Thoughts of a Chicana Feminist

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy 5th Birthday, Sweetie!

!Feliz Cumpleanos! !Happy Birthday!

You are a BIG 5 year old now. Mommy is very proud of you. You are a smart, strong girl. Have a happy day :) I love you always.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Too Trusted

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." -- Mother Teresa

"Amen, my sister." -- Me in response

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Bit of Halloween Online Activism

One focus of my thesis project was online activism. Check out this online activist site - not persuasive, but entertaining for the Halloween season.

The Climate Mash

I found another online activist movie one in my inbox.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Self-Determination and Innovation in the News

Two articles I read this morning that bridge my Chicanisma and interest in technology.

The New York Times shared the story of one man's effort to give his Louisianna community voice and choice in re-building.

The Merc reported on The Space Elevator.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Last night my kid-o and I headed out to the Mexican Heritage Plaza to see !Cantinflas!, a play about Mario Moreno Reyes, a highly acclaimed Mexican comedian I had never heard of. His stage name was "Cantinflas." It is a made up word derived from the word cantina ("bar" in English). Early audiences thought he was drunk on stage and the name stuck. Some of his movies are available through Netflix. For non-Spanish speakers you can check him out in the classic version (not the Jackie Chan version) of Around the World in 80 Days.

Anyway, it was great to see some Chicano theater. It was entertaining and a great history lesson. I am getting a membership to Teatro Vision for Amaya and I. They have two more plays this season - Electricidad and The Cook. I guess this is one more thing I should add to my "before I die/in the next 5-10 years" list - enjoy and support Chicana/o art.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Some of the crew

At the end of the night, some of us posed for a photo.

Shout out to Jennifer G. for keeping me company the week before the event and sending this pick. You rock, J.G.!

Before I Die - or in the next 5 to 10 years

In the past year or so, I've really backed down for being driven by my internal need to always have a five-year plan. I was beginning to feel a bit sufficated by the rigidity of *always* knowing when, where and why I was going to be doing something.

I think it has been good for me. Most days I find myself living more in the moment, rather than constantly anticipating what is to come. It has brought me calm that I've never had before.

All that being said, I was driving home after work yesterday when I started day dreaming about the things I would like to do before I die - or more likely in the next 5 to 10 years. Maybe I am just going back to an old habit by writing this list. Maybe not. Regardless, I have a blog so I feel compelled to share.

In no particular order, I want to:

  • travel to Mexico City, Spain, and France to experience the cultures and not just say I've been there.

  • become "fully" fluent in Spanish. I want to be able to hold a conversation at the Berryessa Flea market and do business en espanol.

  • I want to publish a variety of articles on women's relationship with technology in feminist and women's magazines.

  • write political theory of that rivals that of Aristotle and Marx.

  • figure out how to finance the many software tools and projects I've imagined for community organizing - Equivalent, The Laptop Brigade, a macro-level visual representation of the relationships amongst abusers and the abused, electronic career dolls, and a million other things I've jotted on a variety of scraps of paper sitting on my desk.

  • buy a "country" home to escape the chaos for a one or three months at a time

  • take dance, voice or art lessons.

  • paint my car purple and have orange flames air brushed up the sides.

  • have enough money to visit Marie once a year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Shameless Promotion: Women of Vision Awards

We (Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology) had our inaugural Women of Vision Awards last night at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose. It was fantastic and powerful. Over 500 people were there. Some photos we have of the event are posted.

We honored Radia Perlman of Sun Microsystems as a Woman of Vision in Innovation, Pamela Samuelson of UC Berkeley as a Woman of Vision in Social Impact, and Janie Tsao of the Linksys Division of Cisco as a Woman of Vision in Leadership. You can read their acceptance speeches and watch their videos through their respective pages.

You can also check out the coverage we got in the Mercury News (Technology's Women of Vision)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Always more questions than answers

I haven't had my morning coffee. It is probably the reason I have a short attention span right now. So after this entry I'm going to pick up a tall and get back to pushin' some 0's and 1's.

So you know me, always filled with more questions than answers. Some of you claim that its what you like about me, but the jury is still out on whether or not it is working for me.

Anyway, I posted some questions up at work that I think are important. People walked by them, made some comments in the halls and then kept walking. My attempt at grassroots communication (easel paper and markers) didn't get anyone really going. So here they are in an "e-" form and more inclusive, academic-y language.

1) Why should women and communities of color be leading producers of technology?
2) If women and communities of color are not equal participants in the production of technology now, what will our world be like in the future? Is this an acceptable? What positive and negative consequences will women meet?

