Monday, August 11, 2014

Latino Comics Expo

San Jose, CA Oct 11th and 12th
I'm excited to see's Lalo Alcaraz, whose work I have posted here previously and have him sign my copy of Latino USA: A Cartoon History at the Latino Comics Expo in October. It has already been argued that comics and graphic novels can communicate knowledge and challenge audiences to re-think what they might believe as fact. And I would add that the culturally relevant component of Latino Comics has a lot of potential for speaking to audiences often marginalized by traditional education. 
(Lalo Alcaraz 2014)
The Latino Comics Expo provides a great opportunity for young Latin@s in the San Jose area to see pop culture in which they are represented and created by artists who have a shared cultural memory. Oh yeah, and it's free!

From the website:

"The Latino Comics Expo San Jóse will be held the weekend of October 11 & 12 at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library on the campus of San Jóse State University. The event runs on Saturday from 10am-6pm and on Sunday from 1pm-6pm. Admission to the Expo is free.

In addition to our two exhibit rooms featuring cartoonists, writers, illustrators, zine makers, book vendors and more, the Expo will feature 2 days of panels, presentations and children's workshops.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is located at 150 E San Fernando St, San Jóse, CA 95112."

More from
"Join us this October 11 & 12 in San Jose as we host our 5th Latino Comics Expo since 2011. We have a lot of special guests and great programming, which we'll be announcing shortly. This year the Expo is being held at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library at San Jose State University. With a generous grant from the Castellano Family Foundation, and a great partnership with the library, our 2014 Expo promises to be our most memorable event yet."

I'm also planning on picking up a copy of A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States when I'm there. I'll get a picture of my son getting it signed, and I'll plan to have him read Latino USA and Imperfect Union as supplementary texts to his elementary schooling when he's older.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Guest Speaker Matt Miles in My Eng 105

Interchange Missionary Matt Miles Discusses Social Justice and Literacy

During this past Spring 2013 semester, I had the good fortune to invite Interchange missionary Matt Miles to speak with my Social Justice and Literacy class about his experiences coordinating and teaching ESL in Oakland, as well as his outreach work in juvenile detention centers. He testified to the power of literacy to transform the lives of the youth and adults he worked with.

Since the beginning of the semester I had been grappling with the notions of both "social justice" and "literacy" because these terms encompass so much. Fortunately, Miles was able to speak from experience about how he has seen the two ideas intersect and for literacy to be meaningful for those seeking social justice and seeking improve their lives.

Connect with Matt Miles via LinkedIn:
Or email him directly:

Monday, July 7, 2014

ASU Professor Ore Appears in Court

Defense Granted Extension Due to FBI Investigation into Suspended Officer's Actions

Dr. Ore's lawyers secured an extension of her trial to allow time for the third party FBI investigation into the ASU PD Officer's use of excessive force.

One of the key issues brought to light by the news story in the video below is the fact that citizens do not have to produce identification for police in a non-driving infraction, so when Officer Farrin tells Dr. Ore in the video that "It's the law" that she must produce ID for him, the officer is either intentionally attempting to deceive Dr. Ore, or the officer does not in fact know the law.

In either case, the circumstances leading up to the officer's physical attack on Dr. Ore are indefensible. The officer clearly escalated the stop from a civil interaction to an abuse of power that resulted in a physical attack, violating the rights that all humans deserve.

Stand with Dr. Ore by contributing to her defense:

Monday, June 30, 2014

ASU Professor Ore in CNN Interview

In Her Own Words

In the fallout of media coverage regarding Dr. Ore's treatment by ASU Police Officer Stewart Ferrin, many have argued that the video on its own demonstrates that Dr. Ore is at fault for not showing ID. The fallacy of this flawed logic often has to do with the speaker of privilege never finding themselves in the context where they will be the audience for this kind of abuse of power and antagonism. To further avoid speaking behalf of the police video that has been taken out of context, I am posting a video below of Dr. Ore speaking for herself about the incident as opposed to engaging in polemic discussions with audiences whose ideological biases do not allow them to empathize with the inhumane treatment of others.

