Roberto Rodriguez, PhD – Write in Candidacy for the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Chair-elect 2015
It’s not that I am declaring my write-in candidacy, but rather, this is at least the second time I’ve been nominated, but have been deemed to be ineligible by the NACCS board and its leadership. As a result, I have chosen to contest those rulings via the only recourse available: a write-in candidacy for Chair-elect for 2015. The following reasons are why I accepted the nomination from Josie Mendez-Negrete, past NACCS chair and professor at UTSA.
I have been committed to Raza Studies virtually since its beginnings. I was a member of MEChA since high school (1969-1972) and a member of MEChA and La Gente Newspaper at UCLA from 1972-1976. I attended my first NACCS conference as a 3rd year UCLA student at UT Austin in 1975. As a student, writer and scholar, I have been involved with the movement and discipline virtually since its inception. In the movement to defend and spread Ethnic Studies nationwide, I have been active in supporting our community’s right to our Culture, History, Identity, Language and Education (CHILE), including getting arrested, receiving death threats, testifying at the local school board, plus speaking before a UN Forum. Additionally, I have been an active member of Raza Studies Now and Ethnic Studies Now: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/29026-indigenous-knowledge-on-trial-defending-and-defining-mexican-american-studies
· I believe the focus of next year’s NACCS conference should examine the relationship between the organization, our communities and Indigeneity. We should do this not simply within ourselves but in relationship to other Indigenous peoples of the continent. The organization has examined everything else, and it has become the better for it. It is time to do this on an issue that is close to many of us within the organization and our communities. In part, that is why I took part in co-founding the Indigenous foco within NACCS several years ago. 2016 is critical. I believe NACCS, along with MEChA, MALCS and all the Calpolis (Kalpulis) and Peace and Dignity should meet together to examine the Census Bureau’s attempt to once again force an Hispanic [racial] identity upon us. If as a community we do not deal with this now, it will be too late for the 2020 Census.
· I believe that NACCS should be a full-fledged human rights organization, at the service of our communities. With our communities being slaughtered virtually daily throughout the country and on the border, we as a body should be at the forefront, as human rights scholar activists in producing the research that will be helpful in assisting with creating solutions via studies and going to court, whether at the local, state, federal or international levels: (http://truth-out.org/news/item/28921-not-counting-mexicans-or-indians-the-many-tentacles-of-state-violence-against-black-brown-indigenous-communities)
· I believe that NACCS should be at the forefront of expanding Raza Studies at colleges and universities nationwide and also at community colleges and K-12 schools also, and widening its scope, akin to what Tucson’s UNIDOS youth organization proposed in 2013; that we should teach Mexican American Indigenous Studies, and within it, all the other Ethnic Studies disciplines, including Gender and Women’s Studies, LGBT Studies and Middle Eastern Studies…. so that we can learn about each other as we struggle together: (http://drcintli.blogspot.com/2012/11/a-call-for-mexican-american-indigenous.html)
· I believe that NACCS should always be a democratic organization and should always have open and competitive elections, always with choices as opposed to elections with unopposed candidates. I believe the organization should be moved in this direction, beginning this year.
This is the BIO, with minor corrections, that was submitted by Josie Mendez-Negrete to the NACCS Board when she submitted my nomination.
Roberto Rodriguez (Dr. Cintli) is an assistant professor at the Mexican American & Raza Studies Department at the University of Arizona. He is a longtime-award-winning journalist/columnist who received his Ph.D. in Mass Communications in 2008 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is the author of "Justice: A Question of Race," a book that chronicles his two police brutality trials, and, with Dr. Patricia Gonzales, he co-produced "Amoxtli San Ce Tojuan: a documentary on origins and migrations." He returned to the university as a result of a research interest that developed pursuant to his column writing concerning origins and migration stories of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. His current field of study is the examination of maiz culture, migration, and the role of stories and oral traditions among Indigenous peoples, including Mexican and Central American peoples. His book, "Our Sacred Maíz is Our Mother," was recently published (Fall, 2014) by the University of Arizona Press. He teaches classes on the history of maiz, Mexican/Chicano Culture and politics, and the history of red-brown journalism. Based on a class he co-created in 2003, a major digitized collection was inaugurated by the University Arizona Libraries: The History of Red-Brown Journalism. He currently writes for Truthout’s Public Intellectual Project and is working on a project, titled: "Smiling Brown: Gente de Bronce – People the Color of the Earth." It is a collaborative project on the topic of color and color consciousness. He is also writing a memoir on the topic of police abuse, torture and political violence: "Yolqui: A warrior summonsed from the spirit world." This book examines the history of official violence against Black-Brown-Indigenous peoples, tracing it back to 1492. His last major award was in 2013, receiving the national Baker-Clarke Human Rights Award from the American Educational Research Association, for his work in defense of Ethnic Studies.
NACCS has a procedure for write-in candidates. As in any election, a write in candidate starts at a decided disadvantage, but minimally this year, there will be a second candidate for chair-elect – a first in recent memory. To vote, you must have paid membership dues by March 22, 2015. Voting begins March 31, 2015.