Thursday, March 20, 2014

OC Coordinator Kore Sierra Reflections on Decolonizing Knowledge Presentation at Cal Sate Fullerton

Rapping the truth of our society along with presenting the future research on education and other topics was the emphasis at the CASA Symposium at Cal State Fullerton. During the symposium we were able to listen to the fantastic works of many inspiring artists. Through their words, painting, beadwork and writing to their community.

In all honesty, I was very nervous about the presentation of Barrio Writers, though this is not my first time in front of people, the fact that the Barrio Writers name was on the line made it feel more nerve wrecking. While listening to the first presenters I was overwhelmed with their empowering words all their life said in one epic poem. I found it quite fascinating that these poets (and many others that are famous poet writers) are able to reach their audience hearts.  The whole time I heard their words my skin was prickling like hearing a singer’s voice hit a high octave with so much emotion that it hits you that “WOW” moment. This was the impression that the poem jam gave me.

During the next presentation by Leticia Rojas from Cal State Long Beach, which was a very inspiring presentation to me for the reasons that I want to go into teaching, who presented on the matter that why are there not many Latino’s going into the teaching field, along with the question on why Latino’s go into teaching. The one question that was brought up was the fact that why do we have the help that we need, if we had any, to get into college why do we not have the same help going into college to receive the encouragement to continue towards a masters or doctorates degree. The presentation on the research being conducted by Leticia Rojas is incomplete but shows much potential on being a key point on finding the answers towards bettering our education system beginning with the establishment of teachers who help their own ethnicity.

After the wonderful presentation by Leticia Rojas, Barrio Writers was up to bat. Marilynn Montano and I both presented ourselves, I gave my point of view of the first editions obstacles and how every year Barrio Writers has jumped each every single one with great splendor. We started from a hallway, classroom, bookstore, library, and finally a classroom at Cal State Fullerton. After I presented my work, Marilynn gave the audience her point of view of Barrio Writers. When Marilynn presented her thoughts we had such a surprising response from the audience that I knew we got more than a few perked ears hearing the both of us. At the end we received questions which one really got me interested, the question was:

“What will be our next step in getting not only Santa Ana youth together to give their stories to be added into our next Barrio Writers anthology but getting the whole state of California, Texas or even (our new chapter) Arizona to get more youth to present their work?” 

I actually got home and really thought about this question on how we can expand; I honestly can’t answer this question yet. I think about the use of the internet or even newspapers, a special site specifically for writing entries I honestly don’t know maybe in a few years we will be able to get an answer to this question. Barrio Writers is slowly but strongly expanding into other states and the stories of youth from these states and counties will be heard and written to inspire many generations.

In the end I sadly had to leave in the middle of the presentation but I was very happy to be able to present Barrio Writers to a community where everyone was speaking about the betterment of Latino (a)’s everywhere. Thank You to Marilynn Montano for helping get by my jitters (even though I really wanted to cry but held my tears back a little bit).

Thank You to Sarah Garcia our founder, friend and mentor who has given us the opportunity to present at the CASA Symposium. Especially Thank You to the CASA Symposium directors for approving us to present at their Symposium.