ethel’s words

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The name Tijerina (Reies) came to my present attention hooked to two Mormon names in an old letter. In Mormon El Paso, Texas, Tijerina had some admirers and supporters. For a while, in the Southwest, that name was a brilliant light, energized by newly revered history, and by hope of change and justice ignited by Sixties voices. Lands long held in usufruct that were wrested from the native inhabitants of the Southwest were pledged to rededication, but lost again to Power.

What happens to our heroes, the courageous ones who forsook career, safety, and redemption in order to pursue justice--justice for poor people (“only the poor need justice”) and justice for poor nations.

Many went into obscurity--so we cannot be sure what happened to them or what they did. Some went on to profess at Universities, carrying their fame with them. Their intellectual energy, their insights, the teaching abilities manifested by leadership successes, made them good candidates for professorships.

Some who honed writing abilities in prison, likewise, found a niche in the intellectual world. Some simply turned their mental energies into profound but obscure scholarly creativity.

If I looked for failures among them, I think I would find a failure to mentor replacements--though for what? Did anyone believe we’d end up in a fascist quagmire that somehow could not be overcome by old or new heroes? Will the foundations of Fascism crash, and bring to new enlightenment, new achievements of justice, the devoted works of Tijerina and the many others, waiting to be regenerated?

Ethel C. Hale