Tag Archives: Cindy Crystal Gonzalez

Celebrating Women Herstory Month: “Hija de la Chingada” by Cindy Crystal Gonzalez

“Hija de la Chingada Y Que”

            “Estas carnes indias que despreciamos nosotros los Mexicanos asi como despreciamos condenamos a nuestra madre, Malinalli. Nos condenamos a nosotros mismos. Esta raza vencida, enemigo cuerpo”. Gloria Anzaldúa

“Traidora, Traitor….” These were the words I heard from my tias when La Malinche would come up in conversation. I never understood why the mere mention of La Malinche provoked such anxiety. Anzaldúa tells us that La Malinche became La Chingada -the fucked one. Her name evokes mixed emotions to Chicanas, Mexicanas, and Pochas. She was Hernan Cortes’s interpreter and sexual object; su primer conquista. She is blamed for the destruction of the great Aztec People. In her complexity, she represents both innocence and guilt. La Chingada is our greatest Mexican contradiction, our most deep-(seed)ed confusion. For some, she deserved all that she endured under Cortes’s dominion because she was the whore that sold her people out, La Traidora. She provoked su conquista, She got what she deserved.

For others, she belongs on a pedestal of honor. They challenge the conventional beliefs around La Malinche and re-imagine her as a young innocent Indian wombyn who was sold into slavery and birthed our distinct Raza, La Madre del Mestizaje. Children of Mexico will either uplift her as a Mother or degrade her as La Chingada. This is the binary that Anzaldua both traces out and also teaches us to transcend. Her writing is incredibly relevant to me and to the children of Mexico because it is a chronicle, a retelling, and a transforming of our story and our identity. I am quite literally La Hija de la Chingada (daughter of the fucked one) historically, and presently this is my identity.

My mother stands 5 feet tall, canela skinned, with wavy opaque hair. Abuelita always called her prietita. She embodies the features of an India. Machismo and white supremacy team up in the Mexican experience against wombyn that bare indigenous features forcing them to become subservient and if one rebels, there is a price to pay. At an early age Ama worked in a bar as a dancer. In the thirsty eyes of the depraved men around her, she was sorted neatly into the whore category, deserving of any and all desecrations of her dignity. Without her knowing she was falling into the whore side of the long established virgin/whore dichotomy that has been constructed for Mexican wombyn.

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, Happy New Year!” My mom gave me a rambunctious hug and a big Brandy smooch and so began the year 1997. I was smiling in the smile-now-cry-later Pachuca Xingona tradition that raised me. For as long as I can recall, this is how my New Year’s Eve celebrations felt. Deep down there has always been a void in my person that my mom could not fill. It was the absence of a caring, protective ever-present Apa. This emptiness has hollowed my identity.

The year was 1997. I was 14 years old. It was the year I became determined to find my father, to give the Gonzalez along side my name meaning and to become whole. In truth, this is a journey all the children of colonial violence are on, one way or another. When I questioned my mother about my father, she would respond, “El no quiere nada que ver contingo”. At some point my mom finally reached out to Alvaro Gonzalez and demanded child support. He responded with a request for a DNA test. I was offended but I extended my arm with blind courage and pride. Some weeks later he showed up at my mother’s doorstep asking to take me out for lunch. I remember my mom being hesitant but she let me go with him and tio Victor. I had barely started to sip on my Jarrito as his apology began. “Perdoname Mija pero te tengo que decir que, Yo no soy tu Padre.” I was quiet. Everything was muted. I stared at him, “Pues quien es mi padre si yo tengo tu apellido?” It wasn’t long before the moment of truth. My mother nervously said, “Cindy… l was abducted and held hostage en un hotel in Mexico City for a long weekend. I was raped by a man. He is your father.” Tears raced down my cheeks as anger began to enter my heart. I felt betrayed, incomplete; it became painfully true to me that I was, una “Hija de la Chingada”- literally and metaphorically.

My mother is my people’s mother; she is La Malinche y La Chingada. Her truth resembled La Chingada’s experience with machismo and white supremacy. She was raped, belittled, and kept in captivity for the pleasures of a man who looked at her and said to himself India puta. As a result, she started to despise the indian in her. Ama hated herself entirely from the shame that was attached to her rape. She was bottling up a shame and hate in her heart that would spear head a shift in her sexuality. She transformed from an undocumented- indigenous looking wombyn that fell neatly into the virgin/whore dichotomy into a femme-lesbian who hated men for the next twenty years of her life and transcended the binary.

