ANNOUNCING THE EAST END PLAN

The East End Plan is an experiment is to discover the affects civic planning, commercial development and re-uses of the East End’s urban landscape have on its residents. Templates are given for local residents to draw with crayons. Color is associated with the participants "feeling" and “choices” toward the places, they feel safe, congregate, share, fear, wish to visit, find mysterious and to areas they cannot and do not wish to visit.

It is emotional map making and creates a "gestalt of place" that identifies the internal perception of the resident's living in Houston's East End with their neighborhood and its geographic features. “What are the effects on the individual perception towards open, common or private spaces that do not consider or consult with the local population?”

East End cultural map

Very happy to announce LOCCA’s emerging presence on Houston’s East End cultural map. The East End Foundation creates a map that pinpoints creative spaces, studios, venues, murals, cultural centers, historical sites, etc. as way to celebrate the East End’s designation as a Texas Commission on the Arts cultural district.  While still waiting to have a pin dropped on the map itself, at least they made a fancy cartoon of my place! It was featured on the EEF Instagram: #cultura_eastendhou More to come…..

“aquí para quedarse” and new wheelchair ramp, Jan. 30

Everything evolves, transforms, changes… So must the message of my LOCCA. I took my time after the election to consider various possible quotes. I could have painted something out of rage or to instigate a provocation. But I found one that my friends from United We Dream mentioned repeatedly in their twitters, slogans, gritas etc.

This message has a threefold interpretation (really four). It says in Spanish a message to our elected officials, law enforcement and our national government that immigrants who have lived here for so long and suffered due to discriminatory immigration policies should stay here and have amnesty. It was good enough for Reagan in the 80’s, why not now.

Second, this law office that was bequeathed to me will stay in practice. I have been working very hard on making repairs and renovations, and to ensure its safety in order for the offices to be ready for rent. I want newly barred attorneys to come here to work for the community doing family law, immigration and to provide services that are needed. This was due to my father practicing law for 55 years, and I want to be around for another 55 years to provide affordable services to this Spanish speaking, low income community.

Lastly, it is a message to many of my progressive friends thinking of moving out of the country because of the election of the current White House. There will be a lot of major issues that threaten the country. Some people are trying to divide this country, others are trying to create a more perfect union. In politics many times for every “action” there can be an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s third law of motion). The thought of leaving the US for states with more welcoming or less right-wing policies is tempting. But consider those left behind that do not have the freedom to choose to up and move to another country. I will follow the examples of my parents and previous generations during and before the civil rights challenges of the twentieth century. In spite of the discrimination they chose to make this place their home. Aqui para quedarse, y luchar!

I also had time to finish the new wheelchair ramp for the office. Now seniors and the disabled can enter more easily.

The beginning of our ERA OF RESISTANCE, Saturday, Jan 14

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The beginning of our ERA OF RESISTANCE, Saturday, Jan 14

 Yes, this is just the beginning. There was a large turnout for this small space: at least 200. Members from the immigrant rights community, labor unions, student, family and children. There were a few speeches and a symbolic demonstration of what to do with a wall erected for racial reasons: break it down!

  The best part of the day (in my view) was listening and recording the personal testimonies from people from all walks of life. They asked the mayor and city council to make this city safe for immigrants, with pro-immigrant policies and a withdrawal by our Houston law enforcement departments from the non-binding agreement (287g) with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement by agencies. Most touching was a place for children to make their own superhero capes and to emblazon (finger paint) with messages of hope.

 Thank you to United We Dream!

Nov. 3rd “The Longoria Affair” Screening and discussion with Felix E. Salinas

The screening of “The Longoria Affair”, a documentary by John Valadez, was an opportunity to shed some light on the under-recognized contributions of the American G.I. Forum and Dr. Hector Garcia who advanced the civil rights of Mexican-Americans in the 1950’s and 60’s. Felix E. Salinas, ESQ was the second executive Secretary to the G.I. Forum and worked closely with Dr. Garcia. It just so happens that Mr. Salinas is my deceased father’s partner. Mr. Salinas continues to practice here at the Sanchez Law building. This event was hosted by Mikaela Selley, Hispanic Archivist for the Houston Public Library. We were lucky to have in attendance our City Councilman, Roberto Gallegos and former City Councilwoman, Graciela G. Saenz. After a few words from the Councilman, we ended the evening by having a Q&A with Mr. Salinas and his history with the G.I. Forum. It would be safe to say that many in attendance did not know this part of United States history. I have known Mr. Salinas all my life and I never tire of hearing about his life’s story. What surprised me was discovering that his during his entire time working for the G.I. Forum to defend Mexican-American’s rights (in which his life was threatened more than once) that he and Dr. Garcia worked voluntarily and were never paid.

Oct. 27th “WHATS AT STAKE: Immigration, the National Election and Beyond"

United We Dream is the organization started by those who are known as the “Dreamers”, the large community of young, undocumented immigrants living in the United States. LOCCA’s first program invited them to talk about their experiences of life living in the shadows, and then courageously out in the open and without fear of their status as residents. Our event was hosted by Veronica Bernal, an attorney representing this community in south Texas. Invited to the panel were Oscar Hernandez, Raul Alcaraz-Ochoa and Citlalli Alvarez Almendariz all organizers for UWD. Not only did we hear about their accounts of living in fear and being discovered by the authorities, but their transformation to decide not to succumb to this condition. Due to President Obama’s executive action, children who are under 31 and without resident documentation qualify for the Deferred Action for Children Arrives (DACA). DACA allows them to get a driver’s license, have a job with benefits, get a social security number, permits them to help their family financially, etc. This program has permitted this section our U.S. undocumented community to come out of the shadows to push for immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship. LOCCA’s partner, the University of Houston’s Center for Mexican American Studies, was on hand as well represented by its director, Dr. Pamela Quiroz.