AcknowledgementsWhen I was born, mi abuelita said, “esta niña no se falta de nada” (this girl doesn’t miss a thing). Mil gracias abuelita, Guadalupe Gallegos y Mojica, for gifting me with curiosity; cultivating a sense of wonder about learning, reading and all things with the potential of discovery. Thank you for the gift of your daughter, Refugio, now Ruth, and her lessons of independence, her love of reading and learning and correcting, which now, in her 90's is as exasperating as it is wonderful. Thank you for the “will to live” you have given us both—losing you far too soon for either of our likings, leaving us to figure out adulthood, together.
It was that curiosity and will to live, that would find me in 2006, a middle aged, middle class divorcee, reimagining my life, telling stories, outloud and in a really public fashion—documentary filmmaking. Thank you Jordie, Genie, Lupe, Martha, Pauline, Andrea, Ruth, Rose Marie and Juay, Margaret, and all the Mojica family for Las Mujeres de la Caucus Chicana and the wonder of discovery that continues to be the Chicana Caucus of the NWPC in my work. It is that wonder and enthusiasm at the possibility of discovery, that motivates my life to do what I love, no matter what. What I didn’t realize then, was how much of a test “no matter what” would become.
In the spring of 2009, when I sat on the curb outside the college that housed the MFA program that had decided we should part ways long before I would finish, I wondered what would happen to my life next. This was one of the most discouraging moments of my life—a moment filled with doubt and loss of faith that could only be restored through a phone call from Maria Cotera to come to Austin and begin the journey that would become the Chicana Por Mi Raza Digital Memory Collective. I said “yes” in a moment when nothing else seemed possible. That “yes” put me on the journey that would lead to another conversation, this time with Amelia María de la Luz Montes, at the University of Missouri, Kansas City for the regional meeting of the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies, where I would say “yes” to graduate school at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Department of English.
“Alaska”? “No, Nebraska!” Is the frequent opening response, when people ask what I am doing these days, no longer on the radar as an activist/filmmaker in my beloved hometown of Chicago. I came to UNL, a place that continues to support how my brain considers identify formation—mostly in the spaces and physical action of memory, and rememory. Mostly in the exercise(s) of visual rhetoric required for the regularly misunderstood articulations of voice, often dismissed as anger or worse—misguided passion. Always in the bits and pieces of history I so frequently talk about as parts of puzzle pieces, recognized, then translated/curated for clarity in the middle of my memory and rememory.
...and Thank YousSo thank you, Michelle Wright for your work on the epiphenomenal identity, and Heather Richards Rissetto for the Digital Heritage class where Chicana Diasporic was born. Thank you, Andy Jewell, Adrian Wisnicki, Jeannette Jones, Maureen Honey, Joy Castro, Isabel Velasquez, and Kwakiutl Dreher, for reminding me that my voice was being heard because you were listening. Thank you, Kay Walter and Ken Price, for the Center on Research in the Digital Humanities (CRDH), a center where digital humanities can be explored in many ways that enrich traditional scholarship. Thank you, Liz Lorang, for twelve weeks and a year of supporting and nurturing this 2017 Digital Scholarship Incubatee. Thank you to the Institute for Ethnic Studies and the UNL English department for all the conversations, lectures, and seminars, with graduate students and faculty on process, method, content, rhetorical argument, and good places to eat in Lincoln.
Thank you, all my ENGL 150 students, who continue to teach me about multi-cultural voice and identity formation and all of the wonderful ways you articulate voice using visual and sound rhetoric. Thank you Latinidad @ UNL: Adrienne, Angel, Claire, Janice, Raul, Xavier, Eder, Eduardo, Lydia, Adam, Stevie, Brita, Katelyn, Matt, Grace, and Visnja. Thank you, Chicanas con Ganas, Bernice Olivas and Belinda Acosta for a Cholafied-Remix and for taking such good care of esta—I continue to pay all those kindnesses forward. Finally, thank you to la mera mera, Amelia María de la Luz Montes, for the invitation to come to UNL and create the next chapter of my very Afro-Latina life, teaching the wonder of discovery and telling the “herstories” de nuestras vidas.