Joe Navarro on being a Chicano

My old friend Joe Navarro wrote the following and circulated it on his list.  I was both moved and struck by this and wanted to share this with you.

I have been asked, what is a Chicano? This is not an easy question to respond to. It requires a thoughtful response, so I turned my answer into a poem. This is one perspective.

I Am

I am the result of a unique
historical experience. I am of
the seed that was sewn of this
Earth. I am the heart beat of
many millenniums. I am a
multi-layered, multi-dimensional
phenomenon that can’t be wrapped
in a neatly secured one-dimensional
package. I am the dream of
ancient wisdom. I am the 
profound depths of physical,
spiritual and intellectual wonders
that haunt modern thought.
I am the descendent of survivors
who’ve sought to live when 
they were doomed to die.
I was born in a dream and
lived in a nightmare
through my dreams.
I am the infusion of genetic
codes and a diaspora of cultural
eclecticism. I am a
barrio beat brother…aztlaneco.
I am the confusion and diffusion
of worlds colliding. I am the 
crystal clear vision of the future.
I am the contradiction working
against itself. I am a 
sorrow song and a blues corrido.
I am Cuautehmoc’s last breath
and Zapata’s first inspiration. I am
the stroke of Frida Kahlo’s brush
and Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz’s
polemic. I am Dr. King’s
dream and Malcolm X’s 
call for self-determination. I 
am John Brown’s cry for justice
and Aretha’s call for r-e-s-p-e-c-t.
Soy nieto de campesinos e
hijo de urban factory workers.
I am a home-grown, urban
barrio warrior…born in a 
cross-cultural, evolutionary
tradition called Aztlan. I
am hijo del sol,
hermano del corazón and
soul brother. I am the
intersection of dreams, ideals
and aspirations. I am the 
righteous indignation of centuries
ready to explode. I am 
a complex socio-psychological
deposit of consciousness that
transcends millenniums and cultures.
I am the dialectical outcome
of resistance to oppression. I
am Chicano, a concept that can’t
be easily explained.

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