Anzaldúa, enlightens us of the classifications that wombyn who are descendants from Mexico fall into according to our culture. “For a woman of my culture there used to be only three directions she could turn: Church as a nun, to the streets as a prostitute, and or to the home as a mother”. While those are three options they amount to two directions, nuns and moms on the good side and whores on the bad side. My mother transcended into a third identity, one which challenges the limits for an undocumented Mexican wombyn’s sexuality by taking the power to define her sexuality outside of the norms. La Chingada, La Malinche is a metaphor for reclaiming our indian side as a practice of autonomy in a world of cultural domination. Many wombyn of color have similar stories, we continue to be affected by the cultural aspect of our identity, sexuality, and wombynhood. La Malinche is our ancestral mother therefore, firmly and resolutely I chose to embody La Hija de la Chingada as a practice of liberation from the shackles of machismo and white supremacy for myself and the forthcoming mothers and Hijas de la Chingada. For our Mother’s legacy is immortal!

 

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Honoring Cindy Crystal Gonzalez- Trail for Humanity

Paulo Freire Lopez November 12 2014

Cindy Crystal Gonzalez

Honoring Women’s History Month we start off the nominations you submitted over the past few weeks of women making changes in our communities not only in the Arts but also community outreach and political voices. These women are reshaping how society views the importance of their roles as courageous, creative and inspiring individuals. Viva La Mujer!

Cindy Crystal Gonzalez is a political activist, university student and most importantly a mother of four striving for a better future for our children and our communities.

Her mission in life as an advocate for women’s rights as well as immigration reform, co-founder of the Trail for Humanity as well as being an active member of grassroots organization PODER. (People Organized for the Defense and Equal Rights of Santa Barbara) has placed her on this list of empowering Mujeres making Herstory heard.

The Trail for Humanity began on July 22, 2014 in the San Francisco Area to its final destination at the U.S. Mexican border, which consisted of women and children with a goal to walk 300 miles on foot with its sole purpose to bring attention to immigration reform, racism as well as protecting children from being incarcerated and taken away from their parents.

I had the privilege to see the development of this protest make its way all the way to the U.S. Mexican border via social medias and I must say, Cindy is such a strong woman filled with passion and empathy for her Raza. It is easy to discuss political issues and debate on what should be done in our communities in order to protect the future of our children. But it takes greater courage to actually take into action what needs to be done. I have always said that we need more leaders, more organizers, more people to take a stand for what’s right. And for a woman, a mother, a fellow student to take matters into her own hands and organize other women and children to march for humanity; it is inspiring and gives us all hope for a better future!

Cindy Crystal Gonzalez leads by example, protesting, organizing the masses as well as leading the younger generation. Teaching them the importance of fighting for human rights as well as acknowledging that their voices can and will be heard.

Here is the latest demonstration she was a part of for Womyn’s International Day on March 8, 2015.

MARCH 8 2015

I love the fact that she involved the children in all she does. She is a leader and an amazing role model. I am thankful to know her and see her love and passion for humanity, our Xicanas and most importantly our younger generation of organizers growing stronger with every step she takes.

You have a long triumphal journey ahead you Cindy, we are all rooting for you!

With much Love & Respects,

Monica Smiles Tobon

Here is a useful link with more information for the Trail for Humanity

http://www.trailforhumanity.org/mission.html

Other links and videos of the Trail For Humanity 2014:

http://www.yourcentralvalley.com/story/d/story/mothers-march-from-central-california-to-us-mexico/21643/HDFwZ3HaWk6vZzxIPe36NQ

Photo credits to Paulo Freire Lopez

Xicanas con Ganas! Dia de los Muertos Celebration at Hollywood Forever 2013

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Xicanas con Ganas is the statement to live by! and on this special day for all of out there as Latinos, Chicanos, Mexican Americans all throughout the nation, Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated at large from North America to South America on November 2, every year and this year was so very special for me and Frida as we ventured to yet another amazing journey of spiritual growth, and artistic development and meeting genuinely amazing and educated women in the process of creating an altar for our loved ones in one of the most prestigious places to do it at! Hollywood Forever Dia de Los Muertos. I know I usually only speak on arts but this is not only as important for Arts sake but it is also informative for many of you who are not familiar with the tradition and culture behind Dia de Los Muertos so enjoy the picture gallery I have put together for you!

