“Growing Up” pin
Hard enamel pin ( 1.5” ) of the Linocut print growing up - From gangs to gardens. A reflection of how we can transform, adapt and grow in any condition because our culture is resilient.
I fell in love with this shoe when I was like 7 years old. I saw my older cousins Hugo and Poncho wear them and did they look clean, matched with their Ben Davis, white tee and Cortez’. I looked up to them, wanted to be like them. Beautiful Brown men, Oaxaqueños en Tucson, surviving.
As I grew, these shoes took on a whole different meaning. When I was 14 I told my primo Poncho I joined a gang. He looked at me worried and shaking his head with a hint of unspoken words “you fucked up” - telling me to be careful.
Throughout my journey I became an “unconventional” organizer, with my homeboys; Tomas, Barny, Boxer, Jungy and so many more. I learned how to strategize, mobilize, be diplomatic and learned how to dream with them. We talked about owning businesses, real estate - we talked about what would it looked like if we owned the hood. We was 15-16 when these conversations were happening. At that age we already knew what power was beyond fist and a reputation. It is ownership of the hood, respect from community, the elders, the little ones. A vision that I still carry and build for.
As I walked in these shoes, I fell in love deeper with the land, the people, the movement. My pareja Nelda and I Leading chants at protest while I wore these shoes. Leading workshops on soil fertility and Barrio Sustainability in these shoes. And now Regenerative neighborhood design and implementation. “Only the hood can save the hood”
I’ve dealt with racism, micro aggressions from white professionals in the green movements because they didn’t have my magic. They can’t and won’t ever relate to the youth or my people the way I can. Because my footsteps are the same as the comrades I work with.
My footsteps in these shoes have inspired and kicked in doors for homies to follow a path that will heal, uplift and liberate the hood. Just as my moms and dads footsteps paved the way for me when they brought me here to the states to make something of myself.
Now as a “professional” I make sure the folks around me grow. At times you may not see my footsteps, and that’s because the best organizers are in the back of the room, or not in the room at all.
This is me growing up.