Vida En El Valle Blogs: The Latin voice of the central valley.Vida en el Valle Blogs The Latin voice of the central valley

Juan Esparza Rebecca Plevin Daniel Cásarez Olivia Ruiz Irene Rodriguez Cynthia Moreno Community Health Fellowship

“Pick up the gun and shoot”avatar

with 5 comments

When I was told I would be blogging as part of my duties as the newest reporter for Vida en el Valle, a million topic ideas twirled around my mind. What topics would I discuss in these blogs and how would they engage readers? I guess I’ll start with this…

Recently, I attended a funeral reception paying tribute to the civil rights activist, the late Maestro, Ernesto Martinez. A guest speaker, Dr. Victor Torres, director and professor in the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at Fresno State quoted Che Guevara in his speech:

“I don’t care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting.”

Without trying to take Guevara’s quote out of context, I thought about two things- Latino’s who were part of the Chicano Latino movement (like Martinez) and Latino’s today who are following the footsteps of these leaders who created ‘change’- the kind that influenced, invigorated and inspired future Latino leaders. Specifically those who decided to arm themselves with the necessary learning, training or education to continue pushing forth the changes they wished to see in their communities.

Today, there are many Latino leaders- at least one in every area of civic life ranging from government, medicine, business, labor, etc. At Latino held conventions, conferences or mixers, there is talk about ways to empower the community. The same is done in Latino based organizations. Solutions are offered and discussed, but far too often, they are not executed. Why?

I see this trend among young Latino leaders that are emerging and growing at a fierce pace compared to older generations. Despite their numbers, motivation and enthusiasm to create change in our communities, something is lacking.

I can’t help but wonder why Guevara’s quote resonated with me so profoundly…I am compelled to make an analogy:

It’s almost as if Latinos are carrying a loaded gun; we know its purpose and potential, yet we refuse to ‘shoot.’ The intention is there, hence the dedication and hard work we have placed in our jobs, careers, education, families…but why stop there? How can these achievements, once discussed, move us forward?

I realize that many Chicano Latino movement trailblazers who are alive today continue to ‘shoot’. They are relentless in their commitment and passion for change. Why can’t the younger generation pick up that gun and do the same? I don’t understand the hesitation.

As your new reporter, my hope is that through my blogs, I can pick up the gun and ‘shoot’. I don’t expect to become a future Chicano Latino activist, (our predecessors have left big shoes for us to fill) but I do expect to start a following…of readers, that is. I hope that I can enlighten you with a wide range of topics, not just Latino- but certainly more Latino. Perhaps the endeavor is a challenge, but one I am willing to take. I am excited for the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas, but I also welcome the discussions…

Written by Cynthia Moreno

June 23rd, 2010 at 2:05 pm

5 Responses to '“Pick up the gun and shoot”'

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  1. First of all, i’d like to say that i really enjoyed your blog. Its really motivating. Good luck with future blogs! I know I’ll be a regular reader.


    Gracy Uriarte

    23 Jun 10 at 8:22 pm

  2. Very intresting blog!!!! i got to say u’r a great writter! congrats cynthia! keep shooting!



    25 Jun 10 at 12:56 am

  3. At a law school function during my third year of law school I had a conversation with a very successful Latino attorney with his own practice in Sacramento. I questioned him about my plans to work at a civil litigation defense firm that worked exclusively for employers. When he told me there was nothing wrong with that, I asked him, “Aren’t I suppose to be working for the underrepresented employee?” Shouldn’t I be a champion for the “little man,” the underdog? How could I not represent clients from the same socioeconomic background and demographic makeup? He told me that he was making an impact just by being a Latino who is a licensed attorney. By achieving success as a Latino professional, he was effecting change, he was skewing the numbers. His success was a positive, but passive impact. Is there any merit to that mentality? Is he picking up the gun and shooting by closing the gap in the disparity in the number of Latino attorneys. Or is he just picking up the gun? This same attorney also warned me about the danger of cultural and/or racial isolation. Advocating for change to bring about equality was one thing, but taking a movement as far as to practice discrimination in favor of our own community should be frowned upon. Is equality the goal? Isn’t the goal to have a demographically proportionate number of doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, politicians, business owners, etc.? Isn’t he therefore, “shooting,” since he is directly affecting the measurement of success?

    Keep writing Cynthia! Wish you the best in your reporting and blogging endeavors.


    Isauro A. Villarreal

    1 Jul 10 at 11:48 am

  4. youngsters make a mistake when they think, as the column expresses, anyone has to fill anyone’s shoes. the only shoes to fill are your own. the only steps you must take, no options are threefold: protect yourself from harm. do the best for your family. do the right thing.

    the vato electing a career in employercentric law needs to be the kick-assing best litigator, law & motions attorney, or whatever. give back through pro bono cases. all that cash you’re pulling down? buy chicana chicano art. fund college scholarships and high school activities. judge speech contests. give money to the dream act. keep the lawn mowed.




    13 Jul 10 at 5:53 pm

  5. With great respect and honor for the life and legacy of our friend Ernesto Martinez’, Dr. Victor Torres’ comments given at his farewell reception did not dwell on what was already known about the university professor, the master of dance, and dear friend to many. Instead, he chose to acknowledge him as the man of great integrity, fine character, and one committed to make a difference in his community.

    Call him a Mexican-American (Chale)! a Latino (Maybe), a Maestro de Danzantes (Presente!). Ask our dear friend Ernesto Martinez how he would identify himself and he would no doubt say with pride, “Yo Soy Chicano”!!! However, being the respectful person he was, when circumstances required a more “elegant” introduction, he would not be too offended if identified as a member of our “Latino Community.”

    Ernesto was in every sense, a true Chicano. In Dr. Torres’ comments, his courageous reference to the quote by the revolutionary Che Guevara, was used as an idiom and it describe Ernesto’s life and commitment as community activist very well. It described Ernesto’s hope that the struggle against injustice in our community will continue even after he falls. So long as there are others willing to pick up the gun (continue the struggle), and to continue to shoot it (as a community activist), his hope that the struggle to continues will be realized.

    However, picking up the gun is only the beginning of one’s commitment to the struggle. One must be willing to shoot it, and if necessary, make all necessary sacrifices in defense of our community. Those who pick up the gun and flash it with arrogance, but do not use it to make a difference in our community, are those Ernesto would refer to as “Want-A-Be-Chicanos.” They are those who gain success from the sacrifices of others and who forgot on whose shoulders they were able to stand on to achieve their great success.

    As an educated, successful, and respected professor here at the university, Ernesto could have live a life of luxury, drive a BMW, and live on the “better side of town.” We, who knew him well, knew him to be a humble man who never forgot where he came from, or the debt he owed to those whose sacrifices open the doors for him to achieve great success. Giving back to our community was the only method he believed, and the obligation we all share, to make payment on the debt owed to our ancestors. May his life and legacy continue with our renewed commitment to continue the struggle against injustice wherever it may exist in our communities. So if you dare to pick up the gun, do so only with the right intention in service to our community.

    It was a pleasure meeting you Cynthia! From what I have seen of your work, you have great promise for becoming respected reporter, writer, and deliverer of truth of what is really happening in our community. Keep up the good work….



    14 Jul 10 at 9:41 pm

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