Pochos en La Casa
La Casa de El Hijo del Ahuizote is not technically open, but its officially welcomed its first pocho academic. Founded by Diego Flores Magón, La Casa is housed in the old headquarters of Regeneración, on Avenida Colombia in downtown Mexico City. In an effort to break away from the bureaucracy and hierarchy of traditional archives, La Casa’s collections are completely digital and the building will serve as a cultural and intellectual center. Moreover, in the spirit of Magonismo we hope to create a transnational community of activists, scholars, artists, and journalists.
This past Saturday Israel Pastrana, doctoral candidate at UCSD, kicked things off with his lecture “cruz de olvido: el homicidio imprudential de migrants en Estados Unidos.” Pastrana narrated his families’ migration story, from his Bracero grandfather to his own experiences living and moving between Tijuana-San Diego. He noted how this family narrative influenced his academics interest. “I think of it as an obligation to my mother and grandfather and those who are crossing the border now.” Combining the personal and politically, he went on to use primary sources and his own memories to discuss the changes along the U.S.-Mexico border, focusing on the infamous migrant crossing sign. Between 1985 and 1990, hundreds of undocumented migrants were killed in automobile accidents within four miles of the international border crossing that separates Tijuana and San Diego. Concern over these deaths, particularly those involving pedestrians, led the California Highway Patrol and the state’s Department of Transportation to install warning signs to alert motorists of migrants crossing the road. Pastrana argued that despite their cultural significance, these road signs failed to address the causes of pedestrian deaths, namely, the Border Patrol’s explicit policy of pushing unauthorized border crossers towards major roads and freeways.
In an effort to include the audience and making all of us story-tellers and listeners (very much in line South El Monte Arts Posse’ ethos) we passed out “name tags.” Yet instead of filling in your name, folks were asked to list a family member that had migrated, including the year, original state of residence and settlement. Lastly, we invited everyone represent this migration by drawing a line from place of origin to settlement on a map of the Americas. Y claro we had some mescal and played with Aura. If you are pocho in D.F. and interested in La Casa drop us a line.