|Vol. 15 No. 12
JUNE 15, 2020
Columns & Features
by Heidi M. Pascual
by Jamala Rogers
When I became the editor of The Madison Times back in 1999, we wanted to include articles written in
Spanish. In order to do that, it would be necessary for me to learn Spanish. And so we hired Leonel
Iribarren, who was in charge of MMSD’s migrant students program at the time and a wonderful muralist.
As I said, Leonel was a muralist and was also a refugee from Chile. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Leonel was a supporter of President Allende, a
Democratic Socialist who was voted into power, but was then deposed by the Chilean military under the leadership of Augusto Pinochet and the at least tacit — if
not direct — support of the United States.
And in our far-ranging discussions about those days — and Leonel being an artist — we talked about art and its role in Allende coming to power. And Leonel would
say that art is revolution, that art is necessary to create the conditions for revolution, to lay the seeds of mass action. It is art that brings the hearts and minds of a
people together, to allow them to have common thoughts and dreams.
Well this discussion came to mind the other day as I was at a stoplight on Fish Hatchery Road. And with the beautifully warm weather comes cars with stereo
systems blaring and woofers sending out a beat so strong that it reverberates in the cars nearby. As I approached the intersection and heard the music and literally
felt the beat, I have a tendency to gently look in the other car to see who was going to be tone deaf in a matter of years.
And at least half the time, the person listening to the rap and other forms of hip hop music would be young Euro-Americans. And then I recalled reading once that it
was Euro-American, often suburban, youth who were, by the numbers, the largest segment of those who purchase rap.
And from the articles that I’ve written about break dancing and rap competitions on campus, hip hop has always been a global phenomenon. Youth — for the most
part — could go anywhere in the world and find groups of people who shared their music, their values and their language. Hip hop was a universal phenomenon that
included police brutality and violence as part of its repertoire of topics.
And so when I saw the instantaneous outcry when George Floyd was murdered by four Minneapolis policemen, I couldn’t help but feel that the massive global
protests about the murder of one man were due to this art form. It has been hip hop that has given young people from just about every ethnicity and race and income
status around the world a common vision and feeling about this murder. And so fueled by social media, this revolution against police brutality and murder and for the
dignity and equality of Black and Brown people — for it goes well beyond the cause of African Americans — sprang up in a matter of days, if not hours.
The daily demonstrations and protests have been pretty forceful and creative to continue to drive home the need for change. I’ve been stuck in a traffic jam or two
created by roving vehicular protests. While it delayed my arrival somewhere, I still had to smile.
While this is a separate subject from the protest marches, I have been turned off by the breaking of windows and looting on State Street. I read the results of a
survey where 40 stores or more may not reopen. -- READ MORE
by Jamala Rogers
Each Friday afternoon we would meet. And after a go at it, we both realized that teaching me to be fluent in Spanish was an impossible task,
just as the same held true for French in an earlier part of my life.
by Andrew Gramling