You all know what I think....Don't you? I am wondering, "What you think is the role of technology in our society?" How would you characterize your personal relationship with technology? Do you think it is (or will) promote a more just society/world?

Ok. Off to 'bucks.

* hot! *

Oral Fixation, Vol 2

Shakira will be releasing Oral Fixation, Vol 2 on November 29th.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Las Vegas, Baby!

Happy 30th (again)! Posted by Picasa

Who was there: Alicia (picture in previous post), Leah, Allan, Tammy, Rina and Samantha (aka Hoa).

Happy 30th! Posted by Picasa

Naughty or Nice

I finally finished Eric Jerome Dickey's Naughty or Nice last night. I devoured it for a few weeks and then took a hiatus when I had my own drama to deal with.

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet, the story is about the three McBroom sisters. It is about their relationships with one another and their relationships with men....There is also a back story about their parent's love. What I found most striking about the book overall is how real the sisters are. They often antagonize one another but always find the right way to back each other up when it counts most. They let each other make their own mistakes and are also never too far to help a sister out.

I've read quite a few Dickey books by now. Let's see...Milk in My Coffee was the first I got my hands on...then Between Lovers and Friends and Lovers. What they all have in common is well-rounded, strong female characters and real life confusion and sometimes tragedy. Within a chapter or two I generally care deeply for the characters. I wonder what life has in store for them, or worry their life will continue to be filled with heartache.

Dickey out did himself on the tragedy front on this one. I was completely shocked by Livvy's concluding scenes. I never saw the betrayal coming, or for it to be so deep and twisted. I felt her heartache. Even when she walks away from the situation and says, "Sometimes you gotta make your own happy ending." I could see how cheated she feels. We can't forget she is a cheater, but we also can't ignore she has just been figuratively thrown off a cliff. We know she is going to survive and thrive - but it doesn't soften the shocking blow.

I always find morsels of truth/happiness/hope in Dickey's books. This time it was Frankie's words that struck a cord with me. After making peace with her ex-boyfriend she says, "I was free from that old lover who would never love me. Letting go felt so good." Enough said.

Moving on; finding peace. Isn't that what its all about?

Good Press

An excellent article on one of our (Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology) newest members of the Board of Trustees was just published. Meet Dr. Cheryl Shavers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Las Vegas

We celebrated life and friendship this last weekend in Vegas. It was all that I wanted and more. Every day (and night) was an adventure.

Some thoughts...
* Chainsaw and Rat reminded me that life is so much more than just money - although it is whole lot of fun to gamble someone else's money, especially when its lost and not won.
* I came home with $78 more dollars than I came with, a pair of knee high boots, a pair of Nike running shoes, and some kick ass jeans from the mother of all Express stores. Evidence that luck and retail therapy are important parts of a balanced life.
* Thanks to Rina (aka mother duck) for bringing on the Thunda'. Austrailian break dancers - *hot*!
* Alicia and Leah; Tammy and Allan - you don't know it, but seeing you all together reminded me that love comes in lots of wonderful forms - sisters, couples, friends. My unsung heroes.
* Samantha, Samantha, Samantha - My "wing-(wo)man". The party seems to always find you. OPM, exploring the "West" and "Leaning Back". Never to be forgotten.

I came home to my smiling Amaya last night. So happy to be back.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Equity is in the details

I've done activist work for over 10 years in a variety of forms. I've done leafleting, petitions, door-to-door campaigning, organizing and participating in rallies/sit-ins/demonstrations, developing non-profit programs, making speeches, staffing influencial people, fundraising, and now online activism. Through it all, you know what I've learned? Sometimes people in the "business" of social change actually think too big. For most people equity; fairness; social justice is in the details of life. Sometimes it is the small things that make the biggest difference in people's lives. It gives them the personal courage and space to step out and do what is right - not just what is easy or expected.

What got me thinking about this is the movie Car Wash. Its a movie from the 1970's about a bunch of guys and some women - mostly black - who work at a car wash in Los Angeles. The plot is entertaining. The characters are well-developed and humorous. The music gives it heart. What really impresses me is the social and political commentary it makes in the details of the movie. Watch the movie and the first thing you may notice is that all of the actors in the ensemble cast are listed alphabetically. The BIG stars like Richard Prior are given no more recognition than the lesser knowns. Equity in the details.

Later releases of the movie lose this detail. Evidence of this can be seen in the different types of posters that were produced for them. In most recent version I checked out through Netflix the cover hails Richard Prior and George Carlin. They are great actors/comedians, but by giving them first billing the social equity the movie supported is lost.

Equity is in the details. It is something I need to remember when I am at work trying to "market" my non-profit/social justice programs.