay Area WT-No! said...

thanks, Eric.

Anonymous said...

I was sadden to hear the news that a fellow '92 classmate of Donna High had passed recently. As we plan our 15yr class reunion, BA will be in our thoughts. May he rest in peace.

-DHS Classmate '92