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latina small town theatre travel

Viva Pachuca

New Year’s Resolution. Make website for Pachuca. It’s getting there. Check it out!
https://pachucaproductions.org/

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A Plea for the Arts

Get into the arts — and see what happens

Yes. I’m still tirelessly pushing for arts and literature and libraries in Plumas County. We do hiking and contemplating our own outdoor navels here–especially if cows, horses, or footballs are involved. But you know, might need other things….

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Tell YOUR TRUSTEE TO VOTE NO!

Please read below and please get ahold of your FRC Board Members and urge him to vote NO on the Trutna power grab. The vote is going down next Thursday to make sure Trutna has the votes wrapped up before the election. If you’re in Quincy your rep is John Sheehan. East Quincy Bill Elliot. Please urge all three of these yes men to vote NO -if you care about public access to the college board and if you care about education.
I’m putting aside running for office for a minute and want to discuss something important to those who live in the FRC community college district.
President Trutna has proposed that the policy of open public access to the board be changed to require that ALL requests to address the Board must be addressed to him alone, and that he alone will decide whether or not the request will be honored. —This is not how a public college operates.
Last night at the League of Women Voters Forum Candidate McNett demonstrated that he did not understand that there was no need to change the ed code. That the ed code as is allows the public to access the board. He did not understand that if he cares about the community he needs to vote NO on the Trutna power grab.
Next Thursday away from public view, the FRC Board will vote on Trutna’s proposal to limit public access to address concerns to the board. Trutna tried this measure this spring in the academic senate and the teachers and staff did not want his overreach. The meeting will take place far from Quincy in Chester. Please contact ALL YOUR BOARD MEMBERS AND TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON STRIPPING PUBLC ACCESS TO THE BOARD. But especially let Guy McNett know that you are not cool with limiting democracy and access to the college board.


This is exactly why I’m running for office—to demand accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility at the college.

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Election Poem # 1

Vote 4 Garcia

She really knows her stuff

She taught all your kids

And she’s pretty tough—

She’s the Bernie to Your Hillary

She’s the Beto to your Cruz

If you don’t vote for her,

it’s you who’s gonna lose

Cuz she ain’t no rubber stamp

And she ain’t in no one’s camp

Except the students and the teachers

And the community and staff.

If you want a woman on the board

Whose experience strikes a chord

Who has the knowledge and skill to call the shots

Then Vote Garcia—

To hold them good ol boys accountable– a lot!

 (ouch really bad rhyme).

Vote  Garcia on Nov 6th (or sooner ! Mail in ballot!)

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Remembering the Why

 When you’ve taught at the same community college for 11 years you often wonder after your students graduate, did I make a difference?

I mean it’s one thing to meet the student learning outcomes, but it’s quite another to instill the idea of life long learning and it’s also difficult but so necessary at the community college level to explain to students—especially those moms who’ve been in the workforce awhile and are going to college for the first time in their 30s–that they can do it.

Such was the case of Dawn who I had as a student somewhere around 2011. We surprised each other the other day as I had to come in to the health department for a routine TB test for work and she was the one reading my test. She had her own office even.

Beaming with pride. Both of us.  

We both cried.

She made it to the other side. She was the first one in her family to go to school and she paved the way. Her three kids are now also in college.

There were hugs and tears all the way around. Yesterday as I was driving to the Bay Area I had one of those imposter syndrome moments of self-doubt.  There are people I respect and admire who have signs for my opponent in their front lawns. They are of course not clued in with the college and are casting their votes with the establishment regardless of my experience or credentials or the issues. They are voting out of pressure to conform.

Yesterday I drove to San Francisco International airport and back to pick up my mother as she returned home from a trip to Boston. Long drives give you too much time to think.

I took a deep breath on the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday. I had to ask myself again—why am I running? Last year when I thought about it I tried to find other people to run and everyone I encouraged turned around and told me I was the best person for the job. I should do it.

