Martin R. Castro Presidente de los derechos Civiles de Estados Unidos y Miembro de NAIMA de Visita en Jalisco
Thanks to NAIMA and Sergio Suarez with whom I have collaborated here in Illinois, last week I went on an amazing journey to Jalisco that encompassed philanthropy, entrepreneurship, transnationalism, government, cultural heritage, and family history. My paternal grandparents were from Jalisco and thanks to Sergio’s team at NAIMA they were able to provide me a genealogical map that allowed us to visit the small towns and haciendas that my family lived and worked on for 7 generations. It was amazing, and humbling to walk in the Jalisciense towns that my ancestors had lived and toiled in: Cocula, Estipac, Cienega de Mata, Hacienda la Paz, Ojuelos. While I got to see the spot where Miguel Hidalgo y Costillas (Mexico’s George Washington) abolished slavery in Mexico in 1810, it was clear from the remains of the haciendas we visited that peonage and near slave-like conditions still existed on these Mexican plantations for generations. It was also re-energizing to see places that history has sought to erase because the story they tell runs counter to the narrative of the elites of society. For example, we visited an island on Lake Chapala, Mezcala, where the native Mexican Indians were never conquered by the Spaniards. Indeed, the small band of Nahuas and Cocos were able to fend of a superior Spanish force using ingenious guerrilla tactics and strategically built fortifications.This history of resistance and victory is not shared with us in most history books. Also, to see up close the amazing murals by Orozco, which bluntly and powerfully tell the story of Mexican conquest, independence and struggle was empowering. I was also pleased to visit social service sites we support in Jalisco through the philanthropic efforts here in Illinois of The Necahual Foundation. I had the privilege of meeting with therapists working with children, women and families in need and to visit the children of Villa Miravalles, an orphanage serving nearly 100 children. It was both heartwarming to see these children and the excellent support they are receiving, and yet heartbreaking to see the continuing needs. I also had the chance to meet with mayors of many local municipalities in Jalisco and hear of their challenges and opportunities as they seek to improve the conditions of their towns. It is amazing to see first hand the important, symbiotic relationship that exists between Mexico and Mexican and Mexican-Americans on this side of the border. This transnationalism is the hallmark of the work that NAIMA is doing and seeks to grow. Finally, it was great to make a quick foray into Guanajuato, my mom’s home state, to observe the execution of an agreement between the governor of Guanajuato and a philanthropy fund in Mexico known as “Juntos Podemos” to provide grants/scholarships to Guanajuato migrants in the U.S. It was neat to meet Mayor Edgar Castro of Guanajuato City. It was also great to get to visit with some of my family from my mom’s side. I am looking forward to working with NAIMA to continue to build these cross-border relationships between Mexico, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
Fuente: Fb/@Marty Castro