“I don’t think I have rebelled against Latina culture. I have rebelled against those who try to make me warm tortillas for my brothers when they can warm them for themselves, I have rebelled against a patriarchal religion. I rebel against small mindedness in all ways and in every situation but those things are not an intrinsic part of Latina culture and I will fight tooth and nail against anyone who tries to make me feel like I’m less Xicana for not embracing the small-mindedness.” - Alice Bag, interview on 1/23/12


[The poem I read for the Exist and Resist: Decolonize Your Everything event in Fresno, Califaz]

1. existence

fresno is a word in spanish. is the name of this place. is an ash tree that is outlawed like i was outlawed until i was sixteen
trading my green alien skin
for a green alien card.

my man and i have ghost memories of 1987 and 1988 of our baby selves being birthed to mexican mothers on mexican soil
in ‘88 i came in a car
in '89 he came in a car
we crossed an open wound
now our baby selves are ghosts with an unquenchable thirst
transplants with thick roots reaching
reaching to suck water from new soil

now we are native to street corners. slanging oranges and roses. we hold our ground in dark foodmaxx parking lots
in a raider’s starter jacket and black beanie
counting out a dozen tamales, de pollo o de puerco?
from a red cooler in a shopping cart
counting out change in spanish, an english thank you nodding nodding thank you 

we step into anthropology museums on yokut land and look at yokut woven baskets behind glass
and look down at the carpet beneath our feet
separating us from the old earth.

2. resistance

i found my stones to hurl

by watching my mother
i learned how beautiful dignity makes a woman.

by watching my father
i learned that if you have enough for you,
you have enough to share.

i watch the savila growing in a small pink pot in front of the only sunny window in my apartment. she is growing so fast that i am shy around her.

i watch a white girl in my english class, speaking with the authority of all of history, claiming:
“all of this ethnic literature is making me uncomfortable.”
my resistance is sharp words, yes,
but so is the hand gripping the side of a cold desk that does not slap the spit out of her mouth.
that, too, is my resistance.

you see, i never thought to kill the white man.
never thought to send them packing on the mayflower, la niña, la pinta, la santa maria.
never even thought to threaten them out of our side of town. to kick them out of my party.
and this, too, has become part of my resistance.

you see resistance is not to be questioned.
movement is to be expected.
we have always walked these lands
as explorers, pilgrims, scientists, slaves, poets, merchants, mothers, warriors
in curious step or a forced migration.
we have fought in all of their wars
picked every crop, changed every diaper, washed every dish
and from between the cracks in the floorboards we have found…

our existence is inherited.
our resistance is inevitable.
my poetry is OURS.

mia barraza martinez


The term Chicano was originally used as a derogatory label for the sons and daughters of Mexican migrants. Some prefer to spell the word “Chicano” as “Xicano”. This new generation of Mexican Americans were singled out by people on both sides of the border in whose view these Mexican Americans were not “American”, yet they were not “Mexican”, either. In the 1960s “Chicano” was accepted as a symbol of self-determination and ethnic pride.


I made a zine - wanna help me pass it around?
Curated thoughts and art in a bite-sized format.

Featuring the works of Mark Aguhar & William Pope L.

Includes quotes from intellectuals and cyber-curanderos, of the likes of Jimmy Baldwin, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Gloría Anzaldua.

*special thanks to Lou Diamond Phillips

Hisss Panicsss
hisss panicsss
your panic
her panic
their panic
our panic
whose panic
HISSS pancs
so much raza
el patron panicsss
he’s in a tizzy
all this brown
makes him sooo dizzy
he needs to homogenize
a toda la gente
hisss panicsss
as in from Hissspanic?
where’s that?
non-existent people
no history or geography
no tongue to speak
of struggle
hisss panicsss
does it make me
more acceptable?
hisss panicsss
the ultimate white wash
it’s hisss panic
with lots of mayo
in a big patty melt
y hasta con guaca moe lee
hisss panicsss
chale! not me!
no way!
that ain’t mine baby
I continue to be
Si, yo sigo siendo
pura RAZA
—  Elba Rosario Sanchez (Chicana Feminisms)