Dawn said my class in 2011 is what kept her going. My reading assignments and my encouragement. It sounded like she couldn’t let me down by not keeping to her goals. She kept them and more so.

This morning as we were all hugs and tears I realized that Dawn—and all the students like Dawn—are what keep me going.  I’m in this race because I want the best possible educational experience for students like Dawn and her family. I want them  to know that the homegrown Plumas County citizens who were told college wasn’t for them—have a right to it—and that they can achieve no matter what age they are and how much money they don’t have.

The opportunity for college should belong to all of us. The chance to run for office should also belong to all of us.

I chose the right slogan for the campaign. Putting the community back in community college.

Thanks for the reminder this morning, Dawn, that despite not being an elite member of the political good ol boys network of Plumas County? I belong too.

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Pachuca Productions Logo Is Finally Here!

We’ll be making t-shirts of course but in the meantime, here’s the new logo for Pachuca Productions — the new Latina owned microtheatre started by Tina Terrazas and I in Plumas County. We move around the county producing original plays, variety shows, and provocative works by other women. Message us if you’d like to get a hold of one of our shirts (designed by Portland based artist Tess Emily Rodriguez).

Also we are looking for original works by women–especially Latina  playwrights, for our company to perform.

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My 4 Days in a Fire Look Out

Back in September I spent four days in a Mountain Look Out. I wrote about it here:

Black Mountain Look Out. I would do that trip again in a heart beat!

 

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Three Months Too Long

As I write this my daughter has not seen or heard from her best friend in three months. If you’ve ever been around tween age girls you know this is a life time. There are many tears. Many, many tears.

Sunshine did not move away. Nor is she mad at my daughter.  I miss her too. I miss how I could leave those two girls in my house and not worry. About how they’d make and decorate cupcakes together. Share plans to leave this one horse town. How they’d dance around in my daughter’s bedroom. Do each other’s hair. Make plans. Go swim in the lake or dip in Indian Falls.

Sunshine is nowhere to be seen. She’s missed every town festival. She’s never at the town pool. It’s as if she’s disappeared.

We live in Plumas County. A small county of 20,000 people. We live in Indian Valley which has roughly 2K. We live in Greenville which has about 900. Sunshine lives with her grandfather and her sister in a hamlet that doesn’t have even 20. She lives a good half hour drive from our house, deep in Genesee Valley. She has no phone. No internet. No way to connect to her friends and the outside world. She is 15. He has taken this all away from her.

That’s the sort of thing you can get away with doing to a young woman up here. Child Protective Services know. The county knows. Social Services know. The police know. We all know her guardian. Her grandfather is a pissed off arrested development type that went full freak out when he learned his granddaughter had a girlfriend and confiscated her phone and read endless texts between the two girls about sex, about weed. About the things first love in small town northern California.

It’s not really about sex or weed though. We live in weed country. And he had no problem with creepy straight boys trying to overtake her.

We all know that isolation from one’s friends and family is a sign of domestic violence and abuse. It’s even on flyers on the inside of bathroom stall in pubic women’s restrooms up here. We give lip service up here with grants from the state that says yes, we’re doing something about this and we’re doing something about teen suicide attempts. And we aren’t going to be assholes to gay youth.

But Sunshine is locked away from us–no different than a princess locked in a tower with a dragon guarding it below. Waiting for the day someone valiant enough breaks through the prickly vines and slays the dragon and saves the girl.

My daughter misses her. She’s also a bit incredulous thinking the adults and teens around her are heartless jerks for not keeping constant vigil. For not keeping this egregious miscarriage of justice alive in the minds of everyone. I tell her her friends do miss her but probably feel helpless. This is , afterall, an era of helplessness in front of an endless barrage of affronts to women, people of color, LGBTQ, the environment. We are after all in the Trump era of hate and neglect.

That tower grows taller. Sunshine I imagine is growing weary or worse yet–not growing at all. Stunted by the dull blow cuts of small minds and small towns.

Among us. Who will do it? Who will defy the good old boy network of the status quo? Who will stand up to this man that would rather her spirit die than soar? Would rather a dead granddaughter than a gay one?

