Culture and History -  An Eagle named Consuelo (25 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
 
From: wredgranny10/6/08 3:02 PM 
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An Eagle named Consuelo
By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

A Temixtiani or gran maestra once taught me that human beings never
actually die… that they pass from the material world into the
spiritual world… that they never leave us.

For me, I think back to all the friends and family that have passed on
to spirit world. I know they are still with us. Sometimes I feel them.
Sometimes I sense them. Sometimes I can almost hear them speak, or
sing… or whisper. Yet to be honest, once in a while I do wish that I
could actually talk to them… to know they are actually here, with us,
among us.

Perhaps that makes me a doubting Thomas. Probably.

That's why years ago, I learned to write about people before they
passed on to spirit world… so that they can be recognized and honored…
and be aware that they are being recognized and honored.

That is why today, I write about a young woman, Consuelo Aguilar, who
has made a great impact on my life. My wife and I met her but a few
years ago when we lived in Wisconsin, and yet I feel it was her that
made it possible for us to connect with Raza Studies in Tucson… and to
also wind up teaching at Mexican American Studies at the University of
Arizona.

Consuelo is special. And at the same time, she is little different
than lots of young women across the country. Young women and young
men. She fights for dignity. She is from the school of young people
who sacrifice their lives to bring about change… who fight and
sacrifice to bring about peace, dignity and justice. In that sense,
young women and young men like her have always existed. It is they
that have always made the great changes in history. In this particular
case, she has made a great difference in Tucson… to this small world
we live in.

Consuelo works for Raza Studies – the department that has been under
siege by right-wing forces for years, particularly this past year –
perhaps because they teach a story much more ancient and far different
than the one about Columbus and the Pilgrims. She is a graduate of the
University of Arizona, long associated with Mexican American Studies,
as a student and as a community representative. She too has long-been
associated with MEChA – Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan –
long the Achilles heel of the ultra-right wing. Yes, MEChA is the
antithesis of hat-in-hand Mexicans that at one time accepted their
dehumanization. And yet beyond MEChA, she is an amazing community
organizer.

Not long ago, while preparing for the LSAT (because her dream has long
been to be a lawyer) – and while organizing against the relentless
attacks against Raza Studies – one day, she woke up, barely able to
speak. We all thought it was stress from organizing… from having to
fight off the right wing lunatics. Instead, after a series of medical
examinations, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. All
this – including her treatment – has taken place within the past few
months. Her cancer has been much more aggressive than anyone had
believed.

Soon, she will be going to a hospital in California for several months
of advanced treatment. Like any family facing similar circumstances,
her insurance will cover some of the costs, but not all.

I write this today, knowing that times nationwide are tough, but
Consuelo's life is precious and priceless. She will win. Her family
will win. She has already won. We've visited her several times in her
hospital bed, but the other day, I saw her in the hallway at Mexican
American Studies… what a miracle. She was there to celebrate the
birthday of someone I wrote about a few months ago – a legendary human
rights activist in her own right – Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith. What her
family needs is a little financial assistance from the community she
fights for… the community she has sacrificed for and the community she
represents.

While there is little doubt she is a warrior, I'd rather think of her
as an eagle – like her last name. There are few joys in life more
precious than to see the flight of an eagle. She reminds me of
Cuauhtémoc – the eagle that descends – as opposed to "The Eagle that
Falls." She descends and she ascends. Mostly, she soars.
In all the years as a writer, I've rarely asked for such help. And yet
I do today. But actually, for those of you who know me when I was on
trial a generation ago in California, I did ask for help… and I got
it. Sometimes, the only people helping me was the lowriding community
– from the homies in the hood… but the help did come. And that is why
I never forget. When I needed help, I got it and sometimes from
perfect strangers.

This that I write is not to strangers, perfect or otherwise. It is to
peoples who are part of a community under siege. We are all – not by
choice – part of a culture of resistance. But more pointedly, we are
part of a creation culture. Consuelo is creation – a creative force
for humanity. And this is what compels me to write this.

Patrisia and I will give $100 each to her family. For those of you who
are professionals, please consider matching this and ask your
professional organizations to contribute also. For those with less,
give less. For students, give what you can or get your organizations
to contribute. If you can give nothing but words, then give her that
and we will pass them along. If you have but prayers, send them and
she will receive them (she had new surgery on Wed.)

This eagle will once again fly.

* Separately, I have also asked University of Arizona Professor Raquel
Rubio Goldsmith for some words, along with those of Maya Bernal, a
protégé of Consuelo's to write a few words about Consuelo.

Raquel: There is nothing to add. Consuelo is a joy to any teacher.
Consuelo brings not only her dedication to social justice, but does so
in a multi-faceted way. From her robust mariachi voice (yes she was a
singer for a student mariachi band), to her elegant "chicana" taste in
clothes, her silent but energetic organizing talents to true belief in
community rights, Consuelo has been a gift to us in Mexican American
Studies. Her Master's thesis on the criminalization of immigrants is
a testament to respect for scholarly work as well as community needs.
Please join us in supporting Consuelo and her family now that they
need us.

Maya: It is difficult to share just a few words about such a wonderful
mujer. Consuelo has done so much for me and the community. She is
constantly working on events for the lucha, projects with her
students, droppin' knowledge and spreading hope for our people to see
better days. I have never known her to be doing nothing, or even one
task at a time. When she is not organizing her life, she is assisting
me organize mine. Since I first met Consuelo, through MEChA and public
protests in my early adolescence, she allowed me to tag along with her
and her comadres. This exposure made it possible for me to witness her
strength, her intelligence and her passion. Even at an early age she
helped me in becoming a stronger, smarter, critical thinker. Since
then she has taught me community organizing, event coordinating,
improved my lecture and public speaking skills, and checks me when I
occasionally lose my mind. Of course without even asking, she helps me
in applying for scholarships, creating my resume and introduces me to
the friendly faces at the University of Arizona. Where would I be
without Consuelo? Where would any of the students, teachers and this
community be without her? Consuelo takes part and accomplishes all
these amazing duties not seeking gratitude or praise or glory but
because they need to be done. Yet at the end of the day, Consuelo
still has the time and energy to be at her favorite rap and hip-hop
concerts, usually jammin' out in the front row or bustin' a move in
the back. Once Consuelo and her family have overcome this scratch on
the CD known as life, she will be back leading the fight. The fight
for change, the fight for social justice, the fight for human rights,
the fight of the people. Consuelo, I am grateful you saw the potential
in me to become somebody great.

Paz y Amor,
Maya Adela Bernal
1st Year Student, University of Arizona

* Please consider this letter as a form of tequio – and ancient and
Indigenous form of cooperation. One day we give to her. Another day,
somebody will give to us. It all comes back.

For donations, make check in the name of:

Consuelo Aguilar Benefit Donation Fund

Mail check to:

Consuelo or Mario Aguilar
7066 E. Calle Betelgeux
Tucson AZ 85710

In the memo, write: Wells Fargo 6988363328

Thanks
Roberto, Raquel & Maya

Sincerely
Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
PO BOX 85476
Tucson, AZ 85754

520-743-0376

 
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