If you believe that there exists true Justice in this country for Chicanos Mexicanos, this pamphlet is not intended for your eyes. It is aimed at those willing to shake off the yoke of mental conditioning and recognize that inherent injustices of the current system; who consider themselves oppressed, treated as second-class citizens, and victims of the brutal legacy of white power rule. It is for those who have experienced the pain, the humiliation, the suffering, and who understand the necessity of struggle to change their condition, for a fair redistribution of wealth, justice and power. The present hypocritical and unjust system which oppresses us cannot continue.
This writing is for the eyes and hearts of the poor, the voiceless, the dispossessed, the imprisoned — the real victims. I am not a historian, scientist, nor writer. I have no formal education, nor degree. My education is self-taught. My thoughts come from the heart, from a prophecy to be fulfilled. My recent trial in Odessa, Texas, June 2-9, 1997, on two counts of aggravated assault on a sheriff and a city police officer must be placed in its proper perspective. The historical foundation, the police conspiracy and the system’s web of lies and contradictions must be exposed.
This pamphlet is but the start of a series of writings to be consolidated into a future book. It is my sincerest wish that my testimonial experiences and confrontations with the system will serve to awaken and inspire Raza, not only in Alpine, Texas, where I lived and was arrested, but throughout the Southwest, to stand up, to assert their humanity, and to struggle against the gross injustices occurring daily to Raza, from the police house to the courthouse, to the White House.
Some of us have no “choices”. We are born into a life of poverty and oppression unable to escape the cycle because of many social factors. Conditions of life are even worse in rural areas such as in West Texas.
Common in oppressed barrios throughout the Southwest, in my native hometown of Alpine, are racist, corrupt and brutal police who continue to rule with an iron fist. From a notorious murderous, anti-Mexicano Sheriff who ruled Alpine with terror for more than 30 consecutive years to a racist judicial system to hate groups who committed unpunished crimes against Raza to an economy controlled by the gringo elite to a community which today still suffers the vestiges of a segregated society — this is the order of things in Alpine today. It is humiliating. It is painful. It is unjust. It is criminal. Those are daily realities for Mexicanos in Alpine, who ironically constitute approximately 50 percent of the county’s population.
Despite overwhelming numbers, Mexicanos have no voice and are excluded in the management decisions of daily government, civic and economic affairs, yet their sweat, blood and labor build the physical buildings that house the institutions now oppressing them. In the truest sense of the term, they are victims of taxation without representation. Economic development monies are always destined for dregs north of the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, but never to the south where Raza is concentrated, but forced to remain silent to outright injustices otherwise they will find themselves without a job in the gringo controlled economy.
The stark differences can be seen in the quality of community life and development, the public parks, public streets and in the social services that only trickle down to the barrio as miserable crumbs after the fat cats, the gringo power structure, has eaten up all of the tax revenues of the social and economic development pie to better the lives of their own. The Mexicano populace, in particular youth, are caught up in the never-ending cycle of white economic power servitude, dire poverty, institutionalized racism, violence, crime, oppression and death. From the womb to the tomb of its segregated cemeteries, Raza pass away not knowing true freedom and justice. “Hispanic” vendido politicians are content with only crumbs, and defend the status quo. Mexicano traditional institutions such as the Catholic Church ignore these injustices and contradictions.
There is no genuine grass-roots community-based organizations promoting justice or the betterment of poor Raza. The time has arrived to come to terms with these realities. Despite “civil rights” laws, we are the most discriminated against, exploited, marginalized and oppressed sector of United States society. The media daily reports another police murder, or brutality; another Mexicano maimed or killed by La Migra or the U.S. military on the border; another anti-Mexicano government law or policy; another city curfew to harass our youth and on and on.
Historical, sociological myths that have served to degrade, to condition us, to make us feel inferior before the gringo, must be challenged. Those myths have served the interests or our oppressors, “Lazy,” “Meskin,” “gardeners,” “maids,” “wetbacks,” “gangbangers,” “treacherous” and “criminals” are but a few stereotypes. It is only when our rich culture, heritage customs and traditions serve the commercial interests of the mighty white American dollar that it is acceptable to our oppressors.
