Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Honoring raul r. salinas: poet, elder, activist, and educator

Compas & amigo/as:

I write this with a sense of urgency, as our elder-poet, the Chicano educator and activist raulrsalinas, has experienced a noticeable decline in physical health within the past six months.

As you read this, there are two important things being organized on behalf of honoring raul--while he is still with us.

In Austin, where he has been working steadily for decades, a benefit/performance is being scheduled for AUGUST 25th, 2-7pm, at the MACC (Mexican American Cultural Center) downtown.

As well, some of us are trying to get fast-track approval from the City of Austin (Parks & Recreation Dept.) to have a room/space within the MACC named after raul. You can read the letter I submitted in support of this initiative [see below].

Many of you have worked, studied, performed, and, yeah, partied, with our dearest raulrsalinas. If you have ever wanted to show him gratitude and honor for whatever he has shared with you, now is the time to send him a note, give him a call, or--very much needed now--mail him a check.

The programs (Red Salmon Arts, SOY--Save Our Youth) which raul founded long ago are desperately in need of more solid financial footing. If you can help in this capacity, that would be wonderful.

But--as we are also a people very rich in spirit, your prayers, good wishes, and white sage burnings--your good vibes will always be a blessing.

With love, to you all!




---------------- the letter ---------------------

July 9, 2007

Warren Strauss
Austin Parks and Recreation
P.O. Box 1088
Austin, TX 78767

Dear Mr. Strauss:

I am submitting this letter in support of the initiative to officially honor writer, community activist, and educator Raul R. Salinas by designating a space within the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) with his name.

To permanently attach Raul R. Salinas’ name to a space/room within the MACC will be to honor the legacy and commitment of Salinas, who has positively influenced and inspired many many people.

As a literary artist, social activist, and a three-time Austinite (I now live in Fort Worth), Raul R. Salinas came into my life as an elder-teacher who motivated me to have a public life as writer and poet. My first time to ever give a public reading in Austin was at Resistencia Bookstore in the early 1990s. Since that time, Salinas has given me advice and good counsel, and has shown me the depth of his commitment to the Austin community-at-large, and its at-risk youth in particular.

No one could forget Salinas’ voice, powerful yet compassionate, as he led workshops in the Gardner-Betts Juvenile Detention Center or offered lectures at St. Edward’s University--where he recently taught several courses.

As a community activist, Salinas’ leadership has been crucial in many initiatives and campaigns, including the campaign in support of the establishment of the MACC itself.

Resistencia Bookstore, a vital community arts space--featuring wi-fi internet access and a literary reading series--would never have come to exist without the vision and tireless dedication of Salinas.

Salinas, as Austin living legend, has forged an enduring reputation among Hispanic/Latino poets and writers, youth advocates, and social justice workers throughout the state and nation. As a matter of fact, just yesterday I received a book of poems by a San Francisco-based writer which includes a poem inspired by Salinas (Mahcic: Selected Poems by Tomas Riley, Calaca Press, 2005).

It is my sincere hope that you will agree that Raul R. Salinas now deserves to be honored with a special naming ceremony at the MACC, so that generations of Austinites henceforth will remember Salinas with the reverence and respect that his life’s work deserves.

Sincerely yours,

Tammy Gomez

writer/playwright, producer
founder of Sound Culture

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tammy, you are doing a wonderful thing.

Here is my letter, which will go to the post tomorrow:


Dear Mr. Strauss,

It has come to my attention that the influencial poet, Raul R. Salinas, has taken ill. I am therefore writing this letter in the hopes that you will consider naming a space within MACC to honor him while he is still with us.

I studied the work of Mr. Salinas when I was a student at UT, and was also honored to hear him read in Ft. Worth some years ago.

I believe that Mr. Salinas is an important Chicano poet. I also believe that he is an important American poet.

Thank you.

B. Shumway


Pick up your pens, folks. Let's get these letters out!