chuco's

@ cis women in Texas – Now is your big chance to put all those posts saying you support Trans women and hate terfs into practice. We need you all to fight against the proposed WPA, which was made to prohibit Trans women from being in women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.

We need -your- support because this bill is being written in your name, and because both politicians and the media are more likely to listen to you all than to us. We’re framed as a bizarre fringe group, and when we speak up for ourselves it’s easy for these institutions to silence us.

Please, help us keep the public accomodations we so desperately need.

El Paso, TX.

For me, El Paso is the perfect city and I am lucky to live here.  Others may disagree and I would argue that they are mistaken.  But I won’t argue.  

Spring is here and Summer is right around the corner, my absolute favorite time of year.  Some will say it’s hot, I will say passion should be hot.  Some will say El Paso has nothing to offer to them, I will say they have nothing to offer to the city.  

Some will say they hate this place, but this place will always love them.  The people that proclaim their “hatred” know this.

“There are cooler cities,” they say.  But none more genuine.  

“El Paso has a small town mentality,” they say.  But they are small minded.  

“El Paso is boring,” they say.  They have chosen to be bored.    

El Paso welcomes all, even people who’d rather be welcomed elsewhere.  

  I am a Contemporary “Pachuco” by definition as stated by the webster dictionary a pachuco is ; a young Mexican-American having a taste for flashy clothes and a special jargon and usually belonging to a neighborhood gang. This is the understanding of what America or English dictionary perceives of who I am and who we were. One Must Look closer  and read between then lines. One must ask the questions of why we were pachuc@s yesterday and why we are pachuc@s today. Why did we create our own style, our own language, our own dance and belong to neighborhood “gangs”?

We became pachuc@s and created our own unique style as a form of resistance against unjust national and local injustices and socio-economic marginalization of our people and barrios. The style was a representation of our assertion to be recognized in America and our Barrios. We had come from a place historically where costume and aesthetics has always been  part of our spiritual practice. We wore feathers in our hats for a reason, whether consciously or unconsciously the warrior dress was inherently manifesting through the pachuc@s of yesteryear and today. We wore and wear our suits as armor against those that attempted to cross the Los Angeles River and those that beaconed to come into our barrios and take our land (Chavez Ravine), our culture and our dignity! The style was fierce it let people know (outsiders) that our community had warriors and it was ready to fight.

Our language became a manifestation of all its historical essence.Those words that sang from the voices of our ancestors from Old gypsy Spanish languages unknown to the americans  to slangs from mexico and the south west parts of the United states (formally the Northern most part of Old Mexico.) A secret language called “Calo” was developed through necessity to create a cryptic slang that only the Pachuc@s could understand. Creating a new way to communicate during this time of class and Race warfare was vital for survival in the Latino barrios of the American South West. 
example: “Ponte’ Aguila, que los bolillos traen bronca con todos los chucos del varrio, Abusados y chicas patas si van andar Tecoloteando!" 

Translation: "Be aware because anglos are looking for trouble, be careful if you will be out and about at night.”

Not only did this language allow for a cryptic form of communication but it allowed for more organization between the Pachuc@s within the communities they were part of. This part of the culture I believe empowered them to stand united against the white anglos and sailors that threatened the communities of mexican americans in Los Angeles such as Boyle Heights. The language now is sewn into the fiber of our local Chicano and East sider Culture, the slang is part of our regular vocabulary as we communicate with our friends and families in our barrios. A sense of pride and community comes with the use of old language like calo. To this day It is still a vital part of understanding the power of our word, stories and culture. 

Along came the music as recognition for once own existence and the beat of our hearts and sounds of our neighborhoods. The Boogie was formed from a fusion of American Roots Jazz, Blues and Latin sounds of Mexico and the barrios of the south west. A unique fusion lead by recording artists and pachuco such as Lalo Guerrero and Orchestra maestro Don Tosti. They created a definitive sound that allowed for the pachuco to dance or as we say “Boogie” there was a sense of pride in being able to dance as it was a way to show others that the Pachuco Chicano also had moves and style and was better than everyone else! 

The reality was that these young men and women formed smaller communities within the larger community in order to define themselves. In a time where we were alienated from both our American side and Old Mexico. We we neither from her nor there,this would be the catalyst in the formation of a rebellion expressed through pachucuquismo (the act of being a pachuco). These gangs did form in order to feel empowered and safe in numbers against all the aggravation, violence , injustice and cultural degradation experienced by these men and women. The original pachuco@ so called “gangs” I believe through my research were literally formed to “Protect their Neighborhood” and its people from those that would attempt to come in and attack their cultures and way of life. The original pachuco was a “Barrio Warrior” a protector of ways of culture, of land and family. The pachuco was walking piece of art, a poem without words.

We are still that but there in lies our responsibility to our barrio, to our communities.We are faced with a different type of enemy and that is the self serving culture vultures that are seeking to erase our histories by building over the ground in which we and our ancestors, our families, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers have worked so hard to change and to shift the dynamics of Violence, poverty, and socio-economic marginalization. 

My Barrio, My home of 34 years is in the processes of being “Gentrified” working class folks in this barrio have walked the streets and built this community and nurtured its rich history and cultures to help grow it into what it beautifully has become. One of the rarest communities in which the people actually engage in its growth. None the less most people are not near the economic level in which they can purchase a home or start a business or sign a long term lease on a store. This is what they say is the only way to save our barrio from being developed by outsiders who do NOT have intention to maintain is historical integrity or honor its people. So I am a pachuco and I will protect my barrio, weather its through creating consciousness around who we are and around how gentrification will inevitably disrupt and destroy our community more than any racist sailor ever did.

I believe that building a network of Communities against displacement and out right “Barrio Colonization” or new forms of “Manifest Destiny” are necessarily in communities of working class folks of color. This  process in which wealthier predominantly middle class professionals can pay a couple of hundred dollars more for a Grandmas apartment that lives on social Security or that Vietnam Vet that is on Disability, or that single mother that has two jobs and barely makes ends meet, or that struggling business that does everything he can to provide a service to the community or offer goods that are relevant and accessible to its demographic, or those chicano artist that have sacrificed everything to paint and offer their gifts to this community or those restaurants that have been staples of the community for generations. Its scary to watch it happen all over los angeles and now it happening in Boyle Heights. We are in the MIddle stage of gentrification. This is where the community is now good enough for outsiders to come in and settle businesses, buy real-estate, from homes to work spaces and so on. Thus inevitably the “Conquering of Boyle Heights”

     I am A pachuco.