Our social media countdown campaign starts on May 28, 2013! Prepárate…
The little boy probably couldn’t answer all these questions, but he knew where his heart and allegiance belonged. It wasn’t to the flag whose stars each represented the plunder of someone else’s homeland, but to its colony that his mother taught him would one day be free. And in response, with a child’s dignity and intelligence, he sang the anthem that he knew: “La Borinqueña Revolucionaria.” Those words, echoed into the womb, he knew with assurance stood for freedom accompanied by a flag not stained with blood. But he sung it alone. His peers, plunged into an ethnocentric and uncritical curriculum, will probably never know about their heroes and symbols of greatness.
“Ricky Flores’s 1980s Photos of the South Bronx“ - NYT Lens blog profile of one of the 6 photographers featured in a new exhibit in the the Bronx:
His images from that era will be on exhibit at the Bronx Documentary Center in “Seis del Sur: Dispatches From Home by Six Nuyorican Photographers,” which opens Saturday [Jan 19, 2013]. The show is a nuanced, insider’s view of an area that was as misunderstood as it was notorious. The show also includes Joe Conzo Jr., Francisco Molina Reyes II, Edwin Pagan, Angel Franco (a staff photographer for The New York Times) and David Gonzalez (co-editor of the Lens Blog).
From the exhibit website, About the Show:
The South Bronx. Known to all, understood by few. From the flickering mayhem of “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning!” seared into the minds of baseball fans in 1977, to the chants of “The South Bronx! The South South Bronx!” of KRS-ONE. The borough has brand recognition. But what’s being sold?
We have all seen the images. Hell, back then, buses used to roll up Charlotte Street to show off the rubble to curious tourists. Hot-shot shooters came up, too, making their reputation on the run.
You can debate whether or not they discovered some essential visual truth during their forays into the Bronx. Some did. And some stayed, too, chronicling the borough’s rebound from despair and neglect.
But some of us were here all along.
These pictures are our story, told from inside the neighborhood and our hearts. They reflect the world we knew as home, a complicated place we tried to chronicle as best we could.
Joe Conzo’s photos run the gamut of his personal history, encompassing community activism, Latin music and nascent Hip Hop. His mentor, Francisco Reyes, led the way, chronicling in loving detail the blocks around Prospect and Westchester.
Edwin Pagán’s photos have a narrative quality that hint at the filmmaker that he would become. A fistfight at Orchard Beach bursts with life and questions, as does a shot of a weary woman trudging home underneath the elevated tracks on Westchester Avenue.
David Gonzalez returned to the Bronx in 1979 to teach photography on Charlotte Street. For him, his photographs were the only way he could make sense of the devastation that had swept through the borough while he was away at college.
Most of these images were shot in the early 1980s. Some were even shot in the same neighborhoods and blocks. For some of us, we crossed paths back then and did not even know it. But as luck – or fate – would have it, we met as adults, Puerto Rican men who survived the crucible of our youths.
And we have the pictures to prove it.
This is our story. El Bron’, told by Seis del Sur.
“We appear to be in a democracy,” remarks former police officer Andrade, in a satirical tone as he looks nervously into the camera.
“I was beaten by a barrage of batons,” asserts Miguel, speaking of the police abuse against students during a university strike.
“They would report me for saying things like ‘men and women are the same’ or ‘women should fight for her rights,’” reveals Norma, explaining her experience of censorship as a feminist university professor.
“I’m sleeping and they’re watching me in my dreams” says Pupa, a preeminent badass in grandma glasses describing the round-clock surveillance of her home by the secret police.
“We were prisoners in our own land,” exclaims Ismael, describing the feelings of residents towards the presence of a U.S. naval base and daily military exercises on the island of Vieques
From “Watching Me in My Dreams: Film Review of ‘The Files.’” A Puerto Rico film about the systematic repression of the Puerto Rican independence movement during the 70s and 80s.
“On November 21, 1988, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico ordered the island’s government to release hundreds of thousands of files the Police Department illegally kept on pro-independence supporters, community and civil rights activists, and even students they deemed as ‘subversives.’ ‘The Files’ explores how this illicit surveillance affected the personal and professional lives of some Puerto Ricans.”
Yeah, I’m gay. Yes, I’m excited about the prospect of being able to marry the one I love one day. But, my fellow homosexuals in social media, ya’ll are mistaken if ya’ll think marriage is the key to “equality.” I don’t care for tolerance nor “equality.” I want equity, I want liberation. I want a complete redefinition of (state-sanctioned) marriage. I want free universal health care. I want the right to live in the (affordable) city. I want an end to the military and prison industrial complexes as well as global imperialism and neo-liberal capitalism. And I want the free movement of peoples across invisible “borders” and a redefinition of citizenship. I don’t want queer folks to be included in the military, corporate greed, and failing institutions and have it be called “equality.” We should be struggling to redefine and change such things…. So, fuck the rich white gays and their Uncle Toms for pushing (and funding) a single-issue while they party it up in the racist and sexist Boystown, drinking their cocktails in million-dollar condos on the gentrified graveyard of my Boricua migrant ancestors.