In addition to signing the petition for Dr. Ersula Ore, please also consider sending direct email to the leadership of ASU: President Michael Crow ( and Provost Robert Page (

Stand with Dr. Ore by contributing to her defense:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Video Shows Excessive Force Used Against ASU Professor

Even with Video Proof, Arizona State University Shirks Responsibility to Faculty

The excessive force used against Dr. Ore detailed in the Statement regarding this incident is enough to validate any stereotypes about Arizona polices inhumane treatment of people of color, demonstrated by Sheriff Arpaio's human rights violations. However, the culpability falls on the shoulders of the good people who stand by and allow for these injustices to be perpetrated. Maybe because "corporations aren't people," the administration at the Arizona State University can hide behind the veil of the institution and claim ignorance to the civil rights violations carried out by Officer Stewart Ferrin.

By ignoring the racial-profiling and excessive force of Officer Ferrin, ASU condones this kind of treatment as status quo for the culture of inequality on campus and in surrounding Maricopa County.


“ASU authorities have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the arrest and have found no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD officers involved. Should such evidence be discovered, an additional, thorough inquiry will be conducted and appropriate actions taken."

ASU's response, or lack thereof, communicates the message that the police have the right to profile as long as they claim an excuse like "obstruction of a thoroughfare," even if that means that they caused you to stop in the middle of crossing said thoroughfare.

If you'd like to help:
Sign the MoveOn petition:

Donate to Dr. Ore's Defense:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

AZ Police Harass African American Professor on ASU campus

Further Racist Abuses of White Privilege in Arpaio's Maricopa County
In the interest of transparency, I personally know Dr. Ore and have heard her account that is detailed in the Statement.

 Maricopa County's Sheriff Arpaio has been found to be guilty of human rights abuses when working with undocumented persons, so it is not a surprise, but nonetheless shocking that racist abuses of power take place on the local police level. In the Statement of Concern from Arizona Critical Ethnic Studies, the account of the harassment and police brutality enacted against Arizona State University's English Professor Dr. Ersula Ore, who is an African American woman. When the police could not provide a reason why they stopped her, Dr. Ore refused to do as she was told by the white male police officer. Those who want to argue that racism does not exist do not understand that police harassment is a reality for people of color at the present, not just historically.

Even though the abuse occurred on ASU's campus, the university has failed to acknowledge the role of race and the abuse of power allowed to take place on the institution's campus. From the Statement:

"Officials at ASU, in response to questions about the incident and possible racial profiling, have sought to distance the University, stating that 1) because the incident occurred on a public street between parts of campus, it was technically “off campus,” so Dr. Ore was a private citizen; and 2) although they will comply with any investigation, there is no evidence of racial profiling."

In the context of Arizona's Superintendent of Education admitting to blogging racist rants, it's really hard to believe that the powers that be at ASU would ever address the dehumanizing treatment of their faculty of color where there's an established tradition of shirking responsibility when it comes to race.

If you'd like to help:
Sign the MoveOn petition:

Donate to Dr. Ore's Defense:

Monday, June 23, 2014

AZ Ed Superintendent Admits to Racist Blogging

Arizona's public school chief admits he anonymously blogged racist rants

It doesn't feel good to say I told you so Arizona...Even as Arizona Superintendent of Education John Huppenthal, who is infamous for enforcing HB 2281 on Tucson's Mexican American Studies department, admits to racist blogging, it's too late. It's too late for the students who were robbed of a culturally relevant education that served it's population. It's too late to bring back all of the committed educators whose time and energy were diverted from teaching to deal with a racist law whose enforcers are now publicly admitting to their own racism. 

But the voting block of Arizonans who elected Huppenthal, his role-mode/predecessor Tom Horne, and the likes of Joe Arpaio won't have their minds changed even when presented with facts that counter those beliefs. You can't mess with the terministic screen of ideology, especially when only relying upon cognitive dissonance.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rhetoric Society of America 2014

San Antonio, Texas

This past weekend I presented at the Rhetoric Society of America conference. My presentation came from my article on Ozomatli that was published in alter/nativas. Below is a storify that documents some of my tweets and some of those posted by attendees using the hashtag #RSA14. Some of my favorite tweets were from the selfies that I took with other Twitter users I'd only met online, and because there was a conference presentation on selfies, so it had to be done.

