|"Somos Aztlán," mural by Emilio Aguayo; Seattle; UW Ethnic Cultural Center|
Equal Opportunity Jail Poem 5inco
Sept 11 Rant in the Future Tense
Editor's Note: Rubén Rangel is mainly a poet, who's tied and tried his hands at civilizational-change community organizing. When he was in high school, he won a state poetry prize and showed great promise. Instead he ran into me, chipping his philosophical teeth on my forehead, and forever joined the good red road, making us different.
A migrant of sorts, Rubén Rangel moved to New York City, making the trek from one of many farm-worker valleys, to make love and revolution in the Big Apple. Like a good New Yorker, he now spends summers and winters with his roots. I don't know if he considers himself a Chicano; I don't. He was mentored by the Chicano poetics and liberation-aspiring visions; his work is a bridge between the Chicano and the movements he has participated in and lead. He has authored a young adult novel; unpublished. He has won numerous awards since high school and has mountains of unpublished poems and stories, and more yet to tell and write down. These particular poems chronicle student and youth struggles for equality and equal access to higher education in Seattle. EOP could stand for East Oakland Proletariat. Here Rubén Rangel is talking about the Equal Opportunity Program, affirmative action, civil rights meant to integrate the university and make it relevant to the future of our country and her communities. These poems represent the sit-ins and civil disobedience actions that young Chican@s, Filipinos, other Asians and African Americans took to keep the University of Washington accessible to people of color on our terms. The short story is a snapshot of a New York political community, I suppose, and her contradictions. I'm just saying. -- Arnoldo García