History of Dia De Los Muertos

Its origins can be traced back over 3,000 years ago while Indigenous people would honor death thru rituals and ceremonies but according to the landing of Spaniards; they thought our Indigenous ancestry were actually mocking death when it reality was in the contrary, for Aztecs and other parts of Mesoamerica, death was viewed as life still continuing and they believed that their loved ones would come back to visit during this ritual. Although, Dia De los Muertos has since merged with some of the Catholic beliefs; but it still holds some of the principal Aztec rituals and that can be found on our present day with the usage of Skulls and vibrant colors, flor de Muerto and danza ceremonies.

It is so inspiring to see how every region of Mexico has embraced to this sacred day of the death in their own artistic way, thru music such as corridos, Calaveras, pan de muerto, sugar skulls, food offering and just the elaborated alters that they make in honor of their loved ones and friends. Now imagine this tradition and culture is nationwide accepted in the United States, so many people are partaking in this culture, it has revolutionized the arts, costumes and it has evolved into a sub culture itself with people from other origins besides Mexico and it is great to see it happening that way. Dia De Los Muertos has given opportunity for everybody to come together as a family, as a community as artists and art lovers to express in their own original way their respects to their loved ones that have passed on. Hollywood Forever is one of the biggest Dia De Los Muertos event that takes place in the entire nation!. It is the only cemetery that allows a celebration like this, which may of us from Mexican decent appreciate it because in Mexico this is traditionally how its celebrated, in the cemetery and placing food, favorite items and music to the dead.

Therefore partaking in this event was very appreciated, I always attend this event, and either a fellow artist is exhibiting, performing or vending on that day but I think it gives it a more personal experience by actually being a part of it this year, it was amazing!. The preparation of this event was a bit overwhelming due to the fact that I got sick during the middle of the process. But I was able to help the beautiful Lea and Candice along with Lil Frida as we both learned how to make paper mache, and beautiful paper roses for the first time. I am very thankful that they open their doors to us and allowed us to be a part of something so sacred to us as Xicanas. Thank you ladies. We were at Hollywood Forever cemetery for almost two complete days and I must say that it was an experience to actually stay in a cemetery way past visiting hours but not as brave as other participants who actually camped out and spent the night in the cemetery, drinking and listening to music, much respects for them. It was so inspiring to see everybody bringing their own essence, culture and tradition to their Alters and as we Xicanas Con Ganas began to also build our own community space for our loved ones, we all bonded spiritually that night, for all of us, this was our first time doing something like thing, well at least at this large-scale; the results were comforting for us all. I recently lost a good friend to Cancer, my dear friend Linda may she rest in peace now and I must say that although it was painful to hold my tears back, I couldn’t have done it without the friendship and sincere care from these lovely ladies. My sisters Terry and Janneth also were part of this night; as they commemorated their dear friend Andy who was violently taken away from us last year. His mother and beautiful daughter also came to pay their respects and I was very humble to have shared that moment with them; I love you guys!

As the event progressed, Frida and I walked many times around the cemetery; I was very thankful to have shared this experience with her and teach her a little bit more about who she is and what her ancestry is. But the highlight of our night was to see one of my favorite singers perform Saul Hernandez from Caifanes! Frida and I squeezed our way to the front rows and both mesmerized watched him perform. It was magical and it brought so many memories of my Tia China who is resting now.  The night ended for us at midnight, as my little Frida was completely tired from working on this event for days, I am so proud of her.

I would like to thank once again the lovely Xicanas con Ganas mujeres for allowing us to be a part of this special day, Lea, Candice, Cindy and everybody else, thank you and many blessings to your and your loved ones, new friendships were found and my respects and admiration for you ladies is stronger than ever. This experience is a great way to prove to you all that a community can benefit from each other when a sincere, artistic and educated group of women come together like we did.

Xicanas con Ganas; live by that and see how far you can go!

With much love and respects,

Monica Smiles Tobon