(Jaime Mejia, Sonia Arellano and Cruz Medina)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Update: Starting in Fall 2014...

I am Assistant Professor in English at Santa Clara University

About this time last year I announced that I would be an Inclusive Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow, and it's been a good and productive year which will come to a conclusion with my having signed a job offer to begin as an Assistant Professor in Fall.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hear Me on Syracuse's This Rhetorical Life Podcast

Featured on My First Podcast
At Syracuse, their graduate students have a podcast called This Rhetorical Life and I was asked to contribute to this episode's podcast that draws on Reflection's recent issue dealing with Latin@ Rhetorics.

What's pretty cool is that I'm quoted on my definition of Latin@ rhetorics, featured on the front cover of the podcast's webpage. I come in at about 9 minutes and 30 seconds.

From the front page:

Episode 21 features a collaboration with the Fall 2013 special issue of Reflections: “Latin@s in Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service-Learning” about how scholars are defining Latina/o rhetorics and why it’s an important issue for the field right now.

Hear it here:
Or download it free at iTunes.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Ozomatli Article and Interview

My Interview with Raul and Uli of Ozomatli

I posted previously here on my article “(Who Discovered) America”: Ozomatli and the Mestiz@ Rhetoric of Hip Hop" about Ozomatli in Ohio State University's alter/nativas latin american cultural studies journal. Update: I should also mention that I will be presenting at Rhetoric Society of America in San Antonio, TX during the L13 session, Sunday (May 25th) 8:00-9:15 Salon J [A/V].

Based on this article, I had the opportunity to interview two of Ozomatli's founding members Raul Pacheco and Ulises Bella before their second Oakland show at the New Parish on March 29. The heavily shaded photo below followed the sit-down I had in their dimly-lit green room, where I asked questions following up with what I wrote in my article .

(Raul Pacheco, Me, and Uli Bella)

In addition, I asked some questions based on my current book project for Palgrave Poch@ Pop, for which I started a tumblr. The monograph is for Palgrave's series on Latino Pop Culture, and it looks at Latin@ pop culture producers who challenge, contest, and subvert dominant narratives about Latin@s in the U.S.  It follows the trajectory that my article on Ozomatli bridged between my dissertation work and this current project. Conceptually, my interview with Raul and Uli serves as a kind of 'artists speak back' chapter following the arguments I outline in previous chapters about poch@ pop artists.

Poch@ Pop will be coming out later this year, and I will be sure to keep updates about it here, but I thought I'd include an excerpt from the beginning of the interview that discusses their most recent album Place in the Sun:

Cruz Medina: “Brighter” is a song from the new album that seems to carry the same energy as some of the past songs, but you guys are great about acknowledging that undertone that touches on…

Raul Pacheco: Darkness.

CM: Or critical hope. How do you feel like you guys continue to balance that critical hope with the energy? Does the music come first?

RP: Even those of us who were militant at times about things, as a group it’s never framed in that sense. You know, we’re not Rage Against the Machine. And I think our energy when we’re together is kind of light. We’re more about getting along—so even our differences, and things that are more critical or more pointed in terms of pointing things out—we have a tendency to do it that [light] way. ‘Cause we’re like a dance band.

CM: Has there ever been pressure from outside the band to follow one genre or trajectory? And have you had to push back explaining that there’s a reason for the fusion?

RP: Sure, sure. But even when we try, we really can’t do it. We tried to do it on this record [A Place in the Sun], and we just ended up doing whatever we wanted. It just wasn’t feeling natural.

CM: This definitely is a spectrum on this album where “A Place in the Sun” captures the summertime feeling, but then I love “Tus Ojos.”

RP: That song [“Tus Ojos”] is about his [Ulisses Bella’s] grandmother.

Ulises Bella: It started off as a jam that we would do live, and the thing is that this particular jam that we would do in the middle of a cumbia—we’d always hit the crowd hard, so I was like ‘we got to make that fucking thing a song. We got to make it a song, we got to make it a song…’ ad naseum, right.  

Check out the album and read the forthcoming interview in Poch@ Pop!