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Tell Our Own Stories

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 23, 2020

Dear Editor,
    I greatly appreciate your extensive coverage of Chicano activism in East Austin. These activists of the Sixties and Seventies are our true heroes and while still driven by a desire for equity and justice, they continue today to advocate for social, political, economic, and environmental reform. Their social consciousness transcends well beyond our community with their solidarity and support for the struggles of oppressed peoples around the world. I especially admire Gilbert Rivera, even though he is soft spoken and unpretentious in demeanor, he delivers powerful words of truth and wisdom.  And in sharing his experiences and knowledge with our youth, he is transforming them into agents of justice too. 
    I just wish the Chronicle's front page cover had a collage of their photos or maybe a gritty graphic depicting this city's dark history of discrimination and displacement. This certainly would be a stark contrast to the beautiful colored photos we see published today of Austin. Newcomers are not cognizant of the generations of hard work and sacrifices Mexican Americans have made to make this city so desirable. I am reminded of an exclusive, luxurious resort built over an Indian burial site where the owner whispers, “let's not mention what lies below.”
    I wish we were in powerful positions to tell our own stories, but newspapers and films rather hire outsiders to speak about us and for us!  They are like social anthropologists looking at us as merely a thing, a specimen to be studied and investigated. Sad to say, there seems to be a concerted national effort to keep us out of sight, out of mind, especially those with darker skin and Indigenous features. This certainly seems the case considering the over-representation of blondes in front of the cameras. Just two examples of our omissions are Ken Burns' refusal to document the historical stories of Mexican Americans and the "progressive and diverse" PBS News stations refusing to hire any of us. 
    With our tremendous amount of historical struggles, accomplishments, and expertise WE should be at the media helm.
Anita Quintanilla
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