Universal consciousness will help us to liberate ourselves, from such sociological, psychological slavery and genocide. We must control the politics of our barrio. Our traditional institutions must promote human rights and justice for our Raza and be accountable to our people and not to the status quo. We must enrich and empower our souls and our families with true awareness and knowledge. Knowledge is power and power is knowledge. The racist educational systems must be replaced with our own cultured institutions for a higher learning. It is only through such an empowerment that we can become truly independent, become self-sufficient, achieve true happiness and social justice for our people.
We are at a crossroads in history. We either choose to accept our present misery, or we chart a new path of unity, reconciliation, healing, justice, liberation, and self-determination. Power has never yielded to anything without a demand. The seasons — the moon, the sun, the skies are all signaling the fulfillment of our prophecy. Let future generations look at our generation through the eyes of pride, respect and glory, and not through the eyes of shame and cowardice.
We owe it to our elders, our daughters and sons. We must create a united voice, a united political movement, a barrio force to be reckoned with. Let our oppressors tremble in fear at the thought of waking up tomorrow without their class privileges of white ruling power and feeling the sting of our rage and retribution in their behinds and heels. Our oppressor needs to be freed from his greed, arrogance and sickness, His sickness has condemned poor people to a life of slavery, oppression and death not only within the internal colonies of the United States, but throughout the world. Their imperialism is the enemy of the human species. It must be overthrown. Raza, we are fulfilling a prophecy!
Let us learn from our past historical movements — Crystal City, Texas, Brown Berets and other formations for political self-determination that spread like prairie fires throughout our barrios in the occupied territories of our homeland, Aztlán, from Tejas to Califas, from Denver to Chiapas. History will repeat itself. But this time we will master “history” and not allow our oppressor to make it “his story” of falsehoods and trickery to justify their genocide war against our Raza. Ethics, morals and righteousness are on our side. Our nationalism will unify us – our indigenous blood, our Mexicanidad, our Chicanismo, our carnalismo, our spriitualism, our Zapatismo.
Let us reignite in the hearts of our barrio warriors, our soldiers, the burning flames of Raza pride, courage, spiritual rebirth and liberation; of our righteous duty to rebel against tyranny; to make revolution. We are becoming a majority in the occupied territories. The recent passing of a bright flame in the night sky is the signal that the prophecy written in the codices of our ancestors in Tenotchitlan will be fulfilled in the 21st century… we will rise again!
If my message, my testimony, will have served to reach and touch even one lost soul, I will have considered my mission accomplished.
Although totally innocent of the false charges, I was unjustly sentenced to prison for 50 years for defending myself against a police conspiracy and for resisting armed attacks by a racist, corrupt, and arrogant policy army who initially set out to outlaw me from Alpine or to kill me.
They won a battle, but will not win the war. I will rise again!
White police critic Fred Vogt recently wrote a letter published in the local newspaper complaining about the Alpine police department: “Will people be thrown in Jail falsely? Searched without a warrant? Harassed?” (Alpine Avalanche, May 1, 1997)
It’s been happening to Mexicanos in Alpine for years, Mr. Vogt. Open your eyes and ears and look to the South, across the railroad tracks that have always divided and excluded Mexicanos in Alpine. Mexicanos do exist and live to the South of your narrow tunnel vision, your white privileged world. It is not human, not wise to live in a glass house, in a glass world.
A special heart-felt thanks to all the linda Raza that supported me during my trial, my family, my friends, especially our youth, our future.
From the ashes of the birth cradle of Tenotchitlan, we will fulfill our prophecy. We will rise again!
VIVA LA RAZA!
TIERRA Y LIBERTAD!
EL BARRIO UNIDO, JAMAS SERA VENCIDO!
Alvaro Luna Hernandez
El Paso County Jail, July 4, 1997
(awaiting transfer to the Texas state prison system)