I think of the road into where she lives. There’s no way to approach the house without him seeing, without him raging–this man the county has decided is fit to raise children though his own had to be raised without him.

I light candles for her. I pray. I pray her spirit remains alive and strong and that his anger and fear and hatred and abuse and violence are no match for the determined spirit. She’s 15. She could have 3 more years of this incarceration at home.

He forbid her to go to school and forced her on independent study. This is a child who wanted to be a lawyer someday. She once had perfect grades. Participated in 4-H.  He’s taken away school, friends, her extended family. And our county does nothing.

If this resonates with you? Email Social Services.  Help convey to them that condoning and granting an abuser the power over a frail 15 year old condemns her, not saves her. We here are sickened. Let her know the world is watching.

And we miss our Sunshine. My daughter misses her best friend. All this unnecessary darkness because one bitter man cannot see the light.

 

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small town

Be Kind to the Gay Kids, Please

I wrote this piece as my alter ego Maggie Wells a couple of weeks ago for my local paper job. It’s called Ten percent.   It’s inspired by real life events that have been unfolding. One of my favorite teens up here came out (or rather it seems was forced out) of the closet. I think you know where this is going.

Absolutely smart kid with a bright future ahead of her comes out in rural America to unloving maniacal guardian with a history of abusing women who don’t bend to his will.

She’s a kid.

He’s supposed to be the adult. He spreads rumors about his own kid. Threatens her with incarceration in mental health facilities. Texts her friends and threatens them. Texts her friend MY DAUGHTER to threaten her.  Threatens the girl’s girlfriend with a ‘redneck rape’ to set her straight. Rural America can be a dark and disturbing place. I feel for the kids growing up both in its wondrous beauty and its evil.

I am praying with all my heart that the girl makes it out of there alive and well and knows she is loved. Knows she is smart. Knows things do get better. Because right now all there is

is despair.

Pray for the gay kids to overcome their homophobic aggressive and abusive patriarchy run households and schools and communities. And may this tortured soul who truly believes he’s doing the right thing by being a hate filled raging lunatic be brought to justice.

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Library Update

Well there’s good news and bad news on the library front. I’m not too worried about it and I think we will al persevere just fine.

Indian Valley Academy and Greenville High School and the districts that run them have decided to dissolve their partnership. My editor did a brief editorial on it: Schools head toward divorce.

It seems that the partnership dissolving also means that our beloved Library Project might also face a precarious future.  I have rounded up library volunteers again and can report the following.

Next year Greenville High School–with its less than 70 students will be at the Plumas Unified School District property alone.  The Charter school simply could not afford the rent (which went up to 5 times the amount paid in previous years this wear). Indian Valley Academy will be in two locations: A sixth through eighth grade about a block away from the current location with the high school going to nearby Taylorsville.

Which means my library volunteers and I will be making not one but THREE libraries all connected to each other. Because of duplicate donations this looks very promising. There are some books donated that went specifically with various programs—like GHS ‘s culinary program and IVA’s drama program. Those books will be centered where the programs are both located but with access for any kid in the valley.

Whew. Lots of work cut out for us but we are up for it. Indian Valley Academy has a wonderful new (and much cheaper) space to rent in Taylorsville the cheaper rent means more money for programs! We foresee about 100 students at this location (they also take classes at the local community college).  The IVA junior high likewise has a great room for us to set up in and a good chunk of students as well (Im counting at least 50). We have much material thanks to all of you readers! Enough to go around.

One exciting thing I will post about soon (writing an article for it) is Indian Valley Academy’s sister school Great Lakes High School in Uganda. Nine students from Plumas County just went to Uganda for 3 weeks on a project based learning trip to start three projects that are off to a terrific start. Their library was even worse of than ours was so we’re getting in touch with those in charge of the library there to tell us what they need. Stay tuned.

Thank you so much for all you’ve done for us and please know that we are still in transition, still sending thank you notes, still processing this great generosity.